Hard as Teak is Kevin Marks' coming out story. As I was creating Kevin, I kept envisioning this man who was really twisting and turning inside. He'd followed his professional dreams to the point of alienating his father, yet, he'd ignored his true self. Some of his successes as a nature photographer have made the failures of his personal life less painful, but he's reached that point, and all of us do, where what used to fire him up, and get him out of bed eager to face the day has lost its appeal. Something has to give. He can't deny that once he lays eyes and hands on Teak Hildalgo.
Teak is a sexy beast. Confident, soft-spoken, beautiful. Teak recognizes what Kevin doesn't. He picks up on Kevin's inner turmoil and desires right away because he's been through it. Teak gives Kevin a taste of what he knows he desires, and then backs off, letting Kevin make the choice. They play a sensual game until Kevin comes to grips with what he's feeling. When they come together, it's erotic and powerful. Teak is totally at ease with himself, has a wry sense of humor, and brings calmness to Kevin when his world is blasting apart.
You didn't think there wouldn't be trouble, did you? That would be boring and predictable. And my books never are.
With Sincere Thanks
It's always exciting and terrifying to try something new. Hard as Teak is one of those books for me. It is my first m/m romance, and I didn't write it or get it to market without help from the following people.
Jill Noble, thanks for contracting another unconventional romance by Margie Church. I'm proud to be a Noble author.
A.B. Gayle, thanks for your detailed observations and insights. I have so enjoyed getting to know you and the collaborative efforts we have since forged.
Paul Hoffman, thanks for being a beta reader and for your encouragement. You are a wonderful friend and I wish you well always.
Kate Richards, you're always first to say yes when I need a page or two read (or more) and always so succinct and clear with edits. You were one of my first Internet friends and I know we'll always be pals.
Margie Hall, you are one of my best friends and biggest supporters. MOTS, your generosity humbles me.
Bryl Tyne. My friend, my editor. You nabbed this book the second you got your hands on it. You helped me navigate some of the final tricky spots. I've enjoyed having you work on all my Noble books, and I've learned so much from you. I will always treasure some of our late-night chats. Yeah, I love you.
Now let's enjoy the blurb and a sexy excerpt. Be the first to win a copy of this book, too. Answer the question at the end.
Hard as Teak by Margie Church
Kevin Marks escapes to the north woods to reignite his passion for photography and women. But the only flame he seems able to spark is for his latest photography subject, Teak Hildalgo. Kevin's never been in a man's arms before.
Teak, the raven-haired, photographer's dream come true, is hell bent on capturing Kevin's heart. He takes Kevin, body and soul, on a romantic, sexual journey previously lived only in Kevin's fantasies. And no dream was ever this good, no truth this undeniable.
How will Kevin react? When the camera's put away, will Teak live up to his name?
Teak rocked back in his chair, studying his new friend. Kevin had that all-American-boy look. Blond hair and blue-grey eyes the color of the sky just before sunset. His coloration fit right in with almost every Scandinavian person living in the area. Except for that all-over tan. Great shape, tall, clean-shaven—everywhere from what Teak had seen—and a dick that could definitely get someone's attention. He's certainly got mine.
His body had reacted strongly when he'd come upon Kevin lying naked on the dock. The cold-water bath took the edge off the throbbing in his cock this afternoon, but what about now? When Kevin smiled, his whole face lit up. Great lips. Thinking of Kevin going down on him made his balls tense. Wonder what he'd do if I made a move?
Teak got back to the subject of having his photo taken. "You know what? It's cool. No offense taken. I'm flattered, I guess. The chicks are always on me, but it's nice to . . . ."
"To know they're not entirely full of shit just because they wanna get laid." Teak slid his chair back and picked up his plate. He set it on the sink. "Thanks for dinner."
"You're not leaving are you? You probably shouldn't drive."
Teak leaned against the counter. Kevin's interest in him was apparent, but he wasn't sure Kevin was tuned into his own feelings. Kevin's behavior reminded him of a first date. Does he realize it? I'll take it slow. If it's a mistake, I'll say it's the beer talking. "If you don't mind, I'll stay. I'd hate to spend the night in jail. Even the DNR guys are a pain in the ass this time of year."
* * * * *
While Teak used the bathroom, Kevin grabbed his camera and went outside. The half-moon provided perfect illumination on the frost clinging to the wildflowers. Careful not to breathe on the tender crystals, he knelt next to his subject and adjusted the camera to capture the perfect moonlit conditions.
