An Ashlez Review: Chasing Chance (Gilcrest University Guys #1) by M.E. Parker

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Rating : 4 stars out of 5
There are moments in your life that become part of you. They become so ingrained in your memory that you can’t let them go, no matter how hard you try. Some may seem small and insignificant when they happen. Others are so big and important that you know, even while you’re in the moment, that your life will be forever changed. For me, almost all those moments—both the small and insignificant as well as the big and important—were moments I shared with Chance Wyrick.

If I were in a support group for hopelessly pathetic gays, I’d have to introduce myself by saying, “Hi, I’m Andy Michaelson and I can’t stop myself from thinking about Chance Wyrick.”
From the time we met, when we were only six years old, and for the next twelve years, he was my best friend. I fell in love with him along the way. I couldn’t say exactly when it happened, only that it happened.

Words of advice:

Never fall in love with your best friend, especially if he’s one of the most popular kids at school, the best high school quarterback in the state, or if he happens to be your next-door neighbor.
But most of all…

Never, I repeat never, fall in love with your best friend if he’s straight. Nothing good can come of it. Trust me.

Our friendship was over before we finished our last year of high school. My best friend became my ex-best friend. I hoped to forget about him when I went off to college. But Chance followed me there. So did all the memories.

I tried to forget him. I did. But he was more beautiful than ever. He was the starting quarterback for Gilcrest University. He was larger than life. He was impossible to ignore. We hadn’t spoken in years, but the memories still hit me out of nowhere, and they still hurt.

By the time I started my third year at Gilcrest, I was beginning to think I’d never be over him.

As it turns out, I was right…

Chasing Chance is the first book in the Gilcrest University Guys series. It’s a full-length, “friends to lovers” romance novel. It has “coming out” and “first-time gay” themes, is stocked full of STEAM, heartache, and laughter, and it has a guaranteed happy ending. The series will follow the love stories of four college friends. Chasing Chance is the first of two books that will tell Andy and Chance’s love story. Look for book two, Catching Chance, to come out next month!
You know what, I’m super excited about these Gilcrest boys!  Dying to see what comes from all of his friends, I love books like this that set up the next story in the series so well that you just can’t seem to wait for it.
At first this story started off a bit sad, honestly, I kind of thought the formatting was a bit off, I get that you need flashbacks for this story 100% but I prefer the flashbacks to be their own chapters for some reason, I know it was in different formatting but I get distracted when I’m reading one portion then it jumps to another within the same chapter – but that’s personal preference.
Andy was adorable and knew what he wanted from day 1 – there was a bit of drama and unneeded tension between the mains/friends but alas, it’s a book right .. every book needs a little drama!
Where Chance came in was a bit more of a time – he has a hard time throughout the whole book – but the end more than makes up for his behaviour – you honestly can’t help but feel for both of these guys.

Overall well written, good storyline, good plot, and a good read!  I need more of the Gilcrest boys… I really do.

Cover – football, apt, I don’t think it’s super central to the story – I’d have liked a treehouse!

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 175 pages
Published March 17th 2019
ASIN B07PQ97GR6
Series Gilcrest University Guys #1

Adore Friends to Lovers Romance? Check Out the Book Blast for Chasing Chance (Gilcrest University Guys #1) by M.E. Parker (excerpt and giveaway)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Chasing Chance (Gilcrest University Guys Book One)

Author: M.E. Parker

Publisher:  Self-Published

Genre: Contemporary m/m Romance; Friends to Lovers, Coming Out, First-time gay

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length:  55 000 words/ 175 pages

Release Date: March 17, 2019

It’s the first book in a series HFN ending—no cliffhanger

Add on Goodreads

 

Blurb

There are moments in your life that become part of you. They become so ingrained in your memory that you can’t let them go, no matter how hard you try. Some may seem small and insignificant when they happen. Others are so big and important that you know, even while you’re in the moment, that your life will be forever changed. For me, almost all those moments—both the small and insignificant as well as the big and important—were moments I shared with Chance Wyrick.

If I were in a support group for hopelessly pathetic gays, I’d have to introduce myself by saying, “Hi, I’m Andy Michaelson and I can’t stop myself from thinking about Chance Wyrick.”

From the time we met, when we were only six years old, and for the next twelve years, he was my best friend. I fell in love with him along the way. I couldn’t say exactly when it happened, only that it happened.

Words of advice:

Never fall in love with your best friend, especially if he’s one of the most popular kids at school, the best high school quarterback in the state, or if he happens to be your next-door neighbor.

But most of all…

Never, I repeat never, fall in love with your best friend if he’s straight. Nothing good can come of it. Trust me.

