Posts Tagged With: Sophia Soames

Open Water by Sophia Soames: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Open Water

by Sophia Soames

Max

I know it will happen. I mean it is almost inevitable that going back to Drama class will trigger all kinds of things in my head. It is never going to be easy, no matter how many pep-talks I keep giving myself.

I am me. I need to fucking own it.

Which is easier said than done when you are a mess of nerves trying to get one foot to step in front of the other. When all you want to do is turn around and run the other way as fast as you possibly can. 

I am not going to run. I am going to go to Drama. Because.

Okay, I am only going back to Drama because Matteo asked. Because he will be there. Which is also freaking me out and thus, I am back to square one. Going back to Drama. Where it all went to fucking shit, because I was high on endorphins, adrenaline and whatever and wrote some overconfident shit that I shouldn’t have. I told everyone. I told them I was messed up. I told them I was desperately in love. I told them I loved the boy with the smile. It wouldn’t take much to put two and two together.

They all know. They have told their friends. So, everyone knows. Fact.

I mean, Lukas knows. Just look at the looks he gave me, like we are some kind of friends with a secret gay handshake. Fuck that. I have zero interest in other gay people. Zero. Apart from Matteo, who is probably so straight that he could just look at a bird and get her all radiant and pregnant.

Well, that’s what I used to think about Dad, so obviously I have zero gaydar. Which means I will be single all my life, because I will never take a hint if someone flirts with me, and I will never in a million years dare to flirt with anyone. I mean, I had Matteo right in front of me. I had his undivided attention. And all I could do was kind of drool and mutter infantile mumbo-jumbo.

Which brings me back to how I have ended up lying on the floor, under this staircase here, trying not to die. Because I think it was the smell that tipped me over the edge. The dusty musty smell of the Drama department on the top floor of Östra Real’s Senior School. Big showy attic classrooms with rails and rails of old clothes and props. Beanbags instead of desks and chairs, and clipboards all over the floor for when the inspiration hits.

It was all apparently Simon’s vision when he took over as the head of Drama, to create space in the attic classrooms where creativity could flow, and learning would be relaxed and inspirational.

It didn’t make me feel inspired today, instead it made me feel nauseous the minute I hit the top step of the staircase and saw the open door to the classroom. People milling through the opening and that smell. The damp dirty dust.

I knew it was coming and I couldn’t even think clearly where to run. The waves were suddenly everywhere, pushing and tugging at me and I kind of half fell down the stairs with my heart beating out of my chest and I was struggling to breathe. I couldn’t breathe. I was already under water, making those out-of-body sounds that I dread.

I probably sound like a freak, like I am dying. Because that’s what I feel like. I am underwater and fighting the fucking waves that just keep coming at me like some fucked-up gang of thugs on a mission to destroy me.

I have no idea how long I was out. I tend to pass out. Faint with fear. Yeah, I’m a real big man – me, scaring myself shitless until I make myself faint. And even when I pass out, I can still come back to consciousness, still treading water and screaming my lungs out.

But I’m not screaming today. I am just lying curled up in the foetal position with my arms tight around something, and it takes me a while to figure out what it is.

It’s a body. It’s kind of moving in my face, rising and falling against me. Which is odd. But in a way nice. There are also fingers combing through my hair. Soft little strokes in random patterns, as it seems that I am crazy-breathing into someone’s stomach. And t-shirt. The cotton fabric in front of me is damp with sweat and snot and my tears and my breath. And I am hiccupping. Still hyperventilating. I need to calm down before I pass out again. I should breathe into a paper bag. I always have one in my bag. It’s just I can’t make myself move.

Because in the middle of the fucked-up state I am in, I feel safe. Someone cares enough to not only notice, but also stay with me. Which doesn’t happen unless someone calls the school nurse who is nice enough, but totally clueless to what I need when I lose myself like this.

Not like whoever this is who is letting me squeeze the shit out of him as my arms automatically tighten around his waist. I am holding onto him like he is my lifebuoy out at sea, and then he speaks.

Which sets me off into a panic-ridden tailspin. 

Because, of course, I am lying on Matteo’s lap, with my arms around his waist and he is stroking my head and asking me how I am feeling.

“Like shit,” I croak out into his stomach.

“You haven’t been down long. Just lie here until you feel better. There is no rush.”

Stroke, Stroke, Stroke. Tangle. Fingers against my scalp. And another stroke. Then, his hand is on my back, calmly rubbing the length of my spine.

