Hi everyone! Welcome to The Power of Love Blog Hop! I hope you’re all staying warm and that our Blog Hop is helping you. Read on for some excerpts from Serpentine Walls, my new novel out from Dreamspinners Press, and a chance to win an e-book of any of my other novellas! Details below.
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GIVEAWAY UPDATE: We have our winners! Charley and Erik have won a novella e-book of their choice. Check your e-mails, Charley and Erik. Thanks to everyone for playing and for stopping by on the blog hop.
In Serpentine Walls, my MC Pete goes to a Valentine’s Day party hosted at Matthew’s house. Far from being a typical Valentine’s Day soiree, this one is called a Crushed Hearts party because, let’s face it, we’ve all had our hearts crushed, and doesn’t Valentine’s Day rub it in? Here’s the description of the party:
They entered the house and stopped to survey the scene. Hearts floated in the air throughout the living room, hung on strings attached to the ceiling. Pete took hold of one—it was red on one side, but the other side was black and smattered with what looked like teardrops. Then he noticed all of the hearts had a darker side to them. Some were battered, some crumpled, and some torn in half.
Near the door, Elle was standing by a table, upon which was a stack of index cards and several pens. She was dressed in a ragged but diaphanous gown. Her hair was streaked with green, and she had made herself up so that her face was pale, with dark circles under her eyes.
“Welcome to our Crushed Hearts soiree,” she said in a sepulchral voice.
“Who are you supposed to be?” asked Angie.
Elle answered, her voice now normal, “Mimi in La Boheme. Here.” She pushed the index cards and pens closer. “Write down a memory of a time when your heart was crushed. We’re going to post them on a board, and then later we might do a dramatic reading of them.” She focused on a heart revolving near her, a dreamy expression on her face. “Hmm. Although burning them in a bonfire at the end of the night would be good.”
Pete’s current heart-crushing problem is that he’s attracted to two men, each of whom are at the party, each of whom he can’t fully be with for various reasons. Here’s how Pete is feeling about Matthew and Aidan that night:
Pete watched Matthew go, Aidan’s hand heavy on his neck, a welter of conflicting emotions catching him off-guard. He was still vibrating from the intimacy of the look Matthew had given him when Pete had toasted him, and he didn’t know what to do with it. Matthew made him think of a lighthouse beaming a steady beacon—all he had to do was follow its light and he’d make it back to shore. He didn’t want to consider that, not only because it was another weird metaphor, but because what he felt about Matthew threatened to overwhelm him.
Instead, he concentrated on the altogether different vibration he was getting from Aidan standing so close with his hand on him, like he was claiming him. If Matthew was a lighthouse beacon, then Aidan was a snake charmer, hypnotizing Pete with his spicy smell, the warmth of his big body, the memory of his hands stroking down his chest.
At the end of the night, fickle Aidan has gone off with someone else and perfect Matthew is still so unobtainable, so Pete goes for the third option: friend-with-benefits Jed, who unfortunately doesn’t excite him. Here’s Pete talking to best friend John at the end of the Valentine’s Crushed Hearts party:
“How’re you doing?” John stood next to him.
“Not too good. I think I’m going to leave.”
“Yep. Maybe check in with Jed, see if he’s up for video games.”
“Where’s Aidan?” John asked.
“On the screen porch.”
“Why aren’t you out there with him? Y’all looked pretty tight earlier.”
“Because. He’s out there making out with some other dude. Okay?”
“Oh.” And what made John an awesome friend was that he didn’t say “I told you so.”
He and John fell silent, and Pete stared at Matthew. It was hard to take his eyes off him—he’d lost the cigarette pack from his sleeve, and his T-shirt had ridden up, revealing a strip of pale skin just above his painted-on jeans. Matthew caught his eye and waved. Pete inclined his head and then turned away.
“Yeah,” he said to John. “Like I said, I think I’m gonna split.”
“And go see Jed?”
“For video games.” John raised an eyebrow.
Cleo had joined them in time to hear the last part of their conversation, but she made no comment as she moved in to give Pete another tight hug.
“Two in one night?” Pete asked her. “Are you alright?”
“Hang in there,” was all she said before she walked away, John and Pete following her with their eyes.
“What is Cleo smoking?” Pete asked.
“Nothing. I think she cares about you, that’s all. And she cares for Matthew. She wants you all to get your shit together.”
“Tell that to Matthew, then.” Pete looked at Matthew, cozy on the sofa, chattering with his friends. “I’m going to take my crushed heart and leave now.”
John smiled. Pete did not. He left and texted Jed from the front porch while a badly sung “I Will Survive” floated out of the den window—a fitting soundtrack for the current movie of his life.
Aw, poor Pete. I think we’ve all had times when our hearts are crushed and it looks truly hopeless. But I’m a romance writer, so never fear – Pete gets his happy ending!
To thank you for stopping by my blog, I’m going to give a free e-book of any of my three novellas to two of you lovely people. All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me what you like best about reading gay romance. I’m really curious to know!
Two winners will be chosen at random and announced here on the blog on Monday, February 17th.
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