UnFriendzoneMe is out today!



My first novella UnFriendzoneMe is a fresh, funny, fast-paced gay comedy romance about four friends in London looking for love. UnFriendzoneMe comes out today in Amazon and here’s an excerpt from the first chapter that I hope you will enjoy!

Click here to purchase UnFriendzoneMe.

Synopsis

Harry feels cheated by life. At his 30s, he’s not exactly the successful author with an amazing relationship that he was supposed to be. On the contrary, Harry’s just lost the love of his life, is unemployed and lives in his best friend’s small apartment.
At least he still has his friends to keep him sane. Their latest plan to stop him running back to his cheating ex is the newest dating app UnFriendzoneMe. But Harry’s got no real interest in the ‘no strings attached’ hunks on a dating app. He’s got a plan to get to his ex, and he’s not going to let his friends stop him.
After a chance encounter with ‘nice guy’ Will in a lift, Harry sees a way to make his plan work. Except maybe, what he thought he wanted isn’t what he wants anymore. Now Harry’s stuck in the infamous FRIENDZONE with Will. The question is: is either of them interested in more than a friendship?

UnFriendzoneMe is a fresh, funny, fast-paced gay comedy romance about four friends in London looking for love.

Excerpt from UnFriendzoneMe by Tom Caval

I look up at the skyscraper in front of me, stomach-churningly high and incredibly imposing, and suck in a deep breath. I can do this.

Before I can take a step forward, a heavy-set man in a suit clutching a briefcase crashes into me. He throws me an irritated glare before striding away, and my half-hearted apology dies on my lips. I shouldn’t be standing here, in the middle of The City. I should know better than to stop in the middle of the pavement, disrupting the endless stream of workers and businessmen.

I turn my attention back to the skyscraper, this time my gaze fixed firmly on the doors. Am I really about to walk into Haynes & Roesch? Yes, I am. Determination steels my spine and I reassure myself that this is the positive action of a cool-headed man. At last, I am taking charge of my life, and I will soon be able to draw a line under the grand affair. Of course, he won’t be expecting to see me. I suppose he thought he’d seen the last of me when he sent me that heartbreaking email.

Was that only one short month ago? I’m trying to get over it. I honestly am. That ridiculous workshop I left an hour ago proves that I am. Before you can find anyone else, the organiser said you have to find yourself. Well, that is precisely what I intend to do. I am going to find myself.

Right, here goes. I step through the doors and stride past the lady at reception, her attention distracted by the ringing telephone. Just get in the lift and face this thing out, I tell myself. Start my new life by getting closure on the old one.

What the..? I pause at the steel doors of the lift. The buttons I expected to find aren’t there, a numerical keypad sitting in their place between the lifts. Damn technology, it looks like this thing needs a code or something to operate it. My friend Alistair would know how to get around it, but then if Alistair was here, he’d kill me! Why does everything have to be so complicated?

I shouldn’t need an IT qualification to use the lift. I wrack my brain to try to remember if I’ve seen Richard enter a code. Thinking about it, I’ve never actually been up to Richard’s office, only met him here a few times in reception, in fact.

I assumed it would be easier to bypass the lady at reception, but she’s getting up and appears to be coming in my direction. I try to look inconspicuous, but I’m sure she must be able to hear my heart drumming away in time with her heels clacking across the smooth grey marble floor. Can she sense my fear? Her features are pinched, and her mouth is drawn in a moue of disapproval as she looks at me. I don’t recognise her. This is good, maybe she won’t recognise me either. But is that better or worse? My palms are sweating now.

I must appear suspicious, hanging around reception and apparently not knowing how to operate this sophisticated lift designed for architecture geniuses. I rub my temple, staring at the keypad in front of me and praying for inspiration. Ok, concentrate. It can’t be that difficult.

Ah! My saviour appears from nowhere and comes to my rescue. A guy who could be a young Denzel Washington beats the receptionist to the lift and punches in his code. Just in time big fella.

He must feel sorry for me, standing here like an idiot who can’t work a lift. He cocks his head to one side and asks, “Which floor?” Shit. I don’t know which floor Richard’s office is on! I step into the lift, feigning confidence as if I know exactly where I’m going. I can see the receptionist eyeing me like a cop, and impulsively I ask for the top floor. That’s where the bosses always are so that they can get the best view, right?

He punches in the top floor and presses the button for the floor below too. My heartbeat slows only a little as the steel doors slide shut and the lift glides smoothly upwards.

As the lift pulls me up towards my inevitable confrontation, I look back at the mirror, and my reflection standing next to this stranger. He must be around my age, early thirties, and looks taller than me. We’re actually the same height, I realise, but his confidence has him standing straighter than me. He wears a well-tailored suit, combined with a dressy polo shirt and simple white sneakers. He is quite yummy. My gaze wanders back to my own reflection: Jeez, I look pale.

I suppose that’s not surprising, I haven’t been outside much these last few weeks. Compared to this guy, I look like a homeless man. Fresh from the positive-thinking workshop I catch my negative self-talk quickly. Ok, re-frame: in fact, my three-day beard is the perfect length for hipster chic, and it echoes the blasé attitude that I try to give off. Much better. Richard will still be blown away when he sees me anyway.

A smug sense of satisfaction settles over me at that. I mean, I’m here to cut him out of my heart and life. But there’s no harm in showing him what he’s missing, is there?

“Are you from the press?” says ‘Denzel,’ breaking into my thoughts suddenly. My cheeks tingle with warmth. Did he spot me admiring myself in the lift mirror? He must think I’m a right poser. Can he see me blushing? The very idea makes my cheeks flame even more and I don’t dare glance back at the mirror. I bet I don’t look so pale now!

“Press?” I ask, my nose crinkled, wondering what the hell he’s going on about. He’s looking pointedly at my chest, and I follow his line of sight and see that I’m still wearing the stupid badge from the workshop: “Fall In Love With Yourself.” I cringe.

“Hmmm, yes exactly.”

“So, are you here to cover the big opening?”

That’s right, the big opening, his casual comment throws me a lifeline. Some months ago Haynes & Roesch Architecture was revealed as the winner of the international design competition for an important art gallery expansion. It’s a new building that is supposed to be the perfect combination of art and technology.

Richard is the Haynes side of the partnership, and his partner is Gunnar Roesch, a broad German guy who is built like the side of a house. I’ve only met him the once, and that was enough. Richard talked about nothing else but the opening for days after winning the competition. It led to him opening his new office in New York, which is where he sent me that email from saying that he’d cheated on me. I hate this gallery already.

A disembodied voice announces each floor as we pass. It declares the fifteenth floor- we’re already halfway.

“Hmm… Yes, I am…” I say, after an awkward silence.

“Cool. Which magazine do you write for?” Huh? I don’t have an immediate answer for that. I cough, to buy me time to think.

“Oh, I write for Fungaymental,” I say because it’s the first one that pops into my head. It’s not a total lie. I have written articles as a freelancer for several publications… but it’s over two years since I was published in Fungaymental. “Do you know it?” I ask. He probably won’t. It’s an online style magazine for gay people.

“Really? I love that magazine.” I’m surprised at that. He didn’t set off my gaydar when I stepped in the lift… is every architect in London gay? Or only the ones that work for Richard. Maybe he recruits them specially.

“I’m here to see Richard Haynes,” I explain. “I hope he can tell me about… The Project.”

He looks surprised…

Check out the Spotify Playlist link below
and listen to music that has inspired me while writing UnFriendzoneMe.

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