TNA: Today we’re welcoming Mateo, Josiah, and Tristan, the leading men in Riley Hart’s Broken Pieces, to The Novel Approach, and they’ve agreed to answer a few questions about themselves, not only from me but from readers as well. So, for those of us who feel as though we already know them, and for those of us who don’t know them yet but would like to, let’s get started.
Josiah Evans is the orphan who lost both his parents. He’s sweet, shy, and all heart. He wants nothing more than to be loved.
Mateo Sanchez is the son of a gang leader. He’s seen it all, and never hesitates to do what needs to be done, no matter what it is.
Tristan Croft is the wealthy attorney who clawed his way up from the bottom to rule his own world. He’ll never depend on anyone but himself again.
Three men who couldn’t be more different…and yet, as their lives intersect they find an uncommon balance that calms the storms inside each of them, and ignites fires hotter than they ever thought imaginable.
Told in three parts and spanning over ten years, BROKEN PIECES is a journey of healing for three fragmented souls, finding love in the unlikeliest of places—with each other.
TNA: First of all, gentlemen, thanks for agreeing to do this. I know talking about yourselves is probably not going to be the easiest thing you’ve ever done, so I’ll start by asking you what I hope is a simple question: How hard was it on all of you to let Riley tell your stories, to reveal some of the most intimate details of your lives? And for each of you, what was the most painful thing about you that was revealed, and why was it so difficult to tell?
Mateo: Shit… that’s an easy question? I definitely wasn’t lookin’ forward to her telling our story. I know I screwed up a lot and there’s some shit I never thought I’d share with anyone except Jay, and then later, Tristan. But it was important to Jay too, and I guess I can see why. For me the most painful was shit with my dad.
Josiah: There were things that were uncomfortable to share—things that were private or just between the three of us that I struggled with but like Teo said, I think it was important for us to do too. It was therapeutic in a way. And maybe it will somehow help heal others, the way we’ve healed each other.
Tristan: Veto? Okay, I guess I can’t do that. Yes. It was extremely hard. I still don’t like talking about it much. I hate to be the one to say this but it was all a struggle for me. It’s getting easier though.
TNA: This question I’m also going to ask you in multi-parts. Teo and Tristan, you had some reconciling of feelings to work through in your relationship with Josiah. What would you say are some of the most surprising things you’ve come to learn about each other, and what are some of the things you each admire most about the other?
Teo: I admire him for his heart. He doesn’t realize he has one but he does. It’s fuckin’ big and makes it so he would do anything for someone he loves. Most people wouldn’t have taken me in…they wouldn’t have understood Jay and I or the things I’ve done. And the things he did for Jay? It means somethin’…that’s all. It just means somethin’. Everything about him was a surprise to me. He was a suit, the opposite of me in every way, and he had Jay. I didn’t expect to like anything about him. Definitely didn’t expect to fall for him.
Tristan: Teo would lay down his life for someone he loves. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for them. Nothing. Even if it hurt him he would do it. He protects those he loves in a way I didn’t think was possible. He’s selfless in a way I never could be. I didn’t expect that, and I admire it.
TNA: Josiah, for your part of this question, Teo and Tristan are very different men in many ways, but what is it you love most about each of them that might helps us see some of their similarities?
Josiah: Teo and Tristan are so different on the surface but their core is similar. They would both do anything for someone they love, just in different ways. They both hold themselves to standards that they wouldn’t hold other people to. They can forgive others for things they would never be able to forgive themselves for because the love they put out is deeper than what either feel for themselves. I love the things they were able to get past in their lives. For their hearts because Teo said Tristan has a big heart and he does, what Teo needs to realize is he does too.
TNA: And by the way, Josiah, there’s a reader named Jennifer who’d like to be your new bestie. 😀
Josiah: Haha, sure. We’ll get coffee sometime.
TNA: Now, Teo and Tristan, each of you tell us something we might not know about Josiah that, when you discovered it, made you love him just a little bit more.
Teo: It’s hard to tell you something about Jay that you don’t know cuz he wears his heart on his sleeve. He puts it all out there with no fear. That’s what made me love him. He’s strong as hell. He accepts people for who they are and—
Tristan: –His capacity to love is immeasurable.
Teo: Yeah…yeah, for sure.
Tristan: I remember the first day I met him. I asked him why he fed the birds and he said something about giving them a gift, and that we all deserve someone to do something special for us. I knew then he was different.
Teo: When he left what would have been a happy, comfortable life for me. I knew before that but no one had ever cared that much about me before. Yeah…that kind of selflessness made me love him more.
TNA: With the gift of hindsight, even though you all have had so many painful experiences in your past, can you look back now without regret and see it’s all served to bring you where you are today, or are there still things you wish you could go back and change?
Teo: If changing something made it so we didn’t end up here I wouldn’t change it. Couldn’t. Regret never gets you anywhere. I just try to keep pushin’ forward.
