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.
Interview: What was the inspiration behind OUT IN THE OPEN?
I love the romantic combination of uptight boy meets laid-back guy. I’m a huge fan of witty banter! I wanted to explore the friends-with-benefits relationship, which was so connected to my college experience. Nobody was dating the person they were hooking up with, even though they wanted to usually. I thought a fun twist would be friends-with-benefits, but only in public places. I’d loved writing these characters so completely out of their comfort zone, while adding in little quirks I remember from college.
What’s your one tip for writing a good sex scene?
Don’t be afraid to use the right words. By that I mean, you don’t have to rely on euphemisms or finding less-graphic versions of what you’re trying to say. M/M romance appreciate honesty in writing, and they don’t want you to restrain the scene. I had trouble writing sex scenes at first, until I gave myself permission to use any words I wanted, no matter how graphic they seemed. I felt like Ethan, letting his wild side show.
How much of Browerton University is based on a real college?
Most of it. Write what you know, and I knew my alma mater. The divide between
North and South Campus, the strong LGBT scene, the overachievers and waterfront campus. All of it was inspired by where I went to school. Using a real background allowed me to concentrate on the story and characters, rather than getting lost in
If you could have sex in public anywhere, where would it be?
Statue of Liberty? It’s both sexy, forbidden, and patriotic
Excerpt: “I sneaked a peek at your notes, and you sneaked a peek of me in the locker room.”
Ethan felt his cheeks turn fifty shades of red. A lump of air caught in his throat. Panic zipped across his face.
“What are you talking about?” Ethan squinted, acting as confused as possible.
“I caught you checking me out as I walked to the showers.”
“No.” Ethan shook his head. He had visions of getting beat up, of the news spreading around the school. “I thought you said something so I turned around, but you didn’t.”
“Sure, sure. You turned and waited a good long moment.”
“No, it was only a second.” Heat rose up his neck, burned inside his head.
“Don’t try to deny it, dude. I caught you red-handed. I’m flattered, by the way.”
Ethan’s hand trembled. Just keep denying, he told himself. He could never admit to that. “I turned around and saw you for maybe half a second. I wasn’t staring, and there wasn’t much to look at.”
A total, complete lie. But this was not a time to stroke Greg’s ego.
Greg’s eyebrows leapt up. “Not much to look at?”
“Yeah.” Ethan let out a mini-laugh. He could see this was pinching at something within Greg. “It was so small, I could barely see anything.”
“I think you’re mistaken.”
“I don’t think I am.”
“I beg to differ.”
And then Greg grabbed his dick through his warm-up pants. Ethan glimpsed the outline of his thickness. It was long, imposing, commanding. And it wasn’t even hard.
Ethan wanted to jump with shock. He wanted to scream at Greg for being obnoxious and disgusting and immature. But that’s what Greg expected. That’s what everyone expected.
Greg let go of himself. “Toldja you were mistaken.”
Before Ethan could double-think his actions—hell, before he could think about them at all—instinct and impulse conspired together. He grabbed Greg’s dick. He felt the heat radiating from under those pants.
Greg’s reaction was priceless to Ethan. Now he was the one shocked, caught completely off-guard. Ethan’s heart pounded in his chest. Neither of them said a word. Both of them held still. Surprise remained etched onto Greg’s face.
Ethan was going to remove his hand, but then he noticed that Greg was not doing anything about it. They looked at each other and shared some weird telepathic moment. Greg’s expression changed. His pupils got wide, and he seemed not to hate this. They both got locked into this moment, where Ethan forgot where he was—who he was.
Ethan felt Greg’s dick hardening up, so he began stroking it over his pants. Slow strokes. Greg’s eyes remained fixed on Ethan, watching his hand slide back and forth. Someone in front of them could turn around at any second. Professor Sharpe could call on them. Someone could exit through the adjacent back door. All of these things could happen. Ethan ran the risk assessment, and it kept coming back as, Abort.
And yet, somehow, that made him stroke harder. Greg reached for Ethan’s notebook and used it as a cover, then readjusted himself so Ethan could get better leverage.
Ethan didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t know what Greg was thinking. They’d crossed a threshold. Fear and exhilaration coursed through his veins, gave his body a jolt of energy. He felt alive.
“We’ll continue this tomorrow,” Professor Sharpe said to the class.
Students started up conversations again. The flapping of closing notebooks broke Ethan from this trance. It had to be a trance, right? Suddenly, he looked down at himself giving Greg Sanderson a semi-hand job in the middle of the most important class of his undergraduate career.
Ethan swiped his hand back. Exhilaration scampered off. Now he was left with terror. Greg readjusted himself, and the realization of the moment struck Ethan. He was in the real world. He was Ethan Follett. What am I doing?
He swooped up his books and backpack and rushed out of class.
Bio: A.J. Truman remembers his college days like it was yesterday, even though it was definitely not yesterday. He writes books with humor, heart, and hot guys. What else does a story need? His debut novel OUT IN THE OPEN was released in September. He loves spending time with his pets and his partner and writing on his sun porch.
The Giveaway: An e-copy of Out in the Open