Also failed to mention…

3D-Book-TemplateDuring my lazy period *cough, cough* I also neglected to mention another book I released in May. It is called Unleashing Love. How about a blurb and an excerpt to catch you up? 🙂

Blurb:

A year ago Drew dropped out of the corporate world following the death of his boyfriend, Steven. Unable to stomach the cutthroat environment of his old job he starts his own dog walking business. Drew struggles to move forward, consumed by guilt over his lover’s death.

Kyle Bradley is rich, successful and relishes his orderly life. But things get turned upside down when his sister Janie gets sick and he temporarily inherits her dog and her five year old son, Benjamin. Drew can see that Kyle is completely out of his depth with the dog and the child and he offers to help out.

The two men are drawn to one another and as time passes the feelings grow stronger. But Drew is still guilty over Steven’s death and afraid to embark on a relationship with someone who comes from the shallow world he now hates.

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I’ve been lax. Forgive me.

I’ve been busy but you’d never know that if you followed me on my WordPress page. I shall try and make a more concerted effort to keep you updated. I have a book coming out from Riptide August 8th which I’m super excited about. But first I want to mention a story I wrote for Dreamspinner Press that was one of my favorite books that I’ve written.

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Believing Rory

Will Rory bring them together or stand between them?

Eighteen-year-old Lane Graham has always relied on his braver, more confident buddy, Rory. But Rory’s sudden suicide blindsides Lane and sends him into an emotional tailspin. How’s he supposed to start college in a few months feeling this damaged?

Baron MacDonald knew Rory from playing League of Legends together. He was always intrigued by Lane’s online presence, and Rory had promised to set them up. Now that Rory’s gone, Baron has to approach Lane on his own.

On the surface, Baron and Lane couldn’t seem more different. Baron is confident and serious, and Lane is guarded and uncertain. But it’s the pain beneath the flesh that binds these two souls together like barbed wire and cement.

Excerpt:

Chapter One

I guess I’m the stupid one for believing Rory.

I’m angry at him. I know there’s no point in that, because not only is he nowhere around to feel my wrath, he wouldn’t care if he was. Rory always went his own way. I needed him more than he needed me. Obviously. He proved that when he leapt into the great unknown without me. I can barely handle staying in my old familiar life, untethered from him.

Is it weird that my skin hurts? I’m so depressed my flesh actually aches. The ends of my hair feel sensitive as I watch Mrs. Greg approach with my math test in her hand. A bright red C sits at the top right of the paper. Thank God, I passed. My mom would take away my laptop if I fuck up in school again. Especially this close to graduation.

“I expected more from you, Lane.” Mrs. Greg sniffs and adjusts her black-rimmed glasses farther up the bridge of her nose.

I take my paper, feeling the eyes of the class on me. They probably all think I’m stupid. I’m not. I wonder how well they’d do on a math test if their best friend died the day before. I think a C was just fine, considering. Obviously I’m the only one who thinks that way since Mrs. Greg is still giving me a disapproving look, and the redheaded girl next to me is shaking her head. I want to skip ahead to lunch where I can tell Rory about how judgmental they’re all being. He’d rub my head and tell me to relax. You’re overthinking things again, L, he’d say with his white grin splitting his face.

But Rory’s dead.

My stomach rolls and I stand abruptly, knocking into my desk. “May I go to the bathroom?” Mrs. Greg hates letting kids go during class. But there must be something in my expression that softens her. Or maybe she just doesn’t want me throwing up in her classroom.

“Don’t be long.” She hands me the key with a huge wooden plaque attached.

I jangle my way through the hall and hurry to the bathroom. I slam into the stall and unload everything in my stomach. Then I sit breathing like a racehorse, with tears streaking down my cheeks. I don’t know what to do with all the rage I feel toward Rory. It feels like it’s eating me from the inside. I want to punch something. But instead I sit in a pathetic, crumpled heap, sobbing onto the wooden plaque with a key attached.

