The Novel Approach is happy to bring author Suki Fleet to you today to talk a bit about her newest release, Innocence. Enjoy the guest post and excerpt Suki has offered just for you, then be sure to leave a comment for the chance to win an e-copy of the book.
Qualifying comments must be received by Midnight Pacific time on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. One winner will be drawn at random on Thursday, the 19th, and contacted be email for prize delivery.
In early 2013 I used to walk along the river near where I live to see these two, sometimes three, little boats that were moored there. None of them were big enough to sleep more than one or two people. And their roofs were piled high with coal and bicycles and crates of beer. I’m not sure what it was about them–I never saw the people who lived there, but something inspired me. A spark of this story began growing inside me, and every time I saw those boats it grew bigger, until it was ready to write.
Originally, Innocence was called Beg, Borrow and Steal and originally, Christopher’s relationship with Jay was very different. But ultimately the story was about how innocent we are with our hearts. When we’re young, when we’re old, when we just want to trust someone, maybe someone we shouldn’t, yet we do it anyway because we can’t stop ourselves. I wanted it to be about Christopher discovering himself and what he wants, who he is, how he falls in love for the first time, and how that love changes him.
This story is about innocence on so many levels and for so many different people. But it’s not a story about loss of innocence as much as it is about hope and trust, and the fact that even if you’ve been hurt you will still want to hold out your heart to someone else and trust that they will take care of it. Because what else can we do?
Blurb: At eighteen, Christopher is restless and longs for something he cannot name. His mother vanished when he was very small, and after spending more than ten years travelling on the rivers and canals, drifting between towns and schools with mostly only his dad and brother, Jay, for company, he is desperate to escape that claustrophobic existence. When they return to settle in Arlow, a town they haven’t been back to in over a decade, everything changes.
Malachi has given up on love. He lost his heart when he lost his innocence. Now, at twenty-nine, he just exists—getting drunk, fixing cars, and playing the music he loves.
When their paths cross one night at a gypsy camp, Christopher thinks he’s found what he’s been looking for, but Malachi is afraid. He’s afraid their love will destroy everything Christopher has ever known. They are ghosts from each other’s pasts, and if Malachi’s secrets are revealed, more than just innocence will be lost in their wake.
Categories: New Adult, Contemporary
Excerpt: “This is Bosco’s field,” Finn tells me by way of introduction before we get out of the car. “He owns it and we work mostly for him, but some things we do for ourselves, and we don’t always want him to know what they are. Like you don’t want your dad to know. Do you understand?”
His gaze is sharp. I nod.
Warmly, he clasps my hand where it lies on the seat next to my thigh, his thumb making small circles on my wrist, his fingers doing the same on my jeans. It’s just the outside of my thigh, but the sensation makes me light-headed, and my cock starts to stiffen. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react.
“Welcome to my home,” he says in a whisper, squeezing my hand once more, then unclasping it.
Unsteadily I exit the car, still high from his touch, and follow him across the grass towards the vans.
As Finn approaches the caravan with the barking dog, the dog becomes a floppy mess of excitement, no longer barking a warning but yelping in delight. She sniffs at me, just as wildly excited to lick my hand as she was to lick Finn’s.
“You’re a rubbish guard dog,” I whisper, smiling as I crouch down in front of her.
“Maisie.” He introduces her to me. “She belongs to Malachi, but he’s too pissed to care.” He speaks loudly, his tone sneering.
Scratching the dog behind the ears, I look at the tatty, off-white van she is chained to and wonder if anyone is inside to hear him.
The whole field is virtually silent apart from Maisie’s yaps.
We move on, leaving Maisie straining against her chain.
“Mine.” Finn grinningly points to a rounded little van set up on bricks near the edge of the semicircle. “Care to take a look?”
My heart hammering like a wild gypsy song, I nod, trying to look casual but feeling a war beginning within me. I want him to be making small circles on my thigh again with his fingertips and at the same time want to run and run home to Jay and everything warm and known.
Apprehensively I follow him inside the van, suddenly unsure whether the whole pretense of a job and meeting people was just that—a pretense to get me here—and if it was, I don’t think I want to be here at all.
I want something, but I don’t know whether it’s Finn. Mostly I think I want Finn to want me. I like the idea of him wanting me. I like the idea of being desirable. But I’m not sure if I desire him completely. My body clearly does but… I don’t know… it’s as if something’s missing.
I thought this would all be clearer, and wanting someone would be straightforward, like a bolt of lightning from my heart to my balls.
Slinging his arm around my shoulder as if it’s the most natural thing in the world, Finn guides me forwards and closes the door.
Once we’re inside, “What are you thinking about?” he whispers against my ear before sucking my earlobe lightly, then leaving me not breathing against the closed door as he crosses the small space into the kitchen area. “You look scared half to death.”
Author Bio: Suki Fleet grew up on a boat and as a small child spent a lot of time travelling at sea with her family. She has always wanted to be a writer. As a kid she told ghost stories to scare people, but stories about romance were the ones that inspired her to sit down and write. She doesn’t think she’ll ever stop writing them.
Her novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards