A warm welcom to author Deanna Wadsworth joining us today to talk about new release “La Famiglia”, part three in the succesful Me of Gilead series.
Welcome Deanna 🙂
Some readers in the gay romance genre don’t enjoy certain tropes, like insta-loves or coming out stories, but I love them… if they’re done right, that is LOL. Seriously, they’re some of my favorites. Personally I think coming out stories are such an enjoyable read because in some ways, everyone is hiding parts of their true self from others. Also, so many people in our lives have a preconceived notion of who we are, and that’s that. There is no room for who we truly are, just a matter of what they need us to be, or how their notion of us fits into their personal narrative. Because innately, human beings are very selfish. The coming out story challenges all of these things in the most intense way possible.
In my latest and third Men of Gilead novel LA FAMIGLIA which is released today, readers will watch Forrester Giordano lead his two separate lives in the different towns where the book takes place. Forrester says he’s “gay in Gilead and mostly straight in Shiloh.” But the double life is getting too difficult when all he wants is to have the HEA that he sees his brothers have. With the support and understanding of his new love, Kyle—a man who has traveled a very hard road— Forrester is in store for intense journey to becoming himself. With comical highs and deep emotional lows, I hope all of my readers enjoy this tale of love and family.
I brought along an exclusive excerpt of Forrester and Kyle’s first date where Kyle learns Forrester is not out.
Forrester slurped on his pop, bringing Kyle back to the now. “How did you end up in Gilead, Kyle?”
“I got into law school at Shiloh U. Then the prosecutor’s office recruited me, so I stayed. When I saw a Rolling Stone spread about Jimmy Hart last fall, it had a photograph of his hometown. So I took a motorcycle trip out here. The minute I saw Gilead, I just fell in love.”
“Yeah, this town has that effect. My best friend Lucas—”
“The guy from the bookstore?”
“Yeah, he lives here with his moms. I used to love visiting. We’d walk by the river, get candy at the gas station, hang out in Galaxy Comics. I’ve always wanted to own a bookstore here. It’s just so peaceful, with the river and everything. A nice respite from my crazy family.”
Forrester’s phone dinged.
“Speaking of my crazy family,” he said, checking his message. “I swear, I gotta keep my cell on me at all times because somebody in my family will be driving in their car and realize they haven’t talked to someone for two hours, so there must be some exciting news. And if I don’t answer, they all start imagining that I’m dead in a ditch.” He read the message and quickly typed an answer. “My brother Dino. He wants to know when the car show is in Gilead.”
Kyle liked that Forrester explained his incoming text. Kyle was left out of so much already. “Does he have a classic car?”
“We have a car, as in it’s all of ours. A ’67 Shelby Fastback.”
“A real ’67 Shelby? Or a kit car?”
“Nope.” A grin split his face. “She’s the real deal. GT350 with forty-one thousand original miles.”
Kyle whistled. “Nice.”
“Yeah, Dad bought it brand-new, long before he met Ma. Dad and the car were a ‘package deal,’ he used to say. We used to take it to car shows, go on fun cruises around town. Us boys were always fighting for the front seat. We’re still fighting over who gets to drive it and when. Don’t wanna rack up too many miles, not that Joey ever listens.”
A pang filled Kyle for a moment. He’d always wanted siblings, but Mom had been forty-three when he was born, so Kyle was one and done.
“You like cars?” Forrester asked. “I mean, you got that sweet Challenger.”
He nodded. “I like loud cars. Cars that I can feel when I drive. Like my bike.”
“Really? The sound doesn’t bother you?”
Kyle didn’t mind when people asked him about his hearing, and with Forrester, there was no condescending tone, just curiosity. “I like a car that I can feel hugging the road, the rumble between my legs. New, quiet cars aren’t fun to drive because I can barely feel them. I don’t like that.”
“Makes sense. The Shelby definitely has a rumble.” Forrester snorted a laugh, tucked his phone away, but it buzzed again. He glanced at it and rolled his eyes. “Joey.”
