Thursday, June 9, 2011

Taboo Tens: Day Nine Sue Brown

Good morning folks and welcome to day nine of the Taboo Tens!

Today, I am honored to have one of the best in gay romance fiction on my log, Sue Brown. She's a sweetie and the gal can really write!  I simply adored her book Morning Report and the book on the left is next on my Sue list!

Please give her your undivided attention and then comment to win her book!

Take it away, Sue!


I was struggling to find a topic for today until I was listening to one of my favourite fandom podfics which was about two guys meeting via an *internet dating site*. Now please, when you’re reading this, every time we get to *internet dating site* it must be said in a stage whisper. The reason becomes clear later on.

Last Friday, I went to a wedding reception held in my neighbour’s garden. They met via an *internet dating site*. It’s a closely guarded secret so of course everybody knows, but for some reason, the couple consider that meeting your loved one via the internet, rather than in the pub or over the frozen food section of the local supermarket, is slightly shameful.

They aren’t the only ones. It’s so shameful, but everybody does it, it seems. We all have a computer and the temptation is just a mouse click away. Two of my family have met their significant others on the web, one in the very early stages of the industry. One is proud of it, for the other it’s a secret… which everyone knows.
I’m a singleton and have been for some years. Between working, writing, studying for my degree and looking after my family, dating is way down on the list of priorities. I have internet friends. I’m proud to say that a lot of my internet friends have become personal friends and I’ve had international friends to stay. One day, I’m going to have enough money to visit them.

Over the years I have got some funny looks from ‘real life’ friends for meeting my internet pals. Hmmm, now why would I want to meet them? Oh, maybe it’s because I can talk about M/M romance and slash, my fandoms, hot guys in compromising positions and the gay community. Try bringing that up during coffee after church.

People are interested in my dating status. Zero. Sex life also zero. That is always the second question. The third question is have you tried an *internet dating site*. No mate, I haven’t tried an internet dating site. Seriously, I don’t need to lower my voice. We aren’t talking about Voldemort. If I ever decide to look for a partner I won’t be lowering my voice just because I’m looking for my man/woman on a site with lots of other people looking for partners. Yep, there are some weirdos out there but I’ve been accosted by a couple of those at the local coffee shop.

So how do you feel about internet dating and friendships? Have you met your partner on the ‘net? Have you met your friends and what about discovering your soul mate?

I have met plenty of people who I would consider my perfect partner. They want to talk fandom, slash, hot guys and understand that the netbook is attached to my hip 24/7. Unfortunately they are all married already and/or on the other side of the world, or prefer dick – that one’s a bit of stumbling block. Ah well, I could always do a bit of writing while I’m waiting. Maybe my perfect partner is out there for me. If they are could they wait until my course is finished?


Andrew’s life is a cliché: he’s a gay man trapped in a loveless marriage, thanks to his religious, overbearing mother. Then a new couple moves in down the street, and Andrew finds himself falling for Nathan in a big way. Nathan is straight, married, and just about to be a father, but after one fateful night out together at a club, Nathan has to face the fact that his feelings for Andrew go way beyond that of a friend and neighbor.

 When Andrew’s wife asks for a divorce, both men’s lives are thrown into disarray. Arguments about their responsibilities to their wives and children, doubting themselves and each other, and some harrowing lies pull them apart… but they never leave each other’s thoughts.


Andrew watched the new couple with a cynical eye. Mr. and Mrs. Newlyweds, matching rings glinting in the sunlight, his arm around her shoulders, keeping her close. He could only see their backs as they were introduced to the neighborhood vultures, but Jesus, he was tall. Built like a brick shit house. His wife was tiny compared to Mr. Newlywed, barely coming up to his shoulders, yet from Andrew’s perspective she had him on a tight leash, her fingers hooked firmly though his belt loops. She wasn’t letting him go anytime soon. Andrew couldn’t hear them, but he could see the guy laughing at some wisecrack Allison had made.

He knew how this would pan out. An introduction at the cookout, polite smiles exchanged, then they would vanish behind the front door, only emerging for work and grocery shopping. No one was really friends here, not unless they had kids, and then it was play dates, carpools, and sneaky gins at two in the afternoon. Still, they had to pretend for the newbies—Allison’s orders.

