Book 1 of Evolution Ink.
Just the Facts, Ma’am:
- Steamy romance/ LBGT Romance (M/M) / New Adult
- From Samhain Publishing, May 3, 2016
- 88,725 words / 237 pages
- Available in paperback (ISBN: 9781619234796) and ebook (ISBN: 9781619234574)
Sell Me On It:
Tagline: The deepest scars aren’t the ones that show.
Logline: When a good boy and a bad boy meet, the results aren’t always what they bargained for. Sometimes they’re better.
Back Cover Blurb:
Jacob Shain is your average member of Generation Screwed. He has a boring internship, no cash flow, and a tiny NYC apartment he has to share with Ethan, his much-cooler, tattoo-artist twin brother. Not to mention his love life is DOA. At least, until his brother’s shop hires on a new piercer, and Jacob’s humdrum life takes a turn for the weird.
Cody Turner is gorgeous, funny and kind—everything Jacob wants in a boyfriend. Except for the way he refuses to talk about his past, or where he lives, or anything about his personal life.
When Ethan is arrested while on a mission of mercy, the reason Cody is so tight lipped comes to light. And while Jacob and Cody fight to understand the depth of their feelings for one another, the police dogs catch their scent. So does the local mob.
Now Jacob has to make the hardest choice of his life: stay safe like a good boy, or dive headfirst into a world he barely understands…and hope Cody is there to break his fall.
Warning: Contains a good boy who wants to be bad, a bad boy who longs to be good, bodies that are canvases for living art and high-speed chases with police dogs.
Other People Like It Too:
“Readers will especially enjoy the way Bowery plays with stereotypes, gender roles and other social norms. A steamy, sexy read!” — Romance Times
“Truly, this is one book I will recommend for anyone looking for something that is angst-free and just feel-good all over. There was humor in it, the romance was very palpable with unbelievably hot steamy scenes and the writing was truly entertaining and engaging overall.” – Arch Bala Reviews
“High Contrast (Evolution Ink, #1) was my first book by Tess Bowery and will definitely not be my last. I am already dying for Evolution Ink #2!!! I LOVED the writing, super fun, very engaging, the flow was easy and overall quite addictive. Page turner. There was humor, drama, some angst and a lot of love and friendship.” – Riina Y.T.
“The writing was fluid. I loved the ease of Tess Bowery’s writing style, and the realistic edge to the storytelling, making it beyond easy to immerse myself in the debut of the Evolution Ink series. … Highly recommend this title to MM Romance fans who want a steamy, slow-burn romance, a solid cast of side characters, and zany yet not over-the-top adventurous hijinks” – Wicked Reads
How About Some Visuals:
Some teasers for promotional use:
Some Excerpts to Whet the Appetite:
Copyright © 2016 Tess Bowery
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
1. Jacob notices some changes at his brother’s tattoo studio, and meets the man about to shift his life into high gear:
Dave’s old station had been reopened, and that was something new. It had been sitting there empty since the guy had moved to California, the tool cabinet slowly gathering a thin coating of dust. Now a box of latex gloves sat on the shelf, a mirror hung on the wall at head-height, and an unfamiliar olive drab jacket had been tossed over the back of the sturdy swivel chair.
Travis had been muttering for weeks about hiring someone to take Dave’s place and do piercings—neither Ethan nor Val were all that interested in diversifying. No one else seemed to be around, though.
“Use the bathroom,” Ethan shouted back, even as Jacob got to the back. Too late; he’d already turned the handle and pushed the door partway open before the words and their meaning registered.
The lights were on in the private office. A duffel bag sat under the counter, a box of sterile needles on top. A small stack of rolled-up posters and picture frames rested against the wall, and the padded bench was occupied.
A man Jacob had never seen before—because God help him, he would have remembered every detail if he had—sat there, cross-legged, sorting out stacks of little baggies filled with barbells and rings. He looked up and smiled hesitantly, and Jacob’s brain, normally something he was really comfortable relying on in just about any given situation, turned to mush. The world narrowed to this: the roar of his pulse in his ears, and the burn of desire along his nerves.
He was such a perfect golden honey-blond that it couldn’t be real, his hair long enough to reach his shoulders and rumpled, falling to brush against the back of his neck. His eyes were so blue that Jacob could see the color from where he stood, wide and open and honest.
Don’t you think we’re exaggerating this a bit?
No, his treacherous brain decided without his input. We’re really not.
A black T-shirt clung to his shoulders, outlined the curves of his pecs before folding down around his waist. He wore cargo pants that looked like military surplus, and scuffed-up combat boots. The only weirdness in his whole anarchist-chic look was an old green-and-yellow knotted friendship bracelet tied snugly around one wrist. Silver-colored rings marched up the edge of each of his ears. He had plugs in the first ones, balls in his eyebrow and—help—his full lower lip as well. That had to hurt; it was too…too hot.
What would it feel like to kiss him with the barbell in? Would it be cool against his lips, or warm like his body heat? Jacob was staring, and the guy was staring back at him, and Ethan would never, ever, ever let him live it down if Jacob popped a boner just from looking. He had never felt so brutally, excruciatingly uncool in his life.
Say something smart, butthead.
“Uh, hi,” Jacob stammered. “Sorry, I can—I didn’t know anyone was—”
“No, it’s okay,” Gorgeous Man shook his head and unfolded his legs from underneath him, standing so smoothly and gracefully that it was simply unfair. “You’ve gotta be Jacob, right? I’m Cody. We haven’t met yet.”
He knows my name.
“Yeah, uh, how did you know?” he blurted out, and he had never been so intimately aware of his body before. His palms had gone damp, his heart was racing, and every time he opened his mouth he said something dumber than the last.
Gorgeous—Cody—just grinned, and it was infectious enough to make Jacob smile back and almost forget that he was in the middle of a really good panic. “Wild guess? Unless you guys are triplets, which would be cool too.”
“No!” Jacob said, starting to calm down and find his words again. The bottom half of a black and gray tattoo sleeve peeked out from under Cody’s shirt, flowers, clouds and waves spiraling around his right biceps and elbow in hypnotic motion. He’d fit right in here. Even Andi had let Ethan put his mark on her, up on her shoulders where it wouldn’t show unless she wanted it to. It didn’t give him an excuse as to why he was staring, though.
How about we go with “I’m a sadly single and lonely perv, and you’re too hot to be real”? No?
“That is,” Jacob said, “we’re not twins. I mean triplets. We are twins. Obviously. Except Ethan has the tattoos. Also…obviously.” And depressingly, the floor did not open up to swallow him whole.
Cody’s mouth curled strangely, and he made a funny noise halfway between a laugh and a cough.
“I just came back to use one of the rooms to change clothes. I didn’t realize anyone was in here. I’ll, um, go.”
“No, no, it’s fine,” Cody waved his hand in a gesture that could be either “it’s all good” or “come over here and kiss me.” Jacob was probably projecting a little bit on the second version. “You can stay, I don’t mind. I have to go up front and start setting up the jewelry case, so I won’t be in your way.”
He had to stop being ridiculous. This was Ethan’s new co-worker, and nothing more. They would cross paths sometimes when Jacob came by the store, might see him at a party or two, and that was it. Ethan’s friends didn’t automatically become Jacob’s, no matter how much he might wish it sometimes.
Like right now.
The whole point was, this was not a thing that was going to happen. Probability-wise, Cody was more likely to be straight than not. So be cool.
“Sure, thanks,” Jacob said evenly, and turned aside to dump his bag on the table. “I’ll be out of your hair in a minute.”
The jeans would have to wait until Cody had left the room. Old locker room coping skills or not, there was no way he could drop his pants right now. His fingers fumbled with the buttons of his shirt as Cody rustled around behind him, the sound of opening and closing drawers so much louder and more intrusive than it should be.
“Catch you later,” Cody said from the door. He sounded all casual and easy, but when Jacob glanced back over his shoulder, Cody hastily looked away. Was it his imagination or had Cody’s eyes flickered over him, just quickly enough to be a thing? Not slowly enough to be a leer, but it might have—could have—had he just checked Jacob out?
Not likely. Even if Cody didn’t turn out to be entirely straight, there was no way that a sexy anarchist body piercer would be the least bit interested in a dorktastic, video-game-playing, comic-collecting marketing intern.
If there was one thing Jacob had learned from Ethan, it was that twins or not, they lived in very different worlds.
