Title: The Player’s Protege
Series: A Campus Connections Story
Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 6/7/19
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Length: 93 pages
Genre: Romance, New Adult, contemporary, college, coming of age
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?
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.”
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.
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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.
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