I’ve been scrolling through my current Works in Progress, to see what I might be able to share with you. At the moment, I’m trying to finish writing some series books, so there aren’t a lot of new books to share, but I thought I’d celebrate the release of The Bright Side Brigade by showing you a little bit of Barely Even Friends, the unofficial follow-up novel.
Barely Even Friends will be another collection of short stories, with an overreaching arc linking them all together. This time, the boys will be older, wiser, and more mature. Perhaps a little too mature, and arrogant, as they meet their match.
With the success of The Bright Side Brigade support group, gay students have the freedom to be out, proud, and safe within the halls of their school.
That doesn’t mean that everyone is happy about it.
In their final year of school, a half dozen teens find out the hard way that coming out isn’t always as easy as it looks.
Join these loud-mouth, arrogant, too-cool-for-school kids as they drift into the uncertainty of exploring their sexuality in high school and the months beyond.
an unedited extract from the story “To Love A Geek”
Jasper was more nervous than he should be as he waited for Laken to show up that night. He’d spent a few hours thinking about it and he was in even more trouble than he should have been.
He’d been trying to hide a secret for months, mostly because life wasn’t fair and didn’t give him what he wanted. But there was another reason, one that went deeper than his high school reputation and whether Gunner would still be his friend or not. And that reason was something that he was going to have to face in the next five minutes, before Laken arrived.
“Just relax,” he told himself, standing in front of the mirror to check how he looked. He’d gone for a shower and dried himself off; he was finally ready to face reality. Gunner’s feelings for Jacey wasn’t the only reason he wanted to keep her away from Laken. “It’s just a crush. Some stupid chemical imbalance that will go away,” he said, for the millionth time.
Jasper ruffled his dark hair and then frowned when it only looked a complete mess rather than the casual, relaxed look it should have. It was still wet and he was going for the whole ‘I-just-rushed-out-of-the-shower-to-answer-the-door’ look.
At first he’d told himself that it was to make Laken uncomfortable and knock him out of his comfort zone so that he could tackle the whole Jacey issue. Now he was going to have to accept the truth;
“You are crushing on the geek, Jasper. You’re jealous. Face it,” he told himself, staring at his own reflection and having no idea who was looking back at him. He’d never had a crush on another guy in his life, never mind one that made him feel so off balance.
Why him? He’d rather let Jacey destroy his reputation by dating Laken than being the one to have a real, solid, unshakable crush on him.
He took a deep breath and tightened the towel around his waist. It was all he was wearing and he was still sporting a few drops of water that would prove he was just out of the shower. Jasper shook his head at himself, ashamed of what he was doing. He was deliberately setting Laken up to either act on an attraction that he only hoped he was harbouring or into proving that there was no chance for anything to develop between them.
With a groan of indecision he dropped his head and pressed the heel of his hands into his eyes. He wanted to crawl into a corner and sit there, sobbing, rocking back and forward like the lunatic he was. What made it so much worse was that the more he thought about it the more he realised he’d been hiding from this realisation for months. And he’d jacked off in the shower just thinking about Laken coming over; that wasn’t normal. Not for him. Sure he’d taken care of business in the shower before, but never while thinking about another guy.
He wasn’t even embarrassed or ashamed of having a guy crush either, which was what really upset him. It felt so right that it was wrong. Why was he accepting this when it was so far out there to what he knew? Why was he looking forward to a blush or a smile from Laken that would confirm he had a chance with him when he should have been hoping he’d run out of his house screaming?
“Pull it together,” he complained, letting out a sigh as he straightened up and looked at himself. He wasn’t bad looking. In fact, he was pretty damned gorgeous. There was no reason Laken could look at him, all tanned and naked under his towel, and not want to make out with him. Except, maybe, if he was straight.