Here’s a sneak peek from Word of Mouth (Suncoast Society, MM, BDSM, writing as Tymber Dalton) which is releasing on December 10, 2018, from Siren-BookStrand. It’s also available for pre-order exclusively from BookStrand:
Jonah moved into studio one and set up his Ibanez and amp, started tuning it. As the others moved into the studio, Mal grabbed his acoustic.
“Oh, hey, get your mandolin.”
Jonah swapped out the Ibanez for it and, with Mal leading on guitar, played the song for Rich and the others. Gordon returned at the tail end of it, freezing as he walked through the door and spotted the mandolin in Jonah’s hands.
Maybe something can convince him I mean what I say.
When they finished the song, everyone else broke into applause. Rich patted Jonah on the shoulder. “Dude, that’s perfect. Man, if we could hone that before we leave, we could debut it at the concerts for the acoustic set.”
“That’s what I was thinking,” Mal said. “It’s perfect. And now I can finish the lyrics, since we’ve nailed down the feel of it.”
Everyone was still setting up, tuning, or shuffling sheet music around when Jonah had another idea. He swapped back to the Ibanez and turned down his amp so it wasn’t drowning out conversation-level talking. He started playing “Cavatina,” his gaze focused on Gordon, who was now set up on the other side of the room.
Come on, Master. Play with me. You know you want to.
He started slowly, watching Gordon.
He started picking up the tempo a little, still hoping Gordon would join him. It took another couple of bars, but finally, he did.
Jonah blinked back tears as he played, trying to will Gordon to just look at him.
But Gordon wouldn’t. He kept his focus on his guitar, playing the duet the way they used to. Sure, it wasn’t a classical guitar Gordon was playing, but on his old Martin, it still sounded beautiful, rich.
The others fell silent, watching them, listening, the old call-and-answer sections they’d always included in the piece, their custom addition. Jonah naturally fell into the harmony while Gordon continued in the original melody as it was written, before their next bit of customization.
The song had been theirs. Whenever they played together, if it was a gig where they could play classical, they always included this number.
It was the number they’d perfected on the old patio balcony at that shitty apartment, an apartment that was like a luxury suite compared to what he’d been living in the past couple of years.
An apartment he’d crawl through broken glass to live in again, if he could live there with Gordon.
When they finished, they received a loud round of applause from everyone.
Mal stepped forward. “Guys, we have got to include that in the show. That was…that was amazing!”
“You guys still have it,” Rich said. “I forgot how brilliant you two are together.”
“I can’t,” Gordon said, still not looking Jonah in the eyes. “I can’t leave my teaching job. I’m sorry. And I’ve got some other big events coming up that I’m playing that I can’t cancel.”
“Bummer,” Mal said. “Before we head out on tour, though, we need to get the promo team in here to film you two playing that. We can post a video on YouTube. It’ll go viral. That was just…that was fantastic.”
* * * *
There was sooo much freaking irony, Gordon supposed, that a man like Mevi Maynard was awestruck over what he’d just played. Until an hour or so ago, Gordon would have felt flattered and said it was one of the happiest and most professionally successful and satisfying moments of his life.
All he could think about right now, though, was the man standing on the other side of the room with the strap to the Ibanez slung around his shoulders.
Jonah knew what that song meant to him. It’d been their song.
How dare Jonah make him expose his heart in front of all these people.
To dangle something in front of him that couldn’t be.
And he still had the mandolin.
In secret, Gordon had saved up for months to buy it for him. Jonah had wanted to learn how to play one, but it wasn’t in their budget. So Gordon took money he would have spent on lunches, or tips he earned at work, or any spare bit of change, sometimes busking on the sidewalk outside wherever he was working before and after his shift, to earn an extra dollar or two.
He’d saved up and bought it from a small guitar shop that had closed down last year after the owner died. The guy had given him a discount on it because of a small scratch on the face. He’d given it to Jonah the Christmas after Gordon had gotten sober, and he’d sat up for hours watching Jonah work with it, teaching himself chords and watching YouTube videos together.
He’d never forget the light in Jonah’s eyes as he’d watched his boy playing it.
They hadn’t had a damn tree, they’d been so broke. And it’d been a warm day. So, that night, they’d sat on the balcony and played Christmas carols for the complex, him on his Martin that he’d inherited from his grandfather, smiling and loving the applause they earned.
Then they’d gone to bed and made love. They’d both had the day off the next day, and they’d spent the day dreaming, planning their future together.
They’d been their own little family of two.
Until they weren’t.
Gordon turned away from everyone while he blinked back tears, pretended he was shuffling through papers, the tabs for what they were going to be working on tonight.
Doyle had followed him outside earlier.
“He’s still in love with you,” Doyle had told him. “He regrets what he did. He told me that. I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a counselor.”
“He told me.”
“I’m just saying, I’ve been in your shoes. Don’t let fear keep you in pain. Please, stay behind after the others leave, and talk to him.”
“I can’t stay late. I have to teach in the morning.”
Gordon blinked, bringing himself back to now.
He shouldn’t stay and talk tonight, not just because of teaching tomorrow, but because he needed to sort out his feelings.
And why there was now…anger inside him.
Shouldn’t there be nothing but joy that all his goddamned dreams were coming true? Did he have to self-sabotage this, too?
Or would that happen if he gave in and let Lucy talk him into trying to kick the football again?
Pre-Order Now: https://www.bookstrand.com/tymber-dalton
You can see the entire Suncoast Society series reading order and information about the series on its page.
- Word of Mouth (Suncoast Society) – Available for Pre-Order
- Real or Not (Suncoast Society) – Available for Pre-Order
- Simple Man, Simple Dream (Suncoast Society)
- You Don’t Know What Love Is (Suncoast Society)
- My Old Man (Suncoast Society)
- Dignity (Determination Trilogy 1) – Available for Pre-Order
- Diligence (Determination Trilogy 2) – Available for Pre-Order
- Desire (Determination Trilogy 3) – Available for Pre-Order
- Poly – Available for Pre-Order
- Dirge (Devastation Trilogy 1) – Available for Pre-Order
- Solace (Devastation Trilogy 2) – Available for Pre-Order
- Release (Devastation Trilogy 3) – Available for Pre-Order
- Jailmates (Maxim Colonies) – Available for Pre-Order
- A Bleacke Christmas (Bleacke Shifters 5)
- Numb as a Statue (Suncoast Society)
- Happy Spank-O-Ween (Suncoast Society)
- Suit and Tied (Suncoast Society)
- The Great Turning: Into the Turn (The Great Turning 2)
- Bleacke Spirit (Bleacke Shifters 4)
- Disorder in the House (Suncoast Society)
- Chief (Governor Trilogy 3)
- A Certain Girl (Suncoast Society)
- Lieutenant (Governor Trilogy 2)
- Governor (Governor Trilogy 1)
- Searching for a Heart (Suncoast Society)
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