Monday, September 23, 2013

Hungry for Love excerpt by Rick R Reed

Nate Tipple and Brandon Wilde are gay, single, and both hoping to meet that special man, even though fate has not yet delivered him to their doorstep.  Nate's sister, Hannah, and her kooky best friend, Marilyn, are about to help fate with that task by creating a profile on the gay dating site, OpenHeartOpenMind.  The two women are only exploring, but when they need a face and body for the persona they create, they use Nate as the model.

When Brandon comes across the false profile, he falls for the guy he sees online.  Keeping up the charade, Hannah begins corresponding with him, posing as Nate. Real complications begin when Brandon wants to meet Nate, but Nate doesn't even know he's being used in the online dating ruse. Hannah and Marilyn concoct another story and send Nate out to let the guy down gently. But when Nate and Brandon meet, the two men feel an instant and powerful pull toward each other.  Cupid seems to have shot his bow, but how do Nate and Brandon climb out from under a mountain of deceit without letting go of their chance at love?

Hungry for Love
Dreamspinner Press (September 13, 2013)

ISBN: 978-1-62798-145-3


He was a romantic. As much as his hormones told him that all he really required in this world was a warm place to bury his dick, his more developed senses begged to differ.
Brandon wanted someone with whom he felt a special connection, someone with whom there was that magical spark he read about in the gay romance novels he devoured with increasing frequency, to fill the void missing in his life. Brandon wanted chocolates and flowers. He wanted love poetry. He wanted surprise weekend getaways to remote mountain cabins or quaint bed-and-breakfasts. He wanted someone to curl up next to on the couch, falling asleep together to some old black and white movie.
He wanted someone with whom he could share not only his body, but his life.
Christian told him, “You’re never going to find the man of your dreams, unless you bring some of those wet dreams you’re still having at your advanced age to life! Just get laid! No man’s going to buy the merchandise without a free sample.”
Really, Christian? Really? And why are you still alone, then? Brandon knew Christian spent almost all of his free time online. Hell, Brandon could even count on Christian to be on his phone, on Grindr or Scruff, when they were out to dinner or one of the clubs. Brandon would twiddle his thumbs with Christian nearby, oblivious and texting furiously, always on the prowl for his next hookup, who usually lurked somewhere nearby.
Why was the man never satisfied?
Brandon had a secret, one which he had never shared with anyone, especially Christian.
He was almost a virgin. He had only two pathetic sexual experiences on his résumé. First, there was an embarrassing, guilt-ridden “affair” back in high school that had lasted for all of two weeks (although Brandon wished for more). And the one time, back in college, when he had met his second paramour in the basement men’s room of King Library on the Miami University (Ohio) campus. The guy wanted Brandon simply to kneel down between the stalls so he could blow him, but Brandon was far too fearful to engage in such an act and even then, he wanted more—like to see his cocksucker’s face. Besides, Brandon wasn’t even sure why the guy kept putting his hand under the stall, not knowing then it was a signal for him to kneel on the floor. So Brandon, romantic at heart that he was, simply grasped the signaling hand and held it.
This prompted his tearoom trick to flee the bathroom—and Brandon followed him outside.
Somehow, in the stairwell outside the men’s room, Brandon convinced his bathroom suitor to take him home, to an off-campus apartment where the two young men quickly and furtively got one another off, worried about the imminent arrival of the guy’s straight roommate.
That experience, sordid and unsatisfying as it was, left in Brandon a desire to chase windmills, if that’s what his idealism could be called. Brandon was not going to settle. If he couldn’t have the whole enchilada (the enchilada being a relationship that was satisfying not only on a physical level, but also on an emotional one), he wanted none of it.
Unfortunately for Brandon, he had come of age during a time when Internet and even Smartphone connections made hooking up fast and efficient. Brandon conceded those connections might possess those benefits, but they were not for him.
He was interested in both of a man’s heads, thank you very much. And he would not settle for less.
He believed a man who thought the same was out there. Somewhere.
Which is what brought him, right now, to the registration site for OpenHeartOpenMind. When he had finally landed upon the dating website, he was thrilled to find their mission statement on the homepage, one that dovetailed with his own inclinations.
It read:
We here at OpenHeartOpenMind believe in old-fashioned romance. If you’re looking for impersonal, easy sex and lots of it, there are plenty of other sites that cater to your interests. Go for them.

OpenHeartOpenMind is for the man who wants to date, who knows that sometimes delayed gratification can make the rewards all the sweeter.

OpenHeartOpenMind is for gay men who think that the road to love is paved not just with physical attraction (although we’d be lying if we said that doesn’t play a big part!), but with mutual respect, shared interests, and the common goal of wanting more than just merging genitals, but merging hearts and minds as well.

Good luck on your dating journey!

Below the mission statement were icons that urged the potential user to sign up and the current user to sign in.
When Brandon read those words, he quickly clicked on “sign up” because, in a way, he had already “signed up” for the very attributes the website promoted.
So now he began filling in the editable boxes on the site with his particulars: name, age, city and state: Seattle, WA, height: 6’1”, weight: 198, body type: athletic. Brandon was nothing if not honest, so he quickly changed “athletic” to “beefy.” He went on. Eyes: hazel, hair: dark brown, body hair: hairy, facial hair: full beard.
Brandon was relieved that OpenHeartOpenMind did not ask, as most of the other sites did, for his dick size or if he was top or bottom (although he definitely leaned more toward the former, but, as he had found, it was hard to top oneself).
Brandon came at last to the part where it asked for a headline and a short ad describing what one was looking for. And this was really the section that was giving him fits.
How do you describe your heart’s desire in two hundred words or less? How can you just post what you hope to find in a man on the Internet for all the world to see? Can it possibly work? Is this really the way I want to meet someone?
Thoughts like these crowded his brain, urging the more insecure part of himself to simply abandon the exercise. If he was a true, old-fashioned romantic, would he really be looking online for his true love? Wouldn’t they meet casually somewhere, like a café or bookstore, where shy glances and almost covert smiles resulted in perhaps a quick conversation confirming that they might exchange e-mail addresses, if not phone numbers? Or shouldn’t they meet humorously, thumping melons down at the neighborhood Safeway? Or maybe by coincidence in, say, a fender bender at rush hour?
You are just letting your performance anxiety get to you. This is 2013, buddy, and online is how it’s done these days. Although it’s certainly possible you could meet a man at the grocery store, Starbucks, or jogging on the trails that surround Green Lake, this way is much more likely to get some results. And even if it doesn’t, what do you have to lose? This site is not costing you anything, except for maybe some time, and by doing this, you may just be aligning the universe to give you what you’ve been searching for.
As your mom always told you when you went off to school, when you went off for your first job interview, or your first date back in high school, “Just be yourself.”
Mom was right. He would just be his honest self, and the words would come.

Down-to-Earth Honest Man Seeks Same

I’m not looking for fireworks, just the potential.

I am a twentysomething guy, told I’m good-looking and in okay shape (kept that way not by eating right, but by logging twenty-five miles a week or so running). I have all my teeth and all my hair. My body functions normally for a twenty-nine-year-old. I don’t have gas (well, not much).

I like horror movies, romantic comedies, and family dramas. I cry at the drop of a hat and laugh easily, and am proud of both. I like classic jazz: Sarah Vaughn, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson. I love to read: gay romance, thrillers, and memoirs. I don’t like sci-fi, reality TV, or selfishness. I will eat just about anything, but appreciate good food, good wine, and good restaurants.

I live in Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood, and if you can’t find me at home, I am usually running around the lake—sometimes more than once.

The only thing I have that’s incurable is a romantic heart. If you’re afflicted with the same condition, maybe we’re a match.

Want to know more? Ask me. I promise to answer… honestly.

It took a little trial and error, and while Brandon didn’t think he was going to win the Nobel Prize for literature, he thought his ad made him come off okay, or at least normal. More importantly, he was pleased that he thought he had captured at least the essence of himself. There was no pretense, so he was optimistic that whatever the ad might snare, it would at least be someone who knew him for who he was.
His final task was to upload a picture of himself. He opened the file of photos on his computer called, simply, “me,” and began searching for just the right one. At last he settled on one that his mom—God bless her—had taken last summer, when the two of them had taken the ferry from downtown over to Vashon Island for a picnic on the rocky, driftwood-strewn beach. In it, Brandon squinted against the sun, with Puget Sound in the background. He was tan, with a little rose along the bridge of his nose and the tops of his cheeks, and he looked happy, his dark hair sticking up against a backdrop of a blue and cloudless sky. He thought anyone could see the hope in his hazel eyes.
He clicked on it to load it to the site, waited for it to appear, and then saved his profile. He got a message telling him it would post within a few hours, after moderator review.
Well, here goes nothing, Brandon thought. Or, maybe, just maybe, if the timing is right, the stars are aligned, and I’m very lucky—something.
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Lloyd Meeker said...

Great set-up, with so much that could go wrong, (and knowing Rick's writing from enjoying many of his previous books, will go wrong).

When reading something by Reed I always feel confident I'll be treated to a solid, thoughtful story served up in strong writing and strong characters. Haven't been disappointed yet.

Victor J. Banis said...

sounds like another fun Rick Reed read (pardon the alliteration). Thanks for sharing this, Eric. Does anyone know, do those online services really work? Just curious.

Jon Michaelsen said...

The true romantic here cannot fool me, Rick. You're not fooling me! Thanks for the excerpt; as usual your words have the power to pull a reader right in before they even realize they're hooked. Great job!