“Down the Middle” by Heidi Cullinan

May 8, 2010

Good morning from Iowa! I’m Heidi Cullinan, another author in the Necking anthology. If you want the long, drawn-out bio, I’ll direct you here, but the short version is that I love writing, I love writing romance, and I love, love, love writing about men.

Necking is my first anthology with Dreamspinner Press, but I have several other works available and upcoming from them as well. My first novel, Hero, is a contemporary paranormal/fantasy (featuring a shapeshifter, but with a twist). My second and third novels are contemporary set: Special Delivery is what my husband tells me is a “road book” while Double Blind is set entirely in Las Vegas. Those two novels have overlapping characters and also feature elements of menage, which I thought was worth mentioning since you’re here for the release party of a book about threesomes. In June I have a fourth novel coming out, Miles and the Magic Flute, which is contemporary but back to paranormal again, and I also have a novella, The Wounds in the Walls, coming out June 1 as part of the Midsummer Maddess Daily Dose. You can read excerpts from all those works at my website or at Dreamspinner Press.

Please feel free to stop by my blog, follow me on Twitter, or if you’re looking for a great m/m romance discussion community, wave to me at the Goodreads M/M Romance group. (And while you’re over there, friend me as well!)

Here’s the blurb for my story:

Parker and Robbie’s relationship is slowly heading toward disaster until Parker gets drunk at a party, spills his mimosa on a handsome young man, and ends up fondling him in a public restroom. When Robbie walks in on them, it should have been the end they’d both been dreading —but somehow it’s the beginning of an erotic adventure that might just be what Parker and Robbie need.

I can’t tell you where I got the idea for this story, because mostly it just appeared in my head. I get a lot of story ideas as I wake up, though sometimes they can’t wait for a full night of sleep and hijack me at 3AM, which I can’t say I’m fond of. I’d been wanting to write something for this call for submissions, but nothing was coming to mind, so I finally gave up—only to wake up with this in my head a few days later.

As one half of a thirteen year partnership, what speaks to me most in this story is the idea that relationships might be refuges, but they’re also a lot of work. In my experience, successfully getting through a conflict can be a better glue than three dozen roses and a bottle of champagne. (Though there’s nothing wrong with those either!) In keeping with the theme of the anthology, while I must confess my real life is too vanilla to pat down a David at a museum opening (so far!), I also believe that sometimes the people who come between us, romantically or otherwise, can teach us the most about our partnerships and about ourselves.

And so, with no further ado, here’s the teaser to “Down the Middle.” I hope you enjoy the rest of the release party, and happy reading!

***

Clearing my throat, I stood upright, but I didn’t stop dabbing at the man’s chest. “What’s your name?” I asked, as if he were an intern in my department and I was seriously considering having a word with his supervisor about his poor performance.

“David.” The muscles flexed again, but he didn’t pull away. “David Blake.”

I nodded, gave him one last unnecessary wipe, then withdrew my hand. “Give me your shirt, David.” I held out my hand and gave him an expectant look, and after only the barest of hesitations, he complied, unbuttoning the white shirt the rest of the way and peeling out of it be-fore placing it in my hand. He stood now, shirtless, both nipples pert and hard, whether from arousal or cold I couldn’t know.

I pretended it was the former, because I liked that better.

He was young. I was thirty-four, but he was early twenties at best. He had the supple skin and glow of someone who hadn’t even considered panicking about a wrinkle or had his throat close at the sight of how thin his hair was starting to get, or how far back it had crept from his forehead. He had blond, carefully mussed hair, and he had a cupid’s bow mouth that made me want to suck on his lips. And I didn’t think it was the mimosas telling me that this sweet, subdued creature wanted me to.

That was what made me turn away and start rinsing his shirt, pressing my hard-on against the cool porcelain as I took care of the stain. “My name is Parker,” I told him. “I’ll give you my card, and you can send me the bill for a new shirt.”

“Well, what am I going to wear right now?” It was a terse retort, and it made me glance over at him in surprise. Whatever spell that had been between us had broken when I looked away, and he was angry. And he was embarrassed at his reaction to me. Or, I realized in after-thought, upset that I’d turned away and ended our exchange, offering him a new shirt in consolation.

Wringing out the shirt, I stood upright, considering him. God, but David had a gorgeous body, and yes, I wanted it. I wanted his compliance as well; Robbie had been this hesitant once, but I was more likely to get an earful now than I was a blush and a gasp of desire. My champagne-soaked brain was happy to provide erotic images of David Blake yielding even further to me, of that silver nipple ring quivering, his stomach so taut he could bounce a quarter on it as I pushed his legs back and open. I imagined looking into those wide blue eyes, dark with passion as I pushed myself inside him.

Those eyes had softened now, probably because my desire was very plain on my face. David’s posture slackened a little, and he withdrew without actually stepping back.

“I mean—” His tongue stole out, wetting his lips. What was best was that I don’t think he realized what an invitation it was. “I can’t go out like this,” he said, meekly. Almost pleading.

My cock, already rock hard, swelled even further. “I’ll just have to take care of you, then,” I said. Draping David’s wet shirt over the side of the sink, I reached up, unbuttoned my jacket, then slowly, very slowly, shrugged out of it.

I liked the way he held so still as I draped the gabardine around him. I picked up his hand and nudged it into the sleeve, sliding it up slowly over his naked skin, letting my hand skim over his naked back as I drew the suit coat over his shoulders. When I picked up his other hand and guided it into the other sleeve, his fingers were shaking, but he let me lead him, even seemed to like it as I deliberately made sure my thumb ran all the way up his arm as I slid the garment into place.

When I turned him to me, he was the one who was listing as if drunk, wanting, I knew, to reach out and brace his hands against my shoulders. But he didn’t let himself, just stood there, trembling, waiting for my lead. Forget the mimosas—I was drunk on David now, and if it had been a restroom where I could have locked the door, I might have. I might have locked the door, pressed him to the wall, and sucked him right there at Helen’s museum opening. Then I would have gotten his number, broken up with Robbie, and used David as my youthful rebound. Or perhaps I just would have used him and been done with it. Maybe I wouldn’t even have told Robbie.

In hindsight, I’m very glad it didn’t work out that way.

8 Responses to ““Down the Middle” by Heidi Cullinan”

  1. loritoland says:

    Ahh…just finished Double Blind last night. I loved both stories!

  2. Intriguing excerpt, Heidi!

    I’ve just read Special Delivery, and absolutely loved it from start to finish. You sure do know how to write an erotic romance!

  3. Jana_Denardo says:

    I liked this so far. Can’t wait to read the rest

  4. lenorejblack says:

    I think that’s so true what you say about longstanding relationships. Can’t wait to see how it works out for the guys!

  5. Thanks, everybody. I’m eager to read all your stories as well. Selfishly I’m waiting for the official release so I can curl up with the epub copy in iBooks. (Yes, I’m a geek and I love turning the fake pages.)

  6. Laura says:

    I absolutely ADORE Special Delivery, and thoroughly enjoyed Double Blind, so I know you write some really excellent erotic scenes with three or more. I can’t wait to see what you’ve done in Down the Middle.

  7. Thanks Laura. It was a little different for me to write in first person, but that was the way it wanted to go. I hope you enjoy this story too.

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