Posts Tagged With: Mel Gough

A Broken Promise by Mel Gough: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from A Broken Promise

by Mel Gough

CHAPTER 2

“Hey, sweetie.”

Donnie rolled onto his back, trying to locate the source of the familiar female voice. He struggled to get his eyes open, but they were sticky and uncooperative. When he managed at last, there was Sara, their friend and a doctor at Emory Hospital. She crouched by the bed, looking worried.

“Ben call you?” Donnie whispered. The words hurt his cracked throat and he winced.

Somewhere out of his field of vision, Ben said, “Sara needs to inject your ART. You’re not keeping anything down, so you can’t take your pills. It was that, or get you to the hospital.”

“He’s worried about you,” Sara added, her gaze so gentle it was like a caress. “He hates to see you hurting.”

A surge of guilt gripped Donnie and he squeezed his eyes shut. He still wasn’t used to someone loving him this much. Ben just wanted to help. Why could he never just shut up and accept it? Ben meant more to him than his own life. You’re being a ginormous dick, Saunders. His insides gave a warning rumble, bringing the pity party to a hurried end. With a groan, Donnie pushed himself up.

“C’mere…” Ben’s strong arms got him to his feet, mindful not to press on his aching belly. Ben was always there, no questions asked. Love, shame and embarrassment warred inside Donnie’s heart, but his more pressing problems distracted him immediately.

“Ouch.” Donnie bit his lip and pulled away, holding on to the furniture and stacks of boxes as he made his way to the bathroom.

Over the last hour, Ben had made him drink what felt like a gallon of ginger tea, and everything that hadn’t come straight back up had gone through in minutes. So how was there anything left inside now? And his stomach hurt something awful. Was this really just a bug? What if Ben was right? The pain was so similar to the pancreatitis. But Donnie pushed that thought away. He couldn’t go through that ordeal again.

“I brought some IV anti-emetics as well as the ART,” Sara said when Ben had helped him back to bed. She stroked his sweaty brow. “Don’t worry, sweetie, we’ll have you back on your feet in no time.” She set about getting the injections ready.

Donnie’s eyes drifted shut. He felt so tired, it was impossible to stay awake. Sara’s voice and her hands on his arm startled him from his doze.

“I should get you to Emory,” she murmured, looking for a vein. “You’re so dehydrated, and your temperature is climbing.”

“No, please, don’t,” Donnie pleaded.

She held up the syringe. “Is it likely? I brought these, didn’t I? But you need to promise you’ll stay in bed until this has passed, and to keep going with the fluids, even if they make you feel bad.” She raised an eyebrow at him. “Deal?” When he nodded, she picked up a butterfly needle. “And once you’re feeling better you’ll go for a full check-up at the HIV clinic. Blood tests, doctor visit, the works.”

Donnie sighed. He had no energy to protest. And anyway, she was right.

Ben sat on the other side of the bed. He looked so worried it made Donnie’s insides hurt even more. He reached out a shaking hand. Ben took it. “You hate this fuss, I get it,” he said quietly. “But I’m really worried.”

“I know,” Donnie sighed. “I appreciate it, and I’m sorry…ouch!” His stomach gave an angry spasm.

“Here.” Ben helped him roll onto his side.

Sara asked, “Have you guys got an electrical blanket or a hot water bottle?”

“I think there’s one in the moving boxes in the living room.” Ben got up. “I’ll get it.”

Sara took Donnie’s arm again and lifted the butterfly syringe. “I’ll put this in your arm so I can give you the meds over the next few days, all right?” Donnie nodded, and Sara swabbed a small spot near his wrist. “Is Zac at Arthur’s?” she asked.

Donnie flinched as the needle pierced skin. Sara secured the catheter, then stroked the back of his hand. He willed himself to relax. “Yeah,” he said, more pain piercing his heart. He missed the little guy already. “It’s too much work for Ben, looking after two of us. I just hope bub’s all right, though, and didn’t catch this.”

“I’ll call Arthur and check in.” Sara patted his hand. “You rest now, sweetheart. Sooner you’re better, sooner bub can come home.”

“Yeah, all right.” Donnie wiped away a tear. He missed their baby so much. Out of all the things that sucked about being sick, being separated from Zac was the worst.

Ben returned with a hot water bottle, and more tea. Donnie curled up around the heat. It felt wonderful against his aching middle.

Ben took Sara’s spot and held up the mug. “Here, drink something, and then you can go back to sleep.”

He helped Donnie take a few sips, then Donnie lay back down and closed his eyes. The pain in his gut was mirrored by the misery and guilt in his heart, but he was so exhausted that he dropped off within minutes.

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A New Life by Mel Gough: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from A New Life

by Mel Gough

This is the first flashback chapter from the storyline that runs alongside the main plot.  

Eighteen Months Earlier

Donnie’s truck was messed up. It had been leaking fluid from somewhere below for several days, and no hoping that it would stop on its own changed the fact that he would have to take it to the garage.

The problem was, Donnie was broke. He never had much money, since he worked at the community center as a volunteer, and Floyd rarely shared his benefit checks with him. Most of that money went on booze and, increasingly again, drugs.

