April 2, 2014
As I mentioned in the previous comments, Darren O’Connell and his sister Anne are both part of a band called ‘Celtic Cantrips’, so music is an important part of the story.
I got to have a bit of fun with modern and old music. For part of the climax, I wrote some new lyrics for the old tune “Greensleeves” for Hank to sing:
“Go back, go back, to the Eire of old,
where the shamrock blooms on earth so cold,
Go back, go back, to the Eire of old,
to the isle your heart does hold.”
“Dance, dance, feet bare in June,
under the shining silver moon,
Sing, sing, with a raptured tune,
in the isle your heart will swoon.”
“Sing and dance in the Eire of old,
where the faeries’ tales are often told,
Sing and dance in the Eire of old,
for your heart, love’s magic does hold.”
April 2, 2014
For the next excerpt, let’s fast forward a bit to chapter 2, and I’ll post the little tidbit that I’ll be reading at Rainbow*Con. Can’t believe the convention is only 2 weeks away now. I’m excited to meet and mingle.
Anyway, here’s the excerpt:
Shamrock Green, Chapter 2, Scene 1
Wrapping the towel tighter around his waist, Hank entered the steam room on the second floor. Heavy vapors swirled in the dimly lit space, making it nearly impossible for him to see. The room’s only source of light seemed to be the frosted glass door that had closed behind him. He took two steps into the clouded dusk and stood unobtrusively near the wall.
When his eyes adjusted to the foggy dim, Hank could see two figures sitting on a bench that flanked the opposite wall, but he couldn’t make out any details. One vague figure was a thin guy leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees in a closed posture. The other shape was much bulkier, more of a bear. He leaned back and spread open the gap in the towel wrapped around his waist, fondling himself. As the bear stroked his hand under the towel, he spread his legs wider apart to signal an invitation.
Hank didn’t find either figure very appealing, but at least the room was warm. His entire week in Ireland had been marred with clouds and a spitting drizzle that rarely found enough gumption to turn into real rain. The afternoons barely made it to seventy degrees, or twenty-one degrees Celsius as advertised by the little clock display of the tour van, quite a far cry from the ninety-eight-degree heat of June Hank had left behind in Texas.
The warm steam brought blessed relief after the eight nights of damp chill that seemed to settle into his joints and stiffen his journey-weary muscles. Leaning back into the wall, Hank let out a grateful sigh as he relaxed against the tiles. He could feel the first signs of a glistening sweat as the heat enveloping him warmed his skin and penetrated deeper into his tissues. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. His arches were still tired after the brisk walk through the Temple Bar district. More aggravation on top of eight previous days of much walking and hiking around the sights and towns where his tour bus stopped.
The room’s illumination suddenly increased when someone pulled open the door and stepped inside. Hank scanned the faces of the guys on the bench in front of him. The thin guy was definitely a twink, barely twenty-one, and the bear was probably pushing sixty. He felt no desire whatsoever for either man.
Before the door closed, he turned to glance at the new occupant. This nicely shaped silhouette was in his midthirties and not too tall, maybe five-ten — someone much more within Hank’s range of appeal. Hank flashed him a smile as the door slipped closed and the dusky dark returned.
Thirtyish-guy took a tentative step forward as his eyes acclimated. He took another step forward as Hank shifted his weight to the other foot. Hank looked up at the man’s face, but the thick mist obscured any details. While taking another step closer, the guy reached out his hand and lightly touched Hank’s left shoulder.
Hank leaned toward the hand in silent supplication. The man’s fingers lightly stroked the top of his shoulder and up the side of Hank’s neck. An involuntary sigh escaped from Hank as the gentle touching aroused him. The thin towel wrapped kilt-like around Hank’s waist offered no resistance to his swelling erection.
Stepping around, the guy stood facing Hank and put his other hand on Hank’s right shoulder. With both hands, he lightly kneaded at the bulge of knotted muscles on the sides of Hank’s neck resulting from the long week of carrying a heavy duffel bag.
Hank pushed himself from the wall to stand at his full height, short though he was, and reached his hand up to gently grasp and squeeze the shapely bicep of the man’s right arm. As Hank reached for the man’s clavicle with his other hand, thirtyish-guy removed his hands and pulled back, moving along the wall toward the room’s corner. He hesitated a brief moment at the back wall, then disappeared.
Hank walked to the corner and soon realized the wall he had been leaning against was merely a divider and at the corner, a gap opened into another room behind him. Trying to move nonchalantly, he followed the guy through the opening. He paused just inside the doorway. This room captured even less light, making it nearly pitch black. After a moment of visual acclimation, Hank could barely see the vaguest of shapes in front of him.
He walked to a bench discernable in the darkness. As he moved, a hand brushed against his butt while something else, maybe a hip, grazed his lower arm. When he neared the bench, a hand gently closed around his wrist and pulled him forward. Hank sat on the edge of the bench next to the shadowy figure turned sideways and reclining in the corner.
Another hand reached out and joined the hand around his wrist, slowly gliding and squeezing as it measured upward along Hank’s arm until it reached his armpit. A deep, masculine voice whispered, “Tá tú fear bideach.”
“Uh, ’scuse me?” Hank replied.
The hand stroking his arm paused. With a strong Irish accent, the voice asked, “No Gaelic?”
“No,” Hank drawled in his Texas tongue. “I don’t know any Gaelic. What did ya say?”
The man released his grip on Hank’s arm and slid his fingers along the shoulder to Hank’s neck. Hank felt hardened calluses on the thumb and fingers of the stranger’s hand, and he quickly realized this wasn’t the smooth hand of thirtyish-guy.
Gently cupping Hank’s head, the hand pulled Hank forward. Hank turned sideways on the bench to face the mysterious man in the corner, then scooted closer, until his hip rested against the shadowy figure’s hip.
Near Hank’s ear, the Irish voice whispered, “I said, you are such a tiny man.”
The lyrical sounds of the Irish voice whispering so near sent a slight shiver of pleasure through Hank. “Not tiny, I’m five-foot-four. Don’t ask me how many centimeters, coz I shur[A1] don’t know that.”
Hank felt the bursts of breath near his ear as the man quietly chuckled. “We usually measure height in meters,” the voice whispered back. “I would guess one-point-six, or 160 centimeters, if a bigger number makes you feel better.” The hand slid from Hank’s neck and around to the front, slowly sliding down to Hank’s chest. “Where are you from?”
The combination of the man’s touch and exotic accent sent a stronger shiver through Hank. “The U.S.,” Hank drawled in a shaky voice. “Texas, out in the boonies.”
The hand on his chest paused. “Are you afraid, Tex?” the strong Irish voice whispered in question.
As the lyrical words sent another shiver through Hank, he realized the contradiction hidden in the voice. It seemed so deep and strong, like it was used to bellowing with the calls of an army drill sergeant, but the lowered whisper tempered it with a softer gentleness. Hank reached into the darkness and found a stubbly chin. “No,” he replied firmly, as he stroked the firm prickly jaw with his fingers.
“Then, why does your voice tremble?”
Hank shrugged, but of course his new friend wouldn’t be able to see it in the misty dark. “Excitement. Anticipation, I guess.”
“Enough excitement to tremble?” the Irish voice asked. “How old are you, Tex?”
From the open side of the room, Hank felt another hand reach out from the dark and touch his knee, then that hand wrapped around and squeezed at his calf almost hard enough to hurt. Hank reached down and slapped at the hand, pushing it away. The hand returned again, this time on his thigh, but it gently sat without the squeeze. Hank turned back to the corner and answered, “I’m forty-one.”
The hand on his thigh quickly disappeared. The stranger’s hand on his chest didn’t hesitate; it continued exploring the tuft of hair over his sternum and moved toward one of Hank’s nipples.
“I see,” the strong voice replied, sounding almost amused. “And does Tex have a wife waiting for him in the States?”
“No, I’m queer as a three-dollar bill. Why would you think that?”
The shadowy figure chuckled and shifted before lips brushed against his ear. The intimate touch caused a quiver all over Hank’s spine.
In a very gentle whisper, the Irish voice replied, “I’m still a bit puzzled. A man over forty shouldn’t find sex quite so exciting anymore.” The hand moved from his chest up to the back of Hank’s head and followed his skull up to the top, feeling Hank’s short hair that curled slightly in the high humidity. “Is your boyfriend here? Or husband maybe?”
“Don’t have one.”
“But you seem so attractive. You’re not throwing blarney at me, I hope.”
“No,” Hank argued. “I did kiss the Blarney Stone yesterday, but it’s the truth.” He moved his hand across his new friend’s ear and around to the back of his neck, feeling the same short stubble he had felt on the jaw. He brought his hand up and over, finding the same buzzed stubble all over the stranger’s head.
“You were in Cork yesterday?” the Irish man asked from the darkness.
“Yes,” Hank answered as the shadowy figure shifted again. The lips gently brushed against his ear, then kissed it lightly before a warm, moist tongue lightly explored the ridges and valleys of cartilage. “Oh,” Hank said with a sighing tone as a jolting quiver raced down his spine and swelled his cock almost instantly.
Hank pulled his brain back into gear as the mouth explored his earlobe, then suckled lightly at his jaw. What was it about this man? He’d never in his life felt anything like this. With just a few whispered words or a gentle touch, this shadowy figure had the power to reduce him to quivering gelatin.
“Why?” the man asked in his ear.
“How come you are still single?” the whispery voice inquired.
“I just am.”
“Aye Jeust ahm,” the man replied with a teasing tone, trying to match Hank’s Texas drawl.
“Hush,” Hank scolded, reaching out and swatting the shadowy figure somewhere on the upper arm. “Yer not bein’ nice.”
The man chuckled warmly. “You are so bloody cute.” He reached up and stroked at Hank’s cheek. “I think you’re blushing, aren’t you.”
“Hush,” Hank hissed as his cheeks warmed and tightened with what he knew was indeed, a blush.
He chuckled again. “You didn’t really answer my question, love.”
“Just too selective, I guess,” Hank said as he reached out and found the man’s hand in the darkness. “I live in a smaller town, not much to pick from there.”
“Certainly there are other gay men in Texas, other places to find them,” the Irish man pointed out from the dark.
“Oh sure, I could drive to Dallas or Austin, or even Houston, if I just wanted to get off, but what’s the point? All that expense and road time just for a few seconds of pleasure?” Hank moved his grasp to the tips of the man’s fingers, feeling the hardened calluses that marred each finger.
“I see.” The hand on Hank’s cheek slid down and cradled his jaw. “Yet, here you are, Tex, in a bathhouse. Why?”
“It’s not such a big deal, dude,” Hank replied in a tone bordering on defensive.
“Dude,” the man repeated with another amused chuckle. “Maybe not, or maybe it is. It’s quite a puzzle, don’t you think?”
“Call it an act of desperation, then. The dinner show ran long tonight, and by the time I made it out to the bars, they were closing. Who ever heard of shutting down a bar at midnight? On a Saturday night even?”
“What time do the bars close in Texas?” The Irish man asked as the hand gently stroked Hank’s smooth jaw, moving forward to his chin.
“Close at 2:00 a.m., and that’s prob’ly only because they’re required to by law. They’d prob’ly stay open all night if they could.”
A thumb stretched up and stroked at Hank’s lip as the Irish man gently asked, “Why desperation?”
Someone groped at his foot in the dark. Hank pulled up his knees and scooted his back against the wall. “I wasn’t about to leave Ireland without touching at least one Irish pecker.”
The man chuckled as the shadowy figure adjusted position. “I see. And how many peckers have you touched tonight?”
“None, yet,” Hank admitted.
“Don’t try to blarney me. Even Texas guys don’t go to a bathhouse just to look,” the man said, sounding a little miffed.
“It’s the truth,” Hank reassured. “This is the closest I’ve gotten so far tonight.”
“And why?” the man asked in a whisper.
“I’m not exactly a gay dreamboat. I don’t fit the tall-dark-handsome or the hairy-bear molds, so I don’t generate much interest.”
“I see,” he replied.
Hank reached up and took the man’s other hand away from his jaw, examining the fingers and finding calluses on this hand as well. “What kinda work do you do?”
“Boring work,” the man dismissed flatly as the figure leaned further forward. Hank soon felt a warm breath on his ear, followed quickly by the exploring tongue. He sighed as he collapsed against the wall, feeling jolts with every flick and caress of the soft tongue as it moved over his ear ridges. Hank stroked the man’s buzzed head, rubbing the stubbly hairs and trying not to moan too loudly.
April 2, 2014
Yeah, a Texan in Ireland. I was lucky enough to take a vacation in Ireland in 2012, and the seeds of this novel sprouted as I was on the plane coming home, having some ‘what-if’ fantasies. You see, unlike the bolder character of Hank, I was a good boy and stayed with the tour group. So I could only imagine what I might have found had I struck out on my own.
You guys ready for an excerpt?
Chapter 1: Scene 1
Hank wandered deeper into the National Museum of Ireland, freezing in his tracks when he saw the metal feline on display. A skilled artist had crafted the beautiful piece from circular bands of brass and bronze. He slowly stepped closer to the case for a better view. The pattern of the yellow-orange metal designs made the figure look remarkably like a life-sized marmalade tabby cat sitting on his haunches on top of a wooden shoe box. The cat’s head angled to one side, as though he were preparing to lick his shoulder. The figurine’s eyes, cut from some kind of green gemstone, glowed with fiery life in the up-lit case.
