AUTHOR: Deborah Kreiser
AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult
GENRE: Contemporary LGBT
WORD COUNT: 60,174 words
ROMEO AND JULIET with HOUSE OF CARDS twist. Paris seems like the perfect son for an aspiring Republican Presidential candidate, except Paris has a secret: it’s not Julia he wants, but her forbidden boyfriend.
FIRST 250 WORDS:
I took a deep breath to steady my nerves. Expensive perfume, aged whiskey, and leather paneling—the room smelled like money, like all of these events I attended alongside my dad. He enjoyed being known as the sympathetic widower who single-handedly raised me to be “The Success I Am Today,” so I was always trotted out for the high-profile gigs.
Focusing on my role as official sidekick, I surveyed the scene from the top of the ballroom stairs and caught my first glimpse of him mingling below: Montae Romero was pure hotness, sharply contrasting with the older, fleshier crowd. I couldn’t ignore the heat rising in my cheeks and the sudden twist in my stomach; part dread, part anticipation, and part something I couldn’t—wouldn’t—name.
I struggled to compose myself and straightened my tie again. My dad brushed by, the odor of his overpriced cologne distracting me from my reverie. His aide, Sam, standing at attention, asked, “Ready, Mr. Secretary?”
Picking at imaginary lint on my sleeve, Dad examined me one last time, then nodded and gave a thumbs-up. “Born ready, Sam.” He let out his trademark guffaw, strutting in his custom-made designer tuxedo and Italian shoes. Music boomed from speakers hidden around the room, while lights glistened off the beadwork on the women’s fancy gowns.
Carefully, I trained my eyes away from that spot below where I knew Montae had last been standing. He was forbidden fruit in more ways than one.