Monday, April 19, 2010

The Rest of Our Lives: A Novel excerpt by Dan Stone

The Rest of Our Lives,Dan Stone's 2010 Lambda Literary Award finalist for Best Gay Romance, is a lighthearted romantic fantasy about the repeatedly reincarnating relationship between ice-blue-eyed, time-stopping, cold weather witch Colm McKenna and hyper-sexy, psychokinetic, hot weather witch Aidan Gallagher. According to Norse legend, the universe came forth from the collision of the energies of fire and frost. One can’t exist without the other, and all of creation is dependent upon the delicate balance between the two. Just as spontaneously combustible Aidan begins to rock frost-flinging Colm’s world with a magical big bang of a romance, the pair learns that they’ve been playing in each other’s back yards for at least a couple of millennia. Aidan becomes increasingly hot for clues about the lessons their karmic connection can teach them, while Colm feels increasingly like a snowball in hell, wondering if multiple incarnations where he’s repeatedly abandoned by his enchanting fireball of a boyfriend, may be one or two bites more than he’s able to chew.

This is the second excerpt to be featured from The Rest of Our Lives; the first excerpt appeared on 6/29/09.

The Rest of Our Lives
Lethe Press (May 25, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1590211472
ISBN-13: 978-1590211472


Aunt Lucinda explained that she would guide us into a trance state, and once we were relaxed and ready, she would ask us to begin to remember our first and subsequent encounters with each other. She said that we would essentially re-live parts of those lives, observing what had transpired as if we were experiencing it but not actually feeling it.

“You won’t have any pain, but you will know if there is pain—or pleasure,” she said. “You’ll have the awareness but not the sensation, sort of like watching yourselves in old home movies.”

“Will we understand what we’re saying? Won’t we be speaking in some other language?”

“You’ll understand perfectly,” she said. “And you will simply translate the thoughts and feelings you were having at that time into your own words as you would speak them in the present. Otherwise I would’ve had to bone up on about six dead languages by now.”

“Guess you won’t be singing me a love song in Latin,” Aidan cracked.

“You promised me a trip to the beach if I went through with this,” I telepathed to him.

“I’m already imagining myself rubbing sunscreen on your thighs,” he responded, licking his lips.

“Let’s get this party started,” I said.

Aunt Lu instructed us to hold hands and not to let go. “Even if you need to stop, don’t let go of each other’s hands,” she said. “You’re traveling in time together and it’s important to maintain your connection. If you need to stop, just say so. Speak the words, but come back to here and now before breaking your link to each other.”

“No dumping me in another century just because I left my dirty underwear on the floor,” Aidan cracked as he took hold of my hands.

“Quiet now. Close your eyes,” Aunt Lu said in a hushed voice. “Hold each other’s hands lightly and begin to focus on your breathing. Just observe and pay attention to your breath as you inhale and exhale . . .”

I felt the wave of warmth from Aidan’s hands starting to flow through me as I always did when he touched me. I was conscious of my thoughts—images—coming and going with each breath . . . and conscious of Aidan’s thoughts coming and going . . .

“Let your own and each other’s thoughts pass like clouds floating across a clear blue sky,” she said. “Stay with your own breathing . . . and then slowly begin to hear and to feel each other breathing . . . let everything else slowly start to fade away, then disappear, until there is only your breathing together . . . slowly coming together, merging until it’s only one breath between you . . . until you can hear and feel yourselves breathing in perfect union . . . joined together . . . one breath . . . one heartbeat . . . one breath . . .” Silence seemed to cover us like snow blanketing a city street, leaving only the muffled sound of a single heartbeat, the calming metronome of our breathing . . . and Aunt Lu’s voice, like a soft melody playing in another room.

“Now see yourselves walking hand in hand through a dark tunnel, with a faint light in the distance. It’s the only light you can see.”

I felt Aidan beside me and I could see the pinpoint of light far ahead of us, but we weren’t moving. The light wasn’t getting any closer.

“Move forward, darlings,” Aunt Lu’s voice urged. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. Feel the cool and the warm breezes behind you, gently moving you forward toward the light. Let your magic carry you.”

Aidan squeezed my hand and immediately the air in the room and in the tunnel began to circulate . . . a north and a south wind blowing gently around us and behind us, lifting us up and floating us like a couple of feathers toward the light that was now getting larger and brighter.

“Approach the light, dear ones. See it growing brighter and getting closer and closer . . . until you can see the portal at the end of the tunnel and the sunlight streaming toward you, beckoning you . . . Now quiet the winds behind you . . . allow your feet to touch the ground at the portal, then hand in hand, step through the portal into that world . . . that time and place where you first met.”

Another squeeze from Aidan’s hand, and we stepped through the portal.

“Where are you, my dears?”

The scene before me was foreign but familiar. “Galilee,” I said. “The hillside up from the road of sorrows at the site of the crucifixions. It’s so horrible!”

“It’s so hot!” Aidan said. “Jupiter and Juno, I’m sweatin’ through my breastplate here! Hebrews call this the promised land?? It’s hotter than Vulcan’s workshop.”

“Look around you,” Aunt Lu said. “See what’s happening. Take a moment to remember who you are. And now, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, turn and see each other for the very first time.”

“Sweet Venus!” Aidan said with a lascivious smirk.

“Excuse me, sir?” I replied demurely.

“I want to get me some of that,” he said.

