Hi peeps! We have Chris Scully visiting today with her new release Back To You, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway, so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Back to You
Journalist Alex Buchanan has come home to the remote British Columbia town he grew up in, but only because his estranged father is dying. For Alex, the homecoming holds a mix of memories, mostly bad. The only bright spot is reconnecting with Benji Morning, the childhood friend he never truly forgot. As boys, the strength of their bond had frightened Alex. But now that he’s confident in his bisexuality, he’s drawn back to quiet, soft-spoken Ben.
Ben isn’t the same boy Alex left behind, though. His life has been overshadowed by the disappearance of his sister two decades earlier, and now a new break in the case threatens to undo the peace he’s worked so hard to attain.
As Alex struggles to repair the relationship with his father before it’s too late, he finds himself caught up in a twenty-year-old mystery, a story he never expected, and a shocking truth that could affect his and Ben’s future together.
Hello! I’m Chris Scully. I’m thrilled to welcome you to my blog tour for Back to You, my new romantic suspense novel. Join me at various tour stops, where I’ll be sharing some background on the novel and the characters, my thoughts on writing, and more. Comment on each stop to be entered in a drawing for a $20 Riptide gift certificate. Thanks for joining me on the tour!
It’s the second-to-last week of August, and Benji and I are tired and sunburned from a day breaking trails down Mount Raw-dick. My bike is caked with mud, the backs of my legs are covered in mosquito bites, and Benji’s arms are scratched from the brush. But we’re happy. Soon we’ll be back at school and enduring another year of torment, but for a little while longer we’re free. We stop to catch our breath and share the last of our water from his canteen.
Benji’s eyes sparkle with excitement as they meet mine, and there’s that pinch in my chest again. The one that’s been popping up a lot this summer.
He tugs the brim of his straw hat lower, and another piece tears away in his hand. It’s falling apart, and never sits right on his head, but it used to belong to his dad, so he wears it all the time even though he gets made fun of. Sometimes I think he’s brave. Other times I think he wouldn’t get picked on so much if he didn’t act so weird.
Up ahead through the tall grass, we can see the highway, which means we’re not far from home. I can’t wait to duck under the hose and cool off, but I also dread going back. With any luck, Dad’ll be passed out on the lounger in the backyard when Mom gets home, otherwise the fighting will start. Her and Dad. Her and Janet. It seems like everybody’s mad at someone lately. Janet’s been grounded all summer—she had to miss the Spring Formal—and it’s turned her into a real super-bitch.
“Want to stop at the river for a swim before we go home?” Benji asks. It’s like he’s read my mind and knows what’s waiting for me, knows that I’ll do just about anything to stay away a bit longer.
We’re almost to the highway when we hear the throaty rumble of a motor and then the sunlight flashes on the windshield as the white car streaks past us.
“Hey, isn’t that Misty’s car?” I ask.
“I’d like for you to leave.”
Benji’s voice, soft but firm, slammed me back to the present. My heart was racing. My mind a jumble of half-formed thoughts:
He hasn’t changed—
Oh God, I still feel it.
“Please,” he added politely, regarding me with a wary tilt to his head and suspicion in those once-trusting eyes. His wild red hair had been tamed a bit and darkened to a rich auburn over the years, but hints of ginger still shot through his close beard. I would have known him anywhere. “We have nothing to say to you.”
“I do,” Angela insisted.
He swung around to face her. “Angela. You know it’s not going to make a difference.”
My temporary paralysis lifted, and the bubble of happiness that had been rising in my chest collapsed. Benji hadn’t recognized me either. And why should he? It had been a long time. The glasses were gone thanks to laser vision correction in my twenties, and long hours in the gym kept my sturdy build in check. Even my hair had darkened from its youthful blond to an ordinary brown that I kept cut short.
It’s me, I wanted to cry.
Had he forgotten me?
Heat surged into my face and neck. I needed to say something, but there was a huge lump in my throat. Now that I was here, that he was here, the past and the present were colliding, overlapping like a superimposed photograph, and I was totally unbalanced.
I’d left it too long. They were both watching me. Panic thundered in my chest—I had to get out of here. “You’re right,” I said. “I should go.”
Benji’s narrow shoulders relaxed. He never had liked conflict. “Thank you.”
A little cry escaped Angela. “But you came all this way . . .”
I was already moving toward the door. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Morning. I can’t help you.”
Without looking back, I fled the house and practically ran back to my car.
“Shit. Shit. Shit.” I punctuated each curse with the slap of my palm on the steering wheel. Well, that had blown up in my face spectacularly. What had happened in there? One minute with Benji and I’d literally fallen to pieces. I held my hands out in front of me and stared at them incredulously. They were trembling.
