Today is my stop on Gay Book Promotion’s book blast for Crystal’s House of Queers by Brooke Skipstone. Don’t miss this chance to get a copy of this completely unique, gripping and empowering read for only 99c! And enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card or one of three audiobook promo codes!
Three senior girls in rural Alaska escape their abusive pasts by raising their dyke flag for themselves and their community.
Crystal Rose woke up at three in the morning today, drenched in sweat and breathless after another sex dream with Haley Carson. Later at school in the tiny town of Clear, Alaska, Crystal saves Haley from an assault by her abusive boyfriend.
The two girls renew a love started years ago that had to stay hidden until now. But with Crystal’s grandparents in the hospital with Covid and the possibility of her drug addict parents returning from a 14-year absence, Crystal needs Haley as much as she needs Crystal.
They connect with Payton Reed, a gun-toting artist who helps them feel proud to be gay and willing to stand up to anyone. Together they struggle to make Crystal’s house safe for those who are hated for their love.
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Crystal’s room is small with drawings and photos stuck randomly all over the walls—closeups of leaves, flowers, and berries; intricate natural designs created by Labrador tea, spider webs, and lichen; every local animal, including a grizzly sow and two cubs digging through trashcans from this past June; sunrises and sunsets plus northern lights; and, of course, line drawings of her house and family, along with pages of self-portraits. Crystal’s entire world greets her every morning and evening. Nothing is ever removed or covered, just added to, now up one corner of the ceiling. A large white board on one wall displays a self-portrait drawing of Crystal sitting.
Haley stands in the doorway, open-mouthed, trying to absorb it all. “Damn, Crystal, you are something. I love this.”
Crystal smiles. “I’m glad. So do I.” She opens her closet to show Haley her clothing options, including a never-worn pair of stretch jeans Crystal bought at Value Village in Fairbanks—a size too big for her, but a size too small for Haley.
“I’m not sure my butt can fit into these,” says Haley, holding the pair waist high. “You’ll have fun watching me put these on.”
“Oooh, do I get to watch?”
“Certainly.” Haley raises a brow and half smiles as she pulls off her sweatshirt.
Crystal’s breath catches in her chest as her mouth gapes open.
“Oops! I forgot to pick out a shirt. Can I use your robe until I find something suitable?”
Crystal’s face reddens. “Sure.” She removes her robe and tosses it to Haley, who then tosses it on the bed. “Now we can stare at each other.”
Crystal licks her lips. “You are so evil.”
“I’m just getting started.” She tilts her head and cocks a brow. “Do you like evil?”
“So far.” Though she’s afraid her heart will burst, it’s beating so fast.
“Great.” Haley moves toward Crystal until their chests touch. “I love your drawing on the white board. Would you do another of me? Maybe one of us kissing?” Haley touches her lips to Crystal’s.
“Yes.” She struggles trying to pull her phone out of her pocket while Haley rubs her tongue tip over Crystal’s bottom lip. Gasping for air, Crystal asks, “Do you want me to take a pic or not?” Haley smiles and steps back a little. Crystal props her phone against the mirror on her dresser and sets the timer. “We have five seconds.”
Haley moves her hand to Crystal’s neck as they kiss. The camera takes the picture, but they don’t separate.
After a few more seconds, Haley pulls back just enough to speak. “You are the best kisser. Even in fifth grade I liked kissing you. Think of all that time I wasted.”
“We have plenty of time now.” She grabs her phone and shows Haley the photo. “I like that. I can draw it now, if you want.”
“Hold it for me.” Crystal takes her drawing pad and pen from her desk and sits in her chair.
Haley holds the phone against her cleavage, her boobs hanging over her arms. “Is that good?”
Crystal stares and shakes her head. “Evil. Pure evil!”
“Just focus on the photo, Crystal.” Haley slowly sways her torso, making her boobs jiggle close to Crystal’s face. “Can’t you focus?” Her voice drips with seduction.
Crystal clears her throat and closes her eyes. “I think I can. I think I can.” She takes a deep breath, opens her eyes, and places her pen on the paper. Haley sways faster. Crystal starts a line then runs it off the page. “Can you please stop moving?” she pleads, unable to turn away from Haley’s breasts. “Just for a few minutes?” She rips off the page and readies another.
Her voice coy, sweet, and sultry—“As you wish. I’ll stand perfectly still.” She holds the camera away from her body, partially covering her breasts.
Crystal starts a line under her chin, sweeps down to make hair, then her face and lips before moving to Haley’s lips, hair, and then ending with her hand. She stares at the drawing for a few seconds then turns it around. “What do you think?”
“Oh, my god! I love it. We look good together.” She gives Crystal a kiss. “Thank you. Thank you.”
Crystal’s House of Queers was a heart-wrenching and unique queer coming of age story full of friendship, love, acceptance and forgiveness, sexual discovery and the creation of a queer safe haven for others suffering from abuse and harassments. I loved the positive undertone even though there were so many difficult topics (abuse, addiction, disability, teenage pregnancy, homophobia and more) and how strong and able all female characters were portrayed, which in the end really made it such an empowering story!
Read my full review here: Crystal’s House of Queers
About the Author
Brooke Skipstone is a multi-award-winning author who lives in Alaska where she watches the mountains change colors with the seasons from her balcony. Where she feels the constant rush toward winter as the sunlight wanes for six months of the year, seven minutes each day, bringing crushing cold that lingers even as the sun climbs again. Where the burst of life during summer is urgent under twenty-four-hour daylight, lush and decadent. Where fish swim hundreds of miles up rivers past bear claws and nets and wheels and lines of rubber-clad combat fishers, arriving humped and ragged, dying as they spawn. Where danger from the land and its animals exhilarates the senses, forcing her to appreciate the difference between life and death. Where the edge between is sometimes too alluring.
Crystal’s House of Queers is her third novel. Visit her website for information about her first two novels, Some Laneys Died and Someone To Kiss My Scars.
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