Today I am so pleased to welcome Teodora Kostova to Joyfully Jay. Teodora has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Piece by Piece. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Despite the sheer mediocrity of some of the art in Tate Modern, Sonnie loved coming here. Especially with someone like Riley who he could laugh out loud with, share a sarcastic comment or discuss an interesting piece. They’d known each other for two months, but it felt like they’d been friends forever, already finishing each other’s sentences and laughing at private jokes nobody else would get.
Much like Riley, Sonnie didn’t have many friends. Besides his team at work and his family, he didn’t let anybody close enough to get to know them. But it was different with Riley. The moment he’d seen him that first time in his shop Sonnie had known that this man would be worth getting to know because what he’d find inside would be amazing.
Sonnie hadn’t questioned that feeling. He’d set out, head on, to break the invisible barriers Riley had wound so tightly around himself he could barely breathe.
It had been hard, but absolutely worth it. Every genuine smile, every frown at Sonnie’s antics, every gentle, skittish touch, had unveiled another layer of Riley’s personality. Sometimes Riley would look at Sonnie with unfocused eyes full of wonder, as if he himself was discovering something new inside of him. Something worth hurting for.
Because Riley was hurting. Every damn day. Sonnie could feel it. Just as he’d promised, Sonnie was there for him – calling him every day, taking him out on weekends, practising yoga together when he had the time during the week. He hoped his friendship was the balm Riley’s wounds needed to heal faster.
“How’s work?” Riley asked as they stopped in front of a ten-foot monstrosity of a painting, shaking Sonnie out of his thoughts.
“It’s good. Now that the initial craziness over Poison’s new costumes is over we can all take a breather and actually leave the theatre before midnight once in a while.”
Riley hummed an acknowledgement and they moved to the next piece – a sculpture of a raven shot with an arrow.
“The producers want us to come up with new costumes every few months, so we’ll never be able to take a break from this musical,” Sonnie continued, scrunching his nose at the brutal sculpture before walking away. “But that’s good, keeps my team busy and out of trouble. Last time they had too much time on their hands Sarah got pregnant, I was called in to the manager’s office to explain why there’s a photo circulating the internet of Les and John in a three-way kiss with a topless girl holding a sign ‘The Queens of Queen Victoria’, and I had to bail Connor out of jail for drunk and disorderly.”
Riley laughed, shaking his head, probably thinking Sonnie was exaggerating, which, unfortunately, he wasn’t. But he was laughing and watching Riley laugh was Sonnie’s favourite pastime.
“Plus, Fenix Bergman coming in for fittings on a regular basis keeps everyone happy,” Sonnie added, watching as Riley’s eyes crinkled at the corners with another grin.
“I bet,” Riley said, draping an arm over Sonnie’s shoulders and leading him towards the next piece of art.
“I’m too young to be having kinks in my back, aren’t I?”
Sonnie grunted as he stood up from the yoga mat. Regular yoga had really helped and he didn’t wake up with stiff back muscles anymore, but there was this persistent ache in his lower back that hadn’t completely gone away yet.
“Did you book an appointment with Bruce like I told you to?” Riley asked, standing up from his own mat and bending to roll it away.
“As sexy as Bruce sounds, I really don’t have time to wander all across London for a massage.”
“And yet you come all the way to Camden every other day for yoga,” Riley countered, putting both mats away and frowning at Sonnie.
“I don’t come here just for the yoga,” Sonnie said, quietly, glancing away.
Riley sighed audibly and moved to stand in front of Sonnie. “Alright. I’ve had it with your complaining. Get on the sofa, face down.”
“Oh, my, Riley, don’t be so romantic or my knickers will drop all on their own,” Sonnie said in a mock girlish voice. Riley stared at him, unimpressed, but even though his lips didn’t turn up at the corners, his eyes were dancing with amusement.
“On the sofa, Sonnie. I’m going to go get the oil.”
Sonnie saluted him and turned to flop down on the sofa, his face resting on his joined hands. He knew Riley was trying to help him – he had been complaining about his back constantly – but the thought of having Riley’s hands roaming all over his back was arousing.
The sofa cushions dipped as Riley took position behind Sonnie, his knees on both sides of Sonnie’s hips.
“I need to push your t-shirt up and your sweats down a bit, is that okay?” Riley asked softly. Sonnie nodded, unable to help the shiver that ran down his body when Riley’s warm hands brushed his skin. “Show me where it hurts.”
Sonnie swung his arm back, and put his hand over the place that gave him the most trouble. “Here,” he patted a spot just above his right ass cheek.
Riley hummed in acknowledgement and Sonnie placed his hand under his cheek again, closing his eyes in anticipation. He heard the click of the bottle, then Riley rubbing his hands together. Sonnie’s cock was already more than a little interested and he wondered how the hell he’d survive this massage without humping the sofa.
The first touch of Riley’s hands on his bare skin was electrifying. Sonnie shivered, biting his lip to stop himself from moaning. The faint smell of cocoa travelled to his nose and he decided to focus on that. Yes, cocoa. His favourite bar of chocolate. Hot chocolate with marshmallows. He didn’t particularly like those but he’d imagine anything to distract himself from the feel of those warm, soft hands gliding over his bare skin, inches away from his ass.
“Oh!” Sonnie exclaimed when Riley’s touch turned from light and sensual to harder, focused entirely on his sore spot. “That hurts,” he complained, even though it was a sweet kind of pain. It did hurt, but at the same time he could feel the muscle relaxing underneath Riley’s knowing hands.
“You have a huge knot here, Sonnie. I’ll do what I can, but you need to book an appointment with Bruce. He has years of experience in sports massage, unlike me. In a single session he fixed my shoulder when I pulled a muscle last summer.”
“Fine,” Sonnie grunted, biting his hand against the pain. “I’ll do what you want, just don’t stop.”
Riley chuckled and continued to knead Sonnie’s lower back, his skilled fingers working on relaxing the knot. Soon, the pain eased, and Sonnie relaxed into the massage, fully enjoying the way Riley’s hands rubbed his skin. Closing his eyes, he imagined those long fingers finding their way lower until they brushed between his ass cheeks, spreading the oil everywhere they could reach.
“Shit,” Sonnie murmured when he felt his hard on pressing against the sofa cushions. He needed some friction to ease the pressure before he combusted, but humping Riley’s sofa was not the best option.
“You okay?” Riley asked, his hands easing the pressure on his back.
“Yeah,” Sonnie said, his voice muffled between his hands. He needed this sweet torture to stop, right now, or he’d do something he’d regret afterwards. “Feels much better now, thanks.”
Riley rubbed the problem spot a few more times before Sonnie felt his weight lift off the sofa.
“As good as new,” Riley said, and Sonnie could hear the smile in his voice. Turning his head towards him, Sonnie saw that Riley was watching him intently, spreading the oil on his hands like a hand cream. There was something right down lustful in his eyes when he met Sonnie’s.
“I…um,” Sonnie began, not breaking eye contact. That look Riley was giving him would be gone soon, he knew that, so he wanted to enjoy it for as long as he could. “I need a minute.” He bit his lower lip for emphasis, inhaling sharply when the dark lust in Riley’s eyes intensified, and he took an instinctive step towards the sofa.
Sonnie challenged him with a look that he hoped conveyed everything Sonnie wanted to say out loud but couldn’t: I want you. What are you going to do about it?
Riley stopped, a movement so sudden as if he’d hit a glass wall. He blinked a few times, his features distorting as if in pain, and when he focused his gaze back on Sonnie, his eyes were his usual brilliant blue colour, not a trace of desire darkening them.
“I’m going to make us tea and give you some privacy,” Riley said, glancing away, and heading to the kitchen area at the other side of the flat.
Sonnie drew in a deep breath, hoping the air in his lungs would push his disappointment out when he exhaled. For the past couple of months he’d wanted Riley so bad, barely keeping his feelings in check. When Riley told him about Richard, Sonnie vowed to give him space, to be his friend and let Riley come to him when, or rather if, he was ready. But it was getting harder and harder, as Sonnie fell for Riley, a little bit more every single day.
Sometimes to reach the surface you have to fall to the bottom first…
For the past ten years, Riley Davis’ life has been overshadowed by the tragic death of his partner. Fluctuating between alcohol induced daze, clinical depression and throwing all his time and effort into his business, Riley doesn’t believe, or even hope, that his life will ever be worth living again.
Until Sonnie Frye drops by his haberdashery shop, changing his life forever.
Sonnie is a man who likes getting what he wants, when he wants it. He’s worked hard to establish himself as Queen Victoria theatre’s chief costume designer, collecting multiple awards – and high-profile clients – along the way. Sonnie is used to putting his needs, goals and desires first, unwilling to compromise his own happiness for anybody else.
Until he meets a handsome shop owner whose eyes are so sad that they immediately tug at Sonnie’s heartstrings.
Seeing something he wants, Sonnie is determined to get under Riley’s skin and, preferably, into his bed. But he soon discovers the task is not that easy. For the first time in his life, Sonnie may need to put someone else’s needs before his own, and re-evaluate what really matters in life.
Will the two men stand side by side to overcome their differences, and everything else life throws at them? Or will it all become too much to bear, shaking them to their very core, destroying everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve?
***Sexual content, 18+ only***
***Piece by Piece is a standalone novel. It’s the full story of Sonnie and Riley***
Hi, my name is Teodora and I live in London with my husband and my son. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but it became my full time job in 2010 when I decided that everything else I’ve tried bores me to death and I have to do what I’ve always wanted to do, but never had to guts to fully embrace. I’ve been a journalist, an editor, a personal assistant and an interior designer among other things, but as soon as the novelty of the new, exciting job wears off, I always go back to writing. Being twitchy, impatient, loud and hasty are not qualities that help a writer, because I have to sit alone, preferably still, and write for most of the day, but I absolutely love it. It’s the only time that I’m truly at peace and the only thing I can do for more than ten minutes at a time – my son has a bigger attention span than me.
When I’m procrastinating, I like to go to the gym, cook Italian meals (and eat them), read, listen to rock music, watch indie movies and True Blood re-runs. Or, in the worst case scenario, get beaten at every Nintendo Wii game by a very inventive kid.
Teodora has brought three ebook copies of Piece by Piece to give away to three lucky readers. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Thursday, May 7th at 11:59 pm EST.
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