Here's another excerpt from Carny's Magic (unedited),
coming June 12 from Loose Id.Taking pity on Carny Jessup, the battered 19-year-old who wants to be his apprentice, the wizard offers to temporarily take him in. Carny is the narrator. He sometimes has trouble keeping his foot out of his mouth.
“You don’t have a place to go, do you?” Jackson asks.
“I can find one.” Yeah, maybe for a day or two.
I suddenly realize I haven’t thought this through very well. My acquaintances either don’t have the room to accommodate me or wouldn’t welcome the intrusion. Or both. I haven’t made a secret of being gay, so that could be another issue. My last resort would be a sex-for-shelter trade, but that kind of arrangement seriously rubs me the wrong way. As much as I enjoy nookie, I don’t like being expected to put out. Especially for some gnome with a sense of entitlement. Man, I’d feel like a drop-kicked piece of shit.
“So stay here until you find a place,” Adin says. “We have the room. And we obviously don’t have an issue with your being gay.”
I’m kind of flabbergasted. Call me a cynic, or a dreamer, but I’m beginning to wonder if they want to get some kind of ménage thing going. That harness I saw tells me they’re not a totally vanilla couple, and considering their ages (thirtyish to fortyish), maybe one of them has a hankering for a twink, even though I don’t see myself that way.
I’m not sure how I feel about this possibility. I mean, yeah, they’re both hot as hell, but—
“Something wrong?” Jackson asks.
Apparently my forehead’s been collapsing toward my nose. Only now do I feel it. “Uh…you’re not, like, looking for…” Fuck. How do I say this? “Do you kind of want…a third?”
Now Jackson’s forehead is collapsing. He stops chewing and stares at me. “A third what?”
Adin’s trying unsuccessfully to hold in a smile. “I think he means dick.”
Jackson swallows with effort. “Huh?”
Oh, man. Now Adin is snickering and Jackson is looking back and forth between us and I want to grab my faux-twink ass by the back of my pants and pitch myself out the door. “I maybe didn’t say that right,” I mumble. “I mean, I don’t…I’m just trying to figure out why—”
My throat seals when Jackson’s eyebrows hitch up, like he suddenly gets what I meant. “Are you serious?”
Adin rises from his chair to clear the table. He’s sort of bent over because he’s trying to contain his laughter but can’t. I get up too, mostly to pull myself free of Jackson’s color-shifting eyes. But they continue to follow my every move.
“You think we're looking for a playmate?”
He’s so incredulous, I now feel like a drop-kicked piece of shit that’s broken into a hundred little turdlets. So of course I get defensive and lash out again. “How am I supposed to know what you’re after? It wouldn’t be the strangest thing in the world for a couple of middle-aged queers to want—”
Jackson shoots up from his chair like a goddamn rocket. Dishes and silverware clink together. Good thing my hands are empty, because he grabs me by the shirtfront and literally yanks me onto my tiptoes. I’m five-eleven, so I’m no midget, but he’s got to be at least six-three. That gives him four inches of lifting room. His iron fist bumps the underside of my chin. Fucker’s got big hands and plenty of muscle to put them to good use. I wouldn’t be surprised if he battled demons by punching out their lights.
“You want me to mentor you?” he says in a low, graveled voice. It’s like a fine spray of grit hitting my eardrums. “Okay, here’s Lesson Number One: learn…some…respect.” He hangs onto me a few seconds longer.
I swallow, feeling my Adam’s apple bob along his knuckles, and eke out a nod. “Sorry,” I whisper. Forming the word feels strange to my mouth. I don’t use it often.
“FYI, we don’t want or need a ‘third’.”
Adin returns from the kitchen and gives me a reassuring pat on the back. “Believe me, Jackson has enough cock for two men.”