Blog Tour: The Night Screams by Devon McCormack

First off, I’d like to thank Boy Meets Boy Reviews for having me on the blog today and for all their support throughout the years. I’m swinging by to promote my new YA novel, The Night Screams, which came out yesterday! Today, I’m sharing an exclusive excerpt from the book. It’s actually my favorite scene, so I hope you all enjoy the read!

The Night Screams

After Cal escapes a deranged kidnapper who tortured him, he doesn't even have the clothes on his back. Desperate and afraid, he breaks into a convenience store. But Jake, a clerk at the store, confronts what to him is little more than a petty thief. After a violent tussle, he knocks Cal out.

Jake encourages his Uncle Gary, the owner of the store, to report Cal to the police, but Gary can't bring himself to report a kid who was just looking to steal food. When Cal wakes, Gary asks him if he's okay. But Cal's trauma has left him mute. Instead, he has to write his experiences down, relaying the horrifying events that led him to the store. The police track down the sick man who held Cal captive, and when he confronts them with a gun, he's shot dead. However, Cal discovers that even with his captor gone, he is far from free of the nightmare he endured.

Gary and his wife welcome Cal into their home, determined to help him heal. Jake doesn't trust Cal, and he isn't afraid to say so. But buried beneath Jake's disapproval might be the person who can help Cal recover from the terrifying experience that continues to haunt him.

