Authors: C. Kennedy
Harmony Ink Press
5032 Capital Circle SW
Suite 2, PMB# 279
Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of author imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
© 2013 C. Kennedy.
© 2013 Reese Dante.
Cover content is for illustrative purposes only and any person depicted on the cover is a model.
All rights reserved. This book is licensed to the original purchaser only. Duplication or distribution via any means is illegal and a violation of international copyright law, subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction, fines, and/or imprisonment. Any eBook format cannot be legally loaned or given to others. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact Harmony Ink Press, 5032 Capital Circle SW, Suite 2, PMB# 279, Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886, USA, or [email protected]
Printed in the United States of America
For all who endure, may your freedom and
happiness increase every moment of every day.
book is very special to me, and I owe a debt of gratitude to many. Thank you to Elizabeth North, Nessa Warin, and all the wonderful people at Dreamspinner/Harmony Ink Press who made this book possible. Thank you to the superb authors who inspire me daily and welcome me with open arms. Thank you to Shira for her kindness, consistent cheerleading, and steady hand. To J.P., a kindred spirit, thank you for your priceless friendship. To my fantastic beta readers, thank you for your invaluable opinions and not holding back. To Sophia Kontes Helm, thank you for your infinite patience and help with Greek—and for reminding me “People don’t talk like that. It’s too formal.” To Reese Dante, thank you for the beautiful cover and to Tony for being the tiebreaker on the eyes. Thank you to Dr. Jim Hopper for his vast knowledge and support. And a special thanks to Head Track and Field Coach, Yvonne Wade, for providing crucial advice with respect to the sport of hurdling, national and world track and field competitions, the impact of injuries, and the physiology of running. Thank you all for your support in bringing this book to life.
darkest depths of despair, on the razor’s edge of madness, a light appears—so bright it cannot be extinguished. And so it is in the heart of a sexually traumatized child. From the ashes of a broken spirit rises a new and fragile hope, a desperate need for acceptance and peace in an otherwise devastated and turbulent world. Boys like Cody Kennedy’s Christy and my Aaron are unique, not only in their shared horror, but in their common purpose—to be normal. They wish to live as others do in the belief that humanity is inherently good and in intrinsic defiance of their merciless and unforgivable experiences.
, rather than being about pain and horrific abuse, is about recovery and hope. Throughout this amazing novel, I found myself cheering Christy’s bravery and his light which, through the darkness, showed clear, bright, and strong. I saw pond-image reflections of myself in his sexual confusion and excruciating need to be loved by Michael. It is in Christy’s honest self-reclamation that I, and maybe other readers, may find redemption.
Reading about someone else’s trauma, empathizing with their pain, is my therapy. Though Cody’s characters are fictional, their pain, confusion, joys, and triumphs are very real. As someone who survived the devastating effects of sexual abuse, I can say with conviction that Cody’s prose captures the anguish in my heart and, through Christy’s self-reconstruction, gives me hope.
For those who, like me, live with the monster in their heads every minute of every day, I remind you that you are never alone. There are legions of children, no matter their ages, who stand beside you each day and tell their monster: “You will not break me.”
To Christy Castle, I say—let your light shine on, sweetheart.
J. P. Barnaby
Writing as Jamie Mayfield
June 10, 2013
Though their shadows remain a constant, dull roar in our minds and a loud whisper in our souls, every day our monsters quiet more. We have all but smote them and we are
now—more than we ever thought possible—in our determination to live life to the fullest. Let us hold hands and dance to the music of our new souls in the small peace we have made for ourselves.
O fílos sou gia pánta,
UPSTATE NEW YORK, March, 2011
slammed the front door, went straight to his room, and flopped onto his bed. Staring at the darkened ceiling, he thought he shouldn’t have slammed the door. He didn’t want to wake his parents. He rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands and reminded himself for the umpteenth time in his seventeen-year history that he had to date girls to keep up appearances, no matter how much he hated it.
His mom filled the doorway to his room and leaned a petite shoulder against the doorjamb, concern in her eyes.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to—”
“—slam the door,” he finished softly.
“Maybe you should give it up?”
Angry, he ran a hand through his chestnut curls. “Ya think?”
“Bought you something.” She tossed the latest edition of
, the French fashion magazine, to him. He caught it against his chest and sat up quickly. She flipped the light switch, illuminating his room in the golden glow of the bedside lamp, and sat next to him on the bed. Tracing a fingertip down the cover model’s cheek, she said, “He’s beautiful.”
“She… and very. Thanks.” He one-arm hugged her.
“Why do you continue to put yourself through this misery?”
He released an anguished sigh. “I need to do it for the team.”
She smiled ruefully. “What time do you need to be up tomorrow?”
“Seven. The meet starts at ten.”
She stood and brushed a gentle hand over his hair. “See you in the morning. Sweet dreams.”
“Love you. And thanks.”
“Love you more. And you’re welcome.”
Michael flopped onto his back and studied the beauty on the magazine cover. He’d ached to have a boyfriend for as long as he could remember, and his heart almost couldn’t take it anymore. It felt cracked. Shattered was more like it. Maybe crushed was an even better word. An eggshell crushed by agonizing loneliness and raw longing.
Why can’t I find someone like you, Andrej Peji
His cell phone vibrated in his pocket, and he didn’t need to look at it to know who it was. Jake Santini was his best friend and like a brother to him.
“How’d it go, bro?” Jake’s deep voice rumbled in his ear.
“Like all the others. Once I can’t get past the kissing, they get pissed off. Then I get pissed off. Then I take them home and cringe when I think about seeing them at school.”
Jake chuckled softly, not unkind. “At least you’re consistent. Sorry, man. What are you doing?”
Michael traced the pretty, blond curls on the magazine cover. “Mom bought me another magazine.”
“You jerking off yet?”
Michael made a face at the question. “No.”
“Look, you know I love you, but you can’t spend your entire virginity pining over that Andrew guy.”
“It’s Andrej, and she’s the prettiest boy-girl in the world, and why not?”
“Whatever. It’s unhealthy.”
“All guys jerk off, and it’s not only healthy, it’s normal.”
“I’m talking about the pining part. You gotta do something about it.”
“Okay, I’ll just send Andrej an e-mail asking her out.”
Jake laughed. “You know, if anyone else said that to me I’d tell him a supermodel was out of his league. But with you, knowing how everything seems to fall into place for you, I wouldn’t be surprised if he said yes.”
“She, he, does it really matter? I’ll leave you to it, then. See you tomorrow around eight?”
“Always being there.”
“Always here for you, bro.”
Hellenic Police Headquarters
GLYFADA, SOUTH ATHENS, GREECE, March, 2011
cursed as he slammed the phone receiver down and buttoned his uniform jacket quickly. He’d been Brigadier General of the Directorate of Special Crimes of Violence for the Hellenic Police for the past fifteen years. He’d been shortlisted for a promotion to major general and had a bad feeling the crime scene he was about to see was going to cost him that hard-earned second star.