Apr 22, 2014

Guest Post -- Nikki Godwin -- LGBT Book Excerpt -- Breaking Saint Jude



Nikki Godwin

When Amber asked me to guest post on her blog for LGBT April, I was super honored and excited. But then, after many attempts at guest posts that just weren’t coming across the way I intended, I decided to share something else with Amber instead. This is the (unedited) first chapter of my next YA LGBT contemporary romance, set for publication this October, titled Breaking Saint Jude. Click here to see it on Goodreads. Thank you so much to Amber for hosting this exclusive sneak peek! :)

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About the Author:


Nikki Godwin
Nikki Godwin is a Young Adult/LGBT author from the southern USA. She can't live without Mountain Dew, black eyeliner, and music by Hawthorne Heights. When not writing, she's internet-stalking her favorite bands and keeping tabs on surf competitions. She adores Liam Payne of One Direction and pro surfer John John Florence.

Find her here:


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Chapter One

I always secretly hope when I walk into support group meetings, everyone will rise from their chairs and burst into songs from Rent. It’s never happened, and I know it won’t tonight.
But a guy can wish.
This side of town is like a ghost town from a black and white film. Not even the homeless will live in these buildings. Half of the streetlights don’t work. So why a teen LGBT support group would hold meetings out here is beyond me. I’m not here for the meeting, though. Not entirely.
The old concrete steps echo under my boots. Laughter bounces off the walls and ricochets off my eardrums. I already know that laugh – the bicurious girls who think it’s some kind of fashion statement to say they sometimes like girls. It’s just another ploy to get guys to notice them. Girl-on-girl action always works.
“L, G, B, or T?” One of the girls meets me in the doorway holding a pink shoebox of pin-on buttons. They’re rainbow striped with big black letters.
“G,” I answer. I hope she doesn’t expect me to actually wear that damn button.
“You sure you’re not a B?” she asks into the shoebox.
She digs around like Gs are so rare. I can’t tell if her hair is naturally blonde or red. It’s three different shades of each and looks like hell.
“I’m sure.” I’ve been sure for sixteen years. I’m not a B. And if I was, I still wouldn’t be interested.
She looks disappointed, but I take her stupid G button and go on my way. This crowd looks typical. Bicurious girls, one awkward guy refusing to make eye contact, straight girls who get a thrill from faking, the obvious lame ass guy (me, for the most part), and not a cute boy in the room to be my eye candy while I suffer through this.
Definitely no Rent songs tonight.
I shift my eyes from the water-stained ceiling to the paint-peeling walls. There’s an ancient heater against the back wall, and the room smells like butane. It’s a miracle the homeless didn’t burn this place down. Not that anyone would care. They might as well add this place to the demolition list…right after that cathedral two blocks down, which is why I’m really here tonight.
“We have a few new faces here tonight, and I want all of you regulars to make sure they feel welcome here,” the girl who gave me the G button says.
Oh God. Please don’t make me introduce myself. Hi, I’m Jude. I’m 16 and I’m totally a G, not a B. My last relationship bombed because my boyfriend’s religious parents were convinced he was faking gay and sent him to a wilderness camp to cure him. I’m a vegetarian. I collect broken glass, which is why I need to leave now because there’s a shattered stained glass window with my name written all over every broken piece. See ya!
Miss Multi-Dye-Job skips the awkward intro speeches and rattles on about one of her friends and a coming out success story. I hope this doesn’t last all night. One of those churchy kids at school cried through most of English class this morning over the broken window at the old cathedral. Apparently the construction crew was supposed to move the window to the newly built location, but some dumbass college boy was driving the equipment and shattered the whole damn thing. Maybe I should be more sympathetic of her religion and emotional ties to the building, but really, I could kiss the dumbass college boy. It’s going to be a Godforsaken goldmine!
“We started ten minutes ago,” the girl says from the front of the room. It breaks my thoughts of red glass.
“Sorry. Got caught up with something,” the guy says, coming through the doorway.
He sits in a chair on the other side of our circle and stretches his legs out. He must be a regular; he’s too comfortable. He’s taller than my usual type, but he’s cute in his own way, kind of like the guy who sits diagonally from you in math class who you never notice until he asks to borrow a pencil and you suddenly realize he’s cute. Hello eye candy.
