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NEW RELEASE: College Days – Rebecca Cohen

College Days - Rebecca Cohen

QSFer Rebecca Cohen has a new MM fantasy book out, a prequel to the Reagalos series: College Days.

Lornyc is good at keeping secrets, because secrets can get you kicked out of College.

Lornyc considers the undergraduate course, and most of the people on it, beneath him. He just needs to get through this year and then he can start his doctorate. Methian might be attractive enough, but he’s an annoying, fat-headed, sloth toad, and Lornyc doesn’t want him as a lab partner. In fact, Lornyc doesn’t want anything to do with him.

Prequel to the Reagalos novels: a enemies to lovers, new adult, gay romance fantasy. A stand-alone novel in the Reagalos universe that charts how Lornyc and Methian got together, despite their best efforts not to.

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Lornyc tried not to squirm as the dean of the College glanced occasionally in his direction. He’d expected a certain level of deference towards his father, but Dean Askwell didn’t appear to be impressed by the High Lord of Katraman.

“Lord Reagalos, this institution has been known for centuries as a place of higher learning and fairness. We have educated many state leaders, yourself included, and pride ourselves on knowing what is best for our students. While I of course recognise the importance of the Reagalos family, I cannot be seen to show favouritism and allow this young man onto the post-graduate programme not having studied an appropriate undergraduate degree.”

Tancorix Reagalos stiffened in his chair, but if Lornyc hadn’t been watching his father he might have missed it. He knew from experience that wasn’t a good sign. The last time he’d seen it, Tancorix had grounded him for three weeks for burning scorch marks in the lawn of the manor during a failed experiment. “It is not a matter of favouritism. Lornyc’s tutors have attested his abilities.”

“I am not doubting his academic qualities.” But by the way Dean Askwell spoke, Lornyc thought that was exactly what he was doing. “However, seventeen can be a… difficult age.”

“I would not argue that point. But Lornyc is an intelligent young man, and making him complete the undergraduate degree prior to embarking on a research programme would be a waste for all parties. He would be taking the place of a student who would benefit from it far more than he would.”

Dean Askwell peered over his glasses. “That remains to be seen. An education is more than attending classes. I believe exposing Lornyc to the full student experience will be good for him.”

Tancorix’s top lip curled. “I will decide what is good for Lornyc. Now, I hate to repeat myself, Dean Askwell, but the boy’s academic prowess is unquestionable, for him to complete the entire course is a pointless endeavour.”

Lornyc thought he was in the middle of a stand-off. His father was not used to being denied what he wanted, and Lornyc had spent several weeks persuading Tancorix that it made sense for him to skip the degree course. Although, his mother reminding Tancorix about his brothers’ antics while at College had probably been more effective if he were being honest.

But from the dean’s sour expression he wasn’t willing to back down without a fight. “If you insist, you of course have the right to appeal to the College Board. However, I will be recommending Lornyc complete the entire programme before he can start a doctorate.”

“There must be a middle ground.”

Dean Askwell wrinkled his nose. “The very minimum I would accept is for Lornyc to complete the final year.”

Lornyc opened his mouth to argue, but a sharp look from his father silenced him.

“Consider this our official appeal request for Lornyc’s application.”

“Very well.” Dean Askwell jotted something down which Lornyc couldn’t read but didn’t think the way Askwell had underlined it twice and added an exclamation mark was a good sign. “I must admit I am still somewhat surprised to see you here in person to argue Lornyc’s case, Lord Reagalos.”

Lornyc wondered if his father would break his own rules and tell Dean Askwell of Lornyc’s position in the family, and why his application had skirted the details of his parentage. Tancorix had made it quite clear Lornyc shouldn’t volunteer his status, that he should try to hang on to the freedom of anonymity for as long as possible.

“As head of the Reagalos family, I have a duty to ensure the best for all my kin.”

Dean Askwell glanced at Lornyc again. “Yes, but you are a busy man. Surely one of your aides could’ve attended, or even one of your brothers, if he were your indeed your nephew.”

