Today I am so pleased to welcome Marie Sexton to Joyfully Jay. Marie has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Winter Oranges. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Marie a big welcome!
Jason shook his head, laughing. All this worry about a ghost, and all the ghost wanted to do was watch TV.
“Okay.” He picked up the remote and brought the television to life. “What do you want to watch?”
He pulled up the on-screen guide, and Ben’s eyes went wide. Jason began scrolling through the lists, watching in amusement as Ben traced his translucent finger down the screen, reading the options. But by the sixth page of choices, his smile had turned into a scowl.
“You don’t know any of these shows?”
Ben shook his head.
“What show did you have in mind? I can probably find it On Demand or something.”
Ben tilted his head, thinking. Finally, he smiled. He spread his hands in a wide sweeping gesture, then pointed to himself, then held a hand down at knee height.
“Okay. I haven’t played charades in a while, but I can do this. How many words?”
“All right. Do it again.”
Ben did, and Jason began to guess. The first word was easy. The second took only two tries. The third . . .
“All My . . . All My Short People? All My Small Things? All My . . . Little . . . Little People? Kids? Children?”
Ben bounced, clapping his hands.
“Oh my God, you’re kidding! All My Children?”
“I don’t even know if it’s still on. A lot of the soaps got cancelled a few years ago.” Ben slumped, and Jason sympathized. It’d happened right at the time when he’d started to consider taking a role on one. “Don’t worry. We have about a hundred and fifty channels to choose from. We’ll find something.”
There were more soaps left on air than he’d realized. Ben settled on the opposite end of the couch—although this time, he floated about half an inch above it, instead of sinking into it—and Jason flipped to The Young and the Restless.
His stomach rumbled, and he spent a moment debating the appropriateness of offering Ben some lunch. Common courtesy dictated that he shouldn’t eat in front of his guest. Then again, Ben couldn’t even pick up the television remote. How exactly would he go about eating a ham sandwich?
“Will you be okay here while I go shower and grab something to eat? I’ll leave the TV on.”
Ben hesitated, clearly embarrassed. He asked a question, pointing to the couch to help make himself clear. You’re coming back?
Ben smiled, nodding. I’ll be fine.
“Do you need anything?” Jason asked. He knew it was a silly question—what exactly could he possibly bring Ben?— but he felt he had to ask. “Food or something to drink or . . .”
The look Ben gave him was enough to silence him. Not exactly derision, but something that bordered on exasperation and yet with a hint of sadness. Ben shook his head no.
“Okay. Well, I won’t be long.”
And he wasn’t. He made it back to the couch as The Young and the Restless was ending. After that, Ben watched General Hospital, and then Days of Our Lives. And while Ben watched TV, Jason watched Ben.
He was so animated, every feeling he had easily read upon his young face. He talked a lot, sometimes seemingly at characters on the television, sometimes to Jason, although he was usually too excited for Jason to lip-read more than a word or two. A few times, Jason suspected Ben was trying to explain which characters he remembered, or some piece of backstory. He grew somber during the dramatic sequences, his image sometimes flickering fitfully, and he fidgeted nervously through the intimate scenes, like a little kid with his parents in the room. He loved the commercials too, although the many pharmaceutical ads left him frowning, and one promising to treat erectile dysfunction flustered him so much he winked right out of existence for half a minute.
“When was the last time you got to watch TV?” Jason asked after Ben had reappeared.
Ben tilted his head, thinking, then went through the number routine again, holding up his fingers. One. Nine. Nine. Zero. Another little wobble of his hand and a shrug, indicating it was more an estimate than anything.
A couple of years after Jason had been born. Jason couldn’t help but wonder how it must have been for Ben, being so alone for all those years, with nobody to see him or hear him. No wonder Ben loved television so much.
Jason picked up the globe, pondering. He turned it upside down, glancing sideways at Ben as he shook it, but Ben didn’t seem to feel anything or to notice at all. Jason studied the snow globe, searching for something that might indicate where it had come from—a company name or city, or maybe a production date. Anything. He found two words engraved into the bottom. Scratches nearly obscured the first two letters, but Jason was able to figure it out based on context: SHAKE GLOBE. He also found a small silver turnkey.
The globe was a music box.
Jason turned the key three times and let it go.
No music emerged as the key turned slowly backward. Jason held the base of the globe closer to his ear, straining to hear over the voices from the TV, but he caught only a faint mechanical click-whirr-click-whir from inside. Some piece of clockwork still functioned, but not the part that played a tune.
“Dot com again!” Ben suddenly exclaimed, his voice loud and clear. “What in the world does it mean?”
“What?” Jason was too surprised to manage anything more coherent than that.
“What?” Ben echoed.
“I can hear you.”
A look of sheer delight spread quickly across Ben’s expressive face. “Can you really?”
And in the blink of an eye, Ben disappeared.
Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.
There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.
But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.
Winter Oranges is one of Riptide’s 2015 charity titles.
Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.
Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.
To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.
Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.
Connect with Marie:
- Website: MarieSexton.net
- Twitter: @MarieSexton
- Facebook: facebook.com/MarieSexton.author
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/MarieSexton
To celebrate the release of Winter Oranges, Marie Sexton is giving away two titles from her backlist and a $50 Amazon gift card! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 5, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.