Monday, 30 May 2011

Two weeks reading round up

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

Andrew Grey - A Serving of Love

Shawn Lane – Galaxy’s Heart

Lynn Hagen - Heaven's Hell (Brac Pack 13)

Lynn Hagen - Nicholas's Wolf (Brac Pack 14)

Vulfen Alpha's Mate by Laina Kenney

Serena Yates - Men of Riverside 1-3

Lee Brazil - Keeping House

Cat Grant - A Fool for You

Samantha Blair - Protectors

Book Pimping

Finding Love at First Sight

Joel Borelli

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Imagine believing you met your love at first sight when you were just a child, twenty-some-odd years ago. Now imagine that you never saw her again, and the only clue you had to her identity was a toy ring she gave you. After another break-up of comically tragic proportions Charlie Lomman decides to find her, his love at first sight.

Poor Charlie doesn’t even know her name. All he has to go on is that glorious memory of their childhood meeting, the toy ring she gave him with the letter L on it, and a sinking feeling that time is running out on finding her.

Equally unlucky in love is Rose. She, like Charlie, cannot find Mr. Right, and putting it mildly, like Charlie, is a magnet for quirky. Pushed to the edge of sanity, Charlie and Rose push back against friends, ex-lovers, and fate. Throw into the mix a mad but hilarious bumper sticker genius, and let the comic misadventures begin.


DIG Security -1

Laina Kenney

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After moving to escape a controlling ex, shy Sara James takes a job with a personal security firm, intent on settling down. But her sudden hot attraction to her dark and dangerous new boss is a complication she cannot afford--or understand.
Former Army Ranger and Security Specialist Dash Williams takes one look at his new employee and falls hard. But how can he approach a woman who outwardly ignores him while her soft, yearning eyes send another message entirely? His dominant instincts fire to life, and when Sara is plagued by a depraved stalker, he steps in to protect the woman he wants to claim as his own.
As they work together to stay one step ahead of the stalker, Dash realizes that his need to take over and protect will not help Sara have confidence in her own abilities. So he goes against his own primitive instincts and his training to teach her to protect herself and reclaim her freedom. The only problem is, when the danger is over, how will Dash ever let Sara go?

Up next on the reading deck

Parker Grey - Taking Chances

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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Excerpt Day - A Serving of Love © Andrew Grey




Chapter One


SEBASTIAN hated going in to work when it was dark, because that meant it would be dark when he left as well. Not that there was anything unusual about that—it was a fact of life with his job—but it was the one thing he didn’t like about it. Restaurant hours were horrendous. Whenever everyone else was off for a holiday or on weekends, that’s when the business was best, so that was when you worked. Not that he really minded. Sure, it would be nice to have one of those nine-to-five jobs, but he was good at what he did, and Café Belgie was successful in part because of what he did, or at least he’d like to think so.


Shivering slightly in the early morning air, Sebastian pulled his jacket a little tighter around him as he pressed the button to activate the walk signal at the square in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a chilly autumn breeze blowing and rustling the leaves at his feet. Cars and trucks zipped by even at this hour, and Sebastian looked around to make sure everything was okay. The light finally changed, all traffic coming to a stop, and Sebastian crossed the intersection diagonally, walking briskly across the street and then down the sidewalk to the front door of the restaurant. Inserting his key, he opened the door and stepped inside, making sure not to track dirt inside with him or else he’d have to clean the rug, and today he didn’t need any extra work, much less work he’d made for himself. Closing the door behind him, he threw the lock and carefully weaved his way around the tables, already set for lunch, toward the back where he flipped a single switch to turn on a few lights.


He was rarely the first person to arrive, but it appeared that this morning he was. Knowing what to do, he walked into the kitchen, turning on the lights before opening the back door and getting to work. Today was Friday and they were going to be swamped, especially with the colder fall weather and the holiday season just around the corner. Walking into the dishroom, Sebastian got tubs of clean flatware and grabbed some napkins that needed folding. There was plenty to do, and he needed to get it done.


Sitting at one of the back tables, Sebastian had begun folding the napkins when he heard the back door open and close. “Morning,” Kelly called, her voice carrying through the kitchen.


“Morning, Kelly,” Sebastian called back as he continued his work, the door to the kitchen swinging open.


“You’re here early,” Kelly commented with a smile. “I expected I’d be the one opening this morning.”


“I noticed last night that we’re almost out of everything out here, and I didn’t want to stay last night. I was too tired, so I came in a little early this morning,” Sebastian told her as he continued folding the napkins. “Besides, with Billy and Darryl on vacation, I want everything to go well.”


Kelly grinned. “This wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Darryl entrusted you to run things while he was gone?” She winked at him before laughing. “You’re going to do a great job,” she encouraged.


“What do you think?” He held up one of the napkins for her to see. “I thought I’d try a new fold. I found it on the Internet.”


Kelly smiled as she looked at it. “Nice, sort of fluted like the wine glasses.” Kelly slipped off the jacket she wore over her white chef’s uniform. “I’m going to start some coffee. I’ll holler when it’s ready.”


“Thanks,” Sebastian answered, needing coffee to wake himself up at this hour of the morning. Kelly brought him a mug a few minutes later, setting it on the table as he finished folding the napkins, replacing the ones on the table with the fresh ones before refolding those and placing them in the bin behind the serving station along with the extra flatware. Picking up his mug, he sipped it before looking behind the bar to make sure everything was full and set there, then checking the rest of his morning items off his list.


Once everything appeared ready, he walked into the kitchen. Maureen had arrived at some point, getting her desserts together before they would open the doors for lunch. This afternoon, she’d be Kelly’s sous chef during the lunch service. Darryl’s vacation meant that everyone in the kitchen needed to double up and help out. Sebastian was doing the same thing out front, but they could do this. It wasn’t often that Darryl and Billy went on vacation, and they both deserved it, so Sebastian intended for everything to run as smoothly as possible while they were gone.


The servers began trickling in an hour before opening, and Sebastian put them to work making sure everything was sparkling clean and ready for opening. “Hey, Peter,” Sebastian said as the young man finished sweeping beneath the table, “check in the kitchen to see if they need any help. We’re ready out here.”


“Sure thing,” the dark-haired man said with a smile, putting away the broom before heading through the kitchen doors. He didn’t come right back out, so Sebastian figured Kelly was able to use the help.


Making one more check just before opening, he called into the kitchen as a final warning before opening the doors. The first customers came in a few minutes later, Sebastian seated them, and their day began.


Lunch went smoothly, to Sebastian’s relief, and he spent part of the afternoon getting the dining room ready for dinner as well as preparing the records that Darryl had shown him. “I’m going to the bank for a few minutes,” he told Kelly and Maureen. “I’m taking Peter with me. We won’t be gone long.”


“Sure thing,” Maureen said. “I’ll keep an eye out front. Kelly’s got things in hand here.”


“Thanks,” Sebastian said with a smile, getting Peter before walking outside and down the sidewalk.


“I love this time of year,” Peter commented. “The sun is still warm, but it’s not all sticky and hot.” Leaves rained down from the trees as the bright sun warmed the air. It was a great time of year. The only thing Sebastian hated about it was that it portended the coming of winter, with its slush, snow, and cold.


“I take it you don’t have to rake the leaves,” Sebastian said as he looked at the younger man.


Peter shook his head with a smile. “That’s one of the beauties of going away to college—no yard chores. My little brother has to do the raking now,” he said with a grin as they crossed the street, turning the corner before stepping into the bank.


“Thanks, Peter. I’ll see you back at the restaurant,” Sebastian told his companion, and Peter hurried back down the sidewalk while Sebastian got in the teller line. It took awhile, but he made the deposit and got the change they needed before heading back. It was truly a gorgeous day, and he hated going back inside, so he took a few extra minutes on the sidewalk, breathing the fresh air before walking inside and getting back to work.


The afternoon was quiet as they got the dining room ready for the dinner service. Customers trickled in all afternoon, keeping them reasonably busy, but by the time the dinner service was ready to start, the restaurant was clean and ready. They were nearly booked solid, and the customers kept Sebastian and the servers busy for hours. Sebastian was never so happy as when he checked his watch and saw it was already nine o’clock. He felt sweaty and exhausted.


Walking to the front to lock the doors, the last customers lingering, servers already cleaning up, he saw a man in a hooded sweatshirt hurrying in, and Sebastian approached him to see if he wanted a table. Instead, the man pulled a knife, and Sebastian backed away. “Where’s the cash?”


