Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 2, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Innocence
At eighteen Christopher is restless and longs for something he cannot name. His mother vanished when he was very small and after spending more than ten years travelling on the rivers and canals, drifting between towns and schools, with mostly only his dad and brother, Jay, for company, he is desperate to escape that claustrophobic existence. When they return to settle in Arlow, a town they haven’t been back to in over a decade, everything changes.
Malachi has given up on love. He lost his heart when he lost his innocence. Now at twenty nine he just exists--getting drunk, fixing cars and playing the music he loves.
When their paths cross one night at a gypsy camp, Christopher thinks he's found what he's been looking for, but Malachi is afraid. He is afraid their love will destroy everything Christopher has ever known. They are both ghosts from one another's past, and if Malachi's secrets are revealed more than just innocence will be lost in their wake.
Excerpt one (explicit)
Malachi stops playing. I know he’s looking at me.
Gently he puts his guitar down on the floor and leans it against the bed.
I close my eyes, because I am not going to fall apart in front of him again. But as soon as his hand circles my shoulder and his warmth presses against me, there is nothing I can do to stop it.
I bury my face in his soft shirt and grip him tight like I wanted to do this morning.
When his hand strokes down the back of my neck, making me shiver through my tears, I won’t let myself imagine there is anything more to his touch than comfort. And it is comforting. Everything about this comforts me: the feel of him, so solid and unwavering, and the scent of him, faintly engine oil and wood smoke mixed in with a scent that is uniquely his. It’s a scent I can’t replicate in my dreams, but that I recognize almost as if it’s part of me nonetheless, and a fire burns deep in my gut because of it.
His heart thumps steady and strong against my shoulder, and I try and deepen my breathing in time to the rise and fall of his chest, knowing that in a minute he is going to realize I’m okay and will let go of me.
But for a long time, he doesn’t, and I begin to wonder if we can get in a more comfortable position or if getting close to him really is so far out of reach.
“Lie down with me,” I murmur, fully expecting him to ignore me and pull away.
I keep my eyes on his shirt, where the dark fabric meets his neck, and lower down around his collarbone, at the dark hairs there. For the past two weeks I’ve not even woken up with a hard-on, but I’m beginning to feel a familiar heat below my navel, and though my cock doesn’t swell or stiffen, being close to him like this makes it come alive to the possibility.
Without saying a word, we clamber up the bed until we’re lying side by side, his arm still slung round me, my head on his shoulder. Cautiously I place my hand on his hip, wishing I had the guts to shift closer.
With the hand that’s not round my back, he strokes my hair again. It makes me want to purr and push against him like a cat.
“I went to see Jay this afternoon.” My words sound muffled against his top. If I turn my lips until they press against the soft material, it’s as though I’m kissing him.
Excerpt two (safe)
We’re lying in the dark on Malachi’s warm bed, my head pillowed on his shoulder. Outside, the wind rushes through the trees, a whispery and constant sound broken only by the occasional smattering of rain as it hits the roof. I feel like entire seasons pass as we lie here, not seconds or minutes or hours, but the world spinning around us in some strange eternity, and I am at once removed from myself and deep inside my own skin. It leaves me longing for connection. For touch.
Hesitantly, with trembling fingers, I trace the smooth skin of his inner arm from his elbow to his wrist. I try and make it seem so casual. The first time, he tenses against me, but slowly he begins to relax, and I grow bolder, repeating the movement over and over, the sensation filling me with an overwhelming tenderness, a want to take care of this man lying next to me, inside and out, all his secrets, all his pain.
Letting my fingers drop lower, I circle his palm, and he captures my hand in his for a moment, but he lets go soon enough as if he doesn’t want me to stop the movement.
I wonder what turns him on, if it could ever be me.
On the little bedside table, squashed between the wall and the bed, the photograph album lies closed. I contemplate asking him if I can have another look, but I don’t want to move. How we ended up lying on his bed like this, I don’t really know, but I’m not complaining.
Bio: Suki Fleet grew up on a boat and as a small child spent a lot of time travelling at sea with her family. She has always wanted to be a writer. As a kid she told ghost stories to scare people, but stories about romance were the ones that inspired her to sit down and write. She doesn’t think she’ll ever stop writing them.
Her novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards
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