Hi everyone! Today I am excited to welcome author A.F. Henley to the blog. A.F. is here to share an exclusive excerpt from The Gift with us. A.F. is also offering up a copy of the book to give way to one lucky reader! So please join me in giving a big welcome!
Great. So now, through no fault of his own, he was the one who couldn’t sleep. Like somehow, lying peacefully, in his own room, not bothering anyone, his conscience had somehow let this become all his problem.
He drew himself out of bed, just to walk, just to get rid of some of the nervous tension. His body felt more awake then it had ever felt in his life. Not the wet interior of the coveted sleeve tucked away in his suitcase, not the adored little toy he’d had since he was sixteen and finally managed to get the nerve to put something inside him, not even his own palm had felt as good as that simple touch had. Which was ridiculous, wasn’t it? Surely it couldn’t make that much difference just because a touch came from was someone else? Or was it because it had been Doren? And if so, exactly how many men had Doren touched to know how to make it feel that good?
The thought shouldn’t have made August feel as sick as it did.
“Okay,” he told the room. “I want him. I like the way he feels.” But that wasn’t even true. Yes, Doren had felt good lying beside him. Yes, Doren’s touch made him hungry to feel it again. That didn’t make August want him though. What August wanted was someone. The someone. Mister Perfect. Mister I Will Love You Forever. Doren didn’t even come close to that. Roll in some good old-fashioned musing on the whole concept of disease and virus, spiritual cleanliness—as ridiculous as that sounded even to himself—and the whole “want” idea became as unstable as a muddy slope after a rainstorm. Besides, he liked the fact that he felt clean. Whole. Unused. It made him different from the rest of the people he knew, even if he was the only that knew it.
So then why was he up? What was he doing wandering towards the door? What exactly, he asked himself, were his plans and how did they involve resting his palm on the latch? He lowered his forehead to the door and closed his eyes. He could muse all he wanted about life paths and future husbands. He could make up every excuse in the book and tell them to himself again and again. The fact of the matter was that he was scared, terrified even. He was scared of getting hurt, physically and emotionally. Scared of having to deal with loss—both on a personal level and the potential of having to shoulder the grief of someone else’s. Mostly he was scared of not being good enough. Again.
Against his better judgment August twisted the lock, released the latch, and tried the door. He allowed himself a moment’s hope that Doren had locked it from his side, of saving himself the requirement of making the decision to step through the doorway, but that wasn’t the case. The door swung open, the room beyond still lit, the bed unmade, and the space completely void of life. It was a big room, but certainly not big enough to hide in. The bathroom door was ajar and August had a mental image of Doren drowned in the hot tub or drugged up and passed out cold on the tile floor. It was fleeting, however. The room was empty.
August sat on the couch and sighed, making errant curls dance on his forehead. So Doren was out wandering the night again. And what delights would he find this time? August shook his head and smiled when he thought of the pool. What a cool thing to find. And then to come looking for him to share it with … Who else would have done that? Surely it hadn’t been just with the intention to get laid? Surely there were dozens of people he’d have a lot easier time banging if that’s what Doren really wanted.
Was he at the pool, August wondered? Was he sulking? Was he out on the streets? God help him, August shook his head, if Doren had wandered outside of the hotel. The rain was vicious. He stood up and slapped both thighs. He should at least try to find Doren. Just to make sure he was all right. If nothing else, it was his job.
It only took seconds to slip on jeans and a hoodie and grab his keycard. The hallways were all but silent and visions of pensive little boys on Big Wheels waiting to round corners in front of him had August’s nerves squirming worse than worms on a fishing hook.
He searched the obvious areas first: the lounge, the lobby, and the kitchen. He was walking past the reception desk when he caught eyes with the night clerk. They exchanged smiles and something about the honesty of the man’s bright, white smile against rich, chocolate-dark skin made August pause. The man’s voice was as smooth as the polished desktop he stood in front of. “Are you looking for something in particular? Someone, perhaps? Can I be of assistance?”
August laughed. “Actually, yes I am. But if you’re doing your job right you won’t tell me where he is.”
“Ah,” the clerk said, nodding. “Then I know who you’re looking for. But you don’t seem like a crazed fan to me.”
“No, I’m his assistant. Not that I could prove that to you if you asked me to. I was just worried about him.” August shrugged. “He’s a big boy. I’m sure he’s fine.”
The clerk stared, suddenly serious—old eyes in a young face. “Are you now? Me, I’m not so sure maybe.”
August’s apathy wrinkled into frown. “Why? What do you know?”
The clerk responded with his own shrug. “Like you said, sir, if I’m doing my job right I won’t tell you. But maybe, just maybe, I could tell you some of the things that I do know. Things that I wouldn’t get in trouble for. Perhaps they would take you on the right path?”
August stepped towards the desk. “If you know something then please tell me. If it’s money you want …”
The clerk waited, reading August’s face, searching August’s eyes. “Please. If he’s in trouble I need to help.”
The clerk nodded, as if his appraisal had come back clean and he’d deemed August worthy. “Well, I do know there’s a party in the basement. And that if you go down the stairwell here it should take you to a corridor that will lead you almost dead to it. I also know that the security code for that stairwell happens to be three-six-nine.” He reached for a folded newspaper and laid it out in front of him, drawing the first page open carefully. “These are the things I know. If you care to do anything with any of that information, I guess that’s up to you.”
August was already turning for the door. “Thank you. Really.”
As the door closed behind him, August barely heard the man’s reply. He was grateful. Because what he did hear, what he must have misheard, sent goose bumps up his spine. “Be careful, boy. In here lie demons.”
Buy your copy of the Gift here: Purchasing Link
Doren was born with a powerful gift – a gift he’s managed to use to put him well on his way to becoming a star. But there is more to that gift than just musical talent, and as careful as Doren is to hide that fact, there are some who know of the power behind the sound, and all the ways they could abuse it.
August’s goal in life is simple: make an impact in the music industry. An opportunity to work as the personal assistant to Doren seems to be exactly the kind of break he needs to accomplish that goal.
But all too often in life, simple becomes just another complication, especially when there are people whose goal is even simpler: destroy and dominate.
Word Count: 89,000
Content: Contains some explicit content
About the Author
Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.
A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions, but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.
Henley has been proudly working with LT3 since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since – an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.
Comments, kudos, and signature card requests are happily received at AFHenley.com.
Rock gods, movie actors, business icons … more often than not, these people seem to live a lonely existence. So I ask you, what is more important: love or fame? Leave your reply/comment/muse below. Every commenter will entered into a draw, with one lucky winner getting an ebook copy of the Gift, in the format of their choice.
Best of luck to everyone that plays along! And my thanks for reading.
AF Henley <3
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