Tea

by Matthew J. Metzger

$5.99

Rated 4.00 out of 5 based on 3 customer ratings
(3 customer reviews)

John only went into the cafe to have a brew and wait out the storm. He didn’t expect to find love at the same time.

And it really is love at first sight. Chris is like nobody John’s ever known, and John is caught from the start. All he wants, from that very first touch, is to never let go. But John is badly burned from his last relationship and in no fit state to try again. When Chris asks him out, he ought to say no.

But what if he says yes instead?

Available in Print from most major retailers.

Book Info

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Series: A Cup of John

Release Date: January 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949909-81-4

Format: ePub, Mobi

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Category: Romance

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 76800

Book Length: Novel

Sex Content: Explicit

Pairing: MM

Orientation: Gay, Bisexual

Identity: Cisgender, Trans

Excerpt

Tea
Matthew J. Metzger © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

“Fark this,” Rhodri said, “fer the ace o’ farking spades.”

John grunted, busy watching a Facebook slanging match unfolding on his phone. It had started to snow, which—despite Sheffield getting snow on a regular basis in the winter—ensured everyone promptly forgot how cars worked.

A fact that Rhodri backed up by leaning out of the van window and bellowing, “Who taught yer to farking drive, yer daft cunt!” at a middle-aged man in a BMW.

John snorted, grinning, and squinted out of the slush-smeared windscreen. They were nearly at the high street.

“I can walk from here,” he said. “Turn around and use the ring road, if you don’t want to be here all night.”

“Fark the ring road,” Rhodri grumbled in his thick, garbled accent. “It’ll fark the suspension.”

“You mean it’s not already?”

Rhodri snarled a defence of his beloved, twenty-year-old death trap of a van, but John firmly stuck by his assertion as the rust bucket was hauled over to the side of the road, and the handbrake screeched like a banshee in an opera house.

“Monday for the renovation?” John asked as he curled his coat collar up.

“Yeah. Gazzer’s looking fer a spring sale.”

“Have a good weekend, then.”

“Fark off.”

John grinned and slammed the passenger door on the pseudo-affectionate dismissal. The day Rhodri Campbell started talking nice to his friends was the day hell froze over.

Mind you, John thought, squinting at the black sky, that might not be too far off.

He was supposed to meet his older sister for dinner, but she’d be at least another hour. Grimacing at the weather, John decided to find a café and settle in to wait out the snowstorm. Hunching his shoulders, he broke into a jog, aiming for the first sign he saw, and soon shouldered his massive bulk through the glass door of a tiny, heavenly warm coffee shop.

It was busy inside. Everyone else had had the same idea. The floor was crowded with shopping bags, a buggy thoroughly blocking one aisle. John’s absurd size earned him some dirty looks that were hastily wiped away when he glanced back. Even the barista, when he asked for a large tea, sighed and popped her gum like it would be an enormous bother to cover her wide-eyed stare. The prickle of unease rose under his skin, and he forced it back down.

“Keep the change,” John told her as he handed over three pounds and folded his arms to wait, knowing that—even in Sheffield—a man with biceps like the steel ropes on a suspension bridge was not going to be left waiting for long. Especially if he folded his arms.

That was when he messed up.

He stepped back to glance around for a table, and in doing so, bumped the one directly behind him. A cup banged. Someone swore. And John felt the hot flush of shame flood his face, even as he spun on his heel to try to fix the damage.

“I’m so sorry. I—”

“It’s all right. I think it missed me.”

“Here, let me get you another—what was it?”

And then the man looked up from patting down his jeans and T-shirt with a napkin and smiled right into John’s face.

And John just stopped.

Staring.

The way the man smiled was…breathtaking. Literally. The air caught in John’s chest, his lungs seizing for a brief moment, when a crooked smile spread across narrow features, creasing a pale face from good-looking into gorgeous. It was like the sun bursting over a still sea, like the car dashboard when the ignition was first turned in the dark. A sudden spark lit behind an attractive face to make it utterly beautiful, and John stared.

The stranger was tall and lean, with a halo of messy black curls that surrounded his face and threw the ethereal beauty of that smile into sharp relief. The smile itself was formed out of the most ridiculously kissable mouth John had ever seen. And the face. God. It blazed with the brilliance of that beam, and above it lay the burn of eyes the colour of an endless summer sky.

Damn.

“A mocha with peppermint and a double shot of espresso.”

“A…what?” John asked, still staring stupidly.

The man chuckled, and John died. His soul ascended into heaven on the back of that sound. Jesus. Holy goddamned Jesus.

“Just ask for Chris’s regular.”

“T-that’s you, then?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Um. John. Nice to—nice to meet you.”

The touch of his hand was like a cattle prod. John felt it all the way up to his brain, and the most inappropriate parts of his brain too. He had to learn how to breathe again. His heart was pounding. He wanted—desperately, stupidly, urgently—to reel Chris in and kiss him as if they were the only two people in the room.

He didn’t.

Obviously.

He let go and ducked back into line to ask for the guy’s regular. Tipped double. And when he took it back to the table, John knew for his own sanity and safety he should apologise once more, take his tea, and go.

Instead, he said, “Mind if I join you?” and instantly hated himself for it.

And then didn’t, when Chris smiled a little wider and said, “Please.”

“I am sorry about that. I’m not usually that clumsy.”

“Just an accident. It sounds busy in here.”

“It…is,” John said slowly and frowned.

Then it clicked. That brilliant blue was as vacant as a summer sky too. And he’d never once looked John quite in the eyes. John glanced about. There was a cane leaning up against the table. A glint of a gold medical bracelet around one thin wrist. And the way Chris slid his hand across the table, heels together and fingers spread, until he found the coffee cup…

“Are you sheltering from the weather too?”

“Uh, yeah,” John said, snapping out of his reverie. “It’s snowing. I’m supposed to meet my sister for dinner later, but I’m stupidly early, so…here I am.”

“Lucky me.”

John blinked.

“What?”

“Sorry, sorry.” Chris waved a hand. “Ignore me. Big important family dinner, is it?”

“No, not really. She probably just wants to have a whine about our mum. Mum’s—well, Mum.”

“Let’s pretend for a minute I don’t know your mum…”

John chuckled, ducking his head. “Mum’s…she loves us, she wants the best for us, but her best and our best doesn’t always mesh, you know?”

“Ah, one of those. Yes, I know.” Chris raised his cup in a saluting gesture. “To parents running interference.”

“She’s very practical,” John said. “Very—you know, we ought to all marry well-off, well-educated folks with careers and good ankles. And Nora—my sister—she’s cocked that up a bit.” Then he winced at his crass phrasing and started to apologise.

Chris talked right over it. “Cocked it up how?”

“Well, she’s currently divorcing her well-off, well-educated, well-ankled husband for a bloke who makes sandwiches.”

Chris snorted and laughed. The coffee cup wobbled dangerously before he set it down to put a hand over his mouth and laugh a little harder, and John curled his toes in his boots. A warm flush spread from head to toe. God, he wanted to touch that. Wanted to reach out and curl his fist into that wild hair and kiss him like the world was ending.

John wanted him.

“Well,” Chris said when he’d recovered, “if your sister has a voice anything like yours, then that’s the luckiest sandwich man in the world.”

“Uh—”

“What about you? Ditching your missus for the maid?”

John’s stomach twinged. “There’s no missus.”

“Or mister?”

What?

“I—no.”

“Sorry,” Chris said again. “I guess I’m being a little too hopeful.”

Hopeful? What?

“I—are you…flirting with me?”

“Yes.” Chris raised both eyebrows. “Don’t tell me that doesn’t happen often.”

“Well…it’s been a while,” John admitted. “And not usually in coffee shops.” Or from men. John wasn’t exactly good-looking, and in his experience, it was mostly women who were into the huge and hulking thing rather than men.

“Where does it usually happen? I could always try doing it there, if you like.”

John barked a startled laugh. “Er—well—clubs. Here’s—here’s nice though. Here’s fine.”

“I refuse to believe it doesn’t happen often.”

“It doesn’t.”

“Really? Hm. Local clubbers need to open their ears, then.”

“I—thank you?”

“I’m making you uncomfortab—”

“No,” John interrupted quickly. “I just—I’m…not used to this.”

Chris turned the coffee cup around in his hands, biting his lip.

“You sounded…I don’t know. You sounded like you saw something you liked. And I felt something when you shook my hand.”

“You…you don’t want to be trying me out,” John said carefully.

Chris smiled.

It wasn’t the bright, beautiful smile. It was a slow smirk, devious and dirty. And John’s cock swelled fiercely in his jeans. His dick didn’t care about Daniel and his damage. His dick just wanted to have that incredible body around it, and to hell with the risks. Oh, God. That was a dirty trick, and judging by the way Chris lounged in his chair, pure sex, he knew it.

“You have a voice,” Chris said, “like the hot afterburn of whiskey.”

“I—”

“Smooth, liquid, and so easy to bask in. Like being drunk and not caring.”

John swallowed again. He was half hard. Chris spoke so slow and soft, so very deliberately, that it was turning him on even though he wasn’t saying anything filthy at all.

“I’m a dumb idea,” John croaked.

“So am I.”

John wanted to look away. But he felt incapable of not looking. He was spellbound, completely captured by this stranger’s wide smile and fluttering hands. They were large hands, but thin. John wanted to call them spidery. Long fingers, but narrow palmed. He wondered wildly what they felt like. John’s hand were rough from his trade, but Chris had a completely smooth paleness to his skin tone, and his face was impossibly young, not weather-beaten and wind burnt. His hands, John decided, would be just as smooth. They would be cool, too, like refreshing water against John’s calluses.

And then they slid over the table and hooked casually over John’s thumb.

John’s heart hiccuped and clenched again, and the flood of pure want was so powerful that his vision flexed, like a fisheye lens homing in on this stunning man. He wanted to kiss him, hold his hand, say yes, something. And yet he felt paralysed—moths to flames, deer to headlights, whatever. He was caught.

“If you’re really not interested, then that’s fine,” Chris said. “But—”

“That’s definitely not it,” John muttered.

“So—you want to get dinner sometime?”

The smile softened into something sweeter. More hopeful. More—

John’s dick softened. Because his heart tightened, his stomach clenched, and his throat opened.

He should say no.

He was still a mess from Daniel, still wounded after nine whole months, still unable to so much as flirt on Grindr without questioning himself, his motives, how he came off. There was no way this was a good idea. Not with anyone, and least of all this brilliant, beautiful, blind guy.

After all, if Daniel were right—

If Daniel were right, if there had been any truth in the things he’d said, then John was the last person who should be going out to dinner with a blind man.

John should have said no.

But he said yes instead.

3 reviews for Tea

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Truus

    I was dazzled… surprised… happy about the fact a story can surprise me. It’s not a regular story.
    Their first dinner date was just… overwhelming…
    I didn’t want to stop reading anymore… I wanted to read on and on… because somehow I was so caught by this story, I was emotional involved !

    John was deeply burned by his relationship with Gabriel… it ended bad… unbelievable bad… and bit by bit we get to understand the heavyweight of it…. it’s one big shadow.
    So he is reluctant to a new relationship. Until he meets the stunning beautiful Chris.
    Chris is a refreshing wind and is frank, clear and open-hearted about what he wants and who he is. You will be amazed about him!

    They start something… John very carefully… Chris more loud and clear.

    “No, I don’t think kissing me until I can’t remember my own name counts as making a fool of yourself…”

    Characters explicitly worked out. Both so with their own signature, flawed and with sides you will love and also irritated by. The humor was delicious, the moments they were dropped just perfect.
    As a reader I had some questions and I wondered about some facts. I can’t say what exactly because that would be spoiling… It has to do with Chris and his being and how he progressed, his abilities, how it all looked simple, it all was a bit vague… there was no mention of how he handled it alone… I mean… it can’t be that simple not to write about it?
    When they had sex, I expected something beautiful and quite special…it was… it really was.
    But it also stayed a bit vague. It was sweet and passionate, but vague. sorry…that sounds awful shallow from my mouth. I’m just more accustomed to explicit scenes and I love to visualize details to feel it all.

