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Title: Investigating Julius Drake
Author: Daisy Harris
Cover Artist: Michelle Fairbanks
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: 10/03/2016
After arriving at Seattle’s prestigious Clinton Academy, fourteen-year-old Henry Walker realizes he won’t fit in. If he’s going to run with the rich and powerful, he’ll have to hide his modest background, his lack of interest in girls, and most importantly, his fascination with his handsome but troubled classmate Julius Drake.
When Julius draws Henry into the investigation of a classmate’s suicide attempt, Henry can’t resist the case—or Julius. Soon, Henry’s not only facing the truth about his feelings for Julius, but also risking his life to unmask a social media imposter. “The Other Woman” is manipulating his classmates, searching out their vulnerabilities, and driving them to desperate actions. Julius himself is at risk, what with his callous parents threatening to send him away, and his mental health taking a beating both at school and at home.
If Henry’s going to save the day and get the boy of his dreams, he’ll have to stop worrying what everyone thinks and stop pretending to be someone he’s not. Most of all, Henry will have to be honest about who he loves.
Julius was waiting for me on the street above his house, pacing along his neighbor’s concrete wall. He was fussing around on his phone and bouncing in place like he couldn’t wait to get going. I couldn’t imagine what kind of parents he must have that he could wander the sidewalk close to midnight with no one caring.
“You’re late.” He hurried over to me, dragging his bike away from the wall.
I panted. “My mom was awake when I came home from the movie.”
“No matter. I’m sure the party is in full swing by now. No point in getting there early when everyone’s sober.” His cheeks were flushed, and his speech quick and frantic.
My own blood rushed to the surface too, climbing like an itch up my neck. Being close to him was like being shot through with electricity. I wanted to ride to the ends of the earth with him, and jump off docks together. Anything to keep up the sweet rush I felt in his presence.
“It’s in Mount Baker, so not far.” Julius climbed onto a fancy hybrid with a leather seat like something out of an old movie.
“I’ll follow you.” I mounted my ten-speed and pedaled after him. There were a few hills on the way there, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Soon we were streaming down the very road Hal had challenged me to race on the first day of school.
Every time a car passed, I worried they’d hit us. Julius was almost invisible in his black jacket and gray bike, and I couldn’t have been much better in navy blue. We were like night and shadow, swerving up streets and popping over sidewalks. I huffed, catching up so we could ride side by side. “So, are we actually invited to this party?”
“Of course not.” Julius sat back on his seat, riding without handlebars.
“Then how are we going to—”
“Turn here.” The path through the trees narrowed, then led uphill. I stood on my pedals, legs screaming as we climbed.
“Roy’s place is up ahead.” Julius slowed and then stopped near a retaining wall.
Halfway down the block, cars were parked densely and a couple of people loitered in front of a modest house. How were we going to slip into the party without any bushes or trees to hide us?
“We’re going to have to approach from the side,” Julius said like he’d read my thoughts. He scurried along the next door neighbor’s house, head low to avoid the windows.
“Are you serious?” From the look of the potted plants, the neighbor was a grandma who knitted blankets for her cats. “We’re trespassing,” I hissed.
“Shush.” Julius swatted me.
We met a wooden fence between properties. From there I spied Roy’s neighbors in the living room with the TV still on. One call to the police and we’d be busted. “This is crazy. We’re going to get caught.”
“Will you please work on solutions instead of pointing out problems?” Julius whispered. “If I’d wanted to be scolded, I would have asked Bethany.”
I frowned, hurt that he’d consider it.
Julius crouched, hiding while he scanned the backyard. “There’s a chain-link section over there. That should be scalable. Think you can climb it?”
“Yeah. Of course.” I hurried to the back of the yard and grabbed the bar at the top. After hooking a toe into the chain-link it was easy enough to hoist myself over.
Julius followed after me. He landed like a cat, low to the ground and almost silent.
“What, did you go to spy school?” I asked.
“No. But I did five years of ballet.” He took off, jogging through the wooded section that separated the park from the house, hiding behind trees as he went.
I followed, and eventually we slipped alongside the house to where boxes and gardening supplies were stacked against the siding.
“Okay, genius.” I gulped air. “What now?”
“We peep through windows.” Julius grabbed a bucket and turned it upside down. Then he climbed to the windowsill. “What did you think we were going to do? Plant military-grade surveillance equipment?”
Annoyed, I found a couple of crates and climbed to the windowsill. I glanced inside, then dropped below the sill like a sniper.
“Okay.” Julius checked the window next to mine, looking into the broad living room. “What do you see?”
I didn’t know most of these people, and the only one I’d recognized in the room was Todd. Like always, his hair was coiffed to perfection. And he wore a tank top to show off his arms. “I dunno. I guess Todd and some of his friends. I don’t see Roy.”
“I thought I told you to follow all these people online?”
“Hey,” I snapped. “I’m not getting paid here. I followed the ones I knew.” Each of them had friends lists in the hundreds and followers on Instagram nearing a thousand. Learning the names of everyone seemed hopeless.
“Fine. Tell me what people are wearing. I’ll make the connections.”
“And you can’t do this yourself because . . .?”
“I want another set of eyes.” Julius ground his teeth, his gaze darting everywhere.
“Fine. Red T-shirt is flirting with purple tank top, but it doesn’t seem like she’s into it.”
“Good. I concur.” Julius glanced inside. “That’s Tim Carney, by the way. And she’s Tracey Weeks.”
How Julius knew all the names of people in his school when he wasn’t even on social networking was a mystery to me. Clinton wasn’t huge, but the high school contained eight hundred people, six hundred of whom weren’t in Julius’s grade.
Julius shook out his hand like he had a cramp. Then he cracked his knuckles. “Saul Goldstein is alone. I’ve never seen him date anyone.”
“And have you watched?” I had to ask, since Julius always seemed supremely uninterested in other people.
“I don’t watch. I pay attention.”
I rolled my eyes. That seemed like a pretty stupid distinction.
To celebrate the release of Investigating Julius Drake, one lucky winner will receive a $30 Starbucks Gift Card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 8, 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
Born into the psychedelic wonder that was the seventies, Daisy Harris has had an interesting life so far. She’s been to Catholic school and Ramones concerts, danced to MC Hammer and Flo Rida, made the honor roll and Phi Beta Kappa, survived cholera, faced bed bugs, and she’s been a hair’s breadth from shipwreck twice. (Three times, if you count sea kayaks!)
Daisy has been a lifelong reader, devouring romance, young adult, urban fantasy, and nonfiction alike. In her professional life, she’s written medical copy and edited scientific papers. However, since 2012, she’s devoted her energy to writing gay romance full-time. That’s okay, because now on the weekends she reads medical studies for fun.
As far as Daisy’s concerned, the best things in life happen by accident. Though she’s gotten better at planning over the years, she still writes, lives, and plays by the seat of her pants. Her books are a happy mix of mysteries, romantic comedies, and coming-of-age stories, more often than not inspired by the great films of the 1980s.
Daisy lives in Seattle in a house full of dogs and children. When she’s not writing gay fiction, she can be found riding her exercise bike and testing the outer boundaries of her food processor’s potential. Every once in a while, she goes out to pay homage to the party gods of her youth—and maybe to find a little trouble.
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