Today's page 69 excerpt is from May/December M/M romance Sonoran Heat. This is one of my lighter stories and probably most realistic to date. It's my only full-length novel available in both e-book and paperback. It also earned Honorable Mention in last year's Rainbow Awards:
I've posted before on how I wrote Sonoran Heat at the tail-end of a rough Midwest winter, one that challenged me physically, emotionally, and creatively. I found I needed a quiet respite, with thoughts of sun and warmth, while returning to the roots of writing for the sake of the craft itself. That's exactly what Sonoran Heat provided. It grew from Sunrise at Mama Irene's, a free short story I'd posted a year earlier. I asked myself "What happens next?", changed the setting to the Sonoran Desert where I've lived twice, and wove the story from there.
This tender romance focuses on the relationship itself, minus some of the crazier elements I've explored in other works (like, oh, forest fires, train wrecks, or Balkan mobsters) with my ode to the beautiful Sonoran as backdrop. It's also low on angst and conflict, themes regular readers know I've explored to the point of masochism, but this was one time in my life where I truly needed a break from all that.
So...if you're in the mood for a hot but mellow story that's been praised by one reviewer for "gentle pacing" and cited by others as not being *too* squicky for a May/December romance, Sonoran Heat might just be what you're seeking. Page 69 opens with a shower right after a rather detailed sexual encounter, so I gloss over my characters going back for round two to better highlight the growing tenderness between them. Enjoy, and check back next week for what will be my final page 69 excerpt!
Tony is newly single, lonely, and stuck in the past. When he grabs a late-night meal at an old haunt, his trip down memory lane is derailed by gorgeous waiter Josh. Tony sees a chance for a fresh start with the twenty-one-year-old, but worries chasing a man half his age will lead to heartache. It’s hard to resist when Josh intrigues Tony on an intellectual level—and fires the landscaper’s libido hotter than the Arizona desert they call home.
Josh has goals. Digital design student by day, he waits tables at night, but his true dream is to paint. When he falls for Tony, he starts to rethink his plans and how the sexy older man might fit into them. But Tony’s recovering from a failed relationship, one that lasted nearly as long as Josh has been alive, and Josh must prove that in spite of his age and inexperience, his feelings are sincere.
As the desert nights heat up, Tony and Josh explore possibilities both in and out of the bedroom, but when each man faces a difficult choice, they must decide on the future. Whether that future is together, or separate, is a matter of reason versus the heart.
** PAGE 69 EXCERPT **
The conversation drifted, as did Tony's hands. Josh's moans echoed off the tiles, his new lover's skillful touch enhanced by the slippery soap. Eventually, the water cooled along with their ardor. They toweled each other off and found their way back into their clothes.
Tony talked Josh into a sandwich, seeing as they'd both missed lunch and had worked up an appetite together. Getting the hint that he hadn't overstayed his welcome, Josh joined Tony in the kitchen and built a double-decker with everything on it, including two types of meat, three kinds of cheese, and a generous helping of lettuce. They ate standing at the bar.
"Where do you put it?" Tony teased with a gentle poke in the ribs.
"I'm storing up calories for Sunday," Josh snapped back, feeling like he was channeling Eddie.
Tony raised his eyebrows. "Good. You'll need them."
They kissed at the door. "You've got my number," Tony murmured in his ear.
"Yeah. I'll call around Wednesday or Thursday." Josh reluctantly let Tony go, keeping both his libido and hands in check. Inwardly, he wished he could stay another night, but knew too much time spent together too soon could kill the relationship before it truly got off the ground.
He arrived at his apartment, his stomach full, his hair smelling of fresh shampoo, his thoughts consumed with the amazing sex he'd had with the most incredible man he'd ever met.
He bounded up the stairs to the upper level of the townhouse. It appeared his roommates were both out, which was fine with Josh. He didn't care to be subjected to the third degree just yet; he wanted to keep that feeling of something new, special, and exciting to himself a little longer. As he changed into his waiter uniform, his tight khaki pants chafed against his rump, his muscles sore from the pounding they'd taken earlier. It was a pleasant reminder of time well-spent. He knew he'd be useless and distracted at work that night. For once, he didn't care.
** Copyright 2010 by Katrina Strauss
Sonoran Heat available in e-book at:
Also available in trade paperback at: