We’re so excited to welcome Kate Aaron, author of the Free Men and Blowing It series, on Queer Books Unbound today! She’s here to tell us a bit about the story she is currently working on – including an excerpt! Scroll down to read it; and don’t miss the giveaway for a backlist title from Kate at the bottom of this post!
An abusive childhood spirals out of control, sparking a chain of events that will change two boys’ lives forever.
The story I’m writing at the moment is completely different to anything I’ve done before. The non-linear timeline follows Andrew through his teen years and first love, when he falls for his best friend. Grant’s cool and popular, but he hides dark secrets about his home life that only Andrew has witnessed. After tragedy strikes and the system fails them, the boys take justice—and vengeance—into their own hands, with tragic consequences.
Although the story has strong romantic elements, with two love interests for the main character and a HEA ending, I don’t know that I’d call it a romance. Despite being very different from what I usually write, as soon as the idea for the story came to me I knew I had to tell it. Ultimately it’ll be a tale of redemption, of what happens when good people do terrible things and how they learn to live with themselves in the aftermath.
Check out the excerpt, and look out for release information in the spring.
Grant sniffed again, and I plucked a tissue from the box on my nightstand and handed it over without addressing the fact he was struggling to hold back tears. I didn’t care if he cried, and certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone, but it was still embarrassing.
He blew his nose but that only seemed to make things worse. A fat tear leaked out and ran down his cheek, and then another and another. I gave him the box and rubbed his back between the sharp planes of his shoulder blades, which shook as he took a ragged breath and tried to keep quiet.
I pulled him into a hug and held him as he cried until my shoulder was wet with tears. “Get it all out,” I encouraged. It was what Dad always said to me when I was upset. Sometimes crying was the best medicine.
As his breaths slowed and his tears subsided, I rested our heads together, letting him know that I was there for him, even if nobody else was. “You know I’d do anything for you,” I murmured. “Whatever you want.”
“Yeah, I know what you want.” He shook me off and shoved me away. “Don’t think I’m an idiot.”
My stomach lurched. “W-What do you mean?”
He glared at me. “I’m not stupid, Andy.”
Flustered, I looked anywhere but at his accusing eyes. I couldn’t guess what he meant because if I was wrong I’d make everything worse, but I had a horrible feeling I knew. The butterflies I sometimes felt when he looked at me a certain way, the irrational anger when I saw him with a girl, the gnawing sensation of something being missing when we were together. I knew, but I’d never put a name to it. Names were scary. Especially for things I didn’t understand. All that mattered was that Grant was my best friend and I didn’t want to lose him.
“I’m not stupid either,” I retorted. “I still don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He rolled his eyes. “Whatever. Like I even care that you’re gay.”
It felt like all the air got sucked out of the room. “I’m not… that,” I hissed when I finally caught a breath, unable to bring myself to say the word.
“No?” Grant smirked and leant closer. “So it doesn’t bother you when I do this?” He inclined his face, our lips barely an inch apart.
I swallowed but didn’t pull away. “It doesn’t bother me,” I lied.
“You don’t want to kiss me? You’re not thinking about doing it right now?” His gaze flickered to my mouth and my heart stumbled over a beat. “I can see your pulse in your neck. I know you’re lying.”
“N-No. M’not lying.” I kept my eyes fixed firmly on his. I could feel his breath against my lips, each ghost of air sending shivers racing up my spine. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and tension crackled over my skin until I was sure I was vibrating like a tuning fork set to Grant’s frequency. I wasn’t going to fall for his tricks. With everything I had, I resisted the urge to lean forward and prove him right, knowing if I failed, I’d lose him forever. Whatever he was trying to prove, it wouldn’t work. I wasn’t going to kiss him.
I didn’t kiss him. He kissed me.
Born in Liverpool, Kate Aaron is a bestselling author of the #1 LGBT romances What He Wants, Ace, The Slave, and other works.
She holds a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature, and an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture, and is an outspoken advocate for equal rights.
Kate swapped the North West for the Midwest in October 2015 and married award-winning author AJ Rose. Together they plan to take over the world.
*Click the graphic to get to the rafflecopter*
Giveaway is open internationally and runs until February 9th, midnight CET.