    After 30% I thought I read already a whole book, but there was more to come

    “I passion you”

    It was so delicious real and honest it hurt somewhat… my heart hurt, my eyes blurred, my nose dripped… A story with wonderful engaging personalities and extraordinary environments.

    In big lines… this was a fully captivating and one hell of an amazing, sweet but complicated story! Focusing in on some details… I had question marks… but in the total picture they were really subordinate.
    Overall a very well written and emotional story which I enjoyed immensely.

    Kindly received an arc from the publisher through NetGalley

  2. Rated 3 out of 5

    Diverse Reader

    It pains me to write this review primarily because I am a huge fan of this author but Tea by Matthew J. Metzger had what I felt were some serious plot holes and a lot of unanswered questions. Let me unpack those assertions after I give you a brief synopsis of the overall novel.

    John is suffering from PTSD due to a truly vicious and awful ex who lied the entire time he was dating John. Although it has been nine months since the guy nearly destroyed John’s life the emotional and mental impact lingers and causes both anxiety and panic attacks but more importantly it has left John seriously doubting whether or not he actually is the guy that he was declared to be before the eyes of the world. John is a gentle giant clocking in at several inches over six feet and as broad as a barn, he touts lots of tattoos and is more than intimidating. Hence he’s never really had a problem with being out socially but continues to hide his sexuality at work and on the playing field. Then he meets Chris and all that begins to change.

    Chris has lots of issue himself—more physical than other wise including being blind. But the kind and melodic voice that apologizes after accidentally dumping tea all over the place lures Chris in and makes him more than curious as to the owner. So begins a very passionate yet restrained courtship with each man laying ground rules and also divulging deep seated issues they never wanted to share with anyone before.

    I really loved John—he was so very wounded and scared and yet brave beyond all measure. He put his heart and soul into wooing Chris and took nearly every unexpected development (read secret) with a calm and loving response. I felt his story arc was the best of the two and his move toward healing and peace of mind most realistic. Chris, on the other hand never really changed. He was dealing with some pretty big issues but, unlike John, didn’t see the need for counseling or for even acknowledging that the things than plagued him were, in fact, things that he could cope with had he someone to help and guide him—someone professional. Despite that I still liked how these two men interacted for the most part and understood some of the nuances in their relationship that Mr. Metzger decide to run with in order to sharply reveal the trauma both had suffered.

    No it was not the characters or even the story line that made me hesitant about this book. It was, in fact, the amount of on-page sex and the overly descriptive quality to the same that had me rather flummoxed. Don’t get me wrong I love a sex scene as much as the next person but the premise of this relationship and their actions in the bedroom seemed so out of character for the way this author normally writes. Plus, once you read the story I think you will agree that I’m really unsure as to how John could just go with the flow and not stop to question where they were headed in the bedroom given his past sexual history. I wish I could say more about this because it really left me with a ton of questions but to do so would be to give away precious secrets that are integral to the novel. Suffice it to say that I have read much of this author’s work and this is the first time where I felt not everything rang true or was plausible.

    The real question is was there enough here to want to read more about John and Chris? The answer for me is yes—I know the skill and expertise of this author and his fantastic ability to weave a story that is real and compelling. Therefore, I will most certainly pick up the sequel to Tea and give this couple a second chance.

  3. Rated 4 out of 5

    Teresa Fallen Angel

    John is living a lie hiding his sexuality from anyone not part of his family. After his ex-boyfriend set him up as an abuser and rapist to hide his cheating ways. And since John is such a big man everyone believed him. Experiencing the anguish and horror he went through to the point of even questioning himself was terrible. So when John literally ran into Chris causing him to drink, he never expected such a beautiful man to come on to him. Now Chris has his own issues, but denying his own feelings were definitely not one of them. It was fascinating how they couldn’t be more different, but it was those differences that brought them together. Chris may be blind, but he knew form the start that John was a gentle giant and nothing and no one could make him change his mind. They each had secrets that could either bring them together or tear them apart.

    This was a wonderful coming out story about being true to yourself and finding your way.

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