Monday, October 27, 2008

Deadly Vision excerpt by Rick R Reed

Deadly Vision by Rick R Reed is about Cass, a single mom who becomes a reluctant psychic after a head injury. She begins having horrific visions into the fates of two teenage girls who have gone missing in her small town. Compounding the nightmare imagery is the mortifying reality that, like the Cassandra of myth, no one will believe what this Cass sees…

In this excerpt, Cass has a late-night visitor, a “deadly vision” that gives her an unwelcome front-seat view to a murder…

Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises,LLC(Quest imprint)(January 10, 2008)
ISBN: 1932300961


THE SOUND OF a car alarm outside Max’s window awakened her. Cass had fallen asleep in the chair beside Max’s bed. The alarm wound down, replaced by the sound of chirping cicadas and crickets, the distant rumble of thunder. Heat lightning flashed, muted blue-white swatches of color that illuminated the street in front of their little house.

Cass’s neck hurt, and she reached up to massage it, trying to loosen the knotted muscles. She glanced up at the Donald Duck clock on the wall opposite; it was going on midnight.

In spite of the crick in her neck, Cass thought perhaps falling asleep in the chair next to Max’s bed was a good thing. After all, her body was bone weary, and perhaps she could just drop her jeans and T-shirt on the floor next to her bed, crawl in under the sheets and fall back asleep.

And maybe she would dream of nothing.

Hell, maybe she’d even have a pleasant dream. Something sexy. Cass grinned as she padded, barefoot, down the hall to her room.

She slipped out of her clothes, folding them and putting them on the rocking chair in the corner, pulled the scrunchy out of her dark hair, and crawled under the sheet.

She closed her eyes.

SOMEONE WAS STANDING above her. Cass awakened to see a dark-haired girl staring down at her. She let out a little cry, not too loud, because she didn’t want to awaken Max. The girl held a finger to her lips, leaning over so that the long, dark curtain of hair partially obscured a very pretty, very young face.

The girl motioned for Cass to follow her; Cass shook her head.

The girl reached down and took Cass’s hand in her own. Her touch was ice-cold and Cass glanced down at the hand. Even in the dim light, she could see the sapphire ring on her finger.

Cass got up, following the girl, not bothering with clothes. Eventually, she stood naked in the gravel driveway of her house with the girl, who gestured toward the river. And even though the river was two blocks away, Cass could suddenly see its brownish curve, the hills of West Virginia along the opposite shore. Up high, at the top of one of the hills, was a red brick house, old, that Cass had admired since she was a little girl. Fronted by white pillars, the house occupied the only space on the hilltop, and Cass had often envied the solitude and the panoramic views the house must command.

Cass stood alone in the driveway, shivering. A light rain had begun, cold needles on her skin. And she knew she had sleepwalked...the touch and vision of the young girl had been a dream. She gasped as she looked down at herself, seeing her silvery-white nude body in the dark, and hoped none of her neighbors had insomnia and had witnessed her unintentional exposure.

She turned and trudged back inside, picking her way through the sparse gravel of her driveway. She could protect her feet, if nothing else.

As she went back up the stairs, avoiding the places she knew would creak, she thought of the dark-haired girl, how beautiful she was. And how cold.

The girl was Sheryl McKenna, the one whose disappearance had just been reported on the radio. Cass knew this with the same certainty as she knew her own name.

The bed waited for her. Reluctantly, Cass made her way back to it, and lay down. She closed her eyes and everything started. There was a reddish color behind her eyelids; Cass willed it to go away. She begged for sleep; simple, untroubled sleep that did not contain unwanted, mysterious images that seemed to have their own volition and a purpose Cass wasn’t quite sure she yet understood.

The visions came rapid-fire, with no consistency or order. Cass ground her teeth, knowing she could stop the montage if she would just open her eyes, but unable to lift her eyelids. It was as though they were glued shut.

The sapphire ring she had seen earlier, still on the girl’s finger. A scattering of earth covering the hand that lay limp against a tree root.

Sheryl McKenna’s face, cold in repose, her blue eyes clouded and open, gazing at something only she could see.

A beetle skittering across the porcelain-white skin.

A shift, and Cass found herself in some sort of pornographic movie, only there was nothing titillating about this one. No lurid bump-and-grind musical score to accompany the sex taking place, the sex to which Cass was forced to bear witness. She heard only the sounds of the man’s panting breath and the whimpers of the girl, occasionally interrupted by a gasp, a small cry that didn’t begin to describe the pain Cass knew she was feeling. The girl lay beneath a dark-haired man in the back seat of a car, which was nothing more than a dark hulk in the night, details indecipherable. His back was slick with sweat and the girl’s eyes were wide as the man thrust into her, hard, making her whimper and bite her lip with each thrust.

As if the volume was just switched on, like a mute button pressed to release the sound, Cass could hear music coming from the dashboard, odd electronic beats, something no radio station would ever play. It created a hellish background score to the rape taking place in the back seat.

Cass turned, and there it was in the darkness: the blinking red light and a shadowy figure, another woman, peering through the viewfinder of a video camera.

And then she was high on a hilltop, looking down over the Ohio River’s rushing, muddy brown current. Skeletal branches reached out over the water like fingers of bone.

Cass started awake—sweat-slick, heart pounding, twisted up in her sheets like a mummy.

Tomorrow, she had to do something.

Deadly Vision:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Voyeur excerpt by Jon Michaelsen

Kevin has an obsession; one that involves the muscular Adonis in the penthouse adjacent to his high-rise condominium. He’s told no one, not even Alice, his best friend at the office of his fascination. He purchases binoculars, adds a camera with zoom lens and spirals into the depths of voyeurism before devising a plan to finally meet the man of his dreams. An evening of easy conversation and lustful glances ends far too soon, but not before Tony plants the most amazing kiss ever on Kevin’s lips, leaving him yearning for more.

When Tony shows up at Kevin’s apartment the next night all bloody and bruised, Kevin offers him instant refuge…and his bed. But not all is what it seems. Police burst into Kevin’s home, searching for the killer of a man in the penthouse across the street—Tony’s so-called partner.

Will Kevin’s pleas of innocence save him from this horrible turn of events?

Voyeur in MEN – An Anthology)
Publisher: Loveyoudivine His & His Kisses
E-book ISBN:978-1-60054-253-4
Print ISBN:978-1-60054-240-4


Chapter One

“Cheer up, Kevin. It’s spring!”

Kevin looked up from the flat screen monitor of his computer.

“What now, Alice?” He loved his one friend at the office, but at times,she annoyed the hell out of him.

She smirked and ignored the friendly jab. “Honestly, Kev. You should get out more. You look like you’ve lost your best friend.”

He forced a smile. “Well, if anyone around here knows how that feels, it’s me.” He rifled through a stack of financial statements scattered across the desk. “It’s not a good day. If I can’t get these spreadsheets to balance before the Stutman meeting next week, I’m screwed.”

“Correction,” she said, and moved behind the desk. “We’re screwed.”

He flicked off the screen. “How ‘bout lunch?”

Alice crossed with him to the door and smirked. “I thought you’d never ask.”


The warmer temperatures and longer days of April awakened a dormant nature. Spring permeated the air, and Kevin relished every moment of the city coming to life. He couldn’t wait to get home from the office before the sun faded. He often spent much of his time in his garden on the balcony of his twenty-eighth floor condo. The cultivation of an array of clay-potted plants amounted to no more than an urban collage of colors, both brilliant and full. He took great pride in his hobby,often working well into the night. A pastiche of carnations and snap-dragons filled every inch of soil in the pots. Though not one to gloat,he knew that he possessed the proverbial “green thumb”.

It was sometime in mid-April when he first noticed the man who lived in the adjacent high-rise penthouse apartment. The building stood a couple floors shorter than Kevin’s apartment. Poised behind a giant palladium window, the stranger sipped a beverage while staring out across the western horizon. Molasses streaks of the sun's rays cascading across his shirtless torso cast a halo often seen in sultry scenes of a Hollywood movie. He raised a free arm and pushed fingers through a mess of dark curls. The ringlets of hair fell about his face as he let his hand travel along the back of his neck and around to his chest. He drained the last of his drink and rested a hand on a stomach that was toned and defined by youth.

Fearful the guy might notice him staring, Kevin kneeled and peered around the edge of the foliage of his garden. True to form, when presented with such a tantalizing image, he began to perspire. Within minutes, his body soaked the cotton shirt. He wiped hands on the back of his shorts, careful not to tip backward and risk discovery. Heart palpitating, Kevin remained transfixed, staring over the pageant of colors at nothing short of an Adonis.

His eyes blurred the more he strained to look at that angelic face through the window that reflected the glowing embers of a dying sun. A light breeze caused his eyes to tear up, but he refused to wipe them, afraid he’d miss even the slightest blink of an eye or flex of a muscle. The object of his desire stood there, frozen in time,gazing out at the sunset, perhaps daydreaming.

Arms came from behind and wrapped around the man’s torso,pulling him away from the window and out of sight. He disappeared.

