We Still Live

WE STILL LIVE: This angsty MM romance will make you cry and sigh

“A very addictive read.”

“Make sure you have your box of tissues available.”

“So very emotional, yet so powerful.”

“Loved every freaking word.”

“This book just about killed me.”

“Stunning … Couldn’t put it down.”


To say I’ve been pleased with the We Still Live reviews would be a massive understatement. I knew this tragic story about the after-effects of a college shooting meant a lot to me; I had no idea it would mean so much to other people … and today, it’s available to all in both paperback and eBook.

ORDER YOUR COPY NOW:

About the book:

Running from a scandal that ruined his life, Isaac Twain accepts a teaching position at Hambden University where, three months prior, Professor John Conlon stopped a campus nightmare by stepping in front of an active shooter.

When John and Isaac become faculty advisors for the school’s literary magazine, their professional relationship evolves. Despite the strict code of conduct forbidding faculty fraternization, they delve into a secret affair—until Simon arrives.

Isaac’s violent ex threatens not only their careers, but also John’s life. His PTSD triggered, John must come to terms with that bloody day on College Green while Isaac must accept the heartbreak his secrets have wrought.

***WE STILL LIVE is a standalone M/M friends-to-lovers romance featuring detailed adult content, graphic violence, hurt/comfort, and mental illness.***


Some things of note:

  • If you’ve ever been to Athens, Ohio, the home of my alma mater, Ohio University, you’re going to recognize this setting.
  • If you’re familiar with young actor Timothee Chalamet, you’ll know the inspiration for John Conlon.
  • If you like music, you’re welcome to listen to the We Still Live theme song, “I Found” by Amber Run.
  • A lot of the mental health issues in this book are autobiographical, especially the anxiety. My symptoms increase with every new shooting in America. Despite this, like John, I’m doing my best to thrive with the help of the people I love.
  • There’s a lot of heavy stuff in this book, but there’s sexy-sex time between John and Isaac, too, so please do enjoy those scorching moments. I know I do (wink).

A quick excerpt!!

“You look like I feel.”

“And how do you feel?” Isaac asked.

“Like I want to bury my head in a hole. Or get messy drunk.” John lifted his glass in an unreciprocated toast and drank.

“This is going to sound really insensitive, but can I ask you a question?”

John shrugged.

“The shooting.”

John coughed once, quickly. A loud laugh from the hallway made him startle and look over his shoulder.

Isaac could have backpedaled—should have, based on the way his coworker now resembled a spooked deer—but in for a penny. “Do you mind me asking what happened?”

John stared at him for a long moment before his mouth curved into something like a smile. The intelligent scrutiny of his gaze disappeared in a haze of what Isaac assumed was memory. Then he said, “You don’t know,” with an abundance of relief.

“I know it’s very ignorant of me, and possibly callous, but no.”

John traced his pale finger along the edge of the bookcase. “It was on College Green last June. The College of Arts and Sciences award ceremony. One of our students started shooting, and he eventually shot himself.”

“You were there?”

John laughed, which seemed sorely out of place. “Yeah, I was there. All of us were there.” He leaned closer, so close Isaac smelled bourbon on his breath. “A word of advice: don’t ask anyone else about it unless you’re really good with tears.”

Isaac shifted from one foot to the other. “You’re not crying.”

“No.” He finished his glass and spun around. “I need more alcohol.” It felt like a brush-off, an escape.

“John. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“You didn’t.” He tapped his palm on the doorframe and looked back. “You know, you don’t have to stay here hiding. It’s painful watching introverts try to acclimate in social situations.”

Isaac smirked. “How do you know I’m an introvert?”

“We recognize our own kind, man. Every day of my life, my mantra is ‘Don’t be awkward.’”

“How’s that working for you?”

“Not well.” John smiled, rows of white teeth on display, and Isaac felt like the sun shined on his face. “Nice meeting you, Isaac. Now, go the fuck home.”


ORDER YOUR PAPERBACK OR EBOOK COPY NOW:

Broken News

M/M mafia romance BROKEN NEWS: Now available on Amazon!

It’s been called “dark, delicious, and totally enthralling.” Broken News is a love story … but it’s also not. This one is twisted and violent, featuring two anti-heroes who may or may not deserve happiness.

About the book:

He was supposed to hurt him. Ruin him. Instead, he fell in love.

In the big, bad city, Eric West holds the reins. A mafia king, he is feared, ruthless, and obsessed with a man half his age. 

Will, his favorite whore, is young, beautiful, and the only person to ever bring him to his knees. 

Will is a man to kill for.
A man to change for.
But what if Will isn’t what he seems?

This novel does come with some warnings. Broken News is a standalone M/M mafia romance featuring age gap, detailed adult content, violence, hurt/comfort, and mentions of rape/dubious consent.

Buy it on Amazon today, and read a steamy excerpt below the cover image!

Excerpt from Broken News by Sara Dobie Bauer:

“How long have you been doing this?”

Will’s eyes popped open.

“No, don’t answer that.” Eric shook his head.

Will rolled onto his side and leaned up on one elbow. He reached his right hand out and ran his fingertips along the mass of scar tissue down the center of Eric’s right pectoral.

“Aren’t you going to ask how I got it?”

“No,” Will said. “I like mystery.” He licked his top lip.

Eric huffed out a breath of relieved air and pulled Will’s mouth down to his. He could spend hours, he could spend days, kissing that sweet mouth—not to mention the myriad other things Eric was sure it could do. The man might be quite young, but he already seemed a master in the art of seduction. He pressed his fingers into the backs of Will’s shoulders, coaxing him closer. When they parted, Will’s fingers strayed into Eric’s blond hair; this thumb tickled Eric’s forehead. He melted into the sensation and felt the ghosts of his business trip recede into shadowed corners, erased by Will’s skin and the sound of his moans.

“How long do I have you?” Eric whispered.

“You’re my only client tonight.”

Eric lifted his head. “Jesus, how much money did Rob spend?”

Will kissed along Eric’s collarbone.

“I’ll have to sleep sometime.” Eric sighed.

“You can sleep here,” Will said as he kissed his way down the center of Eric’s stomach. “Once you’re done with me.” He smiled while looking up through thick eyelashes.

Eric put his hand in Will’s hair to pause his ministrations. “You want me to stay the night?”

Backlit by fire, Will’s eyes glowed something devilish. His hair stood up in odd points from being tugged and glowed red around the edges. Shadows filled the pale space beneath his cheekbones. He looked impossibly young and debauched.

“I like your hands on me,” Will said.

Broken News

Broken News, M/M mafia romance cover reveal

My dark (dark) M/M mafia romance BROKEN NEWS will be released on Amazon in two weeks, so I thought I’d throw you a bone (that was not a dirty joke) and show you the glorious cover. Drum roll …

About the book:

He was supposed to hurt him. Ruin him. Instead, he fell in love.

In the big, bad city, Eric West holds the reins. A mafia king, he is feared, ruthless, and obsessed with a man half his age.

Will, his favorite whore, is young, beautiful, and the only person to ever bring him to his knees.

Will is a man to kill for.
A man to change for.
But what if Will isn’t what he seems?

*** Broken News is a standalone M/M romance featuring age gap, detailed adult content, violence, hurt/comfort, and mentions of rape/dubious consent.**


Available August 22 on Amazon!

For now, add it to your Goodreads list!

Broken News

BROKEN NEWS: dark M/M mafia romance coming August 22

I recently had an experience that turned me off this whole publishing thing. It was a seriously BAD experience. Off the cuff, I may have threatened to stop writing … which was when my dear friends and amazing author duo Quin&Perin shouted at me from Germany that quitting was not an option. Instead, they were going to help me self publish to see how I could do without the help of an agent or publisher.

The important question: “Do you have an old manuscript you’ve kept hidden?”

The answer: “Actually, yes, I do … but it’s, like, DARK.”

Broken News is an M/M mafia romance featuring age gap, detailed adult content, violence, hurt/comfort, and mentions of rape/dubious consent. In other words, this is a HEAVY READ … but an absolute necessity for fans of my Escape Trilogy.


About the book:

He was supposed to hurt him. Ruin him. Instead, he fell in love.

In the big, bad city, Eric West holds the reins. A mafia king, he is feared, ruthless, and obsessed with a man half his age.

Will, his favorite whore, is young, beautiful, and the only person to ever bring him to his knees.

Will is a man to kill for.
A man to change for.
But what if Will isn’t what he seems?


So far, early readers have been screaming. One Goodreads review said, “the twists and dynamics kept me on the edge of my seat, and I could. NOT. Put it down!”

Another reader definitely acknowledged the hard edge of this violent romance: “It’s common to refer to the main characters in a romance story as the heroes, but there are no heroes in this book. It’s a dark and twisted road full of lies, secrets from the past, violence, and murder.”

So, yeah, um, things get dark … but really sexy, too. Explicitly sexy. You’ve been warned!

With Quin&Perin’s help, Broken News will be released on Amazon on August 22. (The cover reveal is August 8.) In the meantime, be sure to add Broken News to your Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf by clicking HERE. And feel free to spread the word to all lovers of gay romance, dark suspense, and Sara Dobie Bauer smexy time.

I’m seriously pumped for this self publishing experiment. I’ve had so much help already, and I’m very proud of this twisted tale. Initially, I was nervous that Eric and Will’s love story was a little too dark, but EMBRACE THE DARK. Broken News … coming August 22!

books

New erotic anthology raises money for LGBTQ charity!!!

Sexy short stories are super fun, especially when they’re for charity. Today, COME PLAY has been unleashed upon the world, and I am proud to be part of it. Here’s the gist … Oh, and some of the text in this blog post is definitely NSFW!! Adult words ahead! You’ve been warned!

Watch and Learn if the Coach’s Little Kitten can be Tamed. Follow the Doctor’s Orders and read all about Brotherly Love. Understand Abstract Love and then take a peek at A Kink Chronicles Short. It’s all about Pretty Boys, The Kiss, and Particular Tastes bundled up in this must-have erotic anthology.

Come, play with us.

Abstract Love by Sara Dobie Bauer
A Kink Chronicles Short by Luna David
Brotherly Love by Lynn Van Dorn
Coach’s Little Kitten by Quin Perin
Doctor’s Orders by Emma Jaye
Particular Tastes by T.S. McKinney
Pretty Boy by E.M. Denning
Tamed by T.M. Chris
The Kiss by A.G. Carothers
Watch and Learn by K.C. Wells

All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to The Trevor Project, which focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. This charity means so much to me as both a mental health speaker and LGBTQ advocate AND person who has fought my own battles with depression and self-harm.

My short story, “Abstract Love” is a comical enemies-to-lovers, gay-for-you love story between a grumpy corporate exec and a snarky young graphic designer. You’ll find a teaser below, but be sure to buy your copy of COME PLAY today.

Support The Trevor Project, and read some damn fine smut!!!


“Abstract Love” Excerpt

by Sara Dobie Bauer

Sam threw his hands in the air. “Why do you hate me? You’ve hated me since I walked into this fucking office, and I have no idea why! Jesus Christ, you helped hire me!”

What with the envelope and people knowing and all the cruel cackles—and Sam in his office after-hours—it all piled up until, suddenly, Donovan stood right in front of Sam without any memory of moving. He did remember yelling, “You are a disrespectful, spoiled brat who knows nothing about real life because your nose is always stuffed in a sketchbook.”

Probably to get some distance, considering Donovan was practically up his nose, Sam shoved Donovan in the chest. “Well, you’re a miserable, grumpy son of a bitch who hates the world, and nobody fucking likes you!”

Donovan stood up straight and blinked just as Sam dug his hands into his chestnut curls.

“Oh, my God, shit, I’m so sorry. That was a terrible thing to say.”

Donovan felt the lump like vomit in his throat. Do not cry. Not here, not now, not in front of him. At least, those were his initial thoughts, which changed when he really thought about it because—if he was honest—he really … needed … Sam.

He reached out and grabbed Sam’s ugly yellow coat. In fact, he went one better. He pressed Sam against the closed office door and kissed him.

For Donovan, relief was instantaneous. He gripped Sam’s collar and kissed some more. Surprisingly, Sam moaned and kissed back, mouth open wide as his tongue came out to play. His hands clung to the back of Donovan’s head as he made the most delicious sighing noises, and Donovan noticed Sam’s lips were so fucking soft.

They kissed and kissed. Donovan would have kept kissing, a man flailing blindly away from heterosexuality, but Sam eventually tilted his head to the side and said, “Whoa, okay, pump the brakes, big chief.”

They ended up sitting side by side in Donovan’s guest chairs. Neither man spoke for a good five minutes. Donovan stared at the floor while Sam tapped his fingers on his knees.

Finally, he said, “Hello, I’m Sam Shelby. Who the fuck are you?”

Donovan chuckled so he wouldn’t cry.

“You don’t hate me, do you?”

“God, why do you have to smell so good?”

Sam leaned forward in his seat. “It’s Gain laundry detergent and some French cologne my sister bought.”

“I’m sorry I kissed you,” Donovan whispered.

“Don’t be. It was a good kiss.”

“Look, I’m getting a divorce, which apparently the whole office knows about. I haven’t felt anything in months, not until you showed up.” He lifted his head but still didn’t make eye contact. He wasn’t sure he could handle Sam’s baby blues just yet. “You’re so talented. It’s disturbing how talented you are. I hated it at first. I hated you, or at least I thought I did.” He rubbed his hand over his face. “Who gave you the right to come into my life and be so talented and passionate? Who gave you the right to be a light in my dark?”

“Depression is easy, Donovan. It’s the other shit that’s hard.” He sighed and clapped his hands together once. “So. You wanna go fuck?”

Now, that got Donovan’s full attention. “What?”

“We live in the same building. The walk of shame would be really short.”

Donovan stood and backed away from the wily creature he’d erroneously allowed remain in his office. “Sam, I’ve never … well …”

“Fucked a work colleague?” He waggled his dark eyebrows.

“No. I mean, yes, I’ve never fucked a colleague, but I’m saying I’ve never …”

“Been with a brunette?”

“Been with a guy.”

“Oh,” Sam said. “Ohhhhh,” he said again. “Oh?” He leaned back in his chair. He half-chuckled, only part of his mouth curling up in amusement. “But we …” He waved at the office door. “I figured you must—”

“Just you,” he said and ground his teeth together.


Read the rest of Donovan and Sam’s amorous (and educational) adventures in “Abstract Love,” featured in COME PLAY. Go buy it! It’s kinky, and it’s for charity!

Escape Trilogy

The Escape Trilogy paperback is NOW AVAILABLE!

For those of you who have followed Andrew and Edmund’s incredible love story, the paperback edition of the Escape Trilogy is now available to order. (Trust me; these boys look beautiful on a bookshelf.)

About the series:

Andrew is an ancient immortal with dark history. Edmund is a human sailor with a thirst for both adventure and violence. Together, they build a love that could last centuries … if ghosts of the past don’t drive them apart.

Escaping Exile

Andrew is a vampire, exiled to an island as punishment for his bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from cannibals, Andrew becomes fascinated with his new companion, Edmund. Fascination turns to passion, but as cannibals creep closer—and as Andrew’s hunger threatens—can this vampire keep his human alive long enough to explore their newfound love?

Escaping Solitude

Recently returned from exile, vampire Andrew and his beloved human sailor Edmund move to New Orleans where they search for an Elder who can make Edmund immortal. A frantic letter from London propels them overseas, but an accident puts Edmund’s life in jeopardy. Only an Elder can save him, if they can find one in time.

Escaping Mortality

An Elder saves Edmund’s life at sea. Now a vampire, he can stand by Andrew’s side forever, but they must first visit Edmund’s ailing mother in England. The Elder shows an ominous liking to his new sire, while Edmund’s mother’s friend threatens them all. Andrew will do anything to keep Edmund by his side, but his most dangerous adversary may be Edmund himself.

It’s been an amazing journey with Andrew and Edmund. I love these guys, and I’ll miss spending time with them in their world. A toast to all the readers who’ve supported their love story and, in turn, supported me!

PS: If you do buy a copy, feel free to send me a picture of the boys’ happy home in your house! I’m thrilled to have the Escape Trilogy in paperback and thankful for the love you’ve given my beautiful bad boy love birds. Happy reading!

“Exploring fascinating settings like a tropical, cannibal-infested island, the bustling port city of turn-of-the-century New Orleans, and Victorian London, Sara Dobie Bauer propels her vampires through escapades and adventures while weaving a tale of love, dark magic, sensuality, and violence.” – author Elizabeth Lister

Book Review · Escape Trilogy

I’m thankful for gay romance novels

I’ve been reading a lot of gay romance lately, partially because of my three-novella contract with NineStar Press: an LGBTQ publisher who bought my Escape trilogy. As far as my trilogy goes, the words are flying, and I have to think all the smexy gay romance I’ve been reading has certainly aided in the process.

This isn’t a new thing, not really. It all started with BBC Sherlock and my sudden and surprising attraction to Johnlock fan fiction. (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman would just make a really cute couple, okay?)

Introducing John Not Even Subtle Watson.

Maybe I just got really tired of the same old tropes in girl-meets-boy romance and wanted something fresh and new. I’ve seen all the permutations of Princess and Prince Charming, but I’ve stumbled upon something wholly new (to me) in LGBTQ romance: Prince Charming and Prince Not-So-Sure-of-Things-At-All.

My list of favorite authors feels endless, but I’m gonna try to narrow it down …

Dessa Lux/Dira Lewis
Same person, different names, same kind of books. My obsession with Dessa/Dira began with Gun to my Head: a twisted vampire romance that is gritty as hell but hotter than a sun-scorched beach. Dessa further enamored me with the entirety of her Protection of the Pack Series (some pretty graphic sex but heartfelt, loving stuff) and the oddity of Surrendered to the Sea in which a sea god falls in love with a werewolf. Ah-hem, yeah, if you want weird pairings with amazing writing, Dessa/Dira is your girl.

Jordan L. Hawk
Jordan’s characters are more down to earth … sort of? Her Whyborne & Griffin Series features two human men, at least, although they fight otherworldly menaces all the time. There are nine of these books. NINE! Do I care? Nope, I’m in the process of reading them all. Whyborne is of the brilliant, closeted nerd variety while Griffin is the super sexy bad ass Pinkerton who seduces our adorable nerd. Together (and with the help of a snarky female friend), they solve crimes, battle their own demons, and hide their illicit love from society.

KJ Charles
Speaking of hiding things, magician Stephen Day has to fight his feelings for his family nemesis in book one of KJ’s brilliant Charm of Magpies trilogy. Stephen might hate Lucian or he might not. I mean, Lucian is super hot and wild and brave and … mmmm, I really like Lucian. Spoilers: so does Stephen. I adore the chemistry between these two tough-as-nails characters and how love can make them ever so sweet and soft together. With humor and heat, KJ weaves more magic even than Stephen himself, and, as you’ll read, that little guy is one powerful dude.

CS Pacat
A friend of mine suggested I buy CS’s first book, Captive Prince. Halfway through book one, I bought books two and three of the trilogy, and I devoured them all. There is nothing better than two princes dueling for power while trying desperately not to fall in love with each other. I rarely see character development quite this good … or slow-burn sexual tension this hot. Once you meet Damen and Laurent, you’ll love them as much as I do … and get comfortable, because there’s no turning your back on this insanely exciting game of royal intrigue and lust.

Eleanor Kos
Sort of like Dessa/Dira, Eleanor weaves stories that some might find a little extreme, but I fell hard for her Wine & Song Series. What might make this hard to swallow for some? Well, the lead character falls utterly in lust with the romantic interest while he’s being mugged by said romantic interest, and their BDSM relationship develops from there. For five novellas, we follow David and Jazz as they navigate each other as well as try to move beyond the past. They’re both super stubborn and adorable, and I wish there were more in this series. (Can I get more in this series, please?)

I can’t forget the honorable mentions. The only reason these authors are only “honorable” is because, whereas I’ve read a million books by the above authors, I’m fairly new to these gals, but they’re brilliant so far!

Lyssa Dering proves guys who eat brains can be sexy in How to Love a Monster. Rose Maefair’s debut, Desert Ice, forces a mage and his soldier slave into a romantic relationship neither are ready for.  Nicky James broke my freaking heart and put it back together in the highly emotional Until the End of Time. Brianna Kienitz weaves soccer, music, cultural conflict, and lesbian love in Off Pitch. Selina Kray creates one of my favorite male leads of all time (Hiero) in the sexy and, at times, hilarious suspense novel The Fangs of Scavo. Finally, Claire Cray takes me back to my vampire roots with her two-book series Merrick.

If you’re a romance reader looking for something new, I would seriously suggest trying one of these authors. They are each fantastic in their own way! And, hey, keep an eye out for my Escape trilogy, book one coming in June 2018 from NineStar Press.

Sara Dobie Bauer · Writing

Bittersweet teen love story featured in Lunch Ticket

I don’t know how he figured it was me who told the school he had AIDS, but he found out—and finds me under the bleachers, smoking a cigarette. He even throws the first punch, which I think is out of character for the rich bitch star of our high school track team, headed to Yale come fall. I’ve been in a couple fights, but Jason Kemp can hit hard, and as I eat dirt, I wonder how many fights he’s been in.

