A warm welcome to R. Phoenix and congratulations on your latest release.
Thank you for sharing a little about yourself with us.
The prized possession you value above all others…
My phone. That thing is my life and my security blanket. No matter where I am, I can talk to my friends, who are by and large scattered across the world. I have several hundred books so I always have something to read. I have several other apps so I can play games (though I don’t) and entertain myself.
The temptation you wish you could resist…
Buying new books when I already have a to be read list a mile long. It’s like a disease.
The book that holds everlasting resonance…
I will never, ever be able to get Nicola Haken’s Broken out of my head. I’ve been affected by books before, but James and Theo’s story impacted me on a deep level. There’s a terrible stigma surrounding mental illness, and sometimes it can be extremely isolating. It’s hard to know what it’s like on the other side. To read a book that explores the issue from both sides — afflicted and loved one — is a revelation.
The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity…
I am actually in the Master’s program for Cybersecurity Studies currently. When I left my job last year and we decided I’d go back to school, I was surprised to find out just how much it interested me. My homework sometimes takes me forever because I get sidetracked just reading about it.
The poem that touches your soul…
I write a series I’m currently in the process of (heavily) editing and re-releasing. It’s a paranormal dystopian series that I’m extremely invested in, emotionally. The poem I always go back to for it is ‘The Second Coming’ by William Butler Yeats. I can almost repeat it word for word.
The song that means the most to you…
“You Were Wrong” by Icon for Hire. It’s been my anthem for a while now as I work to do things I’ve never done before. Writing Too Close, my first contemporary romance about abuse, has been difficult for me, and sometimes I need the reminder that I’ll never get anywhere unless I try. I recently got a tattoo on the inside of my left wrist of one of the lyrics that says, “i never lost a war unless i didn’t fight it ;”
Your early recollections of writing fiction…
My mind has always been a very scary place. Just saying. Even the things I wrote when I was 11 or so had some dark themes and explored elements I probably shouldn’t have even been that aware of. *cough*
The unqualified regret you wish you could amend…
Letting people tell me that writing was pointless and that there was no future in it. I stopped writing for a long time, and I wish I hadn’t. You never get anywhere if you never try — like I said, I never lost a war unless I didn’t fight it.
The piece of wisdom you would pass onto a child…
My son is four, and the thing I try to impress upon him the most is that people are people, and love is love. Decency and kindness always have a place in the world, even if it is sometimes difficult to remember.
Too Close by R. Phoenix
Skylar Orion’s life has been complicated ever since his mother abandoned him and his sister Evie. Making ends meet seemed impossible until Tate Chandler took them in — his knight in shining armor who promised to make life about more than just surviving. But Tate is not the man he seemed to be, and even his whispered I love yous and generous gifts do little to soothe the pain he causes. Knowing he can’t give his sister all that she deserves without Tate, Skylar stays with him, relying on bad puns and a worse sense of humor to keep up the charade.
He will do anything for his sister, even if that means acting the responsible adult and going back to his old high school to meet Dexter Weston, the hot math teacher who can make even algebra interesting. Sparks fly between the two of them, but with his dependence on Tate, Skylar isn’t free to follow his heart. He wants what is best for Evie, but can he pass up the chance to find love that heals instead of harms?
Warning: This book contains scenes of domestic abuse and violence that some may find triggering to read.
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My phone buzzes, and I glance down to see a text from Tate. I slide my finger across the screen to unlock it, but Evie gets up, snatching it from my hands. My heart starts to race.
“We’re having an intervention, remember?”
Damn it. If I don’t answer soon, Tate’s going to get pissed. “And I’m not the one on the receiving end,” I say, my voice sharper than I intended. “Phone.”
The look on her face is wounded, and she hands the phone back without a word. Guilt coalesces in my gut, making me feel a little sick.
“Yeah, okay,” she mutters. “Sorry I want a few minutes with my brother without Tate here with us.”
I want to argue that he isn’t really here, but she’s right. He’s always present, even when he’s not bodily nearby. I waver. I know better than to ignore the message for long, but this is my sister. Yet I’m doing all of this for her, and if I piss him off, we might end up back in the same situation I’d fought to get us out of.
I give a quick response, pretending I don’t notice her hurt.
“He’s doing a lot for us,” I say softly, and she makes a derisive sound. “Evie…”
“Yeah. I know. He’s a saint,” she snaps.
I hate this. I don’t want to fight with her. Not now, not ever. I know she doesn’t like Tate, but she can’t deny that he’s been more than generous. “I didn’t say that.”
“You don’t have to.”
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