We’re so pleased to welcome author Garrett Leigh to TNA today on the tour for her latest release from Riptide Publishing, Finding Home. We have an exclusive excerpt from the book to share with you, and there’s also a giveaway so be sure to check out the entry details at the end.
About the Book
How do you find a home when your heart is in ashes?
With their mum dead and their father on remand for her murder, Leo Hendry and his little sister, Lila, have nothing in the world but each other. Broken and burned, they’re thrust into the foster care system. Leo shields Lila from the fake families and forced affection, until the Poulton household is the only place left to go.
Charlie de Sousa is used to other kids passing through the Poulton home, but there’s never been anyone like his new foster brother. Leo’s physical injuries are plain to see, but it’s the pain in his eyes that draws Charlie in the most.
Day by day, they grow closer, but the darkness inside Leo consumes him. He rejects his foster parents, and when Charlie gets into trouble, Leo’s attempt to protect him turns violent. When Leo loses control, no one can reach him—except Charlie. He desperately needs a family—a home—and only Charlie can show him the way.
Charlie pushed open the door to the maths block. Bloody Leo. Reg had said from the start that school was a bad idea for him, and Charlie, though he’d quietly fought in Leo’s corner, was beginning to believe he’d been right. Wayne feckin’ Murphy. Seriously? Nice one, Leo. Why don’t you buddy up with the skanky stoners behind the library while you’re at it?
The thought made Charlie shudder. He’d smelt weed on Leo a few nights ago, he was sure of it . . . almost. The other side of his brain was convinced he’d dreamed it. He’d woken every night in the past week, consumed by a compulsive need to check on Leo, only to find Lila already with him, and Leo wouldn’t smoke weed with her in the room, right?
Of course he wouldn’t. Leo’s weird moods gave Charlie whiplash, but no one could doubt his affection for Lila.
“What?” Charlie stopped walking and turned around. Leo had hardly spoken in days, but it felt like he wouldn’t shut up today. Then he found Leo right behind him, clutching his left arm to his chest. Charlie frowned. Leo’s left arm was the one he wore a bandage on. “What’s the matter?”
Silence. For a moment, Charlie thought he’d imagined Leo calling his name, and then he noticed Leo’s wide eyes and ashen skin, his teeth biting into his bottom lip, and the thin line of blood trickling down his left hand. Shit. Charlie’s stomach churned. “Have you cut yourself?”
Leo shook his head. He looked like he might be sick too. “I need to get out of here.”
“‘Out of here’? Do you need to see the nurse?”
“No, I need to go.”
Leo started to back up. Charlie caught his good arm. “Go where? Are you going home?”
In answer, Leo wrenched himself free and turned away. He was by the door before Charlie caught up and grabbed him again.
“Wait. I’ll come with you.” The words were out before he could stop them, even though he knew Leo intended to escape far more than the bustling corridors. Knew Leo was about to lead him down a path he’d never thought to travel. “Come on. I know somewhere we can go.”
He ducked out of the maths block without waiting for Leo’s response and led the way to the sports pavilion, and snuck round the back. There was a gap in the tree behind the old wooden building that took them to a disused railway track by the canal. He picked a path through the bushes until they came to the bridge. “Come on,” he said. “We can sit by the water.”
“Under the bridge?”
It was the first time Leo had spoken since they’d left school grounds. His voice was hoarse and tired, and Charlie slowed to let him catch up. “Yeah. All the bunkers used to come here before the council built the bandstand in the park.”
“You never did, though, did you?”
“What do you think?”
Leo made a sound that could’ve been a snort of laughter, but there was no humour in his face as they came to the sacred spot beneath the bridge—dark, sheltered, and covered with graffiti.
Charlie dropped his bag and sat down by the water, leaning back on the blacked-out bricks of the bridge. Leo hesitated a moment before he did the same.
“You’re going to get in trouble for this,” he said.
Charlie waved his concern away. “Doubt it. Rogers is a dozy idiot. He wouldn’t notice if the whole class didn’t show up, and even if he does, I reckon we can blag our way out of it.”
“Yeah?” Leo unzipped his coat and slipped his good arm out of its sleeve. “What are you gonna say?”
“Dunno. That you were tired or something, probably. It is your first day and all.”
Leo said nothing. Was he regretting his decision to come to school?
“Are you going to sort your arm out?”
“Your arm,” Charlie repeated. “It’s still bleeding.”
Leo looked down at his arm and slowly began to peel away his coat sleeve. His school jumper came next, then his shirt sleeve and bandage, both stained an ominous red.
Charlie swallowed hard, but the sight of Leo’s blood was just the start. Oh God, his arm. From his elbow to his shoulder, Leo’s arm was utterly ruined, a marbled mess of scarred flesh . . . burned flesh.
“Stop fucking staring.”
Charlie jumped. “I’m not.”
“Bollocks, you aren’t.” Leo snorted. “Do you think I don’t get enough of that? Bloody doctors poking and prodding me.”
“I’m not staring,” Charlie insisted, though he had been. “And I’m not prodding you, am I? I’m over here.”
Leo’s voice had lost its fire.
About the Author
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.
Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.
Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.
To celebrate the release of Finding Home, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 14, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!