Title: Caught Inside
Series: A Boys on the Brink Novel
Author: Jamie Deacon
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: September 29, 2016
Romance Genre(s): Contemporary, Young Adult, LGBT
About the Book
Luke believes he has his life figured out…and then he meets Theo.
It should have been simple—a summer spent with his girlfriend Zara at her family’s holiday cottage in Cornwall. Seventeen-year-old Luke Savage jumps at the chance, envisioning endless hours of sunbathing on the private beach and riding the waves on his beloved surfboard. He isn’t interested in love. Though his rugged good looks and lazy charm mean he can have his pick of girls, he has no intention of falling for anyone.
Nothing prepares Luke for his reaction to Theo, the sensitive Oxford undergraduate who is Zara’s cousin and closest friend. All at once, he is plunged along a path of desire and discovery that has him questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. No one, especially Zara, must find out; what he and Theo have is too new, too fragile. But as the deceit spirals beyond their control, people are bound to get hurt, Luke most of all.
Caught Inside was named a finalist in the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards for Best Gay Romance, the 5th Annual Bisexual Book Awards for Best Young Adult Novel, and the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Best LGBT Fiction.
Under the night sky, the water gleams like onyx. The waves, calmer than they’d been earlier, caress the shoreline in a shower of glitter. For once, my thoughts don’t stray instantly to my board. I’m content simply to absorb it all. I’ve never seen anything so incredible as this expanse of sea and sky and stars.
We sprawl on a blanket, Zara sandwiched between me and Theo, the well-stocked coolbox on the sand beside us.
“Luke, this is amazing.” Zara leans into me and takes a gulp from her Smirnoff Ice. Her words slur around the edges. “Can’t believe we’ve never done this.”
“You forget, we’ve only ever come here with our parents. Well, Theo’s been here without them, haven’t you, Theo?”
“Once.” His response is flat.
I look over at him, but he’s staring off towards the horizon. Even if I’d been able to see his face, his expression would have been hard to read in the dark.
Zara claps a hand over her mouth. “Oops, I’m not supposed to mention that, am I? Sorry, Theo. Anyway, we’ve had barbecues on the beach before, big parties where my parents invite everyone we’ve got to know in the summers we’ve been coming here. This though.” She gestures with the hand holding her bottle, encompassing our surroundings, the quiet stillness. “This is special.”
“Yeah, it is.” I smile and put an arm around her.
She nuzzles into me, the warmth of her body seeping through our sweatshirts, her breath tickling my neck. “Have you ever thought about having sex on the beach? Want to try it?”
“Not right now.” My laugh is half awkward, half amused. I glance Theo’s way, but he’s intent on drawing something in the sand with a finger.
Zara pouts. “You’re no fun.”
Downing the rest of her drink, she discards her bottle on the blanket and pushes herself to her feet. She stumbles to the water’s edge where she waits, body tensed. When the next wave rolls in, she turns and runs, hysterical with giggles, barely staying ahead of the surf.
I watch her strange game of chicken while I finish my beer. Instead of grabbing another, I lie back on the blanket, arms pillowing my head, and stare up at the stars. My entire body feels fluid, weightless. The sky sways above me as though I’m stretched out on the deck of a ship.
“OK?” Theo’s voice is closer than I’m expecting, and I glance sideways. He’s lying beside me, studying the sky.
I smile and return my gaze to the stars. “I never knew they were so bright.”
“That’s because you’re a city boy. I was fascinated with the stars when I was younger. In the summer, I used to persuade my sister Clemmy to camp outside with me so I could watch them before I went to sleep.”
Sadness lurks beneath the surface of his words. I wonder if it has anything to do with his reluctance to talk about his family.
“So,” I say to distract him, “you know all the constellations, right?”
“Of course. Let’s see.” Theo points to a large grouping of stars to our left. “Over there, we have the Great One-Armed Baboon, and that small cluster just below it, that’s the Squashed toad.”
“Yeah,” I grin, my eyes scanning the sky, “and that one has to be the Leering Skull.”
“No way. That’s the Chocolate Chip Cookie, everyone knows that.”
We fall into a contest, competing to find patterns in the pinpricks of light, arguing over whether one is an Easter egg or a rugby ball, a tennis racket or a banjo.
“All right,” Theo says, “I’ll give you that last one, but that’s a rocket, no doubt about it. Look, you can see the fire trailing behind it.”
I bump his shoulder with mine. “Nah, you need your eyes tested. That’s definitely a surfboard. Those are the fins.”
“I don’t know. They’re a bit wonky.”
“And you’re a bit pissed.”
Theo laughs just as Zara lets out a shriek. I push myself up on my elbows in time to see her topple backwards into the water. She sits there, fully-dressed, giggling to herself as the waves lap around her.
“Time to head back, do you think?” Theo asks, sitting up beside me.
Together, we scramble to our feet and hurry over to Zara. She’s struggling unsuccessfully to get up, which only makes her giggle harder.
“Come on,” Theo’s voice vibrates with mirth, “let’s get you out of there. On the count of three.” He grasps one of Zara’s hands, while I take the other. “One…two…three!”
We pull. Zara grips my fingers, allowing us to haul her up. She’s just found her balance when her flip-flop catches on something and she goes down. I try to steady myself, but I’m already falling. The next thing I know, we’re tumbling in a drunken heap in the water, our limbs entangled, all three of us helpless with laughter.
About Jamie Deacon
Jamie lives in a tranquil spot close to the River Thames in Berkshire, England, and has always been just a little out of place—the only redhead in a family of brunettes; an introvert far more at ease with dogs than with people; a connoisseur of simple pleasures in a society intent on the quest for wealth and fame. Despite an outward cynicism, Jamie is a romantic at heart, and, when not immersed in a book, can mostly be found writing emotional stories where young men from all walks of life are thrust headlong into the breathless, euphoric, often painful whirlwind called love.
Connect with Jamie
To celebrate the first anniversary of the release of Caught Inside, Jamie is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. For your chance to win, simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. The contest closes at midnight EST on October 13, 2017, and is open to entrants worldwide.
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