Monday, 31 May 2010

Author appreciation blog crawl event – It’s my turn…

What an amazing few weeks this has been with the Author Appreciation Blog Crawl event. Probably amazing is too tame a word - what a bloody awesome month this has been,  I have been introduced to so many new to me authors as well as I have been able to peek into the life's of some of the coolest bloggers in respect of their reading.

When Kassa gave the shout out to write a letter to an author of my choice, I thought how hard could this be,  I can whip up a letter in a few hours - but from my mouth to gods ear, it is harder than it seems and after wading through my memories to settle on an author that made me fan girl scream or who ticked all my reading boxes, I came up with a list of about 16 authors..

Yesterday Kris stunned us by propositioning Sir Terry Pratchett – yup, she really did, tomorrow Janna from E-Romance Reader  will be stepping up to the plate with her fan letter. But today is my turn and I had to do one or two at the most - so here goes.


Dear Ms. LaVyrle Spencer

I became aware of your work in my teenage years and all your works now have pride of place on my bookshelf. I was introduced to your work by my aunt, who wanted me to read something other than material with bodice ripping heroines and the half-dressed Indian on the covers, as well sweeten me up for the eventful babysitting service that she knew she would need..

When she brought home Morning Glory,The Gamble and Vows I will admit they sat in a corner for a few months before I read them, yes they did - because they did not have the much loved by me at the time hero and heroine in some swoon worthy position on the covers.

However once I cracked open those books I have never looked back, from the first scene your characters literally exploded over the pages. They lived, they loved and you gave them enough idiosyncrasy for me to feel like I lived next door to them, yet they also had that larger than life feel to them, like they could take on the world and still make it home for breakfast.

I loved the fact that your plot were not the run of the mill copy and paste plot of that generation, you went out on a limb and wrote about the little thought about people as well as the events that were brushed under the carpet - the down on his luck homeless man and the woman or child who had to live and struggle in small towns with bigots and all the other dastardly minded people. I was so pleased you also did not shy away from the physically challenged heroes and heroines – some of my most fondly remember characters are from your books.

Your description of time and place was like a work of art - In my mind I can still remember my journey with you to plantations, towns on the cusp of going nowhere, lazy river scenes, laughter from across the room in a salon and so many emotional fraught moments when I could not help but wipe a tear from my eye – Thank you.

As I read your books and happily ordered and traded to get each copy, it was with sadness that I had to accept the news that you had retired from the game literally just when I had found you. I have since bought every single book you have ever written and they have travelled with me from continent to continent.   

Your books have seen me through all the important events of my life but most notably are the times when my reading mojo takes a hike. If there is one sure fire way of kick starting my need to get back onto reading horse, that is by re-visiting any one of your books.

My collection is a little worse for wear, from being loaned to family members and friends as well as some shoddy packing by my lazy kids, but all in all your  books has gotten lots of love irrespective of whichever hands they fall into and they will forever remain in my top ten list of romance books to read. 

One of your biggest fan…

E.H>

This author does not have a dedicated website, however her extensive bio can be read HERE

and a full work history can be found HERE

 

 

 

Dear Ms. Jourdan Lane

Long before the age of intrusive employers stepping on our rights as employee to use the internet as we see fit at work - I was one of  those employee who spend a good chunk of my working days surfing the net for new and better reading material to carry me through the nights.

On one of those trawls I found Soul Mates: Bound by Blood, Lucien and Peter’s story.  Looking back now – the boss should have  realize that this was a sign of things to come, because once I found this first book, it only went down hill from there for him.

To say you ticks all my boxes as a reader is an understatement. I loved the world you surrounded your cast with – dark yet alive and filled to the brim with sexual tension, I felt like I was behind the camera seeing all the drama unfolding before me rather that someone reading from the little nook in the staff canteen - I got so involved in this book and eventually this series to the point where I know bits of it by heart.

Since that first book you have introduced new faces and new drama into the series, but you have not veered from what made this an absolutely wonderful series for me. With protags that are unforgettable, enough backstabbing and underhanded deed to satisfy the skulduggery element of my nature and let me not forget the sexual tension and the sex… You really set the bar high when it comes to vamp, wolfy, not so human and other worldly creature sex.

This series is without a doubt the closest I have ever come to a genuine fan girl moment in regards to a book. When your site went on hiatus I literally had withdrawal symptoms – my homepage was set to your site. My days began and ended with me haunting the search engines for any little titbit of news on my favourite series.

I eventually had to step back and take stock when the PLUSHIE drawings went live (cannot be copied here for copyright reasons, please visit site to see the drawings), because I started thinking material, stuffing, weight of the toy and such, why – because I wanted me a Peter and Lucien plushie toy, and of course this was not a good sign.

As for the boss and I, he is aware that I have mentally programmed a few reading day into my work year – so as with your latest release in the series (Secrets) where I took a reading day off to sink into the latest drama that the coven happens to be embroiled in, I know that as soon as book five  has a solid release date – even the kids will have to fend for themselves until I have satisfy my latest Soul Mates addiction.

The entire Soul Mate series is stored on my bedside table, because they should never be too far from me.  You have single-handedly reignite my love for a man in leather and opened up a world that I thought I was tired of and made me view it in a whole new light.  My only wish is that you would write each instalment a little faster, but I don't think the boss could survive the shock of me adding more reading days to the amount I already take.

Your loyal and getting older by the minute waiting on the next book fan.

E.H>

Jourdan Lane website – HERE

Soul Mate reading list

Bound by Blood

Deception

Sacrifice

Secrets

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It’s Monday again – Naughty or Nice list… I had a bit of both.

A weekly event hosted by Sheila - Book Journey to discuss your reading week ~ the books you've read and those you plan on reading in the coming week.

Books I completed last week are:

Brothers Without Borders -Leiland Dale

Healing Luke - Beth Cornelison

Tony and Ryan – Michele Montgomery

Lisa Marie Rice - Dangerous Secret(Bk2)

Breeding Ground – Madeline Montague

Boneyard 1 – Roger Moore

Boneyard 2 – Roger Moore

Boneyard 3 – Roger Moore

Colters’ Legacy 01 - Colters' Woman - Maya Banks

Allegro Vivace - Cat Grant

This is the cover that made me look twice this week…

Nothing really jumped out at me this week – But I did find this on the  Ellora’s Cave website, I’m speechless to tell you the truth..

Magician’s Chain
Michelle Polaris

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing

Jesse and Savin shared one strange, hot kiss and an even stranger mystical connection over a decade ago. Now reunited at a BDSM-flavored erotic magic show in Las Vegas, Jesse finds Savin performing as the Dominant magician. He’s one sexy, powerful package, and Jesse fights the call to expose himself to Savin, giving up body, soul and heart. But dark fae nightmares prophesy a more dangerous magic than stage tricks at work as their lives collide.

Jesse has given up on his dreams after a personal tragedy. Savin’s only dream is to be human, although he is not. Drawn to one another, the men enter into a weekend Master/slave contract. In Savin’s chains, Jesse submits, letting loose destructive passion and grief. Both resist the craving to make their bond permanent, sure that if they do they place one another in jeopardy. If they cannot accept the magic they create together and their joined destinies, the survival of two worlds will be at stake.

Up next on the reading deck

 

Leah Braemel - (Hauberk Protection, Book 2)  Personal Protection

Dream Evil by Lynn Viehl

 

Root of All Evil © Mary Eason

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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Weekly Geeks: Getting your reading on with Graphic Novels

I first became aware of the term "graphic novel" a few years ago. I thought it meant novels that are, well, graphic in the sense of violence or sex. (I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes!) My first introduction to a graphic novel/memoir was Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. (Some of you may know her as the amazing author of Dykes to Watch Out For in all its iterations.) I was enthralled with Fun Home's story, the illustrations, the form. Since then I've read several more graphic memoirs and some graphic novels. A particular favorite author is Shaun Tan, author of The Arrival, Tales from Outer Suburbia and others.

Do you read graphic novels or memoirs?

Who are your favorite authors?

Which books do you recommend?

If you haven't read any, why not?


Some people have the impression that graphic novels are glorified comic books, are unsophisticated or don't qualify as "serious" literature. What do you think? If you track your book numbers, do you count a graphic novel as a book read?
After you've posted your Weekly Geek, sign Mr. Linky, below. And be sure to visit some of your fellow weekly geekers if you're interested in some graphic novel recommendations, or if you have some to recommend.

This week topic is brought to the WG’s by Terri

 

My thoughts

Do you read graphic novels or memoirs?

I read more than a  fair amount of Graphic Novels. I can’t even remember how I started, that how long since I have been reading these books.

I am a big fan of YAOI, Paranormal books that have been converted to Graphic Novels and recently I have found some thrillers that have also been converted to graphic novels that I am liking alot.

Memoirs – I used to read them alot, from the old Hollywood crowd, to Prime Ministers , world leaders of industry and music and art Icons. Over the last few years not so much – Why, firstly they are heavy reading and I find I have gravitated away from some heavier type of reading material, secondly in the UK book market every fashion model and her dog has a memoirs, it kinda defeat the premise of what a memoir is all about.

If you have not lived or done anything worthwhile – what's the point of having your memoirs written when you are 23yrs old. Seems odd to me.

There are some memoirs that I am looking forward to reading – if they are ever written, Lance Armstrong – I don’t know how honest he will be in his( already written, hopefully will read sometime this year), Sir Alex Ferguson – Manchester United Manager, Michael Holding – Caribbean Cricketer and Iman – Somalian fashion model and wife of David Bowie.

Who are some of my favorite authors?

Satoru Kannagi, Hotaru Odagiri

Hikaru Yura, Hirotaka Kisaragi

You Higuri

Ayano YAMANE

Shannon Hale

Richard Moore

Neil Gaiman

 Which books do you recommend?

Crimson Spell

Priest

Battle Royale

Calamity Jack

Agatha Christie – Graphic Novel series

Bone Yard

Batman

Anything by Gaiman

I am also taking part in the Graphic Novels Challenge this year as well – Mainly to use the library more, as that’s where I am getting my books from and secondly, these challenges are a great way of finding cool books to reads…

imageI am always on the hunt for good GN books to read, so add your recommendations on comments or a good link if you have one..

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Friday, 28 May 2010

I have nothing – But I wanted to say have a great Friday

Photo courtesy of DearestGrudge Studio

Just stopping in to wish everyone a great Friday and a wonderful weekend. For those in the UK – yeah for a long weekend – Tuesday before the madness begins for us again.

I have been inundated with angst lately, nothing major just one of those time when I feel like I am being pulled in ten directions all at once, unfortunately one of the things to suffer is my blog, thank god for schedule post…

Once I get some rest – I have a few thought on some books I have read to post…

Hope you guy have been catching up on the Blog Crawl – don't be shy remember you all can take part, shout out a letter to your author of choice..

I am having fun reading all the offerings from my bloggy peeps, but it’s also hiking up my book budget…

Until tomorrow for Weekly Geeks., enjoy today and make the best of this evening..

Contest Alert – still a few more days left to enter my giveaway – HERE

Model is St Merrique – My current favourite model

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Thursday, 27 May 2010

Excerpt Day -Tony & Ryan © Michele L Montgomery

Excerpt

“Where ya at, Big Guy?” the sleepy voice whispered from under the blue feather comforter. Wide ocean-blue eyes peaked out from under the darkness of the covers blinking against the bright rays. A content moan escaped his lips when he located his Tony—his Big Guy—stood in all his glory, without a stitch of clothing on. He looked out the bay window in the hotel room, his eyes glued to the amazing deep orange sunrise over Napoli Italy, right over the ocean, and right outside their room. "'I’m here, Blue Eyes," the raspy voice said.

Ryan raked his slender fingers through his black wavy hair and sighed. "You" Never better, baby."

Ryan reached an arm from under the warm blanket, felt around for his discarded pillow, and smiled when his fingers made contact. Fluffing up the down pillow, he curled onto his side and watched his big man with a contended moan. He never tired of staring at the one person responsible for making him happy, for pointing out that love didn't always have to hurt. The absolute best part,— was that all six feet four, two hundred and seventy-five pounds of hot Italian man belonged to him!

Ryan smiled. He loved being in love he loved being loved and loved loving. Hell, he loved the love thing. Period. "Seeing something out there?"

"There's nothing in this world that can compare to a sunrise in Napoli—a blast of orange above that deep blue sea. I didn't want to miss seeing the colors dance across the waters. I began my days this way when I lived here. I was no more than a child then. "Nothing?" Ryan questioned, his full pink lips set in a pout.

Tony turned and smiled. "You're in a league of your own, babe."

"So you keep saying. Come tell me again." Ryan flipped the comforter back and allowed Tony a glimpse of what lay hidden beneath. He patted the empty space beside him. "'Your baby is lonely.

Tony's black eyes sparkled with lust. His smile grew, and Ryan’s heart swelled with love. "I think I know what'll chase the loneliness away."

Ryan knew the effect he had on his lover. He slowly licked his lips and purred when Tony’s eyes glazed over, his cock hard, dripping, and pointing its way to its destination. He could do no more than gasp when Tony leaned over him on the bed using his body to pin him down. It wasn’t as if he was a small guy himself. Nevertheless, Tony treated his six foot, hundred and eighty pound frame almost as if he were no more than a sack of potatoes. Ryan moaned at the touch of Tony’s fingers through his shoulder length

“So soft,” Tony murmured against Ryan’s lips. Tony’s tongue demanded entrance into his mouth and Ryan met his lover’s fervor in blinding passion with a low moan. As Tony’s fingers carried on with their journey, down the sides of Ryan’s body, stopping here and there to either tickle or caress, Ryan lost himself and trembled in pure need. “I love the way you shiver for me, baby,” Tony whispered. He gathered Ryan into his big arms and kissed the top of his head. “Is this better?”

He pressed himself closer to Tony’s body in response. Better didn’t quite explain what those hands did for him. "It's goin' away. Keep chasin'." Ryan squirmed and let out needy moan.

“Greedy, brat. I know what you need.”

“Yeah you always know,” Ryan panted. He wrapped his arms around his big guy’s upper body. “Please, I need you.”
Tony’s need shone bright in his black eyes. His lopsided grin caused Ryan to melt under the man he loved. Tony ran his big hands gently down his back. ““Listen to you.

The little noises of pure need escaping your lips makes me want to amuse us like this for hours. I want to drive you crazy with need until you beg me for release. Damn you’re so hard for me already.” Tony rubbed his hand against Ryan’s hard cock.

“Oh God! Please,” Ryan cried out in urgency.

All rights reserved © Michele L. Montgomery

Tony & Ryan

Author: Michele L Montgomery

Genre:

Buylink

Tony and Ryan are not your typical gay couple. Although they are American, they are trained government agents living in Italy, and they’re on the lam. They are fugitives who are hiding from the very agency that trained them. Tony is 30, a physical trainer with a linebacker’s build. He fears no one, and takes very seriously his responsibility of protecting his boy Ryan. Ryan is young, only 20, and a gentler soul. He’s far more soft-spoken than Tony, and he’s often overly trusting.

While vacationing in Napoli, Ryan is brutalized by a group of four thugs—gay bashers. They beat and stab vulnerable, young Ryan, and leave him for dead. When Tony returns to find his boy in this condition, it nearly crushes him.

Laden with guilt for not being there to protect Ryan, Tony begins the arduous task of helping his boy heal. Will he ever be able to get Ryan to forgive him for not being there? Will he ever be able to forgive himself? And will Ryan ever again be the loving, gentle soul that Tony once knew and loved?

 

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Excerpt Day - Root of All Evil © Mary Eason

Excerpt

Because I loved Jezzie with all my heart, I forced aside the paralyzing fear that’d continued to challenge the small amount of confidence I’d managed to build over the past year.

It was all due to Bev’s disturbing call. It sent me back into the darkness I’d struggled to put behind me.

Since Aaron’s death, I’d worked hard to overcome the agoraphobia that my shrink told me was just a form of misdirected grief. Leaving D.C. and all the memories of Aaron’s tragic murder helped in the beginning.

I’d packed up everything that reminded me of the good things I loved about my husband and left the bad.

My first stop had been Manhattan. I’d wanted to be close to my big sister, with good cause. Bev had been more of a mother to me than our own. She’d fussed over me like a hen protecting her chick. So going home to the comfort of my second mother seemed as natural as breathing. I thought having family close would help me deal with the excruciating loneliness nothing could have prepared me for.

Watching Bev and Ed’s normal, day-to-day life only served as an agonizing reminder of all the things I’d never have again. Although both my marriage and my life with Aaron hadn’t been anything close to normal.

I’d lasted just shy of six months in New York. Then I’d packed up everything I owned, along with Jezzie, and moved south again.

My small, two-bedroom beach house had come fully furnished. I’d turned the smallest bedroom into a work area where I played at designing my own line of clothes. Big dreams. Different dreams. Safe dreams.

All the rooms of my new home were small and cozy because small spaces made me feel safe.

For almost a year now, I’d managed to get myself dressed, bravely walk out my front door, and pretend to function normally. Jezzie was the only one close enough to me to know what a complete phony I’d become.

Sometimes, in the dark, the memories of that night would slip into my dreams, unwelcome. No matter how hard I fought to keep them away during the daylight hours, at night, while sleeping and vulnerable, they came for me.

So you see, I knew. Long before Bev’s call. I knew something was coming. Something from my past would find me again. It was inevitable.

All that evil had to leave its mark somewhere.

Jezzie’s wet nose nuzzled my leg. She stared up at me with those huge baleful eyes. Jezzie’s way of reminding me she’d been waiting very patiently while I had my meltdown. It was now time to come back to the real world.

I had no idea how long I’d been sitting curled up into a tiny ball on my couch. As if by doing so, I could somehow make myself invisible.

“I’m sorry, baby. I’m okay. Really, I am. Don’t worry.” The dog crawled onto my lap and curled into her favorite spot in the crook of my arm.

Some days, Jezzie was the only thing keeping me from losing it.

I got to my feet, grabbed Jezzie’s leash from its drawer, snapped it into place, and searched for my house key, which was right where I’d left it earlier.

Because I loved Jessie and owed her so much more than I could ever repay, I stepped out into the cold world once more instead of retreating into that little spot in my closet where I spent far too much time during those first few months, hiding in a cramped corner where I felt safe.

The storm outside had passed. The one within me would never end.

The waters of the Gulf of Mexico churned with renewed power, thrashing wave after wave against the beach and belching up the contents of the ocean’s floor.

Jezzie yelped as if her tiny voice could somehow still the crashing waters.

“It’s okay, girl. It’ll settle down in time.” If only that were true of my own restlessness. I doubted there’d ever be a time when I could say with confidence I’d found stillness in my soul.

Somehow, I managed to corral Jezzie after only a short romp down the beachfront. She loved me, but she loved being outside as well and she hated having to leave her fun.

“This weekend we’ll spend as much time as you like out here, I promise.” Brave words. I’d have Bev here with me as a buffer against the phobia that lurked beneath my surface.

Even knowing the house was secure, it was still hard to walk into an empty place. Aaron’s murder had taught me you never knew what evil might be waiting for you. He’d gone into an empty building and confronted his worst nightmare.

“Don’t think of that now.” Something dark and unwelcome was trying to reach out to me, but I couldn’t open that door. Couldn’t let that nightmare back in.

It took a couple of deep breaths before I was able to close that door. And all the while Jezzie stood patiently waiting for me to unhook her leash.

“I’m sorry, baby.” I ruffled her ears then gave her new chew toy a squeeze, instantly capturing her attention.

With Jezzie happily doing battle with the squeaky shoe, I went about my nightly routine of securing locks and windows. I’d check them once, then one more time so that I could sleep at night.

Tonight, for reasons I couldn’t begin to explain to myself, I deviated slightly from the routine by pushing aside the thick drapes covering my living room window. The window faced out onto my quiet street. It was then that I spotted it. A car parked across the street, lights off. I quickly released the drape and ducked out of the line of sight, a learned trick from the past, as the world around me spun out of control. I couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t move. I dropped to my knees on the floor and tried to force air into my lungs.

Vaguely I was aware of things taking place around me. Jezzie’s bark. Her wet nose nudging at my arm. A car engine starting.

When I could breathe again over the pounding in my chest, it was a battle to keep from losing my threadbare hold on realty. I couldn’t fall apart. Not now. Not with Jezzie depending on me.

“It’s okay, baby. I’m okay,” I managed to say with some amount of normality for Jezzie’s sake.

I scooped my baby into my arms and slowly got to my feet, then forced myself to glance out the window, being careful to keep out of the line of sight of anyone looking in. The street was now empty. The car gone. Had it even been there or was it just another part of my delusion?

Even after I assured myself everything was secured, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that had been tailing me for hours. Since Bev’s call. If I were being honest, since Aaron’s death.

Unfinished business, it screamed. Unfinished business.

Copyright © MARY EASON, 2009

 

Root of All Evil
Author:
Mary Eason

Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing

Buylink

Burdened with guilt and sorrow, fearing for her life…her sanity, Anna Sorenson walked away from everything to gain redemption. A year earlier, Anna buried her husband Aaron. A week later, she lost the child she’d longed for. Anna’s only thought was to put the tragedy of the past behind her and find a way to survive in a post-Aaron world. But the evil she escaped is hunting her down.

Agent John Delaney buried more than just his partner that rainy day one year earlier. He’d shoved aside his feelings, ignored the wrong he and Aaron did in the name of justice, and hoped the past would stay dead. It didn’t. With Aaron’s death and the arrest of his killer, the Bureau considered the case solved. No one had a clue the wrong man confessed to the killings. Until the real killer returned to claim his glory—and his next victim, Anna.

Now he’s after the woman John still loves and he must choose between keeping his partner’s secrets and losing Anna again. This time forever.

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Excerpt Day – Forever Mine & Ask For It © Jude Mason

Excerpt

Jason Black looked up and down the litter-strewn alley. In the dim light from a distant street lamp, he couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. But still, he was careful when he squatted and leaned over the crumpled body sprawled face down on the pavement.

He whispered, “Hey, mister,” urgently and reached for the side of the man’s neck. Two fingers pressed against the carotid artery felt for a pulse, and he wasn’t terribly surprised when he couldn’t find one. Again, he peered around, searching for clues or a weapon, anything that would tell him what had happened. When he pulled his hand away, his fingers were sticky as if he’d dipped them in honey.

Holding his hand up to the sparse light, he saw it wasn’t honey. Much too dark for that. “Damn,” he mumbled, realising it was blood.

He reached for the body again, laying his palm flat against the man’s cold, clammy forehead. Please, don’t leave me hanging, not this time. I need to know what happened.

The world around him faded, and he saw…two men fighting. They were here, in the alley. One towered over the other, slim and agile. His long, flowing, black hair looked so familiar it took his breath. The calf-length leather coat swirled around the man’s legs as he tossed his adversary around as if he were a ragdoll. The other man, the man he’d just found dead, wasn’t nearly as agile or muscular as the first and couldn’t break free. Twice, Jason saw the taller man slam the victim into the rough, brick wall with bone-jarring force. A gun appeared in the smaller man’s hand, and he aimed and fired the snub-nosed pistol. The slim man grunted; a pained expression filled his beautiful eyes as he looked right at Jason. That twinge of recognition flared.

No, not again. You’re not real.

Jason jerked back, shocked by what he’d seen and apprehensive of what further visions would bring. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, again reaching to touch the cool corpse.

Copyright © Jude Mason, 2010

Forever Mine
By Jude Mason
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Genre: m/m, vampires, contemporary

Buylink

Jason Black has dreams. He's had them all his life. The only trouble with his dreams are they came during the day, while he was awake, and they came true.
Oh, and another thing, he sees a vampire, often. He'd seen the vampire bent over the body in an alley, and that's when his life really took a hard left.
You think Jason is crazy?
Most people do. He's not. But, he is in trouble and the only one who can save him is Ayden Devlin, the vampire. Together, they have to stop a drug lord and his henchmen from going on a killing spree.
Can the two men work together? Will Ayden's blood lust prove too big a problem to surmount? Will their feelings get in the way?

 

Excerpt:
"Uh, Jess, I can't find your suitcase. I must have left it behind," Roy said in a soft voice. He knew he'd messed up big time when his wife of three years turned and faced him. She was lovely, long dark hair parted in the middle cascading over her shoulders, the tips curling around the plump roundness of each breast. Her abundant curves never failed to arouse him and he couldn't think of a better place to be than between her legs, his face buried in her muff.

"You forgot my bag?" Jess stared, her beautiful blue eyes wide and an annoyed expression on her face. She'd just flipped his case open and it lay across their king-sized bed, his clothing untouched.

Roy stood, shame-faced, just inside the bedroom door and hoped he hadn't ruined their weekend. "Sweetie, I'm sorry." He didn't raise his eyes to look at her—he didn't dare. "I was sure I picked them both up when we were leaving." He glanced up and for an instant met her gaze, but quickly lowered his.

"You were sure, were you?" She leaned against one of the six-foot wooden posts set at each corner of their bed and crossed her arms under her chest.

"Yes," he said, then after another quick glance, replied, "No, obviously not. I'm really sorry, Jess. I could—"
"You can do what I tell you." She interrupted; catching him by complete surprise. "You only think you're sorry. By the time I'm done with you, I'm sure you'll know it deep down."

"Huh?" He looked up, confused—but only for a moment. His shock turned to excitement, lust. It'd been so long since they'd had time for each other. With both of them working crazy hours, they often saw each other for breakfast and not again until the following day. He waited expectantly for her to go on.

"Go and lock up the SUV," she instructed. Leaning over the bed, she tucked Roy's clothes into the cavity of the suitcase and closed it. "Take this with you." She snapped the catches closed.

His eyes went to the suitcase, and then up to meet hers. Her tone of voice told him all he needed to know. His heart raced, desire clutched at him and he had to take a deep calming breath before he replied, "Yes, ma'am."

He hurried to the bed and reached for the bag. It turned out she hadn't finished, and stopped him with a light slap to his hand.

"Naked."

Copyright © Jude Mason,

Ask For  It
By Jude Mason
Publisher: Coming Together
Genre: Femdom

Buylink
Married only 3 short years, Roy adored Jess, but he also had the habit of 'screwing up' occasionally. This time, it was a little more serious. Away for the weekend, he'd forgotten to pick up her suitcase, leaving her absolutely nothing to wear, for real. Or had he? Leaving the safety of the house, his excitement grows. Being ordered naked outside, where anyone could see him, sent a chill down his spine. Was it a chill of terror or sexual thrill? And, what else could Jess possibly have in store for him?

Coming Together's Hors d'Ouvres are single story treats taken from the anthologies and sold exclusively at ARe as appetizers. Finger food, if you will, for the libido. Sales proceeds benefit the same charity as the anthology from which they originate.
Jude Mason's "Ask for It" comes from Coming Together: Al Fresco which benefits Conservation International.

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Excerpt Day – CEO © Steve Bederman

Excerpt:

“Can I ring it up here or are you doing more shopping?”

the clerk asked.

“Oh, if you can take my donuts…eh…no… no more

shopping. That’s it...gotta get to the office.” Reflecting on a

particular thought he brightly continued, “I’m a CEO, have to set

the standard”.

“Do you have insurance? This is expensive. Wow!”

“I didn’t bring my card. I guess we’ll…”

“Oh, I can look it up. Just give me a moment…”

“No, we’ll just send it in to the insurance. I’m really

running late” The pressure to leave …sweat quickly appeared on

his forehead but his face did not betray his impatience. He

needed to get out of there.

“So, cash?” she said “It’s $72.80, you sure I can’t look it

up…the insurance?

“No, that’s fine.” He handed her four twenties then

placed his hand on the counter, waiting, pressing his palm into

the cool surface. He could feel his hand shaking. “Could she

tell?” he thought. “Come on. Jeez, I have to go already.” And he

did, to work, to the people, to safety, to another day and until

tomorrow another store, another counter.

“Do you have a store card?” she asked.

“No. That’s all right. I’ve just got to get going.” He

sounded more patient than he felt; he hoped.

She handed him the change. “Sorry, I only have singles”

“No problem. I’ll spend it either way.”

He grabbed his package and turned, tripping over a cane

placed right behind, knocking an old man back…the old man fell

halfway to the ground…As he reached for him and stood him up

gently, he dropped his prescription. “You okay?”

“Oh? Yeah...I’m not as steady as I used to be. Thanks.”

The old man pushed the package towards him with his cane

looking at the label, “Don’t forget your prescription. That’s

pretty strong stuff. I take the generic brand. Can’t afford the

name brand. Be careful, don’t drive…” he advised.

“No, no it’s for my wife,” as he reached down, grabbed

the bag and turned to leave. “You sure you’re okay?” to the old

man. He nodded.

“Have a great day. It’s beautiful out!” he said to the

clerk.

“Thanks Mr. Thompson. Don’t forget to send in your

receipt.” She called after him.

As he walked out the door, the cool breeze blew on his

face, his Armani sticking to his chest, still moist.

As he walked to his car he clicked his key and remotely

started the engine. He drove a BMW. Not too pretentious. Just

enough to say he was a success. Tan leather seats, white pearl

body, waxed. Always clean, vacuumed, leather treated.

As he got in, he reached for the bag and immediately

opened it. He was already feeling better as he unscrewed the cap.

He counted out ten of the thirty in the bottle. He put them in his

right palm, then into his mouth. They stayed on his tongue and

melted. The taste was disgusting to most, but calmed him. He

gently chewed and they broke apart. He let them sit for a minute

under his tongue as he reached around for the bottle of water that

was in the cup holder. Through the back window he saw a police

car sitting behind him.

Was it trying to park? Was it blocking him? He

swallowed the pills, his heart thumping through his chest, his

shirt instantly soaked again. He turned around and grabbed the

bag and the pill bottle; quickly shoving it under the driver seat.

“What do I do? Should I get out or just sit here? Oh shit! Damn!

This can’t happen now,” he thought.

This afternoon he had an interview with the Business

Journal. The story was “The fastest growing private company in

the city.” Wasn’t he a star?

He opened his door, not yet getting out, and in his side

view mirror noticed the police car pulling into the spot across the

lane. Pausing, he carefully shut his door. Reaching and turning

the key, he instantly heard the grind. His car was already

running. “Oh yeah, already running.” He sighed.

Backing out very slowly, he put the car into drive. He

nodded to the cops as they walked past his door. They nodded

back, slightly, and he carefully drove away. No stopping for

anyone, anywhere. He had survived and now he would succeed.