“Simon knows we’re here and says we should just come up when you are ready. We can sit here the whole lesson if you need it. “

I don’t know what to say. I just curl further into him. Push my knees up so they are flush against his backside.

He smells of soap. Of some laundry detergent I don’t recognise. I should ask what he uses so I can buy it and keep it in jars all over the house to make everything smell of Matteo.

Not that I will ever speak to him again. Not after the spectacle I must have made of myself to end up like this. Clinging to him like a baby.

“Can I borrow your phone?” he asks. I try to nod into his stomach as he leans over and fishes my iPhone out of my back pocket. He then grabs my arm and forces my hand around, so he can use my thumb to unlock it.

I pant desperately into his guts and let my arm recoil back around his waist with a groan.

“I’m going to put my number in your contacts. And send myself a text so I have yours. Is that okay?”

“Why?” I squeal weakly. I still haven’t got my head together. I still have my guard down.

“Because nobody should go through what you go through alone,” he says softly, his stomach is moving up and down against me as he talks. A familiar ping goes off on his phone that must be buried somewhere in his jacket. It’s close. Vibrating against his body. “I’ve added you on Insta, and why are you called Tom on Facebook?”

“M’Dad.” I breathe out through my mouth. Hard. Breathe back in. Focus Max. Focus.

“Don’t,” he whispers. “Don’t try so hard. Just lie here and snuggle until you can breathe better.” The fingers are back in my hair. Stroking softly. “Do you want to tell me why you snoop on your Dad’s Facebook?” I can hear it in his voice, that he is smiling. Taking the piss. Whilst I am slowly dying again.

“Not snooping. Dad doesn’t do social media, but we started an account for him for some reason and I still have it. I haven’t got Facebook.” I am almost totally out of breath after squirming out all those words in one go. So now I am back to panting as my chest aches with the over-exhaustion.

“Seriously, Pumpkin.” He is still smiling.

“Pumpkin?” I squeal. He is ridiculous. Even more ridiculous than me.

“I always wanted to call someone Pumpkin. Tilda wouldn’t let me. She doesn’t believe in terms of endearment. Says they strip people of dignity. Anyway, you are a little pumpkin so I’m calling you that.”

“Tilda?” Shit. Here we go. Girlfriend. Go on. Crush my heart. Just stomp on it.

“Yeah? Redhead chick I always hang out with. She’s my best friend in the whole world. We have known each other since we went to German toddler group as kids, and then we played naked in each other’s paddling pools. I have pictures. They are really useful when I need to get Tilda to do me favours.” He giggles softly, and I don’t know what to say. So, not a girlfriend. Well, there is probably more. Next minute, he will start talking about the love of his life who is the prettiest girl in the world or some crap.

“Anyway, Pumpkin,” he continues and he’s stroking again. His flat palm rubbing circles over my shoulder.  “When these things happen, just call me. Or text me. Just a word of where you are, and I will come find you, because these panic-thingies you get are scary as hell when you are just watching from the sidelines. I saw you have one a while back and the damn school nurse wouldn’t let me near you. She said just to let you get on with it. You looked so frightened. It wasn’t right. It was almost cruel. I got to you first this time and you calmed down much quicker when I was holding on to you. You shouldn’t be on your own like this. Just promise you will call me? Or text, or just shout for me and someone will go get me.”

He sounds almost distraught. Like I have scarred him for life with my fucked-up panic attacks.

“I can’t control it. They just come on so quickly and I lose all sense of reality. I just get so fucking scared.” Here we go. Here come the tears of relief. Another of my party tricks.

He tugs me closer as I bury my face back in the warmth of him. He smells so bloody nice. His stomach is my new happy place. I could die right now, and I would be happy. Put it on my freaking tombstone. Here lies Max Andersson. Died happy, face down in a stomach of bliss smelling of Summer Breeze detergent. Available in all reputable supermarkets and detergent retailers.

“Which is why you shouldn’t be alone. You are so bloody pig-headed not letting anyone be your friend. People try all the time, inviting you to stuff, and trying to talk to you, and you just flip them off like they annoy you. Don’t flip me off, Pumpkin. Trust me. I am like a leech when I put my mind to it. Just ask Tilda. I sleep in her bed just so she won’t get herself a boyfriend. Because I am always there. Snuggling up to her and annoying the shit out of her. She doesn’t really mind me being there, though, and to be honest, she has probably shagged that Henke in Year 3 already and just not told me. Fucking girls and their fucking drama and secrets.”