“You’re a popular guy,” Kyle observed. “Maybe you should tell them they’re interrupting a first date.”
“Uh, no,” Forrester laughed. “If I do that, then it’ll be all: Who is she? Do I know her? What’s her name? How did you meet her?”
Kyle would have laughed at the way Forrester mimicked a variety of voices both male and female if he hadn’t picked up on the key word he’d said.
Downing some pop in an awkward gulp, Forrester looked away.
Kyle pursed his lips. “You’re not out.”
“I haven’t told my family, just my friends.”
When Kyle had arrived in Shiloh, he’d made the firm decision to be completely open and honest about his sexuality. The only way he had been able to climb out of the depression he’d fallen into after his mother’s death was to be proud of who he was. He wondered what had kept Forrester in the closet so long.
Forrester must’ve taken his silence as disapproval. “This is how I see it. Everything has its proper place. I like my privacy, so I keep this part of my life separate from the part with my family. It’s just like my bookstore. You don’t go putting romance novels in with the home-and-garden. You don’t put mystery with sci-fi, ya know?”
“You can’t organize your life like the Dewey Decimal System.”
Forrester said nothing, and Kyle realized he may have crossed a line. They’d been flirting for a while, but in reality, they didn’t know much about each other. “I know we just started whatever this is between us, but can I say something? One gay man to another?”
“Being gay is not about who you have sex with. It’s who we are. You can’t expect to be happy if you hide who you are from people you care about. The sneaking, the lying, it all catches up to you. No matter how hard you try, fate eventually outs you. You really think I wanted my high school principal to call my mom and tell her I was giving Samuel a blowie under the bleachers?”
Forrester’s mouth dropped open. “Shut up.”
He widened his eyes for emphasis. “Most humiliating moment of my life and not at all how I’d planned to come out. My mom cried at first. Said she worried being gay would just make my life even harder than it already was. I didn’t talk to her for weeks. I was so mad and embarrassed. It’s easy to tune someone out when you can literally turn your ears off. I refused to wear my processor and closed my eyes every time she tried to talk to me.”
“Wow, that’s harsh.”
“Yeah, it was.” Guilt twanged his heart, thinking back on what a jerk he’d been. “But I was so hurt. I thought she didn’t love me anymore. That she saw me as one big mistake, broken in every way.”
“I’m so sorry.” Forrester gripped Kyle’s hand.
He squeezed it back and forced a smile. “But then one day she wrote me a letter, explaining what she meant. That she didn’t think I was broken, but she worried other people might treat me that way. She just wanted to protect me. We made up, and in the end, we had a few great years of honesty before she died. You owe it to yourself and your family to have that kind of honesty in your life. Every time I remember how embarrassed and mad I was, I’m also grateful. What if I’d never told her? What then?”
Forrester Giordano comes from a huge, nosy Italian family, and with their homophobic jokes and slurs, he’s decided to stay in the closet. He finds respite in his bookstore in the quaint village of Gilead—where he has a huge crush on one of his customers, Kyle Benson.
Kyle is determined to live his dreams, and though life isn’t easy being deaf, one by one he’s making them come true. He’s scored a great job practicing law, bought a cute bungalow where he can finally have a big flower garden, and he has a dog he loves, Jasper. Now he just needs one thing to complete his happiness: a family of his own to make up for the one he never had.
Forrester and Kyle’s relationship starts off hot and heavy, and neither man can deny the depth of their connection. When Forrester’s little brother gets mixed up with their heroin-dealing cousin and his mother falls ill, Forrester has a decision to make—maybe the hardest of his life. For the first time, he’s found a man worth coming out for.
Unfortunately nothing ever goes according to plan with la famiglia.
Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and a couple adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. She has served multiple board positions for different RWA chapters, including President of the Rainbow Romance Writers in 2017. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. An avid reader, she also loves gardening, cooking, music, and dancing. Often she can be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.