Hi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt, review, and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from Lynn Charles. BLACK DUST is a reconnection romance between lovers who got separated by tragedy, and attempt to rebuild their relationship after fifteen years of separation.
Check out the excerpt and review and enter to win a $25 GC for Interlude Press or one of FIVE ebooks of BLACK DUST below.
As Emmett and Tobias explore their renewed relationship, the two men face old hurts and the new challenges of a long-distance romance.
Will Tobias lose his second chance at love to the ghosts he can’t seem to put to rest?
How about a little taste?
“I can’t, Emmett. I—can’t go back.”
“Then we are clearly not ready for any sort of commitment.”
“Wait. You won’t agree to—to us—unless I come to Indiana?”
“I won’t,” Emmett said. “It’s all feeling a little one-sided to me, and I’m not okay with that.”
“You don’t understand.”
“I do understand, Toby. I was there for everything that makes you afraid of that place.”
“Yes. You were,” Toby said, taking Emmett’s hand in his. “But my concerns about going back have nothing to do with you.”
“Maybe they should have something to do with me.”
“That’s—” Toby pulled his hand away. “That’s not fair.”
“It really is,” Emmett said. He reached across the table for Toby’s hand again. “Please?” Toby took his hand and Emmett squeezed, holding on as if he might never let go. “We experienced a great tragedy together. And while Scotty’s parents lost their son, no one felt the things we felt. No one else woke up screaming and sweating when we heard the sounds of the crash in our sleep.”
“No one else knew the fear of maybe never walking again. No one else lost weight and a semester of school because he might get thrown in jail. No one else felt the things we felt together. That’s all ours. As much as you want to, you cannot take me out of the equation.”
“But, that’s just it, Em. I don’t want to feel those things again. I cannot walk back into that—that darkness.”
Emmett pulled their joined hands to his lips and kissed Toby’s knuckles. “You already have. You have been so enamored¬—you’ve practically spent this entire week making love to my scars. You’re there. And it’s not so dark anymore.”
“No, because you’re whole again. You’re not broken anymore.”
Emmett saw it, then. He saw in the way Toby had almost obsessed over the ridiculous tattoo and Emmett’s scars, as if begging for them to also bring him the powers that Derek had wished upon Emmett’s body those years ago. He saw it in Toby’s insistence that they start all over as if the accident never happened, as if the years of silence weren’t strung between them like a rope and plank bridge connecting two separate lands.
So he said it. To give it power. To make it a truth they shared—like their shared tragedy. “And you still are. Broken.”
Toby nodded, grasping at Emmett’s fingers like a lifeline. “I’m so—” He took a deep, shuddering breath. “I’m so exhausted making sure no one knows.”
“Oh, Toby.” All the more reason “trying again” was a bad idea. Unready to let go, Emmett kissed Toby’s fingers again. “Then come to my home,” Emmett offered, trite as it sounded in his own ears. “I’ve remodeled the master and made a party room in my basement for the kids.”
“You’ve never told me—”
“It’s beautiful, really. It’s on a couple of acres, and the back of the property is lined with a stream you can hear from the kitchen when the windows are open. It’s very peaceful. It sounds like you need some peace.”
“You deserve a beautiful life.”
“So let me share it with you. At least think about it?”
Toby nodded and began to clean up. “Will you still come see me in San Francisco after school’s out?”
“I don’t know. I’d really like an answer before I agree to see you again.”
“Okay. I’m sorry it’s not as easy as it should be.”
“I am too, Toby. Being with you was always so easy.”
This is a realistically-told reconnection romance between two high school sweethearts who survived a car wreck that left them both broken, inside and out.
Toby and Emmett met in local community theater, when Emmett was a performer and Toby the accompanist. They dated long-distance for two years, as Toby had begun in college in New York. The night before Emmett’s senior prom Toby coasted through a stop sign in their rural Indiana locale, and the results were disastrous. Their car was broadsided at high speed. Another passenger, Emmett’s best friend Scotty, was killed instantly and Emmett suffered pelvic and leg fractures that had a painful recovery. Toby was barely injured physically, but his emotional landscape was shattered. As much as Toby stuck by Emmett, anger at his pain, loss of his friend, and his injury-dashed Broadway dreams made Emmett snarly as a wounded boar. The fallout was a fifteen year separation.
Toby never forgot his first love, but years of guilt caused him to never set down any roots. He traveled extensively, directing and coaching off-Broadway productions wherever he could sell his services. Emmett had a great many number of wild years, never finding a man he would settle with for long. He’s been stable for the last several years, however, and longing connection. Encouraged by his best friend, Emmett calls Toby to set up a meeting so he can gain some closure on their tragic love story–only to have the flame rekindled.
Over the next year, Emmett and Toby go back-and-forth across the country to meet and come to terms with who they are, who they want to be, and if that includes a “together” for them. It is a story that encompasses a lifetime of missed opportunity, and a whole lot of healing. These guys have really been through some bad times, and they can’t trust each other enough to not get hurt–or do the hurting. I liked that there was no easy road here. They each have hard truths to face and accept. I found it fascinating, the inclusion of the musical soundtrack of their lives, how they couldn’t build it alone, but could together. How Emmett’s forgiveness and understanding, without the platitudes, was so healing for Toby.
Also, their long-distance love affair was on-again and off-again and back on- again. There was sufficient tension to keep it real, and interesting. The secondary characters, where they existed, were fun and engaging. And, who doesn’t love a grand gesture-ending with an original score that was worthy of (at least) off-Broadway.
Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for a chance to win a $25 GC to Interlude Press or one of FIVE copies of BLACK DUST.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the Author:
Lynn Charles earned her degree in music education and for many years performed and directed choral music. When she’s not writing, she can be found strolling through local farmers markets near her home in Central Ohio in search of ingredients for new recipes. Her novel Chef’s Table was published in 2014 by Interlude Press.