Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway:
The Boy Who Loved Wicked
By C.P. Harris
“The madness of love is the greatest of heaven’s blessings.”
Day 1 of senior year at Denwin High was not supposed to end with my thoughts consumed by the new AP Philosophy teacher. I’d impatiently waited three years to take the course, but from the moment he strode in with his sad eyes that mirrored my own, I was intrigued by only him.
Dr. Sebastian Wicked.
Intrigue turned into obsession, and common interests set the stage for a tentative friendship with the enigmatic man. In time, every line put in place became blurred as what we shared sparked the flames of a forbidden affair. An affair that should’ve never been, a wrong that the universe sought to right.
There was only one possible outcome—we were both going to burn. Would our love rise up from the ashes? Or would it smolder in the ruins?
My name is Phoenix Michaelson, and I am The Boy Who Loved Wicked.
“There’s no rush, Phoenix,” Sebastian whispered.
“You keep saying that. I can take it.” I met his eyes. “I won’t break.”
“Is that what you think this is about?” He chased my gaze. “I don’t think you’re fragile. The opposite actually. Tell me the real reason you’re in such a hurry?”
Because falling asleep in your arms feels too good to be true, I shouted at him in my head. And because fear niggled the back of my mind, sending signals to the rest of my body that this needed to happen now, because we were on borrowed time. And if we went crashing and burning I at least wanted to limp away with the experience of having had him in every way. And also because I was eighteen and horny, and his willpower bothered me because while I was crawling out of my skin for him, he acted like the thought had never crossed his mind. I volleyed all those thoughts around in my head, and although the words were silent, he took them in as if they were being etched into his heart.
“I want to share in you getting to know your body in ways you hadn’t before. What makes you tick. What makes you hot.” His hand tightened on my butt cheeks roughly, and I dropped my head back. “Like that. You like to be handled, Phoenix.” He squeezed me again, and my hands found his shoulders. “I want you. Don’t ever doubt that. But I want to get to know you first. Let’s pace ourselves.”
“So petulant,” he laughed. “I should spank you for being bratty.” He sucked in a breath as my nails scored his skin in anticipation. “See, I just learned something new.” He flipped me to my stomach and tugged on my pants, threatening to make my other cheeks pink. I fought weakly to keep my jeans in place. In the end, he rolled me over and pulled them off my legs before spreading my thighs and lowering his mouth take me in. I fisted his hair and called his name.
Full disclosure C.P. Harris is one of my favorite authors. I’m also going to clarify that by saying that there’s a reason for that. CP Harris is a great author. One of the most amazing things about this author’s books is always the characters. Each character is fully developed and rounded out in a way that makes me feel as though I know them. These characters are far from perfect, they have jagged and pain-inflicting edges, but I always find them to read as completely authentic.
Heading into this book. I knew there would be some subject matter that people would find difficult. Amongst other things, there’s a parent who dies of cancer, a relationship that has a clear power imbalance even though it is fully consensual, and a situation that could be perceived as infidelity. That being said, this work is beautiful.
Phoenix is a senior at high school when he finally gets to take the AP philosophy class he has been anticipating. His father taught him so much about Philosophy that it’s woven into his life inextricably. This class is important to Phoenix.
When Phoenix finally gets to the class, he finds a new teacher, Dr. Sebastian Wicked. Through a shared love of philosophy, these two souls connect. When Phoenix realizes that Sebastian Wicked is his neighbor and only a faulty board in the fence keeps them apart, they strike up a tentative friendship.
As someone who had a close friendship with a teacher myself in high school – I found the idea of Phoenix and Sebastian meeting and sparking a relationship quite believable. From the moment they meet, it’s clear that the two of them are kindred spirits. As their relationship progresses, steps are taken into dangerous territory and both men are sent on their own perilous journeys.
There is so much to like about this book that I’m not even sure where to begin. Probably the most significant thing to me is the way in which this book is about circles. Each of the characters is on their own journey that will come fully around back to the beginning in order for it re reach a conclusion. The entire journey of this book is about beginnings, middles and ends, and the messy human nature that happens in between.
Phoenix and Sebastian are delicious. These two are bonded in the most intimate of ways, bound together through such intense emotional connections that it is heart-breaking at times. They love with painful ferocity and are torn apart with equal brutality. But that is life… and if we are lucky enough, the connections that are painfully strong will help us find our way back to one another.
One of the most touching things in this story is the way that Phoenix thinks back about his father. If you have been unfortunate enough to lose a parent, you will be familiar with the way that Phoenix is longing for his father and the way that he bathes in his recollections of the past. One of the other things that I found particularly touching was the way that Phoenix wonders about conversations he didn’t have with his father, were there significant questions that he didn’t even know he should be asking? If you are young when you lose a parent, you don’t have the benefit of life experience to know what questions you will desperately want the answers to when you are older.
There are some remarkable supporting characters in this book. Phoenix’s friends Theory and Danny are unique and lovable. They are fiercely protective of Phoenix and challenge him to be “more”. It was such a pleasure to read about friends supporting each other and challenging each other on decisions they made. As is the case with everything I’ve read by this author, there are no throw-away characters. Each of the characters in this story is on their own journey, they are knowable, engaging, and relevant. I love that.
C.P. Harris has a unique and creative voice in her writing… and that is what takes this story into the “best of” area of the genre. When reading, it’s easy to realize that words are important to Harris. Some passages of this book area like poetry, full-bodied descriptions of sensations and emotions; other parts are so simple and clear they are perfect.
“I fell in love with his sadness first”- Phoenix
The credible roller coaster progression of Phoenix and Sebastian’s relationship is a remarkable ride. Harris uses a lovely variety of techniques to reveal the complexity of her characters: letters, journal entries, philosophical discussions, and dual POVs. Through this creative approach, the characters are full-bodied and fleshed out in a rare way.
Harris’s books are intense, visceral and memorable. The characters feel things that are messy, uncomfortable, and painful. Mistakes are made, decisions aren’t always well thought out, there is sadness, anger, violence, frustration, and passion so fierce it is shocking. This book is amazing.
Warnings: descriptions of cancer, parent dies of cancer, death of parent, accidental coming out, homophobia from parent, marriage that is “of convenience”, break up, infidelity, relationship with power imbalance, large age gap.
Enter the Giveaway:
To celebrate the release of The Boy Who Loved Wicked, we are giving away an e-bundle of all 3 of C.P. Harris’ novels!
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