Sebastian felt his legs shake. “In the server’s station,” he answered, taking a deep breath, looking around the nearly empty dining room.


“Don’t move,” the man growled, grabbing Sebastian’s arm, nails digging into his skin, dragging him toward the register. Sebastian opened the drawer and backed away while the man grabbed the larger bills from the drawer. “Is that all?” the man asked, voice rushed and throaty. Sebastian nodded slowly, and the man let him go, hurrying back toward the restaurant door. Sebastian didn’t move, hoping no one else did, either. Darryl had told everyone if they were ever robbed to let them have the money. Watching the man go, Sebastian tried to memorize any details he could.


As the thief reached the front door, it seemed to open for him, and then he seemed to fly through the air, and Sebastian heard a loud thunk. “Call the police,” Sebastian told the nearest server, not even stopping to see who it was before hurrying to the door. Sebastian saw the sweatshirted man lying on the sidewalk with another man kneeling near him.


“I’m sorry,” the kneeling man was saying. “Are you okay? I didn’t see you coming.”


“That man robbed us,” Sebastian said, pointing, and the other man immediately backed away. “We’ve called the police,” Sebastian explained as sirens could already be heard, getting louder and louder. The thief started to move, and as Sebastian backed away further, the other man scrambled to his feet, and Sebastian’s eyes widened as the man towered over him. The sirens got closer, and Sebastian backed further away as the man on the ground began to move, groaning more loudly. Police officers hurried up the sidewalk, and Sebastian backed up even further.


“No one move!” the first officer commanded.


Sebastian froze and began explaining. “That man robbed the restaurant,” Sebastian exclaimed as the man on the ground actually tried to get on his feet. One of the officers forced him back onto the ground and cuffed him while the second walked to where Sebastian and the other man stood watching.


“He pulled a knife and made me give him the money from the register,” Sebastian said in a rush of words as he started to shake.


“It’s okay, sir, just take your time. He’s not going anywhere,” the police officer said before turning to the other officer. “Did you find a knife?”


“Yeah, already secured it, and I found the money as well. Backup’s on the way too,” he added before tugging the guy to his feet, helping him into the back of the police car, none too gently. Another car arrived, as did a third.


“If you gentlemen could step inside, I’ll be with you in a few minutes,” the police officer told them, and Sebastian nodded, now feeling the cold. Opening the door, he held it for the other man, who walked inside. Sebastian noticed that he had to duck slightly so he wouldn’t hit his head on the overhead door closer.


The dining room still had a few customers lingering at their tables, watching the happenings outside. “Would you like anything?” Sebastian asked when the man had settled at a table.


“I was coming in to get some dinner, but it looks like you’re closing,” he said, looking around.


Sebastian handed him a menu. “Order what you like. Dinner’s on the house.”


The tall man smiled, his face changing instantly from ordinary to incredible. “That’s not necessary,” he answered, looking over the menu. “Can I have the steak frites, medium, and a cup of coffee?”


“No problem. I’ll be right back.” Sebastian hurried to Jane, who was clearing a table. “Bring a cup of coffee to the gentleman near the door.” She nodded, and Sebastian hurried to the kitchen. “Kelly, I need a steak frites, medium.”


She paused in her cleaning. “What the hell happened?”


“We were robbed,” he answered, heaving a deep breath to try to calm himself. “The police have the guy, thanks to a customer.” Sebastian forced himself to slow down. “That’s his order, by the way, and could I get one of the special salads too? Oh, and set aside one of Maureen’s mousses for him.” Excitement coursed through him, and he tamped it down, regulating his breathing.


“One thing at a time.” Kelly started going to work with practiced ease. “We were robbed?”


“Yeah.” He gave Kelly the abbreviated version as she finished the salad. “He tripped the guy or something, and the robber hit his head on a parked car. There was a dent this big in it,” Sebastian said, demonstrating with his hands before picking up the salad. “I’ll probably need to meet with the police because I saw the guy.”


“Then take the salad out and meet with the police. I’ll bring out the order when it’s ready.”


“Thanks, Kelly, you’re the best.” Leaving the kitchen, he carried the salad to the table, where a police officer was seated along with the tall man. Sebastian set the salad in front of the man before asking the police officer if he’d like anything.


He declined and motioned Sebastian to a seat. “I’m Officer Cloud. I’d like you to tell me what happened.”


Sebastian told the officer what happened, doing his best to keep his voice level and remain calm, but his heart still pounded in his chest. “It happened so fast,” he added at the end, “I barely had time to think.”


“You did the right thing, sir,” the officer said. “Just give them the money and call the police. Your life isn’t worth a few dollars.” The officer consulted his notes. “We’ve had a few of these snatch-and-grab-type robberies in the last few weeks, and I’m hoping we’ve got our culprit,” the officer said before asking for Sebastian’s name, phone number, and address, as well as the address and phone number of the restaurant. Kelly joined them at the table with the steak frites, placing the plate on the table, along with the mousse, and thanking the man for his help before returning to the kitchen. “Thank you both,” the officer said, pushing his chair back. “I’ll be in touch in the next few days. We’ve got the money he stole and should be able to get it back to you in the next few days. I’ll drop by a receipt for it tomorrow.”


Sebastian stood up as well, shaking the officer’s hand. “Thank you for all your help,” Sebastian said, walking the officer to the door, then closing and locking it behind him before returning to the table. “Is everything okay?”


The tall man swallowed before answering. “It’s perfect, thank you. You really didn’t need to do all this,” he said again, setting his utensils on the plate before taking a sip of his coffee.


“It’s the least we could do after all your help.”


“I really didn’t do anything except trip over my own feet and manage to unbalance him as well. The car he hit his head against did the rest.” The man smiled again, chuckling lightly. “There are some things in this world that were definitely not designed for someone as tall as me. Like doorways,” he added, his smile brightening.


“Please let me know if you need anything,” Sebastian said, his eyes raking over the room to make sure everything was being cleaned up.


“I could use some company, if you don’t mind. I know it’s late, but it’s definitely no fun to eat alone.”


Everything seemed to be in good hands, so Sebastian got a mug of coffee and returned to the table. “By the way, I’m Sebastian Franklin,” he said as he pulled out a chair.


“Robert Fortier,” the tall man said as he extended his hand, and Sebastian shook it. “It’s nice to meet you, Sebastian, and thank you for the terrific meal. It really wasn’t necessary, but most appreciated.”


“You’re welcome,” Sebastian added, scanning the room once again, wondering what to talk about. “Is this your first time dining with us?”


“Yes, it is, actually. I’ve heard wonderful things about the restaurant, but never had a chance to stop in before tonight.” Robert finished his dinner and pushed the plate back before reaching for the cup of mousse. “I usually don’t eat dessert,” he added before taking a bite, sighing softly.


“I know. Maureen, our pastry chef, makes the most incredible desserts. This is one of her specialties,” Sebastian said proudly. He wasn’t the chef or the owner, but he was proud of Café Belgie and not ashamed to show it. Finishing his coffee as Robert finished his mousse, Sebastian pushed his chair back, standing up before picking up the dishes. “I’ll be right back. Would you like any more coffee?” Sebastian asked.


“If it’s decaf. It’s getting a little late for the high-octane stuff.”


“Of course. I’ll be right back.” Sebastian left the table, carrying the dishes to the dishroom, where the cleanup for the night was nearly complete. Returning through the kitchen, Sebastian smiled at Kelly as he passed by, seeing that she, too, was almost done for the night.


“I’m going to head out soon,” she told him.


“Of course. I’ll lock up. See you tomorrow afternoon,” Sebastian said as he waved before leaving the kitchen, grabbing the decaf coffee carafe on his way to the table.


“I’m not keeping you, am I?” Robert asked as Sebastian refilled his cup. “It looks like everyone’s leaving.”


“I have a few minutes,” Sebastian answered, refilling his own cup before letting people out the front door, locking it behind them again. Sitting back at the table, he sipped his coffee while Robert did the same. Now that he got a good look, the man was really quite attractive. Medium-length, wavy auburn hair brushed his shirt collar, and he had bright blue eyes, nice lips, and a pleasant face. For a second Sebastian couldn’t figure out why he hadn’t found Robert attractive right away. Then his eyes shifted to his clothes. They hung on the man like they were two sizes too big. As tall as he was, it must be very difficult finding clothes that truly fit. “So what do you do?” Sebastian asked, lifting his cup to his lips.


“Right now, I work for the county,” Robert said. “How long have you worked here?”


Sebastian let his eyes scan the room once more. “Since we opened a few years ago. I was one of Darryl’s first hires. He’s the chef and the owner. Anyway, I was one of his first employees, and he made me front-of-the-house manager about a year ago. I run everything outside the kitchen, and he runs the kitchen and the business. His partner, Billy, is one of the waiters, as well. In fact, he’s probably our best waiter.” Sebastian saw Robert go a little pale. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”


Robert set his cup on the saucer. “You didn’t. It’s just that I didn’t expect to find people so open like that in Central Pennsylvania. Maybe in Philly or Pittsburgh, but not here.”


While Sebastian had noticed the man, he really hadn’t given any thought to the fact he might be gay, but the reaction, the startled look, the hard swallow, all helped confirm the notion. “Do you live here in town?”


“Yes, I have a small house on Louther Street, just a few blocks from here.” Robert looked at him quizzically like he was trying to size Sebastian up or something, but then the look dissipated, and Robert picked up his cup again, drinking the last of his coffee. “I should let you go home. It’s getting late, and I’m keeping you from leaving.” Robert stood up and put his napkin on the table.


“It was nice to meet you, Robert, and thank you so much for your help tonight. We really appreciate it.” Sebastian extended his hand, and Robert shook it firmly.


“It was no problem, I assure you,” Robert said with a self-deprecating smile as he walked toward the front door. Sebastian unlocked it and held the door for Robert as he left. Closing it behind him, Sebastian smiled as Robert shrugged on his coat, walking down the sidewalk. Without appearing to, Sebastian watched out of the corner of his eye, and sure enough he saw Robert turn to look at him just before he disappeared from view. Smiling to himself at the confirmation of his hunch, Sebastian walked through the restaurant, making sure the register was closed and everything put in the safe before turning out the lights. Leaving by the front door, he turned the key in the lock and began his short walk.


HOME was a row house on Pomfret Street, one of the oldest streets in town. It had been his parents’ house, and when they passed away, he couldn’t bear to sell it, so he’d stayed. On his days off, he worked on the old place trying to get it fixed up. There was one certainty when you owned a house approaching two hundred years old—you always had plenty to do. But he loved living there, and his mom, who had been a lover of antiques, had insisted the house be furnished with antiques from the period the house was built. She and Sebastian’s dad had collected pieces the entire time they were married, and the house was beautifully decorated. Unlocking the front door, Sebastian walked into his entrance hall with the case clock his mother had purchased and his father had lovingly restored as a present for their thirtieth wedding anniversary, picking up the mail from the floor.


After setting his keys in the bowl on the small stand, he walked through to the dining room with its large Empire sideboard. Hanging his coat over the back of one of the chairs, Sebastian thumbed through the mail, setting aside what he didn’t want before picking up the small local newspaper he’d taken inside that morning. Taking it with him, he walked through the rooms to the very back of the house, where a small sitting room had been added on years ago. His mom had lovingly restored much of the house over the years, but this room and the kitchen and baths were modern, thanks to his dad.


Turning on the light, Sebastian sat in his big, comfortable chair, put his feet on the ottoman, and opened the paper. He loved this time of day. Sebastian knew most people thought he was a little flamboyant and a party boy, but in actuality he led quite a quiet life. Thumbing through the paper, he didn’t see anything of interest and was about to throw it away when a picture caught his eye. Looking at it again, his eyes widened, and he began to read the article.


“Well, I’ll be damned,” Sebastian said with a smile, shaking his head slowly. The title read, “Cumberland County’s Newest Judge,” and beneath the headline was a picture of Robert Fortier. Sebastian read the entire article with a smile on his face before putting the paper aside and turning on the television. He tried to watch the program, but found himself picking up the newspaper again and again to look at the picture of Robert. The man had been nice, really nice, and it had been a long time since Sebastian had met someone like that. When he first started working at the restaurant, he’d developed sort of a crush on Darryl, but those feelings weren’t returned, no matter how much Sebastian had tried to catch Darryl’s interest.


Turning off the television, Sebastian clicked off the lights before heading through the house and upstairs to his bedroom. Who knew? Sebastian didn’t want to get his hopes up, but Carlisle was a small town; he’d probably run into Robert again. Heck, he hoped he did. After getting cleaned up, Sebastian climbed beneath the covers before turning out his light. He tried his best not to think about Robert… too much.


© Andre Grey

A Serving of Love

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinners Press

Genre: GLBT

Buy Link

Sebastian Franklin has waited a long time to prove himself as front of the house manager at Cafe Belgie, but his first night in charge while Darryl, his boss, is on vacation is less than a success.  The restaurant is robbed at closing time, and the Good Samaritan who foiled the robber comes with his own complications.

Robert Fortier is the county’s newest judge, and a reluctant one at that. He is well aware that a public life is not always easy, especially when your personal life makes you the target of a media frenzy. Still, Robert enjoys Sebastian’s company, and Sebastian is never without a serving of happiness and flair for his favorite public figure. But Sebastian is not without his issues either—family chaos and an ex in trouble will put the pressure on as they struggle for even footing in this new romance.

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Excerpt Day - Icon Men Bk 3: A Fool for You © Cat Grant





Chase darted out the Metronome’s stage door around midnight, guitar case in hand. He stopped to light a cigarette before continuing down the stairs, eyes widening when he saw Brian leaning against his SUV’s rear bumper. When that dazzling grin spread across his lips, Brian’s heart promptly flip-flopped. “What’re you doing here?” Chase asked. “I didn’t think I’d see you again.”


“Me neither.” Brian grinned back, but kept his shaky hands in his pockets. What was it about this guy that made him so nervous? One look, and every part of him started to tingle. “Would you believe I just happened to be in the neighborhood?”


“Nope. But nice try.” He opened his trunk and stowed his guitar inside. “I heard about what happened. Just figures, I take off one night and miss the big floor show.” When neither of them laughed, he added, “Sorry, man. Lame joke.”


“S’okay. That’s why I didn’t come inside to say hi. I’d rather not run into Kit. Or Lou. Or Clive.”


“Which reminds me, they went on a few minutes ago with their new bass player.” Chase rolled his eyes.


Didn’t take them long to replace him. Not that Brian was surprised. “That bad, huh?”


“Well, Bill Wyman’s not losing any sleep. They’re shooting themselves in the foot, in my humble opinion. Without you, they sound just like a hundred other mediocre bands.”


“Thanks. I think.”


“It was a compliment, believe me.” He shut the trunk, then tamped out his half-smoked cigarette on the sole of his boot. “You heading home, or do you have time to stop in for a cup of coffee somewhere?”


All Brian could do for a very long moment was stare. “Um, don’t you have to go back on later?”


“Nah, I’m only booked for one set tonight. So…” Here came the smile again. “How about it?”


Good thing Brian had gone home that afternoon for a nap and dinner, even if he’d had to sit through another lecture from his father after Cameron broke the news about the job not working out. Then he had to wait until they went to bed—and there was an image Brian had to scrub out of his brain with bleach—before he could slip out and catch the subway downtown to the club. He’d left his dad a note saying he’d be home late, though it still wouldn’t save him from another ass-chewing tomorrow morning. Might as well make the punishment worth it. “Lead the way.”


They walked down to the all-night diner at the end of the block and took a booth in the back. The lone waitress on duty filled their mugs and left a thermal carafe on their table. It was okay—not thick as mud, or dishwater-weak—but Brian pushed his aside after the first couple sips and forced himself to lean back and relax.


“If you don’t mind me saying, you don’t seem too bummed about getting kicked out of your band,” Chase remarked.


“I was yesterday, but not anymore. It was a real toxic situation, all three of us playing together, living together…”


“So did you find another place to stay?”


“Yeah, I’m with my dad right now.”


Chase shot him a puzzled look. “You’re from Toronto, but your dad’s American?”


“No, he’s Canadian too, but he moved to New York a few years ago, to be with his partner. He’s gay.” Crap! Why did he have to go blurting it like that? As if Chase was too dumb to figure out what “partner” meant.


“You mean, he’s gay too?”


Wow, that shiny white tabletop looked really interesting. “I-Is it that obvious?


“No. But I’m pretty good at picking up the vibe.” He reached over to take Brian’s hand. The touch of his skin felt warm and reassuring, but it didn’t stop Brian’s heart from thumping so hard he could barely catch his breath. Every part of him was on fire. “You’re a sweet kid, and I’m flattered. But I’m way too old for you.”


First his father, then Cameron, now Chase. Wasn’t anybody ever going to treat him like an adult? “I’m not that much younger.”


“Really? What are you, eighteen, nineteen?”


“I’ll be twenty-one the first week of July.”


Chase burst out laughing. “God, that’s like an entire fucking lifetime ago. You don’t want to know all the shit I went through at your age. It’s amazing I’ve lived this long.”


“How long is that, exactly?”


“Twenty-eight. Going on fifty.”


“Nothing like making yourself sound ancient.”


“Sometimes that’s how I feel.” He slumped back in his seat. “So what’s next? You looking for another band to join, or are you gonna start your own?”


“Pretty hard to do either without my keyboards. Kit’s still got ’em at the apartment. No idea when I’ll get them back, or even if.”


“Can’t you just call him up and ask him?”


“Dad doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Neither does his lawyer.”


“Of course the lawyer doesn’t want you two talking to each other. They make more money if you do it through them. Then they stir up all kinds of shit so it takes years to get anything resolved.”


“Sounds like you’ve had some experience with lawsuits.”


“More than my fair share.” He poured himself another cup of coffee and sipped it slowly, drumming his fingers on the table. “You got your apartment key on you?”


It was tucked in Brian’s wallet, right there in his back pocket. “Why?”


“Your buddies have another set to do tonight, which means they probably won’t be home ’til two or three. If you want, we can drive over now and get your stuff.”


Exactly what Brian had been champing at the bit to do last night. So why was he hesitating? Because the prospect was exciting, but the reality was too fucking scary? Jesus, what kind of a wuss did that make him? “It’s in Brooklyn. That’s a pretty big detour.”


“Not for me. I live in Park Slope.” He stood, pulled a few bucks out of his pocket and tossed them on the table, then zipped up his leather jacket. “C’mon, let’s go.”


Brian glanced down at his hands, amazed to discover they’d stopped shaking. Maybe this was the most idiotic thing he’d ever done—in a long, storied history of idiotic things—but right now he didn’t care. He needed his keyboards back, and Kit wasn’t going to hand them over without a fight. Besides, he couldn’t exactly schlep them home by himself on the fucking subway. He needed an extra pair of hands and a car, which Chase had generously volunteered.


“Fuck it,” he muttered, following Chase out of the diner. If he was an idiot, so be it. He’d be an even bigger one if he turned him down.


© Cat Grant

A Fool for You

Icon Men Bk 3

Author: Cat Grant

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing

Genre: GLBT

Buy Link

Sexy Chase Aubrey plays blues guitar like nobody’s business. One look at him performing at a New York nightclub, and twenty-year-old keyboard player Brian Barclay’s smitten.

However, Brian remains true to his boyfriend Kit—until Kit cheats on him and steals all the songs they’ve written together. With nowhere else to go, Brian turns to his estranged father, Trevor, and Trevor’s partner, Cameron. But even Cameron can’t smooth over the tension between father and son.

Brian’s in need of a friend, and Chase fills the role nicely—and quickly heats up the sheets with him as well. The passion between them is mind-blowing, until Brian discovers Chase’s secret past. A past he’s run from for years. And when the past threatens the present, Brian can’t help wondering if the love of his life has played him for a fool.

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Excerpt Day - The Captain's Man © Scarlet Blackwell




Moonlight and the lights of Rhodes Town shone on the ink black water. Waves lapped gently against the side of the ship. Distant music swelled and ebbed from the dining room.


Joshua Addison had never felt more alone.


He’d had a partner when he’d won this two-week cruise around the Mediterranean six months ago, shortly before Drew had left him for another man. Now Josh was here alone thousands of miles from home. He’d flown to meet the cruise liner on the island of Rhodes, boarded, walked around his first-class cabin, then come out on to the private balcony. He’d been aboard approximately ten minutes and already felt like hurling himself into the ocean.


A sudden cry split his self-pitying reverie.


“Shit, what are you doing, Freddie? Why are you using your teeth? Christ!”


Josh’s glance jerked sideways. He gazed across the wall separating his balcony from his neighbours’, squinting at two shapes in the dark.


There was a man on his knees being held by the hair by a man on his feet.


“Sorry, I’ve got cramp in my leg. Fuck…” The man on his knees shook one leg out behind him violently.


“Jesus, you nearly bit my dick off.”


Josh’s face heated with blood and he tried to sink back into the shadows in case his neighbours thought he was a Peeping Tom.


It was too late.


“Shit,” cursed the man on his feet, fumbling at his pants while his partner lurched up.


The man giving the public sexual favour stepped towards the wall with a cheeky grin. Of small stature and thin, with dark hair, he was dressed smartly for dinner, even if his shirt was luminous pink. “Hi, you must be our neighbour. We were just”—he coughed “christening the place.” He held out his hand.


Josh regarded it dubiously before shaking. “Josh Addison.”


“I’m Freddie Booth, this is Erik Dalby.”


Freddie’s partner approached the wall. Taller, with red hair and a nice smile, he put his arm around Freddie’s waist. “Sorry we disturbed you.”


Josh was more embarrassed than his exhibitionist neighbours. He mumbled something appropriate.


“Who’re you here with?” Erik asked.


“No one.” Josh glanced back towards the safety of his cabin, desperate to closet himself inside.


“Why not?” Freddie asked boldly.


Josh glared at him. “Because I’m sad and lonely and have no friends.” He stalked back to his cabin and slammed the door.


* * * *


Music woke Josh, together with laughing and shouting. Bright sunshine streamed through the curtains. The ship had yet to get underway and was still docked at Rhodes. He stretched and turned over in bed, listening with irritation to the racket outside for a few seconds before he got up and walked into the lounge area of the cabin to pull back the curtain at the window.


It was his exhibitionist neighbours of course, and they seemed to be dancing a particularly erotic tango wearing nothing but a pair of Speedos each.


Josh stared. Erik had Freddie around the waist with one arm, one thigh thrust between his as he marched him backwards, dropped him and caught him before he leaned over to press a kiss to his lips as Freddie shrieked in delight.


Josh let the curtain fall back. Jesus Christ, was this what he could look forward to for the next two weeks—Erik and Freddie rubbing his face in his loneliness at every opportunity? He hated them both.


A shower didn’t help his sour mood, nor did a glance at his watch that told him he’d missed breakfast. Cursing, he pulled on linen shorts and a T-shirt, and then left the cabin to seek out the dining room with the hope of getting a snack.


He was soon lost on the vast ship. He hadn’t put on suntan lotion and the mid-morning sun was already hot enough to burn. Hot and perspiring, he cursed his way around the cruise liner, his bad temper growing and his stomach growling.


I want to go home. I want to go back to Alaska where it’s cold and I can hide away.


© Scarlet Blackwell


The Captain's Man

Author: Scarlet Blackwell

Publisher: Total E-bound Publishing

Genre: GLBT

Buy Link

The Captain always goes down with his ship.

Josh Addison is recovering from a broken heart on a two week cruise of the Mediterranean.

Enter the captain of the ship, the dashingly handsome Kane Kessler. Josh is determined not to fall for him and convinced Kane won’t look twice. That’s not what his crazy neighbours Erik and Freddie think – and neither does Kane himself.

He wants to make Josh the Captain’s Man.

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Excerpt Day - Winner Takes All © Cheryl Dragon




Kyle Ogden never got tired of tradeshows. As he and his coworker, Arthur, put together their booth at the Martial Arts Supply Show in Vegas, Kyle kept an eye out for friends and customers.


Like most businesses, even with a big market, it was really a small world. Kyle had started with the Right Fit Equipment company out of college. At first, he’d done everything from Youth Sports to custom athletic shoes, but once his boss had learned Kyle had a brown belt in Karate and was working on other martial arts, she’d put him on the wrestling and very hot martial arts circuit. Kyle loved it!


“Your boy toy is over there.” Arthur nodded to the booth across the aisle. If Kyle was the demo specialist, Arthur was the tech guy.


“Shut it. His company isn’t exactly gay friendly.” Kyle looked over. Jim Park stood there surveying the booth area with his ice queen of a coworker, Ms. Chen. Both were Asian, but Jim was friendly and laid back. Ms. Chen wasn’t very social especially with the competition.


Arthur just shook his head. “He gives you a different excuse every show. Why do you bother?”


“Do you give up every time a potential customer says no?”


“He’s not a customer. He’s the competition. Dating the enemy when you’re in marketing and strategy wouldn’t be smart. Jim’s got some sense. You’re crazy.”


“Well, he won’t date me so it’s not a problem.” Kyle stared at the lean muscle on Jim’s tall body. With dark eyes and straight black hair that flopped into his eyes at times, Jim was hot. Kyle enjoyed the view when Jim bent to work on the booth. A firm ass, strong legs, and a sculpted back all hinted at the sexy man under the clothes.


Jim worked for the private company, Ping Inc. They were smaller but loved to put a dent in Right Fit’s market share. Not only conservative, Ping went for the traditional styles in everything.


“Get yourself an Asian boyfriend and get it out of your system. Jim isn’t going to bite. You’ve been trying for over a year. It’s getting boring,” Arthur said.


“I’ve dated all types of guys, it’s not the Asian thing. It’s him. He’s intense when we talk.”


“I’ve heard he’s straight.”


Kyle shook his head. “No way. He’s playing it for Ms. Chen. Some companies you just can’t be out at. Go distract Ms. Chen.” Arthur had a thing for her. Kyle knew it was just a fantasy, but he’d use Arthur to get Jim alone.


“No, she’s better in my imagination wearing leather and riding me.” Arthur turned and went back to work.


Kyle chuckled. “We’ve all got our things, man. Go ask her how she is with a riding crop?” Working these shows together for a while now, Kyle and Arthur knew each other well. Kyle would lay down good money that Arthur liked his women in charge.


“Kyle! She’d slap me and stab me with those high heels.” Arthur’s tone wasn’t scared or repulsed.


“You’d love it.” Enough torturing Arthur. “Fine, tell her you heard a couple distributors talking about acquiring Ping. That they are in talks with the big boy owners. You don’t want to spread rumors, but you thought she should know.”


“You’re mean. Then what? She’ll ask who and where they are.” Arthur was a tech guy in more than sales. He knew how much force a fall mat could take and the strength of their clothes. Most of what they did at shows was clothing and safety related gear. Safety was essential as kids got into martial arts more and more.


Clothing styles varied and individualization was growing as more people tried it. Which meant new supply companies popped up all the time to compete. Many flopped. Some like Ping had found a niche in traditional styles. Their lines were classic. Right Fit wanted to be cutting edge.


Ping employees were conscious of the competition and that the owners could sell them in a second for a tidy profit. “Tell her you didn’t get names, but you’ll find them. Take her around looking. Of course, you can’t find them. Maybe, they’re in a private meeting? You’ll let her know when you see them. That way you can go back and flirt more with her.”


“Wild goose chase.” Arthur didn’t object too much and smoothed his hair.


“And compliment her shoes. Buy her a coffee. Geez, I’m gay. Getting girls shouldn’t be my area.”


“Her shoes? She’ll think I’m gay,” Arthur said.


Kyle took another look. Open toe with red painted toenails, black high heels with red dragons on the side. “No man, those are fuck me heels. Tell her you like the Chinese dragon art. She’ll bite.”


“Her restraint is better than Jim’s. You need to get Jim alone and make a move.” Arthur popped a breath mint. “You owe me one.”


Kyle watched Arthur catch Ms. Chen and lure her away with business talk. It was the one thing she couldn’t resist. A little tradeshow fun couldn’t hurt. Kyle enjoyed yanking Jim around since Jim refused to flat out say he wasn’t interested or to just go out with Kyle. He needed to find Jim’s weak spot. What couldn’t Jim resist?


Walking over, Kyle helped Jim position part of the booth backdrop. “You can run, but you know you’ll see me again. Nice set up today.”


“Ping and Right Fit. Close in the alphabet so close in proximity. Your company should pay for prominent end space.” Jim pointed to the huge booths on the ends.


Kyle shook his hand. “Nah. We do quality and style in the martial arts stuff. Those guys are into quantity and flash for the uncommitted. We’ll take that business, but we don’t go in that big. Wastes money to over compete.” He moved closer. “Hit my next belt in Tae Kwon Do. How are you doing?”


Straightening the picture on the booth wall, Jim shrugged. “Good. I’m considering others. I’m more about control and strength.”


“I’d be good for that,” Kyle joked. “Come on. Ms. Chen is nowhere in sight. Quite being so paranoid.”


Jim stopped arranging and looked at Kyle. “Stop. We have a lot in common, and we could be friends, but I’m not playing out my personal life at a work function.”


“You won’t see me outside of work so you’re tying my hands.”


Jim glared. “I’ve told you. It’s not right. We’re competitors. There are at least four good reasons for us not to do anything. Our careers are number one.”


Leaning in, Kyle got close to Jim’s ear as if what he said was a trade secret. But he inhaled the masculine scent and had to control his desire to kiss Jim right there. “When I get you naked, we won’t be talking about customers or company policy. You’ll be begging for more.”


Jim took a half step back and leveled a harsh stare at Kyle. There was fire behind his eyes. The stare lacked the icy edge Ms. Chen managed, but it said back off. “You seem to be doing the begging. I think you’re working very hard for another no. Plenty of men here would say yes so it must be our products.” Jim set a new pad sample on the counter area.


“I didn’t know you had a new mat coming out. Actually innovating, Jim? Shocking for Ping.” Kyle felt the pad.


“As much protection with half the bulk.” Jim nodded with pride.


“Nice. But I’m not the tech guy. I’ll let Arthur press Ms. Chen for specs. I want to know why you keep dodging me. Even at the martial arts class, you won’t spar with me even though we’re well matched.” Kyle had first notice Jim at the academy. Maybe that was it, seeing Jim all sweaty in combat. L.A. had a few good academies. Jim had walked into Kyle’s about fifteen months ago.


Then Jim had been at the very next tradeshow Kyle had worked. It was fate. With Jim’s passion for the competitions, Kyle knew they were a fit. If only Jim would give it a try.


After the initial rejection, Kyle had truly tried to get Jim out of his mind. Hitting on other men, dating and enjoying them was one thing, but he couldn’t get the idea of Jim’s quiet restraint out of his head. Sparing with Jim would be ten times as arousing, especially in competition.


©  Cheryl Dragon


Winner Takes All

Author: Cheryl Dragon

Publisher: Resplendence Publishing

Genre: GLBT

Buy Link

Kyle wants Jim and Kyle gets what he wants no matter how hard he has to fight. This time, he’ll fight harder than ever because Jim thinks Kyle’s a player and he’s been around players before. He suspects Kyle’s games have ulterior motives, and he’s not about to fold.
As competitors at a tradeshow, they show off their martial arts skills to demonstrate their products, but they soon discover they share a fetish for taking wrestling and fighting to the next level—late night wrestling matches that end with the winner getting whatever he wants. But with everything on the line, it will be a fight to the end to discover which winner takes all.

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Excerpt Day - Truth or Dare Bk 1: Keeping House © Lee Brazil



"So, tell me why you want to work for me." That should give him pause.


"I don't. My brothers dared me to get a job, and it's been a lot harder than I expected. I just came from a McDonalds where the manager had a guy with a BS cleaning the toilets and an MBA flipping burgers. The economy sucks." Mischa sounded dejected.


"Ahh." He wanted a job on a dare? What the hell? Who told a prospective employer they didn't want to work for them? "Let me tell you a little about the parameters of the job."


Mischa gazed at him quietly, waiting. Maybe the daunting aspects of the task would send the kid the way of the first applicant. "You'll be responsible for preparing meals. I eat breakfast at six, daily, take a boxed lunch to work, and expect a minimum of a three course dinner. Sometimes I have guests, and occasionally dinner parties." He didn't really, but threw out the possibility anyway. For a moment, he was distracted by the amusing vision of a room full of elegantly clad clients and coworkers staring in horror as a Goth-garbed Mischa, hair spiked and piercings glittering in the candlelight announced that dinner was served.


"Got it. Cooking. I can do that." Mischa seemed to be trying to convince himself as much as Donovan of that fact.


"You'll have to do the shopping. I don't have time for things like that. Then there's the cleaning. I expect the house to be spotless at all times." He assiduously ignored the fact that the house was currently anything but clean.


Mischa wasn't inclined to be so kind, though. He glanced pointedly around the kitchen, at the stack of dirty dishes in the sink, the debris from several takeout meals on the counter tops, and the unpacked boxes of kitchenware. "Ok. Clean. I can do that."


