Please welcome Lex Chase and Bru Baker with
Some Assembly Required
Everyone wishes they were dead when wandering the purgatory of a home furnishings store, but these guys actually are.
Benji Goss is the quintessential good guy. When his boyfriend dumps him and moves out, Benji obligingly keeps the cat—even though he’s allergic—because his ex’s new place doesn’t accept pets. He’s always joked the cat would be the death of him, but not in a way he expects when a feline mishap crushes him under a DEL TORO bookcase.
Snarky loner Patrick Bryant is in such a rut he barely remembers the life he used to lead. The last thing he recalls is being decapitated by a DEL TORO bookcase in a freak accident. As a spiritual CASA resident, he haunts the aisles of affordable Italian furniture, assisting fellow spirits in moving on to their final destinations.
When Benji appears in the CASA café, Patrick considers the naïve spirit just the man to cure his boredom. Benji’s relentless optimism chips away at Patrick’s sarcasm, making him question if there’s something beyond what he can see. But the heart is like CASA furniture—there’s always some assembly required.
Lex Chase and Bru Baker present an exclusive excerpt from their new novel, Some Assembly Required. Available now!
It was difficult to have a staring contest when only one participant was aware of the competition.
Patrick sat in the café at his favorite table with the old man. He had no idea how long the guy had been coming in. But he was the one that always brought in the New York Times, Patrick’s only lifeline to the outside world. He also brought the crossword books. The old man left them behind, and Patrick had collected them in his greed for entertainment. But as the days went by, Patrick grew unsure if they truly were forgotten. Were they an offering?
The old man had a name. Henry. Patrick once caught it on his credit card when he bought his usual plate of meatballs with extra sweet tomato jam.
Patrick narrowed his eyes, his nose millimeters from Henry’s, but Henry seemed lost in some thought or another.
Two could play that game.
Patrick reached out and snapped his fingers against Henry’s ear.
Patrick hummed in thought. He’d crack into this puzzle yet.
“Karin told me I’d find you here,” Benji said as he entered the café.
Trying to play damage control for being caught, Patrick shoved his chair back from Henry’s table and cast a beaming smile at Benji.
“Hey, cupcake,” he drawled as he gave Benji a once-over. The hipster skinny jeans definitely fit well. Really well.
“We’ve moved on to cupcake?”
“Well, you do have a sweet, creamy center,” Patrick said without a blink.
Benji coughed into his fist and averted his gaze.
“You should get that checked out,” Patrick said as he stood.
Henry sipped his tea, still blissfully unaware.
“Know of any doctors in CASA?” Benji asked, rising to the challenge.
Patrick thumbed his chin. “Well, funny you should ask….”
“Him?” Benji asked and nodded to Henry.
Patrick’s gut clenched as Henry pulled out the Times and ran his fingers over the front page. “Him?” Patrick tried to keep his smile intact as Benji denied him his desperate moment for news. “Naw. He’s a—” Patrick snapped his fingers next to Henry’s ear, only to be rewarded with no response. “—pet project.”
Benji narrowed his eyes. The skepticism was strong with this one. “Then, who?”
“Me.” Patrick counted the seconds until Benji’s gaping reaction.
“You.” Benji didn’t take the bait. Dammit.
Patrick stretched with a long arch of the back. “Well… if you want to get specific, not medical. Particle physics. You know”—he flicked his fingers dismissively—“super boring stuff about two bodies colliding together, creating a passionate explosion.”
Benji coughed again. “Passionate?”
Patrick feigned innocence. “Do you find my vocabulary intimidating? I could use alternatives. How about concupiscent?”
“Or would you prefer something that rolls off the tongue? How about lascivious?”
“Do you ever stop?”
“But my dear Benji, we were just reaching the climax of our verbal copulation.”
Patrick licked his finger and hissed, mimicking a sizzle as he drew a one through the air. “Gotta be faster, pussycat.”
Benji looked away, his jaw set in a stubborn way that made it obvious he was doing his best to deny Patrick a reaction. But his red cheeks and ears were more than enough.
“So, do you know what happened?” Patrick asked. “How you got here?”
Benji shook his head. “I drove, of course.”
Oh boy. It was going to be a long day.
Patrick led Benji two tables away and gently brushed his elbow. His fingers twitched at the shock darting up his arm. He had to be mindful of that. He’d had a rule against casual touches for years, but Benji was somehow making him forget that. It made Patrick worry about what other rules might be next. “You’re going to need to sit down for this.”
Benji clucked his tongue. “You’re really going for that trope? Are you going to ask how my heart is next?”
“You don’t have one anymore,” Patrick said as he plopped into the chair next to him.
The silence swallowed them. Overhead the fine musical stylings of Italian pop filtered through the showroom.
“I’m what?” Benji asked, his voice soft.
“Was I mumbling?” Patrick folded his arms behind his head and leaned his chair back on two legs. “I could have mumbled. Did you hear me say you’re dead?”
“I got that.”
“Awesome.” Patrick let the chair slam back into place. He patted Benji on the shoulder. “Good chatting with you.” He pushed up from the chair and turned to go, his good deed done for the day. That sob story in the entertainment showroom was a more pressing matter.
“Wait,” Benji ordered him.
Patrick grunted under his breath as he slowly turned with a pivot of the heel. His Nike squeaked on the tiles. “May I help you?”
“You tell me I’m dead and you leave it at that?” The words were resigned and barely audible. It cut through Patrick’s defenses much easier than anger or accusations would. He had a feeling Benji’s angry face would be about as threatening as a fluffy kitten after his first bath. But right now he just looked confused and more than a little betrayed, and it came off as impossibly charming. Patrick wanted to cuddle him. What the hell.
Patrick shrugged. “Well. Yeah.”
“What do you mean more? There isn’t any more,” Patrick said, bewildered by Benji’s resistance.
“Of course there’s more.” Benji scowled, and his adorable factor skyrocketed. “We’re in Hell, right?”
Patrick clapped his hands in laughter but more in an effort to silence all argument. “Hell? Fuck no. That’s Wallville.”
“So, this is heaven.”
“What, then? We’re just ghosts? There is no afterlife?” Benji swallowed. “Wait. That can’t be—you said there was a hell.”
Patrick kept his lips sealed, enjoying watching Benji puzzle it out.
“CASA is purgatory?”
Patrick pointed at him with a nod. “We’ve got a winner.”
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Comedy
Published: February 8, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
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About the Authors:
Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting. Weaving tales of sweeping cinematic adventure—depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love. Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and she unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.
Additional Blog Tour Stops:
2/8 - The Novel Approach and Release Day!
2/9 - Gay List Book Reviews
2/10 - Love Bytes Reviews
2/10 - Divine Magazine
2/11 - Open Skye Book Reviews
2/17 - Joyfully Jay
Promotional post. Materials provided by the authors.