Monday, March 14, 2016

Out of Bounds by A. R. Barley

Out of Bounds
* * * 

When the weather outside starts cooling down, inside the dorm things are heating up. Can these college roommates fall in love without going out of bounds?

Beaten and heartbroken, Jesse Cole is placed in a new dorm room after his last roommate attacked him. Just wanting to be left alone to heal in peace, he's shocked when tall, dark and dangerous-looking Nick Moretti walks in.

Nick doesn't have time to tiptoe around his new roommate—he's too busy working in order to pay for school. But something about Jesse brings out his protective instincts. As their cautious friendship grows and becomes loaded with sexual tension, he wants to make Jesse comfortable.

Enter the perfect plan: a line of tape down the center of the room. Boundaries established.

But as innocent movie nights become hours-long temptation marathons, and whispered chats from across the room delve into straight-up dirty territory, crossing the line has never been so satisfying.


Jesse Cole isn’t sure how he can possibly recover from being physically assaulted by his roommate and (now former) best friend.   What he does know is that he needs his own personal space.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like he is going to get that anytime soon.  Sure, he’s been moved to a senior only dorm but that doesn’t mean he’ll be any safer.  His fears are not assuaged when he enters his new room and discovers his roommate is a giant gruff straight guy that seems unprepared for and unamused by getting a new roommate.

Nick Moretti just wants to stay under everyone’s radar so he can finish school and continue his job as bouncer and general jack of all trades at a local gay bar.  Last thing he has time for is making his new roommate feel safe.   But he’s not as insensitive as he might try to be and when he sees how afraid Jesse is when they are sharing personal space, Nick institutes a taped boundary line down the middle of their room.  Once that wall is put in place Jesse and Nick’s relationship grows.

I’m a big fan of this type of romance.   The young gay college student recovering from a major assault.  The larger seemingly straight roommate with their own set of issues doing everything they can to make their new smaller scared roommate feel safe.  I won’t lie.  It’s a trope that really works for me.  I’ve seen it and enjoyed it in both m/m and m/f romance.  And if someone can direct me towards an f/f romance with a similar trope, that would be amazing. 

My only complaint is that I felt that the boundary line taped down the middle of their dorm room was crossed a little too soon.  Making the pace of their love story move a little too quickly for my taste.  I would have found it immensely satisfying if the boundary had been swiftly reinstated after it was crossed.  Jesse was severely beaten by his former roommate and best friend.  That’s a pretty big thing and considering his continued experiences with PTSD I found it a little surprising that he was able to get over it so quickly after becoming close with Nick. 

But, that’s my only complaint.  I enjoyed this new adult story about two young men coming together and helping each other deal with difficult and uncommon struggles.  If you are a fan of New Adult and m/m romance, give this one a try.


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