Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday Spotlight - Bailey Bradford and Mr. October

Welcome Bailey Bradford back to Sunday Spotlight! She's sharing a bit from her upcoming release, Mr. October!


Mr. October
Calendar Men, Book 10

by Bailey Bradford

It’s not just the ghosties and the ghouls that you’ve got to watch out for on Halloween!

Jerome is an artist—in his opinion, anyway. Not everyone would agree that what he does is art, but he’d beg to differ. He has a niche following and his business picks up around Halloween. When a handsome stranger walks into his gallery, the attraction that crackles to life between them is instantaneous, and scarier than anything Jerome has ever created.

He’s quirky and possibly downright weird, but for some reason, the sexy doctor seems to be into him. Jerome isn’t sure he can trust the feelings developing between them, and when someone decides Jerome’s studio needs to go, he fears he’ll never have the chance to see what kind of life he could have with Kaito.

Kaito Yoshida is a successful pediatric oncologist, and a complicated man. As serious as any doctor in his position while working, he’s missed out on a lot of things in his personal life. An encounter that, at first, is mortifying, leads to Kaito daring to take a step he’s never bothered to take before.

He doesn’t expect to fall for Jerome Johnson, or for Jerome to fall for him.
And neither of them expect the obstacles they will encounter on the way to love.

General Release Date: 9th October 2018

Copyright © Bailey Bradford 2018. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.

