Monday, July 6, 2015

Played! – #2 in The Shamwell Tales - excerpt by JL Merrow



All the world’s a stage…but real-life lessons are hidden in the heart.  
In Played, by JL Merrow, though Tristan must join his family’s New York firm at summer’s end—no more farting around on stage, as his father so bluntly puts it—he can’t resist when Shamwell’s local amateur dramatics society begs him to take a role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The bonus: giving private acting lessons to a local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances. Not only is Con delicious, there’s fifty pounds riding on Tristan getting him in his bed.

A late-diagnosed dyslexic, Con’s never dared to act, convinced he’d never be able to learn his lines. But with Tristan’s help, he takes the chance. Trouble is, the last time Con fell for a guy, he ended up getting his heart broken. And with Tristan due to leave the country soon, Con is determined not to start anything that’s bound to finish badly.
Just as Tristan thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes. And the curtain may have fallen forever on their chance for happiness.
Warning: contains a surfeit of Bottoms and asses, together with enough mangled quotations to have the Bard of Avon gyrating in his grave
Played
Samhain Publishing (June 30, 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 1619229722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619229723

Excerpt:

Chapter One

 A Plague on Both Your Houses

There was a frog in the kitchen.

Again.

Tristan crouched down to glare at it, quite certain that such incursions would not have been tolerated had Nanna Geary still been alive. And while she had now, at the ridiculously young age of eighty-two, passed on to her reward, he was damned if he’d let her house be invaded on his watch.

The frog stared back at him with an inscrutable amphibian gaze.

“This,” he told it firmly, “has got to stop. Do I hop into your pond and frolic among the lily pads? I do not. So why you feel you can make free of my living area, I really cannot imagine.”

The frog blinked once. Then, in a series of spring-loaded manoeuvres almost too quick for Tristan’s startled eyes to follow, it hopped behind the fridge.

Damn it. This called for desperate measures.

Tristan picked up Nanna Geary’s phone and dialled a number he’d had the foresight to memorise.

“Yeah?” The voice was deep in timbre, yet clearly young. Excellent.

“Hello. I perused your advertisement in our local emporium. All—

“You what?”

“I read your card in Tesco,” Tristan clarified with a sigh. Some people had no appreciation for the beauties of the English language. “All household job’s—I assume the apostrophe was ironic?—done, resonible rates.”

“Er, yeah.” The man on the other end of the phone sounded somewhat nonplussed, possibly due to the way Tristan had stressed the “ibble” at the end of resonible. “What’s the problem?”

“Biblical.”

“What?”

“I have a plague of frogs.”

Pause. “Is this a joke?”

“If it is, it’s on me. I keep coming down in the morning to find a frog in my kitchen. Not something one wants to see before one’s first cup of coffee. And let me tell you, I’m something of a connoisseur of unwelcome morning sights.” At least, Tristan comforted himself, this one hadn’t been in bed with him.

Yet.

He wouldn’t put anything past the vile green creature. It was probably hoping for a kiss, and far be it from Tristan to brag, but he had an impressively wide experience of where kisses tended to lead.

Over his dead body, in this particular instance.

A frog,” the handyman was saying. There was another pause. “So technically, yeah, that’s a plague of frog. One of ’em.”

“Semantics. The plural, in this case, may be taken to include the singular.”

“Right… Look, I think you want pest control, anyhow.”

Finally we reach agreement. So how soon can you be here?”

“No, I mean you want someone who works in pest control. Um. You’re in the village, right?”

Tristan rolled his eyes. “I’m certainly in a village. However, there appears to be an elegant sufficiency of villages in this vicinity. Perhaps one might essay a tad more specificity, hmm?”

There was a silence, then the voice on the other end was back. “Well, go on, then. Essay me specific.”

Tristan frowned. Unless he was very much mistaken, there had been a soupçon of sarcasm in the handyman’s tone. “Shamwell,” he said shortly.

“Thought so. Right. I’ve got this mate. Where are you? I’ll send him round.”

“Excuse me? I’m sorry, I believe I must have had some kind of cataleptic fit and missed the part of the conversation where I told you to feel free to invite all your friends to my house. Perhaps you’d like to create a Facebook event, make it a free-for-all—”

“Look, do you want rid of this frog or not?”

Obviously.”

“Then lemme give Sean a call. He’s a professional. What’s your address?”

Tristan sighed. “Twenty-two, Valley Crescent.”

There was a pause. “That’s Mrs. Geary’s house.”
“Was.” Tristan’s voice came out perhaps a little on the sharp side. He missed Nanna Geary. She’d always loved to hear about Tristan’s latest triumph on the stage, and she’d certainly never told him to go and get a proper job. “Now it’s mine.”

“Right.” The handyman’s tone was equally abrupt. “I’ll send Sean over.”

“Immediately?”

“Well, he’s probably on a job right now, but soon as he can make it, yeah.”

“Make it soon. This is an emergency.” Tristan hung up. It was often best not to give these people a chance to make excuses.

Then he went back to sorting through Nanna Geary’s belongings. It was, Tristan had to admit, not proceeding as quickly as it might. He kept getting distracted by memories from his childhood. He’d been set back half an hour already this morning by coming across her old boiled wool jacket, a stiff heavy thing in the vilest shade of green imaginable—really, next to it, this morning’s uninvited visitor would be a thing of beauty. The smell of wet dogs and camphor emanating from it had taken Tristan right back to rainy afternoons playing games of rummy in a dripping gazebo, because Nanna Geary thought boys needed fresh air even when the weather was dreadful… He sighed and folded it reverently before adding it to the charity shop pile.

Tristan was knee-deep in women’s underwear when the doorbell rang. Most of it was of the sturdy thermal variety, but he’d been shocked and delighted to find some black lace nestling at the back of the drawer of, well, drawers. “Nanna Geary, you saucy little minx,” he murmured as he got to his feet, detached a wayward suspender belt from his sleeve and made his way downstairs.

There was no hall, as such, in Nanna Geary’s house. The front door opened directly from what she had liked to call the living room, comprising as it did both lounge area and dining room. Tristan strode along its length and flung the door wide.

The man looming awkwardly on the doormat was delicious. Tall, muscular and delightfully rough around the edges, with dark stubble on his chin and unruly jet-black hair. He was casually dressed in jeans and a singlet, perfectly accessorised with a touch of the grime of honest toil. Things were definitely looking up. And up, and up. Actually, the man’s height was bordering on the offensive, but Tristan was a forgiving sort. He beamed at the stranger and barely restrained himself from a hel-looo gorgeous. “You must be Sean.”

The man’s face twisted, and he rubbed the back of his neck, displaying some nicely honed triceps and a tuft of armpit hair. Tristan’s inner princess swooned dramatically. “Yeah, about that. Sorry. Sean says he don’t do frogs, ’cos they’re not classed as pests. Says they’re good for slugs and all. I’m Con.”

Twitter - @jlmerrow


Monday, June 29, 2015

Take This Man (5th Collection

A collection of romantic erotica focused on male couples in committed relationships. Edited by Neil Plakcy, Take This Man takes a close look at how much sexier an encounter can be when the two men involved have been together for long enough to matter.


Take This Man
Cleis Press (May 14, 2015)


Excerpt 5 from Take This Man


From “A Ride Home” by Brent Archer

Alan pulled a chair from the dining room table and placed it opposite him. “This isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s a fortuitous change of events.”

Bryant’s shoulders tightened as his brow furrowed. “What do you mean? I might have to move back in with my grandparents in Spokane. If I leave Seattle, I likely won’t be able to come back.”

Alan’s eyes widened. “That can’t happen.”

Alan’s words took a moment to register through Bryant’s haze of worry. He raised an eyebrow. “Why’s 

that?”

“Because I love you.”

Bryant’s mouth dropped open. “What?”

Alan smiled. “I love you, and I want us to be together. So here’s my proposition. Move in with me. My apartment has two bedrooms. You can put your stuff in one of them, and we can have hot monkey sex in the other as often as we want.”

Speechless, Bryant put his hand to his forehead.

Alan leaned forward in his chair toward the shocked young man. “We can do two months before you need to worry about helping financially. That’ll give you plenty of time to get a new job. You’re smart and resourceful, so I’ve no doubt you’ll land something quickly. My sister moved out three weeks ago, so there’s plenty of room.”

Bryant’s face flushed with warmth. Alan wanted him. Truly wanted him. He thought about their friendship, and how much he enjoyed their time together. He knew he loved Alan, no question in his mind.

“Are you sure? I’m starting over from nothing here.”

“No you’re not. You have a college degree, work experience, and all the sex you could possibly want. You only need a good man to come home to every night. That’s what I’m missing, too. We already spend a lot of time together. Let’s make it official.”

Bryant fought down tears as he pushed forward off the futon and kneeling on the floor wrapped his arms around Alan still seated in the chair. “Thank you.”

From “Wedding Day Jitters” by Rob  Rosen

 woke up in a cold sweat, eyes stinging, head pounding. “I think I’m dying,” I lamented, wiping the torrent 

off my forehead and groaning as I did so.
J
John, my partner, snorted. “No, Peter; just getting married. Now go back to sleep.”
But it’s already light outside.”

The snort repeated. “That’s the moon, dearest.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, oh.” He rolled towards me and took my hand in his before replacing the snort with a heavy sigh. 

“Why so nervous, anyway? Everything’s been taken care of.”

A list began rolling in my head before spewing forth from between my parched lips. “What if it rains? What if no one shows? What if everyone shows? Did I put the stamps on all the invitations or did I miss some? Did I pay the caterer, the minister, the rental hall, the florist? Does my tux fit? Do I look fat in it?”

He squeezed my hand. “Please stop, Peter. Now I’m nervous.”

“See.”

He huffed while I puffed, both of us staring up at the ceiling, my heart beating out a mad samba in my chest. 

“So much for sleeping.” He looked over my shoulder at the alarm clock on the nightstand “Only eight more hours to go.”

The pit in my stomach ripened into an overgrown melon. “Plus six minutes.” I gulped. “Make that five.” The gulp repeated. “And counting.”

He slapped the bed and then quickly sprung up. “Okay, enough of this. Put your shorts on; we’re going for a jog.”
I stared at him incredulously. “At this hour?”

He tilted his head my way. “Any better ideas? Besides, it always relaxes you.”

“So does a Xanax, a margarita, and a Golden Girls marathon. Not necessarily in the order.” I reconsidered. 

“Okay, exactly in that order.”

