I'm Lydia Nyx! Keeping with this month's 'first time' theme, I'm here to share my novella Risky.
aspiring rock guitarist Turner Watts meets Luca Kennedy, the lead
singer of a band named Salto, he finally gets his lucky break. Luca is a
small man with a huge personality: enigmatic, eccentric, beautiful—and
reckless. When one of Luca’s daredevil stunts goes awry, Turner has to
hope he can convince his friend to stop endangering his life and take a
new kind of risk—one that will enhance life rather than endanger it.
wrote Risky for Dreamspinner Press' 'First Time for Everything' 2011
Daily Dose package. In Risky, several 'first time' elements are
explored. For Turner, it's his first time exploring sex and a
relationship with another man. For Luca, who is both an aspiring rock
star and a BASE jumper, it's his first time trying to handle something
in his life that's not wild, fast-paced, and dangerous. And by the end,
they're both exploring another first for both of them: love.
enjoy writing about complicated, sometimes dangerous characters with a
slightly (or more than slightly) self-destructive streak. Luca is the
very definition of all those things. Turner is the opposite: a
grounding, level-headed force that can bring Luca back down to earth.
Their dynamic helps each of them work out the issues that keep them from
experiencing new, life-enriching moments.
Here's a peek inside:
first time Turner Watts met Luca Kennedy, he learned the true meaning
of the phrase, “taken aback.” Luca wore dark aviator sunglasses,
awkwardly big on his gaunt face, and looked like he had just come from
rolling around in a yard sale down the street. Despite his small, wiry
frame and being several inches shorter than Turner, he instantly
conveyed the vibe he could eat worlds and slay giants.
“I’m sorry,” Turner said. “I don’t know what BASE jumping is.”
were loitering in front of a coffee shop on Melrose Avenue, the
trendiest people in the world drifting by, the California sun beating
down hot. Luca explained to him that the name of the band he fronted,
Salto, meant “to jump” in Portuguese, his cultural heritage. He then
explained why he’d chosen the word.
“It”—Turner struggled not to sound foolish—“has something… to do with the military?” This sounded reasonable.
grinned, flashing over-white teeth. His pale skin looked impossibly
smooth, like whipped butter. Dark hair streaked with bleached-blond
stripes hung to his shoulders, drawing attention to a long, slender neck
above the collar of a ragged pea-green T-shirt.
“No, it’s just
regular civilians jumping off shit like maniacs.” Turner’s new
acquaintance and Luca’s best friend, Christian Holden, provided an
answer. He stood next to Luca, and in stark contrast, Christian was
dark, burly, tall, and tattooed. Turner himself presented a rather
gritty figure—tattoos down his arms, spiky blond hair, someone who
wouldn’t be caught dead in a business suit.
When Christian told
Turner he would introduce him to his “best friend,” Turner had expected
someone very much like Christian—a hardcore, leather-clad rocker—not a
tiny, frail waif Turner suspected could scoop him up in one hand and
fling him to the pavement.
“It is jumping off shit like a
maniac,” Luca said. “But with a parachute. And for glory. I’ll tell you
all about it sometime. Right now, we’re here for other things. Christian
tells me you can play guitar.”
Weeks passed before Turner saw
Luca and Christian again. Turner brought his guitar to a small,
cluttered apartment in Beverly Hills, where Luca gave him his audition.
Luca looked less like a homeless person this time, dressed in a slim
black sweater despite the heat, jeans looking fresh off the rack, and
beat-up blue Converse sneakers.
Luca sat in a chair behind a
small table scattered with papers, and Christian hovered over him like a
bodyguard. Turner played his guitar but couldn’t get over how ethereal
Luca’s eyes were: a shocking color, blue bordering on violet, and
He didn’t actually expect to get in the band.
need to have dinner with us.” Luca stuffed a piece of paper into
Turner’s hand, on which he’d scribbled the name of a restaurant and an
address. “Seven-thirty sound all right?”
In the years after,
Turner could never remember the name of the restaurant. He could
remember the way the light shone in Luca’s eyes, the way he moved as if
he were only half there, like a phantom, like a beguiling angel. The
restaurant served foreign fare and had a strange name. Turner could
never bring himself to ask.
Turner also couldn’t bring himself to
ask all the things he wanted to know about Luca. Every time they were
together he found his tongue tied and couldn’t force himself to make
even the smallest of small talk. Luca could be incredibly intense,
sometimes even stressful to be around. He was always writing, or working
out chords, or creating artwork, and his devotion to perfection bled
onto everyone and everything around him. Practices were particularly
painful, as Luca would make everyone stay until they had achieved a
level of performance he found acceptable.
Sometimes they hung out
in bars—after practice, if the session hadn’t gone on too long, or on
weekends when Turner left work early. Even then, Luca would be writing
in a notebook and never really engaged in conversation. Turner wanted to
know about him—his family, his background, why he chose music, what the
hell BASE jumping meant. But one look from Luca, one of his appraising
stares that burrowed right under Turner’s flesh, and he couldn’t say a
Turner also thought Luca might be bipolar, given his frantic
ups and downs. At times he became intensely focused and withdrawn, and
then other times he became hyper, overly friendly, and giddy, clamoring
Turner asked Christian about his behavior.
“Is Luca on medication or something? He seems kind of manic.”
Christian chortled. “He sure is.” He mimed snorting something up his nose.
revelation Luca might be an addict worried Turner greatly. Not for his
future with the band, but Luca’s health. Turner kept himself clean
because he’d seen too many people destroy their lives with drugs.
realized, lying in bed one night, what all his worrying, and his desire
to talk to Luca and get to know him better, meant: he had a crush on
From the time Turner began to have a sexual
identity, he knew he didn’t just go for girls, though he liked girls
just fine. However, he had never been what most or even he would
consider a “practicing bisexual.” Largely because, growing up in his
little corner of suburbia, being anything less than straight equated to
being like one of those drug addicts he would later meet—certainly there
were others out there, but you didn’t just go up to people and ask. The
extent of his “practicing bisexuality” included fooling around with a
few guys in high school and once going on a date with a guy. He wasn’t
entirely sure the guy considered the outing a date, however.
He thought with despair, It’s just like you to fall for the bad boy.
long after Turner’s realization, the band played a show in a seedy
little club, and seven people were nice enough to show up. After this
failure, Luca dragged Turner to another, much busier club down the
street. Luca didn’t seem at all depressed they had just done little more
than annoy a handful of people. He was in one of his hyper states, and
Turner wondered if he’d snorted up in the bathroom after the show.
clubs had not changed a bit since Turner had last been in one—when he’d
turned twenty-one, three years before. Several friends, not even in his
social circle anymore, had taken him out for his birthday. In the
trendy California underworld, the worst things could be found in the
best clubs. Turner stayed away from the back rooms, where too many
things could go up his nose or into his arm—or in orifices, if he wasn’t
Luca disappeared as soon as they arrived, saying he had
to talk to some people. Awkward and out of place, Turner went to the
bar. He ordered a whiskey and water on the rocks. The opportunity lay
ahead to make a fool of himself, and he didn’t want anything stronger.
Drink acquired, he tried to relax and remind himself he was still young,
and young people hung out in clubs. The thumping music vibrated through
his body, and he watched people gyrate on the dance floor. While lost
in thought, circling a fingertip around the edge of his glass, he
suddenly felt a jostling against his back and hands on his waist. He
caught a whiff of familiar cologne.
“You are a beautiful boy,” Luca murmured against his ear. “Have I told you that yet?”
tingle rushed through Turner, so hot and swift he thought someone had
touched a bare electrical wire to his skin. He struggled to ignore the
twitch in the crotch of his way-too-tight pants. “You haven’t, but
thanks.” As Turner took a quick drink, Luca ground his narrow hips
against his ass, and Turner almost choked.
“Come dance with me,” Luca said.
Turner arched an eyebrow and glanced over his shoulder. “You really want to?”
“Would I ask if I didn’t?” He tugged at his belt. “You’re always so uptight. Relax a little.”
threw back the rest of his drink for courage and followed. He didn’t
seem to have a choice. He would also kick himself forever if he didn’t
On the floor, Turner got the impression Luca didn’t care
if he danced, he just wanted someone to watch him dance. People were
packed around them, writhing and jerking, moving to the insistent rhythm
of the music. The air felt heavy, like a tangible thing pressed against
Turner’s back and shoulders. Couples around them were making out.
Turner caught glimpses of things he didn’t want to think about, things
he didn’t want to want.
Luca looked amazing in the constantly
changing, pulsing light. The colors ran over him like water, over his
pale skin and fine cheekbones, glowing in his wide, shimmering eyes,
ringed darkly with eyeliner. He tossed his hair and moved his hips,
putting Turner in a trance.
He barely had his senses when Luca
grabbed his hands and put them on his body. Luca wore vinyl pants and a
silk shirt, and both fabrics felt exquisite under his fingers. He
thought he might be dreaming. Then Luca turned and pressed his back
against his chest, and he instinctively knew he had permission to touch
wherever he wanted. He caressed his hands over Luca’s chest, down his
hips, across his thighs, getting bolder as Luca responded positively. He
couldn’t have hid his erection if he wanted to, and Turner didn’t even
try, pressing fully against Luca’s ass.
music ended and Luca abruptly withdrew, saying he wanted a drink. Turner
followed him to the bar, head spinning, aching with desire. To his
dismay, when they reached the bar, Christian appeared. He seemed peeved
they’d left him behind and started berating Luca. After this outburst,
Luca turned all his attention on Christian. Turner, feeling like he’d
had cold water thrown on him and not knowing what to do, bowed out and
left the club.
He had scarcely got through the door of his
apartment when he unzipped his jeans and started furiously stroking his
cock. Despite the sudden damper, he’d stayed hard all the way home, the
feel of Luca’s body emblazoned on his senses. He fell on the couch and
closed his eyes, picturing Luca’s face in the club lights. When he came,
he shot in hot bursts across his stomach, saying Luca’s name.
never brought up the incident: no apology, no explanation, thankfully
no declaration he’d experienced a drug-induced moment of bad
decision-making. Like everything else about Luca, his motivation for
driving Turner out of his mind remained a mystery.
If you're interested in checking out more of Turner's first you can purchase Risky here: