by Damon Suede
(Book One in the "Itch" series)
Release date: 21 October 2013 (Dreamspinner Press)
Reclusive comic book artist Trip Spector spends his life doodling super-square, straitlaced superheroes, hiding from his fans, and crushing on his unattainable boss until he meets the dork of his dreams. Silas Goolsby is a rowdy FX makeup creator with a loveless love life and a secret streak of geek who yearns for unlikely rescues and a truly creative partnership.
Against their better judgment, they fall victim to chemistry, and what starts as infatuation quickly grows tender and terrifying. With Silas’s help, Trip gambles his heart and his art on a rotten plan: sketching out Scratch, a “very graphic novel” that will either make his name or wreck his career. But even a smash can't save their world if Trip retreats into his mild-mannered rut, leaving Silas to grapple with betrayal and emotions he can't escape.
What will it take for this dynamic duo to discover that heroes never play it safe?
If you're curious about the homoerotic comic created by Trip and Silas in the course of Bad Idea, check out their Horn Gate, a paranormal novella available from Dreamspinner Press, for Scratch, Issue 1.
As its own series, the "Scratch" novellas relate the supernatural adventures of an incubus solving occult mysteries as he exposes an inhuman trafficking ring with the help of his mortal sidekick and lover. Fusing strong urban fantasy elements and erotic romance, these gothic noirs allow the demonic duo to do supernatural battle, hunt clues, and investigate otherworldly crimes while they explore the possibilities of a relationship that bridges morality and mortality.
Note: The Scratch and Itch series consist of two parallel narrative tracks. Thematic threads connect their characters and plots but they can be read separately or in tandem.
"Reading Bad Idea is like talking to the author, Damon Suede. It's an exhilarating, energetic, mind-expanding ride! At the same time, you'll be sighing over his prose. I gave up highlighting quotable lines because they were on just about every page... Bad Idea turned my heart inside out. So few authors can do grittiness and emotion as well as Damon." Mary Grzesik at USA Today / Happily Ever After
"The very best books leave me wondering where to begin – this is one of those books. It’s intense, it’s complex, it’s…so many things. At the end, just know that Bad Idea is FANTASTIC... Thank you, Damon Suede, for giving me a gut wrenching reason to keep reading. Also for possibly being the reason I gained 10 lbs from stress eating, but whatever. I’ll work it off eventually... Absolutely amazing." 3 Chicks After Dark
"Some books are sinful candy—decadent escapes leaving us high and searching for another confection. Some novels are art, richly painted with skill and care, resonating with us for months or even years as we parse the wisdom they reveal. Get ready to have dessert for dinner, readers: Damon Suede’s Bad Idea is both... Bad Idea is rich not only with world but truths, some simple, some so expansive they will take multiple re-readings of the novel to fully grasp. Every page is a quotable minefield, sometimes for humor, sometimes for wisdom, often for both... Every re-read is another decadent dip into one of the smartest romantic adventures readers will ever take." Heidi Cullinan, author of Special Delivery and Nowhere Ranch
"This book was incredible… I can’t think of any book couple that balances one another out more beautifully than Trip and Silas do… I adored Trip and Silas. I laughed with them and cried with them and they go down as one of my favorite book couples EVER. So much depth was written into each personality… It plays out like a romantic comedy chock full of comic books, superheroes and pop culture starring colorful and charming characters with easily relatable emotional baggage and relationship hang-ups… Quirky and fun, emotional and sexy…Bad Idea was all that and so much more." Read-Love-Blog
"FIVE HUGE STARS! Bad
Idea is brilliant, the narrative
seductive and powerful and
the story unique, with characters that kept
me mesmerized. I am shamelessly in love with Silas and Trip
…and totally in awe of Mr. Damon Suede, the writing
is impeccable and I am reminded again of just how
amazingly talented the man is. This book is the stuff of
movies, and quite frankly if ever an m/m romance novel
should be made into a movie… this is it! I have no
doubts it will sit on the shelves of iconic m/m fiction,
a book that will be read over and over again…
Bad Idea is most definitely a
contender for my book of the year!"
Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews
"FIVE HUGE STARS! Bad Idea is brilliant, the narrative seductive and powerful and the story unique, with characters that kept me mesmerized. I am shamelessly in love with Silas and Trip …and totally in awe of Mr. Damon Suede, the writing is impeccable and I am reminded again of just how amazingly talented the man is. This book is the stuff of movies, and quite frankly if ever an m/m romance novel should be made into a movie… this is it! I have no doubts it will sit on the shelves of iconic m/m fiction, a book that will be read over and over again… Bad Idea is most definitely a contender for my book of the year!" Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews
"Insanely good...Bad Idea totally blew my mind! ... If you liked “Hot Head” then you will LOVE this book." Live your Life, Buy the Book
"Damon Suede has done it for me again! Proving that romance transcends stereotypes, Bad Idea has completely charmed me. This book isn’t just a gay romance - it is a book about the human needs of love and acceptance. Bad Idea is actually a truly brilliant idea." Diary of a Bibliophile
'Trip and Silas are likely the most perfect couple that nearly weren’t that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading... Bad Idea is a slice of pure nerd heaven... Heartbreaking...both terrible and beautiful in the way good storytelling sometimes is, and I was unable to stop reading until I found out how the story ended." That's What I'm Talking About
"An emotional romance... Bad Idea is a charming [story] about facing one’s fears head on to find love. Trip and Silas have a quirky but fun romance, despite the emotional heartache. These two are characters that will steal reader’s hearts." Heroes & Heartbreakers
"Swoon-worthy romance... heartbreaking, gut wrenching... I secretly wish that this book could become my best book-friend ’cause you know what? It didn’t let me down, it warmed my heart and it kept me entertained. It was smart, witty and kooky. It’s the kind of book-friend that is such an honest-to-goodness blast that I want to meet it for Friday night drinks Every. Friday. Night. I wanted to hoot and holler and shake my bum and raise my glass in boozy glee to it and with it. Why can’t I have a book-friend like this every week? If you’re into contemporary romance with humour I challenge you to read this book and not love it… It was just that good." Boys in Our Books
"This book is Damon’s masterpiece… I had a much deeper connection to the characters than is common…so well-written, it didn’t feel like a book, like a story. It felt like things were happening to friends I knew very well. Their fate felt important. It’s not just a fantasy, a romantic and erotic love story. It is about more, seems to be deeper. The kind of literature that could be discussed in one of my university classes. Original [and] truly romantic… easily in the top 5 of my all-time favorites…Perfection, a masterpiece…I can’t do anything more than award the highest rating for this book, a perfect 10 out of 10!" Marc Fleishauer for Rainbow Gold Reviews
A reclusive comic book artist gets swept of his feet by a rowdy FX designer who struggles to prove that love isn’t a disaster and heroes don’t need capes.
a contemporary gay romance about stupid heroes and terrible risks
(this scene from chapter 1 takes place at a zombie run in Central Park. Trip has left his girlfriends to take a piss and/or sneak away)
Trip stepped into the mosh pit outside the tent and struggled upstream through the crowd. His throat burned. He should've taken a nuclear antihistamine before setting foot in the park.
At the porta-pissers, the lines stood fifteen deep. He imagined a sprint through the crisp air with a gallon of coffee sloshing around in him.
He veered toward a wide clump of forsythia. A ruptured bladder trumps a public indecency ticket any day. He prayed the muggers had slept in.
“Should be in bed.” Trip grumbled. He couldn’t flee with their only camera. He’d double back and shuck the camera before the gun went off.
He fished his dick over the waistband of his scrubs and did his thing against a scraggly oak that probably wished it had sprouted a hundred miles north. He muffled his sneeze. A twig snap reminded him his privacy was imaginary, even if he was hidden under the crest of bare branches.
He would fake an asthma attack. That’s it. He’d go back, have trouble breathing, hand over the camera, and meet his friends at the finish line.
The underbrush rustled. Hmmm. For all he knew, it was pigeons humping or a rat taking a stroll. Maybe another hyperallergic wuss trying to escape.
He tucked his tool away and managed a casual glance over his shoulder.
The bubble of silence seemed exaggerated. He heard the milling crowd and the faraway rumble of Central Park West. But where he stood, the cotton-ball quiet raised the hairs on the back of his neck. Was someone watching him?
Jesus Christ, he’d end up mugged with no ID and borrowed hospital scrubs in broad daylight during a publicity stunt for his bestest fruit flies.
Something ripped the seat of his pants. Trip spun to see a mangled, grayish hand holding one of his flags in its dead fingers. A beefy zombie knelt in front of him, grinning like a demented jack-o’-lantern.
Oh yeah. The run.
“Has it started?” Trip shook his head, confused.
The zombie looked gigantic down there, shoulders like a prizefighter. He shook the flag and winked. He must have taken a shortcut, seen Trip, and crept in to attack. Graveyard humor. Har de har.
Gray and olive shaded the undead face dramatically, really subtle even this close. One jagged foam latex cut stretched across his skull and up into his hairline. Bright hazel eyes. A square-square chin. Jinkies. His thick hands appeared tattered and gnawed open, but his meaty forearms glimmered a smooth silvery green that showed off the striations of muscle.
I’m cruising a corpse. Again a sneeze tried to squirm out of Trip and he choked it back.
Trip held up his hands in surrender, and the ghoul rose to his feet. Five ten and thickset under the tattered sport coat… like the Incredible Hulk in shades of grave. He had calico-colored hair, a springy dark-blond that probably went brindle in summer.
