The Roles We Own (Artists and Athletes #4) by C.D. Rachels

Though The Roles We Own is part of a series, it can be enjoyed as a standalone.

From the blurb:

Romance isn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the corniness of rom-coms, but it’s not in the cards in
my life. I play hard on the soccer field, I party hard with my boys, and I fool around with any girl or guy who’s hot and willing. The only person off-limits: my best friend’s boyfriend’s brother, Sly O’Rourke. He’s cute, but I don’t do feelings.
Staying away from him would be easy if I didn’t have to direct the school musical for my degree credits. Sly is auditioning, and he’s not the shy, nerdy dude everyone thinks he is. He’s talented, charming, and gorgeous—totally boyfriend material, if I’d ever do relationships. When he asks for help practicing physical intimacy for the play, how can I refuse? It’s my job to make sure this musical is a success, and that’s what this is: strictly business.
But when his mouth catches mine, our bodies don’t get the memo. I don’t think Sly and I are acting anymore.

I’ve played the role of a comfortable straight guy for too long. The truth is: the thought of physical intimacy makes me nauseous. I’m not interested in anyone, guy or girl, which sucks, because I’ve always wanted a romantic story of my own.
Now that I’m at Korham University, I have the chance to redefine myself. If I play the role of a romantic hero during the semester musical, maybe I’ll learn to enjoy touching people or catch real feelings for once. There is one complication to my plan: I have to spend a lot of time with soccer jock Omar Odom. He’s a touchy, handsy party boy, but I eventually see a different side to him. As the weeks go by, my brother’s boyfriend’s best friend doesn’t seem so bad. He’s chill in ways I never could be and supports me in the play. He’s the perfect guy who can help me with the physical aspects of the dramatic arts.
When Omar puts his mouth on mine, I expect to be repulsed, not burning up on the inside. I’ve never wanted a girl or guy before so…what is happening to me? And why don’t I want it to stop?

[“The Roles We Own” is a low-angst, male/male romance about new adults in college. It involves theater rehearsals, soccer games, frat parties, cartoon onesies, raisin bagels, and discovering what gray-asexuality can mean.
It is the fourth book in the Artists and Athletes series but can be read as a stand-alone.]

Janet's Review:

The Roles We Own is the fourth book in the Artist and Athletes series. It was a fantastic story. 

We met Sly in The Lines We Draw, he’s Steven’s brother. Omar and Sly were a fantastic couple. I loved the exploration of Sly’s true self and how he felt he had to hide sides of himself. Omar is athletic with a love of theater. They are so opposite but ultimately perfect together, their character growth is wonderful to read. 

Overall, a fantastic read. Well written with pacing that sucked me right into the story.

Rating: 5 Stars

Jacqueleen the Reading Queen's Review:

"Kissing has never felt like this."

I was so happy when I learned it was finally Omar's turn to fall in love. Throughout the series Omar has been so supportive of his friends. He was also the resident playboy, so it made me really look forward to his story. I love when the player gets knocked on his butt by love. The fact that his forever turned out to be Sly, Steven's brother? Even better!

Sly was such a sweet MC. It was hard to watch him struggle with his sexuality, but fear not! Like some of the previous MCs, Sly finds himself across from the lovely Wei during his office hours and with Wei's help Sly starts to piece together a label that fits for him. Some of us don't need a label. Some of us desperately do so we have a sort of answer to how we feel. Others settle on a label and then may change it over time. Sexuality is a spectrum and its fluid, something Sly must come to terms with when the label he first settles on turns out not to be the most exact fit.

I love watching Sly discover the romance he always dreamed of with Omar. Omar was so patient, he never pushed or pressured Sly in any way. He never made Sly feel broken or that something was wrong with him because he identified under the umbrella of asexuality. He just loved him and that was exactly what Sly needed. Even his response to Sly explaining his identity was perfect. If we all reacted that way to people's coming out, life would be a whole lot sweeter.

I MUST mention the epilogue! It gave us an update on all our favorite couples of the series in such a fun way. I couldn't have asked for a better ending to this series. That being said, I'm excited for some sexy race car drivers who are coming soon in the next series by author CD Rachels!

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The Roles We Own is available to buy as an ebook, paperback, or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.