New Release – Seeking Warmth

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“Seeking Warmth” is live everywhere!

Four years ago, I did a holiday blog hop.  The rules were to write a flash fiction with a winter holiday theme and a bad boy character. There was a black and white photo of two young men embracing in what looked like a gift shop.

I wrote about two thousand words and posted it on my blog, but I knew that someday I’d want to expand it. At some point in the past few years, I did start to expand it, so when I got the itch to write a holiday story, I knew I had something solid to start with. In the end, it came in around twenty thousand words, which makes for a perfect short story length.

I really loved telling Benny’s story and I hope you enjoy it too.

Title: Seeking Warmth

Summary:

Benny Fuller is on his way to rock bottom. He’s seventeen, fresh out of juvie, homeless, and desperate to find a job.  His dad’s in jail and his drug-addicted mom is in no shape to take care of his sick sister, Angel. A run-in with his ex-boyfriend, Scott Sullivan, makes Benny feel even worse. He’s a thief with no future. Scott is smart, with plans for college and a great future ahead of him. Benny knows Scott can do so much better than him. Because no matter how hard Benny tries, he can’t seem to find a job or a way to take care of Angel.

The further Benny falls, the more he needs Scott’s help. Benny will have to let go of his pride and trust Scott and the Sullivan family in order to get the Christmas miracle Benny and Angel so desperately need.

Reader Advisory: This is an older (15+) YA story with themes of homelessness, drug use and prostitution (off-page), neglect of minors, and foster care.

Excerpt:

People hurried past Benny Fuller without seeing him. They were bundled up warmly against the snow, clutching their holiday shopping bags and packages. They were too intent on their destination to see the kid they pushed past. Now that the sun was going down, the crowds were beginning to thin. The wind picked up and the fat, fluffy snowflakes grew smaller and sharper. They stung his cheeks and made his hands ache. It had been early spring when he went into juvie. He’d had a hat stuffed in his old, beat up Army-style jacket but no gloves.

When the caseworker picked him up at the juvenile detention center and drove him to a foster home, she frowned at his bare hands. She said something about making sure he had a pair of gloves—and a warmer coat and boots—but she got a phone call a few minutes later and apparently forgot. He hadn’t said anything to the foster care lady about it either. So now the slushy snow soaked into his shoes as he walked and he still had no gloves or winter coat. He’d have to make do. But that was nothing new for him, was it? Benny had been doing that for a while now.

He kicked at a piece of torn, soggy cardboard on the sidewalk as he passed it. It did nothing to relieve the gnawing hunger in his stomach or the cold air that crept down the collar of his jacket and numbed his fingers.

It was satisfying though. Something to do to let out all of the frustration and fear boiling inside of him. His job search had amounted to nothing. Everything amounted to nothing. There were no opportunities for kids like him.

He’d been wandering the city for a week. Ever since he left the foster home they placed him in. It hadn’t seemed bad at first. It was clean and there were only two other kids there, both younger. But one of them was a nightmare. Benny had never seen anything like it. The boy screamed and tried to hit the little girl all the time. The foster mother did nothing to stop it. The little girl had bruises on her arms and legs from the boy and it made Benny sick to watch it happen. Within the first day Benny was there, the boy bit Benny hard enough to draw blood, but Benny was the one who got yelled at by the foster mother for provoking him. Benny hadn’t done anything but sit down next to the kid.

Benny had tried to help out, thinking maybe the woman was just overwhelmed, but she yelled at him for interfering. The day after he got there, the little girl had to go to the doctor for pinkeye. Benny was left home with the boy. It was a nightmare. After the boy screamed and hit him and acted like a little monster all day, Benny couldn’t handle it anymore. As soon as the woman got home with the girl, Benny crawled out the bedroom window and left.

He went straight to his childhood home, even though there was no one there waiting for him. He collected his car and a few belongings, but he knew he couldn’t stay or Child Protective Services would just drag him out of there and back to a foster home.

But once he left his old house, he had nowhere else to go. He had a car though, thankfully. It had sat, unused, while he was in juvie. It was still registered, thankfully, although the insurance on it had lapsed. He’d have to hope he didn’t get pulled over, or he’d be in big trouble.

With no home and no job, what else could he do now but wander? Sit in his car and feel sorry for himself? Even if he wanted to, he didn’t have any money for gas so he couldn’t do it for long. He tried to run the engine as little as possible. Just enough to keep himself from freezing to death. At least when he was up and walking, his blood was flowing.

He wasn’t warm, but at least he wasn’t dead. That was something, right?

Up ahead, a brightly-lit storefront spilled yellow light onto the snowy sidewalk. Its warmth beckoned Benny to come closer, but as he approached, he recognized the building and scowled. Sullivan’s Fine Gifts, the sign on the window read. Damn it. His wandering had taken him to the last place he should be.

Stupid. Why did I come here? He wondered. It wasn’t like he could go in and see Scott Sullivan. God, he wanted to though. Scott was the only person Benny had ever trusted. The only one who really knew him. Scott was the best thing that had ever happened to Benny. Too bad Benny was the worst thing that had ever happened to Scott.

Benny stood in front of the gift shop long enough for the snowflakes to settle on his too-thin jacket. His breath fogged the window and cold and hunger faded away as he stared into the store owned by his ex-boyfriend’s parents, mesmerized by the cheerful lights and decorations. It advertised home and family.

Warmth. Security. Love.

All the things Benny didn’t have.

