Monday, August 29, 2011

The Bar Watcher excerpt by Dorien Grey

In The Bar Watcher by Dorien Grey, the manager of an elite local bath is stabbed to death, and attorney Glen O’Banyon hires Dick Hardesty to check into it. The motive for the murder isn’t hard to figure—Comstock was a jerk of the first order. In fact, the list of people who might have wanted him dead might be larger than the club’s membership roster. Then, two obnoxious bar hoppers die in an apparent accident that turns out to be another murder, and when a third unpleasant individual meets an untimely demise, Dick begins to see a sinister pattern. All of the victims, prior to their deaths, had behaved badly in one of the local bars. Is someone on a mission to rid the world of people behaving badly?

The release of this new edition of The Bar Watcher is the first of what will be redesigned editions of the entire Dick Hardesty series previously published by GLB Publishing.

The Bar Watcher
Zumaya Boundless (July 27, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1934841641
ISBN-13: 978-1934841648



One of the reasons I became a private investigator was because I like puzzles, and every case is like working a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box. Of course, the bulk of any private investigator’s cases are like the puzzles you see for kids on the little table in dentists’ office waiting rooms—five pieces and there’s the bunny. But every now and then you get one that is more like one of those 1,500-piece reproductions of a Bosch or Breughel painting—a real challenge. They drive me crazy sometimes, but when I finally put the last couple of pieces together, there’s a sense of satisfaction that’s hard to describe, or match.

And almost always the people you’re looking for are right there in the picture, though you don’t recognize them until the puzzle’s completed. And from time to time, the picture you think you’re working on isn’t the one you end up seeing.

Now, take the case of the bar watcher….

* * *

It’s what I refer to now as my “Slut Phase.” My monogamous five year relationship with Chris had broken up some time ago, and I decided it was about time I let the other guys spend their time looking for “Mr. Right”–I’d concentrate on Mr. Right Now. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t whittle a notch in the bedpost after every trick, or I’d have ended up sleeping on a mound of wood shavings.

When I wasn’t pursuing research for a book I thought about writing on “101 Fun Things to Do With a Penis,” I was actually making some progress in that part of my life which did not involve lying down. I’d obtained my private investigator license late the year before, and was struggling to make ends meet.

Business was beginning to improve, though slowly, thanks to a solid working relationship I had with members of the local gay Bar Guild, for whom I’d done a couple favors prior to taking out my license. Referrals from Guild members were in fact the source of much of my business. And the fact that there weren’t exactly a lot of gay private investigators to choose from also helped, I’m sure. I’d rented a small office in one of the city’s older commercial buildings, with an address far more impressive than the building itself.

If I’d started out with any illusions that being a private investigator might be a pretty exciting job, reality kicked me in the ass in short order. Lots and lots of checking on possibly (and too often definitely) wandering lovers, one or two incidences of blackmail, a case of embezzlement involving the business manager of a gay resort—that sort of thing; and lots of sitting around waiting for the next client.

Oh, yeah…and I’d given up smoking. Cold turkey. That was a hell of a lot harder than any case I’d had, or was likely ever to have. So I was relieved when the phone rang just as I was trying to figure out a 10-letter word for “reclusive or brutish person” in the paper’s crossword puzzle (don’t bother: it’s “troglodyte”).

“Hardesty Investigations,” I said, in my professional, half-octave-lower-than-normal voice.

“Hardesty: this is Barry Comstock. Jay Mason of the Bar Guild referred you to me.”

“Well, thanks for calling, Mr. Comstock,” I said, making a mental note to thank Jay as well. “How can I help you?”

“I own Rage…you’re familiar with it?”

Rage was the city’s hottest bathhouse. I knew it.

“Of course,” I said, then waited for him to continue.

“We’ve got ourselves a problem, and while I think it’s a bunch of bullshit, they tell me you might be able to help resolve it.”

“Is it anything you can mention on the phone, or…?”

“No; definitely not.”

“I understand,“ I said—but of course I didn’t. “Did you want to come to my office, or…”

“No, you come over here. I’ve got a business to run and I can’t just be taking off.”

Like I wasn’t busy. Well, okay, I wasn’t, but I didn’t like his ‘busier than thou’ attitude.

“No problem. I could be there in around an hour, if that would be all right. I have a client coming in a little later this afternoon.” I lied, but he didn’t have to know that.

“Good,” he said. “I don’t see your name on our members list, but I might have missed it..”

Actually, he hadn’t—I wasn’t a member. Baths are fine, but they’re not my thing. I like to have a few words come out of my mouth before putting something in, and the baths aren’t exactly the place guys go for complex conversations like “Hi. My name is…”.

“I know how to find it,” I said. “I’ll see you in an hour, then.”

He hung up without saying “goodbye.”

Though I’d never met Barry Comstock, I’d seen him at a distance a couple of times in the more trendy bars and discos, always accompanied by two or three different good-looking guys whom he seemed to enjoy treating like dirt. He had a reputation as a wheeler-dealer in the rapidly growing gay business community. A former porn star, he’d opened Rage about eight months earlier. He was noted for having a monumental schlong, and an ego to match. I’d seen some of his movies—I think I still have a copy of one of his better ones: “Comstock’s Load.” He was also rumored to have the first nickel he ever made, so I imagined he would not be calling on me unless it was something pretty important.

* * *

Rage was located in what local gays were beginning to refer to as The Central—sort of an homage to San Francisco’s Castro district—and about a half a block off Beech, the main gay thoroughfare. No ground floor windows; just a dark blue canopy with “Rage” in white script, over a matching blue entry door. Just as I reached for the handle, the door swung open and a drop-dead gorgeous hunk exited carrying his gym bag and a satisfied smile. Our eyes locked for a moment, and he gave me a broad wink. “Have fun,” he said.

Before I had a chance to reconsider my opinion of baths, I was inside the small lobby.

A blond Adonis stood behind the registration window wearing a “Rage” tee shirt so tight I thought at first it had been spray painted on his bare chest. Yeah, I thought, maybe I should reconsider…

“Your card?” the blond said.

“I’m not a member,” I said. “I’ve got an appointment with Barry Comstock. The name’s Hardesty.”

The blond picked up a phone out of sight below the window, said something I couldn’t hear, then hung up the phone and nodded toward the only door leading to the interior from the lobby. “First door to your left,” he said, and pressed an unseen buzzer which opened the lobby inner door.

“Thanks,” I said, and passed through it into a short hallway. The first door on the left said simply “Private” and I knocked.

“Come in,” a voice said, and I did.

The room was large and windowless, paneled in what appeared to be dark oak. It apparently couldn’t decide whether its function was to impress or to be a working office, and therefore didn’t quite fit either category. There were several small framed photos on one wall, apparently of Comstock with various celebrities, a large painting of a nude male torso—undoubtedly Comstock himself—on a side wall next to a door, a couple file cabinets, a worktable with a copy machine and a typewriter, a couple of comfortable and expensive looking leather chairs and a large, equally expensive looking desk, behind which sat Barry Comstock, slitting open a stack of mail with a very wicked looking letter opener.

I mentioned that Barry Comstock had been a porn star, but it was obvious that he was no longer in his 20s—or, despite valiant efforts on his part, even his 30s. His face had that stretched-too-tight look that indicated a plastic surgeon’s handiwork. In some odd way, he was rather like the room itself. He’d have been considerably more attractive if he’d just left himself alone.

He did not get up and so I deliberately walked over to the desk and extended my hand, which he had to put down the letter opener and lean forward to take.

“Dick Hardesty, Mr. Comstock. What can I do for you?”

He motioned me to a chair and resumed opening the mail, shifting his glance back and forth between the mail and me.

“We’ve had some…well, what my partners consider to be threats. I think they’re bullshit, but they insisted I look into it. Frankly, I don’t have the time, which is why I called you.”

“What kind of threats?”

Comstock finished opening the mail, set the opener aside again, and leaned back in his chair. “Oh, we’ve been getting bitch letters since we opened...most of them have tapered off lately.”

“What kind of ‘bitch letters’?”

Comstock gave a slight sneer. “About our membership policy.”

“And your membership policy is…?” Actually, I had a pretty good idea from what I’d been hearing on the street, but I wanted to hear him spell it out. He looked at me with a mixture of disdain and surprise.

“Which is that this is a place where hot young guys come to meet other hot young guys. We don’t let fats, or old farts in. If you’re fat, or bald, or old, or ugly you can go someplace else.”

So much for my buying stock in the Barry Comstock School of Charm, I thought. This guy was really starting to piss me off.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Grit excerpt by William Maltese and Jardonn Smith

Grit permeates each crevice of the Great Depression and the men living through it. This sex-saturated tale from William Maltese and Jardonn Smith is of have's and have-not's -- who run trains across the Dust Bowl ... who hitch trains to escape poverty and despair. On this December night in 1932, Jardonn's locomotive engineer, Wilton Zukel, is off duty and on the prowl.

MLR Press (November, 2010)
ISBN 978-1-60820-121-1 (print)
ISBN 978-1-60820-122-8 (ebook)


"Why, hello there, Wilton Zukel. All alone tonight, are you?" Roger Daniels, no longer the ticket-taker at the Lanyon Oriental Theater, caught Wilton walking the street on his way to see a movie.

"Yep, Forrest is on a job out in the hinterlands somewhere. What about you, uh, young man?"

"It's Roger."

"Right. Not working tonight, Roger?"

"Oh, sure. I'm working, all right, but not at Lanyon's."

Wilton quickly understood the situation. First clue, Roger Daniels, who'd appeared handsome on the night of their first meeting in his spiffy, Oriental Theater uniform, his cream-blonde locks flowing soft and shiny from the band of his Oriental Theater cap, on this night looked as dirty as the street. His hair unkempt and stringy, his fingers and nails grimy, the flesh of his face oily, his jacket and pants well-worn and light-weight, not proper garb for the near-to-freezing December night. Second clue, Roger's eyes, which in the Theater had beamed so brightly when locking onto Wilton's, now stared suggestively at Wilton's crotch, focused solely on the schlong pressing the inner thigh of Wilton's wool trousers. "Is this your workplace now, Roger? Twelfth Street?"

"Afraid so. Lanyon cut back my hours again, so I quit."


"Monday after I met you."

"Kind of dangerous out here, ain't it?" Wilton knew very well the activities along Twelfth Street, where burlesque and strip-tease houses flourished alongside the legitimate movie houses, and where he himself frequently paid for sex simply by walking the street after seeing a movie in one of the legitimate movie houses. Hustlers of both genders were readily available at all hours here, and Wilton, having no misconceptions about his chances of stumbling upon some sort of meaningful companionship inside the legitimate movie houses, considered forking over cash to any street merchant who looked relatively healthy his best solution for satisfaction. As an added bonus, Wilton got entertainment out of the deal when he presented to them his over-sized pecker. Just to see their expression when they realized they'd quoted him an amount far too little, was to him worth every penny.

Seeing Roger's rapid deterioration, however, put him in no mood for laughing. "I mean, geez, Roger, don't you know some of these old-timers will cut you up if you try working their territory?"

"Ah, they know me. I've been at this since I was old enough to suck a dick. Family tradition."

Wilton didn't feel like standing on the street in the cold listening to Roger explain everything he'd packed into those three statements, and figured he knew a sure-fire method for temporarily whisking the young man away from it all. "Are you hungry, Roger?"

At a diner near the Union Station train depot and far-removed from flesh-peddlers, Wilton heard the sordid tale of Roger Daniels while Roger sat cross-table from him devouring a plate of steak and eggs. He listened without interrupting as Roger told of his mother, the strip-tease dancer, and of how she decided to go prostitute full time, using her eleven-year-old son as an extra attraction. Figured plenty of men to be turned on by the prospect of a little boy sucking on their dick, or better yet, getting their dick squeezed by a little boy's tight butt-hole. It all worked out fine until Roger matured into manhood and the allure of boy prostitute vanished, thus lowering his value to her.

Cast out to fend for himself, Roger was working the Twelfth Street corridor when Stanley Lanyon, for whatever reason, thought Roger's slender build and lovely locks would be a good match for the Oriental Theater uniform. He gave the hustler his chance, but the worsening economic depression after the crash of 1929 brought a steady decline in number of employees Lanyon could afford to keep.

"He cut me down to Saturday nights," Roger spit particles of egg, too famished for trying to talk between bites. "Guess I could have kept the job while working the streets, but hell, on Saturday nights I can make more from the sidewalk, so I just kissed the theater job good-bye."

"What do you get for a..." Wilton tapped his lips with his finger.

"For you? A steak and eggs supper."

Upon seeing it, Wilton had no intention of touching the filthy mattress of Roger's cot in the rented room of squalor he called home. "Come on, Roger. I'll take you to the Muehlebach."

"Wow! I will certainly let you."

After Roger had bathed in fancy digs of the finest hotel in Kansas City, Wilton hardily laughed as his pecker filled with blood and Roger's eye sockets widened with every inch, but unlike most, Roger never shied away from Wilton's behemoth. Instead, he coaxed Wilton to strip himself naked and sprawl upon the bed. For this client, Roger would give the royal treatment, a tongue bath, a barrage of wet kisses beginning on the tops of Wilton's hairy feet and ending with a slavish slurping upon Wilton's tiny tits.

And then, he courageously opened his jaw to capacity and encompassed the massive head of Wilton's penis. With his lips progressing a mere inch onto Wilton's shaft, Roger's mouth was crammed completely full. He could take no more, and so he sucked from there.

For Wilton, a sensation new and exciting -- not the orgasm itself, but the foreplay. No hustler had ever before taken the time to worship Wilton's fur-covered, beastly physique. No lips had ever taken any part of his penis beyond licking on his corona and piss slit, not until he'd grabbed their ears and forced them to take all of it. With Roger, he couldn't bring himself to do it. That would come later when Roger was comfortably settled into Wilton's house and no longer felt motivated to try on his own.

That night in the Muehlebach Hotel, Wilton melted as Roger serviced him in a manner loving, or at least the nearest to loving Wilton had ever experienced, and he could not bear the thought of dropping Roger back into the street and the dangerous lifestyle he'd chosen. Wilton would take him home. Clean him up. Make him his house-boy. Save himself from having to cruise those same streets looking for faceless sex bought and paid for.

William Maltese
Jardonn Smith

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Monday, August 15, 2011

The Perils of Praline, or the Amorous Adventures of a Southern Gentleman in Hollywood excerpt by Marshalll Thornton

In The Perils of Praline, or the Amorous Adventures of a Southern Gentleman in Hollywood by Marshall Thornton, when Peter "Praline' Palmetier falls in love with a contestant on a reality TV show, he decides to leave his home in rural Georgia and, failing to realize this might be considered stalking, travels to Hollywood to find his soul mate, Dave G. Once in Tinseltown he meets a collection of startling, and often horny, characters in his quest. They include a studly steward, a conservative talk show host, the Godfather of the Gay Mafia, and casting assistant Jason Friedman, who always manages to be there in time to save Praline from total disaster. Will Praline find love with the illusive Dave G., or will he recognize the charms of appealing but untelegenic Jason?

The Perils of Praline, or the Amorous Adventures of a Southern Gentleman in Hollywood
MLR Press (October 9, 2010)
ISBN: 978-1608202331


Even as Praline dangled naked from the fourteenth-floor balcony, the wind tickled his penis and began to arouse him. This might seem odd given the danger of his situation, but such are the benefits of a twenty-year-old’s libido.

Struggling to focus on his predicament, he studied the balcony below. It seemed he might be able to toss himself onto it if he could swing his legs back far enough to gain momentum. Of course, if that didn’t work he’d fall fourteen stories to a certain death. Or, if he looked on the bright side, break every bone in his body and survive in a vegetative state for decades to come.

He could attempt to climb back up onto Stewart’s balcony. It would be difficult but might be the safer choice. The real danger was facing Stewart’s still-screaming husband. In fact, the screaming – both Stewart’s and his husband’s – had gotten so loud that Praline hadn’t bothered to scream himself. No one would have heard him.

With his arms beginning to tire, he had to decide: Should he risk the ire of an irate husband? Or should he fling himself onto the balcony below? Biceps quivering, a choice had to be made soon, but which —

Suddenly, Praline felt a pair of arms wrap around his hips, strong hands pleasantly grasped his buttocks. A man said, “I’ve got you. Let go.”

Squeezing his eyes closed, Praline decided to trust the virile-sounding stranger and let go. In one swift move, Praline was pulled to safety. Just as swiftly, he and his rescuer fell flat onto the balcony’s cement floor. Praline landed with his hips pressed into the stranger’s face. He raised himself, inadvertently dragging his penis across the young man’s mouth as he rolled off of him.

“Gosh, I’m so, so, sorry. I didn’t mean to stick my… um, you know… right in your face.” Just a few years older than Praline, the young man was compact and olive-skinned, with eyes the color of semi-sweet chocolate and heavy black stubble shadowing his chin. Praline assumed he was straight given that ninety-some percent of men in the world supposedly are, and as a straight man would likely be disturbed, even under the circumstances, to find Praline’s lubed-up, jizz-covered penis shoved in his face. He continued to apologize, “I can’t tell you how mortified —

”Raising a hand to stop him, the young man muttered, “Don’t worry, it’s not the first time.” Which Praline took to mean he was gay and had voluntarily had penises thrust into his face, rather than meaning he was straight and it wasn’t the first time he’d rescued a naked man from certain death only to end up with a penis thrust into his face.

“Oh my gosh, thank you, thank you, thank you! You saved my life!

”The young man wiped a bit of stray semen off his cheek, “No problem. Would you like to explain how you happened to be hanging naked off a balcony in the middle of the night?

”Something about the way he said it made Praline self-conscious, and he casually draped his hand over his crotch. “Well, it’s complicated.”

“I should hope it’s complicated,” the young man replied. “It’s not the kind of thing that should have a simple explanation.

”With a shy smile, Praline began to relate his story in extensive detail right there on the balcony. Overwhelmed, his rescuer stopped him and said, “Maybe we should go inside and get comfortable. My name’s Jason by the way. Jason Friedman.”

Praline introduced himself and followed Jason into the condo. The layout was identical to 1406 above, but the décor was more dramatic. The bedroom walls were tomato red and from what Praline could see of the living room it was painted a vibrant, vibrating teal. The bedroom furniture had an Asian influence and, to Praline’s down-home eye, didn’t look especially comfortable. The bed was a thin mat on a slab. There was a sharp-cornered dresser, spindly nightstands, and two chairs made of raw birch-branches tied together by a few strips of leather. Jason pulled a T-shirt and a pair of running shorts out of a gym bag and offered them to Praline.

As he restarted his story, Praline couldn’t help but examine the young man in front of him. Jason wore thin pajama bottoms and nothing else. His chest and stomach were covered with a layer of moist black hair that grew in wide swirls. His most prominent feature though was his nose, which was large and slightly hooked. His hairline receded a bit, giving him a high forehead, and his lips glinted raspberry red.

Though Praline had to admit Jason had a certain appeal, he also knew he wasn’t the kind of young man who’d ever be asked to appear in a magazine photo spread or on reality television, and therefore could not be considered attractive. Praline felt sorry for him. Being unattractive was about the worst thing that could happen to a gay man.

"That’s quite a story,” Jason said when Praline finished

"I know, I’d barely believe it if it hadn’t happened to me.”

“Everybody goes through a really crazy period in their early twenties. Not always as death-defying as your experience, but definitely crazy.” Jason blushed while remembering his own indiscretions. “Don’t worry, it’ll pass.”

“It’ll pass?” asked a distressed Praline. He’d just discovered that he had an adventurous personality. The last thing he needed to find out was that it was only a phase. “Golly, I hope not.”

Jason looked at him oddly.

The arguing above them had faded to a rumble. Staring at the ceiling, Praline said, “I suppose I should go upstairs and ask for my stuff back.”

“That’s probably not a good idea.”

“But, they’ve got my clothes and my phone and my money!”

Jason considered. “We could call the police and have them—”

“No!” Praline practically shouted. “No cops.”

“Okay.” Jason eyed him suspiciously. “But it’s not like you’ve done anything illegal.”

Praline couldn’t count how many of his mother’s friends and clients had gotten arrested after not doing anything illegal; or at least not anything very illegal. He wasn’t going to take that chance.

Jason considered him. “So, when you decided to come out here, did you have any sort of plan? I mean, obviously you didn’t have hotel reservations…”

Praline shrugged. “I just knew things would work out. Everything happens for the best.”

“No, actually it doesn’t. For example, you ended up hanging naked off a building.”

“Yes, it does. For example, you saved me.”

“But—” Though he wanted to, Jason could not argue with Praline’s logic.

Suddenly, the fighting upstairs erupted into a flurry of yelps, thuds and a sliding glass door slamming open. A moment later Praline’s duffle dropped from the balcony above on its way to the street below. In short order, Praline’s clothes, shoes and backpack followed.

“Was that your bag?” Jason asked.

Praline nodded.

Following Jason out of the building and onto the street, Praline spotted his things immediately. He was relieved that some depraved homeless person hadn’t stolen them. Cautiously, he looked up and down the street to make sure they weren’t lying in wait.

Jason gave him a suspicious look, “What are you doing?”

“Looking out for the homeless,” Praline whispered.

Mistaking his meaning, Jason suggested, “If you want to help them out, I think there’s a mission downtown. You can send a donation.”

Praline nearly gasped; his mother would be appalled to learn that the homeless had organized their attempts at extortion.

Quickly, he gathered his clothes and his duffle. His things looked fine, with the exception of a bottle of designer Klevin von Cain’s Elude that had broken and soaked through most of his wardrobe. Fortunately, his phone and his wallet were in his backpack, which remained cologne-free. His wallet, though, had been rifled, his license taken out of its slipcase and put back in sloppily – obviously having been stared at, which gave Praline the creeps – and, most importantly, his five hundred eighty-three dollars was missing.

“Why would Stewart take my money?” Praline wondered. “His apartment was so nice. Flight attendants must make a ton of money. Why would he steal from me?”

“Actually, flight attendants are paid crap,” explained Jason.

“Well, that doesn’t seem fair. I know it was my first flight and all, but those flight attendants worked really hard collecting money from everyone.”

“He probably lives with a sugar daddy,” Jason speculated. Then added, “An older man who pays for everything.”

“I know what a sugar daddy is,” Praline said indignantly. “I grew up with cable TV. We had all the channels. I’m very well informed.”

One of Praline’s step-daddies, he’s not sure which, had spliced them into the neighbor’s cable box. Praline’s mama was a devout Capitalist who believed a free market was one in which most things were free.

Praline brightened. “Hey, Dave G. is older than I am. He can be my sugar daddy!”

“Uh, no,” Jason said. “Struggling actors make terrible sugar daddies. Generally they have less money than flight attendants.”

Sometimes the world seemed upside down to Praline. If you had to be good-looking to be a flight attendant or a struggling actor, and certainly it seemed you did, then really you ought to be paid more because of it. He thought it terrible that good-looking people were being taken advantage of in that way. Praline briefly considered the idea of forming some kind of attractive people’s union, but then remembered his mother had taught him unions were a communist invention meant to undermine Christianity and —

“You got everything?” Jason asked. And he did have everything, so they went back upstairs.

When they got back to the apartment it was nearly four a.m. “We should probably go to sleep,” Jason suggested. “We can run your clothes through the washing machine in the morning.”

As Praline followed Jason into the bedroom, he couldn’t help but think of commandment number seven. Always repay a favor with a favor. Jason had saved his life and now it was time to repay him with sex. It was the least he could do. And even though Jason wasn’t what he’d call attractive, he seemed nice and so the sex would at least be fun, if not especially hot.

“You have a lovely apartment, by the way,” Praline said, standing very close to his host, thinking about what he might like to do to him.

Jason stepped away. “It’s not mine. It’s my boss’s. I’m house sitting until tomorrow.” He shrugged and added, “I’m an assistant. We don’t make any money, either.”

Then, much to Praline’s surprise, Jason took one of the pillows off the bed and picked up a scratchy blanket off a birch-branch chair. “You can sleep on the sofa.”

Praline was stunned. “Sleep on the sofa? But, I thought…”

“What did you think?”

“Well, you’ve been so nice, saving my life and all, which makes me forever indebted to you.” A state in which Praline knew he should not remain. “If there’s ever anything I can do for you...”

“Don’t worry about it,” Jason said. “It’s no trouble.”

“But, if you ever need a favor. You promise you’ll just ask?”

“If I find myself hanging naked off a building, you’ll be the first one I call.”

“That’s not what I mean. What I mean is, what I’m thinking…” Praline smiled coyly. “If you want to have sex that would be all right. I don’t mind.”

Jason looked him up and down. “You don’t mind? Wow. I’ve heard that Southerners are super polite but offering to have sex out of, what? Courtesy? Well, that’s not polite at all. In fact, it’s kind of rude.”

Jason’s behavior was terribly confusing. He had been nice enough to save Praline’s life, so Praline offered to have sex. It was that simple. Why was Jason getting all twisted out of shape? There had to be something else going on. With a suspicious look, Praline asked, “You’re not gay, are you?”

“Of course, I’m gay,” Jason insisted, tersely.

He had to be lying; Praline was sure of it. A true homosexual would never turn down sex. The megapastor at his mama’s church had given many a sermon about the immoral, wanton, and promiscuous behavior of the gays. If the pastor had been wrong, well, Praline would be sorely disappointed.

Then, he considered another possibility. “Are you functional? Because you know they have pills now and —”

“I’m functional, all right!” The young man’s face had gotten quite red and he took a deep breath to calm himself. He growled, “Just go to bed.”

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Mi Amor excerpt by Neil Plakcy

In Mi Amor by Neil Plakcy, cute, sexy party boy Adam Beller falls in lust with smolderingly handsome contractor Javier Castro over a bunch of stargazer lilies at the Publix grocery at the southern tip of Miami Beach. But can these two very different guys find happiness together, as Adam’s business falls apart and the FBI begins investigating him, and Javier confronts the macho prejudice of his family and associates?

Each man finds the other irresistible. But it's not easy falling in love in an Art Deco landscape populated by drag queens, Russian mobsters and charming Federal agents.

Mi Amor
Loose-ID (revised edition)
ISBN: 978-1-60737-961-4


I already had six bouquets of stargazer lilies in my shopping cart and was examining the seventh when I realized that this sexy Latin guy was cruising me. Though I am undeniably cute -- my friends kid me that I look like I just stepped out of an Abercrombie and Fitch ad -- it’s not me; it’s the Publix. When they built this new grocery in a funny corner of South Beach, it became cruise central. And no, I don’t mean those big ocean liners -- though you can see them a few blocks away.

I looked up, and he was standing right by my wagon, sniffing. When he saw me looking at him, he got all embarrassed and said, “Sorry, they just smell so great.” He had the slightest Spanish accent and a baritone voice that made me go all mushy inside.

He wore a dark green Ralph Lauren polo shirt that showed off his deep tan, faded, butt-molded jeans, and scuffed cowboy boots. Even though I was in the middle of a crisis -- finding bunches of lilies for a party my client was holding in less than two hours -- I had to stop and flirt. A boy’s got to do what a boy’s got to do. “And they’re gorgeous,” I said. We made direct eye contact, and I smiled.

I have a killer smile. I suffered through two years of orthodontia for it, and since I kissed my first boy at fourteen, I’ve been unleashing it on sexy guys.

From smiling, these guys and I proceed to flirting. And then to bed. That’s the way I liked my relationships: quick, dirty, and fun. I was twenty-six years old, and I lived in the biggest gay candy store in the world. Why tie myself down with jelly beans when there were licorice, gumballs, and chocolate drops out there?

I was moving toward sealing the deal with my Latin lover when Jean-Jacques Valentin roared up. He may be my best friend in all the world, and I appreciate the way he pitches in to help me out when I’m on the brink of disaster, but his timing sucks. He’s a six-two flaming Haitian queen, and sometimes he comes on too strong.

“I found these darling dishes in the kitchenware aisle,” Jean-Jacques said, holding up six pottery bowls in a celadon green. “If you’ve got some Styrofoam and some wire, problem solved!”

He skidded to a stop next to my cart and looked from me to the sexy cowboy, who said, “Well, see you around,” and pushed off.

I elbowed Jean-Jacques and whispered fiercely, “That was my after-dinner treat you just chased away!”

“Oh, honey, there’ll be six more treats for you at the party tonight. Get over your gorgeous blond self.”

At the mention of the word party, I zapped back to earth. After four years of organizing events at trendy South Beach clubs, working my way up from passing out flyers on the beach to hosting every rap star, B-list actress, hunk of the moment, and fashion-victim heiress, I’d begun organizing private events outside the club circuit.

This party was the launch for a new condo on West Avenue -- on one of the few tiny pieces of land that doesn’t already have a high-rise on it. I’d been introduced to the owners by my old friend, Vladislav Solonenko, or Vlad the Impaler as I started to call him the first time he butt-fucked me with his monster dick. Vlad’s an investor, with his hands in many different South Beach ventures. Some are frightened that he’s part of the Russian mafia, but I’ve seen him cry over TV commercials.

My job: take an empty lot littered with trash and surrounded by a chain-link fence, and create a South Seas fantasy that embodied the developer’s concept: the Balinese, a teak-and-tapa-cloth condo-hotel for the ultrarich. And I’d been doing a damn good job until my flower delivery arrived, and I discovered that someone had forgotten to include water with the floral centerpieces. The result? You don’t want to know. Hence the quick dash to Publix.

We grabbed the flowers and those darling little bowls, and as we hurried to finish every last detail, I forgot all about my Latin lover. That is, until later that night, when we stood eye to eye on opposite sides of a scale model of the hotel, two low-rise towers surrounded by lush landscaping -- all in papier-mâché, of course. For once, I was speechless. Fortunately, he wasn’t.

“Looks like the lilies did solve your problem,” he said.

He cleaned up nicely. In place of his work clothes, he wore a beautifully fitted tuxedo with narrow lapels that accentuated his broad shoulders and his narrow waist. His white tux shirt was immaculately pressed and shone like a spotlight. Most men can’t carry off a bow tie, but he could -- in black silk, and hand-tied to boot. “I’m Javier Marisco,” he said, sticking out his hand.

So much for the idea that he was an ordinary workman. I knew from Vlad that Javier was one of the most successful small developers on the beach, and that Vlad had invested in one of his condo conversions. “Adam Beller,” I said, reaching toward him. Our hands met over a papier-mâché palm tree. His was rough, sun-burned, and calloused, but his grip was strong. I felt like someone had just plugged me into an electric socket.

“Party planner to the stars,” Javier said. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“All of it true. Except for that story about the men’s room at Club Deco. That’s a total fabrication.”

“Ah, and that’s my favorite story,” Javier said. “I’m disappointed.”

“You’re a flirt, is what you are.”

“And you’re not?”

We were still holding hands, and our gazes were locked on each other. “Perhaps,” I said. “I’ve been called worse.”

He released his grip. “You’ll have to tell me all your secrets.”

“Please. At least buy me dinner first.”

“I’ll do that. How about after the party?”

I ran through a mental checklist at hyperspeed. The developer had already given his welcome speech, and we’d finished all the black bowfin caviar, the champagne, and almost all the divine pastries baked specially for me by an elderly French woman whose name I guard more fiercely than the list of men I’ve slept with.

At least half the guests had left, and the rest would probably filter away within the next half hour, depending on how fast the Guatemalan valets could bring their luxury vehicles around from the empty lot down the street. I could trust Jean-Jacques with the cleanup. Vlad was hosting an after-party at Privé, but I knew he’d never miss me. “Sure,” I said. “Give me about an hour?”

“I’ll be waiting.” He smiled and turned as one of the bitchiest female real estate brokers on the beach grabbed him by the arm and dragged him away to someone he just had to meet.

After saying good-bye to Vlad and the developer, giving Jean-Jacques directions, and air-kissing a dozen women with big boobs, puffy lips, and flat skin --none of it part of the original package -- I slipped off to the men’s room in the sales trailer for a quick evaluation.

I’d been on the go since noon, with only a mad dash home between Publix and the party for a quick change into tuxedo and patent leather loafers. Fortunately, my industrial-strength hair gel had kept every delicate blond lock in place, though I was starting to get some nine-o’clock shadow. I was just peering in the mirror trying to assess the situation when the door swung open, and Javier Marisco walked in.

“Don’t change a thing for me,” he said.

I spun around, embarrassed to be caught at my toilette, and he stepped right up and kissed me.

Such a simple word, kissed. It doesn’t do justice to what happened between Javier and me. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled my body close to his. His cologne smelled of citrus and salt water, and his recently shaved face was smooth against my own light stubble.

I wrapped my hands around his head as our lips met. Just the lightest pressure at first, and then both of us parted our lips and pressed harder. I felt every point at which our tuxedo-clad bodies touched, through all those layers of cotton, silk, and tropical-weight wool, and it was like dozens of tiny fireworks explosions going off in my head. Our tongues danced, our noses brushed, my heart started skipping beats, and my dick jumped to attention. It was way more than just a kiss.

I pulled back. “I believe you promised me dinner.”

“Absolutely.” He took my hand, and I followed him out into the deserted sales office. I waved to Jean-Jacques as we passed the Polynesian fantasy tent -- now being broken down into its component parts for return to the rental company -- and Javier and I walked out to West Avenue.

He led me a few blocks away to Barton G’s, where he commandeered us a private table in an alcove of brown and bronze suede. He ordered an array of elegant, delectable food that I hardly tasted, because I was so busy drinking him in. Under the table, our feet rested against each other.

“I started working as a carpenter on the beach when I was seventeen,” he said, between appetizer and entrée. “I lived with my parents in Hialeah and took two buses every day to get to work. I saved every penny I could, and I closed on my first building the day after I got my construction management degree from FIU.”

I loved the way he talked, the occasional rolled r, the way every Spanish word -- even street names -- got the perfect Castilian pronunciation. He was almost unbelievably handsome: dark curly hair, with one stray lock that dropped over his forehead; cinnamon skin, deep green eyes, and lips that were so full and luscious I longed to kiss them again. “And when did you know you were gay?” I took a sip from my glass of Chilean chardonnay.

He laughed. “You get to the point, don’t you?”

“Teenaged boy taking two buses every day to hang out on South Beach. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure it out.”

“Took me a while. Being Cuban, I didn’t want to think about the possibility that I could be a maricón, as my father would say. That is, until I kissed a guy for the first time, when I was about nineteen. Then I knew.”

“I knew in boarding school. Deerfield. I was fourteen. Heaven is being a gay boy at an all-boys’ school.”

“No bullying?”

“I had my protectors.”

The waiter brought our entrées. I tried to eat slowly, to savor the delicious food, but as Javier rubbed the side of my leg with his foot, I wanted to scramble under the table and suck his dick, or drag him into the men’s room and make out. I ached to do something -- anything -- to stop the exquisite torture of longing to kiss those lips again, to see what that body looked like when it was stripped of its tuxedo, to feel him pressing up against me one more time.

“Coffee? Dessert?” the waiter asked as he cleared away our plates. My eyes locked on Javier’s, and I knew that he felt the same fire I did.

“Just the check, please,” Javier said. Those four words have never sounded so beautiful. He turned to me after the waiter left and said, “I have an apartment in the Madrigal, a building I renovated across from the marina. We could take our time and walk over there -- or grab a cab.”

“Javier, sometime soon I’d love to take a nice, long moonlit walk with you around South Beach. But right now, I’d rather fall into the backseat of a cab with you and start making out.”

Character-driven stories of handsome, sexy gay men in love and danger

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Deadly Slumber excerpt by Victor J Banis

In this excerpt from Victor J Banis' Deadly Slumber, #4 in the Deadly Mysteries series, Bartholomew's, the House of the Dead, is a mortuary whose directors are drop dead gorgeous and terminally horny. And one of them is up to mischief. Stanley and Tom try to separate the naturally dead from the murdered dead and find themselves awash with coffins - until they come to the one Stanley's name on it. Deadly Slumber indeed.

Stanley, on the job, invites a handsome young intern in for a glass of wine…

Deadly Slumber
MLR Press (August 18, 2009)
ISBN: 1608200906


Stanley laughed and poured two glasses of wine. He gave one to David, and motioned to the two chairs by the fireplace. The old leather creaked when they sat. "Tell me," Stanley said when they were seated, "what's it like, actually living here at Bartholomew's. You've been here, what did you tell me, three weeks?"

"Nearly that." David took a sip of wine, contemplated the question for a moment. "It's strange. I knew when I decided on mortuary science that Bartholomew's was where I wanted to be. But, when I got the internship, and actually moved in—well, it isn't quite what I thought it would be."

"In what way?"

"I'd heard it was a friendly place." He grinned. "I mean, very friendly, if you follow me."

"The sex."

"Yes. I knew someone who interned here a while back. He said the dorm was buzzing all the time, musical beds."

"And it's not like that?"

"Well, I wouldn't say it was a nunnery, exactly. There's stuff goes on, there's a couple of the interns who keep things interesting…"

"Cody and Greg."

"Yes. Although at the moment, they're pretty wrapped up in one another. It's just, the whole atmosphere, it's a lot more subdued than what I'd been led to believe."

"What about the directors?"

David gave him a wary look, thinking of Vincent downstairs, and the almost-pass he hadn't made. "I wouldn't know about that."

"Surely you're not going to tell me it never crossed your mind. Some of them are awfully good looking."

"Some of them? Jesus, they're all to die for, if you ask me."

"And you've never done anything about it?

The fake log in the fireplace popped, making David start. He was tenser, Stanley realized, than he showed. He sat for a minute staring at the flames. When he spoke, he did not look at Stanley.

"One of them called me 'the pretty Jew boy.'"

"One of the directors?"

David nodded. "I wasn't supposed to hear him, of course."

"Or maybe you were."

David did look at him then. "I hadn't thought of that, but, yes, maybe. Whatever. I don't think he meant it as a compliment. Oh, that's not it, though, that's not what turned me off, not really. I've heard stuff like that before. I guess every Jew does at some time or other. The funny thing is, I'm not much of a Jew. And, as far as the sex part, like I said, there's others, if I really wanted something…but, you know, oddly, it's not as much a turn on as you might think. All these gorgeous guys here. They're…I guess this is going to sound weird, but, I mean, it's like, going to a buffet expecting a nice hearty meal, and the table's got nothing on it but a tray of sweet desserts. Lovely to look at, delicious to taste, but not the kind of thing that leaves you satisfied." He gave Stanley a mischievous grin. "If you want to know the truth, now, that partner of yours…what a brute. I'd make a meal of him in a minute."

