Caught Inside (A Boys on the Brink Novel)


Luke believes he has his life figured out…and then he meets Theo.

It should have been simple—a summer spent with his girlfriend Zara at her family’s holiday cottage in Cornwall. Seventeen-year-old Luke Savage jumps at the chance, envisioning endless hours of sunbathing on the private beach and riding the waves on his beloved surfboard. He isn’t interested in love. Though his rugged good looks and lazy charm mean he can have his pick of girls, he has no intention of falling for anyone.

Nothing prepares Luke for his reaction to Theo, the sensitive Oxford undergraduate who is Zara’s cousin and closest friend. All at once, he is plunged along a path of desire and discovery that has him questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. No one, especially Zara, must find out; what he and Theo have is too new, too fragile. But as the deceit spirals beyond their control, people are bound to get hurt, Luke most of all.

Where to Buy


  • Rainbow Award winner for Best Gay YA Novel
  • Rainbow Award winner for Best Gay Debut
  • Lambda Literary Award nominee for Best Gay Romance
  • Bisexual Book Award nominee for Best Young Adult Book
  • Next Generation Indie Book Award nominee for Best LGBT Fiction

What Readers Say

“In wave scoring, Caught Inside by Jamie Deacon would be a perfect ten. But I’ll give it five gripping stars. The descriptive language is flowing and addictive. The characterizations are genuine and layered. The dialogue is realistic and dynamic. I thoroughly enjoyed Caught Inside and I look forward to Jamie Deacon’s next book.“ — Mia Kerick

“The way Jamie deals with the aspects of sexuality, and where people are located on the spectrum is award-worthy. Young men will be eternally grateful to have Luke as a role model on their journey out of their own closets.” — Hans M. Hirschi

“The chemistry between Luke and Theo is sizzling! The kisses they share as well as the touches and looks that Jamie writes about are written so well that I swear I could feel them myself. It felt just like real life when I was reading these young peoples story. Strike me very impressed!” — Rainbow Gold Reviews

“From the exquisite writing, where the metaphors were so beautifully entwined in the fast prose that you had to look twice to realise they were there, to the quick pace combined with great character development, to the realistic and important plot, this was the best book I’ve read all year.” — Christina Philippou

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“Beautifully written and engaging coming of age tale. The setting was wonderful and the writing really shone in evoking a real feel of the Cornish coast and the sea. I could really imagine being with Luke on his board out on the waves, and I love that sort of sensory imagery.” — Suki Fleet

“This is extraordinarily well-written. The pacing is good, the plot is captivating, and the romance is sweet and gentle. For a tender coming-of-age story, capable literary writing, and characters who feel emotionally real, this gets 10/10 fountain pens.” — A.M. Leibowitz

“I loved this book. I’m going to have to give it 4 out of 4 stars. I think that this is a great book for teenagers and even adults to read. It has all of the romance they could want without being explicit, and it takes the reader on a fantastic emotional ride. Definitely one of my new favorites.” — Online Book Club

“I was lucky enough to read this book pre-release, and ate it up avidly. A gorgeous Cornwall seaside setting, and a group of characters harboring secrets both shameful and romantic—what more could I want? I fell in love instantly, and adored the emotional ride all the way through to the triumphant end.” — Molly Ringle

“As a writer, I am always searching for the perfect words, hoping I can replace the ones I use over and over with much better choices. All too often, I feel I search in vain for those magical words. But Jamie Deacon, in Caught Inside, does it effortlessly.” — Russell J. Sanders

“Great Read!. It is the perfect example of the struggles that some may face when they come to the realization that they can no longer deny who they are. It is also the perfect example of how some people may be caught in the cross fire and end up hurt. I think that Jamie Deacon did an amazing job with this book.” — Inked Rainbow Reviews

“Coming out stories always make me nervous. Not because I think the writing will be bad but I worry about the characters. This has a lot of emotions and proof that secrets hurt but happily ever afters can happen for everyone. It’s a good story with some complex characters. Enjoyable.” — Diverse Reader

