The Ways Things Go by @rozripleywrites is a Spring Break Bookapalooza pick #LGBTQ #romance #giveaway
Title: The Ways Things Go
Author: Roz Ripley
Genre: LGBTQ, LGBTQ romance
Luke is a bisexual boy with a rough past. He has dealt with a lot of abuse, causing issues that follow him into adulthood. As he navigates through the hardships the world throws at him, Luke must learn to trust himself and others. When love enters his life, he finds himself struggling to accept that he, too, deserves good things.
Luke parked on the side of the street and spotted Jesse waiting for him on a bench. He stepped out of the car with his baseball bat and went over to him. Jesse stood up to greet him. “Hey! Wow, you look exactly the same,” he said.
“I dunno. I’ve only seen you in the night scene. I thought maybe you’d dress differently, but no. You’re wearing the same thing you always do.”
The thing Luke always wore was his jacket, a t-shirt, and jeans. Jesse was dressed in a floral pattern shirt that exposed a bit of his stomach, which was clearly designed for women, and a pair of light blue capris. “You look kinda different.”
Jesse smiled. “Good different?”
Yes. “I dunno.” He noticed something slung over Jesse’s shoulders. “What’s that?” he asked, pointing to it.
“Oh, this is my camera!” Jesse said happily, patting the camera bag affectionately. “What’s the bat for?”
“You said people call you stuff in the streets.”
“This is for if that happens,” Luke explained, swinging the bat back and forth a bit.
Jesse stared at him blankly. “You’re gonna…hit people with it?”
“Are you serious?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“No, no, no. You can’t do that.”
“Oh, I can. I can.”
“No. I won’t let you.”
“You can’t stop me.”
“Go put it back in your car.”
“Don’t worry, okay? I only hit people who look like they can take it.”
Jesse sighed heavily. “Just leave it, please. I’d feel better if you did.”
“Please.” He put his hands together and pouted. “Please.”
Luke wondered why he was so weak for this boy. “Ugh, fine! But if someone calls you something, I’m gonna punch them in their fucking face.”
“Thanks, babe,” Jesse said sweetly, then watched Luke go back to his car and put away the baseball bat. Luke put his hands in his pockets, and they walked down the sidewalk toward the stores on the other end of the street. Jesse put his hand out to stop Luke in his tracks. “Look,” he said, pointing to the ground.
“What?” He looked at the spot Jesse was pointing at. There were cracks in the cement, and growing from the cracks was a single yellow flower.
“See that flower?”
“What does that make you feel?”
Luke was confused. “What?”
“The flower growing through the cement. What does it make you feel?”
“It makes me sad that there aren’t that many flowers around. It seems lonely, kind of like how you can feel lonely in the city despite being surrounded by so many people.”
“But it also amazes me that a single flower was able to make a home in a place where it doesn’t quite belong. Life finds a way. It’s beautiful.” He took out his camera and snapped a photo of it, then kept walking.
Luke followed alongside and wondered how he had gotten all that from a flower. He saw something move in the corner of his vision and turned his head to look at it. A tail swished behind a nearby trash bin. He stopped walking, and Jesse looked at him questioningly. Carefully and slowly, he walked toward the trash bin and knelt down beside it. A black cat lay there in the sun. Jesse came to kneel next to him. “Oh my God, look at him,” Luke said excitedly.
Jesse didn’t look at the cat. He just stared at Luke, who had a big smile on his face. “Yeah,” he said, wearing his own smile.
Luke reached into his inner pocket and pulled out a container. He poured some of its contents onto the sidewalk. “Come here, kitty,” Luke cooed softly. He seemed to have piqued the cat’s interest, because it got up and sauntered over to the stuff Luke had poured onto the ground. The cat smelled it, then lay down and started rubbing itself all over it.
“Is that catnip?”
“Yeah,” Luke said, reaching over and petting the cat with a gentle hand. “He likes it.”
He carries catnip, Jesse thought. That’s adorable. “He does.”
“Isn’t he cute?”
“Yeah, he is.” The sound of the camera’s shutter made both the cat and Luke’s head snap toward Jesse. Luke grabbed the camera and shot to his feet, scaring the cat away. He lifted it above his head and was going to smash it on the ground, but Jesse pleaded, “No, don’t break it!” The desperation in his voice snapped Luke out of his rage, and he quickly brought the camera back down and handed it to Jesse. He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked away, embarrassed by how he had reacted. “I-I’m sorry. I can’t delete it because it’s not digital. I guess I could take the roll out if you—”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, just…warn me next time, okay?”
“Okay. I’m sorry.”
They kept walking, and when Luke glanced over at Jesse, he was wearing a guilty sort of expression. He didn’t like it, but he didn’t know what to say to make it go away, so he just stared forward, feeling a bit of heartache.
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If money were no object and we weren’t in a pandemic, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?
I would go to The Cosmic Campground in New Mexico. It’s the darkest spot in the USA, where no light pollution is obscuring the stars. I know it’s not the most lavish choice, as it is free to camp there, but I love the night sky so much and I would love to experience it’s full beauty.
Why is your featured book a must-read this spring?
My book has a lot of rough subjects and dark subject matter, but it’s more than just that. It’s a story about love and healing and learning to trust yourself and others. I put my heart in soul into this book, and honestly it felt so personal that I didn’t think I would ever share it with the world.
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Runs April 1 – 30, 2021.
Drawing will be held on May 3, 2021.
Roz has been making up characters their whole life and writing since they were fourteen. Growing up, they realized that there weren’t as many books with LGBTQ main characters as there were of books with straight and cisgender main characters. They started writing stories with entire casts of LGBTQ characters with the hope of adding more representation to literature. They hope to reach other LGBTQ people with their writing and make them feel seen.