If there was one thought in Andrew’s head at any of these neighborhood parties, it was how soon he could escape. No matter how much he drank, or how much he tried to fit in, every party was long and tedious, even with the agreement with Stephanie that, after showing willingness, he could retreat to his dark room. He was so tired of pretending to be something he wasn’t. Andrew Matthews, model husband, father, and town photographer. Andrew looked at his watch. Half an hour, then he could leave the neighbors to their amusements and disappear back to the darkroom. Twenty-nine minutes and thirty seconds. He took a swig of his beer. Idly, he wondered how long they had been married. A month? Six weeks tops. He predicted that in nine months time there would be a little Newlywed in a stroller, or… hello! Maybe next week, judging by the size of that stomach! Andrew found himself transfixed by Mrs. Newlywed’s belly as she turned around. Either they had been practicing before the wedding or Andrew’s intuition was way off. 

Hidden in the corner, Andrew was able to stare freely at the woman, noting her slightly swollen ankles in their strappy high-heeled sandals. He was surprised she could get them on. Despite her advanced pregnancy, she was a slender woman with delicate bone-structure. Andrew could see how attractive she was. Then for the first time he got a proper look at the man. Shit, he was young. Too young to be married and expecting a kid. He looked like a college jock on his first date, all shaggy hair and rippling muscles, with broad shoulders and narrow hips. 

“Don’t they look cute? All hearts and flowers. Sooooo in lurve.”

Andrew looked down at his wife. Stephanie was staring at them with something approaching dislike, her long fingers wrapped so tightly round a wineglass they showed white round the knuckles. He sighed quietly. They had never been like that. He watched the man, so young and in love, a big grin on his face as he hugged his wife close to his side. Andrew felt an emotion he hadn’t experienced for a very long time. He was jealous, envious of the love they were showing each other, and the smiles, the goddamned fucking affection. He and Stephanie had never looked at each other like that—ever. 

Taking another pull on the beer, he said, “Wait ’til the sleepless nights kick in. The hearts and flowers won’t count for a lot then.” Andrew looked at Stephanie’s glass. It was empty, as usual. He wondered how many glasses she had consumed. “Want another one?” He waggled his bottle at her. 

She nodded. “Yeah, why not. The booze is the only thing that makes this day bearable. I’m going to find out where Colin is. Be back in a moment.”

Andrew took her glass, then wandered off towards the kitchen. Allison and Jim’s house was the same as his, all gleaming white appliances in exactly the same place. He opened the large fridge to find it stocked top to bottom with wine. Allison was well known for taking these cookouts very seriously. Taking an open bottle of white wine, he topped up Stephanie’s glass right to the brim—otherwise she’d only complain—and closed the fridge door to look for the beer bucket. 

“Is there one in there for me?” Andrew looked up as he reached into the icy water to get a bottle. Mr. Newlywed was grinning at him, a hopeful expression in his eyes.

“Sure.” Andrew passed over the one he had been rooting for, then acquired a second one for himself. 

“Thanks.” The guy cracked it open and took a long pull, his moan of pleasure as the cool liquid hit the back of his throat almost obscene. Andrew tried hard not to stare. “God, I needed that.” He suddenly seemed to remember his manners, and wiping his hand on his jeans, he held it out. “Nathan Peterson. Just moved into number twenty-four.” 

Andrew refrained from his desire to laugh at him, merely shaking his hand and saying, “Andrew Matthews. My wife Stephanie and I live at number twelve.” Andrew stood over six feet, but this man dwarfed him both in height and physique; his handshake was firm but not bone crushing. Idly he wondered what he would look like in black and white, shirt off and wet. Maybe washing the car. Andrew preferred to take his photos where people were actually doing something. He realized he was holding onto his hand for too long when he caught Nathan’s amused expression. 

Laughing nervously, Andrew tried to make small talk. “So, have you met everyone yet? Remembered all their names?” 