"I need the house put together, too. The boxes," he waved around, "unpacked and stuff put away. The walls painted, furniture ordered and assembled and put in place."


Mischa looked shocked. "You trust me to decorate your house?"


"No. I have the plans here." He thumped the red leather-bound album that held the dream house drawings he'd labored on over the years on the marble counter. "I need my housekeeper to coordinate the workmen, decorators, deliveries and so on."


More nods. "I can do that."


Donovan stared helplessly at the kid. Stop calling him kid. It's too pervy. What else? "References? Do you have references?"


Mischa bent over and the tight black t-shirt rode up as the skinny jeans inched down. Damn. All that creamy white flesh, hairless and smooth tempted him to reach out and touch, to examine the texture and resiliency. He wondered if there were any more shiny piercings hidden under that severe black garb.


"Hey," Mischa was waving a handful of papers in front of his face, and Donovan flushed slightly. Could Mischa tell he'd been staring inappropriately at his exposed skin?


"I'll, ahh, I'll keep these. I need to call on them later." He searched desperately for something, anything to turn the kid-man off the idea of working for him. Recalling the indignation and vitriol of the second applicant, he took a shot in the dark and threw it out there. "I'm gay."


No response.


"I said I'm gay, a homosexual, a flamer."


No response. Just inquiring green eyes locked on his face. Someone must have told the kid - man that eye contact was important.


"I sleep with other men?" Shit now he was making statements as questions.


The pierced brow rose slightly at that in an enigmatic gesture, but no response was forthcoming.


"This is a live in position. You don't mind working for and living with a gay man?"


Finally, Mischa smiled. Donovan's heart lurched at the sexy sweetness of that smile. The tiny silver hoop in his lower lip glinted seductively. Wonder how that piercing would feel when he pressed his lips to Mischa's? It certainly drew attention to the swollen plumpness of the full red lower lip. Yeah—he really needed to get laid this weekend.


"No. I don't mind working for a gay man, as long as you don't mind hiring one." Mischa's smile was now a broad grin, and he settled back more comfortably on the barstool, as though he were suddenly making himself at home.


Sudden sympathy overrode Donovan's concerns. Why not give the kid a chance? If Martin Weston hadn't hired him to work in the copy room at his company all those years ago despite his being an underage gay hippie he wouldn't be where he was today. He'd probably regret this, but it looked like the skater-Goth-boy/man had talked himself into a job. And the corporate advertising executive was sentencing himself to a series of cold showers.


© Lee Brazil


Keeping House

Truth or Dare Book 1

Author: Lee Brazil

Publisher: Breathless Press

Genre: GLBT

Buy Link

Mischa knew his brothers were up to something. He didn't know it would lead him to Donovan Holloway and change his carefree lifestyle forever.

Donovan Holloway, advertising executive, newly made vice president of the company where he's worked for twenty years, grew up in a free love hippie commune, taking care of the parents who should have been taking care of him. He's worked hard to put himself through school and achieve the American dream. All he's ever wanted was a normal family life—house in the suburbs, two cars, two kids, a shaggy dog. A family to come home to—to care for, and to care for him.

Mischa Blake is the green eyed, liberally-pierced, black-haired, Mohawk-wearing spoiled youngest son of a Hollywood producer and his actress wife. Mischa has made a terrible mistake. In a fit of childish pique, he's accepted a dare from his older brothers. The dare? Live on his own, supporting himself completely for a year without accessing his trust fund. No problem. Except Mischa has never worked a day in his life, hasn't finished college, and has absolutely no skills that he can bring to the table.

So when he sees Donovan's ad for a housekeeper/gardener, he has nothing to lose by applying, because hard can it be?

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Excerpt Day - Taking Chances © Parker Grey




Chapter One


Gabriel had been sitting at the desk in his living room when the door to his apartment went flying open and Nate came rushing through the door. He was still wearing his apron and slightly covered in flour when he entered. Without a single word, he all but flew over to Gabriel's desk, waving something in his right hand.


“I know I've said this like a hundred times, but just because you have a key doesn't mean you don't have to at least knock.”


“It wasn't as if I didn't know if you were home or not.”


“Not the point, Nate. I could have been naked or something.”


Nate laughed as he parked himself on the edge of Gabe's desk. When he finished his laughter, he gave Gabe a look that indicated his feelings towards any nakedness that Gabe might have been in. “It's almost ten o'clock in the morning, you've been dressed since six and you know it. In the nearly ten years that I've known you, I've never seen you in pajamas past eight o'clock, including the morning after your twenty-first birthday, Gabriel.”


“That's so not the point,” Gabe responded and then went back to the laptop in front of him. “Was there something you wanted?”


“I got the mail this morning and this was in it.” Nate pushed a neon green flier in between Gabe's face and the laptop screen. It took a second for his eyes to adjust to the words on the paper.


“A free psychic reading?” Gabe squinted and then looked at Nate. “Why would I want to know about this?”


“Because you can get your own free psychic reading! It's only a few blocks away from here too! Psychics give all sorts of good love advice.”


“I'm going to go with no on this one, but thanks for the offer.” Gabe pushed the paper away from his screen.


"Come on, Gabe, why don't you give it a try?"


Nate waved the flier in front of Gabe's face again, but this time Gabe grabbed it out of his hand, crinkling the paper. "Because I'm not desperate or insane enough to see a psychic."


"It's free!" Nate grabbed the paper out of his hands, smoothing it out and holding it up. "And it's addressed to and I quote, "Those In Need Of Advice." That sure as hell sounds like you."


"Yeah, me and everyone else." Gabe rolled his eyes and took back the flier. "I'm pretty sure they sent this out to random people in the mail who will see it and think all their problems will be solved by a free psychic reading. They'll get sucked into it and before you know it, they are dropping hundreds of dollars a month just to be told some fortune cookie advice from a gypsy." He crumpled the flier in his hand and tossed it into the waste basket next to the desk. He turned back to his laptop and began typing away, eyes not going back to Nate.


"Fine. You can be that way, then." Nate paused and reached his hand out toward Gabe's shoulder. "You know, you're just going to end up old and alone if you don't start becoming an active participant in your own love life. There's only so much us innocent bystanders can do before it's too late."


Gabe paused, his fingers hovering over the keys before turning his head to look back at Nate. “I am an active participant in my own love life; it's everyone else that's the problem. It's not like I don't go to those stupid bar things every time you feel like watching me fail miserably. I met guys, but they are either closeted or only looking for a quickie in the back room. You know that's not what I'm looking for here, Nate. I'm going to be thirty soon; I'm not going to have a series of relationships that all revolve around alleys and secrets.”


“You're only twenty-seven, Gabriel; you've got like three more years left. Who's to say being thirty is the end of the world anyway? I'm thirty already and lightning hasn't struck me down for being single. It's not like you're sitting at home with a growing collection of cats. You've got to just keep looking, without being so damn judgmental.” Nate walked over to the garbage can and pulled out the flier, flattening it out and putting it back on the desk next to Gabe's laptop. “Give it a chance. If it turns out to be lame, you didn't pay anything. I promise to keep any gypsies from stealing all of your money or putting a curse on you.”


Gabe looked from the flier to Nate and then back again. “I'll do it if you promise to come with me and not to tell any of our friends where you've forced me to go.”


Read more HERE


© Parker Grey

Taking Chances

Author: Parker Grey

Publisher: Dark Roast Press

Genre: GLBT

Buy Link

When Gabe met Elijah he thought he was just getting this cards read to find his future "true love".

Elijah thought he was meeting just another client looking for answers where there aren't any.

What they end up finding is all the ways you can fall in love with someone and all the chances you have to take.

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Excerpt Day - A New Normal © William Neale




When they pulled off the main road, Jake switched the truck into four-wheel drive because the driveway to the cabin was really more of a weed-infested dirt trail than an actual road. No regular car could have ever managed it. Jake explained to Cade that the owner intentionally wanted it this way to keep would-be intruders from knowing there was a cabin just over the hill. After about a quarter mile of rough and bouncy off-roading, the truck pulled up over a rise, revealing a small, rustic log cabin situated in front of an elliptically-shaped lake reflecting the mid-day's cloudless cobalt sky. Despite still feeling ashamed and confused about his earlier "problem," Cade was impressed at how postcard beautiful this place was.


