Title: Honey and Heat
Author: Rian Durant
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 4, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, romance, contemporary, gay, first love, seasonal
Linden has only one thing on his mind a few days away from Christmas—his pending university exams. That is, until he meets his neighbors’ son who has returned for the holidays. Brice Stevens is gorgeous, but he’s insufferable.
It’s Linden’s first love, and he falls hard for Brice, despite Brice’s occasionally aloof and cool behavior. It’s an emotional ride for both of them while Linden takes a crash course in real love and Brice learns to trust in a relationship.
Besides writing, what are you passionate about?
On occasion, you’ve probably seen some crazy person squatting by a garden on the street and taking photos of flowers (and not only). Well, this person could easily be me. I’ve always admired the beauty woven in every little flower, even those we tend to overlook at first glance. Taking photos is the only way to satisfy the desire to take part of that beauty with me and yet leave it for the others to enjoy.
I’ve heard or read somewhere that taking pictures teaches you how to observe everything around you when you are without the camera. It’s true. Looking around for stuff that would make an impressive photo, opens the scope and suddenly the street you’ve been walking down every day for the past years is hundred times more interesting.
If you check my Instagram profile (@rian_durant), you’d understand how passionate I am about this, and probably figure out my obsession with hibiscuses.
Okay, let’s be clear from the start, I’m light years away from obsessing over every bite I take. However, I’m positive that there’s food that makes you feel good (by that I don’t mean junk comfort food) and gives you the nutrition you need, and then there’s such which is … meh.
You wouldn’t say I care too much about healthy food if you read Honey and Heat as the guys there definitely have sweet tooth. One of my main characters, Brice, says he prefers doughnuts to any breakfast any day, and we can also see him starting the day with chocolate strawberries. Good thing he works out, otherwise that perfect body would have been the most implausible thing in the whole book.
Do you want to know the recipe for my favorite breakfast?
I call it yoghurt and stuff.
So you take a cup of yoghurt (as natural as you can find) and mix in a tablespoon of chia seeds, some hemp and/or flax seeds, oat or rye flakes, a teaspoon of raw cocoa and/or cinnamon. Then you can cut up and throw in half an apple or banana, some berries or melon or plums or any fresh fruit you have around. It’s super easy and quick (something I always admire in a food), delicious and nutritious.
Try it and you can tell me what you think.
Eleven years ago I watched my first anime.
I had desire to write way before that and it was focused on MM even then. Falling down the rabbit whole of shounen-ai/yaoi anime and manga, however, had me resurfacing with the strict notion that this is what I was going to write.
The first anime I watched was Loveless, which many traditional romance readers might find questionable when it comes to the relationship and the age of the characters; then there was Gravitation which had everything in it, and Ai no Kusabi, which broke my heart with its tragic beauty. At the same time, I devoured a lot of manga (and believe me, there is a lot) with Haru Wo Daite Ita remaining my favorite to this day.
Yaoi anime and manga was my guilty pleasure long before YOI caused such a furor. In my case, it just reignited things and now I must wonder how to find the time to squeeze a volume or two in my busy schedule.
Everything I set my mind on.
It’s me. It can be learning a new language or skill, reading a series of books, or doing research. If I’m passionate enough about something, things work out for the best.
Honey and Heat
Rian Durant © 2017
All Rights Reserved
“Hey, Lin, are you coming with us to grab some pizza and look at the notes for tomorrow?”
Linden raised his gaze from the phone after checking the three new messages received in the past few hours and spoke with an absent-minded smile.
“Sorry, what did you say?”
The green-eyed boy walking next to him nudged him in the ribs and started chanting, “Linden has a boyfriend, Linden has a boyfriend!”
“Jeez, Rob, grow up. I don’t have anything like this. It’s for the stuff I made yesterday.”
He pushed his phone under Rob’s nose before shoving it in the pocket of his switcher. He put on his new knit cap he loved to pieces not only because it was an early Christmas present from Auntie Jane, but also because it was unique. He liked the way the colors contrasted with his black hair and doubted if he’d take it off earlier than March.
The snow that had fallen during the night was in patches, mostly white where people and cars hadn’t trampled it yet and mostly nonexistent on the street although it was still cold. The chill wind was another reason he loved his cap, as it made him so warm.
“Sweet heavens, you’re merciless! Have you any idea how sweet you look with that thing on you? You’re just asking for it, you know.”
Linden turned to Jerry who had joined them out of nowhere and narrowed his eyes.
“Don’t say that. It isn’t remotely funny, Jer. Nobody asks for it.”
“Please don’t start him on the topic,” said Rob as he rolled his eyes. “I’m too exhausted and terribly hungry to listen about non-con, global warming, or discrimination. Which reminds me, Lin… you didn’t answer my question.”
“I told you it’s not a boyfriend.”
Rob laughed aloud and reached out to pinch Linden’s cheek, but he pulled back all too quickly.
“I know you don’t have one, gorgeous, despite my desperate attempts to become such, but this was not what I asked you in the first place.”
Linden knitted his eyebrows. It was true he wasn’t the most focused person in existence. With his mind full of fresh ideas for quilling cards and plans for the social activities plus the sword of the upcoming exam swaying over their heads, there was little place left for anything. After giving it a brief thought, though, Rob’s growling stomach helped him recall the question.
