Welcome to The Power of Love Blog Hop! I’m glad you stopped by to help us celebrate Valentine’s day, M/M style. Once you’ve looked around my place, don’t forget to check out the other stops. You can get to the list by clicking the graphic above, or the button at the end of my post.
What do you get for all that reading & clicking? My prize will go to someone in the US who answers my question and chooses between chain, parachute cord, or ribbon. (To hang your pendant on, of course! What did you think I meant?)
If the random number generator chooses an INT hopper, they’ll get $10 to ARe or Amazon!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Those are three words I haven’t said much in my lifetime. Even when I was young, I didn’t feel like this holiday was for me…and now I usually mark it by starting my annual search for Cadbury Creme Eggs.
But this hop isn’t about me, it’s about Love and Romance. Most of my heroes are older, or otherwise don’t fit into the standard Romance Hero mold. I have a soft spot for the guys who, for whatever reason, made it into their thirties (or forties, or beyond) without finding The One. It feels strange for me to consider a man in his late thirties an older man but in Male-Male Romance, that’s practically ancient. Maybe I’m looking in all the wrong places, but in most of the books I find the heroes top-out in their early thirties—if that.
In the 21st Century, the general wisdom is that everyone spends their teen years figuring out what kind of love they’re after, armed with all the info on the internet. I think some people have a hard time believing a man wouldn’t know who he was—that he wanted to spend his life with another man, or two men, or maybe a man and/or a woman—by the time he graduated from high school. Another assumption is that everyone goes to college, finds acceptance with the family of their heart, and tromps happily-ever-forward to find The One. All by the age of 22. No pressure.
I’m not saying it doesn’t happen in real life but I can tell you, a lot of people aren’t driven to find someone to settle down with (or even mess around with) during their teens and early twenties. A lot of people don’t spend their time watching internet porn and learning how the logistics go, or navel-gazing about what their type is. I have nothing against internet porn or navel-gazing (if you could only see my cache…) but I don’t want to write about people who are overachievers in matters of the heart. I think it’s more interesting to write about the folks who don’t perfectly execute their carefully planned lives.
Take Ross and Miles from Curious Sustenance; Ross spent most of his life overweight, in part because his focus was on his activism and not on himself, and Miles had to overcome a deep sense of failure that wasn’t even his own. They both pursued their dreams and had full lives with friends, family and fulfilling work, but both felt like something was missing…until they found each other. They’re both in their late thirties and I think they’re pretty sexy.
Ross Jenson is looking forward to a little midmorning delight to celebrate making Lifetime in Weight Watchers, but after he spent eight months losing ninety-eight pounds, what his lover gets him is a triple-layer chocolate cake. When Ross refuses to eat it, the newly minted ex leaves the country and dumps him via e-mail, with three sentences and a link to a chubby chasers web site. A few days later, Ross’s best friend and workout buddy takes him to her favorite club for drinks. Ross is shocked when he realizes it’s a sex club but warms to the idea in record time when a mysterious Japanese man and his silken ropes sweep him off his feet. Ross has never thought of himself as adventurous, but he can’t stop thinking about the man who makes his bones feel like gummy worms.
In this excerpt, Ross and Miles ran into each other at Powell’s City of Books and went to the cafe for coffee. “Shaggy” is the pseudonym Miles uses at the club.
“So, Shaggy? How’d that happen?”
Miles half turned toward Ross. He’d been looking up at the second-floor windows across the street just as Ross had and now looked a little pale.
“Sorry. I mean, if that’s supposed to be secret, or— Ah, never mind.” Ross sipped his coffee, but his throat didn’t feel capable of letting it pass. He almost spit it all against the window in front of him when Miles leaned closer.
“It’s a nickname I got in middle school. My last name is Shigihara, so you can see how very imaginative it was.” He raised an eyebrow and sipped his coffee, eyes smiling above the rim of the cup. “But it turned out to be strangely appropriate. I’ve never been afraid of running into any of those people at the club, but maybe I should think about that.”
“So you were a big fan of sandwiches?” A part of Ross cringed inside his head, but for once, he was able to shut that guy up and have a little fun.
The look Miles shot Ross before he took another drink said he’d never heard that one before.
Before he could answer, Ross moved on, pretty smoothly considering his nerve endings seemed to be reaching out to the gorgeous man whose elbow was so close it touched his arm whenever they both exhaled at the same time.
“Let me guess—you were named for Buddy Miles?”
It was Miles’s turn to narrowly escape painting the window with his coffee. He nodded as he coughed, and Ross expended a lot of energy resisting the urge to pat his back. Or grab his hair and pull his head back so he could lick a line up his throat and nuzzle that fledgling beard.
“Oh, sorry, what?”
“I said most people guess Miles Davis and asked if you like Buddy Miles.”
“Oh, um, my sister has the Band of Gypsys album, and I think she used it to play me to sleep when I was little. Every time I hear a cut from that album, I get sleepy.”
Miles nodded and sipped carefully.
Ross felt impossibly proud that his silly guess turned out to be right. So much for thinking before speaking, it didn’t seem to be the absolute after all. He watched as Miles sipped his coffee, his eyes wandering again to the window across the street.
“So what do you do? When you’re not….”
Sweeping people off their feet with your smoky gaze and tapestry bag of silken rope.
Thanks for reading!
If you’ve made it this far you deserve something pretty to look at, so here you go!
One more bit of housekeeping and I’ll let you get on your way to the rest of the stops on The Power of Love hop! What album makes Ross feel sleepy? (Hint: scroll up)
Do you have a song or album that gets you in a particular mood? Share! Mine is Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (it really mellows me out).
The hop runs through Feb. 16th and I’ll contact my winner by Tuesday the 18th. If I don’t hear back within 48 hours I’ll choose another winner–by random number generator. 🙂