Sunday, August 19, 2012

An Excerpt from Cartography for Beginners by Jenna Jones

From Cartography for Beginners by Jenna Jones, an excerpt

"Here's your room."

"Oh, my God," Leo breathed as he walked in. The room was pale cream with rose and cream brocade curtains, and matching brocade curtains around the rose-colored bed. There was a dormer window with a window seat that looked out over the garden, the olive trees and the vineyard on the slope below, and then beyond that, cherry trees and lavender bushes and more olive groves, and further still was a green valley and the white clustered buildings of the village.

"I thought you might like the view," Stuart said softly behind him. "I know the colors are a bit feminine."

Leo turned to him. "I love it. It's beautiful. It's like a fairy tale."

"La Belle et la Bete," Stuart said.

"Which one's that?"

"Beauty and the Beast. Though his castle was enchanted, of course. Invisible servants, while my workers," he pointed out the window, and Leo could see figures moving among the vines in the setting sun, preparing for the close of day, "are quite mortal."

"You're definitely not the Beast," Leo said. Stuart toyed with the strap of rose-colored silk that tied the curtains back from the window. "Though if you are under a curse, that would explain a lot." Stuart chuckled wryly. Leo said, "You look amazing. Do you work in the vineyards too?"

"I do. I like the exercise. It relaxes me."

"You look incredible with a tan. You look like you've been getting a good workout, with the-- whatever you do in a vineyard. I guess it's not exactly lifting bales of hay."

"Not exactly," Stuart murmured. "Weeding, tying vines back, pruning. Picking the grapes, now."

Leo pushed a lock of sun-gold hair back from Stuart's face, and Stuart closed his eyes again. "It's so good to see you. I've missed you so much."

"Leo," Stuart began.

"I know. You put me in a separate bedroom. I get the hint. But I have missed you. I just want that out there."

Stuart nodded, and turned closer to Leo so he could press their faces together for a moment. He opened his mouth to speak when Ben bellowed up the stairs, "Guys! Come eat!"

They parted and looked at each other painfully. "Suppertime," Stuart said.

"I've never had ratatouille."

"You'll like it," Stuart said and called up the stairs, "Boys! Supper's ready!" and they all came thumping back down the stairs again.
Cartography for Beginners is now available from Torquere Press!

At the age of fifty-one, Leo Bellamy from Chiaroscuro and Something Beautiful has to do what he never expected: start over. Leo has been mourning the end of his long-time relationship for over a year. It takes the death of a close friend to convince Leo that he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life being bitter. It's time to move on and find a love that will last. Leo accepts his friend Stuart Huntsman's invitation to visit him in London, where Leo's friends hope he will find a holiday romance that will kick start that "moving on" business.

Meantime, Stuart has been tentatively rebuilding his relationship with his estranged children. For twenty years Stuart thought his children were better off with him, and it's a shock to learn they don't feel the same way. Stuart doesn't think he's good for anyone -- and certainly not for Leo, even if he and Leo call each other daily and Stuart is always a welcome guest in Leo's home.

There's no road map to true love and it's easy to get lost along the way. But with patience and understanding, Stuart and Leo may find their way to each other.

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