“Once again Damon Suede delivers a poignant, thought-provoking love story. Lickety Split deals with life-altering misperceptions, second chances, and revisiting a dark past in hopes of forging a bright future. And who doesn’t swoon over a sexy, gruff, take-charge cowboy like Tucker? Do yourself a huge favor and BUY THIS!” Lorelei James, NY Times Bestselling author of the Rough Riders series
HONEST DIRT: on filthy minds, hard wires, and the kink that links us all
by Damon Suede
Many, many thanks to the Guilty Pleasures crew for inviting me to come over and celebrate Lickety Split, my new erotic contemporary cowboy romance which is out today from Dreamspinner Press.
So… anyone who’s ever talked to me for 5 minutes will confirm I have a filthy imagination. That’s just the way I’m wired. Testing limits, rattling cages, finding the sweet edge between itch and ouch sends me to the moon! LOL Since I started romance, I’ve learned that a dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste. 😛 And though I’m generally known for writing extremely explicit sex scenes in my books and several of them have been tagged as erotic romance, I’ve never written a literal BDSM romance until now.
It’s worth mentioning that for a fair stretch of my twenties I was “in the life”… actively participating in the kink community. No surprises, I s’pose. For one thing I was a kinky sumbuck from the get-go and for another, I love testing the margins of human behavior. Truth is, I’m a natural troublemaker and BDSM is a win-win (-win-win-win-win LOL) for anyone curious about the limits of human desire and attention. By fortune and design I ended up living in NYC, London, and Prague after growing up in Texas, which is probably kinkier than anyplace else I’ve ever lived! All great places to test your wings sexually. I learned what I grooved on and how to navigate it well and often. LOLOL
When my publisher Elizabeth North first contracted Lickety Split, we were chatting about various projects I’d been poking around with an eye to my next release. I could tell she had something special in mind and I confessed I had an idea for an erotic cowboy romance that seemed likely to get intense: May/December, enemies to lovers, homecoming romance with kinky cowboys…. Though I’d grown up in Texas, all my books had been set in NYC, and I felt like I was ready to go home for all the right reasons.
“What’s the title?” she asked and when I said the words “Lickety Split,” she grinned wide and pointed at me. “That one.” I told her what I knew at that point: Smalltown boy falls for his dad’s bigoted rodeo buddy out in East Texas, Patch Hastle and Tucker Biggs respectively. Rope, hay, and a couple gallons of j-lube. Before I started, I felt certain that explicit S/M and pain wouldn’t be part of their intimacy, but was pretty sure bondage and edging would feature heavily. (spoiler alert: I was right. LOL)
Elizabeth thought for a long moment and cocked her head, “How dirty can you make it?” and I laughed. How dirty could I make it? Me? Was she serious? I laughed again and we agreed that once my current project had launched Lickety would be next. And BOY was it! Then as I drafted the first rough pages I realized what she meant, not the porn implicit in the relationship, but the SWOON. The raw kinkiness between Patch and Tucker threads through their pain and hope, their anger and possibility.
The other thing I know from my years in and around the BDSM community is that the best kink happens in your head. You don’t need props to cause pain and you can take people to their sensual limit with nothing more than a healthy desire and a twisted imagination. Sex is funny and dirty and strange and tender, and in all its iterations it puts folks in situations where they have to negotiate unexpected feelings in pursuit of something…more/other/beyond. Saying you dig kink, in your personal life or in the pages of a book, doesn’t describe an activity as much as a lens that reveals a truth about human interactions. Maybe it’s just me, but I truly believe that what we tag as BDSM isn’t just sexy, it is SEX… it threads through all human desire and intercourse.
See… back when I was 20, I wrote my thesis for my religion philosophy degree on the Marquis de Sade, more specifically on anti-humanist pornography during the French Enlightenment (yes really!). And as I worked on it, I began to see little moments of power exchange and intimate negotiation in everything around me: holding doors and shaking hands… who picked the movie and who flirted first. Once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it because the raw animal dynamics of human desire always play out as dominance and submission, restraint and release, limits and excess.
Sex and power poke our no-nos because humans are hardwired that way.
Why else does Fifty Shades (or Story of O, Mr. Benson, 9 ½ Weeks, Venus in Furs, The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman, Belle du Jour, and every other kinky classic) resonate so instantly and intensely with mass audiences? We’ve all experienced kink personally and directly… even the most conservative, anxious, virginal, wallflower of any era flirts with taboo. Intimate struggle informs every form of intercourse. Yay!
That’s what I love about erotic romance, both reading and writing it. Bondage is more than just getting hogtied and squirming till you get off. Therein lies the secret magnetism of Lorelei James, R.G. Alexander, J.Kenner, Charlotte Stein, Joey Hill and other erotic romance luminaries: a sense that intimacy can take you out of yourself and into yourself. With enough rope and hope, you can learn a lot about your capacity to focus entirely on what another person feels and vice versa. That kind of delicious, obsessive patience doesn’t come easy or cheap… certainly not between two stubborn, cocky cowboys.
One of the things I admire most about the Fifty Shades series is the way E.L. James planted eroticism in the center of the town square. That frank awareness has changed the world, and whether Christian Grey drives you wild with desire or chaps your asterisk, the prose isn’t the point. James’ willingness to plant a flag in the public sphere created a seismic shift in the way we talk about erotic possibility. That gleaming, rumpled necktie beckoned from Walmart shelves and book clubs around the world. “We’re all kinky behind closed doors,” she seems to say. “Deal with it.”
In pop culture, BDSM occupies a strange gray zone (Grey zone!) between comedy and horror for a lot of folks. Anything that troubles the still waters presents a perfect target for scorn, ridicule, or disgust, after all. What’s more uncomfortable than playing with power and sex in something as public as popular fiction? Embarrassment paralyzes people, but it also creates delicious potential energy begging for release. Whip me, beat me, make me read hot books. I grok that. If everything is permissible and there are no boundaries, all the sweet tension of taboo leeches out of a situation. We’ve all had the pleasure of trespassing so we can bite forbidden fruit. Amiright? We should all be so lucky.
Here’s another reality I can share from fooling around with honest-to-god kinky cowboys when I was younger: kinkiness resists limits. Safe words and cuffs and contracts are sane and responsible ways to negotiate personal safety, but a lot of kink never gets that formal, especially out in the boonies. Risky? Of course, and not particularly sensible, but then sex can get crazy without getting dangerous.
There’s a raw, rough edge to folks testing each other’s limits as they go, and THAT was what I wanted to play with in Lickety Split. Anyone credible will confirm that not all kink grows out of an abusive past, yo. Some folks are just raunchy AF and willing to go there. If you’re a gazillionaire, it’s all well and good to hire contractors to build you a Red Room of Pain or a blue chip law firm to parse a slave contract. But if you’re just a frustrated good ol’ boy living in a trailer on someone else’s farm with barb-wire scars and a pile of cock under your buckle, the kink is gonna grow wild.
I’m biased, but Tucker Biggs is hot as balls because he doesn’t just buy his fantasies, he builds them, dreaming the kink up one scene at a time out there in the dirt. He knows just how to swing his big stick to crack Patch open like a piñata so he can get all the candy out. Ditto Patch, who’s concocted this glamorous life as a DJ/model in Manhattan; he still has to go back to deep East Texas to find someone savvy enough to push all his buttons…to take him apart and put him back together properly. These men fit together not because they’re broken, but because all their strange country boy kinks make them better together.
Whether you read kinky romance regularly or if you’re just dipping a toe, I believe one of the things romances does is help us map the landscape of our erotic and emotional selves. Lickety Split gave me a delicious opportunity to play with kink that’s rough around the edges and smudged with honest dirt.
BIO: Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com.
Lickety Split: love won’t wait.
Patch Hastle grew up in a hurry, ditching East Texas for NYC to make his name as a DJ and model without ever looking back. When his parents die unexpectedly, he heads home to unload the family farm ASAP and skedaddle. Except the will left Patch’s worst enemy in charge: his father’s handsome best friend who made his high school years hell.
Tucker Biggs is going nowhere. Twenty years past his rodeo days, he’s put down roots as the caretaker of the Hastle farm. He knows his buddy’s smartass son still hates his guts, but when Patch shows up growed-up, looking like sin in tight denim, Tucker turns his homecoming into a lesson about old dogs and new kinks.
