Book Reviews

Sex, Love, and Videogames (Serpentine 3) by CJane Elliott at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / New Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Jamie Deacon on 13-May-2024

Book Blurb

Shy guy Jed Carter has always felt invisible next to his charismatic older brother, Kent. Kent’s master plan for Jed is simple: University of Virginia, fraternity, business, sports, and ladies’ man. None of it is Jed, except for playing on the rugby team, which he joins in defiance of soccer-loving Kent. Jed comes out in his sophomore year and starts seeing Pete, an attractive junior, who uses him for sex and videogames. Jed wants more—in life and in love—and starts making his own plans. First on the list: getting to know Charlie, the handsome guy working at the local videogame arcade.

Charlie Ambrose has always felt like an oddball, and not just for his tendency to stutter. Being gay sets him apart from his African-American community, and as a “townie,” he doesn’t fit in with the college crowd. Charlie’s inspiration is his cousin, Morocco, who’s transgender and doesn’t give a fig about fitting in. Art is Charlie’s passion, and when a local videogame designer discovers him, Charlie’s living a dream. The only thing he’s missing is love. But the last person Charlie expects to find it with is a cute, white U.Va. rugby player named Jed.



Book Review

CJane Elliott has taken a highly interesting approach to this story. Instead of the heroes meeting during the opening chapters as generally happens in romance novels, the author keeps them apart for much of the narrative, steadily building the suspense. Although I had to wait for that thrill which comes with the initial stirrings of sexual chemistry, this allowed Jed and Charlie the chance to develop and mature. Each young man has his own challenges and hang-ups to overcome, but by the time they finally cross paths, they're more than ready to embrace their attraction to one another.

Jed has always looked up to his older brother, and until now has been content to follow in Kent's footsteps, joining him in his fraternity at the University of Virginia, and embarking on a business degree. The trouble is, Jed isn't his brother. He hates the constant drinking and carousing that goes along with frat life, and Business Studies just isn't for him. Far from sharing Kent's propensity for womanizing, Jed longs for a boyfriend, someone special to love and with whom he can confide his dreams. Someone like Charlie, the beautiful young man who works at the videogame arcade in town.

Charlie has never fitted in. His nervous stutter makes him wary of forming new friendships, and in any case, few college students are interested in getting to know a townie like him. He's unable even to be himself around his family, since his sexuality flies in the face of their African-American culture. Besides his colorful transgender cousin, art is Charlie's one solace. When a local videogame designer discovers his drawings, and Charlie meets handsome college rugby-player Jed, a whole world of possibility opens up to him, if only he has the courage to explore it.

The aspect I loved most about 'Sex, Love, and Videogames' was the fact that the heroes are equals in every way. It's a popular trend in the romances I've read to have one party be stronger than the other—more experienced, more confident, more screwed-up. Much as this formula works incredibly well, I found the compatibility between Jed and Charlie's temperaments very refreshing. Both shy and unassuming, both hindered by the expectations of others, they each have to carve out a place for themselves, and following them as they grew and blossomed was a sheer joy.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. The first edition of this book was provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novella, 264 pages/79272 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 21-August-2015
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback, $16.99 bundle
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