Saturday, October 25, 2014

Out in the Open by A.J. Truman

Title: Out in The Open (Browerton University Book 1)
Author: A.J. Truman
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: James of
Genre: NA, contemporary
Length: 208 pages, 61,000 words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf

Libraries are meant for studying – not sex

College sophomore Ethan Follett never says what’s on his mind and never wants to rock the boat. After a high school social life spent anonymous and alone, things are finally falling into place for him. He’s found a group of friends just as studious as he, and is on track for a promising legal career. Out in the open, things couldn’t be better, but secretly Ethan yearns for some real excitement in his life.

He finds it in cocky fratboy Greg Sanderson, who challenges every rigid, preconceived notion Ethan lives by. Soon, their sparring relationship turns sexual, and these enemies-with-benefits get their freak on all over campus. Yet the more Ethan comes out of his shell, the more Greg retreats into his, working overtime to keep his ladies man public persona intact. As the sex gets hotter, and they get closer to getting caught, one part of their arrangement can’t stay hidden any longer: love.

OUT IN THE OPEN is a M/M new adult romance filled with humor, heart, and hot guys. The book is intended for audiences 18+ as it contains explicit sex and language.
When the hot guy in your political science class would rather talk to you than take notes, it’s hard to ignore. Studious, virginal Ethan attracts the ire of the professor but the attention of the frat boy pre-law student who’s the hottest and darn near only guy to ever grab Ethan’s naughty parts. Poor Ethan’s confused but interested, and lets Greg tease him into sexual encounters with seriously high risk of exposure, but never a kiss. Kisses are important, kisses might mean Greg wants more than to get his rocks off with the eager nerd.

Always the wallflower, Ethan has a hard time reconciling Greg’s interest against the way his friends are leaving him out of activities, and out of self defense, he has to find other outlets. Ethan’s our only POV character, and we get to listen to him flounder about divining Greg’s true intentions, sometimes with the help of a sorority girl. Lorna becomes his native guide into frat culture, with a route running through keggers and tailgate parties. Drink leads to stupid, and Ethan gets to share the evil morning afters with the reader, where barfing becomes the least of his problems.

Greg’s side of the story unfolds in bits and pieces, which the less than socially adept Ethan has to piece together. The reader’s usually 2-4 steps ahead of him, and being able to yell “No! Don’t!” at the kindle wards off nothing.

The author does a terrific job of pulling us into the college atmosphere and Ethan’s head, which is completely turned by the dazzling “straight guy’s” attentions. Completely confused by Greg’s behavior, Ethan alternately pursues, is welcomed for sex, treated like a friend, and rejected.

The college atmosphere is vivid, where the scent of beer and brats at the college games hangs heavy in the air, the screams of team spirit and the moans of passion all mix together. All of the young people, including Ethan’s gang of stick in the mud friends, are in the process of finding themselves and refining their values. This seems to be the first of several books to be set in the college, and this first book promises a highly readable series.

Greg’s motives are much clearer to us readers than to Ethan, which makes the resolution of the book feel rushed and somewhat unfinished. While the immediate problem of Greg and Ethan as a couple resolves neatly and in a very satisfactory style, Greg’s hovering problems resolve in a way that feels rushed and rather pat. He’s been on edge from day one, and the ending just doesn’t justify that level of tension.

The story feels young adult for emotional maturity, but is rated new adult due to the level of sexual content. Still, the story is cute and more than enough to make me glad I’ll never be a sophomore in college again. 4 marbles

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