Love Bytes says hello and welcome to author Garrett Leigh joining us today to share an exclusive excerpt of new release “Junkyard Heart”part of Riptide’s succesful Portkennack series.
Kim shifted and tightened his arms around me. “Don’t freak,” he said gently. “We’re friends, remember? I’ve got you.”
The warmth of his embrace was stronger than the simmering heat of our third scorching encounter, but the disquiet in my gut remained. Fucking Kim felt as natural as breathing, but that meant nothing in the cooling light of reality. Kim’s lingering relationship with Red bothered me less than I’d assumed it would—if it bothered me at all—but as I pulled back from Kim and briefly saw nothing in him but Rich’s betrayal, I knew that I had a long way to go before I could think of letting this happen between us again.
We dressed in silence. Kim, perceptive as ever, seemed to know that I didn’t want to talk. He pulled his clothes on and drifted back to the window, his lean shoulders framed this time with shadows as the sun disappeared behind the building opposite. “You can’t hate him forever, you know. It ain’t good for the soul.”
“I don’t hate Rich.” It sounded hollow even to my own ears. “I hate what he did. And how it makes—made—me feel.”
Kim didn’t turn around. I yanked my T-shirt over my head and went to him, sliding my arms loosely around his waist from behind. “It’s not the same thing. I don’t think about him anymore. It’s just being here . . . it feels like the scene of the crime.”
“That why you wanted to fuck me here? Some weird sexual exorcism?”
“Maybe.” I couldn’t lie to him. “But I would’ve wanted to fuck you wherever we were.”
Kim finally looked at me. I half expected him to be frowning, but his grin was as easy as always. “That’s sweet, but we should probably stop fucking each other. No offence, mate, but you seem a bit lost, like you really do need a friend.”
That, I couldn’t deny. I gave in to the craving to press my face against his back. “You’re right . . . about all of it. I guess Red walking in on us actually did us a favour. Put the brakes on before things got too complicated.”
“Things are only as complicated as you allow them to be. I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever fuck again, just that you’ve obviously got some heavy shit weighing you down. And I don’t reckon you’ve done much talking about it, eh?”
I shrugged. “Nope. My family is an open book, but I’m the anomaly. A reticent loner, like my mother.”
“You don’t have to be alone, Jas. Maybe here”—Kim gestured out of the window—“but not back home. There’s a soul for everyone in Porthkennack, even if it’s just a pal to make you a brew when you’ve been up all night with the moon.”
I’d heard it said before that everyone found a friend in Porthkennack, but as a child I’d never believed it. Running riot on the farm with my brothers every summer, I hadn’t needed friends, hadn’t wanted them, but Christ, I wanted to be Kim’s friend. “How are you going to make me a cuppa in the morning if we don’t have sleepovers?”
Kim stepped out of my loose hold and turned to face me. “In good time, Jas. Speaking of which, it’s getting kinda late. What time does the estate agent’s place shut?”
Shit. Truth be told I’d forgotten about the real reason for traipsing all the way to London. I glanced at my watch. It was long gone seven, and even with the estate agent’s Thursday late-opening hours, getting there before they closed looked like a distant dream.
Damn it. Always a fucking shambles. “I gotta go.”
I made for the door. Kim moved like a snake and blocked my path. “We’ve gotta go, Jas. Friends, remember?”
Well, okay then.
About Junkyard Heart
Tired of the London rat race and the heartbreak that comes with it, photographer Jas Manning returns to Porthkennack, the Cornish seaside town where he spent every childhood summer on his father’s farm. Resigned to year-round rain, wind, and homemade jam, he’s sorely unprepared for the impact that artsy carpenter Kim Penrose has on his heart.
Kim’s free-loving reputation precedes him, and he’s as generous with his inked-up body as he is with his time. The sex is hot, the easy friendship even better, and Jas’s time with him building his family’s new farmhouse canteen is everything Jas was missing in his empty city life.
But Kim’s carefree existence isn’t as simple as it appears. He’s worked hard to vanquish his demons and build his dreams, but the devil on his shoulder is ruthless, and when it comes to call, their happy bubble bursts like it was never there at all. The canteen opening looms, but Kim is gone in more ways than one, and it’s down to Jas to shore up Kim’s soul and convince him that he deserves his place in Jas’s heart.
Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.
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 Junkyard Heart, 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 December 9, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!