Everyone knew it, didn’t they? They’d all be proud of

each other and of him. They knew him as their leader. They had

never met anyone like him. He couldn’t wait to get to the office

and inspire them, tell them to “embrace the moment!” Nothing

was more important than that moment; building upon the next

and the next. His charge was to drive them; to implement his

new model, a new way to challenge the old standards and to

recognize him as the visionary, the CEO!

all rights reserved © Steve Bederman

All good portion of the book can be read HERE

CEO

Author: Steve Bederman

Publisher Soltice Publishings

Genre: Contemporary Thriller

Buylink

“The CEO” is a fast paced corporate thriller of loves come and gone, innovation, resilience, corporate philanthropy, vision, and deception. Corporate business leaders are protected by their own small armies of private security whose power will surprise. The story takes the reader behind the scenes and into the back office meetings of both corporations and countries; travelling from Denver to New York to London to Bogota and to Paris.

As Mitch and his team of loyalists’ race against time they are faced with constant revelation of threats against the company and those involved; including the life of the woman that Mitch falls deeply in love with. The depth of the plot reveals a 200 year old secret between two of the world’s most powerful countries. If the secret is revealed it could destroy the balance of power in the world. Though, if the secret stays protected it could crush all that Mitch Jacobs desires.

 

 

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Excerpt Day - Allegro Vivace © Cat Grant

Excerpt

...The sidewalks got crowded down here on Friday nights, but it was still early. I took a leisurely stroll, stopping to browse in my favorite bookshop, smiling wistfully at the laughter and appetizing aromas wafting from all the bars and restaurants. Time was, I couldn’t go more than a couple of blocks without running into someone I knew, but tonight no one paid me the slightest attention. Gorgeous men of various sizes, hair colors and ethnicities passed me by—just like the last decade of my life. I might as well have been invisible.

I shoved my hands in my pockets and walked on, weariness starting to creep over me. Up ahead, bright, warm lamplight from Kev’s and my once-favorite watering hole crooked a plaintive finger in my direction. I hesitated a moment before going in.

There were still a couple of tables left near the big picture window overlooking the street, so I grabbed one, waving over a handsome young waiter to give him my drink order. I decided to splurge on a double Glenfiddich, neat. If I was going to toast Kev’s memory, I’d do it in style.

The amber liquid went down smooth as butter, warming me from the inside out. It also served as a hollow-bellied reminder I hadn’t eaten anything since noon. One drink, then I’d head home. Terence was probably getting just as hungry as I was.

A not-so-unpleasant lightheadedness swept over me as I savored the delectable, peaty-tasting single malt. “Here’s to you, Kev,” I murmured. “Rest in peace, love.”

Oddly enough, I didn’t feel like crying. I’d done my share of that over the past two years. The overwhelming sadness that had hung on me like a wet blanket for so long now appeared to have lifted. For how long was anybody’s guess.

I’d no sooner knocked back my last swallow than my glance zeroed in on a familiar face passing by outside. Matt, flanked by two other students I vaguely recalled from the corridors at school, all engaged in animated conversation. I considered making a discreet dash for the back door, but it was too late—Matt’s intense blue gaze had already locked on mine. A cocky grin slid across his lips, just like that day when he’d first strode into my classroom.

He said something to his companions, then turned and marched inside, making a beeline for my table. Shit. Not good. Not good at all.

“Is this seat taken?” He didn’t bother waiting for my answer, just yanked out the chair across from me and sat down.

Fortunately, I was still seated myself. That blinding smile of his had made the crotch of my jeans uncomfortably tight. “Are you old enough to be in here?”

“Ever heard of a fake ID?”

Well, hello again, Mr. Smartass. “As your teacher, I feel honor-bound to voice my disapproval.”

“You’re not my teacher—not in here, anyway.” He shrugged. “In here, we’re just two guys having a friendly chat.”

I forced a chuckle. “Thank God for chance meetings.”

“Not really. I was having dinner at that Thai place up the street. I saw you walk by.”

“Oh, so you’re stalking me now? Should I be worried?”

“I guess that depends on whether you’re flattered or creeped out.”

That certainly settled the “Is he or isn’t he?” question, though not in a way that put me any more at ease—in fact, quite the opposite. Trying to deflect with more witty banter would only encourage him. Time to shut down this conversation.

I climbed to my feet and hastily zipped up my rain jacket. “I should be getting home. Have a pleasant evening, Matt.”

I knew without looking that he’d trailed me to the bus stop. The rain had started again, so I ducked under the overhang. Matt stood a few feet away, out in the open, the hood of his jacket up. I could still feel his eyes on me.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. “What do you want?” I barked in the same tone I used in class whenever I wanted to scare the crap out of someone.

Didn’t work. His smile only grew brighter. “I was going to offer to buy you a drink and let nature take its course, but it looks like that’s off the menu.”

“Knock it off, okay?” I sighed. “This isn’t funny.”

“Sorry. Thought you might be in the mood for a little flirting.”

“Not really. But I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression.”

He stepped closer, close enough to touch, those beautiful eyes of his raking me from head to foot. His gaze settled just below my belt. “Not at all.”

The air was suddenly thick as ice. It was too damn hard to breathe. He gently brushed his hand across my cheek. Its heat burned worse than the tendonitis in my own hand, searing me inside and out. And God help me, I never wanted it to end.

“What do you want from me?” I rasped.

“The same thing I’ve wanted from that first day. The same thing you’ve wanted, too.”

“You’re wrong.”

“Really?” he breathed. Then he showed me what a liar I was by capturing my mouth with his...

all rights reserved © Cat Grant

Allegro Vivace

Author: Cat Grant

Publisher: Amber Allure

Genre: Contemporary GLBT

Buylink

Sparks fly when brash young violinist Matt Dugan strides into professor Aaron Parrish’s classroom. Aaron’s intrigued by the twenty-year-old virtuoso, and agrees to take him on for private lessons. Things get off to a rocky start that’s complicated by a growing mutual attraction.

But Aaron, still reeling from the loss of his partner two years earlier, resists—until the afternoon Matt seduces him in his office.

Teacher and student embark on a passionate affair. Matt wants to tell everyone, while Aaron fears their twenty-five-year age difference will make them objects of scorn and ridicule. Can Aaron conquer his doubts, or will he lose Matt forever?

 

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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Blog Crawl – Althea’s Tribute to Victoria, Anne & Karen

 

After a few months away from blogging – Althea  from Altheapreston.com is back and she is taking part in the Blog Crawl today..

Her letter is a tribute in three parts – She celebrates

Victoria Holt

Anne Gracie

Karen Marie Moning

Go over and share the love with Althea HERE

 

Tomorrow it's Lily from I Love Books crack at the whip – make sure you visit her as well tomorrow.

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Monday, 24 May 2010

Weekly Geeks: A Character Comparison and you….

 

 

 

For this week's task, let's take a close look at some of our favorite bookish characters. Specifically, think of a character that you really relate to, a character that you think you could jump right in the story and actually be, a character that you think the author might know you because it comes so close to who you are! List for us the traits of that character that you feel closely resembles yourself. If you feel like there's several characters that fit the bill, list them all! Why not!

On the flip side, you can also share with us a favorite character that is the complete opposite of you. Maybe it's a character that you would never get along with, or one that would drive you crazy if you met them. Maybe it's someone who has completely different values, opinions or personality than you. Again, make a list of these traits that you feel are totally incompatible to yourself.

Finally, you can also tell us about a character that you wish you could be more like. Tell us what traits of this character you'd like to possess and why.

Have fun with this idea! Don't stress. Do all three, or just one. Don't try to think of every character you've ever read about and find the one the fits the assignment the best... just go with whatever comes to mind quickly and run with it. Hopefully you'll find this a fun little exercise.

My Thoughts

Weekly Geeks is one of the weekend events that I take part in every Saturday – However this weekend was so stunningly brilliant I gave the whole blogging thing a miss and went out and enjoyed the sunshine. Knowing  what the British weather is like by Tuesday we might be having hail..

