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Title: Looking For Group
Author: Alexis Hall
Cover Artist: Simoné
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Humor/Comedy, New Adult
Release Date: 08/29/2016
So, yeah, I play Heroes of Legend, y’know, the MMO. I’m not like obsessed or addicted or anything. It’s just a game. Anyway, there was this girl in my guild who I really liked because she was funny and nerdy and a great healer. Of course, my mates thought it was hilarious I was into someone I’d met online. And they thought it was even more hilarious when she turned out to be a boy IRL. But the joke’s on them because I still really like him.
And now that we’re together, it’s going pretty well. Except sometimes I think Kit—that’s his name, sorry I didn’t mention that—spends way too much time in HoL. I know he has friends in the guild, but he has me now, and my friends, and everyone knows people you meet online aren’t real. I mean. Not Kit. Kit’s real. Obviously.
Oh, I’m Drew, by the way. This is sort of my story. About how I messed up some stuff and figured out some stuff. And fell in love and stuff.
An hour later, he was anxiously circling the designated Starbucks, trying to psych himself up to go in.
To be honest, he couldn’t figure out what scared him most: the possibility that he wouldn’t fancy Kit, or the possibility that he would.
Finally, he pulled himself together and walked through the door. It wasn’t particularly crowded in there, and he scanned the tables looking for . . . what? Someone ordinary and blondish and reading a book.
There was only one guy reading. Or, at least, only one guy reading a paper book.
But if Drew’d had to describe him, he wouldn’t have gone with ordinary.
He’d been expecting some kind of hopeless geek-boy. But the young man at the table was, well . . . elegant, somehow, his chin propped on one long-fingered hand as he read.
Drew was really beginning to wish he’d worn a shirt.
Kit was wearing a shirt—a dark-blue one with embroidery down the sleeves—and his hair was blondish, as he’d said, but it was a rich, dark gold, slightly curly at the ends, as if he had his own personal stylist hanging out backstage.
Basically, he looked like a catalogue model, or the popular one in a boyband. Kind of slim and lean and clean-cut. The sort of guy you could take home to meet your mum.
He glanced up, saw Drew, and gave him a slightly quizzical, slightly hopeful expression.
And Drew had no choice but to walk over there and pretend he wasn’t totally outclassed.
“Solace?” he said. Shit. “I mean, uh, Kit, right?”
The boy nodded and, slowly, a little bit shyly, smiled. It was a good smile. Partially because it was a touch hesitant, like he didn’t give it to just anyone. “Hi, Drew.”
Drew panicked. “I’m just going to grab myself a coffee. Do you want anything?”
Kit nodded towards the mug already on the table. “I’m fine.”
Right. Okay. Stupid question. “Be right back.”
There was a longish queue, which was sort a relief and sort of not. It gave him time to freak out at a safe distance while he was pretending to pick a muffin. But he was still close enough that he was very aware of Kit, well, being there. Being a real, physical person, and not just a bundle of internet. And he wasn’t sure whether he was supposed to be looking, or not looking, or smiling, or waving, or what.
Things were so much easier on a rock in a cave under a swamp.
He got himself a latte and, since he’d been staring at them, a white chocolate and raspberry muffin, and mooched back to sit down.
“Uh, hi,” he said. “Uh, again. Uh, how are you?”
Kit put his book aside. “Honestly? I’m still a bit nervous.”
For some reason that really helped. “Shit, me too.”
They grinned at each other, kind of awkward, kind of not.
“We missed you at the raid on Monday.”
“Sorry. I’m trying to get this water to look right. It’s even less interesting than it sounds. Who MTed?”
“Morag, and Bjorn brought his tanking alt. So that was fun.”
Kit looked so rueful that Drew had to laugh. “How’d it go?”
“Oh, it was fine, he OTs for us all the time. He’s just very Bjorn about it.” His voice slipped into a fairly effective imitation of Bjorn’s self-satisfied drawl. “Don’t worry, this was my main back in vanilla. Did I tell you about the time I soloed Dreadwing after my entire raid died of being noobs?”
Drew grinned. “I dare you to do that in front of him.”
“Gosh, no, he’d shard all my loot for a month.” He paused for a moment. “Also, I think it might make him genuinely sad. He’s quite sensitive really.”
“What, Bjorn?” Drew blinked. “Like . . . Bjorn Bjorn?”
“Well, you don’t carry on that way if you don’t care what people think of you.”
“Oh yeah, I’ve got a mate like that. He’s kind of a dick as well, but I guess he gets away with it because he’s kind of dick at you, not to you.” Remembering Monday, Drew grimaced. “At least, most of the time.”
“That’s a pretty subtle distinction.” Kit gave him a slightly teasing look over the rim of his mug, and Drew felt somewhere between flustered and pleased. And had no idea how to look back.
“I mean,” he went on, “Sanee’s not nasty to anyone. He just kind of is who he is, and sometimes that’s a bit annoying. But if you tell him he’s being annoying, he’ll try to be less annoying.” He remembered Monday again. “At least, most of the time.”
“Truly, that is the meaning of friendship.”
Drew gave him a mock scowl. “Are you taking the piss?”
“Well, yes and no. Mainly yes. But I also think there’s something really nice about having people you can be yourself with, but who you can trust to tell you when yourself is being a dick.”
“I can’t really imagine you being a dick.”
“Hey, I could be a dick if I wanted.”
It was probably a bad moment to suddenly notice that they were saying the word dick a lot, and Drew felt himself blushing for no reason. “So how’s the book?”
To celebrate the release of Looking for Group, one lucky winner will receive their choice of 3 ebooks from Alexis Hall’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 3, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
About the Author
Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.
He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.
He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.
He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.
Connect with Alexis:
- Website: quicunquevult.com
- Blog: quicunquevult.com/blog
- Twitter: @quicunquevult
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/alexishall
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
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