Lucky I have my pals with me to pull him back, so by the time I stand up, Vince and Timmy are thrashing on Jason like they want to break his ribs one at a time. I taste blood in my mouth as I wipe my lip and watch. Jason barely makes a noise, just calls me a “son of a bitch” over Vince’s shoulder. Vince punches him again, and this time Jason lands on his knees in his perfectly pressed school uniform.

Timmy shoves him over and joins him in the dirt. He thumps Jason in the side of the face. I think I should tell them to stop—scream it even. Instead, coward that I am, my boys keep going until they see blood. Then, they fall back. They yell about catching Jason’s “gay disease,” named by some mad scientists a couple years back in ‘82. My best friends drag me away.

Jason rolls onto his side in the dirt and wipes at the split skin below his right eye. He doesn’t look up at me, but I keep watching as we hurry from the scene of the crime. I keep watching Jason and think I’d like to wipe his blood all over me.

***

He showed up earlier this year, a senior at a new school. Nobody wants to change schools their senior year, so I could have felt bad for the guy. Instead, I hated him the moment he walked into Mr. Harvey’s trigonometry class.

Harvey was one of my favorite teachers. He was this big bald guy who told everyone, first day, “Nobody gets above a C in my class,” which just made kids want to bust their asses even harder to prove him wrong. I had a solid A- when Jason Kemp walked in the first week of class. My grades started dropping soon after.

prepJason was the pretty boy hero in every John Hughes romance. He had curly, blond hair and blue eyes like some Nazi recruit. He was tall, basketball tall. His school uniform—navy blue slacks, white dress shirt, blue blazer, and red and yellow striped tie—all of it looked perfect. He introduced himself and didn’t sound nervous. A girl behind me giggled.

When Harvey said, “Take the empty desk next to Shawn,” I hid behind my hand and sneered like Billy Idol.

Jason wasn’t discouraged, because when he sat, he greeted me and even introduced himself as if he hadn’t just told the whole class his name. I ignored him, but it was hard not to notice he wore cologne. None of the guys I knew wore cologne.

Word traveled fast that day at Hinckley High. Even though Vince, Timmy, and me tended to sit alone at lunch, it was hard to miss the high-pitched whispers when Jason Kemp walked in. One of the football cheerleaders a table over said he was some kind of track star, won state at his last school. Another girl called him “a dream.”

After school, I met up with the other punk kids under the bleachers. We wore combat boots under our slacks and liked to talk music. We bummed cigarettes off whoever had the fullest pack.

Then, Vince said, “Hey, Shawn. Check out the new stooge.”

I squinted between silver bleachers toward the track field, and even though it wasn’t track season yet, there was one guy running like he was being chased—and there was Mr. Harvey, math teacher and also track coach, with a stopwatch.

Out of school uniform, in shorts and a t-shirt, Jason looked even taller, and man, the dude could move. I’d never seen a guy run that fast, and after he did a couple loops, Harvey looked like he wanted to build a golden idol. Even the football cheerleaders crowded around Jason with their pom-poms. Beatrix Waters, the hottest girl in school, squeezed his upper arm.

***

I can’t taste blood anymore, but I’m still wiping dirt off my clothes when I break away from Timmy and Vince and tell them to buzz off. They always listen when I give orders.

I go back behind the bleachers, but Jason isn’t there anymore. I head to the next best place: the locker room, where I find him. He has both hands planted on either side of an open locker. His head is tilted down, and he’s breathing hard. There’s dust all over his trousers. His tie is gone, and his shirt is unbuttoned. There’s a cut under his eye that’ll end up a bruise.

I stand there until he notices me, and when he does, I swear to God, his eyes glow red. He slams his locker. “Want another round? Won’t be so easy one on one.”

In my head, I want to apologize, but the words taste like my pop’s moonshine in the back of my throat. I let him grab me by the lapels. He slams my back against the lockers so hard, my teeth rattle.

“What did I ever do to you, huh?” he screams.

I’ve never heard him cuss, and I’ve been listening, close, for the past year.

“Is it because I’m gay? Is that it?”

I want to shake my head, say no, but his mouth has never been this close to me before. I can’t think.

He rattles my skull with another pounding against the cold, metal locker at my back and looks like he’s prepping to punch, so I move. I take hurried steps forward, which seems to catch Jason off guard. I keep him from falling by holding onto his suit coat and finally smash him into the lockers on the opposite wall.

Before he can scream at me again, I kiss him.

(To read the rest of “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” head over to Lunch Ticket by clicking HERE. Be warned: angst ahead.)