Jerome Johnson grunted as he put the finishing touches on the steer’s skull he had decorated. Since Halloween was approaching, he’d used shades of orange, yellow, and red, along with black, of course, to paint the scene of goblins and other scary monsters dancing along the flat of the skull. He’d debated adding some ghosts, but those were all over the place in October art work. He liked his monsters better. Some were from his imagination, and others from semi-popular lore. Jerome avoided doing what was popular or expected as often as he could, although there were times he had commissions for such things that he couldn’t turn down. Artistic integrity didn’t always buy groceries, and whether he liked the monsters he had to create or not, he always put his full effort into making them. As his dad always said, ‘don’t come half-stepping. If you are going to do something, do it right and full-steam ahead.’ His dad was a Marine—no retired allowed to be added to preface that grand title—and a wise man.
“Hey, boss, that is awesome!”
Jerome glanced up as his assistant and apprentice bounded into the room Jerome used as his studio. It was not quite in the back of the gallery, because the moonlight there wasn’t great thanks to the big building behind them that often blocked the silvery rays he found inspiring.
“What’s that?” Edge pointed to a creature gnawing on its intestines.
“No idea, but it seems sufficiently gross, so I had to paint it.” The figure was humanoid, with two expressive heads. One was eating and the other was screaming in agony.
Edge bent closer. “That’d make an awesome tattoo. Oh, wow, you’ve got a whole bunch of almost-microscopic monsters on this bad boy!”
They weren’t that small, but someone without a discerning eye might mistake the chupacabras smoking a bowl of weed to be nothing more than swirls of color denoting rocks or shrubbery. He’d kept their outlines vague to anyone who didn’t really pay attention.
“This is—”
“Awesome?” Jerome interrupted, raising both eyebrows at his apprentice.
Edge blushed. “Sorry. I’m trying, but it slips out all the time.”
“There are so many other words to choose from,” Jerome teased. “Live a little. Be—”
Edge groaned and covered his eyes with his hands. “Please, no.”
“Edgy,” Jerome finished.
Edge lowered his hands and stuck his tongue out at Jerome. “You’re the worst, you know that?”
“Go read the thesaurus, or work on the window display.” Jerome made a shooing motion with his hands. “You could also start on that new sculpture you sketched out. Get.”
“I’m not ready to tackle the sculpting yet. I have to get over my fear of failure first.” Edge sighed as if he had the worst job ever as he left the studio.
Jerome knew it was an act, except for the part about fear of failure. The first ‘real’ art piece, as Edge described it, was intimidating. Jerome remembered how he’d felt when he’d decided to give his art a chance and try to make a living with it. He’d been terrified.
But he’d moved past the fear, used it to his advantage and made a horrifying painting of a man being ripped apart by bloody, not always human hands. His rendering of The Power of Fear had been spotted by a wealthy art collector and Jerome had been eking out a living ever since.
He’d seen the same potential to create in Edge—which wasn’t his real name. Edge had begged to be taken on as his apprentice for months after the first time he’d entered Jerome’s s gallery. Edge had showed him sketches and Jerome had been impressed, but hesitant to take on an employee. The second time Edge had shown up with a split lip and a defeated countenance, Jerome had hired him. He didn’t know much about Edge’s home life, but he suspected bad things had happened to him before he’d moved out shortly after Jerome had signed his second paycheck.
Jerome only knew that fact because Edge had asked him if he had any ideas where Edge could get cheap furniture for his ‘crappy’ apartment.
Jerome shook off his lazy thoughts. He was content sitting there doing nothing for the moment. His cat was clawing for dominance today and he’d have liked to shift and curl up on the desk so he could take a long nap.
Unfortunately for him, he had a deadline to meet. The steer skull he’d done had been for fun. And maybe because he’d procrastinated tackling the commissioned painting he needed to do. He’d been in the mood to work on anything but canvas the past few weeks.
“Oh, well.” He could get over himself and start on the zombie bride and groom portrait. The couple who’d commissioned the piece had married on a Halloween night in the past, and this coming one would be their ten-year anniversary. He should be more excited, having been given creative license with their portrait. It was just that he was a teeny bit envious of their relationship. He kept finding Mr. Wrong every time he dated.
“Maybe if I picked better.”
“Boss? Are you talking to yourself again?” Edge called out from the other room.
Jerome snorted. “Only way I’ll have an intelligent convo.”
“Keep telling yourself that,” Edge retorted. “More like you’re the only one who wants to talk to you.”
Before Jerome could think of an answer, the doorbell chimed, and Edge greeted whatever customer had entered the place. Most people came in to look, not shop. More than once, Jerome’s gallery had been referred to as ‘macabre’, ‘depressing’ and more often, ‘weird’. He didn’t care. At least he wasn’t the one coming in to gawk at something while tossing about an air of superiority.
Okay, maybe it irks me a little. Sighing, he got up from his favorite stool and stretched, arching his back, purring as it popped in a few places. He twisted to the left, then the right, working out some of the stiffness that came with sitting and hunching over a piece for too long.
The finished skull caught his attention again. There was a little more blood and gore in the details than usual, particularly in the last images he’d added. He might have been angrier than he’d realized over the phone call from his ex a couple of nights ago.
Jerome rubbed the back of his neck and rotated his head from side to side. If Trent, his oldest brother, found out about Luke calling him, there’d be all kinds of lectures and advice to listen to, even though Luke hadn’t been trying to get back together with him.
