Hi peeps! We have Skylar M. Cates popping in today with her upcoming release Secrets of You, we have a brilliant guest post from Skylar, a great excerpt and a fantastic giveaway, so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Secrets of You
Skylar M. Cates
It’s never easy to find redemption.
Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love—it’s not something he will consider—until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny.
Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father’s home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall?
While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he’s just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.
The Journey by Skylar M. Cates!
Ever see those Facebook reminders of your life years ago? Does it bring a whole world of emotions to you? Or do you merely move on?
Recently, while scribbling a greeting for a friend’s birthday, a reminder popped up on my screen. It was like a sting in my eyes. I had written: My novel Exposed is on the Coming Soon Page= THUD!
There was a picture of Exposed too, staring out at me. Memories flooded me. Memories of the cover artist chatting about the newspaper print in the background of the cover, and how to have Daniel hold the golf club, and my own amazement to see my characters in color. My characters! Memories of the hours of editing the book with trusted friends, the jumbled nerves of submission, and the late-night hours of editing it again with my press all hit me.
Mostly, though, I focused on that THUD! Excited as hell to see it on Dreamspinner’s coming soon page, I stayed glued to my computer until midnight when it released. My husband and kids were tucked in bed, so it was only me and my faithful dog waiting.
I had a glass of red wine ready, and when my book appeared on the page, I shouted and jumped around my study. There it was! There it was for the world to see! I toasted myself for my hard work. Then I went to bed.
At the time Exposed was published, only a few short years ago, I had no clue about blog sites, rarely was on social media, and never read reviews. My only expectation of the book was seeing it published. And there it was! Thud.
The Facebook flashback was a gift. You see, I was about to launch the promo for Secrets of You, and worries of posting blogs and reader expectations were on my mind. All the promo involved can be exhausting and sales can be uncertain. Seeing the reminder felt like a truck backing up. I heard the beep, beep, beep of the past.
It all clicked in that moment. While I want my books to be liked and well-reviewed, and it can hurt to get knocked down or feel invisible, none of that was why I wrote. Duh! Said my brain. Thud!
It’s the journey.
Of course, I already knew this somewhere deep down. But a girl can need a swift kick in the pants, right? Seeing the Facebook memory post was that kick.
My heart remembered: It’s the crafting of the novel. Seeing it take shape in my mind. Finding the exact words to express the characters. And yes, it’s having all that work culminate in a finished product, which I sweated over and never gave up on.
Secrets of You releases March 3rd. I’ll be at a Dreamspinner conference during that same week, hugging old friends, making new ones, and learning more about my craft. I’ll be focusing by then on the “next” book. But I hope from the bottom of my heart my readers are happy with River and Morgan’s story. I’m proud of it. Most importantly, I connected with them while I was on their journey.
Meanwhile, can I just say this?
Secrets of You is on the Coming Soon Page=THUD!
Thanks for hosting me!
HE DIDN’T speak to anybody for the next hour, but he was in good spirits as he went home and loaded his boxes into his car, especially now that the dentist appointment was done. His dad had taken the truck someplace, avoiding a good-bye. Sure, they’d said good-bye earlier, but Morgan had thought he’d be around to make it official. When Morgan was younger, he and his dad had been super close. Was he avoiding Morgan now? Hurt, Morgan loaded up his belongings alone. His last gesture toward his father was emptying out his ashtray full of cigarette butts. A habit Morgan hated and his dad insisted on. “Bye, Dad,” Morgan said. He washed his hands with the lemony dish soap, took his time making certain he had everything, and locked the door behind him.
The sun was still harsh, baking the concrete and making Morgan drip with sweat as he finished the task of loading in his belongings. Morgan closed his car trunk and took a last glimpse at the house he’d grown up in. He was only moving in with housemates on the other side of town, but not all distance was measured in miles.
Dr. Olin was right about the tenderness. Morgan assumed that meant the Novocain was wearing off. After cranking up the air conditioner in his car, he drove to the house, hoping somebody would be there to greet him. Owen might not be around, but Andrew should be. Andrew was fretting over Cole’s wedding food. He and Marc, who’d just graduated culinary school, were doing the entire menu.
The homes became smaller and a bit run-down, this side of town not as well-off as where Morgan had grown up, but his heart sped up in anticipation. Andrew and Owen were kind and funny. Andrew was scrappy and determined in everything he did, Owen thoughtful and mellower, running on Southern time. Morgan adored both of them, and they treated Morgan like a younger sibling. Then there was River, the last of the housemates. Morgan’s face heated. Yeah, he didn’t think of River as a big brother, not at all.
