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The Strings We Play by CD Rachels

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Release Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway:
The Strings We Play
By CD Rachels

The Strings we play ebook

Artists and Athletes, Book 3


As the new music professor at Korham University, I need to focus on my job. I can’t get entangled with that tall and handsome Facilities Manager who I keep bumping into on campus. Did we have a hot moment together at Christmas? Maybe, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s taking my music lecture. Students are off limits, no matter how flirty and sexy they are.

The problem is that Logan’s not just a student; we’re co-faculty, neighbors, and we’ve become good friends. I’ve started to peel back the layers that make up who he really is. It turns out there’s more to this sweet guy whom I’ve been growing closer and closer to. As the semester winds down, the days of him being my student are numbered. Pretty soon, nothing will stand in the away of us hooking up. It’s scary, but can an athlete like him really fall for a performing artist like me? Because I’m afraid I’m already there.


I’ve been broken for a long time, so I make my job at KU my life. No one has been able to tug on my heartstrings for years. So of course I’m blindsided by this talented and gorgeous new professor I meet. He makes me smile and gives me something to look forward to for the first time in so long. The one catch: I’m taking his intro to music class.

That’s fine by me, I can push down these feelings. I can totally ignore the blazing hot chemistry Wei and I have in the tiny practice rooms while he teaches me scales. But as the semester goes on, I realize he can offer me so much more than just a pretty face; it’s possible that everything I lost all those years ago exist in Wei. When he plays a song, or whenever it’s just the two of us, it feels just like magic.

I refuse to make a move on my professor, even though we’re both faculty. Good things come to those who wait, right? I just have to not let him realize I have a massive crush on him and not let him kiss me…again. And again.

The Strings We Play is a low-angst, male/male romance about two working adults. It involves music lessons, workout sessions, kissing under the stars, soccer-themed birthday cakes, and discovering the love that only a found-family can bring, HEA guaranteed. It is the third book in the Artists and Athletes series but can be read as a standalone.

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I’M SITTING IN a chair trying to get my fingers to not tap ‘Für Elise’ into my lap. I need to keep calm and impress the two people in front of me. I’m at the final interview for my dream job. I’ve always wanted to be a professor of music, and now I’ve made it to the Dean’s office at nearby Korham University. All the pieces of my—at times crummy—life may finally be falling into place

“Your résumé is very impressive Mr. Wong,” Dean Layborne says, sitting across from me at his large mahogany desk. Seated next to him is the Music Performance Department Chair, and hopefully, my new boss, Professor Reyes.

“Thank you. And please, call me Wei.”

“I was thoroughly impressed with all the performance pieces you sent me,” Professor Reyes remarks. She leafs through my resumé and I hope I’m not sweating. A lot is on the line here. “But I didn’t realize you were so active with other organizations. It says here you were the vice president of your community college’s Queer Pride Union?”

I hope this isn’t a deal breaker, but I’d rather not be completely closeted at this new job. “Yes, I was. Is that a problem?”

“Not at all,” Dean Layborne replies. He looks up at me and smiles, and a wave of relief washes over me. “We here at Korham are extremely inclusive. Our students represent a wide range of ethnicities, genders, and orientations. Some of them even play on our many sports teams.”

I smile and nod as he keeps going. “This culture is thanks in no small part to our very own QPU. We could use another faculty advisor for that group. If you were to take this position, would that be something you’d be interested in?”

“Absolutely. I’m very passionate about supporting the queer community and allies, alike.” I try to give my most charming grin. Frankly, I’d volunteer to shovel horse manure if they asked me—anything to convince them to give me this job.

“Glad to hear it,” Professor Reyes says. “Well, I think you are exactly what we’re looking for in an Assistant Professor in the Music Department. Dean Layborne, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Hey, I can barely play a scale, so I can’t speak for performances. But you seem to be hard-working and the proper fit for our University. So Dominica, if he’s good with you, he’s good with me.” He turns to Professor Reyes and grins. Did they both just say what I think they said?

They stand up and, instinctively, I get up as well. “Well it’s settled then. We’d like to offer you a faculty position for next semester.” My heart starts to pound in excitement over her words. “Welcome to Korham University, Wei.”

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Check out Book 1: The Lines We Draw


I’m perfectly fine in my comfort zone. As co-captain of my university soccer team, I know my place. I play hard on the field and my teammates look up to me. Would they look up to me if they knew I liked guys? Probably not, so I’m okay staying a closeted virgin.

That is, until I’m forced to take an arts class, and I’m seated next to the sexiest guy I’ve ever seen. He helps me pass art class, makes me laugh, and has me wanting things I never thought were possible. As the semester goes on, we get closer, and trying to keep my hands off him and stay away from him becomes nearly impossible.

What will happen to my position on the team if I ask him out? I don’t think I’m willing to find out. Now I just gotta stop dreaming about kissing him and holding him… Damn.


As a fine arts major, I have to focus on creating good work and impressing my professors. Part of that entails sitting in on this beginners arts class, and I just so happen to be next to a gorgeous athlete this semester.

Relationships are a sour note for me, but flirting with the co-captain of the soccer team could be fun. I know it’s not going to go anywhere- he’s straight. Over time, though, becoming friends with Ravi, teaching him how to visualize his art, and learning about his life makes me question what we’re doing.

I don’t know if I’m ready to let someone else into my heart again, least of all a potential closet case (no matter how sexy he is). Still with the way he makes me smile and how my heart beats when I’m near him, I think we’re both in too deep now.

The Lines We Draw is a low-angst, friends-to-lovers story involving art classes, soccer games, nude models, drunken parties, and discovering what sex and love can really feel like, HEA guaranteed. It is the first of a series and can be read as a standalone.

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About the Author:

CD Rachels has been coming up with stories since he was little. At first it was all about superheroes and pocket monsters, but his genre of choice has expanded since puberty.

He’s been consuming young adult gay fiction since he was a teen, but within the past five years moved up to the big leagues of gay adult romance. In 2020 during quarantine, he burned through more male/male romance books than he ever had in the previous 29 years combined.

He lives in New York City with the love of his life and works in health insurance. When he’s not reading and writing, he’s playing board games and practicing music. He is honored to become a self-published author, and if you’re reading this, your support means so much to him that it’s giving him a tingly feeling (in a good way).

Follow him on Instagram: @cdrachels

Or join his group on Facebook: “CD Rachels’ Chill Discourse Room”

Catch up with Charles:
Amazon Author’s Page: CD Rachels Author Page
Facebook Author Group: CD Rachels’ Chill Discourse Room