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New Release – Push & Pull

Push & Pull eBook Cover w_ Text

“Push & Pull” is live everywhere!

I am SO excited to share this story with you. Three years ago, I wrote the first book in The Midwest Series. I loved writing Nathan and Caleb’s story in “Bully & Exit”. But as I wrote it,  Caleb’s roommate, Lowell, started talking to me, His voice got clearer and clearer and he started flirting with Nathan’s roommate, Brent. Now, Lowell flirts with everyone. But I loved how flustered Brent got by it and it was clear that there was some mutual attraction there.

As the book wrapped up, I realized that Brent was supposed to be going on an epic road trip with Nathan. Since Nathan had just reunited with Caleb, he didn’t want to leave him for the summer.

This gave me the perfect opportunity to create a little conflict and set the scene for “Push & Pull”, which pairs Lowell and Brent together as they travel around Lake Michigan. Of course, both books set the scene for the third book, which will feature Micah Warner. Micah’s story, “Touch & Go” which will be released in 2019.

Why did it take me three years to get “Push & Pull” done? Well, my divorce happened, for one. I lost a lot of the momentum I had. And, apparently, Lowell didn’t like being ignored for a few months because he started to act up. Writing the story was like pulling teeth. Lowell wasn’t talking to me. Brent was being an asshole. Ugh! So frustrating. But after many, many drafts and even more long hours, it finally came together.

I am so proud of the way it turned out and so pleased with the story. I hope you love it as much as I do!

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Title: Push & Pull

Tagline: When is it time to stop living in the moment and think about the future?

Summary:

Brent Cameron has been dreaming about a road trip around Lake Michigan for years. When his best friend, Nathan, ditches him to spend the summer with his boyfriend, Caleb, Brent is pissed. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, he reluctantly agrees to take Caleb’s best friend, Lowell Prescott, instead.

Brent is a former hockey player and recently out of the closet. Lowell is an in-your-face gay guy who rebels against the limits people put on him. Tempers fly and sparks flare as they hit the road, which leads to a hot night they both regret in the morning. Despite the rocky start, Brent and Lowell slowly begin to realize they have a lot in common. As the miles disappear behind them so does their animosity. Casual hook-ups aren’t Brent’s thing, and Lowell doesn’t do relationships, so they agree to focus on their friendship.

By the time they make it to the shores of Lake Superior, their feelings have deepened past simple friendship, but neither of them have the guts to admit it. When the past intrudes, will it derail the trip and the possibility of a relationship?

Excerpt:

“Do you really mean to tell me you don’t want to get to know me in all sorts of ways? I don’t believe that. I’ve seen the way you look at me.” Lowell reached out and dragged a finger across the black fabric of Brent’s T-shirt before circling his nipple. Brent flinched again, backing away, even as the skin tightened and his nipple hardened to a pointy little nub.

Flustered and irritated by the reaction, Brent pushed Lowell’s hand away and crossed his arms. “You’re nuts if you think I’m taking you with me on this road trip.”

Lowell’s lips curved upward in a playful smile. “Oh, sweetheart, that’s what you think.”

The smile and words only served to make Brent angrier. He looked back at Nathan, feeling used. “Have you all just been cooking up this plan while I’ve been gone?”

“We’ve been talking about it for a couple of weeks, yeah,” Nathan said softly. “Trying to figure out the best solution.”

“What the FUCK? You couldn’t be bothered to mention this when we talked?”

Nathan’s uneasy look deepened. “I thought it might be better if we could discuss it in person.”

“You could have fucking called me and said, ‘Hey, can we meet in person? I need to talk about the trip with you.’ Don’t I at least get a say in what happens with the next two months of my life? Jesus, you guys are unbelievable.”

Nathan opened his mouth but Lowell spoke first. “Look, Brent, I get that you’re pissed, but you don’t have a lot of options at the moment. Frankly, you’re between a rock and a hard place right now, and I’m your only solution. Either you cancel your trip and lose money, which sucks. Or you change your plans and go by yourself, which also sucks. Or you take me. I also suck, but in much more enjoyable ways.” Lowell winked.

Brent gaped at him for a moment. Lowell stepped forward and put his finger under Brent’s chin. “Unless you’re offering to do something useful with that gorgeous mouth, I suggest you close it.”

Brent snapped his mouth shut fast enough to rattle his teeth. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

Lowell’s eyes twinkled. “Well, there’s this thing gay boys do, it’s called—”

“I know what sucking cock is,” Brent yelled, confused and annoyed by the pretty twink with the big eyes who always made him feel off-kilter and out of control.

“Good to know, sweets, good to know.”

“And make all the jokes you want, but this isn’t fucking funny. My whole summer is ruined.” Brent turned to Nathan. “And you. You’re a complete traitor. You’re right though, I have no choice but to put up with him.” He jerked a thumb to indicate Lowell. “So fuck you, Nathan. If you think I am going to forgive you for saddling me with that cock-hungry twink for two months you have another thing coming!”

Nathan made a sound of protest. Brent scowled and held out his hand to Lowell, ignoring Nathan completely. “If I’m stuck with you, then we’re taking your car. And hand over the damn keys. I’m driving.”

Series and Number: The Midwest Series, #2

Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press (Indie/Self-Published)

Publication Date: October 24, 2018

Word Count /or Page Number: 91,409 words/275 pages

Formats/Price: eBook – 4.99

Paperback (Coming soon)

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