River had zero interest in dating Morgan. He knew that. The love of River’s life, Brendan, had been killed in a horrible bicycle accident, and River hadn’t dated seriously since. Morgan also knew that on his good days, River barely spoke, and on his bad days, he was totally silent. The other guys had already warned him that River was hard to reach, maybe even unreachable, yet Morgan’s imagination wandered into Fantasy Island territory whenever River neared.
“Forget it,” Marc had said, snorting, when he caught Morgan staring. “River won’t ever go for you because River won’t go for anybody.” He dug into his lunch. “Have a cookie instead.”
“Like that will help. What am I? In fucking kindergarten?”
Morgan paused. “Maybe just one.”
The chunky snickerdoodle did make his mouth happy, vanilla and cinnamon lingering on his tongue, but his crush on River still made Morgan heartsick.
“Maybe I can join a service,” Morgan mused, finishing his cookie. It was the first time the idea of Mr. Romance had come to him, all because of River. He turned to Marc. “I can find a sturdy, good guy who’s not an asshole or in love with a memory. I can find somebody serious and stable.”
Marc snorted. “Are you looking for love or insurance?”
Morgan had ignored him. It was easy for Marc to be sarcastic—that was his default setting against the world—but that wasn’t Morgan. Besides, Marc had his best friend Tomas for a lover, and now for a fiancé. He couldn’t begin to understand the depth of Morgan’s loneliness. He wanted somebody special in his life.
When he pulled into the driveway, there was the object of all his fantasies in the flesh. Morgan took a moment to savor the sight. River was bent over his motorcycle, clad in tight dark jeans that stretched across his fine ass. He leaned near his bike, his hands resting on the chrome, studying something. Morgan didn’t care what. All he knew was River looked sexy as hell. The reality that he was about to move in with River hit him hard, and Morgan sucked in a quick breath. For a brief second, he gave in to the hot, dirty images that flooded his brain. This roommate arrangement was about to give him a permanent hard-on. Morgan honked his horn and got out of the car. He waved. River didn’t wave back; that was not River’s style. The heat didn’t seem to touch River. Even though the air was thick with humidity, River was never in shorts, only in those T-shirts and tight jeans. Not that Morgan had any complaints about his one-note wardrobe.
“Hey!” Morgan shouted. “I’m here! Are the others inside? I don’t see Andrew’s car. Did he go out?”
River neared, his body sinewy and powerful, his legs long. All Morgan could think was yum. He really was perfection.
That was it. Hey. River parted his lips as if he might say something more, but then he didn’t. Morgan wanted to be witty or something, to flirt, but he lost his nerve.
“I’m moving in. You knew that it was today, right?” He was babbling now, but he couldn’t help it. He was so attracted to River, he went dumb and breathless around him. When he wasn’t being a total chatterbox like right now. “I’m happy somebody is home.” Be cool, Morgan told himself as he finally stopped babbling. He smiled widely at River.
“Sure, why wouldn’t I be?”
River pointed at his mouth.
Slowly, Morgan touched the right side of his lip and glanced at his car’s side mirror.
Fuck! He looked like a stroke victim. One side was up in a natural lift, but the other side remained down, making Morgan’s smile appear totally lopsided. The streaks of purple in his dark hair, which he normally loved, didn’t help the clownish image. The result was ridiculous.
Heat burned at his cheeks. “I was at the dentist. Emergency cavity. That’s the trouble. I wait too long before I call and then the cavity is pretty bad. I didn’t realize that I resemble Quasimodo.” Morgan winced at his own words. Why did his mouth always get ahead of his brain?
When River didn’t answer, Morgan went to the trunk and popped it open to buy a little time. Okay, so he rivaled some freak of nature. So what? As Morgan hauled out his first box, he sensed rather than saw River coming over. River reached past him to grab a box of books. His firm, muscled chest brushed near.
“Thanks,” Morgan mumbled.
River’s face was unreadable as he took in Morgan from head to foot. It was all Morgan could do to keep breathing, inhaling and exhaling.
River turned and started for the house, carrying Morgan’s box. Morgan swallowed hard and then squared his shoulders. He picked up his own box and scrambled after River.
River shifted his box to one arm and opened the front door, holding it for Morgan, and Morgan shuffled past him. So much for not being embarrassed. Less than five minutes at his new home and he felt as awkward as a thirteen-year-old again. Because Morgan had been that kid. Too skinny and uncoordinated to be chosen in gym class. Too chatty with the girls and too easily pushed by the boys. Too gay to hide. He was the one others tripped in the lunch line, the one who ate alone, the one who others wanted to see cry. Time rewound as he stood there, his emotions ricocheting as he felt more like that bullied adolescent than who he was today.
Cautiously, Morgan looked up. River smiled softly, making Morgan’s stomach flip, his breath catch.
“Hate the dentist” was all River said.
Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.
Win! Reader’s choice of an E-book from Skylar’s backlist!
(Ends 3rd February 2017)
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