Friday, December 8, 2017

Flashback Friday: Out of Bounds by A.R. Barley #Review #Giveaway

Author: A.R. Barley
Book: Out of Bounds
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: March 14, 2016
Length: 169 pages

Reviewed by Michael


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.


One of the first books I read when I started my M/M journey was “Out of Bounds”.  I’ve always been drawn to the underdog, which is one of the reasons I decided to read this.  I was drawn to the down-on-his luck Jesse, who just wanted to live his life in peace after being beaten up and thrown out by his former friend/dormmate Ryan.

Jesse is rehoused in to another dorm room with Nick, who is VERY much his opposite in almost every way save one.  Jesse is a neat freak, and Nick is totally not.  Jesse is slight and meek, Nick is large and muscular.  While Jesse doesn’t know it, the one thing they have is common is the fact that they are both gay. 

Jesse suffers from a form of PTSD after his beating by Ryan.  He’s constantly jumpy and doesn’t like being around people.  It doesn’t take long for Nick to pick up on this, and he devises a way to allow Jesse to feel safe within his own space.  Nick literally separates the room in half using nothing more than tape as a boundary.  They each agree not to cross the line, and if one does, then the other gets to come up with the penalty.  This imaginary divider does the trick, and soon enough, Jesse seems to be coming out of his shell. 

The tape divider may seem juvenile to some, but I thought it was rather cute.  As was the protective streak Nick developed toward Jesse, going so far as to walk the latter to class and waiting for him once class was done.  The only problem I had with Nick was his failure to come out to Jesse from the outset.  Perhaps that would have gone a long way in healing some of Jesse’s wounds.

This was a cute story, with some very endearing moments, without heavy doses of angst.


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