Series: The Lives of Remy and Michael: Book Two
Author: Christopher Koehler
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Publication Date: 22 Jan 2016
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, New Adult
The Lives of Remy and Michael: Book Two
A CalPac Crew Story
I thought life after high school would be easier. I’d go to California Pacific for a year while I got a handle on my HIV, then after Michael graduated from high school, we’d blast out of here for colleges—and life—on the East Coast. Then I visited Boston and everything changed. I realized I like CalPac. Turns out, Boston didn’t have anything for me beyond one of the biggest regattas in North America.
Life grew more complicated when I got home. I couldn’t find a way to tell Michael that I’d just blown our plan for our lives out of the water. Then my CalPac coaches dropped a bomb on me. Those rowing officials who’d been watching me? They were recruiters for the national team, and my coaches wanted me to try out. They’d even let Lodestone coach me. Now I have to choose, school or crew, CalPac or Michael, and I still haven’t told Michael I can’t transfer. Is there even a place for Michael in my life? Somehow we have to withstand training at the highest levels and having different goals. Will love hold us together… or tear us apart?
All That Is Solid Melts Into Air blog tour exclusive excerpt (edited for clarity)
Alicia, my therapist, steepled her fingers. “How are you doing on overcoming your guilt at not stopping Josh?”
I struggled with that, which was why she asked. Maybe if I’d figured out what was up, I might have stopped Josh and spared other, younger guys what I’d experienced. I’d been virtually an adult when he and I had gotten together, but those other guys? Not so much. That’s what haunted me.
“It’s been a slow process, and some days are better than others,” I said.
“That’s to be expected. What I meant is, how are you doing at remembering that you were little more than a child yourself at the time?” She gave me a pointed look. Did therapists have any other kind of look?
That made me squirm. “I felt grown-up at the time.”
“I know you did, Remy. We always feel grown-up at whatever age we’re at.”
“You are grown-up.”
She laughed. “I’m glad you think so. I’ll be sure to let you know what I want to be when I grow up when I’ve got that figured out.”
“Does my dad know you feel that way?” I thought adults were supposed to have their acts together, or at least the ones I trusted to help me keep mine that way.
“What Steven and I discuss is our business, Remy. Suffice it to say that we all wear many hats and play many roles. ‘Therapist’ is only one of mine, just as ‘father’ is only one of your dad’s.” Then Alicia grew serious. “The point, Remy, and one I hope you’ll continue to think about, is that you were barely seventeen. You weren’t an adult, although you felt grown-up. A generation or two back, you wouldn’t have reached your legal majority until you turned twenty-one, and colleges stood in loco parentis. My point is—”
“In the Middle Ages, men reached their majority when they were fourteen,” I said. I don’t know why I brought that up. Maybe it was a dodge, an attempt to de ect the truth of her words. On one hand, I knew she was right. On the other, I’d been racked with guilt ever since I found out about Josh’s other conquests and that I’d been the oldest. All those boys… if only I’d known, maybe I could’ve done something.
Alicia sighed. “And they were old men in their forties. My point, since it appears I need to spell it out, is that by our society’s rules, you were a minor yourself. No one expects you to have done anything heroic, no one—”
“No one but me.”
“No one but you.” She didn’t say anything for a long moment. “That’s why we’re here, so you can go a little easier on yourself.” She didn’t get it. No one did. I clenched my hands into fists.
“Look, had Josh known I was in high school, his attentions wouldn’t have wandered. How’s that for a kick in the pants? If I’d been honest about my age, that creep’s eye would never have strayed and neither would mine. Don’t you get that?” I said loudly.
Alicia didn’t say anything. What could she say?
“I’ve known this for a while.” I wanted to scream. “While there was a definite squick factor, I can accept it. I didn’t think I was being molested then, and I don’t feel that way, now. That’s not why I’m in therapy.”
“Then why are you here, Remy?” Alicia said softly.
I glared at her as my pulse raced. “For fuck’s sake, I’m in therapy to deal with my rage over the fact that if Josh had known my real age, I probably wouldn’t be poz!”
I wasn’t angry with Josh. I was angry with myself.
Christopher Koehler learned to read late (or so his teachers thought) but never looked back. It was not, however, until he was nearly done with grad school in the history of science that he realized that he needed to spend his life writing and not on the publish-or-perish treadmill. At risk of being thought frivolous, he found that academic writing sucked all the fun out of putting pen to paper.
Christopher is also something of a hothouse flower. Inside of almost unreal conditions he thrives to set the results of his imagination free, and for most of his life he has been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who encouraged both that tendency and the writing. Chief among them is his long-suffering husband of twenty-two years and counting.
When it comes to writing, Christopher follows Anne Lamott’s advice: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” So while he writes fiction, at times he ruthlessly mines his past for character traits and situations. Reality is far stranger than fiction.
Christopher loves many genres of fiction and nonfiction, but he’s especially fond of romances, because it is in them that human emotions and relations, at least most of the ones fit to be discussed publicly, are laid bare.
Writing is his passion and his life, but when Christopher is not doing that, he’s an at-home dad and oarsman with a slightly disturbing interest in manners and other ways people behave badly.
22 Jan – Dreamspinner Press Blog
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