Friday, September 13, 2013

SNEAK PEEK - THE PARTING GLASS

(Straight off the grill and completely unedited)



“Tim?”

I glanced over my shoulder, surprised that anyone in New York would recognize me after all this time. Two guys stood in line behind me, waiting to buy tickets for that night’s concert at the Irish Arts Center. Jeans and leather jackets. They looked youngish, fit, and clean shaven in a way that seemed to advertise off-duty cops. I didn’t especially like cops.

I thought the red-haired one had spoken to me, but his gaze was as curious as my own.

His companion said -- and there was no hiding the shock in his voice, “Timothy O’Shay?”

I got a good look at him then, at first only taking in the independent components of his straightforward handsomeness: soft, dark hair, wide hazel eyes, startled mouth. He was just over medium height. Wide shoulders, narrow hips, long legs.  My eyes jerked back to his. We stared at each other. Stared and stared and couldn’t look away. Disbelieving happiness surged through me.

“Luke?”

 Timmy?”

Luke O’Brien. After all this time. Happiness was too thin, too watered down a word to describe that wellspring of feeling. Joy. That was the word. A blaze of delight that almost defied definition. His startled face was alight with it, and I guess mine must have been too. People around us were smiling as we grabbed each other. 

“My God. Tim. I can’t believe it. You look…”

“You too!” No surprise there. Luke always looked great. Always had. Probably always would. Me on the other hand…not so much in the old days.

“I can’t believe it,” Luke was saying again. He really did look stunned. Stunned and…that word again. Joyful.

Joy is one of those naked emotions. You can’t hide joy. It’s like trying to cover a rocket launch with a lampshade. I think -- I think there might even have been tears in his too-bright eyes. I think maybe there were tears in mine.

Then I looked at Luke’s friend. There were no tears in his eyes, but there was plenty of emotion there, and abruptly I remembered the past two years and let go of Luke. I stepped back -- or would have, if Luke had let go of me as well. But he was still gripping my shoulders, his hands a warm weight I felt through the wool of my coat, staring at me, so glad to see me. Incredulous but so glad. Holding me as though there was nobody in the world but the two of us. “What are you doing here?” he questioned. “Where the hell have you been?”

I said, “I live in California now. I’m back in town for Rob’s wedding.”

“Rob?”

“Rob Sachs.” We’d met at Rob’s, about a million years ago. How could he not remember Rob? He hadn’t been to the wedding though. I’d wondered if I might see him there.

Luke’s dark brows drew together. “Oh. Right. I haven’t seen Sachs in awhile.” Recollection changed his expression, awareness flooding back. And suddenly it was right in front of us, the reason we’d split up, the reason I’d left town, the reason we’d never spoken again. He released me -- reluctantly, I think -- glancing at his friend.

“Jeff, this is Tim O’Shay. Tim, this is Jeff Rogers. Jeff’s a good friend of mine.”

The Tim O’Shay?” Jeff said. He had a deep, dark voice. Sexy. “Well, what do you know?” His smile was brief and I didn’t understand the emphasis on my name. We shook hands briskly.

The line to the ticket window was shuffling forward. We shuffled with it, me glancing over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t holding up the queue.

“Nice to meet you, Jeff. You work with Luke?” Jeff was attractive if you liked blue eyes and red hair and freckles. Very Irish-looking, which I happened to know Luke was partial to.

At the same time, Jeff was saying -- probably reading the wariness of my expression, “You’re a legend down at the precinct, Tim.”

“I am?” I threw a doubtful, frowning look at Luke, but then the light went on. Oh yeah. The Forester. The shooting in the Pines. How funny was it that my feelings for Luke were -- had once been -- so strong that the memory of my run-in with a homicidal maniac paled by comparison? 

“Are you on your own?” Luke asked. He glanced automatically at Jeff and Jeff shrugged infinitesimally.

“No,” I said quickly. “I’m, uh, meeting people.”

I think Jeff saw through it. Luke was still grappling with the shock of running into me and the subsequent, inevitable rush of memories. Most not good. I knew, because I was dealing with the same. It was like going down a slide backwards. First the thrill and then the thud.

The couple in front of me moved away from the ticket window. I said hastily, “Whoops, my turn. It was great seeing you again, Luke --” Busy, busy guy. No time to talk!

Luke shot another of those quick questioning looks at Jeff. “Maybe we could get together for a drink after the show?” Instant consternation as he heard his own words. “Coffee somewhere? Or maybe tomorrow --”

I shook my head. “I’m flying out tomorrow. Next time I’m in town, though. For sure.” That time I did turn my back on them.

I could hear the resounding silence behind me. Closing my ears to it, I said into the ticket window speak thru. “Guest pass for O’Shay?”

The girl on the other side of the bulletproof glass rifled around in a little box.

