A Clean Break Excerpt

a clean break-200-300

Gay Amish Romance Book #2

They’ve escaped to the outside world—but can they really be free?

David and Isaac have found happiness in each other’s arms. In faraway San Francisco, Isaac’s brother Aaron helps them explore confusing “English” life and move beyond the looming shadow of their Amish roots. For the first time, David and Isaac can be openly gay, yet they struggle to reconcile their sexuality with their faith. At least they don’t have to hide their relationship, which should make everything easier. Right?

But while Isaac thrives at school and makes new friends, David wrestles to come to terms with the reality of the outside world. Haunted by guilt at leaving his mother and sisters behind in Zebulon, he’s overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the city as he works to get his carpentry business off the ground.

While David and Isaac finally sleep side by side each night, fear and insecurity could drive them miles apart.

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Read an excerpt from A Clean Break

As they pulled up to the turntable at this end of the line, David smelled fish as well as the sea. The cable car stopped in a little park area that sloped down to the sandy beach. People milled around, and the sun poked out. Color was everywhere, and David could imagine the lights at night would glitter.

The conductor called out, “Don’t forget the sea lions, Minnesota!”

David and Isaac waved to him and hopped down. “Can we see the water first?” Isaac asked.

“Of course.” Their sneakers sank into the sand, and they laughed as they approached the edge of the shore. Isaac darted forward and dipped in his hand.

“Oh my goodness!” He leapt back. “That’s cold.”

David stuck in his hand too. He yelped. “It sure is.”

“We’re actually here, David.” Isaac surveyed the waves and white sails with bright eyes.

“We just touched the ocean. Well, I guess it’s still the bay here on this side of the bridge, but close enough.”

“We did.” All the uncertainty was worth the moments like this. David brushed a stray piece of dried weed that had caught on Isaac’s jacket, and let his hand linger. “We can touch it every day if we want.”

After a few quiet minutes, they walked to the right, ending up along a busy street lined with restaurants and businesses that must have been what the guidebook called tourist attractions. The signs were huge and all sorts of colors.

“What’s an odditorium?” Isaac asked. He pointed to a sign that read Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

“I’m not sure. Look at that.” David gazed up at the depictions of four people that soared three stories high. “Madame Tussauds,” he read.

Isaac stared. “I don’t get it. Are those people in there?”

“I guess they’re famous? I think the guy near the right is a singer who died. It was in a movie.”

“Are they all dead?”

“I’m not sure. We could go in and find out if you want?”

Isaac shook his head. “It looks weird. I don’t want to see dead people.”

“Me either.”

They walked on, and eventually stopped under an enormous round sign proclaiming the area: Fisherman’s Wharf of San Francisco. Wooden spokes jutted out from it, and David realized it was meant to be like the wheel of a ship. He wasn’t sure how he knew that.

“Spare some change?”

They turned to find an older man in rumpled clothing holding out his hand.

Isaac and David shared a glance. Jen had warned them about people she’d called panhandlers, and said to tell them sorry, but they couldn’t help. “Or else you’ll be broke by noon.”

“I’m hungry,” the man added. His face was wrinkled and fingers stained yellow.

David looked to Isaac again. He didn’t doubt the man was telling the truth. It felt wrong not to help, and Isaac nodded after their silent conversation. They each pulled out a few dollars from their pockets and passed them over.

When the man smiled, a few of his teeth were missing. “God bless,” he said, before walking away and asking the next people.

“Give, and it shall be given to you,” Isaac recited. “Right?”

“Yes. Especially considering how much has been given to us lately.” David smiled.

“Now let’s find those sea lions.”

“But first a crab cake. I’m hungry.”

David wasn’t so certain about a cake made of crab, but he followed. There were tons of little booths selling food. He pointed. “That one’s called the Crab Station.” The little awning fluttered in the cold breeze and proclaimed:

Fresh Crab * Clam Chowder * Fried Seafood * Seafood Cocktails

“Seafood cocktail?” David asked. “You’re supposed to drink it?”

They walked up and peered at the menu. Isaac frowned. “Let’s skip that for now. How about crab cakes and—oh!—corn dogs! I had one once when I was a kid. It’s a hot dog on a stick with something around it.”

“Sounds good to me.”

Once they had their hot food and sodas, they found a bench. Isaac took a bite of his corn dog and moaned. “So good,” he mumbled. Then his eyes widened.

David froze with his crab cake to his mouth. “What?”

“I didn’t pray,” Isaac mumbled, and swallowed the rest of his bite. “It didn’t even cross my mind.”

“Mine either.” David lowered his crab cake. “I’ve forgotten a few times now.”

“Me too.” Isaac shook his head. “We’d never forget at home. But here, everything’s so different. So far away. It’s like God is far away too. You know what I mean?”

He nodded. “You only had a bite. We can still pray.”


They both stood and prayed silently with people chattering as they went by, salt and the cries of gulls filling the air. David closed his eyes as he recited the words in his head. Lead me not into temptation. He faltered. Could he really ask that?

When he opened his eyes, Isaac was watching him. “David, do you think it’s okay if we skip the prayer if we’re out? If we’re at the table at home, we’ll make sure we do it.”

“Yeah. I think it’s okay.” There was so much to worry about already, and David figured it was the least of their offenses.

Soon his belly was wonderfully full. Hot dogs had been his favorite treat growing up, and the corn dog did not disappoint. It also turned out that not all cakes were sweet, and the hot crab patties had tasted of so many flavors he couldn’t hope to guess them all. Like everything else out in the world, food in San Francisco was fancier and overwhelming.

They ambled along the boardwalk, peeking into stores selling all kinds of things from magnets to sports jerseys to sparkly jewelry. The Amish didn’t even wear wedding rings, let alone proper jewels. David tried to imagine Mother with earrings and had to laugh.

“Look!” Isaac pointed to a sign.

Follow Salty to see the California Sea Lions.

David eyed the drawing of a smiling brown animal he assumed was a sea lion. It wore a blue and white vest and pointed with its arm, which wasn’t really an arm at all. English people probably knew what the sea lions’ little arms were called, and he felt embarrassed that he didn’t, even though no one could guess his ignorance.

They followed to the side of the pier, where the sea lions laid together in heaps on about thirty small rectangular docks. Some docks were empty, yet the animals squeezed together on others. David shielded his eyes from the sun, wishing he had his hat and gloves in the biting wind.

A family moved away from the railing, and David and Isaac squeezed in with the other people. They watched the animals sunning themselves and making plaintive noises that were a mix of honks, barks and occasionally growls. David noted, “The conductor was right. There certainly aren’t any animals like this in Minnesota.”

“Look at those two. They’re playing in the water.” Isaac pointed.

“Maybe they’re a couple.”

Smiling, Isaac pressed his shoulder to David’s. “Maybe.”


Copyright © Keira Andrews


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