I’m excited to share a sneak peek excerpt from Complexity, Harper Miller’s latest installment to her Kinky Connect Chronicles series. Harper stopped by a few weeks ago to share the gorgeous cover reveal for Complexity, and I’m happy to welcome her back with this new excerpt. Scroll down and enjoy!
Complexity by Harper Miller
Genre: M/M Erotic Romance
Fairy tale endings weren’t made for people like me. Happy for now usually ain’t in the cards, either.
The dents on my wall from where my headboard kept knockin’ against the same spot was the first clue that I needed to calm my ass down. At the rate I was racking up notches and plowing through hookups, I wasn’t ever gonna find nothing real. Guess I kinda jinxed myself. I created my circumstances. You can’t get what you want if you keep falling back into the same pattern of bad habits. But then things changed. I stumbled onto somethin’ I never in a million years expected to happen. You gotta understand, I’m never the guy who wins. It was supposed to be just sex, but that shifty rhyming and scheming bastard, Cupid, pulled a fast one.
I may have changed some stuff to protect a couple of people. But before you go believing the tabloids, make sure you understand that you’re gettin’ the lowdown straight from the source.
I needed to get this off my chest, and it’s only fair that you at least get my side of it all. At some point, I might regret telling you any of this, but for now, you need to know.
*Disclaimer* This is a novella. Not a short story, novelette, or novel. This tale features an M/M pairing. If gay erotica/erotic romance is not your cup of tea and you are offended by same-sex relationships or crass language, you should bypass this story. Content is intended for a mature audience, 18+.
Complexity is the fourth installment in The Kinky Connect Chronicles. The Kinky Connect Chronicles are short erotic stories/novelettes all wrapped up in neat little bows. These stories are standalones. No cliffhangers in the lot!
Exclusive Sneak Peek Excerpt!
When It Hurts So Bad
Ever feel like your life isn’t your own?
Deep down you know it’s real, but you still can’t help thinking that, at any moment, someone’s going to come and shake you awake and tell you it was all a dream. Some days I expect an all-knowing voice to yell, “Aye yo, Manny, psych!”
But this ain’t a dream. This is real life. My life.
Lately, this thing called Life has been torturing me, and I’m having a hard time dealing. It’s like I’ve been sticking my hand into fire and hoping, by some miracle, I don’t get burned. Any person with an ounce of common sense knows you can only play with fire for so long before it devours you.
That’s what fire does, right? Consumes. Steamrolls. Destroys whatever’s in its path. It ain’t rocket science; it’s logic. But what the hell do I know about logic?
I abandoned logic a long-ass time ago. Eventually, my luck runs out and shit reaches epic proportions. Then it only takes the smallest spark to blow the powder keg that is my life and all hell breaks loose.
Thinking like this only makes my shitty day even shittier. Don’t be a bicho quejón, Manny. Cursing under my breath, I turn the key to open my apartment door. Before dropping my gym bag, jacket, and keys, I reach for the light switch, and then kick the door closed a little too hard. I wince. I’ll probably hear about that from Mrs. Lopez later. Seems like she’s constantly on my ass about the noise in and around this building. If it’s not “Manny, you walk too loud,” it’s “Manny, your TV’s too loud,” “Manny, your stereo’s too loud,” “Manny, your dog barks too much.” I don’t even have a dog. Whateva. I make sure to secure the dead bolts and put the chain on the door. Better to be safe than sorry. There’s been more robberies than normal lately, but Mrs. Lopez scares me more than the cacos on the block.
On any given night this shithole building smells like the UN’s used jockstrap, but the aroma lingering in my entryway ain’t the asopao from downstairs mixing with samosas and curry from a couple of doors away. It’s me—I’m a lil’ overripe.
Logic says I should grab a shower, but I head over to the minibar I’ve set up in the corner of my living room instead, and grab the bottle of Wild Turkey. Big pimpin’ up in NYC.
I have goals. And paying mad money in rent won’t get me there. Actually, it’s stupid to inflate some rich dude’s already fat pockets for an apartment the size of a walk-in closet. But us New Yorkers, we do it. We cram into the shittiest places in the most suspect of neighborhoods just to say we have a place “in the city.” In truth, it’s thirty minutes from midtown in one of the other boroughs. God forbid you live in Staten Island—fuckin’ no-man’s-land. You might as well consider yourself in exile.
I should’ve known better than to look for a no-fee apartment on Craigslist. I ain’t rollin’ in dough. Yo podría quejarme. Shit, I’m always complainin’ when it comes to where I live, but I’m comfortable. Setting up a minibar in the corner of this “amazing location with brand-new amenities, a recently upgraded lobby, plentiful shopping, and a nearby Starbucks” and installing a new showerhead is about as sophisticated as I’m gonna get. The only true thing about that ad was the Starbucks. I guess the management company considered “nearby” ten blocks away. Whateva. I got duped. Can’t say I’ve got plans for any other upgrades. I’m saving up.
