Tag Archives: PTSD

Blog Tour: Just Like Heaven by T.L. Bradford

Just Like Heaven | T.L. Bradford

BLOG TOUR BANNER.jpg

Cover Artist: Photo by Neospot, design by T.L. Bradford

Release Date: September 4, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 181,000 words/ 479 pages

It is a standalone book.

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add on Goodreads

47108161._SY475_.jpg

Blurb

What do you covet?

Noah Sinclair
Noah Sinclair is best described as an egotistical, pompous, anal-retentive, asshat. And those are his better qualities. Lately, Noah has lost touch with his playboy character “Jace” on the show Americana and can’t quite put his finger on why. The studio decides it is time to shake up his character by making him an offer he can’t refuse, literally. They will introduce a new love interest for his character “Jace.” Only this time, there’s a twist.

Josh Hill
Josh Hill is up a creek and sinking fast. He’s got no job, no money, no credit and is about to be kicked out of his apartment. Opportunity comes in the form of a job offer from the show Americana. Everything should be perfect; only there is one hitch. He will be the new love interest for Noah Sinclair’s character on the beloved show.

So, opposites are supposed to attract, right? Not so fast. No one said life was that easy. Both actors find themselves in untested waters. Will they be able to play a same-sex couple with no prior experience authentically? Well, they say practice makes perfect.

Carefree, fun-loving Josh and uptight, overbearing Noah, realize they need to make the best of their bad situation and are forced to find common ground. Over time, their roles in each other’s lives become blurred. Is their attraction fake, or is it real? To top it off, Noah has a dark skeleton in his closet that can prevent them from ever moving forward.

Can they get on the same page and save both of their careers and their relationship?

Or will they end up yesterday’s tabloid fodder?

 BLURB.jpg

Excerpt

Chapter 1

It’s been almost 10 minutes. Five to go. Fuck.

I have no clue what this meeting is about, and I am not in the mood to be dealing with Steph and Genie’s crap today. Some random stagehand just came back here to let me know my attendance was required. I try to think back and wonder if I personally offended anybody yet today. Hmm… Nope. Not today, anyway.

Four minutes.

Steph and Genie are the producers for the show I star on called Americana. It’s a newer concept in programming. The show streams daily on Netflix as an evening drama. Small town life under a microscope is the idea. It’s a modern-day spin on a soap opera really, but there is no way on earth I am admitting to working on a soap opera. The show itself is heavily ingrained in social media where the characters have taken on a life all their own. It’s been almost two years now since they cast me, and the show has been live.

Three minutes.

I graduated from college several years ago. After that, I spent a couple of years bartending and serving. With good parts so scarce, I was lucky to get this opportunity. The show has been a ratings winner, and the entire cast is becoming well known.

What drew me to the part was its unique take on the dissection of America and how different communities have changed over time. Our show takes place in America’s heartland. It focuses on the lives and loves of the residents of Greenfield, Indiana.

My character, Jace, is the town barkeeper. He was a great role to play early on because he had a lot of interaction with the main cast. Lately, though, something has changed, and I’m not feeling in touch with the character as much as I once did. It’s showing in my performance, so I’m sure that’s what this meeting is about.

Two minutes.

I’ll bet it has to do with me flubbing lines lately. I haven’t been able to focus, and it looks like they have noticed. My part is getting reduced to nothing. Maybe this is the kick in the pants I need to move on. Ash, one of my castmates on the show, mentioned that they are having open auditions for a new show on FOX. Who knows, it may work out for a season or two. The only thing is that FOX has a bad reputation for short-term junky shows.

One minute.

Maybe they aren’t going to renew my contract. Oh god. I’m being sacked. I can see it now. Gah, I’m already planning my pity party table for one.

I reluctantly get up from my chair, padding out of the room, trying hard not to make eye contact with anyone. I arrive at the end of the hall and hold my hand on the doorknob. “Okay here it goes,” I say to no one in particular.

I enter the room and see Genie and Steph seated across from each other around a large square glass table. Steph is probably in his early 40s, (never can tell for sure in Hollywood), smallish frame with short sandy brown hair, mischievous eyes and a car salesman smile. He is kicking back with his half-eaten Subway sandwich hanging out of his mouth.

Genie looks up to see me. She has her requisite Starbucks Spiced Vanilla Chai Latte and is eating some salad that looks unhealthier than Steph’s meatball sub. “Noah, right on time, per usual.”

“Hey, guys.” I’m hoping to keep good vibes flowing.

Steph says, “Come on in and take a seat. Shut the door behind you.”

Oh boy, that doesn’t sound good. I move toward the desk, taking a chair next to the window, moving it in close next to Genie. The smell of the eggs on her salad is strong. Steph takes a napkin to his lips to wipe the marinara sauce off and starts talking.

“Noah, you’ve been here for over a year, right?”

“Uh, yeah, almost two years next month.”

“So, you’re up for contract negotiations then, right?”

“Yeah, I haven’t talked with my agent about it yet.”

“Well, that is what Genie and I would like to discuss.”

I swear the smell of the eggs is getting stronger. It is permeating the entire atmosphere.

“You know we get the daily stats on the show’s overall performance and having talked; we decided we are going to have to make some changes.”

It’s coming. I feel it. With the show being purely streaming, it is easy for the showrunners to pull up all types of analytics on the show, like what age group is watching, and income bracket. Annoyingly, they can also track what parts of the show are being watched and skipped over. A favorite character will have higher click averages than a third-tier one. With my part being scaled back so much, I’m fairly sure my numbers are in the gutter. For sure I’m getting the boot. I start sweating.

Genie jumps in and says, “Your numbers have been pretty consistent, but not growing at the pace we would like to see.” All I can smell now is the nauseating stench of eggs. I am going to puke. Right here. Right now. Right on their fancy $3000 glass table.

Genie looks at me with concern in her eyes. “Are you okay? You don’t look so hot. Would you like a glass of water?” She jumps up from the table to grab me a glass. Her dark hair is nearly falling out of the messy bun at the back of her head.

“Yeah, that would be great.” She comes back and sets the glass down in front of me. I pick it up and drink slowly. My throat is constricted, and I nearly choke. She is still concerned and looks over to Steph. She pushes her black-framed glasses up on her nose and turns back to me.

Sensing my stress, she quickly says, “We are thinking of taking your character into a new direction.”

“A new direction? Okay, what were you guys thinking about?”

Steph says, “We’ve done some marketing research and have found some niches that we think will work well for our show.” He crams in another mouthful of sub.

Ever the tag team, Genie says, “It’s a direction that may be more challenging, but we think given your range that you would best be able to play the role.”

“What’s the direction you were thinking?”

She looks over to Steph, then back at me. “Your character, Jace Alexander will enter into a relationship with a new character, named Max.”

“Max? Well, what is Maxine’s backstory?” I let out a huge breath. They had me there for a minute.

“It’s just Max, not Maxine. Specifically, Max Shephard,” Steph says.

Slowly my head starts to wrap around what they are saying. “So, wait, Max is a guy?”

“Yep,” they say in unison.

“You made him gay?”

“Look, Noah, I know this is a real shock, but think of it this way. You will have a unique storyline, and it will get people back into your character again,” says Steph. “It’s been what, a year now since Jace broke up with Gracie? The character has just been drifting, and we need to get that viewership back.”

“Are you kidding me? How the hell am I supposed to play gay? This is so far out of my league. I—”

“I’m going to be honest with you,” Steph says, finally having put this sub down. “Genie and I had to go to bat for you to keep you on the show. They were ready to cut you. We pulled this idea out that we had a little while ago and they went for it. So basically, you stay on the show on the condition that you accept this storyline. Otherwise, they are releasing you at the end of your contract.”

I sit back in my chair, dumbstruck. I look between the two of them and see there is no way out. I have no words.

Genie says, “I know you feel blindsided and I don’t blame you for being upset but think about this rationally. This is the opportunity you have been waiting for. A chance to stretch your acting skills.”

“Yeah, but…”

Then she pulls forward in her chair, she grabs my hand and looks me in the eye. “You don’t have to answer right now. Think about it over the weekend, and we can all talk about it again on Monday.”

I don’t say a word, still unmoving and dazed.

“We have an audition video for the actor we have in mind. Why don’t you take this copy and see if you think you can make this work?”

Wordlessly, I take the flash drive and get up to leave. I go back to my dressing room and finally lose the contents of my stomach.

About the Author

T.L. always hated math, so it was a good thing she had a way with words. Since she was a shy and quirky kid; words were her best friends. She would imagine entire worlds in her head and talk to herself endlessly. Her mother wondered if she was speaking with ghosts for a while.

Her older sister was a voracious reader of trashy romance novels and would pass them down to her after she had finished them. T.L. was the only 10-year-old kid sitting in class reading “The Stud” by Jackie Collins during reading time. Oddly enough, she never got called out on it.

As she grew older, her tastes evolved, but one thing held fast; her undying attachment to love stories. One day out of the blue, she decided to write the love stories she always wanted to read instead of searching for her story. Since then, writing has been a dream fulfilled for her and she could not be happier.

She enjoys writing about love, regardless of gender and is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ community.

T.L. calls the Pacific Northwest her home and enjoys the quiet rural life of her little oceanside home with her playful/crazy husband and their giant dog Noah.

Social Media

Blog/Website

Twitter

Instagram

Newsletter Sign-up: On my homepage

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

Book Blast: Complementary Colors by Adrienne Wilder

Complementary Colors | Adrienne Wilder

Cover Artist: Adrienne Wilder

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 362 pages

It is a standalone story.

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add on Goodreads

51aICi8HBsL._SY346_.jpg

Blurb

My sister Julia manipulated my life into a prison to keep me silent about our dirty family secret. Her greed made me a slave and circumstance left me with no way to escape.

Trapped, the only way I could silence the nightmares driving me to insanity was to wrap them in color, hold them with shadow, and stitch them to negative space with line.

But no matter how bright the pigments, no one could see my confession.

Except for Roy Callahan.

I thought he was just another nameless one-night stand in a long line of many.

But I was wrong. Roy could see past the façade of my life and through the veil color over the canvas. He could see what the world couldn’t.

And with him I’d find the courage to tell the truth about the boy.

The boy who kissed me.

The boy who loved me.

The boy whose name I couldn’t remember.

61283823_2030506420409826_6509930815864963072_n.jpg

Excerpt

Chapter One

I knew he didn’t belong the moment I saw him.

He wasn’t cut by money or shaped by political interests, and the rental he wore was a bad joke in the ocean of Versace suits and Chanel ball gowns, fitting him tight across the shoulders and short in the arms. A belt held up his pants, and the waves of extra fabric did nothing to accentuate the ass I knew was just as perfect as the rest of him.

I drank my champagne while the stranger picked his way through the clumps of people gathered in front of the hideous paintings I had on display.

“Paris, darling, Mr. Darcy was asking you about one of your works.” Julia put her hand on my arm. I ignored my sister and Mr. Darcy. Whatever it was he wanted to say to me, I’d heard it before; Mind-blowing, so unique, see the passion, the fire, and my favorite, it speaks to me.

Bullshit.

Only one person could see the dirty secret hidden within the lines, the color, the violence.

Me.

I handed Julia my empty glass.

She tightened her grip on my arm. “These people came a long way to meet you.”

They always came a long way to meet me. Even if it was a block away.

“Bathroom,” I said. Julia frowned. I think she knew I was lying but didn’t want to call me out on it in front of her friends. I peeled away her fingers. “If you don’t mind, of course.” I slipped into the crowd.

Julia would give Mr. Darcy and his flavor-of-the-year wife some excuse on my behalf. Then she’d slay them with her silver tongue, and by the end of the night, they’d write a check for some ungodly amount and buy a piece of hell I’d spewed out into the world.

They’d hang it in their country home or put it in their yacht. They’d smile and laugh and remain deaf to the confession screaming to be told.

Heat from the track lighting pressed down on my shoulders. Greetings cast out by guests floated in shades of black and gray.

I followed the stranger’s trail of color all the way to the back of the gallery. He disappeared around a partition and through a door. I checked to see if anyone was watching before I went in.

Cold fluorescents replaced track lighting, and the hum of the ventilation system snuffed out a burst of laughter. There were only two doors in the maintenance hall, besides the one that shut behind me.

A deep mechanical sound chugged from behind the one left open. I slipped inside and turned the knob so I could control the catch.

The man crouched beside an opening in one of the large metal units. Even on his knees, I could tell he was about my height, but his shoulders were wide, and his limbs were thick.

I hoped that trait didn’t stop at his legs and arms.

After a few minutes, he seemed satisfied and replaced the panel. When he stood, I had a brief glimpse of the curve of his ass when his slacks tightened.

He turned and dropped the tools he held. His hip hit the metal hull of the unit, and it boomed.

“Jesus Christ. You scared the shit out of me.”

A five o’clock shadow dusted his jaw, hardening his features enough to make him look dangerous. And there was already no doubt left in my mind that he could kill me if he wanted to.

