Thanks, Carson, for letting me visit during Contemporary Month!
I love Contemporary Romances, especially when they're set in a place you don’t see every day. I understand why so many Gay Romances are set in Chicago or New York—it makes sense. But I’ve been reading about those places for almost half a century now and I want something different. (Yeah, yeah, it’s okay—inside I’m still just a pup.)
Portland, Oregon isn’t absent from Romances, but not as common as other west coast cities like San Francisco and Seattle. I love my adopted “home town, it has a little something for everyone—from those who want to be seen to folks who came here to be invisible.
Portland isn’t far from a few small towns, and sometimes feels like one itself. When I first moved to the Northwest I lived in a very small town and every time I ventured into Portland I ran into someone I knew. Which is saying something, because for a while I didn’t know anyone outside of the (1,400 or so) people who called that little town home. Some of those generous people gave me tours of their favorite Portland spots, and others pointed me toward a great restaurant or cute little shop—many of which I might not have found on my own.
It’s probably no surprise, then, that one of my favorite ways to get a romance cooking is with a chance meeting. I love it when a character is pushed out of their comfort zone and ends up meeting someone who changes their world. It’s almost like the real-life equivalent of magic. Like when you see someone across a room and you just know talking to them will be interesting and fun and possibly the exciting kind of dangerous. The coolest thing about fiction is you don’t have to be in that room, or even in that state, to find out what happens next. And when the story takes place in a new city, the surprise can be double.
In this excerpt my hero, Ross, is doing a little work on the weekend and has a chance meeting one of the coolest places in Portland—Powell’s City of Books. (Brad is the ex from the blurb, and Janet is the gal-pal.)
He found the books on the second floor, in the purple room, and then headed down to the orange section and the cookbooks. Almost everyone he’d met in Weight Watchers had gone to the internet for their recipes, but Ross was old-fashioned in that he preferred to hold a cookbook in his hands. Cooking was such a tactile activity and, if he were to be honest, cooking healthy food wasn’t always stimulating to his senses. Janet knew her way around the kitchen, but he was still getting used to not being able to run out for Thai food or have a pizza delivered any given day of the week. If he didn’t get back into cooking soon, he’d be sure to undo everything.
The realization that he was more interested in the club he’d been to last weekend than wondering if Brad was back yet or if he’d been with anyone while he was away—because of course he had been—straightened his back and forced out what he considered his “ah-ha” sound. He moved farther down the aisle and sensed someone to his left. Instead of bumping into them, he turned to look and came face-to-face with the mysterious rope artist. Ross just stood there with his mouth open, suddenly very aware of his torso and points south that woke right up. A strange thought raced through his mind, that maybe he should act as though they’d never met, that it was somehow against the rules to say hello without permission. But the face in front of him appeared to mirror what he felt in that moment. And not only the surprise.
After a few tense moments, Ross was able to close his mouth, and his movement seemed to break the spell.
Ross took the offered hand and smiled. “Ross.”
They both started to speak at once, but Ross smiled and nodded for Miles to go ahead.
He shook his head helplessly and returned the smile. “I’m looking for a birthday present for my sister. Um, have you found anything good?”
“Well, what does she like to cook?”
Miles frowned the tiniest bit, and Ross waited for aliens to land on the roof or the cacophony society to stroll through the store. Christmas had been almost four weeks earlier, but neither would be any more unexpected than finding the one person he’d been thinking about right there in front of him. And speaking as though they were any two men.
Nothing odd about meeting in the diabetic cooking section of Powell’s. Ross tried to be sly and look him over—jeans, a T-shirt, and light jacket would have to reveal more than his suit had—but soon realized he was failing miserably and stopped before he got caught.
Although, getting caught might not be the worst thing. Maybe he’d have to be punished—
He never knew boundaries could be so 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.
Warnings: this book features a corporate sensitivity trainer with an agenda, an awesome gal-pal, an unconventional sex club, a mysterious Japanese rope artist, and another taste of Portland, Oregon as seen through my twisted mind.
Buy Curious Sustenance at Dreamspinners Press
Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they let her sleep once in a while. Every guy deserves a beautiful love story even, or maybe especially, the ones who would usually be in the supporting cast. Home is Portland, Oregon, where the weather is like your favorite hard-case writing buddy who won’t let you get away with taking too many days off, and in some places you can be as weird as you are without fear. As an out and proud bisexual and life-long weird-o, she thinks that last part is pretty cool.
Thanks for reading! I’d like to invite you to my blog—to celebrate this release I’ve invited some author friends to drop by and talk about their kinks. We’d love to hear yours too!
Rattle my cages—I’d love to hear from you!