Sunday, June 28, 2015

ARC Review: Behind Closed Doors (Browerton University #1.5) by A.J. Truman

Behind Closed Doors (Browerton University #1.5)
At Browerton University, a lot can happen behind closed doors.

Two frat brothers can reveal their true feelings. An honor student’s dark past can come to light. Ten hours in a car can turn strangers into lovers. And a coach can teach his star quarterback a very valuable lesson.

Catch up with some familiar Browerton students and meet new ones. Four stories. Four doors. Endless possibilities.

Door Number One: The Whitmore Room (Out in the Open prequel)
Door Number Two: Is There a Porn Star in my Class?
Door Number Three: Road Trip Cone of Silence
Door Number Four: Coach’s Revenge

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is a collection of gay new adult romance stories filled with humor, heart and hot guys.

Todd’s rating:

After reading and loving "Out in the Open", I was extremely excited to get the ARC for book 1.5 in the series. This new book is a set of 4 short stories, which contain various characters from book 1, along with some completely new characters.

First, I need to come clean and tell you that short stories in general aren't my favorite. Even if it's only a shorter novella, I much prefer one single story line to multiple unrelated or thinly-related standalone stories.

So when compared to "Out in the Open," "Behind Closed Doors" met with varying degrees of success for me from story to story.

Below are my thoughts on each of the individual stories.


Door No. 1: The Whitmore Room

Before reading this one, it's important that you remember who Mason was from book 1, otherwise, the entire story will only end up pissing you off.

Mason was Greg's fraternity big brother from book 1. The big brother who was Greg's first gay experience, who told him the next morning that "nothing happened," then to shut the fuck up and drop it, after aggressively pinning him to the wall.

This one was odd for me, because through the entire story, it was obvious how Mason really liked his little brother and how Greg idolized Mason. I had 3 little brothers in my own fraternity in college, so yes, I know what a close relationship that can be. (Completely non-sexually in my case, thanks.)

That's why the total about face from Mason really left me with an awful taste in my mouth for the guy. Plus, Mason was a senior and *engaged* to be married after graduation, so his betrayal of Greg's feelings, plus the heating made me really dislike this entire story. I'd have rather have had this back story remain a mystery.

2 *I-wish-my-chick-had-a-dick* stars for this one.


Door No. 2: Is There a Porn Star In My Class?

The second story is Blake's. Blake was the blond twink who dated Ethan's would-be love interest, Preston (the douche who turned out to be all 'rapey'), in book 1.

There's a cute guy in one of Blake's classes who looks shockingly similar to a porn star on one of Blake's favorite porn sites -- only hairier and a bit less fit.

Blake embarks on a crazy mission to find out if Mitchell is in fact the infamous porn actor (of his dreams,) Austin Cory.

But Blake needs to see 'more' of Mitchell, if he's going to compare porn Austin to real-life Mitchell; however, he was definitely not going to sleep with him. Maybe he could see the good if he gave Mitchell a light hand job. What the hell was a light hand job?

This story was cute and fun, but didn't completely blow my socks off, mostly because of my preference for longer reads.

3.5 *heavier-longer-hand-job-next-time* stars.


Door No. 3: Road Trip Cone of Silence Door

This one is Henry's story and by far my favorite of the four short stories.

Henry was Lorna's friend, who she tried to fix up with Ethan, but Henry was dating Chase, a deeply closeted Engineering student with a super-conservative family. (Chase was unnamed in book 1.)

After dating for 8 months, just before the Christmas break, Chase tells Henry that he "needs some space." Via e-mail. Yes, complete dick move, I know. So Henry is in denial that "needs space" equals "we're breaking up" and is justifiably upset.

Nolan, Henry's ride for the 10 hour road trip back from Pennsylvania to Chicago, is sullen and quiet, as he's angry at how his parents are using him as a pawn in their recent bitter divorce.

Henry tries to get Nolan to open up, which pisses Nolan off, then Nolan tries to get Henry to admit that Chase's e-mail was a Dear John letter. Definitely *not* the formula for turning these two strangers into besties.

As frustrations escalate with each mile marker, the two end up blowing the lid right off the top of that pressure cooker, with a hot and dirty back seat romp.

But what happens when Henry interferes and sets up a dinner with Nolan and both of his parents in Chicago?

And what happens when Chase calls to meet up with Henry for drinks at a gay bar in Boys Town?

You'll have to read the story to find out, but I really enjoyed this one and was proud of how both boys handled their respective situations, finding strength in the other that they would not have otherwise found.

4.5 *what-happens-in-the-car-stays-in-the-car* stars.


No. 4: Coach's Revenge

While fairly hot, as far as reality goes, this story was definitely one of my "suspending reality in 3... 2... 1..." reads.

Coach Randall has a serious problem after his tight end, Ryan, comes out to the team. This trouble arrives in the form of his quarterback and star player, Tate, who will not stop harassing and bullying his gay teammate.

So when Ryan threatens a harassment lawsuit against the school and Coach Randall's attempts to reign in Tate's behavior through conventional measures fail, the closeted coach decides to teach his homophobic quarterback a lesson that he won't soon forget.

Yep, you guessed it. Said lesson is to be given on the end of the coach's dick.

This story made me a bit squeamish, with so many lines crossed that it didn't really seem to fit into the previous Browerton universe, which had always been pretty reality-based.

This one felt straight up fantasy to me, like the coach fell asleep at his desk and this story was what he'd dreamed, only to wake up drooling (literally) and Tate's cunt-like behavior would still be there to deal with.

With only the vague threat of suspension, the quarterback allows the closeted coach to "teach" him what gay sex feels like. So he can 'empathize' with his gay teammate. Again, on the end of the coach's dick, so this one felt a bit DubCon to me.

2.75 *shut-up-while-you're-ahead* stars for this one.


My ARC copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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