Campus Cravings: Higher Learning MM Boxed Set

Campus Cravings: Higher Learning MM Boxed Set by: KyAnn Waters, Whitley Gray, Cassandra Carr, Mia Downing, Annabeth Albert, Dalton Diaz, Bianca Sommerland, Sara York, L.A. Witt
Publisher: C-Squared Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (461 pages)
Other: M/M, anal sex, toys, spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lilac

Welcome to Cathia University, where school is in session! Nine of today’s hottest gay romance authors have crafted brand-new interrelated novellas celebrating everything wonderful about college, including sophisticated professors, sexy teaching assistants, ambitious grad students, and spirited undergraduates, all looking for the same thing: an A+ in true love.

Annabeth Albert: Winning Bracket

Metrics and tournament brackets—who knew they were sexy? When competing dorm advisors Edwin and Ollie bet on a basketball tournament, neither expects he’s risking his heart. As the challenge becomes a hot bedroom battle to avoid real feelings, the two “frenemies” must change their definitions of losing to win a shot at lasting love.

Cassandra Carr: The Eloquent Jock

Hockey jock and English Lit major Brendan knows he’s gay, but hasn’t come out to anyone, fearing a possible backlash. Then he’s tapped to be a TA for a hot professor and feels an immediate connection. Now he must decide how much he’s willing to risk to score the ultimate goal.

Dalton Diaz: Lesson Learned

Adam Warren is counting down the days until he can put “Professor” next to his name—and his disastrous past with Tyler Ford behind him. When a fluke puts Tyler in Adam’s class, the graduate assistant faces some hard choices while Tyler faces an uphill battle for a second chance at first love.

Mia Downing: Switching Leads

Coach John Graham needs a new assistant for Cathia U’s equestrian team. The last person he expects to get the job walks into the barn and stops his heart. How is he supposed to focus on the team when his ex-lover—sexy horse trainer Finn Parker—wants back into his life…and into his bed?

Whitley Gray: Artistic Endeavor

When friends ask one-night stand connoisseur Michael Esteban to introduce shy virgin Cobey Miller to the joys of sex, Michael balks—lust is his thing, not teaching. But Cobey’s problem meeting men fuels Michael’s decision to help Cobey become a gay-sex-loving guy. It’ll all be fun and games—unless someone falls in love.

Bianca Sommerland: Solid Education

Gage Tackett comes off as a bad boy—detached and maybe a little dangerous. Definitely not Vet Sciences Professor Derek Paulson’s type. When Gage arrives at Derek’s veterinary clinic with a frostbitten stray dog, Derek realizes his most difficult student has a few things to teach him. Things he’s more than willing to learn.

KyAnn Waters: Private Lessons

Ryan Kane could lose his scholarship and his position on the pitch. Jake Finely offers to help. Only Ryan and Jake discover their private lessons have more to do with sex ed than Business Ethics. When a tenured professor offers Ryan an indecent proposal to make the grade, will he choose soccer or Jake?

LA Witt: Did Somebody Order a Pizza?

Paul Switzer has been miserable ever since his childhood love, Cory Bowman, chose a fraternity over him. When a pizza delivery to the frat house lands the exes face to face for the first time in eighteen months, the wound is reopened… and so are Paul’s feelings for the only man he’s ever loved.

Sara York: The Dust Of Everyday Life

Cole only has the courage to lust after the swim team from afar. When Seever asks to share a table at the packed coffee house where Cole is studying, he’s sure it’s a joke. But after one touch and one scorching kiss, Cole thinks the chance meet could lead to something with substance.

An anthology about gay men in a fictional campus surroundings of Cathia University, with an occasional common hangout, like Palozzo’s pizza joint.

Private Lessons by KyAnn Waters

A fairly simple and predictable tale about an out and proud teaching assistant and a closeted jock student. Both want the other in secret. When they realize the attraction is mutual, sex happens right off the bat. This story had no real tension or climactic scene, as Ryan’s coming out to his teammates is remarkably swift and accepting. The end result didn’t really justify Ryan’s fears of coming out. Also, a professor as bad as Turner should be booted off campus. Basically, a hot little fluff piece.

The Dust Of Everyday Life by Sara York

Cole is into music and Seever into swimming. They get together for some hot loving, and are outed in a paper by a homophobic so-called journalist who smelled a scandal and believed everyone would take her side. The writing in this story is okay but nothing special. When it comes to society’s attitudes toward gays, however, this paints a wonderful positive image of encouraging friends and strangers. So, not bad.

The Eloquent Jock by Cassandra Carr

Being a jock doesn’t mean one doesn’t have a brain. That was a nice twist in the set-in-stone jock character. Brendan plays hockey but he’s also an English lit major. I appreciated that aspect, how one thing doesn’t define you as a whole. A shy professor was also a nice change from the confident and even aggressive alpha male type, and I quite liked Scott, even though at times his reasons for resisting Brendan’s advances seemed a little thin. Nonetheless, the sex scenes are hotter than hot. I admit, too, prior to reading this story I’d never heard the term puck bunnies.

Switching Leads by Mia Downing

Lost lovers reconnecting after a decade. What could be hotter? The tension is already there in more ways than one. Since John, a coach for an equestrian team, has plenty of reasons to hate Finn, his alcoholic ex who is also his new assistant, this read like enemies-to-lovers story, which I liked a lot. Making amends through hot angry sex? Why not. Plus, the memories of what they shared, the good and the bad, added a touch of beauty to their reconciliation.

Solid Education by Bianca Sommerland

A cute little rescue dog, Matty, totally steals the show here, which was good since the characters didn’t grab me. Derek, a veterinary professor, is something of a jerk. Gage, a veterinary student and ex-military man, has traumas, injuries, and a dead K-9. Derek was really mean to Gage a lot, and I didn’t like that. Sure, Matty the dog does bring out Derek’s softer side but by then I already disliked him too much to care. Gage deserved better in my honest opinion. In any case, I found that this tale didn’t quite fit with the overall campus theme. Just felt like the odd story out, so to speak. The sudden one-eighty to love baffled me too.

Did Somebody Order a Pizza? by L.A. Witt

This story was very well written. Especially the flashbacks to Paul and Cory’s student days had quite an impact, reading as awkward and realistic. But… there was a really bad hazing incident and a subsequent breakup. Cory wants Paul back, but I wanted Paul to kick Cory’s tail. Cory was not a likable character, and Paul forgave much too soon. This tale of too quick a redemption, told in first person, left a bitter taste in my mouth. There’s so much hate and violence and cowardice here it was a bit of a downer.

Winning Bracket by Annabeth Albert

By far the best of the bunch, this story delivers where the others in the anthology have failed. We get a beautiful, awkward, cute, realistic love affair even though Edwin and Ollie start out as sort of frenemies (that’s a word, right?). A silly bet over basketball leads to a kiss, and much, much more. Edwin may be the sweet little virgin but he wants his kiss, dammit, and he wants it from popular jock Ollie. I loved their interaction, be it talking or smooching, teasing or goading. Beautifully crafted tale of two young men playing games, bantering, and falling in love. Made me miss real life kissing sessions.

Artistic Endeavor by Whitley Gray

Two artists—a graphic design professor (at 25?) and a painter—are brought together because one is knowledgeable about sex and the other is a virgin. Yeah, the story’s predictable in every sense. But both Michael and Cobey were kinda cute, the former playboy who falls in love for the first time and the other a virgin who finds love on his first go. Even when Michael hurts Cobey’s feelings by rejecting him, I got that Michael’s just scared and falling. There’s a lot of kissing, adorable moments, emotions shared, and a slowly forming relationship. This is the longest story in the anthology. Despite the no-surprises plot, the ending was sweet.

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