"I gotta piss like a racehorse," Jake said as he hopped out of the driver's side. He stepped into the grass towards a group of bushes about twenty feet from the parked truck, turned his back, and started relieving himself. Cade was shocked that he would just do it like that out in the open instead of using the bathroom inside.


"Up here you piss wherever you want," Jake said over his shoulder. "Just do it away from the house or places we use. There's no bathroom inside the cabin but we've got an outhouse up by the woods and there's an outdoor shower in the back. That's it for facilities."


Cade said nothing in reply but he really did need to go. He turned and walked maybe twenty yards over to a large tree and with his back to Jake, began modestly emptying a full bladder. As he finished and turned, he was surprised to find Jake standing only inches in front of him. They were of equal heights and Cade could actually feel and smell Jake's warm breath. The closeness made him uncomfortable for reasons he needed to keep hidden.


"You've hardly said a word for the last hour, buddy. What's wrong?


Cade stammered. "Well, it's kind of personal."


"Was it the fact that you sprang a boner in your shorts after I took off my shirt?"


Cade looked away, his face turning red. "I was hoping you hadn't noticed. I don't know why - I - uh - Jesus, Jake - I'm not gay. I'm not like that."


"Well what if you were?" he said quietly, placing a hand on Cade's shoulder. He stared directly into Cade's eyes. "Seeing what happened to you in the truck might well mean that you are and might well explain some things. On the other hand, it could have meant you're just seriously horny. But if you have some gay leanings, it doesn't make you any less of a man. I've thought for a long time there's a possibility you might be - I could see it in the way you looked at Mark. You didn't even know you were doing it, but I think you may well be in love with him. And from the way he looks at you, I have a strong hunch he's just as much in love with you too, even if he doesn't have a clue yet what his feelings for you really mean."


"That's not possible, Jake. We're just best friends."


"Yeah, and how many nineteen-year old 'just best friends' are inseparable twenty-four-seven and go into withdrawal when they're not together? How many 'just best friends' dick the same girl at the same time? Think I don't know about Tina and what the three of you do on Saturday nights? You two may be sharing the same action, but I'd wager what's making you both get off is having the other 'just best friend' naked in the same bed. You know how else I suspect you're gay?"


Cade looked down with resignation."Because I kept touching the tattoo on your arm?"


"No, that could just mean that you really want one yourself, which you told me. No, the other reason I think you might be gay is how much your face lights up when Mark or I are affectionate with you. When either one of us hugs you or puts an arm around your shoulder, you don't want to pull away. You just lean into that hug like you want it to last forever. Ever noticed that?"


"No," he replied, getting ready for the bomb to drop in which Jake would announce he was taking Cade back home and didn't want him anywhere near either him or his son anymore.


"Can you think of a different explanation, Cade?"


"I - uh - don't know, Major."


"Thought I told you to call me Jake."


"I don't know, Jake. You know my mom and dad have never been real touchy feely. They don't hug me much or put their arms around my shoulders like you and Mark do. It just feels good to know that somebody likes you enough to want to hug you."


"We're Italian. Big hugs and kisses always. That's how we show affection for people we care about. Of course we like you and, like I said, I think Mark more than likes you."


"So - I'm not saying I'm gay 'cause I don't think I am. But if I were gay, would you still like me?"


"More than like you, Cade. Love you. Hell, Mark and I always have. We consider you a big part of our family. If it turns out you and Mark want to be together the way I think you both do, I will be overjoyed. Because the only thing I want for him and you both is to be happy. And you most definitely make him happy. His whole life revolves around spending time with you, Cade. Don't you get that?"


"I just never thought about it that way, I guess."


Standing so close, it was easy for Jake to wrap his big arms around Cade and pull him close into one of the buddy hugs he'd given him many times. "Don't worry, Cade. Gay or straight, it doesn't matter as long as you are true to yourself and true to our Mark."


Cade sighed as he again breathed Jake's scent - a combination of sweat and some spicy smelling soap. That, combined with the tactile sensation of Cade's bare, mostly smooth chest rubbing against Jake's very hairy one, made his dick come back to life - again. Terrified Jake would feel it pressing against him, Cade pushed back and released himself from Jake's hold. Did he feel it? Shit! What the fuck is wrong with me?


Jake smiled but made no mention of the abrupt end to their hug. "Come on. We've got food spoiling in the back of the truck if we don't get it in the refrigerator soon. Let's unload everything into the cabin and eat us some lunch. And don't worry, Cade. There's nothing you can do or say that's gonna make me like or respect you any less. I want you to take some time while we're here to go off by yourself and think about what's in your heart, what will make you happy, and what you intend to do about it. Okay, big guy?"


"Okay, Jake. And Major? Thanks."


"For what?"


"You know - just thanks."




By the time they put the groceries away, Cade realized how hungry he was. Jake opened a package of hot dogs and showed him how to fill the cook pot using the old-fashioned hand pump in the kitchen.


"This is really cool," Cade said as a thick stream of almost ice-cold water poured from the spout.


"This is how people got their water back in the days before they had electric well pumps or city water," Jake replied as he minced an onion. "The cabin owner never had an electric pump installed because the electricity goes out here almost every time a big thunderstorm rolls by."


The two finished off most of the package of hot dogs and then tidied up the small kitchen situated in one corner of the cabin's interior.


"Why don't we put on our swimsuits and go spend the afternoon down by the lake?" Jake suggested. "We can get some sun, splash around in the water, and maybe we'll even have us a beer or two."


The lake was about fifty yards from the cabin's back deck. To the left was a small sandy beach where Jake explained they could walk about a hundred feet out into the lake before hitting deep water. Just to the right of the beach was an area of flat rocks that made a good place for sunning.


"Just be aware," he warned. "The water's going to be pretty cold because the lake is spring fed and it's still early summer up here in the hills."


They plunged in like two eager kids despite the cold water. For the next hour it was the boisterous, goofy Major Vincenzo - Jake - that Cade knew so well. He thought how much Mark would be enjoying this and remembered what Jake had suggested about his and Mark's true relationship.


The reality set in that twice that day, he had gotten an erection - not over Mark - but Mark's father. Trying not to be obvious, Cade again casually turned his eyes to Jake. Despite his attempt to be discreet, his eyes were glued to the hirsute body of a classically handsome man with very short black hair, pumped muscles, a dense two-day beard stubble, and a bulge in his swimsuit that Cade wanted to see.


Cade couldn't help it. He felt himself becoming hard yet again. Jake looked so amazingly sexy. The only times he had ever allowed himself to think about Jake or Mark this way was late at night in his locked bedroom when there was no chance of anyone finding out. Each experience had been a dichotomy of extremes. Fantasizing about either man never failed to ultimately produce both a sexual euphoria and a spectacular orgasm. But what immediately followed was crushing guilt and shame that he was capable of having such disgusting, unnatural thoughts that would surely repulse Mark and Jake if they knew.


Right now, however, one of his fantasy men was standing in front of him and they were all alone.


"If you keep saluting me like that I might just get a complex," Jake said, waking Cade from his dream.




Jake grinned good-naturedly and pointed at Cade's now bulging swim trunks through the crystal clear water.


Cade felt himself blushing. He was humiliated. "I'm sorry," he said softly, trying to make eye contact but instead only able to look down. "I don't understand this - I don't know what's wrong with me."


"I think that's our cue to resume the conversation we were having before lunch. Why don't we go over to the rocks where we left the towels and talk some more while the sun warms us up? Damn, the water sure is cold, but it's mighty refreshing in this heat, isn't it?"


"Um - yeah - refreshing. You go ahead. I'll be there in just a sec."


Jake chuckled knowingly. "Buddy, it's okay. You're nineteen. I was nineteen once and there were very few times when my dick wasn't hard. I ain't gonna judge you and I ain't gonna laugh at you. Well, not laugh much at least. Come on," he smiled and grabbed Cade's hand. "It's all okay."


All Cade could think of at that moment was that Jake Vincenzo was holding his hand.


© William Neale


A New Normal

Author: William Neale

Publisher: MLR Press

Genre: GLBT

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Former Marine Corps Major Jake Vincenzo had a plan.He was convinced that his son Mark and his long-time best friend Cade were in love but just didn't know it. Forced for years to hide his own gayness, Jake had kept a secret getaway -- a remote mountain cabin -- where he now intended to play matchmaker for the two nineteen year-olds. What he didn't count on was falling in love with Cade. How will the three navigate the minefields of potential hurt, jealousy and even betrayal?