As he neared the display, Hank glanced at the placard which indicated this was a clockwork piece entitled “Dancing Phouka” by Cona Philmo. Recognizing that name from working in his parent’s antique business, Hank knew of the renowned watchmaker of the 1920s era, but he’d never known the Portuguese artist also made clockwork pieces.
What a strange thing to find in a Dublin museum, Hank thought as he examined the cat through the glass. Well, it didn’t look exactly like a cat. Proportionally, his tail seemed a little too short and his shoulders seemed a bit too broad for a typical feline. Maybe those were just structural concessions the designer made to accommodate the moving metal gears and bits inside.
Hank noticed a small button installed next to the sign. As he reached out his hand to the button, a movement from the edge of the room snagged Hank’s attention. Ignoring the sudden chill he felt, Hank glanced at the corner, but saw only dark shadows. He peered around the rest of the small alcove and saw he was alone.
Hank pushed the button.
A movie of the clockwork in action appeared on a screen along the back wall of the display case. The metallic sounds of a music-box rendition of the song Greensleeves tinkled out as Hank watched in awe. The metal phouka first stretched out a paw, then tiny metal claws extended from its paw-pads before the clockwork cat stood up. With an hypnotically smooth movement, the phouka figurine then lifted to stand on his back legs. While the tune still played, the clockwork cat rotated his hips and lifted his front paws, like a slow-moving belly dancer. Hank watched in fascination.
As the song came to an end, the clockwork figure dropped back to all four paws before returning to the sitting position. After a slight flick of its tail, the music ended.
Hank stood in stunned silence. Granny would have loved this. Even though his eyes welled up at the thought, he smiled. It had always been his Granny’s dream to visit the homeland of their ancestors, but circumstances had never allowed for it before she passed on. Hank had scheduled this trip partly as a memorial in her honor.
Blinking heavily, he turned and read the descriptive placard.
Reported to have been the first work ever created by Cona Philmo, this clockwork music box is a shining example of early 20th Century craftsmanship.
The Phouka, thought to be the mythical cousins of Leprechauns, are often said to hide amongst humans in various disguises. Folklore speaks fondly of phouka, who were believed to be playfully benign, and sometimes even beneficial to humans. Cona could often be heard bragging that a live model posed for this unusual work.
(1969) Due to the delicate nature of the metalwork, the museum no longer runs the music box. Instead, please enjoy the movie of the clockwork in action.
Glancing at his watch, Hank saw that he still had about twenty minutes before it was time to meet the rest of the tour group in the museum’s front lobby. He scrunched his tired toes inside his sneakers as he looked at the small bench by the wall. He walked over and sat down to rest his feet before heading back through the maze to the front doors.
He stretched out his legs and flexed his ankles with a soft groan. Then, he lifted his feet and scrunched his toes again, working the tired muscles of his calves. Not that Hank hadn’t enjoyed every minute of his tour through Ireland, but he decided that next time he traveled, he would rethink the whole “tour bus” idea. He reached down and put his finger under the laces of his right sneaker and pulled up on the knot to try and loosen the shoe’s grip a little. The problem with the bus was how the group scurried so quickly from one town to the next, leaving Hank feeling as though he never had time to catch his breath in any one place. Or rest his feet. Maybe he was getting too old for a week’s worth of walking around.
He pulled at the knot of his other shoe before glancing up again at the glowing green eyes of the bronze and brass figurine. From this angle, the phouka’s eyes seemed to be gazing back at him.
Fighting the strange feeling that someone was watching him, Hank peered around the empty room again. His gaze snagged briefly on the shadows in the dark corner, but he failed to see anything. Quit being goosey, he scolded himself. I’m just tired, he thought reassuringly.
He stood and took one last admiring glance at the Cona clockwork before walking out of the room.
March 14, 2014
I’d like to thank you all for coming by and hanging out with me today. I’ve loved sharing with you and hope you’ll enjoy the story. Andrea M you’re the winner of the free copy and I will will have the lovely people at Dreamspinner add it to your bookshelf by tomorrow.
And here’s the excerpt that will hopefully whet your appetite:
DEVON WALKED into Mystique looking every inch the Master of the world. The truth wasn’t too far off. Inside his club there were many who called themselves Master, but here in this place, they all answered to him.
Tonight he wore black jeans and a dark red silk shirt, unbuttoned at the neck. His black jacket and boots completed the look. Devon didn’t favor the leather and chains look so many in his community seemed to be stuck on unless he was in a scene.
He radiated power as he walked down the hall and into the main room of the club. He was used to most eyes turning his way as he entered the room. The fact that they didn’t tonight was Devon’s first indication that something was wrong. When he looked to see what had captured people’s attention, his green eyes flashed with anger.
There was a crowd of people gathered around the raised stage in the middle of the club, watching one of the young men who worked there as a Dom beat a young man who was tied to the St. Andrew’s cross that sat on the platform.
Most of the people watching looked horrified but made no move to stop the torture.
The unfortunate sub had been beaten so badly that his back was bleeding in half a dozen places, and it was obvious this was some kind of punishment instead of a scene. He was limp in his bindings, and the pain in his shoulders must have been excruciating as the muscles were stretched to the limit when his legs failed to support him.
Devon spotted his manager standing uncertainly to the side. This was the man who should have been putting a stop to the chaos in front of him, but Devon could see that he was intimidated and trying to decide whether or not to stop it. He took the choice out of the manager’s hands.
Striding quickly to the stage, he caught the eye of the DJ as he went, and the music died. All eyes were finally on Devon as he shouted.
The Dom had just pulled his arm back to administer another blow and was startled when Devon yanked the flogger out of his hand.
The man spun to confront whoever had dared to interfere and visibly paled when he saw it was his boss. Devon smiled coldly at the man.
“Matt, I’d like you to explain to me what this poor sub has done to merit being beaten half to death.” He moved around so he could see the bleeding man’s face. Devon’s fury grew. The man wasn’t much more than a boy.
“He struck a Dom, sir.” Matt’s voice shook.
Devon gently pushed the hair back off the young man’s face and was gratified when he opened his eyes. However, the pure terror in the hazel depths made Devon even more furious. He ran his fingers through the man’s hair, trying to calm him down a little.
“Why? He obviously didn’t hit him for no reason.”
Matt just shrugged. “I don’t know. I didn’t see what happened. One minute the Dom was talking to him, the next he was flat on the floor with a broken nose. Don’t worry, sir, Jason took him to the hospital.” He made it sound like Devon should be proud of him for taking care of the Dom.
“And you didn’t ask why the kid hit him? Did it occur to you that he might have had a reason?”
Matt scowled. “Subs don’t hit Doms, sir. It’s the rule.”
Devon pulled himself to his full height. “In case you’ve forgotten, Matt, I make the fucking rules here! And rule number one is consent from all parties for everything! Are you telling me this man consented to this?”