“Later,” Jacob said, as nonchalantly as he could manage when his heart was pounding. He held his breath until Cody left the room and closed the door again. The air rushed out of him in a whoosh and he sagged against the table for support, his knees all gone to mush. “Holy crap,” he whimpered aloud.
Maybe Cody would turn out to be a jock jerk. Yeah, that would do. He would have been part of the popular crowd in high school. With looks like that, it was a given. He would have been a meathead, the kind who had liked to shove Jacob around and send him home with a bloody nose.
No, that wasn’t working at all. The image that flashed into mind, of Cody pressing Jacob up against the gym lockers, his arms with all those rippling muscles on either side of Jacob’s head, Cody leaning in close to deliver murmured threats…that did very different things to him. Very inappropriate things.
“Damn,” Jacob muttered aloud. He breathed deeply in a vain attempt to settle his racing pulse and wait for his sudden semi to die down. “I’m doomed.”
2. A rescue mission goes briefly, horribly right:
“I changed my mind,” Jacob grumped, perching on the edge of the big, green dumpster. Garbage day apparently wasn’t today, which was good, because it meant more chance that the bag they were looking for was still here. But also very bad, in that the rusty hulk of a disposal unit was filled halfway with bulging black garbage bags, plastic shopping bags full of unidentifiable things, cardboard boxes slowly turning to slime, and some kind of liquid that Cody had splashed down in that smelled like a cross between a bog and a year’s worth of stinky diapers. “Ethan isn’t worth this.”
The sun was setting, the light low and shadows falling across the back alley to hide their activities. Ethan had been really specific about where he’d ditched the drugs, and there had only been one dumpster in the alley when Cody and Jacob had scaled the fence behind it—Cody easily, lithe and athletic, looking like he’d done this sort of thing lots before. Jacob, managing to get the hem of his T-shirt and the hem of his jeans caught on the top wires simultaneously.
Born for a life of crime, he was not.
Cody stood, knee-deep in trash, and planted his knuckles on his hips. He tipped his head up and looked at Jacob, the last little bit of evening light deepening the shadows falling across his face.
“Come on,” he coaxed. “You take that side, I’ll search this one, and we’ll be done before you know it.” He pulled a couple of pairs of blue latex gloves out of his back pocket and waved them in Jacob’s direction. “You don’t get in within the next minute, you have to do it bare-handed.”
“Blackmail,” Jacob grumbled, but he turned around, grabbed on to the edge, metal scraping along his palms and dropped down into the body of the dumpster and out of sight of the road.
“Think of it this way,” Cody said, handing him a pair of gloves. “You’re not doing it for Ethan, you’re doing it for Travis. And to keep me employed.”
“Oh, well, in that case.” Jacob struggled with the gloves, then watched Cody as he puffed air into them and snapped them over his hands. Latex. That sent his imagination off into places it really did not need to be going while standing knee-deep in a dumpster. Oh no, don’t go there right now.
Where to start? Ethan had dropped the bag as he ran across rooftops, he’d said, which meant it should be on the top—unless some of the refuse had been dumped in on top of it after the fact. “There’s something alive in here.” He muttered the Star Wars quote under his breath, kicking aside a box of what used to be cornhusks to reveal a couch cushion with all of its springs sprung and half the fabric shredded.
“It’s just your imagination, kid,” Cody replied with Han Solo’s next line in the scene, and yeah. They were on the same wavelength. “As long as the sides don’t start sliding in, we’re doing okay.”
Jacob bent over, the cushion easier—psychologically, anyway—to grab with the gloves on, and Cody went quiet behind him. “Oh, come on,” Jacob grunted, the cushion springs wrapped around part of a bicycle frame. “Move!” He pushed it over, then glanced over his shoulder, only to catch Cody in the act of whipping his head away.
“What?” Jacob asked, straightening up and trying his best to control the urge to scrub his hands off against his ratty old jeans. They already had holes in the knees and a worn-out patch on the back pocket from where he shoved his wallet, the denim so soft from wear that it almost felt like suede in some places. The last thing they needed was to be eaten away by garbage-juice. “Did you see something?”
“No.” Cody shook his head. He scrabbled in his thigh pocket, his ever-present cargos loose against his legs but snugged beautifully tight against his ass. Cody pulled out a little penlight and used the small beam to illuminate the pile of crap closest to him. Were his ears pink again, or was that a trick of the light? “I like the new look, by the way,” he said, and his voice sounded funny, like something was caught in his throat.