I could feel the color rising in my face. “Forgive me, my lord, but if your words are directed toward me, please show some respect. Understand that I am a married woman, the devoted wife of the fisherman, Uzziah.”


“Uzzi for short.”

“A fisherman, huh? That stinks. And what is your name, you winsome little wench?”

“I am called Michal, my lord.”

“Michal? What kind of name is that for such a sweet young thing?” He said. “And yet I find it strangely appealing.”

“I should not be speaking with you this way, sir.”

“Kind of flat chested, but otherwise you are one fine looking Jew, Michal of Galilee. Do you know who I am?”

“You are a centurion under Herod’s command, my lord. I can tell by your uniform.”

“You like a guy in a uniform do you?”

“Please, sir. I must insist that you not disrespect me this way.”

“Which way would you prefer, you little goddess? I am Gaius Varius, second in line for the Judaean division of Caesar’s army under Herod’s command. Ever go out with a centurion?”

“Varius?, sir?”

“Family name. Means ‘versatile.’”


“So what are you doing here?”

“One of my cousins by marriage is up there,” I said, nodding toward the hillside.

“The cross on the left. I came to pay my respects.”

“That’s gotta hurt. What did he do?”

“He defiled his brother’s wife, my lord.”

“Ouch. He got the cross for that? Tough town.”

“It’s barbaric. Such cruelty among the children of God in the name of justice. It breaks my heart.”

“Poor little thing. Can I give you a ride home?”

“Alright children,” Aunt Lu’s voice broke in. “I’m starting to get the picture. Go forward to your next meeting . . . the next time the two of you are together in this time and space. Observe your surroundings. Where are you now? What’s happening?”

The scene now was a small, dim and disheveled room. A soldier’s quarters.

“Oh yeah, oh baby!” Aidan said, pulling my hand closer, pushing his fingers through mine.

“Oh sir, yes sir!” I breathed, my heart suddenly pounding in my chest.

“Oh Michal baby spread those lovin’ legs and bring your Roman daddy home!!”

“Uh! Oh! Oh uh uh uh yes yes yes yes!!” I cried. Sweat was beading on my upper lip and making both our palms slick.

“Oh my,” Aunt Lu’s voice again. “So much for not feeling the sensations.” She dabbed a handkerchief to her forehead. “Let’s just move along a little further, dears . . .”

“Oh blessed Mars and Venus!” Aidan cried. Our previous selves seemed to like it just fine where they were.

“Moving along!!” Aunt Lu said in a sterner tone of voice. “Go forward together . . . to another day . . . the last day . . . the last time that you see each other. It’s the moment of your final parting in this lifetime. Where are you my dears? What is transpiring between you now?”

My mood shifted immediately and dramatically. I felt tears welling up, and my hand was trembling, clinging tightly to Aidan’s.

“Don’t cry, my beauty,” Aidan/Gaius said, catching a tear as it rolled off my cheek. “I’m Gaius Varius, a solder of the Empire. I have to go where Caesar commands.”

“I’ve betrayed my wedding vows. I have sinned in the eyes of God and engaged in forbidden bliss, committing unspeakable acts with you in my husband’s bed. What’s worse is I have given my heart to you, my lord, when it was pledged to another. I think perhaps you fail to see the significance of this. Will I ever see you again?”

“Sure you will, sweetness. And I’ll bring you something real pretty. How about one of those designer silk scarves from the Orient? Or a bottle of that Egyptian perfume you like so much?”

“I require nothing else from you. You’ve already given me the greatest gift, my lord,” I said, laying my hand gently on my belly.

“Say again?”

“Never mind, sir. Your duty calls. I will not have you distracted with thoughts of me as you go forth into battle. I will not be the cause of any harm to you.”

“That’s my funny faced, flat-chested gal with the sexy, boy name,” he said, patting my behind. “You behave while I’m gone. Stay away from horny Roman soldiers!” He winked. And with a peck on the lips, he was gone.

“That’s your daddy, little one,” I said, gently rubbing my stomach and letting the tears fall. “You’re the child of a centurion. A brave, strong and handsome Roman centurion. My fear is that you may never know just how much your mommy loved that son of a . . .”

We tarried in Palestine long enough to see that I never made it through the delivery, and that Gaius Varius never returned to learn of his heir. The fate of our love child remained unclear.

“You had my baby,” Aidan said, when Aunt Lu brought us on the same North and South winds back to her living room and told us it was okay to let go of each other’s hands.

“More precisely, I died having your baby,” I said, as the winds slowly calmed in the room.

“That is so romantic!”

“I died having your baby,” I said.

“You loved me!”

“You left me!” Clearly the prevailing impressions we had brought back with us differed considerably.

Aunt Lu gave us some chamomile tea and suggested that we wait a week or so before going back in time again.

“This is an intense journey, and it’s only the first of many” she said. “Give yourselves a rest from it. Don’t overanalyze it. Do something fun together to refocus on the present!”

“We could start working on the book,” Aidan said, his energy crackling and his eyes flashing. “I know exactly where I want us to begin now.”

I could’ve sworn I felt a contraction. - the gay & lesbian community bookstore in Philadelphia
To purchase, click here


Victor J. Banis said...

Ha ha - I read this book for the Rainbow Awards last year, and I loved it. Definitely a winner.


Dan Stone said...

Thanks, Eric, for another great promo for the book. And thanks, Victor, for the high praise!