Today I am so pleased to welcome CD Rachels to Joyfully Jay. CD has come to talk to us about his latest release, The Roles We Own. He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving a big welcome!

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Exclusive Excerpt

“How you doing?”

“Great, actually,” he replies. He turns to look at me, and my hands slide off him. “You’re…something else Omar.”

I grin and shrug, looking up. “I get that a lot. Good or bad, I’m definitely something else.”

“I’m serious. Um…thank you.”

“Don’t mention it.” We share a smile.

He looks down and makes that pondering face again. The momentary urge to kiss him flashes through me and I remind myself I can only care for him like a brother. “I really hate being touched.”

“Oh?” I ask, not sure how to respond.

“You scared me that day…during the cake incident…but the first night we met, you touched my face…”

“Sorry about that.” I cringe.

“No, what I’m trying to say is…it wasn’t even that bad? When it’s you, it’s like I don’t mind.” He looks back up, his brown eyes catching mine. He has a gorgeous face with smooth skin, and perfectly-styled brown hair. “What is it about…you?”

My heart is beating out of my chest, and I lick my lips on instinct. Before I can respond, Sly says, “I bet it’s ’cause you’re tight with my brother. That makes me like a brother to you. Transitive property, remember?”

He smiles at me, and I melt at the sight. I feel hope and disappointment clash in my chest—Sly has friend-zoned me, but this is what I wanted, right?

“Maybe…to help for the play, we can practice…physical contact? Just you and me?” His huge brown eyes are filled with need, but I’m frozen with conflict. Is he asking me what I think he’s asking?

When I don’t respond after a few seconds, he says “I’m sorry. That was inappropriate.”

“No!” I blurt. He raises his eyebrows and I tear my eyes off him and look around. Our reflections are infinitely bouncing off the mirrored walls. “It…could be arranged.”

When I look back at Sly, he’s got that million-dollar smile on. He raises his hand for a handshake. “So…you don’t mind helping me get over my fear of being touched? As friends, in private?”

I gulp. Being in a secluded room and putting my hands—and who knows what else—on Sly’s body? This is a disaster waiting to happen. I’ve read enough romance novels and screenplays to know that this can only lead to catching even more feelings and heartbreak. Bad idea, Omar. Pull back now.

I hear my own voice before I register I’m saying it. “When do you wanna start?”


the roles we own coverArtists and Athletes, Book 4


Romance isn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the corniness of romcoms, but it’s not in the cards in my life. I play hard on the soccer field, I party hard with my boys, and I fool around with any girl or guy who’s hot and willing. The only person off limits: my best friend’s boyfriend’s brother, Sly O’Rourke. He’s cute, but I don’t do feelings.

Staying away from him would be easy if I didn’t have to direct the school musical for my degree credits. Sly is auditioning, and he’s not the shy, nerdy dude everyone thinks he is. He’s talented, charming, and gorgeous—totally boyfriend material, if I ever did relationships. When he asks for help practicing physical intimacy for the play, how can I refuse? It’s my job to make sure this musical is a success, and that’s what this is: strictly business.

But when his mouth catches mine, our bodies don’t get the memo. I don’t think Sly and I are acting anymore.


I’ve played the role of a comfortable straight guy for too long. The truth is: the thought of physical intimacy makes me nauseous. I’m not interested in anyone, guy or girl, which sucks, because I’ve always wanted a romantic story of my own.

Now that I’m at Korham University, I have the chance to redefine myself. If I play the role of a romantic hero during the semester musical, maybe I’ll learn to enjoy touching people or catch real feelings for once. There is one complication to my plan: I have to spend a lot of time with the soccer jock Omar Odom. He’s a touchy, handsy, party boy, but I eventually see a different side to him. As the weeks go by, my brother’s boyfriend’s best friend doesn’t seem so bad. He’s chill in ways I never could be and supports me in the play. He’s the perfect guy who can help me with the physical aspects of the dramatic arts.

When Omar puts his mouth on mine, I expect to be repulsed, not burning up on the inside. I’ve never wanted a girl or guy before so…what is happening to me? And why don’t I want it to stop?

The Roles We Own is a low-angst, male/male romance about new adults in college. It involves theater rehearsals, soccer games, frat parties, cartoon onesies, raisin bagels, and discovering what gray-asexuality can mean.

It is the fourth book in the “Artists and Athletes” series but can be read as a standalone.


CD Rachels logoCD Rachels has been coming up with stories since he was little. At first it was all about superheroes and pocket monsters, but his genre of choice has expanded since puberty.

He’s been consuming young adult gay fiction since he was a teen, but within the past five years moved up to the big leagues of gay adult romance. In 2020 during quarantine, he burned through more male/male romance books than he ever had in the previous 29 years combined.

He lives in New York City with the love of his life and works in health insurance. When he’s not reading and writing, he’s playing board games and practicing music. He is honored to become a self-published author, and if you’re reading this, your support means so much to him that it’s giving him a tingly feeling (in a good way).

Catch up with Charles:


To celebrate CD Rachels’ new release, he is giving you the chance to win 1 of 2 e-copies of The Roles We Own! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!

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