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WIP Spotlight: Never Let Me Go

I’ve been scrolling through my current Works in Progress, to see what I might be able to share with you.

Never Let Me Go is a prequel novel to The One That Got Away. It shows Bradley and Rory as teens, in high school, beginning the relationship that was later explored in the novella, however it gives the story a twist that allows a complete story with a different ending all in one book.

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Blurb

A Prequel novel to The One That Got Away.

Childhood friends become enemies, Bradley and Rory begin walking a tight line between love and hate.

After an unplanned confession, Rory finds himself locked firmly in Bradley’s sights. But what starts as an intense attraction becomes so much more than they planned for. And once they discover that, a whole lot of hurt explodes their quaint high school lives into an adult sized mess.

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never-let-me-go-4

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Extract

 Prologue

Six Years Ago

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“Bradley Coates!”

He stood the moment his name was called and made his way to the front of the class, grumbling under his breath. It wasn’t fair that he’d been caught, when nearly everyone in class had been talking amongst themselves.

“Go ahead. Tell the class what was so important that you refused to listen to me,” the teacher urged, in frustration. She raised an eyebrow at him in expectation.

There was no way he was going to say anything. Rory might be his best friend, and had been for most of their lives, but his parents had been very specific about this kind of shit. Under no circumstances was he to admit that he liked boys, in any shape or form. It was only his first year of high school and he was just beginning to make the ‘right’ kind of friends, so why would he jeopardise that by admitting to what had just happened?

Rory was a smart kid, sweet as a button and really cute, but he was alone in wanting to be out and proud. Bradley wasn’t even totally gay; he liked boys and girls equally and that was a whole lot more confusing for kids of eleven and twelve to understand. Admitting to the whole class that Rory wanted him to come out of his closet was never going to happen.

“Well? We’re waiting,” she insisted, tapping her foot and folding her arms over her chest.

Clearing his throat, he shrugged. “Just talking to myself. I find repeating the things you say really helps me remember them,” he lied, prepared to repeat everything she’d said in her lecture if he had to.

Frowning in disapproval, the teacher pointed a stiff arm towards his seat and released a deep sigh. “Get back to your seat and pay attention from now on, Mister Coates,” she urged.

He did as he was told and sank back into his seat, annoyed that he’d been called out for talking at all. “Thanks for that, dipshit,” he muttered to Rory, who sat next to him. Bradley sank into his seat and rapped his fingers on the wood as the teacher returned to her lecture. “You ever breathe that word around me again and I’ll knock your lights out,” he warned.

Rory huffed and crossed his arms on the edge of his desk. “Gay is not a swear word. It’s not something you can ‘catch’ just by talking about it,” he complained, his voice hushed to a whisper, his lips barely moving so he was less likely to be caught. “I just think it’s wrong that you’re living a lie.”

“I’m not living a lie. I’m not living anything,” he bit back, trying hard to keep quiet and not be seen again.

Just because he wasn’t willing to come out – as gay or bisexual – didn’t mean he was living a lie. It just meant that he valued his privacy and was willing to keep his private life to himself, for his own sake and for his parents. If they thought he was going to ruin his life, his future career or even just his friendships by being too lovey-dovey and too free with his personal life, then he wasn’t going against them. Hell, he wasn’t ashamed of himself or how he felt, but he’d be damned if he was going to apologise for that.

He did not answer to Rory. And, right now, he was seriously reconsidering their friendship. If Rory couldn’t accept his need for privacy, then he could fuck off. No way was he going to be browbeaten into betraying his natural instincts and his parents, just because goody-two-shoes Rory Briant wanted him to.

***

At the end of the school day, Bradley was still seething at Rory’s audacity. He walked out the front doors, planning to walk home alone and leave the little shit to do the same. There would be no more walking home together, no more hanging out after school, no more nicey-nice from Bradley. Their friendship was over.

Some dickwad in the row behind them had overheard the little bastard and made the rest of Bradley’s day unbearable.

You can’t hide in your closet forever, Bradley. Being gay is nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re scared, I’ll stand by you,” Rory had promised.

Three feet from the front doors, that same smarmy voice from class called out to him. “Hey Bradley,” he called, putting on an airy-fairy tone to say his name. No one but Rory ever used his name. To everyone else in school, he was simple ‘Coates’, his surname and a much more street friendly moniker.

“What?” He growled, only deigning to glance over his shoulder. But Andy wasn’t alone; he was with his crowd of mates, all ten of them. All sneering and chuckling at Andy’s little performance.

“Not waiting for your boyfriend?” he asked, imitating the irritating tone again, with the last word.

Bradley dropped his bag and marched over to grab Andy by his school tie. “Rory isn’t my boyfriend! The little bastard might be a queer, but I’m not. And if you think I’m a fag just because I hang out with one, you need your brain checked. I don’t consider my cuz a dickwad just because he hangs out with you, do I?” he retaliated.