Caught Inside was beautiful. From the writing style to the editing to the complex, flesh-and-blood characters, Jamie Deacon penned something unique and moving and wonderful to read. My interest was caught from the jump and I can honestly say that I enjoyed every page. I did find myself having to step away when the feels got to be too much, but I was always glad to pick this one back up again.” — Ronelle Antoinette

Caught Inside was a very enjoyable mature young adult/early new adult story that left me wanting to know more about where the characters went from the end of the book on. It’s a story about discovering one’s sexuality and dealing with that while at the same time navigating a tricky family situation and also coming out.“ — Making it Happen

“This is a very clever coming-of-age story with characters who are lovable. Jamie Deacon has written a wonderful story with very real characters who pull us into the story in the first few pages.” — Reviews by Amos Lassen

“Deacon does a good job describing first love and its attendant discoveries, joys and frustrations and jealousies. I thought surfing, the sea, was a perfect metaphor for the rush and confusion of Luke’s unexpected feelings for Theo. A wonderful addition to the YA gay canon.” — Larry Benjamin


We take our food onto the terrace to eat, washing it down with a steady flow of beer. After we’ve demolished a tub of Rocky Road ice cream, Theo heads indoors and reappears with a bottle of Bourbon and two glasses. I lose all sense of time passing. Only the sky, darkening as the sun slips below the treetops and a velvety night closes around us, bears witness to how long we sit there.

And we talk. We talk about anything and everything and nothing at all. We debate England’s performance in the Six Nations, the arguments for legalising cannabis, and whether Sam or Aragorn is the true hero of The Lord of the Rings. Once we start, we can’t stop. We throw subjects back and forth, exchanging smiles of comradeship when our views coincide, challenging one another when they don’t. And all the while I’m conscious of being on the edge of something, something new, unknown.


Theo reaches for the bottle to refill our glasses. “Any idea what you want to do? After school, I mean.”

“Not really.” The whisky trails a fiery path down my throat to my stomach. When I lean back in my chair, the stars twinkle down at me, fuzzy around the edges. “I’ve been wondering about sports journalism. How about you?”

“That’s easy. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to run my own gallery, discover the next Hockney or Constable. Wouldn’t that be a legacy to leave behind?”

“Yeah, I suppose it would.” I smile at him. Art means about as much to me as Chinese, but his passion touches me.

“Of course,” he adds, “I’ve always known it would never happen.”

“Why not, if that’s what you want?”

“Because I’m expected to take over running our estate, as well as the family business. My dad breeds and trains racehorses, owns one of the top yards in the country, and it’ll be mine one day.”

I mull this over. Many people, most even, would envy Theo his life, his wealth and privilege, but I doubt any of them would stop to consider the sense of duty and responsibility that goes along with it. Despite everything, I feel lucky.

“Mind you,” Theo’s tone is thoughtful, “that may not be the case anymore.”

“How come?”

He stares into the contents of his glass. “You asked me the other night whether I’d be going home over the holidays. Well, I’d like to. The problem is, my dad doesn’t want to see me, not now he knows about me being gay.”

“Shit.” There doesn’t seem to be anything else to say to that.

“Yeah.” Theo glances at me, then away again. “I told him last summer, a couple of weeks before I left for Oxford. Now I wish I’d done it earlier, when Mum was alive. Maybe it would have been easier on Dad. It just never felt like the right moment. It isn’t exactly something you bring up over dinner, is it? Or maybe it is. Maybe that’s what I should’ve done, got it out of the way years ago, put an end to their hopes for me before they took root. I don’t know.” He pushes the hair out of his eyes. “Anyway, I finally plucked up the courage. I had to. Dad kept going on about all the great opportunities for meeting ‘nice young ladies’ and I couldn’t take any more. I couldn’t face the idea of going away under false pretences. So I sat him down after lunch one day and told him.”

