Erica Pike's College Fun and Gays is a series of short stories. Each story is independent of the others and covers a deep issue. So far I've read four of the five stories and enjoyed them very much as hot short reads with interesting topics. The fifth story has yet to be released.
I really like Erica Pike's writing style, which I first came across in her novel A Life Without You (you can find my review here). Her characters are three-dimensional and can be pictured very easily, even when they only feature in one of her short stories. Additionally, her stories always have something memorable embedded which make them stand out from the rest. Let's take a closer look:
Hot Hands (College Fun and Gays #1)
No Boundaries Press, January 4, 2012 | 28 pages | Buy link
Backblurb: For weeks, college student Casper has been the victim of sail-by goosing and groping. The problem is that Casper would very much like to get more than groped by those wonderful, big, hot hands. With a journal full of clues, he sets out to discover who his mystery groper is. However, he may be in serious trouble once he discovers the ominous identity, and it’s not because of the light bondage the groper seems to prefer.
My thoughts: The first in the series, Hot Hands starts out as a fun, playful game of getting groped by a mysterious guy with big hands. The groping turns to hot encounters during which the identity of the groper stays a secret all the time. Until the moment Casper finally gets somewhere with his deducing and sleuthing. Once he starts suspecting who his mystery lover is, the story shifts its focus on the effects of bullying for being gay. I liked how layered the content of this story was, it’s not only a fun and sexy read, but has a deeper message underneath the surface as well. And that while it never diminishes the sexiness of the pairing. The ending is rather open and a shaky HFN at best, but that suits this story well.
Grade-A-Sex Deal (College Fun and Gays #2)
No Boundaries Press, February 17, 2012 | 21 pages | Buy link
Backblurb: When College professor Daniel Corrigan was brutally kicked out of his home after revealing his true sexuality to his wife, he had to make a whole new life for himself. For the first time in two years Daniel’s main heartache isn’t the none-existent relationship with his two kids, but the fact that the grade-A-sex deal with his student Troy Anderson is about to expire. After a whole semester of office fun, Troy has managed to squeeze his way into the core of Daniel’s soul. Daniel, however, is positive he’s nothing more to Troy than a teacher who can modify a grade.
My thoughts: The student-professor theme is not my favorite at all. And although this story was well-written I never really warmed up to the main characters. I especially had a hard time liking Daniel who gives his students higher grades for sexual favors. It’s not only that, but he just never seems to become sympathetic. I recon his character and behavior is too complex for a short story like this, and probably would come out better in a novel. Just like the topic of depression that is broached here. Still, their scenes together are hot and their feelings portrayed well. Their happy ending is actually rather believable too.
The Walls Have Ears (College Fun and Gays #3)
No Boundaries Press, April 5, 2012 | 37 pages | Buy link
Backblurb: Short and scrawny college student Harley Santos has a strange relationship with the guy on the other side of his bedroom wall. For weeks, the two have been masturbating to each other’s voices, but they have never met in person.
When Harley’s roommate (Ryan) is asked out on a date by one of his neighbors, Harley is devastated that his wall-mate mistook not-hot Harley for super-hot Ryan. Helping Harley through his heartache is Tasha Novokov, the other neighbor, who is tall, dark, and impossibly handsome.
When Harley’s affections shift to Tasha, his heartache hits an all time high because with all the girls hanging around, Tasha has to be straight.
My thoughts: The third story is a bit longer than the previous titles. It has a funny set-up and a cute protagonist. There’s a lot of misunderstandings and mix-ups going on between Harley, his roommate Ryan and the two college boys that stay in the room next door. It’s not like the mystery of who is who isn’t evident to the reader far before Harley clues in on the misunderstandings, but it’s still an entertaining ‘dance’ to watch. The story is this enjoyable, partly due to the way it’s narrated, in a clear writing style, and partly because of the uniqueness of Harley’s character. His uncertainties and issues are adorable and it’s good to see him paired up with an incredibly hot, yet sweet, guy.
Little Stalker (College Fun and Gays #4)
No Boundaries Press, November 30, 2012 | Buy link
Backblurb: College student Coby is being stalked by a young guy and has no idea why, until someone suggests that the stalker may have a crush on him. The idea both excites and terrifies Coby, who is so deep in the closet he can barely manage to think the word “gay” without freaking out.
My thoughts: The fourth title in the series deals with the theme of coming out of the closet. It’s all about student Coby handling his very unexpected attraction for his little stalker. He’s not handling it very well actually, and his denial about his sexuality doesn’t exactly bring him peace of mind, but it does provide us with quite some amusing scenes, like the ones with his best friend. Coby’s body keeps betraying him, so in the end he can’t avoid the truth much longer and there’s nothing else left than give his stalker a happy ending. An ending that is more of a HFN perhaps, but one that was quite satisfying nonetheless. This was another well-written and entertaining short story in Pike’s college boys series with its own memorable execution of a topic. I already look forward to the fifth installment!
Links: Author’s website | Facebook | The series on Goodreads