And so it begins
Scenes from Adelaide Road, my new release, has gone on pre-order on the Pride Publishing Website today. And thus kicks off a release process that will last for one month and 11 days. The schedule is as follows:
October 20, 2015: Pre-order on Pride Publishing Website
November 3, 2015: Early download on Pride Publishing Website
December 1, 2015: General release day.
Don’t worry if you can’t keep all the dates straight, I will be posting again for every step in the release process J
Scenes from Adelaide Road is very close to my heart. I’ve grown very fond of both Lennart and Aidan and can’t wait to introduce them to the rest of the world.
A few months before his final exams in secondary school, nineteen-year-old Lennart Kelly discovers he’s inherited a house on Adelaide Road in Dublin from a grandfather he never knew. Having been ignored, bullied and abused for as long as he can remember, Lennart can’t wait to leave behind his father and the small town he grew up in. Moving away as soon as he finishes his exams doesn’t cure his deep-rooted insecurities though.
Meeting twenty-three-year-old Aidan Cassidy in a gay club on his second night in Dublin, scares Lennart. Used to being ignored and ridiculed, he doesn’t trust the attention he receives and can’t believe a man like Aidan could possibly be interested in him. It takes infinite patience and understanding from Aidan to slowly coax Lennart out of his shell.
But the past refuses to stay where it belongs and Lennart’s father is determined to take the house in Dublin off his son by whatever means necessary. Just when Lennart is learning to trust and embrace life, a violent attack threatens everything he holds dear. Suddenly Lennart is in danger of losing his house, the man he’s grown to love and maybe even his life. If Lennart wants to protect Aidan and safeguard his future, he’ll have to find the courage he never knew he had.
I took one step forward before retreating again. The wall against my back grounded me, taking some of my panic away. I stared across the street at the door, the bouncers and the slow trickle of people entering the club. I had waited for this moment, dreamed about it for months but now it had arrived I couldn’t find the courage to take the last fifteen steps separating me from the threshold.
I forced myself to breathe slowly while I counted up to ten and down to zero again. My body was on high alert, thoughts rushed through my mind and worry cramped my stomach. This was ridiculous. I only wanted to enter a club, discover what it was like on the inside in order to satisfy my curiosity. Here in
I had no reason to be afraid—there was no one to tell me what I could and
couldn’t do, and, most importantly, nobody to frown upon me and who I was.
I was free at last, but I might as well still be shackled to my father and his rules for all the good it did me. I could hear the contemptuous words my dad used to spew at me whenever I’d attempted to create a social life for myself as if he stood next to me. ‘Don’t make a fool of yourself. Surely by now you’ve figured out people don’t want to be around you. Nobody likes a loser.’ I had hoped the distance between us would diminish his power over my thoughts. I’d been wrong.
Across the road two more men entered the club. They exchanged a few words with the bouncers and a burst of laughter reached my ears. I studied them. They looked just like me—nothing made them stand out as special or remarkable. Tight jeans, even tighter T-shirts, and loafers. Nothing about their appearance distinguished them from the people who walked past the club on their way to different venues. Nothing, apart from the fact that some of them had been holding hands and others had their arms wrapped around each other, or hands stuffed into each other’s back pockets. Nothing, except that couples entering this club were either all male or all female.
That stood out like a red flag in a black and white movie. I couldn’t imagine ever seeing that back home. The sight filled me with a longing so deep it hurt. I closed my eyes for a moment and allowed the soft June breeze to wash over me. I wanted to believe I could be one of those men one day. Nineteen years of being told I was nothing—not good enough, a disappointment as well as a disgrace—had me convinced my dream would always be that, a futile fantasy.
Time passed and I just stood there. I had to make up my mind—either bite the bullet, cross the road and enter the club or go back home. There would be no shame in going back to my house. I’d only arrived in
two days ago. I didn’t have to hurry or force myself. This city was home now. I
could visit this club and others like it whenever I wanted, or rather, whenever
I found the courage. I half turned to start the short walk home before stopping
myself. No. If I chickened out now I
might never be brave enough to take the first step. Before I could change my
mind again I stepped away from the wall, crossed the street and walked up to
“Sorry, mate, we’ll need to see your ID.”
The bouncer sounded kind enough, but his words still left me fuming inside as I pulled my wallet out of my pocket and handed my age card over. Looking like a sixteen year old when my nineteenth birthday was months behind me sucked.
“Thanks. That’s grand. Enjoy your night.” The bouncers stepped aside and allowed me to enter the place I’d been longing and dreading to visit in equal measure.
