Monday, February 27, 2012

Latin Boyz excerpt by P A Brown

In P A Brown's Latin Boyz, twenty-one year old Gabe will do anything to keep his family safe from the Locusts XIII Crew, a Cypress Park gang, especially his 14-year-old sister Nattie. In Gabe's struggle to keep his small, fragile family safe, he meets LAPD patrol officer Alejandro Cerveras and must come to terms with his attraction to him--and decide whether to believe his Church’s teachings or what his heart tells him. Then tragedy strikes, fueling his rage. As the need for vengeance drives him past all reason, violence and hatred erupt between Gabe and the gangbangers, spiraling out of control, leading to tragedy and the greatest loss of all.

Latin Boyz
AmberQuill Press (February 28, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-256-0 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-924-8 (Paperback)


I barely drifted to sleep when tires screeched outside.

The harsh blast of a car horn followed.

It was all the warning I got. The first shot blew through the bedroom wall over my head. Drywall dust puffed out, at the same time my sister, Nattie, screamed.

I bolted through the door to her bedroom in the back of the house and grabbed her around the waist. Dragging her off the bed, we hit the floor, the pink ruffles of her Disney bedskirts wrapped around both of us. I took the weight of our fall on the hard linoleum floor and my shoulder jolted under the impact of her plump, fourteen-year-old body. I rolled over, and pinned her under me.

She screamed again and smacked me. Her fist hit my back and shoulders. One slammed into my ear. My head rocked sideways and light flared behind my eyes. More shots. The living room window shattered, and the battered, twenty-one inch TV my Uncle Tio and I salvaged from the dump last year imploded.

Under me, Nattie whimpered and shivered. I stroked her hair and whispered soft nonsense words to her. Nothing penetrated her terror.

“Mami!” She flailed at me and screamed for our mother.

“Mami. No.”

All this brought back way too many memories. Memories of another day when shots took the life of our mami and left Nattie permanently brain damaged. All my work to protect her, lost in a new hail of bullets.

More shots hit the front of the house, including the room which had been my mother's until her death three months ago. The room I refused to give to Nattie, even though Tio said it was only right. I knew in my gut I didn't want her in the front of the house.

The screech of tires signaled their departure. Nattie's renewed moans and guttural grunts broke the fragile silence.

Familiar feet shuffled down the hall. I didn't look up when Tio entered the room. His weak, old man's voice quavered. Once he‟d had a cumbra’s voice. Now he was a broken man who looked to me to protect all of us, when I couldn't protect myself.

“Who is it, Gabriel?” he cried. “Who is doing this?”

I couldn't look at him while I tried to calm Nattie. Tio knew as well as I did who it was. Gangsta assholes from Locusts XIII Crew, trying to clean up the business they started three months ago.

“Go, Tio. Call 911.”


“Go. I'll take care of Nattie.”

He left and shuffled to the kitchen where our single working phone hung on the wall.

Nattie clung to me. She no longer screamed for our dead mother. Now she only whimpered. I stroked her back through her worn flannel pajamas. I didn't need light to know it would be the ones with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger all over them. The ones she put on every night since our mother had been shot by the same gang bangers who tried to kill us again tonight. She did so many little things to give herself comfort in a world which must seem mad to her.

It took half an hour to calm her. I didn't put her back to bed.

The pigs would come soon, and they would insist on seeing her, even when they were told how useless their questions were. The sight of them, with their guns and their dark uniforms would freak her out all over, and I knew I would have to calm her again, once 5-0 left. I led her into the living room where we waited.

Dust from the walls hung in the air, the tattered curtains rippled in the breeze which moved through the broken windows. Outside, I could hear the distant wail of sirens. Too few and too late.

I settled my sister on the sofa, sat beside her and smoothed the soft hair off her face. Her eyes, when they met mine, were glazed with fear. I wanted to tell her everything was okay, but I knew the cops would be here soon and make me a liar. It wasn't ever going to be okay.

Another ten minutes passed before a pair of black-and-whites rolled up in front of our small bungalow on Merced Street. Strobes of red and blue lights flashed like they actually thought the choloz would still be hanging, waving their chrome around.

Nattie and I sat in the living room with hot cocoa that Tio made. I reread her the Pooh story to calm her. She was too big to sit on my lap, but she tried. She curled against my side, her thumb tucked firmly between large lips. Her eyes widened when car doors slammed outside and footsteps climbed the cement steps to the front door.

She paled when Tio opened the door. She knew who was out there, and they scared her almost as much as the choloz.

