Title: By Chance (Book one of the Courtland Chronicles)
Author: Cat Grant,
Publisher: Cat Grant Books, 2012
Eric Courtland has it all, except a happy home life, it would seem. Money can’t make up for the realities of a dysfunctional family and Eric has withdrawn from meaningful human interaction as much as possible. Whatever sexual encounters he has are quick, anonymous liaisons – no strings attached. He’s quite happy – or at least he thinks he is – alone in his college dorm room. One that he’s paid good money to keep without any annoying roomies.
At least that’s until Nick washes up on his doorstep due to a problem in the dormitory where he was supposed to be assigned. Eric has to share his space with this football jock, and he is beyond unhappy about this unexpected, unwanted interloper into his carefully ordered existence.
But there’s more… (Well, of course, otherwise this wouldn’t get juicy.)
Eric’s been out and proud since he was sixteen and Nick… Well, Nick’s decidedly straight (I mean, really, he’s on the football team, y’know.)
Nick’s sunny disposition thaws Eric’s glacial chill in short order, however, and it’s lovely seeing the dynamics shift as Nick pries Eric out of his shell. Nick’s ex and best friend, Ally, helps too, even though it’s clear from the outset that she’s still holding a torch for Nick. Love triangle much? But that’s okay. I feel for Ally, but she’s a good, loyal friend to Nick when he needs it, and she’s got fire enough to stand up to Eric when he’s engaging in douchebaggery.
The tension between Eric and Nick quickly heads toward the bedroom, and Nick discovers that he might not be as straight as he initially thought he was. Of course he now faces a conundrum: does he come out publicly? And Eric has his own demons to face, with his ailing mother preying on him the most.
Grant’s writing is deliciously easy to slip into, and at the time of reading, I really needed a pleasant diversion, which she supplied by the bucket load. The blossoming relationship between Eric and Nick is sweet until it hits its first, inevitable snags. Both lads need to work through their issues, but of course I won’t delve into spoiler territory suffice to say it’s satisfying to see them resolve their conflict.
By Chance is perfectly balanced – great dialogue, characters and external and internal dramas. If you’re looking for a quick m/m read, this one’s a treat.