“Tim.” I closed my eyes at Luke’s quiet protest behind me. My heart thumped hard beneath my breastbone in that old flight or fight response. Flight, in my case. Always flight. Only once had I ever stood and fought.

Okay. Maybe twice, if you wanted to count the battle to get sober. But that was more like an ongoing running action.

The girl slid a white envelope into the steel tray beneath the glass. “Enjoy the concert!”

I nodded, took the envelope, braced myself and turned. I didn’t look at Jeff, with his sexy bedroom voice and his skeptical blue eyes. I looked only at Luke. The confusion and disappointment on his face hurt. I was being a complete jerk -- nothing new there -- and he wasn’t even angry. Just…not understanding. Bewildered. Because after all this time, why the hell couldn’t I at least stop and talk for a few minutes? What was I running from this time?

 My throat closed up. I paused long enough to grip his arm, and got the gruff words out. “It’s really good to see you, Luke. Really good.”

If he replied, I didn’t hear it, already walking away, heading straight for the theater entrance and not letting myself look back.

72 comments:

  1. Nice. It certainly grabs your attention as a reader. And this is the follow up to…?
    I have more catching up reading to do.

    I like it when you post unedited first drafts ‘cos I can see the places where you’re going to edit, improve and tighten it up but don’t let anyone persuade you to take out ‘a blaze of delight’ now.

    Caroline

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the follow up to In a Dark Wood, which was my first short story in this genre. It's a weird little piece.

      Blaze of delight. Hm. Well, you know it is really hard to describe that rush of joy, isn't it? It's an almost incandescent feeling, but "incandescent" is too noticeable of a word. This is always the difficulty.

      Delete
  2. I'm hooked! Already. Oh my god I want to read this story! Amazing excerpt :) Do we have a release date?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The plan is the end of the month. The rough draft will be complete this weekend. But then comes all the other parts that rely on my dear support team. :-)

      Delete
  3. Great. It's too early to make my heart hurt like that. But man I can 't wait for the rest of their story!

    Caroline, this is the follow-up to "In a Dark Wood"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cris. Yes, it's so emotional right out of the gate. But then I guess that IS the story. I struggle with that, but that's the reality.

      Delete
  4. The cover is very nice, the story excerpt definitely intense and you have absolutely peaked my curiosity and wondering the same as Cris "Is this the follow-up to 'In a Dark Wood', that would make me very happy I enjoyed that story immensely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is, yes! It's the sequel to In a Dark Wood. Glad you enjoyed the snippet.

      Delete
    2. Oh I am so going to be watching for this one, In a Dark Wood totally took me by surprise. I always enjoy your books but once I started reading it I had to finish. Good thing for me it was a short story so my family didn't feel too neglected.

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Karen. I remember that one held surprises for me too.

      Delete
  5. Sounds interesting and the cover is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a very nice cover, I agree! It's by an author marketing company.

      Delete
  6. Wow! Now I can't wait for the rest. In fact it is masterful not to have them together at the beginning of the sequel as some people - like me - would have expected...

    And I've got a practical question: is a guest pass different than a ticket?

    Thank you for the snippet!

    Ciao

    Antonella

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A guest pass would not be counted in ticket sales. It's a freebie. :-)

      Delete
    2. I should probably add that the artists are often paid on "head count" so it's important to not include the family and friends guest passes in that total.

      Delete
    3. I don't know if it's masterful or just disappointing not to have them together, but I always felt it would be so hard for Tim and Luke to work things out. That it wouldn't be an easy path.

      And so here we are! ;-)

      Delete
    4. Indeed just so. And what a great place we are at! or will be soon :-)

      Delete
    5. Yes, feeling my way through it, but I'm liking what I have so far.

      Delete
  7. Oh wow. My heart is bounding so hard and I'm totally breathless. That was SO GOOD. I find these guys (especially Tim) absolutely fascinating. The scary thing is that while I just read your "sneak peek" I had vivid flash backs from In a Dark Wood — the house in the woods, Tim sitting on the ground and almost losing it at some point, the sleeping bags and the starry night and all the bare, raw emotions. Wow. And it's quite some time I've last read it, too. :-)

    One funny detail — I just realized that "my" Dark Wood looks like a Finnish birch forest. ;-)

    Thank you so much for writing this one, Josh. I'll be waiting for it with a squeezing heart, but also with a huge amount of joy. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so lovely. Thank you, Johanna.