Matt flinched even though Devon hadn’t raised his voice. When Devon lifted the flogger to look at it, his anger almost overwhelmed him.
The whip was actually a cat-o’-nine-tails that was about two-and-a-half-feet long. It was one of the nastier versions Devon had seen, with knots tied at intervals along the tails and the ends cut at an angle, all designed to cause the maximum amount of pain and damage.
“You used this weapon of torture on someone in my club? Are you out of your fucking mind?” Devon’s voice was starting to get louder, and as it did he could feel the sub shake harder. He knew he had to calm down and get the injured man taken care of.
Taking a deep breath, he threw the flogger across the stage to land at the feet of his manager. “You are not a Dom. You’re just a fucking bully. Now get the hell out of my club. You’re done here.”
Matt opened his mouth to speak but stopped when two of the bouncers who had been with the club since it began stepped forward at a gesture from Devon. With a giant man on either side of him, Matt had no option but to move in the direction they wanted him to go. He went quietly.
Devon turned back to the sub. He’d started moaning in pain, although Devon could see that the man was trying hard to be quiet.
“If the rest of you wouldn’t mind, could you please step back and give us some room to work?” He looked over his shoulder and saw Andy and Joe walking toward the stage. They must have just arrived or this wouldn’t have been happening.
“Could you two give me a hand here?”
“What in the hell’s going on, Dev?” Andy’s eyes widened when he saw the sub’s back. “Who did that? I’ll fucking kill ’em!”
“Someone who is no longer employed here. We’ll talk about it later.” Dev leaned in to talk quietly in the sub’s ear.
“What’s your name, sweetheart?” He couldn’t resist tucking a lock of hair behind the other man’s ear. His face was so innocent he couldn’t imagine him lashing out at anyone in anger.
“Chase, Sir.” His voice was wrecked, hoarse and raw from screaming.
“Chase, we’re going to get you down from here and figure out what’s going on, okay?”
Chase nodded. “I’m sorry, Sir.”
Devon rubbed the back of his knuckles gently over Chase’s cheek. “Shhh, just be quiet for now, sweetheart. We’re gonna take care of you.”
Looking back at Andy, he motioned for him to start untying Chase while Joe ran off to grab the gurney they kept to help move patrons who were sometimes overwhelmed in intense scenes.
Devon stood beside Chase, moving in front of him and holding his weight when Andy finally got both the limbs on one side untied.
Chase was trying hard to hold himself up, but Devon knew he was seconds away from collapsing. “It’s okay, Chase. You can lean on me. I won’t let you fall.”
Chase put his forehead on Devon’s shoulder, both arms hanging down by his sides, apparently too weak and in too much pain to grab on to anything.
“Who’s your Master, Chase?”
Chase trembled at the question, and for a moment, Devon didn’t think he was going to answer.
“James, Sir, James Kingston.”
Devon sighed. “Why am I not surprised?”
Joe came with the gurney then, and they managed to manhandle Chase onto it, laying him carefully on his front. Once he was settled, Devon looked at the crowd.
“Did any of you see what happened?” He needed to get to the bottom of this. If Chase was seriously hurt, this little shit show could cause him real problems.
Everyone shook their heads, but Devon knew some were lying. He watched as a pretty little dark-haired sub he recognized leaned in to whisper in her Dom’s ear. Her Dom looked at her in surprise before nodding at her.
She walked up and stood in front of the stage, head bowed and hands clasped in front of her until he spoke.
“Pardon me, Sir, but I saw Chase’s Dom walk him in and sit him at the bar. He whispered in his ear and then walked to the booth in the corner, leaving Chase alone.” The poor girl was shaking, but she bravely kept talking.
“The Dom and his friends watched as people came up to Chase and talked to him. Chase always said no to offers of company, and they walked away. But then one of the men from his Dom’s table came up and wouldn’t leave him alone. I don’t think Chase knew the man was with his Master, Sir. He couldn’t see the booth from the bar.
Devon was pretty sure he knew what had happened next, but he nodded for her to continue. She was nervous, and he was happy when her Dom came up behind her and wrapped his arm around her waist, offering her comfort.
“The man pulled Chase off his stool and tried to push him to his knees, and that’s when Chase hit him.” She looked up at Devon, begging him to understand. “Sir, I don’t think Chase meant to hit him, he just… panicked. He’s shy, and his Master doesn’t take him out much. Please don’t be too angry at Chase, Master Devon.”
Devon walked to the front of the stage and crouched down to smile at her. “I’m not mad at Chase, Katie. He’s not the one in the wrong here. Thank you for telling me. Do you know where his Dom went?”
She shook her head. “No, Sir. When everyone started freaking out, he just left as fast as he could, leaving Chase behind.” The look on her face told Devon exactly what she thought of the cowardly asshole who’d abandoned his sub.
Devon leaned in and kissed her on the forehead and nodded gratefully at her Dom. They were a couple who came in often, and Devon knew they were a devoted pair.
“Don’t worry, Katie, we’re going to take care of Chase, I promise.”
She smiled at him, tears causing her eyes to shine a little brighter. She turned in her Dom’s arms, and he held her and soothed her as they walked away.
Devon looked over to where Andy and Joe were trying to tend to Chase’s injuries. He stood and walked off the stage to join them.
“Does he need to go to the hospital?”
Andy shrugged. “I don’t know. He won’t let us get close enough to look and keeps insisting he isn’t going to see any doctors.” Dev could see the frustration on his friend’s face.
Dev crouched down so he could look Chase in the eyes and started stroking Chase’s dark, sweaty hair. “Hey, sweetheart, what’s going on?”
“Master said no one touches what’s his and no doctors. They ask too many questions.”
Devon continued petting him, running his fingers down the back of Chase’s neck to try and ease the tension there. “I’m touching you.”
“You’re the Master here. This is your place. It makes it okay, I think.” His voice was so quiet it was hard to hear, and Dev could tell he was struggling to make sense of things.
Dev smiled encouragingly at him. He knew he had to help Chase feel comfortable so that he’d let them help him. “Let’s get you to my office and get you checked over. If I decide you need to go to the hospital, you’re going, no arguments, all right?”
Chase nodded, and Devon stood up. He could see the other man making an aborted move toward Devon’s hand, and his heart twisted in sympathy. Chase was terrified and had apparently attached himself to Devon without his Dom to turn to. He laid his hand over Chase’s, smiling when the injured man turned his hand palm up and curled his fingers around Dev’s almost painfully.
Devon looked toward the crowd. “Please feel free to continue to enjoy yourselves, but keep this in mind. I won’t tolerate this kind of brutality in my place. Remember, these amazing people put themselves in your care, and it’s your duty as their Doms to make sure they’re safe while they’re with you. Don’t abuse the gift they’ve given you if you want to keep it.”
The last was said as a warning, and the Doms in the room knew James Kingston was going to be sorry for ever trying this kind of brutal game in Devon’s world.
