Today I am so pleased to welcome Felice Stevens to Joyfully Jay. Felice has come to talk to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Broken Silence. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
The waitress took away my empty plate and gave me the check. “I’m sorry to rush, it’s just that we’re about to close.” I glanced at my watch and blinked several times to see it was almost midnight. All the other diners had departed and the tables were cleaned and a busboy—Justin—was sweeping the floor.
“Oh, oh, no I’m sorry to keep you all. Here.” Without looking, I gave her my credit card.
“Thanks.” She hurried over to the bar while I watched Justin bend and sweep up the dirt from the floor into the dustpan. I forced myself to look away. The waitress brought back my card and receipt which I signed.
I threw a large tip on the table and staggered a second when I stood, grabbing the back of the chair to steady myself. Shit. I was drunker than I thought. I forced myself to take careful steps leaving the restaurant and the cooler night air felt delicious against my heated face. I leaned against the brick wall and closed my eyes a second to get my bearings but when a wave of dizziness hit me I opened them again. I hoped I wasn’t going to be sick in public. What the hell was I thinking getting so drunk in public?
The door opened and Justin ran out. When he saw me, he skidded to a stop. “Oh, Professor Harding, here. You left your cell phone on the table.”
I blinked and rubbed my eyes. “That was nice of you to come after me. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” He cocked his head and we stood there a moment until he gave me a funny smile. “Do you want to take it?”
At that point I realized he was holding the phone out to me. I laughed. “Oops. Sorry.” I took it out of his hand. His fingers were warm and rough and I shivered at his touch.
“That’s okay. Good night, Professor.”
I gave him a wave and walked away, stumbling. A strong hand took my arm and bleary-eyed I glanced over my shoulder, coming almost nose to nose with an unsmiling Justin.
“Are you all right? Can you make it home?”
My head spun. “Uh, Maybe?” I laughed. “I don’t know. I shouldn’t have had so much to drink. Drinking makes people do stupid things. I’m not usually stupid.”
“I can walk you home…if you’d like.”
“That would be helpful I think, yes.” I gave him my address and he tightened his grip on my arm.
“Let’s go, then.”
We walked slowly down the block and I couldn’t help leaning against him as I felt my strength begin to wane. It was a good thing my house was around the corner because I don’t think I could’ve made it any further. At the base of the stairs I stopped and Justin dropped his hand from my arm.
“This is me.” A buzzing in my ear and the pounding in my head made it hard for me to concentrate. The front door looked as far away as the moon.
“Can you take it from here or do you need help up the steps?”
“I—I think you might have to.
This time he put his arm around my waist and we matched our steps as we ascended to staircase. I wanted nothing more that to lay my head on his shoulder. I shivered and pulled away when we reached the top. This couldn’t happen.
“If you want I can open the door. Keys can be tricky.” No judgment rested in his eyes. I hoped I could trust him not to spread this around campus.
I fumbled in my pocket and when I pulled the keys out of my pocket, I dropped them.
“Don’t worry about it.” He picked them up and opened the door. I tried to stand up straight but listed from side to side like a reed in the wind. No fooling him. “This is embarrassing.” I leaned up against the door jam.
“Nah. Everyone’s human and entitled to get smashed for whatever reason.”
Finally a smile. It transformed him and left me breathless from the punch of attraction. I couldn’t tear my gaze from his face and my breath grew short. The smile faded and Justin’s eyes widened then turned dark. I knew he felt it too.
Justin Molina has secrets. He’s served his time but remains a prisoner of his past, unable to forgive himself for failing his family when they needed him most. Justin’s grief is overwhelming, but he keeps silent and focuses on his goals. About to graduate college, he tries to keep his head above water—no matter how many times life keeps knocking him down. When he’s forced to register for a poetry-writing class, Justin discovers putting words to his feelings might be exactly what his fractured heart needs to heal. Or is it the older professor with the bow ties and gentle smile who gives him a chance when no one else will?
Professor Foster Faraday Harding is a broken man. His divorce is final, and he’s reverted back to the safety of his books. Even his poetry no longer brings him joy; he’s sleepwalking through life. The raw emotion of Justin’s poetry awakens Foster to desires he thought long buried in the ashes of his marriage. When he discovers Justin is struggling financially, Foster offers him a solution that benefits both of them. Soon it’s Foster who’s struggling with emotions he can’t understand: Justin is his student. And a man. One crazy night years earlier doesn’t mean anything. Foster is straight.
After months of denying the growing attraction between them, an unexpected kiss changes everything. Justin and Foster are no longer only professor and student—they’ve become lovers, but the strain of hiding their relationship increases with each passing day. Words have the power not only to hurt but to heal the greatest pain. If Foster and Justin listen to what their hearts are saying, they might break through their silence and live their own love poems—together.
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, Her characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.
Felice has written over twenty books in the gay romance genre. Her books been translated into German, French and Italian. Her novel. One Call Away, part of her Soulmates series, was mentioned in Buzzfeed as one of the best “Out for You” gay romances of 2017.
Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. She recently retired from the practice law and now daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.