Exclusive Excerpt

RIPPLES FORMED where Jake’s green-and-orange plastic bait smacked into the water’s surface.
“Just like that,” Jake said.
Easy for you to say.
Jake had tried to show Cal how to use the open-faced fishing reel for nearly ten minutes, but Cal wasn’t having much luck.
They floated in a small powder-blue-painted boat just a few yards from the shore of this other pond, which was placed in a clearing, seemingly in the middle of the woods. When they’d returned from the store, he and Jake had changed into some of Jake’s old clothes—ones they could get dirty. Jake’s muscles stretched the green tee he wore. The bottom of his jeans, the knees stained with dirt, stopped nearly half a foot before his ankles. Cal fit his better, but he resented wearing a tee, as it didn’t conceal the marks that reminded him of the painful darkness.
He tried to cast again. The bait fell into the boat.
“Shit.” As he reeled his line back in, so did Jake.
“Okay, just watch this,” Jake said. He demonstrated as he spoke. “You pull back like this and press the reel back like this, keeping the string in your finger like so… until you… release.”
The bait flew through the air and arched over the water, demonstrating a skillful throw Cal knew he couldn’t emulate. But he’d try.
He pulled his pole back.
“Wait, wait,” Jake said. He set his pole on the bottom of the boat. He crouched and crawled over to Cal until he was right before him. Grabbing his arm, he pulled it down. “To the side, like this.” He moved Cal’s arm to show him how it should look. “See?”
Where Jake touched his arm, goose bumps rushed across his flesh. As innocent as the fishing trip had seemed up to that point, he couldn’t help but wonder if Jake had calculated this moment so he could put some moves on him.
It made him think of Jyre and the moment in the dorm when Cal realized he hadn’t really wanted help with the GED after all.
That’s ridiculous. He’s just trying to help you, you idiot.
“Okay, okay, I got it,” Cal said, pulling away from his grip.
Jake’s gaze shifted, as if he knew why Cal had rejected him so quickly. He was quiet, incredibly quiet, and Cal knew why.
“You know I wasn’t meaning anything by that.”
He headed back to his seat on the boat.
“I know,” Cal lied.
“I was just trying to show you…. Never mind.”
Awkward silence.
Cal attempted a throw, but his bait dropped less than a foot from the boat.
“Shit,” he said.
Jake didn’t respond to the failed attempt, just picked up his pole and started reeling it in. Cal reeled his in too.
His attitude saddened Cal. This was going to be just like his experience with Jyre.
“So… you ever have a girlfriend?” Jake asked.
“No.” His reply was curt. He wondered if Jake was trying to get him to admit he liked guys so he could use it as a reason for them to do something.
Jake reeled his line in a bit.
“I’m not saying this to be mean, but you seem kinda faggy.”
You did not just say that!
“I’m just saying.” His words were harsh, as if he was trying to get under Cal’s skin.
“I appreciate it.”
Cal hoped Jake’s cruelty would end there, but the glare Jake shot him made him think otherwise.
“So what is it?” Jake asked.
“What’s what?”
“You fuck girls or what?”
Cal blushed at his abrupt and unnecessary use of the word fuck.
“Maybe I just don’t like you.”
Jake turned away.
I didn’t mean that. Just stop being a dick.
Jake’s forearm tensed, as if he was putting pressure on his fist, which rested against the bottom of the boat.
Is he gonna beat me up over this? He recalled Jyre’s violent reaction to his rejection. Considering how violent Jake had been when they’d first encountered each other, it seemed like he could snap just as easily.
“I said I was sorry about all that shit when I first met you,” Jake said.
Is that what he thinks this is about?
“Whatever. You’re so fucking weird anyway. Fucking come here, don’t fucking talk forever.”
Cal’s face flashed with heat. “Why are you bringing that up?”
“I’m sorry. Does the freak have something to say?” His reel locked as the bait clicked against the eye of his pole.
“You don’t have to be an asshole. Jesus, you wonder why I don’t like you, but you can’t be nice to a guy for five seconds.”
“I don’t wonder why you don’t like me. All that shit when I kissed you, I was just worked up about Luce. Who the fuck could like a pasty, scrawny thing like you? And crazy too?” He cast his line again. “You might as well get a few cats and take up a hobby.”
“That’s a shitty thing to say.”
Jake didn’t acknowledge his response.
Cal quieted and set his pole on the bottom of the boat. “Can we just paddle back to shore?”
“Fuck off. If you want to go back, you can swim.”
“You’re a fucking asshole,” Cal said. “I wasn’t gonna say anything, but you fucking deserve it. When you kissed me the first time, I thought, ‘Whatever. It was a rough day.’ But then you kept pushing, and what about Mallory? Do you even give a shit about her feelings? You’re such an asshole to think that you were just gonna do all this behind her back. I was just supposed to go along with it? As what? As your dirty little secret?”
Jake cringed, staring at him as if he didn’t understand what Cal was talking about, though Cal knew he must have.
“Mallory?” he asked. “She’s not my girlfriend.”
Cal’s face flashed with heat again.
“Fuck you!”
“Seriously. She’s not.”
“That night at the fire, she was all over you. She’s always all over you.”
“That’s just us hanging out. She fucking knows I’m gay.”
“Bullshit. She was talking about how much she likes you and how she had gone out of her way to talk to you and even made herself look like an idiot.”
“Yeah… that’s why she felt so stupid. Because I turned out to be gay. Keith is my ex.”
“Keith… who’s taking Kendra to prom?”
Jake glanced around, seemingly in disbelief. “Have you never heard of gay guys taking girls to prom?”
The heat that surged to Cal’s face this time wasn’t from anger but embarrassment. Had he been wrong about everything?
“Oh,” he said awkwardly.
“Is that what all this has been about? ’Cause you thought I was with her?”
Cal’s thoughts swirled with confusion. He tried to think of another reason he was mad at Jake. He’d been an asshole, for one, but that was only because he was mad that Cal hadn’t liked him back, which was only because Cal thought he was with Mallory. Suddenly the very things that held him back had vanished, and Jake was available and wanted him. But after this argument, would he still want him?
“Um… maybe,” Cal admitted as he continued sorting through the past few weeks.
Jake smirked. He set his pole back down and made his way across the boat to Cal.
What’s he going to do?
Jake stared into his eyes and moved closer.
Cal’s confusion evaporated as his body surged with heat.
Jake lunged at him, his lips warm against Cal’s as hot breath rushed from his nostrils and swept across Cal’s cheek.
Prickles crawled across Cal’s skin in waves. His dick shifted against his leg.
Jake wrapped his arms around him and forced him close. His forcefulness caused Cal to lose his balance, and he fell back, Jake falling with him. They hit the side of the boat so that it tipped and dumped them in the water. As they submerged, Jake released Cal, who paddled about until his head resurfaced.
Jake swam beside him.
“Oh shit,” Jake said, his eyes wide as he gazed at the capsized boat.
Cal started for the boat when Jake grabbed his arm and pulled him back to him. “It’s not going anywhere,” he said, kissing him again.
As they kissed, they swam to the shore, just a few yards away. When they reached it, they crawled out of the pond. Mossy mud slid beneath Cal’s palms as he crawled backward. He felt something hard, which quickly pushed from under his hand. His glance revealed it had been a turtle, which swam into the pond, disappearing as it descended deeper and deeper into the water.
Jake crawled forward, over him, planting kisses as water trickled off his hair and showered onto Cal’s face. Cal’s legs were still submerged in the shallow pond water as they gave up their efforts to move farther. They kissed frenziedly, as if at any moment someone might come along and pull them apart. Now that Cal knew he could kiss Jake without shame or regret, he took advantage of the opportunity, seizing it, imprisoning it for his selfish consumption. He moved his fingers through the ridges on Jake’s back, the barrier of his shirt paining him, feeling like too great a distance between them.
Jake grabbed the hem of Cal’s shirt and forced it up, peeling it from his flesh. They parted their kiss as he removed the obstruction.
What are we doing?

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About Devon McCormack:

Devon McCormack spends most of his time hiding in his lair, adventuring in paranormal worlds with his island of misfit characters. A good ole Southern boy, McCormack grew up in the Georgian suburbs with his two younger brothers and an older sister. At a very young age, he spun tales the old fashioned way, lying to anyone and everyone he encountered. He claimed he was an orphan. He claimed to be a king from another planet. He claimed to have supernatural powers. He has since harnessed this penchant for tall tales by crafting whole worlds where he can live out whatever fantasy he chooses.

A gay man himself, McCormack focuses on gay male characters, adding to the immense body of literature that chooses to represent and advocate gay men's presence in media. His body of work ranges from erotica to young adult, so readers should check the synopses of his books before purchasing so that they know what they're getting into.

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