Hi guys, we have Francis Gideon popping in with his upcoming release The Taste of Ink, we have a great guest post from Francis and a tasty excerpt so enjoy the post! <3 ~Pixie~
The Taste of Ink
Trevor Dunn has never gone to the Calgary Stampede, in spite of living in the city all his life. He would much rather listen to music and draw comics in his basement than hang out with a bunch of cowboys. When his sister drags him to the Stampede’s opening parade anyway, Trevor is drawn to a cowboy sporting a green hat.
Charlie opens Trevor’s mind to the world of country music and country boys. But then an old flame appears in the middle of the festival and Trevor is torn. He adores Charlie, but Mathieu—a punk singer turned acoustic crooner—was Trevor’s first love, but Trevor lost him by being too afraid to chase the dreams they shared.
Except after the Stampede ends, Charlie will go back to Toronto, Mathieu will go back on tour, and Trevor will go back to his basement. Realizing that’s not what he wants, Trevor enters a mechanical bull-riding contest in hopes of winning the heart of his true love—or maybe both of them. This time, fear won’t stop him from going after what he wants.
Hello! I wanted to share with the readers of MM Good Book Reviews an excerpt from my latest story The Taste of Ink coming March 13th from Dreamspinner Press. It’s an erotic M/M/M romance set in a contemporary Western landscape (the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada). The story also borrows from a lot of typical rock star or musician romances, since the two main love interests are a cowboy in a green hat named Charlie, and Mathieu, a former punk singer turned country crooner.
The section I want to share today is from when Mathieu and Trevor, the MC, first meet. This takes place several years before the current story, back when Trevor graduates from high school and winds up at a house party where a punk show is happening in the basement. The “meet-cute” happens when Trevor snaps his glasses in two in the most pit, and Mathieu runs into his rescue to fix them and help get Trevor home.
These kinds of loud and rambunctious house parties are common in the punk scene since it’s cheaper to tour this way (and performer’s often crash on the host’s couch after the show). When the hardcore band Beartooth toured Canada, they did something similar, asking for fans to host them and then playing live shows in their basement. I bring up the real life connection because what happens to Trevor in this scene also happened to me. It wasn’t at a house party exactly like this, but at a concert for The Cancer Bats in Toronto, and while there was no one like Mathieu rushing in to save the day, the security guard at the show was super kind to me afterwards. I had to walk to a bus station afterwards holding my broken glasses like they were monocles so my myopia didn’t make me run out onto the road. At the time, I thought it was the worst time I’d had at a show. But now, looking back, it’s kind of funny.
And really, I’d eventually get my savior when my current partner, Travis, rescued my glasses when they broke again. He used glue to fix them, not tape, but hey. We’re still together today, so it must have won me over. The Taste of Ink is dedicated to him as a small thank you for that moment.
I hope you enjoy the excerpt, and if you pick up the story, thank you! I’m saving those royalties for some kind of glasses insurance, since this seems to happen to me a lot.
The opening band started to play. They were a small outfit, only three of them there, and their equipment was broken. But it didn’t matter; the pit started to sway back and forth, and like an undertow, Trevor was swept away. Normally he hung out at the back and never got involved, but now, for the first time in forever, he felt alive. All of his excitement about graduation and high school ending flowed through him, and soon enough, he was at the front. There was no real barrier for the stage, only an elevated platform that had seen better days. So when Trevor arrived, he was at the feet of the singer as he jumped along to his words.
And Mathieu was beside him. Trevor recognized him from the hallways in high school and their shared English glass in grade nine. They never hung out, never spoke directly, but there had always been something about Mathieu’s dark eyes and long hair that attracted Trevor. Now that Mathieu was here, beside Trevor, singing the words back to a random punk band, Trevor’s small crush was about to spiral out of control. During the lull of a song, Trevor leaned over to Mathieu, his mouth open to ask a question he never got to finish because the lead singer of the band jumped off the stage and into the crowd.
