Hello, everybody! I’m Alex Whitehall, and I’m here today touring for my New Adult story, Second Skin, which is about Jay and Roswell, who are on a journey of love, acceptance, and self-discovery.
When Jay heads to the university’s learning center for help with his math class, he doesn’t expect his tutor to be tall, dark, and handsome. But Roswell is all that and more, and their instant connection over cult movies, books, and TV shows quickly evolves into dating.
That’s when things get tricky.
Roswell might claim he doesn’t have issues with Jay being trans, but when he’s constantly insisting they “take it slow,” Jay’s not so sure. He’s been hurt before, and he’s not going to let it happen again.
But then Roswell reveals that he, too, has a few secrets under his skin.
The spring breeze ruffled Jay’s short hair as he followed the brick trail through campus, his messenger bag on his shoulder and the last class’s notes humming in his head.
On a normal day, he would grab lunch before heading back to his dorm. Today, he detoured to the library, home to the various tutoring and help centers.
The front desk directed him where to go. He wasn’t sure if it was commentary about math or about people who needed math help, but math’s tutoring rooms were in the very back, downstairs, in a windowless hall. It was an intimidating location, but the door, covered in brightly colored construction-paper numbers, was cracked open. Jay knocked gingerly, nudging the door to let the guy inside see him when he looked up from the screen.
“Um, hi? I’m looking for math tutoring?”
“Come on in.” The guy spun in his seat and stood.
He was tall and lithe, with ebony curls, a dark complexion, and green eyes that glittered in the overhead light. Everything Jay wanted.
“How can I help you today?”
Wasn’t it obvious? “I’m here for tutoring.”
“What kind of tutoring are you looking for?”
“There’s different kinds?”
“Sure. Are you just having trouble with the current chapter? Are you struggling with math in general? Is the professor going too fast and you need some extra explanations?”
“Oh.” Wow. He hadn’t thought about it. In fact, he hadn’t really considered getting a tutor until his friend Connor had mentioned it. He wasn’t doing great in the class, but he wasn’t failing. Usually he thought he understood what was going on, but at the end of every section, when he handed in a paper, the grade he got back told him that he was missing something. And it wasn’t that the professor was going too fast. It sort of felt like he was moving too slowly sometimes.
Jay must have spaced out, because the curly-haired cutie in front of him smiled, and damn if that didn’t make him twelve times hotter.
“Well, I can walk you through figuring out what you need. What class are you taking?”
“Theoretical and Philosophical Math.”
The guy laughed, and Jay was ready to bolt until the tutor said, “Sorry! Not laughing at you. You’ve completed my set. You’re the last one in the class to come down for tutoring. Dr. Riahn always gives me the class list to know who to expect. I was wondering if I’d get to meet you.”
Jay stared. Just stared. Everyone else had already come in for help? He wasn’t sure if that made him the smartest in the class or the dumbest. “Oh.”
“Though, I thought . . .” The tutor went over to a filing cabinet and shuffled through, then pulled out a thick folder and a sheet of paper. He skimmed it, his brow furrowing, and his eyes rose back to Jay. “Um, are you Jenna Watkins?”
Jay cringed. “I go by Jay. But, yeah, Jenna’s my given name.”
There was a moment of visible confusion before understanding lit the guy’s face. “Gotcha. Well, let’s take a look at the schedule and see where we can fit you in.”
“Thank you. So, um, you’re the tutor for the class?”
“Yes. I’m the only one who has taken Riahn’s theoretical class. It’s not a requirement. Hell, it’s barely math. I think most math majors go running the other way when they see Borges on the book list.”
“Well, the class doesn’t deal a lot with numbers, that’s for sure. It’s sort of why I took it, but now I’m regretting it,” Jay admitted.
“Don’t worry. We’ll help you figure everything out. It’s not an easy class, but Dr. Riahn is a fair grader, plus coming in for tutoring gets you extra points in his book.”
“Now I wish I’d come in earlier.”
“So do I.” The guy winked. Flirting? Although it looked a little forced. Maybe it was just playful. Yet the smile that went with it . . . “Here are the days I’m in. Any of the times work for you?”
Jay hoped he wasn’t blushing and focused doubly hard on the schedule the tutor had pulled up on the computer screen. Strangers didn’t usually tease him, especially after they found out he’d been assigned female at birth. Well, at least not teasing in a friendly manner. “Um, Monday at seven?”
A few clicks and Jay was entered into next week’s schedule. “Okay. Do you want me to save that time for you every week?”
How he wished that was as much of a come-on as it sounded in his head. “Probably should. I don’t see myself suddenly having an epiphany.”
“Entered and entered. Mondays at seven. I’m looking forward to it.” He held out his long-fingered, slender hand and beamed a smile. “Roswell, by the way.”
Jay accepted the handshake, heat tingling down his arm at the warm, firm hold. “Thank you. I mean, I’m Jay. Which you know. Um, so, I guess I’ll see you on Monday?”
“Yep.” Roswell nodded. “Unless you’re grabbing lunch after this? I get off in five. We could go together.”
Jay clenched the strap of his messenger bag and forced himself not to look down as heat crept up his neck. “Um. If you want. I mean, yes, I’m getting lunch and I’d like you to join me.”
Could he curl into a ball and hide now? Did he have any control over the words coming out of his mouth?
Read more at: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/second-skin (Just click the excerpt tab)
If there are two types of people in the world, Alex Whitehall probably isn’t one of them, despite being a person. Their favorite pastimes include reading, horseback riding, sleeping, watching geek-tastic television, knitting, eating, and running. And wasting time on the internet. And spending glorious evenings laughing with friends.
While Alex prefers sleeping over doing anything else (except maybe eating), sometimes they emerge from the cave to be social and to hunt for food at the local market. They can be found blogging, reading, and tending after their aloe plants.
Connect with Alex:
- Tumblr: alexwhitehall.tumblr.com