Title: New Year, New You
Author: Steve Pacer
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: April 23, 2018
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, gay, bi, in the closet, coming out, family drama, contemporary
Expectations are never realistic. Outcomes often fail to meet objectives. Wishes rarely come true.
None of that has ever stopped Abram Hoffman from meeting every goal he’s ever set. In a world full of constants—his pace per mile, daily caloric intake, number of isolated bicep curls—the balance of Abe’s delicately crafted life topples when his childhood best friend Cassie Montgomery unexpectedly moves back home with her new boyfriend, Jared, whose lingering touches and ambiguous actions make Abe question his true intentions. To top it off, Abe’s ex, Harris McGee, also makes a sudden splash back into Abe’s life.
As each of them suffer through life’s obstacles, they are forced to face the fact that control isn’t always an option and words, whether true or false, can’t always save you. Set in Buffalo, New York, NEW YEAR, NEW YOU deals with life and death—and the love that flourishes in between—told from three powerful perspectives.
New Year, New You
Steve Pacer © 2018
All Rights Reserved
“New Year, New You!”
Abram rolled his eyes and let out a brief but exasperated grunt as those words on the sign stuck to the front of Vitality Fitness became visible through the wind-whipped flurries.
The welcomed warm weather of December had faded away with the start of the new year, and knowing this was likely the last time he could make the two-mile run to work, Abram kicked it up a notch and reached a full-on sprint as he hit the parking lot. He quickly and carefully skipped across the winter-soaked pavement, catching a reflection in the window of the light snowfall caking his perfectly parted hair. Abram always thought he’d look good with a little bit more salt mixed into his pepper hair, a belief that only solidified on this brutally cold morning.
The jangle of his keys opening the door and the quiet hum of the gym’s lights comforted him. At 4:00 a.m., he knew the next hour would signal his final moments of solitude for the day. Because it was January 2, a day Abram coined January Fools Day, when the impostors began their infiltration complete with unrealistic timelines and unattainable wishes for their bodies. He hated this day.
Maybe it was an Upstate New York thing. Everyone there wanted everything so quickly, tossing aside the notion that the only way to achieve washboard abs or rock-hard pecs was actual work and commitment. In Buffalo, football was more important than fitness, eating more important than exercise. At no point was that more evident than the start of the year. Abram suspected this wasn’t the case in San Francisco or Chicago or Brooklyn.
He couldn’t remember when the thought of a busy gym full of people with healthy aspirations turned from a thrilling challenge worth tackling to an annoyance he’d rather avoid. Maybe it was because Vitality would be marking its seventh anniversary this summer, and for seven Januarys in a row, it was the same shit: a full house the first week of the year, followed by fewer people the next week, and even less the week after that. The purge continued until only the regulars were standing at the end of the month.
“New Year, Same Shit!”
He wondered if that slogan could be printed for next year.
Correcting the annual January attrition was one of the things Abe had worked on over the years by setting up programs designed to turn the slightly interested and motivated individual into someone wholeheartedly dedicated to fitness. But he knew that goal was futile. He had learned personal trainers and fitness programs could only do so much. A person only had the ability to change when they actually wanted to change, and there was nothing any outsider or any The Wealth of Health! class could do to change their mind. Being healthy was a lifelong obligation that very few people chose.
Abe glanced at his watch: 4:37 a.m.
It was way too early to be so philosophically negative.
He really had no reason to be bitter. The energy inside the gym that day would be electric. And the stability of owning Vitality was oddly comforting. No surprises meant no new disappointments. And at this point in Abe’s life, no fresh disappointment equaled happiness.
Where had the morning bitchiness come from? He blamed it on his lack of caffeine. Eliminating caffeine—one of his three New Year’s resolutions—had not been as easy an undertaking as Abe had envisioned. But he was determined to make this year the one he would become entirely independent of addiction. For as long as he could remember, coffee was the only thing Abe physically needed.
Sugar? He’d been ten years without it this spring—having none since the weekend of his twenty-third birthday.
Television? Down to about two hours a week, usually while squeezing in an ab workout.
Alcohol? Two and a half years without a drop and going strong.
Sex? Abram winced at the thought. He didn’t feel like counting the months.
Wait, has it been years?
A quick headshake followed by a sudden slap to his face and Abram successfully dug out of that wormhole. The thoughts of the previous years would not continue to creep into his daily life and slowly gnaw away at the positive future. That was New Year’s Resolution number two: don’t let the past dictate your future.
Besides, today wasn’t the day to be irritated. It was the day he finally got to meet Jared, Cassandra Montgomery’s new boyfriend. Cassie had been Abram’s best friend through and through since the first grade and the amount of love he felt for her wasn’t quantifiable. From the age of eight to the time Cassie left Buffalo at twenty-three, they had lived life parallel with each other. No one in town had talked about the two without referring to them as a pair. “Cass and Abe” had become local legends during their high school years. It’d started after saving Olivia Davidson’s life outside the local Dairy Queen when the six-year-old choked on a piece of bubblegum as they were working. When it happened, Cass and Abe looked at each other and sprang into action without even speaking. Abe hopped over the counter, ran out the front door, and began the Heimlich maneuver while Cassie called 911. By the time he forced the gum out, Olivia was powder blue. Abe would never forget the hue Olivia’s face turned, or the color of the burns Cass suffered from kneeling on the scorching blacktop while administering CPR.
Every now and then, he popped in the VHS tape of their interview on the local news, chuckling to himself at Cass’s ridiculously large scrunchie and the way his uniform hung on his gawky body.
That event only started their list of accomplishments as teens: the two were New York State Champions in their age group for Science Olympiad every year of high school; they became the first—and to this day, the only—couple at Kenmore East High School to be crowned Homecoming King and Queen and Prom King and Queen in the same year; and they even were valedictorian and salutatorian, with Cass beating Abe by a mere .013 in their final GPAs. That fact didn’t even sting for Abe; he was happy to once again be linked with Cassie on a grand scale.
Everyone thought they’d end up married, but destiny had other plans.
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Meet the Author
Having little luck finding anything similar to a “beach read” featuring a gay male character, Steve Pacer decided to write one himself. The end result, New Year, New You, is his first novel. The former television news anchor and reporter always possessed a penchant for writing but never imagined the satisfaction creating fiction has produced.
When not writing, Steve enjoys obsessing over what to eat for dinner, perfecting his tennis game, and watching reruns of the Golden Girls. He calls Buffalo, NY, home, where he lives with his husband Mike and their cats, Glory and Julie.