The bathroom door squeaks open and two guys come in. They’re laughing and fooling around. There are two stalls, and I’m occupying one. I peer under the fiberboard walls and glimpse expensive orange and black hi-tops. One person takes a piss while the other guy talks to him. I scramble to my feet and, keeping my gaze averted, go to the sink area and splash cold water on my cheeks. The guy waiting shuts up finally, and takes the stall I just left, as the other person comes around the corner and stops when he sees me. Then he continues on to wash his hands. Good bathroom manners. It’s a rarity among high school boys.

“Hey,” the guy says. He’s blond with spiky hair and the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. He’s watching me like he expects a response. Of course he would. Anyone well-bred enough to wash their hands after peeing expects a response when they speak to you.

“I have permission to be here.” I don’t know why I say that. We aren’t in prison, although sometimes it feels that way.

“Are you okay?” He sounds genuinely concerned.

Of course not, I want to scream. But instead I drop my gaze and turn to the door. “Is anybody?” I say finally as I leave.

Lunch is torture. If you’re dumb enough to only have one real friend to sit with, it kind of leaves you in the lurch if he kills himself. I’m not hugely popular. I’m not actually unpopular either. I’m one of those invisible kids who flits through the school years not leaving much of a mark on anything. God, maybe Mrs. Greg and that redheaded girl are right, and I am pathetic.

Somebody punches my shoulder. Wincing, I look up from my yogurt to find Mason Price standing over me. He’s the school clown. His talent surpasses just class clown. “I’m sorry about Rory,” he says gruffly.

He’s the only person who has even said a word about Rory dying. I’d have never expected such compassion from someone who sticks straws up his nose for a laugh.

“Thanks,” I say.

He punches my shoulder again and moves off. I guess hitting me makes him feel like less of a wimp when he offers me sympathy. I rub my shoulder and watch him join his friends. Someone plops a tray down across from me. Judy from science class has decided I need a pep talk. She has her hair dyed pink, with purple tips. Her makeup is similar to an anime character’s with thick eyeliner, and long fake lashes. She pops open her grape soda while staring at me. The color of the can matches the ends of her hair.

“You should have taken today off.” Her voice is gently chiding.

I stare at her wordlessly. If it were up to me, I’d take the rest of the school year off. But my mom wasn’t having any of it. She screeched at me until I was dressed and in the car. I didn’t have the energy to fight her. I just did as she said and now here I sit with my yogurt.

“There’s a suicide support group on campus. You should probably go.”

I wrinkle my brow and just watch her.

“Not that you’re going to hurt yourself. But they help the people left behind too.” She gulps her soda, her throat muscles moving up and down with each swallow.

Left behind. Fucking Rory left me behind.

“I’ll take it under consideration.” Wow. That was oddly formal. What, am I running for Congress or something? I’m finding it impossible to be normal. Well, my normal.

Her brown, makeup-enhanced eyes soften. “Rory was a dick.”

I should slap her for defaming my beloved friend. My lifelong buddy who jumped off a parking structure and left me all alone to face this fucked-up world. I’d rather hit Rory.

I nod.

She crunches her way through a bag of chips as she continues to study me like I’m bacteria lying in a petri dish. Then she says, “You can always talk to me if you want. I know you’re shy, so maybe a big group thing isn’t for you.”

Why does she care? I’ve had maybe three conversations with her in the four years of high school. Is she a psych major? Maybe that’s it. They love psychoanalyzing everyone. It makes them feel less crazy.

Somebody has carved their name into the top of the table along with a heart. Steve + Sally 4-ever. I trace my finger into the grooves, wondering if their undying love has survived high school. Steve would never off himself and leave Sally alone. The table wiggles and I notice Judy is getting up to leave.

“See you in class, I guess.” She wanders away into the crowd of students. She’s still easy to spot with her pink hair, though. Maybe that’s the point.

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ASSASSINS LOVE PEOPLE TOO

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I have a blog tour going run by Creative Minds Blog Tours for the second book in my Assassins in Love series and the title for my latest is Assassins Love People Too.

My first stop is Rick R. Reed’s Blog where you’ll find the schedule for the other stops along the way. There’s a give away of course! Did you think I would forget how much you love free things? Never!

Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card and book 1 & 2 in my Assassins in Love series.

EXCERPT:

Don’t trust anyone.

She raised her brows. “Do you have a name?”

I have several.

I said the first thing that popped into my mind. “Fred.” I’m not sure why that name came to me. I didn’t really feel like a Fred. It seemed like someone named Fred should have a pipe and a smoking jacket.

Not missing a beat, she asked, “Well, Fred, where in the States are you from?”

I avoided her gaze and fibbed some more. “Oregon.” Had lies always fallen off my tongue so easily, or was it meeting Marc that had brought out my storytelling abilities?

“Oh, is that right? What part?” Without waiting for my response, she continued, “My brother lives in Eugene. He’s older than me by about five years.” She clasped her hands in her lap and looked at me expectantly.

I didn’t really know anything about Oregon, so I just tossed out the first city I could think of. “I live in Portland.”

“That’s farther north than where Ted lives. Ted’s my brother. He owns a little grocery store up there. I wouldn’t have the courage to own my own business, but Ted says he loves it.” She scanned my face with her curious gaze, and I knew she expected me to give her some details about my fake life in Portland.

Instead of responding to her, I just looked away, and an awkward silence fell. I felt like a total prick ignoring her, but I knew the last thing in the world Marc would approve of was me making a new friend. His voice on the phone had been as close to panicked as I’d ever heard him, and that made me uneasy as hell.

She gave a funny little laugh and waited a few more seconds, but when I didn’t speak, she pulled a paperback mystery from her pocket. “I’ll just read and leave you alone.”

My cheeks warmed, and I felt like a jerk. But I knew the more I talked, the more she’d want to know, and that was a bad idea. “Sorry. I’m just really tired.”

Waving her hand at me, she said, “You don’t have to apologize. I need to finish this darn book one of these days anyhow.” She nestled down into her seat and focused her attention on the novel.

Resting my head against the cool glass, I watched the scenery flash by. Towering beige buildings and skinny palm trees made up most of the view. After an hour or so, the lackluster structures were replaced by the sparkling Mediterranean coastline and the beautiful Côte d’Azur, where white villas and bright pink and yellow umbrellas lined the shore. My thoughts continued to be fixed on Marc. I closed my eyes, giving into the worry. Was he safe? According to the ticket agent, this train ride was roughly six hours, and that seemed like a lifetime after that frantic call from Marc.

The stress of not knowing what came next was exhausting, and the rocking of the train was lulling. After a few hours of fighting sleep, my heavy lids dropped, and I drifted off. My dreams were chaotic with faceless villains chasing me down the streets of Paris. Marc was there, but I couldn’t quite see him clearly, and whenever I yelled for him, he shook his head. I jerked awake when someone touched my arm.

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PAINFUL LESSONS GIVEAWAY!

Painful Lessons is the story of Brett Bridgeworth’s first year in college. He runs into a few problems when he falls under the spell of an obsessive guy. It was written by tapping into those strange, insecure emotions of the new adult years. We’ve all been there. Maybe we didn’t have to go through what Brett goes through in this story, but we were all messed up, emotional kids at one point.

PainfulLessonsFSI guess if I’m honest I still often feel like that awkward kid. I think that person is still very much alive inside of me. I think I’d hoped that as I got older all my insecurities and pressure to measure up would just fall away. But it didn’t, and I don’t think it ever will.

GIVEAWAY!!

Do you ever still feel like you’re that gawky kid from the past? Or do you have it all together now that you’re all growds up? Tell me how you see yourself now. Let me into your mind and heart.

Leave a comment below and I’ll pick three people whose answers resonate with me for a free copy of Painful Lessons.

 

BLURB:

As a freshman both in love and in college, sometimes there are painful lessons to be learned.

Excited to begin his first year of college, Brett Bridgeworth has just one problem: he sucks at math. Luckily there’s the sensual and mysterious math tutor, Jeremy Price, to help him out. It isn’t long before Jeremy is tutoring Brett in more than just pie charts, but it isn’t until they split up that Brett discovers Jeremy’s twisted, obsessive side.

Sam Hawthorne is two years ahead of Brett, and they share a strong mutual attraction. When Brett breaks it off with Jeremy and gets involved with Sam, disturbing things start happening. It soon becomes obvious that Jeremy isn’t willing to let Brett go without a fight.download

EXCERPT:

I definitely don’t want what I’m about to share to look like I’m bragging. But I think it’s important to give a glimpse into my first sexual experiences because it has a lot to do with who I am, or at least who I was, when I went through all of that shit with Jeremy. Looking back, now I can see so clearly that I was like a sail with the line sliced, flapping uselessly in the cool sea breeze. Well, maybe I’m getting ahead of the story a little bit. I tend to do that sometimes.

I’ve always been bad at math. I mean, like, really awful. But I’d managed to get through high school because my teachers liked me. Mr. Winter, my algebra teacher, liked me a whole lot. So much so that, senior year, he made a deal with me; he’d give me an A if I let him suck me off.

Mr. Winter wasn’t one of those hot teachers we students fantasized about. He wore a lot of loud polyester shirts, and he had a pot belly. I went back and forth about his offer, and I did a bit of research on the Internet so I’d know what I was getting into. But ultimately I agreed, because if I failed algebra I’d be held back, and that would be way too embarrassing to me and, more importantly, my dad.

My dad owns Bridgeworth Electronics, and if his kid failed high school he’d probably have a heart attack. So I let Mr. Winter pull the blinds, unzip my jeans, and do his thing. The sight of him on his knees and the glare off his shiny bald head was all very surreal. I remember being super nervous because, while I was eighteen and I knew I liked guys, I’d never been touched by one yet. It was just me and my faithful hand, up until Mr. Winter introduced me to fellatio.

At his first touch I was numb inside and grappling with insecurities. Would I come too soon? Would he be too rough? Or worst of all, was he going to make me suck him off? But the initial warm slide of his mouth chased those fears away. Old dude or not, my eyes rolled back in my head, and I’d thrust into his mouth, oblivious to the world around me. Afterward he’d grinned up at me with a crooked, lecherous smile, as if we were somehow coconspirators.

For my first time, it was a little seedy and humiliating. I’d certainly never pictured my initiation to a BJ happening quite like that. But I had to admit his lips on me still felt great, so I shoved down the feelings of shame and took my A. I never saw Mr. Winter again, and I went on toward college still horrible in math but no longer pure as the driven snow.

I spent my summer waiting for responses from the colleges I’d applied to, and worried someone would find out about me and Mr. Winter’s arrangement. Would they be able to retract my grade if they knew what I’d done to get it? I’ll admit to feeling guilty about the whole arrangement with Mr. Winter, but the thought of failing had been too terrifying. When my acceptance letter arrived from UCLA, I put thoughts of my old math teacher behind me and spent the rest of the break celebrating with my friends.

I will say, after my sexual encounter with Mr. Winter, it was as if my hormones woke up for real. I became a horndog of epic proportions. My dad hired a new pool guy for the summer, and he was the opposite of Mr. Winter. This guy was probably in his thirties and hot. I mean smoking, Zac Efron hot. We exchanged lusty looks for a few weeks before anything actually happened. One day after swimming, I was showering in the small side building near the garden, and Lex walked in on me.

He set his pool skimmer against the wall and pulled his shirt off with one yank. I swallowed the lump forming in my throat and waited for him to make the first move. Soundlessly he dropped his shorts and underwear and walked up to me. I couldn’t believe what was happening, but I was excited to think this gorgeous guy wanted to do things to and with me. I believe I said a breathy, “Hi.”

“How old are you, Brett?” he’d asked, almost as if it was an afterthought.

“Eighteen,” I responded right before he pushed me against the slick white tiles and took my mouth roughly.

He tasted like tobacco and cinnamon, and his hands were rough on my hips. His cock wasn’t as wide as mine, but it was longer and it fit next to mine nicely. When the kiss ended, he began grinding his cock against mine, and the heat that flared in my groin was like an inferno. I grasped his shoulders and held on as lust rumbled through me like a steam engine. It wasn’t romantic by any stretch of the imagination. The ceramic tiles were freezing against my back, and they hurt my shoulder blades, but I didn’t care. I was young and ready to explore what I needed sexually.

I’d had a growth spurt toward the end of high school, and I was slightly taller than Lex. I clutched his damp chestnut curls and panted against the orgasm gathering at the base of my cock. He was louder than me. He groaned a lot and cussed as he threw his head back and flexed his hips like a jackhammer. I liked his noises. They were guttural and dirty, and they made me excited as my need ramped even higher. When we came the warm water washed the evidence down the drain as if it never happened.

I remember he stroked my cheek afterward, as I stared into his golden-flecked brown eyes. “That was nice,” he panted, and then he washed under the water with me, dried off with my towel, and got dressed. Right before he left, he turned and asked me, “Are you a virgin?”

I’m sure my cheeks turned red. They were warm now, thinking about how embarrassed I’d been to answer yes. Not to mention I wasn’t even sure if I was answering correctly. Was I a virgin? Did blow jobs count, or did not having had anal make me a virgin? But Lex had just smiled and quietly closed the door. I wasn’t a “virgin” much longer because a week later, Lex took me in that little shower area. I still remember the smell of the coconut-scented lube and the first burning glide of his cock in my untouched ass.

I learned a lot from Lex. The guy had zero inhibitions. We fucked our way through that hot summer, and when it came time to leave for college, I was thankful I didn’t have to go there not knowing anything about sex. I’d assumed I’d show up at UCLA horrible in math and a virgin, but thanks to Lex, only the “bad at math” part was still true.

My dad didn’t have time to drive with me to my new school. He said something about a crisis in the capacitor industry. I didn’t know what he was talking about, and it didn’t really matter because it wasn’t like it was negotiable or anything. Hey, how about you come to my college, see my room, and pretend you give a shit about me for a day? I’ll bake brownies for you?

Yeah, not gonna happen.

I guess at this point, I should mention the reason it was only me and him was because my mom died when I was ten. She went in for a routine hysterectomy and never came home. I remember coming back from school and finding my aunt Rose sobbing in the kitchen. She’d hugged me and my dad, and stayed for weeks to cook casseroles and keep the house clean. But after that she’d had to go back to her family in New York. Aunt Rose called me and my dad “her boys,” and she phoned to check on us often. But my dad’s never home, and I didn’t want to talk about my mom dying, so the time between calls had become longer and longer.

So back to my college experience. My roommate, Ted, was nothing like me. He was boisterous and loud and straight as a ruler. He was hugely into sports and talked about football nonstop. I, on the other hand, knew little about that subject, preferring reading and sketching to getting dirty and running around a field with a pigskin.

We still found some common ground since we both enjoyed eating. We always went to the cafeteria together for all our meals. Generally his jock friends would descend, and I’d sit mostly in silence, shoveling my cheese macaroni in like a machine. I think having Ted as my roommate protected me from being picked on by his homophobic buddies. They gave me hard looks and didn’t sit too close to me, but nobody ever said a disrespectful word to me.

One of the guys I didn’t mind so much. He had auburn hair and light green eyes, and he always smelled like vanilla. His name was Sam Hawthorne, and he was the only one who would speak to me without looking like he was afraid my gayness would get on him. I didn’t hide that I was gay, but I also didn’t flaunt it. The “gayest” thing I did was wear a small diamond stud in my ear that was one half of a pair of earrings my mom had owned. I didn’t wear the earring to make a statement as much as it made me feel connected to my mom.

I soon learned I liked being away from home. When nobody knew me, I could be different and didn’t have to play the role I’d always felt had been thrust on me: good son. Grieving son. It had been eight years since my mom died, and while I missed her and her quirky sense of humor, I wanted to live a little. These were my college years, and I was expecting to have new and exciting experiences. I wasn’t supposed to sit around trying to remember what my mom looked like, although sometimes the fact that I had trouble recalling her features bugged me a lot and made me feel like a horrible person. So I’d pull out the crinkled picture I kept in my wallet. The photo was of a family vacation at the beach a year before she died. She looked happy, and we were both smiling like idiots. My dad wasn’t in the picture, and I guess I mean that both literally and figuratively.

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ASSASSINS ARE PEOPLE TOO.

SCWYNNE_ASSASSINSAREPEOPLETOO__COVERlgI was thinking about how everybody seems to need love. Even tough types who pretend they don’t, probably do. Even if it’s just a friend’s love. What is it about having people care about us that makes us happy? I know there are some single people who will say they’re perfectly happy on their own. But they aren’t truly on their own because being single doesn’t mean you don’t have family and friends who love you. 

What is it about being loved that makes you happy? Why couldn’t you be just as thrilled on your own?

ANSWER IN THE COMMENT SECTION AND THE THREE ANSWERS THAT RESONATE THE MOST WITH ME WILL WIN A FREE COPY OF MY LATEST STORY FROM LOOSE ID.

Now here’s an excerpt from Assassins Are People Too:

I stepped into the elevator, noticing my favorite twentysomething blond guy tucked neatly in the corner, holding a huge potted plant. We’d exchanged flirty glances over the months, but nothing more. He shifted his baby-blue gaze toward me and then slowly disappeared behind the fronds of the shrub. Hiding wouldn’t do him any good, because I made it a point to know who my neighbors were. It was safer that way.

The ding of the elevator distracted me from my musings, and when a tall Hispanic guy entered the car, I gave him all my attention. He was new to the building. Something was off. He was sweating way more than was normal for January in New York. I didn’t care for the way he watched me out of the corner of his eye either. He was hunting.

We all rode in companionable silence for a few floors with various people getting on and off. I noticed Slick—that was my nickname for the Hispanic guy because of his perspiration issue—glanced impatiently toward Blondie occasionally. I had a strong feeling he was frustrated that Blondie wasn’t getting off the car. That only made me even more suspicious of him.

As we neared the top floors, I guess Slick came to the end of his patience. He stepped to the side and slammed his palm on the elevator Stop button. The car lurched, and Blondie fell forward, dropping his plant and landing at my feet. Since I’d fantasized about him being on his knees in front of me numerous times, it distracted me just enough to give Slick time to take a swing at me. I barely got my arm up in time to block the punch.

I didn’t like Blondie being too near the action since I would’ve hated for his pretty face to get messed up. “Get in the corner,” I growled at him, wrestling with Slick.

Blondie scrambled back to his favorite spot, his eyes huge. Slick and I traded blows for a few minutes, and I did a few front kicks to show off, but Slick still somehow managed to get a knife out of his pocket. I had to give it to him. He was pretty good. I slapped the weapon out of his fist, and he whacked the side of my face with his elbow. I saw stars for a second. Slick shoved me against the mirrored back of the elevator and put his big, beefy hands around my throat.

This was embarrassing. The last thing I wanted was to die in front of Blondie. I kneed Slick in his groin, and he grunted like a bull, only loosening his grip slightly. Was he wearing a cup, or did he literally have balls of steel? It was hard to say.