Trevor was so focused on Mathieu he didn’t move away or hold up his hands to catch the singer. So when the singer’s leg kicked up, it came right down on Trevor’s face. His glasses absorbed nearly all of the blow, snapping in two and falling into the sea of bodies. Trevor’s eyes watered from the sudden sting. His hands went to his face, trying to caress his throbbing nose, which he was relieved to find not broken. When he blinked, the room was cloudy. He could see nothing but the blurring of bodies, and then a red T-shirt in front of him.
“Hey, hey.” Mathieu’s voice. “Are you okay?”
“No, I can’t see a thing.”
“Fuck. Your glasses.” Even with his blurred vision, Trevor could still tell that Mathieu’s eyes had gone wide. His red shirt swayed with the music, disappearing between bodies, before he returned and slipped something into Trevor’s hands. Broken edges, a thick frame.
“Yeah. Sorry I can’t unbreak them. I mean, sorry they’re broken. But I found them. That’s something, right?”
“Oh, uh…. Sure. I guess.”
“Here. Let me help.”
During the lull of the next song while the singer scrambled to get back on stage, Mathieu took Trevor’s hand and steered him out of the pit. They bounced back up the stairs, Mathieu’s hand always on him in some way, like a dog leading a blind person. Through touch, Trevor could decipher that the lenses of his glasses weren’t broken, but the frame had snapped right in two by the nose piece. He gripped the pieces in his free fist until they reached the kitchen.
The light of the kitchen made it easier for Trevor to see. As Mathieu stayed within a foot of him, he could see his face and make out his expressions. While Mathieu dug through the kitchen drawers to find tools to fix the frames, Trevor’s stomach filled with anxious butterflies. Mathieu saved my glasses. And Mathieu saved me. Perhaps that was a bit too dramatic, but Trevor knew there was no way he could get home without glasses since he took the bus to get there, and the bus system in this part of town was shady at best. Trevor was near-sighted, and the prospect of reading any kind of sign this late at night was hopeless. He would have had to call a cab, or his parents, and since he had just come out as gay, he really didn’t want to bother them. But you’re fine now. More than fine.
Mathieu murmured under his breath the same grammatical error as before. “Unbreak, unbreak…. How do I unbreak—I mean fix this?”
The error was so sweet and familiar to Trevor. He remembered his high school English class, in grade nine, when everyone was reading aloud, and Mathieu had been there. When responding to a question about Holden Caulfield, he had called him unsincere. Everyone had laughed at the mistake, but the teacher skimmed by it, stating that the prefix un made a lot of sense to attach to other words, since it was supposed to designate something being taken away. Mathieu probably spoke several languages, too, so his grammatical slip made even more sense.
“Ah-hah! Yes. Tape,” Mathieu cried out. “Can I see the glasses again?”
Trevor handed over his glasses without a qualm. He was somewhat skeptical that they could really be fixed with simple scotch tape like movies implied, but he wanted Mathieu’s help. He wanted to be around Mathieu, period.
“Thanks. I really appreciate this.”
“Not at all. I like fixing things.” Mathieu grabbed another section of tape. He touched the nosepiece of the glasses. “Good. This should do it. But let me know? I know it’s not a permanent fix, but it’s something, right?”
Trevor placed his glasses on the bridge of his nose. They seemed flatter, heavier than before. And definitely not as sturdy. But he could see again. Up close, Mathieu’s face was young, tanned, and clear of imperfection. His dark eyes gleamed as soon as Trevor looked into them.
“Yes. Thank you.”
“Not at all. I mean, man, that’s pretty hard core breaking them in the pit. Never seen anything like that before. Impressive.”
Trevor blushed for a moment. To be considered hard core, when this was the first real time he’d gotten into the pit, was almost like winning the lottery. He was about to brush off the compliment when Mathieu leaned closer. Trevor’s heart spiked. Are we going to kiss? Mathieu stared intently, and Trevor inched forward, readying for what was to come.
Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He has appeared in Gay Flash Fiction, Chelsea Station Poetry, and the Martinus Press anthology To Hell With Dante. He lives in Canada with his partner, reads too many comics books, and drinks too much coffee. Feel free to contact him, especially if you want to talk about horror movies, LGBT poetry, or NBC’s Hannibal. Find him at Website & Twitter