Love Bytes says hello and welcome to author Garrett Leigh joining us today to talk about new release “Finding Home”.
Garrett shares an exclusive excerpt with us and there is a giveaway to participate in!
Welcome Garrett 🙂
“I’ve never seen you before. You must be new,” the teacher said. “First day?”
Leo shrugged. Stuff talking to teachers. Nosy bastards, all of them.
“Well, even so, young man, I know you were told this morning that students aren’t allowed off-site. What do you have to say for yourself?”
Nothing that wouldn’t get him in more trouble, and it turned out not to matter.
“Um, Mrs. Parkin? This is Leo, my new foster brother.”
The teacher—Mrs. Parkin, apparently—and Leo both looked around to find Charlie behind him, hair a mess, and a dark-blue hoodie over his school-issue blazer. Charlie met Leo’s gaze briefly, then focussed on the teacher again.
“Leo came in with me this morning. He didn’t have an induction.”
That wasn’t strictly true. Leo had been spared the student-led orientation Charlie had warned him about on the way to school, but he’d still endured an hour-long lecture from Mr. Donnelly, head of year ten. Did Charlie know, or care, that he’d known perfectly well that leaving school at lunchtime was against the rules?
Mrs. Parkin eyed Charlie. Her expression softened, like she was fond of him, and then it changed, like she’d remembered something long forgotten.
It always happened like this. Teachers, doctors, social workers—Leo could always tell when they knew. They looked at him differently, like Wendy had looked at the dead cat he’d found by the river. Mrs. Parkin touched his arm, and he jumped back like he’d been burned all over again, stumbled, and cold sweat beaded his back. “Don’t touch me.”
Mrs. Parkin raised her hands. “All right. I was just saying you’re free to go. Charlie says you have art together next lesson. I suggest you make your way there and keep your nose clean from now on.”
Leo blinked. “Charlie says you have art together.” When had he said that?
“And take that sweatshirt off, Mr. de Sousa.”
“Yes, miss.” Charlie tugged Leo’s good arm, like he knew the other was throbbing, burning . . . smouldering. “Come on, Leo. Let’s go.”
Leo let Charlie tow him away from the searching gaze of Mrs. Parkin. His heart slowed with every step and embarrassment replaced the heady rush of fear. “You know we’re not really brothers, don’t you?”
Charlie rolled his eyes. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell anyone.”
“Tell anyone what?”
“That we know each other.”
Charlie turned away before Leo could answer, and disappeared into a nearby art room. Lacking any better ideas, Leo followed him and found the lesson had already started.
The teacher met him at the door. “You must be Leo. Take a seat next to Charlie. I’ll get you a book and some pencils.”
Leo followed the teacher’s gaze to where Charlie was sitting at the back of the classroom, head down, already engrossed in whatever he was working on. There was an empty stool beside him. Deliberate? Stuff it. After a day of being stuck beside a bunch of numpties, Leo didn’t much care.
He made his way across the classroom and dropped onto the stool. The teacher placed a sketchbook and a few pencils on the bench. “Charlie can fill you in on what we’re doing.”
The teacher walked away without another word. Leo watched him go. That was a new one. Most teachers had bent his ear for twenty minutes before they’d let him sit down.
“We’re sketching the view through the window,” Charlie said. “You can draw the science block to the left, or the memorial garden to the right.”
Leo peered at Charlie’s sketchbook. “What are you drawing?”
“The duck in the pond.”
“Where’s the pond?”
Charlie shrugged. “Who cares?”
Leo grinned. Finally. A sentiment he could relate to.
About Finding Home
How do you find a home when your heart is in ashes?
With their mum dead and their father on remand for her murder, Leo Hendry and his little sister, Lila, have nothing in the world but each other. Broken and burned, they’re thrust into the foster care system. Leo shields Lila from the fake families and forced affection, until the Poulton household is the only place left to go.
Charlie de Sousa is used to other kids passing through the Poulton home, but there’s never been anyone like his new foster brother. Leo’s physical injuries are plain to see, but it’s the pain in his eyes that draws Charlie in the most.
Day by day, they grow closer, but the darkness inside Leo consumes him. He rejects his foster parents, and when Charlie gets into trouble, Leo’s attempt to protect him turns violent. When Leo loses control, no one can reach him—except Charlie. He desperately needs a family—a home—and only Charlie can show him the way.
Available now from:
About Garrett Leigh
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.
Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.
Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.
Cover art enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
To celebrate the release of Finding Home, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 14, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!