I had something else planned for today and then realized...
Found at the Bookstore releases this next Wednesday!!
So, I thought it was appropriate to discuss all things Found at the Bookstore this week...
How do Book #1 and Book #2 tie together?
The Found Series:
1. Found at the Library
2. Found at the Bookstore
So, Tommy (hero from book #1) is brothers with Ryder (hero from book #2). Tommy is engaged to marry Mac. Stig (Ryder's hero is book #2) is Mac's ex-boyfriend.
And that sounds almost incestuous in the mix of friends here. But Stig and Ryder barely know one another when book #2 begins. Stig is friends with both Tommy and Mac...and because Ryder is Tommy's brother, they become part of the same circle of friends.
And that friendship is one of the reasons I love this book so dang much. This is a VERY slow burn romance. They truly become friends first. Both Ryder and Stig are very broken men and they have a lot to work through before they can become more.
Gah, I love them so much. You all know my writing. I love me some angst. And going into this, if you read book #1 then you know Ryder has some issues (don't worry...both books work as stand-alones...you wont' be confused in this book if you haven't read Found at the Library first), but I was really surprised when the guys started speaking to me at just how wounded Stig is, too. All that sarcastic wit is hiding some deep feelings.
I just love them both.
Hell, let's be truthful.
I adore all four of them...
Stig Minton is a 38 year old gallery owner. He's grown up wealthy, born to a very famous artistic mother whose art was much more demanding of her time than her son.
Stig has been the playboy his entire life. He parties hard and fucks harder.
But as he's gotten older, he's realized that he wants more. He wants that Happily Ever After that everyone else seems to get. He wants someone in his bed every night. He wants someone to be with. He craves companionship and is desperately lonely.
His problem is that he doesn't know how to connect to people on an emotional level. That's led him to some dark places...and those dark places have left their mark.
Ryder used to be brilliant and talented. His senior year in high school, he was riding high...on his way to the state championship in football and he'd already received a full-ride academic scholarship to MIT when tragedy struck. His last football game of his senior year, he took a hard tackle that left him with a traumatic brain injury. He was in a coma for three weeks and it took a year to get his limited faculties back.
Now, 8 years later, he has good days and bad. The bad days leave him bedridden with horrific migraines and he can't even remember his name. The good days are enough to torment him with memories of the way life used to be.
He's only 26 years old and facing a lifetime of living a half-life that he simply doesn't want. But he promised his big brother Tommy that he wouldn't try suicide...again.
Yeah, Ryder isn't in a happy place most of the time.
The Art and the Research...
If you've read the first book, Found at the Library, then you know that art plays a huge part into these stories. Found at the Bookstore is no different. Like Tommy, Ryder is an artist, although it's not something he discovered until after his brain injury.
His recovery, such that it was, took a long time. For almost a year after his TBI, Ryder was non-vocal. Tommy bought him a camera to help him interact with the world.
That camera and the photographs he takes has developed into another art form that Ryder can only explore when his brain is glitching (what he calls it when his brain goes "offline").
It's a really interesting and bizarre phenomenon. The reasons for it are explained in the book, but the inspiration for that came from my research. Traumatic Brain Injuries are difficult just because the brain is such a complex organ. And the fact of the matter is, that no two brains work exactly alike. TBI's are the same way. They affect everyone differently.
One book that I found very enlightening was this one...
The Ghost in my Brain by Clark Elliott, PhD
Preorder Links and an Excerpt...
Ryder Garrett watched as Mac, his brother’s boyfriend, got down on one knee in front of the bookstore crowd and proposed to his brother, Tommy. Gasps sounded out from the crowd. Happiness...tinged with something a little sadder...tightened his throat. Mac was awesome for his brother. In the past year, he’d watched the two of them flourish in their love.
Ryder glared down at his wheelchair. This was not flourishing. The strength in his left side came and went, but lately, it seemed to be more absent than not. He was twenty-six years old and looking at another fifty to seventy years like this—miserable, trapped, alone...
He should be thrilled for Tommy’s happiness. Instead, he was making it all about himself. Shit, he was pathetic. No girl would ever want him as long as he was wallowing. Who had he become? Ryder Garrett did not wallow. He conquered. He charmed. He owned his own happiness despite life’s bumps and trials. He overcame. At least, that was what everyone thought who listened to him speak on his inspirational circuit.
