Coming 7/21/15 — FOCUS ON ME the second book in the In Focus series
Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.
Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option…
I polished off the rest of my sub and threw away our trash. Riley was humming along to music from a radio that sat in the corner of the Laundromat. I found a toothpick dispenser and put one in my mouth as the dryer buzzed.
I shoved a wheeled laundry cart under my dryer and began dumping in my dried clothes. Riley did the same, his singing growing louder. He’d thrown in some hip movements too, and I shook my head with a smile at his antics.
A club song came on with a pounding beat and Riley whooped. He latched onto a pole that was in the middle of the Laundromat and began to shimmy along its length like he was a stripper.
We were alone in the Laundromat, which was good, because Riley sure as hell wasn’t holding back. He worked the pole like a pro, and by this time I’d stopped pretending like I was folding. I stood with my hands on my hips and watched him.
He moved like a cat, all fluid and boneless. His expression was dreamy, like he was caught up in the music and happy to be that way. I wasn’t sure anything had ever made me feel that transcendent. And that was exactly how he looked.
His back was to the pole and he dipped down in a squat, separated his knees, and then rose back up. Now his hot eyes were on me, the brown showing a fiery ember beneath.
He beckoned to me with one finger, and I hesitated for a minute when I remembered his rejection. But this was harmless. We were just goofing off, playing around, and dancing to fun music in a Laundromat in the middle of nowhere.
And the best part of all of this was I didn’t see one damn demon in Riley’s eyes. Not one.
So I sauntered over to him, spitting out my toothpick as I went. He rolled his eyes at me, which made me grin.
I grabbed him around the waist, his slender body easily crashing into mine as I curled my bicep. He wrapped his arms around my neck and continued to swivel his hips. I made a scrunched face and strummed a little air guitar on his back, and he arched his neck and laughed.
I loved how carefree he looked, his hair in disarray from dancing. He was only wearing a plain T-shirt now and an older pair of jeans since his good ones were all in the wash.
And we danced. As we swayed, I didn’t even have to guess what he’d do next. Our bodies fit like a puzzle, our rhythms in sync as we moved to the beat.
Everything about this felt right, and I wondered what had happened to me—that I was somehow falling for this man who looked like he’d stepped off of a catwalk, who had demons and sad eyes and kissed like an angel.
Maybe it was the caretaker gene that Jess always talked about, because I wanted to hold Riley like this forever. I wanted to dance with him while doing laundry and joke about delis with mounted animal heads.
It was reckless and a little stupid but I’d spend my last dime to follow this guy around the country. Maybe I could do this—for once in my life, succeed at something. And if that was taking care of Riley while he got rid of his demons, then so be it.
The song ended and a slower one filtered through the speakers. I heard a piano and some kind of stringed instrument like a violin. The singer’s voice was melancholy and Riley’s mood seemed to sober right with it. It was like he felt the music internally as he clung to me and swayed in my arms, all traces of the earlier joy gone.
I rubbed my hand up and down his back, feeling the knobs of his spine through his T-shirt. I was glad I’d bought that pack of cookies at the deli because I might have to force-feed Riley later.
But now I enjoyed the warmth of his body against mine as he rocked back and forth to the music. This was okay, this dancing. It didn’t have to lead to more. It felt good to want him, to enjoy this moment, knowing it wouldn’t progress further. He’d made his feelings clear.
His breath was hot on my neck, and I could feel his erection hard against my thigh. He shook slightly, and his fingernails dug through my thin T-shirt.
He turned his head, and my lips brushed the hair at his temple as his lips brushed my neck, so softly, so slowly, but enough to make me close my eyes. Enough to make me groan. Enough to make my hard cock throb.
I kept my mouth shut as those soft lips coasted over the front of my throat, then up to the lobe of my ear. His hand rose from my shoulder to cup my neck, and he pressed even closer, aligning our bodies. “In another life, Col, I-I think it could be you. I swear.”
That hurt. That hurt a lot, each word like arrows into every sensitive bit of flesh. I stepped back, separating our bodies. Riley’s hands dropped lifelessly to his side. I ran my fingers through my hair and tugged a little, the pain taking the focus off of where Riley had bled me. He stared at me, biting his lip, and his hand clenched his thigh. This felt too soon. I’d only known Riley for less than a week, and I barely knew anything about him. But he made me ache. There was something about him that called to me. So I swallowed my pride and I threw out the only parting shot I had. “I guess our timing is off, then, because I think it could be you, too. In this life.”
I shoved the rest of my clothes in my bag, not giving a shit if they were folded, and headed toward the front door. “Get your clothes and let’s head out,” I called over my shoulder.
I didn’t look back as I pushed the Laundromat door open and heard it slam shut behind me.
TRUST THE FOCUS, a New Adult male/male romance out now from Intermix/Penguin Group…
With his college graduation gown expertly pitched into the trash, Justin Akron is ready for the road trip he planned with his best friend Landry— and ready for one last summer of escape from his mother’s controlling grip. Climbing into the Winnebago his father left him, they set out across America in search of the sites his father had captured through the lens of his Nikon.
As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one Justin would rather share the experience with more than Landry.
But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and the fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.
Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding.
Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she's not tapping away on her laptop, she's probably listening to the characters in her head who won't stop talking.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a sweet college age romance, but it's also much deeper. Like book 1, it's about a road trip, but instead of dealing with coming out as gay and the death of a parent, it has the hard issues of mental illness.
Colin is headed home on the other side of the country and sees a hitchhiking Riley when he stops to get gas. This begins their cross country trip together. Colin is the athletic good ol' boy type. School didn't come easy to him. Sports and taking care of others did. He's close with his family and happy to live a low key life. Riley is the pretty boy with demons type. He's running from himself, but no matter where he goes, his troubles are always there.
The reader takes the trip and makes the stops with the guys while getting to know them as they get to know each other. There are a few ups and downs and revelations along the way. When they made it to the other side, I was definitely hooked on this relationship.
Megan Erickson does a great job of making realistic characters and addressing real people problems. And I have to add that I love Colin. He is the greatest person. He may not be a billionaire, but he works so hard and cares so much. No one could hope to find a better friend or lover.
In short, I was moved by the story and highly recommend it.
***copy given in exchange for an honest review***
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