He’s funny and I am kind of half laughing under my tears and sobs. Hiccups and spasms travelling through my body as he strokes my arms.

“Thank you,” I snivel out. I mean it. I am so fucking grateful that he is still here.

“Anytime, Pumpkin. Please promise you will call me. If you don’t I’ll find out, and then I’ll have to follow you around like some creep just in case. And everyone will talk about me being totally out of order stalking you and it will be this big gossip drama shit and everyone will think I have a massive crush on you.”

I don’t dare to look up. I just snort.

This is the time when I should say something smart. Like raise an eyebrow at him and ask innocently “Have you? Have you got a crush on me?” with a seductive smile. Blow him a kiss. Act totally inappropriate and smarmy and make him run away faster than light.

I don’t. Of course. Instead, I hug him like a crazy person. I am a crazy person.

“Let’s get you to sit up, Pumpkin,” he says.

I don’t look him in the eye. I can’t. It’s too raw. Too much. I am messy. I am me. I can’t. I just can’t.

He drags me out of our under-the-stairs hiding place. I don’t even remember crawling in there, but I must have. I am cold. Shivering, even though I am still wearing my jacket. Shrugging as Matteo dusts off my back and turns me around so we are facing each other.

He’s as tall as me. I have never noticed that. His eyes looking at mine with that beaming smile. Whilst my face probably looks like it has been in a serious altercation with a snot machine, all bloated and blotchy from tears.

“You’re okay. Max 1. Panic 0. Now, let’s go and listen to the losers upstairs trying to write epic theatre. Then we can secretly laugh at their pathetic romance shite, and go tell them how it’s done. Shall we get in there and fix it? Give them some proper drama? Whaddya say, Pumpkin?”

He flicks his fringe out of his eyes with a jerk of his head. Beams at me with a mischievous arch of his eyebrow.

Fuck. I am done for. I will never survive this. This crazy idea of having Matteo for a friend. I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know if my fragile heart can take it.

I don’t know shit. I just follow him blindly up the stairs and walk into the classroom behind him, letting the door slam shut behind us. Continue reading

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717 Miles by Sophia Soames: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from 717 Miles

by Sophia Soames

I don’t notice him at first, wrapped up in a blanket sitting on the sofa. The house is dark and quiet and if it wasn’t for the light from his phone, I wouldn’t have noticed him at all. He just looks up and meets my eye for a second. Looking a little bit sad.

“Where is your mum? I thought you were going to hang out today?”

“Gone to her boyfriend’s. Not sure when she will be back. Didn’t check. She left you money on the side there.”

“Oh.” I don’t know what to say. Apart from that I’m sorry she is a bit of a shit mum. I mean she left him here alone, whilst she’s gone off to see her bloke. Then, I kind of think that we are all adults. Well, Felix might be. I am not. I still don’t know what to say.

“Philip went on the group chat. I got bored.” Felix gets up from the sofa. Walking over to the kettle and flicking the switch. At least it fills the silence, the kettle humming quietly as the water heats up.

“I saw that, it was funny. Really good.” I pretend to check my phone.

Felix gets a cup down. Pulls out a teabag. Tilts his head towards the coffeemaker.

I get a coffee pod out and load it whilst Felix gets another cup. Nudging my hand as he places it in the brewer, which makes me jolt back. I don’t know why. I just don’t know how to act around him when we are alone. Like this.

He is leaning back against the counter. Chewing on his bottom lip with his arms crossed over his chest. Wearing joggers that are slung low over his hips, and a hoodie that just doesn’t quite cover the blond fuzz on his stomach.

I am standing there biting my nails and fiddling with the envelope on the counter. I try to catch his eye. Staring at his lips and thinking dirty thoughts. Then, looking away the minute he looks up.

It’s different flirting with girls. If Felix was a girl, I would be all charming and touchy-feely and wink and compliment her and we would both know where things would end up in the end.

With Felix, I haven’t got a clue. I don’t know where he falls, whether he is straight or gay or whatever he defines as. He might just think of me as some big brother figure. Someone who makes him feel safe. Someone who he kisses and clings to and cuddles. He seems as confused as me. His hand shaking a little as he pours the boiling water in the cup. Stirs with a teaspoon. Spills a little on the side.

I try to be helpful. I mean, I try to wipe it up with a tea towel, only to nudge his arm with my elbow which makes us both jump. I spill half of his tea. The cup spinning on the worktop. Felix’s hand touching mine, as we both try to catch the cup before it falls. Me catching it and Felix jolting back like he has been burnt. He is sucking his finger into his mouth. Catching my eye and not looking away. He just looks at me, all eyes and hurt and feelings and… I don’t know. I suppose it’s heat. Desire.

It makes me a bit crazy. I mean, I am already crazy, but I think I must be crazier than should be allowed, because I grab his face with both hands and launch at those lips. Just smashing my mouth on his. Walking him backwards until he is being squashed against the kitchen table that is creaking and scratching along the floor under the weight of us.

I am panting. Hard. Being the worst kisser in the world. There is nothing sensual or soft about me and my kissing. Not like I would kiss a girl. I am kissing Felix because I need to. Because I am desperate and because his hands are fisting the hair on my head, pulling and scratching my scalp whilst he catches his breath. Letting his forehead rest against mine, breathing hard and fast against my lips.

Then, he starts to kiss me. Properly kiss me. The way I should have been kissing him. Lips and tongues and more than a little bit of teeth, hard and hot and making me feel lightheaded. I am not breathing properly. Not getting enough oxygen to my brain. Grinding against him. Rutting and jerking whilst he is whimpering and panting and making all these little sounds that just egg me on.

I don’t know what I am doing. I don’t know what got into me. I let go. I let him go. Pull my hands back and step away from him. Wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. Stumbling backwards and blinking into the light like I have just woken up.

“I shouldn’t have done that.” I mumble. Well I shouldn’t. I wasn’t supposed to do that.

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Little Harbour by Sophia Soames: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Little Harbour

by Sophia Soames


University of Oslo, Norwegian Literature Department, Blindern, Oslo, one week later

Jens cannot stop. He just can’t. It’s there in his head all the time. Every second of the day. Even when he tries hard to concentrate and be all adult about it. He thinks about it all the time.

Sex.

And Axel. And the way his skin felt under his fingers. The way his hair stroked against his cheek. The way his mouth felt on his body. The way he held him tight after he came. After he released. After he let himself come into Axel’s mouth. Oh fuck, he gets all embarrassed just thinking about it. He doesn’t quite know what the etiquette is these days, should he have asked? Should he have apologised? He had done neither. He is such a dork. It was still hot as hell. Sexy as fuck.

See? He is doing it again. He is sitting at his desk and his colleague has just walked in, and normally Jens would half stand up and shake his hand.

I mean it’s only polite. He hasn’t seen Sondre for a few days and a handshake would have been his usual thing. They’re colleagues. Well technically Sondre is the Head of the Norwegian language department, but they have worked together for years and apart from that he is the closest thing to a friend Jens has these days. It shouldn’t be awkward, but here Jens is, sitting down with a flush of red across his cheeks as he reaches out to grab the prospectus that Sondre has handed him, half-heartedly trying to concentrate on what he is saying.

It’s not the first time this week. He jumps every time Sylvia walks through the door. Well, it was bad enough on Tuesday when she almost caught him reading an article on ‘How to Give Good Head: A Beginner’s Guide’ that he had found on the net. He deletes his browsing history and closes all his tabs. Like every five minutes. Then he opens them up again. He needs to reread that article on ‘How to Kiss Like a Man Needs to be Kissed’, the one he slammed shut so fast on his laptop that he accidentally deleted a student’s entire profile. He fixed it in the end, but it was a close call with a random person suddenly standing behind him in the lecture hall.

“So, can I count on you to attend this year, Jens? It wasn’t the same without you last year and your expertise is much needed in the poetry section. We ended up awarding the best poetry book on a whim and it didn’t feel right. You know this stuff better than anyone else, and you will have read all the new releases, so will have a good grasp of who we should nominate and discuss.”

“Uh?” Jens is looking blank. Well, his mind is racing. Fluttering between the way Axel’s face relaxes when he sleeps. The way his eyelashes curl against his eyelids. The small sounds he makes. Snuffles in the dark. And… Oh yes. Sondre. “The Norwegian Literary Awards. Yes. Where did you say, the meeting is?”

Jens is randomly shuffling paper on his desk. Trying to find something. He hasn’t got a clue what.

