Book Title: Year of the Jackal
Author and Publisher: Abby Kaitz
Release Date: February 10, 2023
Genre: Contemporary MM romance; Romantic Comedy; New Adult
Tropes: Enemies to lovers, opposites attract
Themes: Taking risks, friendship, multicultural romance
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 73 000 words/ 292 pages
It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.
- Find investors for his VR startup
- Curb his pranking habit
- Get Bramburgh University’s star basketball player to fall in love with him
- Chase his dreams in Silicon Valley?
- Or take a chance on his growing feelings for Aaron?
Tonight went against the lunar calendar.
Max Trellis-Tan had approximately 1,380 seconds left to live. That sounded much longer than the twenty-or-so minutes he actually had. Because his legs were starting to feel like marshmallows trying to cut through cement. All that time wasted on strength training. It didn’t even prepare him for this—this—whatever the heck was happening to him right now.
He stole a glance over his shoulder. Drunken bodies teetered out of his way, laughing. They laughed again, louder, and that was when Max knew the giant chasing him was closing in.
1,200 seconds left.
It suddenly occurred to him that he could simply run into one of these houses on Greek Row. Safety in numbers and all that. Except the giant was bulldozing his way through the crowded sidewalk, and Max was not enough of an idiot to think he wouldn’t do the same in a house full of even more drunks. The smart thing to do was to keep running.
Something was blocking the sidewalk a couple of yards away. Max gave his legs an extra push and jumped over the recycling bin that had been recommissioned as some sort of ill-conceived beer pong table. Plastic cups and cheap beer spilled in his wake.
“Watch it, Jackie Chan!” The sound of high fives and hollering. “That Asian kid can run. Hey, Chan, can you get us some egg rolls?”
Even with the giant just strides away from pouncing, Max had enough clarity of mind to yell: “The egg rolls in this town are atrocious!”
He pushed past another group of students, ignoring the wasted frat bro who fell over after getting (accidentally!) elbowed by Max. Oops. Well, that guy wasn’t on the verge of losing his life tonight. Behind him, the growl of the giant bounding closer. It had an advantage. Those long legs: the pride of Bramburgh University.
It would take another three minutes to reach the corner of Pemaquid Avenue and Butterfirth Lane. Once there, it was a straight shot to Keesby Hall. Max patted his back pocket for his student ID; still there. Just a matter of whipping it out fast enough once he got to his dorm. And then he’d lock the growling giant out and do an annoying celebratory dance as the giant crushed rocks between his fingers or whatever it was that angry people did.
Anger was such a foreign feeling. Like having water inside your ear. Even now, being chased by a vicious giant, finding himself in a situation that wasn’t entirely his fault (“But it technically was,” Zach would say), Max wasn’t mad. He wasn’t even scared. This was what college was all about: making strategically arbitrary decisions and feeling the rush of it pound at your ears and fill your heart with something close to invincibility—
He fell to the ground.
“Shit, Libby! You just totally cracked his head open with Greg’s lacrosse stick!”
“Oh. My. Godzilla! Hey, are you okaaay? Are you aliiive?”
“He’s super cute. We should take him home and nurse him back to health. Like Florence Nightingale. Libby, we can finally have a threesome!”
“Are you aliiive?”
Max opened his eyes and immediately started running again. He didn’t get five feet before a pair of plywood-like arms circled his chest and tackled him back to the ground. This time, it hurt. Concrete was unforgiving a second time. An ant ventured near his nose then stopped, stroking its antennae as if preparing for the feast of Max’s impending carcass. A mouth came down right against his ear, panting. Large, cold hands flipped him over and Max found himself staring into the eyes of the giant.
The movies had it all wrong.
Your life didn’t flash before your eyes as you’re about to die. It’s all the other little things surrounding you: the size of the moon that night; the intoxicated laughter swirling with a particular hip-hop song blasting from one of the frat houses; the purple high-tops of a girl as she perched on the shoulders of her potential one-night stand.
And the hazel eyes of the giant staring back at him. Even in the dark, they stood out like never-ending forests in autumn.
Max Trellis-Tan was quite possibly about to face death soon. Not by an axe murderer, but by a two-hundred-pound basketball player with a face that belonged to a Shakespearean hero. Gallant. And also: incredibly angry. His angel of death. “Before you kill me, can I get a kiss?” he asked.
About the Author . . .Gay romance for readers who enjoy sweet with heat, smart humor, and an ensemble cast of colorful characters.
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