Stanley smiled back. "Sorry, the brute is taken, for a long time. A lifetime, I’m thinking. At least, that's what I'm hoping."

"It must be great, finding someone special like that. The right one. Love at first sight, I'll bet, wasn't it?"

"No, I wouldn't say that. Not exactly." He thought for a minute. "Or, maybe it was, but it took a long time for us to get it. I guess in some ways we're still getting it. To be honest, it isn't what I thought it would be like. I was looking for a man, when I should have been looking for the man. If you follow me."

David gave that a moment's thought. "I think so."

"Oh, you will, when the time comes." Stanley sighed. "So, back to Bartholomew's - what it comes down to is, when you say you're disappointed in Bartholomew's, what you're really saying is, the sex doesn't live up to your expectations?"

David exhaled loudly. "No, that's putting it a little too bluntly. I mean, yes, I found that a little disappointing, but, there's more…it's hard to put my finger on it. Maybe it's knowing where you are. We used to call this place The House of the Dead, my sister and I, growing up on Dorland Street. I didn't think that would bother me, and it doesn't really, not working with dead people. But, I lie awake at night. Everything is so insulated, and so sound and light proofed. The darkness, the silence. It might almost be a tomb. Sometimes it really does feel as if I'm already dead. Like, I'm drifting away from the world of the living, sort of."

He'd been speaking distantly, as if thinking aloud, but he blinked now and focused his eyes on Stanley. "Fanciful, I know. And probably, too, it had something to do with that first day, when I came to interview. I was with Mister Cyril when we discovered the body, old Mister Percy's body. You knew about that, of course?"

"Suicide, the police say."

"Yes. I suppose they're right. I thought that too, at first, but…" He shrugged. "Oh, I don't know, something about it didn't feel right, if you know what I mean. It was so, staged, I guess, is what I want to say. Somehow it reminded me of the high school play I was in, Murder Most Foul."

"In what way?"

"That's the funny thing. I don't know. It was just a feeling I got, but there was nothing I could put my finger on." He finished the wine and stood up, setting the glass aside. "Definitely better than Mogen David." He stretched his arms over his head. His tee shirt rode up, giving Stanley a view of a washboard abdomen, an innie winking at him provocatively.

"Crap, maybe I'm just feeling sorry for myself" he said, "I mean, the guys not climbing all over me the way I expected. The old bruised ego. And probably some of it really does have to do with my being a Jew. I guess that turns some of them off." He scratched at his belly, his fingers slipping under the waist band of his trousers. Stanley's eyes followed them closely, but they reemerged after just a second or two. "Not a very good Jew, I confess. I haven't been to shul in two, three years. Temple," he added, in case Stanley didn't know the less familiar word.

He said it with such diffidence, Stanley thought he could more than likely give you the hours and minutes since he'd last been to temple, shul, if he chose. "Does that matter?"

David looked surprised and then thoughtful. "To my parents, it does. They're old school. Reform, but old school nevertheless."

Still seated, looking up at him, Stanley found himself seriously doubting whether the inmates at Bartholomew's would decline an opportunity to make whoopee with this handsome young demi-god for no reason but his Jewish inheritance. His undisciplined curls, raven black, spilled over his brow, nearly to his eyes, shockingly ice-blue; his oversized mouth was voluptuously shaped, and his skin had the sheen and the color of his Mediterranean roots; and, of course, beyond all that, he had the most excellent of cosmetics, his youth.

Pretty Jew boy indeed. Stanley felt an almost overwhelming urge to lean forward and put a hand on that nicely padded crotch. Only, he had the disconcerting feeling David would probably think of him as a dirty old man.

"I guess I'd better head to bed," David said. "I've got early shift tomorrow." He paused for a moment. "You know, when I think about it, about Bartholomew's. It isn't the sex thing that bothers me, honestly. It's just there's something here, I can't explain it and I don't know exactly what to call it, but it's like something festering, under the surface. Like a stink you can't quite smell but it irritates your nose just the same. Does that make any sense?"

Stanley grinned up at him. "You know, I think you may be more Jewish than you realize."

David looked genuinely puzzled. "Really? What makes you say that?"

"Oh, that's a Jewish kind of thinking, isn't it? Most young men would help themselves to the dessert tray and fret not at all over the rest of it."

David thought about that. "My mother," he said with a wry grin. "She's always looking for the worm in the apple, as she puts it. I suppose she's infected me."

"Mothers do." Stanley thought fleetingly of his own mother, who'd scarcely seemed aware, most of the time when he was growing up, that he was alive. Had her disinterest infected him, the way another mother's love might? The absence of love could be as powerful an influence as its presence, it seemed to him.

Despite the fact that he had been grumbling about her, David's affection for his mother shone through. And though he had never met her, her affection for her son was evident to Stanley, too. The realization made him feel oddly empty.

David yawned and stretched again. The belly button winked conspiratorially at Stanley. David gave Stanley an uncertain look. "Why are you looking at me like that? All funny like. Did I say something dumb?"

"I was just thinking about accidents," Stanley said, wondering that anyone so beautiful could possibly be so naïve. He was struck, not for the first time, by the discrepancy between reality and how people saw themselves.

Or, maybe he, Stanley, really was too old to seriously register with the young man as a possible sexual outlet.

Which was not the happiest of thoughts. He set his own wine glass aside and said quickly, abruptly, "Good night, David."

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