By Chance is a totally sweet story about two very young men, who have to share a dorm room because of unexpected circumstances. Rich lone wolf Eric isn’t too happy about that. But quarterback Nick is a nice and easy guy and Eric’s attitude doesn’t scare him away, the two men become friends despite of Eric’s defenses. Eric is gay and has the hots for Nick from the beginning, but doesn’t act on it, because Nick is straight and Eric never gets involved with men for more than one night. However when Nick crawls into Eric’s bed one night to keep him warm, because he’d suffered a shock, things start to change.
It’s been described well how Nick and Eric become more than friends. Their sexual feelings are tangible and it’s believable how they become lovers. Their relationship isn’t going to be easy, thanks to Eric’s issues (with his family, especially his father) and Nick’s inability to openly admit he’s gay, a back and forth of attraction and rejection starts. Cat Grant knows very well how to make all the emotional layers insightful. Their behavior and feelings are very genuine, stirring, and sometimes raw. It’s hard to really like Eric, though you learn to know where his actions are coming from. On the other hand, it’s very, very easy to love Nick. He’s such a cutie and very warm-hearted. The love scenes are sweet and sexy but not very memorable, I’m afraid. Because I’ve read the story just last week and I can hardly remember any of the sex scenes, but that’s fine: their feelings and understanding of each other are the centre of gravity in this novel, for me. And I consider the erotic scenes a nice bonus.
By Chance isn’t a standalone book; it’s the third installment in Cat Grants bestselling Courtland Chronicles series, but in chronological order it’s the first. Together with Strictly Business and Complications it’s a prequel to the novel The Arrangement. And in December there will be released a fifth novel in the series: Triad. And I’m definitely willing to try some more of the stories in this series, after reading By Chance.
For Eric and Nick, it's irritation at first sight. Wealthy, arrogant Eric Courtland is an island unto himself...and content to stay that way until chance brings quarterback Nick Thompson into his life. Nick's warm and easy nature pierce straight through Eric's well-fortified defenses and coax him out of his shell. It doesn't take long for their friendship to deepen into love. Eric's fear of commitment and Nick's inability to come to terms with his own sexuality threaten to tear them apart. By Chance is the third installment in Cat Grants bestselling Courtland Chronicles Series.
The light was still on in the living room when he came out. Eric lay on his bed with his eyes closed and the covers yanked up to his chin. He was shivering so hard the bedsprings creaked.
Nick snagged his own blanket and pillow from the couch, then padded back to Eric's side of the room. "Scoot over," he said softly, already sliding under the covers.
Eric's eyes flew open. "What the hell are you--"
"No arguments." He smoothed his own blanket out on top of the two Eric already had over him, then reached for the lamp on Eric's desk and flicked it off. "You're having a delayed stress reaction. After what you've been through, I'm not surprised."
"Y-You don't have to do this."
"Yeah, I do. Now shut up." Rolling over behind Eric so they spooned, Nick rubbed his hands up and down his roommate's arms, trying to warm him up. Instead, Eric's entire body went as rigid as the proverbial board. "This won't work if you don't relax."
"How do you expect me to do that, with you lying right next to me?"
This seemed to be his night for one shock after another. So Eric was attracted to him. He'd suspected it from the day he'd moved in, but having it confirmed was still a bit disconcerting. Well, it didn't matter now. He had to do something to keep Eric from ending up in the emergency room again.
"C'mon, lean back against me," Nick whispered. "You need to get warm."
With a shaky breath, Eric sank back into Nick's arms. Nick pressed close, chin hooked over Eric's shoulder, rubbing his roommate's arms and chest with both hands. Within a few minutes, Eric's shivering began to subside.
Unfortunately, that couldn't be said for a certain part of Nick's anatomy. He breathed a silent prayer of gratitude for the doused lights; having Eric see his fire-engine blush would put the final capper on his embarrassment.
"It's not very sporting to be teasing me at a time like this," Eric chided gently. His hand closed over Nick's, giving it a comforting squeeze. "But for the record, I'm flattered."
"Sorry, I didn't mean to--"
"Don't be sorry." He turned his head until his mouth was so close to Nick's, they could feel the soft puff of each other's breath.
Nick hesitated a split-second before pressing his lips to Eric's, darting his tongue inside. He whimpered at the taste of him--hot, wet and unbearably sweet. Eric's tongue entwined with his for a moment, sending Nick's pulse spiraling, blood roaring between his ears like a caged lion. He felt Eric's hand cup his cheek, fingers threading briefly through his hair. Then, with a tiny broken moan, Eric drew back, his warm breath still wafting over Nick's skin.
"I-I don't think this is such a good idea," he murmured.
Nick squeezed his eyes shut, trying to quell the sharp pain sailing through his heart. "You're right. We shouldn't ... complicate things." He sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed, reaching for his blanket. "You should be warm enough now."
"I didn't mean that ... You don't have to go."
Was that pity in Eric's voice? As if Nick wasn't mortified enough already. "Yeah," he whispered sadly, "I do."