The story behind Stud To Go
They say inspiration can strike you in the strangest places. Well, Amsterdam may not be that strange (though I can’t vouch for how you might perceive it if you’ve been sampling the produce on offer in the type of café that has Bob Marley painted on the window …), but it never fails to inspire my fiction. Take my last holiday there. Wandering back from an evening out in a nice little bar that serves a fine range of Belgian beer and a legendary Trappist cheese quiche, we spotted a bloke pulling up outside a canalside house on a tiny, puttering motor scooter. ‘Ah,’ said my other half, ‘looks like some woman’s ordered a delivery from Gigolo To Go.’ We laughed at the image, but the idea of a visiting escort service stuck in mind, though given that I’ve been writing a lot of m/m erotica recently, I decided this would be strictly males only. By the time we got back to our rented apartment, I had the outline of a story about an Englishman who loses his job in the city and turns to escorting as a way of avoiding having to go back home. What, I wondered, would happen if he met a client and made an intimate connection? Could he mix business with pleasure, or are there some lines you shouldn’t cross when you’re paying for sex?
That’s how Stud To Go was born. It meant some extensive research looking at pretty boys on a genuine Dutch gay escort site (I have such a hard life, you wouldn’t believe it…), and it enabled me to weave some of the places I’ve been to and loved into the tale of down on his luck Ben and photographer Jeroen Storm, the man who captures his heart as well as his likeness in some stunning naked portraits. And in the way these things do, an almost throwaway line about Jeroen visiting Aruba for work, and photographing a hot bartender called Clyde, sowed the seeds of another novella, Layover. But that’s a story for another time.
For now, here’s an extract to give you the flavour of Stud To Go. After his first assignment, escorting Jeroen to a charity dinner, Ben returns to the photographer’s apartment for a nightcap:
Did he really just want to talk? And why would I be so disappointed if that turned out to be the case?
Leaving me to add cream and sugar to my liking, Jeroen drank deeply of his own coffee.
‘Thank you once again for a very pleasant evening, Ben,’ he said, setting down his mug. ‘I really have enjoyed your company.’
‘Well, thanks for choosing me.’ I took a cautious sip of my drink. It tasted a lot better than I’d expected, the gin warming me all the way down to my belly. ‘Can I ask you, out of interest, why did you choose me?’
‘You have a certain look.’ His words echoed the ones Edwin had used when he’d first approached me to work for him. ‘I looked at some of those other boys and I knew I’d never be able to hold any kind of conversation with them. But you – well, you’ve obviously had plenty of practice at this type of thing.’
I laughed so hard I almost snorted coffee out of my nose. ‘Can I tell you the truth, Jeroen? Tonight was my first night. I only joined the agency two days ago. I’ve never done anything like this before, I promise you.’
‘Then we’re a good match. I’ve never taken a paid companion to a gala event before.’
I sensed there was more he wanted to add, but he rose abruptly from the couch, and went over to his PC, standing on a table beneath the window. With a couple of clicks of his mouse, soft jazz floated from the free-standing speakers.
‘But despite what I said earlier, I didn’t bring you back here simply to talk.’ Jeroen came to sit back beside me, even closer than before. ‘I’ve been wanting to do this all night –’
Putting a hand round the back of my neck, he pulled my face to his and kissed me. When I’d ticked it on Edwin’s form as something I was agreeable to – some escorts apparently considering it too intimate an act in a paid sexual encounter – I’d never expected to be kissed quite like this. Jeroen’s lips were soft against mine at first, but as his passion increased, his tongue pressed hard into my mouth, seeking to possess it. Eagerly, I responded to his advances, my cock swelling in the confines of my tight-fitting trousers.
Ben’s broke. The firm he’d been working for in Amsterdam has gone bust, and his employment options are limited, to say the least. But quite how has he found himself working for an escort service that makes him sound more like a takeaway pizza than a hot date? And what will he do when his feelings for his favourite client – urbane, successful photographer Jeroen Storm – go beyond a pure business arrangement?