“What, this stuff?” Jacob looked down at himself again. Ethan’s Clash T-shirt, because it had been on the top of the hamper and was one he wouldn’t scream about if Jacob wrecked it, his ratty old “dirty jobs” jeans and old sneakers. “It’s not quite a spandex super-suit, I know, but—”
“Nah,” Cody replied, still looking at the piles of garbage rather than at Jacob, the light playing slowly over one stack, and then another. “It’s good. More relaxed.”
“Yeah, that’s me to a T—all calm and Zen.”
A laugh burst out from Cody at Jacob’s muttered comment, then a snort, which made the hilarity of the moment really clear. He broke out laughing as well.
“Did you just snort?”
“Did you seriously just say you were ‘Zen’?”
“I do yoga, sometimes. When Andi makes me. I can be Zen.”
“I’d pay serious cash money to see that,” Cody snorted again, this time on purpose.
“Missed your chance, dude,” Jacob shot back, his mouth running away with him. “I do a mean downward-facing-dog.”
Annnnnnnnd train wreck moment.
This time, Cody’s flush was obvious, from the tip of his nose all the way down along his neck. “I’ll bet,” he got out, in a kind of strangled choking sound. “Not that I’ve—uh—” He trailed off, then pivoted the ninety degrees to put himself facing Jacob, only about a foot of distance between them in the confines of the metal dumpster. “Not that I’ve spent time thinking about that or anything,” he said. He reached for the back of his neck but caught himself before he rubbed it, flexed his gloved hand and dropped it back to his side instead.
“Yeah,” Jacob breathed out. “Me either.” He’d been so good, he really had. Jerking it to thoughts of Cody had been so tempting, God, he had all kinds of mental images to use for fodder there, and he’d felt Cody’s breath up close, knew what he smelled like, and the heat of his skin.
And Cody had turned him down, so it would have been so intensely creepy and disrespectful that he hadn’t done it. Not once. This was almost like permission now, this acknowledgement of the vibe between them, except—
“Your—uh—yeah,” Cody said nonsensically. Then, “You should definitely wear those jeans more often.”
Something squished under Jacob’s foot, and he didn’t dare look down to find out what it was. The smell was beginning to go away, that or he was getting used to it, and that idea was even worse. But Cody was practically standing toe to toe with him, their faces only a few inches apart, and—and? And what next?
Cody said something, thank God, and Jacob didn’t have to. “So, uh. Hypothetically speaking. If someone makes a bad call and they want to take it back, but real life doesn’t have save points and I—I mean—someone isn’t sure if the option’s even really open anymore, how long would a guy have to…take it back?”
He was pouting, almost, his soft, full low lip jutting out that tiny little bit that made Jacob want to bite it, and suck on it, and lick him everywhere that he could reach.
Except maybe after a really long shower with antiseptic soap. Now.
Keep cool, keep calm, be the Zen you want to see in the world.
Good idea, good mantra, because really what he wanted to do was say “yes, yes, any time, take all the time, I’ll wait a lifetime if I have to”—and that wasn’t exactly an answer to his question.
What would Ethan say in this situation?
“Depends what kind of bad decision we’re talking about here,” Jacob said.
Cody shrugged a shoulder, still searching Jacob’s face for something. “I’m thinking it might be the life-changing kind.”
The breath caught tight in Jacob’s chest and he couldn’t get air past the block. Act natural. “I thought you had ‘stuff’ to work out?”
A nod from Cody, and he looked away. Dammit! “I—yeah. I still do. But I’m getting really close to shouting ‘fuck it’ at the universe,” he confessed, his back straightening and his head high again. “And I wish I hadn’t turned you down when you asked.”
“Same here,” Jacob said, and despite the darkness, despite the smell and the unknown things underfoot, the urgent need to find the evidence and get out, Andi waiting for them in the car three blocks away—Cody was right in front of him and he was the only thing that was important in the world. “I think we can work something out.”
I’m going to kiss Cody, and we’re standing in a dumpster, up to our knees in moldy garbage and things I don’t even want to think about, and I’m going to kiss Cody. In a dumpster.
Somehow, this is typical.