For a second, I’d felt thirteen again: running out of that house, mouth dry, heart hammering, because my best friend had just kissed me and spun my life into chaos. With time, I’d convinced myself it hadn’t been that big a deal, but clearly I’d been wrong, based on my reaction now. Benji. He still felt like home to me, in a way no one ever had. It was a feeling that had scared me twenty years ago, scared me so much I’d cut him out of my life. Now it was back.
Acid surged in my esophagus, and I popped the last of my antacids, which barely dampened the flames clawing their way up from my gut.
A door slammed, and I looked up. Benji had emerged from the house, clad in a khaki anorak jacket. He moved gracefully, long legs eating up the ground as he headed toward the Jimmy parked in front of me, and my heart sped up. He scowled when he saw my Explorer.
I wanted to go to him. To walk into his arms, hug him, to put the past behind us and feel once again that connection we’d had. That warm satisfaction of knowing that there was someone in this world who got me. I’d never felt that with anybody but Benji: not with my ex-wife, not with any of my lovers over the years, male or female.
I got out of my car, gripping the doorframe for support.
“Was there something you wanted?” he asked. His tone was mostly curious, but there was a hint of trepidation underneath.
“I—I’m sorry about Misty.”
“Are you? Why?”
“Why?” I repeated, taken aback by his callousness.
“She’s nothing to you. I get that you’re doing your job here, but dredging this up is a waste of time.”
“But doesn’t your mom deserve to have some closure? To know the truth about what happened to her daughter?”
Beneath his beard, his jaw tensed. I could see it even from where I stood. He narrowed the gap between us, and I took an involuntary step back. “What she deserves, what we all deserve, is to move on with our lives. It’s been twenty years. Misty is gone.”
It was his tone—flat, dull, lifeless—that made me flinch. Coming from the sensitive boy I remembered, the effect was chilling. “That’s an awfully cold thing to say about your sister.”
Ben had always had this intense way of staring at people. As a kid his eyes had been too large and deep for his face, making him seem goggle-eyed, like he was constantly surprised. It could be disconcerting at times. More than once it had made me think he could see into my soul.
Now his mature features fit perfectly, but oddly, he wouldn’t hold my gaze. “Look around you,” he said, nodding toward Mount Roddick. “It took this long for her car to be found. We’re surrounded by wilderness. By lakes and swamps and rivers. If she’s out there, do you really believe there’s anything left to find?”
“So you think she’s dead. Not that she just ditched the car and doesn’t want to be found.”
“You don’t know my sister. She wouldn’t quietly fade away. Of course she’s dead. If not here, then in some random city. Angela knows that too, so how is indulging this . . . this obsession going to help? You’re not the first reporter to come here, you know. You stir things up, get your back-page story, and leave. And I’m left holding it all together.” His eyes flicked to me, then away again, and I had the sense he was on the verge of tears.
“Now, do you mind?” he snapped. “I’m going to be late for my class.” He whirled around and stalked back to his car. The engine roared to life, and the taillights glowered like angry eyes as he put the car in reverse.
I backed down the driveway, the Jimmy riding my front bumper so closely that I was afraid to stop and check out my old house across the street. As I swung around, I glimpsed brown siding through the foliage screening the property and noted the mailbox at the end of the drive, but then Benji was there, impatient, leaving me no choice but to continue back the way I’d come. He followed me down North Star Lane, to Highway 16, where we turned in opposite directions.
With a heavy heart, I watched him disappear over the horizon in my rearview mirror, the same way as I had once before.
Read more at: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/back-to-you (Just click the excerpt tab)
Chris Scully lives in Toronto, Canada. She grew up spinning romantic stories in her head and always dreamed of one day being a writer even though life had other plans. Her characters have accompanied her through career turns as a librarian and an IT professional, until finally, to escape the tedium of a corporate day job, she took a chance and began putting her daydreams down on paper.
Tired of the same old boy-meets-girl stories, she found a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve. She divides her time between a mundane 9-5 cubicle job and a much more interesting fantasy life. When she’s not working or writing (which isn’t often these days) she loves puttering in the garden and traveling. She is an avid reader and tries to bring pieces of other genres and styles to her stories. While her head is crammed full of all the things she’d like to try writing, her focus is always on the characters first. She describes her characters as authentic, ordinary people—the kind of guy you might meet on the street, or the one who might be your best friend.
Although keeping up with social media is still a struggle given her schedule, she does love to hear from readers.
Connect with Chris:
- Website: wordpress.com
- Facebook: com/chris.scully.author
- Goodreads: com/author/show/6152322.Chris_Scully