One frigid winter night a week before Christmas, college student Will stumbles into a church during choir practice, bruised by his own father’s hands. He’s out of the closet now — there’s no going back since his fundamentalist father learned the truth — but he’s also out of a home, a family, and a future. Will has nowhere to turn. No one to care.
Except . . . Will’s roommate, Quinn, cares. Maybe too much. He’s been attracted to Will since they moved in together, but never dreamed his crush was gay. With Will’s life in pieces, Quinn doesn’t want to push. He also knows he has more experience than Will, who’s never even been kissed.
Then Will’s father makes a reappearance, and Will has to learn to trust his heart more than the voices of his past. But it’s the season of miracles, faith, and hope, and Quinn is determined to teach Will how to love and be loved.
~ Riptide Publishing
Light and music streamed out of the church, stained glass casting long flares of color on the snow, a luminous accompaniment to the sounds of the organ and angelic voices drifting through the open double doors. The angels obviously needed practice; they would sing a line, then stop a moment while an invisible conductor made an inaudible comment, then sing the line over and maybe, maybe, get as far as the next line before stopping again.
Will stood in the purple light emanating from around some saint’s head and listened a moment, caught in the tenuous beauty that contrasted sharply with the ugliness he felt. He ached all over, his feet throbbing in time to the pounding in his head, his hands, his chest, his heart. The church was the first open place he’d seen in his eight-mile-plus walk—at least the only open place he’d seen that wouldn’t require cash outlay of some kind for food or drink or a ticket. He could keep walking—his dorm was only across the campus, but all the way across campus, and he was tired, and cold. And tired. So, without even thinking much about it, he climbed the two steps up to the broad church porch and went through the open, welcoming doors.
The lights in the nave of the church were on full, though the ones up around the altar were dark—except for that red one that he knew was something important, but didn’t have the energy to think about. He wasn’t religious—his parents were, but theirs was a different faith than the one this church housed. Their religion didn’t live in tall, cathedral-like places like this, with colored glass, lamp-like chandeliers, and wood carvings and statues. Theirs was cold and modern, at least in terms of the buildings.
This place was foreign, but it was warm, despite the open doors. The wood pews looked worn and well used, golden in the lamplight. The lamps cast pockets of shadow where they weren’t quite as bright, like back here in the very last row, over by the wall, underneath the balcony where the choir was practicing. Will gratefully slipped into a pew, leaning back against the warm golden wood and letting his duffel fall onto the floor beside him. It was so weird to be happy to just sit down.
He’d come in during one of the quiet moments. Now that he was inside, he could hear the voice of the director or conductor or whatever the head person of a choir was called, but he still couldn’t quite understand what he was saying. Then the voice stopped speaking, and Will heard the faint rapping of his stick or baton or whatever. The choir burst out singing again.
The acoustics inside the church made the sound richer and more beautiful. He listened, dazed by the purity of it.
And then a single voice, male, clear, powerful, and impossibly sweet, rose over the rest in a solo that sent a shudder through Will’s heart: “Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices . . .”
Will took his frozen hands from his jeans pockets, put his striped wool scarf over his face, and started to cry.
To celebrate the release of Angel Voices, one lucky winner will receive $15 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with a thoughtful question and your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 3, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
About the Author & Links:
An unrepentant biblioholic, Rowan Speedwell spends half her time pretending to be a law librarian, half her time pretending to be a database manager, half her time pretending to be a fifteenth-century Aragonese noblewoman, half her time . . . wait a minute . . . Hmm. Well, one thing she doesn’t pretend to be is good at math. She is good at pretending, though.
In her copious spare time (hah) she does needlework, calligraphy and illumination, and makes jewelry. She has a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago, is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and lives in a Chicago suburb with the obligatory Writer’s Cat and way too many books.
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