His cousin, who had told him this school was LGBT friendly and that it would be okay to eventually come out as bi if he wanted to, stood right beside Andy. He wasn’t laughing or jeering with his friends, but he wasn’t standing up to them, either. Atticus was always a wuss that way. Stick with what you know, he always said. Stick with what is safe.

Fuck that.

Even Andy’s own friends were chuckling at his reply, while the dipshit himself tried to bolster his courage. “You’re a filthy little cock-sucker, Bradley. Just another ass for the taking,” Andy spat out, the humiliation making him angry.

“Yeah?” Bradley grinned as he released Andy and patted down his tie. He backed off two steps and held his hands out. “Say that to me again?” he goaded.

As expected, Andy stepped up as though to land another threat, only to try to punch him. Bradley caught his hand and twisted until Andy cried out in pain. Then he kicked his feet out from under him, throwing him face-first into the grassy lawn.

“Keep your homophobic shit to yourself from now on. And next time you want me to suck your dick, just come right out and say it,” he whispered into his ear, keeping him pinned down until Andy got the point.

It took a while, as the brat struggled beneath him, but once he tried to jackknife up and Bradley pressed down harder, he froze. Turning his head just slightly, Andy stared at him with wide blown pupils and flushed cheeks. “You’re hard,” he whispered back.

It only made him smile. “Yeah, I am. So what?” he replied, knowing that he’d made his point. Andy now knew that his secret was out; they were both hot for each other and neither of them could broadcast it without ruining their reputations. With Andy a few months older than him and being from a primary school much further away, he had a wider circle of new friends to lose if the rumour got out.

Swallowing hard, Andy lifted his head just a little more and whispered; “Want to come back to my place? My folks are out all night.”

Bradley blinked in surprise, but gave the offer some serious thought. Andy was hot; all buff and taller than him, but with a clearly submissive nature. All of that sang to Bradley, who was a naturally dominant male and revelled in having control of another person. That part of himself had always been a little terrifying, but even now he couldn’t deny that getting the better of Andy really got him hot.

But, at the same time, they were only twelve. He wasn’t ready for that kind of shit to start. He hadn’t done so much as make out with another boy, yet. But he could, tonight, if he said yes.

“What are we talking here?” he asked, pressing down a little harder, to make a show of it for their audience.

“Don’t know. Never done anything,” Andy replied. “Maybe just some making out? For now?” he suggested.

Releasing his captive, he got to his feet and held his hand out to Andy, who accepted it and allowed Bradley to pull him up. They shook hands, for the sake of the audience, and walked over to grab their bags. As the crowd dispersed and Atticus began lecturing them on how stupid they’d been to act like the big men on campus, Bradley leaned into Andy and whispered his reply; “I’m down, if you are.”

The smile the other boy had, when he glanced his way said that he might just have made more than a friend today.

But that didn’t let Rory off the hook.

They were almost at the school gates when he saw the little shit standing waiting for him. His smile, as Bradley broke off from the group and headed his way, made his stomach flip. But he pushed his crush aside and greeted Rory with a fist to the face.

“What the hell?” Rory roared, while cupping his nose, which began bleeding profusely.

“I swear to God, if you ever come near me again, I’ll break your legs.” He took a deep breath and severed the emotional ties that held him so captivated by Rory. He couldn’t let that be a factor right now. Bradley had his entire life to think about and he wouldn’t let one stupid teenage boy ruin it. “I’m not gay. I’m not interested in being your friend anymore and I sure as hell don’t want to date you.”

Hammering in the last nail of the coffin on their friendship – and the relationship he’d felt them slowly drifting towards – Bradley took a step back. “You betrayed me today, Rory. You’ll never do it again. I promise you that,” he swore, then turned and walked away.

This would be that last time he ever let Rory affect him. The last those eyes would hurt his heart or make it flutter. The last he’d let a stupid boy affect his future. The last time he thought of Rory as his friend and…potentially…the one boy he could love unconditionally.

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About the Author

Elaine White is the author of multi-genre romance, covering everything from paranormal, crime and contemporary. Growing up in a small town and fighting cancer in her early teens taught her that life is short and dreams should be pursued. Living vicariously through her independent, and often hellion characters, she lives comfortably at home with a pack of wolves cleverly disguised as one standard poodle.

The Winner of two Watty Awards – Collector’s Dream (An Unpredictable Life) and Hidden Gem (Faithfully) – and an Honourable Mention in 2016’s Rainbow Awards (A Royal Craving) she has explored the worlds of multiple genres, but remains a romantic at heart. A self-professed geek, Elaine has fallen in love with reading and writing LGBT romance, offering diversity in both genre and character within her stories.

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You can keep in touch with Elaine on the following sites:

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