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Berkley Daze

Brainiac and the Yolo Bro

Written By: U.M. Lassiter
Series: Berkley Daze #1
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Ryan really likes the new guy Tanner—except for when he wants to kill him. High school sophomore Ryan Mi...

“What are you looking at?”

I’d been caught gawking, and my stomach did a little flip-flop.

“Oh, uh, did you notice the vending machines over there?”

Elaine gave a little smile. I was in deep shit.

“What about them?” She glanced over in the direction of the machines against the administration building. Right where that new guy was standing.

“They have Flamin’ Hot Cheetos now,” I said unconvincingly. “The question, again?” Elaine’s smile became a smirk. She paused just long enough to make me really uncomfortable.

“I’m going to ask Daddy for a car when I turn sixteen next month, and wanted to know if I should hold out for something sportier than a Prius.”

“Ask him for a Ferrari!” Thomas blurted. I was grateful for outburst—it diverted Elaine’s attention from my discomfort.

Being a girl, Elaine was of course was the most mature among us. In the last couple of years, she’d developed a nice figure, and I thought she could snag a pretty nice boyfriend if she tried. She had red hair and freckles that I thought were kind of cute, too. When she was younger, she looked just like the character at Wendy’s. These days, she’d gotten contacts and stopped wearing her hair in pigtails and had morphed into an attractive young woman. It sometimes made me wonder why she still hung out with the likes of us. Make no mistake, I was grateful—but it still boggled my mind. It was a long time later I came to realize it was simply because she was kind and loving and didn’t give up on old friends because of new ones.

“Don’t be a dork,” Serge said. “They’re not that rich.”

“Who said we were rich?”

“Are you kidding?” Thomas asked earnestly. “Look at the car her dad drives!”

If Elaine was the most mature, Thomas was the least—physically and emotionally. He was the only fourteen-year-old I knew that still wore pajamas with feet. He had his D&D action figures and he was good to go. His round little face and thick glasses completed the picture. He was always wound-up and interrupting.

“You’re an idiot,” Serge replied. Lanky and tall, at least when he stood up straight, Serge was already shaving every day and could probably pass for a senior. I guess it was his Armenian ancestry.

“I was thinking more like a Lexus,” Elaine said.

“See? What did I tell you?” Thomas retorted.

“Not a new one, stupid. Daddy wouldn’t go for that. Something a couple of years old. Gently used.”

As the discussion went on, my eye was irresistibly drawn back to the new hunk. He was tall and blond and perfect—at least six feet. He was wearing jeans and a plain red t-shirt that showed off his athletic build. He had a thick neck, broad shoulders and thick, vein-covered forearms with just the lightest dusting of blond hair.

And he had guns. The sleeves of his shirt rode up on the most beautifully shaped biceps I’d ever seen (up to that time—sorry, Alex). They were perfectly proportioned, with a broad, sweeping arc that peaked deliciously when he bent his arm. When it straightened out, the vein that ran its length popped dramatically into view.

Below the waist, he was no less beautiful. His slim-cut blue jeans clung to his muscular ass. His pant-legs seemed barely able to contain powerful thighs that were like tightly-wound springs, ready to instantly release massive energy on command. His calves likewise called out a ready willingness to serve their godly master.

Everything seemed to slow down as I beheld this angel incarnate. The chatter and chaos of the schoolyard receded from my consciousness as I watched those powerful, masculine hands put coins in the slot of the soda machine. He withdrew his purchase and straightened up and I drew in a sharp breath as he absent-mindedly reached down with his other hand and adjusted his crotch. Someone—I couldn’t be sure who, as my brain could no longer register the image of anything else—must have spoken to this vision of male beauty, because he turned his head. And then…

He smiled. The vision was suddenly too intense. Had I been standing, I would have fainted dead away. As it was, my head swam and my vision clouded. I was…I was…

“Ryan? Ryan!”

The sights and sounds of the school yard crashed down on me like an avalanche.


Ryan really likes the new guy Tanner—except for when he wants to kill him.
High school sophomore Ryan Miyashi doesn’t know what to think—he’s completely taken with a handsome, strapping transfer student from Texas named Tanner. Ryan is a long way from the self-confidant adult we know from the Growing Lad series. His problem is that despite being a gifted student, he’s painfully shy and he hasn’t told anyone but his brother that he likes boys. Ryan is secretly crushing on Tanner big time, and watching the way Tanner effortlessly makes friends with everyone including gay students ties his heart up in knots. Ryan starts to hope that maybe they have something in common, but Tanner is erratic and moody and is driving Ryan crazy.
The Tanner Effect

Written By: U.M. Lassiter
Series: Berkley Daze #2
Published By: Devine Destinies

When you’re drawn into Typhoon Tanner, hang on tight and hope for the best. Shy, hapless High School Sop...

“Ryan! Your ride is here!”

Dad was calling to me from downstairs. It was Monday morning, I was still fretting over my clothes, and Tanner Cruz was downstairs in his pickup. I was wearing a long-sleeved, light yellow button-down, and a pair of khakis. The blaring of the horn told me I’d run out of time to change my mind.