      (That is funny about "your" forest. :-) )

      Delete
  8. OMG, Josh, already it's amazing! "It was like going down a slide backwards. First the thrill and then the thud." The imagery is out of this world! You're killing me with the anticipation. Thank you, I guess, except now I'm in the sweet agony of waiting. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm so excited. I've always wondered if Tim and Luke would make their way back to one another. I have a feeling there's going to be more thrills and several thuds before they do. Thank you, Josh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was listening to the audio file a week or so ago and I thought...I really do need to finish their story. :-)

      Delete
  10. I completely missed that this was going to be the sequel to 'In a Dark Wood'! I was so excited when I realised! (^O^) ​W​ho says Friday the 13th is unlucky? ;) Can't wait to read ​the rest​ when it's out​. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually had a really good Friday the 13th! I'm glad you did too.

      Delete
  11. This is so very wonderfully heart squeezing, can't wait to learn what happened and what happens now. Thank you for writing a sequel for these guys! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for the sneak peek ...I have been chomping at the bit. I was already hooked:-) but now - can't wait..

    ReplyDelete
  13. That was just so intense. You are a master wordsmith for sure. I am really looking forward to this one. Thanks for the glimpse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, M! It's a relief you enjoyed it.

      Delete
  14. OMG...my heart is already pounding...I NEED to know what happened over the past 2 years and what is GOING to happen next. :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do fear it may get rather angsty. ;-)

      Delete
  15. Wow, I am here taking a break from reading your short stories: Vol. 1 ('In Sunshine or In Shadow') and it was just 'wow'! Took me a while to recognize which story these guys are from (too many, you know) and felt really happy when it dawned on me - that was the first short story by you I read and I loved it instantly. It's a story that can make one laugh and cry and hold one's breath all at the same time. I really hoped things between them could work out after that adventure, but understand if they couldn't. Too bad Tim still seems to take flight more than fight, but then at the other end of the seesaw is Tim, so I guess they will turn out fine eventually. :D

    Thank you for making a happy-reading day even happier, Josh!

    Savanna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was my first short story, so it's so interesting to go back and revisit.

      Delete
  16. I meant Luke, haha, but surely you know who I meant. ;-)

    Savanna

    ReplyDelete
  17. I always wondered what happened between the two after the story ended. Now we will have an answer. thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always wondered too. I had a feeling it might not go smoothly.

      Delete
  18. Whaaa... what just happened? They were so happy to see each other, so full of joy, and suddenly Tim decides to walk away? Why do you do this to your poor readers? (Don't answer that. You know we love it. ;-))
    I've been a bit sceptical about their chances to make it as a couple. Looks like that wasn't wholly unfounded. And, no, I'm not going back to re-read "In a Dark Wood". It's the only story of yours that I've read only once. Too scary for me. scaredy-cat here *points at self*
    I'm glad, though, that we get to see Tim and Luke again. I love stories about second chances. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That Tim. He's a difficult character. ;-D

      Delete
  19. Reading this... I found myself standing in the queue right along with them, wanting to chase after Tim and spin him around. I'm so looking forward to finding out what happens next. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh Josh. You just blow me away. I’m already in love with this! Nobody does this better than you, with just a few seemingly simple words, this just heart-aching evocation of longing that feels like it’s going to pull my heart right out of my chest. I feel like I’m right there with these guys, like I am them, feeling what they feel. This line: “ ‘Tim.’ I closed my eyes at Luke’s quiet protest behind me.” It’s so simple, but I guess because of how you set it up with the first paragraphs, Luke’s hurt was there in that one word, and Tim’s awareness of it and his regret was there in the rest of the sentence. I have no idea how you do this, but it’s beautiful. God, I love your work! Can't wait to read the finished story!

    Pam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My goodness. That's so lovely, Pam. Thank you.

      Delete
  21. Another winner! I was riveted from the first lines. Luke and Tim so deserve a happy ending after everything they've been through!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It helps hearing this because it's such a simple story. It's just all about the emotions.

      Delete
  22. Yay, thanks for the snippet and the cover's very intriguing too. I'm in love with it already. Time for another "In a Dark Wood" re-read, oh what a hardship ;-).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are such different stories! But yes, you must absolutely read the first to appreciate the second, I suspect.

      Delete
  23. Oh, this is such a treat, thank you so much! I just love this couple, and I am so thrilled you have chosen to complete their story. I seem to recall finding their love scene to be one of the best you've written, which is really saying something. Will they have as much chemistry when Tim is sober, I wonder? Seems like it from this snippet! Tim was such an appealing character in the first story, with such a funny, quirky voice, so it was even sadder that he couldn't break free of his past trauma and his using alcohol to cope. Glad we get a chance to meet him sober (apparently), and so glad he and Luke have found each other again.

    You are so good to your fans!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ashley. It's a real challenge to write a character like Tim, who's voice is fueled by alcohol and not caring -- and then try to capture the essence of that voice now that he is sober. And cares so much.

      Delete
  24. When is the next Adrien English Audiobook coming out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most likely mid-to-late November. The narrator is not due to turn it in until October, there are always edits, and then it takes ACX a while to approve, so...realistically November.

