Thursday, March 6, 2008

Spare Parts: A Romentics Novel excerpt by Scott & Scott

To celebrate the release of Romentics E-Books published by Loose ID, we are including a brief snippet from Spare Parts by Scott&Scott, one of the first and most popular of the Romentics line of gay romance novels. We hope you'll like the taste. Here, after a night of too much drinking, Trent wakes to make the pleasant discovery that Dan, the man he thought was a male prostitute, is in fact much more--indeed, the man of his dreams.

Spare Parts
BookSurge Publishing (April 15, 2004)
ISBN (E-Book version): 978-1-59632-572-2
ISBN (hardcopy version): 159457376X


Trent rolled over and caught the scent of their sex. The memory thrilled and repulsed him at once. So what if it had been good, amazing? It didn’t make it right. It didn’t make Trent feel any better about himself. He remembered the touch of Dan’s hands around him and his insistent tenderness. He remembered Dan’s sounds, close to his ear, sighing honestly.

Trent still felt relaxed and exhausted from the effort of pleasure. His body’s tension had been absorbed some by the morning’s experience. Now he was just left with guilt and the sensation of their heat seeping from the sheets. It made him cold.

Scattered bills covered the nightstand. The sight of them made Trent clench his teeth, tight with anger and hopelessness. It brought his senses back to reality for a moment. There were bills of every denomination as far as he could tell. Twenties and hundreds, tens and ones. He didn’t think about how much was there. He didn’t think about how much he needed that cash. All he would allow himself to think about was how he had earned it.

It had all happened too fast and too drunk. He had only walked along the river to clear his head, to walk on the wild side, tempt fate. It was like a dare he made for himself. He never expected to follow through. And he hadn’t, last night. Somehow he had ended up right here, in Dan’s bed, but without Dan.

But this morning had been another story. How was he supposed to react when a handsome man in a towel walked up to him? Trent was just a man, after all. Historically, temptation had never been his gender’s strong suit. However, Trent would have chosen Dan in a towel over Eve with an apple any day.

If he had met Dan inside the club or at the store or on a bus instead, he very well might have ended up right here in his bed. There was no denying that Trent found Dan attractive. In fact, the electric pulse that jumped through him when he looked at Dan was a little scary.

Dan was just the right guy in the wrong place at the right time. In retrospect, Trent was lucky to have him there. Who knows where Trent could have ended up otherwise? But meeting him under those circumstances with these results and several hundred dollars on the nightstand made the very thought of attraction irrelevant. There were too many variables and questions and doubts. Considering it was not even an option.

Trent took a deep breath and stood up to dress. He was grateful for that last breath as he reached for his pants, because he was immediately reminded of the stale odor that had permeated last night’s wardrobe. So he struggled into the filthy clothes as he breathed out of his mouth.

Trent felt a little silly stretching the tight club shirt over his chest in the daylight. But even the thought was ridiculous. What he was wearing was the last thing that mattered after what had just happened. He couldn’t stand in this stranger’s bedroom forever. He had to leave sooner or later, and his outfit for the dramatic exit hardly made a difference.

Whatever had happened here didn’t really matter either, Trent told himself. He didn’t have to feel great about it, but he couldn’t change it. And the truth was, it couldn’t change him. Nothing and no one except Trent himself could make him feel cheap.

Before he shut the door behind him, Trent turned and looked at the untouched money on the nightstand. For a moment, he almost had the self-respect to smile. But then he caught a whiff of himself as he stepped out into the hall and tried not to inhale while walking down the stairs.

Dan heard the steps on the stairs, but he didn’t move. He stood shirtless in the kitchen, resting a glass of water against his chest and staring out the window. He wondered how many drawers the boy had gone through and what he’d discover missing later. It didn’t matter, Dan told himself. He didn’t keep anything valuable around the house anyway. Not that he really expected theft from Trent. But the real problem was, he had absolutely no idea what exactly to expect from him.

Dan rolled the cool glass across the hairs that sprouted along his breastbone and watched the tiny cars on the distant highway. They sped silently along, miles away. It was almost relaxing to know he was that far from the commotion. His house sat on a hill away from that side of town, the side of town where both he and Trent were raised.

He could look down and see the factory and the rows of identical houses. He remembered what it was like down there, and he wondered if Trent’s memories were the same. Dan wanted to kick himself for what he’d done up there. He was pushing the kid down lower than where he’d started from. It was ridiculous for Dan to think he could save him. The best thing he could do was give him a good tip and wish him well. And that’s exactly what he’d done.

But Dan couldn’t help it. He knew that sometimes, against all odds, things worked out for the best. He really did believe that everyone deserved a second chance. He didn’t want to know where he would have ended up without his. That’s why he had such a soft spot for hard cases. Other spots, however, weren’t quite so soft. And Trent certainly was a hard case, as the returning bulge in Dan’s jeans could attest.