What had I done? Why had I not gone home? Every instinct screamed at me to turn around and walk out again. I glimpsed bright lights, dark corners and a bar along the left hand wall before I lowered my gaze to the floor. I’d seen enough to know the place was relatively empty. A few bodies moved on the dance floor in the middle of the club and some people sat at the tables surrounding it. The music was loud and the beat travelled through my body, making my eardrums vibrate. I didn’t look up while I made my way to the far end of the bar where I picked the empty stool next to the wall.
The marble-like surface of the bar wasn’t interesting enough for all the attention I paid it, but I couldn’t bring myself to look up, never mind study my surroundings. I waited for someone to come and tell me I wasn’t welcome. It had happened whenever I’d found the courage to go out in the past and I couldn’t believe the same wouldn’t happen here. The setting had changed, but I was still the same as I’d always been.
“What can I get ya?” The bartender appeared out of nowhere, or maybe he’d been there all along.
“Bacardi and Coke, please.” I whispered the words and wasn’t surprised when I had to repeat them so he could hear me over the noise. I took advantage of the bartender having forced me to look up and studied my surroundings while I waited for my drink. The place was dimly lit and divided into various areas. On the far side, couches and coffee tables created comfortable looking seating areas. Near the door, where people were now entering in a steady flow, and at the opposite end of the large space, I saw high tables without seats. The dance floor in the middle of the room sparkled under the spotlights and steadily filled up with swaying bodies.
The bartender had moved back to the centre of the bar to fix my drink and talked to a man while he did so, nodding his head when the man stopped talking. Despite the fear churning through my stomach, curiosity took over. Something about the customer with dark hair caught my attention. He was little more than a silhouette but I couldn’t pull my gaze away from him until he turned his head and looked straight at me. Shit. Muttering the soft curse, I diverted my attention back to the marble top of the bar and traced a dark line with my finger while trying to get my breathing under control. So much for staying inconspicuous while checking out the club. I fought the urge to look back up and establish whether or not the man was still looking at me. Don’t attract attention to yourself. The voice screamed in my head and I acknowledged its wisdom.
When my drink appeared in front of me on the bar, I paid for it without looking up or acknowledging the barman. I nearly spilled the rum and Coke as I picked it up. The combination of bubbles and alcohol hit the back of my throat as I drained half the cocktail in one gulp. Tears sprang to my eyes and I swallowed hard to keep from coughing. I couldn’t do this. Admitting defeat was easier than forcing myself to be braver than I’d ever be. I’d finish my drink and go home. Being alone wasn’t easy but I preferred it over the fear and tension keeping me on a knife’s edge right now. Maybe once I’d lived in
a while longer, after I’d got a better feel for the place, this would be
easier. After all there was no hurry. I’d no intention of ever going back home.
I had a new place to live and the rest of my life to explore it.
My heart stopped jumping in my chest and my breathing slowed down as soon as I made my decision. My hand was almost steady when I reached for my glass again.
“Are you keeping this seat for anyone?”
I banged my head against the wall next to me as the barely audible voice addressed me. The shock of pain made me careless and without stopping to think, I looked up into the face of a beautiful man before immediately looking away again. Of course it was the same man I’d been staring at only a moment ago. I could feel colour rising up my cheeks, as a cold sweat broke out across my brow. I numbly shook my head and returned my gaze to the half-full glass in front of me.
I felt more than saw him sit down and could feel his gaze travel over my body. A voice in my head screamed at me to forget about the drink and just leave. I couldn’t do this. God only knew who he was, what he wanted. Why did he seek me out when only a few stools along the bar were occupied? I’d thought it might be safe to come here. I shouldn’t feel threatened. But what if I was wrong? What if there was no safe place for me? What if I hadn’t been singled out for the reason I’d always assumed but because I sent out this subconscious message, inviting people to bully me? I had never been able to figure out why my father detested me, why people looked down on me or why others got a kick out of hurting me, but it had been the one constant in my life. I’d no reason to believe it would be different here in
“Is this your first time here?”
His voice was still barely discernible but I couldn’t detect any hostility in it. I nodded my head, unable to find my voice and grabbed my glass. Two deep swallows was all it took to finish what remained of my drink. I placed my hands on the bar, ready to push off and leave. Before I could raise myself, his hand landed on my arm.
“Don’t tell me you’re leaving already. I saw you come in—you’ve only just arrived.”
For a moment, curiosity overtook fear and I turned my head to really study him. He looked even better close up than he had from a distance. Black hair fell in unruly locks around his face, his fringe nearly hitting his dark eyes. His cheekbones stood out and created an interesting pattern of light and shadow on his face. I allowed my gaze to rest on his full, smiling lips for a moment before looking away again.
To be continued