Exclusive Excerpt from Stained
by Chris T. Kat
The man sitting behind the large dark brown wooden table looked up, smiling. My eyes surely widened to almost comical size, and I clutched my briefcase to prevent it from sliding out of my grasp. The guy from last night. The guy I’d bumped into and couldn’t keep from staring at like an idiot because of his red-stained cheek.
The guy—no, Mr. Ross—did a double take as well, but he regained his composure more quickly than I did. In a fluid movement, he rose from his chair, rounded the desk, and held out his hand. On autopilot I took it, murmuring another hello. Isabel gave us a sharp look before she said, “I’ll bring coffee in a moment.”
“That’ll be fine,” Mr. Ross responded. His gaze never left my face. Dry-mouthed, I tried to focus on anything but the blotchy skin on Mr. Ross’s left side.
“It’s quite the eye-catcher, isn’t it?” Mr. Ross’s lips quirked into a self-deprecating smile.
“Excuse me?” My heart threatened to leap out of my rib cage. I followed him when he showed me to a small seating area in a corner that overlooked a nicely tended backyard.
“My face. It’s quite spectacular, isn’t it?”
I sank into the cushy armchair, hoping against all odds that somehow it could swallow me up and rescue me from this awkward situation. Since that wasn’t the most realistic approach to my dilemma, I fiddled with the briefcase and allowed my gaze to jump from one thing to the other. The office was immaculate. Large bay windows overlooked the backyard, and bookshelves lined the walls. Between two bookcases were doors leading to other rooms. Despite the professional ambiance, it also felt somewhat… homey.
The door to my left opened, revealing Isabel carrying a tray laden with coffee cups, milk, sugar, and a small bowl of cookies. I swallowed at the thought of eating anything. Oh God, I wouldn’t be sick now, would I? I couldn’t be. What a clusterfuck of epic proportions. Why was I even sitting here? I had no chance of getting this job.
After Isabel’s departure, Mr. Ross poured coffee. He asked, “Sugar? Milk?”
“Milk,” I squeaked. Shouldn’t I be the one to fill our cups? This was all going wrong.
“Mr. Clark, why don’t you take a deep breath before you faint?”
“Oh God,” I moaned as I dropped my face into my hands. “I’m sorry. Really I am. Especially for last night. I was just… surprised to see you, and… I’m sorry that I keep staring. I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable and I—I’d better shut up now.”
I peeked through my fingers when Mr. Ross laughed out loud. “Your sincerity is refreshing.”
“Uh. Is it?” I laid my hands in my lap.
“Yes. Most people pretend the mark isn’t there.”
“That’s impossible.” I slapped a hand over my mouth and jolted out of the armchair. So much for that job interview. Drawing in a harsh breath, I stuttered, “I-I’m s-sorry. That was unacceptable.”
With my head held low, I rushed toward the door. When I touched the handle, Mr. Ross’s hand landed on my shoulder, stopping me. Hunching forward, I waited for a tirade about my offensive behavior.
“Mr. Clark, why don’t you come back and we can start that job interview? That’s why you’re here, right?”
Blair Clark has reached his breaking point. Forced to leave one job because of sexual harassment, he’s having difficulty finding another. Since no one believes what happened, Blair’s left with a stain on his employment record that he can’t get rid of. He’s had to move back home with his mother. As if that’s not bad enough, he realizes his crush, Travis, is simply using him. His romantic life looks as hopeless as his job search.
Jack Ross is sure he’ll never find anyone who’ll love him for who he is. All anyone sees is the port-wine stain on his left cheek—not the man behind it. Even his mother thinks he should get rid of it. But the procedure is difficult and painful.
When Blair applies for a secretarial position with Jack’s firm, both men learn that beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder. It’ll take a lot of trust to chase away their insecurities, but if they take a chance on one another, love will find a way.
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
About Chris T. Kat
Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.
As part of this blog tour, Chris is giving away an book from her backlist to 3 winners!! 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 unless otherwise stated but are still welcome anyway.
Don’t forget to check out Nikyta’s review of Stained to see what she thought of it!