Patch and Tucker fool around, but they can’t fool themselves. Once the farm’s sold, they mean to call it quits and head off to separate sunsets. With the clock ticking, the city slicker and his down-home hick get roped into each other’s life. If they’re gonna last longer than spit on a griddle, they better figure out what matters—fast.
Review copy provided for a voluntary review
I think most people will finish Damon Suede’s Lickety Split and remember two things; quick, quick, slow, slow and edging and they both are very important and pivotal to this story of two men who share a twisted history and find in each other something they never expected. Suede never ceases to amaze me with the way he makes his readers think, feel, and examine life.
Returning to his hometown of Hixville, Texas after running away at age 16, seven years ago, Patch Hastle is back to bury his parents and get the hell back out of Dodge just as soon as he can settle their affairs. Patch has a life in New York he loves, a career he enjoys, and plans to open a nightclub with a friend and ex-lover. Returning to the town that chewed him up and spit him out won’t be easy especially with his father’s friend still on their property, but Patch isn’t that same angry teenager anymore and he’s ready to show everyone he has moved up and on.
If there was ever an anti-hero that would be Tucker Biggs, a man who never seemed to have a place to call his own, a drifter of sorts, one who has fathered children he’s had nothing to do with, and screwed pretty much anything that let him. Tucker was about as far from an honorable man as you could get and he was pretty much rude, crude, and socially unacceptable, but throughout this book as the layers of him are peeled back and the reader sees glimpses into his life while we may not approve of him, we begin to understand him.
Their journey was complicated and messy; they both begin to see the mistakes they made along the way, reflect on events that changed their lives, and understand that sometimes perspective helps you see things differently. These men evolve, they begin to see their true selves, and they learn to open their hearts.
One word of warning, the dialog at times can be hard to follow. As a life-long Texan, I was able to keep up MOST of the time, but Texas is a big state and dialect is very different from region to region so even some phrases I had to re-read a couple of times; thusly I imagine for people not familiar at all with the various types of Texas slang might find it difficult to keep up with. Let me also be clear; Suede never shies away from writing realistic, yet edgy and crude sex scenes and this book has plenty (and I’m not complaining).
Intricate and powerful, gritty and wonderful, Lickety Split is a feel good yet sexy romance and my favorite book by this author.
Suede never ceases to amaze me with the way he makes his readers think, feel, and examine life. Lickety Split is a feel good yet sexy romance and my favorite book by this author. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures
Excerpt (totally NSFW):
In this excerpt from Chapter Two, Patch Hastle considers going out to hook up in Beaumont, but instead sneaks over one last time to spy on Tucker Biggs, his second night back at the family farm.
Wasting no time, Patch dug jeans and a V-neck out of his bag and toed into old sneakers from high school. He ducked outside in happy anticipation. For once he’d show the locals how—
He stalled on the steps. Why would he let just any old small-town queer to know him and blow him? No. He didn’t want none of them. Blushing, he stopped dead in the front yard. Pathetic.
No. He wanted a cowboy, a greaser, a jock, some rough sumbuck who’d toss him around and make him crazy. He wanted—
“Tucker,” he whispered. So help me.
The sky churned overhead like a storm with no clouds, no rain.
Patch looked out toward the trailer, hidden across the property behind a small break and a cowshed. He thought of Tucker kneeling in front of his zipper to love on that goofy dog and again wondered what the hell he and the other cowboys and convicts got up to out there when nobody was looking. Maybe…. Surely….
A half mile away, Tucker Biggs sat lonely in his shorts. Or not lonely, humping some waitress. Or his own hand. Or some rodeo clown, even. Not like he’d ever had any modesty, but living out here alone? No chance. He probably put on a show every night.
For a full five minutes Patch fought the impulse to just go see for himself. He’d never unsee it, and yet if he didn’t, he’d never have the chance again. In a week he’d be back in New York and he’d never see Tucker Biggs again.Thank fuck.
Before he could second-guess himself, Patch walked up the drive and turned onto the dark shoulder headed the right direction, even though he knew it was the wrong way.
