First off, I’d like to thank Kimi for having me on the blog today. I’m so happy to be here to promote my young adult novel, The Night Screams, which will be published through Harmony Ink Press on January 28th. I’ve brought along an exclusive excerpt from the book that I’m eager to share with you guys. Hope you all enjoy the read!
After Cal escapes a deranged kidnapper who tortured him, he doesn’t even have the clothes on his back. Desperate and afraid, he breaks into a convenience store. But Jake, a clerk at the store, confronts what to him is little more than a petty thief. After a violent tussle, he knocks Cal out.
Jake encourages his Uncle Gary, the owner of the store, to report Cal to the police, but Gary can’t bring himself to report a kid who was just looking to steal food. When Cal wakes, Gary asks him if he’s okay. But Cal’s trauma has left him mute. Instead, he has to write his experiences down, relaying the horrifying events that led him to the store. The police track down the sick man who held Cal captive, and when he confronts them with a gun, he’s shot dead. However, Cal discovers that even with his captor gone, he is far from free of the nightmare he endured.
Gary and his wife welcome Cal into their home, determined to help him heal. Jake doesn’t trust Cal, and he isn’t afraid to say so. But buried beneath Jake’s disapproval might be the person who can help Cal recover from the terrifying experience that continues to haunt him.
AT LEAST a hundred students filled the auditorium, either side lined with stone pillars decorated with vines of flowers that spiraled from the floor to the ceiling. At the far end of the room, bulky black speakers surrounded a wooden platform where several kids danced. Over the dance floor, white lights were strung across the ceiling, hanging in arcs. Those who weren’t dancing scattered throughout the room, some at tables along the wall, others chatting in clusters that were surely representative of the various cliques at Jake’s school.
It might not have been Cal’s prom, but at least he knew what he’d missed. And being with Jake made it even better than it could have been by himself.
Mallory went straight for the dance floor, and the group followed. When they arrived, Mallory shrieked at a cluster of dancers who must have been her friends. She threw her hands over her head and twirled, displaying her dress for the girls while several guys shifted their attention from their dates to get a look. Once the girls had approved of her outfit, she shook her ass and backed it up to a smaller girl, who giggled and hurried away.
Cal imagined her behavior would have given his mother fits, as he recalled her constantly complaining about young girls and their “naughty dancing.”
“Come on, assholes!” Mallory exclaimed, urging the rest of the group to join in.
No one seemed to be moving, so she hurried to Jake and danced before him until he grabbed her hip, turned her around, and gyrated his pelvis against her butt.
Debra swayed back and forth beside Blake, clearly indicating she wanted to dance, but he just bobbed his head in a way Cal figured might have been Blake’s idea of dancing. Meanwhile Keith and Kendra smiled, seeming to laugh at themselves as they danced to the beat.
“Oh my God,” Kendra said. “You’re insane!”
Cal swayed, almost like Blake, trying to adjust to the music. He approached Debra from the side, hoping he could distract her until Blake was ready to join in. Once Debra saw him, she bent her legs and flapped her hands before her as she broke into her own little number.
“Show me what you got, Blake,” Cal teased.
Blake smirked, then dropped back, his palms meeting the floor. He bent his arms and threw his legs high and spread them, holding them in place midair. He pushed off the floor, twirled in the air, and landed on his forearms as he continued spinning and kicking his legs in various positions.
No… fucking… way.
The crowd clustered around him as he displayed impressive break dancing moves before hopping back to his feet.
“Fucking show-off!” Mallory screamed across the dance floor.
He smirked and shrugged, clearly impressed with his own moves.
Debra beamed as he started dancing with her.
Jake, Cal, and his friends danced for a few songs, everyone just enjoying themselves, laughing at their own ridiculousness. Jake kept close to Cal, as if he would start dancing with him at any moment, but he remained distant. It reminded Cal this was how they had to be in public.
He wondered what it must’ve been like for Jake and Keith to be together, liking each other but always keeping a certain distance to prevent anyone from suspecting their relationship. This was just how things had to be. Even if Cal had remained with his family in Werrington, he surely would have had to be discreet had he and Daryl ever attempted to take things further.
The beat faded to one that was slower. Much slower. It drove home the sorts of activities he’d always be denied because of his deviant attractions.
As everyone coupled up, Cal turned to head off the dance floor.
He felt a tug on his arm. It spun him around until he was face-to-face with Jake.
“Where you going?” Jake asked as he released Cal’s arm and gripped onto his hands.
“What are you doing?” Cal scanned the room.
What was Jake thinking? Did he want everyone to bully him for the rest of the year?
“What do you think I’m doing?” he asked with a smile.
Cal noticed a few glances their way and blushed.
A group of guys outside the dance floor, standing beside a table with a large punch bowl, snickered and chatted as they gazed at him and Jake.
Cal’s chest tightened. He looked to Jake, panicked.
“Don’t worry about them. Just have a good time.”
Cal’s fear dissipated until he caught a glimpse of Keith, who while dancing with Kendra, stared at them. He wore a sad expression, which he turned from them. Cal figured it was upsetting to see the man he’d had to be closeted with flaunting his affections in public.
“Just look at me,” Jake said.
Jake’s eyes sparkled, the reflection of the overhanging lights appearing to be stars in the dark night of his pupils.
Jake led Cal in their dance.
For a moment, though he could feel and hear the presence of everyone around him, Jake was the only one he could see, and Jake’s gaze made him feel like he felt the same way about Cal.
He scanned those beautiful eyes, those dimples that dug into his cheek as he grinned ear to ear.
It reminded him of that night at the fire. Jake wasn’t just hot. He was beautiful, so beautiful all Cal could do was fixate on the lone freckle on Jake’s temple, the dip in the middle of his upper lip, the cluster of twisted hairs at the inner corner of his right eyebrow. He wondered how such a beautiful combination had come about. Whatever had made his face so perfect left Cal breathless.
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About Devon McCormack:
Devon McCormack spends most of his time hiding in his lair, adventuring in paranormal worlds with his island of misfit characters. A good ole Southern boy, McCormack grew up in the Georgian suburbs with his two younger brothers and an older sister. At a very young age, he spun tales the old fashioned way, lying to anyone and everyone he encountered. He claimed he was an orphan. He claimed to be a king from another planet. He claimed to have supernatural powers. He has since harnessed this penchant for tall tales by crafting whole worlds where he can live out whatever fantasy he chooses.
A gay man himself, McCormack focuses on gay male characters, adding to the immense body of literature that chooses to represent and advocate gay men’s presence in media. His body of work ranges from erotica to young adult, so readers should check the synopses of his books before purchasing so that they know what they’re getting into.