“Oh, the pizza, yes! No, actually, I’m not coming today—I promised Auntie Jane I’d buy some stuff from the supermarket and get back on time so she can cook for the ladies coming to play bridge tonight.”
Jerry nodded and there was a hint of reproach in his hungry hazel eyes. Hungry for food, sex, and adrenaline rushes of all kinds. He was two years older than them but still in his first year because… well, life. Because he had many things to do before adjusting to the tracks, he said. Linden doubted he ever would.
“You really think you can fix the world, little one? When do you get to live if you help the grannies now?”
“Jer, please, you’re turning him on.”
“I’ll be damned if this is not the thing I long to do, Robbie.” He rubbed his hands and licked his lips, both as unambiguously as possible.
“No, I wasn’t referring to that on-turning. Look at him! He’s going to start quoting the constitution in a minute.”
“Ha ha ha! You’re so funny!”
Linden looked at them and pouted. They weren’t doing it with bad intention and despite the occasional joke, they’d agreed what he did was important. They were just not so keen on wasting the time they had to relax or go on a date for charity or anything like that. He had to face it—people his age had very different stuff to worry about most of the time. Robbie had come with him once or twice to the social kitchen, but Linden still had his doubts the boy’s motives were clear all the way. He looked at his watch. “Have to go now. See you tomorrow.”
“Oh, come on, sweet thing, come with us! They have a wonderful vegan pizza in there. I’m sure you’ll lick the last of it off your fingers.”
Jerry’s hazel stare tried to pull him in, but Linden was not the boy to fall easily for a pair of shining eyes or a body right out of a magazine cover. It was obvious rock climbing and swimming were doing miracles. However, there was something else he was sure about, so he crossed his arms on his chest and looked at him with an air of seriousness.
“First of all, Jer, I’m vegetarian, not vegan. Second, if you think your pizza can match the scones of Auntie Jane, you’re mistaken. And third, you two can go ahead and have all the pizza you like, then spread some cheese on each other and lick it off to cool down a bit so you don’t act like billy goats in heat when I come to school tomorrow.”
Both laughed so loud that the few people, who were deeply interested in the performance of a singing Santa Claus in front of a music shop, turned to look at them.
“’K then,” said Jerry, “we’re letting you go but can’t promise anything about tomorrow.”
“Mmhmm,” said Linden, distracted by another message. “Have fun guys!”
He stopped the jitney coming their way and hopped on it, greeting the driver. He sat by the window since the journey would take him about twenty minutes, granted that the gods of traffic were benevolent today. He wondered whether to reply to some of the messages in his 10fingers account or listen to music but decided on the latter. It was easier to write on his computer and most of the pictures he had were there. He scrolled up and down the playlists and finally chose one of the songs, abandoning himself to the melody and the words he didn’t know the meaning of. The familiar buildings and parks on the route back to the quarter he lived in chased each other outside. It was far from the university, but not as far as the first hellhole he could afford when he’d first come to Varna. That one was a run-down place an hour away from the university, and his neighbors—(apart from looking suspicious)—were so noisy that he was forced to spend half of his nights in the city library. It was open at night, so after sleeping through the afternoon hours, he would grab a sandwich and stay until four or five, then get back for some sleep.
It was exciting at times until it became tiring, and then Rob had stepped in after seeing the dark circles under his eyes. He didn’t leave him alone until he confessed his midnight escapades. Rob gave him a good talking to and ordered him to move into his place immediately. He was hesitant at first but then accepted the deal, and that’s when he could finally sleep properly, study in the comfort of his couch, and find a job to save some money. He had a good time with Rob, who was easy to live with. He was also reasonable enough, and when he showed signs of being up for something more than friendship, Linden managed to knock some sense into him. Only the occasional flirty remark remained between them. A few months later, Robbie fell for one of the basketball players from another university and all his reasonability evaporated. Linden couldn’t persuade him the guy was not the best match he could hope for. When the presence of the other became constant, much like his jealousy, it was time to find a place of his own.
The train of thought accompanied him all the way until the jitney arrived in his quarter. He took off his headphones and shoved the phone back in his pocket before getting off at the stop. It was the end of December and it was still chilly despite the sun being up, and he, and he was happy he was not going to freeze or fall on his ass. He never failed to do it every winter. One icy day sufficed for him to be involved in a hilarious pirouette and a hard fall. He just hoped it wasn’t going to be in some public place like last year at the Weihnachtsmarkt. Everybody thought he was dead drunk on mulled wine. He chuckled at the memory, and then turned the corner to get to the shops. He began reciting in his mind what he had to buy. Naturally, he’d forgotten some of the stuff, so he gave up and took out the piece of paper he’d written everything on and entered the big supermarket.
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Rian is one of those who are both blessed and cursed by the insatiable desire to write. Short stories, sometimes longer stories and yeah, primarily M/M (you can insert more Ms if you like) romance stories.
Always having a plot in mind sometimes proves being hard when having a day time job but Rian manages them both for the time being, assisted by the
priceless support of her soul mate, large amounts of coffee and pure obstinacy.
What makes Rian smile is a sunny day, a beautiful flower, a piece of chocolate, a nice song, a good book and anything that could be the reason for that spark in the eyes, accompanied by the exclamation: “Oh my, I just saw something!”
9/6 Love Bytes
9/6 Hoards Jumble
9/7 Drops of Ink
9/8 Erotica For Al