Later in the week, Kevin sat at his desk and stared at a spread-sheet of figures. He calculated and recalculated the numbers, but each time he ended up with a total different than before. He snapped his fourth pencil and held his face in his hands. Frustrated and exhausted, with a headache the size of a boulder, he sighed. Month-end loomed and the more time he spent on this client’s portfolio, the less time he had for his other accounts. He’d spent the last few nights tossing about and awakened by nightmares, none of which he could recall. Each retching experience left him drenched in sweat and drained. Though forty-five minutes remained of his shift, he logged off the computer, killed the lights, closed the door to his office and exited the building.

He walked a couple blocks to Peachtree Street and headed south, strolling past a menagerie of street vendors who hawked everything from faux designer handbags and watches to fake collegiate team jerseys and sweatshirts. He entered the Five Points Rail Station and boarded a crowded commuter train headed west. Exiting at Centennial Olympic Park, he walked the few blocks home.

Inside his unit, he rushed to the wet-bar camouflaged behind a beveled mirror door in the kitchen. He poured a tumbler full of scotch and downed half the amber liquid. Though not prone to needing a cocktail before dinner, tonight he made an exception. He was anxious, but he couldn’t figure out what made him nervous, or why he lacked focus at work. The guy in the window, maybe? He shrugged. Whatever caused his stomach to grind the last few nights and be responsible for his restless sleep, now seemed poised to ruin the rest of evening.

He stepped out onto the terrace and moved to the railing to stare across the horizon. The scenery appeared aseptic, and not as beautiful as the other day. Could it the absence of that angelic face? The golden rays glistening across his bronzed skin? He frowned. The sun set the same time every day during spring, spreading tranquility across the sky. So, why should today be any different?

He chanced a glance toward the window across the way. The glass stood empty and dark, the vertical blinds drawn. No young man peered out. Disappointed, he sipped the alcohol dry and moved back inside.

Before going to bed, Kevin opened the mini-blinds in his bedroom. The floor to ceiling windows covered the south wall and overlooked the city. He looked up at the night sky that resembled a black canvas littered with white dots of various shapes. The view engrossed him. He stood there longer than he’d intended, when a flash caught the corner of his eye. He glanced down and across to the adjacent tower. A light glowed against the backdrop to reveal a bedroom of the unit across the way and by his calculations, the same floor belonging to the hot guy from the window. He made out a dresser, reclining chair and the lower portion of a frameless bed.

His heart jumped into his throat, excited with the prospect of seeing the guy again. He would wait to catch a glimpse of the man once more, and he’d be content. Afterward, he’d go to bed and forget about him for the night.

His plan failed the moment a figure moved within sight. He found himself trapped, frozen by hunger for more. The stranger he saw days before passed by the window. He moved about the room getting ready for bed. Sitting on the edge of the mattress, he removed his sneakers and socks, and stood, unbuttoning his jeans, letting them fall to his knees. He sat and slipped free of the denim.

Kevin’s heart pounded in his chest like a jackhammer. His stomach somersaulted and his mouth went dry. What luck! Adrenaline shot through his body. Clad only in white briefs, the man came forward to the window. Kevin panicked. He tried to move away, but stumbled. He regained his balance and eased forward like a child sneaking a peek at Santa Claus in the middle of the night.

The blinds no longer glowed, and the guy disappeared once more.

When Kevin missed his alarm in the morning, he called in to explain his tardiness. He showered, dressed in a pale blue linen suit with a yellow tie, and rushed to work. When he arrived, he found Alice waiting in his office. She handed him a cup of coffee.

“You’re late.”

“I called in.” Kevin pulled the cord of the lamp on his desk.

“You missed our appointment.”

Her eyes followed him around the room as he opened blinds and turned on the radio. He placed his jacket on the back of his chair, plopped down behind the desk and narrowed his eyes. “You’re late once in a while. Give a guy a break, will ya?”

“I am never late,” she sassed, brushing aside auburn curls. “Relax, already. I’ve proofed the figures. We won’t be late for the presentation.”

“I did that yesterday.” He felt the irritation rising in his voice.

“I know, but I found several mistakes.”

Rolling his eyes, he retrieved a pair of reading glasses and placed them on the bridge of his nose. “Where?” He figured she’d already marked the errors, like usual. Her character often involved pointing out the faults in others. He watched her tiny body squirm with agitation.

“Pages three, five and eight.” She pointed to each correction.

“What in the hell was on your mind yesterday, Kev? You know this is an important proposal. If we don’t show the Stutmans they’re investments are solid, we’ll lose the account. That’s half a million in revenue for this firm.”

“I’m sorry, Alice.” He sighed. “I promise I’ll pay closer attention.

Okay, let’s get to the meeting.”

Kevin drifted through the rest of the day. The image of the guy in the adjacent high-rise seemed to be everywhere, haunting him around every corner, in the lobby, even in the break room. Men who passed him in the corridor took on the features of the mysterious young man. In the john, a colleague stood beside Kevin at the sink as they both washed their hands. Turning to exit, he nodded at Kevin,who could only see the full lips of the stranger from the window.

On his way home, he passed a photography store. The window display featured binoculars of various sizes. Kevin entered to browse with no intent to purchase, but he left with an inexpensive pair of binoculars. Embarrassed and feeling guilty, he concealed the purchase under his blazer and rushed home.

That night, after Desperate Housewives, Kevin glanced out the glass door to the balcony. The blinds across the way were open and lights illuminated from the penthouse. Seized by the possibilities, he rushed to get the binoculars. Sneaking to his bedroom window without turning on the lights, he pressed the rubber tips of the scopes to his eyes and focused. He’s lifting weights!

The guy appeared far better looking than he’d imaged, with a narrow nose, sharp jaw line, dimples and piercing green eyes. He could easily be a runway model at Bryant Park. Shirtless and wearing white gym shorts that clung to his body like a second skin, Kevin watched as he bent down to retrieve a set of chrome dumbbells. He curled the weight in each arm, twisting his wrist at the top of each pull, his stomach contracting to reveal solid muscle. Kevin couldn’t help but count the lines of the six-pack. The stranger’s biceps bulged with each repetition.

He ignored the stirring in his loins and struggled to keep the binoculars steady. Finishing his routine, the man moved out of view, perhaps to shower.

Kevin remained at the window waiting for his return. His hands shook, his chest heaved. What are you doing? he chastised himself.

Becoming a freaking Peeping Tom! A flash regained his attention. The guy reappeared, a white towel secured about his waist. Kevin stared through scopes, the heat of his eyes fogging the lenses. The man moved toward the window and in a quick one-two motion, he stripped from the cloth and closed the blinds.

Kevin stood awestruck, angry he’d drawn the blinds, but thrilled to get a glimpse of the beautiful man. He stayed at the window for an hour longer, hoping the guy would return and open the blinds. Although he tried many times, he couldn’t pull himself away from the window. He wanted just one more look before going to bed, an image to take with him into slumber. His eyes aching from the strain of staring too long through the rubber-tipped scopes pressed into his face, and frustrated the glimpse he prayed for never came, he fell onto his mattress well after midnight.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Dangerous Man excerpt by Anne Brooke

The following is an additional excerpt from A Dangerous Man by Anne Brooke. Michael Jones, a young gay artist and part-time prostitute, will do anything to stage his first exhibition. When he falls in love with rich financier, Jack Hutchinson, he seems set to achieve his goal. But as Mikey becomes caught between the unforgiving territory of smoky-bar Hackney and the green-garden luxury of upper class London, we witness the intense mindscape of a man obsessed with his dreams as he attempts to free himself of his past.

When a net of antagonistic relationships and inner battles encroaches upon him, the consequences of Mikey’s uncompromising pursuit emerge in thrilling tragedy, leaving him having to fight for all he holds dear, and in the only way he knows how. Within a plot thick with the flesh of individual struggle, a backbone of page-turning tension carries Mikey’s plight through the charcoal grey London which rubs itself so close to his skin, entrapping him in a dark kaleidoscope of sex and crime.

At this stage in the novel, Michael is working as a commercial artist for Jack's City finance firm, and it's his last day there. Michael is crazy about Jack and is dreading the thought of not seeing him again. (The first excerpt was posted on 2/7/08).

A Dangerous Man
Flame Books (2007)
ISBN: 09545945-6-8


‘Last day then.’ Jack gave me a look I couldn’t interpret before running one elegant hand across the top of his highly polished desk. I wished I was that desk and then almost smiled at the thought, except the ability to smile at all seemed to have gone. This was the first time I’d seen him today. He’d been in bloody meetings all afternoon and now it was 6pm and not much time was left. Underneath my arm, I felt the throb of the drawing I’d done of him nestling in its case. All day I hadn’t been able to lose sight of it, all day I’d been wondering when the original would turn up and now he was here.

‘Yeah. I …I’ll be sorry to go.’

‘You’ve done a good job.’

‘Sure, thanks.’

‘No, I mean it. Thank you.’

