Welcome to author Santino Hassell and the Sightlines blog tour! We’ve got an excellent exclusive for you today—Chapter One of the book written from an alternate POV. Due to its length, we have the first half for you today, and tomorrow you can find the completion at Love Bytes, so be sure to follow the tour. Also make sure to check out the giveaway details below for the chance to win a $15 Riptide Publishing store credit!
About the Book
Chase Payne is a walking contradiction. He’s the most powerful psychic in the Community, but the least respected. He’s the son of the Community’s founder, but with his tattoo sleeves and abrasive attitude, he’s nothing like his charismatic family. No one knows what to make of him, which is how he wound up locked in a cell on the Farm yet again. But this time, the only man he’s ever loved is there too.
Elijah Estrella was used to being the sassy sidekick who fooled around with Chase for fun. But that was before he realized the Community wasn’t the haven he’d believed in and Chase was the only person who’d ever truly tried to protect him. Now they’re surrounded by people who want to turn them against their friends, and the only way out is to pretend the brainwashing works.
With Chase playing the role of a tyrant’s second-in-command, and Elijah acting like Chase’s mindless sex toy, they risk everything by plotting a daring escape. In the end, it’s only their psychic abilities, fueled by their growing love for each other, that will allow them to take the Community down once and for all.
Chapter One ~ Part One ~ Trent’s POV
Being sent on a mission to find booze in a dry county wasn’t Trent’s idea of a good time, especially since he hadn’t known dry counties existed in this day-and-age. They’d already bypassed “the future” in Back to the Future, and yet he had to drive his non-flying car all over the place just to buy alcohol.
He parked in front of Liquor World and tapped out a text to his Texan friends. They were the reason he was in this predicament, and yet they were taking forever to decide on what they wanted from the store. Sending the New Yorker to navigate Houston suburbs was already a pain in the ass, but they’d done it for two reasons—he was reliable and sober. So far, anyway.
The very thought of his week-long drive to New York was already stressing him out, and he needed some alcohol in his life. The funny thing about road trips was that he always started out his Cali-to-NYC journey in a great mood. Theoretically, it was an awesome adventure to go on solo. He could blast music with the windows down, eat at random places, see the sights, and live a little.
In practice, he sat hunched over the steering wheel while growling at other drivers, checking his watch to see if he was making good time, sweating gas money, and never actually making any detours. The pitstop in Texas was the first he’d ever gone on, and that was only because his closest friends had recently relocated here from Cali after one of them had scored a job with NASA.
A big silver pickup truck with blue writing stenciled on the side pulled in beside Trent. He glanced over as his phone chimed.
Rory: Get a couple bottles of white wine!
Wine. He could have picked that up at the grocery store. Christ, his friends were royal pains in the asses. In the past, he’d let them know each time they’d done something that simply denied logic, but he was trying to get out of that habit. There was a fine line between blunt and asshole, and he walked it often.
So instead of going off about wasting his time, and the lack of logic in giving him bad directions to a real liquor store, he shot off a curt ‘okay.’ It would have to do.
Trent shut off the car and got out just as a muscular ginger dude walked from the silver truck to the store. The bell above the door jingled twice in a row as they entered one after the other. Ginger dude started to stride off but did a double take after glancing at the cashier. His eyes widened and his mouth quirked up before he turned to the aisle he’d approached.
It was the most interesting thing a redneck had done since Trent had begun driving through Texas, so he glanced at the cashier himself. He barely took in the kid’s features before his body overrode the signals from his brain and turned in the direction of the counter. It was like a magnet was drawing him to the platinum blonde sitting behind the register.
Trent shook himself and tried to reroute his legs to the approximately three thousand aisles of wine, but couldn’t. Something about the cashier was drawing him in, and he couldn’t look away. Not until he had a complete eyeful of pale blond hair, a ratty Dir en Grey T-shirt, and deep golden skin. The guy wasn’t skinny, but he wasn’t very big, and that rangy build combined with the baggy T-shirt gave him a Kurt Cobain look.
Besides the fact that Kurt Cobain was Trent’s first boy crush, he had no idea why he was gawking at this poor dude. He had no idea why the ginger had gawked at him either. Other than being oddly alluring and having good taste in music, the cashier wasn’t doing anything more than existing behind the counter with his face halfway stuck in a massive book.
It was the idea of multiple people giving one individual so much unwanted attention which allowed Trent to look away. He wasn’t gonna be that guy. The guy who stood and gawked like a fucking creep. Nope. He was going to get two bottles of shitty wine and return them to Rory, who would be thrilled that his bisexuality was rearing up once again. It didn’t rear very often, but that was mostly due to lack genuine interest in finding someone he liked. If people were more like machines or computers, life would be a lot easier. But they weren’t, so he didn’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out how they worked.
Several minutes and two bottles of Pinot Grigio later, Trent headed to the counter to check out. A buzz of anticipation went through him as he drew closer, another anomaly.
The ginger had beat him to the counter and was leaning across it, well within the cashier’s personal space. There was something off about it, and it put Trent’s back up. He knew a douchebag when he saw one, and the one in front of him was trying to intimidate the blond cashier.
“I was just thinking about you the other day,” the ginger drawled.
“Why’s that?” the cashier asked as he fumbled with the bottles, putting them into paper bags and then cringing when they clinked together.
Trent didn’t know the kid from a hole in the wall, but it wasn’t hard to tell he was tense. The relaxed posture of a guy lost in his book had been replaced by a rigid stance with hands that white knuckled on everything he touched.
“C’mon, Nate,” the ginger cajoled. “Don’t pretend you don’t ever think about that night.”
“The night you and your friends beat the shit out of me in the field?” The cashier’s hands clenched around the bag. He spoke through grit teeth, each word breaking free against his will as though they wanted a confrontation he himself was not prepared for. “Or the days I spent in the hospital after?”
The question came out in a harsh rush, and the kid—Nate—finally looked up. The sight of his face, this close, took Trent off guard. He hadn’t been ready for those big silver eyes, the scar through his eyebrow, or those delicate features.
It wasn’t like Trent didn’t see good looking people on a regular basis. He was from New York City, land of people looking casually hot on the subway, and was going to school in Cali, the land of health nuts looking casually hot while doing health nut shit. But this guy was different. Sort of like a fuckable wood elf with a jones for J Rock. Like if Legolas had been born in the 90s, got a raw deal one time too many, and gave up on fellowships and majestic journeys to be pissed off at a part-time job. Nate looked like that.
“You’re so fucking dramatic,” the ginger scoffed. “But you know I’m sorry for that shit. It was childish.”
“Childish . . .”
Trent stopped studying the details of that fine-boned face and stepped up behind the ginger. Judging from the disbelief in the Nate’s tone, and the way his tan was going ashen, there was something more serious than Trent’s sudden fixation going on here. And oddly, despite all of Trent’s NYC mind-your-own-business training, it bugged him. A whole lot.
“It’s kinda stupid when I think back to high school,” the ginger continued. “How mad Kelvin was, saying you’d tricked him into fucking you the first time, and how we gave you so much shit for being gay, but then we both did you again as soon as you gave us a cue.”
It was way more information than Trent had bargained for, and it sent a random streak of protective anger soaring through him. He stepped closer, forced himself to not do the tough guy tap on the ginger’s shoulder, and cleared his throat instead.
“This is sort of a weird-ass convo for a liquor store, don’t you think?” Trent asked, putting every ounce of Brooklyn in his voice while scowling at the dude’s broad back.
Nate’s stare jerked over to him, and his gaze widened. “Oh. Hi.” He cringed. “Sorry. My stalker was just leaving.”
To be continued…
The second half of this exclusive, alternate POV introduction to The Community series by Santino Hassell will be shared on Love Bytes Reviews, tomorrow, Thursday 10/12! Don’t forget to check the blog tour and “extras” tab on the book page for more exclusive content from Santino!
About the Community Series
What lies beneath the surface of the world you thought you knew?
Secrets and lies have twisted an underground community founded by psychics escaping persecution. Blackmail, sex, and social climbing in the name of power has created an irreparable rift.
In the eyes of the founders, there are two sides: loyalists and everyone else. Surely no one would emerge from their tightly woven webs. And they certainly wouldn’t sow the seeds of rebellion within the heart of the Community’s only queer night club.
Now an outcast, a scion, and a runaway are leading a revolution to save not only the men they love, but the entire Community.
About the Author
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.
He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.
To celebrate the release of Sightlines, one lucky winner will receive a $15 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!