Josiah: I wish things could have been different. I would love to take away the things Teo has had to do for me…the things he did while we were apart. And for Tristan, I wish his mom didn’t deal with the things she did, which hurt him.
Tristan: Like Mateo said, regret or wishing things were different won’t do us any good. Of course there are things I wish were different but would we be here if they had been? I’m trying to learn to focus on where I am rather than where I’ve been. Or at least Josiah says that’s what I should do.
(all three men laugh)
TNA: Teo and Josiah, this question is just for the two of you. What did you expect when you were placed in the foster system? Was it much different than you thought it’d be? How would you say that time in your life has shaped who you’ve become?
Teo: I just wanted the hell out. I knew I didn’t belong. I was seventeen years old, from the streets and expected to go back. I didn’t fit. But it was better than I thought. Molly and William were cool, despite what went down. And it molded who I am because I met Jay.
Josiah: It’s all I ever really knew. My parents died when I was young so I didn’t know much else besides the system. Each home was different. It was…lonely. But being lonely for so long made me want to fight for Teo and then later Tristan. I wasn’t alone anymore when I had them.
TNA: Tristan, we know it was a little bit terrifying for you when you realized you were falling in love with Josiah, but what was it like for you when you realized you were starting to have feelings for Teo too? Did already loving Josiah make it easier or harder on you, and along with that, did it make it easier for you to recognize it for what it was when it happened?
Tristan: I think loving Josiah should have made it easier. As you know I was still a bit stubborn though. But it definitely made it easier for me to recognize it. I will admit I was a little angry at first. Love meant giving up power. I already had one man who got past my defenses, who made me vulnerable and suddenly there was another man doing the same. It wasn’t easy for me.
TNA: Tell us what your idea of the perfect evening together is like.
Teo: Anything. I never expected to have anything that really meant shit so it doesn’t matter what we’re doing. I’m lucky to have them.
Josiah: You wouldn’t know it but Teo is very funny. I would say making dinner for them. Watching Teo make Tristan laugh and seeing Tristan let loose. They’d fight over wine or beer. We’d talk for a while, clean up the mess together and then go to bed. It’s simple but then none of us has ever needed much.
Tristan: I would have to agree with both Mateo and Josiah’s answers. Though I need to point out that a nice wine is much better than beer. Mateo will see that one day.
TNA: Here’s a question from another reader, Ange: “Ok, I was thinking of asking an important profound question, but damn it, I’ll let others ask them. I’m going for gold: has Tristan also had Teo top him?”
Tristan: No. Not yet.
Teo: I will though.
TNA: Okay, well… Wow. That’s a hard question and even harder answer to follow, Teo! Let’s try this one. In the short time the three of you have been together, what’s your happiest memory so far?
Teo: Not sure I’m supposed to answer that here…
Josiah: Nice, Teo. My answer would be the same as our perfect evening. It’s just when we’re at home together.
Tristan: Making plans for Josiah’s coffee shop. It’s become important to us all.
TNA: Here’s a question from Nikki for you, Teo: “Teo mentioned that he wasn’t celibate while separated from Josiah, and I wondered if there was ever anyone he had any kind of feelings for over the years? Maybe someone he hooked up with more than once? I just feel awful that he was alone for almost a decade.
Teo: No. Don’t feel bad for me though. I didn’t want that shit. Didn’t wanna feel anything when I was in the middle of all that. I never wanted to love anyone but him, and now Tristan. And I guess…well after all the shit I did and was doin’, did I really deserve to have someone?
Josiah and Tristan: Yes.
TNA: What would you each say is the biggest challenge you’ll face going forward?
Teo: Not letting the past catch up with me.
Josiah: We’ve been through a lot. We can handle anything. Hopefully we won’t have to handle anything else major, though. But we’re still settling into a life together—a life that to some is unconventional. It’s going to be realizing we need to lean on each other and be open with each other no matter what happens.
Tristan: We all know I struggle with words. It’s easier but I still have a ways to go. And there are still things I have to give.
(Josiah squeezes Tristan’s hand and offers him a promising smile, then excuses himself from the room.)
TNA: Now that it’s just the three of us, Dana asked a question it might be best answered while Josiah’s stepped away: “I know Teo and Tristan confessed their regrets about their pasts to each other. Did they ever come clean to Josiah?”
Teo: I haven’t told him everything. I’m not saying I will or I won’t, and I know Jay, I know he would understand that. It’s not because I don’t trust him or love him enough to tell him, but I also don’t wanna burden him with it either, ya know? He takes things in and I don’t want him to have to live with all the shit I’ve done.
Tristan: Mateo answered the question better than me but no, I haven’t shared all of the things I’ve done. I don’t want him to see that when he looks at me.
TNA: Thanks very much to Riley Hart for organizing this interview, and for the great giveaway she’s prepared to offer to one lucky reader.
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Author Bio: Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic. A lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together. If she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her reading. Riley lives in California with her awesome family, who she is thankful for everyday.