Love Bytes says hello and welcome to author KA Mitchell joining us today to share an exclusive excerpt of the re release of her novel “Bad Compagny”.
Welcome KA 🙂
Bad Company Bad in Baltimore Book 1
Some things are sweeter than revenge. “I need a boyfriend.” Hearing those words from his very straight, very ex-best friend doesn’t put Nate in a helpful mood. Not only did Kellan Brooks’s father destroy Nate’s family in his quest for power, but Kellan broke Nate’s heart back in high school. Nate thought he could trust his best friend with the revelation that he might be gay, only to find out he was horribly wrong and become the laughingstock of the whole school. Kellan must be truly desperate if he’s turning to Nate now. Kellan’s through letting his father run his life, and he wants to make the man pay for cutting him off. What better way to stick it to the bigot than to come out as gay himself–especially with the son of the very man his father crushed on his quest for money and power. Kellan can’t blame Nate for wanting nothing to do with him, though. Kellan will have to convince him to play along, but it’s even harder to convince himself that the heat between them is only an act…
As you can tell from the blurb, Kellan wants Nate to pretend to be his boyfriend, but Nate has reservations, some because of their history and some based on his morality. In this excerpt, Kellan urges Nate to test the effect of their lie on someone Nate claims would be hurt by it.
Nate put a dry towel on the floor for Yin and added laundry to the to-do list stretching toward infinity in his aching brain: detox, rehydrate, get more hairball gel for Yin, wash towels, help Kellan Brooks lie about his sexual orientation to get even with his father, change the litter box, call back one of the clubs that was dithering about keeping ad space in the paper, don’t choke on your tea when Kellan walks out of the bathroom in nothing but a towel—
He reordered things. Buy Kellan some clothes moved to the top of the list.
Kellan wasn’t wearing a towel; he had on the sweats, but it still left a lot of skin on display. Nate buried his expression in his mug of tea as Kellan opened and slammed cabinet doors in a nauseating rhythm.
“Where’s the coffee? You get up at five the fuck o’clock in the morning and you don’t have coffee? What do you have against coffee?”
Nate pictured a rich, creamy latte flowing over his lips as he sipped his bitter green tea. “Nothing, provided it’s fair-trade and shade-grown. I don’t happen to have any right now.”
Kellan leaned over Nate’s shoulder in a cloud of Nate’s soap, clean man, and mint toothpaste. Had Kellan—
“Did you use my toothbrush?” Nate asked.
“No. Rubbed with a finger. What’s that?” Kellan leaned over farther and sniffed. “Looks like piss and smells worse.”
“It’s green tea.”
Despite a clear path on the other side of the counter, Kellan squeezed by Nate, chest rubbing against Nate’s arm.
“Tea’s the last thing you need with a hangover, man. It’s a diuretic. How do you not know that, Mr. Health Food?”
“I’m detox— Fuck it.”
Kellan was right. Nate’s pounding head and dry mouth led him to yank open the fridge, pop the filter top off the Brita, and chug a quart right out of the pitcher.
“That’s better. You got aspirin or Tylenol around here?”
Nate caught his breath and wiped his mouth on his hand. “End table next to the bed.”
Kellan crossed over and opened the drawer. “What the—uh—okay.”
Nate smiled at the flush on Kellan’s cheeks. “I suppose you’ve never seen—”
“A dick in a drawer before? Not that I can remember. Do you—? Never mind.” Kellan put the tiny bottle on the counter next to Nate’s hand.
“Thanks. About coffee….”
“Yeah?” Kellan sounded hopeful and so much like his younger self Nate hated to disappoint him.
“I still don’t have any, but I might have found you a job where you can have all you can drink.”
“No. Manna Café. I talked to the manager last night and—”
“Would that be before or after you got obliterated on sugar and vodka?”
“Before. She said you could stop by after the morning rush and she’d talk to you.” Nate took a couple of Tylenol with another pint of water.
“Wow. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’ve got a lot in common with old Geoffrey.”
“Gee, why would I take that the wrong way?” Nate almost slammed the pitcher on the counter but spared his head.
“You’re both quick to manage my life.”
“Kellan. According to you, you’ve got the clothes on your back. I said I’d give you a place to stay, but even if we go through with the whole fake-lovers thing, you’re going to need some money. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not exactly rolling in it.”
“If we go through with it?” Kellan hoisted himself up onto the counter, like he needed the extra height.
“I’m still not sure.”
“Because of Eli?”
“Who said I wanted to date Eli?” Nate didn’t want to date anyone. He only wished he could get laid more than once a month. Based on the letters people sent his advice column, relationships were almost a guarantee of not having sex. He used to have sex. Lots of sex. And then he got promoted right out of doing almost anything but work.
“Wow. Like that’s not a sign of denial. But that’s not what I meant. Before you acted like you thought he would get hurt by it, because of his folks.”
Nate couldn’t remember exactly what he’d been ranting about before he hit the shower, but that sounded about right.
“So we should ask him,” Kellan said.
“He can’t keep a secret. And there goes your plan.”