Looking in the mirror, I saw that the zit on my chin had pretty well run its course, but a new one seemed to be getting started on my cheek, just to the left of my nose. I ran a comb through my hair, trying to smooth down my bed-head, picked up my back-pack, took a deep breath and started downstairs.

Hurrying down the stairs, I checked my pockets. House key? Check. Wallet? Check. Phone? Check. Obnoxious idiot jock, laying on the horn? Double-check.

Which brings me to the subject of Tanner Cruz. Tanner was an absolute stud-muffin. Seventeen, a junior, a little over six-feet, he was a blond-haired, blue-eyed, ripped-to-shreds one-hundred-eighty-pound walking wet dream. And he seemed to like me.

So, what’s the problem, right? For starters, I was an immature, hopelessly shy, nerdy fifteen-year-old sophomore. What’s more, I was still way in the closet. Aside from my brother Arnie, Tanner was the only one who knew.

As you might imagine, it made me a little panicky whenever he hovered around me at school. I finally relented and agreed to let him drive me to school.

I darted through the kitchen, grabbed my sack lunch, and headed through the living room to the front entry hall.

“G’bye!” I shouted as I went out the front door. I heard muffled replies from other parts of the house. Heading down the walk, I saw Tanner turn and flash his megawatt smile through the passenger window of the truck.

“Hey, bud,” he said in his Texas twang as I pulled open the door.

“Hey, Tanner.”

As I climbed in, he turned down the shit-kicker station he had on the radio. And yes, there are shit-kicker stations in the Bay Area.

“Nice shirt,” he said. My stomach did a little flip-flop.


“Buckle up,” he said, way too cheerfully.

Tanner turned the radio back up and tapped his fingers on the wheel in time to the music. He was wearing his usual outfit—boot-cut jeans over his cowboy boots and a designer t-shirt. Today it was Holliston, and I tried to keep from staring at his magnificent biceps and the way they bounced and twitched as he drove. He left his t-shirts untucked, and every time he’d make a turn, I’d be rewarded with a peek of skin just above the waist. Occasionally, he’d look over and catch me staring and instantly flash all two thousand teeth. Flip-flop.

Nothing more was said until we pulled into a space in the school lot. Tanner turned off the engine, twisted in my direction and placed his long arm on the seat-back behind me.


“I been thinkin’,” he said.


Tanner grinned and playfully squeezed the back of my neck with his big hand.

“You’re funny,” he said. “But seriously, I was thinking about how I might be making you a little uncomfortable.”

This was stunning—Tanner was actually considering the feelings of someone else.

“What do you mean?”

“C’mon, Ry-Ry, I know how hard it was for you to let me drive you to school.”

“No, it wasn’t…”

Tanner cocked his head and gave me a serious look.

“Okay, it was,” I admitted. Damn those baby-blues.

“Like I said, I was thinking,” he continued, “until you’re ready, why don’t we tell everyone that you’re tutoring this big, dumb jock? That shouldn’t be hard for people to believe, you being like this mega-genius and all.”

I had to think about that for a moment—this was much cleverer than anything I’d expected from Tanner. He cocked his head one more time and fluttered his eyelashes, and before I could stop myself, it just slipped out.

“Okay,” I said.

No, no, no. This wouldn’t do. I had to stay away from this guy. Get ahold of yourself, Ryan. Think!

“Except,” I began. Tanner furrowed his brow. “You have to stop bugging me at school.”

Tanner turned away for a moment and pursed his lips, obviously straining what few brain cells he had.

“And you’ll let me keep driving you to school every day?” More eyelash fluttering.



Tanner turned to get out of the truck, but before he did, he reached down patted my knee, his smile getting even more impossibly brilliant.



When you’re drawn into Typhoon Tanner, hang on tight and hope for the best.
Shy, hapless High School Sophomore Ryan Miyashi seems to be caught in the orbit of a true force of nature—his new boyfriend, Tanner Cruz. It seems that wherever Tanner goes, tumult and good-natured chaos follow and Ryan is pulled along for the ride, yet Tanner always seems to come up smelling like a rose. Despite the trouble that the pair get into, Ryan is starting to realize that maybe he’s just a little better off with a bit more spontaneity in his life—even if it does involve the occasional night in jail or getting thrown out of bars. There is something unusual about the hunky, charismatic jock, but until Ryan can figure it out, he simply calls it the Tanner Effect. What’s the worst that could happen?
The Summer of Our Disconnect

Written By: U.M. Lassiter
Series: Berkley Daze #3
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Nerdy Ryan Miyashi’s life has been turned upside down by the reckless and erratic jock Tanner Cruz, but now...

Tanner produced a trash bag from out of his back pack and we collected up the remnants of our targets and the spent shell casings.

“What about all the other shells?” I asked.

“What are you, some kind of Boy Scout?”

“Well, no, but I just thought…”

“Look around! We’d be here for two days,” Tanner said. “We’re already doing more than most people.”

“I see your point.”

