IT'S SIMPLE, SIMON
Enjoy an all new excerpt form the contemporary mm romance, It's Simple, Simon based on the classic nursery rhyme, Simple Simon. You join our heroes at a point where Simon's vacation is coming to an end, and its time for him to say good-bye to his old friend and new lover, the Pie Man, Chase Garvin.
"Chase, I can't move in with you." He hadn't had a clue that Chase was even considering such a thing. They'd been together a lot this week, but this was out of the blue. Nice as it sounded, as appealing as the idea of waking up in bed with Chase every day was, playing and fucking and laughing together, it wasn't possible.
"Why not? You're still staying with your parents. You can just as easily stay with me while you look for work, and we'll be able to spend more time together. I'm not going to begrudge you the expenses for a few months while you look for work." Chase swapped pie plates with him, and Simon found himself looking at a thick creamy chocolate silk pie. He didn't want it either, so he shoved it back to Chase, who raised a brow but continued eating the blueberry pie.
Whoa. He sat back in the wrought iron chair in the food court and stared blankly at Chase. He liked Chase, maybe even still loved him. He'd certainly enjoyed the week he'd spent hanging out with Chase, meeting his friends, his employees, seeing his six restaurants. But the assumption that he'd give up his extremely lucrative high-ranking position with Bank of SoCal and move back to Denver was a bit much. "Chase, I can't quit my job. I just got a promotion."
Chase scowled, bite of blueberry pie halfway to his mouth. "I thought we'd put this pretense behind us, Simon. You're back here, out of work, and I want you to stay. You can find work here as easily as you can in California."
"I don't need to find work." The awkwardness of this moment was his just desserts for thinking he could just accept Chase's declaration that he "knew all about it". Confession time was upon him.
Chase beamed. Now what had he said to put that joy on the man's face? "You're right. You don't have to. I won't lie. It would make me perfectly happy for you to just stay home. I like the idea of getting home to find you waiting there for me, you know?"
"I never said that!" Where the fuck had Chase gotten the idea he was unemployed? They'd covered all this ground a week ago. "I'm not a leech, to live off my friends and family." Though he had been quite content to do so in the past, he wasn't the same as that aimless, ambitionless boy, and he thought that Chase had realized that.
"I know. But it's obvious. There can't be a lot of work for a musician in this economy. You're here, driving your parents' old car, you don't have any money, and...." Chase trailed off as Simon's jaw dropped.
"I am regional vice president of the Bank of Southern California, newly appointed." Simon bit out. Grabbing his wallet from his back pocket, he yanked out his business card, a handful of high limit credit cards and a fistful of cash, tossing the whole mess on the table in front of them. "I am not a destitute musician looking to sponge off my friends and family, dammit."
Chase looked blankly at the black Amex, the wad of hundred dollar bills, the embossed business card. "What the fuck, Simon? What's been going on?"
He should have known accepting Chase's "I know" at face value was a stupid move. Simple-minded, even, but he'd been so eager to resume their acquaintance that he'd taken it and run. He'd wanted to avoid the truth too badly. "I didn't lose my job and come home to lick my wounds, Chase. I didn't realize you thought that."
"You didn't realize...what the fuck did you think, then?"
"Nothing. I thought you wanted to spend time with me, and I thought you knew I was leaving."
"You're leaving." Chase was echoing his words, and Simon wasn't sure what that meant, exactly, but it couldn't be a good thing any more than the lurid red flush creeping up Chase's neck was a good thing.
"I'm only here on vacation. I have to go home, go back to work." Back to intense traffic, cut-throat negotiating, and seventeen hour work days. Back to being respected, even feared, in the workplace. His employees certainly didn't accord him the casual friendly regard that he'd earned at Chase's eateries over the last week.
Chase slammed his hand down on the glass topped table, sending a paper soda cup toppling sideways to soak Simon's cash, his credit cards, and the half-eaten slices of pie with Dr. Pepper. "I thought you being here was you coming home!"
Simon righted the cup, then pulled napkins out of the metal dispenser and tried to blot up the mess. He felt like shit, like an utter ass. He had no choice now but to tell Chase the whole story. "Let me tell you how it happened. Please. I came home to visit. I wanted to see you again. But my motives weren't all that pure. I wanted to show you what a success I'd become."
He cringed as Chase scowled at him in fury. "So you showed up at the Ren-Faire in ratty old clothes with a lute to show me your success? That makes about as much fucking sense as anything else that's happened this week, I suppose."
Simon winced. "I'm not a genius, I admit that readily, Chase. This wasn't a brilliant plan. I decided to surprise you with my success by looking like I hadn't succeeded." It sounded even stupider when he said it out loud.
"Why? I don't understand this."
"Because you said I lacked ambition and would never make anything of myself. It was why you broke up with me." That part he managed to say with conviction, because it still had the power to hurt.
"Revenge? That's what this is about? You've been messing around with me, lying to me, fucking me, for revenge? So what? So you can break up with me this time? Laugh at me for being stupid?"
"No! It isn't like that!"
"Sure it's not." Chase rose fluidly and carefully pushed his chair under the table. His muscles were tense, his face an iron mask. "Fuck you, Simon."
Desperate, Simon threw out his only excuse. "You said that money didn't matter, that all you wanted was me."
"That was when I thought you didn't have any money. And you know what? It's still not the money that matters, Simon. It's the lies."
Chase disappeared behind the Employees Only door, and Simon mopped at his cash and the sticky credit cards with the soaked napkins. Had he really done all he could to get his feelings across there? Was there any point in pursuing Chase through that door when he had to get on a plane to Orange County tomorrow?
Did he really want to get on that plane?
REVIEWS How could I not be intrigued by a gay twist on a classic nursery rhyme? I picked this book up because I wanted to see if it was possible to make a good story out of a not so good rhyme. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the author managed to make it into a story I actually got into and wanted to read. – Reviewed by Andrea at Jessewave the journey was exquisite. It was a lovely balance of yearning and confidence, independence and compromise, love and hate. Through their experiences, we come to appreciate how love doesn’t always come easy, but if it’s right, the challenges are worth it in the end. – Reviewed by Doug at Top 2 Bottom Reviews