Time passes so much faster with a distraction. He checks his cell phone about thirteen times during the meeting. Not that I’ve counted or anything. I wonder what’s so exciting outside because he keeps looking out the window into the dead neighborhood. He’s the first one up to leave when we dismiss. By the time I reach my car, he has faded into the darkness. I crank up and wait until the heater is in full effect.
But I kill the engine and tighten my scarf around my neck after the group leaves. The air is colder than usual for October, and the dry wind slaps my face when I step out of the warmth of my car.
My eyes remain on the sidewalk as I walk along, hoping not to trip over my own two feet in the dark. The streetlights attempt to flicker on but just cough on a few sparks before fizzling back out. I use my cell phone as my guide. An old white streetlight glows behind the cathedral, spilling just enough light to find my way through the black alleyway and into the sea of yellow caution tape and construction equipment.
Now isn’t the time to think of serial killers and drug lords hiding in the shadows. But of course, I think about it anyway. My boots shuffle over dried leaves and leftover trash from the construction crew.
And I see it. The window in all its shattered glory, jagged pieces still frozen in the sill and trying to decide if they should take the plunge or hold on in hopes of finding salvation.
There is no goldmine on the ground, though. I silence my cell phone and shine its glow onto what used to be the cathedral’s side parking lot. Droplets of red, green, and orange glisten up at me, taunting me and laughing at me like those few drops of teasing rain in a drought.
I glance back at what’s left of the stained-glass window, grab a stone from the ground, and hurl it. The shatter reverberates against the empty ghost town. It’s the most beautiful sound.
I pull myself onto the arched windowsill, careful not to grab onto the sharp remnants, and crawl over into the building. I refuse to go home empty-handed.
The floor bleeds red glass. I bet this wasn’t what my old therapist had in mind when she told me to find beauty in the things that made me different. Collecting pieces of the rainbow was her idea –  not mine. I drop to my knees and gently place the red slices into my bag. I ignore that nagging voice in the back of my head reminding me that I should have some morals. Stealing from a church is wrong, half-demolished or not.
Oh well. I’ll repent later.
Six glass jars line the shelf on my bedroom wall. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. My broken glass collection of pieces of the rainbow just expanded in a matter of minutes. Fucking beautiful. God, I wish my old therapist could see this.
But this will have to stay between the cathedral and me.
Lights sweep across the high ceiling. My throat runs dry and my hands sweat. I hold my breath and ease against the wall, into the shadows. Times like these remind me that I’m not a freak for wearing black every season.
I listen for any sign of life. No one knows I’m here, as long as I don’t breathe out loud. A door slams. Loud beeps echo against the walls. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck. The construction equipment. This place is about to meet its death with me inside.
I stretch out on the floor, careful not to cut myself, and look through the darkness in hopes of seeing what’s happening outside.
A purple and white eighteen-wheeler pulls up, jake brakes screaming to a halt. The driver jumps down, too thin and too short and not grizzly enough to be a real trucker. He lights a cigarette and walks around back.
“Don’t put that thing out here. DNA, you know,” someone calls out to him from the beeping backhoe.
The trucker breathes in and exhales a cloud of smoke. “I know better,” he says. “You’re the one making all the noise out here. If anyone gets us caught, it’ll be you.”
My heart thuds against the floor of the church. It vibrates through the floor like drums at a  concert. I seriously pray this is a drug deal going down rather than after-hours demolition. I can’t explain myself. I’m the loser who hid out and stole glass. I think I’d rather be demolished than have to face the construction crew outside with my lame ass story.
“Let’s get this over with…quick.” Another guy walks around the eighteen-wheeler. Tall. Skinny. Pale. Tattooed. Wild black hair. He looks like something out of a Tim Burton movie. He helps the trucker open the trailer. An entourage pours out.
The smoking trucker. The real live Nightmare Before Christmas. A guy in a blazer. Blonde in a baseball cap. And eye candy – the eye candy from support group! He was too cute. I should’ve known he was mixed up in something bad.
Muffled words spin through the air, from the trailer into the night. Clinging and clanging and cuss words later, the Nightmare emerges and motions them toward the other piece of equipment. It’s not beeping. It’s eerily silent. He places a tarp inside the giant scoop on the backhoe and crawls back into the trailer.
