Publication date: July 13th 2021
Genres: LGBTQ+, Thriller, Young Adult
“An intriguing mystery, Pretty Savage is a tension packed, wild journey with engrossing characters. A true page turner.” – #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout
Bad things never happen in the picturesque town of Haddon Falls … until now.
It all starts with a killer party.
It will end with a savage crime spree.
Seniors Donovan Walsh and Drea Sullivan attend a high school party for very different reasons. But after discovering the body of one of their classmates, they find themselves thrust into the same waking nightmare. From that moment, their lives become intertwined in a search for answers to questions they never should have asked.
As bodies pile high, the unlikely pair dig into Haddon Falls ’past and uncover secrets someone would kill to keep hidden. In a small town where every face is friendly and every door unlocked, Donovan and Drea must unravel who is an ally … and who is willing to bury them-and the truth-six feet under.
“Pretty Savage is a gripping, fast-paced YA thriller featuring a savvy gay male protagonist and his kick-ass female counterpart! Readers who love hints of horror with a blood spatter of romance mixed with page-turning mystery will be left gasping by this wicked masterpiece by T.A. Kunz.” -Bestselling and award winning author Raine Thomas
There he is.
Mr. Filthy Chai Tea Latte.
I mean, that’s obviously not his real name. It’s his usual drink order. Chai tea, steamed milk, and two shots of espresso. A rebel’s drink for sure. And since I haven’t gotten up the guts to ask him his name yet, he remains Mr. Filthy Chai Tea Latte.
It’s at times like this I wish we were like most coffee shops and requested a name for each order rather than just the to-gos. But the owner refuses to switch from the ever reliable—his words—order number system. Today, Mr. Filthy is number twenty-one.
My lucky number. Kismet?
At least once a week he meets here at The Pour Over with a group of similarly aged teens and they chat for hours. About what? Beats me. I’ve contemplated lingering by their table, performing menial tasks like restocking the oat milk at the drink prep area or wiping down nearby tables, in order to eavesdrop. But every time, I chicken out.
“A large filthy chai tea latte?” I ask before he has a chance to utter a word.
His eyebrow—pierced by the way—quirks up, and I realize I must’ve sounded like a major creeper for committing his order to memory.
A hint of a smile breaks the corner of his mouth. “Yeah. Thanks, Donovan.”
My name rolls off his tongue like caramel sauce dripping down the side of a hot latte. I’ve clearly been working here too long if I’m making coffee metaphors already … and it’s only my second month.
Wait, he knows my name. How does he know my name? Has he asked about me?
I glance down at my apron and see my name tag resting there. The bright white letters radiate against the dark background. You could probably see it from space. Makes sense.
He pays with his phone and then, just like clockwork, drops a folded five-dollar bill into the tip jar. He’s so intriguing, paying for his drink electronically but also having cash on hand. And when I’m at the register, he leaves five dollars. Every. Single. Time. He might do the same for everyone else, but I enjoy living in the fantasy that I’m his chosen recipient. I imagine them as little love notes he leaves behind for my eyes only.
Okay. Pull it together, man. Composure.
I take in the show as he strolls off to join his group at a table near the back of the café. His tall, dark, and mysterious routine never fails to work on me. I sigh internally, but I’m not convinced a little didn’t seep out by accident.
My co-worker Marcus stands there grinning like a fool. A ridiculously gorgeous fool, but a fool nonetheless. His slicked-back chestnut brown hair is perfectly shaped to accentuate his chiseled features. The solitary dimple on his left cheek adds an extra kick to the impish grin he sends my way.
I laugh. “Yeah, definitely not my best work.”
“Nah, you did great. A real pro,” he teases. “Hey, why don’t you go talk to him? We’re slow right now and someone does have to bring him his drink, you know.”
He wriggles his brows at me. I roll my eyes.
Marcus is no stranger to affection. Unlike me, he probably hasn’t been rejected by anyone. He exudes confidence, which comes in handy when he dons a dress and a wig to perform in drag on the weekends at the one and only gay bar in Haddon Falls, Mae’s Lounge. Marcus becomes Miz Markie Marc. And yes, he does have a slight unhealthy obsession with Mark Wahlberg. Hence, the drag name. And he loves to refer to me as Donnie for the same reason.
“I don’t even know if he’s into guys like that,” I say. “Besides, he’s sort of out of my league. I mean, will you just look at that jawline?”
“With the perfect amount of scruff too,” adds Marcus.
“Exactly. And he has at least four or five inches on me in the height department.”
“What a shame, Donnie.”
I know that’s not all he wants to say. He has more. Marcus loves to give input … and constructive criticism.
And there it is.
T.A. Kunz is the pen name for Adam Kunz, who lives in Orlando, Florida. And unfortunately a lot of the rumors you’ve heard about his state are true. When he’s not writing, Adam spends his time reading, playing video games, watching anime and Korean dramas, and spending time with his partner while cuddling with their two dogs, Nicky and Rusty. Since childhood, he’s had a great fondness for reading and writing. His fiction genres of choice are eclectic, but mainly are in the YA, MG, and NA categories. So, it was no surprise when he decided to write his own books that he’d be a grab bag kind of author in terms of story ideas. And he just loves mashing up genres. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Adam advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. He may or may not have a coffee addiction, the jury’s still out on that one. And his hands-down favorite holiday is Halloween, which holds a very special place in Adam’s heart.