“Not a single one. You’re Justin, right?” He grinned at Andrew’s appreciative snort. “To tell you the truth, it’s kinda overwhelming. We’ve only been here forty-eight hours.” 

“I’ll bet. Still, you’ll soon get to know us all, and you’ll be dragged to these events often enough. Allison and Jim love their ‘aren’t we all such good neighbors’ shindigs.” 

Nathan frowned, trying to remember who they were. “Small skinny blonde and older grizzled dude?” 
Andrew nodded. “Yeah. They run the neighborhood watch program. The rest of us just fall in line.” 

“Huh. Okay, I get the picture.” Nathan looked at his bottle. It was empty. He waved it hopefully at Andrew. 

“Any chance of another one?” 

Andrew waved his hand at the bucket. “Just help yourself. You never go home sober from one of these gigs. Not if you wanna stay sane.” He watched as Nathan dug around eagerly in the bucket for another bottle. “So, expecting your first child soon?” 

“You noticed?” Nathan seemed to be almost bouncing in excitement at the prospect. “Gummi bear?” He pulled out a half-empty bag of candy from his pocket. Bemused, Andrew nodded and dug into the bag. Pulling out a red one, he tipped his head back and tossed it into his mouth. 

Nathan continued, “Alex looks like she’s going explode any moment. I hope she doesn’t. Explode, I mean,” he added hastily at Andrew’s bemused look. 

“I guess this is your first then?” Andrew laughed outright. The dude was like a small kid himself.

Nathan laughed with him, not taking the slightest offense. “Certainly is. He’s due in four weeks’ time.” He proffered the gummi bears again. 

Picking a green one, Andrew bit the limbs off it before decapitating it and swallowing the body. 

“Jesus, what did that bear ever do to you?” Nathan had been watching the whole process in fascination. 

“Didn’t get the chance. I got him first,” Andrew said smugly, taking a drink although the bitter taste of the beer didn’t really mix well with the candy.

“Remind me not to get on your bad side,” Nathan drawled. 

They grinned at each other, then Andrew asked, “A Texas boy?” 

Nathan tipped an imaginary Stetson and said, “Yes boss. San Antone born and bred.” 

Andrew pretended to groan. “Oh no. A Spurs fan? I think I may never speak to you again.” He spoke in a slow deep drawl, allowing the accent he normally suppressed to become more noticeable. 

“Wait a moment!” Nathan’s hazel eyes positively sparkled. “Do I hear me another escapee? Only, one from the wrong side of the tracks?” 

“Born in Dallas, moved to Santa Fe when I was ten,” Andrew confirmed. 

“Ah, a Mavs then?” At Andrew’s nod, the younger man hummed. “Not sure we should be talkin’, but as we’re both momma’s boys, shall we put aside our differences, at least until I whup your ass at Madden?” 
Andrew winced at the reference to his mother—Momma’s black sheep perhaps—but kept his smile glued to his face. For once, he liked this new addition to the area. He hoped Nathan wasn’t a hiding behind the front door type. “In your dreams, boy,” he drawled. 

Nathan whooped. “You are so on.” A challenging light entered his eyes. “How ’bout we escape from here and you pretend you can try and beat me?” He lunged forward to engulf a startled Andrew in a bear hug. Arms flailing, Andrew found himself smushed up against a cotton shirt. He inhaled the scent of laundry detergent, and beneath it sweat, and something he couldn’t define. His hands, trying to get a purchase on something solid, landed on Nathan’s back. Fuck, this guy was packing muscle. He made Andrew look like a stick insect. 

“Don’t you dare run away, Nathan Peterson.” A light, warm, female voice, trying to sound amused but with a clear thread of irritation, interrupted them. 

Andrew tried to disentangle himself and retain some dignity. He felt rather than heard Nathan chuckling, his chest vibrating under his cheek; then an arm slipped across his shoulders and he was turned to meet Alex. Strangely enough Nathan didn’t let him go, just tucking him under one arm as he said, “Hey darlin’, meet our new neighbor, Andrew. He’s a Mav, but don’t let that put you off.” 

Alex rolled her eyes. “Sorry for my husband, Andrew. He’s an overgrown puppy with the manners to match. Put him down, Nathan,” she commanded, much as she would talk to a young dog. 

