Here’s a little preview of my novel Taste, now available at Dreamspinner Press. Taste is a spin-off of my novel Horizons and features several characters from that book along with some new ones. Here is the direct buy link is here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_76
The sun was beating down on Lil’s shoulders as they stood in line to get on the boat. It was another scorcher of a day, with high humidity levels, but there was a slight breeze which made it somewhat tolerable. He wasn’t used to this kind of weather, being from San Francisco, but he’d remembered the sunscreen and had applied the non-greasy SP 45 lotion liberally on his arms, the back of his neck, and his legs. Jody had loaned him one of Clark’s baseball caps to protect his face and head.
Grier had shown up in another wife beater, a black one this time, with the words Vinita Ice Cream scrawled in neon green. It had big circles in vivid primary colors simulating ice cream scoops splotched throughout.
“Your T-shirt is very attractive.”
“I designed it,” Grier said proudly. “You like it?”
“As I said yesterday, what’s not to like?”
“I meant the T-shirt.”
“I know,” Lil smiled. He couldn’t see Grier’s eyes behind the Oakleys, but the seductive tone of his voice was a pleasant indication that nothing had changed since yesterdays meet and greet. “I thought you moved furniture?”
“Among other things.”
“I like a man of many talents,” Lil flirted.
“That’s me. I’m a veritable jack-of-all-trades.”
The line started moving again, and when they got on the boat they were given a choice of sitting below, in the cabin, or up on top, exposed to the elements. “Do you have a preference?” Grier asked.
“Even though the sun is deadly and will surely age me overnight, I’d rather sit up on the deck.”
“Good choice.” Grier steadied Lil with a hand on his lower back, guiding him up the narrow iron steps onto the open deck. Their seats were toward the rear of the boat, and they conversed while they waited for the rest of the passengers to be seated.
“Tell me about Vinita Ice Cream,” Lil asked. “Does it belong to the group of people you were with last night?”
“Yes. The Garcias are friends, as well as neighbors, and my family helps them each year with the booth.”
“Who does the little boy belong to?”
“Luca is Jillian’s son. She’s Jake’s twin.”
“My best friend.”
“I’ve known that family since I was four years old.”
“How old are you, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“I just turned twenty-five.”
“When’s your birthday?”
“Is that a problem?”
“No, it’s a treat. Geminis are wonderfully complex.”
“And here I thought I was just bipolar.”
Lil laughed out loud. “A little duality, perhaps?”
“Something like that,” Grier said, smiling. “What’s your sign?”
“I don’t know anything about astrology,” Grier admitted.
“They say that Pisces are the best lovers.”
“Is it truth or hype?”
“I’ve never had any complaints,” Lil stated frankly.
“I like men with experience,” Grier said.
“Do you?” Lil took off Grier’s sunglasses for a minute so he could look into the dark eyes that were appraising him frankly. “Then you’ve just won the jackpot. It’s one of the few advantages of being over thirty.”
“Are you thirty-one?”
Lil handed back the sunglasses but not before he traced Grier’s scruff with gentle fingers and brushed his lips against the luscious mouth in a soft kiss. The brunet leaned into his touch, and Lil was pleased to see the spark of desire in the obsidian eyes before he hid them again behind the smoked glass.
“I’m thirty-seven and holding,” Lil whispered.
“Flattery will get you everywhere.”
“It’s the truth,” Grier insisted. “You don’t look your age.”
“I certainly hope not,” Lil said. “Nonetheless, time marches on, and plastic surgeons get more affordable each day.”
“You’re not a candidate yet.”
“You’re sweet,” Lil said, basking in the compliment.
“Tell me about Lyndon Lyle Lampert,” Grier asked. “Do you have a partner?”
“Don’t you believe in love?”
“I do, but I haven’t met the right guy yet, and I won’t settle.”
“Does he have to walk on water?”
Lil laughed. “Not necessarily, but he’s got to make my heart flutter, my breath catch in my throat, my cock surge with interest, and not always in that order. Two out of the three ingredients are a requirement.”
“I suppose I could always glamour you.”
“True Blood fan?”
“Vampire Diaries,” Grier admitted. “My heart jumps around whenever the bad vamp shows up on the screen.”
“Damon is rather hot, isn’t he? Makes you want to bare your neck willingly.”
“And other parts as well.”
“Slutty boy,” Lil teased. “Do you have anyone special?”
“If I did I wouldn’t be here, would I?”
“Oh, you’re one of those good boys who believes in monogamy.”
“I’ve never found anyone who’d make me even consider it.”
“That’s hard to understand.”
“We can’t all be Clark and Jody.”
“I wish I had a little bit of Clark in me.”
“Hon, you’re just as gorgeous, except he’s got the whole Viking God thing going, whereas you’re more Italian bad boy.”
“Shit,” Grier mumbled. “I’m nothing like Clark.”
“In what sense?”
“He’s out and proud.”
“And you’re not?” Lil was very surprised considering Grier had no problem kissing him in public.
“I take that back,” Grier clarified. “I’m out with everyone except my father.”
“And his approval means the most?”
“What about your mother?”
“She passed away last year.”
“I miss her a lot.” Grier looked out toward the horizon, and Lil could feel the melancholy that swamped the young man as memories surfaced. “Her biggest regret in dying so young was leaving me unsettled.”
Lil put his arm around Grier and drew him close. “She was your friend.”
“Don’t think that Clark’s journey wasn’t difficult, Grier. His father is a homophobic megalomaniac. I can’t imagine your father being half as bad.”
“I read about Clark’s dad…he’s a little controlling.”
“A little is an understatement.”
“My dad is a good person, Lil. He loves me, and my brother, and has worked very hard to provide a future for us. Unfortunately, he doesn’t understand that my sexual orientation is nothing like his. Mom and I were trying to figure out how to convince Dad to let me finish my schooling, but then she got sick.”
“You’re not done with college yet?”
“Two years of general ed courses is all I’ve accomplished so far. When I asked to transfer to the Illinois Institute of Art, he had a fit.”
“Only queers go for design.”
“Give me a fucking break. Hasn’t he heard of Frank Lloyd Wright? He was one of the greatest architects who ever lived, and he was from the Midwest, for Pete’s sake, and from everything I’ve read about him, an absolute hound with women.”
“Lil, even if he’d heard of him, it wouldn’t make a difference. All he wants is someone to take over Dilorio Trucking, but even Ali won’t touch it.”
“My brother, Alissio.”
“You boys certainly have unusual names.”
“Lil isn’t that commonplace either.”
“Why do they call you Lil? I think I prefer Lyndon.”
“Oh, please, Lyndon makes me sound like an old fart. When I was younger, and utterly outrageous, my friends started calling me Lillian. It got shortened through the years.”
“Lillian,” Grier frowned slightly. “I don’t see it at all.”
“Enough talk about me, okay?” Lil said, embarrassed about bringing up ancient history. Grier was only eight years old when Lil was prowling The Castro and earning that nickname. He leaned into Grier and said, “Let’s postpone this conversation until after the tour, alright?” The boat had finally filled up and was slowly moving away from the dock.