The first cop through the door was an old regular. I had no idea what his name was, it didn't matter, they were all alike. This one was a grizzled panzón gabacho, with his fat belly hanging over his gear, and looked like he wanted to be anywhere but here on this fine January night.

But the other one, the one who followed him into our tiny, bullet-strewn home, was one I‟d never seen before. If I had, I would have remembered. He was raza. Smooth, clean-shaven. A strong face. High cheek bones from his Aztec ancestors. His uniform was sharply pressed and stretched tight across his broad chest and thighs. A thick belt across his hips covered with all the things I was used to seeing on 5-0. Dark eyes under his peaked cap met and held mine. I caught my breath.

Beside me, Nattie stiffened. Her eyes widened and I knew she saw their weapons. Even with her soft mind she recognized guns.

I tried to stem her panic with gentle words. But she was beyond that. I broke eye contact with the younger cop and stroked my sister's sleep-matted hair. I pressed her face against my chest, whispered to her and dried her tears.

The older cop talked. After a while I realized he had introduced the two of them. Officer Adam Donnelly and Alejandro Cerveras.

“Can you tell me what happened here tonight?” The brown cop spoke Spanish. Was that supposed to give us common ground?

I didn't answer him right away. I needed to deal with Nattie first.

“Mami,” she whispered.

“Mami's not here right now, bebé,” I said.

“I need you to talk to me,” the cop said like it was only him and me in the room. “I can help you. But you have to tell me what happened tonight.” He must be new in the area. Otherwise he‟d know it didn't matter what happened. He wasn't going to be able to do anything about it.

“In a minute,” I snapped.

I knew my anger upset Nattie, but I found it hard to hold it in check. I looked up when Tio slipped back into the room. “Tio, take Nattie to her room. Read to her.”

“We'll need to speak to everyone in the house,” the Latino cop said.

“You talk to me. No one else can tell you anything.”

I didn't look at either cop when I passed the book over and urged Nattie to follow her uncle. My obedient sister did as she was told. Her bunny slippers flopped on the cracked and yellowed linoleum floor with its curled edges.

I watched until they were gone, then swung around to face Cerveras.

“Took you long enough to get here. We called over an hour ago. For all you knew, we could have been lying here, bleeding out.”

“Can you tell me what happened?”

“A car full of G's got busy on us.” I looked at the wall behind the cop's head where the bullets had torn holes in the already old wallpaper. Then I looked at the destroyed TV and sighed. “Again,” I added.

Cerveras's eye brows went up at that. “This has happened before?”

“Pendejo, don't you people talk to each other? Write reports?” I spun around. Both cops tensed at my sudden movement. I slowed and spread my arms to calm them. Last thing I needed were nervous cops in my living room. “We've been over this already. Every time I call you, it's the same fucking thing. I'm always calling, and it's always the same.”

“Always calling about what? Other drive-bys?” Cerveras said.

His calmness infuriated me. “I wasn't aware of any recent gang activity in this area —”

“I keep calling to find out what you guys are doing to find my mother's killers.”

“Tell me about that, sir. When did it happen?”

“Thanksgiving, last year. Mami—my mother—and my sister, Natalie, were sitting outside.” I jerked my chin toward the front step. “Taking a break. It gets hot in here when you cook. No air.” My hands tightened into fists to stop them from shaking at the memory. My fingernails dug into my flesh. It didn't do any good to know even if I had been here, it wouldn't have mattered. I would probably be dead, too. “I wasn't here. I was in the backyard.”

“And what happened?”

“Vato next door was rumoured to be White Fence. The Locust Crew sent a couple of soldiers after him. One cabrón hit the wrong house.” I rubbed my bare arms, which were crowded with goose bumps. That had been Sadboy, P-Bull's idiot brother. Sometimes I wondered how accidental it had been. Sadboy knew I didn't run with his brother anymore. He had never liked me when I did. “My mother was killed. My sister…my sister wasn't.”

Donnelly wrote something down. He looked bored. Cerveras faked his sympathy real good. As though anyone would believe he felt sorry for a couple of 'hood güisas.

“You guys were pretty useless then, too,” I added. “Nobody sees anything and you don't do anything.”

“I'm sorry. Sometimes our resources are stretched thin.”

“Especially when the ones calling you are brown, right? Then they real thin and scarce.” I brushed aside the denial I saw in his eyes. “Forget it. It's old news. Question is, you gonna do something this time?”

Cerveras looked puzzled. “If they had the wrong house last time, why are they still harassing you?”

