Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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.
This novella (89 pages) does a good job of making me like both Eric and Will. They are co-RA in a freshman dorm who, by some overcrowding of the college, end up having to room together. The fact that Eric initially takes Will for a freshman and then has a little meltdown about it, “Uh, don’t take it personally. I’m a drama queen on my best days” show how laid back Will is. So it shouldn’t be a hardship for them to share a room, right?
Together, they make a great RA team and they take it seriously. They also get to be friends, even as Eric has a crush he hides due to Will having a girlfriend, Jesse, that he visits every weekend. Will’s Texas drawl, his musical talent and his sense of humor all work together to make Eric fall even more. In desperation, he calls on his friend and former boyfriend, Jerry, to act as his current boyfriend. Jerry is a doll and with some bribery, agrees. I have to say I loved both Jerry and Tyrone and hopefully they will be getting stories as well but I didn’t really see the point of the fake boyfriend being thrown in there.
“Only you could get three flaming queens like me, Jerry and Tyrone to have brunch in a sports bar.” That’s the power of the likeability of Will. As they get to know each other more, Eric is fighting his attraction, Will is spending less time with Jesse and more time with Eric, and we have the lovely Jerry there being awesome. Jerry is actually the one who tries to tell Eric that straight or not, Will has a thing for Eric. Which of course Eric doesn’t believe. A discussion about the Kinsey scale turns Eric’s preconceptions around a bit.
Since it is just a novella, there are things I wish had been fleshed out more. Will’s right-wing, Trump supporting, homophobic, alcohol loving family is mentioned but no real background is given. I’d loved to have known the why’s of the music vs economics in more detail. This isn’t insta-love because they take their time becoming friends but I’d loved to have had more. Just more. That aside, I liked this one very much and I hope the series continues.
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas. The cover was a little off for me. It shows a shirtless man (Eric?) peeking out what appears to be a shower door as another man (Will?) is studying. I didn’t get it – Will isn’t overly studious in the book, at least no more than Eric is – and Eric doesn’t flaunt himself throughout. So was kind of a miss.
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 89 pages
Expected publication: November 9th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Series Campus Connections #1