Release Date: April 7, 2016
Pages or Words: 312 pages
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Cover Art and Design by C.B. Messer
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
Fifteen years after a tragic car crash claimed a friend’s life and permanently injures his then-boyfriend, Broadway musician Tobias Spence reconnects with his former love. As Emmett and Tobias explore their renewed relationship, the two men face old hurts and the new challenges of a long-distance romance. Will Tobias lose his second chance at love to the ghosts he can’t seem to put to rest?
"I can't, Emmett. I—can't go back."
"Then we are clearly not ready for any sort of commitment."
"Wait. You won't agree to—to us—unless I come to Indiana?"
"I won't," Emmett said. "It's all feeling a little one-sided to me, and I'm not okay with that."
"You don't understand."
"I do understand, Toby. I was there for everything that makes you afraid of that place."
"Yes. You were," Toby said, taking Emmett's hand in his. "But my concerns about going back have nothing to do with you."
"Maybe they should have something to do with me."
"That's—" Toby pulled his hand away. "That's not fair."
"It really is," Emmett said. He reached across the table for Toby's hand again. "Please?" Toby took his hand and Emmett squeezed, holding on as if he might never let go. "We experienced a great tragedy together. And while Scotty's parents lost their son, no one felt the things we felt. No one else woke up screaming and sweating when we heard the sounds of the crash in our sleep."
"No one else knew the fear of maybe never walking again. No one else lost weight and a semester of school because he might get thrown in jail. No one else felt the things we felt together. That's all ours. As much as you want to, you cannot take me out of the equation."
"But, that's just it, Em. I don’t want to feel those things again. I cannot walk back into that—that darkness."
Emmett pulled their joined hands to his lips and kissed Toby’s knuckles. "You already have. You have been so enamored—you've practically spent this entire week making love to my scars. You're there. And it's not so dark anymore."
"No, because you're whole again. You're not broken anymore."
Emmett saw it, then. He saw in the way Toby had almost obsessed over the ridiculous tattoo and Emmett's scars, as if begging for them to also bring him the powers that Derek had wished upon Emmett's body those years ago. He saw it in Toby's insistence that they start all over as if the accident never happened, as if the years of silence weren't strung between them like a rope and plank bridge connecting two separate lands.
So he said it. To give it power. To make it a truth they shared—like their shared tragedy. "And you still are. Broken."
Toby nodded, grasping at Emmett's fingers like a lifeline. "I'm so—" He took a deep, shuddering breath. "I'm so exhausted making sure no one knows."
"Oh, Toby." All the more reason “trying again” was a bad idea. Unready to let go, Emmett kissed Toby's fingers again. "Then come to my home," Emmett offered, trite as it sounded in his own ears. "I've remodeled the master and made a party room in my basement for the kids."
"You've never told me—"
"It's beautiful, really. It's on a couple of acres, and the back of the property is lined with a stream you can hear from the kitchen when the windows are open. It's very peaceful. It sounds like you need some peace."
"You deserve a beautiful life."
"So let me share it with you. At least think about it?"
Toby nodded and began to clean up. "Will you still come see me in San Francisco after school's out?"
"I don't know. I'd really like an answer before I agree to see you again."
"Okay. I'm sorry it's not as easy as it should be."
"I am too, Toby. Being with you was always so easy."
Q&A with Lynn Charles
1. Let’s start out by getting to know you. Tell us 4 things about yourself that are not in your bio.
- I have been a fangirl since I was seven years old. I learned how to squeal at a concert at age seven when David Cassidy came to our state fair.
- At my vocal peak, I had a solid 3.5 octave range. I am no longer at my vocal peak. Oh boy.
- Once upon a time, I was a church music director.
- In one of those churches, my friendship with a man was put to question because they felt I was being inappropriate by "seeing" someone outside of my marriage. They couldn't comprehend that a) a man and a woman could just be friends and b) the man was gay.
Florence, Italy… or Australia. If someone could arrange shorter flight times, that'd be great as well.
3. List three books you have recently read and would recommend
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz—a YA book with sweet, unexpected characters
- Intimacy Idiot by Isaac Oliver—a hilarious, poignant, irreverent memoir
- Blackbird by Larry Duplechan—a gay coming-of-age novel about growing up black and gay in Southern California
The restaurant: Northstar Café in Columbus Ohio. If they have it, I order the Barramundi sandwich—this Vietnamese white fish (removing the "locally sourced" angle of their menu, but it is SO good) sandwich that made me realize, after years of avoiding fish, that I really do love it
5. What do you hope to accomplish in the next 12 months?
I'm finishing up my third book and that should be on the shelves in the next twelve months. I have a couple other ideas brewing and I want to get them to the point where I can pitch and hopefully begin writing them. Ideas are not plots—I have some work to do.
6. What do you like to read?
I love a good memoir, almost every time. I like easy romances—Jennifer Crusie is a favorite, and I hope she gets over her writing block to get something out soon. I'm a fan of interesting characters, above all. Fannie Flagg's novels anyone?
7. What do you look for when choosing a book to read?
I'm looking for interesting characters. I'm looking for a plot beyond, "Her mother disappeared when she was ten; see secrets she uncovers while searching for her," which seems to be all I find at book stores lately. A good cover will grab me, a snappy title, witty dialogue will keep me engaged.
8. What do you need someone to invent right away?
A zapper to pinch me on the side when I get distracted and am wasting time. Like a digital version of an old school marm smacking my wrists or something. Or, maybe an electronic spritz bottle. "Bad, Lynn! Bad!"
9. What does the word "romantic" mean to you?
In a word: thoughtful. Being tuned in—providing a need/desire without them having to ask for it. Going that extra mile simply to make your romantic interest smile.
10. Can you share something about your works in progress?
It's about living after death, about blood family and found family and juggling goals and dreams and needs, about looking to those who have gone before but never losing sight of those in our midst.
Meet the author:
Lynn Charles earned her degree in music education and for many years performed and directed choral music. When she’s not writing, she can be found strolling through local farmers markets near her home in Central Ohio in search of ingredients for new recipes. Her novel Chef’s Table was published in 2014 by Interlude Press.
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Tour Dates & Stops:
7-Apr: Love Bytes, 3 Chicks After Dark, Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings, Hearts on Fire, Jessie G. Books
8-Apr: Happily Ever Chapter, Bonkers About Books, My Fiction Nook
11-Apr: BFD Book Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Oh My Shelves
12-Apr: Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Divine Magazine
13-Apr: Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Velvet Panic, Book Lovers 4Ever
14-Apr: Louise Lyons, Unquietly Me, Havan Fellows
15-Apr: MM Good Book Reviews, A.M. Leibowitz
18-Apr: Alpha Book Club, V's Reads
19-Apr: Butterfly-O-Meter, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Bayou Book Junkie
20-Apr: Up All Night, Read All Day, Outrageous Heroes, Molly Lolly, Mikky's World of Books, Inked Rainbow Reads