Off Campus, Bend or Break Series Book 1 by Amy Jo Cousins
Date of Publication: January 27, 2015
Everyone's got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.
With his father's ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he's ready to do just that.
But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn't ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He's just happy to be sleeping in a bed.
Reese isn't about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You've seen one homophobic jock, you've seen 'em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn't budging.
Tom isn't going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it's turning him on. But he doesn't want any drama either. He'll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.
Warning: This book contains cranky roommates who vacillate between lashing out and licking, some male/male voyeurism, emotional baggage that neither guy wants to unpack, and the definitive proof that sound carries in college housing.
About Amy Jo Cousins
Readers interested in autographed copies of Amy Jo's paperback books can order them from Chicago's fabulous independent bookstore, The Book Cellar. They can ship anywhere, and will email me to let me know there are books to be signed if you care to order them!
I didn't read a romance novel until seventh grade. Mafia dons and samurai warlords? Check. Love stories? Not so much. Then my grandma showed up one summer with a garbage bag full of books. Her friend belonged to all of the Harlequin and Silhouette Book of the Month Clubs and passed on her copies to my grandma when she was done with them.
My grandma never met a Louis L'Amour book she didn't like, but she had no idea what to do with three hundred romance novels in a trash bag. Since it was clear that I was the book black hole, capable of sucking in uncountable numbers of novels while deaf to the world around me, I was the natural beneficiary of this windfall.
It changed my life.
I binge read all those books over the course of a summer where my mom despaired of getting me out of my bedroom. I was still reading science fiction and fantasy, adventure novels like The Count of Monte Cristo, and Agatha Christie books like they might run out of copies at the library. But those romance novels…I read five or six a day until school started. And when I finished that bag, there was another. And another.
Add in a seminal viewing of Romancing the Stone and the electric typewriter my mom managed to scrounge up and situate in the basement (so the clattering of the keys wouldn't keep everyone awake) on a tiny rolling metal table and there's really no escaping the fact that I've wanted to be a romance author for most of my life. As a career, it gives me the perfect excuse for my never-ending need to learn, about museum art restoration or theater stage management, about organic family farms or librarians' reader advisory ethics. I also get to remind myself again and again of the most important lesson I learned all those summers ago, hiding in my closet with a flashlight after midnight so I wouldn't get in trouble for staying up until my eyes burned…
People can make terrible mistakes with the ones they love, the last ones they ever thought they would hurt, and there can be a way back. Or through.
Because we are flawed and so often damaged already.
Because love is the heart of being human.
Love makes you vulnerable and strong in equal amounts and imparts a stretchiness to the soul that lets us bend when we're afraid we might break.
I can't think of any stories I'd rather tell.