Today I am very excited to welcome author Anne Brooke to Joyfully Jay! Anne is here as part of her blog tour for her new rentboy story, Where You Hurt the Most (see review). The book is part of a larger rentboy collection being released by Riptide Publishing. Anne has also brought a great giveaway so be sure to check out the details below. Welcome Anne!
In my rentboy story, Where You Hurt The Most, my high-class escort Adrian spends some valuable non-sexual time with his client Dan in the local park. Not perhaps a venue you’d expect them to visit, but it’s always been my belief that parks are the unsung heroes of our society and I thought it was high time they were brought out of the closet. As it were.
Because, you see, when I was a child my local park in Colchester Essex was a place of wonders, excitement and general pure fun. Every weekend possible, we’d visit as a family, usually on a Sunday afternoon, and I’d spend hours in the sandpit, on the swings and slides, running round the lake, playing on the boats (safely, naturally!) and making up games around the flowerbeds and lawns. Sometimes, in my day, there’d even be pony rides, and that was the best of all. Though the band playing in the bandstand on Sundays was pretty good too. I always felt happy there, and ever since it’s held a special place in my heart and in my memories. It has special memories for Adrian and Dan too. Here’s Adrian thinking about his local park and learning about how it affects Dan:
It was funny how the park seemed like a place apart from my life. There was a sense of permanence; people had been coming here to relax, to play, to walk for generations and would continue long after I had gone. Despite the occasional revamp by the council, nothing changed much, and I liked that fact, in spite of Dan’s design ideas. Maybe I was more conservative at heart than I’d realised.
“When I was nine or ten,” Dan said, breaking into my reverie, “I used to come here to play football with my cousins. Every Saturday afternoon, we’d be here kicking a ball about. I’d almost forgotten, but the park was a big part of my life back then.”
I thought he might say more, but he stopped abruptly and turned away. Before I could think twice about it, I put my arm around his shoulders and pulled him into a rough hug.
Later on in my life, as a teenager, my friends and I would often go to the park after school or at weekends if we were meeting up. It was somewhere we could be away from parents and school, and just chill out for a while. The sandpit and the swings didn’t have quite the same allure of course (though sometimes the swings did, when there weren’t any children around!), but we’d walk round the lawns and lake for hours just chatting. It was what you did before Starbucks came along, and a whole lot cheaper too.
These days, if my husband and I go away on holiday, in the UK or abroad, we tend to end up at some stage at the local park, taking in the sights and sounds, and people-watching too. You can tell a lot about a community from a gentle stroll through its local park or by a quiet half-hour sitting on one of the benches there, believe me. Somehow it takes you back to a time when things were simpler and there wasn’t the lure of the Internet to stop you appreciating outdoor spaces. Come to think of it, the local community tended – as I did – to use their park as a meeting place, so perhaps it was the real-life Internet of its day. On the other hand, one of my husband’s deep-set beliefs is that you can always tell when it’s spring due to the numbers of young women sitting on park-benches crying as their feckless menfolk have just broken it off with them. Uncannily, he’s right, so perhaps more drama goes on at a park bench than you would believe!
It’s certainly the case with Adrian and Dan, that’s for sure. I hope you like their story and, while you’re reading it, why not take a stroll around your local park or outdoor area and enjoy this treasure-trove of a facility for yourself. It’s there for the taking.
Giveaway Competition Details
The giveaway competition: the prize is THREE ebooks from my backlist if these questions about Where You Hurt The Most are answered correctly:
1. What was Dan’s hoped-for career before the accident?
2. Where does Adrian take Dan on their second meeting?
3. What month is it when Max visits Adrian for the last time?
Anne Brooke’s fiction has been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Novel Award, the Royal Literary Fund Awards and the Asham Award for Women Writers. She has also twice been the winner of the national DSJT Charitable Trust Open Poetry Competition.
She is the author of six published novels, including her fantasy series, The Gathandrian Trilogy, published by Bluewood Publishing and featuring gay scribe Simon Hartstongue. More information on the trilogy is available at: www.gathandria.com and the first of these novels is The Gifting. In addition, her gay and literary short stories are regularly published by Riptide Publishing, Amber Allure Press and Untreed Reads. Her most recent gay short story is Where You Hurt The Most, a tale of unexpected connections and possibilities, published by Riptide. All her gay fiction can be found at: www.gayreads.co.uk.
Anne has a secret passion for theatre and chocolate, preferably at the same time, and is currently working on a gay fantasy novella, The Taming of the Hawk. More information can be found at www.annebrooke.com and she regularly blogs at http://annebrooke.blogspot.com.
Adrian is more than happy as high-class escort for a number of regular clients. When his boss and dear friend asks him to entertain his nephew, Adrian readily agrees, but meeting Dan challenges him in ways he’d never imagined. Dan is scarred inside and out from an accident that destroyed a promising future. Despite Adrian’s loveless lifestyle and Dan’s withdrawal and anger, the two men forge a deep – if unnerving – connection. Soon they find themselves questioning the choices they’ve made and the futures they’ve mapped out for themselves.
Yet even bright young men like Adrian and Dan fear the unknown and take comfort in the familiar. Neither may be strong enough to step away from the life they know and toward the one they dare not hope for. But while it’s true that love can’t heal all wounds, it is the surest balm for where you hurt the most.
You can read an excerpt and purchase Where You Hurt The Most here.
Thank you so much to Anne for stopping by today! And don’t forget to follow the instructions below for a chance to win some of Anne’s backlist books (and remember you must send your answers to Anne by email, not leave them here).