Rust Red: Galvanized will be available from the Torquere Press website on Wednesday, the 28th of September. Eyes Wide Shut is now out of print from Torquere because there's a new batch of fabulous Charity Sips available, but I've put it up at Smashwords, complete with a snazzy new cover designed by my good friend LJ LaBarthe - if you don't have it already you can get a copy here.
Here's a final excerpt to tide you over until Wednesday. This excerpt takes place just after Adam and Chris run into someone from Chris' work on the tourist strip.
When they got home, Chris disappeared; Adam eventually found him out the front in his parents' swing seat, rocking gently in the dark and smoking. Adam walked slowly over to him, smiling slightly at the sight of a crumpled up nicotine patch resting on his knee.
"You know, any time you want to stop pretending that you'll give up smoking is fine by me," he said softly. "I really won't be offended."
Chris looked down, picking up the patch and shoving it in his pocket. "Sorry."
"Don't apologize. Like I said, I don't care." Adam sat down, close to Chris but not touching him. He didn't try to prod Chris at all, or ask him again what had happened with Martins in the past, he just sat quietly and listened to the noises of night time in suburbia and waited for Chris to start.
After smoking one cigarette down to a stub and lighting another, Chris did eventually start. "That little shitstain is the worst kind of bigoted, racist fuckwit," he said softly. "I've had a run-in with him before."
"I gathered you weren't each other's favorite people," Adam said, looking over at Chris. "What happened?"
Chris took another drag of his cigarette. "You heard him tonight, the way he talked about Sally. He's done that before, talked shit about her, called her names, said really disgusting things about her. One day I just... snapped, I guess." The tip of his cigarette glowed as he inhaled. "I held him off the floor by his neck until he almost choked."
"You what?" Adam could feel his mouth hanging open. "You almost choked him? Really?"
"Yeah." Chris blew out a stream of smoke. "The things he was saying about her... the things he said tonight were nothing on those things. He fucking deserved it, the little prick." He paused. "Not that I'm proud of what I did. But he did deserve it." He paused again. "I did it in front of everyone too, in the cafeteria. So now he's got a bit of a grudge against me, you could say."
"I can imagine." Adam was quiet a moment. "Wow."
"Yeah." Chris sighed. "And now the little fuckstick is going to go running back to the mine and tell everyone that I'm a fucking faggot and he saw me with my boyfriend the doctor in Surfers, and there's not a bloody thing I can do about it."
Adam hesitated. "You could deny it."
Chris sighed again. "Some people would still believe it. Besides which, if I deny it, I deny you. Do you want that? Do you want me to deny you? I don't think you do. Isn't that why we broke up the first time?"
As a matter of fact, it wasn't; Adam had never wanted Chris to come out of the closet for him, he'd just wanted him to stop being too paranoid to even be seen in public with him. "I want you to do whatever you need to do. If you need to tell them all that we're just friends, then do that."
Chris was silent a moment while he lit another cigarette. He took a drag, put his hand down, then lifted his hand back to his mouth to take another. Adam could see the lit end of the smoke shaking with the tremors in Chris' hand. "I hate this," Chris said softly. "I hate that it has to be so hard."
Adam reached a hand out, gently cupping the back of Chris' neck. "I know."