CJ Elliot with A Author and Character Interview and Much More on the New Release Tour for The Player’s Protégé (Campus Connections #2) by CJane Elliott )excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: The Player’s Protege

Series: A Campus Connections Story

The Player’s Protégé

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: 6/7/19

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 93 pages

Genre: Romance, New Adult, contemporary, college, coming of age

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words welcomes CJ Elliot on tour for the new release The Player’s Protégé . Hi, CJane!

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Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me on today to share about my latest release, The Player’s Protégé, the second story in the Campus Connections series. It features Jerry, the cynical best friend of Eric from The Kinsey Scale, and Arlo, a sweet, inexperienced guy for whom Jerry becomes a mentor.

This is blog post #7 in the tour. We’ve looked at the backstory for Jerry and Arlo and their barriers to love. They’ve met—and it didn’t go so well. But now they’re stuck with each other, because Arlo wants mentoring and Jerry made a bet with his friends. In their first mentoring session Jerry is irritable and Arlo is defensive. But as they continue on, they warm up and start to appreciate one another.

This is the part in a romance where, despite initial doubts, the heroes are more and more drawn to each other. They get to know each other better and start to feel desire for each other. As each new side of Arlo emerges, Jerry is struck by Arlo’s sweet nature as much as by his gorgeousness. As for Arlo? We don’t get to hear his point of view in the story, so why don’t we ask him now?

CJANE: Tell us when you first started to find Jerry attractive.

ARLO: Right away.

CJANE: Really? You mean that first night when you all went to Alekos?

ARLO: Yes.

CJANE: Huh. But wasn’t Jerry pretty mean to you that night?

ARLO: [chuckles] Oh, yes, he was kind of irritable. I found out later he didn’t want to take on being my mentor and the guys had to rope him into it with a bet. But I thought he was just being cranky because he was hungry.

CJANE: But you still found him attractive. What about him interested you?

ARLO: Well, he’s good-looking, of course. But more than that, he has this confidence and this kind of no bullshit way about him. Excuse my French.

CJANE: No problem. So you liked his lack of BS.

ARLO: I still do. I know I’m going to get the truth from Jerry, whether I like it or not. And that makes me trust him. My ex—Jake—turned out to be a big liar. Jerry’s honest. And creative. And just exciting to be around. I thought that from the start.

CJANE: And once he started mentoring you?

ARLO: He challenged me and made me look at my life, and it kind of blew me away. It woke me up and made me change. After two meetings, I was pretty much in love.

Aww, isn’t Arlo the best? To see how the story progresses, check out my next blog tour post. You can find the schedule at my website: http://cjaneelliott.com/the-players-protege-release-and-blog-tour/.  Follow along for more chances to win.

Giveaway:

Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of one of my novels.

Synopsis

When his friends bet cynical Jerry that he can’t turn sweet Arlo into a player, Jerry might win the bet but lose his heart.

College senior Jerry Helstrom survived a gay childhood in Texas by being fierce and fabulous. At school he’s known as a player and has kept his heart so guarded that he’s forgotten he has one. When his friends bet him he can’t teach inexperienced Arlo Barnes to become a stud like him, Jerry takes on the challenge and quickly finds himself drawn to his enticing trainee.

Arlo kicks butt as a Tae Kwon Do black belt, but his sexual game is lacking. He’s been dumped by his only boyfriend and needs help getting himself out there. Enter Jerry Helstrom, player extraordinaire and happy to provide Arlo with some hands-on coaching. Jerry encourages Arlo to ask for what he wants in sex and in life, something Arlo struggles with. The struggle deepens when Arlo discovers that what he truly wants is the seemingly unattainable Jerry Helstrom.

Jerry can teach Arlo to play the field, but can Arlo teach Jerry to play for keeps?

Excerpt

After Arlo left, Tyrone blew out an exasperated breath. “Why’d ya have to be so mean, boo?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Eric laughed. “Jerry’s mean to everyone at first. Right, Will?”

“I never noticed,” Will drawled.

“You wouldn’t.” Eric leaned in for a kiss. “But believe me, he had you down as a boring sports jock.”

“Hot, though,” Jerry murmured. “That won you points right away. And the fact that you were driving Eric crazy was entertaining.”

“For you.” Eric glared at Jerry.

Will put his hand over Eric’s. “Yeah. Eric was driving me crazy too. Blue balls city, man.”

“Oh my.” Jerry put his chin in his hands and widened his eyes. “I always wondered how y’all managed to beat off with the other one right there. Do tell.”

Tyrone held up his hand. “Guys, guys, can we have this conversation another time? Y’all need to help me talk Jerry into mentoring Arlo.”

“Mentoring him in what?” Eric raised laughing eyes to Jerry. “Although I can think of several areas.”

<em>I miss you</em>. It came out of nowhere. He and Eric had been thick as thieves all through college. Once they sorted out that they weren’t meant to be boyfriends, they’d remained best friends and shared countless late-night conversations in this very restaurant. Most of them this year had been about Eric’s seemingly hopeless crush on Will. But all of that had come to a halt now that Eric and Will were lovers. Not that Will would mind if Eric and Jerry continued their habit of hanging out in Alekos. At least Jerry didn’t think he would. But Will and Eric were currently wrapped up in their own romantic world.

Jerry shook his head and focused in on what Tyrone was saying.

“… and since Jake dumped him on his ass after cheating on him, Arlo’s been moping around. We were talking, and he was telling me that he needed some advice about getting out there. Jake was the only guy he’s ever dated, and he needs help in figuring out the hookup scene.”

“That guy? Wants to dive into Grindr?” Eric shook his head. “I can’t see it.”

“Well, that’s what he tells me,” said Tyrone. “And who better to teach him but our Jerry here? Gay stud extraordinaire.”