He tossed me my shorts. “No Xanax, the bars are all closed, nothing on TV worth watching. Or, in two more hours, we can either watch Sunday morning prayer services, Sesame Street, or perhaps expand our cable service. Take your pick.”

I grabbed for the shorts and lumbered out of bed, grumbling all the while. “Really, no Xanax?”

He shrugged. “Gave the last one to your mom.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Now you know where I get my neuroses from.”

“Trust me,” he retorted, “I know. And I’m marrying you just the same.”


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Author's question:  Do you eat while writing? Before?  After?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Take This Man (4th Collection of) short stories edited by Neil Plakcy





A collection of romantic erotica focused on male couples in committed relationships. Edited by Neil Plakcy, Take This Man takes a close look at how much sexier an encounter can be when the two men involved have been together for long enough to matter.


Take This Man
Cleis Press (May 14, 2015)


Excerpt 4 from Take This Man

From “Inkstained” by Krista Merle

Without even a cursory knock, the brass handle turns and the heavy oak door to my study opens, which can mean only one person. The man I was on my way to find.

“Oh good, you’re not working,” David, my majordomo, says as he walks in, his eyes riveted to the leather bound appointment book that is never further than arms’ reach away.

“I was. It’s not going as smoothly as I might have wished,” I say, my eyes taking in every lean, wiry inch of him. His light hair is smoothed back and tucked behind his ears, and he’s dressed in the same thing he wears every day, even though I never assigned him a uniform: black jacket and breeches with a soft white shirt and a simply knotted cravat. As he walks I can see leather patches on the insides of his knees, which makes me smile since I’d wager my fortune he’s never been astride a horse. Tall, black boots, polished so highly that they reflect the flickering light coming from the fireplace, encase his calves to just below his knee.

He makes a sympathetic noise and turns a page in his book. He still hasn’t met my eyes, let alone nodded or, heaven forbid, bowed. He’s lucky I don’t stand on ceremony.

“God’s sake, man, what is in that book that could possibly be so interesting?”

Finally, his eyes lift. Bright blue and deceptively innocent. I widen my stance, my shaft swelling already.

“I was just reviewing the market schedule for the tenant farmers and I’m concerned-”

Laughter from outside the door cuts him off and we turn to look. I lift an eyebrow at David and he sighs.

“The rest of the staff had a bit of a celebration at tea this afternoon,” he says.

“Was there a reason for this celebration? Which, from the sounds of things, involved more than one bottle of my imported French wine? Men died bringing that across the channel, you know.”

The corners of David’s mouth curl up in a loose smile. He didn’t look at all ashamed. “Perhaps just a few bottles. I joined your household a year ago. Apparently that’s all the excuse they need to drink in the afternoon.”

I laugh, feeling instantly more relaxed. Bugger the novel. This is far more important. “I suppose it has been a year already. I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t thought of it.” Which isn’t the entire truth; I was very aware of how long he had been with me.

A year ago he’d presented himself at my front door and all but demanded a job. I’d been amused and, to be honest, a little taken aback. But more than anything I was intrigued. He’d proven himself smart and well-spoken but in the same way a pair of new boots shines – bright and clear, but without that broken-in patina. 

He’d been newly polished. I’d immediately wanted to scuff him up a bit.

In my mind, our real anniversary isn’t for another three weeks. 

From “Blue Heart” by Michael Bracken

My first three weeks on the job, Gary and I often worked the same shift behind the counter, rolling burritos for a never-ending stream of customers at the popular downtown restaurant that employed us. Our conversation, limited as it was, never became personal, so I had no reason to think he was interested in me 
until we were walking out of the restaurant at the end of our shift one Saturday night.

The restaurant had closed at midnight, and it had taken almost half an hour for employees to clean up, clock out, and make our way out the back door. I had just reached my car and opened the door when Gary called to me.

“Dwayne?” He pronounced my name as a single syllable, not as two syllables the way my family and friends 
did back home.

I turned.

“Can I hitch a ride?” He explained that his car was in the shop after a fender bender with a clueless coed who’d been talking to her passenger when she plowed her car into the back of his at a stoplight near 
campus.

“Sure.”

I climbed into the driver’s seat and then reached across to unlock the passenger door. Gary climbed in beside me, provided directions, and less than ten minutes later I pulled my car into his apartment building’s 
parking lot.

“You in a hurry?” he asked.

I shook my head.

“Want to come up for a beer?”

I had no other plans so I found an empty parking spot and pulled my car into it. Then I followed Gary into the building and upstairs to his second-floor apartment, a one-bedroom much nicer than the exterior of the building suggested it would be.

He led me into the kitchen, opened two bottles of Lone Star beer he retrieved from the fridge, and handed one to me. As I pressed the bottle to my lips and tilted it upward to take my first drink, Gary said, “I’ve seen you sneaking glances at my ass.”

I quickly swallowed so that I wouldn’t spit out my beer. I started to sputter a protest as I lowered the bottle 
from my lips.

He stopped me. “It’s okay,” he said. “I’ve noticed yours, too.”

My cock twitched in my pants when I realized where Gary was headed with his comments. “You didn’t invite me up here just to drink a couple of beers, did you?”