March 7, 2014
Not what you’re thinking … this is my first release and wide-audience blog. Sorry it’s a little late in the day, but got called into work and while I love writing, it doesn’t quite pay the bills … yet.
I’m JR Shelley, author of the newly-released ‘Forever Fantasy.’ It’s my first M/M novella, so I’m kinda nervous at its reception. Thought I’d start off with an except, give you guys a taste of the story.
“I’m just not used to someone wanting to spend time with me and….” Logan paused, running his finger along the rim of his mug.
“And not want something in return.”
RJ put his hand over Logan’s. “I do want something in return.”
Logan stared at him. “What?”
“I want your friendship. I want to help you deal with your demons.”
Logan gave him a half-smile. “Thanks. How about a walk on the beach? I find the ocean very calming.”
“I don’t know much about romance.”
“Simple gestures can be romantic. My favorite is to be surprised with breakfast in bed.” The waiter brought their food out.
“Look, I probably should have asked earlier, but… you have someone waiting on you back home?”
RJ let out a sigh. “No, not anymore. Another reason I came out here. He… he died.”
“I’m sorry. I… I shouldn’t have asked.”
“No, it’s okay. It’s been a little over three months. He was someone I met in the military. He couldn’t… he couldn’t deal with his demons.”
“He treated you to breakfast in bed?”
RJ smiled, even through the sad eyes. “Always on my birthday. And a few times just because.”
“I’ll keep that in mind if I ever, you know, find someone.”
“I hope you do.”
They finished breakfast and headed toward the beach, hand in hand. The skies were turning a bit gray, a hint of rain in the air.
“You sure you want to head out? Looks like the sky’s going to open up.” RJ stopped to look at the clouds on the horizon.
“A little rain won’t kill us. Anyway, isn’t rain romantic?” Logan waggled his eyebrows.
“You can be corny sometimes, you know that?”
“Part of my charm.”
“Okay, Prince Charming, lead the way.”
They got about a half mile down the beach toward the outcropping of rocks when the soft rain started. RJ leaned up against a large boulder, rain plastering his clothes to his skin.
Logan put his hands on either side of RJ’s head, dipping his own head in close, then back out, the lightest of kisses between them as the rain fell. Soon they were exploring each other’s mouths, their bodies touching chest to groin.
Logan was about to give in to the sensation of RJ being so near when RJ pushed him back. “Not now.”
“Being groped on the beach in the rain not doing it for you?” Logan stepped back.
“No, it’s not that. I want more for you.”
Logan wrinkled his brow. “More for me?”
“Not a quick hand job or blow job on the beach. Tell me, what do you feel right now?”
“Honestly, a little tight in the pants and it’s not all because of the rain.”
“No, how do you feel, up here?” RJ tapped Logan’s head.
“What am I supposed to feel?”
RJ looked pained. “God, I’m so sorry.”
“You don’t feel anything? Nothing for me, nothing for the beauty of the moment?”
“I know I want to make you feel good.”
RJ shook his head. “What do you want?”
Logan stepped back even farther, almost like he’d been struck. “Why would it matter what I want?”
RJ pulled him back, wrapping his arms around him. “It matters. You matter to me.” He turned them, with Logan now against the rock. “Feel me. Feel me… loving you.” RJ claimed Logan’s lips, sending him a passionate kiss. “Tell me what you want, right here, right now. Don’t think about me. Just tell me what you want.”
“I… I want you. To feel your lips on mine, your hands on my body.”
“That I can do.” RJ kissed his lips, nibbling down his neck while he slid his hand up under Logan’s wet T-shirt. He gently caressed Logan’s chest. “Just feel. Don’t think about me, be selfish. Enjoy being loved.”
That’s a bit from the story. I hope you like it.
Here is the buy link at Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4754
I’ll be back later, hopefully to run a contest to win a copy!
February 18, 2014
Okay, Guess who???
I’m here with the last excerpt and question. Good luck everyone. Remember, don’t posts your answers any earlier then two o’clock, EST. I’ll see you at the cocktail hour with a drink and three winners in hand. For you not familiar with cocktail hour, that’s 5pm EST. This so exciting!!!!
Hank was standing over the stove with a wooden spoon in each hand as the sound of Norah Jones wafted through the house. He was swaying and humming along to Norah’s sultry version of the “Tennessee Waltz” while stirring a pot of yellow cheese grits with one spoon and a sauté pan of jumbo shrimp and Andouille sausage with the other. A thought suddenly hit him, and he turned his head to one side, deciding what to do about it.
He lowered the flame on both burners, picked up his cell phone, and opened his contacts, choosing the contact he’d programmed earlier that day for Garner. While the call connected and started to ring, Hank found himself swaying again to Norah’s soulful sounds.
He stopped when he heard Garner’s voice. “Hey, Hank.” Garner had obviously checked the caller ID before he answered.
“Hey, man, how’s it going?”
“Pretty good. Thompson and I just finished checking in the last arrival, and I’m about to head down to the boat to unwind for a second and then shower.”
Hank felt a wave of panic and looked down at his watch. Six forty-nine. He went over his mental checklist. He still had to finish dinner, set the table, shower, and pick up Garner, and he had just over an hour in which to do it all.
“Yeah, I’m here. Boy, do I need to get a move on, though. I just wanted to make sure you weren’t allergic to shellfish or see if there was anything else I should know about your diet.”
“Nope. No food allergies that I’m aware of.”
“Okay, good. Gotta go! See you at eight.”
“Okay,” Garner said with a chuckle.
Hank ended the call and went back to the stove. He dipped his spoon into the simmering grits and brought the cheesy mixture to his mouth. “Ummmm, perfect. One down.”
He turned off the burner, covered the pot, and turned his attention to the shrimp and sausage mixture.
As he pushed the shrimp and sausage around in the pan, listening to Norah sing “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today,” he thought about Thompson for some reason. Garner mentioning his name on the phone triggered a couple of memories that had stuck with him all day and he wasn’t sure why. For starters, he’d stopped by the marina midmorning with some bagels for Garner and Thompson. When he’d found the office empty, he’d approached the large window and found them coming up the dock, Thompson’s arm slung over Garner’s shoulder and both of them laughing hysterically. The scene had struck him as odd because ever since Caroline’s death, Thompson had been very reserved and mostly closed off. In fact, Hank hadn’t seen him crack more than a smile for as long as he could remember. But then they’d stopped laughing suddenly, and it looked as though the mood or conversation had taken on a more serious tone. They had continued up the dock looking like each of them had more to say, and, not wanting to get in the middle of anything, Hank had slipped out unnoticed.
Then when he’d come back to the marina on that call, it looked like they were into something heavy again, so not wanting to interrupt this time either, he’d said hello, but chose not to stop and headed right for his boat. But as he was on the water leaving the marina, he saw Thompson throw his arms around Garner, saw Garner make some move to get free, then Thompson’s arm was around Garner’s neck, and they were walking up the dock laughing again. I wonder what is going on with those two? Then it hit him like a ton of bricks. Holy shit! Am I jealous?
