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Into You

by Alexandra Y. Caluen

A slow-burn, age-gap M/M romance novel about reaching for a dream … and finding the person who’ll give you a boost.

When a porn director dropped her card in Manny’s guitar case, he was mildly flattered. But he was busy with all his other jobs, and a card wasn’t money, so he forgot about it. When her partner showed up to say they were interested in putting Manny in front of the camera, he started thinking about it again.

Irv thought the spinning trainer was interested. But after a couple weeks without contact, busy with other projects, he forgot about it. Then, weeks later, Manny called to ask if they could talk. He wanted to be a legit actor. Irv said he could learn some skills, if he paid attention and took it all seriously.

It turned out that Manny was very good at paying attention. He took everything seriously, and he learned fast. Pitching him to a casting agent was basically the same as waving goodbye; if the guy got enough legit work, he’d walk away from porn, and from Irv.

A year later, Manny was heading to Mexico to shoot a new historical series. Before he left, he was determined to see if the vibe between him and Irv added up to anything. If it did, Manny wasn’t about to walk away.

Published:
Publisher: Independently Published
Genres:
Tags:
Pairings: M-M
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Age Difference, Friends to Lovers, Interracial Relationship, Slow Burning Love
Word Count: 80300
Setting: Los Angeles
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Excerpt:

Irv woke to the scent of coffee, the sound of Latin music, and an epic case of morning wood. “Stop that,” he said out loud. “He has to drive to fucking Mexico today.” He deeply regretted not putting Manny face-down on the bed. He’d been incapable of taking that much initiative. That was the best blow job of his life, though, after the best kiss of his life, and beggars could not be fucking choosers. He could jerk off later, imagining all the filthy things he wanted to do with Manny. Oh lord, the guy was cooking bacon too. I think I’m in love, he thought, then literally smacked himself in the face. That was impossible. It was a figure of speech, that was all. Well, at least the erection was gone. He found a clean shirt and boxers, pulled his jeans on, and went downstairs. Into the bathroom first, then to the kitchen.

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Manny was leaning against the counter, half his attention on the bacon and the other half on something on his phone. He looked up and smiled. “Hey Irving.” Took a step or two, leaned in for a kiss. “Thanks for last night.”

“Uh, you’re welcome?” Irv had no idea why that came out sounding like a question. Maybe because if anybody should be saying thank you, it was him. “Smells good in here.”

“I figured you wouldn’t have bacon if you didn’t eat it.”

“You figured correctly. Expecting a black man not to eat bacon just because he’s Jewish would be ridiculous.” He got himself a cup of coffee, noticing the six eggs out on the counter. This should have been so awkward. One or the other of them should have been trying to flee the scene. Instead, apparently, they were going to have breakfast together. “So, what route are you taking?” He didn’t ask why Manny was driving instead of flying. The kid gave up his apartment; he’d’ve had to store his truck somewhere. More trouble than it was worth, probably.

“Taking I-10 over to Indio, then drop down past the Salton Sea to Mexicali.”

“How long will that take?”

“I’m not trying to get there today. Not due till late tomorrow.” Manny couldn’t remember if he’d told Irv that before. They’d talked about the scripts, the cast list he received, the basics about the semi-remote locations between Mexicali and the Gulf of California. He’d done quite a few acting jobs now – legit acting – but they’d all been in or near the city. This was so new, so much, so huge. “I used to go to Mexico to ride.”

“Rosarito Ensenada?”

“Mm-hmm. It’s fun.”

Irv snorted. The idea of a fifty-mile bike ride being fun was alien to him. He only did spinning classes because he hated running even more. Manny turned the bacon, inspected it, and started lifting the strips onto a plate lined with paper towels. He left the fat in the skillet. If he cooks the eggs in that I’m going to propose, I just know it, oh fuck me there he goes.

Manny knew he should have asked before he started cooking. But Irv had the stuff, and he was hungry. Plus, it might be a good idea to act like he thought this was normal and natural. Like this was something he wanted to do again. There was something he wanted to ask, but he would wait until after they ate.

Irv got there before him. “What are you planning to do on the holiday break? Going to stay with your folks?”

“Oh no. I don’t stay at their house anymore.”

Irv grunted comprehension. One of those situations. People could try to explain it all they wanted – try to excuse it, more like – but it all boiled down to ‘ick.’ For parents to feel that way about their own child was a thing he couldn’t understand. Of course, he didn’t have any kids. Didn’t know what it would be like to invest hopes and dreams in some little person, build some kind of reality, and then find out that person had his own hopes and dreams. His own reality. “My parents were almost relieved that I’m gay. Dad was like, finding a girl might have been tricky.”

“He did not say that!” Manny was horrified.

It made Irv laugh. He watched Manny scoop the eggs out of all that beautiful bacon fat, piling three on the slice of challah that was on each plate. “Not in so many words. But let’s face it. I’m black, Puerto Rican, Jewish, and queer. When the Nazis come for me they’re not going to know what the fuck kind of label to put on my sleeve. And on top of that I had to be ginger, short, and tubby.”

Manny made a disapproving sound. He carried the plates past Irv and put them down on the room-spanning work surface. It was way too much to be called a desk. “You’re not tubby.”

Irv followed with their coffee. “I was twenty years ago.”

“Whatever. Cómelo.”

Irv couldn’t remember being so hungry in the morning, especially after a dinner like they’d had. He felt lively. Literally full of life. He shouldn’t feel this great when the person who made him feel great was about to take off for five months. Before he could think twice he said, “You could stay here over the break.”

Manny set down his fork. Swallowed. Gazed at Irv, mouth open, waiting for words. “Really?”

Irv couldn’t tell if that was relief, surprise, or horror. “If you want to.”

“I wanted to ask. I’d love to.”

“You’re going to be careful out on location, right?” Another thing he should have thought twice about saying.

They were close enough to touch. Manny reached over and laid his hand on Irv’s arm. “I’ll be careful.”

“It’s just that it’s out in the middle of nowhere and there’s horses and swords and all that bullshit. Scorpions. Rattlesnakes. Whatever.”

He cares about me, Manny thought with delight. Didn’t call it out. Squeezed Irv’s arm, retrieved his hand, and finished his breakfast. “Is it okay if I email you sometime?”

“Yeah, sure.” Irv was delighted. If he got an email he’d have an excuse to write. It would be rude not to write. “You could send a picture if you wanted to.” Oh my God, he thought, mentally rolling his eyes. I’m a fucking teenage girl all of a sudden.

Manny planned to do exactly that. A picture of him in costume. A picture with a horse. A picture in his tent, or wherever they put him, naked. He’d caption that one ‘thinking of you.’ Maybe he’d send a video. “I might.”

Irv had no idea how those two words could sound so suggestive. He might send a picture. He might send a naked picture. He might send a picture knowing that Irv would be looking at it before he jerked off, or maybe while he jerked off. He might send a video of himself jerking off, not that Irv didn’t have a bunch of those already, but those were different. Those weren’t for them. Oh fuck. Are we ‘them’? Are we ‘us’? Impossible. No way. Maybe he’d come back at the holiday break, maybe he wouldn’t. Maybe he’d send an email or a picture, maybe he wouldn’t. This was a case of ‘take what you get and be grateful,’ not ‘imagine all the best-case scenarios that only happen to other people.’ He kept right on telling himself that through washing the dishes, waiting for Manny to brush his teeth, and walking him out to the truck.

Then Manny put a hand on his face and leaned in for a kiss. “I’m going to miss you, Irving.”

“I’ll miss you too, Manuel.” He went for a hug. Started it himself this time, knowing he was going to hold on too long.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

A long time ago and three thousand miles away, I wrote my first novel - a historical romance - during graduate school. Twenty years later I finally dusted it off and published it. Since then I have written and published many more novels and novellas; all romance, most contemporary. My characters (of various genders and ethnicities) range in age from eighteen to sixty-five, with the average falling in the mid-thirties. I'm inspired by authors like KJ Charles, Laurie R. King, Dick Francis, and Jennifer Crusie. I've lived and worked in Los Angeles since 1995.