“You called me a stallion before. Make up your mind.”

Will smirked. “Given the look on your face, Jerry, I’d say the odds of you performing this service are nil to none.”

“Ah, but Jerry owes me, and I’m calling in the favor. Right, boo?”

“Owes you for what?” Eric asked.

“For hooking him up with Ted. Too bad they were together for, like, two seconds.”

Jerry huffed. “I never meant it to be a thing. Although our little affair did have its moments. But still, the answer is no. Think of something else for me to do.”

“Yeah, Tyrone. No fair assigning Jerry an impossible task.”

Jerry narrowed his eyes at Eric. “Impossible? I never said that.”

“Well, I’m saying it. That guy Arlo? You’ll never turn him into a player. He’s a one-man type. I can spot it a mile away.” Eric hugged Will. “This guy’s the same.”

“True.” Will gave Eric a slow smile. “I’m not complainin’.”

“You all are truly over the top. But you’re wrong, Eric. I’m sure I could transform Arlo into a player if I put my mind to it.”

“Wanna bet?”

Eric’s clear disbelief goaded Jerry into rashness. “Sure. What do you want to bet me?”

Tyrone clapped his hands. “I knew you’d do it.”

“Hmm.” Eric tapped his fingers on the table with a thoughtful air. “If you turn Arlo into a player, I’ll do your laundry for a week.”

“Please. You’d mix the fabrics, turn my whites pink, and shrink my favorite shirt.” Inspiration struck. “How about, if I win, you tear yourself away from Will there and commit to regular late-night Alekos runs with me? Plus one cage dance at Club Risque?”

“Okay. And if I win, you do my and Will’s laundry for a week, plus make us cool costumes for Pride.”

“Deal.” Jerry extended his hand, and Eric shook it. If Eric thought he could win this bet, he was seriously underestimating Jerry’s abilities.

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Google Books

Meet the Author

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 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 intently 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. All the Way to Shore was Runner Up for Best Bisexual Novel in the 2017 Rainbow Awards.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail | Instagram

Tour Schedule

6/7 ~ Moonbeams Over Atlanta

6/8 ~ Gay Book Reviews

6/9 ~ Stories That Make You Smile

6/10 ~ Love Bytes

6/11 ~ MM Goodbook Reviews

6/12 ~ Bayou Book Junkie

6/13 ~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

6/14 ~ My Fiction Nook

6/15 ~ BFD Book Blog

6/16 ~ Drops of Ink

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A Melanie Release Day Review: The Player’s Protégé (Campus Connections #2) by CJane Elliott

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

When his friends bet cynical Jerry that he can’t turn sweet Arlo into a player, Jerry might win the bet but lose his heart.

College senior Jerry Helstrom survived a gay childhood in Texas by being fierce and fabulous. At school he’s known as a player and has kept his heart so guarded that he’s forgotten he has one. When his friends bet him he can’t teach inexperienced Arlo Barnes to become a stud like him, Jerry takes on the challenge and quickly finds himself drawn to his enticing trainee.

Arlo kicks butt as a Tae Kwon Do black belt, but his sexual game is lacking. He’s been dumped by his only boyfriend and needs help getting himself out there. Enter Jerry Helstrom, player extraordinaire and happy to provide Arlo with some hands-on coaching. Jerry encourages Arlo to ask for what he wants in sex and in life, something Arlo struggles with. The struggle deepens when Arlo discovers that what he truly wants is the seemingly unattainable Jerry Helstrom.

Jerry can teach Arlo to play the field, but can Arlo teach Jerry to play for keeps?

The Player’s Protégé by CJane Elliott is the second story in the author’s Campus Connections series and another winner in my estimation.  I forget how much great characterizations and story plot this author can cram into a novettle but here again in 93 pages Elliot manages it again.

We have several familiar tropes here, a bet, an almost Pygmalion theme of a makeover with Jerry the jaded, rich player (and the one with the bet) tasked with the makeover of the almost innocent, sweet farmboy Arlo (who is unaware of the bet) into a player like himself.  Almost every reader who has reads romances knows that it”s almost written in stone that the jaded teacher will fall for the pupil.  The fun is seeing how they fall, how the pupil reacts during the teaching sessions and, well, how does the relationship develop and the story end?

The Player’s Protégé works so well  because the characters have so many unsuspecting aspects to their personalities.  Jerry isn’t just a jaded rich playboy, no, he’s a set and costume designer for a children’s theatre, loves his older sister, and deep parental issues and  has the high emotional walls because if it.  And Arlo?  Another heartwarming surprise with a couple of kinks thrown in.  He is such a lovely surprise that I won’t go into him here, just let the reader discover him as Jerry does.

We get to see both young men’s families, for better and worse, so each has a firm foundation to stand on.  Also from the beginning of the story, Arlo and Jerry are surrounded by the couple, Will and Eric as well as Tyrone (from the first story,The Kinsey Scale.  So you get a feel for the universe the author continues to build with each story and couple as they head past graduation and into their future together and possibly as a group in a theatre.

My only complaint that these are terrific characters and I felt the ending could have been a little longer.  I would have been happy fleshing out their resolution and epilogue.  However Im sure I will be seeing more of them in Tyrone’s story next.  I can’t wait.

Campur Connections is a joy of a series, a heartwarming series of contemporary romances.  Pick them all up and enjoy!  I recommend them all , including this one.

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas.  I like the cover, more somber than  would have predicted but it works.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 93 pages
Expected publication: June 7th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07QD1GG65
Edition Language English

SeriesCampus Connections #2

The Kinsey Scale

The Player’s Protégé

A Lucy Release Day Review: The Kinsey Scale (Campus Connections #1) by CJane Elliott

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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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 89 pages
Expected publication: November 9th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07HPD6Z82

Series Campus Connections #1