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Friday, August 9, 2013

Blog Tour with Nessa L Warin

Right about her we will pause in our Out the Box theme for a blog tour and have a little Syrah with Nessa L. Warrin.

All Shawn Neale is looking for when he stumbles into All Corked Up on Christmas Eve is some wine recommendations. What he finds is an instant attraction to Royce Wilkinson, the shop’s owner. After a few weeks of flirting during shopping and some semi-dates at Royce’s wine tastings, they decide on a real date. It goes well, but life isn’t that simple.
Shawn wants to buy Delicto, the local pub he manages. He’s been planning his life around this for years, but when the owner, who believes being gay is an illness, discovers Shawn went out with Royce, he gives Shawn an ultimatum: stop dating guys or he won’t get to buy Delicto. It’s a heartbreaking quandary: Can Royce and Shawn be happy with a secret relationship until Shawn buys Delicto or is Shawn going to have to choose between his dream job and his dream guy?

I was on Twitter yesterday talking to some people about writing and my book, and someone asked me what challenges I had writing Syrah. It was an interesting question to me because, though Syrah is a contemporary gay romance, it’s not what I usually write. Most of my other books fall under the classification of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal. I have one other contemporary book, and it’s set at a science fiction & fantasy convention. I adore the fantastical—it’s what I read and watch when I have spare time, but with this book, I decided to explore another one of my interests. Wine.

There’s a big difference between writing a story that revolves around two boys who meet in a wine shop and one that revolves around an epic conflict. Though it’s possible to have major conflicts in a contemporary romance, I deliberately avoided that path. I wanted to challenge myself to do something completely different. Though it’s “just” a story about two boys falling in love and dealing with the day-to-day challenges of life, I’m happy with how it turned out.

Halfway through the tour, Shawn yanked Royce into one of the small storage rooms. Royce yelped and flailed, but Shawn had four inches in height and a few pounds of muscle on him, and ignored Royce’s waving arm as he pushed him further into the room and shut the door.

“What are you doing?” Royce hissed as he stalked over to Shawn and tried to reach around him and grab the doorknob. “Drew will—”

“Think we’re making out? I hope so. It was his idea.”

Royce stared at him for a moment. “Who are you and what have you done with Shawn?”

“Nothing.” Shawn smirked. “I just thought Drew was asking for us to disappear for a few minutes. He did keep pointing out the storage rooms, after all.”

“And that’s it? We’re just playing a trick on Drew?” Royce took a step back. “Nothing else?”

The hint of disappointment in Royce’s voice cut through Shawn. He’d planned to just play a little joke on Drew, who seemed like the kind of guy who would appreciate it, but they were the only people in the room, and only Drew knew they were back here. Even if one of Henry’s friends happened to be at Heartwood Vineyards today and happened to see them in the restaurant later, he was safe now. No one but he and Royce would know what happened in this room. “Not just playing a joke.”

He leaned in slowly, giving Royce ample time to read his intentions and step back. Instead, Royce leaned in and tipped his head back, angling his lips perfectly for Shawn to brush his against them. The first touch was startling. Shawn had been telling himself for weeks that he couldn’t have, couldn’t touch, couldn’t look, so he wasn’t prepared for the warmth of Royce’s mouth under his. It felt hedonistic and dangerous, but that just made Shawn want it more. If they were doomed to be caught at any moment, he wanted to make the most of it.

He deepened the kiss, leaned in further and put his hands on Royce’s shoulders. It was everything he remembered from that fleeting kiss after their first date and so much more, enhanced by the danger of being caught and the growing attraction between them. Shawn could easily lose himself in Royce’s touch and let this turn into more, but the safety of the storeroom was mostly an illusion, and they weren’t teenagers desperate to make out in any dark corner they could find.

He stepped back reluctantly. “It’s no fun pretending to make out without a little kissing.”

“That was a little?” Royce was flushed, his chest heaving with each breath, his lips pink and moist.

Shawn desperately wanted to kiss him again, the danger of being caught and the eighteen years that had passed since he was a teenager be damned. “Compared to what we should have done by now,” he said as he leaned in.

The door opened just as their lips touched, and Shawn jerked back instinctively. He whirled around and pressed his hand to his chest, trying to calm the rapid thudding of his heart. “Drew! You scared me!”

“Damn! I missed it.” Drew looked at them expectantly, but Shawn just looked right back at him, his expression as bland as he could make it considering the flush he felt in his cheeks and the way he couldn’t catch his breath. Drew’s hopeful expression gradually faded under the weight of Shawn’s stare, and after a moment, he sighed. “Fine. We’d better get moving, anyway, or you’ll miss dinner.”

Right then, Shawn would rather have stayed in the supply room and kissed Royce, but his stomach had other ideas and rumbled as soon as Drew mentioned food. “Wouldn’t want that.” He held his hand out toward Royce, feeling brave enough to initiate it this time, and smiled as Royce laced their fingers together.

“I don’t really like him right now,” Royce muttered as he fell into step next to Shawn.

“Me either, but we’ll pick this up later.”

“I’m going to hold you to that.”

Shawn knew Royce would, possibly even someplace that wasn’t as remote as Heartwood Vineyards, and he found he was looking forward to it. Part of the thrill of making out in the storage room had been the chance they’d get caught. Shawn wasn’t ready to do something drastic like kiss Royce in front of Henry, but if sneaking around felt like this instead of the awkward dance that had characterized their trip to the Portland Underground, he wanted more. He couldn’t do everything he wanted yet, but maybe he didn’t have to be quite so paranoid about Henry.

He smiled and waited until Royce was looking at him so it would be clear he meant it. “I know. I want you to.”

1 comment:

  1. This looks excellent!