Life is good for Eric Brown. He’s a senior theater major, an RA for a freshman dorm, and has a great circle of friends. Single since sophomore year, Eric isn’t looking for love. But then Will Butler—fellow senior, co-RA, and the cutest guy Eric’s ever seen—walks into his dorm. Will has a girlfriend he sees off campus—a minor disappointment that becomes a major problem when a housing shortage causes Will and Eric to become roommates, and Eric is forced to witness Will’s hotness day in and day out. For protection, Eric asks Jerry, his ex-boyfriend, to pretend they’re still together. Jerry warns him it’s a stupid idea, but he reluctantly agrees.
Too bad it won’t save Eric from losing his heart.
Will Butler has never believed in himself. His dysfunctional family saw to that. Although Will has loved music since childhood, he’s never seriously considered pursuing it, and the person he’s dating doesn’t encourage him. Then he and Eric Brown become roommates, and everything changes. Eric believes in Will and his talent. He’s also gorgeous and playful and fast becoming Will’s best friend. And that’s not good, because Will is hiding some big things, not only from Eric, but from himself.
Hello, all! CJane Elliott here to share my new release, The Kinsey Scale. Thank you to the Two Chicks for hosting me on The Kinsey Scale Blog Tour.
Our heroes, Eric and Will, started out seemingly opposite in interests and temperament. But when they become co-RAs for a freshman dorm and have to room together, they slowly get close – so close that Eric’s ex Jerry warns Eric that he thinks Will is falling for him. Eric, confident in his belief that Will is straight, laughs it off.
In today’s blog tour stop I’ve brought you an exclusive excerpt that takes place in early March after Jerry tells Eric of his suspicion about Will’s feelings. Eric and Will have been roommates for months by now and they’re having some deep conversations. In this one, Eric talks about how coming out made him aware of his “tribe” of like-minded weirdos. Will has a surprising response.
Eric jumped. Will had snuck up behind their usual spot in the student lounge and spoken loudly right into his ear.
“Agh! Stop doing that.” Eric peered around as Will snickered and settled himself into the adjoining armchair. “Where’s your shadow?”
“Amber? I think I shook her off.” Will snuck a glance behind him. “Warn me if she comes in.”
“Allison probably took her down with a single karate chop. Cat fight over William!” Eric laughed a little too loudly. Will gave him his “are you nuts?” look.
Eric had been watching Will like a hawk ever since Jerry’s revelation. Hung up on him? Eric couldn’t see it, but it was enough to put him on edge, enough to make him even more aware of how attracted he was to Will. Still, he should cool it with the corny hetero jokes. Jerry told him he was overcompensating.
Will stretched and yawned. “Ready to go over the kids?”
Eric checked to make sure the coast was clear of Hutchinson residents. He and Will did a weekly review of each of their freshmen. It helped detect any budding issues or concerns they needed to address. “Yep. You got the list?”
“Yep.” Will pulled out a piece of paper. “Abby.”
“Hmm. I haven’t seen her around much lately. How about you?”
“She came to that get-together thingy we had a few weeks ago and seemed okay.”
Eric swatted Will’s knee. “Thingy? You mean our ‘Yay, we made it through February’ bash, emceed by the Dynamic Duo, aka us?”
Will smirked. “Yeah. That. Okay, next is Alex.”
“Andrew worries me.” Eric said that every week. He thought about the slight effeminate kid who was so clearly on the rainbow spectrum and yet hadn’t come out to anyone as far as Eric knew. Andrew was a loner and sometimes the target of bullying by the frat guys. Will and Eric worked hard to slap that nonsense down as soon as it erupted. They also traded off checking in with Andrew daily, dropping by his room, trying to seem casual about it.
“Yeah.” Will knit his eyebrows. “Not much we can do beyond what we’re already doing.”
“I wish he’d come out and get it over with,” Eric blurted and then bit his lip.
Will’s face got red. “Why? It could make more problems for him. Like if his family’s homophobic, they could throw him out. He’s already getting heat from the frat assholes.”
“But he’d find friends inside the queer community. God knows there’s enough of us around.”
“You’re the one who’s always saying people need to come out when they’re ready and not to push them.” Will’s voice rose, and he seemed to be getting upset, which was unusual for chill Will.
“I know, I know. It’s cool. I’d never force him. But I remember when I came out. I was around his age, and it was so liberating. It helped me find my tribe.”
“You know—all the other weirdos and nonconformists. Queers. Artists and creative types. The fringe of society, the marginalized swath of humanity.”
Will snorted. “Very poetic. But as white males, you have to admit we’re privileged compared to, say, a black trans woman.”
“And as a straight white male you’re the most privileged of all,” Eric shot back, then regretted it when Will’s expression grew thunderous. “Sorry. Why are we even having this fight?”
Will dropped his shoulders with a wry smile. “Yeah. I don’t even know. I guess I felt left out of your tribe or something.”
“Are you kidding? You qualify on general coolness. Plus, duh… you’re a creative type, remember? Songwriter and singer. And you have to admit you’re kind of weird, which I love.”
“Aw, jeez.” Will blushed and looked pleased. “You say the nicest things.”
A swelling of emotion formed a lump in Eric’s throat. He wished… he didn’t know what he wished. Will was cool, creative, weird, and so fricking attractive, especially right that moment. “I only say the truth, roomie.” He shifted in his seat. “Hey, let’s get back to the list. I have dress rehearsal soon.”
Come on, boys, you’ve stretched this out long enough! I’m happy to say everything comes to a head soon after this conversation, and these guys will take the bumpy road to their happy ending.
The Kinsey Scale by CJane Elliott is my first read by this author. The story follows two college RA’s who become roommates when no other options are available, and eventually are glad that they have one room together. 😉 It takes some time during their senior year, but eventually they get their HFN.
I enjoyed the story, although it was a slow burn. Eric believed that Will was straight, and he himself had been out for quite a while, so going back in the closet was not an option. Will, meanwhile, wasn’t quite as forthcoming with where he fit on the Kinsey Scale, until the subject came up in a group conversation, and then things become a bit more transparent. There is a bit of heat later in the book, but for most of the book, they aren’t able to get themselves to the right place to give it a shot.
As Eric used his ex to try to push off the temptation of Will, Will was learning that he had not allowed himself to be in a situation that was beneficial to him, and was trying to move on from that previous relationship.
This was a short, sweet story that wrapped up easily with not too much angst for the characters. I’d definitely read the next book in the series.
3.5 pieces of eye candy
After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming-out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her family supports her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.
CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.