Book picks similar to
Playing the Part by J.R. Barten


Sonoran Heat

Katrina Strauss - 2010
    When he grabs a late-night meal at an old haunt, his trip down memory lane is derailed by gorgeous waiter Josh. Tony finds a fresh start with the twenty-one-year-old, but worries chasing a man half his age will lead to heartache. It’s hard to resist when Josh intrigues Tony on an intellectual level—and fires the landscaper’s libido hotter than the Arizona desert they call home.Josh has goals. Digital design student by day, he waits tables at night, but his true dream is to paint. When he falls for Tony, he starts to rethink his plans and how the sexy older man might fit into them. But Tony’s recovering from a failed relationship, one that lasted nearly as long as Josh has been alive, and Josh must prove that in spite of age and inexperience, his feelings are sincere.As the desert nights heat up, Tony and Josh explore possibilities both in and out of the bedroom, but when each man faces a difficult choice, they must decide on the future. Whether that future is together, or separate, is a matter of reason versus the heart.

My Best Friend's Brother

K.C. Wells - 2021
    And gorgeous.Casey’s off limits. Forbidden. But that just makes me want him more.RylanI’ve watched Casey grow up. I never imagined how the sweet, scrawny kid would turn into a hot muscular man. A hot guy who just came out.Casey torments my thoughts. And my dreams. I need to stay far, far away from my best friend’s kid brother. Should be easy, right? I can find plenty of guys to distract me.Problem is, all I want is the one man I can’t have.CaseyThere’s never been a time when I wasn’t in love with Rylan. My brother’s best friend was my first crush. My only crush. He’s the one man I shouldn’t go near. And here I am spending the summer in the apartment he shares with my older brother.That seemed like a good idea in the beginning. I thought I could handle it but now that I’m so close to the man I’ve always wanted, I’m not so sure. About anything.I can have any man – except the one I want.It’s going to be a long, hot summer.

The Way Back

Carter Quinn - 2012
    When his friendship with Eric turned into something much more, it ended as suddenly as it began, leaving Riley devastated. He hasn't let anyone near his heart since. Until now. When Riley needed him most, Jason was there to help pick up the pieces. Six years later, he's back in Riley's life. Riley is slowly letting Jason past his defenses and is starting to accept how good they are together. They're even planning their first romantic weekend getaway when, out of the blue, Eric calls, claiming he wants Riley back. Riley has been pining for Eric for six years, but now he has a brand new relationship with Jason to consider. Jason—who has always been there when Riley needs him, who puts Riley's happiness above his own, even if that means his own heart will suffer—insists Riley face his old feelings for Eric to make sure they're really gone. But are they? How long will it take Riley to figure it out? And how long will Jason wait?Second Edition (+4000 more words)Kansas Book #1Bonus Short Story:The Way Back Together(+6000 words)Riley and Jason have carved out a weekend together to plan their upcoming event, but those plans take a backseat when Eric shows up on their doorstep an emotional wreck.

Academic Pursuits

Lou Harper - 2012
    Blessed with good looks, charm, and confidence, Jamie lives for the chase. He has a well-earned reputation as a seducer of straight guys, but he’s also happy to help fellow gay students out of the closet when they are ready. Jamie sees nothing wrong with having a healthy sex life, even if his amorous pursuits frequently land him in sticky situations.Alas, not everyone approves of Jamie’s adventures. Roger Hunt, the hunky grad student, who dresses more like a lumberjack than the talented artist he is, gives Jamie hostile looks whenever their paths cross. Jamie tries to ignore Roger, but they can't seem to stop running into each other. Every time they meet the air crackles with tension, and Jamie begins to wonder if it’s fate or design pushing them together.

The Foundation

Diana McKinley - 2016
    With determination and perseverance, Ben has risen to the top of his class, both academically and athletically. And with careful planning, he has secured scholarships which ensure he has a real chance to see through his goal of becoming a doctor. But beyond that dream, Benjamin also wants a place where he can live freely and openly as the young gay man he is without shame, persecution, or fear. Cord Robinson also has a dream which he has held close to his heart for years, while he patiently waited for Benjamin to grow up and leave home – for Ben to be his. Cord has already gone through the steps of coming to terms with his sexuality and then coming out to his family and friends. And now that college is over for him and his best friend Branden, who is also Benjamin’s brother, Cord is ready to let Ben know that he is interested in a real future with the beautiful young man. But as Ben prepares for his graduation, the violence at home reaches a breaking point and he flees. When Cord realizes what has been going on behind the Alcott’s doors, it’s a race against time for him to find Ben and then open his heart to the one other man he wants to build a life and solid foundation with as Benjamin prepares to finally spread his wings and fly. CONTENT WARNING: Explicit Sex, References to Childhood Physical Abuse (No Sexual Abuse)

That One Thing

Diane Adams - 2012
    Graduating valedictorian of his class opens the world to him in ways he never imagined.A surprise visit from his boyfriend, Jared Douglas, shocks Alex into the realization he's no longer sure how the pieces of his life fit together. He's faced with the fact boyhood dreams might not suit the man.Jared is determined Alex will have the chance to make his own decisions.It's Jared's steadfast love and the knowledge he will be there regardless of what Alex chooses that gives him the confidence to search his heart for that one thing he needs to be happy.

The Race for Second

Chase Potter - 2014
    Having broken up with his boyfriend the day before his flight, he’s ready to face Europe with no attachments… and no desire for any.But as Ethan gets to know Daniel — one of his three German roommates — his resolve starts to soften. Though Daniel is initially standoffish, unpleasant, and sometimes downright hostile, the two are undeniably drawn to one another. Even Ethan’s conviction that Daniel is actually straight begins to erode as they grow closer, gradually revealing a buried part of Daniel’s past that will threaten to tear them apart. Not to be outdone, the town of Freiburg guards its own secret, a thread of forgotten history unraveling into something far greater than Ethan is prepared for.The Race for Second is a coming of age story that delves into the depths of the young heart and its search for intimacy and acceptance. Charmingly woven into the German university town of Freiburg, Ethan’s story is one of finding the courage to pursue what we truly desire, even at the risk of losing everything.

