I haven’t posted in a while; sorry! I’ve been super busy getting everything ready for Devil’s Gamble! Remember way back when I told you guys I was working on a book about a half-demon boy and his churchgoing boyfriend? Well, it’s ready!
Look at the cover, you guys. LOOK AT IT. The artwork is by Mikao, who was lovely to work with and you should all love her.
This one’s coming out July 22, but it’s available for pre-order right now! I’m so excited about this one.
Caleb is a cambion, meaning his father is a demon. Caleb is tired of hearing about his special destiny, and he’s tired of hearing about what’s expected of him when it comes to taking over the family business, which mostly involves making deals for mortal souls. He’s a broody loner who tends to deal with stress with self-destructive behavior like blackout drinking and anonymous sex–a strategy that suddenly becomes unavailable to him when his demon guardian drags him from the city to a tiny little town in central Alabama.
Enter Isaac, the cheerful Southern Baptist who, at the suggestion of the unwelcome angel looking over Caleb’s shoulder, is determined to show the boy that there’s good to be found in everyone. But what is a sweet All-American boy to do when he finds himself having stirrings of more-than-friendly feelings for the boy he’s supposed to be turning from sin? The ring on his finger reminding him that “True Love Waits” is becoming more of a taunt than a reminder.
Did I mention that the angel only approached him because of a bet with his demon lover, who just so happens to be Caleb’s guardian? The stakes are personal, and Caleb’s choices will determine the winner.
So, how’s about a little excerpt?
The dark-haired boy let his head drop with an empty chuckle. “You don’t want to hear what I have to say.”
“I do,” Isaac promised, and he reached out to pry the bottle from Caleb’s hand and lace their fingers together. “Whatever it is, it’ll feel lighter if you share it.”
Caleb glanced down at their joined hands with a furrowed brow, and then he looked into Isaac’s eyes through the darkness. “You kissed me back.”
Isaac’s voice caught in his throat, and he found himself squeezing Caleb’s hand without thinking. “I…I did.”
“Friends don’t kiss like that.”
“Do you want to kiss me again?”
Isaac started and stopped a few times before any words came out. “I don’t know,” he said at last. “It’s…confusing. It’s a sin.”
“Right,” Caleb sighed. He took another drag from his cigarette and stared back out at the pond, but he didn’t try to pull his hand away from Isaac’s.
“Caleb, can I ask you something?” Isaac spoke up after few beats of silence. “You don’t have to answer if you don’t want.”
“I won’t. What is it?”
Isaac hesitated. He wanted to be sure he worded it right. “You…are you only att—you know, attracted to…only to boys?”
Caleb glanced at him out of the corner of his eye while he took a pull of his cigarette. “Yep,” he said as he exhaled.
“How did you…I mean, when did you first know you were…”
“Gay?” Caleb finished for him, and Isaac nodded with heat in his cheeks. “I always knew, I guess. I’ve never been interested in girls.”
“So,” he started, “what…you know, happened? To you.”
“What do you mean, what happened?”
“I just mean, I was just wondering what the…the root was. The reason. I understand if you don’t want to say. I know that a lot of…gay people were, you know…they were abused.”
Caleb stared at him with his lips pressed into a thin line. “Abused.”
“I’m sorry if it’s hard. I just…I want to understand you better.” Isaac dropped his voice, although they were already speaking quietly. “I know you live with your uncle, and I’ve heard that’s sometimes—”
“You’re asking me if my uncle touched me as a kid?” Caleb interrupted. “And if that’s why I’m gay? Are you fucking serious?”
“Caleb, don’t swear,” he said timidly, shrinking back slightly from the other boy.
“What the hell is wrong with you? Why would you think that?”
“That’s just—the Bible says it’s a sin, and in church they told us it’s not natural for a…for a man to be with another man. They say that if you can work through the cause, then you can resist those urges.”
Caleb tugged his hand away with a scoff. “The world isn’t your Bible school, Isaac. Nobody abused me or turned me gay. It’s the way I am. Some people are just born gay. You think straight people are only straight because they dodged the sexual abuse bullet? That’s fucked up.”
Isaac stammered for a moment. “I didn’t mean—that’s just what they told us, and I guess I never—” He stopped and took a short breath. “Shoot, Caleb, I—I’m sorry. I didn’t meant to come off like that. I guess…I guess I don’t know very much about this stuff.”
“I guess you don’t.” Caleb put his cigarette butt out in the dirt and scowled down at his crossed legs for a moment before looking back at Isaac. “Why did you kiss me back?”
“I…” Isaac paused to fidget in his lap, feeling the flush in his face and neck. He had to steel himself before the words would come. “Ever since you kissed me that day in my room, I’ve…thought about you. I think about you a lot.” Caleb seemed to soften slightly, but Isaac couldn’t quite meet his eyes. “I think about…if you tried again, what I would do.”
Caleb inched closer to him, leaning down to try to catch his eyes. “I guess you know the answer to that. And if I tried again now?”
Isaac’s fingers tightened on themselves. “I—I don’t know.”
These two are so cute, I can’t stand it. They’re a perfect pair of little cinnamon buns. I hope you’ll check them out, and I hope you love them like I do!