He couldn’t explain to himself how this young man had caused him to lose control. Dan wasn’t one to let his libido make decisions for him. There were plenty of pretty boys out there, and Dan never had the small amount of patience it took to bring them home. He reassured himself that he was not really a dirty old man. He tried to approximate the math from memory, and he was surprised when their ages came within ten years of one another. Not that it mattered. There was no reason for him to try to justify it. This relationship didn’t have to be ok. There really was nothing ok about it. And after all, it wasn’t a relationship at all, Dan reminded himself.

Dan had to admit that this young guy stirred something in him that he had been trying to repress for a long time. It wasn’t just his dark looks and pale skin. It wasn’t just the pain his beauty caused, or the pain the memory of Dan’s cruelty brought on. It wasn’t pity. And it wasn’t just the way his body felt against Dan’s, a feeling Dan hadn’t experienced in a long time, one he could never remember being that intense.

Dan took a long gulp of water and tried to clear the taste of Trent from his mouth. He had to stop thinking like this. Sex was just sex. Dan was sure it was actually much less to Trent. It was a commodity, a bag of tricks, a trick of the trade. That’s what Dan was to Trent, just another trick, just another handful of cash.

Dan tried to imagine all that pleasure as an oil change or a transmission overhaul. But how could that just be part of Trent’s job? Dan couldn’t erase the reality of Trent’s shiver, the shy sound of his whimper. It wasn’t the aggression and technique he expected from a professional. There was no show. Trent was so soft and genuine, the memory made Dan ache. A greedy part of him wanted to keep Trent for his own sake. Charity and good intentions only went so far.

But his intentions didn’t matter. Dan had given it his best shot. Dan didn’t have anything else to offer but a job and some good business sense. The garages were his life. Granted, they practically ran themselves at this point, but Dan knew he could never let that happen. He looked around his big house and marveled, not for the first time, how hard it was to fill.

Trent’s steps echoed across the kitchen floor. Dan didn’t need the sound; he could feel the approach from behind like a warm breeze. He felt Trent stop, pause, and look out the window with him. They looked down on the town together, at the silent cars and the familiar shapes of that place.

“Hey, this is Glen Mills. We’re, like, a mile from where I grew up!” Trent exclaimed.

The familiar sight added comfort to the moment. Somehow the tension had Trent expected just wasn’t there. Despite the situation, Dan had been nothing but kind to him. Despite Trent’s confusion, maybe there was a lesson to learn from that kindness. Maybe something more than self-hatred could come from all this.

“Yeah,” Dan agreed knowingly. He looked straight ahead and tried to pick out the house where Trent had spent his childhood. He tried to locate the nearly duplicate house where he had wasted his twenties, but he couldn’t tell them apart. “You could live here again, you know. For a while, until you get settled. Everyone deserves a second chance.”

Dan regretted the words as he spoke them. Not because he didn’t want it, but because he knew he shouldn’t. What kind of disaster are you trying to cause? Dan asked himself silently.

But he left the offer hanging in the air, and they both looked out onto the scenery of their past without a sound. Dan wondered if Trent was trying to find the old houses, too. Silently, they considered their options as they watched the highway pass along the edge of the hometown they both shared.

Even if Trent didn’t know it, he and Dan had the same roots. They’d come from the same place and fought the same battles. Their victories and losses might have been different, but Dan was determined to give them both the opportunity to repair their mistakes.

“So, what kind of chance are we talking about?” Trent was too proud to accept explicitly, but this time the broken silence was a beautiful sound.

“You ever worked on cars before?” Dan asked.

“A mechanic?”

“That’s right.”

Dan felt Trent’s hand lightly on his waist. He felt the boy’s face rest gently against his back. Dan could see the reflection of blue eyes in the window, gazing out over the top of his shoulder.

Of course, Trent had never worked on cars. He hardly ever got the chance to drive one. He had no idea what went on under a hood or inside an engine. But for all he knew, he could end up being the best mechanic around. Maybe it was the day job that would subsidize his photography. Maybe it was the solution he had gone looking for in the completely wrong direction last night. It had to be better than that night job, stumbling along the river, waiting to find someone new to hate just so he could hate himself more.

In one day, Trent had gone from being a photo clerk to a hooker to a mechanic. He was exhausted and confused. He yawned against Dan’s shoulder blade, and the sound surprised himself. They both laughed softly in the big, empty kitchen.

For the second time in twelve hours, Dan helped the younger man to his bed. He tucked the covers up around that beautiful face. But before he could pull his hand away and head for the couch, Trent reached out and grabbed his wrist. Dan looked down at the long white fingers around his arm. Beyond their hands, he spotted the pile of money untouched.

When Trent tugged at Dan, he found no resistance in the man’s strong arm.

Their limbs found each other easily and wound into a complex embrace that felt simple and real. Despite their intentions, they ended up in bed together again, falling asleep in broad daylight in each other’s arms, the way they should have earlier.

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