Tarnished: Book One
In 1915, starstruck Jack Abadie strikes out for the gilded streets of the most sinful town in the country—Hollywood. With him, he takes a secret that his country hometown would never understand.
After years of hard work and a chance invitation to a gay gentlemen's club, Jack is discovered. Soon, his talent, matinee idol good looks, and affable personality propel him to the height of stardom. But fame breeds distrust.
Meeting Wyatt Maitland turns Jack’s life upside down. He wants to be worthy of his good fortune, but old demons haunt him. Only through Wyatt's strength can Jack face that which keeps him from being the man he wants to be. Love without trust is empty.
As the 1920s roar, scandals rock the movie industry. Public tolerance of Hollywood's decadence has reached its limit. Under pressure to clean up its act, Jack’s studio issues an ultimatum. Either forsake the man he loves and remain a box office darling, or follow his heart and let his shining star fade to tarnished gold.
Since the day he’d seen Wallace Reid in The House of Silence at the Prytania, all he could think of was going to Hollywood and becoming a star. Maybe one day he’d even meet his idol.
Jack checked his pocket watch, a birthday gift from his father. The train would leave at six thirty, and with the three-hour leeway they’d allowed, they’d get to New Orleans Depot with little time to spare.
Andrew, his unwitting accomplice, would make it easier to get past his parents and out of the house, before they forced him to damn himself to eternal hell with more lies.
Jack could barely button his Sunday shirt for his trembling fingers. He donned his waistcoat and trousers, already feeling hotter than he had just out of his bath. Before he slipped into his church coat, he applied pomade to his unruly hair, then raked a comb through. He’d always admired the shine of Wallace Reid’s hair and did his best to emulate it every Sunday for church.
He ticked off another box on his mental checklist. Dressed and ready to go. He’d already hidden his meagerly supplied valise behind the barn.
He cast a gaze around the dusty, cramped attic room he and his brother had always shared. His unmade bed made him wonder how easily he’d take to another one. On impulse, he fluffed up his pillow and put it back in place. Bad enough his mother would find his farewell note propped up against it, no need for her to see the impression of his head to make her even sadder.
He so wished he could have the life he wanted without hurting those he loved, but sadly, he saw no other way. Years of working in the cane fields was no life for a guy with his ambitions.
“Emery’s here,” Andrew shouted up the stairs.
His heart leapt. Just a few more moments, and he’d be in the clear. “Coming.”
He patted his waistcoat pockets. Pocket watch in one and his life savings in the other. He walked out the door without a second thought, and down the stairs.
His sickly father, Wilfred, sat in his favorite chair, reading the newspaper as he did most every day. He’d likely head back to the cane fields after the heat of the day dissipated somewhat.
His father glanced up over his glasses when Jack entered the room. “Where you headed?”
Jack decided he wouldn’t miss his father’s gruffness. “The picture show.”
Wilfred shook his head. “You spend entirely too much time with your head in the clouds, boy.”
Predictable response and nothing he hadn’t heard a million times before. “Yes, sir.”
“You are mighty dressed up for the picture show,” his mother said from across the room. “Andrew said you’re meeting Bessie.”
“Yes, Mama,” he said, his fingers firmly crossed behind his back.
“I’m so happy to hear that. She’s a nice Catholic girl. You know we’d like to see you married soon. You’re twenty, time you settled down.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jack said, his eyes trained on the door, Emery, and freedom.
“We need more help in the fields. I ain’t gonna live forever.”
“Yes, Papa. I’ve got to go.”
His mother shouted after him as he leaped off the porch. “Dinner at six. Invite Bessie for some birthday cake.”
He waved, but didn’t answer. One less lie to cross his lips.
Buy Links: Amazon DreamSpinner Press
Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.
Musa Publishing publishes Brita’s heterosexual historical romances, including the rewritten and expanded, best-selling Sapphire Club series, each with new titles. Again, each of the titles have again hit the best-selling lists at various online vendors.
Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.
A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband's middle name, with an additional d and s.
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