Teaser Tuesday – More from Sand-Man’s Family
Hello All! Lots of you enjoyed my teaser last week from my upcoming novella Sand-Man’s Family, Book 3 in the Wild and Precious Series, so I’m back this week with another scene. This one comes a day after Sandy has returned to visit his family after running away 8 months earlier. His mother says she’d like to have a “talk” with him, and, well… you’ll see what happens.
The doorbell rang. Sandy, clean and presentable in khakis and a button-down shirt, opened it to find Father Gilhooly and another man standing on the porch, smiling like used car salesmen.
“Sandy! So good to see you back home again where you belong.”
“Hello, Father.” Sandy backed up to let them in.
“This is Marcus Buchanan.”
Sandy had heard that name. Buchanan was the guy who ran an “ex-gay therapy” program sponsored by the Catholic diocese. Not New Beginnings, but something similar. So Mom had brought in the big guns for her little “talk.” His throat tightened at her betrayal.
Marcus Buchanan was a pudgy middle-aged guy, and his curly hair and tilted eyes gave him a fey appearance. Sandy’s gaydar gave a loud beep. Buchanan stuck out his hand with a smarmy smile. “Hello, Sandy. It’s a blessing to finally meet you.” He seemed to have trouble restraining his gaze from raking over Sandy’s body. Gross.
Sandy reluctantly took his damp hand, letting go as soon as politely possible. “Hello.”
Mom came bustling out, wiping her hands on a dish towel with a distracted air. “Father! Mr. Buchanan! I didn’t hear the bell. Come in, come in. We have tea for you in the living room.”
She led them down the hall with Sandy following, his rage having transformed into blessed numbness. He was done giving a fuck. His parents were never going to change. He’d wait out Mom and her religious henchmen until his posse showed up to rescue him.
Sitting on the couch as the other three chatted, Sandy feigned interest and nodded his head, but he’d flown far away. He kept feeling Jade’s arm around his waist, Jade’s breath on his shoulder, Jade’s lips on his. He saw Uncle Phinney and Cody in his mind, laughing and kissing. He envisioned Portland, home of all that was weird, and now his home, and pulled it toward him, wrapping himself in a tie-dyed rainbow quilt while Father Gilhooly, Marcus Buchanan, and Mom made nice. An imaginary Dare zoomed by on his skateboard, laughing at the fools in Sandy’s living room, Brittany threw back her head and cackled, and Sandy smiled.
Mom must have thought he’d smiled at them, because she smiled back, then turned to the company. “Well, Father. I’m so glad you could come and have this little talk with us. You too, Marcus.”
“It’s my pleasure, Darcy.” Father Gilhooly patted his lips with his napkin. His bald forehead gleamed in the lamplight. “Anything to help your family.”
“Thank you.” Mom cast a glance at Sandy, who stared back at her, betraying nothing with his expression.
Father Gilhooly turned to him with a would-be caring gaze. “So, Sandy. How are you, my son?”
“Fine.” He added, “Sir,” as an afterthought.
“You’ve gone so far away from us. Your parents have been very worried.” His shiny forehead wrinkled with concern. “I know you’ve been struggling with… certain issues, and I want you to know we understand. We’re here to support you. God loves you, son.”
Sandy inclined his head but didn’t reply, and Mom dabbed at her eyes with her napkin.
Picking up his cue, Marcus Buchanan leaned forward, his curls bouncing lightly with the movement. “Sandy, I know where you’re coming from. I’ve been where you are, man.”
Sandy almost barfed at his attempt at youthful language. What a tool.
“I, too, have had lustful urges. Sinful urges toward people of the same sex. But I’ve come to see that it was Satan occupying my mind and my heart.” He placed a hand dramatically on his chest.
Was this guy for real? He was as queer as a three-dollar bill. Father Gilhooly appeared slightly uncomfortable. Guess he didn’t want Marcus B. to get any on him. Sandy affected a thoughtful pose, tilting his head like he was deeply considering the bullshit ol’ Marcus was feeding him.
“Prayer and therapy saved me! It’s true, man.” He held out his left hand so Sandy could see the wedding band gleaming dully, not at all matching the brilliant fervor in Marcus’s eyes. “I’m living proof that God works miracles, if you let Him.”
Mom clasped her hands, Father Gilhooly bowed his head, and Sandy nodded, waiting for the “close,” as they called it in his marketing class.
But before Buchanan could get to the details about his “pray away the gay” center, the front door slammed open, footsteps sounded in the hall, and Uncle Phinney, Cody, and Jade walked in like the Three Gay Musketeers.
When Sandy Nixon’s conservative Catholic parents discover he’s had sex before marriage, they are furious. But when he blurts out he’s bisexual, they go ballistic. After they threaten him with conversion therapy, Sandy does what many queer kids long to do—leaves his homophobic parents in the dust. He moves in with his Uncle Phineas and Phineas’s partner Cody in Portland, Oregon, and is finally safe to be himself. Sandy misses his siblings, though, and decides to visit his former home in Rockford for Thanksgiving. On the train, he runs into Jade Byrne.
As the only out gay kid in their Catholic high school, Jade had stared down homophobes while being fabulous in the school musicals. He’s crushed on Sandy for years. But he’s made sure never to show it, even after they had a one-time hookup, because Sandy’s the good Catholic kid, the altar boy, and the apparently straight athlete—all the things Jade isn’t. Traveling back to Rockford together sees the start of a month of adventures, a blossoming attraction, and a chance for Sandy to learn what it means to have a family that hurts and to choose a family that heals.
Sand-Man’s Family will be released by Dreamspinner this May/June. In the meantime, if you want to check out the first two novellas in the series, here you go:
Wild and Precious Audiobook