Hi folks! For those of you who don't know me, I'm DC Juris. I'm a transgender fella who writes GLBTQ romance - usually fantasy and contemporary.
Today I'm sitting down with one of my favorite characters, Canyon, from my m/m sweet romance, "Who Better Than Canyon."
Here's the story blurb:
When Canyon's ex-lover, Robert, dies, he leaves behind a last request that Canyon take word of his passing to Simon, an old friend on the east coast. Canyon reluctantly agrees, and soon finds himself falling for Simon, despite the nagging belief he shouldn't. Canyon is plagued by guilt over his part in the accident that claimed Robert's life. But Simon knows something Canyon doesn't: Robert's death wasn't an accident, but a suicide, and Robert's intent was for the two men he left behind to come together. But Robert's plan didn't account for two things: Simon's disbelief that anyone can truly love a soon-to-be-cripple, and Canyon's staunch decision that the next man he gives himself to will give him a wedding ring first. Can Canyon and Simon set aside their own issues long enough to see what lies between them, or will they both miss out on their happily ever after?
DC: Thanks for sitting down with me, Canyon.
Canyon: ::grins:: Aren't I sitting down with you every day? ::winks::
DC: Ahem. So, since writing your story, I've gotten a lot of feedback from readers who felt like you and/or Robert were cheating on someone, or were cheaters in the sense of relationships. Some readers were horrified that Robert was with you romantically while married to his wife, Natalie. Can you respond to that?
Canyon: First of all, let's get something straight: Robert was bisexual. Having a man and a woman in his life was something that came natural to him. But to say he was cheating on either of us? No. Natalie and I knew about each other the entire time. I mean, Robert was wearing a wedding ring the night I met him.
DC: Natalie didn't like you, though.
Canyon: ::chuckle:: Natalie didn't like competition. She had no issue with him having one night stands, but as soon as he got serious with a man, she had a fit. She had the option to leave him at any time, and she stayed, which tells me she wasn't as unhappy as she let on.
DC: You left him though.
Canyon: ::sigh:: Yeah.
DC: That worked out for you, in a way, though. Ultimately that path lead you to Simon.
Canyon: Robert led me to Simon.
DC: Talk to me about Simon.
Canyon: ::wide grin:: He's adorable. Just adorable. He's creative, caring. And I don't have to tell you he's passionate.
DC: ::raises an eyebrow:: You certainly don't. ::clears throat:: The readers haven't seen that side of him yet.
Canyon: About that second story you've been promising us...
DC: Yeah, yeah. We'll get there, pretty boy. So, what's the deal with being hung up on a wedding ring? You've got to admit, it's a rather strange thought process for a guy, especially since gay marriage wasn't even a legal option for you growing up. Where'd that obsession come from?
Canyon: ::shrug:: I guess I never thought of it that way. I'd been to dozens of weddings by the time I was sixteen, and at every one I'd just sit there and daydream about that being me. It was a fantasy I hoped to one day make a reality.
DC: And you did.
Canyon: ::sweet smile:: Indeed I did.
For my part in the hop today, I'm offering a free pdf copy of "Who Better Than Canyon" to two lucky winners. Just leave a comment below with your e-mail, and you'll be entered.
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And now for a little snippet of "Who Better Than Canyon"
Born and bred in the desert dust, Canyon had never seen the ocean in anything other than pictures. He didn’t much trust the rushing waves, didn’t much care for the roar of the water as it whooshed up onto the beach and out again. He did like the sand though, hot and squishy under his bare feet. Reminded him of home. The lack of people, however, did surprise him. “Where is everyone?”
“This is a privately owned beach.”
“You can own a beach?”
Simon nodded. “You can own anything if you have enough money.”
“What kind of work nets you enough money to buy a beach?” Although he wondered if Robert might’ve owned one, had they lived on the coast.
“Art,” Simon answered with a grin.
“You...own a beach?” Canyon chuckled. Simon owned a beach. The man was full of surprises.
Simon pulled his shirt off and headed down to the water’s edge. “You coming?”
Canyon shook his head. Strolling up and down the beach was one thing. Swimming in water where lots of little things lived was quite another.
Simon shrugged and waded out, diving into the surf with a battle cry that made Canyon laugh out loud. He walked along for a few more paces, absently kicking sand, before sitting down to watch Simon splash around. The man seemed quite at home in the water, and for the first time Canyon understood the phrase swims like a fish. He leaned back on his elbows, but quickly sat back up when he sank further into the sand than he wanted to. Canyon stood and brushed his shorts clean, paced up and down the beach as he waited for Simon. Although the lack of people didn’t bother him, being out here alone filled him with a sense of eerie foreboding.
At last Simon returned, shaking the water off like a shaggy dog. Sinfully plastered to his body, his trunks outlined nearly ever detail of his cock and balls. Canyon fought a losing battle against looking, finally turning away as the heat of a blush raced up his neck and face.
“You look positively unhappy,” Simon told him.
Canyon shrugged, thankful Simon hadn’t noticed his reaction, or at least hadn’t mentioned it. “I guess I don’t see the draw.”
“What, of the beach? Oh, well you’re doing it wrong then. Come with me.”
He followed Simon down the beach, over an embankment and through a crop of tall weeds to what looked like a little cave beneath a long boardwalk. Canyon didn’t much trust caves, either. Big things lived in caves. “A cave?”
“Well, not a real one. There aren’t really too many sea caves in this part of the east coast. You have to go north to Maine and Canada. This is an artificial cave. I had the rocks relocated to under the boardwalk to make my own caves. It’s ingenious, really.” Simon grabbed a piece of decaying wood and used it to remove a large spider web from the entrance. He gestured Canyon inside.
“You’re not suggesting we go in there, are you?”
Simon grinned. “Absolutely. C’mon. Trust me.”
Canyon’s heart sped up at that smile, and he shook his head. He had loved Robert, hadn’t ever really fallen out of love. He was here to mourn Robert. Why the hell did he keep noticing Simon?
“Come on now. Don’t be a wimp,” Simon teased. “If a slip of a thing like me can brave the big scary cavern, surely someone as tough as you can.”
“You don’t have to get all insulting, little one.”
“Little one, is it?” Simon gave Canyon a shove in the middle of his chest, but the grin stayed on his lips and the light of humor stayed in his eyes.
“Well, now you’re just playing with fire.” Canyon took a step forward, towering over Simon. “I ought to tan your hide for that.”
“You’ll have to catch me first.” Simon turned and darted into the cave.
Canyon cursed under his breath, following against his better judgment. He found Simon sitting on a large, smooth rock near the rear of the cave.
Simon pointed to the ground just in front of the rock. “Sit here, and lean back. Just trust me.”
Canyon eyed his surroundings warily. There didn’t appear to be anything alive in the cave—little or big—besides them. He brushed off the area Simon had indicated, scowling at his dirty hands, and sat. Simon took him by the shoulders and pulled him backward, so that his head rested in Simon’s lap.
“Now close your eyes and feel the sea.”
Canyon frowned but closed his eyes anyway, expecting nothing but more unease. Simon didn’t pull his hands away, and Canyon wasn’t sure how to interpret that at all. He tried to do as Simon had told him, and feel the sea. Although how a man could feel something he wasn’t in was beyond him. Outside the surf rose and fell, pounding against the rocks with a thunderous booming that reminded Canyon of the summer storms back home. If he concentrated hard enough, he could almost smell the rain. Not the rain, he realized, but the sea. His nostrils flared, taking in the crisp, clean air and the scent of clear, cool water.
Canyon smiled, Simon’s nimble fingers finding and massaging away the knots and bunches in his neck. This was what Canyon missed the most about having a relationship: the give and take of simple affection without demand or expectation. He missed the intimacy, the familiar scent of the man he loved, and the feel of his skin, cool and smooth beneath his own warm hands. Simon’s hands strayed a little now, skimming down Canyon’s arms and around to his chest.
Canyon shivered and sat up a little, leaned his head to the side, bearing his neck in invitation. He wasn’t disappointed. Simon’s lips brushed his ear, began to nibble the flesh of his neck. Oh, he liked that! Robert had never done that. He leapt to his feet and sprinted toward the front of the cave.
“Canyon?” Simon called out behind him, but Canyon ignored it. This wasn’t right no matter how good it felt. No matter how much he’d prayed Simon wouldn’t stop. He ran down the beach, back to Simon’s Jeep and yanked on the passenger side door handle. Simon appeared, slamming the door shut with his hand before Canyon could get it all the way open. Damn. For such a small man, Simon was fast and strong.
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
“I’m not ready to sleep with you.” The words blurted from his mouth before Canyon could stop them. He flushed and turned away with a roll of his eyes. For fuck’s sake.
Simon chuckled softly. “I don’t recall saying I wanted to sleep with you.”
Canyon bristled. He wasn’t much to look at, he knew, but why else would someone kiss him like that?
“At least not until we’ve both had a proper shower. And I didn’t bring any lube or condoms with me, after all, which proves I wasn’t planning on what happened, if that’s what you think.”
Well, that was better. Canyon faced him with a grin. “I’m an idiot.”
“No, you’re just a little shy. That’s all.”
Canyon shook his head. He’d never been shy with Robert. When he and Robert had met, it had been Canyon who had taken the lead, come on strong and been relentless in his pursuit. He’d seen the ring on Robert’s hand, and something inside him had taken it as a challenge. Married man in a gay bar signaled fresh meat. At least that’s how it had started. But this with Simon. This was different. Simon wasn’t a challenge or a chase, because Simon wasn’t married, and he clearly wasn’t in denial about his sexuality, and he wasn’t unwilling. And that scared Canyon more than anything else.
Simon reached up and brushed a lock of Canyon’s hair back from his face. “You remind me of a dog my father once rescued. Damn skittish thing, but you could see it wanted to belong.”
“What happened to it?” Canyon half turned back to the Jeep, slid his fingers into the door handle again.
“It ran away a couple dozen times, but it always came back. One day, dad came home and found it curled up in his bed, sound asleep. Never left my father’s side after that. I think the key was knowing when to let go.” Simon stepped away and went around to the driver’s side of the Jeep.
“Are we leaving?” He glanced back down the beach. Maybe he had hoped Simon would drag him back down to the cave and try again.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m famished. C’mon.” Simon patted the passenger seat and gestured for him to get inside. “Let’s go, I know the perfect place.”
Canyon climbed into the Jeep. Hungry? Definitely. But, once again, for something that had little to do with food.