I didn't tell him my history with the Locusts. Not his fucking business. Instead I said, “They don't like the noise I been making about them. Been trying to get you guys to do something for the 'hood, shut them down. I'm bad for their business.”

“Did you see the shooters tonight?” Donnelly asked.

“Sure, I raced out the front door and wrote down their plate number while they drove off. I'm bullet proof, vato.”

“No need for sarcasm, sir.” Donnelly seemed genuinely put out.

I rolled my eyes. “No, I did not see them. I was lying on the floor in my sister's bedroom, trying to keep us from getting our heads blown off.”

“We'll canvass the neighborhood. See if anyone saw anything,” Cerveras said. He had a strong voice. Strong, but surprisingly gentle. Something I would never have expected from an LAPD cop. He seemed regretful when he said, “We'll do what we can. But without an ID or a lead on the shooters, or their car, we have no one to approach.”

“I give you an ID. But you don't do nothing with it.”


“P-Bull. Him and his brother, Sadboy. Their real names are Jesus Acosta and Tomas Acosta. They used to live next door.”

“How do you know it was them?”

“P-Bull always had a hard-on for me.” At least he had since P-Bull got jumped in to the Locusts and I didn't.

“But you never saw him tonight? Either of them?”


“We'll talk to them, sir, but with no witnesses, it's hard.”

It was about what I'd expected. Still, for the first time, I felt disappointed, and that was stupid. LAPD weren't going to stop the Locusts, no matter how good their intentions were, and I wasn't always too sure their intentions were much of anything. LAPD cared about Westside. Not South-Central. Not Cypress Park. I had to hope the Locusts got bored and found fresh targets. Leave my family alone.

Like that was going to happen.

What I really needed was to find a way out of Cypress Park.

And since I‟d just started community college, and worked a part-time, minimum-wage gig at a local car wash, that was about as likely as winning the state lotto. Some nights I dreamed about skating my way out. Years ago, there had been one carnal brother who had won some contest and got himself a bunch of sponsors, and he‟d moved to Hollywood, where last anyone heard, he had his own line of boards and was riding in style.

“It must be hard on you, having to fill in your mother's footsteps.”

“Listen, what's gonna happen here? I really need to see my sister gets to bed.”

“A detective from the gang unit will meet with you. See if they can find anything the shooters might have left behind.”

I pointed at the wall behind him where several bullets had sunk into the cheap plaster. “Feel free to collect their brass. Save me digging them out myself.”

“Start by telling us your name. We'll need it for the official report.”

“You sure there's gonna be one?”

Cerveras was insistent. “Your name.” His hand poised over a note pad with a pencil.


“Your full name.”

“Fine. Gabriel Torres Aguila. My great uncle is Marco Aguila, and my sister is Natalie Magdeline.”

“Those are the only members of your household?”

“Yes,” I ground out. My home life wasn’t any of this cop’s business, no matter if we were both raza. “That is all I have. My father died years ago.” I didn’t mention Jaime, my older brother, serving fifteen to life in Tehachapi. The last kite I got told me he was a full blown carnales for the Eme. He had let me know he had my back from inside, and every time one of his got out he sent them to me with messages. Stay cool, he always said, stay safe. I got your back.

I guess the Locust Crew didn’t have a connection to Eme. They didn’t know my brother. They missed the memo I was protected.

If this basta needed to know all that, he could find out without my help. Bad enough the assholes think we’re all bangers or chronics no matter what they see. I wasn’t gonna give him my family’s dirty history.

He didn’t give up. He wrote down everything I said. He ignored his partner, who had gone past bored and was desperate to leave. Outside, the lights from the patrol cars still pulsated. The neighbors, the ones who didn’t see anything earlier, would be watching the cops like garbage rats and would know exactly when they left.

“What’s your date of birth, Gabriel?”

When I told him, his eyebrow went up.

“You’re twenty? How old is your sister?”

Almost twenty-one, I felt like telling him. Instead I muttered, “Fourteen. What’s it to you?”

“What’s wrong with her?” he asked softly and his tenderness jolted through me. I pulled away from him, hating his pity. I took a deep breath and clenched my fists at my side.

Fuck that shit. This asshole didn’t know dick and he wanted to pretend he cared?

“The bullet that killed our mother went into Nattie’s brain,” I said. Even now, three months later I still grew nauseous at the memory of finding my baby sister on the ground beside our dead mother, her head bleeding, her skin so pale I thought she had died, too. “By the time anyone answered our 911 call, Nattie was in shock and damn near died in the ambulance.” I didn’t tell him that sometimes I thought she might have been better off if she had. She would never fulfill the goals Mami had driven us to so relentlessly. She wanted us all to go to college, but especially Nattie. We all knew she had the brains in our family. Instead, she would be a child all her life and someone would have to take care of her that long, too.

That someone, apparently, was me.

“I’m sorry.”

I pinned him with a look. “You keep saying that. Why’re you sorry? You pull the trigger? You know who did? If you do, don’t be sorry, go out and cap their ass. It won’t bring my family back, but at least you’d be doing something, which is a lot more than the rest of 5-0 doin’. Now if that’s all, I have to see about getting Nattie back to bed.”

I turned to leave and Cerveras stopped me with a touch on my bare arm. A burst of electrical heat went straight from his fingertips to my groin. In horror, I realized I felt the stirrings of an erection.

I jerked away from the touch, but not before Cerveras’s eyes widened and I knew he felt the same rush of desire. Neither of us spoke for a long time.

He broke that silence.

“We’ll let ourselves out. If you think of anything else, Gabriel, please, don’t hesitate to call.” He handed me a pale purple card with his name and Northeast Community Police Station on San Fernando. I couldn’t help staring at his hand, the fine black hairs on the knuckles, the smooth, trimmed fingernails. Surprisingly soft-looking hands. I dropped the card on the end table, planning to toss it the minute they left.

With one last, slow look, Cerveras tipped his hat, and followed his partner outside. I locked up, and stood in front of the door for several seconds. I listened to their footsteps, the muffled voices as they talked with the cops who had stayed outside, and the slam of car doors. After a while there was only silence. Still, I stood there, mind filled with unwanted thoughts that whipped back and forth.

What the hell just happened? I’d always knew I had an unholy attraction to men. I fought the desires, but I’d never been able to stop my urges whenever I saw a fine-looking man. I wasn’t sure what it was I wanted to do with them, but there had been more than one night I woke to find my sheets stained with shame, and my balls empty. So far I didn’t think anyone knew about my sinful thoughts, but if I kept on like this, it was only a matter of time. Then the Locusts would have a real reason to greenlight me and even my brother wouldn’t be able to keep me off their listas.

What the hell was I gonna to do about it this time? Because I knew I hadn’t seen the last of Alejandro Cerveras.

Rubbing sweating palms on my pant legs I took a deep breath, then I walked slowly back through the living room, down to Nattie’s bedroom, where I heard Tio reading to her and telling silly jokes which had her giggling. It struck me that Tio and I had conspired between us to protect Nattie in a world which would be happy to eat her alive. Not bad for a twenty-year-old punk.

“Everyone decent?” I called out, part of our ritual that always made Nattie laugh and me smile. No smiles tonight, though I forced my lips into a fake one. I walked in and found the two of them on Nattie’s narrow bed, the covers neatly back in place.

Tio smiled at me. Half his teeth were gone, the ones he still had were brown and crooked. The three tattooed dots beside his left eye looked odd in his wrinkled face. Mi vida loca. My uncle had that once. But his crazy life was over. “Are they gone, Gabriel?”

“Yes, Tio. They’re gone. You can go to bed now.”

Tio kissed Nattie and shuffled off to his room.

Even after he left, and I had tucked Nattie in with a kiss of my own, my thoughts wouldn’t leave Cerveras. What had happened between us tonight? And what was I going to do about it?

Because I was fucked if I couldn’t figure out a way to stop these sinful desires before I did something stupid, like act on them.
To purchase,click here

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Girls excerpt by Victor J Banis

If you have ever loved a dog, then you will love this story, The Girls by Victor J Banis, of Jenny--a self-assured self-taught spaniel--and Prima--a shy, mostly German Shepherd Dog with jackrabbit ears--who lived 15 happy years with the author. If you have ever doubted that dogs can love, then you didn't know the girls.

December 5, 2011)


If you’ve ever doubted that dogs can love, you never knew the girls.

Their names were Jenny and Prima, but everyone called them "the girls." They were lovers, of a sort; lesbians perforce, though I can't really say if their affectionate cuddling, nestling, licking and sometimes mounting ever produced any sort of orgasm. I can't actually even say if it really was sexual in nature. I do know that Prima would lie for hours in rapture, eyes closed, a dreamy smile on her face, while Jenny patiently cleaned her ears; and sometimes at night, I would hear noises—long, languorous sighs, a happy kind of panting that sounded suspiciously like girlish laughter—from the floor beside my bed, but I never peeked. Everyone is entitled, in my opinion.

Prima, painfully shy, was clearly the femme, a pretty, mostly-Shepherd mix with no pedigree but gracious manners. Jenny, a registered Springer who seemed quite aware of her superiority to the unregistered rest of us, was the aggressive member of our ménage, an in-your-face sort, although she could be sweet and even demure when she chose.

They were bright and clever. Sometimes it seemed that they were cleverer than I. They did none of the usual doggish tricks, however. I am always astonished to see dogs roll over on command, or beg, or walk on their hind legs, all of which would have been altogether too show-offy for Prima, and which Jenny would surely have disdained as beneath her dignity. In any case, I could never have managed to teach the girls such tricks. Truth to tell, I never managed to teach them much of anything. Jenny was self-taught in all matters concerning deportment, and Prima was somehow Jenny-taught, by a system the secret of which entirely eluded me.

Jenny was with me first. When I went to the breeder's home to pick a puppy from the litter, her brothers and sisters were busy at something across the pen, but Jenny saw me and dashed over to greet me and to announce that I had been chosen for her future partner. I took her home that evening, and by the next morning she had somehow housebroken herself. I had never heard of a dog doing that, and I was utterly bewildered, but I was grateful to find that I had no need to teach her toilet manners.

I did try to teach her about leashes, but she was not fond of being paraded around on a chain like the inferior partner in some bondage relationship. She quickly made it clear on our first day at it that she could walk perfectly well beside me on her own, and if I wanted her to heel, I had only to snap my fingers and she would do so as well as any dog in a show ring, thank you very much. So we gave up leashes, except in those places where they were required by ordinance. She seemed to understand the difference, and would abide them under those circumstances, and behave perfectly well while on one, but with a certain long-suffering attitude and the occasional huff of impatience.

I came in time to believe that she was simply able to divine, by some super-sense, what it was that I wanted, and so could then do it without actual training. Certainly I never met anyone, dog or human, with whom I shared such an uncanny rapport. There was the time, for instance, during her puppyhood, when she developed a penchant for eating things. She never quite got over that, and throughout most of her life regarded anything that didn't bark back at her or run faster than she could as fair game for a snack.

On this occasion, she ate a palm tree. It was only a small one, admittedly, in a little pot on the floor by the window, where I thought it would be encouraged to grow into something large and lush and add a certain opulence to my not very elegant decor.

I don't mean that she ate a leaf or two. I mean, she ate it: leaves, trunk, roots, everything but the pot and the soil. It seemed to do her no lasting damage, but you have never known dog gas until yours has devoured a palm tree.

I discussed this chewing issue with her breeder, afraid of what might succumb next to her peculiar appetite, and the breeder said, you must surprise her at it, and scold her while she is in the act.

That sounded reasonable enough. I left her home alone the next afternoon, got in the car, slamming the door loudly for her benefit, drove several blocks away and parked. I stole back to the house, crawled around the corner, literally on hands and knees, and lifted my head to look in through the den window—and found Jenny sitting inside staring directly at me with an amused expression. All in all, I thought it wiser just to buy no more palm trees.


The girls shared my life for the better part of fifteen happy and loving years. About halfway through that span, we moved to a cabin in the mountains. They loved it: the great outdoors, exploring together, creeks to splash in, all sorts of scents to investigate. In the summer we took long treks in the woods. In the winter, they liked me to throw snowballs for them to catch. They got friendly with the squirrels, who lost their fear of the girls and would leap over Prima where she slept in the doorway to come inside and beg for a snack. Jenny was a jumper, and would dash at and over the most astonishing obstacles while I gaped open mouthed. Prima liked to run, because it was something at which she could beat both of us, since I was slow and Jenny, incurably curious, was forever distracted from their races by something new that had captured her attention. Prima was not much of a swimmer, but, as a spaniel, Jenny was, and she would plunge with delight into any stream, pond or pool, although a single raindrop on her nose was enough to cut short any walk beyond the bare necessity of business.

Prima discovered that the field mice were afraid of her, and it bolstered her self-esteem to think that someone thought her ferocious. Not so very ferocious, however. She came home one day with what appeared to be an odd case of the mumps, her cheeks swollen grotesquely. She came directly to me and began to disgorge from her mouth, one, two, three, six in all, baby bunnies, obviously newborn, quite unharmed. She had brought them home for me to raise, apparently—no doubt having innocently terrified their desolate mother into abandoning them. Jennie regarded these blind, helpless intruders with scorn and refused to have anything to do with what she plainly regarded as an unseemly business in a dog household, but Prima stayed close at hand for days and watched with hopeful eye as I did my best to save her orphans. It was to no avail, however. She seemed to grieve when I buried them in a box in the backyard, and Jenny sat dutifully, if unmoved, by her side throughout the little ceremony.

Jenny still ate shamelessly, preferably people food: the stem ends of tomatoes, pieces of carrots or celery, pie or cake; if it was on my plate or in my hand, it was surely meant for her as well, as she saw it. If a visitor left a strawberry daiquiri sit on the floor by her deck chair, she would shortly find her glass mysteriously empty, and Jenny would sport a pink moustache. Prima, on the other hand, would eat and drink only proper dog things. If I attempted to test her by hiding a couple of green peas in her kibble, the bowl would be licked clean when she was finished, and the peas resting untouched in its bottom.

The years passed, and we all got older. Jenny went mostly blind, and did not hear well, and she had a bad back, from all that youthful jumping. She liked to doze on the deck in the afternoon sun, and Prima and I would sit guard to watch for any hungry coyotes, who tended to look at Jenny as something desirous to be taken home for dinner and would sometimes steal close to extend the invitation.

Prima got a little gray around the snout, and you could see that her hip bothered her when the weather got cold, but otherwise she remained frisky and looked quite young for her years. She had finally grown into those jackrabbit ears and was, I thought, quite a handsome little devil, still shy, but less painfully than before.

They would not sleep in my bed, even when invited in the dead of winter, but they must be right next to it on the floor, and together, of course. When Jenny stumbled one night and fell down the stairs from the loft bedroom, I made my bed on the living room floor in front of the fireplace, and that was where the three of us slept afterward. Jenny sometimes snored. Prima liked to have me warm my feet on her back.

As a result, no doubt, of her reckless eating, Jenny developed a stomach tumor, which had to be removed—with much trepidation on my part, because the doctor warned me that surgery was iffy at her age. She survived, but I began to worry about her mortality. She was fifteen now, Prima fourteen. That was old for dogs of their size, their doctor informed me.

Astonishingly, it was Prima, who had always seemed the picture of health, whom I lost first. She got a fever, sudden and severe. I rushed her to the hospital, and the doctor put her on an intravenous solution to combat the dehydration, and I left her with him. He called me the next morning to say we had lost her.

Her death was painful to me, but watching Jenny over the next few weeks was nearly unbearable. Carson McCullers says that there is a lover and a beloved, and that they come from different countries. No one outside of any relationship can ever, of course, know its intricacies, and certainly theirs was one much of which was beyond my ken, but I had always had the impression that, in this pairing, Jenny was the beloved, and Prima the lover.

I said before that the relationship that had existed between the two of them was lesbian in nature, but I have no way of determining that for certain, and I have no doubt that there are some who would argue that it was really, say, more a matter of "sisters." That may well be, but of one thing there could be no possible argument: it was love, as profound as any celebrated by bard or songsmith.

Jenny spent her first day alone searching the house for her beloved friend and, concluding, finally, that she was truly gone, she stopped eating. Jenny, who had sometimes seemed to live to eat, never ate again.

To purchase, click

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Men of Grand Street excerpt by Mykola Dementiuk

In The Men of Grand Street, by Mykola Dementiuk,all students need teachers, someone to nurture and guide them as they grow up in their turbulent years. But what does a tough, NYC kid need that he already doesn't have? Perhaps a little love would be a benefit for both of them, teacher and student, both learning from one another. Is it possible for a young boy to teach and learn from his teacher? The men of Grand Street will learn these lessons, in more ways than just one. But will they get an A+ or a failing F grade? Find out for yourself in the Men of Grand Street.

The Men of Grand Street
Noble Romance
ISBN 978-1-60592-508-0


We kissed, a little longer, a little more certain, giving into a melting, an oozing that was creating a new being, a sexual one, because what is that of two men coming together but that of sex? And it was bliss! My eyes were shut, but my senses opened. I felt everything about him, his lust, his power, his manliness/femininity that made me fall so readily at the sight of him just weeks ago. I drooled after him as he drooled after me. I had seen my lover but still had done nothing to attract him to me. I was scared, very frightened, but also ashamed, and that is why I had run and avoided him. But now, his longing lashed onto mine, and we kissed, we felt, we became one that could not be torn apart. Twice, I felt the euphoria of ejaculation coming upon me, but still I kept my lips clutched to his as if by separation our world would fall apart.

And it did. He broke from me, red faced and out of breath, saliva streaking from my mouth. I watched him raise his arm, and his fingers stroking the wetness on my lips.

"Such a sweet boy," he sighed, "A lovely boy."

I lowered my gaze, strangely embarrassed by what he was saying.

"You shared yourself with me, spilling your seed with mine. Our bodies met, we became one, and now we are a couple. So very lovely."

I nodded. "I came twice; I was so fucking hot!"

His lips met mine again, and we briefly kissed, but I pulled away, pushing him off me.

"I have to go," I said, zipping my pants and turning from him.

He grabbed my arm. "Go where? No, please don't go. You're too lovely. Let's go to my place. It's close, on Grand Street, near the bridge. You can see the park from my window and people walking by. You like that, don't you. Lovely, lonely boys like you." And he winked as if we were sharing a secret.

I shook my head and pulled back from his arm.

"You keep saying that, but what's so lovely about me? You don't know me."

Our eyes met, he stared at me, slowly nodding. "I know what you're after," he said, staring right at me. "You're after me!"

I squirmed from him, shaking my head. "You're nuts. I was here just taking a piss when you came in and attacked me."

He snorted. "Kissing is attacking?" Again, he shook his head. "That's a new one, that's for sure. We kissed each other because we wanted to. You were as hungry for me as I was hungry for you. It's a common biological response." And he winked at me, faintly smiling. "Give into it; you'll be a very happy man afterwards."

I looked at him, lowering my gaze. Of course, he was right. I had kissed him as though I had never kissed before, which of course I hadn't. Oh, the beauty and wonder of two sets of lips meeting. I could die like that forever . . . .

"Grand Street?" I muttered shyly. "That's close, no?"

He beamed at me. "Oh yes, very, very close."

We left the restroom, holding hands in the desolate river walkway. Young and old and holding hands . . . . Ah, if we could only hold hands openly forever, I thought.
To purchase, click here

Monday, February 6, 2012

His Name Is John excerpt by Dorien Grey

The following excerpt from His Name Is John is from the first book in Dorien Grey's Elliott Smith mystery series. Another excerpt was posted on June 23, 2008.

His Name Is John
Zumaya Boundless (May 30,2008)
ISBN: 1934841048


The phone rang three times before he heard the receiver being picked up, and singularly expressionless: “Hello?”

“Rob Cole? This is Elliott Smith. You asked me to call.”

“Yes. You say you have a photograph of an unidentified body? Could you send it to me?”

The voice struck Elliott as being remarkably casual, and he was a little curious as to why Cole didn’t ask more about what John Doe looked like before asking to be sent the photo. Still, he felt a rush of anticipation mixed with an odd sense of apprehension.

“So you think you or Mr. Hill might know who this guy is?”

There wasn’t a second of hesitation before: “I’m afraid it might be G.J.. He went missing sometime between March 16th and the 21st.”

The anticipation vanished, but the apprehension expanded to take its place. John had been adamant in saying he was not G.J. Hill, but that Hill had disappeared within days before John was murdered couldn’t possibly be coincidental.

“I’m sure it couldn’t be him,” Elliott said. “The man I’m looking for is named John.”

“That’s why I didn’t say anything in response to your first message,” Cole said. “I couldn’t allow myself to think it might be G.J.. But then I realized that I don’t know of anyone named John who disappeared, and I’m sure G.J. didn’t either. But G.J. is missing. I left here on the 16th to visit my parents, and when I got back on the 23rd, I found a note from G.J. saying he had to be gone for a few days, but that he’d be back on the 24th. But he wasn’t, and I haven’t heard a word from him.”

Elliott, still totally confused, said: “Did you contact the police?”

He heard a deep sigh. “Not right away. G.J. does this—just goes off for a while—every now and then. He’ll get an assignment to do a shoot in Brazil, and he’ll just take off. I’ve gotten used to it. But he’s always told me when and where he was going, and this time he didn’t. After two weeks, I contacted the police and filed a missing persons report.”

That he’d waited two weeks before reporting Hill missing struck Elliott as more than a little unusual, but…he remembered the report Brad had mentioned, with the guy fitting John’s general description, but that had been from San Luis Obispo. “Where do you live?” Elliott asked. “I see you’ve got an L.A. exchange.”

“Yes, but it’s a cell phone. We actually live in our motor home, and we’re always on the move. Right now we’re…I’m…in Northern California, near San Luis Obispo. G.J.’s doing a book of photos of the coast along U.S. 1. I took the car and G.J. was going to spend the time here going over proof sheets”

Elliott was trying to make some sense out of the whole thing. “You and G.J. are lovers?”

