We’re so pleased to welcome author A.M. Arthur to TNA today, on the tour for her latest release, Say It Right. Enjoy the exclusive excerpt and then be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below, where you can enter to win an e-copy of Come What May and Say It Right.
About the Book
Title: Say It Right
Author: A M Arthur
Series: All Saints: Book Two (Can be read as a standalone)
Release Date: September 12, 2016
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Buy Links: Carina Press | Amazon | B&N
Where to find COME WHAT MAY (All Saints #1): Goodreads | Amazon | Carina | B&N
BLURB: After his parents kicked him out for being gay, Marc Villegas lived on the streets before getting a second chance. Now he’s giving back by working at a shelter for LGBT teenagers—because helping fight their demons keeps his own at bay. Including his infatuation with the former best friend he’s sure is straight.
Anthony Romano hasn’t seen Marc since Marc left home eight years ago. In his confidant’s absence, Anthony turned to heroin. Now at rock bottom, he has an offer from Marc to help him get clean. Detox is hard and ugly, but not as hard as admitting the truth: he’s in love with Marc. Always has been.
Marc swore he’d never date an addict, but he never dreamed the one in question would be the man he’s always wanted to be with. As the two explore their feelings for each other, Marc faces a difficult choice. Say yes, and it could cost him his sobriety; say no, and it could cost him his heart.
“You left!” Anthony hadn’t meant to say it at all, much less shout it so loudly that he swore the house shook. Two little words scorched up and out like acid, and it broke a wall that Anthony had never been able to crack, much less tear down. No matter how many times a rehab shrink asked. No matter how many people in NA encouraged him to speak. He’d finally said it. He wanted to take it back. He needed a fucking hit.
Marcos’s face twisted up as if he’d smelled something nasty. “Left? I was hauled out of my house and pitched onto the sidewalk, and then my best friend’s family told me to get my faggot ass out of theirs. I wasn’t on vacation, Tone. I was in hell.”
“I gave you a phone.” He’d given Marcos a burner phone, clothes, food and a backpack, along with promises to help him out whenever he needed. Only, Marcos never called.
The epic eye roll Marcos managed made him feel like a twat. “I got mugged my first night on the street. They took everything, including the phone.”
“What?” Anthony stared at his former best friend, rattled to the core with that little truth bomb.
“Yeah, I lost it all the first night. No money, no extra clothes, nothing. I slept beneath a car that night because it was raining, and I still ended up soaked.”
“I thought—” The words stuck, lodged deep in his throat. “I thought you hated me for not going with you.”
“No, I didn’t.” Marcos rubbed a hand over his face. “I understood why you wanted to stay in school. You wanted that scholarship. You had a chance to be someone. I didn’t blame you for wanting that, instead of living on the streets with me. I never should have asked you to come. It wasn’t fair.”
“Fuck me.” Anthony banged his head against the wall, not caring that it kind of hurt. He was a complete fucking tool, making Marcos’s silence all about him. Assuming Marcos’s lack of contact meant he hated him, instead of even considering he’d lost the phone.
Their only lifeline to each other.
“I was ashamed of myself for not watching my own back for one night,” Marcos said. “You know me.”
“Proud to the fucking bone. You limped home on a fractured ankle because you were too proud to lean on me and admit you were in pain.” Eleven years old, Marcos had tried to climb a tree so he could perv on a neighborhood girl through her bedroom window. Anthony had freaked the fuck out when Marcos fell, and then he’d nearly burst with pride when his friend refused help home.
Ten blocks he’d limped on his own.
“You didn’t come to me for help because of your pride?” Anthony asked.
“Basically. I stuck it out for the summer, but then it started getting cold. I got desperate so I went to your house to find you.”
“But we’d moved by then.”
“Yeah, you had. No one would say where. Your neighbor gave me ten bucks to get the fuck out of the neighborhood.”
“Old Lady Graves and her fifty fucking cats?”
“Yeah. Bet you weren’t sad to leave her behind.”
“Our neighbors in Philly definitely had fewer fleas.” Anthony couldn’t deal with knowing Marcos had tried to find him once, and that Anthony hadn’t been there. He plucked at the frayed edge of the blanket, fingers itching for his lighter. For the familiar smoke to fill his lungs and make it all go away.
Marcos tossed a hard candy at him. Anthony unwrapped it and stuck it in his mouth, uncaring of the flavor.
“So, getting mugged and pride,” Marcos said. “You know why I didn’t come to you sooner for help. You still haven’t told me why you started using. Why did you trash your entire future for me? Because I don’t get it.”
Anthony studied the man in front of him. A strong, willful person who was demanding an explanation. A compelling reason for totally fucking up his own life. He had to admit to the feelings he hadn’t been able to understand at sixteen, and he still wasn’t entirely certain were okay at twenty-four. Feelings that had terrified him then, and still terrified him now.
“Do you remember Cedric’s party, start of junior year?” Anthony asked.
Marcos blinked several times. “Yeah.”
“You got super fucking wasted that night, and you went upstairs with some dude who was way older.”
Old stirrings of jealousy and concern made him clutch at the blanket. “I was worried because of how out of it you were, so I followed you guys up. You were passed out on a bed, but the asshole was still trying to take your pants off.” He hated the startled look on Marcos’s face. “I bashed him in the head with his own beer bottle, and then I shoved him down the stairs. I was so pissed I wanted to kill the prick.”
“Why didn’t you ever tell me about that before?” Marcos didn’t sound angry. Mostly surprised.
He shrugged. “Nothing happened. You barely remembered the party, much less that guy, so I let it go.”
“And you’re telling me now.”
“I’m trying to explain.” And he was fucking it up all over the place. “After I got your pants back up, I lay down with you for a while. Told myself it was to keep other poachers away, or so you didn’t choke on your own vomit while you were unconscious. Then you rolled over, grabbed on and held tight, and it felt so fucking good, Marcos. It felt…peaceful.”
Anxiety rolled through him, but it was shit-or-get-off-the-pot time. At this point, he had nothing left to lose. “I could still hear the music downstairs. Someone had put Nelly on, and I couldn’t stop looking at you. ‘Say It Right’ came on, and I just…for a minute, everything made sense. You and me. It’s when I knew I loved you.”
He risked looking at Marcos, whose face was twisted, his eyes damp. “It terrified me,” Anthony said. “Scared me so much I tried to pretend it never happened. Spent that year ignoring how I felt, telling myself it was best friend love, not romantic love. Convinced myself a gay Latino kid from the hood would never be a soccer star.” He released a raspy sound halfway to being a sob. “I lost the best thing in my life when I let you go without me, and I hated myself when I didn’t hear from you again, because I thought you hated me.”
About the Author
No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. She credits an early fascination with male friendships and “bromance” (and “The Young Riders”) with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments. You can contact her at AM_Arthur(at)yahoo(dot)com.