Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A New Excerpt

Coming April 27
from Dreamspinner Press
(Click on post title to see sales page.)
Cover by Anne Cain


Although you can read the Prologue and Chapter One in their entirety at the Dreamspinner site (click on post title), here's another little snip.

It takes place the night before Chris Borgasian leaves the sober-living house where he's been staying since his three-month stint in rehab.

* * *

Whether it was a sound that woke him, or that distinctive fragrance, or a sense of somebody else's presence in the room, Chris couldn't tell. His eyes merely opened. A muted creak sounded from the other bed, the one that should've been empty, the one Beni Sanchez had vacated.

Had he come back?

Chris's heart thumped against the wall of his chest. The longer he stared into the wadded darkness, the more it thinned. A shadowy figure was poised on Beni's mattress, only it didn't seem to be Beni.

Breathing heavily, Chris did an awkward, frantic flip to his right and scrambled to turn on the nightstand lamp. Sure as shit, some guy dressed in faded jeans and a Cooler Near the Lake T-shirt sat on the edge of the second bed, facing him.

"Hi," he said brightly.

Chris stretched his eyelids. "What are you doing here?"

The guy smiled. "Guess you don't recognize me. I'm Denny."

Recognize him? From where? "Oh."

"I'll be staying with you."

"You mean…." Chris tried to get more awake. He rubbed his face. Stubble sanded his palms. All he had on were briefs, and his hair probably looked like a Nikola Tesla lab experiment gone horribly awry. He wasn't prepared to greet a new resident. "Did you just check in?"

"Not just. I've been here awhile."

"And this is your room."

"Well yeah. Of course. Temporarily, anyway."

Finally, Chris focused on the newcomer. He was pretty damned attractive. Not picture-perfect, but… short, reddish-brown hair, appealingly chaotic; perfectly proportioned nose; rosy cheeks; strong, shadowed jaw. Nice physique, too, its interlocked dips and rises flowing from a pair of broad shoulders.

He isn't so special. I've just been deprived, that's all.

Denny kept watching Chris. The dark brows over those fawn-colored eyes gave his gaze a soft intensity. It wasn't in the least bit threatening, but it didn't quite suit his youth. He seemed to be around Chris's age.

"I, uh… I'll be moving out in the morning," Chris said, because that thought had suddenly popped into his head—specifically, how glad he was, how relieved. Sharing a room with this guy would've been agonizing. He might not have been all that special, but he was special enough to make Chris squirmy.

"I know." Denny was calm, good-natured. Some people in rehab were like that, as if dodging the big-ass bullet of addiction, and the bigger-ass bullet of fatal overdose, had packed their dispositions with smiling porpoises leaping through fluffy clouds.

"What's that beside you on the bed?" Chris had just noticed it, some sort of bouquet. Denny's girlfriend or mother or sister must've given it to him. He wasn't wearing a wedding ring, so he likely didn't have a wife.

"Oh!" Denny lifted the bundle. They were branches, frothing with delicate white flowers. "I brought these for you. I know how you love the smell." He held them out, his smile sweet and guileless.

Chris gaped at the cluster. The scent again wafted over him. A familiar scent. "Wh-what are they?" he whispered.

"You know."

Numbly, Chris shook his head, as if denial of recognition could erase recognition.

He heard what he'd expected to hear.

"Plum blossoms."

That's when the dizziness began, and the trembling. "Who are you?"

18 comments:

Tam said...

Oh wow. VERY impressive. It's not going to blend in with all the nekkid man-flesh and I think says so much. You're a lucky girl.

Val said...

Wow, KZ, that's surrealistically gorgeous! Who is the cover artist??? (did I miss the info somewhere?)

Chris said...

Very nice - and never to be featured in a Misadventure! ;)

Juni said...

Wow - love it - that will be a very memorable cover. You really do have a pact with the cover gods.

K. Z. Snow said...

You guys are QUICK!

The artist is (I believe) Anne Cain, who does most of my DSP covers.

When I sent in my cover art request, I suggested an image like this ... although I wasn't sure it would fly. Because the book is about a recovering heroin addict, and plum blossoms have significance in the story, I thought a syringe spewing petals would be a striking as well as hopeful image.

It turned out far better than I could have imagined. But hey ... Anne Cain?

Elizabeth North's attitude never ceases to amaze me. She's incredibly receptive to -- actually, quite enthusiastic about -- out-of-the-box stories, titles, and cover art. So with a publisher like that and a phenomenal stable of cover artists (Anne, Reese Dante, Paul Richmond, Christine Griffin, Catt Ford), it's impossible not to love this company!

wren boudreau said...

Oh, lovely lovely!

K. Z. Snow said...

Definitely not for "traditionalists," eh? It'll interesting to see how this cover's received.

Kris said...

I'm now totally convinced that you have been sacrificing something to the cover gods. Geez.

K. Z. Snow said...

:)

Lily said...

Love it! Can't wait to read the story.

K. Z. Snow said...

I'm glad you like it, Lily! I figured there's already plenty of man-titty in Romanceland, so this book didn't need any. :)

Katrina Strauss said...

Amazing! Can we all still say we knew Anne from way back?

Teddy Pig said...

I am so buying this. Damn you KZ Snow and your gorgeous cover art!

K. Z. Snow said...

Yo, TeddyP! It's a dream come true, seeing one's cover art for the first time and being able to tell the publisher, "It's perfect! Don't change a thing!" This genre's blessed with some fabulous artists, that's for sure.

Hey, I was bummed to read your post about A Different Light in the Castro closing down. That bookstore is legendary. I'd always hoped to visit it someday. (The loss of great independent bookstores is one of the biggest downsides to e-publishing, I think.)

Fin said...

Love the cover! So darn understated and yet with a billion words to it, I'm sure. Poignant and simple. And yet complicated. Probably don't have enough adjectives in my arsenal to describe how badly I adore the cover.

;) Found you on DA and am now going to stalkzors you.

K. Z. Snow said...

Hiya, Fin!

What you said and more about that cover. It epitomizes the adage "a picture is worth a thousand words."

Stop by again!

BlueSimplicity said...

I just finished reading Visible Friend...

**deep breath**

Damn, oh damn. Just wow. You have left me totally breathless. That was just stunning and absolutely amazing. And, as I've come to expect from you, so different. I've never read anything like that before, and I just adored it. Wow. Oh wow. Holy f***ing s**t.

**Takes another deep breath and tries not to start begging and pleading for what's next as she goes to reread**

Congratulations on ANOTHER GREAT story!

Blue

K. Z. Snow said...

Oh gosh, Blue, thank you! I'm so happy to hear the story made such an impression on you. It proved pretty intense for me to write. Both characters ended up surprising me -- Denny in particular -- and I wasn't sure how readers would react to them.

My next release, also from Dreamspinner, won't be until July or August. It's considerably lighter in tone. You know how I like to change things up. ;-)