Anyhow this weeks WG question is all about the characters we identify with in the books we read or even the character that is so opposite of who you are – that they may drive you up the wall or have you gritting your teeth to get through the book or we you just might love them despite the differences..

I am going with the first option think of a character that you really relate to

My character of choice is SCOUT from To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee. This book is one of my all time favourite book and not only because I thought it is a wonderful body of work but because I read it at a time in my life when I felt like I was that child.

Why I choose Scout is for her care free nature, she was a little girl, who had no patience, could be stubborn and more than willing to fight it out at the drop of a hat, she was essentially a tomboy and a daddy’s girl.

Growing up, I was the son my dad wish he never had. I climbed, I fought, I was the child coming home from school with my book in my back pocket and my bag dragging behind me. I refused to grow my hair and I hated my toothbrush..

While my dad and I did the whole book care thing and we both had a genuine love of reading – I was a kid and I made every effort to make sure my parents knew I was a kid. But like Scout, once I learn quite a few lessons the hard way, they were lessons I never forgot.

Yup I was a monster, but I was daddy’s girl.. and I never let the neighbourhood boys forget it.

I really could relate to Scout, the fact that the book was set in small town America, where injustice was rife and differences was just next door – only made this book more of a treat for me, it’s various plot line and quite eclectic mix of characters was like icing on the cake for me and it is one of the books on my keeper shelf.  

Lawyer Atticus Finch defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic, Puliter Prize-winning novel—a, a black man charged with the rape of a white woman. Through the eyes of Atticus's children, Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unanswering honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s.

So tell me

  1. Think of a book character that you really relate to,
  2. A favorite character that is the complete opposite of you
  3. Tell us about a character that you wish you could be more like

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It’s Monday Again – What are you reading?

A weekly event hosted by Sheila - Book Journey to discuss your reading week ~ the books you've read and those you plan on reading in the coming week.

Books I completed last week are:

Stephanie Hecht - [Lost Shifters 04] Carnal Intentions

Leah Braemel - (Hauberk Protection, Book 1) Private Property

Stormy Glenn - Cowboy Dreams Tasty Treats 5 - Ménage Amour 125

Lisa Marie Rice - Dangerous Lover (Bk1)

The Single Mom and the Tycoon - Caroline Anderson

Edge of Moonlight – Stephanie Julian

Echoes of Possibilities Anthology

Only His Heart – Shawn Lane

Only the ring finger knows – The left hand dreams of him – Kannagi, Odagiri

Love is like a hurricane – Shimazaki

Liberty, Liberty - Takanaga

This is the cover I fell in love with this week…

I have a thing for stilletoes and stockings and as soon as I saw this one I knew I wanted to read it.

The Pleasure Set

Lisa Girolami

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Genre: Lesbian fiction

Though Laney DeGraff is a successful president of a family-owned bank on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, she can't seem to feel happy about anything. Then she meets Theresa Aguilar, a sleek, sexy lawyer, and is invited to join an exclusive group called the Pleasure Set, a privileged society of powerful women whose sexy goings-on remain steadfastly secret. Soon Laney finds out that what is really happening within the Pleasure Set is not only dangerous, it's lethal.
Suddenly in too deep, Laney realizes that to leave the group would be deadly so she reaches out to Detective Sandrine Girard, an honest cop with a flawed past, who arranges to have her go undercover in a delicate operation to not only catch Theresa but to save Laney from both career suicide and certain death. But the intense attraction that grows quickly between Laney and Sandrine threatens to expose them at the most critical juncture in the sting.
Some people would kill to get into the Pleasure Set. But Laney just wants to get out alive.

Up next on the reading deck

Healing Luke – Beth Cornelison

Leah Braemel - (Hauberk Protection, Book 2)  Personal Protection

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Friday, 21 May 2010

Happy Friday guys – It’s onto the weekend, Enjoy

It was a bloody brilliant day here in the UK today, the sun was shining, the parks were overflowing with the sounds of laughter and ballgames in the background and the demons and I had a smashing time this evening running around.

Hope your day was great, if not – live it up this evening and carry on through into the weekend…

image

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Thursday, 20 May 2010

Excerpt Day - Only His Heart - Shawn Lane

Excerpt

...Matt turned Calvin to face him and placed a kiss on his lips. “I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Did your grandmother get you counseling?”

“Sure, for a while I talked to people. It helped some. I still had nightmares for years. Not so much anymore.”

He hugged him tight. “I can’t imagine it.”

Calvin nodded and pulled back. He smiled a little. “Still want to fuck me?”

Matt lowered his mouth to his, kissing him deep and long until they were both breathless, and then when Calvin opened his mouth on a gasp, his tongue slipped in, tangling with his.

He yanked on the sleeves of Calvin’s open shirt, pulled it off, and threw it. “Does that tell you?” His hands smoothed over Calvin’s nipples sending shivers through him. “How about that? Does that tell you?”

Matt couldn’t remember wanting someone as much as he wanted Calvin at that moment. The man was the most gorgeous specimen he’d ever come across, but there was something that touched him about Calvin. From the first moment he’d seen him sitting alone in the cafeteria staring into a Styrofoam cup.

And apparently, Calvin had very sensitive nipples, he realized with a grin. He bent down enough to swipe his tongue across first one and then the other, eliciting a loud moan from the trembling man.

Though Matt didn’t consider himself a selfish lover, he didn’t think he was particularly generous either when it came to making sure whoever he was with had a good time. But with Calvin, he wanted to blow Calvin’s mind. And…something else, too.

Leaving his teasing of Calvin’s chest somewhat reluctantly, Matt dropped to his knees. He undid Calvin’s belt and slowly unzipped his pants. He noted the man wore pristine white briefs just before he slipped his hand in and cupped the prominent erection.

“Ah,” Calvin let out a deep moan that went straight to Matt’s cock. With his other hand Matt rubbed his dick through his slacks.

He released his grip on Calvin’s briefs but only for the time it took to yank his pants down to his knees. Licking his lips in anticipation, Matt opened his mouth over the bulge in Calvin’s underwear.

“Oh, fuck.”

Matt smiled. There was something incredibly sexy about four-letter words coming from that sweet, angelic mouth. He sucked on the hard cock through the cotton. Calvin squirmed.

Oh yeah, he could see himself wanting to tease and play with Calvin like this for hours. Unfortunately rubbing his dick made him just a bit crazed and his balls ached with the need to come.

He moved his hands away from his own cock and pulled Calvin’s tighty-whities down to his knees where he’d left his pants. The man’s beautiful thick, red cock slapped him on the cheek.

“Wow, that’s a thing of beauty,” he murmured.

Calvin laughed, drawing Matt’s gaze to the man’s beautiful face. Calvin was looking down at him, his cheeks flushed pink, his plump lips begging to be kissed. And damn, Matt wanted to devour them…him. But first, he wanted the cock.

He lapped up the pre-cum on the tip. Closing his eyes, he opened his mouth over the fat head, sucking gently. His hands moved to Calvin’s round ass, massaging the soft, warm skin there and briefly distracting him with thoughts of thrusting deep and hard between those cheeks.

The image flashed through his head and he very nearly stopped to get up and do just that. He pushed it aside, for only a short time, and sucked Calvin’s cock in earnest, pushing it farther into his mouth.

Little whimpers escaped Calvin’s lips, and his hands slipped into Matt’s hair, holding him there. His hips moved, fucking Matt’s mouth. Matt stuck a finger in his mouth as he sucked, liberally wetting it, and then scooted it around to Calvin’s hole, pressing in.

“Matt.” Calvin groaned.

Fuck. The sound of his name in that voice from those lips caused his own erection to push so painfully on his boxers, he reached down and blindly unzipped his slacks, pulling out his hard dick.

“Matt, God, please, fuck me.”

He needed no second invitation...

Only His Heart (c) Shawn Lane

Only His Heart

Author:  Shawn Lane

Publisher: Amber Allure

Genre: Contemporary GLBT

Release: May23rd

Calvin Lassiter is an emergency room doctor who buries himself in his high-stress job. He has no time for a relationship and most definitely is not interested in the new emergency room nurse, Matt Walton. Matt is exactly what Calvin doesn't want—an eyeliner-wearing bad boy who rides a motorcycle.

Matt, however, is intrigued by the stuffy, too-beautiful-for-words doctor, but the man is as cold as ice. Yet Matt's fellow nurses bet him he can't melt Dr. Lassiter and get him into bed.

Too fascinated by Calvin not to try, Matt succeeds in breaking the doctor's hard exterior. But as their relationship turns serious, the possibility hangs over Matt's head that his co-workers will tell his sexy lover the truth and end his dreams of winning Calvin's heart forever.

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Excerpt Day - Mobry's Dick - K.Z. Snow

Excerpt

The stink of the portable john followed Cameron Waters into the bright autumn sunlight. He was surprised everybody at the flea market didn't run screaming as the miasma crept over the grounds like the Blob. Inflating his lungs with the blessing of fresh air, he looked at the man waiting to use the facility.

“Don't go in there,” he said, “if you value your sanity.”

The man smiled. “That bad, huh?”

“Worse.”

“I should've guessed by the look on your face.”

Cam tried to relax his grimace. The waiting man had no such look on his face. He had the comfortable ease of a young guy who knows he's nicely put together and handsome enough to turn heads. In fact, the mellow sound of his voice as well as his looks seemed completely out of place in this tacky world of Chinese imports and used household goods.

The stranger glanced beyond the enclosed cesspool. “I suppose I'll take it to the bushes.”

Cam looked over his shoulder. Scrubby woods abutted the flea market on three sides. “Bet there's plenty of dead vegetation back there.”

The man laughed. “I feel sorry for the women who have to relieve themselves.” He began to head toward the tree line, then abruptly turned back. “By the way,” he said, “have you been walking around here for a while?”

Cam shrugged. “Not too long. Maybe a half hour or so.”

“Did you happen to see something sort of like”—the man's face gathered in thought—“an artillery shell? It was standing upright on one of the vendors' tables.”

“An artillery shell.” Hell, even if Cam had walked past something like that, he wouldn't have paid it any mind. Armaments didn't interest him.

“Well, it had more of a blunt nose,” the man said. “I caught a glimpse of it a couple rows away from where I was browsing. Then something else got my attention. I sort of wandered off and lost track of where I'd seen it.”
Cam shook his head. “Sorry, can't help you.”

“Just thought I'd ask.” Flashing a quick smile, the man lifted a hand. “Thanks for the warning, though. Now I'd better take care of business.”

Cam watched him stride toward the woods, certain wordless thoughts gathering around his receding form. Cam pushed them away. His stare was bold enough; it didn't need any garnish
* * *
“Don't even ask what it is, 'cause I don't have a clue.”

Frowning, Cameron removed his sunglasses and bent toward the item sitting in a corner of the vendor's table. The bustle of the flea market retreated as his attention funneled toward the object. Until now, nothing had grabbed his interest.

He wondered if this was the “shell” that man at the porta-crapper had been looking for.

Carefully, Cam lifted the oddity to study it. The vertical cylinder was under a foot tall, but its substantial wood base added another six inches or more to its overall height. The tip was somewhat tapered, but not nearly sharp enough to be a deadly projectile. What really threw Cam off, though, was the color. Creamy rose paint, dull with age, covered the metal body. The paint had begun to crack and flake.

Why would an artillery shell be painted?

“It's heavy,” Cam said, raising and lowering the thing to make his point. He wanted to tap it, test it for solidity, but feared further damaging the already stressed exterior.

Lifting it higher, he squinted at the bottom of the footed base. There appeared to be incised lines, like an old scar, in the center. Cam touched them to confirm their depth. Yup, too deep to be mere scratches. He angled the base toward the sun and peered more closely.

Two words? Or a marking?

“Where'd you get this?” Cam asked as he set the thing back on the table. He lightly rested a few fingers on the base, signaling he had dibs on the piece in case another interested shopper came along.

The vendor scrunched his face as he lit a cigarette. “Can't remember exactly.” A veil of smoke drifted from his mouth. “We clean up so many places, they all sort of run together.”

“Clean up?”

“Yeah. Old houses and barns and commercial buildings. Places that are gonna be demolished or renovated. We haul away whatever stuff's been left behind. 'Declutter' is what we call it.”

Cam nodded. “I see.” He'd heard of such businesses. “Do you pretty much stay in this area?”

“Well, Milwaukee to Chicago mostly. Sometimes we'll go a little farther up the lakeshore. Depends on the project.”

The answer was encouraging. There were plenty of historic buildings in that corridor, just as there were along the shores of all the Great Lakes. Cam was sufficiently intrigued to talk price.

Someone who'd been wandering by the table suddenly stopped and ogled the missile. Cam tightened his hold. The woman dawdled for a moment, checking out the vendor's other offerings, then moved on.

“What do you want for it?” Cam asked.

The vendor pulled down the sides of his mouth as he studied his strange treasure. Or pretended to. “I'll take fifty.”

Cam coughed out a laugh. “You don't even know what it is! Or where it came from.”

Grudgingly humbled by this reminder of his ignorance, the vendor made a show of reconsidering. “I know it's old,” he said. “And prob'ly collectible.”

Cam rolled his eyes. Old and collectible—an uninformed seller's favorite justifications for overpricing his wares.

“Old, yes,” Cam said. “But if it turns out to be nothing more than a piece of junk missing all kinds of parts, it isn't even worth fifty cents. I'm just curious about it, that's all.”

Or maybe it was the other man's interest in it that had sparked his own interest. May he'd run into the guy again…

He did a quick scan of the flea market, but it proved futile. The place was too big, too packed with people.

Pondering, the vendor rolled the filter end of his cigarette between thumb and forefinger. “Well, that ebony base alone…”

The large cube of dark wood was beautifully carved. “Okay, I'll give you ten. Just because of the base.”

His gaze falling to the treasure, the vendor released a weary sigh. “Yeah, I suppose. I don't wanna haul that thing back home with me. It's been a bitch to lug around.”

Cam handed over the ten. The vendor slipped the bill into a cigar box and began swaddling Cam's purchase in newspaper and duct tape. When he reached over the table to deliver the package, Cam felt someone else's presence behind his right shoulder and caught a peripheral glimpse of that someone. He slid a glance at the shopper, and his breath caught. It was the guy from the portable toilet.

“What'd you buy?” the man asked in an oddly intimate way, the way a soon-to-be lover might ask, after stripping for the first time, Do you like what you see?

“Oh, hi,” Cam said self-consciously. He shifted the wood-and-metal enigma in his arms, trying to accommodate its weight. The thing now looked and felt like an enormous frozen fish. “Actually I'm not sure what I bought. It just caught my eye.”

“Do you think it might be that object I described to you?” The man carefully squeezed the layered newspaper, obviously trying to feel the form buried within it.

He stood close to Cam, too close, his body a firm length of heat against Cam's side and back. It was probably his nearness and his low, smooth voice that made his simple questions so disconcerting.

“I don't know,” Cam said. He ambled away from the vendor's table. “Could be, but I doubt it. Then again, I don't know jack squat about artillery shells.”

The young man walked beside him. “I don't either.”

Stopping, Cam gave him a puzzled look. “But I figured you were a collector.”

“I am a collector,” the man said, “but not of artillery shells.” He looked down the pathway between the rows of tables. “Would you mind if we sat down for a minute so I could hold that? I won't open it; I just want to…get a sense of its shape.”

The request pleased Cam far more than it should have. “No, I don't mind. I already feel like I'm toting around a freakin' anchor.”