Lornyc could only surmise it was Askwell’s position of power over Lornyc’s admittance to College that meant Tancorix hadn’t reacted to his impertinence. “Let us say, I would consider it a personal favour if you could see a way to grant our request.”

A glint in the dean’s eye made Lornyc think he had guessed correctly. “I imagine any parent would do the same for their child.”

“Or even a devoted uncle.” Lornyc knew his father wasn’t about to confirm anything to Askwell. “As you have stated, I am a busy man. We expect to hear within the week—whatever the outcome of the board.”

Lornyc trailed after Tancorix as he swept from the room, knowing better than to say anything before they were inside the carriage. “Do you think I should have said more?” he asked as the carriage lurched forwards.

“No. Dean Askwell has already made up his mind. I’m afraid, Lornyc, you should prepare yourself to complete at least the final year. You should count yourself lucky if he doesn’t insist you do the full undergraduate degree.”

Lornyc huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. “But that’s stupid.”

“No, stupid is whining about it. Being petulant won’t help, you would merely prove the dean’s point that you need a broader education.”

Lornyc watched Tancorix remove a wad of paper from a document wallet. His father was finished with the topic, and now Lornyc was stuck on a coach to travel home. “Why couldn’t we have taken a portal?”

“Because there’s not one on campus. Something you can rectify once you’re in attendance.” Tancorix didn’t look up from his reading. “Your application will include a request for rooms in Exmere house, they should be big enough to accommodate a portal without being overly conspicuous.”

“You’ll let me stay on campus?” Last he’d heard, his parents were still debating his student housing situation.

Tancorix sighed and set down his papers. “One day you’re going to be High Lord. While your mother despaired about your insular nature at school, I had no such concern, but at university you need to make more of an effort.”

“But I’m a Reagalos.”

“Some days you will find that is not enough.”

Lornyc wrinkled his brow. For years he’d been told his name would get him anything he wanted, even without people knowing he would eventually be the next High Lord. “But it should be.”

“Perhaps it would be better if you were to do the extra year, and to be on campus without the Reagalos name attached. You will be burdened with many things as you get older, consider this the chance of having a modicum of freedom.”

Tancorix had never before suggested he should be allowed to have any fun. College was meant to be studious and fulfilling, so the idea of being allowed any freedom, no matter how small was an opportunity Lornyc wouldn’t squander.

“That sounds a reasonable idea.”

Tancorix tutted. “Now if you don’t mind I need to read these, I suggest you use the time wisely while we wait to hear from the board. I’m sure there are plenty of things you’ll need to think about before you start College, including a suitable surname. Although I do have an idea about that.”

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to do the extra year. His school tutors had seen to his academic education, and his father had made sure his extracurricular activities were broad enough that he wouldn’t bore everyone with his favourite subjects. Not that he ever got the chance. The Reagalos name had made most people wary, and having private quarters at school had meant the other students had kept their distance. He didn’t care about that. His army of cousins had meant there was always someone on hand at the manor during the school holidays, which usually had him desperate to return to school for some solitude by the end of the break.

He dug his book out from the compartment in the coach. The words failed to hold his attention, his mind preferring to dwell on the possibilities College could offer, especially if he were to be on campus and under a different name. He’d heard about what some of the other boys got up to at school, together after dark, not that he’d ever been invited.

But College was different, and if he was lucky he could deal with his lingering virginity. Surely he’d be able to find someone willing to help rid him of his problem. He wasn’t bad-looking, a bit skinny after his last growth spurt perhaps, but nothing too terrible. He returned to his reading, a smile forming as he imagined going to a bar. He glanced over his book, worried his father might know what he was thinking. College was going to be great; whatever happened, he would definitely make the most of it.

Author Bio

REBECCA COHEN spends her days dreaming of a living in a Tudor manor house, or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels. She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.

With contemporaries, historicals, sci fi and fantasy in her back catalogue, there should be something for every taste in Rebecca’s work.

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