“Drew doesn’t mind, do you?” And Andrew was squeezed for a second, before Nathan obediently dropped his arm and moved over to his wife, bending down to kiss her on the cheek. 

Andrew was torn between pointing out that if Nathan called him Drew again his balls would be in danger, and asking him to put his arm back. Then another arm went around his waist, sharp nails digging into his skin. 

“So, I was waiting for you to come back with my drink, and instead I find you groping the new neighbor. Quick work, Drew.” Stephanie had followed Alex into the kitchen and witnessed the whole display. 

Andrew was determined not to give his wife the satisfaction of seeing him blush. “You’re just jealous,” he answered, “because I got a hug and you didn’t.” 

Alex laughed, not noticing the undercurrents of tension between their new neighbors. “He mauls everybody.” She elbowed Nathan in the ribs. “Believe me. He doesn’t understand the concept of personal space.” 
Nathan held out his hands as if in surrender. “I’m just overly friendly. Anyway, Drew and I have a date for me to take him down.” 

Stephanie gave a thin laugh. “Much as I know he would love for you to manhandle him, Andrew’s promised to take his son to the park this afternoon.” 

A broad grin split Nathan’s face. Did this guy ever stop laughing? “You have a son as well?” 

“Yeah, Colin, he’s nine,” Andrew muttered. “Going into the fourth grade come September.” 

“Hey, Nathan is a fourth-grade teacher. He’s going to be teaching at Castleton Elementary.” Alex looked at her husband with such pride. 

To Andrew’s surprise, Nathan went bright red. “I’m newly qualified. This is my first job,” he admitted. 

“That’s Colin’s school. You’ll be teaching his class.” Stephanie surprised everyone by going to the kitchen door and yelling for her son. After a minute a thin, lanky boy came to the door. He was wearing shorts, no shirt, and was as usual, filthy dirty. Even his hated freckles, which he complained about at every opportunity, were virtually unnoticeable in the grime that covered his body. 

His mother steered him in the direction of Nathan. “Colin, meet your new teacher, Mr. Peterson.”

“Jesus, he’s enormous.” Colin’s jaw dropped as he looked at Nathan. 

Andrew was amused to notice both teacher and pupil looked highly embarrassed as everybody laughed. Stephanie nudged Colin. “What do you say?” 

“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Peterson,” he said politely.

His new teacher came to his rescue. “Nate, ’til September at least.” Nathan held out his hand and Colin shook it as he had been taught. “We’ll go back to Mister P the first day of school, okay?” 

Colin nodded. “Can I go now, Mom, pleeeease?” he whined, desperate to get away from his parents and, even worse, his new teacher. It was still vacation. Way, way too early to be thinking about school. 

“Ten minutes, then Dad is taking you to the park to play soccer.” Stephanie was firm.

Andrew snuck a look at his watch, sighing inwardly. So no chance of the darkroom first. He had been so close to escaping.

Colin was out of the kitchen door the second he got permission, almost knocking down Jim and Allison, who had come in search of the new neighbors. They rocked back as he sped past, then entered the kitchen, pleased to see Andrew and Stephanie making an effort with Nathan and Alex.

“Hey there. How are you all doing? Has everyone got a drink? Jim, we need some more beer. Nathan is almost out.” As usual, Allison took charge as soon as she entered the kitchen. She was considerably younger than her husband, but there was no doubt who was the driving force in their relationship. Jim seemed content to let her steam ahead, and in return she gave him a well organized home and affectionate, if bossy, attention.
Nathan gave them all his widest smile. Andrew was nearly blinded by the way the kitchen suddenly lit up. 

“I’m fine, thank you, Allison. I won’t have another one. I gotta walk the dogs this afternoon, and Drew here has invited me to play soccer with him and his boy.” 

Andrew choked on the last of his beer. As he spluttered out his apologies, gasping for breath, an enormous hand patted him on the back. 

“All right there, Drew? Trying to wuss out of our game? Give me ten to get changed and pick up the dogs and we’ll be on our way.”