Out here the county didn’t even have lights, leaving it truly pitch dark. His eyes adjusted as he walked the half mile to the pond, the trailer, and Tucker.
Like I’m thirteen.
Back then, Patch had snuck over to spy on this trailer plenty. Duh. Hot cowboy next door. He remembered hanging around the locker room for a glimpse of Coach Biggs’s perfect bare chest. Going camping and washing in the creek as slow as he dared. Or that one night he’d spotted his dad’s best friend under the barn shower, the flash of his perfect pale butt. He’d been too afraid to sneak closer. Too petrified of getting busted, but now, here, he was grown and it was just the two of them.
The trailer sat bright and still. Tinny voices, from the TV, sounded like, but nothing alive. Someone was home.
He padded along surefooted as a fox. He crossed the ditch and ducked through the split-rail fence like he was still a kid. He circled the yard slowly, coming no closer to the trailer just yet. His gaze strayed to the lit windows, ready to catch Tucker and his local skank or maybe his sleazy buddy doing something raunchy and embarrassing.
The windows spilled amber light onto the patchy front yard and its clutter. Inside, television voices rose and fell, but no overt cock show. Duh.
Patch walked on, disappointed and also somehow relieved. At this point, the notion of Tucker as a closet case would’ve been even more humiliating. Bix had gone to Kerrville. Now he remembered and felt foolish.
He walked on, keeping to the road’s unlit shoulder, ready to be inside. Then, just as he passed out of sight, a phone’s ring and movement drew his eye back to the trailer.
Tucker walked naked past both open windows. The angle hid most of his body, but the root of his fat slab of cock was visible under the dark pubes that led up a trail to fan out over his chest. Jesus, his body. His arms, his back—even with the farmer tan he looked like a statue. Tucker passed from sight, but Patch stood frozen, waiting for another chance.
Television laughter echoed. The rise and fall of Tucker’s raw, drawling bass wove through it, wordless and seductive. Why didn’t any of the small-town dumbasses in New York sound like that, look like that, feel like that?
Patch’s hands squeezed into powerless fists.
He refused to creep closer, but he stepped sideways into a stand of live oak and wiped sweat from his face. Not like he’d ever have the chance again. Minutes ticked by until he started to feel ridiculous squinting at empty windows on a double-wide. And then….
Tucker drifted back. Smiling at something and talking on the phone notched against his shoulder. He paused, and for a crazy moment, stood exposed face to knees, shadowed and splendid, in the rectangle of the window. He rubbed at his armpit, raised the hand to his face and frowned skeptically at the smell. Absently, he tugged at one tiny nipple and dropped his hand.
If possible, Tucker looked even sexier, even stronger than he had seven years ago. He wore that wear and tear like a prize buckle.
Patch crouched lower, wincing at the crack of a stick under his foot. From somewhere inside, Botchy ruffed lazily. He saw her nosing at the window screen. Shit. She’d come right to him if she got out. His heart galloped.
Tucker leaned to look out over his yard and said something to the dog. As he leaned closer, his chiseled bare body blocked the lamp glow, silhouetting him, but if anything, that made it worse. Alpha male, ready for trouble.
Patch held his breath, aware of his pulse in his ears. His cock rose into an impatient ridge inside his stupid pants. He’d never wanted anyone so much in his life.
I can’t stand him. But he knew that for a bluff. Patch refused to move.
Turning, Tucker laughed at something and rubbed the tight abdomen over the lazy thick swing. Hold your horses.
Light-headed, Patch swallowed and exhaled. Fourteen again. He knew he couldn’t be seen in the dark, but no way was he gonna get caught spying.
Tucker cracked his neck and nodded.
That ridiculous impulse to stay and spy warned him how much he needed to leave this place, like yesterday, split before he did something stupid or got himself beat. He’d seen what he wanted. He couldn’t have it. The end.
In the trailer, Tucker turned away, muscle playing across his back and shoulders, then the tight swell of his haunch before he sat, vanishing from sight.
The end. Run.
Excerpted from Lickety Split by Damon Suede
published by Dreamspinner Press
Copyright 2016. Damon Suede. All Rights Reserved