We are always thrilled to welcome Melanie Hansen to Sinfully. Today she’s here to celebrate the release of her new book See My Words the second book in the Spectrum Nights series. Go check it out and don’t forget to enter the giveaway
“Our choices make up the pattern of our lives. Mine is an interesting pattern, so I’m an interesting person. That’s how I like to look at it, anyway.”
In my new book SEE MY WORDS, a secondary character says that to Scott Ashworth, one of the MCs, when Scott’s agonizing over the regret he feels about past choices. In fact, someone older and wiser said that me once under very similar circumstances. It made a huge impact on me, and I’ve never forgotten it.
Kind of like Scott, my twenties were a horror show of poor choices and self-sabotaging behavior. I was raised in a strict evangelical environment where I wasn’t taught to believe in myself but instead taught to subjugate myself to an unseen “higher power.” I was told frequently how much I’d disappointed God, my parents, and my grandfather, an elder in our church. There was a lot of shame piled on me, and a lot of guilt, for acting like a normal kid, a regular teenager. I grew to hate myself, and the choices I made later in life reflected that, which in turn caused even more regret. What a vicious cycle.
I’m sure we’ve all had thoughts of, “Oh, if I was just thinner, or richer, or more beautiful, I’d feel better.” But what happens when you’re already every one of those things, like Scott? On the surface he seems to have it all, but inside he’s a seething mass of negativity and self-hatred, which in the story manifests itself in toxic behavior. I lived that, too, and like in the story, I had a “rock bottom” moment that made me realize something had to give. In fact, there’s an awful lot of me in Scott.
Like him, I was forced to make some changes. I moved across the country away from my parents, and I stopped going to church for a long time. When I met someone who loved me unconditionally, who believed in me and accepted me for who I am, I tried very hard to make it work instead of falling back on old patterns of self-sabotage. Of course there’s no such thing as a “magic dick,” but knowing you’re loved, warts and all, is also very powerful and freeing.
That really is the underlying theme to SEE MY WORDS—that love by itself isn’t a cure, but what it can do is give you the courage to work on loving yourself. I’m proof of that.
Scott flipped off the overhead lights. “Let’s roll.”
“Mr. Ashworth, Mr. Mahoney, Mr. Nguyen.” George nodded at them as they trooped past the concierge desk a few minutes later.
“Hey, Georgie, how’s it hangin’?” Minh called back to him, giving him a wink and doing a little shimmy. “Leaving my car in a visitors’ slot till Monday night, okay?”
“Of course, Mr. Nguyen.” George lifted his hand in a small wave, his face as impassive as ever.
“He wants me,” Minh declared, and when Rylan snorted, gave him a wounded look. “He does! Number one on my list of sugar daddy candidates. Smiled at me once and everything.”
“Don’t forget he tossed out that asshole who called you names,” Scott reminded him.
Minh squealed and shivered in delight. “Ooh, yes! So protective.” He glanced at Rylan as they walked through the parking garage toward Scott’s convertible. “I was meeting Scott here, dressed as Teena, looking fabulous, and some jerk called me—well, let’s just say they were some choice Asian slurs.”
Rylan winced, and Minh went on, “I wasn’t even in the building but on the sidewalk just outside. George came out, and when the guy wouldn’t stop, he had him chased away by a huge, scary security man.” He heaved a theatrical sigh. “Then he turned to me and asked, ‘Are you all right, Ms. Teeze?’ When I said yeah, he said, ‘Very good,’ and escorted me all the way inside to the elevator. My hero.”
Rylan chuckled as he batted his eyelashes and pretended to swoon. “Well, no wonder he’s at the top of your sugar daddy list. I’m sorry I doubted you.”
Scott popped the trunk for them to stow their bags, and when Rylan started to climb into the front passenger seat, Minh grabbed his arm. “Nuh-uh, honey. You’re sitting in the back with me so I don’t feel like such a third wheel on this trip. It’ll be bad enough when y’all canoodling in bed and I’m all by my lonesome.”
Scott rolled his eyes, and Rylan tossed his backpack up front before squeezing into the cramped back seat. Scott powered the top down, and before long, they were on the interstate headed north.
After the traffic thinned out some, Rylan leaned forward and put his lips to Scott’s ear. “So where are we going?”
“Mmm,” Scott said with a smile. “You’ll figure it out soon enough. It’s not too far.”
Rylan rested his chin on Scott’s shoulder for a moment, admiring his strong, tanned arms, his capable hands on the wheel. He breathed in his enticing citrusy scent, not able to resist a quick nuzzle of the soft skin behind his ear.
Scott shivered, his lips parting, and he reached back with one hand and cupped Rylan’s cheek. “Sit back and let me drive, Ry. You’re way too distracting.”
Rylan chuckled and gave him one last kiss before collapsing back into the seat and catching Minh’s disgusted look. “What?”
“You two makin’ me sick, that’s what.” Minh pretended to gag, but his eyes were soft with affection. “I have to say, I never thought I’d get to see my Scotty in love. Pretty fucking awesome.”
Rylan gaped at him. “In love?”
Minh gave a sage nod. “He’s so far gone over you, it ain’t even funny. I doubt he even recognizes it yet.”
Rylan stared at the back of Scott’s head, at his black hair ruffling in the wind, the side of his chiseled jaw, and felt a lump well up in his throat. “You, uh, you know him really well, don’t you?”
“I do.” Minh looked at him for a moment and seemed to make a decision. “Met him in a homeless shelter about, what, five years ago now? Almost six?”
Thank you so much for hosting me today!
See My Words
(Spectrum Nights #2)
Published ~ 24th April 2017
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Successful underwear model Scott Ashworth is lucky—his attack at the hands of an unknown assailant will leave no visible scars. His professional goals are still within reach, and best of all, his stepbrother Rylan Mahoney is back in his life, their teenage infatuation at last getting the chance to deepen into something more.
Thrown together by the circumstances of Scott's injury, Rylan's long-dormant feelings for him are quickly rekindled, though he's haunted by the memory of Scott's disappearance on the night of his eighteenth birthday and the six missing years that followed. Rylan pushes Scott for the truth, a firm believer in the maxim that secrets lose their power once they're shared—but resurrecting old demons almost always comes with a price.
Before Scott knows it, his life is spiraling out of control, his toxic insecurities welling up to threaten the fragile relationship he's building with Rylan. Learning to let go of the past and believe in himself will be Scott's greatest challenge, or else he risks losing Rylan forever this time.
Melanie Hansen has spent time in Texas and Florida prisons…for work. She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met. After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.
She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man. After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.
Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.
Melanie will be gifting to one lucky reader a $20 Amazon Gift card. Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.