I’ve written the start of this post about five times and I still don’t know what to say. Some writer, huh?
How do I put into words the whole of this journey? This series was the start for me. These characters—Cole and Jae—have taken me to places I never thought I’d go, met people I am so very thankful to have known and most importantly, enriched my life beyond measure.
So how do I say goodbye to the beginning?
I can’t. And honestly, I won’t. As this story arc ends, I am grateful for so many readers joining me along the way. I can promise that as we close out this series, Cole and Jae will be back some time in the far future. But for now, this is goodbye.
And yet a hello of sorts… to a happiness and a life these characters deserve to have.
Because God knows, I’ve run them through the ringer.
So please enjoy this final Dirty tour as I present short scenes from Jae’s POV. Many are from instances in the books and a couple are in-betweens but I tried to find places where Jae really needed to speak. I hope you enjoy them.
And a tour cannot be a tour without a giveaway! So…. Here goes.
See below for details on how you can win a $20 gift certificate from an e-tailer of your choice BUT that is not all. From these winners, I will randomly select ONE person to be a character in my other Los Angeles series, Murder and Mayhem. So hit up every blog, enter to win! ONE winner per blog!
Don’t I sound like I’m trying to sell you a used Buick? *grins*
Most of all, and please know this comes from the bottom of my heart where I keep my love for coffee and music, thank you. Thank you for reading the books and thank you for supporting me along the way. I cannot come up with the words strong and deep enough to express my gratitude.
Dirty Bits 4
It would have been so easy to simply fold over the edge of nuna’s balcony railing and hit the street far below. There were problems with that plan. One, I would probably end up landing on someone and killing them while living through the experience or perhaps ending up in a hospital bed for years where my mother could then come by and cluck at me. Two, nuna would feel horrible and she would never be able to go out onto the balcony again. If she didn’t ask hyung to move.
I didn’t want to be the reason nuna and hyung had to move.
It was late afternoon…maybe. I’d lost track of time. I’d lost track of so much; time… Cole…my younger sister. I could still hear her…her broken voice filled with shock and horror and the terrified look on Cole’s face when he realized the person he was hugging from behind wasn’t me.
I don’t know what startled me more… my baby sister’s horrified gasp or seeing him with his arms around her. Tiff’s disgust was hard to swallow but I’d nearly choked to death on the anger I had well up inside of me watching Cole with someone else.
“God, what am I going to do?” I rubbed at my face and my elbows scraped across the railing. The sky had no answers when I looked up at the clouds gathering overhead. My stomach was a knot, squeezing out every drop of bitterness and loathing I had in me.
There wasn’t any choice. Not really. Ha-Eun, Hyun-Shik’s mother already had me wrapped up tight with her poisonous words and hatred. I was my mother’s only support and one word from her would send my already struggling family into poverty.
“She might not say anything, dongsaeng.” Nuna came up behind me, setting a tray with glasses of iced tea onto the long table in front of the couch. Her face was a curl of worry, a line creasing the space between her eyebrows but nuna’s smooth face was as beautiful as ever. I was as envious of her serenity as I was of my sister being hugged by Cole. “Get away from there and come sit with me. We can talk through this.”
“What is there to say?” I sat but my nerves were too torn for me to settle. “Mother finds out I like men—want a man—and she will turn her back on me. Then where will she and the girls be?”
“We will help,” she replied softly. “You are all family to us. She should—”
“You and I both know, Mother won’t allow herself to be helped. Too much pride, even when her children are starving,” I cut through Scarlet’s kind words. “Tiffany’s already spoken to Aunt because she thought it would help.”
“That is like asking a cobra for a goodnight kiss to make you feel better,” Scarlet grumbled. “Ha-Eun will use this to pressure you. She cannot help it. She is that scorpion asking the frog for help across the river. With Grace in prison and Hyun-Shik dead, she has no one to manipulate.”
“Especially since Uncle refuses to live with her.” I swallowed a bit of tea, hoping the cold liquid would calm my hot stomach. “Ha-Eun told me I need to do right by the family and break it off with Cole. She’s still angry Uncle might accept Jae-Su as his son and all she wants to do is hurt my mother.”
“She is not the only one,” Scarlet said, toasting me with her glass. “I am the last person to tell you what to do with your heart, Jae-Min—”
“But you are going to anyway,” I teased.
“I have to.” She shrugged. “Because I am your nuna and I know what is like to love from behind smoked glass. Do not let go of Cole-ah. Refuse to give in to your family’s pushing at you. You deserve to be loved. You finally found someone who suits you, who loves you for everything you are and understands what you are not. No one will love you like Cole-ah does.”
“No one has ever loved me like Cole-ah,” I acquiesced. “But love doesn’t feed a family, nuna, and it won’t protect them from Ha-Eun’s anger. She is looking for something to use against Mother and she has me. I am the perfect knife to sink into my mother’s heart. And now that Tiffany told her what happened, Aunt has a perfect opportunity to tell Mother I am…” I couldn’t say the word, not out loud, not yet. “She can leave Hyun-Shik out of it and saves herself from shame while setting me on fire. Mother won’t look to you or hyung for help and Uncle isn’t ready to give money to Mother or Jae-Su. I can’t let my family starve and they will if Mother disowns me.”
I knew what I had to do. And I hated myself for it. I would be breaking Cole-ah’s heart because I couldn’t be less of a son. Nuna understood—even as she disagreed with me—I knew she understood.
“You will kill him with this, musang,” she whispered. “Are you ready to do that? Are you able to carve his heart out and kill him like his friend did to him back then?”
“He has other people—Bobby and Mike,” I protested but it was weak. I had a pain in me I couldn’t make go away and I was growing more numb with each passing second. There was salt in the tea and I wiped at my face only to find I was crying. “He won’t be alone this time, nuna.”
“That won’t make it any better, Jae-ah,” Scarlet murmured as she leaned over to dab at my cheeks with a napkin. “You are still going to break his heart and devastate his life. No friend will ever fill his soul like you do. No matter how hard you wish it.”
Follow the Dirty Bits Tour at these fantastic blog sites:
Mar 16 — Boy Meets Boy
Mar 17 — Love Bytes
Mar 18 — MM Good Book Reviews
Mar 20 — The Blogger Girls (Hey, that’s us!)
Mar 21 — It’s About The Book
Mar 22 — Sinfully Gay Romance
Mar 23 — Joyfully Jay
Mar 24 — Prism Alliance
Mar 25— The Novel Approach
About Dirty Heart
Former LAPD detective Cole McGinnis’s life nearly ended the day his police partner and best friend Ben Pirelli emptied his service weapon into Cole and his then-lover, Rick. Since Ben turned his gun on himself, Cole thought he’d never find out why Ben tried to destroy him.
Years later, Cole has stitched himself back together. Now a private investigator and in love with Jae-Min Kim, a Korean-American photographer he met on a previous case, Cole’s life is back on track—until he discovers Jeff Rollins, a disgraced cop and his first partner, has resurfaced and appears to be working on the wrong side of the law.
As much as Cole’s fought to put the past behind him, he’s soon tangled up in a web of lies, violence, and death. Jeff Rollins is not only trying to kill Cole’s loved ones, he is also scraping open old wounds and long-forgotten memories of the two men Cole loved and lost. Cole is sure Rollins knows why Ben ruined all their lives, but he isn’t looking for answers. Now Cole is caught in a cat-and-mouse game with a cold-blooded killer with the key to not only his past but his future.
About Rhys Ford
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.
Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.
As part of this blog tour, Rhys is giving away a $20 gift certificate on each blog post as well as one of the winners will be a character in the next Murder and Mayhem novel! The giveaway starts now and ends March 26, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. To enter, just click the link below!
Please be aware that the only way to enter the giveaway is to click the Rafflecopter link above. Any comments on this post will not count towards entering the giveaway, except to verify your Rafflecopter entry.