Booked Up

Harper Logan - 2016
    But when a harsh review of her latest book is published by her rival Serge Faletti, Cam's sense of loyalty sends him marching to Serge to demand a retraction. "I can't let anybody see who I really am..." Serge is supposed to be writing the follow-up to his big hit detective novel, but the words aren't coming. And knowing that his rival Madeleine is plotting against him isn't helping. When he meets her assistant, the bookish, cardigan-wearing Cam, he is caught off-guard. How can he be so drawn to someone who should be his enemy? He is so worried about his reputation that he can't admit his attraction, even to himself. "I can't trust you, but I don't want to spend a minute without you..." How can you trust your feelings when the man you're with is your worst enemy? Things are getting real between Cam and Serge, but Madeleine's scheming threatens to tear them apart before they have a chance together. Can Cam untangle himself from his boss and let himself be free to love? And can Serge put aside his worries over what the world will think if he is with another man?

Smart Alex

A.K.M. Miles - 2008
    When he moves to the big city and college, he figures he's found his chance. In fact, he finds even more than that when he meets Tommy and Mike, his first gay friends. Will Smart ever find his own love, though? Maybe he will, if he can make it through everything life throws at him. Alex is everything he wants, but Smart isn't sure if he and Alex can find their way and help Tommy and Mike make it through. Can they all find happiness?

Doing the Dean

Mia Watts - 2012
    He never expected to fall for his best friend’s sexy dad, especially when that dad turns out to be the Dean of Students. A little daring perseverance shows him that the Dean doesn’t seem so unapproachable. So since when did getting in the Dean’s pants suddenly become a quest to win his heart?

A Lesson in Pride

Jordan Chambers - 2015
    After the closeted college student has a drunken meltdown at his well-to-do family's Christmas party (involving a few bombshell confessions and some not-so-polite uses for the angel tree topper) he suddenly finds himself disowned and cut off from the family funds. Back in New York, Josh tries to put the hangover behind him as he prepares for a swanky art competition. Of course fate has other plans, and after crossing paths with a mysterious bad-boy named Luke, Josh begins to question everything he thought he knew about himself. Josh can't help but think that this unrefined biker (dreamy as he is) is the last thing his reputation needs right now. But when Luke drops a few bombshell confessions of his own and Josh is left to find out who his true friends are, the artist might just find that opposites attract. "A Lesson in Pride" is a steamy standalone novel with HEA and no cliffhanger.

Manny and Me

Avery Ford - 2017
    He's just graduated with the most boring degree ever - Accounting - and he's looking for something that will put his knack with numbers to use. He wants a normal, quiet life in the suburbs with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids, and the skeletons in his closet will just have to be buried very, very deeply in the back of his closet. Douglas McAlpern has never had a relationship that's lasted longer than two or three months, but while he accepts that he's just not cut out to be someone's romantic partner, he isn't about to give up on his dream of being a dad. When a family friend agrees to surrogate for him, he's finally able to hold his own child in his arms...but having a baby means that he needs to hire some help. Sebastian can't find work in his field. Douglas can't stay at home with his son. It seems like a match made in heaven, until Douglas realizes that Sebastian sets every one of his senses alight...and Sebastian's secret comes tumbling out of the woodwork. This is a steamy gay romance novel, with no cheating and a guaranteed happily ever after. Enjoy!

Love Next Door

Amelia Bishop - 2013
    a long break. He'd rather be alone than have his heart broken again. So, he keeps the crush he has on his sexy neighbor Matt a secret and spends his nights alone. But soon Matt discovers Leo's feelings and they begin a relationship that quickly grows too intense for both of them. To make it work, they'll both have to risk heartbreak and learn to trust.

Freshman: Uncut

Daisy Harris - 2013
    Shane gives Angel the sex he craves, but struggles to be the man he needs.Shane’s too old for Angel. Even if Angel weren’t a freshman in Shane’s Intro to Film class, the kid would be too closeted, too confused, too darn changeable and needy. But when Shane sees the pain lurking behind Angel’s tough exterior, he can’t help but reach out to him and give in to the desire in those scared, brown eyes.Pacific Rim University may as well be another planet from the Oakland neighborhood where Angel grew up. Angel’s fought all his life to get respect, and to stay hard in the eyes of his friends back home. Always the weird kid, Angel was the guy who never hooked up with girls. Meeting his very sexy, very male Film TA, Angel starts to understand why. He refuses to admit he’s gay, but he lives for every one of Shane’s smiles.When Shane takes Angel to task for his insolent attitude, Angel can’t resist pushing his TA further. He wants Shane to show him, force him, make him accept all the feelings battling around in his mind and his body. But Angel doesn’t just need sex. He needs a man who can help him navigate the new and very raw landscape of his feelings.

Saving Noah

Carol Lynne - 2009
    He hoped getting away from his hectic life in Pittsburgh would allow him to concentrate on the long overdue paper and to forget about his last lover. Life-long Schicksal resident, Noah Stoffel, has managed to keep his sexuality a secret. Yet, after one look at the dark-haired newcomer, he knows his life in the sleepy town will never be the same. But more than Noah's desire for privacy stands between him and Dexter. For years, the residents of Schicksal have been hiding a horrific secret, one that takes Dexter mere days to uncover and expose...a secret that could destroy-or heal-them all.