New Release Review, Excerpt & Giveaway:
The Roles We Own
By CD Rachels
Artists and Athletes, Book 4
Romance isn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the corniness of romcoms, but it’s not in the cards in my life. I play hard on the soccer field, I party hard with my boys, and I fool around with any girl or guy who’s hot and willing. The only person off limits: my best friend’s boyfriend’s brother, Sly O’Rourke. He’s cute, but I don’t do feelings.
Staying away from him would be easy if I didn’t have to direct the school musical for my degree credits. Sly is auditioning, and he’s not the shy, nerdy dude everyone thinks he is. He’s talented, charming, and gorgeous—totally boyfriend material, if I ever did relationships. When he asks for help practicing physical intimacy for the play, how can I refuse? It’s my job to make sure this musical is a success, and that’s what this is: strictly business.
But when his mouth catches mine, our bodies don’t get the memo. I don’t think Sly and I are acting anymore.
I’ve played the role of a comfortable straight guy for too long. The truth is: the thought of physical intimacy makes me nauseous. I’m not interested in anyone, guy or girl, which sucks, because I’ve always wanted a romantic story of my own.
Now that I’m at Korham University, I have the chance to redefine myself. If I play the role of a romantic hero during the semester musical, maybe I’ll learn to enjoy touching people or catch real feelings for once. There is one complication to my plan: I have to spend a lot of time with the soccer jock Omar Odom. He’s a touchy, handsy, party boy, but I eventually see a different side to him. As the weeks go by, my brother’s boyfriend’s best friend doesn’t seem so bad. He’s chill in ways I never could be and supports me in the play. He’s the perfect guy who can help me with the physical aspects of the dramatic arts.
When Omar puts his mouth on mine, I expect to be repulsed, not burning up on the inside. I’ve never wanted a girl or guy before so…what is happening to me? And why don’t I want it to stop?
The Roles We Own is a low-angst, male/male romance about new adults in college. It involves theater rehearsals, soccer games, frat parties, cartoon onesies, raisin bagels, and discovering what gray-asexuality can mean.
It is the fourth book in the “Artists and Athletes” series but can be read as a standalone.
“You scared me that day…during the cake incident…but the first night we met, you touched my face…”
“Sorry about that.” I cringe.
“No, what I’m trying to say is: it wasn’t even that bad? When it’s you…it’s like I don’t mind.” He looks back up, his brown eyes catching mine. He has a gorgeous face with smooth skin, and perfectly-styled brown hair. “What is it about…you?”
My heart is beating out of my chest and I lick my lips on instinct. Before I can respond, Sly says, “I bet it’s ‘cause you’re tight with my brother. That makes me like a brother to you. Transitive property, remember?”
He smiles at me and I melt at the sight. I feel hope and disappointment clash in my chest—Sly has friend-zoned me, but this is what I wanted, right?
“Maybe…to help for the play, we can practice…physical contact? Just you and me?” His huge brown eyes are filled with need, but I’m frozen with conflict. Is he asking me what I think he’s asking?
When I don’t respond after a few seconds, he says “I’m sorry. That was inappropriate.”
“No!” I blurt. His eyebrows raise and I tear my eyes off him and look around. Our reflections are infinitely bouncing off the mirrored walls. “It…could be arranged.”
Looking back at Sly, he’s got that million-dollar smile on. He raises his hand for a handshake. “So…you don’t mind helping me get over my fear of being touched? As friends, in private?”
I gulp. Being in a secluded room and putting my hands—and who knows what else—on Sly’s body? This is a disaster waiting to happen. I’ve read enough romance novels and screenplays to know that this can only lead to catching even more feelings and heartbreak. Bad idea, Omar, pull back, now.
I hear my own voice before I register I’m saying it. “When do you wanna start?”
~ * ~ Priscilla‘s Review ~ * ~
CD Rachels finishes his Athletes and Artists series with this fourth and final book and personally, I think he went out with a bang. I loved this story with Sly and Omar. It had so much heart and I was melting by the end.
Omar and Sly’s story was a little different than the others. Sly is Omar’s best friend’s boyfriend’s little brother. That was a bit confusing to read a few times in the story. But that was my only drawback the entire read. Sly is the sweetest guy who comes to KU trying to figure out who he is. As well as getting his sociology degree. And Omar, the player throughout the series, finally finds his true love. I loved learning more about Omar and why he’s a player. He has a bit of a complicated family. He’s a bit lost, and high school was not so kind to him. And damn, did that boy ever get burned.
I loved this book explored some sexualities like asexual and gray ace. Sly also has haphephobia. Omar and Sly work beautifully together. Through the story, Sly learns more and more about his sexuality and haphephobia, and Omar learns more and more that maybe he is capable of love after all.
***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure. A review wasn’t a requirement. ***
Enter the Giveaway:
To celebrate CD Rachels’ new release, he is giving you the chance to win 1 of 2 e-copies of The Roles We Own!
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cc0f2a57581/?
Check out Book 1: The Lines We Draw
I’m perfectly fine in my comfort zone. As co-captain of my university soccer team, I know my place. I play hard on the field and my teammates look up to me. Would they look up to me if they knew I liked guys? Probably not, so I’m okay staying a closeted virgin.
That is, until I’m forced to take an arts class, and I’m seated next to the sexiest guy I’ve ever seen. He helps me pass art class, makes me laugh, and has me wanting things I never thought were possible. As the semester goes on, we get closer, and trying to keep my hands off him and stay away from him becomes nearly impossible.
What will happen to my position on the team if I ask him out? I don’t think I’m willing to find out. Now I just gotta stop dreaming about kissing him and holding him… Damn.
As a fine arts major, I have to focus on creating good work and impressing my professors. Part of that entails sitting in on this beginners arts class, and I just so happen to be next to a gorgeous athlete this semester.
Relationships are a sour note for me, but flirting with the co-captain of the soccer team could be fun. I know it’s not going to go anywhere- he’s straight. Over time, though, becoming friends with Ravi, teaching him how to visualize his art, and learning about his life makes me question what we’re doing.
I don’t know if I’m ready to let someone else into my heart again, least of all a potential closet case (no matter how sexy he is). Still with the way he makes me smile and how my heart beats when I’m near him, I think we’re both in too deep now.
The Lines We Draw is a low-angst, friends-to-lovers story involving art classes, soccer games, nude models, drunken parties, and discovering what sex and love can really feel like, HEA guaranteed. It is the first of a series and can be read as a standalone.
About the Author:
He’s been consuming young adult gay fiction since he was a teen, but within the past five years moved up to the big leagues of gay adult romance. In 2020 during quarantine, he burned through more male/male romance books than he ever had in the previous 29 years combined.
He lives in New York City with the love of his life and works in health insurance. When he’s not reading and writing, he’s playing board games and practicing music. He is honored to become a self-published author, and if you’re reading this, your support means so much to him that it’s giving him a tingly feeling (in a good way).
Follow him on Instagram: @cdrachels
Or join his group on Facebook: “CD Rachels’ Chill Discourse Room”