Gary put his Lone Star on the kitchen counter, stepped forward, and began unbuttoning my shirt from the top. By the time he pulled it free of my jeans and unfastened the final button, my cock had swollen with 
desire and pressed against the inside of my Jockey shorts, yearning to be free. When Gary pushed my shirt off my shoulders, I set my bottle on the counter next to his and let my shirt slide down my arms to pool on the kitchen floor at my feet.

From “Unwanted Freedom” by P.L. Ripley

Chance woke when he was pulled from the bed and thrown to the floor. He opened his eyes to see the intruder drop to his knees, the left one planted firmly in the center of Chance's chest, and shove a thin slice of steel to his throat.

“Tommy, you're home early,” Chance said, not surprised to see his old lover.

Tommy grunted a hard reply. “No thanks to you, asshole.”

Chance stared up at him a moment, waiting for the knife to pierce his skin, to tear into his larynx or slice into the jugular vein. When it didn't happen Chance said, “You look good Tommy. You've been working out.”
Tommy had always been muscular from a lifetime of working construction. He was bigger now than the last time Chance had seen him, the day of the sentencing, five years ago. His chest was thicker, arms so fat with new muscle growth Tommy seemed barely able to keep them at his sides. They kept wanting to balloon out from him as though his hands were filled with helium.

“I didn't have much else to do, besides trying not to get raped or killed,” Tommy replied, pushing the blade a little harder against the thin flesh. A tiny bead of blood welled up under the knife. Chance could feel it trickle 
down into the hollow of his throat.

“I'm sorry you had to go to prison. I'm sorry I had to arrest you,” Chance said and ran his fingers through the thick hair on Tommy's forearm. He traced the tattoos all the way up to the shoulder. Tommy had most of them before he went away, but there were a few new ones. A skull on his hand, a line through Chance's 
ame on his bicep.

 “If you’re going to kill me, just do it.”

“You always were impatient,” Tommy said and rose to his feet. He stuck out his hand for Chance to take. Chance accepted it, lifted himself from the floor and stood beside Tommy. It felt good to touch him again. He missed him more than he had admitted to Bennie. He was still powerfully, terribly in love with Tommy.

Chance slept in the nude. It felt odd standing naked with Tommy fully dressed. He turned, pulled a pair of white briefs from the dresser and stepped into them. Tommy dropped the knife on the end table, it clattered next to the alarm clock, then he sat on the bed. He huffed out a long sigh.  

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Author's question:  Do you write more than one project at a time?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

TakeThis Man (3rd collection of excerpts from) short stories edited by Neil Plakcy



A collection of romantic erotica focused on male couples in committed relationships. Edited by Neil Plakcy, Take This Man takes a close look at how much sexier an encounter can be when the two men involved have been together for long enough to matter.


Take This Man
Cleis Press (May 14, 2015)


Excerpt 3 from Take This Man

From “Homecoming” by Justin Josh

The look on Scott’s face was thinly disguised disappointment mixed with disgust. Perfect, I thought. The apartment was a total mess. I was dirty, unshaven (which Scott hated), and best of all, I wore a fat suit hidden beneath a full-length cotton robe. I looked terrible.

Scott stood in the doorway, shocked. He looked gorgeous, decked out in his spotless uniform with its gleaming gold buttons. He knew how much I loved the way he looked in full uniform. With his puppy-dog brown eyes framed with those thick eyebrows, he was irresistible.

I could only imagine what he must be thinking, coming home from Afghanistan after six months only to find his boyfriend dressed in a bathrobe before dinner and looking like he had gained a hundred pounds.
Scott loved practical jokes and this was big. Cruel, perhaps, but he deserved this for all the surprises he had pulled on me, and for telling me before he left that I was getting chubby, and most of all for teasing me about all the beautiful muscular men he was working with while in the army.

“Welcome home,” I said, hugging him. I could barely keep from laughing as he recoiled. “Sorry about the mess.” I waved at the carefully staged destruction of our small apartment. Dirty dishes and old food covered the tables and countertops. Soiled clothes were strewn across the couch and floor.

To his credit, Scott gulped, smiled weakly and kissed me. He began to fondle my body, clearly surprised at how much weight I had gained. I pulled away, feigning embarrassment.

“Later,” I said. “You just got home.”

Scott looked almost like he was going to cry. Had I gone too far?

“I can’t believe you didn’t clean up,” he said. “You knew I was coming.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I cooked for us. I made your favorite: lasagna and garlic bread. You go upstairs, take a shower and dress into something more comfortable. Give me an hour and I’ll get everything ready.”

“Okay,” he said, leaning forward to kiss me again.

He kissed me and grabbed my butt. Again, he looked at me strangely.

“You gained weight,” he said, neutrally.

I put on my best guilty face. “I’m sorry. I’ll lose it, I promise.”

“I’ve missed you Todd,” he said.

“Me too.”

He nodded, turned and walked upstairs.

I nearly laughed out loud. Poor Scott! He had no idea that beneath my fat-suit was my new finely-sculpted muscular body. He was right. I had been getting chubby. So right after he left, I began working out on a daily basis. Not only did I lose my chubbiness, my muscles filled out quite nicely. I even had an actual six-pack. Scott was going to be so surprised.

From “Late Start” by Heidi Champa

“We’ve been together too long to still be in the honeymoon phase. We did all that seven years ago.”

