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.
For this week’s edition of Book Hooks, I give you a teaser from After the Snow Melts, now 40% off at eXtasy Books.
He’s got to find a way to tell his best friend that he wants him—or lose him forever.
Rich, popular, and gorgeous Bryan Deschamps pines from afar for his best friend. He loathes the idea of helping Elliot score a date for the snow dance. With his time running out, Bryan must find a way to capture his buddy’s attention—and that means boldly leaving an anonymous card in his main man’s locker.
Grateful for Bryan’s friendship ever since he moved from his Ojibway community to Thunder Bay to attend high school, Elliot Wasacase can’t disclose his true feelings, or he’ll lose the one true friend he has. Upon discovering an unsigned card in his locker from an admiring dude, he’s terrified someone knows his secret but suspects the person might be Bryan.
When Bryan’s car breaks down, stranding them on top of the mountain during a snowstorm, the two must either take a leap of faith or let fear and clashing beliefs cost them what they truly desire.
Genre(s): Interracial, m/m contemporary romance, LGBT, young adult.
Heat Rating: Level 2
Publication Date: March 13, 2020
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Bryan shifted the stick. When the tires simply spun and the vehicle didn’t move, dread coasted along Elliot’s back. Again, Bryan attempted to ease the car away, but the wheels once again spun.
“Turn the steering wheel a few times. Then try rocking it. I’ll get out and give you a hand.” Elliot threw open the door. Aww shit. Please don’t let us be stuck. Please, man. Please.
He leaned on the back where the spoiler was while Bryan attempted to rock the car forward and then backward, using quick movements. Elliot dug his heels into the ground and pushed with all the strength he could muster, but he might as well have been attempting to send a beached whale back into the ocean on his own.
For fifteen minutes they tried rocking the car out, and the same dread surfaced on Elliot’s back, because they were digging themselves in deeper. The snow had become iron hands gripping the tires.
He pushed his way around the car and banged on the driver’s-side window. “Open the hatchback. I’ll use my knife to cut one of the sandbags. It’ll give us more traction.”
He headed to the rear of the vehicle and grabbed one of the sandbags just as Bryan got out and joined him.
“You think it’ll work?” Bryan asked, a tinge of nervousness in his question.
“I dunno.” Using his pocketknife, Elliot split the bag open.
Bryan dug around the rear tires, brushing aside as much snow as his gloved hands could manage.
Elliot sprinkled the sand on the freshly cleaned area. “Okay, try it again while I push.”
Using his back this time, Elliot leaned on the vehicle. He gripped the bumper for traction and braced his boot heels deep in the ground.
For the second time, Bryan rocked the car in the pit of snow they were mired in. Elliot grunted. Sweat from all the work he’d done coated his skin. He gritted his teeth and pushed until he felt as if his brain and skin would pop. Again, the tires did nothing but spin.
He stopped and leaned forward, palms on his knees. The icy air hurt his lungs, but he kept puffing for much-needed oxygen.
The car door slammed shut. “This ain’t working.”
“Of course it isn’t working,” Elliot huffed out. “It’s a sports car. It’s too low to the ground. And it’s as useless as tits on a guy.”
“Don’t be hacking on my wheels. At least I have a car.”
“Yeah? And who bought it? Daddy and Mommy.” Elliot stood straight. His lungs kept expanding, demanding air. They were stranded up here. His boarding wardens would shit twice and die if he didn’t make it home. This was all Bryan’s fault.
“At least my parents can afford to buy me something.” Bryan’s rose-colored lips shifted into a snarl.
“You don’t think mine would if they could?” A flash of angry heat erupted in Elliot’s chest. “Oh yeah, they can’t. We’re just a bunch of boggans, huh?”
The scowl on Bryan’s lips faded. He glanced away and glanced back. “Look, ragging on each other isn’t gonna get us out of this mess.”
“No, it ain’t.” Elliot leaned on the car and folded his arms. “What’re we gonna do? Book it down the mountain?”
“You kidding me?” Bryan threw open the door. “Get in.”
Man, Biboon must be having a good laugh tossing winter everywhere. Elliot slipped inside the car and removed his jacket. He shook out his coat before the stupid weather ruined his expensive leather, a damn fine gift Bryan’s parents had bought Elliot for Christmas, which was way too cool of them. He closed the door.
“We shouldn’t be ragging on each other,” Bryan said quietly. He fiddled with the keychain dangling from the ignition. “We’re best buds.”
“Yeah,” Elliot murmured. He rubbed his palms on his jeans.
The only sound was the windshield wipers moving back and forth, the hum of the car heater, and Biboon’s breath of shrieking wind.
“What’re we… what’re we gonna do?”
“I don’t know.” Bryan’s fingers gripped the steering wheel. He rested his head where the horn was located. His big-eyed stare of hopelessness settled on Elliot. “Do you think anyone will come up here?”
“The rez? If it’s anything like mine, nope. They won’t plow until morning. Maybe. First thing they’ll do is clear their own roads. They probably won’t come up here for another day.”
“Another day?” Bryan gasped. “We gotta go. We gotta try to walk down. It’s the only way—”
“Dude, you’re the one who said that’s a crazy-ass idea.”
“But we still got light. The sun doesn’t set until six now.”
Elliot pointed. “It’s already dark. There’re clouds everywhere. We won’t be able to see a foot in front of our faces.”
“I told Mom and Dad I wouldn’t be home for dinner. I told them we were going… somewhere… after school.”
Hope rose in Elliot. “Did you say where?”
“No.” Bryan moved off the steering wheel and slumped back, laying his head on the bucket seat’s headrest. “Look, if we keep the car running on and off, we can try to walk down in the morning. At least we’ll be able to see. We’ll have a chance.”
“Oh, man.” Elliot scrubbed at his face. He was in big, big trouble. Too many native kids went missing in the city, some getting tossed into one of the rivers. The boarding wardens would have a search party out for him, thinking he was dead. They’d ground him until the end of the school year if he didn’t get back to their place by his curfew.
“We’ll keep the car heater on low so we don’t use up too much gas.” Bryan reached over and turned down the thermostat. “There’s a blanket in the back, too.”
Blanket? This time Elliot swore the car heater was inside him, upping the temperature of his blood, skin, and bones to an unbearable forty degrees Celsius. He stole a peek at Bryan who stole a peek back.
The only way to keep warm was doing what Elliot had done as a kid. It was why Mom and Dad had hauled out their mattress from the bedroom in front of the woodstove in the dead of a cold winter. He’d curl up with his brothers and sisters under thick quilts Mom had made. It was something they still did.