We took our refuse and returned to the truck. Tanner tossed the trash bag in the back of the truck and then stowed the guns. We were about to leave when Tanner said “uh-oh,” pulled me close to him and started exploring the inside of my mouth with his tongue. While slightly stunned by this sudden show of passion, I decided that there was no point in resisting. That’s when I heard the other vehicle pull up.

I opened my eye to see mint-green Forest Service truck pull up in front of us with a disgusted-looking expression on the face of the driver that was kind of like what you’d expect to see on a teenager accidently walking in on his parents fucking like bunnies.

Nonetheless, the ranger got out of his truck, walked over and tapped on Tanner’s window. Tanner broke our lip-lock, turned around and made a big show of being surprised. He rolled down the window and smiled broadly.

“Howdy, sheriff!” he said brightly. “Shore is beautiful out here, isn’t it?”

“I’m with the Forest Service, sir,” he said. “I’m not the sheriff.”

Tanner did his best Gomer Pyle. He looked over at the green truck with the Forest Service emblem and his eyes got wide.

“Why, you must be a forest ranger!” he said with just the right tinge of awe in his voice. I was trying to sink through the floor of the truck.

“Yes, sir,” the ranger said. If Tanner was Gomer Pyle, the ranger was now Joe Friday. “May I ask what you gentlemen are doing?”

Tanner looked down at the floor bashfully, but his smile never waned. “Shucks,” he said. “We were just lookin’ for a little privacy. We were comin’ back from the shootin’ range, and it was such a beautiful day, we thought we’d take the scenic route.” Tanner took my hand and turned toward me. “Shootin’ irons always make me a little… frisky.”

I wanted to die. Tanner leaned in toward the ranger conspiratorially.

“Don’t worry officer—we were just parking. We weren’t gonna go… all the way.”

Tanner winked at the officer, and I think I briefly lost consciousness.

“It’s ranger sir. I need to remind you that you need a recreational day pass for any activity within the national forest.” He looked over at me. “Any activity.”

“Oh, gosh,” Tanner said. “We musta missed a sign or something! We’d better get moving…”

“And I’d like to remind you that the discharge of firearms within the national forest is strictly prohibited.”

“Perish the thought!” Tanner said earnestly. “You won’t find one single shell out there that belongs to us.” I was sure we were headed for jail. Again.

Instead, the ranger stared at us for a couple of seconds before he spoke again.

“You gentlemen should probably move along,” he said.

“Oh, yes officer!” Tanner said heartily as he started the truck.

“Drive safely.”

Tanner put the truck in gear and carefully pulled away and back down the gravel track to the road. He signaled, looked both ways extra-carefully and started back down the hill. I sat stock still until we were safely out of reach of law enforcement

“You shithead!” I erupted, and started wailing in Tanner with my fists. “Idiot! Jackass! Moron!” I emphasized each epithet with one of the blows that Tanner taught me.

“Hey, Watch it!” The truck weaved back and forth across the yellow line as Tanner expertly fended off my attack. I got in a couple of good licks before he reached over and pinned me against the seat with one of his gorilla arms.

“You wanna get us killed?” he asked as he straightened out the truck on the winding road.

“Why didn’t you tell me what we were doing was against the law,” I seethed.

“Well, then you wouldn’t have come. Duh!”



Nerdy Ryan Miyashi’s life has been turned upside down by the reckless and erratic jock Tanner Cruz, but now that he’s accepted that they’re boyfriends and have started dating, you’d think that with the summer started, things would settle back into Ryan’s preferred and predictable rut. You’d be wrong.

Things finally seem to be working out for gifted high-schooler Ryan Miyashi. He came out to his friends and family earlier in the year and they’re okay with it. In the fall, he’ll be starting at Cal State Berkeley at the tender age of sixteen, and he’ll be starting graduate-level summer classes at Cal in another week or so. Best of all, he’s settling into his first relationship. Tanner Cruz’ outsized ego and cowboy personality used to turn off Ryan, but now that he knows Tanner’s secret and seen the kindness the big lug is capable of, their love has started to blossom. As they get to know each other and their families, Ryan and Tanner really start to connect—until Tanner’s hidden past and Ryan’s inability to deal with the fallout threaten to pull them apart.
Secrets Kept, Promises Broken

Written By: U.M. Lassiter
Series: Berkley Daze #4
Published By: Extasy Books

Nerdy Ryan Miyashi has just had his first romance and his first break-up, and he’s an emotional wreck. His h...
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Nerdy Ryan Miyashi has just had his first romance and his first break-up, and he’s an emotional wreck. His hunky boyfriend Tanner has shut him out. Is it his fault? Everyone seems to have advice for the gifted young scholar—his brother, his parents, but most especially another handsome young man named Elliot Camden.
Nerdy Ryan Miyashi is about to start college at Cal State Berkeley at the tender age of sixteen. This should be an exciting and happy time for the bright young man, especially since his first boyfriend, Tanner Cruz, is a total hunk, even if he’s a bit self-centered. Things were going great until Ryan accidently lets it slip to Tanner’s dad that Tanner’s childhood seizures have started to reoccur, costing the promising young athlete his chance at a football scholarship. Almost faster than it started, Ryan’s first romance is over. Or is it? At the same time, another handsome young man seems to be especially friendly…