He wiped his hands with a rag from his pocket. Scars crossed the knuckles of his callused fingers. The thought of his rough grip on my body left me hard.

“I replaced the coil.” The sound of his voice wrapped me in red and tied me up with gold. “That should relieve some of the strain on the unit. It’s pretty old, though.” He put his tools into a toolbox. “You might want to consider replacing it.”

I engaged the lock on the door.

He followed me with his eyes as I made a half circle around him. His physical appearance didn’t make him alluring. It was how he carried himself. Like a man who was one with the world and not above it. I grazed a look up and down his body.

“I’ll send you a bill.” He reached for his toolbox.

I got in the way, trapping him against the air-conditioning unit.

“Is there something else you ne—” He cleared his throat. “Need?”

“Are you afraid of me?”

He pulled himself to his full height. “Do I have a reason to be?”

“That depends.”

“On what?”

“On how much the idea of fucking me appeals to you.”

TAGLINE 2.jpg

About the Author

I am a writer of contemporary and speculative fiction and artist of all things monster. I live to create new worlds and the people in them. Several of my books have been best sellers both nationally and internationally. I have also been a finalist in the LAMDA awards, the “Oscars” of gay literary works.

I do my best to write original stories with powerful characters and emotion as well as a fast-paced plot. My goal isn’t just to deliver a good story but to take the reader into the story and let them experience the characters as if they are right there with them.

While almost all my books have a romantic element, I will be the first to admit, they are not traditional romance. In fact, I’d like to think there is nothing traditional about them. And the stories I paint are done so way outside the lines of traditional genres.

One of my favorite things to do as a writer is push the boundaries of what makes a story and to deliver the unexpected and maybe even change the perspective of the reader.

My characters are more often than not, beautifully flawed, not always the good guy, and make mistakes. Their stories will take dark turns which, in the end, make the light at the end of the tunnel all the brighter.

If you’re looking for something different, exciting, and unique, my books are for you.

Check out my website for updates and how to contact me. I love hearing from fans.

Social Media

Blog/Website | Facebook | Facebook group | Twitter

Newsletter Sign-up | Patreon | Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win:

1 x print copy of Complementary Colors to a US winner

2 x e book copies of Complementary Colors

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other blog posts and reviews here

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

➜ Sign up to become a tour host here

61702582_1107340009474069_7695239681008467968_n.jpg

 

Review Tour: Room For One More by Ari McKay

Room For One More | Ari McKay

Herc’s Mercs #8

RTBanner-30.jpg

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Universal Link

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Length: 80,000 words approx.

READ MY REVIEW

RFOMcover.jpg

Blurb

Love may not be pie, but when it comes to your lover, sharing isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

When Joe Morrissey returns home, heartsick and traumatized by his latest mission, the last thing he expects is to find his partner and lover, Brian Finnegan, has fallen for someone else.

Even though Joe knows Finn has never been a one-man man, he has difficulty accepting Drew Martin’s place in Finn’s life — and especially in his heart. But when Finn is kidnapped by criminals seeking revenge on Joe, he’s forced to pair up with his rival to make sure Finn is kept safe.

Joe has no choice but to face his deepest issues, not only about Drew, but also about his own past that has come back to haunt him. Doubt and pain are tearing Joe apart…

Can Drew help put him back together, or does Finn risk losing both of the men he loves forever?

Trigger warnings: This book deals with PTSD and human trafficking. There are mentions of sexual and physical abuse, kidnapping, and child abuse (NOT GRAPHICALLY DEPICTED).

Herc’s Mercs Series

The Bigger They Come (Book #1) – Universal Link

Line In The Sand (Book #2) – Universal Link

Bloody But Unbowed (Book #3) – Universal Link

Once A Hero (Book #4) – Universal Link

The Harder They Fall (Book #5) – Universal Link

Where Angels Fear To Tread (Book #6) – Universal Link

No Pain, No Gain (Book #7) – Universal Link

Review Tour Schedule

TourGraphic-26

Copy of Logo.jpg

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure.

Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge-watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full-time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

Social Media

Facebook

Twitter

Website


Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

Release Blitz: Room For One More by Ari McKay

Room For One More | Ari McKay

Herc’s Mercs #8

RBBanner-24

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Universal Link

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Length: 80,000 words approx.

RFOMcover.jpg

Blurb

Love may not be pie, but when it comes to your lover, sharing isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

When Joe Morrissey returns home, heartsick and traumatized by his latest mission, the last thing he expects is to find his partner and lover, Brian Finnegan, has fallen for someone else.