He’d just have to be careful not to let it slip, which would be difficult. Jerome tended to blurt out things he was trying to keep secret. He couldn’t lie worth shit, and no one in the family asked him to cover for them under any circumstances. He never told on purpose. He just got nervous and something in his brain would short-circuit, then boom! There went the secret.
Shrugging off his musings, Jerome left his little studio and entered the main part of the building. The gallery wasn’t huge, and it wasn’t traditional. He couldn’t have handled working in a boring place that looked like every other gallery in the area.
Edge was talking to a couple—or at least, Jerome assumed they were a couple. The men were standing very close to each other, with the taller guy having a proprietary hand on the shorter dude’s lower back.
As he watched, the more petite of the two potential customers stomped one foot. Then he started cussing. “I don’t fucking care if you like it, that skull-thing is atrocious! This whole gallery is a joke!”
Oh, really? Jerome took a few more steps into the gallery.
Edge narrowed his eyes and looked like he was ready to throw a punch. Jerome had never seen him get violent and didn’t want to start now.
“Excuse me,” Jerome said, pitching his voice loud enough to make it clear he’d heard the comment and was irked. “If my art isn’t to your taste, you ought to—” His breath hissed out of him when the taller of the two men turned his way. The shorter guy might have pivoted, as well, but Jerome didn’t care. His attention was held by the sharp cheekbones and almost-black eyes of the taller of the duo. Thick black hair was brushed back in a perfectly coifed style, and his lips…Damn. His lips are a work of art in themselves. Not too full, not too wide, but so well-defined, and I want to taste them. 
“You call this art?” snapped the angry shorter guy. “This stuff is gross. Any horror geek could make this crap.”
That comment dragged Jerome’s attention to the obnoxious twerp. “Really? I’m pretty sure no one dragged your ass in here. Don’t let the door smack it on the way out.”
“What? You—” Another foot stomp. “Kaito, I’m not putting up with this shit. Are you just going to let that…that…that—” He gestured at Jerome. “Scumbag be rude to me?”
“Kaito.” Jerome couldn’t keep himself from saying that name.
“Yes! His name is Kaito Yoshida and he’s a doctor and he’s mine! Tell him, Kaito!” The anger coming off the snarly dude was almost palpable. “And my name is Taylor Erickson Donahue the Third, not that I’d expect someone like you to know who I am.”
“Oh, my god,” Edge muttered before snickering. “Seriously.”
Kaito was blushing all the way from his forehead to the part of his chest Jerome could see courtesy of the white V-neck shirt Kaito had on. “Taylor, can you just not throw a fit?”
Whoa. Even know that isn’t the thing to say to the little troll.
And sure enough, Taylor Erickson Donahue the Third went apoplectic, shrieking about Kaito not knowing how to be loyal, and flinging his arms and hands out in violent bursts as he did so.
Jerome didn’t know if TED the Third was prone to actual physical violence, but it was clear the dude was a verbally abusive, entitled jerk.
“Hey, hey,” Jerome said as he approached, holding his own hands up in out in a ‘stop’ gesture. “That’s enough.”
“That’s enough?” TED the Third can get loud! “Who are you—?”
“I’m the owner of this business,” Jerome cut in, fed up with the tantrum. “And you gotta be at least thirty—”
TED the Third made a choking sound and his face turned purple with, Jerome guessed, rage.
“I mean, if you aren’t that old yet, well, all this screaming and anger wrinkles your face and ages you like nothing else.” Jerome squinted at him. “And if you’re over the age of six and throwing fits, you probably need a good therapist and a dose of reality. You can’t act like an asshole in someone else’s place of business. It’ll get you arrested, especially if the business owner doesn’t give two shits who you are.”
“The business owner would be him, in case you’re too dense to get it,” Edge added, pointing to Jerome. “And he will totally call the cops on you. Maybe even sue you.”
TED the Third stomped his foot for a third time. Jerome turned his attention to Kaito. What does he see in such an immature turd?
Jerome gave himself a silent lecture about judging someone by their looks. Just because Kaito was handsome as sin didn’t mean he was a good person.
Kaito pressed those perfect lips of his together and blushed darker. “Sorry. I—sorry.” He took hold of one of TED the Third’s elbows. “Come on. If you get in trouble again, your father will cut your allowance off.”
TED the Third went from purple to white in a heartbeat. “He didn’t mean that.”
Kaito began leading him to the door. “I think he did. He was very unhappy about the settlement he had to—”
“Fine.” TED the Third glared at Jerome. “I still think your stuff is trash—and stop ogling my boyfriend! He’s mine.” He turned his nose up and clung to Kaito.
Jerome shook his head. There was no accounting for taste. The only reason he could figure Kaito was with TED the Third was for money, and that said enough about the kind of person Kaito was for Jerome. Not a good one. Maybe he shouldn’t make such a judgment, but TED the Third was unpleasant. He threw fits, talked down to people and stomped his foot like a child. There was nothing compelling about him, other than his funds, as far as Jerome could tell.
“What a jackass,” Edge said once the duo had left. “I’ve seen snotty rich people before, but he has to be the worst. Ain’t no amount of money that’d make me put up with someone like him. I’d rather be poor and have some damn manners and empathy. I thought he was cuter than the tall doctor when they first came in, but then he opened his mouth. Gross.”
Jerome couldn’t disagree. He felt a strange sense of disappointment that Kaito hadn’t dumped TED the Third, which was ridiculous, and he should know better than to apply his own standards to other people. Never would he have dated, much less had a relationship, with someone who acted like a rich, entitled brat.
Then again, he had been single for too long. It might be time to re-examine his own standards for potential boyfriends.


Hi! * waves * I’m Bailey, and I write…a lot. I’m genderfluid, outspoken, love to laugh, and always letting my imagination run wild. 

Other than that, there’s not much to share, but if there’s anything you want to know about me or my books, contact me at the links below. 


Smashwords Author Page: Bailey Bradford Smashwords
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