Book Title: Hidden Blade: The Road to Rocktoberfest 2022
Author and Publisher: Kaje Harper
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: October 4, 2022
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: First-time, clinical anxiety
Themes: Coming out, hurt-comfort
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 86 000 words
It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.
It is part of a shared-world series. This is the first release from this year's set.
“You suck.” I glared at Andre as I clutched the puke bucket between my knees.
“Hey, you did it, dude.” He took his eyes off the road for a second to grin at me. “You got through a whole set and walked off that stage with your head held high.”
“And my intestines climbing out my mouth.”
“Ew, gross image.”
“You’re a nurse. You eat gross images for breakfast.”
Andre threw his head back and laughed. “Okay, you got me. But seriously, wasn’t that even a little bit cool?”
“The bit where I puked in the john before I went onstage, or the part where I got as far as the dumpster down the block afterward?”
“Oh, the dumpster. For sure.” He patted my knee. “I won’t push you anymore. But you were a hit. If you wanted a job or a good fuck, they were lining up to offer it to you. Maybe both at the same time.”
“Hah. Bullshit.” I’m skinny and beanpole-tall and I haven’t cut my hair in years because reasons, and I have this nose that I only don’t hate because it’s just like my dad’s was.
“I mean it.” At the stoplight he fished in his pocket and pulled out a card. “Lead singer of this group was drooling all over your set and he came looking for you like a moose hunting its mate when you were done.”
“You make him sound so appealing.” I took the card from his fingers. “Apparently I could’ve fucked a moose. Wow.”
“Or been fucked by.” The light turned and Andre hit the gas. “He wasn’t that bad, for an older dude. I know you like them with some years on ’em.”
“Shut up, Bones.”
“Only the truth, Spock.”
I chuckled, despite the acid still churning around in my stomach. No one on the planet knew me as well as Andre, and in one regrettably truthful moment years back I’d spilled my attraction to silver foxes and solid older men. He liked to tease me, but never in a mean way, and he kept bigger secrets of mine than that one. “I’m not trying to get laid.”
“You should be. Seriously, Cam, you’ve been with what, two guys in your whole life? A man has needs, or so I tell Lyssa every day.”
“That girl is way too good for you.”
“Woman, Cameron. Don’t let the g-word cross your lips. And you’re damn right she’s too good for me. The key is never letting her figure that out, am I right?”
“Sure. Whatever you say.” Andre was the best. His clowning was intended to distract me, keeping my anxious brain from fixating on what-the-shit-did-I-just-do??? Which I shouldn’t have let myself think about, dammit, and I flipped the card over in my fingers to focus on something else. Hellsbane. A familiar band logo and on the next line, Erik Svenson - lead guitar and vocals. With a phone number, an email, Instagram, Bandcamp, and Twitter.
Hellsbane’s business card! I’d known they’d be there, of course, even if we deliberately arrived only just in time for my set, so I hadn’t heard them play. And if they’d been in the audience, I hadn’t recognized a single face in the one panicked look I’d allowed myself. Although… There’d been a big blond, bearded guy up front who might’ve been their lead singer… Our eyes had met, and he hadn’t laughed at the fear in mine.
Was that Erik? Watching me? Fuck, maybe I should’ve played my new song, even if the chorus wasn’t polished yet. Or not skipped that instrumental bridge, except if I’d stopped singing, I might not’ve started again. How bad did I screw up in front of Erik Svenson?…
About the Author . . .
After decades of writing just for fun, my husband convinced me I really should submit something, somewhere. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out in May 2011. I now have a good-sized backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year and Rainbow Award Best Mystery-Thriller Tracefinder: Contact. A complete list with links can be found on my website "Books" page at https://kajeharper.com/books/.
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