Our friendship was over before we finished our last year of high school. My best friend became my ex-best friend. I hoped to forget about him when I went off to college. But Chance followed me there. So did all the memories.

I tried to forget him. I did. But he was more beautiful than ever. He was the starting quarterback for Gilcrest University. He was larger than life. He was impossible to ignore. We hadn’t spoken in years, but the memories still hit me out of nowhere, and they still hurt.

By the time I started my third year at Gilcrest, I was beginning to think I’d never be over him.

As it turns out, I was right…

Chasing Chance is the first book in the Gilcrest University Guys series. It’s a full-length, “friends to lovers” romance novel. It has “coming out” and “first-time gay” themes, is stocked full of STEAM, heartache, and laughter, and it has a guaranteed happy ending. The series will follow the love stories of four college friends. Chasing Chance is the first of two books that will tell Andy and Chance’s love story. Look for book two, Catching Chance, to come out next month!

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

 

Excerpt 

As we sat next to one another on the rocky river bank in silence, I watched his wild dark hair ripple in the wind. He looked so much older than me. His shoulders were broad, and he was at least two inches taller than I was. I couldn’t help but notice the curves of his biceps through his fleece pullover. He was the hottest guy I’d ever seen. He was the guy I imagined kissing when I jerked off. Well, it went back and forth between him and the High School Musical version of Zac Efron, but mostly it was Chance.

The truth was, we didn’t have much in common. We both loved riding bikes, running through the woods, and playing video games. But that’s where our similarities ended. I figured out pretty early on that I’d rather be in the kitchen with my mom helping her bake something or working on a craft project, or reading a book, rather than being out in the front yard throwing a football with my dad. I was all about reading and science and Chance Wyrick was all about sports… any sport, really. He was always the best one on the team, and it didn’t matter what kind of team it was.

Our differences didn’t seem to matter for a long time. We were pretty much inseparable until the previous year. It was inevitable that we would eventually separate. He started hanging out with the jocks and I started hanging out with the nerds. But after school on most days, it was like nothing had changed. He would just walk through my front door, go straight up to my bedroom, and we’d start playing video games. We still knew everything about each other’s life, we just stopped acknowledging each other at school.

Chance had his knees pulled up in front of him and was tracing some inconceivable pattern on the massive rock we were sitting on with a stick. I liked to think of it as our rock. It was the first place we came to every year as soon as we were done setting up camp. I wondered what he’d think if he knew how obsessed I was with him. I hadn’t told anyone I was gay. But I knew I was. There wasn’t a chance in hell I’d ever tell him. In fact, he was the last person I’d ever tell. He shook his head and tossed his stick in the water and looked over at me. His cheeks were red from the cold air and his big caramel eyes sparkled with golden flecks in them when he looked at me. I could feel my face turn red and I immediately looked down and started throwing pebbles in the river, hoping he couldn’t read my thoughts.

“You really going to homecoming with Marci Jenkins?” he asked.

I rolled my eyes. It wasn’t something I was excited about, but she made a big deal out of asking me and I felt bad saying no. “Yeah. I guess. Are you going with anyone?”

He cleared his throat. “I asked that new girl, Kara Watkins?”

“Yeah. I know who she is. Blonde, big tits, dance team.”

He laughed. “Yeah, she’s fucking hot, dude.”

I rolled my eyes again and felt a pang of red-hot jealousy hit me in the chest. It was our freshman year of high school and, so far, neither of us had much experience with girls. Chance had been too busy playing every sport known to man and, well, I was just me. I shouldn’t hate a girl I never talked to or met, but I did. That’s why I did my best in that moment to slut-shame her. “Yeah. I heard she made out with two different guys at Jake Holloway’s party. I also heard her parents caught her doing it with some older kid from Wilsonville and that’s why she had to come to school here.” Everything I said to him was pretty much a big lie, except the part about her making out with two guys at Jake’s party (I heard that part from Marci’s friend Shelly, a completely unreliable source). I felt a little sick to my stomach after I said it. It wasn’t like me to do something like that.

I looked over at him. His face was red. He shrugged. “I don’t think that’s true. I was at Jake’s party and she did make out with Matt Hoffner, but that’s it. She told Kerri Sidner that she didn’t like him. Supposedly, she likes me. I don’t know.”

I cleared my throat and kept chucking rocks in the river. “Well, I guess she does or she wouldn’t have said she’d go to the dance with you.”

“Yeah, I guess so. I’m pretty sure she’s gonna want to make out.”

A sarcastic snicker escaped my lips. “Most likely. So what?” I was trying not to be an asshole, but the whole idea of Chance making out with someone else pissed me off. I knew I was being completely irrational, but I couldn’t help it.

“So, I’ve never done it. Have you?”

I rolled my eyes. “What? Made out with someone?”

“Yeah?”

“Chance—this is me we’re talking about. No.”

“Well, do you think Marci will want to?”

I shrugged because I hadn’t really thought about it. “I don’t know. Maybe. Are you really worried about it?”

I looked over at him and his face was still red. “Fuck no.” He ran his fingers through his wild dark hair and sighed. “I don’t know. Maybe. Aren’t you? What if I fuck it up or I don’t know what I’m doin’ or something and she tells people?”

My eyes were completely focused on Chance’s lips and I don’t know what came over me but before I could stop myself I blurted out, “We could practice.”

His face was bright red and mine felt hot. I was sure I was redder than he was. Why did I just say that? He looked at me like I’d lost my mind. “With each other?” The way he said it sounded less like a legitimate question and more like a “Are you fucking kidding me?” rhetorical question.

But at that point I’d said it and I couldn’t take it back. “Yeah. I mean, who else could we practice with? If we did it first, it wouldn’t be as weird with the girls. It’s just an idea. You don’t have to get all freaked out about it.”

All of the sudden, I felt a stinging punch to my left arm. It hurt like a son-of-a-bitch, but I wasn’t gonna tell Chance that. “Okay. Shit! Chill out. It was just an idea.”

Chance was quiet, and I was busy praying I could invent a time machine and go back to five minutes ago until he spoke again. “If we do this, dude, you can’t tell anybody.”

“Who the fuck am I gonna tell? It’s not exactly something I would want to go around broadcasting.”

The next thing I knew, he had scooted closer to me. “You be the girl. What should I do first?”

My heart was pounding. I kept wondering if the whole thing was really happening. I took a deep breath and took off my glasses and put them down on the rock beside me. “It’s not like I’m an expert or anything, but I think girls like it if you start with a regular kiss first—like soft and gentle.” Chance grabbed the back of my head and pressed his soft lips against mine for a few seconds and then pulled back.

“Like that?”

I swallowed hard. That was the first time I understood what it meant to have butterflies in your stomach. I rasped, “Yeah. Like that.”

His face was still red when he leaned in and kissed me again the same way. That time my lips parted and he slid his tongue inside my mouth. It was slow at first as our tongues explored, and then the kiss grew more urgent. It was the best thing I’d ever felt. At some point, I wrapped my hand around his neck and pulled him closer to me. I don’t know how long we were kissing. It could have been hours. It could have been minutes. All I knew was that I didn’t want to stop. It was better than I had ever imagined.  By the time he pulled away, I was out of breath and he was too. I could feel my dick straining against my jeans and I pulled my knees up to my chest, hoping he couldn’t tell I had a boner.

He wiped his hand over his face. “Do you think we did it right?”

I couldn’t help but grin. “Yeah. I think. I mean, it felt good, right?”

He ran his hands through his incredible dark hair. “Yeah. I mean… yeah, I think it was right.” He backhanded me across the chest. “Remember, nobody hears about this.”

I rolled my eyes and said, “Duh.” I really wanted to ask him to practice again, but I didn’t want to press my luck.

I knew I made the right call as soon as he jumped up. “Race you back to camp!” I watched him take off running and I put my glasses back on, got up, and jogged after him. There was no reason to try. Even if he gave me a thirty-second head start, I never would have beat him.

 

About the Author

Mary Esther Parker, a former attorney, is an up-and-coming new author who lives in Tennessee with her teenage daughter and a grumpy white-haired cat. She loves to read just about anything. When she is not reading, she is writing, painting, making home improvements, or drinking wine with her best friends. She has a B.A. in Political Science and a J.D. from the University of Tennessee. She likes writing sweet love stories that combine a lot of laughs, sometimes a few tears, ooey-gooey romance at its best, and a whole lot of steamy sex, and she believes that when you put those things all together in the right way, you get the perfect feel-good read, guaranteed to leave you smiling in the end. She believes love is love, romance is romance, and gender is irrelevant.  

 

Author Links

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Facebook

Twitter

 

 

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Release Blitz for Without A Compass by Helen Juliet (excerpt and giveaway)

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Book Title: Without a Compass

Author: Helen Juliet

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: August 24 2017

Length: Words: 80K

Genre/s: Contemporary Romance, New Adult,

Fish Out of Water, Gay For You, First Time Gay, Opposites Attract

Blurb

Riley Anderson isn’t an outdoorsy guy. He’s a desk jockey, office by day and couch by night. So when his family insists on a camping trip for his father’s 50th birthday he’s hardly thrilled. Things only get worse when Kai shows up, too.

Kai Brandt’s more than eager to go camping with his best buddy, but his buddy’s little brother Riley is all grown up now, and hotter than hell. Kai’s willing to help him pitch more than just a tent… Which is weird, because Kai never swung that way before.

