Imagine you’re a seventeen-year-old cowgirl living on an isolated cattle ranch in Montana, being raised by your father, a redneck Texan who thinks gays and lesbians are, “unnatural and disgustin’.”
Imagine your mother abandoned you when you were twelve and the only sex education your father provided was, “You’ve seen the critters go at it. Figure it out from there.”
Imagine that what you want most in life is your father’s love and approval.
Imagine you discover you’re gay.
In my paranormal thriller, Threshold, the pieces of seventeen-year-old Leah Dillon’s confused sexuality fall into place during an encounter with sexy ranch hand, Nita. The two young women are caring for a colicky horse:
“Any particular boy you’re hot for?” Nita asked.
Leah shook her head. “That’s the problem, I guess. Just not been in love yet.”
“Never felt fire in your belly for anyone?”
Leah stopped walking Dixie and stroked the horse’s face, certain that her own face reflected the same shade of red. When it came to the land of sex, Leah had always been a foreigner unable to speak the language or navigate the terrain.
Nita stood, walked to them, and offered Dixie a handful of hay. The horse nibbled cautiously at first, and then with greater interest.
Relief blew through Leah. “Her stomach’s okay. She’s going to be fine.”
Nita stepped closer to Leah. When Leah turned to look at her, Nita grabbed her by the hair at the back of her head, pulled her face close, and drew her lips to her own. Startled, Leah tried to resist the unexpected, but weakened as Nita’s kiss stole her breath. Like Dixie, she discovered her appetite, and it grew by the moment. Hungry, she devoured the food Nita offered. Thunder filled her blood. A rumble escaped her throat. Limbs trembled in the wild wind.
Nita pulled back and slipped her hand into Leah’s waistband, hot palm against bare skin. Lightning struck with such force that Leah staggered.
“Now you’ve discovered fire in the belly,” Nita whispered. “Figure out what to do with it.”
When Nita strode out of the barn, Leah stood like a young tree in a fierce storm, its tender roots desperately clinging to hold on to a turbulent new world.
Threshold is told from three revolving viewpoints. Besides, Leah, we meet her younger brother, Cole, who drowns, has a near-death experience, and returns with a mission. And Elijah Thunderbird, a Native American shaman, is the manager of the Dillon ranch and Cole’s spiritual mentor. Through these three characters, the novel explores issues of life, death, and the transformative power of love.
In Threshold, Leah’s father, Ty, brings home a new wife named Branwen. Conflict instantly arises between Leah and her stepmother and escalates to the point where—when Branwen finds Leah and Nita making love—she threatens to “out her” to Leah’s father.
“Nita! I need some help! Dixie got away from me and—what the hell are you two doing?” Branwen’s voice cut through Leah like a knife.
Nita leapt off Leah, hastily buttoned her own shirt, and retrieved Izzy’s for Leah.
Leah frantically squirmed her way into the sweatshirt.
Branwen stood a few feet away, her face even whiter than normal, and her burgundy lips parted in surprise.
Leah’s mind tried to think, but it was impossible. “It’s okay, I’m gay,” she managed to blurt out, then slapped her hand across her mouth to shush herself. Well, that certainly hadn’t been the proper response, had it?
“Mrs. Dillon—” Nita began.
“Tell it to Ty,” Branwen said ominously, then turned toward the door.
“Wait!” Leah cried. “Branwen? Wait!” She stumbled after Branwen, grabbed her arm, and clumsily swung her around. “You’re not going to tell Dad?”
A smile danced on Branwen’s lips. “Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it?”
Horror filled Leah and she sank to her knees, not too proud to beg. She clutched at Branwen pitifully. “Please, oh God, Branwen please don’t tell him. I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to you. I’ll never do anything again. But God, don’t tell.”
Branwen glanced at Nita and then back at Leah. “If I were you, I’d make sure your girlfriend gets out of here in a hurry.” Branwen shoved Leah away. “You’ll have to excuse me now, but I’m late for that lunch with your father.”
Leah couldn’t breathe. It was all too horrible to bear.
Imagine the only solution you can think of rather than face your father’s disgust and hatred is to commit suicide.
70% of all teen suicides are gay or lesbian. Can you imagine?
Threshold is available in print and as an eBook. Learn more about it HERE.
Devin O’Branagan writes paranormal thrillers, urban fantasy, and humor novels. Her bestselling urban fantasy, Glory, was nominated for the 2011 Best Popular Paperback for Young Adults List, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association. Pretty Sacrifices, the sequel to Glory, will be released in 2012. To learn more about her novels, visit her website at www.DevinWrites.com
Copyright © 2011 by Devin O’Branagan