Tackling the Subject

Tackling the Subject

by Jon Keys

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Overview

Sam struggles with issues from high school and his biology tutor triggers them all. Gordy isn’t sure he wants to deal with the trouble Sam represents.

Sam Doherty, a twenty-two-year-old computer science major, is struggling to pass the required classes in biology. While Sam is out and proud, he’s secretly dealing with an assault he suffered in high school. Sam may be the president of the campus Gay-Straight Alliance, but he’s struggling to find balance in his life. When he realizes he needs help with his class, he signs up for a biology tutor, but the guy who arrives for their meeting sets off all his triggers.

Gordy Hager is a biology whiz kid, the best tutor at the University Help Center—and the star tackle on the football team. Sam despises him at first sight. Gordy is the brainless caveman athlete that Sam still has nightmares about. Unable to control his reactions, he drives Gordy away and makes it plain he will never ask for his help. One week and a failed quiz later, Sam knows he has to swallow his pride.

But while Gordy might be a nice guy, he isn’t going to help someone as insulting as Sam. Sam’s determination pays off, and he gets Gordy’s assistance, but his grades are only the first pothole their relationship hits. From their discovery that they both are gay, to supporting each other against family, their connection has more than its share of issues. But when their worst fears come to fruition, they struggle with a way to save Gordy’s college football career and face Sam’s issues of intimacy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781786515865
Publisher: Totally Entwined Group Ltd
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 183
Sales rank: 728,630
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in, he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

Read an Excerpt

Copyright © Jon Keys 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.

A shaft of light landed on the thick red hair covering Sam’s forearm. He shifted a little deeper into the tomb-quiet, cavernous room. The rows and rows of books in their order and symmetry had always comforted him—just like writing code for new software, which he was kick ass at doing. There should be logic to biology, too. It might not be obvious, but somewhere in all that squishiness it had order. Sam liked things that had order.

He glanced at the screen of his computer. No new mail. Their appointment was at three. Not three-o-five. Sam was already angry that he’d had to ask for a tutor. Well, really more embarrassed that some whiz kid had to explain the confusing field of biology. Sam resented the hell out of it. Mutation? Computers didn’t mutate. Code didn’t mutate. It was driving him crazy.

He glanced at his watch again. Two more minutes. He sighed and reminded himself that he had to pass this class. It was one of those courses he’d had to take outside his major. If I wanted to know about meiosis and mitosis, then I’d take the class on my own. But the university thinks I need to be educated about crap I don’t care about.

The air conditioner came on and a shaft of cool air blew across him. It carried an almost antiseptic tang along with the faint musty scent of books printed before his grandparents’ time. He glanced at the screen on his watch. Another minute and he’ll be late. It figures.

Sam stretched his long legs, letting his flip-flops dangle from his bare toes. He realized someone had invaded his part of the library’s fifth floor. His frown deepened when he recognized it was one of the brainless hulks from the football team. Sam tensed as the lumbering brute moved closer. Go away. Go back to your cave and leave normal people alone.

His discomfort level grew as the guy walked toward him. Short dark hair, western shirt, jeans and boots. Well, he’s at the right university. Their distance narrowed and Sam dropped his gaze in the hope he would pass without stopping. His nervousness built until, by the time they were side by side, there was a slight tremble going through his body and bile in his mouth. Triggers from years past fired like a cheap six-gun. He tensed even further when the guy stopped beside him. Sam was angry and his appraisal turned into a glare he shot at the lummox. But before he said anything, he heard.

“Are you Samuel Doherty?”

At first, it startled Sam that the guy had his name. But his rancor flared when he realized the man was reading it from a card and held a copy of his biology textbook under one arm. This is my tutor? It’s bad enough I need help at all. This makes it insulting. He looked up and scowled. “Yes, I’m Sam.”

“Cool. I’m Gordy, your biology tutor.”

Sam sat stunned, staring in disbelief at the person they’d sent. Without considering the consequences, he blurted out. “Wasn’t there anyone else?”

Gordy lifted an eyebrow and gave him a quiet expression of disapproval. “I aced the class you’re failing, so I’m quite capable of helping you. But it’s up to you if you want my assistance or not.”

Sam sat without moving then realized the jock—What’s his name? Gordy?—was still waiting for an answer. Just getting help from one of the university jock squad had his muscles taut with anger and distaste. But the midterm was coming, and he had to pass this class. If this was who the Help Center had assigned him, then he was capable of helping Sam. But with feelings approaching hatred, Sam didn’t understand how he would get the assistance he needed from Gordy. It had to be a damn football player?

“I can go if you want. I had to rearrange everything to meet with you today, so…” Gordy said.

Sam swallowed hard. I have to suppress my feelings. I don’t know him. He might be a good guy. I suppose that’s possible. That’s one of the goals from the therapist. That I shouldn’t paint everyone with the same broad strokes. Gordy frowned and turned to go, leaving Sam to his private corner.

“Hang on. Yeah, I need help. Damn biology.”

Gordy rounded the table and stopped opposite Sam. They studied each other for a long minute before Gordy took the last steps and sat beside him. Sam’s nose wrinkled. Gordy had the faint scent of sweat, bringing back those awful, secret memories. He had to fight the urge to put his hand over his nose to lessen the odor.

“You’re in Bio 101, right?” Gordy asked.

Sam pulled his sleeve down his arm and pressed his nose against it. Gordy’s funk was all he could think about.

“Yeah, Bio 101 with Hawthorne.”

“The labs or the lectures?”

“Both. Some of it I don’t get.” Sam considered for a minute. “Actually, I don’t get most of it. It isn’t logical.”

Gordy stopped flipping through the textbook and studied Sam. “It is logical. It all follows patterns and systems. What’s your major?”

“Computer science. You can’t get more structured than that. It’s all ones and zeros. I understand it well enough that campus IT hired me.”

“Biology is all made of elements. From there, you get molecules and everything else. That’s basic.”

Sam ground his teeth, losing his nonexistent patience with his overrated tutor. Gordy’s odor had expanded and had become a distinctive metallic note on the back of his tongue.

“Okay. According to Dr. Hawthorne’s syllabus, you’re at the part of the textbook covering cell division. Does that seem about right?”

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