Title: Throwing Hearts
Author: NR Walker
Genre: MM Romance
Tropes: Sweet and steamy; humour
A fun and sexy romance where the kiln isn’t the only thing that’s scorching hot.
Leo Secombe loves his life, and he’s convinced himself he’s happy to be single. In his spare time, he keeps himself busy at a local LGBTQ centre that pairs a younger person with a community elder to help them feel included in today’s rainbow family. Leo and Clyde have been buddies for a few years now, and signing up for a pottery class seems like fun.
Merrick Bowman has been so focused on getting his pottery business up and running that he’s forgotten how to date. How to live, even. But when a young, bubbly Leo and an older, grumpy Clyde walk through his door, Merrick has no idea how much Leo is about to centre his world.
Throwing clay has been Merrick’s entire life, but Leo’s about to change all that. Maybe Merrick’s ready to throw caution to the wind. And maybe he’s ready to finally throw his heart on the line.
Throwing Hearts is 55,000-words.
In this scene, Leo is telling his flatmate (and bestie, Kell) all about the cute pottery teacher, Merrick, and what he could find out about him on social media…
“Don’t make me wait, Leo,” she said. “I need all the details.”
“Well, he’s not married, and from what I can tell, he is single. There’s no Grindr profile, which is a relief. No photos of him with another guy, no holiday snaps, and his Instagram is all about his pottery studio. He’s been tagged in a few photos and seems to have a really cool group of friends. There’s even a few family photos, and no crazy cult mentions, either.”
“So basically you’re saying that he is single and perfect.”
“Pretty much, yep.”
Kell laughed. “So, show me the pics.” She nodded toward my phone.
I went straight to Instagram and found his profile. “Oh, he’s so cute!” She said. “Gotta love a guy who can put a rainbow flag in his profile.”
“I know, right?”
She scrolled some more. “Did he make these?” They were two large, round ceramic bowls with some kind of crazy glaze. They were refined, minimalist but earthy, and they looked incredibly expensive.
“I think so. Pretty sure he only tags and watermarks his own stuff.”
“Holy shit, he’s clever.”
“Uh . . . Holy shit he’s gorgeous.”
Kell laughed. “That too.”
She scrolled down some more until she came to a photo of six friends at a table in a restaurant somewhere. There were empty plates and wine bottles on the table. They were all laughing, and Merrick had captioned it with “love these people.” There were a few hashtags of friends and best friends, and they looked close and extremely happy.
Kell continued to scroll down through his posts until they found what looked like the grand opening of the studio. That was four years ago, and there was one photograph of Merrick inside his studio sitting at that long table, and he was laughing at something. It was a candid shot and strikingly beautiful. “Oh wow,” Kell said.
And then she did the most horrifying thing anyone could ever do.
She accidentally double-tapped.
She looked at me, aghast. “Oops.”
Holy flying shit balls. “What did you do?”
“I didn’t mean to!” She squeaked and handed me back my phone like it was on fire. “Oh, Leo. I’m so sorry. So, so sorry.”
I could literally feel the blood run from my face. She’d just double-tapped. On his photo. She had just liked his photo from four years ago, on my profile! He was going to get a notification that basically proved I’d been stalking him. “Oh, this is bad. This is so bad.”
“Maybe he doesn’t check his notifications.” She looked stricken. She pulled a couch cushion onto her lap and clung to it. “Maybe he doesn’t use his Instagram much. Check when he posted his last photo; then see how often he posts at all. He might not ever know. He might not even know it’s you.”
“My profile picture is my face, with my name, and that I’m part of the Bridge-the-Gap program is in my bio.”
“Oh God, Leo. I’m so sorry.” Her face lit up then with an obvious idea. “Ooh, we can change your profile picture and your bio. Here, give me your phone. He’ll never have to know.”
“Or I could just move to Peru and become a llama farmer,” I replied, not really joking. How was I going to face him on Friday? “Or maybe I can donate my body for organ harvesting a little sooner than expected.”
“Ooh, dibs on your liver.”
“Bitch, I need that.”
Kell laughed. “Well, llama farming could be fun.”
“I’ll have to tell Clyde we’re going to swimming instead of ceramics. If he ends up drowning Shirley, then I’ll go to prison as an accessory which, to be quite frank, is preferable to facing Merrick on Friday morning.”
Kell made a pained face. “I’ll bake you cakes with nail files in them. I promise. If you go to jail, that is.”
I patted her on the knee. “Thanks.”
“It’s probably the least I could do.”
“Well actually, dinner is probably the least you could do. Considering I now have to price some flights to Peru. Oh God, Kell. He’s going to think I’m a stalker.”
“I can do dinner,” she said, nodding furiously. “What would you like? You name it.”
“Carbohydrates and saturated fat. Pasta, pizza, ice cream. If I gain a hundred kilos in the next four days, he might not recognise me.”
She laughed again but gave me a frown. “Oh, man. I really am sorry.”
I sighed. “Well, what’s done is done. I guess. Unless we go all Mission Impossible and steal his phone. If he hasn’t seen it already.”
Just then, my phone pinged with a notification. An Instagram notification, no less. It flashed on the screen so quick, and my adrenaline was so spiked I wasn’t sure if I read the name correctly. My heart just about stopped! “Oh, God! I think that was him!”
“Quick, check it!” Kell cried, trying to peak at the screen. “What was it? Was it him?”
I opened the Instagram app, almost dreading what I would find. But there was Merrick’s profile . . . “Oh, sweet Jesus, he liked two of my posts.”
Kell’s face almost split in half with her grin. “Oh my God! That is . . . You’re welcome. That’s what that is, thank you very much for the double-tap.”
I laughed, relieved and amazed. “I can’t believe he liked my posts. One when I’m with Clyde, and the other was the pancakes we made last week.”
“The pancakes I made last week that you took credit for.”
“Well, crisis averted. You get to keep your liver and you don’t have to move to Peru, and Clyde doesn’t have to drown Shirley.”
But then something even more horrifying occurred to me. “Oh, holy shit balls. What do I do now?”
“You have to follow him!” Kell stated adamantly.
Oh God. I wanted to squeal and do some crazy dance but I was too chicken shit to even move. My phone buzzed again. “Oh, sweet mother of God, he just followed me.”
Kell did the squealing happy dance on my behalf. I tapped the follow button right back, and a few seconds later, I had a message.
Is this the same Leo who is half of the Leo and Clyde super duo?
N.R. Walker Bio
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…
For more about N.R. Walker you can find her at: