11 April 2018:
Thanks as always to Angelica Dawson for hosting the MidWeekTease - http://midweektease.blogspot.ca/ It’s a great way to learn about other authors and their work.
This week I have another excerpt from Getting Real, a contemporary gay romance where one of the men needs to grow up and start behaving like a responsible adult, and the other needs to distance himself from his controlling family. This snippet is a continuation of last week’s. TJ isn’t ready to give up on Cole, so he keeps up the pressure until he finds out what’s really going on with Cole and his family.
By Christiane France
Available at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
For TJ Delaney and Cole Labelle, it’s time to turn their lives around and get real.
TJ needs to exchange his playboy lifestyle for a job and prove he’s a responsible adult rather than a spoiled, rich brat.
Cole needs to free himself of his family’s control and their paranoid fears by proving being gay like his father is the only thing he and the man who gave him life have in common.
“I know you want to get your own place and you figure you can do that once your sister comes home, but what if she changes her mind? Have you thought about that? Even more important…what about the here and the now?” I paused to let my words sink in. He didn’t reply, and I added, “Maybe I’ve misunderstood. The situation can’t be that bad or you’d have done something about it, right? How old are you? Twenty-five, twenty-six?
“Twenty-six. Look, TJ. You may think you understand the situation, but you don’t. If it wasn’t for my uncle, I’d be waiting tables or something worse. He came through with the job at the tower when the one I’d had lined up fell through. When construction on the tower didn’t finish on time and I started looking for something temporary to fill in, he came through again. He called a friend at Kreber’s and arranged for me to work there until the tower reached the point where I could start showing prospective tenants around. I thought it was really nice of him to go to all that trouble when I know he doesn’t like me and also why.”
Nice? No way! The dude wanted Cole where he could keep an eye on him. Make sure Cole kept his sexuality under wraps. I’d heard a few stories about controlling families, but this was sick. His uncle had been so fucking clever about finding him a job, Cole figured he was doing him a favor. “You like working for your uncle?”
“It’s okay. I wouldn’t say it’s my dream job. It’s boring as hell most of the time—no real responsibilities, nothing to tax the brain, but it sure pays well. More than I’d earn anywhere else.”
“Must come in handy if you’re supporting your mom.”
“No, there’s no reason for me to do that. My grandparents made certain she was well provided for. She’s never had to work or go short of anything her whole life.”
“So she could afford to pay for home security?”
“I suppose she could if she wanted to. What does that have to do with anything?”
I reached for my glass and gulped down half the contents in one go. “It occurred to me that if she got home security, she wouldn’t need you to hold her hand all the time, and you wouldn’t have to wait for your sister to finish her education. You could have a life now. Go clubbing, go on vacation, do whatever you want.” I smiled. “Just a thought.”
Cole’s mouth tightened, and I knew I’d hit a nerve. Probably made him angry, too, if the way he stiffened and straightened in his chair was anything to go by. “You’re kidding, right? A home security system wouldn’t change a damn thing. I can’t start doing my own thing until Carla gets back. It’s not because I’m a coward or I don’t have the balls. As the man of the family, I have responsibilities. She’s my mom, she needs me and I have to respect her wishes, TJ. She says me living at home makes her feel safe.”
“If you say so. I don’t have a mom, so I wouldn’t know.” I gave him a weak smile and wondered if Cole was as brainwashed as he sounded. Somehow I thought not. He knew what was going on, but— But what? He’d chosen to ignore it? He believed life would change after his sister returned? “What happens when you want to go out, say like tonight for example? Does she have a friend come over?”
“No. We have a housekeeping couple who live in, so she’s not completely alone. There’s always someone there if she needs anything.”
Suppose she were left alone, then what? She’d throw a fit? Send you to your room with no dinner?
Cole tried to pass off what he’d said with a smile, but I saw the deliberate way he avoided eye contact. He even sounded embarrassed when he added, “I guess you think I’m being over-protective.”
I knew I should shut up and either change the subject or leave. It was Cole’s life he was wasting, not mine, and it wasn’t up to me to tell him what to do. I cared about the guy, but there was nothing I could do to help and that made me angry. I couldn’t just blow him off with a few kind words.
Instead, I captured his gaze as I reached across the table, took hold of his hand and squeezed, hard. “I don’t think you’re a coward or lacking balls. I think what you’re doing is crazy. You’re pretending to be someone you’re not for all the wrong reasons. Don’t you get it?
“From everything you’ve said, your mom and uncle don’t just suspect you might be gay, they know you are. That’s why they’ve taken such an interest in where you live and work. Between your mom with her ‘I’m scared to live alone’ routine, and your uncle paying you big bucks to do what sounds like a minimum wage job, I’d say they’re worried you could embarrass them in the same the way your dad did.
^ ^ ^
Don’t forget this is a blog hop. You can check out all the other contributors’ blogs by following this link: http://midweektease.blogspot.ca/
^ ^ ^
Cool mysteries and hot romance - http://www.chrisgrover.ca