For today’s edition of Teaser Tuesday, I thought I’d share an excerpt from the first draft of my latest m/m young adult, contemporary romance trilogy When We Were Young. I finished drafting the first two books, Two Princes and Toy Soldiers. I’m now working on the last one.
I don’t have blurbs for either books or a series blurb, but I do have a working series logline: I thought I saved you, but maybe you saved me too.
The trilogy stars the thieving, drug-dealing Billy Redsky and the chief’s haughty, popular son René Oshawee. The books take place during the grunge 90s.
Here’s the beginning of the first chapter.
For the last year he’d sold ten joints a day, and with the measly cut he was getting from his shit-ass older brother for peddling the loser’s weed, Billy would be wearing dentures and bunking at the senior’s building by the time he got to buy the dirt bike he’d been drooling over at Moe’s Motorcycles.
He shoved aside the empty beer bottles and overflowing ashtray on the coffee table to grab the reserve’s bi-weekly newsletter peeking out from beneath the mess. Maybe he could find a job. He flipped through the stapled pages.
This was useless. As if anyone would hire him. He was a Redsky. Mom and Hoyt—with their drinking, drugging, letting the house go to shit, monthly gimme money ’cause I’m too fucking lazy to work welfare checks, stints in jail—had done everything and anything to trash the family name.
There weren’t any jobs, anyway. Billy tossed aside the newsletter and stood. At least Mom’s biker boyfriend kept the fridge stocked with lunchmeat, which he’d made two sandwiches from.
He shoved his sketchpad and pencils into his backpack. Then he adjusted the Canadian pin on the lapel of his jean jacket from right side up to upside down so those in the know understood he had weed for sale. As he stood, the couch spring creaked.
There were messes on the living room and kitchen floors he had to step over. Eight o’clock. The school bus would arrive any second. He shouldn’t have screwed around while rolling those ten joints earlier.
Mom’s light snores carried from her bedroom that was adjacent to the utility room. Billy lifted his middle finger to her door. He kicked open the utility room door and it banged against the wall. Good. Maybe the noise would wake the lazy lush. Mom’s purse sat on the washer. He reached inside and helped himself to a five-dollar bill. At least she hadn’t drank up everything in her wallet.
He pushed on the back door and marched outside to the sun shining down on him and a clear blue sky that didn’t match the gray in his chest, or the red heat prickling his skin.
The corner of his eye caught the tail end of the school bus driving by. His irritation went from twenty-five degrees Celsius to a raging thirty-eight. Great. Just fucking great. He threw up his arms and tramped down the driveway while the bus continued to chug down the road. How the hell was he supposed to sell his quota of weed now? He had money to make and a dirt bike to buy if he wanted the bodacious Carla Morrisseau and the super-cool royal spare, René Oshawee, to finally cast their eyes in his direction.
The growl of a V8 engine and then the brum brum brum of a bitchin’ steel muffler carried across the field from the cul de sac where the royal family’s castle was located. Seemed like René was backing out of his fancy three-stall garage and also heading for school.
Mom’s rusted truck from the disco seventies sat in the driveway. How could she and Hoyt be chill with a life of Loserville? There wasn’t a motorcycle, so her boyfriend must’ve crashed at his own pad for once.
Billy huffed down the driveway. There was a bus he could catch on City Road. It’d be a jaunt of ten minutes to reach the main drag from the reserve, but business was business. If he didn’t sell his weed, he could expect a beatdown from Hoyt.
Being late, again, wasn’t really a big deal. Billy could handle Chrome Dome Carlson. It wasn’t like it’d be the first time he found himself in the vice principal’s office.
Blue jays obnoxiously jeered. Finches cheeped. A crow on a hydro wire cawed down at him. The pure whistling tone of an oriole floated on the warm fall air. Too bad he didn’t have an orange in his backpack or he’d share it with the too cool bird, but fruit was six holidays wrapped into one at his house.
Maybe Pumpkin was foraging around. Next month, the big bear would bunk down for the winter. After school, Billy should go up the mountain. He almost had his sketch done of the cinnamon colored bear. A trip to the mall might be a better idea. Being low on water and oil paints, he could steal some more supplies to create a kick-ass tribute to Pumpkin.
Billy reached the end of his road and walked along the main stretch of Ojibway Drive. The brum brum brum started up again. He licked his lips, heart tightening.
The V8 engine and muffler grew louder. Billy’s heart was being squeezed by a fist. He had to force the air in and out of his lungs. Gripping the shoulder straps of the backpack tighter, he used his thighs to walk, almost stepping up because his stomach had gotten in on the game and had constricted.
Instead of speeding up, the truck’s engine slowed to a light vroom. Almost a putter. Why the hell was René Oshawee slowing down? He should be bombing by to get his main man in Northwood and then heading for Gold’s Coffee on Arthur Street to slurp some mud before going to school. That was the royal spare’s routine. The rocker clique always showed up five minutes before first bell.
From his peripheral vision, Billy caught the hood louvers on the black truck as the vehicle crawled beside him. Heart now in his rolling stomach, he turned his head to René staring back behind sunglasses that matched the shade of his slick four by four wheels. The passenger window lowered.
“’Sup, Redsky? You skipping again, or are you five minutes behind the clock?” René asked in a tone Billy had heard many times while renting videos at the video store owned by one of René’s uncles—smooth, silky, and finer than a taste of his brother’s favorite whiskey.
“Five minutes behind,” Billy managed to spit out. The shock freezing his spine turned a smidgen colder.
“Get in, dude. You’re on my route.” René used his head to make a slight motion.
Flattery should smack Billy’s face, not a bucket of offense at what was probably a charitable offer. But he shoved aside the hint of annoyance steeping in his belly and opened the truck door to the scent of lemons coming from the air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror.
Tunes hummed from the speakers. René must’ve lowered the volume because he always cranked his music, anything to show off his cha-ching cha-ching stereo speakers to make sure nobody forgot how much coin he had in his pocket, thanks to Chief Oshawee. Or should Billy say King Oshawee?
René’s six-foot-two, athletic bod was poured into a leather jacket moving in the perfect V form of his upper-torso. The designer name on the band of his black long underwear was exposed. Cargo shorts sat low on his slim hips. Thick socks were rolled over the tops of his half-unlaced ten-eye combat boots. A camo sweatshirt wrapped his waist.
René peeked over the tops of his sunglasses. His dark brown eyes with the super-thick black lashes simply stared.
Billy’s heart morphed into the open throttle of a dirt bike, ready to burst from the starting gate of a motocross competition. He licked his lips, but his internal engine was close to overheating.
When René sucked in his cheeks, his lightly tanned skin drew tight against his cheekbones. He set his long fingers on the volume control of the stereo and turned the button. Music blasted from the speakers. The Toadies’ Mister Love filled the black interior. He rested his hand on the stick shift.
They were off, cruising down the oiled road.