Today I am so pleased to welcome Lisa Henry to Joyfully Jay. Lisa has come to talk to us about her latest release, The Parable of the Mustard Seed (which I reviewed here and loved). She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Hi, everyone. I’m Lisa! Thank you so much for having me here today, and letting me talk a little about my newest release, The Parable of the Mustard Seed.
I think that in The Parable of the Mustard Seed, I wrote an unexpected love triangle. It’s probably not the sort of one you’re thinking, because the sides aren’t all made up of romantic love, but the more I look at it, the more I think it’s sort of a love triangle.
Let’s start with Caleb Fletcher. Caleb has two people that he loves: John Faimu, who he loves romantically, and his dad, Darren, who he loves, well, as family. John and Darren are the most important people in Caleb’s life. They’re the only people that Caleb trusts after his traumatic past. When Caleb’s mental health suffers and he self harms, it’s John and Darren who turn up at his bedside in hospital, like always.
There is no question that John loves Caleb, but what started as platonic love has shifted over the years. John definitely doesn’t see Caleb as a boy anymore. John loves Caleb romantically for a while now, but he has no intentions to act on that—not only because he’s afraid that Caleb can’t handle a relationship, but because he’s also afraid of losing the close friendship he’s developed with Darren Fletcher in the time he’s known him.
Darren loves his son, but he also loves John as a friend. Darren and John are a team, and have been ever since John brought Caleb home to Darren eight years ago. John’s friendship is a cornerstone in Darren’s life, and vice versa. Their friendship might have started over their shared concern for Caleb, but it’s grown beyond that now. And nothing is going to throw things out of balance more than Caleb finally showing John what he wants.
So It’s both a love triangle, with romantic, platonic and familial love making up all the sides, and it’s also a balancing act, where the moment one of them missteps, the whole thing might come tumbling down. And all of them have been afraid to upset the balance for years. And when Caleb finally does, it turned out to be one of the most heartbreaking scenes I think I’ve ever written:
Before John had even registered what was happening, Caleb’s arms were around him and Caleb’s lips were pressing against his. He tasted like soy sauce. Sudden heat, sudden need, and the man John loved in his arms.
“Wait.” John said it to himself as much as to Caleb. Caleb stiffened, but didn’t drop his arms from around John’s neck. He stood there, his head bowed, breathing against John’s shoulder. He was shaking. John’s throat ached. “Oh, Caleb. We can’t.”
Caleb’s voice was a whisper. “Why can’t we?”
Why can’t we? the voice in John’s head echoed. Why can’t we? Why can’t we? Why can’t we?
“I’m your friend,” John said. “But I’m also your dad’s friend. And I worked on your case, Caleb. I can’t be your boyfriend.”
“Because you worked on my case?” Caleb whispered.
“That’s a part of it.” John closed his eyes, and struggled for what to say. Because professional distance hadn’t counted for shit for years, had it? Not with Caleb or Darren. And Caleb knew it. “But it’s mostly because I’m your friend. I don’t want to lose our friendship.”
I’m scared it would destroy you.
Caleb still didn’t move.
John lifted an arm and stroked his hair. “You’re my friend. I love you.”
“Don’t say it like that,” Caleb murmured.
Caleb reeled away suddenly, his face flaming red. “Like it’s a fucking consolation prize!” He kicked at the bin, sending it onto the floor. Rubbish tumbled out of it: sushi containers, potato peels, an empty blister pack. “Fuck you! I want you, and you say you love me, but I can’t have you!”
Because look at you, Caleb. Look at you.
How could I promise never to hurt you?
Everything fucking hurts you.
“I do love you,” John said, struggling to keep his voice even. “But I can’t be your boyfriend. I’m sorry.”
There is a HEA at the end of The Parable of the Mustard Seed, of course, but it’s not an easy path getting there. It’s not just Caleb and John who have to figure out their relationship as they go; Darren, Caleb’s father and John’s friend, has to navigate his changing relationship with both of them as well.
The past never stays buried forever.
John Faimu is an Australian-Samoan police officer who deals with hurt kids every day. He loves what he does, but he’s tired of the grind of shift work, and of trying to find a balance between his job, his family, and the young man who straddles the increasingly blurry line between both.
Caleb Fletcher was the teenager John saved from a cult eight long years ago, and he’s now the young man John wants in ways that neither of them should risk.
Eight years after his rescue, Caleb is still struggling with PTSD and self-harm. John has always been his rock, but now Caleb wants more. Can he convince John to cross a line and love him the way they both crave? And when the monsters from Caleb’s past come back seeking to silence him for good, will John’s love be enough to save him?
The Parable of the Mustard Seed is an mm gay romance featuring hurt/comfort, first times, found family, and angst with a happy ending.
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101, and a Rainbow Awards finalist for 2019’s Anhaga.
You can connect with her here:
Lisa has brought a $20 Amazon gift card to give away along her tour. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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Welcome, Lisa! I finished The Parable of the Mustard Seed last night, and I understand entirely what you mean about the love triangle in the book. I felt for all three characters. Best wishes for the success of the book.
Thank you, Kareni! I’m so happy you enjoyed it!