Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. Readers have the chance to jump from one author to another who share hooks from their current WIP (work in progress) or any previously published book.
Although they’re torn apart, they still hold a piece of each other’s heart.
Blurb: After receiving his grade twelve diploma and marking his eighteenth birthday, René Oshawee cannot fight the temptation seventeen-year-old high school junior Billy Redsky blatantly offers now that what they share has become taboo.
When their secret romance is blown into the open, Billy’s foster parents send René to Toronto to complete the last of his schooling under the supervision of a family friend, leaving Billy behind at their Ojibway community.
Now Billy and René must make the biggest decision of their lives—fight for the true love they know they’ll never find with anyone else or go their separate ways.
Genre(s): Multicultural, m/m contemporary romance, LGBT, young adult, new adult.
Heat Rating: Level 2
Publication Date: April 16, 2021
Publisher: eXtasy Books
“Who’s Trent? Is he a roadie?” Billy lifted his coffee and sipped.
“Trent? You never heard about Trent? He’s Renny’s new buddy. I guess they’re both taking OAC. Hey, guess what’s even better?”
“Trent’s the same as Renny.” Chunk lowered his voice and leaned in. “Guess this dude’s been a big help.”
The air drained from Billy’s lungs. He punched his chest to get the oxygen flowing.
“So yeah…Trent agreed with Ian and Moxy. He said unorthodox is the way to go. He said Nirvana were very unorthodox. Left-handed guitar player. A trio. Kirk could sing but he sure didn’t have the range of Eddie Vedder, Layne Staley, or Chris Cornell. But they still made it big.” Chunk puffed on the smoke. “You okay?”
“Dude, I swear you saw a ghost. Man, your face is whiter than a rabbit in the winter.”
Was this why René wasn’t emailing back? Was he already moving on with some guy named Trent? Billy’s gut told him his assumption was wrong. After the bullshit René had pulled last year with Olivia, the guy he loved wouldn’t be so fast to move on. Still, he was going to call René right away, even if he had to stand at a payphone and keep inserting quarters.
They had their coffees. Billy didn’t bolt for work the way Chunk did. He beelined for the counter, changed a ten-dollar bill for quarters, and darted for the payphone in the lobby.
René should be back to his basement apartment by now. Unless he’d gone somewhere after school. But relaxing and then studying was his routine.
Billy dialed the long-distance number. The operator came on and informed him how much he’d need to deposit. The pile of change was spread out on the steel shelf the phone was suspended to. The directory hung underneath. He inserted the money into the slot.
The lobby door opened.
“What’s up?” Stuart asked.
Billy held up his hand. He remained facing the phone. “Super busy and super important call.”
“Gotcha.” Stuart patted Billy’s back.
At least his friends had respected Billy’s request for privacy. After three rings, the familiar voice that was satin brushing his skin came through the receiver.
The words Billy wanted to say were stuck to the back of his throat. A decade may as well have flown by since he’d last heard René talk. Dots appeared in front of Billy’s eyes, and his breathing became a race car tearing down the highway.
“It’s…it’s m-m-me.” Billy’s teeth clattered.
“Billy?” Astonishment emerged in René’s question.
Attempting to stifle his rapid breathing, Billy curled his fingers into a fist. He gripped the receiver tighter. “Y-yeah.”
“Whoa. What’s going on? What’s wrong?”
“N-nothing. I…I needed to hear…hear…you…” I needed to hear you speak. It’s been forever since I last heard you. “I…I’m…I’m not dating anyone.”
“What?” Confusion replaced the previous urgency in René’s voice.
“The rumor Chunk told you about. We got done doing coffee about five minutes ago. I’m not dating anyone. How could you think I was?” Billy’s breathing had returned to normal. Desperation thumped at the back of his neck.
“Oh…” There was a long pause from René.
Billy rubbed his finger along the stiff telephone cord. Classmates shuffled by him, on their way to the parking lot. Each time the door opened, a blast of cold swept into the lobby. Some of his buddies slapped him on the back, but he kept facing the phone. “W-well?”
“You’re right.” René’s pitch dropped a smidgen. “I guess I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions.”
“Is that why you never emailed me back?” Billy shuffled closer to the phone until his nose almost kissed the buttons.
“I…y’know I want you to have a blast. I…I don’t want to hold you back.”
“Don’t start. Please,” Billy begged. “Tell me how you’re really feeling? Is it Trent?”
“Trent? Huh? No. We’re just friends.” A smidgen of confusion distorted René’s normally smooth speech. “How could I have the hots for someone else when—”
“Oh…okay.” Billy’s rattling teeth stopped clacking. “I get it.” He ducked his head. “I miss you.”
“Sir, I’ll need one dollar more,” the operator said.
Billy grabbed the quarters and inserted them.
“Where’re you calling from?”
“Gold’s. I couldn’t call from your crib. Your mom and dad would’ve saw the long-distance charges.”
Soft palms covered Billy’s eyes. Carla. Dammit.
“What’re you doing? I’m on the phone.” He didn’t mean to snap, but this was René.
“Is that Carla?” René asked.
Great, he’d also recognized her voice. “Yeah.”
“Look, I’ll email you. Okay?” René’s voice was very distant, and not because he was over fourteen hundred kilometers away, but a different kind of distant, one that told Billy something was up. “I gotta go. My ride’s here. Have a great time.”
The line went dead, and so did Billy’s heart.