He chuckled for a moment, before letting out a rattling cough, the remnants of a cold he’d been battling the week before. I was just about to ask him how he was feeling, but he didn’t give me the chance, his response dripping with sarcasm.

“God, you’re such a romantic, Cam. I don’t know how I’m supposed to stand it.”

“You know what I mean. It’s not my fault we couldn’t get married until a few months ago.”

“That doesn’t mean we can’t act like newlyweds. Because, you know, sweetie, we actually are.”

“I promise when I get back, we’ll do something.”

“We could do something right now.”

He looked at me expectantly and it took everything I had to get the next words out. “I’m sorry, I really have to go.”

Ben stared at me, his hand still moving around his cock, a little moan slipping past his lips before he spoke.

“Killjoy.”

I sipped my coffee and glanced at my watch. I really did have to leave. Technically, I should have already been on my way to the train station. It was so typical of Ben to try and distract me on a day like today. There he sat, on our giant sofa, bathed in the morning sun, every curtain in the loft wide open. Light bounced off the whitewashed brick walls, making everything glow. In the middle of it all was Ben, without a care in the world, his dark brown hair a mess, the glint in his eye making me reconsider my plans. For a moment, at least. The sky was the most gorgeous blue and I could hear the noise of the city getting louder as more and more people flooded onto the streets to start their day. Just like I was supposed to be doing. I repeated my words, but I said them more for me than for him.

“I really have to go, Ben.”

He sighed and ran his free hand up and down his thigh.

“So you said. Then go. Call me when you get to our nation’s capital.”

His words were flat, but I barely heard them. Mostly because Ben was making it hard for me to focus on anything but his hard dick. I looked at my watch, but I barely even saw the numbers. I knew I should just go. Then, Ben opened his mouth again.

“I’ll miss you, baby.”

His voice came out a bit husky, a trick he used when he wanted to get his way. The sound of it always drove me crazy, even after all these years. Which he knew, of course. He stretched an arm up into the air, his head coming to rest against the back of the couch. While I kept watching him, I found myself setting down my briefcase and loosening the knot on my tie. Ben smiled as I toed off my shoes on my way to the couch, careful to lay my suit jacket over the back of his favorite chair. I stood right in front of him and looked down at him, his hand still moving slowly up and down his dick.


Excerpt 3 from Take This Man

From “The Last Romantic Lover” by Logan Zachary

Logan, blow out your candle and make a wish,” Jake, my partner, said as he poured me another glass of champagne.  

The waiter had just set down a huge piece of Black Forest cake in front of me with a single candle burning on it.  He stepped back, knowing full well not to sing Happy Birthday to me. 

The Black Forest restaurant wasn’t very busy for a midweek supper and birthday celebration, and I was glad.  I looked into Jake’s eyes and asked, “Jake, will you marry me?”

Logan, you know until it’s legal …” Jake set the champagne bottle back in the table and picked up his bubbling flute.

I raised my glass to clink his.  “I don’t care what the government says.  I want to marry you, and a stupid piece of paper doesn’t make my feelings for you any different.  I love you, and I want to marry you.”  Our champagne glasses clinked.

“You want to drive down to Iowa and … ?”  He extended his fork to steal a bite of cake.

I nodded at him to help himself to the cake.  “You don’t understand.  I don’t care about some license or any silly documents.  I want a pastor to marry us.  In my heart, that’s all that matters, not a stupid document.”

“But if the paper doesn’t matter …”

“Never mind.  If you don’t want to marry me, that’s fine.”

“I didn’t say that.  I just don’t see why it matters so much to you.  You’re always such a rebel, you don’t seem like the one to follow any ancient heterosexual ritual.”

“I just want you to commit to me, and I want to commit to you.  Why is that so hard to understand?”

“It isn’t, but legally …”

“I don’t care what they say.  If I want to marry you, that’s all that matters to me.”

Jake took a big bite of cake.

“Fine, I won’t ask you again, but once it’s legal, you’ll have to ask.”

“Okay.”

“And I expect a ring, two month’s salary.”  I raised my champagne glass and saluted him before I drained it.  

“It’s such a nice place,” Mike said. He leaned across the bar and spoke in a low voice. “The smell is driving me crazy. I’m starving. How do you stand it?”

The chef did a tasting of the specials for the servers, and he had done a few of the classics for Mike to taste along with them, to get an idea of the whole menu. He said he had never eaten Ethiopian food, but he ate with enthusiasm and had spent much of the night suggesting dishes to customers before they even had a chance to decide.

“You eat before you show up for work,” Toby said, deadpan. Mike laughed, so he knew how to take a joke. He was going to get along well at Injera.

“The only thing I have in my fridge right now is beer,” Mike said. He turned away from Toby to glance around the room.

Mike was attentive and pleasant to be around. Toby couldn’t bring himself to complain about the constant questions. He was new. He had a lot to learn.

“What about you?” Mike asked, coming around the bar to grab the cloth and wipe it down for something to do. “Is your wife a good cook?”

It had been a long time since Toby had to come out to someone. He encountered people every day who didn’t know, but they didn’t always need to know. Mike would find out, and if he was still here when Azzo arrived to take Toby home, he would find out tonight.

“Husband,” Toby said, an easy correction.

Mike’s mouth fell open, almost comical, but his eyes were also wide, and Toby felt that old, familiar panic reaching up into his throat.

