Title: All That You Can’t Leave Behind
Author: Kirby Quinlan
Publisher: KQ Press
Cover Artist: Kirby Quinlan
Length: 50,000 words
Release Date: October 12, 2015
Blurb: Let go of the past. Live in the moment. The future will take care of itself.
Tailor Sway is a professional organizer on the brink of divorce. When he is hired to appear on a reality TV show called “Hoarded Houses”, he has three days to help a collector of Christmas decorations clean up her property before it’s condemned by local authorities.
Everything is going according to Tailor’s carefully laid plans. That is, until Brayzen Mapleridge, a mega-famous pop singer known for his wild, daredevil antics, shows up.
Forced to pay for a recent stunt which has turned into a serious legal matter, Brayzen is given the opportunity to avoid jail time by doing some hard labor in front of the cameras. But, it’s not an easy thing to do while being chased by all who trail in the wake of a major celebrity. Is Brayzen sincere about helping, or is it all just part of a well-crafted publicity campaign?
Despite some initial clashes between Tailor’s uptight determination and Brayzen’s carefree attitude, the two develop an unlikely partnership that quickly blossoms into a sizzling attraction.
But, Tailor’s unresolved conflict with his husband, Grant, an emotionally scarred veteran of the Iraq War, still looms in the background amidst a whirlwind of TV cameras, relentless paparazzi, eager fans, and scathing headlines. Despite all these complications, will it be Brayzen’s own meddling mother who puts the brakes on their steamy love affair for good?
I turned to Bridgette, getting close to her ear this time. “So — how is this happening? What’s Brayzen Mapleridge doing here? That is him, right?”
“Uh-huh,” she says without taking her goo-goo eyes off him. It’s like she’s hypnotized, practically comatose.
Accepting that Bridgette isn’t going to be much help right now, my eyes scan the crowd and I’m able to recognize the top of Tom’s balding head. He’s ‘front row’, where the center square joins the sidewalk that leads to the house, standing outside the barricades with his back to me.
I have to find out what’s going on. I push through some people. Stepping over more Christmas junk, I make my way down the yard toward him.
Meanwhile, Brayzen’s female ‘police officers’ remove his leather jacket and the male ‘prisoners’ replace it with a bright orange Department of Corrections work vest. He nods and shrugs, but then smiles mischievously. His perfect rows of teeth twinkle in the sun.
He wags his finger at the dancers and slips the vest off along with his shades before pulling at his shirt, lifting it to reveal a set of rippling washboard abs to the squealing rapture of his fans.
Lifting it higher, he shows his smooth, toned chest. The crowd is practically orgasming at this point.
He peels it the rest of the way off and uses it to wipe his torso down, dabbing his neck and under his arms. Several in the crowd, both females and males, drop from fainting. I’m hoping Bridgette isn’t one of them.
Then: I see him fling the shirt in the air, like a pizza chef tossing dough. I see it leave his hands. I see it hurtling toward me.
And then: This wadded-up ball of damp, white cotton lassos itself around my head, veiling my entire face. All at once, I’m blind. My nose and mouth are muffled. When I try to breathe, my lungs are choked by the sweet musk of Brayzen Mapleridge’s scent.
I pull at the fabric, trying to free myself, but I trip over something in the yard and my legs are instantly swept out from under me. A mob of hardcore fans tackle me, pinning me to the ground. Greedy fingers claw at my face. I try to shield myself from being kicked in the ribs and trampled by a tornado of anonymous sneakers, knees, and elbows.
After what feels like several minutes of abuse, someone finally snatches the shirt off my face and it’s ripped apart by opposing parties before being flung into the air again, causing the crazed teenage swarm to dive elsewhere for it, like a flock of hungry seagulls
Kirby Quinlan was raised by a single mom who sold vacuum cleaners and abandoned by a father who was both a former U.S. Marine and Baptist preacher. After a challenging upbringing, he came out to family and friends at the age of sixteen.
With hopes of making movies, he learned the craft of screenwriting, honing his love of storytelling. He quit writing in 2002, however, frustrated he couldn’t promote the diversity-rich stories he was passionate about. But now, in the world of digital self-publishing, he has found an avenue to finally tell the stories he’s always wanted to tell; the types of stories he wishes had been mainstream when he was growing up.
His first published work was the short story “New World” in the Queer Science Fiction anthology “Discovery”. He has plans for several standalone novels, as well as serial works in his favorite genres, including sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, pulp detective and even western. They are hopeful, action-packed tales of strong, positive LGBTQ characters finding love, fighting oppression and overcoming extraordinary challenges in a real-to-life way.
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