Genre: Contemporary, Humour, m/m non-traditional Romance, Novella, (R-18)
When it seems Peter’s life is all washed up, maybe the answer is to ‘bare’ all, including his heart.
When Peter Blake takes a job working for Walker’s Wash-ups, little does he know that the easiest part of his day will be deciding which of his ‘uniforms’ he hates the most. Needing the money to pay off a loan, Peter decides there are worse things in life than wearing a nude male grilling ‘Hot Sausage’ apron, even if he can’t exactly remember what at the moment. His life shouldn’t be like this. Alas, he didn’t foresee redundancy. He didn’t foresee a time when he’d have to take such a peculiar job, having to grin and ‘bare’ it, even while both pairs of ‘cheeks’ burn equally with embarrassment.
Even more surprising, he didn’t expect the sanest person in his growing list of crazy ‘clients’ would be another man with a bruised heart, who has a lot to answer for…including his future.
Available from Changeling Press.
Read an Excerpt…
“Hope you like pasta,” Christopher said as Peter walked into the kitchen. “I don’t have a lot in, but I can usually rustle something up as long as there’s pasta.”
Rustle something up? The man was chopping red onions, garlic, chorizo sausage and some other kind of sausage Peter didn’t know the name of. He’d torn leaves off a fresh basil plant and there were fresh tomatoes on the vine in at least two varieties.
“What can I do?”
“Grate the parmesan. I always like it freshly grated instead of that packet stuff.”
He could manage that. Peter set to work, enjoying the oddly companionable silence only broken by the sound of their tasks. When it felt as if one of them should say something, Peter said the first thing that came into his head. “Does it sound strange to say it feels peculiar to stand in your kitchen with my clothes on?” Chris didn’t reply immediately so he looked over. The man was smirking, his expression one of total merriment. He flicked his gaze Peter’s way.
“Does it sound strange to say I find this far sexier than the apron?”
They looked at each other and then laughed.
“Try one of these,” Christopher said, lifting a small red tomato to Peter’s lips. “Straight from the garden.”
Peter was so shocked, he blinked, and opened his mouth even as he stared into Christopher’s gaze. The man nudged the small red ball into Peter’s mouth. Peter bit. The skin popped, exploded, a sweet sharp tang saturating his mouth. He chewed enough to swallow. The kiss that followed took him by surprise, not because it hadn’t registered that Christopher was leaning in, but because of the fierceness of it. The other man’s tongue delved in, had to taste the tomato, had to be tasting him. Their teeth clashed, but Christopher didn’t let up. He walked Peter back solely with the pressure of his lips until he bumped up against the counter. Hands cupped his arse, lifted him. For the first time, Peter felt the strength in the man’s sturdy arms and broad chest. Peter had no choice but to grip the base of the cabinet for balance.
The kiss continued. Even when Christopher’s lips moved on from his mouth, it was to kiss his face, his jaw, his chin, working back up the other side to his cheekbones and across his eyelids. Chris leaned in, foreheads together. “I know you must be thinking so many things, asking yourself so many questions. I’m trying not to rush you, but I’m struggling to keep my hands off you.”
“Guess that doesn’t include your lips,” Peter said, wishing he hadn’t the moment he did.
“I’ll concede that,” Chris said, although his tone didn’t convince Peter that he found the comment funny. More likely, he was just trying to keep things calm between them, if one could call the fact that the man had him pressed up against a solid piece of furniture, fingers clawing and digging into his arse cheeks, calm. “It’s difficult for me. You’re my kind of guy.”
“I’m don’t sound anything like Donald.”
“You’re not. You’re everything he wasn’t. I’m not looking to replace Donald. You’re intelligent. You make me laugh. You like art, books and music. You even look fascinated by the fact I grow a few things in the garden.”
“What’s so odd about that?”
“The kind of men I’ve known and work with like a sterile type of lifestyle. The garden is my link to nature. Reminds me this world isn’t based on computer chips, flashing images, and steel buildings. I need a balance of those things in my life, something to counteract them. Hence the garden.”
“I’ve lost the train of the conversation somewhere. How were you saying this had something to do with me?”
“I love that you like my garden, my greenhouse, want to get out there with me. I love that you like my art even if it is shit.”
“It’s not –”
“If I have to shut you up, it’ll be with a kiss.”
It surprised Peter enough that it crossed his mind to make Chris follow through on his threat. By that time, Chris was speaking again.
“I’m saying that there are a lot of things I like about you, things I never even shared with Donald. On top of that, you’re compassionate and sexy as hell, and you make the sweetest noises when you orgasm.”
Heat rose to Peter’s face. He would have turned his head away if there were any room to do so.
“If we were on the same wavelength I’d right out ask you to give us a chance.”
“You mean a date?”
“I mean a relationship. But if I dare to suggest you might enjoy being gay, you’re going to be fighting me off in five minutes. Or are you? ’Cos you see,” Christopher’s arms wove up around and behind him, pulling him close, inserting his body between Peter’s spread thighs, “the way you respond to me, I can’t help wondering if you can imagine it. Look me in the eye,” Christopher tipped his head back, forcing Peter to do just that, “and tell me, if I said I wanted desperately to fuck you that you can’t imagine it, aren’t wondering what it would be like to have me sink into you.”
What was he supposed to say to that when Christopher was looking at him so intently, and making him feel so alive, the other man’s desire and need shining out of his eyes? He couldn’t remember anyone ever looking at him that way. He couldn’t remember wanting…
Peter swallowed. Yes, wanting. Wanting something for himself. Wanting something crazy, something he’d never thought himself capable of. Wanting to let go and react rather than considering all the alternatives. Having to second guess his decisions, weighing up pros and cons, and all the time thinking, thinking, thinking about what choices were right, and if he made the wrong one, what of the consequences?
The other man was nodding as if to say, “See.”
Peter shook his head, swallowed. “I can’t say I don’t want it. I want to do something totally off the wall, something no one who knew me would imagine me doing, I guess. And I can’t say I wouldn’t like to do that with you. I can talk to you. No matter what you say, your painting isn’t shit. Your choice of books is excellent. And yes, I love your garden and the fact that you enjoy getting your hands dirty. I appreciate you thinking so highly of me at a time in my life when I’m feeling worse than useless. And if I were going to go with a man… well,” Peter glanced away to gather his courage before looking back, “then you’re easy on the eye and easy company. Trouble is even if I decided to do something so unpredictable, I couldn’t promise you a future. Clearly, you loved Donald. You deserve –”
Christopher had placed a hand over his mouth silencing him. “Let’s get over the part where I sink into you first, shall we?”
Peter was stunned, stumped, and stuck like a bug, pinned for dissection under that twinkling gaze.
Read a Free ‘Encounter’ with Peter and Chris at Changeling Ezine, and pick up a little ‘Something Special‘.
This freebie was posted US date: 12/8/11 and will have to be searched for by date.
© Sharon Maria Bidwell, all rights reserved.