One heart’s been broken. The other is secondhand.
My book, Crossed Hearts, is on sale for 99 cents during a limited time Black Friday event! That’s right, 212 pages of sweet romance, hot lovin’, and feels, feels, feels. It’s a bargain at twice the price. If you haven’t yet picked up Crossed Hearts, now is your chance to read Kory and Will’s story for mere pennies.
No one even likes pennies!
Okay, enough of my sales pitch, but, seriously, you should totally buy it.
Here’s an excerpt for ya:
When Kory stepped out of the shower, Will was gone. Kory opened the door and poked his head out into the early-evening humidity. No car. His eyes stung—had to be the neon orange of the drooping sun—and, shoulders hunched, he made for the kitchen to put together a shitty meal for one, made all the shittier by this rejection.
Probably for the best. Did you really think you could start a platonic relationship with an adorable gay guy?
Sure, Will played the stern authoritarian pretty damn well, but something about him seemed vulnerable and enticingly sweet at the same time. Maybe it was the odd expression that flashed across his face when Kory let his flirtatious nature win out. He couldn’t identify the vibe he got, couldn’t even say for certain it was real, but whatever those hopeful sparks followed by tiny frowns were, they called to Kory’s most basic instincts.
A guy who helps everyone else, but never has his own needs met. That Kory was the last man in the world who could add anything of value to Will’s life was irony at its best. Because he wanted to be the guy to do it, and he recognized that same yearning in his own eyes when he looked in the mirror. In his own heart now when it squeezed at the realization he’d misinterpreted Will’s cordial demeanor for something more—that he’d put himself out there and gotten turned down in the rudest possible way.
Not even a freakin’ note—
A scrap of paper on the pitted Formica countertop, right next to a pile of bills, caught his attention. He held his breath as he picked it up.
Ran home to change into comfy clothes. I’ll grab something better than mac & cheese. See you in a few.
Hot relief flooded him, tempering the ache of rejection with muscle-melting anticipation. Grinning, Kory rummaged through the fridge and stood with a shriveled apple. He cut the bruises off with a steak knife before demolishing it in a matter of seconds. Then he grabbed his sketchbook, a hard graphite pencil and a softer one for shading, and sat on the couch to wait for his new friend to show.
The loud rumble of the AC lulled him into a meditative state as he scratched the drawing of an emaciated apple core. He was putting the final touches on it and scrawling the word hungry in box letters at the bottom when a knock sounded on the door.
The bag in Will’s hand smelled amazing, but Will himself looked more than appetizing in dark jeans and a gray short-sleeved shirt that revealed toned arms lightly dusted with dark hair.
“Are you comfy now?”
Will frowned. “What?”
“Your note. I half expected you’d be wearing pajamas.” Kory waved him in, grabbing the grocery bag from Will’s hands. “What do we have here?”
“Umm, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and coleslaw. It was fast. Sorry it’s not the healthiest.” Will frowned as if he’d done something wrong.
“Are you kidding? You show up with Thanksgiving dinner and you’re apologizing? I could kiss you right now for saving me from powdered cheese and noodles.” Will pursed his lips, but it looked more like displeasure than invitation. Crap. I’m never gonna say the right thing. Friends, Kory. Friends. “Hey, my dead, starved body won’t be on your ambulance run in the next few days, especially if you leave the leftovers.” Kory pulled Will over the threshold before he could escape, and waved him toward the couch. “Did you get a chance to select tonight’s feature film before you left?”
Will scanned the apartment and then gave Kory a questioning look.
“The sweet rack of VHS over there. Someone was giving them away. Can you believe it? And I picked up a VCR at the Salvation Army for two bucks.”
Will burst out laughing. “I brought some tapes to the dump about five or six years ago. Wish I’d saved them for you.”
“Fucker.” Kory snorted, stuck between elation at Will’s contagious smile and his own embarrassment. “Go check out the selection. You don’t like anything you see, you can leave. Without your bird and taters.”
He walked toward the kitchen to scrape together plates and silverware, and hoped Will could handle his humor. If not…well, there were certain things he couldn’t glaze over and get past. No funny bone was one. Bad kisser was the other major offense he would never be able to overlook. If he had to choose which was worse—frog-tongue kisser or stick-in-the-mud humor—he was incapable of pointing out the greater evil. They both sucked at the root canal level.
Will expelled a relieved whistle as he examined the collection.
“For some reason I was afraid this would be a rack of porn.”
“What?” The potato fork spun from Kory’s fingers and landed on the counter with a clatter and a miniature explosion of spuds.
“Eh, just my ex-boyfriend’s idea of a movie night, I guess.” Will glanced up, his cheeks red. “The only VHS he held onto were old porno flicks. Not that I think you would…and probably not even the same…” He trailed off and turned back toward the tape spines, running a hand through his hair.
Kory coughed. “Never watch it, myself.” That’d be like taking work home. Besides, he inevitably hated the way he looked on screen, or the way he delivered some cheesy line. At the end of the day, being on a shoot for hours was way more porn than he wanted to see.
“Wow.” Will turned back with a cautious smile and still-pink cheeks.
“Not a porn fan and you have this? I’m starting to think I’m being punked.” He held up Labyrinth.
Part of Kory felt like a liar. Another part of him argued it was a harmless omission, a white lie even, given that sweet, wistful look on Will’s face. Kory wasn’t the same person anymore. What Will didn’t know wouldn’t hurt either of them. Kory could feel him out and maybe confess later, not scare Will away at the starting line. That Will didn’t watch porn made it perfect—made Will perfect. Here was someone without any preconceived biases about who Kory was or wasn’t. And more than anything he wanted to be liked for who he truly was, even if he was still stumbling his way through Kory Vansant 101 in many ways.
There you have it.
Actually, here you have it: