Hi Kim and readers! CJane Elliott here to share about my first novel, Serpentine Walls, which was published by Dreamspinner in October 2013. It’s the first book in the Serpentine Series, contemporary New Adult stories featuring guys who attend the University of Virginia.
My main character, Pete, is a typical college guy and at the beginning of the story he comes off as somewhat shallow. Angry over his parents’ divorce, he insists he wants nothing to do with love and relationships. He keeps a nice guy, Jed, in the friends-with-benefits category and meanwhile pines after unavailable Aidan with whom he has a hook-up early in the story. He winds up falling for wonderful Matthew, who has sworn off relationships himself, and they both have to give up their fear to find their happy ending.
The second book in the series, Aidan’s Journey, is the story of the glamorous but wounded Aidan Emery. It was published in October 2014, and is a dark, psychological study, very different from Serpentine Walls.
I’m currently working on the third book in the series, working title Sex, Love, and Video Games, which is similar in tone to the first book. It’s the story of nice guy Jed, whose heart is a bit broken by Pete in Serpentine Walls.
Jed was introduced to Pete by his rugby teammate Bud, who is Pete’s cousin. The excerpt below from Serpentine Walls shows where Pete is at about Jed, and also what Bud’s opinion is. Bud features even more in the third book and the relationship between Pete and Jed is shown from Jed’s perspective. Sex, Love, and Video Games should be out in early fall 2015.
Bud and Pete sat at a dead standstill in a huge line of cars on I-66.
“I knew this was going to happen. I told you to be ready earlier.” Pete’s voice sounded whiny even to his own ears. Crap. This is a shit way to start winter break, he thought, wondering why he was even in a hurry. It wasn’t like going home was anything to look forward to.
“Big deal. The way traffic is around here, we would’ve needed to leave at the crack of dawn. Can we change the station?” Bud reached toward the dial.
“No!” Pete snapped.
“God.” Bud slumped down in his seat and pulled his baseball cap over his eyes.
After twenty minutes of silence, in which they inched forward about a mile, Pete decided talking to his cousin was better than fuming over the fucking traffic situation.
“What’re you doing over break?”
“Going skiing this week.”
Must be nice. Bud had only one sister, Heather, and their family was wealthy. Pete tried not to envy them. It wasn’t like his family was poor or anything, but given how many there were of them, they couldn’t take ski trips at a moment’s notice. And now that his parents had split.… Shut up.
“Hey, but I’ll see you on Christmas Eve, bro.” Bud’s parents had hosted a huge party for family and friends every Christmas Eve for as long as Pete could remember. “You and Jed.”
Bud stared at him like he was dense. “Jed—your boyfriend? He’s gotta meet the family sometime.”
“Jed isn’t my boyfriend. Wait—you didn’t invite him…?”
“’Course I did!” Bud said, indignant. “I don’t care what you call him; you guys have been hooking up for months, right?”
“That doesn’t make him my boyfriend! Crap. Why’d you have to invite him to the family Christmas party?”
“Well, what is he then? What—you too good for Jed? You can’t bring him around? You’re such a snob, Pete.”
“No, I’m serious, man. You finally get someone who likes you—a normal guy, not one of those—”
“Bud, shut the fuck up. If you say one more thing, I’m gonna smash your face in.” Pete said this knowing that threats never stopped Bud, and, true to form, he barreled ahead, crossing his arms over his chest with a belligerent scowl.
“All I’m sayin’ is you finally get a guy who’s into you and you blow him off. For what? That Aidan guy? Gimme a break.”
Pete gripped the steering wheel, wanting to pull over and punch Bud out, although he’d never actually do that. He couldn’t pull over anyway. They were trapped on I-66, surrounded by wall-to-wall automobiles, and there was no escaping Bud’s continuing diatribe.
“I don’t even know what you see in that asshole. He fucks everyone in sight. You’re better than him, bro, even if you’re a dumbass at times.”
“Can we stop talking about this?” Pete said through gritted teeth.
“Yeah, fine. But I got one more thing to say. If you don’t think you’re boyfriends with Jed, you should tell him, ’cause he thinks you are. And I ain’t disinviting him from the Christmas party. That’s just rude.”
Stony silence. Pete didn’t stop Bud this time when he leaned over and changed the radio to the country station. He was suddenly in the mood for “Achy Breaky Heart” and all that other lachrymose shit. Yeah, and maybe he was a snob, because he didn’t think either Bud or Jed even knew what “lachrymose” meant, but fuck it. I am who I am.
Not the main point, Morgan. Okay, the main point was Jed. He liked him—Jed played a mean video game and was fun to hang out with. And, yes, they’d been having sex—not exactly regularly, but off and on since September. Someone like Angie could misconstrue that, but Jed was a guy. A gay guy! “Friends with benefits,” right?
So what? argued an opposing voice, as a vision of Jed’s double bed and shy smile arose in his mind. What makes gay guys exempt from wanting a relationship? He was not going to dwell on his next memory: Aidan, naked on top of the coverlet, telling him, You want someone to love. Aidan had that all wrong. (But he’s not as big of an asshole as you think, Bud.)
Back to Jed, Pete knew there had been signs of Jed getting attached to him since the beginning. But tell him they weren’t boyfriends? Pete could just imagine that conversation:
Uh, Jed, it’s come to my attention that you think we’re boyfriends, and I just wanna let you know that we’re not. ’Kay?
Oh. Sure, Pete. Thanks for letting me know. Wanna play Mortal Kombat?
And what if he brought it up, and Jed looked at him like he was nuts because Bud had gotten it all wrong? As his cousin who’d been stuck with him all their lives, Pete was aware that the likelihood of Bud getting shit wrong, especially when it came to people and relationships, was high.
So, what’s the plan? Ignore it and hope it goes away? That sounded good to Pete. Jed hadn’t brought it up, so he sure as hell wasn’t going to. He had a week before the Christmas party; he’d think about it later. That resolved, Pete cut off Blake Shelton and turned the music back to his R&B station.
CJane Elliott’s books: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/cjane-elliott
After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of gay equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.