The liquid sloshes around in the bottle when I snatch it from its shelf, my nerves on edge and my mind racing. This shit had better make me forget . . . for a little while, at least. The crystal Old Fashioned glasses my moms gave me sparkle in the light of the streetlamp that streams through my grimy window, inviting me to be gentlemanly and proper, but I can’t bother with glasses and ice cubes right now. Tonight I’m having my whiskey neat and straight outta the bottle. The copper liquid burns when it hits the back of my throat, but it’s raw and soothing and just what I need.
I grab the remote off the coffee table and power up the iPhone docking station. The beat drops, and then Jay Z spits the opening lyrics of “Empire State of Mind.” Not today, Jigga Man, not today.
“Skip,” I mumble with my lips pressed against the mouth of the bottle and my thumb on the fast-forward button. Brittany Howard’s voice rasps through my apartment as The Alabama Shakes’ “Gimme All Your Love” wails from the speakers that flank the bar.
He introduced me to this band. Fucker.
The liquor smolders as I hold it in my mouth and sink onto the couch. My head falls back and I swallow, letting the melancholy lyrics and angry electric guitar riffs amplify my foul mindset. This song is taking me somewhere I didn’t want to go. Now I’m stuck and in a funky-ass mood. The kind of mood where I don’t give a damn about anything or anyone. The kind of mood where the only thing I wanna do is drown my sorrows in a shit-ton of alcohol until I’m so sloppy I forget my own name. Oblivion is exactly where I wanna be.
At least I admit I drink too much. Over these last few nights me and this bottle have become besties. Ain’t that some shit?
Might as well get smashed, then maybe I’ll be able to get a decent night’s sleep. I haven’t slept right in about a week. That’s a lie. I haven’t slept well for about six months. Six months of tossing and turning. Six months of being one moody motherfucker. Six months of being chill one minute, then pissed off the next.
My friends think I’m fuckin’ nuts. My own brother won’t come anywhere near me. I can tell he wants to have a heart-to-heart, but I don’t have it in me to tell him why I’m a basket case. To me, he’s still a kid, even though he’s grown, has a good job, and a girlfriend he’s been shackin’ up with—but I don’t want him to look at me differently. It’s stupid, and I’m probably overreacting, but Juan and I have a good relationship. I can’t jinx it. We’re all we’ve got: me, Moms, and the kid. We’re one tight-knit family, and I wanna keep it that way.
I’ve got emotional ADD, and the shit’s so bad my stomach’s twisted. But I don’t feel anything ’cept empty.
After toeing off my kicks, I try to find a comfortable position. This right here is good: Me with a death grip on a bottle of booze, ass planted on the couch, and feet propped up on the coffee table. When I finally settle, taking a couple of deep breaths to ease the tension in my body, my phone vibrates.
I sit up and place the bottle on the table before digging the phone outta my pocket. I glance down at the screen and frown the moment I recognize the name.
Of course it’s him. Fuck him.
I ignore the call and turn on the ringer—forgot to do that after my last client. Can’t afford to miss any calls when you’re self-employed, but you sure as shit can screen ’em. The couch cushions are tryna swallow me whole, and I’m not putting up much of a fight. I’m beat. My body is worn down, and I know I look like shit because I feel like shit. I wanna muster up enough energy to shower and sleep, but I know sleep won’t come.
Look at me, winning all over the fuckin’ place.
Why does everything have to be so complicated?
My voicemail alert chimes, but I delete the message without so much as a listen, and then toss the phone across the couch. Just leave me alone. I haven’t seen him in a week and haven’t answered any of his calls, either. Was that a punk move? Yeah, but it’s what needed to happen. I ghosted because I thought we needed some space. For once I was being smart. Giving us both time, ya know, to figure out what the fuck we’re doing. I have no clue where this thing is going. Even worse, I don’t know what the hell this thing is. And I doubt he has any idea how I feel about him . . . or maybe he does.
Never in my life have I been so confused. Am I still bi if I only wanna be with a dude? Well, one dude, specifically? My sexuality has never been an issue, but now I got questions and feelings and fuckin’ feelings about feelings, man.
Want to read more? Check out the second excerpt over on Musings of a Romance Junkie’s blog this Saturday 🙂 And for the final excerpt, sign up for Harper’s newsletter and get even more details on Complexity.
About Harper Miller
Harper Miller is a thirty-something native New Yorker. She’s traveled the world and lived in a variety of places but always finds her way back to the Big Apple.
A lackluster love life leaves time to explore new interests, for Harper it is writing. The Sweetest Taboo: An Unconventional Romance is her debut novel. In her mind, the perfect Alpha male possesses intellect, humor, and a kinky streak that rivals the size of California.
When she isn’t writing, Harper utilizes her graduate degree in the field of medical research. She enjoys fitness-related activities, drinking copious amounts of wine and going on bad dates.
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Laurel Cremant is an opinionated author and reader of romance with a wicked sense of humor. RNIC was smart (or crazy) to bring her on as a blogger. In 2016 she took over the management of this site and relishes her new title of “Overlord of Awesome”