Hank realized that he really liked spending time with Garner. He didn’t know where it was headed, but he liked him enough to go along for the ride. He hadn’t felt any type of connection to anyone in such a long time, and he was damned excited about it. Garner was smart, good-looking, sexy as hell, and had a wicked sense of humor. All the traits he liked in a man. Some of the excitement waned a bit with his next thought. Six weeks, Hank! He’s only here for six weeks. Be careful and don’t go getting your heart broken.
The sizzling sound of the food brought him back to reality, and he decided to push the thoughts to the back of his mind for now. Besides, he could ask Garner what was going on between him and Thompson tonight.
Hank tasted one of the shrimp. “Just about done,” he said under his breath. “I think I’ll let them marinate for a while and finish them off right before I serve them.”
He turned off the gas burner, moved about the kitchen getting dishes, silverware, and placemats together, and headed for the dining room. “That Yankee isn’t going to think twice about Thompson Gray when he gets a taste of my famous Southern Shrimp & Grits. A way to a man’s heart through his stomach and all that.”
When the table was set, he stood back and admired his work. He glanced at his watch again. Forty minutes to go. Not bad, Hank. Not bad at all.
Garner was standing outside the marina entrance when he saw the white F150 round the corner. He waved as the truck pulled up and stopped. The power window came down and the driver leaned out. “Hellooo, sailor! Looking for a ride?”
“If you’re going my way,” Garner retorted.
Hank grinned and winked. “Oh yeah, I go your way.”
Hank put the truck in park, hopped out, and stole a quick kiss on Garner’s cheek.
“Thanks,” Garner said. “You look great, by the way.”
Hank was wearing a nicely pressed blue chambray shirt over a bright-orange T-shirt, khakis, and brown driving shoes.
“Thanks. You too.”
Garner felt underdressed in his amber-colored V-neck T-shirt, blue jeans, and blue-and-gold Nikes. He ran his hands down the front of his shirt. “This old thing?”
Hank laughed and opened the door. “Yes, that old thing. I like the way it brings out the blond in your hair. Now get in there, silly.”
Garner watched Hank run back around, jump in, and buckle his seatbelt. He moved with a confident grace and Garner liked it.
As the truck sped up, Hank leaned over and patted Garner’s thigh. “How was the rest of your day? When I came back from my call, Thompson said you were out.”
“Yeah, he asked me to run a marina guest up to West Marine to pick up a replacement bilge pump.”
“God, I love that store,” Hank said. “If I ever sold my business, I would really like to work there. The only problem I can foresee is I’d buy so much shit, I’d owe them money at the end of every pay period.”
Garner nodded in agreement. “Me too. I’m afraid I’d be right there with you.”
The short ride back to Hank’s place was filled with the usual back-and-forth banter they’d become accustomed to in the short time they’d known one another.
In less than ten minutes, Hank pulled into the driveway of a beige bungalow-style home boasting a white wraparound porch with a swing, white wicker furniture, and green-and-white striped upholstery. Dark-green shutters and a pale-yellow door finished off the exterior. Garner thought it looked like something out of a magazine. The landscaping was perfectly manicured and the outdoor lighting was spot on. There was soft lamplight coming from all the windows, and the entire place looked warm and inviting.
“This is absolutely charming,” Garner said, taking it all in.
Hank put the truck in park, rested both hands on the steering wheel, and stared at his house as if he was seeing it for the first time himself. “Thanks, I’ve owned it for about a year and just finished renovating the entire thing.”
Garner opened his door. “Come on, I can’t wait to see the inside.”
Hank hopped out of the truck, apparently as eager to show off his place as Garner was to see it. They walked into a spacious foyer with at least twelve-foot ceilings. There was a round leather-inlaid drum table in the center with a bouquet of fresh flowers and a secretary with a Chippendale chair against the back wall. A powder room was recessed in the back right corner. Garner turned to the left and saw a formal dining room, complete with romantic table set for two. He stepped into the room, admiring one thing to the next. He stopped when he saw a large antique cupboard in the far corner loaded with some type of porcelain. “Everything is lovely, but this piece is spectacular.”
“Thanks. It was my grandmommy Ellen’s, right down to the very last piece of porcelain inside of it. It’s one of my two prized possessions.”
“And the other?” Garner asked.
Hank’s very being seemed to be filling with pride as he took Garner by the hand and led him across the foyer to the formal living room.
“And this is the formal living room,” he said with the wave of his hand.
Garner followed in awe, certain his mouth was hanging open from the sheer beauty surrounding him. There was a royal-blue tone-on-tone striped camelback couch sitting in the center of the room with two tapestry-upholstered Martha Washington chairs flanking a large fireplace. End tables and other accent pieces effortlessly placed here and there donned the room and created a comfortable but elegant feel. There was a hall at the far right, which Garner assumed led to the bedrooms, and closed double french doors across the back wall. But before he could ask where they led, he spotted a triple mahogany chest of drawers with shiny brass pulls against the back wall. “That’s got to be the other piece.”
“Bingo,” Hank said. “You have a great eye.”
He ran his fingers across the top of the long chest, admiring it. “I don’t know about that, but it’s hard to miss this example of fine craftsmans—”
Before he could finish his sentence, Hank’s lips were covering his. It was a long, deep, and slow kiss. Hank’s tongue explored every crevice of his mouth, and when it ended, it left Garner breathless and wanting more.
Hank brushed the side of Garner’s face with the back of his hand. “I’ve been wanting to do that since I saw you early this morning.”
Garner smiled at the compliment. Then something didn’t sit right with that statement. He thought for a second. This morning? I didn’t see him until this afternoon. “You mean this afternoon?” Garner corrected.
“Nope. This morning,” Hank restated with a nonchalant tone.
Suddenly, memories of an earlier time back in New York when he’d had an overzealous admirer that had turned into amateur stalking flooded Garner’s memory. Stop it, Garner. He doesn’t appear to be the stalker type. And besides, if he were really stalking you, would he tell you about it? He pushed those ridiculous thoughts out of his mind, but he must have still had a concerned look on his face that didn’t go unnoticed.
“Don’t worry, I’ll explain over dinner,” Hank volunteered.
Garner opened his mouth to protest, but Hank held up a finger. “It’s really nothing. I promise.”
Question: What color was the camelback couch in Hank’s living room?
February 18, 2014
Good Morning Again,
Scotty Cade here again with your second excerpt and question. Remember, you have to answer questions correctly from all three excerpts to be eligible to win.
Doctor Garner Holt stepped through the companionway of his fifty-five foot sailboat, AquaTherapy, carrying a hot cup of coffee and a plate containing a stale cinnamon bagel and what little cream cheese he could scrape out of the container. “Guess it’s time for a grocery stop,” he said to himself as he examined his breakfast. He balanced the plate and cup, trying not to spill either as he made his way onto the bow and took a seat. There was a gentle breeze blowing out of the east and the sun was now peeking just above the horizon. He looked up out of habit to check his rigging and was amazed how the impending sun was causing the lingering dew to glisten like little diamonds. He caught movement to his left and saw a very regal blue heron perched on an old log along the bank with its long beak hovering just above the water, waiting for breakfast to swim by.
His gaze was interrupted when he heard a splash and turned to see a pelican floating right off the starboard bow with its head tipped up and a lump wiggling as it went down its throat. “Damn, even the bird’s breakfast is fresher than mine,” Garner chuckled, taking a bite out of his bagel and chewing and chewing and chewing. After he swallowed, he inhaled the fresh air and sighed. Despite his breakfast, there was beauty in every direction, and he savored the simple moment. “I could never have seen this stuff from my office window at the hospital,” he mused.
For the last nine years before his early retirement, he’d been the head of psychiatrics for the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Back then he’d been a very career-driven man, working twelve to fourteen hours a day. In the beginning, the grueling schedule had been exhilarating, but over the years it had proven to be very detrimental to any sense of a personal life. His job had always come first, which didn’t leave much time for a healthy relationship, though in the beginning he’d tried to juggle both. One failed attempt after another had convinced him that he just wasn’t cut out for relationships, and eventually he stopped trying. Ultimately, the burnout he’d heard about started to descend on him, and the last two years had been a real struggle. One morning he looked in the mirror and realized he no longer recognized his own reflection. He had deep circles under his eyes. He was pale in color and looked much older than his thirty-six years. That morning, he’d decided enough was enough. In the weeks that followed, he’d resigned his position, sold his apartment and all of his belongings, and started to simplify his life. Growing up, he and his dad had been avid sailors. He’d always enjoyed the isolation and quiet pleasure it brought and had dreamed of sailing off into the sunset one day. The day he bought his shiny new Beneteau Oceanis was his “one day!” That had been almost six months ago, and as he made his way to points south, he’d not once regretted his decision to trade his hectic job for a life of exploration on the water.
Garner looked around again and mentally complimented himself. He’d made a great choice yesterday afternoon when he’d chosen to anchor in this very secluded cove just north of Savannah. He’d been on the water for a few months and recalled his journey, which had started in Manhattan. On his first day out, he’d followed the East River to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, spent a few days on the beaches of the Jersey shore, and then sailed the Atlantic Ocean to Cape May, where he entered Delaware Bay. From there, he’d made his way down to the Delaware River and through the manmade waterway connecting the Delaware River with the Chesapeake Bay called the C&D canal. He’d taken his time and enjoyed the many great anchorages along the Chesapeake, eventually ending up in Norfolk, Virginia, where he entered the Intracoastal Waterway, or the “Ditch,” as boat captains call it.
His plan would take him along this well-traveled waterway as far south as Biscayne Bay, where he would again venture out into the Atlantic Ocean and head for the Florida Keys. When he was tired of the Keys, he would head east to the Bahamas and eventually the Caribbean and the Virgin Islands.
Garner finished breakfast and rubbed his aching jaw. “I’ve got to get some groceries before my jaw gives out.”
He went down below, stowed his gear, secured the cabin, and headed topside again to raise the anchor and get his day started. He pressed and held the engine heater button for ten seconds, then pressed the starter. The Westerbeke diesel turned over several times, but it didn’t start. What the hell? She always starts immediately.
He gave it a few seconds and then tried again. Still nothing. “Damn,” he hissed. “This day is going downhill pretty fast.”
Garner glanced at the fuel gauge and mumbled to himself, “Half full.” He checked the other gauges. Engine temperature. “Good.” Oil pressure. “Good.” After verifying everything topside, he went down below and opened the engine compartment. He checked the oil and coolant, and both were well within the normal operating ranges on the dipsticks. Next he checked the fuel filter. It appeared to be clear. Lastly he inspected the water intake strainer to make sure it wasn’t clogged, and it was clear as well. He went topside again and gave it one more try. Nothing. The engine easily turned over so he knew it wasn’t the battery.
He put his hands on his hips and stared at the starter buttons, willing the damn things to work. It just doesn’t seem like the engine is getting any fuel.
“Fuck it,” he said as he went down below again and searched his boat files for his membership card. “That’s why I pay a yearly fee for a towing service.”
He unclipped his cell from his belt and dialed the number, requesting a tow to the nearest marina. He gave the guy his name, his boat’s name, and his GPS coordinates, then ended the call.
While he waited for the towboat, he checked his waterway guide and found the nearest marina was the Thundercloud Marina, about three miles north of his present location. He once again retrieved his cell phone and dialed the number from the waterway guide and waited. After several rings, someone answered.
“Thundercloud Marina, this is Thompson.”
“Good morning, Thompson, my name is Garner Holt. I’m anchored off the Intracoastal a few miles south of you, and I’m having some engine problems.”
“Sorry to hear that, Captain. How can I help?”
“I just requested a tow from BoatUS,” Garner shared. “The guy said he would be here in about an hour, and we’re approximately three miles south of you. Do you have a mechanic on site who can take a look?”
“Yes, sir, we do,” Thompson said. “What type engine?”
“A seventy-five horsepower Westerbeke diesel.”
“Got it,” Thompson said. “I’ll have someone standing by when you get here.”
“Thanks, man, I’ll see you in a couple of hours.”
“We’ll be waiting.”
Garner ended the call. Nice telephone voice.
Questions: What horsepower and make was the engine on Garner’s sailboat?
February 18, 2014
My name is Scotty Cade and I’m looking so forward to chatting with you today. I’d like to introduce you to my latest novel, “Sunrise Over Savannah,” which released yesterday over at Dreamspinner Press. Here’s a link if you want to take a quick look. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4716.
This book is very near and dear to my heart and was inspired by a real life person named Thompson and an event that happened at a marina where Thompson worked in Savannah GA. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:
On one of our many October trips down south on our boat, my husband and I, traveling with our best friends stopped in Savannah GA for an overnight stay. The deck hand who greeted and docked us was one of those young, gorgeous, friendly, and charismatic guys you stumble onto every once in a while. He had shoulder length blonde hair, emerald green eyes and a smile that might, if bottled up, finally achieve world peace. Although we had just met him, we were all instantly drawn to him and knew he was the type that you and everyone else wanted to hang out with. He was just that amazing. As I mentioned, his name was Thompson and the best thing about him was that he seemed oblivious to his charm and good looks or the affect he had on the people around him. Now imagine four homosexuals on a boat, Kell and I in our mid fifties and our friends in their mid seventies all making conversation and batting our eyelashes at this kid. He didn’t blink an eye, just smiled and chatted us up for over an hour. I knew immediately that I wanted to write a book about him, the only issue was the plot line.
Much to my surprise, it didn’t take very long for that to present itself either. The next morning just before sunrise. I was awake early, as we were leaving at first light for our next day on the water, and I always checked my charts and the weather, you know, all the nervous nell stuff boat captains do. So I was on the fly bridge of our boat listening to the marine weather loop sipping my coffee and saw a man standing on the edge of the dock holding his own cup of coffee watching the sun peak over the horizon. For most of the time, all I could see was his back and even with my limited view, I recognized his well, defeated stance . His shoulders were slumped and his head was tilted to one side. It wasn’t until he turned and made his way past our boat that I really saw the solum and forlorn expression he was wearing. The sight took my breath away and haunted me for a long timer. The whole thing left me feeling empty and yearning for answers. I asked around a little, not wanting to pry and no one knew the guy or had even seen him, so I never got the answers I sought. But the image of him on that dock watching the sunrise??? It stayed with me and still today, it is as clear as if it happened yesterday. And for anyone who knows me, if something like this stays with me, it will surely end up a novel or at the very least, in a novel of mine. Weighing heavy on my mind, the story unfolded rather quickly, practically wrote itself and I’m very proud of it. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Much to my dismay, when we stopped at the same marina on our latest trip, he was no longer working there, apparently chasing an acting career. Go Thompson! See you in Hollywood!
So with all that said, today I will be giving away three copies of Sunrise Over Savannah eBooks and here’s how I’m gonna do it. Over the course of the morning, I will post three excerpts from the story. At the end of each excerpt, I will ask a question related to that particular excerpt. Starting at two o’clock this afternoon, you can posts your answers and everyone who answers all three questions correctly will be entered in the drawing. At five o’clock I will posts the correct answers and announce the winners.
You’ll need to check in multiple times because you have to get all three answers correct to be entered into the drawing.
February 14, 2014
I am sending my hunky waiters around to serve you all some drinks Please enjoy while I share an excerpt from my book – Holding on to Hope.
Leslie felt eyes on her, and she looked across their table. A pair of freakishly blue eyes stared in their direction. They belonged to a man, a bit older in age—probably in his fifties, she guessed—with long gray hair. His face was round and wrinkled, making him look very ugly. He wore a black trench coat over a white shirt and a striped tie. Leslie noticed the big rings on his finger and deduced that he must be some wealthy man. However, his stare was making him appear scary.
When he realized he was caught in the act, his lips curved into a cold smile.
She quickly looked away and tried to concentrate on what her boyfriend was saying. However, Leslie kept getting the weirdest feeling that nothing around her was safe anymore. The worrisome thoughts kept her occupied. An unmistakable panic was slowly settling in.
All because of an old man who was probably innocently looking at the college kids as they sat right across from him and reminiscing about his past!
Leslie shivered. “Guys,” her voice wavered. “I’ll be right back.”
Thankfully, none of the boys noticed the change in her tone, and she quickly made her way to the ladies room. Once she was in, the first thing she did was empty her bladder.
Somehow, the old man had freaked her out so much that she felt the need to pee. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was exactly that triggered such emotions in her. This had never happened to her before.
She splashed some cold water on her face, fixed her makeup once again, and exhaled, feeling a lot better than before. Hoping that the old man was gone, she slowly stepped out.
Her heart felt lighter when she saw his seat was empty, and the smile then came easy to her. At that moment, she even wanted to laugh at herself for having a stupid panic attack.
After all, he was a harmless old man.
She found her boyfriend standing by the counter, buying another coffee for himself. She walked over to him. “I thought you promised me that you’d cut down on your caffeine consumption for a day.” Leslie narrowed her eyes. He looked at her like a deer caught in the headlights and smiled very cutely.
“I told you too much coffee isn’t good for my Patty-pie’s health.”
“I promise this is the last one,” he said and leaned down to kiss her. He obviously wasn’t going to keep his promise. But she let it slip. Pushing the matter wasn’t going to help. Leslie believed that Patrick needed to decide to stop on his own.
However, she couldn’t help but worry too.
When he broke the kiss, she shook her head, giggling slightly, and looked in the direction of their booth. “Where’s Brad?”
Patrick turned to look. “I don’t know. He was sitting right there before you came back out.” They trailed back in the direction of their booth. “Maybe he went to the restroom.”
“Couldn’t have happened.” Leslie shook her head. “Or else I would have seen him when I came out.”
“I don’t understand.” Patrick gazed at her. “He was right here a minute ago, talking to the old dude, and I went to get….”
“Old dude?” Leslie’s heart skipped a beat. “Who?”
“I don’t know who he was, but I guess he was sitting in this booth.” He pointed to the space where the scary old man had once been. “He came over to Brad and was like, ‘Can I talk to you in private?’ So I just left the booth for them to talk.”
“Pat!” Her blood was running cold by then. “How could you leave him alone with a stranger?”
“Baby, overreact much?” Patrick looked around, and Leslie realized that everyone was looking in their direction. “Brad is not a little child.”
“Hey, what’s the matter?” Ian’s voice interrupted them, and Pat tightened his jaw.
Leslie tried to calm herself down before replying. “Brad is… I don’t know… he went somewhere. It’s probably nothing, but Pat says he was talking to this old man before and….”
“Shit, no!” Ian yelled. “Old man? What did he look like?”
There was panic in his eyes, and his voice and fright suddenly found a home in Leslie’s system. “Freakishly blue eyes, wrinkled face, Rings on his fingers.”
“Long gray hair?” Ian asked anxiously.
“Yes!” Leslie was certain something pretty awful had happened to Brad, and she couldn’t stop cursing herself for lack of better judgment. “Ian, do you know something?”
His lip quivered. “I do.” He stepped closer and looked between the two of them. “Brad is in big trouble right now, and there’s only one person who can get him out of it.”
January 15, 2014
I did a short video reading of an excerpt from Dumped in Oz. I like doing readings of my work and since I can’t be there with you, I thought I would do a video reading instead. The scene comes from the end of the first chapter of the story where Lyle and Roger first begin to notice one another. I hope you like it.
Because of an opportunity he’d be a fool to turn down, Lyle Powers transfers to his company’s warehouse in central Kansas. The last thing he expects is to meet another gay man in the small town, let alone one who captures his interest.
Roger Kypers is a recovering alcoholic with a twelve-year-old daughter he only gets to see for part of the summer. Neither Lyle nor Roger is looking for a relationship, and they fumble at the start, yet emotions build as Roger shows Lyle the landmarks of Oz.
But when Roger’s wicked witch of an ex-wife threatens to take his daughter away for good if he doesn’t act “normally,” he’s faced with the challenge of letting her get away with it, or fighting to accept himself and standing up for what he knows is right.