Greetings, BHB friends and family!
Today begins a new trend here at BrickHouse Books. Every month, we’ll be bringing you excerpts of work from the BHB family, and what better way to kick it off than by celebrating our upcoming release, John C. McLucas’ debut novel, Dialogues on the Beach?
Dialogues on the Beach follows Jim, who’s been in love with his best friend, Tony, for years. When Tony marries Rachel, Jim finds in her another best friend, but he can’t shake his unrequited feelings for Tony. That is, until he meets Joe while vacationing at Rehoboth Beach.
This month’s excerpt begins at the start of Jim’s tale, way back in the ’70s.
Chapter 1 – 1970-1993 – College, Yale Graduate School, & home in Baltimore
Tony’s wife Rachel and I had become good friends over time, in spite of the obvious: I was in love with Tony, my best friend at college, for years. Initially this was supposed to be a profound secret. Of course Walter caught on, virtually from the moment he and I became roommates in the middle of freshman year. Walter’s gay radar was unmatched. No one else would have thought to call it love, though everyone knew that Tony and I were some sort of pair. Friends even joked about our being married. We were always together. If Tony or I was away for a weekend, the other got condolence calls, thoughtful invitations, kind distractions, from all over campus. Professors would give us each other’s papers if one of us wasn’t there when assignments were returned. I knew Tony’s moods, his early-morning look and the look in class that said he knew the answer and the one that said he didn’t. He knew me well, certainly. He was the all-time master of the butch straight-man bead-read: “I have my pride,” I said once, and he said, “And several other people’s too.”
There was a girlfriend. I knew that, but at first I didn’t worry about it much. Eventually, without rancor, that bond would succumb to distance and time. One day, our daily closeness, the shared books and midnight confidences, would become irreversible, and everyone would suddenly know that I came first with Tony.