Monday, December 8, 2014

We Found Love: Excerpt & Pre-Order

OMFG! I can't believe this is almost here. We Found Love is now up for pre-order at [Dreamspinner], releasing January 5. The day before my birthday so that'd rad. This project is probably one of my favorite things I've done so far. Again, I worked with Allison Cassatta, but this... This book was darker. I've never cried so writing something. Teaching Professor Grayson was fun to write but in We Found Love, I felt like we really connected and the characters and the uniqueness of the setting just really made everything about this story work for me. I hope you guys love Riley & Hunter as much as we did. From a special hidden room, to horrible pasts, to getting their shit together separately and together... I just felt connected to these characters more than any in a long time. So here's an excerpt. And I'll add the pre-order link again at the bottom, as well.

We Found Love 
by Kade Boehme & Allison Cassatta

It’s no surprise Riley Connors is dealing with issues. He was kidnapped as a young boy, and his parents abandoned him after his newsworthy return. He bounced from foster home to facility and back. Now an adult, ghosts from his past continue to haunt him. After a suicide attempt, he is locked away in Hartfield so that people can make him tune in to emotions he has tried to bury. 

Hunter Morgan had the kind of love that spans ages. But the stress of college and adulthood became too much to handle, and the love of Hunter’s life turned to drugs. After he overdoses, Hunter finds himself soaring out of control on the same miserable path. His brother finds him and calls an ambulance, and the sister Hunter would rather not have calls it a suicide attempt, landing Hunter in Hartfield. 

Finding love isn’t easy, but it can happen under the most dire circumstances. Together Hunter and Riley may be able to grow from their pain. But they will need to learn to live for themselves, letting love come second.


They couldn’t just leave well enough alone, could they. Those colorful-scrub-covered assholes insisted on dragging everyone out of their rooms, even the most antisocial bastard in the group—a title Riley held with pride. No one there liked him. He didn’t like them. The hate/hate relationship worked well because it meant no one wanted to talk to him. But there he sat, in a corner far from everyone else, with a print copy of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest opened wide in one hand. He’d always thought it ironic and a bit offensive for that classic to be one of the few books they had in this place.
A yellow hue hung over the room, most likely thanks to the piss-colored walls and off-white linoleum. It seemed to keep everyone nice and subdued, or maybe that was the drugs they fed everyone there. Riley always kept his mouth shut and didn’t act out, so they never knew if he was high or not—or low, as it were.
The sound of creaking wheels in bad need of a lube job caught his attention. The two big-ass orderlies were wheeling another one in. Another fucking one. Wasn’t this place already crowded enough? Pretty much every room had two people in it already. His was one of the rare exceptions, but his had always been a special case. But he was low man on the totem pole in the grand scheme of things. An old-timer but not as home sweet home as the two sickos down the hall from him.
He showed up in the standard apparel—white T-shirt, blue hospital pants, and blue socks with nonskid soles so people wouldn’t bust their asses. They’d issue a pair of shitty plastic slippers to him once he got settled in. Even give him a comb for that messy blond shit on his head… if they didn’t think he’d hurt someone with it. This dude might be the type. He def looked the part.
What the fuck are you staring at?” the newbie yelled, for no reason at all from what Riley could tell. But the newb’s dark stare was zeroed in on Riley. That’s when he knew he’d been the one staring and the newb was yelling at him.
Without hesitating long enough to take a breath, Riley averted his eyes back down to the book opened in his hands. He pretended to focus on the words while looking up through his dark eyelashes.
Quiet, Morgan,” the orderly pushing the wheelchair barked.
Or we could have this beautiful nurse here sedate ya,” the second one added, nodding toward the long-legged ginger who’d started working at the facility a few weeks ago. She hadn’t been properly broken in yet. No one had made any huge scenes for her.
Her cheeks pinkened, and Riley wanted to vomit. The sad thing was, the big Latino motherfucker hitting on her made the moves on all the cute nurses, who came and went at that place like bread going stale. No one with any sanity, hope for a career, or desire for better hung around that place—patients included. And Riley was quickly heading toward his nineteenth month, with no hope of reprieve.
The newb’s head swung when they abruptly made a right toward the patients’ wing. It was close to the nurses’ station for the ones who need to be watched closely. The farther down the hall you got, the saner the patients were—save for the old-timers, who were truly out of their minds but had learned the ropes and knew how not to rock the boat. Riley’s room was down that way, and from the looks of it, the newb was headed there fast.
Abruptly dropping the book, Riley pushed up from his corner perch and onto his feet. He absently followed, aware he was drawing closer to the action but not completely aware of the hows or whys. Curiosity? Maybe?
They stopped right outside his door, and Señor Badass reached for the knob. Riley’s gut twisted, heart going down for the count. The one thing he had in that place, his beloved privacy, was being yanked out from underneath him, and he couldn’t do anything more than watch. Bend over, kiddo, take it like a man.
Fuck,” he muttered. As far as anyone knew, that was his favorite word in a very limited vocabulary—most of which consisted of curses, because only things truly curse-worthy ever made him speak. And this moment was worthy of the most epically foul curse word in the litany of foul four-lettered concoctions.
Whose bed is that?” he heard the newbie ask.
His.” The orderly pointed in Riley’s direction.
Riley went deer-in-headlights, frozen and wide eyed and tasting the remnants of a flavorless lunch in the back of his throat.