Events conspire to out Riley’s secret AND leave him stranded in Kai’s care for longer than they’d planned for. Trapped together in the wilderness, they’re going to have to face a few hard truths if they’re going to make it back to the world.

But even if they manage it, the experience will leave them forever changed.

Without a Compass is a steamy, standalone gay romance novel with a HEA and no cliffhanger.

Without A Compass

Excerpt

He’d only just managed to get his boxers on in time when the outer door swung inwards and let in a burst of light. For a moment he couldn’t see and he threw his hand up to shield his eyes. “Hello?” he squeaked.

“Oh, hey,” a deep voice replied.

Riley froze as the door swung back and he was left looking at a sweat-soaked Kai. His vest and very short shorts clung to his damp, muscular body. The vision it offered up made Riley gulp.

The tattoos on his arms appeared to gleam under the sheen of sweat from whatever workout he’d just completed. Amongst the varied designs, Riley could make out a bear and a skull surrounded by roses. The colours were muted. His artist had used subtle shades to create tone. The overall effect was powerful but not overwhelming.

Plus, it didn’t hurt that the arms carrying the decoration were huge and chiselled to perfection. Riley had almost died of happiness the couple of times Kai had casually draped one of them across his shoulders the night before.

He remembered where he was. He needed to do or say something before the moment stretched out any further and became weird.

His natural instinct was to snatch his towel up and cover his body. That would definitely make things awkward though. So Riley used all his self-control to merely pick it up as casually as he could and started drying off his hair. Just like you’re at the gym, he told himself.

“Morning,” he said brightly. “You go for a run too?”

Kai blinked a couple of times. It was obvious he was looking at Riley’s almost totally naked body and Riley tried his best not to shy away in shame. No, he wasn’t nearly as ripped as Kai was, but he knew he didn’t look too bad. This was probably awkward for Kai too, especially after last night. But if they could just move past it, it would be fine.

As if coming out of a daze, Kai shook his head and walked forward. His towel was slung over his shoulder and he had a simple all-in-one shower-gel-and-shampoo bottle clutched in his hand. “Oh yeah mate,” he said cheerfully, answering Riley’s question. “It’s beautiful around here. It would be rude not to go exploring.”

Riley chuckled and thankfully found himself dry enough to pull on his shorts. He felt slightly less vulnerable with that small amount of clothing protecting him.

“I had to sweat out the hangover. How are you feeling?”

He didn’t just mean after the alcohol. But he wondered if Kai would pretend nothing out of the ordinary had happened. He wouldn’t blame him if he did; in fact, it would probably be best for both of them if that’s how they moved forward.

“I’m good,” he said, stopping at the sink next to where Riley’s products were littered. “Can I borrow some of that?”

Riley nodded and offered up his toothpaste. Kai pulled a toothbrush from his back pocket and got to scrubbing.

As Kai was unable to talk for the moment, Riley applied his deodorant in increasingly awkward silence. He should think of something to say, something funny! Something that wasn’t ‘So, do you regret that kiss last night? Because I don’t.’

Instead, he chewed at his lips and began picking up his various tubes and tubs to collect them back into his wash kit.

“Whereabouts did you-”

“How did you-”

They both looked at each other, then laughed. Kai spat out his toothpaste and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “I was just wondering how you slept.”

“Oh, fine thanks, fine.” Riley paused as Kai began peeling off his vest. “Uh, you?”

Kai rubbed his face. He seemed a bit sheepish for some reason. Riley hardly noticed though as he was focusing extremely hard on not staring at his pectorals.

“Yeah, fine,” he grunted. But he offered up a smile that cancelled out whatever had bothered him.

Buy Links

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Link

Author Page

Without A Compass

Meet the Author

Helen Juliet is an M/M author currently living and working in London. She’s been writing stories since she was young, and got her start publishing fanfiction of sites like Wattpad. Fifteen years and over a million words later, she discovered the world of M/M fiction and found it was just as good as the fanfiction she was reading. She fell head over heels in love with the genre and became determined to try her hand at a book herself. On December 31st, 2016, she rang in the new year by publishing her first original novel, and hasn’t looked back since.

Social Media Links:

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Facebook Author Page

Facebook Group – Helen Juliet Books  

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Release Blitz Schedule

WITHOUT A COMPASS SCHEDULE

August 24

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Diverse ReaderLouise LyonsLily G. Blunt 

August 25

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Love Unchained Book Reviews,

Millsy Loves BooksWe Three Queens, My Fiction Nook

August 26

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Sur l’étagère,  Gay Book ReviewsWe Like It Big Book Blog,

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue WordsValerie Ullmer

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