      Delete
  25. Looks great! Can't wait to read it! Will have to go reread "In A Dark Wood" until then.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Maybe I should go read that story again! ;-P

    ReplyDelete
  27. Mr. Lanyon, I'm not comfortable addressing you as Josh because I'm a stranger to you, so I'll get to it. I appreciate that you're continuing with these characters. I love the pace of your writing, the way you develop and resolve mystery and horror, and how at times you insert awkwardness and humor in intimate scenes. I know that sex is a “timeless dance,” but it isn't always flawless to the end. I’m saving my gift card for all of your books listed on Goodreads to be published. My favorite book written by you is Death of a Pirate King but they’re all wonderful. I don’t know if you care to do another, Adrien English. I can understand if you feel that story has been told. I can’t help but wonder a few things (not expected, but feel free to give a flimsy excuse for my curiosity). How did the members of his family react? Did Jake ever have the child he wanted (maybe his wife was pregnant for their last encounter but kept quiet after his announcement)? How did Jake and Adrien acclimate to living in his childhood home? I can’t imagine independent Jake staying at the mansion and getting a discount if not free rental space for his office at Adrien’s bookstore without taking a hit to the male ego and acting out. Well, I failed at getting to the point but this all amounts to one thing. I love the way you write and as long as you write I will read it.

    K.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi K.,

      Those would all be great elements to address in a future novel -- they would be elements I *would* address -- but they are not a plot. :-) And that's the hold up. I'm waiting for the day that I have a plot that I feel is strong enough, compelling enough to drag A&J out of retirement.

      In the meantime I'm glad the characters continue to capture your imagination!
      nly Adrien and Jake c

      Delete
  28. I want! I want! I want!
    I am so excited to get more of Luke & Tim! I too had thought after going through the things they did in IADW they would still be together, so it's going to be interesting to read what happened since Tim left rehab. Beautiful excerpt, Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm letting the story lie quiet for a few days before I tackle the final draft. I'm so hopeful I can do it justice.

      Delete
  29. Hey Josh - Here I am, late to the party again - just read your teaser for Parting Glass. What a great hook you threw out there. Even though just like the others above I can hardly wait, just do what you think you need to do. Don't worry, we're gonna read it whenever it's finished.
    Tony

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks, Tony. It feels like I'm perhaps finding some kind of balance. Right now the words are pouring out, but I will not be shocked -- and hopefully not alarmed -- when it's time to just think and dream again. I'm coming to see that's part of the process.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I am in awe of revisiting characters from so long ago and pounding out such quality at such speed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, keep your fingers crossed because it is tricky going back after so long!

      Delete
  32. Can't wait. I re-read In a Dark Wood last night and it scared the Bejebus out of me again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this is frightening too, but in a very different way. ;-)

      Delete
  33. I'm late for this, but I had to comment. In a Dark wood is your favorite short story of mine and I can't tell you how happy it makes that we'll se Tim and Luke again. How long is this, if you don't mind me asking? Another short or...? Also, that cover is simply wonderfull. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It came in at 23K+ change. So...a little novella. ;-)

      Delete
  34. Hello Josh,
    Sorry I've been away for a few months from your blog and Goodreads group, due to pressure at work and family obligations, but I'm slowly back on track. Recently I bought your wonderful print anthology In Sunshine and in Shadow. I devoured it. I liked it so much (including the cover). There were stories I'd read before in ebook format (including In a Dark Wood, which I didn't know it was your first short story in this genre), and others you'd already published but that I hadn't read before. And I thought the new story In Plain Sight was a pure gem. So many understated emotions. Wonderful writing.
    This excerpt from the new book sounds very intriguing. I'd been wondering if there might be any future for Tim and Luke after their trip to the woods and what transpired there. I'm also looking forward to reading Haunted Heart and the other new books you released this year.
    I also wanted to compliment you on the great art covers you've chosen for your books since you started self-publishing. They're all beautifully evocative and tasteful. Must be a great feeling knowing you can control and have final say on how your books are presented and illustrated.

    When I read here you might one day revisit Adrien and Jake, my heart did a little leap. No words can describe my devotion to these characters. I appreciate you'd want to do them justice and not simply revisit them to do a sort of "where are they now" catch-up, but would rather have a fleshier story to tell.

    Hope you had a great summer.
    All the best.
    Paola

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the kind words, Paola. Having control of my cover art has been one of the best parts of self-publishing. I don't believe publishers realize quite how important this is to writers. Not that I haven't made some mistakes, but the mistakes are mine and that still feels better than being at someone else's mercy.

      I honestly don't know what readers will make of the AE Christmas project. Some will be disappointed that it's not a new novel, some will be delighted and amused. I'm certainly having fun revisiting the characters. I hope you will too!

      Delete