I was getting light-headed from the lack of oxygen. How had I let this happen? I’d been too distracted by Blondie, I guess. I was going to pass out. Shit. That meant I was going to die, because Slick wasn’t here to play Twister—he was here to end me.

There was a flash of movement and shards of ceramic pieces and potting mix rained down on my head. Suddenly I could breathe. Slick was at my feet moaning, and Blondie was staring at me as if he wanted to be sick. His plant was in a pile on top of Slick, and I was alive because of it.

He’d sacrificed his rubber plant for me. What a guy.

I smacked the button to get moving again, and the elevator came to a stop at the next floor. When the doors swooshed open, I grabbed Blondie’s hand and pulled him after me, past the half-blind screeching lady from 36B. If I’d been alone, I’d have finished Slick off. It was risky not to. But if Blondie was stressed over his plant dying, he’d probably have a coronary if I killed Slick in front of him. We couldn’t go to my place. That was obvious. But I didn’t want to leave the building immediately in case Slick had someone watching the exits. I slipped into the stairwell, and we trudged up three flights of stairs to Blondie’s floor. From there I headed straight for Blondie’s apartment.

“Open it,” I commanded in a clipped voice when we reached his door.

“How did you know my apartment number?”

“I’m observant.”

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NO MORE HIDING. IT’S LIVE!

I was a guest on Remmy Duchene’s blog and I thought I would go ahead and reblog what I wrote in case my followers hadn’t had a chance to read it.

Hiding Things

By S.C. Wynne

HidingThings_postcard_front_DSPThe idea for Hiding Things was inspired by memories and insecurities from my college days. I was a middle class kid, fortunate enough to get a full scholarship to a very expensive university in Malibu, CA. Most of the kids there were wealthy. Or I should say their parents were rich. I’d never thought that much about what I had and didn’t have as far as money went. I wasn’t a materialistic person then, or now, to be honest. That could not be said of many of my classmates.

I made some really great friends while I was there. But I remember being at parties where everyone was talking about all they’d accomplished and what great aspirations they had, and all I really wanted was to live a happy, simple life. I felt out of place and judged. I now wonder if most of that wasn’t coming from inside of me. Certainly some of it wasn’t. There were those who summed me up as unworthy and moved on to talk with those more like themselves. But what I also learned was most of those kids had just as many insecurities and problems as I did. They just hid them under a more affluent cover.

In the long run I figured out that it would be a hollow and sad thing to fight to be accepted for who I wasn’t.

There are those who will love you for what you have, and there are those who will love you for who you are. I choose the latter. I choose not to hide.

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WORK IN PROGRESS-A LITTLE DARKER THAN USUAL.

Howdy all,

I’ve been working on a story that’s darker than usual. My stuff always has tons of angst, but this one deals with suicide. It’s a New Adult story about a high school senior whose best friend kills himself. He finds out a lot about his friend and himself while dealing with the aftermath. This story was hard to write and easy all at the same time. It’s allowed me to tap into so many forgotten feelings from high school and college it’s been cathartic.depressed-boy

Ultimately, of course, my MC finds his way out of his depression by meeting an equally damaged individual. They help each other become whole again.

Here’s an excerpt: (Be warned there are sweary words)

I’m distracted by my thoughts of how terrified I am at ever making the first move when I hear Rory’s mother call my name. I’m frozen in place. What does she want?

“I’d love it if you’d say a few words, Lane.” She dabs at her red rimmed eyes with her tissue. “You knew him better than anyone.”

Finally. Validation that I was his best friend. I meet Baron’s gaze feeling triumphant. Until it sinks in she wants me to speak in front of everyone. I can’t do that. Does she not realize I never talk in front of people? How does she not know this about me? Why in God’s name did she not at least warn me, so I could have had some time to think about what to say? I swallow against the bile threatening to rise in my throat. With any luck I won’t throw up on the poor unsuspecting priest.

I force myself to walk to her side. I feel like I’m dragging my unwilling limbs along like a zombie. I’m certainly numb enough to be one of the undead. She takes my hand and I’m sure she must feel how cold and clammy my skin is. What should I say? Certainly not what I want to say; Fuck you, Rory, for killing yourself. Rot in hell Rory for leaving me here with all these other nobodies. I clear my throat, stalling for time. She’s shifting restlessly beside me. Well, lady, maybe you could have given me some God damned warning. That would have been nice.

“Rory was my best friend.” Great opening, genius. Everyone already knows this. My throat is like a rusty gate swinging open after years of disuse. Say something witty. Say something thought provoking. Say something. “I remember the first day I met Rory. He stopped some guys from tossing me head first into a trash can.”

That gets a little laugh. Perhaps I’m on a roll, now.

The smell of damp earth is heavy in the air, and a soft breeze blows my hair. Relax. Think about Rory. “From that point on Rory was always my protector.”

I see his face clearly in my mind. I’d had trouble doing that earlier, but now it’s there. I hear his husky laugh, and remember how he smells like the ocean when he hugs me. My heart aches because I never get to hold him again. “No one bothered me because they would have Rory to deal with.”

 I meet his mom’s gaze and there are tears streaming on her face. I gulp, pushing down the emotions that want to bubble up. “He was kind and…”  I’m shaking like a jackhammer as all eyes are on me. “He was sensitive…”

Why are they all watching me so intently? They must think I’m going to say something amazing. I’m not. Sweat trickles down my back and my legs prickle from the heat.  I’ll be lucky if I don’t pass out in the flower arrangements. “He was funny.” A crow squawks as it passes overhead. This moment would only be improved if he let loose a load of bird crap on my head. At least it would distract everyone from how awful my speech is.

Rory deserves such a better eulogy than I’m giving. God I suck. His image comes to my mind and my gut aches. I miss him. It’s like he’s been gone forever and it’s only been a week. I let him down so bad. I should have been more alert. I’m so fucking stupid. He needed me to notice and I missed the signs. I missed the signs and now Rory is gone forever. I’m so fucking useless.

I whisper, “I let him die. I failed my best friend and now he’s dead.”

There’s a gasp from the group of people staring. I drop Rory’s mom’s hand and head straight for my mother’s car. I can hear people mumbling in confusion but I just keep walking in a straight determined line. Why did my mom park so far away? I only stop when someone grabs my arm.

“Wait up, Lane.” I turn to find Baron beside me. He has that same nervous look again. The one that says he knows I don’t approve of him being Rory’s secret friend.

I’m embarrassed because hot tears are spilling down my cheeks. The statue is crying after all. “I failed him,” I choke out.

“No.”

I feel like I’m going to drown in my tears. “I’m a worthless piece of shit.”

“No. God, no.” Baron surprises me when he pulls me into his arms. He squeezes me so tight I feel like I can’t breathe, but I don’t really care. I’m tired of breathing anyway. His body is hard and warm. I can hear his heart pounding under my ear. “He hid it from you. He knew you’d try to protect him and he didn’t want that.”

I nod, even though it’s hard with him holding me so close. “He tricked me.”

Baron gives a tiny, hard laugh. “He fooled both of us.”

“I’m so angry at him.” My voice shakes with rage.

“Me too.”

He lets me go, and I swipe the tears off my face roughly. I don’t know why I started crying. Maybe it’s because everyone was staring at me. I hate speaking in front of people. Now I’m mad at Rory’s mom for making me do that.

Baron grips my shoulder. “Can we go get that coffee now? I can’t take another second of this scene.”

I can’t just leave without telling my mom where I’ve gone. But there’s no way in hell I’m walking back over to that group of gawking people. My hands tremble as I text Kit and ask him to tell mom I’m going to coffee with a friend. Kit and my mom know my only real friend was Rory, so they will probably be even more confused by my text.

I follow Baron to his black sports car. I give one parting glance toward the group of mourners. I’m just in time to see them lowering my best friend in the world into the cold, hard ground.

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