How will father and son maintain their close relationship without viewing each other as rivals? And how will Cade reconcile falling in love with the two most important men in his life against the backdrop of a disapproving family? For each, it means redefining normal. It means finding a new normal.

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Thursday, 19 May 2011

Excerpt Day – Camwolf © J.L. Merrow




Waking up in a clump of bracken next morning, filthy and scratched but with an odd feeling of peace in his soul, Nick found that he had come to a decision regarding Julian Lauder. He would have to talk to the boy. Get things straight between them. Then, perhaps, he could start to put this whole thing behind him.


However, deciding to speak to Julian about their embarrassing encounter was one thing. Actually getting the opportunity to do so was another. In the end, Nick decided he’d just have to go and knock on the boy’s door. Which might sound simple, but really, when did fellows ever go visit students? If the boy had a friend there, it was bound to look odd. Nick decided in the end to go first thing in the morning, hopefully before anyone had thought of making social calls.


Like all first years, Julian had a room in college. It was right at the top in one of the older of the college buildings, and had the twin disadvantages of neither an attractive location nor any of the modern conveniences of the newest blocks. Which, in practical terms, meant six flights of stairs from the nearest bathroom. It was common knowledge that to walk under the windows of Garden Court late at night was to risk an early shower from some drunken student lacking the energy, the inclination, or possibly just the coordination to walk down to the loo.


Nick tried his best not to look furtive as he climbed the winding stairways and was relieved to pass no one on the way. Julian answered the door after three knocks, dressed in T-shirt and jogging bottoms, obviously hastily thrown on. God, he looked good enough to eat—at least until he saw who it was and visibly flinched. A muscle twitched at the side of his jaw, but he didn’t say anything.


“Um. Can I come in?” Nick asked. After all, this was hardly the sort of thing he could talk about in the corridor.


Julian stood aside without a word. His silent acquiescence did nothing to calm Nick’s nerves as he stepped into a small room, made more cramped by the slope of the roof. Nick hadn’t seen a great many student rooms since his own undergraduate days, but this one seemed rather more bare than most, with a distinct lack of posters on the walls or cuddly mascots on the bed or the desk. It could have been a hotel room, just after the maid had cleared away all signs of the last occupant.


“Look, I just wanted to, well, reassure you, really. About the other night.” Nick stopped. God, this was difficult. “I mean, I’m sorry I, er, interrupted you—and I’ve no intention of, well, saying anything to anyone.”


Julian stared at him as if he was speaking a foreign language. He ran a hand through his hair. Nick found himself envying that hand. “I know what you are,” he said finally, and it was so far from what Nick had expected that he couldn’t process it at first.




“I know what you are,” Julian repeated. “You’re—like me. I don’t—” He broke off and slumped onto his bed. Somehow, he managed to make even dejection look alluring. “What do you want?”


Nick stared. “What?” he said again, stupidly. He could think of quite a few things he wanted right now, starting with him on that bed with Julian with a damn sight fewer clothes, but he couldn’t for the life of him think of a single reason why the boy should be offering him anything.


Julian’s hair was messier than he’d ever seen it, and Nick’s fingers itched to smooth it back to silken perfection once more—or, even better, to muss it up completely. He was suddenly acutely aware that they were alone together. Damn it, what was happening to him? It was past the full moon; surely these aberrant impulses should be waning like the moon that controlled them? “I’m not after anything,” he said into the silence.


Julian gave a crooked, bitter smile. “Then why are you here? I’m not stupid. After all, you’re hardly the first—”


Nick was appalled. Just what the hell was Julian implying? “I don’t want anything from you,” he lied angrily. “And if someone has been…taking advantage of you, you need to tell me now.” He almost growled the last and struggled to get himself under control.


Julian was staring at him. Slowly, he rose from the bed and stepped closer. “You’ll look after me?” he asked in quite a different tone.


“Yes,” Nick said, barely aware that he was speaking. Julian was only inches from him now. Nick could feel the heat from his body, and the scent of him was strong in his nostrils. It spoke to him in a way he didn’t quite understand. Unbidden, his hands rose to Julian’s waist. Julian didn’t back away. On the contrary, he moved in, until their bodies were touching lightly.


Nick could hardly breathe. Slowly, that beautiful face came towards him and tilted, until Nick could feel hot breath upon his throat. He felt he must be dreaming as Julian nuzzled into his neck—God, started to kiss him gently. He was rock hard in an instant, pressing Julian’s body into his own. So beautiful. His scent was intoxicating. Nick had never known anything like this—and then Julian dropped gracefully to his knees, and Nick was wrenched back into the alley behind the pub. “What the hell are you doing?” Nick thrust the boy from him and backed away, appalled at what had been about to happen.


Julian flinched as though Nick had slapped him. “What do you want?” he asked angrily, scrambling to his feet, not quite meeting Nick’s eyes. “You said you’d look after me, and now—”


Nick was feeling increasingly out of his depth. “That doesn’t mean you have to…offer yourself to me. I don’t know—look, something like that would be entirely improper.” He winced at his language. God, he sounded like a Victorian maiden aunt, absolutely appalled to discover that sex even existed.


Julian’s eyes flickered. Nick was certain his arousal was all too visible and tried to calm his thoughts. Nadia, naked, he thought a little hysterically. Nadia, naked with the Master. Dr. Earle, Master of the College, was seventy-two, bald and stooped, with a rather annoying manner of speaking that never failed to set Nick’s nerves on edge. As his erection subsided somewhat, Nick reflected he’d never thought he’d be so grateful to the man.


“Why are you here, then?” Julian asked.


Nick wished the boy would look at him. The downcast eyes were having a very confusing effect on his instincts. “As I said, to reassure you that I have no intention of revealing anything you may wish to keep secret,” Nick said firmly.


Julian did look up then. “And I suppose you want me to promise the same?” he asked, this time with a hint of challenge that was even more confusing.


Nick flushed. “Well, it’s no secret that I’m gay, but I must admit I’d rather the student body as a whole wasn’t regaled with stories of me spying on students—or anyone else, for that matter. Honestly, it was entirely a coincidence that I happened to be there. And it was inexcusable for me to have lingered once I saw that you were, ah, engaged in a private activity. I can’t apologise enough for that.”


Julian flashed him an odd look and then gave a sort of lopsided shrug. “He wasn’t anyone. No one I knew, I mean. I doubt I’ll ever see him again.”


Now why the bloody hell did he see fit to volunteer that kind of information? “Don’t you think it’s a little dangerous to be engaging in sexual activities with strangers?” Nick said shortly.


Julian looked directly at him then. “He wasn’t dangerous. I know danger when I see it.”


Nick had the strangest feeling this was directed at him. But Julian couldn’t know. Could he? No, he’d simply been affected by Nick’s mood that night. After all, the man Julian had been with had clearly been afraid of Nick at the time.


Nick swallowed. Half of him was appalled that he’d terrorised the pair. The other half wanted to seize Julian by the shoulders and give him a damn good shake for—for what? He breathed out slowly, trying to calm his suddenly racing heartbeat. He should not be reacting like this to the boy. Not at this time of the month. “Right. Well, I’d, ah, better be going.”


“Goodbye, Dr. Sewell,” Julian said, and there was a mocking tone in his voice that Nick didn’t like one bit.


© J.L. Merrow



Author: J.L. Merrow

Publisher:Samhain Publishing

Genre:Paranormal, GLBT, Shape-shifters

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To save his lover, he must become his own worst nightmare.

Dr. Nick Sewell. Non-conformist. Werewolf. The first puts him at odds with his colleagues’ idea of how an All Saints College lecturer should behave. The second, bestowed upon him by an ex-boyfriend, puts him at odds with himself.

There’s his tendency to change into a wolf on the full moon. And his visceral attraction to Julian Lauder, a troubled young German student. Despite his determination not to act on his desire, Nick’s brutal response to seeing Julian with another man frightens them both. At first.

Then Nick learns that Julian is not only a naturally submissive werewolf, but one who has learned better how to deal with just being a werewolf. That explains the attraction, but it doesn’t make it any easier when the tables are turned, and Julian—once the student—is now teaching Nick…who still isn’t happy about conforming to the “werewolf way”.

Meanwhile, reports of a strange wolf stalking the town barely register on Nick’s radar—until Julian disappears. Accusing eyes—both wolf and human—are turned toward Nick. Even with the help of friends, hope is growing as cold as the kidnapper’s trail. Unless Nick gives free rein to the wolf’s inhuman power…

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