Monday, September 29, 2014

Patchwork Heaven excerpt by Jaime Samms

In Patchwork Heaven by Jaime Samms, singer Coby Kennedy and his drummer twin, Bruce, have a band called Patchwork Heaven. They have been rising steadily up the country music charts, but unfortunately, that rise has attracted unwanted attention. Faced with anonymous letters, sinister gifts, and the wanton destruction of their personal space, they hire The Detail, a specialized security firm. Coby never anticipated Gregor, The Detail's owner and his personal guard, would be quite so intriguing. 

As the stalker gets closer and more violent and questions pile up, Gregor fears his past might get in the way of him finding who is threatening his client when he becomes suspect number one. Even though Coby is convinced Gregor is not behind the threat, Gregor is not sure he's the right man to keep Coby safe, either from the stalker, or from his own interest in the singer.

Patchwork Heaven
DreamSpinner Press(9/28/14)
ISBN-13 978-1-63216-407-0

“Thought you weren’t going to get your rocks off with your boss,” Coby murmured as he leaned back and rested his head on Gregor’s shoulder. It was nice to have someone he could do that with. Most guys were inches shorter than he. Gregor was thin, lanky, but as tall as Coby. He liked the feel of that.
“Three things,” Gregor replied, dropping a kiss on the side of Coby’s neck. “First, I’m off duty, so you’re not my boss.”
“Okay.” Coby was willing to agree to that slight stretching of the definition.
“Second, I admit, more than a couple of my own guys are breathing a sigh of relief right now, watching this. Apparently, I’ve been a little… tense lately.”
“Really?” Coby resisted the urge to glance around the room at the cameras he knew were there. It would hardly be the first time he had an audience for a couple of kisses. Sometimes, you compromised privacy for security in his line of work. Closed-circuit cameras in the public portions of his home were a necessary precaution. Especially now. The private areas, however, were nonnegotiable and his staff knew it.
“What’s the third thing?” he asked, tipping his head away to give Gregor more access to bare skin. He reached back to find purchase for his questing hands on Gregor’s legs behind him.
“Third?” Gregor licked a trail up the side of Coby’s neck to his earlobe, kissed it, then nipped it. Hard, and held on.
Coby barely resisted the instinct to pull away despite the pain and surprise. He went very still, and a tingle travelled down his body..
Gregor released his earlobe to whisper. “Third, this isn’t about getting my rocks off at all.”
Coby swallowed. “It isn’t?”
“Put your hands on the counter, Coby.”
Heart speeding up, brows drawing down, Coby slowly did as he’d been instructed. The splint clicked lightly against the countertop in the quiet room. He wasn’t entirely sure why he obeyed. “What is it about?” Coby asked. Heat prickled across his skin under his clothing.
“Maybe this isn’t the place to find out,” Gregor said as he stepped back. Coby remained very still. Chill replaced the heat and he hesitated, rethinking the motion that would have turned him to face Gregor. He remained where he was, not even swiveling his head to see the other man, and waited, wondering what was stopping him moving.
“Upstairs?” Gregor asked.
Was it an invitation? Or was he asking permission?
“Aren’t you supposed to tell me?” Coby asked, confusion undermining the earlier relief.
“Needing it and wanting it sometimes aren’t the same thing,” Gregor said. “You need it.” Gregor’s breath was loud in the stillness that asked for permission in place of his words.
Gregor traced a path down Coby’s spine, and he held back a shiver. Barely.
“It can be a difficult thing to accept that you also want it,” Gregor went on. “So I am asking.”
“I’ve never… done it before,” Coby said. “If by ‘it’ you mean….” How to word it?
Coby swallowed. Incongruously, in that moment, he thought of Bruce. He’d never submitted in his life. He was up against Bruce. Always. Submission meant letting his twin’s bolder temperament swamp him. And if some days he wished he could let that happen, the greater part of him knew he didn’t want to be the lesser brother. His strength came from the constant battle not to let Bruce take over their lives. They vied and bantered and teased, and Coby thrived. But it was tiring. He was so tired. Now here was Gregor, offering a sort of surcease if he dared take it.
“I don’t know,” he said. His sweating palms slipped against the countertop. Tell me what to do! He closed his eyes.
Bruce. He was there, and then he wasn’t. A spray of red, his feet flying, and gone.
“Fuck!” He snapped his eyes open again, and nothing he did could stop the way his arms shook with tension or the way his good fingers gripped the counter edge. His breath hitched. Nothing he did opened his lungs enough to pull in sufficient air.
“Upstairs,” Gregor said. Calm radiated off him as he took Coby’s arm and placed a hand on the small of his back. “Come on.”
Coby allowed himself to be led. He followed the direction because the numb, frightened part of his brain kept eclipsing the rest. He had to control it, fiercely hold on to the immediacy of every moment to keep that vision at bay.
Once they were inside the private sanctum of Coby’s bedroom, Gregor eased his hand away and stepped back to look around. The warm woods and plush carpet seemed to meet with his approval, if his nod was anything to go by. He gaze fell on the bed and he smiled.
“Bruce has a quilt like that in the trailer.”
Coby nodded. “Mom made them for us. Long time ago.”
“It’s beautiful.”
“Yeah.” Coby gazed at it himself and felt a bit of his tension ease.
“Okay.” Gregor’s hand was back, palm firm against Coby’s lower spine. “Sit. On the bed.”
Coby did. He also removed his shoes, socks, and shirt at Gregor’s command, as Gregor circled the room drawing curtains closed, checking the bathroom and walk-in closet, and flicking on a few small lamps.
The room was warm. The clammy sweat covering Coby’s chest and back made that fact less noticeable, and he trembled, every so often losing control of the spasms that shook him and sent slivers of pain radiating out from his bruises and stitches.
He kept careful track of the other man as Gregor knelt at his side and traced light fingers over his bandages.
“Not bleeding, though,” he confirmed with a quick peek behind them. Gently, he plastered the peeled tape back in place. He pulled in a deep breath as he considered. “Okay.” He placed both hands on Coby’s knees and looked up at him. “I know you trust me with your life, or you wouldn’t have hired me.”
Coby nodded.
“Like I said, we’re not going to have sex.”
“Oh.” Coby couldn’t decide if that was disappointing or a relief.
“You’re not up to it until that’s more healed, for one thing, and you’re freaked the hell out. I know how to help with that, but you have to trust me.”
“We just established that I do.”
Gregor nodded. “Really trust me, because this might actually be scary.” He squeezed one of Coby’s knees. “And you have… some quirks, I noticed. About touching. And tidiness.”
Coby bit his lower lip. “I guess.”
“So I’ll be touching you, and I need to know that’s okay. I need you to know it’s okay.”
Coby nodded. “It’s you. The touching thing is more with strangers.”
“Okay. Good to know.”
They were quiet for a few minutes.
“The tidy thing doesn’t really come into play here, does it?” Coby asked, and congratulated himself when he didn’t even glance at the shoes and socks Gregor had left strewn on the floor next to the bed.
“Probably not, but if there’s anything else I should know about, you need to tell me.”
Coby shook his head. “No. Well. The confined-spaces thing, I guess. Sometimes. And….” He shivered. “I thought I was over it, but the dark, where I can’t see if there’s anyone around.” He did glance around the room then, noting there were none of the usual opaque corners. Lamps were lit to reveal everything, muted, but enough so no inky shadows covered the recesses by the closet and window seats. “But you already figured that one out,” he said, bringing his attention back to Gregor.
Gregor smiled. “I told you. I pay attention.”
Gregor pulled in a deep breath and held Coby’s attention. “Just so we’re clear before we start, the enclosed spaces might be a problem. The dark, definitely. If they’re hard limits, you have to say so now.”
“Hard limits?”
“Things you absolutely can’t handle. Can’t do.”
Coby stared at him a long time. “What are you going to do?”
“Ultimately, help you relax.”
“By pushing me into situations that make me tense.” He frowned.
“Not if it’s going to make you so tense you can’t do them. But maybe we can keep this discomfort in the dark from becoming another thing for you.”
“You can do that?”
We can. If you trust me.”
Coby had to swallow a few times to keep the nerves from clogging his throat, but finally, he nodded. “Okay. But what do I do if it’s too much?”
Gregor smiled softly. “Tell me you want Bruce, and everything stops. Promise.”
“That simple.”
“Coby.” Gregor touched Coby’s cheek. “This is about you. I think I can help. I’d like to try, and if it works, it’ll be good. If it doesn’t, we find another way.”
“Normally, people who find me attractive just want to fuck me. They want my money. Or something….” Gregor was petting his cheek. Okay, that was distracting and sweet and hot all at once. Coby lost his train of thought somewhere in the caress and the depths of Gregor’s gaze.
“If you want me out the door, I’m gone,” he promised.
Coby shook spasmodically. Uncontrolled. “No. Stay.” “Okay. Then yes or no?”
Coby nodded.
“Okay then, close your eyes,” Gregor instructed, standing before him. The tie he’d been wearing dangled from his hand, and he’d opened the top few buttons of his shirt. Letting his gaze travel down from those elegant fingers, past his flat stomach and narrow hips, along muscled—if lean—legs, right to his toes, Coby had to appreciate the vision. Even his feet, Coby noticed, were strangely beautiful, narrow and long-toed.
Coby logged that fact, along with the view of long legs in tailored pants, tailored shirt over broad chest, narrow chin, pursed, pretty lips, and finally, deep, liquid eyes, the brown nearly black in the dim light. Coby fixed his gaze on Gregor’s gorgeous eyes. He didn’t want to be deprived of the sight, he convinced himself. It wasn’t because he was afraid of what might flash through his brain if he voluntarily let the darkness close around him.
Gregor’s gaze held reassurance. His smile held something harder-edged. “I’ll do it for you if I must.”
Coby frowned. It didn’t even occur to him to move until the tie was actually across his face, and then it was too late.
Gregor was pressed right against him. His head, held tight to Gregor’s chest, was beyond his control to 
move, and the tie was fastened in place all in less time than it took Coby to process what had happened.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Deadly Dreams excerpt by Victor J Banis

In this excerpt from Deadly Dreams by Victor J Banis - #3 in the Deadly Mysteries series - Stanley’s sociopathic brother, Andrew, has Stanley and Tom come to rescue him. A painful past. A mysterious stranger. Footsteps vanishing in the fog. All Stanley wants is just to hear Tom say, "I love you." All Tom wants is Stanley safe. And the stranger? Ah, there's the rub--what exactly is it that he wants?  
Be careful what you wish for, fellows. You may get it. Dreams can be deadly.

Deadly Dreams
MLR Press (April 24, 2009)
ISBN: 1608200388

Andrew was saved from answering. Stanley's voice came weakly from beyond the screen in the corner: "Tom? Is that you?"
* * *
Stanley was dreaming. He was in some plague-infected city, London, perhaps, or maybe only a city of dreams. He heard the rumble of the death carts, the voice calling, "Bring out your dead…"
Then, suddenly, another voice superimposed itself, a voice that brought him back in an instant from the swirling, smothering darkness of his nightmares.
He opened his eyes, blinked. "Tom," he called, "is that you?"
* * *
Tom turned automatically, took a step in that direction—which saved his life, at least for the moment. Andrew fired his gun just as Tom turned. Andrew was a fairly good shot; if Stanley hadn't spoken, if Tom hadn't moved, Andrew would certainly have killed him with that one shot. Instead of the chest, right in the heart, the bullet caught Tom lower, off center. Tom staggered and fell, pain piercing his side where the bullet had entered. But not dead.
Andrew struck all of the matches in his hand and threw them at the trail of gasoline on the floor. He would have shot Tom again, intended to shoot him with a more careful aim, but the flames surprised him, leaped up faster, more violently than he had expected. The heat was instantly intense, growing rapidly worse and still worse. It felt as if any second his clothes might ignite spontaneously, or his hair, even.
He hesitated for only a heartbeat. Tom was wounded, perhaps mortally. In any case, it would take no more than a minute at the most for the gasoline to reach the pile of propane canisters, seconds more for the tanks to explode. Wounded, there was no way Tom would escape in time.
A living dog is better than a dead lion. The instinct for self-survival that had served Andrew so well in the past came to the fore. He fired one more shot, wildly, and made his own escape while he still could, bolting upward, the metal stairs clanging as he ran.
Already, the metal was hot to the touch. He ran harder.
* * *
Tom staggered to his knees. The fire was spreading rapidly, the flames racing across the open space. When it got to the propane tanks…
"Stanley," he shouted. High above, a door opened and banged shut. Smoke blew into Tom's face, making him cough. He made it to his feet, clutching at his side. Blood seeped through his fingers. He held his hand tight over the wound and lumbered toward the wooden screen. Banged into it, knocking it over with a crash.
Stanley was sitting on the edge of a cot, shaking his head groggily. "Tom," he said. "I heard a shot. I…"
"Get up," Tom ordered him, "we've got to get out of here."
Stanley's eyes went wide, tried to focus. "You're hurt."
"Just a scratch. Come on." He got Stanley to his feet, his arm around him. "No, save your breath, we'll talk later." Staggering feebly, Tom managed to get with him to the main part of the warehouse. Already, the room was an inferno, the flames lapping at the tanks of propane. Tom's gut was on fire, the smoke stinging his eyes and his lungs. His knees felt like jelly. Behind them, the wooden partition burst into flames with a small explosion, like a popgun going off. Tom could see the open door—a thousand miles away.
He suddenly knew he wouldn't make it. He could only hold Stanley back—and if he did, neither of them was going to escape.
"Run, Stanley," he said, shoving a hand hard at Stanley's back. "The door. Go, fast as you can. Don't worry, I’m right behind you."
For a second, Stanley hesitated. "Go," Tom bellowed, shoving harder, "God damn it, Stanley, do what I tell you. Run."
Stanley ran. The flames were a flickering curtain. He could see Tom's pick up through them, and the open door beyond that. He put his arms up over his face and ran through the blaze, past the truck, out the door…and found himself, astonishingly, in Edward Hannibal's arms.
"Easy," Hannibal said, brushing at the smoldering sleeve of Stanley's jacket, "We've got you. Take it easy."
Stanley's laugh was just short of hysterical. "My God," he said, "Did you ever see…Tom, look, it's Mister Hannibal, talk about Johnny-on-the-spot. Whoo-eee, talk about…"
He looked over his shoulder. Cars were parked everywhere, police cars and dark government sedans, and already in the distance he could hear sirens. People were milling about; it looked like an army of them, men in dark suits and men in black SFPD uniforms.
Only…he didn't see Tom among them.
The warehouse exploded suddenly, a blast so violent that it shook the ground like an earthquake. Great tongues of flame burst out the door and flung the glass from the windows, scorching the sparse grass that ran along the side of the alley, driving the people closest to it back, to take shelter behind the vehicles.
"Where's Tom?" Stanley demanded, of no one and everyone, his voice ascending. "Tom? Where are you?"
"Take it easy," Hannibal said again.
Stanley looked into his face, back at the fire now leaping skyward, and into Hannibal's face again. "He didn't make it?" Hannibal said nothing. He didn't need to. His expression said everything.
"Let me go." Stanley struggled with the arms that were suddenly tighter around him. "Tom's still in there. Damn you, let me go."
"Hold him," Hannibal said, and all at once there were more arms, it seemed dozens of them, holding Stanley back when he would have rushed into that conflagration. Would have rushed into Hell itself if Tom were there. Didn't they know that? Couldn't they understand?
Stanley fought against them furiously, cursing and kicking and punching, but there were too many of them and they were too strong. His strength failed him then, and he surrendered to the arms, felt someone lifting him off the ground, carrying him away from the fire.
"Tom." It was a scream of pain, of anguish. "Tom!"

For other excerpts from this series:
Deadly Nightshade - 4/20/09
Deadly Wrong- 3/1609
Deadly Slumber - 8/1/11, 10/7/13
Deadly Kind of Love -5/30/11
Deadly Silence - 12/10

Monday, September 15, 2014

Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire - Edited by Cheyenne Blue

“She’s off limits but the attraction burns so bright it’s impossible to resist” describes Forbidden Fruit, this collection of seventeen stories that chart the spectrum of unwise lesbian desire, gathering tales of women you should resist—but can’t. In Jean Roberta’s Shelter the bad girl’s back from prison. An upper-class lady seduces her maid in Laila Blake’s poignant story set in Regency England, while a Catholic nun is beguiled by a hooker in Lisabet Sarai’s powerful The First Stone.

These women are cops, slave owners, doctors, Dommes, and horse thieves, and you’ll find them at the pool, being seduced by older women, putting their job on the line for lust, or seducing the salt-and-pepper butch.

With stories from writers at the top of their game, including Sacchi Green, Erzabet Bishop, Beth Wylde, Harper Bliss, and Allison Wonderland, this collection is sure to thrill.

Table of Contents:
Our Woman by Rebecca Lynne Fullan
Hands Off by Ava-Ann Holland
Shelter by Jean Roberta
Ungodly Ours by Allison Wonderland
The Rules by Rachel O. Esplanade
The Further Adventures of Miss Scarlet by Emily L. Byrne
Sunset, Sunrise by Sacchi Green
The Clinton County Horse Thief Society by Axa Lee
Freedom by Harper Bliss
Ascending Amelia by Erzabet Bishop
Bachelorette Party by Beth Wylde
Thanks to Irene by Nicole Wolfe
Ash by Niki Crow
The Law of Reciprocity by Laila Blake
The Shallow End by L.C. Spoering
The First Stone by Lisabet Sarai
Out for the Count by Cheyenne Blue

Forbidden Fruit: Stories of Unwise Lesbian Desire
LadyLit (September 5, 2014)

  • Excerpt from the story Bachelorette Party by Beth Wylde:

We spend the next three hours drinking and dancing and having the time of our lives. Linda invited all of my friends in the community and, judging from the big stack of sex toys I got as presents, their credit cards really got a work out. Every time I look at the gift table I blush. I’m not a prude by any means but I have no idea what some of the items are used for and the size of two of the dildos are seriously intimidating. They must be meant as a gag because I’m not sure any woman can stretch that much. Some thoughtful person even included a huge pack of batteries. I may not need Mark after all.

I forgot how much fun going to a lesbian bar could be. No expectations, no judgment, just a building full of women looking to enjoy themselves without recrimination. It’s been months since I’ve been to Anna and Eve with Linda. Mark threw a holy hell fit the last time I went with her so I’ve ignored her recent invitations, preferring to avoid another big fight with my fiancĂ©. I bet he’d be really pissed off if he knew where I was and who I was with right now. Tough shit. I don’t care. The more I think about the situation the madder I get. Why should I have to leave my friends, especially Linda, behind because my future husband is a homophobic asswipe? It’s not fair.

Linda slides in beside me on the dance floor, takes one look at my face, and frowns. “Oh no. No, no, no! None of that little missy. Tonight is all about having fun. Wipe that scowl off your face this instant. You can think about whatever has you so pissed off tomorrow.” The lights go down as a slow song comes on and Linda grabs me around the waist, pulling me close as she starts to sway to the beat. “Dance with me, babe.”

She smiles down at me as she wraps her arms around my neck. In reply I move my hands to her hips and hang on tight. Her eyes are glassy and her moves are kinda sloppy. She really wasn’t drunk earlier but I can tell she’s well on her way now. I’m pretty tipsy myself.

We kind of shuffle in place, turning slowly because neither one of us is very steady on our feet. Maybe it’s the situation we’re in, or the fact that the liquor has really loosened my tongue, but I feel the need to tell her exactly what she means to me and how thankful I am that she came to drag me out of my house today.

I plant my feet in place and our movement stops. She starts to pull away but I clasp my hands behind her back to keep her in place. Her eyes widen slightly and her breathing speeds up the barest bit. “You’ll probably never know how much this party means to me. Despite everything, you’ve hung in there by my side. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I just can’t. I don’t even want to think about it. I need you.” My hands clench in the back of her shirt as the first tears start to fall. I crush my face into her shoulder and start to weep. “Don’t leave me. Please.”

She squeezes me, her glorious muscles enfolding me tight in her embrace. I’ve never felt safer or more loved. “Hey. I’m not going anywhere. Mark can kiss my ass.” She strokes my hair and rocks me gently. “Look at me. Jenny, I’m serious. Look at me.”

Her voice sounds shaky at the end and I find myself obeying her request instantly, wondering if the wavering sound means she’s as upset over this as I am. I lift my head and look into her face. The expression of fierce determination lights an answering fire inside of me. Suddenly the whole situation seems crystal clear. I know now why I said yes to Mark. It’s not because I’m in love with him. I’m not, and I’m not sure I ever was. It’s what he represents that made me accept his proposal.

If I marry Mark my parents will be happy, my life will be simple. My family expects me to marry a guy. To have babies. To do what society finds acceptable. I don’t want to settle for acceptable. Been there, done that, got the ring to prove it. There’s so much more out there that I refuse to settle for mediocre. I want adventure, excitement. I want to fall into bed with someone that can rock my world and everyone else be damned if they don’t find my choice proper.

I want Linda.

The realization is shocking in its clarity, but I finally decide to take the chance. I know I won’t regret it. I’ve made my decision, now I need to help Linda make hers.

Linda is still staring at me, the barest hint of hope and trepidation on her face. I hate the fact that I put that look of worry there, but I’m going to do my best to erase it. I lean forward, keeping my eyes open the whole time as I close the miniscule gap between us. Linda’s eyes go wide when she realizes my intentions and for just a second the look of shock is almost comical. Her gaze drops lower, locking on my lips and the fear is replaced instantly by a lustful look that makes my insides twist and my pussy wet. I want this. Oh God, how I want this. “Kiss me. Please just kiss me.”

Her lips finally touch mine and the kiss is horribly chaste and brief. Nothing like what I want, and I let her know it. “Kiss me for real.”

She licks her lips before she speaks, leaning her forehead against mine until we’re so close she only has to whisper. “Are you sure? Don’t do this with me if you aren’t one hundred percent positive because I don’t think I can take it. Losing what I never had is one thing, but if we do this, really do this, and you decide you can’t handle it, it just might kill me. I’ve wanted you for so damn long.”

“I’m sure. I’m sorry it took me so long to recognize what’s right in front of me. Now please, just kiss me. I want you so much it hurts.”

Linda doesn’t hesitate any longer. She gives me what I’m asking for and more. Her lips press against mine. There’s nothing chaste about what she’s doing to my mouth now. She uses everything at her disposal. Lips, teeth, and tongue. It’s brutal, primal, everything I expected and beyond.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations excerpt by Neil Plakcy

Neil Plakcy’s Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations, coming this fall from MLR, is a new collection of mystery stories featuring openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka.  Here’s an excerpt from the title story.

Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations
MLR Press (August, 2014)
ISBN: 978-1-60820-9514 (print)
(MLR)1-02013-0286 (ebook) 


The longer I remained a homicide detective, the harder it got to contemplate the parade of victims, and surfing was the only way I could stay sane. Outside the breakers, I focused on watching the waves, choosing the one that would carry me to shore. I could forget the senseless deaths, the innocent and guilty victims, the pain of those left behind.

The beach was crowded and it was hard to catch a good wave, and as the sunset cruises began to leave with their colorful sails unfurled, I rode one last wave to the shore. I walked up the sand toward home, but like a homing beacon, I felt the Rod and Reel Club signaling to me.

You’d think I would stay away from the place, after the trouble I had run into there in the past, but it was the closest gay bar to my apartment, and the bartender let me run a tab. It was a friendly place, and the mix of gay and straight patrons made it easier for me as I took my first steps out of the closet. I’d met other guys there who felt the same way.

Still damp, I pulled up a stool at the bar and ordered a Longboard Lager. It was the tail end of happy hour, and the patio wasn’t too crowded. A couple of tourist clusters filled the round tables, and a smattering of gay men sat at the bar or lounged in small groups under the big kukui tree. I didn’t see anyone I knew, or anyone I wanted to know, so I finished my beer and went home.

Wednesday morning I was at my desk at seven. The DA’s office had prepared the subpoenas and gotten them signed late the day before, and then faxed them to the appropriate hospitals. Our department fax started ringing with their responses, and I spent most of the morning looking at Miguel Bohulano’s personnel records.

At each hospital, male patients had complained of inappropriate touching, often when they were partially sedated. And in each case, Bohulano had first been disciplined, then warned, then finally fired. But because of the confidentiality of personnel records, the next hospital down the chain knew nothing of his previous problems. At Queen’s, he was already on probation for two offenses. In one case, his statement read that his mouth had “accidentally” come in contact with the patient’s penis while Bohulano was changing a dressing on the man’s leg.

Thinking back on all my sexual experiences, I knew my mouth had never “accidentally” come in contact with another man’s penis, nor vice versa. I looked at the employee photos that had been faxed over as part of Bohulano’s records; he wasn’t a bad-looking guy. A bit skinny and ten years too old for my taste, but there were certainly enough rice queens—non-Asian men who preferred Asian male lovers—in Honolulu to keep him busy on a Saturday night. Or sticky guys—Asian men who liked Asians.

I sat back in my chair to contemplate Miguel Bohulano’s life. He grew up in Quezon City and went to nursing school in Manila. Had he been abused as a boy? How had he come to associate power with sex? Surely in jerking off male patients under their flimsy gowns, he was asserting his power over them. A clear abuse of his ethics as a nurse—as well as behavior that was unlikely to result in the patient asking him out on a date.

There was no way to find out what had happened in his childhood; the only person who might have a clue was his mother, and he probably never told her anything about it. He had left the Philippines ten years before, and I had no doubt that patient abuse had caused his departure. I didn’t know what privacy laws were like in the Philippines, but it was possible he’d been blacklisted for an incident, or else had simply seen the handwriting on the wall and left for Hawai’i.

In the last ten years he had worked for five different hospitals, each one passing him on to the next employer without a negative word. Indeed, the folders were filled with praise—he was skilled, caring, a patient favorite—except for those complaints.

Because I’m a cop, and I look for patterns, I went back over the incident reports. Had Miguel Bohulano picked a particular type of guy—by age, ethnicity, ailment? I couldn’t find one. A couple of the victims self-identified in their complaint as gay, while several others made a point of asserting their heterosexuality. Another group made no mention.

Shortly after noon, the ME’s report came in. It confirmed everything Doc had told me the morning before—Bohulano had been on his knees, and the knife blow to his back had come from above. The wallboard saw was the weapon, but the killer must have used work gloves, because there were no prints on it.

One fact stood out. Traces of dried semen had been found around Bohulano’s mouth. I picked up the phone and dialed the morgue. After I bantered for a few minutes with his merry receptionist, Doc came on the line. 

“The position of the victim and the murderer,” I said. “Is that also consistent with the possibility that Bohulano had just given a blow job?”

“I thought you’d come to that conclusion, detective,” he said. “That hypothesis is supported by the presence of dried semen at the edge of the victim’s lip. I put the DNA sample on ice in case you find someone I can match it to.”

“That’s cold,” I said. “I mean, what kind of a guy has an orgasm, then immediately plunges a knife into the back of the guy who gave him the pleasure?”

“That’s what they pay you to find out, isn’t it? Let me know if you find some semen for me to match.”

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Red Curry Summer excerpt by Jacob Campbell

Red Curry Summer by Jacob Campbell is a step back in time and place.  This short story about a summer love affair between two twenty-something gay guys is set in 1970. The Viet Nam war was a major factor in most of us going back to graduate school to avoid the draft, and we weren’t out as “out” really wasn’t a viable option then. Secret cruising, sneaking into bath houses, smoking weed, and having to wonder what a potential mate was thinking about you between meetings—no cell phones or email to break the tension—and lasting relationships were not an option for many. It’s an autobiographical first-person piece about a special guy in a special time in the protagonist’s life, markings in time, markings in memory, love’s indelible mark upon one’s soul, and having to say goodbye.  The eternal story about love and romance..
Red Curry Summer
JMS Books (August 30, 2014)


