Jesse thought he was getting signals from his best friend and roommate, Ryan, and leaned over to take his first kiss. In a flash, Ryan attacked him and Jesse finds himself in a new dorm room by way of the hospital. Jesse just wants to find a safe place to heal, and then his new roommate, tall and muscular, Nick, walks in.
Nick wasn’t even told he was getting a new roommate, but the scared boy asleep in his room kicks up his protective instincts. Nick has a lot to deal with between work and paying for school and it’s too stressful when Jesse flinches at his every move. Nick also finds Jesse’s slim body way too distracting, but he refuses to make a move on his frightened roommate.
To help Jesse cope, Nick walks him to class and when that isn’t enough, he places a line of tape down the middle of the room and crossing it would send either of the men out of bounds. Nick’s life has been rough as he spent time on the streets and he knows he will never be good enough for Jesse, but when movie nights and sexting become part of their friendship, that line is just begging to be crossed.
This book for me was a case of a great premise with a lack of execution. Two college guys in close quarters in their dorm room leaves lots of possibilities, but this never took off for me. There were so many issues with the plot that I could never recover enough to enjoy the attraction between Jesse and Nick.
Jesse is badly beaten and there are no repercussions for his attacker. While it was briefly addressed further into the book, it was a weak argument and then it was compounded by the fact that we later learn that Jesse’s father is a well known lawyer and Ryan, the attacker, is not even denying anything. Jesse is then so scared he doesn’t want to leave his room, so scared that he flinches when Nick makes even the slightest move in their shared living space. He certainly needed some further help besides Nick walking him to class and a piece of tape on the floor.
So the tape was Nick’s idea to make Jesse feel more comfortable in their room. Somehow this was then turned into every move Nick made, whether in the dorm room or not, having the potential to be out of bounds. Nick was a bouncer at a club and then feared disappointing Jesse by doing his job if he got into a fight and it just didn’t come together well. Also, the number of times the phrase “out of bounds” was used was overdone and lost its effect.
Mixed into this was a growing attraction between them. Jesse has no problem being attracted to Nick; he then only feels safe with him, and then has no problem having a physical relationship with Nick despite being scared of every other thing in his life at that point. Jesse is a virgin and has much to explore with Nick, but I couldn’t appreciate their interactions because of all the large looming plot holes and manufactured angst. Nick’s ex is also a prominent secondary character and his constant presence didn’t fit in so well. At the end we learn he will be the next MC in the series and it then seemed like his page time was a long introduction to his character for the next book.
College guys, friends-to-lovers, virgin MCs. While this book did have them all, I have encountered other books that had the same but had a more coherent storyline.