Kevin glanced over his shoulder when the front door opened and shut with a heavy thud. Teak rubbed his hands together and then shoved them under his arms. "What are you doing? It's freezing out here."
Kevin clicked the shutter one last time and rose. The effects of his last beer made him stumble back a step; Teak grabbed his arm. Kevin broke into an alcohol-induced fit of laughter. "Just what I need—to drop this camera—and break it—or my shutter finger." Kevin wiggled his index finger a few times while laughing at his own joke.
"I suppose that thing is pretty expensive."
"Very. Let's go inside before I die of thirst, too."
"We've probably both had enough beer for one night, but I won't argue about going inside. There'll definitely be a hard frost tonight."
Opening the cabin door let out a blast of warm air. The sharp temperature contrast hit Kevin in the face, making him woozy. "Shit, it's hot in here." He peeled off his jacket and shirt and tossed them one at a time onto a nearby chair. "Do you want a bottle of water or some coffee or something?"
"I'll take the water. Wouldn't hurt to sober up a bit," Teak said. "I hate hangovers."
"You and me both." He retrieved two bottles of water from the fridge and handed one to Teak. "And if the night's still young, we can get drunk again later." Kevin laughed with his half-smashed friend and took a swig of water. "I'm going to make up the guest bed." He couldn't resist making another wisecrack. "The maid service sucks around this joint."
"You probably look stupid as hell in an apron anyway. Go make the bed."
"You're not helping? Shit, the assistant to the maid service sucks too." Chuckling, he walked to the closet to dig out some bed linens.
Kevin turned on the light. He'd used this bedroom countless times growing up and even got laid in here a couple of nights. The fitted sheet snapped as he shook it open. He made his way to the headboard to tuck in the corners.
He couldn't believe what a turn-on Teak was. The realization startled him. He'd never been sexually attracted to any man he'd met. At least not this strongly. He didn't mind watching a couple guys getting frisky with each other while they were messing with a woman in videos. But, I never really wanted to touch another guy's junk. He'd tasted his own cum many times. But from a cum-soaked pussy. He'd fantasized about sucking dick—countless times. But never thought I'd want it if I could actually get it. He unfolded the flat sheet.
With the sheets tucked in, he reached for the comforter and spread it on the bed. Lost in his lusty thoughts, he didn't hear Teak arrive and Kevin stumbled against him. Teak's arms wove around his ribs, preventing him from falling. Like the proverbial deer in the headlights, Kevin froze and didn't say a word. Pleasure whip corded his dick. His heart hammered. Resting his head rested against Teak's bare shoulder, he wondered when Teak had taken off his shirt. The trimmed hair felt stiff and foreign against his skin. No other man had ever held him this way. Kevin noticed rough calluses between softer patches of skin on Teak's hands. He soaked in the new sensations, enjoying them.
Silence thundered in Kevin's ears as he turned and met Teak's gaze. The intensity he saw nearly choked the breath right out of his lungs. What little air remained ran for cover when Teak's lips met his. The feelings reminded him of his very first kiss, heady and surreal. His lips twisted with Teak's. He'd never experienced the force of a man's tongue in his mouth or the scrape of another man's beard on his face. Not this way. Guttural sounds filled Kevin's throat. His breath hissed through his nostrils. These were the sounds of an aroused man. Except another man is turning me on.
Teak kept a loose hold on Kevin's waist. The non-threatening hold gave Kevin free reign to accept or deny him. For a long minute, he participated in the kiss as though moving with a partner in a choreographed dance. He knew what to do and how to do it, but his brain and his dick were going in opposite directions. Kevin's cock was so hard he wanted to take it out and come. His brain kept screaming at him to slow down. Confusion filled him. He broke from the kiss and focused on Teak's tattoo, glad for the distraction.
"Aren't you going to say something?" Teak asked in a soft voice.
"This is the most amazing tattoo." How fucking lame was that?
With nervous hesitation, Kevin traced the pronounced veins on the dragon's side, and higher to its curved neck. Continuing to follow the dragon's neck with his index finger led to Teak's nipple. The hardened nub looked ready to be clenched in the dragon's sharp teeth. Or mine.
"Taste me," Teak said, his voice hoarse and hushed.
CONTEST: To celebrate the release of Hard as Teak, I'm giving away a copy. Tell me what appeals to you about Kevin and Teak and you could win. Don't forget your email address!