“Stavanger. Three days and two nights. Press and author meets, as well as sessions to discuss and evaluate. We need your nominations next week. Jonathan is booking the accommodation now, so can you let me know? Can I count you in?”

“Yes. Go. Yes, I will be there. So, new poetry releases from last year. Yes. Got it.”

Jens hasn’t read a single book this year. Jens is fucked.

Jens needs to get fucked. Jens needs to get laid. Like right now.

It’s frightening how much he misses Axel when he is not there. Because Axel has been working. Axel has been running courses in the evenings and Jens hasn’t seen him since Monday night when he left for work and in a way, Jens is dying.

Monday had been an absolute blast, and as usual Jens had given in. Been the worst father in the history of useless fathers with no willpower. No following through on the rules he had set himself.

He had brought Axel with him to collect the little ones, walking hand in hand through the park over towards the nursery. Holding Axel’s hand and letting him reach for him and letting Axel kiss him right there. On the path. With people walking by. And Jens had loved it.

He had felt his chest swell with pride as they walked through the gate to the nursery and Mikki had come running across the playground shouting, “AXEEEEL!” Letting Axel lift him up for a hug. Jens had grabbed Marthe, slung her in the backpack carrier, and they had walked into town, Axel and Jens, swinging Mikki between them doing the ‘One! Two! Three! Jump!’ game until their arms were hurting and Mikki was squealing and begging for “Just one more time!”

The movie had been fun. Marthe had fallen asleep before it even started, and the kids all had popcorn. And Coke. Followed by McDonald’s. Jens needs to get a grip. Jens needs to learn. Jens needs to stop letting his children get their way. But then they had all been laughing, poking fun at Axel, sharing their french fries  and asking to taste Axel’s stupidly sugary coffee concoction drink that he had ordered. All of them trying it and squealing in disgust.

It had been like being a family again. He had been able to relax, without the constant pressure that it was all on him. That he had to rein them in. Make sure they behaved. Shout at them to sit down. Don’t move. Eat up. Let’s go. It had been fun. And Jens had been so proud. Jens is still proud.

Jens is so in love with his little family that is slightly ridiculous as he sits at his desk and wonders why he hasn’t got any recent pictures of the kids in his office. Malena’s school photo is from grade four or something, all pigtails and freckles. He also needs to have a photo of Axel here, to remind himself that all this is real. That it’s not just a figment of his imagination, or some silly daydream in his head.

He does have his wedding photo on the bookshelf. A yellowed faded photograph of a young skinny-looking Jens with his hair slicked back and a grin on his face, looking lovingly at a younger version of Sofie. Bouncy hair and flowers and too much make-up in that dress she had loved.

He can’t help looking. And she is looking back. And Jens smiles. He somehow feels okay, knowing that Sofie would laugh. Sofie would find him hilarious. Ridiculous even. She would have stood there in his office, leaning back against one of his overstuffed bookcases. Cup of coffee in her hand. Glasses perched on her head and laugh lines around her eyes.

“You’re still making a complete mess of everything Jens.” She would have said. “Are the kids eating their five a day? Do you actually buy fruit for them? Thank God for nursery. At least they eat nutritionally balanced food there.”

Yes. Jens knows. He cancelled the whole ‘Fruit and Veg’ section on his online food shop months ago, since he was just throwing the whole bag in the bin every week. Except bananas. The kids go through a ridiculous amount of bananas.

“Go and see Axel.” His imaginary Sofie says. “You know you want to. You can catch up with work later. Go find him. Get yourself a hug. Some love. You deserve it sweetheart.” And she smiles. She smiles and drains the last drops of her coffee.

Jens knows. He knows he has essays to grade. He has books to read. Research to consider. Lectures to plan. He knows. He should also get some new work trousers and some kind of control inducing jockstrap. Because now he is thinking about Axel again. What Axel’s bum feels like when Jens squeezes it through his trousers. And Axel wears these skinny black jeans that just do crazy things to Jens’ brain. Axel is sexy. Axel is ridiculously sexy.

Jens thinks he wants to just grab him. Be a little bit rough. Not in a bad way, but Jens wants to slam him against the wall and kiss the living daylight out of him. Rip his jeans open and palm his cock under his cotton briefs. He wants to put his mouth on Axel. On all of Axel. Yes, even there.

He wants to taste what Axel tastes like. Lick. Touch. Palm. Taste.

Jens is ridiculous. Jens is hard. Jens needs to get a grip.

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