Even though Joe knows Finn has never been a one-man man, he has difficulty accepting Drew Martin’s place in Finn’s life — and especially in his heart. But when Finn is kidnapped by criminals seeking revenge on Joe, he’s forced to pair up with his rival to make sure Finn is kept safe.

Joe has no choice but to face his deepest issues, not only about Drew, but also about his own past that has come back to haunt him. Doubt and pain are tearing Joe apart…

Can Drew help put him back together, or does Finn risk losing both of the men he loves forever?

Trigger warnings: This book deals with PTSD and human trafficking. There are mentions of sexual and physical abuse, kidnapping, and child abuse (NOT GRAPHICALLY DEPICTED).

Herc’s Mercs Series

The Bigger They Come (Book #1) – Universal Link

Line In The Sand (Book #2) – Universal Link

Bloody But Unbowed (Book #3) – Universal Link

Once A Hero (Book #4) – Universal Link

The Harder They Fall (Book #5) – Universal Link

Where Angels Fear To Tread (Book #6) – Universal Link

No Pain, No Gain (Book #7) – Universal Link

Copy of Logo.jpg

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure.

Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge-watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full-time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

Social Media

Facebook

Twitter

Website


Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

And three makes it perfect in this latest Herc’s Mercs romance

herc8.jpegRoom For One More by Ari McKay

My rating: 5 out of 5

It’s been a while but Ari McKay finally takes us back to the guys at Herc’s Mercs with this exploration about how sometimes we don’t always know what we need until the moment it falls in front of us.

For Finn being just two with Joe wasn’t where he saw his life long term even though he was in love with him.

Unfortunately for Joe, Finn was it and while he was willing to put up with the love of his life have occasional one-off flings, he wasn’t at all prepared for Finn to fall in love with someone else as well.

This book could have been over the top angsty but it wasn’t. It realistically examined the complications when a relationship is struggling to adapt and change. That it was tied in to a mission overseas dealing in human trafficking provided the necessary impetus for Joe’s feelings towards Drew to change as he drew strength from the older man while dealing with his own internalised traumas.

For me, this expansion of two into three really was room for one more, they didn’t change, they expanded to encompass three because each one really did need the other two, including Joe.

I never felt like it wasn’t 100% his decision and his own emotional connection to Drew which drove him into being willing to start again with them as a three. That the cover reflects this with a photo of Instagram throuple Nick, Leo and Joe, is just the icing on the cake.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Complex and beautifully phrased romance

grounded-t-kostova-customdesign-jayaheer2016-smallpreviewGrounded by Teodora Kostova

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Teodora Kostova has an incredible talent for putting you into the heads of her characters and making you feel all their emotions.

She also manages to pass a subtle commentary on just how we treat our military veterans, home and abroad, and also on the futility of a war that no one can remember the justification for.

Greg’s experiences as an RAF pilot are expertly drawn out, placing the reader in the heat and destruction of the conflict in Afghanistan. We also live through the emotionally draining effects of being the one left at home.

With so many family members and friends in the various branches of the UK’s military, I could relate to this a lot. It’s an ordeal being the person serving’s rock, especially when dealing with crises of your own.

I think it was perhaps a tad overlong, Shane’s many moments of introspection could have been reduced a bit but, overall, there was so much other excellent story building, I let it ride.

I preferred this to Cookies in the end, but it was a close call. Greg and Shane just shaded it with the super cute epilogue.

View all my Goodreads reviews

New Release Blitz: Scarred by Mia Kerick

Scarred | Mia Kerick

Scarred Banner.png

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 31, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 68,500

Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, PTSD, dissociative disorder, stalking, kidnapping, homophobia, family issues

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Add to Goodreads

Scarred-f500.jpg

Synopsis

Even in paradise, beautiful faces can hide scarred souls.

ONE tropical island.

Placida Island’s gentle ocean breezes and rolling surf beckon to those who wish to reside in remote tropical serenity.

TWO men living in self-imposed exile.

Wearing twisted ropes of mutilated skin on his back and carrying devastating damage in his soul from severe childhood abuse, Matthew North lives alone in a rustic cabin on the shore, avoiding human contact.

~

Gender fluidity his perceived “crime” against family and friends, Vedie Wilson flees his childhood home so he can freely express his identity.

THREE persecutors seeking their warped view of justice.

Vedie’s past refuses to stay in the faraway city he left behind when family members, intent on forcing him to change, threaten the precious peace he’s found.

TOO MANY scars to count.

Their beautiful faces masking deeply scarred souls, Matt and Vedie live in hiding from the world and each other.

Can they unite and embrace each other’s painful pasts, leaving the scars behind, to find love?

Excerpt

Vedie

By ten, I’m sweaty as a deckhand from bussing tables on the beach, and I’m sorely in need of a brew or six. But seeing as I’ve got no cash to burn, I’m gonna have to leave my coworkers—who’re revving up over by the tiki bar—to their night of hard partying. I grab my leopard-print backpack from the hook on the back wall of the bar and head to the men’s room to turn into the other me.

And just as I figured, Joey’s waiting on me there. “You gonna come party with us tonight, sweet Vedie?”

“No can do, Joey, much as I want to.” Safe inside a stall, I pull off my sweaty green The Only Tiki Hut on Placida Island work T-shirt. As soon as I replace it with a dark red, stretchy lace off-the-shoulder number, I can breathe easy. Next, I strip off my khaki shorts and yank on my favorite black velvet pair. Even though I’ve gotta ride my bike home, I kick my high-tops into my backpack and slide on a pair of jeweled flip-flops. After taking a quick piss, I head out of the stall and plant my ass in front of the mirror beside Joey, who’s standing there like he’s got nothing better to do than count the drips of water leaking from the faucet.

“Lookin’ good, pretty Miss Vedie…mmmhmm…”

No matter if I’m dressed like a dude or a lady, Joey always stares at me like I’m a juicy bowl of strawberry shortcake—he licks his lips, and I know he wants to take himself a nice big bite of a flavor he can’t get at home. Then he slaps his hand hard against my thigh, and creepy-slow, it climbs my leg. It’s headed for my ass cheek, or my name ain’t Vedie Wilson.

“Hands out of the cookie jar, Joey, my man.” I don’t appreciate it when any dude gropes me without asking for permission first. But the sad truth is I’m never gonna want Joey’s hands on me. While he gawks, I pull a shimmery hairband out of my bag and wrap it around my head to hold the damp dreads off my face. “Got yourself a sweet tooth, looks like, Joey. You’d be wise to get your ass home to your sweet wife, not that you asked me for no words of wisdom.”

“Not gonna even think about goin’ home ’til I had me some fun,” Joey replies, jamming his hand in his pocket—probably to keep it from curving around my ass.

When I bend to rinse the sweat off my face, he stays quiet and doesn’t goose me. Maybe this time he heard what I told him about getting his ass home to Mrs. Joey. But more likely he’s checking out my butt.

“Baybeee…uh-huh…mmmhmm…nice ass you got there in them sweet little shorts…”

I sigh real loud, “I’ve got some shit to do here, big dawg, so if that’s all you wanted.” The only way to get this guy to take a hike is to tell him point-blank that he’s gotta head on out. “Catch ya on the flip side.”

He leans in so close his scratchy beard brushes my neck, and I shiver in the bad way. He takes a deep sniff—I guess he likes the smell of sweaty dude—and then finally bails. And right about now, I sorely wish the tiki hut restaurant had one of those one-person anything goes restrooms—for a dude, a lady, or whoever you feel like at the moment—but at least now I’m finally alone in the men’s room.

I pull out my makeup bag and quickly powder my nose so it doesn’t shine in the moonlight, and I glide a deep shade of maroon over my lips. But I take the time to be an artist with my eyeliner and mascara because I figure eyes oughta say something.

When I look good enough that I’d wanna do me if I got hot for ladies, I figure I’m looking good enough for public viewing. And my new perfume smells like the freedom I’ve got down here on Placida Island—coconuts and wildflowers and the ocean and honey. I spray it on heavy all over my neck and chest.

As I saunter out of the men’s room, I don’t miss that it’s funny how I went in here looking all-dude, but coming out, you could mistake me for a lady. Ha! More like a red-hot, sexy mama—smooth and silky everywhere except for the four-day beard.

I’m a guy, though, even when I’m dressed this fine. And in my opinion—not that anybody gives two shits what I think—the combo of smooth legs and a stubbly chin says, in your face, assholes! I don’t have to choose how I show myself to the world anymore.

Meet the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another at a dance conservatory, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school.

She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to NineStar Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com or visit to see what is going on in Mia’s world.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

« Older Entries