In This Little Whatever, there is a relationship (duh), and it’s beautiful and awesome and I hope you enjoy it. But while Jonathan and Dean are discovering the fits and starts of their relationship beginning, another relationship of Jonathan’s is ending. Painfully. Right before his eyes.
Jonathan and his co-founder Rachel have been best friends for ten years. They’ve moved around together, danced together, had as close of a connection one can have without the messiness of sex coming between them. Rachel hasn’t been so free in all her life, and Jonathan, thanks to moving around with his mother when he was a boy, never had a chance to settle down and make a close friend his own age. They both revolve around the carefree party nomad lifestyle and so far it’s worked for them.
Until Jonathan gets that voicemail from his mother. And mortality hits him square in the face.
Jonathan goes into denial about it for a couple of months. Rachel remains in that denial because it’s easier than realizing her friend is seriously hurting inside and there’s nothing she can do to fix it. And so the rift begins. They stop talking to each other. They go through the motions for the sake of the dance troupe that depends on them functioning together. In desperation, Jonathan reaches outside of “them”, and Rachel clings to the very idea of “them” always being together.
It’s almost like a long divorce, seeing a close friendship slowly die.
And as promised on the Blog Tour post, here’s a deleted scene from This Little Whatever. I wrote this last April, when I was pretty sure that it was going to be a 3rd person POV deal (ha ha!), so it’s from Dean’s point of view of the first night he met Jonathan.
Here it is in it’s unedited glory. Of course, details have changed, and there’s probably more typos that I want to admit and little notes to myself. Enjoy!
“Opa!” A very blushed young woman cried out as the waitress sat the plate of flaming cheese down in the middle of the table. “This is the best place ever!”
Dean chuckled, looking over the flames at the young woman, Bette from accounting, already a few glasses of wine in her tiny body and it took her cohort, Dani, also from accounting, grabbing her wrist to keep her from trying to dip a piece of warm pita into the still flaming appeitizer. “Whoa there, girl, you’re going to set yourself on fire if you don’t slow down.”
“Now there’s a reason to call in sick on Monday,” said the man sitting to Dean’s left. Richard, from the same mail room where he logged his hours, lifted his voice to a girly pitch, “Sorry Mr. Anderson, but I set my arm on fire…”
Dean had to laugh at that, swirling his own glass of wine. The other three employees of Trenton Enterprises seem pretty decent company, and they were nice enough to drag him along on a Friday night to Adonis’ Kitchen for their monthly ‘diner’s club’ gathering. Richard had been talking it up to him for a while, that a few of the lower cogs liked exploring the different restaurants in the city, but since the good ones tended to be costly, they could only meet up once a month. He hinted to Dean that if he played his cards right, he could even see about taking one of the lovely ladies that came along back home if the drinks were good, and it took Dean outright stating that he was gay to get the man off that particular subject.
Granted it had been a very, very long time since he’d gotten laid, but he wasn’t quite desperate enough to bat for the other team just yet. Hell, he was well on his way to getting settled in town after a whole year. (huh?)
Dani finally let Bette go so she could dive into the gooey stringy cheese, now no longer flaring, and turned to Dean. “I read really great reviews of this place and so far, so good. Decent wine, Bette’s all over the cheese, and apparently they have belly dancers performing on Friday nights.”
Richard whistled with a grin. “Well, well I think I like this place already. Bring on the jiggling.”
Dani rolled her eyes. “Color me not surprised. I’m sure you know that you can’t touch, right?”
“I’ll have just as much fun looking.”
Bette was throughly enjoying herself, and the mention of dancers made her way too bright blue eye dance. “Have you seen belly dancers before, guys? They’re so beautiful and poised and controlled and…and..”
Richard reached out to refill his and Bette’s glasses from the bottle of surprisingly good merlot. “And jiggly.”
She nodded and took a huge sip from her glass. “Yep, and jiggly. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen that belly roll thing they do. I would kill to be able to do something like that.”
Dean listened to the trio gab on as he finished chewing a bit of pita before speaking up. “I’ve never seen belly dancers live before. Actually, this is my first time in a Greek restaurant.” He’d kept that bit of info to himself while they were perusing the menu, and was actually looking forward to eating something more authentic than mall gyros. He hoped he was sounding properly personable.
“Well, since the dancers probably won’t hold your interest,” Richard smirked, giving Dean’s shoulder a nudge. “You’ll have all the time to enjoy your kret-kreato…what the hell did you order again?”
“Kreatopita, it said it was some sort of meat pie.”
“I hope we get it before the show starts, actually.” Dean moved to stand from his chair, looking around the darkened restaurant. “Anyone see where the bathroom was?”
A passing waitress pointed him in the right direction and he slid his way around tables and diners until he reached the appropriate door. Instead of going for the urinal or the stalls, he stopped at the mirror to have a look at himself and take a deep breath. Now that he was alone, he could pay closer attention to the shuddering of his heart and the slight sheen of sweat starting to form on his neck. Fuck, so much for being fine around familiar faces of co-workers.
Take it easy, Dean, he told himself. Even with the easy conversation and the help of the wine, he couldn’t keep his eyes off the remaining crowd enough to relax. He knew it would be important to be seen as friendly and personable around the office, but swallowing the ever present anxiety was a series of battles, and he feared he’d never win this war. (His first outing with other people since he moved into town? He used to do this before – berate himself more)
Two sheets of paper towels, briefly moistened in the wink, took care of the sweat and the warmth in his face. A dry one took care of his glasses, removing the dust he was certain lived to hop on the lenses the second he put them on every day. Another deep breath, and the door of the bathroom swung open. A figure, long dark hair and dark green cloth and silver bangles and jingling like a sleigh on Christmas eve, bounded towards the nearest stall so quickly that Dean couldn’t even tell if it was male or female, just in a huge hurry. Instantly he heard the sound of a stream hitting the bowl and a long deep masculine sigh, and he knew that maybe he shouldn’t be standing in the bathroom wondering so much about a complete stranger who really needed a piss. It was a far sight better activity than braving the crowded restaurant again, but his dinner was out there, and he was starving.
Shortly after their meals arrived, the lights of the place dimmed a bit more, allowing the tea candles on everyone’s tables to carry most of the light, save for the cleared off section of the dining room floor, presumably a stage. Dean was enjoying his second forkful of lamb, cheese and flaky pastry when a curvaous woman stepped from the back of that section, clad in purple top, silks, and sashes all detailed with gold coins. Bette clapped her hands with glee, barely holding back a squeal as the woman graced the audience with a big smile, all teeth. (Make this Rachel?)
“Good evening everyone, are we ready to have some fun?” she asked, and the smile somehow got wider at the claps and whoops that earned her. “Alright! Adonis’ Kitchen proudly presents Crimson Dream!”
She opened her mouth and let out what could only be described as a war whoop, a high pitched trilling howl that was quickly joined by other trilling voices surrounding the entire room. (Freaking Dean out maybe?) Music started to play, a recorded drum beat that the woman on stage started rolling her hips to the tune. Dean could then see the owner of all those other voice, other dancers in various colored costumes, swaying through around the tables on their way to the stage. There were so many bared stomaches and undulations going on that he was almost overwhelmed.
Richard leaned in and whispered loud enough for them to hear, “Dani, you’re so getting chocolates on your desk come Monday for this.” His eyes were glued to the swaying bodies before blinking and shaking his head. “Whoa….wait. Is that one a dude?”
That got Dean’s attention quicker than he would ever admit, his eyes moving over each dancer to see what had gotten Richard’s attention. At that point, all of them had their backs to the audience, hips snapping back and forth to the beat of the drums and now flute. Coins and tassels on sashes tied around waists swayed, adding their sound to the music.
“That one,” Dani points. “Either a guy or we’re going to get seriously flashed when they turn around.”
“Aww man, I didn’t even know dudes did this,” Richard moaned.
Dean followed Dani’s finger to the figure in dark green, with long black hair running down his back. Unlike “his” companions, who wore skirts with wide slits for their legs, the man had loose pants, and even the looseness of the pants hid the nice round ass (Didn’t or did? Also, new outfit?) that was currently jigging at a ridiculously fast rate. How the hell was moving that fast even possible?
The memory of the harried patron running into the bathroom came back to him as the dancers started twisting their hips into circles, turning their bodies around to to face everyone properly. He had to be one and the same, and if Dean could have gotten a better look at the man’s face in the bathroom, he probably would have just fell down and begged to worship him. Or just offered to help hold his dick to take that leak. His face, that body, both glorious. Smooth golden skin stretched over lithe muscles that rippled with each motion. The man wasn’t skinny by any stretch, and only wore two sequined bands around his biceps for anything decoration above the waist, save for the tattoo that circled his navel. It was too far away for Dean to get a better look at what exactly it was, but for now there was much more to look over. (Jonathan: earrings? Multiple? – Yes)
Like his face, for example. He could concentrate on those thick dark lashes that framed eyes of molten honey, or the man’s sharply delicate nose, or those full lips curled into a serene smile, surrounded by dark facial hair that left no doubt about his gender. He couldn’t forget the hair on his head either, swishing behind him, dark as night and making Dean’s hands itch to touch it. Now his heart raced and the skin on the back of his neck damped with sweat for a completely different reason.
A small hand reached to shut a mouth he didn’t even know was hanging open. Bette smiled at him in understanding, and murmured softly, “You were starting to pant.”
Fuck, it had been a very long time since he’d gotten any. Thank God the table was hiding the beginning of an erection or Bette would have probably have made notice of that too.
The raw need churning in his gut got decidedly worse when the dancers started moving towards the tables, leaving two on the stage to dance in tandem. The man was moving closer to right where Dean was seated and he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the gyrating hips, even when the man stopped near enough for Dean to touch. The dancer started up another round of whooping cries that drew Dean’s attention to the long line of his neck, then those eyes that looked down at him directly. The man actually blinked at him for a moment, his sway stuttering for just a second before he turned around and moved to the next table, ass shimmying behind him. That one extended glance, the full weight and unexpected heat of those eyes, made him ache. While the view from behind was lovely, he regretted not getting a closer look at the ink on his belly, and he missed it completely when the dancers returned to the stage. The pattern continued, dancing all together, then heading back into the crowd leaving two different dancers behind until it was the man’s turn and Dean couldn’t bother to give the young girl swaying near him a single look.
The man and his partner clad in red silk moved (Purple sliks – Rachel) together, feet shuffling in a circle, arms extended before stopping, facing each other. At once, their stomachs began to quake and ripple, causing the audience to roar in appreciation at the sight.
“It’s the belly flutter thing!” Bette managed to squeal, clapping madly.
“I still can’t believe a guy can do that!” Richard replied, looking two parts disturbed and one part amazed. “How is that fucking possible?”
Dani rolled her eyes and took the last of the wine for herself. “Men have ab muscles too, and his are lovely, right Dean?”
It took Dean a moment to realize he was being spoken to. “Oh, yes. He’s…lovely.”
He barely noticed what he said or the chuckles of his companions before the view was obscured by the entire trope returning once more to end the routine in perfect formation, standing to the side, one arm up, the other curled at their waists. That got the loudest applause that even Dean joined in. His joy turned into dismay as they started filing off stage and away from view. He’d seen heaven on earth and now it was gone. It was like waking up from a really good dream. A really good wet dream.
“So, Dean,” Dani drawled, taking a hunk of feta in her fork and gesturing with it. “Do I know how to pick these places or what?” She then popped the piece of cheese into her mouth. Dani, he’d noticed, had a thing for praise.
And he had to hand it to her this time. “Oh, this place is great. That was…really something else.”
Richard laughed out loud, with Bette joining in. “Something else? Man I thought I’d have to drop a napkin in your lap to keep you from drooling on your pants. And here I thought the whole ‘I’m gay’ thing was just a ruse to keep me from setting you up with someone from the office.”
Dean’s neck got rather prickly with heat at the laughter, and he had to remind himself that it wasn’t malicious, and willed his heart to stop that stupid skipping. “Sorry to disappoint?”
“Nah, man, that means there’s more for me…”
Dani rolled her eyes and threw a piece of pita at Richard. “Gross and creepy, Rich. How’d you managed that twofer?”
As the others continued with speaking and eating, Dean looked over at the stage as one of the dancers stepped out to retrieve a CD and returned just as quickly. It got him thinking that maybe, after two years of self-imposed denial, he could be ready to perhaps give actually going out and dating a go. Probably not with the hazel-eyed beauty that would headline his private fantasies from tonight until he actually gotten someone into his bed, as he sure he’d never see him again. (Work on this – is he just horny or thoughtful?)
In my book, This Little Whatever, my main character Jonathan owns a huge Army style canvass duffel bag that he carries everything that is important to him. Clothes, toiletries, shoes, costumes, tackle box full of metal rings and pliers (he’s an eccentric fellow), everything, neatly folded and bagged. Unless he’s partying, it’s not far from reach. It’s his entire world, and it fits on his back. He lives his life surrounded by people and friends and fun, but he’s always ready to run at the first sign of trouble. It’s the way of his core group of friends. His “home” is portable.
Dean, on the other hand, lives in a small home on acres of land, miles from the nearest city. Alone. Social anxiety and PSTD has kept him almost completely homebound, save for work and solo excursions, for years. It’s his sanctuary, the one place in the world where he feels safe. His “home” is permanent, but isolated.
In the book, both of these gents have to reconcile a lot about their definition of “home” in order to find what they need the most, love and each other. Jonathan’s bag is a metaphor for his trust, his heart; very few people can touch that bag and he’s constantly worried that someone will go into it and steal something. When Dean opens up his home for that one night stand, he’s literally letting someone into his heart, showing his own trust.
I didn’t even realize that sort of significance while I was writing TLW, and I hope everyone who reads it will see it too.
There’s something really satisfying about telling someone you’re an author. Even if they had no clue what your particular genre is about.
“What do you do?”
“Well, I open other people’s mail, and I’m a writer.”
The usual response (okay, other than wanting details about that whole “other people’s mail” thing) is some version of “Oh, what do you write?” or “Do you have a book out?”
Being about to actually ANSWER those questions still makes me giddy and I’ve only been an “author with a book coming out” since January. I feel like I’ve stepped into a strange new party and I don’t know the rules of etiquette. What if I talk too much about my book? What if I talk too little? What if I use the wrong fork, spill my wine and step on the host’s toes while trying to dance?
Okay, that metaphor started to run away from me there. Sorry.
What’s strange is that the closer I get to almighty release date for the very first time, that anxiety seems to matter less (this may change the week of, so I’m making no guarantee that I won’t spend that entire Friday twitching). I’ve got good support at home, great authors I look up to giving me thumbs-up, and more than a few potential readers lining up to watch me go with the wrong fork in hand and a wine stain on my dress.
Look out world, here I come!
I can’t stop shouting about it!!
Not only do I has cover, I has preorder link and a release date (September 6th!!!) and I haven’t stopped bouncing off the walls yet!
So, here’s the lowdown:
That’s my cover, done by the ever awesome, ever amazing Paul Richmond. Personally I’m in love, and I want everyone to meet my boys. The gent in the suit is Dean, and the gent falling into his lap is Jonathan, who’s brain we’re getting to ride for this story. It’s a cute cover for a funny scene, but when it come to the theme of the story, these roles would be totally switched, because it’s more like Dean just came crashing into Jonathan’s life and changed it for the better.
Jonathan Mendoza used to live an even crazier life, partying with his tight-knit traveling performance troupe whenever he wasn’t on stage belly dancing. When his sick mother begged him to change his lifestyle, he agreed to try to live sober, but that change is hard. Neither is it easy to stop staring at Dean Winters after he nearly knocks the man over before a performance.
A former recluse, prone to panic attacks after surviving a traumatic accident, Dean isn’t Jonathan’s usual type. Still, Jonathan is irresistibly attracted to him, and decides to cure the itch with a one-night stand. But that night, he’s shaken by Dean’s kindness and consideration—something he’s not used to in a lover or a friend. His best friend, Rachel, who co-owns the troupe with Jonathan, sees Dean as a threat to their friendship and to the troupe—the dream they’ve worked together to build. She reveals a cruel and possessive streak that could do much greater damage on both fronts, and Jonathan realizes he will have to choose between the nomadic life he’s lived and the man who is stealing his heart.
Now, that link is for the paperback, and I’ve got an incentive for everyone to get it in dead tree format.
I got these from Dreamspinners yesterday. I was very confused for a minute, but then I read the letter that came with it. Looks like I sign these pieces of vellum, and they get mounted into the front of book over the title page. There’s twenty of these things, so the first twenty paperbacks sold through the DSP website (see the link) will be signed! I’m using purple ink, because well, it’s my favorite color and you’ll know the sig is really really mine, yeah?
So, I gotta get to work with this signing bit, but keep your eyes on this space for promotions and intros to my guys. So excited!!
I really should be going to bed right now, and I will, but after a long day of writing, then putting together a biography, then going out gaming (board gaming, that is), I got home with the first draft of the cover for This Little Whatever. I’m so tickled I could scream. Paul Richmond is a bloody genius and I really loved what he did with my men.
Yeah, I bet you’re wondering “So why aren’t you showing it off like a proud mama?”
Well, I’m not sure if I have that sort of permission yet. But you better believe that I’ll be showing off the finished product hither and yon as soon as I can see it.
So, yeah. And yay!
So, remember that who “watch this space” for something I was doing this weekend? Here it is!!
Here ye, here ye, fellow fans of the stories with the men and the kissing and the falling in love and the sexing!
I’m not sure how many people remember me posting a call for fellow fans for a video book club thing via Google Hangout, and I got responses and we’re ready to go live!
…I think. I hope. I’m a nervous wreck.
So, this Saturday, June 15th at 8:30PM CST, grab your drink of choice and join us at http://www.youtube.com/user/mmhappilyeverafter while we introduce ourselves and dish about fanfavorite Cut and Run! You can comment and such via the comment section, or if you have G+, add Nicole Forcine to your circle and you can watch it there!
I hope you see you all there!
Oh, the joys of trying to find parking when both the local coffee shop and your house are both near churches. And it’s Easter Sunday.
I managed and got the Love Has No Boundaries story first read and edited and I even have a tentative title for it; Just a Glimpse.
*Insert cheers of joy for spelling “glimpse” correctly the first time finally since I started this story*
It’s a short story for sure, about 7,000 words, but it was literally the story that popped out of my brain, a short, cute little tale with a touch of the paranormal. I hope it’s well received, or at least not utterly hated.
I’m going to post Little Earthquakes on FictionPress one chapter at a time, and I think with both of those shorties down, I can get back to the albertross that is All I Ever Wanted. I’ve some time before I start getting edits back from it’s previous book, so I really need to get it out of my head and on pixels, but I’ll be damned if the stupid plot keeps wriggling away from me whenever I try to nail it down.
It was quite difficult writing with one hand in a cast (like doing damn near everything else with one hand in a cast – grr!), but today I got more words into my Love Has No Boundaries submission.
It needs a title. I hope one comes me to while I’m asleep.
So, now that This Little Whatever is getting legit published…
I now have official projects and goals to work on:
- TLW‘s sequel (which is giving me so many plot fits)
- The Untitled LHNB short
- Little Earthquakes needs editing
- My Sci-Fi possible short
- …and now I’ve got a plot merman nibbling in my ear.
“Thank you for your submission. We are interested in publishing …”
I have heard this words, and I am dancing with joy, because it means that This Little Whatever will be a reality not just in my mind and on my computer come fall of this year! Hooray!