Today I am so pleased to welcome A.M. Arthur to Joyfully Jay. A.M. has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, The World As He Sees It (which Sammy reviewed and loved). She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Tristan was pretty sure he’d vibrate right through the car door before they ever made it to the Broad Street Market. He couldn’t remember ever being this excited to meet someone for lunch. Then again, he couldn’t remember most of the last three-plus years, so he didn’t have the best frame of reference. Not that he cared because…Gabe.
Noel didn’t have to remind him of their plans for their usual Thursday outing, because Tristan had spent most of the night and all morning staring at the note he’d made. Lunch with Gabe at the Broad Street Market, then bowling for a few hours. Actual time spent with Gabe that he would remember for longer periods.
Ever since Saturday’s breakthrough, Tristan was noticing improvements with things every single day. He knew all of his meal times, and he was making it to them on a regular basis, which made Noel ecstatic. During his worst depressions, Tristan didn’t even bother trying to eat, and he’d lost more weight than was healthy.
So far Tristan recalled everything from Noel and Shane walking into his room that morning, to Noel searching for a place to park near the Market. Shane’s inclusion had become a regular thing, he was pretty sure. He’d still had to ask Shane’s name, though, for the bazillionth time.
Maybe not for much longer.
Noel found a space, and Tristan practically bounced out of the car. The air had a cold November bite to it that tickled beautifully against his exposed skin. Tristan loved winter. He loved the snow and the cold and the way it made him feel alive.
I want to build a snowman with Gabe this year.
He wanted to do a lot with Gabe in the future, and he prayed Gabe felt the same way. He was pretty sure Gabe did. Just thinking his name made Tristan smile.
Shane led the way toward the brick market entrance. Tristan couldn’t remember where they were meeting Gabe, so he followed them into a warm haven of wonderful scents. Roasting meat and baked bread, sweetness and bitter herbs and fryer oil. His mouth watered for all of the food in the various stalls they passed.
Near the Kabob House, a tall, muscled man with tan skin and black hair was grinning at them. Tristan knew right away. He knew.
“Gabe!” Tristan shouldered his way past Noel and threw his arms around Gabe. Strong arms circled his waist, and he melted into the kind of strong, full-bodied hug he loved. He breathed in deeply, inhaling Gabe’s spicy aftershave.
“Hey you,” Gabe said.
“I knew it was you.” Tristan pulled back, suddenly wary of such a public display of affection. Not like he’d kissed Gabe on the mouth, but he’d been attacked once in this city. “I don’t know the last time I looked at your photo, but I knew.”
“You also know you have a photo of me.”
He’s right. “Yeah, I do. Ha!” He bounced on his toes, happier than he’d been in forever.
“Hey, man, how are you?” Gabe said, taking time to shake Noel’s and Shane’s hand.
Something kind of awkward seemed to linger between Gabe and Shane. Tristan needed to make a note to ask about that. He was pretty sure he never did.
“How’s your day been so far?” Gabe asked.
“Well, I don’t remember what I had for breakfast, but I know I ate,” Tristan replied. “And I remember everything so far from when Noel and Shane picked me up. Plus you.”
Gabe made a lovely rumbling sound that wasn’t quite laughter. “That’s great. Hungry for lunch?”
“Definitely.” He glanced at Noel. “Have I eaten here?”
“Yep, twice,” Noel replied.
“Did I order different things each time?”
“Yes, that hasn’t changed.” Noel looked at Gabe. “He doesn’t like to order the same thing on a menu twice.”
“He’s a taster,” Gabe said. “I like that. It means you’re a fan of variety and exploration.”
“He’s also impulsive and quick tempered.”
“Hey, standing right here,” Tristan said, amused at being discussed like that. “Did I go down the menu like usual?”
“Yes, you tried the first two things.”
Tristan stared at the board. “Okay, so lunch today is Honey Barbecue Chicken. Sounds good to me.” Everything came with steamed vegetables and fried rice, and Tristan was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to manage his entire plate.
Gabe ordered the Polish sausage, which made Tristan think dirty thoughts while they went in search of an empty table. He didn’t really care what Noel and Shane ordered, until something pungent tickled his nose. He stared at a bowl of red and tan that looked like spaghetti of some kind, but wasn’t.
“Okay, what the hell is that?” he asked.
