Journalist Alex Buchanan has come home to the remote British Columbia town he grew up in, but only because his estranged father is dying. For Alex, the homecoming holds a mix of memories, mostly bad. The only bright spot is reconnecting with Benji Morning, the childhood friend he never truly forgot. As boys, the strength of their bond had frightened Alex. But now that he’s confident in his bisexuality, he’s drawn back to quiet, soft-spoken Ben.
Ben isn’t the same boy Alex left behind, though. His life has been overshadowed by the disappearance of his sister two decades earlier, and now a new break in the case threatens to undo the peace he’s worked so hard to attain.
As Alex struggles to repair the relationship with his father before it’s too late, he finds himself caught up in a twenty-year-old mystery, a story he never expected, and a shocking truth that could affect his and Ben’s future together.
“This is my favourite scene from Back to You. It occurs around the halfway mark of the book. Ben and Alex were childhood friends and twenty years later Alex has returned to their small town. Ben has come to Alex’s motel room in an agitated state, and it marks the moment where their past and present meet.” ~ author
“Hey!” he cried. “Why can’t I read it?”
“Weird? You’re a writer—people are supposed to read what you write.”
“Not you. It’s too . . . personal somehow.”
I shifted the magazines to the chair, out of reach, and sat down beside him. He seemed to have finally relaxed, and now he tilted his head back and propped his feet up on the coffee table. Either the Xanax had kicked in, or the beer. “Are you afraid I won’t like it?”
“I bet your dad liked it. I bet he was proud of you.”
“Ben,” I growled. His eyes were wide and innocent over the rim of the can as he drank. “Okay, yes, I think you were right—about me trying to be good enough for him. Is that what you want me to say?”
“You don’t need to say it. Of course I’m right.” He poked me in the arm. “I always was. You just never listened.”
“Uh-uh. I always listened to you.” When Ben cocked an eyebrow, I laughed. “Eventually.”
Not for the first time that night, I caught him looking at me with a secret smile.
“What?” I asked.
A deep flush spread across his cheekbones. “You’ve changed. A lot.”
“It’s been twenty years. We’ve all changed. You said so yourself.”
“Not as much as you.” His brow wrinkled. It would have been a blow to my ego if I hadn’t already read the interest in his eyes.
“That hideous, am I?”
“As if.” Ben snorted. “But there was something appealing about the old Sandy. I miss him.”
“Ugh, fatty four-eyes.” Just one of the many nicknames I’d been called growing up.
“You weren’t fat,” he insisted. “You were . . . cuddly. You always made me feel safe.”
“Why is that so surprising?”
“It’s not, I suppose. But I always thought of you as my rock, not the other way around.” This conversation was getting far too heavy. “I’m still cuddly, you know? Come here and I’ll prove it.”
“I’m serious. I didn’t think you were fat. I thought you were perfect. For the longest time, I used to dream you’d come back and rescue me.” His lips twisted ruefully. “But it’s not healthy to put that on someone else.”
My throat closed up, and I had to look away. “It’s a good thing I’m low on beer. You’re cut off.”
“Why didn’t you ever write?” Ben’s luminous eyes beseeched me. “It was because of the kiss, wasn’t it? I knew I’d freaked you out and I’d probably never hear from you again. That you would think I was disgusting and hate me.”
“No! No,” I repeated. Firmly. Guilt punched me in the solar plexus. “Never. Please don’t tell me you’ve thought this way for the last twenty years.” Oh God, I’d fucked up so bad.
“I got over it eventually. I wonder if that’s why I kissed you in the first place,” he said, frowning as if the idea was only occurring to him now. “So that it would be a clean break when you left.”
“I know I can’t ever go back and fix things, Ben, but I’m here now.”
“Only because your dad’s dying.”
“Maybe that’s why I came back. But it’s not why I’m here with you right now—drinking godawful light beer from a can and thinking this is the best evening I’ve had in a long time. From the moment I landed, I . . .”
But I’d already said too much. “Nothing.”
He squinted at me. “It’s so strange. I keep seeing the you I remember, but also the you that’s here now.”
“I know. It’s the same for me.” I reached out and brushed the hair off his forehead because I couldn’t resist it. The soft curls tugged at my fingers as if reluctant to let go. God, I wanted to touch him so bad.
“You feel it too, don’t you?” Ben asked, his voice barely above a whisper. “This thing between us?”
I nodded. “I do. Do you ever wonder what might have happened if my parents hadn’t split?”
“I try not to. The present is hard enough to get through sometimes without dwelling on what-ifs.” Ben studied his hands. “I don’t think we should sleep together.”
I raised an eyebrow. “You keep bringing that up. I’m flattered.”
“Flattered I won’t sleep with you?”
“Flattered you want to.”
That made him laugh. “I’m abstinent, not crazy.”
“Abstinent? What about your friend in Prince George?”
“Mmm. It’s been seven months. I’d say that officially makes me abstinent.”
“Seven months? How have you not spontaneously combusted?”
Ben threw me a dirty look.
“I take it your . . . arrangement is not serious, then.”
“No, not serious.”
It was wrong of me to be so pleased by his statement. It wasn’t like I intended to do anything about it. As much as I might want to jump his bones, a part of me knew that sex with Ben wouldn’t be just sex. “It’s probably for the best,” I agreed. “Us not having sex.” Damned conscience. “I bet it would be really hot though.”
Ben’s eyebrows shot up, but he recovered quickly. “You think? It might be a letdown. All those expectations . . . Could be hard to live up to them.”
His eyes slid over my body slowly, blatantly, lingering at my groin before rising to meet mine. “Oh yeah. Lots of them.”
To celebrate the release of Back to You, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 17, 2017. 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:
Chris Scully lives in Toronto, Canada. She grew up spinning romantic stories in her head and always dreamed of one day being a writer even though life had other plans. Her characters have accompanied her through career turns as a librarian and an IT professional, until finally, to escape the tedium of a corporate day job, she took a chance and began putting her daydreams down on paper.
Tired of the same old boy-meets-girl stories, she found a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve. She divides her time between a mundane 9-5 cubicle job and a much more interesting fantasy life. When she’s not working or writing (which isn’t often these days) she loves puttering in the garden and traveling. She is an avid reader and tries to bring pieces of other genres and styles to her stories. While her head is crammed full of all the things she’d like to try writing, her focus is always on the characters first. She describes her characters as authentic, ordinary people—the kind of guy you might meet on the street, or the one who might be your best friend.
Although keeping up with social media is still a struggle given her schedule, she does love to hear from readers.