Sunday Snippet: Family Man by Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullen

Today we’re sharing something new for us. Our snippet is from an m/m story. Over the last year I’ve had the privilege to get to know Marie Sexton and I knew I wanted to share her with all of you. So I asked her if she would like to be share a snippet with you. She sent me a snippet from Family Man a book she co-wrote with Heidi Cullen and is from Samhain.

Vinnie frowned at me. “How old are you, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“Twenty-five. And yes, I know it’s a long time to be in school.”

To my surprise, Vinnie only nodded. “You’re taking care of your grandmother and mother, though, and you work full-time, right?”

“More than. I have two jobs. Barista at Full Moon, the coffee shop up on Racine just north of the interstate, and waiter at The Rose.” I was ready for his look of disdain, and I had to bite back a smile. “Hey, we can’t all be born into the Fierro clan.”

“Have you ever applied at Emilio’s, though?”

“When I was looking, there wasn’t an opening. Plus, I hate to be rude, but the tips are higher at The Rose. All those lovely tourists coming out of the Loop, grateful to get a table.”

“The food’s terrible. They only survive because that bastard has city councilors in his pocket.” He ironed out his scowl and held up a hand in surrender. “But you’re right. The tips have to be killer.”

“If it helps, the chef’s an ass. Mostly because I won’t blow him in the back room, I’m pretty sure.” Too late I realized I’d accidentally shined a spotlight on the elephant in the middle of our table. I winced. Vinnie slouched and took a heavy hit from his drink. He wouldn’t look me in the eye anymore, and it made me sad.

This time, though, it was Vinnie who brought us back into conversation. “So you come up here a lot?”

“To Boystown? Not often if I can help it. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great neighborhood, but mostly I see the bars, which I could do without.” This got me the eyebrow again, and another one of those sexy little smiles. “What?” I demanded, trying to tamp down the butterflies that smile unleashed in my belly.

“You’re young. You’re cute. Yet you could do without going to bars full of guys wanting to hook up with you?”

He thought I was cute? My butterflies went crazy, and I focused all my attention on my drink. “I feel like I should tell you something.” I concentrated on trying to spear my thin red cocktail straw through one of the round ice cubes in my Coke, debating how to tell him I was a virgin. “I don’t have sex.”

“What?” Vinnie asked, laughing. “Not ever?”

I glanced up at him, trying not to be bothered by the amused disbelief in his eyes. “I just mean, I don’t sleep with guys on the first date.”

His laughter died fast. “This isn’t a date.”

He said it like a threat, as if he had to set the record straight—and I do mean straight—and I laughed. His protests actually took a great deal of pressure off me. “All the more reason I won’t sleep with you tonight.”

I was glad when he smiled again. “Deal,” he said.

It was strange how freeing that word was.
I’d learned over the years to be so careful about my interactions with men,

lest they misunderstand my intentions, but it wasn’t as if I was opposed to sex or to fooling around. I wasn’t immune to the calling of my own hormones. I woke up horny like any healthy male. The problem was that with most guys, the line between flirting and fucking was razor thin. But Vince wasn’t most guys. He wasn’t some stranger I’d barely met. I’d known him for most of my life. I knew I could trust him.

Suddenly, I felt I could throw caution to the wind. Having the boundaries firmly in place and a partner I trusted opened up the playing field considerably.

I reached over and put my hand on his thigh, and he raised one eyebrow questioningly at me. “No sex,” I said, “but that doesn’t mean we can’t flirt, right?”

He stared hard at me for a long second, like I was some bridge he couldn’t decide if he wanted to jump off of. Eventually he said, his voice low and rough, “I guess not.”

My heart went into overdrive. It made me bold. It was a new feeling for me, and I embraced it. I had nothing to lose.

I moved into his lap, straddling his thighs so I could face him. His hands were on my legs, but it wasn’t as if he was touching me on purpose. It was more like that was the safest place he could find to put them. His guards were back up in full. “This doesn’t feel like flirting.”

“Then what does it feel like?”

“Like you’re coming on to me.” He said the words like an accusation.

“Aren’t they same thing?” He didn’t move as I undid the top button on his shirt. “We already said no sex.” I undid the next one. “Relax.” There wasn’t much hair on his chest. Just smooth, dark skin, and I caressed it with my fingertips. I traced his collarbone. I put my arms around his neck and leaned closer to kiss his cheek, which was stubbly, and then the side of his neck. “God, you smell good.” It was a spicy scent—some kind of aftershave—mixed with the clean, soapy smell of his hair. I kissed him again, below his ear, and I heard his breath catch in his throat.

He clenched his hands. His fingers dug into my thigh. “Trey—”

I knew he was going to tell me to stop, and I cut him off, leaning back a bit so I could look in his eyes. “Dance with me.”

family manSometimes family chooses you.

How does a man get to be forty without knowing whether he’s gay? That’s a question Vince Fierro is almost afraid to answer. If he is gay, it’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, he can’t help but wonder if he’s been playing for the wrong team.

There’s only one way to settle it, once and for all—head for Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek to the sultry strains of Coltrane, Trey finds himself wanting to help Vinnie figure things out—no promises, and no sex.

It seems like a simple plan, until their “no-sex” night turns into the best date of their lives and forges a connection that complicates everything.

Warning: This book deals with alcoholism, broken promises, and overbearing little sisters

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1 Comment

  1. jeananna

    I’m an equal opportunity romance reader and always on the look out for new authors!! Downloaded the sample today!!

    Reply

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