Shane plucked the bowl off the tray. “It’s kimchi. Korean side dish. Spicy fermented cabbage.”
“Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.”
Never one to back down from a challenge, Tristan stuck his fork in the kimchi and brought back a healthy mouthful. The smell was kind of toxic, and he wasn’t super fond of spicy shit, but what the hell. He put it in his mouth.
The texture reminded him of sauerkraut, but the explosion of spice and sour on his tongue made his eyes water. He chewed fast, then chugged from his soda to wash the rest down. Shane was laughing at him, the jerk, but Gabe was watching him with something like respect in his eyes. His very pretty, dark brown eyes.
“I have to admit,” Gabe said, “I am not brave enough to try that.”
“It’s an acquired taste,” Shane said.
“When did you acquire it?” Noel asked.
“Jason liked it. We’d buy it sometimes as a treat.”
Noel squeezed Shane’s shoulder, because Shane looked sad. The name Jason felt familiar, but Tristan simply couldn’t place it. Gabe solved the mystery by leaning over and whispering, “Shane’s brother. He died a few months ago.”
“Oh.” Such a sucky thing not to be able to remember about a person.
Tristan scraped his chicken off the bamboo skewer, because he was less likely to poke his eye out eating it that way. It was nicely sweet and tangy, and the rice was delicious. Noel started telling them about breaking up a bar fight the other night while on patrol, but Tristan let the words float idly by. All he could do was watch Gabe eat.
He studied the way Gabe cut his sausage into discs that he combined with a bit of the veggies and some of the rice. Every single bite was a combination. He chewed with care, his strong jaw flexing. A faint shadow suggested skin that never shaved down perfectly thanks to coarse, dark whiskers. He tried imagining Gabe with a full beard and the thought made his dick twitch. Back in college, he had his ass eaten by a guy with a beard, and the tickling whiskers had made him kind of nuts.
Stop that, or you’ll end up walking around the market with a woody.
“How’s the sausage?” Tristan asked.
For some reason, that made Shane choke on his mouthful of food.
“It’s good,” Gabe replied. “I’ve always loved Polish sausage, but this is so much better than what you buy in the store. Want to try some?”
Jesus, that sounds like a come-on.
Gabe speared a disc of the meat with his own fork, then held it out. Tristan made the most of the moment by very slowly closing his lips around the fork and sliding back to capture the sausage. He watched Gabe closely, noting the way his eyes widened a fraction and his breathing seemed to quicken. Flavor and texture exploded on his tongue as he chewed. Swallowed.
“Delicious,” Tristan said.
The corner of Gabe’s mouth pulled up. “I know. You mind if I taste your meat?”
Shane choked again, this time on his soda.
Tristan forked a piece of his chicken and held it out for Gabe. Gabe wrapped his lips around the tines and slid back slowly, just like Tristan had, and dear God Tristan wanted that fork to be his cock.
“I’m never eating sausage again after this,” Noel said.
Love knows no limits…but fear could keep them from seeing it.
Gabe lives a double life. As Gabriel Henson, he works multiple jobs to support his remorseless, alcoholic mother. As Tony Ryder, he does internet porn for extra cash and regular safe sex without complications.
Yet when he encounters a scared young man freaking out in a night club, he’s compelled to reach out. Ever since then, the memory of that young man has haunted him.
Tristan Lavelle lives his life thirty minutes at a time. After a traumatic brain injury three years ago, he gets through his day recording his life in spiral notebooks and sticky note reminders.
A month after Tristan’s embarrassingly public meltdown, another chance meeting with Gabe sparks a warm, emotionally fulfilling email relationship. Both men crave more, but fear of the next step stands between them.
Until Tristan gets the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial that could improve his memory—if the side effects don’t kill him. But for Tristan, the possibility of a real life with Gabe is worth any risk…
A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with your cooking tips (or book comments).
Where to find the author:
- Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/AM-Arthur/491929737588757
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/am_arthur
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/annearthur/
- Tumblr: Tumblr http://www.tumblr.com/blog/am-arthur
- Blog http://amarthur.blogspot.com/
AM has brought a great giveaway for one lucky reader on her tour. It includes: 1 signed paperback of The Truth As He Knows It, 1 signed paperback of The World As He Sees it, plus a bunch of other goodies (notebooks, cute post-it’s, etc…) Just follow the Rafflecopter link below to enter.
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