He stared at me for a moment and I wondered if I looked as desperate as I felt. Maybe that was what was making him seem jumpy. Because that was what he was at the moment. Jumpy, edgy, in a way I hadn’t seen him act before. What the hell was happening now? I had to say something, anything to break the deadlock. God, Michael, sound professional and maybe he’ll recommend you again the next time someone wants some wall candy. But no, don’t think like that, it’s not wall candy, it would never be, even if it was only me who thought so. It’s my life, it’s my life, it’s my life.

‘Was there anything you wanted me to do before I go?’ I asked, knowing even as I said them that the words sounded stupid, out of place. ‘A last request, if you like. A final picture.’

And then I laughed, God knew why, and it didn’t sound like laughter anyway. The space between my laugh and his reply lengthened between us until I wondered if anyone would ever speak again. Or breathe, or move, or live. Not just here, where the silence was as strong as hatred, but outside, in the street, the whole of bloody London, the world.

‘Such as?’ he said at last when I thought I would die here, staring at him. ‘One of the offices?’

‘No. You. It wouldn’t take long. I’d make it a free one. Again.’

I saw him swallow. Once, as if swallowing down words he couldn’t bring himself to say. Then he turned round, looked at all his rich bloke possessions as if he hadn’t seen them before and gave half a shrug. ‘Where?’

‘On the sofa,’ I said, not because I’d planned it, but because if he were really going to give me the chance of drawing him as he was and not as how I remembered or imagined, then I’d need somewhere he could relax. Relaxed people, or people focused on something other than the artist, are easier to commit to paper.

He sat down. I took one of his chairs and sat opposite him, opening my pad to the first clean page. I would sketch him now and work it up later. I didn’t have the equipment for anything else. He fidgeted, shifting left and right, sitting straight and then swaying like a nervous elephant, as if the leather was burning him.

‘It’s okay, I don’t bite.’ Now I was the one in charge and it felt good to see him smile. ‘Just sit sideways, get a comfortable position and I’ll do a sketch. It won’t take long.’

He nodded and then rubbed his hands up over his face and through that dazzle of soft yellow hair. A quick movement, hardly worth the mention, but when it was finished, there was a mark on his face, a speck of dirt that hadn’t been there before.

‘Your cheek,’ I said, sweeping one finger across my own as a guide.


‘There’s a mark on your left cheek. If you could …?’

Without a word he passed one hand across his face again, but still the speck remained.

I shook my head, smiling. ‘No luck. Try again.’

He did, with the same result.

Still smiling, I stood up, dropped my paper and pencil on the seat behind me and walked towards him. ‘Here, let me.’

Bending down, I reached out to brush the imperfection from his skin, but instead my hand moved of its own accord to balance itself against the back of the sofa and I leant closer, using my tongue to lick him clean. His face tasted of salt and that herbal aftershave I couldn’t name. I took my time, drawing my tongue across his cheekbone almost to the level of his eye, which I noticed was closed. Then I stepped away, surprised at my own boldness.

‘There,’ I said. ‘All fine now.’

He said nothing.

Back behind my sketching pad, my fingers were trembling and I was unable to bring them under control. Neither could I breathe. For the next five minutes I couldn’t look at him once, not a great position for an artist to be in, and neither could I draw anything worthwhile. Thirty seconds into that time, I knew he wasn’t going to respond, that I’d read it all wrong, he wasn’t gay and I’d made myself into an idiot. Bloody, bloody hell. Why didn’t he say something? Was he simply being polite, pretending it hadn’t happened? Who was the mad, the dangerous one, him or me? My pencil scrawled strange lines I couldn’t interpret over the page and in the end I couldn’t stand it any more. Grasping the bottom of the page and angrier than I could remember being for a long time, I crumpled the paper and was about to tear it off when a hand was placed over mine.

His hand. I hadn’t even heard him get up.

At once, remembering the drawing which lurked underneath to give me away, as if I hadn’t already done that myself, I tried to pull the paper back down, to cover my own wild fantasies.

‘Here,’ he said. ‘Let me look.’

Wrestling the pad away from my grasp, he smoothed down my ruined drawing and turned his head to one side as he took it in.

‘Hmm, I can see why you’re not happy with it. Why don’t you have another go?’

Before I could stop him, he’d ripped the paper out and the drawing underneath, the naked, yearning drawing of him, the one I’d wanted him to see and not see, was exposed. Now, there was silence. Except I could hear the ticking of the clock and the distant sound of voices outside the room. They might as well have been in another universe. I turned away and put my head in my hands. He’d know now. He’d know everything. I’d thrown away any chance this job might have given me. He’d tell Joe what I’d done and I’d never get another commission. Anywhere. The world of art was a small one. Especially in this town. I wanted to throw up and it took a few deep breaths to deaden the feeling. I wished Jack would say something, anything. What was he doing? I mean it couldn’t have been every day he came across a naked drawing of himself or what I imagined he might look like naked. He’d know now that I thought about him every day and most of the bloody night too, week after week after week. Surely he’d see it all. He had to have some kind of response if it wasn’t going to be the one I’d longed for, didn’t he? Anger? Embarrassment? Dismissal?

But he still said nothing. I couldn’t bear it.

‘Look,’ I said. ‘I’m sorry. I’ll go. It was stupid, I know, but …’

‘Shut up.’

I shut up. When I glanced up at him, he was gazing at my drawing and his face was still. What was he thinking behind that beauty? I wanted to get up, run out of that room and away from my humiliation, but I felt too weak to move. Neither could I speak again.

In the end, it was he who broke the tension.

‘It’s good. Different. I wonder … I wonder how you think it compares.’

Then laying down the pad with its drawing of himself exposed to the warm inquisitive air, he turned and walked to the door, which he locked before sauntering back to the sofa, as if nothing had changed. My throat felt dry. He stretched once, muscles flexing under his dark blue silk shirt and then sat down. Without a word, he took off his shoes and socks, placed them at the edge of the rug, and began undoing his cufflinks. Not all the cash in the world could have made me look away. So I watched as he took off his shirt, folded it and laid it next to him. Next came the trousers and briefs, revealing his dick, still astonishingly limp, and a mound of fair curly hair. He was even more beautiful than in my fantasies or so I thought then. My throat felt tight and my own cock pushed against my jeans.

‘So,’ he said at last. ‘Do you want to make some alterations? To your drawing?’

‘What? Yeah, I mean sure.’

Even to myself, my voice didn’t sound like my own. He was crazy, he had to be. Just what the hell was going on? But I grabbed my pencil and, stealing glances at his body now and again, began to work up what I’d done: the length of his thighs which I’d foreshortened; and his large, bony feet. Another imperfection which, like his uneven teeth, somehow made me smile.

But not for long, because my mind was travelling elsewhere even as my hand skimmed over the page, adding a line here, a smudging there, a hint of more, and more delicious. And in the end I couldn’t keep going any longer.

‘Look,’ I said, dropping my pencil onto the floor and knowing my skin was burning hot. ‘This is crazy. I can’t concentrate, I just can’t. Don’t you see that?’

‘Yes,’ he said in a voice so low I had to strain to hear it. ‘I’m not blind. And I hope I’m not stupid, but how long are you going to make me sit here naked with you fully dressed and looking like …? God, Michael, how bloody vulnerable do I have to make myself before we can have sex?’

My head jerked up as if pulled by strings and this time there was no mistaking it. He was fully erect, quivering and dark purple. His blue eyes burned into my brown ones and the next second the sketchpad had tumbled to the floor and I was scrabbling at my own clothes, ripping off my polo-shirt and not caring about untidiness or anything else but the need to touch him.

Then he grabbed me and I tore at his skin as if I wanted to wear it or be worn by it, but he held me away for a moment. I wondered if he might kiss me. I’ve always liked kissing, though it’s not something breeders expect us to like. But what do they know? Smug bastards. Anyway he didn’t. Not then. Instead, he reached out and touched my neck with his fingers, stroking me and drawing his hand down my back, down and down and then slowly round to the top button of my jeans. Which he began to undo. I didn’t even think about asking if he’d be willing to pay. Such a question never entered my thoughts.

That was about as much foreplay as either of us could take that first time. Turning me round with a strength I couldn’t help but find exciting, he pushed me forward and across his desk, scattering papers, disks and files over the carpet, and I felt his legs shaking against mine. Just before he pulled down my jeans and briefs with one very practised manoeuvre, I managed to whisper, ‘Condoms … back pocket of jeans … use one.’

He did.

It was good. Not that surprising since I’d been dreaming about it for weeks. But it was so good that halfway through I forgot myself and cried out, something I tried never to do - as if you enjoy it, it always upset the punters. The noise made him reach forward and jam his hand against my mouth where I sucked and bit at his fingers.

After he’d fucked me, he removed the condom with experienced ease and placed it in his bin, covering it with my ruined drawing. We said nothing, but as he began to put his clothes back on, I could hear the tremor in his breathing. At the same time I tried to stand up from the desk. My jeans were still round my ankles and my knees felt weak.

‘Why don’t you sit down?’ he said at last.

I shook my head, not sure if I was capable. I was trembling. He helped me dress again, his smooth fingers touching my skin and making me jump as he slid my shirt over my neck. After that I sat down, carefully, on his sofa.

Looking up at him, I realised that his fingers were bleeding from where I’d bitten them, and blushed at my own violence.

‘I’m sorry,’ I said. ‘Your fingers - they’re hurt.’

He glanced at them as if he’d been unaware of it, ‘Don’t worry about me, I’m fine.’

Then he smiled.

‘So, would you like to go for a drink?’ he said.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Darkness Descending excerpt by Bethan Korsmit

To the outside world, Robert Petrovic had it all: money, power, a successful business and most importantly people with whom to share it—namely his mother and his lover.

Only a handful of people knew who and what Robert really was, and one of those people was his son, Alex. Alex was a rising star in politics, and when he found out about his father, he disowned him.

On a fateful July weekend, Robert begins to spiral into the darkness of despair. Within a few hours, Robert’s mother disowns him and his lover leaves him heartbroken. Everybody Robert loves abandons him. Feeling utterly alone and abandoned, Robert takes drastic action that starts his descent into darkness.

Will Robert’s family try to rescue him from the darkness? Or will they write him off for good? Will Robert find his true self and ascend back to a life where he is accepted and loved? Can he forgive those that hurt him the most?

Robert’s journey is one of great joy and unconditional love, but also horrible despair and betrayal. Only time will tell if Robert survives his journey, and only time will tell who is accepted into Robert’s life.

Darkness Descending is the first place winner in the Gay Fiction category in the Reader Views Literary Awards.

Publisher: iUniverse
Date of Publication: June 19, 2007
ISBN: 978-0595444052


As Robert’s lover walked up the long sidewalk to the opulent front door, he looked questioningly from the car angrily leaving the driveway to Robert’s feigned look of happiness. He stopped before crossing the threshold, “Robert, what’s going on?” When Robert failed to answer, Mitchell asked tenderly, “Are you all right?”

A sad smile eclipsed on Robert’s distinguished face, making him look several years older than his fifty years. “I’m fine now that you’re here.”

Mitchell Rains, a tall, athletically built gentleman of early middle-age, with stunning blue eyes and short blonde hair, reached out and took Robert’s hand gently into his own and led him into the house and onto the large sofa. Still holding onto Robert’s hand, he looked deeply into Robert’s deep brown eyes and inquired about what had just transpired before his arrival. “Robert, what did George want?”

Trying overtly to avoid discussing what had just happened, Robert replied calmly, “Nothing really.”

Disbelieving, Mitchell spoke more tenderly, melting Robert’s already fragile facade. “I know you don’t want to discuss George for fear you’ll ruin our evening, but Robert it’s okay. Nothing or nobody is going to ruin our evening together. If George is causing you problems, I want to know about it, okay?”

Robert turned away to hide the tears that glistened unshed in his eyes, but Mitchell slowly turned Robert’s face back to him. Robert closed his eyes tightly and replied calmly and steadily. “He just showed up unannounced ranting about how I had no business checking out his past.”

“What else? You shouldn’t be this upset if he was just ranting and raving. You deal with people like him all the time.”

Robert bowed his head and Mitchell caught on, “He said something about me and you, didn’t he?”

Robert turned away again and started to rise, but Mitchell caught his hand and stopped him. “Please Mitchell, can’t we just forget about George and everyone else in this world for tonight?” Robert asked pleadingly.

Mitchell cupped Robert’s face with his soft hands, tilted his head from side to side as he studied Robert’s expressive eyes, and smiled, “Sure. What’s for dinner?”

A smile crossed Robert’s tired face and Mitchell smiled reassuringly at him as the two walked into the dining room. The aromatic smell of fettuccini alfredo filled the dining room. A bottle of red wine and two tall, thin candles accented the elegant setting that Robert’s staff cook created.

Mitchell sat down, spreading his napkin over his lap as Robert opened the aged wine and poured a glass for Mitchell and himself. They raised their glasses heavenward “To life, love and happiness.”

The two lingered over dinner for almost three hours, discussing everything under the sun. Robert, the more conservative of the two, never disagreed openly with Mitchell’s opinion, but always agreed to keep an open mind. The idealist in Mitchell made him see what was wrong in the world, and sometimes the way to conquer prejudices so that everyone would have the same opportunities as anyone else.

After dinner the conversation moved into Robert’s living room, where the two lit up Cuban cigars and poured themselves some Brandy. Mitchell sat down next to Robert and put his arm around Robert’s shoulders and playfully pulled him close. “Thank you for a wonderful evening.”

Robert backed out of Mitchell’s grasp to look him in the eyes, “I’m glad you came. You know I would do anything to make you happy.”

Mitchell smiled mischievously at Robert’s words, “Do you mean ANYTHING?”

Robert’s face blushed an amazing shade of red, “Almost anything.”

Mitchell laughed and Robert responded in kind. It had been such a long time since they both were able laugh.

Taking a long drag on his cigar, Mitchell inquired, “Do you have your tuxedo out and ready to go for tomorrow?”

Confused, Robert asked, “What’s tomorrow?”

Mitchell was amused, “Tomorrow is the 4th of July.”

“Why do I need a tuxedo?”

“I accepted an invitation from one of my friends to attend a cookout and then an evening in the city dancing.”

“That’s great Mitchell. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time,” Robert added sincerely.

“I’m sure we’ll both have a wonderful time. We were both invited, so I accepted for both of us,” Mitchell said enthusiastically.

Robert stood up and walked over to the table where the alcohol was placed. He poured himself a shot of whiskey and downed it as soon as he poured it. Gathering his courage, he replied to Mitchell, “I wish you hadn’t done that. You know I can’t go.”

Mitchell answered in a controlled tone of anger, “Yes, you can go. There is no good reason for you to stay home.”

“I’m sorry Mitchell, but I can’t jeopardize his career.”

“Screw his career! He wouldn’t help you if you were lying at his feet gasping for air.”

Robert shook his head sadly in agreement, “I know he wouldn’t, but he’s still my son and I love him.”

“You love him more than me.” It was more a statement than a question.

“Please Mitchell, try to understand.”

“I understand perfectly. You are willing to give up happiness for yourself so that your ungrateful son can get ahead in his career. Am I right?”

“I just don’t want to jeopardize his career and his future.”

Mitchell sat down and shook his head back and forth disbelieving. Robert, on the verge of tears, sat down next to Mitchell and put his arm around Mitchell’s shoulder. Robert tried to speak gracefully and steadily, but his voice cracked as he said to Mitchell, “I love you too.”

Mitchell looked Robert in the face and replied softly, “I love you too, Robert, but I can’t keep doing this. I want to go out and enjoy life. I want to take you to parties, to dinner and dancing in the city.” Mitchell took a deep drink, and continued, “You always said you wanted to travel, but when I ask you to go somewhere you won’t go.”

“I know I upset you with my indecisions, but he’s my son, regardless of whether he admits that or not. I don’t want to be the reason he fails.”

“Trust me, Robert. He will fail, and it won’t be any fault of yours.”

“I promise we’ll go somewhere soon, just the two of us.”

“I’m sorry Robert, but I’ve heard that one before.”

“Please believe me,” Robert pleaded shyly.

Mitchell stood up and paced back and forth in front of Robert. “I’m sorry Robert, but I can’t go on like this. It’s a long weekend with the 4th tomorrow. I assumed we would spend time together with friends, but I guess I was wrong. I’m a sociable person, Robert. I can’t live in isolation like you do.”

Stunned, but sensing what was occurring, Robert inquired, “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that I think it best we break up.”

“Best for whom?”

“Best for me. I’m still a relatively young guy, and I want to do so many things in this lifetime. Things that I want to share with another person.”

“You don’t love me, do you?” asked Robert with an unsteady, cracking voice.

“Yes I love you, but that doesn’t change the fact that we don’t have a life together. We get together for dinners on special occasions, and sometimes I spend the night, but none of that is considered a life.”

“Please Mitchell. Please don’t leave me. I love you,” pleaded Robert.

“I’m sorry Robert, but it’s for the best. For both of us.”

With tears glistening in his eyes, Robert replied calmly, “You lied to me.”

Caught off guard, Mitchell responded, “I have never lied to you.”

“Yes you did. You told me tonight that no one would ruin our evening together.”

Mitchell, realizing the hurt that he was causing, sighed deeply. “I’m sorry Robert. Please believe that. Seeing you in pain is ripping my heart out, but I can’t go on like this. In time you’ll see that it was for the best.”

“Your leaving will never be good for me.”

“Everything will work out.” Mitchell took one last gulp of his Brandy and started for the door. Robert jumped up and caught him, pulling him into an embrace.

“I love you Mitchell. Please don’t go,” sobbed Robert into Mitchell’s shoulder.

“This isn’t goodbye, Robert. We’ll still be friends.” As Mitchell was pulling away from Robert’s embrace, Mitchell leaned in and kissed him delicately on the cheek. “I love you Robert.”

Before Robert could regain his composure, Mitchell was out the door and racing out of the driveway.