“Yes, and business partners. We’ve been together two years now.”

“Well, I really don’t mean to offend you, but is it possible G.J. might have been seeing someone else?”

“I don’t think so. I’d have known, I’m sure. Of course he could have met someone while I was gone, but….”

From what Cole was saying, and from his overall attitude, it struck Elliott that his relationship with Hill was something less than a storybook romance.

“And you have no idea where he went, or why?”

“No. And he didn’t take his camera equipment, which was unusual. He always takes his cameras. I should have called the police sooner, but as I say, he’s done this before and he’s always shown up eventually.”

“You contacted his family, of course,” Elliott said, realizing he was making assumptions.

“He doesn’t have any family,” Cole replied.

“What about friends?” Elliott asked.

“We travel so much, we’re never in any one place long enough to really make friends.”

Again, Elliott was struck by Cole’s casual tone. And he thought again of John’s denial of being G.J. Hill.

“I’m curious why you didn’t provide a photo when you filed your missing persons report?”

“Because I don’t have one,” Cole said. “G.J. refuses to be photographed. Ever. I know, that’s pretty strange for a professional photographer, but I guess we all have our little quirks.”

Elliott thought it strange, too, but didn’t say so. “Well, don’t jump to any conclusions until you see the photo,” he said instead. “I’ll scan it right now and send it to you as an e-mail attachment. I’m sure it isn’t G.J., but please let me know if you recognize him anyway.”

“I will. Thanks.”

“Okay…it’ll be coming along in about five minutes.”

“Thanks again.”

He heard the click of the phone being hung up without a “good-bye.”

Quickly getting up from the computer as he returned his cell phone to his pocket, he went for John’s photo. He was still in a very strange and unusual state he couldn’t really describe, but he was now clearly aware that part of whatever it was he was feeling came from John.

Scanning the photo, putting it into a file, and e-mailing it took slightly longer than the five minutes he’d promised, so he didn’t bother including a message with the photo. He hit “Send” and sat back, waiting…which he realized was foolish of him. There was no way he could expect an instant response.

He turned the sound up full on the computer so he could hear the “ding” of an incoming message, and got up to turn on the TV.

He had no idea what he was watching, and found himself looking at the clock every several seconds. Nothing. After an hour, he got up to look at the computer screen, in case he’d missed an incoming mail notice. There was none, of course, and he was mildly irked at himself for having worked himself up into such a state. This was definitely not like him, he told himself, and rationalized that it had to be John.

An hour passed. Then two, and with every passing minute Elliott, to his dismay, found himself becoming more and more impatient. The impatience turned gradually to anger: John wasn’t G.J. Hill, but either Cole recognized him or he didn’t. If he didn’t, why didn’t he have the courtesy to call and so? Suddenly realizing he hadn’t given Cole his phone number, he was strongly tempted to call Cole back, but thought better of it. He told himself that if Cole had recognized John, he’d have e-mailed. Probably, not recognizing John and so relieved that it wasn’t his lover, he’d just forgotten…or thought he didn’t have to bother. Elliott’s intuitive dislike of Cole grew.

The more he thought about it, the stranger his contact with Cole seemed. Either Cole was amazingly good at concealing his emotions, or he was a pretty cold fish. Of course Elliott had no way of knowing what Cole’s and Hill’s relationship may have been, but he felt strongly that if he had a lover who had gone missing, he’d have been just a little more emotional about it than Cole seemed to be. Cole said he hadn’t responded immediately to Elliott’s first message because he didn’t think it could have been G.J. Hill—but the coincidence of the date of John’s murder and Cole’ returning from a trip….And even if Hill did disappear from time to time for photo assignments, when Cole saw he hadn’t taken his camera equipment, wouldn’t that have rung a very large bell? Why would he wait two weeks before filing a report? It wasn’t until Elliott mentioned the photograph that Cole seemed to show much interest.

Strange, indeed.

Just before he went to bed, against his better judgment and chalking it up to John’s subconscious influence, he sent another e-mail to Cole:

Mr. Cole:
I’d rather hoped to have heard from you regarding the photograph, and would appreciate your dropping me a note even if, in fact, you did not recognize him.
Elliott Smith

Still uncustomarily and inexplicably agitated, Elliott went to bed.

* * *

— Why didn’t he answer you?

— I don’t know. He probably didn’t recognize the photograph.

Elliott sensed, even asleep, John’s deep disappointment.

— I don’t like him.

— Any specific reason?

— No. You don’t like him either. Do you have a reason?

— No.

— Will we ever find me?
To purchase, click here