As I’ve mentioned more than once, I’m one of the co-founders and publishers over at Deep Desires Press, a publishing house for erotica and erotic romance.
When we received Siryn Sueng’s submission of Louder Than Words, I immediately knew we had to publish it. I think I feel a certain kinship with the book, perhaps because, like Derrek, I’m a former teacher who crushes on Starbucks baristas. And, like Alex, I have a communication-related disability (Alex can’t speak and I am hard of hearing).
But, most of all, the reason why I knew we had to publish Louder Than Words was because the banter between Derek and Alex is just so effing cute and awkward that I’m grinning the whole time I’m reading it.
You should definitely check out this book!
Derrek is a local teacher in Clearwater, Florida. He frequents a nearby coffee shop before work every morning, where he finds himself enraptured with a young barista, Alex. But Alex never seems to notice him, even when he’s handing Derrek his morning coffee.
After weeks of hiding in his corner under the pretense of working, Derrek finally gains enough courage to ask Alex on a date. He’s crushed when all he gets for an answer is complete silence. He thinks it’s the end, until he finds out that Alex has a disability that has paralyzed his vocal cords.
Sign language is Alex’s way of communication, and it’s something that Derrek knows little to nothing about. With renewed determination, Derrek asks Alex to teach him sign language. Derrek wants to be able to talk to Alex, to tell him how he really feels, and find out if Alex feels the same.
But more than anything, he longs for a relationship that goes deeper than just words alone.
Louder Than Words is an 18,000-word novella.
Purchase your copy:
I grabbed a bottle of water and went to the register, where the girl met me with a smile. “Candice” was what her name-tag said. I returned her pleasantries and handed her the bottle of water. As she rang up the total, I looked toward the back of the shop where employees were only allowed. I could see shelves filled with boxes but I didn’t see Alex anywhere.
I cleared my throat and got the courage to ask her where he was. “Uh, is Alex here?”
Candice stared for a moment and then laughed. “Oh, yeah. He’s here, in the back, getting more cups. Did you want to talk to him?” She paused and eyed me as if she knew me. Then she grinned. “You’re the guy from this morning, huh?” she said knowingly, catching me off guard. Had Alex told her about that? The thought had my heart tightening and my face burning with embarrassment.
“Y-yeah … about that—”
“Oh, don’t worry. He didn’t tell me much; just that you surprised him with your rather abrupt confession.” Candice interrupted me and gave me a wolfish grin.
I fiddled with my card and frowned at her. “Can I talk to him please?” I felt a little bad for speaking with a sharp tone, but couldn’t help it. I was annoyed that she was teasing me; as if Bryant didn’t do that enough.
She didn’t seem to care, though, as she walked away with her smile still in place. “Alex!” Her voice rang out in the back and I took a quick glance around the shop to make sure I hadn’t gained too much attention. I turned back to the counter as she came back with Alex in tow; quite literally towing him too, her hand wrapped around his wrist and a happy smile on her face.
“Here you go!” she said with such enthusiasm I was sure her and Bryant were related somehow. She presented Alex to me and he stood there in shock, fidgeting as he looked between her and me.
“Uh … hi,” I said and Candice snickered. I glared at her and she shrugged. It seemed to break the ice and Alex smiled.
“If you need a translator, I can do that for you. He doesn’t talk; he signs,” Candice offered.
“Yeah, I saw that earlier. Um … actually that’s why I wanted to talk to you, uh, speak with you? U-um … sorry. I’m not — anyway. I want to learn. I don’t know a single damn thing about signing, other than like A B C and hi.” I smiled like an idiot as I waved “hi” at him.
Alex’s smile grew and he leaned forward, bracing himself against the computer. He ran his tongue across his lips and I caught sight of a silver bar through the middle. Black bracelets laced his right wrist, the sleeves of his black shirt rolled up to his elbows. His lashes were long and thick, accenting his gorgeous green eyes. Alex’s laugh was raspy, the sound just about gone. The loudest part of it was the hard puff of air, followed by the faintest tone of his voice. He shook his head and ran a hand through his hair, pulling the black, sleek strands away from his face and I got a full view of the earrings in his ears; a couple of bars, rings of black and red, a stud, and a pretty, silver cuff.
He was definitely a good-looking man. I pressed on, now that the atmosphere between us wasn’t as tense. I was also distracting myself from that bar in his tongue … damn, was it tantalizing. “So, I was wondering if you could teach me. I’d like to learn.”
Alex played with the end of the black bar that crossed the top of his ear. His smile turned into a playful grin, and if I wasn’t already hooked, I was reeled in then. His hands and fingers weaved in the air forming his answer to me and I stared for a moment, too caught up in his sexy smile to really pay much attention.
“He said that’s fine,” Candice translated for me. “Said he wouldn’t mind teaching you. Especially since that’s not how you say ‘hi’ in sign language.”
Alex looked down, his smile growing, and he laughed again with that sweet soundless rasp, and my chest was tight.
About the Author:
Siryn Sueng is an erotica M/M romance writer. Mostly she writes in the fantasy, paranormal, and even Sci-Fi genres. Louder than Words, though, is her first ever contemporary work. She’s married to her wonderful husband of 13 years, and they have two cute kittens, Anubis and Kida, who drive them crazy almost all the time. Anubis fancies himself the destroyer of the elusive red dot…
Siryn is a lover of games on a wide range of platforms. She plays on the PC, console, and hand-held devices (her 3DS currently). She also plays otome novels on her tablet. Dragon Age, the Fire Emblem series, and the Tale’s series are her favorite games. Japan is where she would love to visit sometime. She’s a huge fan of Japan, including manga and anime. Siryn loves to read, though she’s been writing more than reading as of late. And she has a deep love for dragons. She has a very large collection of dragon statues in her house.
Siryn is also a co-writer with Usagi Kita. Together they write under the name ‘Lilia Blanc’ and have published their first book: King’s Lament.
Follow Siryn Sueng on Twitter: @Siryn_Sueng