Today I am so pleased to welcome Cole McCade to Joyfully Jay. Cole has come to share an except from his latest release, Just Like This. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
Rian supposed he’d give Damon Louis a touch of credit in that he did, in fact, put a shirt on before they reconvened outside Assistant Principal Lachlan Walden’s second floor office.
The problem was…it was hard to really call that scrap of white fabric a shirt when it was thinner than gauze, and Damon must have used it as a towel to absorb the sweat filming his body; the shirt clung to his torso in a wet-soaked, translucent layer, molding to the tight flow of an athlete’s honed muscles.
As Damon approached down the narrow hallway in a casual, graceful jog, the only spot of color against gray-worn wood, his body pulled and flowed like a piece of powerful machinery moving in time to music, and Rian caught himself picking out the sketch lines in his body: where he would overlap lines for the obliques, how he might taper the line weight to indicate depth and motion, how he would shade the joining of the anterior head muscles to the pectorals, and how the stark crease between them tightened and relaxed in and out of focus with each flex of Damon’s shoulders in rhythm with his strides.
But as he drew to a halt on the opposite side of the doorway marked Assistant Principal L. Walden, Damon scowled, swiping his still-damp hair out of his face. “What? Why are you looking at me like that? I put on a fucking shirt.”
He had been staring, hadn’t he?
And he…he really didn’t know why.
Clearing his throat, Rian looked away, lifting his chin and thinning his lips—and only hoped his face didn’t look as red as it felt. “I meant something a little more presentable than a T-shirt.”
“I haven’t fucked with a dress code since the Navy, and I’m not about to start now.”
That probably explained the scars: thick corded ridges visible even underneath the shirt, when the soaked white fabric let the deep, tawny brown of Damon’s skin show through, and brought out the lighter lines of scar tissue making furrows and puckers against his flesh, things that whispered of bullet wounds and worse.
And Rian wasn’t curious about Damon damned Louis, or what had sent him from the Navy to a secluded hole in the wall like Omen, Massachusetts, hidden away in a private boys’ boarding school most people didn’t even know existed unless they had the right connections, knew the right people, or had the kind of wayward sons many wealthy families liked to disavow responsibility for.
“You’re fucking staring at me again,” Damon grit out, one eye twitching.
Rian caught himself, retreating a step, then huffed and looked away. “Excuse me.”
“You got that much of a problem with my damned shirt?”
“Why would I?”
A flat stare fixed on Rian. “You seem to have a problem with everything else about me.”
Just your breathing, Rian thought, suppressing a growl. “Can we talk to Walden and get this over with?”
Damon made a thickly disgusted sound and leaned over Rian—so close that in proximity, without the heavy smell of fresh clay drowning it out, Rian could smell the heat and sweat of his body, a darkly musky warmth—to thump the heel of his palm against Walden’s door. “Be my fucking guest.”
“If the two of you are quite done with your rather loud bickering,” drifted through the door, commanding and cold and ever-so-slightly irritable as always, “you may enter. You have ten minutes.”
With one last glare, Rian cleared his throat and tore his gaze away from Damon yet again.
God, that man annoyed the hell out of him.
Rian Falwell has a problem.
And his name is Damon Louis.
Rian’s life as the art teacher to a gaggle of displaced boys at Albin Academy should be smooth sailing—until the stubborn, grouchy football coach comes into his world like a lightning strike and ignites a heated conflict that would leave them sworn enemies if not for a common goal.
A student in peril. A troubling secret. And two men who are polar opposites but must work together to protect their charges.
They shouldn’t want each other. They shouldn’t even like each other.
Yet as they fight to save a young man from the edge, they discover more than they thought possible about each other—and about themselves.
In the space between hatred, they find love.
And the lives they have always wanted…
Just like this.
“The romantic longing, themes of bravery and confidence, and moments of cozy domesticity shine.” —Publishers Weekly on Just Like That
Cole McCade is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in Seattle. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant and business writer, and his nights writing contemporary romance and erotica that flirts with the edge of taboo—when he’s not being tackled by two hyperactive cats.
He also writes genre-bending science fiction and fantasy tinged with a touch of horror and flavored by the influences of his multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual background as Xen. He wavers between calling himself bisexual, calling himself queer, and trying to figure out where “demi” fits into the whole mess—but no matter what word he uses he’s a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA and POC representation and visibility in genre fiction. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts:
- Website & Blog: http://blackmagicblues.com/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/thisblackmagic
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xen.cole
- Tumblr: https://thisblackmagic.tumblr.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thisblackmagic/
- BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cole-mccade
- Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/ColeMcCadeBooks