“That’s awesome,” Mike said. Toby didn’t think Mike could be any younger than he already looked. “I have so many questions, man. Where did you meet? How long have you guys been together? Is he hot?”

Toby laughed, but there wasn’t time for any of that, of course. As Mike was inching himself closer, Toby spotted a customer glancing around the room.

“Table  five,” he said. Mike jumped, and he was gone, completely professional once more. He would do well here, Toby decided. He would be a good kid to keep around.

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Author's question:  Do you obey any "rules for writing"?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Take This Man (2nd collection of excerpts from) short stories edited by Neil Plakcy



A collection of romantic erotica focused on male couples in committed relationships. Edited by Neil Plakcy, Take This Man takes a close look at how much sexier an encounter can be when the two men involved have been together for long enough to matter.


Take This Man
Cleis Press (May 14, 2015)


Excerpt 2 from Take This Man

From “Table for Three” by Jameson Dash

“It’s such a nice place,” Mike said. He leaned across the bar and spoke in a low voice. “The smell is driving me crazy. I’m starving. How do you stand it?”

The chef did a tasting of the specials for the servers, and he had done a few of the classics for Mike to taste along with them, to get an idea of the whole menu. He said he had never eaten Ethiopian food, but he ate with enthusiasm and had spent much of the night suggesting dishes to customers before they even had a chance to decide.

“You eat before you show up for work,” Toby said, deadpan. Mike laughed, so he knew how to take a joke. He was going to get along well at Injera.

“The only thing I have in my fridge right now is beer,” Mike said. He turned away from Toby to glance around the room.

Mike was attentive and pleasant to be around. Toby couldn’t bring himself to complain about the constant questions. He was new. He had a lot to learn.

“What about you?” Mike asked, coming around the bar to grab the cloth and wipe it down for something to do. “Is your wife a good cook?”

It had been a long time since Toby had to come out to someone. He encountered people every day who didn’t know, but they didn’t always need to know. Mike would find out, and if he was still here when Azzo arrived to take Toby home, he would find out tonight.

“Husband,” Toby said, an easy correction.

Mike’s mouth fell open, almost comical, but his eyes were also wide, and Toby felt that old, familiar panic reaching up into his throat.

“That’s awesome,” Mike said. Toby didn’t think Mike could be any younger than he already looked. “I have so many questions, man. Where did you meet? How long have you guys been together? Is he hot?”

Toby laughed, but there wasn’t time for any of that, of course. As Mike was inching himself closer, Toby spotted a customer glancing around the room.

“Table  five,” he said. Mike jumped, and he was gone, completely professional once more. He would do well here, Toby decided. He would be a good kid to keep around.

From “The Road Trip” by Kitten Boheme

“Oh my god!” Finn yelled, his face pressed against the passenger window, his breath fogging the glass.
I slammed on the brakes, the car behind us had to swerve around us, the driver laying on its horn, and gesturing rudely as he drove by.

“What?! What’s wrong?” I panicked.

“We should eat there!” He pointed excitedly to a roadside café.

“Seriously? That’s what you nearly got us killed for?” My heart had leapt up into my throat; I tried to swallow it back down.

Finn just looked back at me, unaware or uncaring of what just happened. He shrugged, “I’m hungry.”

“You are always hungry.” I rubbed his slightly less than a six-pack gut. He returned my mock affection with a punch to the arm, I laughed. “Fine, let’s stop.” I relented, flipping on my turn signal and pulling in to the café.  
I parked our Chevy station wagon, bought especially for this trip. “See the USA in your Chevrolet” was Finn’s mantra. Being the pushover I am, relented and traded in my Audi for this 1980’s monstrosity.

As I unbuckled my seatbelt I leaned over, “You owe me. Big.” I puckered my lips and waited.
Finn closed the gap between us and pressed his mouth to mine.

I melted into his kiss, the moistness of his lips, the heat of his breath, and the familiar feel of his tongue sliding against mine. Five years and he still can make me weak at the knees with just a kiss. We clung eagerly to each other, a hand slid up the nape of my neck, his fingers curling in my hair. I shuddered. I put my hand against his cheek, the fleshy pad of my thumb caressing his cheek bone. When the kiss broke Finn left a trail of soft kisses from the corner of my mouth to my ear. He breathed deep and heavy in my ear, a chill ran down my body, I could feel something beginning to stir in my pants. He whispered, “I want a bacon cheeseburger.”

I pushed him away from me, stifling a laugh. “Get away from me.”

“Come on, let’s go eat” Finn reached over and pulled the keys from the ignition. “I’m buying.”

“Damn right you are.” I reached for the door handle.

“Wait!” Finn held up a hand, motioning for me to stop. He jumped out of the car and hustled over to the driver’s side and opened the door for me. It was a silly thing he did, ever since our first date. He thought it was romantic and I humored him, although the tradition has grown on me.

“Thank you, babe.” I took his outstretched hand and lifted myself out of the seat with a groan. It felt good to finally stretch my legs. Finn linked his arm through mine and started pulling me towards the entrance and grudgingly I followed.

From “A Riviera Wedding” by Neil Plakcy

Aidan reached down to touch his half-hard dick, running his index finger up its length, remembering how Liam had looked that morning, like a Greek god come to life. He closed his eyes and imagined Liam there beside him, how he’d turn to his partner and take one nipple ring between his teeth, and twist.

