I’m happy to be here today to share my novel, Serpentine Walls. Serpentine Walls is a contemporary coming-of-age romance set at the University of Virginia. I got the title both from the actual serpentine walls that enclose the gardens at the University of Virginia:
and from the serpentine paths that matters of the heart often take. I love including psychological themes and the process of self-discovery in my stories. In my books, self-awareness is the key to finding real love. That’s why I enjoy writing about college-aged characters – they still have so much to learn!
Pete Morgan, the main character, starts the story angry and not interested in love after finding out his parents are getting a divorce. During his third year at U.Va, Pete meets and gets involved with several men but he’s clueless about what he actually wants. It takes him the bulk of the book and the support of his good friends to figure things out and get to his happy ending.
Aidan Emery is a glamorous senior theater major who Pete has had a crush on for two years. After an exciting hook up, Aidan informs Pete that he’s not open for a relationship. He also seems to be involved with a professor notorious for hitting on students. Despite this, Pete pines for him through much of the story. [Author’s note: I got so interested in Aidan and why he’s entangled with the nefarious Professor R that I wrote the second novel in the Serpentine series about him. Tentatively titled Aidan’s Journey, it should be coming out later this year.]
Jed Carter is a sophomore, a jock, and a nice guy who really likes Pete. Pete allows a “friends with benefits” relationship to happen between them but isn’t interested in more. Poor Jed. Many readers empathize with him, and I’ll be writing his story for the third book in the Serpentine series.
Matthew Layton is a graduate student who is cute and wonderful in every way. He and Pete become friends when Matthew helps Pete make his first movie. Matthew seems perfect and Pete is strongly attracted to him, but there are obstacles. You’ll have to read the book to see how Pete and Matthew overcome them!
Reeling from the news that his parents are divorcing, Pete Morgan starts his junior year at college cynical about love and commitment. Although his new openness to one-night stands does wonders for his sex life, fighting his romantic nature proves harder than he’d anticipated. He soon finds himself pining for a glamorous senior, Aidan, who doesn’t mind taking Pete to bed but shows no interest in commitment—at least not with Pete. And Pete’s attempt at a “friends-with-benefits” relationship with sophomore Jed leaves Pete feeling empty.
One bright spot in Pete’s year is Matthew, an easygoing graduate student who assists Pete in making his first film. Matthew has some baggage too, and has sworn off relationships and sex altogether, so Pete feels safe to enjoy their friendship. But he falls for Matthew anyway, not able to fight his growing conviction that Matthew is the perfect guy for him. Even if Pete can accept that he made a mistake when he turned his back on relationships, that doesn’t mean Matthew will feel the same. With a few life lessons under his belt, Pete’s ready to take a chance on love. As he finds the courage to bare his heart to Matthew, he can only hope that Matthew will take a chance with him.
Heaving a sigh, Pete was picking up his drink when he felt a hand on his neck. Aidan peered hazily down at him.
“I mean it, baby. You’re delish.” Aidan swayed toward him, and Pete steadied him with a hand on his chest.
“And you’re trashed.”
“What?” Aidan said in mock outrage and then chuckled and ran his hand through his hair. “Yeah, you’re right. What I need is another drink.” He picked up a bottle of vodka and sloshed some into a cup, baptizing the table with a liberal amount before Pete removed the bottle from his hand.
“Allow me, sir,” he said in his best butler voice, pouring a little more into Aidan’s cup and handing it to him.
Aidan glanced down at it, and then at Pete. “I know what you’re doing. You’re cutting me off. Is this even alcohol? Why, Pete? Why—.”
“Shh.” Pete stopped him from saying more by putting his finger on his lips, but made an undignified sound when Aidan opened up and sucked it into his warm, wet mouth. He pulled his finger away to compose himself.
“Lez go out on the screen porch,” Aidan said, a slight slur to the words.
“Sure.” Aroused and anticipatory, Pete followed him through the kitchen and the pantry, but when Aidan opened the door to the screen porch, they found a crowd of people out there already, some smoking cigarettes, others sharing a joint.
Aidan backed up and shut the door, mumbling, “Too many people. This’ll do.” Setting his drink down, he crowded Pete up against the wall and attacked his mouth with none of his usual savoir faire.
Pete reached blindly back to put his glass on a shelf while Aidan kissed him like he was trying to suck his face off. It wouldn’t even have been sexy, except it was Aidan, with his lush lips and that alluring spicy smell. He tasted like liquor and something minty, and his mouth was as addictive as ever.
But as much as Pete relished finally making out with Aidan again, he’d rather it not be happening in this cramped pantry. Although the doors on each end were closed, anyone could barge in on them at any moment, and public sex wasn’t his kink. He pulled his mouth from Aidan’s, but Aidan didn’t miss a beat, moving on to suck at Pete’s neck while his hands roamed restlessly over his back.
“Aidan.” No response except for Aidan sucking harder. “Hey. Aidan?”
Aidan paused. “Hmm?” He moved his lips to nuzzle at Pete’s ear.
“Why don’t we take this somewhere more private?” Like your bed.
“S’private,” Aidan mumbled. “God, baby, you taste so good, wanna eat you up.” He moved his hands down Pete’s back and grabbed his ass.
“Mm.” Pete tried to keep his mind on what he was saying. “What about going to your place?”
“Can’t.” Nibbling on his earlobe, Aidan pulled Pete’s body against his.
“Why not?” Pete asked, finding it hard to catch his breath.
“Just—shut up, baby. I wanna—” Aidan ran his hand up Pete’s bare leg and palmed his cock.
“Fuck.” Pete stopped worrying and pressed into Aidan’s hand, a groan escaping as Aidan stroked him.
Of course, the universe chose that moment to screw things up: the door to the kitchen opened and Matthew appeared. Matthew’s eyes locked with Pete’s for an agonizing moment, and Pete pushed Aidan away without even thinking, but Matthew had already retreated, shutting the door behind him. Aidan made a sound of protest at the loss of contact and moved in again. Pete put his hands on his chest to hold him off, face warm with mortification.
“Come on, baby. C’mere,” Aidan complained, covering Pete’s hands with his.
“Not here,” Pete hissed. “Matthew just walked in on us!”
“So? Shoulda asked him to join us. Three-ways’re hot.”
“Not really into that,” Pete said, still queasy about the expression on Matthew’s face when he had walked in on them.
“Oh.” Aidan dropped his hands and the seductive act at the same time. He paused. “Hey, I’m sorry. I’m kinda being an asshole, aren’t I?” He slumped next to him against the wall and ran his hand over his face, muttering, “I’m fucked up tonight.”
“Why?” Pete somehow knew Aidan wasn’t talking about being drunk right now.
Another pause. “That’s a long story—a long and boring story.” A text tone sounded, and he pulled his phone out of his pants pocket. Whatever the text was caused him to say,
“Charming, just charming,” and laugh mirthlessly. He raised his head. “I gotta go.”
“Yeah. Sorry. I… I’ll see you around, baby.” Giving Pete one final kiss, he exited through the door to the kitchen.
Numb and fricking horny, Pete watched him leave. Well. Alrighty, then.
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 down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of gay 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 husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.
Ways to contact CJane Elliott:
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