I wait for bricks of cocaine or blocks of marijuana to pile up on the backhoe, but what emerges from the trailer is far from a box of drugs. I only see a leg, but the spots are as clear as if we were out here in broad daylight. I’m losing my mind. There’s no way there’s a giraffe in the trailer of that eighteen-wheeler.
Close your eyes. Inhale. Count to ten. Exhale.
 If I weren’t already plastered to the floor, I would’ve fallen thirty seconds ago. My legs are shaky, and I’m not even using them. I squeeze my eyes shut and then open them and refocus. It takes all of the guys to move the animal from the trailer to the tarp. They know every detail – how to bend the legs, how to turn the neck, how to lift accurately like a power lifter. I breathe in the dust from the floor and feel my stomach swim in dizzy circles. What the hell are a bunch of guys doing with a dead giraffe?
“Cover it,” the Nightmare says.
Eye Candy unfolds another tarp, and they all rush to it, wrapping the giraffe carefully. My anxiety and fear and outright nausea rushes up through my chest. I bite my lip and tighten my fists until they burn. The dust rises from the floor and invades my lungs. I swallow the cough and wipe my mouth with my scarf. I dry my hands as well, but I’m not sweating. I’m bleeding. Bleeding all over the broken glass and my gray scarf. I twist it around my hand like gauze and bury my face as the beeping begins again outside.
“Take it to the freezer. I’m headed out to Boston. Back in two days!” one of the guys shouts. The trucker, I assume.
The freezer. They’re going to eat that giraffe. Who the hell eats giraffe meat?
The eighteen-wheeler speeds off. More car doors slam. The beeping silences and hazard lights flash. A splash of yellow catches my eye as the piece of equipment pulls onto the back road and follows a blue truck. They’re gone.
My thoughts spiral in whirlwind circles, and I can’t comprehend anything around me. Eighteen-wheelers hauling dead giraffes, taking a carcass to a freezer, and a group of guys who can’t be that much older than me operating the mission. Maybe it was a drug deal, and they all lit up outside and the secondhand marijuana caused me to hallucinate. There’s no fucking way I just saw that.
Blood gushes from my hand. It’s sticky and gross, and this scarf is going in the trash when I get home. I push myself up to my feet, grab my bag of broken glass, and tighten the scarf around my hand. I squeeze into it, making sure the fabric catches all of my DNA. I spot check the floor with my cell phone. Blood free.
I don’t bother with climbing through the window. My cell phone lights the floor to the back opening, where the pulpit once was, and I jump down. The night is quiet and black and dead again, like the giraffe swap hadn’t just taken place behind a half-dead church. Glass clinks against glass in my bag, but I think it’s pretty secure. No more cuts.
The alleyway seems darker than earlier, but I think it’s just my own paranoia. My shoes echo louder than before, the leaves crunch louder. I hear my own breathing, my own tell-tale heart thumping. The whole town probably hears its beat. It’s perfectly in sync with the sound of footsteps. I stop walking. I still hear them.
A black shadow rounds the corner and moves in my direction. I don’t move. I don’t think my legs or bleeding hand or bag of glass will let me.
“What the fuck?” he shouts, jumping back and holding up his cell phone. “What are you doing here?”
It’s Eye Candy from support group. The same one who helped load up a dead giraffe. And he’s back.
“What are you doing here?” I counter.
“That’s none of your business,” he says, sliding his phone back into his pocket.
I see his silhouette in the dark, but his face is a shadow. His breathing steadies, but my heart still thumps. I wonder if he can hear it too.
“Well, how about you let me go on my way and I’ll let you go on yours and we won’t ask questions. Deal?” I ask. I reach out to shake his hand but pull back and offer the other.
He moves forward but stops again. “What happened to your hand?”
“I cut it. I’m bleeding like a murder victim, so can we drop the questions and go on our ways?” I suggest again.
He shakes my good hand. “Deal.”

He brushes past me and disappears into the night. 




2 comments:

  1. After a quick skim through Chapter One, wow, I have to admit, I really want to read it now! I've been seeing amazing positive reviews of it everywhere so it must be good right? Plus, the title is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing Amber and Nikki. :D

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  2. Awww, a new YA LGBT contemporary romance from Nikki Godwin!!! Yessss~ (I LOVED Falling from the Sky and need more stories like that!!) And Breaking Saint Jude sounds so GOOD. Why is October so far away?? (I need to know what happened in that church.. I mean, dead giraffe?!!) Anyway, thanks for sharing the first chapter! Best "guest" post EVER.

    Btw, don't forget to add this awesome post to the link up:
    http://nijiclovers.blogspot.com/2014/04/lgbt-month-week-4-link-up-giveaways-and.html

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Comments are loved and appreciated :) Thanks in advance!!