Liam would shiver and reach for Aidan’s dick. Aidan stroked himself as he imagined that touch. He lay there in the shaft of sunlight gently fingering himself until his dick began to ooze precome.

“Getting started without me?”

Aidan opened his eyes to see Liam silhouetted in the doorway. His partner had an ability, cultivated by years as a US Navy SEAL, to move quietly when he wanted to . It was almost creepy.

“Well, at least I waited for you to get here.” He patted the bed beside him. Their little mixed-breed dog, Hayam, looked up from her place on the floor, then rested her head back down.

“I should take a shower.”

“No , you shouldn’t,” Aidan said. “I love the way you smell when you’ve been out at the beach.”

“Well, if you insist.” Liam pulled off his T-shirt, revealing his narrow waist, awesome six pack, and beefy pecs. The gold nipple rings glinted dully in the light.

Aidan never tired of watching his partner strip. In the five years they had been together, Liam had put on a bit of weight around his hips, and his biceps were not as iron-hard as they’d once been. But even if that amazing body were to fall apart, Aidan knew he would still love the man inside.

Liam kicked off his leather sandals and stepped out of his baggy gray shorts. He usually wore a jockstrap, 
because he liked the way the cotton fabric cupped and protected his dick and balls, but that morning he’d skipped the jock in favor of the tiny bathing suit. As he skinned the white nylon down over his crotch, his half-hard dick popped out. He pushed the fabric down over his massive thighs and then let the suit fall to the floor.

Grinning, he struck a bodybuilder pose beside the bed – because he knew how much it teased and excited Aidan. As he did, he bounced his dick up and down a couple of times to stiffen it.

“Come here, you,” Aidan said, clambering over the bed until his mouth was level with Liam’s dick. Liam planted his legs firmly on the floor and Aidan reached out to cup Liam’s balls. Then he moved in closer and took the mushroom head of Liam’s beefy dick in his mouth.


Liam was a shower, not a grower; his dick was pretty much the same girth and length hard or soft. And either way, Aidan loved to take it in his mouth. Nestling his nose against Liam’s pubic hair, he smelled the combination of sun, sand, salt water and tanning oil, along with their lavender soap and Liam’s own unique musk.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Take This Man short stories edited by Neil Plakcy



A collection of romantic erotica focused on male couples in committed relationships. Edited by Neil Plakcy, Take This Man takes a close look at how much sexier an encounter can be when the two men involved have been together for long enough to matter.


Take This Man
Cleis Press (May 14, 2015)


Excerpt 1 from Take This Man:
“A Good Heart is This Day Found” excerpt by Rhidian Brenig Jonesa

Eight hours after I’d fixed it in place, Iain bent his head to the rosebud in his lapel. “I can’t believe he did this for us,” he said. “I still can’t believe he actually came.”

“I knew he would, in the end. All the flowers are his way of saying he’s okay with us now. You know my father, he’d never just come out and say it.” I propped the bottle against my hip and turned it steadily, felt the cork give. “Pass me the glasses. Anyhow, all those posies, whatever they’re called, that he made for the girls gave him a chance to show off.”

He moved the curtain aside and looked down at the hotel lawn. “Party’s still going strong. You’re sure you didn’t want to stay?”

“Nah, leave them to it.”

 “Reckon your mother’s stopped crying yet?”

 “Your mother-in-law, you mean? Not if she’s still necking the gin.”

 The curtain swung back into place and he turned to me with a slow grin. “My God, I’ve just realized. I’ve got a mother-in-law.”
“So have I.” I handed him a glass “You know what she said when I was dancing with her? You’re my second son, Christian. Sweet. So here’s to us, Mr. Leigh-Collier.”

 “Still think Collier-Leigh sounds better.”

 “I won the toss, darling, fair and square.”

 “So you did, so you did.”

 We clinked crystal and sipped, savoring the fresh, mineral edge of the Dom Perignon.

 I asked, “D’you feel different?”

 “Yeah, I think I do. It’s as if…ah, I don’t know how to describe it. It’s as if a last piece is in place, everything’s …complete.” He took my hand and slowly rotated the slim platinum band on my finger, the twin of the one I’d given him. “I’ve said it a million times but I want to say it again, I want to say it now.” He raised his face and looked solemnly into my eyes. “I love you, Chris. Whenever you think back to today, remember me telling you this. I love you and I always will.”


From “Into the Dark” excerpt by D.K. Jernigan

The entire cavern glittered and shone with crystals embedded in the walls. It was like a fairy wonderland or some magical palace, hidden here in the ground where only the dedicated—or those with romantic and determined lovers—would find it. A fitting reward for over an hour of fear and frustration in the dark, despite the fact that I hadn't done much to earn it.

I stepped forward and put a hand to the wall, feeling the cool smoothness of the crystal embedded in the rock. It was so marvelous, it took me a moment to realize that Rick had been standing next to more than a lantern. I turned slowly and faced the scene, and felt instantly like a total prick.

He must have come down here on his day off, yesterday, and gotten things set up for us. There was an inflatable mattress, fully inflated, and a bottle of wine, well cooled in the chilly air. He went down on one knee as I turned to face him, and my heart about stopped.

"Oh, Rick..."

"Mason. Will you?" He held up a ring box with a solid gold band, and I felt tears gather.

