Doesn't happen often, but when it does, it get's a little crazy in here.
Today, I'm in another mood... a sharing one to be exact.
With the amazing success of Beyond Honor and the phenomenal reception for A Beautiful Lie, naturally more Tyler Robbins books are in the works.
I'm currently working on a story titled, Aftermath: Guts and Glory, and this will be my second military themed book.
What sets this one apart from Beyond Honor is that none of the characters are current enlisted soldiers, but are instead, veterans.
This one dives deep into the ripple effect shared by soldiers and their families alike after returning home from war. Not only are the characters gay men, one is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the other, the loss of his brother in Afghanistan.
Both contend with very serious issues, and both are full of emotional turmoil, despair, and of course, both want a chance for a happy ending.
The following blurb and excerpt are unedited, so I hope you can muddle through the mess. LOL!
When the older brother he idolized is killed in action in Afghanistan, Kyle Barrett is rocked to his core. With his only confidant gone, Kyle struggles to deal with the loss, while fighting to keep his hidden sexuality a secret from the rest of his family.
If only he didn’t have to face them alone.
Army veteran, Ryder Bishop has finally returned from his final tour in Iraq, when severe PTSD forces him to seek help through a special counseling program back home in Texas.
Kyle nodded. “I usually have a problem with authority.”
“You’re the one who said to go slow.” Kyle’s hot breath billowed onto Ryder’s lips.
Kyle strolled across the room and resumed his vacated spot on the sofa.
Kyle laughed, and struggled to break free. “Yeah. He was hot as hell. I let him beat me at basketball so he’d feel sorry for me and take me back to his place to seduce me.”
Just when Ryder thinks he’s reached the end of his rope, he meets Kyle, and their lives take a remarkable turn.
Can the grieving brother and damaged soldier find the peace they so desperately need? Or will they become another statistic when the aftermath of war hits too close to home?
When he returned to the living room, Kyle sat motionless on the far end of the sofa.
Ryder hesitated, but eventually joined him on the opposite end. “You okay, man?”
Kyle turned toward him. “Why do you think I want you to dominate me?”
Ryder’s insides wrenched. The unexpected question had come from way out in left field. “I don’t know. I guess you remind me of myself when I first hit the ground in Iraq. I was lost as fuck, and didn’t know what the hell I was doing, so I looked to the Sarge for guidance.” Ryder shrugged. “You have that look about you.”
Ryder smiled. “You handled yourself okay.”
“Shit, kid. If I hadn’t stopped you, I’d have exploded in your mouth.”
The left side of Kyle’s mouth turned up into a mischievous smile. “I might have liked that.”
Ryder leaned toward him, noting that enamored, silvery sparkle behind Kyle’s blue eyes. “Kyle, I don’t think I’m cut out to be a hero.”
Kyle looked down at the space between them, and swallowed hard. “I don’t have expectations. I just wanna hang out.”
Ryder reached for his beer on the coffee table. He took a long pull then returned his attention to Kyle. “Hanging out’s cool, but if you fall in love with me because I’m your first, I’m gonna kick your ass.”
Kyle sat up and grabbed his t-shirt. “Who said you’re gonna be my first?”
Ryder’s stomach knotted, and his head whirled with confusion. “But, you said you’d never—”
“I haven’t.” Kyle slipped his shirt over his head, and stood up. “But the day isn’t over yet.” A teasing grin broke across his lips as he headed for the door.
A shock of panic shot through Ryder’s mind at the thought of Kyle leaving him alone to look for someone else. He jumped to his feet, grabbing Kyle by the wrist and pulling him back. “Don’t play fucking games with me, Kyle.”
Now whose feelings were going too far, too fast?
Kyle’s nostrils flared and Ryder pulled him closer. A determined gleam radiated from his blue eyes. “I’m not playing games, Ryder.”
Ryder’s heart pounded as Kyle’s essence infiltrated his nose. He smelled so damn good, like saltwater and—sex. “Don’t leave.”
“That doesn’t mean you have to go, does it?”
Kyle licked his lips, and it was all Ryder could do not to make a dive for his tongue, and kiss him all night.
Kyle’s eyes darted back and forth, once again looking as if he were trying to read Ryder’s mind. That kind of intrusion gave Ryder pause, but it was a small price to pay for the desperate feeling gnawing at him now.
“No.” Kyle smoothed his thumb over Ryder’s bottom lip. “I can stay.”
Ryder’s heart dropped into his stomach, and he inched back, allowing a little breathing room to fall between them. “Okay then.”
Kyle remained standing at the front door.
Ryder could feel Kyle’s gaze following his every move even when he turned and walked back to the sofa.
“Are you sure you’re okay, Ryder?”
The back of Ryder’s throat burned, and he coughed a little to clear the mass of air that had suddenly lodged there. “Yeah.” His heart still raced, and he thought he might actually puke. This was new. He’d never become physically effected by the stress that could often times appear without warning. Anxiety attacks weren’t how he normally reacted to stress, so this was uncharted territory.
Ryder leaned back, and took a deep breath. “I didn’t mean to freak you out. It’s just been a while since…”
“Nah, man, you don’t have to explain. I don’t like to be alone sometimes either.”
Shit. Ryder had done a good job coming off as this cool, confident man, then in the blink of an eye, he’d gone and showed Kyle a chink in his armor. How could he get back the upper hand now? Better question was, why did he even have to?
“You can stay the night if you want.”
Kyle glanced over at him, his expression definitely showing his confusion. “But you said…”
Kyle didn’t have to say it for Ryder to know exactly what he was thinking. “I didn’t say I was gonna fuck you if you did.”
Kyle tilted his head to the side, and his face and ears instantly reddened. “No, I know.”
Ryder sensed the air thicken between them so he scooted closer. “Tell me about your brother.”
Kyle immediately strummed his fingers on the arm of the sofa. “Not much to tell.”
Ryder didn’t buy Kyle’s vague reply. He’d have to dig deeper if he was ever going to regain his previous foothold. To do so, he’d need to treat Kyle like the enemy. Find out what made him tick, then they’d be back on track. “I take it you two were close?”
Kyle licked his lips, still fidgeting. “He was my best friend.”
“How are your folks taking it?”
“Y’all are talking to somebody, right?” Ryder’s stomach knotted. This was territory even he didn’t like to venture in to, but if he was going to take whatever this was any farther, Ryder needed to know more. Besides, what did he have to lose?
“My family doesn’t talk to each other, much less doctors.”
“What about you? How are you coping?”
“You know. Like most people cope. Pick up random guys and give ‘em head.” A playful smirk spread across his lips as Kyle cut Ryder a sideways glance.
“Fucker.” Ryder pounced on top of Kyle, grabbed his wrists, and pinned him down on the sofa. “You pick up a lot of guys this week?”
“Oh yeah?” He pressed down harder, lowering his face closer to Kyle’s. “And how’s that working out for you?”
Kyle stopped struggling, stifled his laugh, and stared up at Ryder, as a note of seriousness blanketed the space between them. “I’d say I have him right where I want him.” Kyle’s voice wasn’t much more than a whisper, but the sincere inflection sent chills skittering down Ryder’s spine.
Ryder sucked in a deep breath, slowly loosening his hold. “Yeah.” He slipped his hand behind Kyle’s head, and caressed the other man’s cheek with his thumb. “I’d say you have him exactly where you want him.”
Kyle closed his eyes and craned his neck upward, pressing his lips to Ryder’s, barely grazing them.
Ryder licked Kyle’s upper lip, tasting the remnants of stale beer. “You’re gonna fucking end me, aren’t you?”
Kyle slowly shook his head. “Not if you end me first.”