I decided this week to feature the book previously known as A Different Shade of Blue. I say previously known as because I’m not sure if the publisher intends to keep this title when the book is released later this year, so I also sometimes refer to it as Rust #2, as it is the second in the trilogy. Titles aside, however, this might be one of my favorite books I’ve written, as I really love the characters and I hope everyone else will love them too!
A Different Shade of Blue takes place two years after the events of A Crooked Mile and follows the story of Alec’s little brother, Bryson. He is now in his last year of high school, and is struggling to figure out what comes next, who he is, and how to cope with everything going on in his life. It is very much a coming of age story, and the struggles that so many people face every single day.
In this excerpt we find Bryson struggling with a recurring nightmare about his brother, with a new twist involving a schoolmate who may be a new enemy or a new crush. At this point he hasn’t quite decided just yet.
That night he had the dream again, his old friend the recurring nightmare. He was back in Montana, lost in the blowing snow out on the desolate and dead wheat fields. He was walking and walking against the wind, trying desperately to find his brother. Only now there was a voice on the wind, someone calling out to him and distracting him. They yelled out his name from his left and then his right, the wind carrying the sound and making it confusing. He didn’t know where it was coming from, but as he walked it did become more and more clear.
Aidan Driscoll was out there in the storm somewhere, calling for him to help him. Bryson felt suddenly torn, turning in circles as the storm raged around him. He had to find his brother, had to find Alec before it was too late. He could change things if he could find him in time, save him from plunging into the icy depths of that lonely pond. But Aidan apparently needed him too, needed his help. He was lost somewhere out there, and it may not be too late to save him. It could be too late for Alec, he may have already made up his mind, but maybe not for Aidan. If he could just follow his voice, if the damn storm would just let up for a few minutes so he could find his way.
He kept on walking until he hit a snow bank and he stumbled, going down onto his knees. He put his hands over his face and started to cry, but the tears froze right there on his cheeks. They weighed down his eyelashes, icy little bursts of pain that added to his agony. He might have stayed there in the snow until he froze completely, but the feeling of warm sun on his face jolted him awake and he was back in his bed in Atlanta clinging to the sweat dampened blankets.
Bryson wasn’t sure what to make of it, that ancient feeling nightmare which had been the same for so many months of his life but that had now changed. It was a small change, minuscule really, but it seemed to mean something so much more immense than what was there on the surface. It had been terrifying, feeling responsible for the lives of two people, though really there was only one person in the dream left to truly save. Maybe Aidan really did need help, maybe that’s what his mind was trying to tell him as he slept. That it wasn’t too late to save someone, even though he hadn’t been able to save Alec in the end.
In the shower he decided that, while he maybe couldn’t save Aidan from anything, he could at least make good on his end of things to end their feud. There wasn’t anything worth fighting over, and they did need to learn to work together for their grade and now for the team. If that went well then maybe he could even extend a hand of friendship to the other boy, if he wanted it and would take it of course. Maybe the gesture he made didn’t have to be grandiose, it could just be something that simple and small. They could be friends, allies, and that could maybe be good enough.
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