Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Kirby Quinlan for stopping by today.
Title: All That You Can’t Leave Behind
Author: Kirby Quinlan
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Kirby Quinlan
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
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?
At times sexy, laugh-out-loud funny, and tragically heartbreaking; this erotic tale of love, loss and letting go promises to give you a front-row seat on Tailor and Brayzen’s crazy, romantic rollercoaster ride. Strap yourself in!
She enters Brayzen’s suite with the entitlement of a queen and with the attitude of a wicked sorceress. Her skin is golden brown. Her dark hair is rolled up into a seashell shape. She is adorned with expensive jewelry and dressed in a long, white coat with wide, fur lapels.
She walks with her bag dangling from her arm like she’s on the runway, her ominous heels clopping on the floor like hooves. She stops in the living room, planting her last step with a final thunk for emphasis. Placing one hand on her hip, she stands like she’s posing for a fashion designer’s sketch.
Her other arm rises up to extend a gnarled, accusatory finger toward me. Her perfect porcelain fingernail may as well have been a dagger. “You,” she says. “Get out.”
Her voice is smoky and feline; like Tina Turner mixed with Eartha Kitt, but with the slightest hint of a Brazilian-Portuguese accent. Her large, brown eyes, hooded by lids heavy with steel-blue eyeshadow, peer down to judge me.
Her face looks like a wax sculpture, with hollow cheeks sloping beneath high cheekbones. Her mouth is a cruel slit, artificially inflated by collagen. Her lip curls up as she regards me in a way you would look at an insect.
“Don’t move,” Brayzen tells me without averting his glare from the woman. He lifts himself off me and stands up, adjusting the bulge in his undies and pulling his robe back on. “It must be after midnight by now. Why are you here and not in L.A.?”
“Oh Brayzen, don’t sound so happy to see me.”
“You’re brave to barge in on me like this. Especially after what happened last time.”
“We had an agreement after last time.” Her frosty eyes cast a chill over me, then dart back to him. “It looks like you’ve forgotten.”
“Just get to the point, Mother. Tell me what you’re doing here.”
Mother. A flash of recognition comes over me. I remember reading that Wikipedia entry. Brayzen’s mom is Tatiana Barboza, the Brazilian supermodel and his dad is Declan Mapleridge, the famous British football player.
In the 1980’s, they were the most talked about couple. The envy of all. Practically royalty. But, they’re long-since divorced and she’s long-since retired from the fashion industry. She’s taken instead to becoming the full-time backseat driver of her son’s career.
“I came because I’m needed. Obviously.”
She stands there poised, proud, and frightening. But still, a withered husk of her former glory. She looks like the wreckage of a once-beautiful luxury liner that is struggling to hold itself together at the bottom of the ocean. To preserve its shape and splendor. To keep the rust and barnacles at bay. Confident that one day it will be rediscovered and returned to the surface to shine again.
“You were misinformed. Everything’s fine here,” Brayzen says. “So… You can get out now.”
Her hands clench into fists and she lets out a huff of breath. Her head pivots on her long neck to look at me. “I’d like to have a word with my son. Alone.”
“Sure,” I say, swinging my legs off the sofa and down to the floor. I start putting my shoes back on.
“No, we’re hanging out and he’s not leaving.” He turns to me. “You don’t have to leave.” I freeze, unsure of what to do. “Mom, this is Tailor,” Brayzen says with sarcasm, as if he’s introducing us at dinner. “Tailor — Mom.”
“I know who he is. Mrs. Chang told me everything.” She rolls her eyes. “Really, Brayzen. Sneaking around with a — known homosexual.”
“Um…” I cleared my throat before speaking up. “I think maybe you’ve — got the wrong idea. We’re just friends. I’m…”
“Married. Yes, I know. To a man, no less.” She smirks at Brayzen. “Can you imagine?” She locks her eyes on me and twists her face into an indignant expression. “A quick Google search told us everything we needed to know about you, Mr. Sway.”
“Oh please, Mother. You’re embarrassing yourself.”
“Why are you always trying to destroy what I’ve built for you?”
“What you’ve built? Don’t start this again. Why don’t you go ‘powder your nose’ some more?”
She clops toward him, reaching an icy hand out to stroke his head. “Brayzen, you’re my baby boy and I’ll always love you for who you are.” Her knobby fingers, bedazzled with expensive jewelry, glide over his head with all the love and warmth of Nosferatu’s shadow. “I’ve told you many times, what you do behind closed doors is your business. But out in the open, it’s a different story…”
“My door was closed.” He withdraws from her touch. “And if you plan on staying here tonight, you need to get your own room.”
She digs her heel into the floor with a clop, raising her voice. “You must understand you have to give the people what they want. Your female fan base doesn’t want to see you parading around with openly gay men!”
“We’re not parading around!”
“To women, queer is not attractive. It’s distasteful. You agreed to keep that side of yourself a secret for the time being. We’ve got enough bad publicity on our hands with this ‘exhibitionism’ scandal.”
“Didn’t you always tell me there’s no such thing as bad publicity?”
“Not when it comes to something like this.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Mother. We’re not even doing anything.”
“That’s not what it looked like when I walked in.” Brayzen breaks eye contact with her and looks down at the floor. A satisfied smirk grows across the old bat’s face. “See, you don’t have to do anything for people to make assumptions. If Mrs. Chang can see it, then anyone can. You need to learn how to play things close to the chest, my dear. That information can be valuable. Save that card for a rainy day. For a time it will work to our advantage.”
“No one saw us. There was nothing to see.”
“If you were photographed…” She lowers her voice to a condescending whisper. “All it takes is a second. The paparazzi with their long lenses. The staff with their cellphones. Social media can be ignited like a firestorm.”
“Okay, that’s it.” Brayzen shoos her away. “I’ve listened to enough.” He points to the door. “Go,” he tells her in a firm voice. “Leave us alone.”
“Fine.” She turns to leave. “But what should I tell Carly to do while you two are — hanging out?”
“Oh, don’t tell me…” His expression changes from annoyed to extremely irritated. “You brought her with you?”
“She’s right outside.”
Carly Cavalcanti is Brayzen’s public on-again, off-again girlfriend. A former Disney Channel sweetheart, she’s what’s known as an MAW, (short for Model, Actress, Whatever). Tatiana has taken a special interest in her career, attempting to force Carly on her son for years.
Their relationship has played out for the tabloids like a soap opera script. I don’t think anybody believes it’s for anything more than publicity.
Brayzen squeezes his eyes shut and slaps his forehead with his palm. “It’s the middle of the night,” he groans.
“Precisely. That’s why I invited some photographers too,” Tatiana says. “From the National Enquirer, Star, Us Weekly. As far as they know, you’ve been traveling together all weekend. It should only take a few minutes to snap some shots and then we can put all these ugly rumors to bed.”
“You know, Brayzen, it’s late. I think I’m just going to go,” I say. “Thanks for everything.”
“Yeah…” Brayzen holds his head in his hands, still staring hatefully at his mom. “That’s probably a good idea. ‘Cause I’m about to kill somebody.”
“It was, uh — nice meeting you,” I say to Tatiana with a slight sting of dishonesty in my tone.
“Are you still here?” She asks.
I breeze past them, out the front door.
Out in the hallway, the photographers are talking to Carly Cavalcanti, who looks like an evil clone of Selena Gomez. She’s understandably confused when she sees me emerge. The photographers all turn to look at me and I wave.
“I’m with housekeeping,” I tell them as I head down the hallway to my own suite.
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About the Author
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.
Ironically, Kirby’s own true love came to him in the form he least expected, when he met his female roommate and best friend, Karla. Their marriage in 2013, proved to them both that love is love. It has no boundaries, knows no gender and can’t always be defined by labels. Karla is an author as well and they live a happy life together in Portland, OR.
October 13: Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
October 14: Divine Magazine
October 15: Cia’s Stories
October 16: Wicked Faeries Tales And Reviews
October 19: A Celebration of Books
October 20: BFD Book Blog
October 21: Daydream Believer Book
October 22: MM Good Book Reviews
October 23: Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings
October 26: Hearts on Fire
October 27: Love Bytes Reviews
October 28: Prism Book Alliance
October 29: Diverse Reader
October 30: Bayou Book Junkie
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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