Today I am so pleased to welcome J.R. Gray to Joyfully Jay. Gray has come to share an except from his latest release, Burn That Bridge. He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Gray a big welcome!

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“You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met before.”

“I don’t want to be like other people. Especially the ones that treat you like crap.” I wanted to be more. I wanted to take care of him, and not because I didn’t think he could do it himself.

“You’re not. I can tell.”

“Could you tell the others were going to?” It hurt to know he’d subjected himself to that voluntarily.

“It was the best mask. I didn’t have to be real with any of them because they aren’t. No one was going to dig deeper and figure it out. It’s not expected. I couldn’t have been friends with you last year. You would have seen right through me.”

“Maybe not through you, but I’d like to think I would have figured out something wasn’t right.”

“Exactly.” DJ dropped his hand and rolled to his back, and I was worried I’d ruined whatever this moment was. “I wasn’t ready to meet you yet.”

What did I say to that? There wasn’t any combination of words I could put together to come close to the magnitude of what he’d expressed. I felt inelegant and inadequate.

“You might not have been ready, but I wouldn’t change this year for anything.”

“Not even a million dollars?”

“We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it.” I gave him an exacerbated huff.


burn that bridge coverTurns out trading a spot on the cheerleading squad for a fresh fade and all-new pronouns was more of a recipe for disaster than happiness. Coming out as trans in rural Alabama, where football rules and cheer is life, might have been the worst way to start my senior year.

There are no safety nets for people like me in places like this.

But sometimes, hope shows itself in the most unexpected places. New friends help us survive —and maybe— thrive. But falling for Sebastian was not part of the plan.

Embracing my identity put my happiness at odds with my safety. I’m terrified. Terrified to be me. Terrified to be happy. Terrified to love him.

Welcome to senior year.

Try to make it out alive.


jr gray photoGray is a cynical Chicago native, who drinks coffee all day, barely sleeps, and is a little too fashion obsessed. He writes realistic and damaged characters because everyone deserves a happily ever after.




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To celebrate the release of Burn That Bridge, J.R. Gray is giving away a signed copy of Burn That Bridge (US Winner) & an e-copy for an international winner! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!

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FILED UNDER: Excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post