Monday, February 28, 2011

Bermuda Heat excerpt by P A Brown

Bermuda Heat by P A Brown,#4 in the L.A Series

A letter. A secret. A tragedy. David's mother told him his father died when he was born. His mother lied.

David Eric Laine always believed his father had died in Vietnam before his birth. His mother remarried and he was adopted by his stepfather and grew up knowing Graham Laine as his only father. Forty years later, a letter arrives and David finds out everything he thought was a lie.

Bermuda Heat
MLRPress (February 2011)


Chapter One

Saturday, 9:20 am, Rigali Avenue, Atwater Village, Los Angeles

The brown Ford squealed when it failed to take the corner at sixty. Instead it threw up streamers of dust as it bounced across a gravel verge into an empty parking lot. Martinez cursed as his partner, LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine took the same path, their unmarked Crown Vic blowing out whatever shocks might have been left in the aged vehicle when they screeched onto the lot after the fleeing Ford. Martinez reported their twenty and called for backup, then hung on as David maneuvered ever closer to the other car's rusted out bumper.

David ignored everything but the Ford and the two Pinoy boys they'd been closing in on for days. Since somebody stomped a Temple Street Trese boy to death and put all the Asians on edge, ready to stomp back, it was paramount they be stopped. David and Martinez were working with the local gang cops to try to stop it before it got bloody.

They'd spotted Sokun, the leader of the Pinoy's at a liquor store on Brunswick five minutes ago, the chase had been on. David figured they would try and double back, make a break for Rigali. But then a whoop and a new cloud of dust announced their backup had arrived. A black and white roared in, lights and siren on full code three.

What Sokun did next startled David. Instead of braking and coming around, the brown piece of crap's laboring engine roared, tires spat gravel and the car lunged forward. The fence protecting this section of concrete river was old and worn through years of neglect and abuse. Twisted by the elements and vandals, repaired repeatedlly, it inclined at a fifty degree angle, sagging as though tired of trying to hold out the world.

The Ford slammed into it at a good twenty miles per and snapped off the single metal pole pole, puncturing the radiator and killing the engine. There was a tortured shriek of metal on metal, sparks flew from underneath the battered vehicle. The engine rattled to a stop.

Both doors flew open. Sokun and his passenger bailed. The passenger, who David hadn't been able to ID, headed north. Sokun scrambled over the battered remnants of fence and vanished over the lip of the cement trough.

"Oh, tell me he did not just do that," David muttered.

Martinez growled what might have been a reply before he too was out the door and hot on the trail of the passenger, along with a young, female uni. David bolted after Sokun. The other uni followed.

David always figured he was in shape. He ran nearly every day with Sergeant, the Doberman he and Chris had adopted three years ago. Legs pumping, he slowed only long enough to clamber over the chain link and he was off, half skidding, half running down the angled concrete wall, avoiding chunks of broken wall, hot on Sokun's ass.

It was long after the last winter rain. The bed of the river was little more than a few scummy patches of rainbow hued water and scattered weeds that had broken through the concrete and clung to life amid the detritus of a city. He dodged a shopping cart, abandoned with a broken front wheel. A black garbage bag split open, spilled its reeking contents down the slope. A pair of fat gulls took flight when Sokun raced toward them. They squawked and protested as they flew south toward the distant smog-shrouded basin.

Ahead of him and losing ground fast, Sokun clearly didn't do any recreational running. He stumbled over broken concrete and his leather loafers were not designed for top speed flight. David closed the distance between them. Behind him the uni was gaining ground.

"Stop, asshole!"

Not surprisingly, the asshole in questions ignored his orders.

David came up on Sokun's left side. The Cambodian gang leader threw one wild-eyed look over his shoulder and tried to dodge right. David body checked him and the two of them went down. An elbow caught David's chin and he kneed Sokun's kidney, missed and caught him square in the groin. The younger man folded with a groan and rolled onto his side, holding his bruised crotch in both hands. At least until David wrenched them behind him and cuffed him. The uniformed cop arrived seconds later and stood over the downed pair, one hand on his duty weapon, his other on his baton.

David sat on his haunches, his butt resting against Sokun's legs. His arms over his knees, panting as he stared across at the graffiti tagged wall on the other side of the river.

"I'm getting too old for this," he muttered as Martinez appeared at the top of the concrete wall, his own prisoner looking as worse for the wear as David felt.

The uni pulled Sokun to his feet as David rose and dusted his linen pants off. "Get him out of here," he said and climbed up to join Martinez. He watched the two uniformed officers, one who barely looked old enough to be out of middle school lead their prisoner away and shook his head.

Sokun cursed in Cambodian and English.

"Either they're getting younger or I'm getting old."

Martinez clapped him on the back. "It ain't us, ese."

"God, I hope not." David scrubbed his hand through his shaggy hair. Together they trudged back to their Crown. He threw a glance back at the Ford, doors still open, water leaking out from underneath.

Martinez grunted as he eyed the messed up Ford. "Well, look at it this way. At least the asshole didn't try to make a run for it down there in that." He stared balefully down the concrete slope. "That would have been a real circus."

"More like the Indy 500. Better call a tow truck." David shook his head and did his best not to think about it. "Get a warrant for that thing, too."

He put his hand on the still warm hood of their city-owned junk heap. He climbed in behind the wheel. "Might be time to trade this thing in, too. Call the motor pool. See if we can't get this one put out to pasture." He slotted the key in and fired it up. It grunted but fired on the first try. Barely. He met his partner's gaze. "Ever think it might be time to hang it up yourself?"

"What? And give up all the excitement? Not to mention the respect and love we get."

"You left out the fabulous pay check."

"I guess I did kind of forget that. Come on. Let's go down and book these mutts. At least earn some of those big bucks."

A second black and white rolled onto the lot and Sokun was loaded into it. The two shops rolled back out onto Rigali, followed by David and his grinning partner.

"Another fine day on the force."

"Hey," Martinez said. "We'll look back on this someday and remember all the fun we had."!Brown
To purchase, click

Monday, February 21, 2011

P'tit Cadeau excerpt by Anel Viz

In P'tit Cadeau by Anel Viz, Ben Brooks, an American art professor on a painting sabbatical in the south of France, befriends Jean-Yves, his landlady's brother, a shy young man whom the locals consider simple minded because he is “different” and who becomes his principal model. Ben undertakes to build his self-confidence and prepare him to live independently.

P’tit Cadeau
Silver Publishing (February, 2011)
ISBN: 978-1-920468-58-3 ebook
ISBN: 978-1456552435 print

Except (from chapter 8)

[Situation: Ben, who spent a year in Italy as an undergraduate, takes Jean-Yves there on a short trip. They will separate in Rome. Jean-Yves has to get back to his job; Ben will visit Sicily.]

To me Italy meant Florence, the Uffizi and the Pitti, the frescoes in the churches, so that's where we went. We planned to stay a week, then Jean-Yves would return to his job and I'd head south. I wanted to see Sicily. He'd take the key to the apartment to pick up his belongings, and he'd leave it with our friend the grocer.

But first we spent a day in Genoa. I wanted to paint the huge panorama of its modern port from Righi. The tourist office in the station booked us a hotel for one night. The owner, a surly man I took an immediate dislike to, warned us we'd be sharing a letto matrimoniale and offered to provide a bundling board. At first I didn't understand what he meant. He explained, and I brushed it aside, making a joke. "I trust my friend implicitly."

The man leered at us and said, "The question is whether he trusts you too much."

I didn't have to pretend to be offended. He ignored my reaction, gave us the key, and forgot about the barrier.

Jean-Yves rode the funicular with me to see the view then I sent him to explore the former palazzi of Genoa's ancient families. He'd seen me paint hundreds of times. I asked later what he thought of them, and he asked why they allowed the plaster to peel off the walls when they took such good care of the paintings and the furniture.

After over three weeks with a bathtub, he was happy we had a shower.

"Why's it next to the bed instead of in the corner? And why doesn't it face the center of the room?"

"Lord knows."

He got undressed and stepped into the stall. A minute or so later he opened the curtain and said, "It doesn't work."

He'd been using the wrong cord. "You've just pulled the emergency alarm," I told him.

"About ten times," he added.

The surly owner came bursting into the room to see what was wrong. Jean-Yves hurriedly drew the curtain in front of him. Luckily, I was fully dressed. "He thought that rope was the water," I said.

"I'll see for myself. I'm responsible for what happens in my hotel."

He flung the curtain aside to reveal a full frontal exposure of Jean-Yves, who turned beet red and quickly covered his privates with both hands. The owner began firing questions at him in rapid Italian, while he stared back at him, confused, intimidated and mortified.

"He doesn't understand a word you're saying," I explained.

That he'd made a mistake was perfectly obvious, but instead of leaving us alone, the man grabbed him by the arm, turned him 'round, and, ignoring or pretending to ignore my friend's cock, gave him a long lecture on how to use the shower, pointing to the signs next to the cords and reading them at the top of his lungs. Then he stormed out and slammed the door behind him, leaving Jean-Yves in tears and me laughing uncontrollably.

"What's so funny?"

"I wish I'd painted that scene."

"I don't think I like Italians."

Our experience in Genoa had made me uncertain how the Italians would view two men sleeping together. The hotel in Florence gave us a twin room. When he saw the two beds, Jean-Yves was disappointed we wouldn't have a letto matrimoniale.

"I'm not asking for one," I told him. We can use one for making love and the other for sleeping. That way they'll both be unmade in the morning."

The maid must have thought one of us was a very restless sleeper.

Two days of trudging through the Uffizi Galleries, where the canvases cover the walls from floor to ceiling, one hanging on top of the other, reminded Jean-Yves of what he'd learned in the Musée Fabre: that he had little taste for Renaissance painting.

"Isn't there anything in this town I'd like?" he asked.

"What about the Medici tombs?"

"Too dark."

So I took him to the Accademia.

He'd seen plenty of Davids. Florence has more copies of that gay icon, most of them pocket size, than there are Eiffel Towers in Paris. They've also placed a couple of full-size copies in open spaces, which they try unsuccessfully to keep clean of bird droppings, and others nearly as large as the original in places like hotel lobbies, plus photographs in shop windows, in guidebooks and on postcards, every detail from every angle. None has as powerful an effect as Michelangelo's marble. It seems to breathe; the others are statues. In the natural light of the Accademia one sees an iridescent young man of gigantic stature, every part of him perfect, every muscle, every sinew, every curve a source of wonder. Another nude placed alongside it would beg for clothes. Jean-Yves was awestruck.

Another thing happened in Florence. I finally talked him into fucking me. He went about it very tentatively, so I got no physical pleasure from it, but it was a start, and mentally gratifying. I'd have enjoyed it more if he hadn't kept asking if he was hurting me.

"I'll let you know if it hurts. Just fuck me, will you?"

"It doesn't feel right."

"Trust me. It will when you get used to the idea."

* * * *

Our week in Florence was ending. Jean-Yves had looked troubled since we arrived, and his anxiety seemed to grow every day.

"We've had a wonderful time," I told him, "but you have a job to get back to."

"I want to see Rome," he said. "If I call my boss I bet he'll let me have another day or two. Then he won't have to pay me overtime for the extra hours."

"If he says okay I don't mind stopping two days in Rome on my way to Sicily. It will be easy enough to redo my tickets."

I listened to his half of the conversation as he spoke on his cell phone — his greeting, his hesitant question, his effusive thanks. "He's all right with it," he told me, as if I didn't know already.

On the way to Rome he sat huddled in the corner of the compartment, looking out the window, saying nothing, as if he were afraid of me.

"What's the matter?"


"Something's the matter. Out with it."

"No, honest."

He turned back to the window. He was stammering, so I knew it wasn't true. He'd tell me when he was ready.

He kept it up for another hour.

"You know you'll tell me eventually."

He answered hoarsely, almost inaudibly. "I lied to you."

"About what?"

"I didn't call my boss. I was pretending to speak to him."

"Why? Well, there's no harm done. You can call from Rome. I'm sure you were right. He'll let you come back later."

"I quit."

"You what?"

"I quit my job. Long ago."

"Why? No, you don't have to tell me. So you could stay with me. Christ Almighty, Jean-Yves! You're impossible! You're worse than a child!"

"You're angry."

"You're damn right I'm angry! What made you do such a thing? No, don't tell me. I know exactly what you're up to, and I could strangle you for being so sneaky about it."

"I'm sorry."

"Some good it does me! Some good it does you, for God's sake!"

There were tears in his eyes. I was torn between my anger at him, my anger at myself, my exasperation over the whole situation, and feeling sorry for him.

"If you'd only told me when you got to Antibes we could have been looking for a job for you. I'd have let you stay with me. Now what the fuck are we going to do?"

I turned away from him and sulked. The people sharing our compartment had witnessed the whole scene and were embarrassed. Jean-Yves looked so upset and forlorn that one of them, a middle-aged woman, said something to comfort him.

"Comprends pas."

"Francese." That was all she got out of what he said.

Rome was the last stop. I had half a mind to leave him there and go straight on to Sicily.

"I don't have to come with you if you don't want me around," he said. "I have the money to get back. It's just that… Can I stay in your apartment while I figure out what to do? I have no place to go. I promise I'll be gone before—"

"Come with me and I'll buy you a ticket to Sicily. Just don't say anything to me, okay? I'm still furious, and I need to think this through."

To purchase, click here

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sno Ho/Life in Fusion excerpts by Ethan Day

Sno Ho

In Sno Ho by Ethan Day, Boone Daniels seems to have trouble finishing things. Along with the half dozen or so novels he's started, only to abandon mid-way through, his love life could be best described as a series of drive-by's.

Boone has spent the past week staying at a ski-lodge in the tiny mountain town of Summit City. He's been using his time alone to write while waiting for his boyfriend to join him for their anniversary.

What happens to Boone when he winds up dumped on the eve of his one-year anniversary and ends up at a bar having one too many cocktails? Wade Walker.

Sno Ho
MLR Press (October, 2010)


“Christ that was…” Wade fell to the floor next to me, rolling onto his back while trying to catch his breath.

I was in a similar state, on my back covered in both of our cum. We were both sweating, and I felt a chill as the cool air began to mix with my sweat-soaked body. Goose pimples ran amuck as I leaned up on my elbows and looked over my chest and stomach. “Yeah…it was. I can’t even imagine how much cum you blew the first time. You could’ve drowned me with this shit.”

Wade let out a deep laugh. “Remind me to sexually insult you every day.”

I lay back down, and smacked him in the side as I spied a muffin on the floor just out of reach. I was instantly starving and reached out for it, my middle finger grazing it.

“Please tell me you aren’t seriously going to eat that?” Wade asked. “It’s been on the floor!”

I was just about to curse him and his buckets of sperm which I was trying to keep from running off of me and onto the floor as my finger caught the edge of the muffin top, rolling it close enough for me to snatch it. “Five second rule, dude!” I tossed one of my legs over his and nudged him with it to keep quiet.

Wade stretched his arm out, allowing me to prop my head up on it as I tore off a chunk of the muffin. Wade shook his head at me. “That’s been there longer than five seconds.”

I smiled and laughed a little as I popped it into my mouth. “Five seconds to me, I just noticed it.” I tore off another chunk and held it up to see if he wanted some.

“No thanks,” he pushed my arm away. “I don’t do white flour.”

“Oh Jesus, please tell me you aren’t one of those food Nazis!”

“That shit will kill you.”

I fake cried, letting my body go into full faux racking sobs. “Why God…why?”

“You already hate me, so what’s the difference?”

I let out a gasp. “After all the dirty, dirty things I just let you do to me?” I raised my voice up to sound all girlie. “My daddy warned me about boys like you!” I tore off another chuck of muffin and stared down at my chest. I shrugged and dabbed the muffin in the cum and popped it in my mouth.

“I can’t believe you just did that!”

“Yeah,” I snarled up my lip, “didn’t quite think that one through all the way.”

He laughed and I felt his hand land on the leg that I’d tossed over his. “That’s the best you got?”

“What?” I shrugged. “I was craving sweet and salty and it was right there in front of me. Like everything that had happened today had led up to this moment when I discovered that cum and banana muffin were an irresistible combo.”

“Man, you talk fast.” He squeezed my thigh and laughed, his hand inching a bit toward my crotch. “That mouth of yours should be considered a moving violation.”

“Me?” I asked innocently, swallowing another morsel. I smiled realizing I wasn’t stressed out or angry or feeling all weird and icky about Wade any longer. “That’s ’cause I say twice as much as the average individual.” It was as if the double header of fucking had rid me of my angst. “Gotta get it all out there in the time allotted.” I decided it was the fact I couldn’t remember the sex that had had me all weirded out.

“You’re a little scary,” Wade said, his chest still heaving up and down as he tried to get his wind back.

“Coming from the man who’s afraid of white flour and likes to fake ski?”

“Excuse me?” He said, lifting his head off the floor. “Fake what?”

“Skiing.” I popped in the last bit of muffin. “First of all it’s a stupid sport, and secondly you’re not even doing it the right way.”

Wade rolled onto his side and looked at me like I’d just turned into an alien. “Well, thank God you’re here to set us all straight on this matter. Please, enlighten me.”

“As for the right way, well that would be on water…as God intended.” I felt a slight stiffness in my chest as he looked into my eyes. “And…can you really explain stupidity?” Shit…the ick is coming back!

“Skiing on water is for pussies!” He poked me in the side, causing me to giggle. He seemed to take note that I was indeed ticklish as he arched his eyebrows at me. Then he stood up and walked across the floor to his clothes. “I can’t believe you’d even think that water skiing required even one tenth of the skill that real skiing does.”

“Fine,” I said sitting up on my elbows. “But my way has us half naked, baking in the hot sun and all oiled up—smelling of cocoa buttery goodness.” I watched, slightly confused by the fact I was a little sad to see him pull on his underwear. “With your way, we’re wearing more layers than an onion, and dealing with bitter-ass cold temperatures that cause unwanted shrinkage.”

“I don’t really have to worry about shrinkage.” Wade stood staring at me, holding his pants in one hand as he grabbed his crotch with the other. “I’m not completely sure,” he started as he shoved a long leg into his pants, “but I think you might actually run risk of being stoned to death uttering such blasphemy in this neck of the woods.”

I frowned and shrugged as he zipped up and bent over to grab his shirts. I began to feel odd lying naked on the floor…completely covered in cold semen. “I’m sorry…did I not mention the cocoa buttery goodness?”

“I guess that means you won’t be continuing with your lessons.”

“Eh,” I shrugged. “They are paid for.”

He laughed, then stared at me blankly. I swallowed, again finding it difficult to breathe. I could tell he was trying to work something out in his head, I could practically see the wheels turning, but I had no clue what it could be.

“Have dinner with me?”

“Um,” I felt my face flush as he pulled on his shirts. “How about you get me a towel or something?” I pointed to my chest.

He smiled and looked full of wickedness, much like he’d been before, when I showed up for my first ski lesson. “Have dinner with me, and I’ll get you a towel.”

I laughed with a snort. “Like you’d really leave me like this.”

He shot me a no-bull shit, I-most-certainly-can-and-will look.

“Oh come on! I totally got you a paper towel after I shot all over you earlier!” I really didn’t want to try making it to the shower while attempting to not leave a trail of cum in my wake, and with the amount of it on me, which while already getting a little crispy looking around the edges, I most certainly would.

“Dinner buys you a nice warm fluffy damp towel.”

“You fucking prick!”

“Ah, ah!” Wade shook his finger at me. “Insults not included.”

I was instantly irritated and Wade seemed to thoroughly enjoy witnessing the transformation as that evil smile returned. He finished putting on his boots and stood up, heading for his parka.

“Last chance, Sparky.”

“Fine!” I hated that smirk on his face. The fact that he’d won and he knew it, was going to eat at me all afternoon.

I opened my mouth to tell him off and he held up a hand and called back as he went round the corner into the bath. “If you can’t say anything nice…”

I rolled my eyes, listening to the shower turn on. I lay there, tapping my fingers on the hardwoods making a mental note to never again allow myself to be the cum repository. Wade entered the room again, towel in hand. He smiled down at me, seeming to enjoy towering over me. I wanted to kick him in the nuts and make a grab for the towel.

Wade glanced over me, his eyes getting all squinty as if he could sense what I was thinking. “You’re not a very nice boy.” He laughed down at me as I impatiently held out my hand.

Hi pot, I thought. “There will be no sex included with this dinner.” I looked at him seriously. “I doubt my ass could handle it again, anyway.” Take that, I thought. You might be able to twist my arm into dinner but this little boy’s closing up the barn doors.

He grinned like he didn’t believe a damn thing that I’d just said and dropped the towel onto me. It was warm and damp, and it felt good covering my bare skin.

Wade turned and headed for the door. “I guess you can fuck me, then,” Wade called back as he opened the door.

“You wish, you little shit!”

I felt my jaws clench as he let out a deep rolling laugh, closing the door before I could tell him what I’d really like to shove up his ass. I noticed the steam coming out of the bathroom door from the shower he’d left running for me, as I wiped myself off. I rolled up the towel when I was done and stood up to head for the shower. Stupid ass man-wall!

As I rounded the corner into the bath I wondered, “What the hell am I going to wear?”


Life in Fusion – the sequel to Sno Ho (Warning: possible spoiler alert to Sno Ho!!)

In Ethan Day’s Life in Fusion, aspiring author, Boone Daniels, always figured love would be as easy as he was. Fresh off his whirlwind, winter wonderland romance with ski-god and would-be boyfriend, Wade Walker - Boone was certain that saying goodbye had been the hardest part.

He'd survived the unconventional way in which they came together, proven himself somewhat worthy to Wade's hometown of Summit City, and felt certain the self-imposed, six month boy-buffer would prove one thing - their fate was to be forever entwined.

Once real life settled in, Boone suffered the realization that no one ever actually said love was easy and that even after you fall, you can still break. As their two worlds collided, he began to understand that if he could navigate the landscape of life in fusion, he just might get that happily-ever-after...after all.

Life in Fusion
MLR Press (November, 2010)


As I meandered down the creaking wooden steps I was struck by the fact Wade hadn’t come upstairs to molest me. It was obvious he had an evening planned considering the lit candles burning throughout the living room and kitchen. But still, normally we’d have already had each other naked and in the midst of another sexathon. As I cleared the last few steps, I smiled at my commentary of what was supposedly normal behavior for a three and half week old relationship.

“Cause we’ve been together so long we’ve already settled into a routine?”

He had the TV cabinet open, his huge ass LCD exposed as if we were going to be watching something. The lights were dimmed and Wade had music going in the background, a female singer was belting away, and while she sounded familiar to me I couldn’t quite place her. A small stack of DVDs and one giant remote control were sitting out on the coffee table. The logs popped and crackled in the open fireplace and the soft hum of the fan blowing the heat out into the room, created a constant stream of white noise in the background.

“Who’s the chick singing?” I asked, smiling as he glanced up at me. Wade somehow managed to be adorably sexy. You just wanted to pinch his cheeks when he grinned—both sets of them.

“Rosemary Clooney,” Wade said, tapping his fingers on the countertop, keeping beat with the music. “She was my mom’s favorite.”

I nodded, thinking I should hug him or something despite feeling awkward about doing so.

“All settled in?” Wade asked as he crossed the kitchen and went into the pantry.

“Yes sir, I am indeed.” I strode around the island and waited until he came back out, carrying a box of microwave popcorn. “I guess, though I’m a little surprised you didn’t come upstairs and settle yourself inside me.”

Wade grinned, obviously enjoying the imagery. “Since I was wrongfully accused of flying all the way to Albuquerque for a booty call last week...” Wade fired a he-done-me-wrong look my way. “I figured tonight we could try going without it and have a movie night.”

“No sex?”

“Nada,” Wade said, freeing the bag of popcorn from its plastic wrapper before tossing it in the microwave.

“Not even after the movie?”

Wade shrugged as if he hadn’t thought that far in advance.

“It’s happened already.” I walked in a circle and tossed my arms up into the air.

“What’s happened?”

I sighed, leaning against the counter as if it were the only thing holding me up. “Our heat has evaporated—the desire is already gone. You can’t even pretend to want me.”

The corner of Wade’s mouth began to curl up. “You’re the one who insisted on a six-month trial period to see if there was anything of substance under the sex.”

The corn began popping as the microwave hummed.

I scowled at him, but decided not to give him the satisfaction of addressing the issue he was now attempting to wield like a weapon from his smart-ass arsenal.

I reached back with both hands, turning as I groped my own ass. “My butt has lost its youthful bounce—the once perky mounds, now so sad.” I squeezed as Wade watched, eyes plastered to my ass. “I’ve caught a case of the saggy butt.”

“Your ass looks fine,” Wade said as the microwave dinged.

I took a few steps, stumbling as if I might faint. “Just fine!”

“Wow, you are so needy with the compliments.” Wade shook his head as he pulled out the bag of popcorn. “It’s a smokin’ hot, damn near irresistible ass that I wanna sink my cock into every time I lay eyes on it. Happy now?”

I grinned, faux preening as I said in my girlie voice, “Oh Wade, I do declare—what a silvery, sweet tongue you have.”

“Wouldn’t mind sinking that into your ass either,” Wade added, tossing in a second bag of popcorn and punching in the time after closing the door.

“Now I feel loved.” I sighed, laughing as he reached over, poking me in the side.

Wade snatched the already popped bag off the counter and opened it, dumping the contents into a large bowl.

“What’s with the teeny, tiny bags of corn, dude?” I asked.

Wade glanced at the empty bag and shrugged before wadding it up into a ball. “So much for size not mattering.”

“Said the abominable snowman,” I added.

Wade pulled up his shirt, looking down at his mouthwatering six-pack. “That some sort of crack about my abs?”

“Seriously dude.” I reached over, patting his tummy. “You’re huge, like a hairless Yeti.”

“Why are cursing at me in Yiddish?” Wade opened the microwave removing the second bag, which he dropped onto the counter after burning his fingers.

“Your hand is bigger than that bag.”

“It’s the snack size.”

“For who— the lollipop guild?”

“I’m usually just popping for one.”

“And now there are two to pop for.” I stared off into space looking all dreamy-eyed. “I’m your bigger-bag-boy?”

“A very tiresome bigger bag boy.” Wade dumped the second bag into the bowl and frowned.

“I hope I’m not just an excuse…you…you’re not using me merely to justify the bigger bag right?” I gasped, placing my hand over my heart. “Oh my god, I’m your bag-hag, aren’t I?”

Wade smiled at me. “Is that enough or should I pop another one?”

“I couldn’t possibly eat. I’m still reeling from the shock.”

He picked up the box of popcorn and smacked me in the shoulder with it. He then nodded pointing to the box. “See how much trouble you are. It clearly states the individual size bag pops in half the time of the three and half ounce bag.”

“Well duh—it’s a smaller bag.” I snatched the box out of his hand. “They actually listed that as a selling feature?”

“You’ve cost me an extra ninety seconds.”

“Not even hitched yet and already sucking the life out of you.” I shook my head as I read the box. “There’s actually a marketing department out there who thought it necessary to point out a smaller bag will pop in less time?”

“Looks that way.” Wade snatched the box back. “I should pop one more, right?”

“That is so sad,” I said, completely ignoring him. “And who are these lazy people whose lives are so inconvenienced that they can’t waste an extra minute waiting for a bag of popcorn?”

Wade removed another pouch from its clear plastic film and tossed it into the microwave. “What I must have done in a past life to deserve you?”

I marveled at the way he could artfully word things so they could go either way, being compliment or insult. I opened my mouth to speak and Wade shoved several pieces of buttery goodness into my mouth in an obvious hope it would silence me as I continued to rant.

I snatched the box away from him, holding it up as if I was Susie Homemaker, giving my testimonial. “Now I can solve world peace thanks to all the time I’ll save no longer waiting for my popcorn.”

“You’re deranged, you know that?”

“Well yeah…but in that hot and sexy Mickey Rourke before-the-drugs-and-alcohol kinda way, right?”

“Will you go wait on the couch please?” Wade asked, leaning over and giving me a peck on the cheek.

I pooched out my lip, trying to look wounded as I said in my best backwoods southern accent. “But it…it’s Shake-n-Bake, and I helped.”

“Go.” Wade pointed toward the sofa.

“You’re mean.” I headed into the living room.

“Grab us a couple of beers on your way in there,” Wade said as the bell sounded that the last bag had finished popping.

“Don’t think you can get me drunk and take advantage of me.” I smiled, hoping that was his plan, not that he needed the alcohol to do it. I sauntered over to the fridge to do his bidding.

“Like I need liquor to do that.” Wade snickered under his breath.
To purchase, click here

Monday, February 7, 2011

Breathe excerpt by Sloan Parker

In the novel Breathe by Sloan Parker, Lincoln McCaw has lost everything -- his home, his job, his partner -- after he caused a fatal accident. A year later, he's drowning the guilt and despair in whiskey, but he needs to move on. His sister and her kids are counting on him. Then he meets a man who ignites a passion Lincoln thought he’d never find. Too bad one night is all they can have together. Now he needs to figure out how to turn away from the only person who makes him feel alive…before whoever is sending him threats decides Lincoln needs to suffer more than he already has.

Jay Miller is surrounded by grief and misery until he finally gives in to all those years of sexual fantasies about being with another guy. Realizing he’s ended up in the arms of the man who caused his wife’s accident, he tries to pull away. But how can he give up a friendship he needs more than anything -- a friendship and a love that could save him? He may not have time to make the choice before someone else destroys it all.

Loose-Id (2010)
ISBN: 978-1-60737-890-7


Hope you found some peace in jail. You never will again.

Lincoln McCaw read the note one last time and crushed the paper in his fist. The bus jerked forward as it came to a stop. No need to check. He was home. The smell of hog manure from the surrounding farmlands and the burning steel of his hometown’s only manufacturing plant filtered in through the crack in the window one seat over. Funny how he couldn’t feel the coolness of the winter air hissing in through that crack.

Maybe he never would again.

He stuffed the wadded-up note into his duffel bag, stood, and headed to the front of the bus. The jail wasn’t far from Edgefield, but he hadn’t wanted Nancy waiting for him outside. Who knew what sort of people lurked outside a jailhouse.

He laughed at that. Who was he afraid of? Men like him?

Six months in the county jail. His fellow inmates and the deputies probably thought he was the worst of the lot. He’d spent more days there than most of the guys who came and went. Some spent less time at the state pen.

But the jail was behind him now. It was over. Wasn’t it?

Not according to the latest “love letter” he had tucked in his bag.

He stepped off the bus. The driver shut the door and pulled away as soon as Lincoln’s boots hit the pavement. Not surprising. Most didn’t want to stick around the three-stoplight town. But Lincoln did. He had a lot of reasons to be there. A lot of reasons he’d never leave.

Clear plastic walls surrounded the bus stop bench, cracked on all three sides and coated in a slime no amount of scrubbing with the industrial strength cleaner they’d used at the jail would remove. No one would wait inside the enclosure, no matter how desperate they were for a bus out of Edgefield.

He checked anyway. Splinters covered the faded wood of the bench. If anyone sat there, they’d get an ass full of tiny wooden daggers. Not the best way to ride the bus. Edgefield was so damn inconsequential nobody at the Metro Transit Authority probably gave a shit about the upkeep on the small-town stop that made up the farthest point of the outlying community bus route.

Home sweet home.
“Lincoln!” Nancy crossed the parking lot behind the bench, waving her arms through the air, a smile spread across her face. She quickened her stride. He did the same and hugged her when they met. The warm embrace reminded him of their mom, reminded him one person in the world loved him. She squeezed tighter.

“Nance, I can’t breathe.”

“Oh sorry.” She released him and stepped back. She wore a brown and orange waitress uniform and those heavy-duty shoes nurses wore, designed for support and long-wearing comfort. Hers were dingy, nowhere close to the white they must’ve started out as, and were on their last leg. They wouldn’t provide much support or comfort. Her disheveled dark hair fell from the ponytail in several places, and she had a hint of makeup smudged under and over her eyes. Exhausted. His baby sister was working herself to death.

Despite that, her eyes shone at him. The smile was also a reminder of their mom. Nancy had always taken after their mother in a physical way. Whereas he looked more like their dad with skin tone and features that gave a nod to their Iroquois heritage.

“Just missed you,” she said.

“Missed you too.”

“I wish you would’ve let me visit. Was it bad?”

“Nah. It was okay.” No need to tell her about the gray food that smelled of dish soap, the foul stench from the unwashed inmates he shared space with, the lack of privacy, the endless hard surfaces of metal bars and concrete floors, or the countless cracks about his short-lived racing career from the two good ol’ boys who’d recognized him.

He’d hated every minute of his time there.

And he deserved far worse.

“Come on. I parked over here.” She tilted her head to the left and pointed to the vehicle she’d driven. His black pickup. The damn thing looked huge in the empty lot.

He missed the truck. He also hated the hell out of it. Like it was the truck’s fault.

Nancy had parked next to the County Cooler, an ice-cream stand run by the Drakes, the elderly couple who’d owned the place since Lincoln had been a kid. Every winter they boarded up the stand and headed south to visit their grandkids in Texas. When the place closed, it always had the look of a shack you’d see Bo and Luke Duke plow the General Lee through as Rosco P. Coltrane chased them down. In Lincoln’s day, local teens needing a dry place to hold their beerfest orgy sneaked in during the long winter months while the Drakes were out of town.

An open window near the garbage bin was missing several slats of wood. Lincoln smirked. Same window he’d used when he first had sex with Tommy Vanderline during their sophomore year of high school. Nice to know some things never changed.

“You wanna drive?” Nancy asked.

His smirk vanished. “No.” He yanked open the passenger-side door, tossed in his bag, and sat.

Then again--sometimes everything changed.

Nancy slid into the driver’s side and wrenched the seat forward until her feet touched the pedals. “Sorry. I thought you might want to. You haven’t tried it out since it came back from the body shop.”

He leaned his elbow on the armrest of the door and stared out the side window. “Can’t. Restricted to work privileges. There and back. That’s it.”

They drove in silence, the darkness surrounding them in the cab, the sound of the truck’s heater filling the void of unasked questions until he couldn’t stand not knowing.

“Did he hit you again?”

He would’ve missed her slight nod if it weren’t for the dim display of the dashboard. She turned away from him as though checking the side street traffic at the next intersection.

“You didn’t call the cops?”

“I should have,” she said.

“Fuck, yes, you should have.” Lincoln stabbed at the door lock with two fingers. Lock. Unlock. Lock. Unlock. He took a deep breath and let off on the button. She didn’t need him being an ass. “When did he come back?”

“The Friday after you left.”

“How long did he stay?”

“Until a couple of weeks ago.”

“Jesus, Nance!”

“I needed--I couldn’t afford the hospital bills without him, or her medicine without his insurance.”

“Well, now you can. Soon as I get a new job.” He’d take care of her like he should’ve been doing for the past six months. If he had been there, Mel wouldn’t have had a chance to hurt her again. “Is he gone for good?”

She didn’t answer.

“Why not?”

“He left some of his stuff.”

“You let me know the minute he shows up.” He’d remind the asshole that family looks after their own. “The kids okay? Did he--”

“No!” Her tone was defensive, and she threw him an angry look before she focused on the deserted street ahead. He shouldn’t have asked. She wouldn’t let anyone hurt her kids.

When she spoke again, her voice was under control, more conversational. “Could you stay with Davy and Jessica tomorrow after school? Adam has basketball practice.” Softer she added, “They’ve been home alone a lot lately.”

He stared out the window into the darkness and said, “I’ll be there.”

A block from Nancy’s, they pulled up to a stop sign next to the Late Night Paradise Plaza--home to the only all-night gas station and carryout in town, a movie rental shop, and Sonny’s Tavern.

Lincoln sat taller. “Can we make a stop? I need smokes.”


“I’ll quit again. Just need a pack to get me through the transition.”

She sighed and turned into the plaza’s drive.

The neon signs advertising an ATM machine, lottery tickets, and beer had him shielding his eyes with the back of his hand. There were no neon lights in jail. Sounded like the title of a country music song. Something his fans would have blasted from their car stereos as they drove in on race night. He reached for the truck’s door handle, but her voice stopped him.

“No smoking around the kids, okay?”

He opened the door and said, “You know I won’t.”

“Or in the house,” Nancy called through the side window as he strode for the store.

Lincoln waved an okay sign her way and opened the door to the carryout. A young man passed by the front of the store, hands shoved inside his pockets, head down as if he had to watch his every step. Lincoln froze in the doorway.

Great-looking guy. Nice body.

The kid headed for Sonny’s Tavern.

Great ass too.

Fuck. Lincoln had been away too long. Not a good idea--gawking at straight guys on the streets of Edgefield. But…the kid had stopped, hand on Sonny’s front door, replicating Lincoln’s frozen stance. He was staring at Lincoln, his mouth parted, his eyes conveying a hunger Lincoln knew all too well.

The door to Sonny’s burst outward, almost smacking the kid in the forehead, and two guys exited. The kid moved out of their way, then slipped inside, his gaze on his feet again.

Lincoln’s body screamed at him to follow. He ignored it and entered the carryout.

What was that look? Something?

It didn’t matter.

He passed by the front counter with the smokes and found what he’d really wanted--a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. He grabbed two for good measure.

* * * * *

“Jay, did you hear me?”

The front door of Sonny’s Tavern flew open, and cold winter air blasted in.

Another man might have chosen a stool farther from the entrance. Not Jay Miller. The cold didn’t bother him. Why would it? He was already numb.

“They let the bastard out today.” His dad’s voice cut through the haze of alcohol. “Six months and now he’s…” He trailed off.

Jay dropped the beer he’d been nursing for the last fifteen minutes onto the bar. The bottle clanked and rocked, foam building, drops of the precious liquid spilling. He didn’t bother rescuing it. He’d just order another as soon as his dad left, like he planned to do for the next couple of hours.

“Your mother’s still going on about frying his ass, and he gets out the day before…” His dad cut off midsentence again. Maybe he always did that. Usually Jay’s mom was there to continue on.

“Today?” Jay asked.

The look his dad gave him was comical--if anything could make him laugh again--as if his dad thought he was mentally deficient in some way. Maybe he was. How much did you have to drink before the brain cells died off?

“He’s probably already back in town.”

In Edgefield? How long until Jay found himself face-to-face with the man? He nodded. That was all he could manage. Six months in jail and the man who killed his wife was getting his life back. He’d be working and living and loving. And Katie was turning to dust in the ground. Jay would never have his life back. He’d never have anything.

The door swung open again, and a pair of giggles floated in with whoever entered the bar. What the hell were they so happy about?

He had to get out of there. Get away. Escape all of it.

“Why don’t you come stay at our place tonight?” his dad said. “You can sleep in your old room. Then we’ll all visit the cemetery tomorrow.”

The restroom. Maybe if he didn’t come out right away his dad would get a clue.

Jay stood, and the weight of his body proved too much for his unsure legs. He sank onto the bar stool. The beers--which he drank fast and barely tasted--had hit him hard, but news of Lincoln McCaw’s fate had finished the job. It was over.

Except it wasn’t. It never would be.

His dad put a hand on his back. “Hey, Sonny, get us a cup of coffee?”

“Sure,” the bartender said. When he returned with the coffee mug, he added, “He’s had a few.”

“I imagine so.” Jay’s dad pushed the coffee closer.

The smell of it churned Jay’s stomach. Nothing smelled good anymore. Nothing tasted good either. What had he last eaten? And when? Probably why the beer wasn’t settling too good.

His dad was talking again. Didn’t he get it? The last thing in the world Jay wanted to do was give up the beer and face that McCaw was done with his punishment.

“You should come tomorrow,” his dad said. “It might give you closure.”

Closure? There wasn’t enough beer for that.

There was one thing that would give Jay closure. Finally confronting McCaw, looking the man in the eyes, making him understand how much he took from the world, making Lincoln McCaw suffer.

That’d be closure.
To purchase, click here