We are pleased to have author EM Lynley at 3 Chicks After Dark and welcome her post on communication and how it applies to Colby and Riley in her new novel, Spaghetti Western.
Cowboys, Crossed Wires and (Mis)Communication by EM Lynley
True confessions time: I love love LOVE to eavesdrop. I’ll sit in Starbucks listening to the people at the next table and taking notes on their conversations. I don’t think there’s a law against it, and since I don’t know them, I don’t think I’ll be going to hell for it. Will I? Crap, I hope not.
Anyway, when you really listen to people talking, real people, not characters in books or films, it’s fascinating to discover that often there are two different conversations going on. People don’t always talk to each other, or listen to what the other person is saying. Take this one for example:
Woman: “I think that waitress isn’t even paying attention to us.”
Man: “Did you mail back the thing back?”
Woman: “The Netflix DVD? Of course I did. Now, look she’s talking to that guy with crazy hair. I’m not leaving a tip.”
Man: “Good. I really want to watch the show with the twins. The one with that woman… I think it’s next.”
Woman: “Orphan Black? They’re clones, not twins.”
“Yeah. That’s what I said.” Man’s phone rings and he picks it up. “Hello?”
Woman: “Waitress! Now she’s pretending she didn’t even see me. Did you see that? You had to see that!”
Man: “They’re clones?” (He turns away from her so he can continue his phone conversation).
It’s a common exercise in writing classes for students to practice writing this type of conversation. Often what people don’t say, or ignore is more telling than what they actually say.
Then add in a layer of interpretation. People who know each other well, like families, or established couples, understand the verbal shorthand (is that a mixed metaphor?) and codes. Two people who don’t know each other well and come from different backgrounds can’t possibly interpret one another correctly. This leads to all sorts of understandable misunderstandings.
In my brand-spanking-new novel, Spaghetti Western, Riley, a chef with Boston’s bluest blood in his veins and Colby, a down-to-earth cowboy, couldn’t possibly come from more disparate backgrounds. When they get together it has nothing to do with talking. It’s hot enough to scorch the pages—if you were reading the print copy. Well, that physical connection is strong enough for them to want a deeper relationship, one that might actually include talking and really communicating.
Now they never actually have problems as bad as the man and woman I eavesdropped on at a coffee shop near where I live, but they aren’t very good at saying what they mean, and it definitely causes some problems!
Riley’s recently been betrayed by a man he thought he had a future with, a man he flew halfway around the world in order to work summer season at a swanky Aspen eatery. When he talks about relationships, he can’t help but bring in all of that baggage, and he’s pretty free with condemning relationships. He doesn’t trust most of what any man tells him anymore, and he honestly doesn’t think Colby’s paying much attention. After Denny, Riley can’t believe anyone would want him for more than some casual fun.
But Colby comes from a world where your word is your bond. On the ranch and with most of the people he does business with, a man’s honesty is integral. Colby says what he means, and he means what he says. He won’t go back on a promise, and he takes people at face value. When Riley says he’s had enough of relationships, Colby has no reason to put those words into context. Riley’s just interested in a summer fling, and Colby has to take it or leave it.
Of course Colby takes it, willing to accept Riley’s terms. But their failure to communicate leads to both of them making grave errors that could derail the real connection growing just beneath the surface in a place where hearts and bodies don’t pay any attention to words.
Can Colby and Riley learn to translate the other’s true meanings before someone else comes on the scene wanting a more permanent connection with Colby?
I guess you’ll have to read it to find out!
Here’s a little taste of Spaghetti Western, from Colby and Riley’s first date—a moonlight trail ride.
Riley watched the stars twinkling above them. “I can’t remember the last time I saw so many stars. The city’s too bright. I used to know the names of the constellations when I was a kid. We had a place on an island that was so dark at night I was afraid at first. My dad bought me a telescope so I’d be able to see the stars and know where I was.”
“Did that help?”
Riley inhaled, trying to recall. “Maybe. At least I had something else to think about. That’s my dad for you, into distraction and bait and switch.”
“You don’t get along?”
“I didn’t turn out like he expected.”
“You mean gay?”
Riley glanced toward Colby, then back at the sky. “He doesn’t care about that. He wanted someone to follow in his footsteps, same college, family business, tradition. His world never interested me.” Riley swallowed. He’d sugar coated the situation. “What about your family? Parents, siblings?”
“I’m an only child.” There was something heavy in Colby’s pause before he continued. “Born and raised on this ranch. Haven’t been all that far from home, except when I went away to college. But that was in Fort Collins, a ways north of Denver. Yeah, I guess I am the traditional type.” Colby’s voice got soft and low.
Riley couldn’t imagine staying in one place his whole life. He got bored, needed to try new things, have new adventures. “Your parents got tired of this place?”
“No.” The word was a raspy whisper. “They died when I was seven. They were on—” He stopped. “There was a car accident. I wasn’t with them.”
Sharp pain skewered Riley’s heart. Shit. He’d come across like a real bastard, bad-mouthing his father when Colby didn’t have a dad around anymore. “I’m really sorry to bring that up.”
“It’s okay. I don’t remember much about them anymore. Except my dad showed me the constellations too. We’d do overnight trail rides and….” He stopped talking, voice creaky around the edges.
Riley rolled onto his side and traced a fingertip along Colby’s arm. “Are we staying here overnight?”
“Wouldn’t you rather be back in a nice warm bed?”
“Your nice warm bed.”
Colby nodded. “I forgot about that. Wouldn’t you rather be in my bed?”
“I like how that sounds, but only if you’re there too.” Riley played with strands of Colby’s hair. “It might be warm, but it wouldn’t be as nice as this.” He leaned forward and kissed the corner of Colby’s mouth.
Colby pulled Riley into his arms and they kissed for a while, slow deep kisses that got Riley dizzy again. When they parted, Colby touched a fingertip to one of Riley’s peaked nipples.
“Cold? You’ve got goose bumps too.”
“I think those are from you. I like how you kiss, Colby.”
“I like how you do everything.” Colby wrapped his arms around Riley again.
Published by Dreamspinner Press
Copy obtained from author for review.
Spaghetti Western: A Novel in the Delectable Series
Cordon-Bleu trained pastry chef Riley Emerson arrives in Aspen, Colorado for a summer season at the best restaurant in town, only to discover his jerk of a boyfriend has dumped him, leaving his heart and his summer plans in tatters. Doubting himself and longing for a change of pace, he takes a low-paying position as chef at a guest ranch, the Rocking Z. The scenery is gorgeous, but he expects that nature up close and personal can’t hold a candle to his exciting Paris lifestyle.
When born-and-bred cattle rancher Colby Zane spots a newcomer letting himself be pawed at by a passel of horny cowboys at Aspen’s Club Rawhide, he doesn’t think twice before rushing in, throwing the guy over his shoulder, and rescuing him from the volatile situation. Sober, Riley Emerson turns out to be sweet and sexy, but not interested in more than a one-night stand with Colby. Initially disdainful of the guest ranch side of the business, Colby’s over the moon when Riley late arrives as the new cook on his family’s ranch
But all’s not well at the Rocking Z. Insurmountable financial problems force them to rely on a cash infusion from an outside investor, Fitz Wellington. Only Fitz is hot for Colby, and he won’t sign on the dotted line without some very personal incentives. The future of the ranch is at stake, and Colby’s just desperate enough to go along, but saving the Z might mean losing Riley.
**This book also contains recipes mentioned in the story**
Meet the author:
EM Lynley writes gay erotic romance. She loves books where the hero gets the guy and the loving is 11 on a scale of 10. A Rainbow Award winner and EPIC finalist, EM has worked in high finance, high tech, and in the wine industry, though she’d rather be writing hot, romantic man-on-man action. She spent 10 years as an economist and financial analyst, including a year as a White House Staff Economist, but only because all the intern positions were filled. Tired of boring herself and others with dry business reports and articles, her creative muse is back and naughtier than ever. She has lived and worked in London, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., but the San Francisco Bay Area is home for now.
She is the author of Sex, Lies & Wedding Bells, the Precious Gems series from Dreamspinner Press, and the Rewriting History series starring a sexy jewel thief, among others.
RILEY, RILEY. Poor guy walks in on his boyfriend having an affair. Then his job opportunity along with his relationship is gone in an instant. Riley thinks a night at the local gay bar will make he feel better, wanted. It actually puts him in a vicarious position and a nice guy in plaid becomes his savior. A true prince in cowboy boots, Colby couldn’t let the obviously drunk and out of his mind guy be taken advantage of at the bar. He brings Riley to his room and takes care of him until morning. Colby, a true gentleman makes sure nothing happens between him and Riley but come morning, Riley is set to play. Little did they know this would be the beginning of so much more.
Riley’s job situation has him looking for work and it just so happens a ranch is looking for a cook. This is just the change that Riley needs to get over the sting of rejection. Riley ends up coming to work at the ranch Colby and his family own. He’s a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and could be the saving grace the ranch needs. Their in financial woes and are looking to up their Guest Ranch side of the business. A fancy chef could set them apart and bring back repeat customers.
While Riley is running the kitchen and Colby is working the cattle, they both are working on each other! The attraction didn’t wane from that first encounter, if anything it’s grown stronger. They fall into bed at night and enjoy waking together in the early morning hours. They’re comfortable even if they don’t know where their ‘relationship’ is going.
I liked that Colby was out to his family and it wasn’t an issue they had to contend with, but none of the family knew Riley and Colby were together. This was more from both being too afraid to say what they both were feeling and wanting. On one hand they communicated pretty well and worked things out quickly as long as it wasn’t their needs or expectations. Basically, all things not dealing with their relationship status or level of commitment!
Up to this point I was totally enamored with their story. Colby and Riley were sweet and romantic and just perfect for each other. Moonlight horse rides to a private spot, stolen moments in the kitchen, hot nights in Riley’s suite show their building desires.Then a potential investor shows up and everything changes. Colby finds himself being pushed into entertaining this Wellington character far more than he should have, because Wellington was obviously gay and interested in Colby. That leave Riley out in the cold and trying hard not to feel jealous.
Colby’s desire to save the ranch and all the land his family owned for generations was causing Colby to compromise his morals. I mean seriously, I wanted to slap Rachel and Alicia for always making sexual innuendos around Colby, loud enough for Wellington to hear. Practically pushing Wellington in Colby’s lap like it was okay to whore out their cousin. Their behavior just didn’t sit well with me and I’d have liked for them to have apologized to him when things took the turn they did.
Wellington was a total fink and it was glorious when he was put in his place. It took his pushy, rude complaints and presumptions about what he’d do if he invested in the ranch to finally wake Colby up. He realized Riley really was his saving grace.
Again, Colby and Riley were a truly loveable couple. They were very sexual but also fun in bed and out. They shared and connected. They got to know each other and took interest in each other’s lives and desires. For the short amount of time the book encompasses, the relationship really had a nice build and didn’t feel quick or forced even though it was quick!
Read this one for the great story and the hot visual images of naked guys wearing only their cowboy boots!
RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!