Don't do this to yourself. Don't give in to it.
They took a seat at the first bench that appeared. Cam almost set his purchase between them but at the last minute decided to hold it. He refused to examine his motives. They didn't require examination.
It hadn't hit him in a merciful while, this unsettling impulse to be close to an attractive man, to drink in the sight of him and store that image in a hidden well he tapped only in his dreams. But the impulse was hitting him good and hard now, and he was having more trouble quashing it than he cared to admit.
“My name's Paul Patrillo, by the way.” Smiling, the man offered his hand.
“Cameron Waters.” He clasped Paul's hand but made the contact brief. Then he handed over his purchase. “Feel away,” he said
For a deliciously disturbing moment, he watched Paul's fingers creep over and press into the bunting of newspaper. He flicked a glance at Paul's face, now gathered in concentration. This collector—although of what, he hadn't said—was probably around Cam's age or maybe a year or two older. In spite of his apparent youth, he had an aura of maturity and intelligence that didn't quite suit his appearance. He looked like a model, tall and dark and handsome. Strikingly so.
Enough for even a straight guy to notice.
Yes, enough for anybody to notice. A nun. A child. An eighty-year-old former athlete who'd fathered an entire football team.

Cam turned his eyes to the chaotic pattern of shoe prints on the broad, dusty path. The restless churning inside him intensified. The hidden well was filling.

Don't.

“Damn,” Paul whispered, then spoke the word again, with greater frustration.

It gave Cam another excuse to look at him. “What's wrong?”

Paul sighed. “The shape and dimensions seem right, and this location seems right, but I can't be sure of anything unless I study it.” He handed back Cam's find.

His explanation was more confusing than his exasperation. “What're you hoping it might be?”
Paul leaned back, crossed his arms over his chest, and stretched his legs out in front of him. He continued to regard the bundle. “A chimera,” he murmured.

“I beg your pardon?”
Paul gave him a half smile. “I'm afraid I'll jinx myself if I talk about it. Let's just say it's something that's intrigued me for years, something relating to my studies
He again touched the newspaper, wistfully, as if he could wish his chimera into reality. Cam's gaze felt glued to him. A mild breeze stirred Paul's rich brown hair, and its strands made a fluttering tracery around his features.

“Would you be willing to sell it?” Paul suddenly asked, reeling Cam's attention back to the simple surface of things.
“Uh…boy, I don't know,” he said, caught off guard. “I'd at least like to know what it is I'm selling. I'm curious about it too.”

Paul tilted on the bench and pulled a wallet from his jeans pocket. Cam's wayward gaze fell to the delicate shift of muscles in Paul's long, lean thighs and sleekly muscled arms. Light soil patched his knees. He must've knelt to study something on the ground, beneath one of the vendors' tables. Maybe sat on his haunches, legs spread…
A business card, dark blue and shiny as patent leather, glinted wickedly in the sunlight. It took Cam a moment to realize the card was meant for him.
“Here's my contact information. If you change your mind…”

The sentences jolted Cam. They echoed what a guy named Trent had said to him when Cam had applied for a position after graduating from the University of Michigan. “If you change your mind” had had a double meaning, the least of which had to do with reconsidering the job offer.
“Thanks.” Cam took the card. Embossed white lettering in a classy yet simple font read, Paul Patrillo, Historian. Below, to the left and right, were his street address and phone number, and his e-mail address and fax and cell numbers. Cam looked up. “You're a historian?” he asked with surprise. His image of a historian—a dour old fart with pinched features and eyeglasses that rested near the tip of his nose—sure didn't jibe with Paul's appearance. That was idiotic, of course. Historians weren't born old just because they studied history.

“PhD candidate,” Paul said. “I'm specializing in the history of American theater. The bastard spawn of the theater actually. Popular melodramas, jugglers and acrobats and magicians, vaudeville acts.”
Fascinated, Cam angled toward him. “Late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century stuff. The Gilded Age.”
“Yeah. You're familiar with the period?”

Cam cocked his head. “A little.”
“You know, that's really nice to hear. It's amazing how many people in this country don't know shit about its history.”

“Well, I made it through college, and I'm still a pretty avid reader.” Cam was pleased by Paul's approbation. He refrained from saying more, afraid he'd just keep running his mouth in some out-of-control attempt to impress the guy.
“I've met way too many airheaded men,” Paul murmured. “It's kind of depressing.”

“Only men?” Cam asked, puzzled by the gender discrimination.
For the first time since they'd met, Paul's self-possession wobbled. Just a little. He might've even blushed faintly, but it was hard to tell through his tan. “Well, women too.” He abruptly slapped his hands on his thighs.

“I really should get going.”
“I should too.”

They rose simultaneously. And at that instant, the words of Wendy, a female friend from college, a woman in whom Cam had always confided, skipped through his mind.
“So maybe you're bisexual. So what? A lot of people are—probably more than researchers realize. It's nothing to agonize over. Just go with it.”
Cam reached for Paul's arm, knowing damned well it wasn't bisexuality he'd been quailing from.
Their eyes met. Paul's were blue enriched by slate gray and quite beautiful.

“But…but…I wouldn't have a clue how to come on to a man,” he'd told Wendy. “Worse yet, I wouldn't have a clue if he was gay or straight or something in between. It would be really sick to hit on a straight guy. Humiliating. Maybe dangerous too.”
“You'll figure it out,” Wendy had said.

Problem was Cam never had figured it out. He'd just avoided the whole issue.
Maybe he conveyed that when his eyes met Paul's—conveyed the jumble of uncertainty and yearning that made him feel too vulnerable to take any chances—because the look lasted a beat too long. Maybe Paul saw something he recognized in Cam's gaze.

Still, Cam found his voice. “Are you here alone?”

Paul nodded. “Yeah.”
“Got any plans for the rest of the day?”

“Nothing set in stone. Why?” Paul's voice had that silky, suggestive tone again. Or maybe it wasn't suggestive at all. Maybe he just happened to have a naturally alluring voice.
“I live pretty close to here, only five or six miles away. If you'd like to follow me home…”
Paul beamed. “Oh Christ, I was hoping you'd propose a get-together. I'd really appreciate it, Cameron.”

“You should've said something.”
“I didn't want to seem pushy.”

It was another statement that struck Cam as a double entendre. His reaction to Paul flustered him, made him second-guess his offer. “I wouldn't have taken it that way,” he said. “You don't strike me as the pushy type.”
Paul's grin dwindled to a smile. “That depends on how much I want something.” He lightly laid a hand on Cameron's back. “Come on, let's get to your place so I can see if you found my chimera.”
From the point of contact to the pit of Cam's stomach, excitement shivered to life.

© K. Z. Snow, May 2010


Mobry's Dick
Author: K. Z. Snow
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: LGBT Paranormal
Late-19th-century illusionist Alain Mobry, a short, homely man with a clubfoot, is known primarily for his elaborate clockwork automata. But his private life is even more complex than his mechanisms. Mobry is a homosexual and a member of the Green Carnation Club, a secret gathering place for gay men of the theater. He’s also dabbled in “real” magick. There are hints of it in an illusion called the Fountain of Youth--in which a beautiful youth called Puck, never seen in public, emerges from a diorama and disappears back into it--and in a profane automaton Alain has devised specifically to entertain the Green Carnation’s members. He would like his creation to be for one man in particular, a fellow magician with whom he’s infatuated. But he never gets the chance to offer his gift...
Over 100 years later, a peculiar item turns up at an outdoor flea market. It looks something like a blunt-nosed artillery shell to Cameron Waters, the young real estate broker who buys the piece out of curiosity. It looks like the legendary automaton known as Mobry’s Dick to Paul Patrillo, a graduate student who’s been researching the history of stage magic.
While Cameron inches his way out of the closet and Paul struggles to free himself from a sugar daddy who’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants, the unlikely pair grow closer as they tackle the mystery of Mobry’s Dick.

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