“No, I mean hypothetically.”
“You went to college and you don’t know what ‘hypothetically’ means?”
“What, like you say, ‘I have a friend who—’”
“Can you lie, I mean, at all? Or are you always this painfully obvious?”
Nate didn’t need to lie. That was the whole point of his life so far. Why he’d wanted to write for a paper in the first place, why he’d done all those special-interest stories and fluff pieces about bands and local talent so he could get to write about stuff that mattered.
Eli must have some kind of psychic ability that let him have really accurate timing, because as Nate was sputtering in defense of honesty, Eli buzzed the apartment.
It wouldn’t be the first time he’d dropped by with breakfast. But it would be the first time Nate was a hundred percent happy to see him.
At the mention of coffee over the intercom, Kellan sprang down the stairs to help Eli carry stuff up.
“I wanted to make sure you were all right. And you were the one who called a staff meeting for eight this morning.” Eli opened a bakery bag and started handing out muffins.
“You wanted to know if we had a big fight,” Kellan said around a mouthful of blueberry muffin.
“Here you go. Vegan bran.” Eli handed the dark dense ball to Nate. “Did you? Are you suddenly available?” He leaned across the counter and leered at Kellan.
“Bring me bacon next time and we’ll talk.”
“Ha. Nate will fire me if I despoil his home with animal flesh.”
A greasy egg-bacon-cheese sandwich sounded exactly right to Nate’s hangover.
“But this is allowed.” Eli produced a bottle of KZ X-treme Cream Soda, and Nate had the top off and was knocking back the fizzy syrup before Eli could put the bottle on the counter.
“I thought KZ Cola fired your dad?” Kellan said. “How do they rate a pass on your enemies list?”
Eli’s hair was too long to see whether his brows arched, but his light eyes grew wide as he stared at Nate. “They did? When?”
“Shut up, Kellan.”
Kellan grinned. “My dad doesn’t allow the old company’s stuff in the house. No aiding and abetting the competition.” He picked up the bottle and took a healthy swig. “I missed this stuff. Do they still make that tangerine-coconut?”
“Yeah,” Eli said. He was so busy watching the morning show, his corn muffin was untouched in front of him.
“Hey, Eli, what would you say if some big pop-rock star came out?” Kellan dropped his non sequitur into the mix.
“Oh my God, who do you know? Who is it? I wouldn’t tell anyone, I swear, not even if my mouth was full of his dick.” Eli held up his palm like he was taking an oath.
“I don’t know of anyone, but I was just saying, what if. And what if it turned out that guy was only faking it, like he only did it to sell tickets for his tour or more CDs or whatever.”
“I’d say he was an asshole.”
A triumphant ha burst from Nate’s lips and made his head ring.
“An asshole, but a smart asshole,” Eli went on. “He knows being gay is cool.”
“Ha,” Kellan said back.
“Wouldn’t that bother you personally?” Nate forced a lump of muffin down his esophagus.
“Why?” Eli asked.
“Because we’re a minority, and those actions get magnified and affect us all.”
Eli shrugged. “But the asshole would still be straight, so why would it matter?”
“Eli, man, I could totally kiss you right now,” Kellan said.
“I’m in.” Eli darted around the counter and jumped onto Kellan’s lips.
Nate expected Kellan to push Eli away, but Kellan put his hand on Eli’s cheek, and from where Nate was standing, the kiss was soft, and there was movement going on in there.
Nate really wished he’d gotten the hang of that repression thing, because then he would have been able to tell himself that the jolt to his stomach was from a vegan bran muffin on top of a gallon of water in a queasy hungover system and not jealousy. Kellan wasn’t really his boyfriend any more than Eli was, so watching them kiss, even if it only lasted six and a half seconds, shouldn’t have any effect on Nate. To give his budding belief in repression a little growth spurt, he applauded.
“Let’s go, Eli. We’re going to be late.”
Eli licked his lips and winked at Kellan. “No, we’re not.” His grin vanished. “Oh shit, Nate. I was playing around. Are you really jealous?”
“He is,” Kellan said. “He’s always been really possessive. Never learned how to share.”
“This is because I didn’t let you ride the bike I got for my tenth birthday before I did.”
“Oh my God, did you guys grow up together? That is the—”
“Say sweet and you are so fired,” Nate warned.
K.A. Mitchell discovered the magic of writing at an early age when she learned that a carefully crayoned note of apology sent to the kitchen in a toy truck would earn her a reprieve from banishment to her room. Her career as a spin-control artist was cut short when her family moved to a two-story house and her trucks would not roll safely down the stairs. Around the same time, she decided that Ken and G.I. Joe made a much cuter couple than Ken and Barbie and was perplexed when invitations to play Barbie dropped off. She never stopped making stuff up, though, and was thrilled to find out that people would pay her to do it. Although the men in her stories usually carry more emotional baggage than even LAX can lose in a year, she guarantees they always find their sexy way to a happy ending.
K.A. loves to hear from her readers. You can email her at email@example.com. She is often found talking about her imaginary friends on Twitter @ka_mitchell.