Hunter looked up, unable to stop the scowl on his face from making itself known. “Whose?” He heard a growl in his own voice that was probably uncalled for, but why change his whole fuck-off demeanor now?
Then he saw his roommate. Saw him. It seemed cliché to think such a thing, but the man in the door was hard not to notice. The brief flick of a glance, a perfect tongue dancing on sweet, pillowy lips—hope and faith disguised in a compact, mistreated body.
Oh, hey,” Hunter said dumbly.
Hey,” his roommate said, barely a whisper.
Hunter found he couldn’t help bounding from his chair, extending a hand to shake. What are you doing?
His roomie jumped back. Well, not necessarily jumped so much as flailed. His wide eyes flicked in every direction but Hunter’s before his gaze fell to the floor. Hunter felt he’d fucked up somehow but had no clue how. His mama always said he was too forward, but fuck. Not like he had the energy to fuck someone or the hope to think he could be more to someone than…. Yeah.
He sat back down slowly. One of the orderlies huffed a laugh before leaning toward his ear and whispering, “Don’t sweat it. He don’t like nobody, dude.”
Hunter looked up at the orderly, who was pointing at a prominent scar on his chin. “He put me through a window.”
Hunter reared in surprise, then jerked his head in the direction of his new roomie. The dude was barely over five foot eight. Hell, Hunter thought he was short, and he was five foot ten.
He was wrong.
His roomie was also pale as fuck, the skin on his face smooth as a marble. Not like Hunter could see much of it. The way the cutie hid behind his bangs, Hunter wanted to shave the guy’s head just to see more of that.
Roomie was clearly uncomfortable under Hunter’s lecherous gaze, moving into the room and shoving his belongings into his pockets. He seemed extremely uncomfortable, but fuck if Hunter could stop himself. Who’d’ve thought? Horny even in the Crazy House.
Riley, it’s cool, man. Would we put you with someone you wouldn’t be safe with?” the scarred orderly asked.
Riley’s expression said yes, they would indeed do that. Riley. Wasn’t that a fitting name for such a cute guy? What was he doing there? Probably trapped like me.
Clearly, Riley was normal like Hunter. No one with a tattooed sleeve and swagger like that was fucked-up. Maybe he was just shy? Who cared? At least Hunter had some eye candy for his stay.
The orderlies snorted. When Hunter turned his attention to them, he realized they were making fun of him, obviously realized he’d been checking out the fresh meat. The scarred orderly patted his shoulder.
Good luck with that, homie,” Scarface said.
Hunter snorted. He wanted to say something clever in return, but when he turned back to Riley-Roomie, the brief glimpse he got of the man’s eye was a bit too feral for comfort.
He heard himself swallow, so there was no wonder the orderly had patted his shoulder. Even if this wasn’t prison, he suddenly had the urge never to drop the soap. Even if Riley-Roomie was that cute.
When the orderlies helped him onto his new bed, he lay back, not daring to look toward the other man. His withdrawal problems may have lessened, but he definitely felt a good headache throbbing, like a hangover with Riley’s name on it.

The orderlies were gone now. Hunter and Riley were alone. Alone together in that epically dangerous sort of way. Riley had no intention of turning his back on Hunter. Not now. Not two days from now. Not ever if he could help it. In fact, he didn’t plan on closing his eyes as long as Hunter was in that room. That’s ridiculous, freak.
He sat down on his bed and scooted as far back as he could get, settling in a familiar corner, wedged between the wall and the headboard. He wished he had his book. At least then he’d have something to look at—something besides staring at his new roomie.
So, um”—Hunter nodded in his direction—“what’s your deal?”
Excuse me?” Riley fired back, surprised by the sound of his own voice.
Your deal? Why are you here?”
Of its own volition, Riley’s right hand locked over his left wrist. Red covered his vision, and he was taken back to the tub where’d he’d decided to hide and give a go at cheating fate and taking his own life. He remembered each droplet of thick blood floating on the surface of his bathwater and how, as he lay there shriveling and bleeding, he’d chastised himself for not planning the attempt better. Had he cut deeper or wider or maybe done it right after his old roommate had left for work instead of trying that night, he might not be here now, dealing with this shit.
Cat got your tongue?” Hunter asked.
Riley raised his head. “No.”
Then what’s your kick? I mean, I’ll tell you my secret if you tell me yours.”
There was a wickedness in the way Hunter looked at him, like he was committing to memory every detail of Riley’s face, his body, his tattoos, and the scars. Could Hunter really see the scars from across the room?
You’re not going to tell me, are you?”
Hunter eased onto his side, wincing as if his body had had a rough go at things in the recent past. The wince made Riley get a closer look, and what he found in his roommate was the same thing he’d seen in people who’d spent a hell of a long time binging, slowly killing themselves with shit sold on street corners in the hoods of Louisiana. Hunter had the dark, sunken eye sockets, hollowed cheeks, clammy skin, and moistened brow of someone who’d been going through detox and was still fighting the remainders of his last buzz.
Look, man, we can’t stay in the same room and not talk,” Hunter said, voice growing increasingly frustrated. “Say something.”
Suicide. The word clung to Riley’s tongue, begging to break through his pinched lips. He wanted to tell Hunter all about it, to explain the scars on his wrists and why he was covered in tattoos. He wanted to tell Hunter the entire story of his childhood, just because that stupid damn doctor had finally convinced Riley that talking about the past was good for the future. And yet, as bad as he wanted to say something, he couldn’t do it.
He rubbed his wrist, feeling the jagged line of scar tissue where the blade had sliced through his flesh. It ruined all the ink over his veins. Dots of white skin interrupted the colorful swirls. Nineteen months ago, he was minutes closer to all this bullshit being over.
Oh shit,” Hunter said, eyes widening. “Did you….”
Riley blanched. “I… I….”
Is that?”
It is. Isn’t it?”
Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.

HUNTER WAS DOING his best not to be a complete tool, but he was part curious, part stunned by the rather garish scars on his roommate’s arms. Looking closer, one could tell that the tattooed sleeve on the guy’s arm was also covering other scars. Were those small round spots cigarette burns? They didn’t look self-inflicted, but the story behind them couldn’t be pretty regardless.
Hunter had seen scars before; even thinking about those overwhelmed him with agony. He couldn’t stop himself staring a bit too openly. He wasn’t doing it to be rude, but thinking someone had mistreated the beautiful man before him like so many had Cory was enough to suck the breath from him.
Cory. Hunter’s chest tightened with misery as memories took him to a dark enough place that he had to sit on his bed, breathing deeply to fend off the ghosts. He hadn’t, however, averted his stare from Riley’s damaged skin, earning him a scowl. Riley crossed his arms over his chest, clearly attempting to hide the scarring. Hunter could tell Riley was pissed, but he looked painfully vulnerable.
What the hell are you looking at?” Riley snapped.
Hunter flicked his eyes down to his lap, feeling like a jerk. Way to make a good impression. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
When Riley didn’t say anything, Hunter dared to look up again. His roommate’s expression had softened, mostly in his jaw, but his eyes had lightened too, like he was back in the hardest moment of his life.
I didn’t mean to pry,” Hunter said.
S’okay,” Riley mumbled, rubbing his wrist again. “I don’t talk about it.”
Hunter had to resist the urge to snort. He’d not only used those words himself a million times over the last five years, but he’d heard it himself from…. Don’t think about him again.
That makes two of us.”
Riley assessed Hunter with those disarming chocolate-brown eyes. They were almost catlike in their ability to pierce Hunter, seeming to look right into his soul and see his most wicked deeds. Hunter wasn’t sure he liked the thought that Riley could shake him up with just a searching gaze. He squirmed under the attention.
For someone who doesn’t ‘talk about it,’ you sure were nosy,” Riley said frankly, a slightly arrogant mocking in his tone. He had obviously judged Hunter on first impression and found him wanting.
Hunter bristled, feeling his cheeks warm. He could beat his chest too. Fucking pipsqueak wasn’t going to be head dog here. Hunter worked with bigger, meaner sons of bitches in his brother’s garage. Some five-foot-eight little twerp wasn’t gonna intimidate him.
But again, he noticed the slight vulnerability in the man’s eyes when Hunter stood, pulling himself to his full five foot ten. Riley clearly wasn’t going to back down, but Hunter was sure he’d seen that small flash of fear, a moment of unguarded desperation not to be the weakling. Hunter felt his ire leave him immediately, righteous anger draining from his body, sad calm taking over. Someone had really done a number on this guy.
You must get your ass beat a lot with that smartass mouth, man.” Hunter shook his head when Riley clenched his jaw, and Hunter advanced on him. Yeah, vulnerable or not, this guy was a fighter. Good on him.
Don’t mistake my being short for being a punk.”
Hunter threw up his hands, trying to calm Riley’s need to fight. “I have no doubt you can handle yourself. You’re a scrappy fucker, huh?”
Riley didn’t seem mollified, but the situation was definitely getting less hostile with Riley taking a step back. “If you don’t fight for yourself, who will?”
Sadness tinted the words. Hunter wondered if anyone had ever fought for Riley other than himself. He suddenly seemed very young and alone. That depressed Hunter, and he had no idea why. No, Riley wasn’t anything like Cory. Everything that happened to Cory, he’d done to himself in one way or another. Riley seemed like he’d had shit handed to him. He really itched to know Riley’s story.
He opened his mouth to respond, but a nurse popped his head in the door. “You boys behaving?” The overbright, chipper smile on his chunky face made Hunter want to smack the guy.
With a grunt, Riley simply rolled his eyes. “You know me, Bobby. They call me Mary Sunshine. I’m the best welcoming committee ever.”
The Bobby person snorted. “Right. Six roommates in three months. You’re a regular peach, Riley.”
Six roommates in three months?
Riley’s expression turned mildly amused, but he never dropped his guard completely. “Someone’s gotta keep the boys in line.”
Who’s keeping you in line?” Hunter asked. Riley snapped his head in his direction with a sneer.
Nurse Bobby laughed openly. “Sounds like you found one who won’t take your shit, Connors.”
Riley Connors. Even the guy’s name was cute.
And that was the last thought Hunter needed to have. Yeah, this hell pit was the best place for developing crushes. That’d be a story for the proverbial grandkids. So Gramps and Grampa met in the nuthouse….
Riley was still sneering at Hunter. Hunter felt a little thrill at being able to get under the little spitfire’s skin. It would at least be entertaining riling him up. And Hunter couldn’t lie, the guy was hot when he was brooding or scowling. Mad was a good look for him.
Okay, boys,” Nurse Bobby said. “Before we start pissing on the furniture to mark our territories, it’s mealtime. Come to the common room.”
Riley gave one last baleful glance at Hunter before sauntering away. And even through the tacky scrub pants he was wearing, Hunter could see the swell of a pert, sexy ass.
Wrong time, wrong place, wrong fucking guy, Hunter. His inner voice had never lied. A laugh pulled his attention back to Nurse Bobby, who was shaking his head. “You’re a glutton for punishment, new guy.”

What the hell? Had he been that obvious?

Alright guys. Hope you enjoyed! I'll start up Snippet Sundays this coming weekend <3

Don't forget you can pre-order from Dreamspinner Press by clicking HERE.


Releasing January 5, 2015!
Pre-Order Available Now!