On Wednesday, as Donnie drove to work, a red dashboard warning light came on. When he was small he’d dreamed of being able to fix cars, but nobody had bothered to show him how. But he knew that the red light meant that something was overheating, and all the way into town he prayed that he wouldn’t break down.

He made it, just about. The clanking from the engine had him wonder if he’d get to the center before the engine gave out. As he rolled into the staff car park, Arthur got out of his Volvo.

“Morning, Donnie,” Arthur greeted him as he climbed from the truck. He nodded at the hood. “That doesn’t sound so amazing.”

“I know.” Donnie chewed his lip and stared at his feet.

“You might want to have that checked,” Arthur continued.

“Yeah…”

“Donnie.” Arthur’s voice was low and kind. Donnie knew the tone. He looked up. The old man’s eyes were very gentle. “You don’t have any money to have the truck fixed, do you?”

Tears of shame stung the corners of Donnie’s eyes. He shook his head.

Arthur reached into his back pocket.

Donnie’s heart sank. “No, don’t, Arthur…”

“If you don’t have a functioning vehicle, you can’t come to work. And what do we do then?” Arthur said decisively, and pulled out a wad of cash. “Don’t worry, it’s not my money. These are the donations from the church fundraiser, I just picked it up from the pastor.” He flicked through the notes. “Do you know what’s wrong with it?”

“There’s water dripping out,” Donnie said, feeling embarrassed that he didn’t know more about cars.

“Hmm, could be the radiator hose,” Arthur murmured. “That’d be about seventy dollars or so. But if the radiator’s shot it could easily be four hundred…” He glanced at the cash, then held the whole wad out to Donnie. “Tell you what, take it all. If it’s the hose only, you bring me back the rest. If not…” Arthur shrugged. “Shit happens.”

Donnie had to bite back the tears. “Thanks, Arthur,” he whispered.

“Hey, son, it’s the least I can do.” The old man smiled. “You should know by now: If it was up to me, you’d be earning a proper salary.”

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A World Apart by Mel Gough: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from A World Apart

by Mel Gough

“Is this Stacy Miller?”

“It is. Who’s asking?”

“Ms. Miller, this is Sergeant Ben Griers, Corinth PD. Did a man by the name of Donnie Saunders have an appointment with you yesterday afternoon?” Ben mentally crossed his fingers that the mention of his rank would suffice to elicit this piece of innocuous information. Legally, he had no leg to stand on, but his experience had taught him that a courteous yet firm manner often got you surprisingly far. 

And his experience held true again. After a moment, the woman on the other end said, “Yes, he did.” 

“And he attended?” 

“Yes.” 

“What time was his appointment?” 

“Three p.m. But we were running late, so I think I started with him around three fifteen.” 

“And how long was he there for?”

“About forty-five minutes. Officer, is Mr. Saunders all right?”

That was a surprising question. In Ben’s experience, state employees had no time or interest to worry about the hundreds of people that passed by their desks every week. But then, here Ben was himself, trying to help Saunders as well with as little delay as possible. Maybe some of us do still care.

“He’s fine. Ma’am, if I were to check your office’s visitor register for yesterday, would the record back up your statement?” 

“It would,” Ms. Miller said composedly. “And you’d find a parking permit in Mr. Saunders’s name as well. We don’t have much space out front, so clients get timed permits for the parking lot at the back.” 

That was more than good enough for Ben. “Thank you for your time, ma’am.”

“You’re welcome, Officer. Have a good day.”

“And you.”

Ben put the phone down, nodded at Lou, and turned his back before the desk clerk could make a comment or ask any questions.

As he walked down the corridor toward the interrogation room, Ben’s mind was on the phone call, even as he told himself that, beyond establishing a suspect’s alibi, what he had just learned was none of his business. But he couldn’t help wondering about it. Why had Saunders gone to the Medicaid office? He didn’t look ill. Of course, there were a dozen possible reasons. A sick family member. An old injury that no insurance would cover. Or even trying to get at some extra state assistance for no good reason at all. None of this was relevant to the case, and as he reached the interrogation room, Ben tried his best to push the thoughts from his mind. 

He opened the door but didn’t rejoin the other two at the table. “Mr. Saunders, your alibi for yesterday afternoon was confirmed by Ms. Miller. You’re free to leave.” 

Jason looked around at Ben, scowling. Ben ignored his partner and kept his eyes on Saunders, who, after a fleeting look of surprise, raised his shackled wrists. “You gonna let me keep them as a souvenir?” 

Surprisingly, he didn’t sound aggrieved. Ben had been prepared for righteous indignation and anger, and wouldn’t have blamed the man for it. But Saunders just sat there, looking tired and defeated. He held his arms out without comment as Jason leaned over with the handcuff keys. Once he was free, Saunders got up and, without a glance at Jason, walked toward the door. When he drew level with Ben, he stopped, eyes on the floor in front of him. 

“Thanks,” he muttered, then strode out of the room. 

Ben glanced after Saunders as the man continued down the hall, shoulders hitched, face averted from the people milling around the lobby. A strange sensation rose up in him. Was it pity? He tried to tell himself that it was only natural to take an interest, feel something, after what Jason had put this man through without a single good reason. 

And for Ben, the whole thing wasn’t over yet. Turning to his partner with a scowl, he asked, “Why were you so sure it was him? You practically had him convicted already.” 

Jason shrugged. “Witness said they saw a dark brown pickup, same as Saunders has. And today, he was just sort of hanging around the gas station on Fullerton. Thought we should check him out.” 

“Did you have anything else to go on? Description of the driver, partial number plate, anything?” 

“Nope.” 

Jason sounded smug, and Ben had to take a deep breath to keep his voice level. “Did he maybe behave in a suspicious manner?” 

“Maybe,” Jason agreed as he got up. In Jason-speak that meant: Just didn’t like the look of the dude. 

Jason sometimes got like this; he was all guts and instinct and reaction. That had its uses in policing, too, and Ben often made excuses for his friend’s hot-headedness, because it came from the right place in his heart. But somehow, this time he couldn’t find an excuse. Maybe it had happened one time too many. Or maybe, because this time Jason’s ire had focused on an innocent party, he’d rubbed Ben the wrong way. 

As he followed Jason out of the room, Ben hissed, “Since this was your party, brother, you can write it up for the captain as well, all right?” This would annoy Jason more than anything. He hated writing reports. 

Without another word, Ben strode down the corridor and out into the parking lot. He needed a moment to calm down or else he might well punch his partner and best friend in the face before the day was done. 

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Author Q&A: Mel Gough + Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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The prized possession you value above all others…

My laptop. It’s not just the tool without which I couldn’t be a writer, it’s also where all my friends live (the real ones on social media, the imaginary ones in my stories).

The temptation you wish you could resist…

Chocolate, and pizza, and all the other really tasty things that are bad for you.

The book that holds everlasting resonance…

There are many books that have affected me in my life, but if I had to pick the one that’s stayed with me the longest it’s The Stand by Stephen King. I read that first when I was twelve and have reread it many times. I find King’s way of taking our deepest fears and weaving them into horror stories absolutely fascinating.

The film you can watch time and time again…

The Normal Heart. It tells the story of the AIDS outbreak from the point of view of a gay rights activist in New York, and it makes me bawl my eyes out no matter how many times I watch it.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you…

I dreamed about studying medicine and I still wish I’d had the guts to do it. I guess I’d find it a pretty hard life, and I probably romanticize it, but it still often crosses my mind, what if…

Your early recollections of writing fiction…

I wrote some pretty terrible Star Trek fanfiction when I was small (around ten or 11) and around the same time I started many fantasy and SciFi stories, none of which ever got finished.

The way you would spend your fantasy twenty-four hours, with no travel restrictions…

I think I’d finally go to New Zealand and beam myself to all the different locations from the Lord of the Rings movies.

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise…

When people are slow. Slow walkers in particular. I live in London, and it’s an obstacle course dotted with tourists just to get into the office. And seriously, standing on the right on the escalator is not a suggestion, people. If you want to piss off a Londoner, stand on the left – at your own peril (we’ll glare at you very forcefully).

The figure from history you would most like to buy a pie and a pint…

Any of the wives of Henry VIII, but especially Anne Boleyn. I’d love to know what that time was really like.

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it…

Any crime I choose. Because I’m a writer; as long as I made it plausible I could just write myself getting away with murder.

The philosophy that underpins your life…

Pay attention to the little things. You can’t change the big things in life, but if you do your best with the little tasks the whole will look so much better.

The character you enjoyed writing the most…

It’s hard to say, I’m fond of all of my characters. I think I’d say Liam from Tainted Life. He’s the first character I ever wrote that has a sense of humor.

The character you found difficult to write…

Vivienne, from He is Mine. She’s a nasty piece of work and that really was a challenge. It was also interesting and often liberating, but my instinct is to write nice people, so I often had to go a bit over the top with her to make her different. I reined her back in during the edits, though, and I’m happy with how she turned out.

The book you enjoyed planning/writing the most…

I think it’s the one I’m writing right now. It’s M/M historical romance set in the 1950s, and all the research I have to do for it is so much fun. Also, it feels like a bigger responsibility to get it right, which is an interesting challenge.

And the promo…

He is Mine is a psychological romance novel. It has some suspense elements, and it’s quite dark in places. The story revolves around Vivienne Aubert, who is a Hollywood actress who falls in love with her colleague Damien. Damien doesn’t return her feelings, though. It’s also the story of Brad Moretti, a detective with the NYPD, who’s just coming out of a very bad breakup. He and Damien meet, which makes the whole situation messy and painful, and pushes Vivienne down a dark path.

It’s a story of fatal attraction. There’s betrayal, emotional blackmail, stalking, delusion, the works. But another strong theme is mental health, and the struggle those of us face who are caring for someone suffering from mental health issues. It wasn’t an easy book to write because those themes are close to my heart.

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Categories: Author Q&A, Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment