Tuesday, March 17, 2015

~~Happy Release Day~~ Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson

Trust the Focus (In Focus #1)
March 17, 2015


With his college graduation gown expertly pitched into the trash, Justin Akron is ready for the road trip he planned with his best friend Landry— and ready for one last summer of escape from his mother’s controlling grip. Climbing into the Winnebago his father left him, they set out across America in search of the sites his father had captured through the lens of his Nikon.

As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one Justin would rather share the experience with more than Landry.

But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and the fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.

Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding.

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We passed into Washington and took one of the first exits off of I-5, to a rest stop in Sara. I parked the RV in the designated overnight parking lot, turned off Sally, and leaned back, rubbing my sandpaper eyes with the heels of my palms.
I stumbled to the back of the RV to pee and brush my teeth. When I returned to the main cabin of the RV, Landry had pulled out the sofa to make the bed and had thrown on a sheet and two pillows. He flopped down on one side, wearing only a pair of boxers. He was so thin, having lost weight in the last year. I could see the definition of his back muscles and a few ribs. But my eyes were drawn to the two dimples in his lower back, just visible above his waistline, and I wanted to go right back into the bathroom and hide. Maybe I could sleep in the shower stall.
“Um . . .”
“Come on, Justin. Lay down. We have a big day tomorrow.”
There were no other places to sleep in Sally. I knew that going into this trip, but now, facing the reality of sleeping with Landry, I didn’t know if I could do it. I couldn’t tell him I would sleep on the driver’s seat. That would just be weird. But this bed was barely bigger than a twin. And I didn’t know how I was going to sleep on it with him for three months. I’d slept next to him before, but we’d either been encased in our own sleeping bags or we’d been drunk off our asses and passed out.
I stripped quickly, glad Landry’s face was turned away from me. And thankful I was so nervous that my dick hadn’t gotten the memo it’d be right next to another dick.
Then I crawled under the covers next to him and lay on my stomach. He turned his head and in the dark, I could barely make out the slope of his nose, the jut of his chin. Fingers brushed my bicep and I squeezed my eyes shut. My dick got the memo now.
“Tomorrow,” he whispered.
“Yep, tomorrow,” I whispered back.
Silence, then, “You doing okay?”
“Yeah Lan, I am.” Or, I would be if he would just sleep.
“Okay. Night, Jus.”
I’d slept in beds with girls a couple of times at the beginning of college, when I was still trying to pretend I was attracted to them. I had worried I’d elbow them in the head in my sleep, or kick them. I was aware of their soft breasts and hairless legs.
But sleeping next to Landry, listening to his deep, masculine breaths as he slipped into sleep, was completely different. I wanted to roll into him, let him take my weight, brush our legs together, and touch foreheads, lips, hips.
I didn’t know when this had all grown so big. I had thought I liked girls in middle school. Freshman year of high school, I started looking less and less at cleavage and cheerleaders’ asses and more at bulges in dudes’ pants and Landry’s ass in the little cross-country shorts he wore. Back when he laughed freely.
And then it was only Landry. His smile and his legs and his hands and his laugh.
He had a boyfriend, though, this Jud Cameron guy he’d met online in a chat room, who went to college in Los Angeles. I had never met him, which made me uneasy, but I saw his picture.
I was better looking.
Landry was happy. Jud seemed to treat him well. And in my mind, I pretended the boyfriend didn’t exist. It was easier than constantly feeling rage at someone else getting to be with Landry like I wanted to be. I’d asked him what Jud thought of our trip and Landry had brushed me off with a he’s not worried.
And why should he be?
Because I was a rule follower. And Landry was against the rules.


When I stepped out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around my waist, Landry was awake, lying on his stomach, hands folded beneath his chin. Shit, had he heard anything? I wondered if my skin showed a blush. I guess I could have blamed it on the hot water. His eyes roamed my chest and I gritted my teeth.
“Hey, a shower would be awesome.”
I pointed to the bathroom behind me as he hopped off the bed. “All yours. I might have taken all the hot water.” Might have. Probably definitely did.
“Dick,” he said, smacking my ass as he walked by me.
The door shut behind him and I let out a ragged breath.
I pulled on a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, sweatshirt, and boots, because it was still cool in Washington in May. I shoved the bed back into a sofa so we’d have room to move around. Then I whipped up some scrambled eggs for us and popped a couple of bagels in the toaster we’d brought along.
Landry rested his chin on my shoulder as I piled some eggs on plates, startling me since I hadn’t heard the bathroom door.
“You want some eggs?” I asked.
“Sounds awesome. Thanks.”
We ate quickly, sitting at the little table across from the stove.
“What a good little RV wife you are,” Landry crooned.
“What? If anyone’s the wife, you’re the wife.”
His eyes narrowed in challenge. “Oh, really? Why? Because I’m gay?”
“No, because I’m driving, so I’m the husband.”
“No, you’re driving because you’re the wife, and I’m the husband who’s better at navigation.”
“You’re also a better cook.”
Landry shoved his legs in a pair of skinny jeans and pulled a long-sleeve T-shirt over his head. “I microwaved food like an eight-year-old. You actually cooked. And the majority of successful chefs are, in fact, male.”
I glared.
He rolled his eyes. “Okay, you’re husband J and I’m husband L.”
Seriously? He’d basically just condensed my life fantasy into one sentence. “Fine, I’m HJ. You’re HL.”
Landry snickered as he slipped his feet into flip-flops. “HJ. You sure you want to claim those initials?”
“What? Why?”
Landry opened up the door to the RV and motioned with his head. “I’m just going to pop into the gas station. And how do you not know this? HJ? Hand job?” He laughed and banged the door shut behind him.
Fuck, I needed another shower.

About the Author:

My first stories written in crayon-scrawl on loose-leaf notebook paper were about my childhood pet — a deaf cat with dandruff. And after covering real-life dramas as a journalist, I decided I liked writing my own endings better and switched to fiction. My romance novels full of humor and heart are a far cry from those early scribblings about my hygiene-deficient pet.
I live in southern Pennsylvania, with my husband, two kids and two cats. I like a good pint of beer, a greasy bacon cheeseburger, homemade mac and cheese, and a great book with a happily ever after. When I’m not tapping away on my laptop, I’m probably listening to the characters in my head who just. Won’t. Shut. Up.

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