That was the only thing that had kept him going the last eight years since a football accident and a traumatic brain injury sidelined his life. Inspiring others was his life work now. But his ever-cheerful outlook on life was waning, more and more, day by day.
The happy, congratulating group around his brother and fiancé was finally beginning to thin where Ryder could maneuver his wheelchair around the crowded bookstore. He headed toward the front where the two guys were all smiles.
Tommy met his gaze while he nodded and shook hands with the trio of men talking to him and Mac. Happiness literally glowed from him.
Ryder gave a small wave and signaled he would meet Tommy over at the coffee shop. Ryder detoured to that side of the store. But as he rolled up to the crowded, small cafe, he sighed. Never mind. He didn’t need coffee that bad.
With the crowds here to see his brother’s fiancé, Mac, a famous science fiction author, there was no way he’d get in there with his bulky wheelchair. His shoulders drooped.
But then a voice whispered across his ear, “Salted caramel latte, right?”
Stig. He hadn’t even seen Tommy and Mac’s friend here, but it made sense that he’d come tonight.
He turned to take in the friendly expression of one of Mac’s closest friends. Stig Minton was one of those guys. He had a personality bigger than life echoed by his shockingly bleach-blond hair and quick wit. He was always ready with a sarcastic or suggestive remark, but Ryder got the feeling there was a lot more behind that easy smile and attitude than Stig let on.
“That would be great. Thanks.” Ryder twisted his hips to grab his wallet and shoved his planner into the pocket on the side of his wheelchair. “Here, let me give you some money.”
Stig waved him off. “No, don’t worry about it. I got it. Why don’t you go grab us that free table before someone else claims it?” He gestured toward the empty table in the corner.
Ryder hadn’t seen the empty table off to the side with all the people standing around. He began rolling that direction when a hipster dude skirted around his wheelchair and slid into one of the empty chairs.
Just perfect. Ryder scowled at the jerk for a moment, but the guy ignored the force of his glare. And he couldn’t blame him. Seriously, it wasn’t like he could be intimidating when he was in his chair like this.
Unfortunately, there was nowhere else for him to go. There was simply no room to maneuver in here with the crowd. People repeatedly jostled his chair as they tried to slide around the bulky piece with mumbled apologies. Ryder gritted his teeth in annoyance as another person bumped him. He shouldn’t have come, no matter how much he wanted to be here for Tommy and Mac’s moment.
Ryder sucked in a breath as telltale spots began to encroach on his vision, a precursor to what was sure to be one hell of a migraine. He closed his eyes and rubbed, hoping that stress had made him imagine the tiny black dots. But nope, when he opened his eyes, they were still there, taking up even more of his vision. He had to get out of here before it hit him full force with all the fun of puking and the disappearance of his ability to think straight—or as straight as his mind ever worked anymore.
He frantically looked around for a familiar face, but he didn’t see anyone, so he began pushing his way toward the doors. He knocked into people as he went, but he was past the point of caring.
The pain finally slammed into him, swift and brutal, and he still hadn’t made it to the door. This had snuck up on him too quickly. He wasn’t prepared. He needed help. He fumbled for his phone, but along with the fog of pain came the inability to make his fingers hold his phone.
He dropped it, and someone walking past kicked it. It disappeared beneath a bookcase. He closed his eyes and swallowed back the nausea.
He had no idea how much time had passed when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Ryder, are you okay,” a deep voice rumbled with concern.
He looked up into a stranger’s face. He should know this man, but with his head in the migraine fog, nothing connected.
“Home. I need”—he swallowed against his thick, dry tongue—“to go home.”
“Okay.” The gorgeous man with bleach-blond hair and dark, concerned eyes cupped his shoulder.
Ryder couldn’t get his brain to process any of this. He could see the guy’s worry but didn’t understand the reason for it.
“Let me just find your brother,” the man said.
“No!” Ryder didn’t know why it mattered. The pain in his head thrummed with a beat so loud it was hard to think, to process. He couldn’t quite access that part of his brain anymore, but something about today was important. He wouldn’t ruin it for Tommy...not again. “Can text. Home. Please.”
His ability to vocalize slipped further and further away from his grasp.
Okay, so that's it from me today.
Don't forget, Found at the Bookstore releases next week on Wednesday. I hope you all are as excited as me. The reviewers are loving it. So, if you're still debating it, go check out the Goodreads page.
Have a great week everyone!
I'll be back next Friday with a Friday Five post all about my new way for planning...and introducing you to my new bullet journaling system.