The hot zombie fanned his gory fingers. His eyes were set just a little too far apart and slightly slanted under the arched brows, which made his smile look like a rakish invitation.
The long forsythia stems screened the rest of the runners, hiding the two of them in their little bubble under the oak in the cold, bright air: fake doctor and fake zombie, ready to hit the Organ Trail.
Mr. Monster scuffed closer and offered him the flag. A reminder to be vigilant during the run? His filthy split shirt exposed a rugged torso and some unbelievably realistic ribs with guts glistening behind.
“Amazing.” Without thinking, Trip reached out and touched the painted wounds. “So beautiful.” He traced the trompe l’oeil heart with his fingers. The zombie flinched. Ticklish, apparently.
“Oh!” Trip yanked his hand back and shook it as if he’d scorched his skin.
“Thanks. Sorry.” Deep hoarse twang. Saw-ry. The zombie grimaced. His nipples had risen hard and small under the paint.
Trip had almost forgotten he was touching a person. “I—that was rude. Airbrush?”
The zombie smiled then and wagged his head. “We’re not supposed to speak. But I’m bad at rules.”
Was he flirting? Trip squinted in confusion and struggled not to sneeze all over the most attractive man he’d spoken to in a year. Trip prayed his itchy eyes hadn’t gone bloodshot just yet. “Not airbrush? Are you sure?”
“No, it is. I painted it. I was just… I saw you sneak off.”
Trip twisted back toward the tents where Jillian and Rina counted on him to return. He felt like he’d forgotten his lines. What was the plan again?
“Shortcut to the holding area.” The zombie jerked his dimpled chin toward the white tents but didn’t leave. That raspy drawl made every word sound like mischief.
“My name's Silas.” He offered his hand.
“Hey.” Trip shook it, afraid to look up until he did. If I’m bailing, I need to do it now. He tried and failed to stop ogling the brawn under the wounds. “Texture’s beautiful. Even this close, I can’t tell it’s fake.”
A big proud smile, teeth blinding white against the painted skin, made the undead face eerily handsome under the latex. “I’m part of the makeup crew today, but one of the star creepers didn’t show up.”
“I’m here by accident too.” Trip thanked all the gods Jillian’s husband was beefier than him; the scrubs were roomy enough that no embarrassing bulges would advertise his interest. He was supposed to escape, wasn’t he?
Silas leaned in as if confessing a terrible secret. “The zombie actors tend to be pretty flaky.” A drowsy blink followed, and the deep dimple of his grin punctuated his scrutiny of Trip’s body.
Without warning, Trip's breath caught and his eyes widened, widened, as a massive sneeze battled its way out of him.
Silas widened his eyes, too, and seemed confused, as if he expected Trip to burst into song or vomit.
“Agh-ka-chooo!” At the last minute, Trip twisted away. “Ugh.”
“Bless you!” Silas whistled. “Wow.”
“Sorry. Allergies.” Trip wiped his nose with a tissue from his breast pocket and ignored the heat of his blush and his sinuses. “I should get back to my friends.” Why did I say that? “I’m filming for their site.”
Silas’s painted face shone with questions. “You make movies!”
“No. Oh no.” Trip wanted to stay here talking all day, costume or no costume.
“I do gore on a cop show out at Silvercup. In Queens?” A phone buzzed somewhere, and Silas wrinkled his nose.
That got a smile out of Trip. Once a fanboy, always a fanboy. “Monster gore?”
“TV thing. Gunshot wounds and scars mostly.” He mock-snored and stuck out his very pink tongue.
Trip dried his palms on the scrubs. Heaven knows what the hell kind of pollen he’d aspirated out here. He didn’t know how to offer his number or ask for one. That dimple. Where was he going again?
“Well, sir, I’ll be your zombie this afternoon.” A chuckle. “I look forward to hunting you down and eating your brain later.”
Trip laughed finally. Hot, talented, and funny. “Trip. I’m Trip.”
“Figures.” That dimple took no prisoners. “I bet plenty of people fall for you.”
Full-frontal deep-fried zombie attack. That was on purpose.
Their eyes met.
“Not really.” First response Trip thought of that didn’t sound like a slutty come-on. His brain had short-circuited.
An air-raid siren cranked into a protracted wail. At first he thought he was imagining it until Silas sighed and grinned. Oh. Yeah. The OutRun.
Silas regarded Trip’s flag in his hand, then reattached it to the strap on Trip’s waist, his knuckles firm against the hipbone. He smelled like vanilla and magic markers.
Trip stood frozen under the big digits, really boned now and curious what came next.
A breath. Another breath as they stood a little closer than necessary.
“C’mon. Anybody who had a pulse….” Silas swallowed, as if he was about to confess something and then thought better of it. “I mean, I’m not really a zombie….”
“Well, I’m not really brainy, so that’s okay.”
Excerpted from Bad Idea by Damon Suede
published by Dreamspinner Press