Title: College Boys (Men of Holsum College 1)
Author: Daisy Harris
Cover Artist: Jinger Heaston
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella/115 PDF Pages/33K words
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Review Summary: A fun and light Gay For You college romance.
When soccer star Chris Fischer moves next door to an openly gay classmate, he doesn’t realize the wall between their rooms will be so thin he’ll hear his neighbor’s every move. But soon he and Peter become friends, and Chris is intrigued—imagining what happens on the other side of the wall.
Active on the Queer Student Council, Peter Cohen wishes he wasn’t so damn hot for his straight neighbor. He can’t tell if Chris is flirting or in denial or what, but Chris’s innocent overtures lure Peter into flirtation that throws his world into chaos. Peter doesn’t want to date a closet case, but he desperately, passionately wants Chris.
Soon Chris must choose whether to run away from his new feelings or embrace a relationship with the guy he loves. And Peter must decide if he can give his heart to a guy who hasn’t yet figured it all out.
When Chris Fischer lost his mother he needed some private space to grieve, away from his present roommates, so he transferred to a single room in another dorm. Unfortunately he didn’t get the much longed for privacy as he could hear his next door neighbour breathe, the walls were so thin. That first night when they were in bed Peter Cohen heard Chris crying and he tried to comfort him about his mother’s passing. A month later they were still talking to each other through the dividing wall of their respective rooms but they didn’t spend any time with each other when they were outside. However, living so close together was embarrassing as they were practically roommates and Chris could hear every moan and groan when Peter masturbated, and one night when he thought Peter had company he found out that he was actually watching porn which made him hot; it didn’t matter that it was gay porn.
Peter and Chris knew each other before living in the same dorm because they had met at a pre college camping trip and ended up sharing a tent. The next morning they woke up spooned together, and since then Peter had dreamed about Chris even though he knew he was straight.
Peter continued to obsess over Chris and kept wondering whether he was gay, curious or questioning. One night Chris came home drunk, went to Peter’s room and asked him if they could watch porn together. Peter thought this was hilarious and commented “It’s not everyday that someone asks me on a porn date” and Chris responded “I should have bought you a corsage.” When watching porn together became too uncomfortable for Peter because he didn’t want to masturbate in front of Chris he pretended that he had to go to sleep, but when Chris went to his own room Peter could hear him masturbating and Chris knew what Peter was doing. For the first time they became aware that it was a mutual intimate scene, even if a wall divided them.
When they met in the shower the next morning they were both embarrassed but Chris realized that he liked what they had done the night before even if it wasn’t a full-on same sex encounter. Then he decided that he wanted more and Peter gave him his version of Gay Sex 101 by teaching him all the little details he never knew about how guys really got it on, but again they weren’t in the same room. Would Chris ever go over to the dark side or would he continue pretending that he was just a straight boy having fun with his gay next door neighbour, despite the emotional and sexual feelings he was developing for Peter?
What I liked about this book was that Chris and Peter didn’t rush into a sexual relationship right away and I loved how tender Peter was towards Chris. At first Peter was upset at Chris because he wasn’t seeing him openly, then his friend Nathaniel gave him a lesson about the price of coming out and it made Peter realize that everyone had his own reasons for coming out or staying in the closet, and sometimes it’s not what the circumstances seem to indicate. Their first real date almost didn’t happen because Chris chickened out but at the last minute he knew that he wanted to be with Peter more than with anyone else and that was the turning point in their relationship.
This is a really sweet and fun romance and both characters were shy which made them so vulnerable. I loved Chris’s character which was conflicted and focused on his sexual awareness. His uncertainties were obvious as he was treading new ground but he definitely was into Peter – he wanted to be with him but he had to work it out. As for Peter, being with Chris while he was figuring out his sexuality was tough because he was openly gay and active on the Queer Student Council; he didn’t want to be pushed back in the closet until Chris decided if he was going to stay with him. Peter was so in love with his almost roommate that he abandoned his practice of not dating anyone who wasn’t proud to let the world know they were together, and he was probably the character I related to best in College Boys. How they worked out their issues was well done by the author although I do think that Chris’s change from a heterosexual to gay male was very fast but hey, that’s the magic of books.
The other characters of note were Nathaniel, a true friend to Peter and his confidante who was outré and on the surface seemed flighty and frivolous until he showed his more serious and thoughtful side. There were many other secondary characters who, while they didn’t have a lot of on-page time in the book, still managed to make an impact. Greg, who was older than the other characters as well as being confident and accomplished, may have a thing going with Nathaniel in an upcoming book since this is a series.
This is the first book I have read by this author and I like her writing which is funny and sexy, her story was also well plotted and the characters were three dimensional. If you like Gay For You stories, College Boys should definitely be of interest to you.