“And he took it badly?”

“That’s one way of putting it. At first, he tried to brazen it out. ‘It’s just a phase,’ he said. ‘You’ll grow out of it.’ Then, when I explained this is how I am, how I always will be, he shut down. He said he’d speak to me once I came to my senses and decided to be a real man.” Theo winces. “I’ve called home a few times, just to check he’s OK, but after establishing I haven’t abandoned ‘this gay nonsense’ he hangs up.”

“He’ll come round,” I say. “In time.”

“I hope so.” The look he flashes me is part gratitude, part sadness. “I’m just not sure he’ll ever forgive me.”

“What do you mean, forgive you? You haven’t done anything wrong here.”

“To Dad, I have. Rowanleigh has been in the Scott-Palmer family for generations. It’s vital to him that the line continues, and now I’ve told him this isn’t going to happen. At least, not in the way he wants.”

“There’s still your sister, right?”

“Yeah, there’s still Clemmy, and if Dad can’t learn to accept me, she’ll have to take over. She’s more than capable, better with the horses. Still, there’s no getting away from the fact that, regardless of whether she marries or not, the family name will die out. That’s a massive blow for my dad. As far as he’s concerned, I’ve failed him as a son.”

I set down my empty glass and rest an elbow on the table, propping my chin on my hand. I suppose I can see why Theo’s Dad might be gutted, but that doesn’t give him the right to basically disown him. Theo’s already lost his Mum; now it must feel like he’s lost his dad, too. “So, you haven’t been home since you told him?”

“Nope. I spent Christmas with my aunt and uncle, Zara’s parents, and over Easter I stayed at the flat in Oxford. It’s easier that way, for both of us.”

I hesitate, wanting to ask, unsure whether it’s off limits. “So, your dad never met… He didn’t know about…” I realise I don’t know the guy’s name.

“Francis?” Theo averts his gaze. “No, he didn’t.”

Immediately, I wish I’d kept my mouth shut. Theo sort of hunches in on himself, his body language the equivalent of a ‘no trespassing’ sign.

“Look,” I fiddle with my glass, “I’m sorry. None of my business.”

At once, Theo turns back to me. “No, Luke, I’m sorry. You must think I’m pathetic, the poor little rich boy, complaining because his bed of roses turned out to have a few thorns in it.”

“No.” I meet his eyes. “No, I don’t think that.”

“Thanks, that means a lot.” Theo rests his elbows on the table, studying me. “Things can’t have been easy for you, though, not having your dad around.”

I shrug, conscious of Theo’s forearm mere inches from mine. “I haven’t had it bad. Mum’s the one working fourteen-hour shifts to feed me and keep a roof over our heads.”

“And there’s never been anyone else? No stepfather?”

“Honestly, I don’t think Mum’s ever got over losing my dad, although she claims she’s just too busy to meet anyone. She works so hard to make sure I have everything I need, but I know she feels it isn’t enough.”

“You don’t see it like that, though,” Theo says, “I can tell.”

I shake my head. “Mum’s never been able to buy me the latest iPhone or whatever, but she’s always there. Even when she comes in after being on her feet all day, she’s never too tired to listen to what I have to say. That means more than whether my clothes come from Pardo’s or Jack Wills.”

“Your mum sounds great.”

“She is. I’m lucky to have her, I guess.”

“And I bet she’d say the same about you.”

I contemplate my empty glass. It isn’t that I think Mum regrets having me; I know she doesn’t. All the same, if she’d done what her parents wanted and got rid of me, her life would have been very different. She might have gone to university, had a career, been free of the daily grind of stock-takes and money worries.

“Trust me,” Theo says. His eyes, when I glance up at him, are warm and full of something I don’t dare put a name to. I meet his gaze. For an instant, it’s as if I’m riding the crest of a wave, suspended in that halfway state, where time simultaneously stands still and stretches into eternity. The darkness closes in around us, settling like a fleecy blanket over our shoulders.