Andrew looked up to see Nathan giving him a barely perceptible wink. Beside him, Alex looked thunderous. Allison beamed at them all. This was just what she enjoyed most, all her neighbors getting on so well. 
He grinned back at Nathan. An afternoon in the darkroom hiding from the world, or an afternoon in the sunshine whupping the ass—extremely nice ass—of his new friend, at soccer? No contest. “Think you can beat me and my boy? Bring it on.”


What an interesting blog and excerpt! I actually did date a couple of guys I met on the net but not from a dating site. It was scary at first but once you sit down and chat, it works out. As long as that person treats you right, its no different than meeting someone in a bar. 


Okay fans, go comment so you can win the book. Sue and other fans have told me its a tearjerker. I'm ready for it!

Join us tomorrow as Patricia Logan will be with us with some hot m/m with the bondage flair!

Until then...


Rawiya said...

Sue, thanks for stopping in!

Lisa Worrall said...

Internet dating sites, huh? I met my husband through a similar site. The fact that we are getting divorced is by the by - I have thirteen years and two wonderful children to show for it.

I've been lucky enough to meet some of my friends that I first met through the wonderful super highway - friends who have become my rocks, my shoulders to cry on and people I couldn't imagine my life without.

Oh and Sue, I'll wait until your course is finished, babe!

I have long admired Sue's writing and live in hope that one day I'll be even be in the same vicinity as her league.

Rawiya said...

Sorry to hear, Lisa.

I have met some friends and erm past lovers through a couple of friends sites b4 Facebook.

Years ago... *snicker*

I also hope to be in Sue's league as well. She is fantastic!

Cinderella said...

Awesome excerpt and yeah sounds like a three tissue story. No internet sites for me but I did meet my husband of 23 years in the Army in Georgia, we got married because he had orders to go to Germany and my orders were for Korea, we weren't in love yet just lust with a lot od sex thrown in. We wanted to see if we could make a go of it. I love him with all my heart now.

Rawiya said...

TY for visiting Cinderella.

Dawn R. said...

Great post Sue. My Honey and I "met" through an internet dating site. To say all of those sites are bad or taboo is not the case. I met a few nut jobs of course but with my DH, he is my knight in shining armor. I wouldn't change a thing and no I don't whisper where i met him.As far as I am concerned where we met is just the beginning of our relationship and certainly not a dirty little secret. :)

I loved Morning Report and Nothing Ever Happens is pure gold IMHO. I have already read it twice since i go tit and I still cry at all the same parts. :) Sue is a wonderful person and I am proud to call her my friend.

Rawiya said...

Thank you for visiting Dawn!

I loved Morning Report. Cant wait for part two.

I know I will love this one and all her books because I love her style

Pender Mackie said...

Dating sites weren't really around when I met my husband but I know lots of happy couples that met on a dating site. Thanks for a great interview.

Rawiya said...

TY for visiting Pender!

Sue Brown said...

Thank you for having me, Rawiya *HUGS*.

DC Juris said...

Great post! I met my husband in an AOL chat room back in the day. :-)

Rawiya said...

YVW hunny! Big hugs on a fab post!

Rawiya said...

TY for visiting DC.

ah I recall the dates from chat rooms. ;)

Lucia said...

I just had to laugh when you compared *internet dating site* to Voldemort, I imagine both things are said in the same way :P I don't have anything against dating sites, I believe you can find your love there. You can't see the person, but someone can also lie about everything when you see him face to face.

SJ said...

Great post Sue and Rawiya! Thanks for sharing.

Keep up the great writing, both of you.


Anonymous said...

I met my husband-like-person during a table-top rpg fifteen years ago. Does that count as a lower your voice equivalent? *grin*

Talk fandom, slash, hot guys and understand your 24/7 relationship with your netbook? Sounds like I'm another perfect partner on the other side of the world! Why is that always the way?



Michael said...

LOL Thank you everyone for visiting.

@X, sounds good to me

She said...

Nothing Ever Happens sounds good. I haven't used any online dating sites but through yahoo groups, facebook, and blogs I have "met" some good friends. Enjoyed the excerpt.