"Are you sure you still want to after all my whining?"

He grinned. "As long as I have permission to tell everyone that you whined and bitched the entire way to the proposal."

I held up my hand for him, and he slid the ring onto my finger; a promise made and sealed in gold. "Deal. You get wine glasses down here, too?"

"I wanted to, but it seemed like a bad idea. We've got plastic cups. You game?"

"Definitely." He poured, while I emptied my own backpack of food. I had wondered why he had insisted on me bringing impractical treats, like a box of strawberries. And why I'd had to carry all of it.

But when he sat on the mattress opposite me, and I took the first crisp, sweet sip of wine, food was the farthest thing from my mind.

From “My Apologies, Sir,” excerpt by Kiwi Roxanne Dunn

Owen should have known this was a bad idea: flying halfway around the world from England to turn up at the doorstep of Luther’s tony student-housing Harvard apartment without so much as an invitation. He should have assumed that the shock of his presence – unannounced and unexpected – on Luther’s doorstep, on Christmas Eve, might not be anything his ex-CO would want. 

But then, it had seemed too good an opportunity to pass up: after months of e-mails and passive-aggressive two a.m. IMs; the innuendo-laced Skype calls, in which Owen tried vainly to shock Luther awake for his eight a.m. class while Luther spluttered and blushed over his second cup of black Starbucks Espresso Roast – to see him in person.  What a wonderful world it would be, Owen thinks, grimly, without the slightest attempt at Christmas cheer coloring his thoughts.  More fool was I.

Owen still wasn’t sure if their covert-ops affair had been the deciding factor in Luther’s decision not to re-enlist after his initial service was up.  Perhaps he should have asked.  But it was a little late for that now.  Luther was a mister, not a Sir, and in his second year at Harvard Law School, so the whole question was (or is) now most decidedly a moot point as Owen uses the moment it takes Luther to unwind the white, doughy scarf from around his tall and shapely neck to wonder why he’d even assumed Luther would be alone for the holidays.

Still, Owen can’t help but remember the mingled shock and anger he’d felt, ringing Luther’s doorbell not six hours ago. He’d been greeted, not with the reserved happiness he might have expected from his former LT, but by a decidedly tipsy and unusually boisterous Luther, shrouded in a halo of Christmas tree lights spilling out from inside and surrounded by half-a-dozen of his grad school friends. They’d all been on their way to a Christmas party on the other side of town, and Owen had been left stammering his apologies to Luther’s white, wide-eyed expression.

Owen’s hands clench tight against his sides. Now is not the time to push Luther’s buttons, and Owen knows it. He can see it in the hard, thin press of Luther’s posh, plump lips, the angry furrow of worry lines in his forehead. But the silence is getting to Owen – eating at him, and all the knowledge in the world can’t seem stop a soft “Sir - ” from slipping past Owen’s lips.

The word is barely more than a breath, a quick exhalation of air that leaves Owen’s lungs like a punch. It still ought to be enough to provoke some sort of response from Luther, but the silence only lengthens. When Luther’s still quiet, even as he kicks off his loafers and pushes past Owen into the apartment, Owen’s hands start to sweat.  But he’s here, now. And he’s not going to run away from this. From Luther.

“Sir - ” But when Owen tries again, his voice is rough. It hurts to swallow, and there’s a dangerous heat building behind his eyes. “Luther!”  Owen breathes, as he moves to follow Luther into the privacy of his living room. If it sounds like begging, Owen doesn’t care. Much. He has to believe that this is salvageable. That is presence hasn’t ruined whatever tenuous connection they’d managed to keep alive between Luther’s studies and Owen’s stint with the Royal Marines.


From  “Strangers for the Night” excerpt by T.R. Verten

Shawn’s attention snaps into place. He looks up from the political bickering of his timeline with relief; here he is, the one he’s been waiting for. That melodious voice belongs to a man of middling height and dark red hair, whose average features cohere like a discordant symphony. Shawn’s fingers clench the slippery stem of his martini glass. Tanqueray and tonic -- he hears him order -- lemon, please, not lime.

Shawn drinks him in: his sinful mouth, curved around the lip of his glass, the teasing flick of his pink tongue, as he licks the gin from his upper lip; his slow-spreading smile to the bartender as she hands him his own tiny silver dish of pistachios. He catches Shawn’s eye and holds the stare that beat too long, then walks his drink and his dirty, angelic, dick-sucking face over to a corner table. His tight shirt was a bad idea, he thinks, since sweat is suddenly gathering in his armpits.

Shawn undoes the top two buttons of his shirt, twisting as he does so to watch him walk away, but the seat lies just beyond his range of motion. The windows, fortunately, reflect the man back at him, and he takes full advantage, tracking the quick motions of his hands as he cracks open the nuts, the delicate purse of his lips as he licks salt from his fingers.

He tips, then, with his ass falling off the leather, a graceless flail of limbs and momentary loss of his center, before he grabs the edge of the counter and rights himself. Shawn sits very still and wills himself to look at the counter, the bottles, the bartender, but he can’t help it, he’s too adorable, his mouth is obscene, he would destroy it given half a fucking chance.... his breaths come quick and shallow, the drive to look already turning his head once more --
-- and Tanqueray has sidled his way over, seeping his way into Shawn’s orbit. Their shoulders brush, electric. 

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