"Hey, man, where you been?" Curry asked as he walked briskly from his convertible to my car when I drove up in the parking lot of the Mental Health Center.
Oh, nowherejust out doing some chores around my place.
"Well, everybody sure missed you, man." Curry put his arm on my shoulder and hugged me discreetly, but overtly, in the parking lot. Two of the secretaries were coming into work and ducked their heads as if to giggle to one another. "This is my last week. I dont know where the summer has gone, Curry said. "I'm going to be finished on Thursday and then I'm leaving that night to drive straight through to New Orleans."
"You only have two days left?"
Yes. Two days. I was hoping that I could spend the night with you tonight to make it special.
All my dream-state resolutions to do away with this relationship went down the drain. The very thought of losing him in two days made my heart rate go up, and my skin was immediately covered with perspiration.
"Come stay the night. Well take off early and have a good time."
"That's cool, man," Curry said. "I've been looking forward to getting back into bed with you. Youre really amazing."
I thought about how insensitive he had been, standing me up, and there was not a mention of it, not even an apology. But I was so enamored of him that I just let it all go and only could think about what I could possibly do to extend our relationship, to make it last more than these few hours left allocated to us. However, I didn't know what to do. I wanted him to stay, but my mind was blank. We entered the building and the buzz of the Mental Health Center immediately surrounded us.
"I'll see you at 10:30 in the coffee room, let you know what can happen. If you can be free, we could leave by noon and that would give us all afternoon. I'll just call in sick tomorrow if you don't have to be here." I said.
"I don't have to be here tomorrow until about twelve o'clock because that's when teachers coming to give us our certificates for this summer. Curry said. I could actually spend the afternoon and night at your placeup until almost noon tomorrow."
So here it was. It was the final deadline. It was D-Day. I had no motivation to stay in the Mental Health Center and do any work at all. I made a few necessary phone calls, told Dwayne I was having a crisis, and asked if hed cover for me just two more days. I got back in my car and spun around toward the downtown shopping area in Chattanooga to the Sport Country Western Store where I had seen some leather pants with tassels on the legs. Leather pants something like Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett might wear. They were suede cordovan, colored, tight-fitting, sexy bellbottoms. The combination of tassels all up and down the seams on the side and the bellbottoms made them perfect for dancing. I thought Id get them for myself a month or so ago, but they were way too long. When I met Curry, I could picture him in them. I knew that Curry wood be going to the discos and dancing a lot when he moved to New Orleans, the Crescent City.
It was so important to get a special going away present for Curry. When the salesman told me the price of the pants, I couldn't believe it. It was more than I made in a week. I really didn't know what to do. I had a credit card that was relatively new and only was supposed to be used for emergencies, and I decided that this was an emergency. I charged the suede bellbottom pants with the tassels, a chocolate-colored paisley shirt that accented the pants, and a cowboy belt that looked like it would glitter in the disco because it was cordovan leather covered with metallic studs that acted like little mirrors all the way around. It went with the outfit.
I knew Curry had the boots to go with this. I knew that I would never see him wear these in the disco, but I wanted him to remember me. They were so beautiful. I never bought a present like this, even for my own self.
I raced to a Thai deli. Id been researching their menu, and so I knew what I wanted. There was an entire dinner, mostly shrimp and seafood, all based on red curry. I thought this would be cool. I wanted this to be a romantic evening, and I want to express my love to Curry. I thought hed get a kick out of the meal, and maybe it would make the evening more memorable.
I kept thinking and saying to myself under my breath, my mantra, Go Ahead, Dream Big! I repeated this over and over to myself. What did it mean? Go Ahead, Dream Big?
In my mind, I knew that I was hoping that I could convince Curry to stay and to live with me. I cried, thinking about this, about how he could live with me and not have to go to New Orleans. I would make him happy. He wouldn't have to work. He could pursue his artist dreams and paint in the hills and mountains around the apartment. But I knew that he was a local boy and probably all his life wanted to get away from this place. These were all the warring thoughts in my mind that made me nearly sick with anguish as I headed for my last encounter with Curry.
I smoked a joint and rolled several for the evening. Then I dropped the tab of acid that was supposed to be really mellow sunshine and it turned out to be an ecstatic kind of experience and I felt a lot of love. A lot of feelings of grandiose magnanimous affection and caring for every creature in the world seemed to emanate from somewhere in my solar plexus. When Curry arrived, I was more than ready for him. In the darkened apartment, curtains all closed, I had candles lit and the Moody Blues were playing in the background, his favorite song Knights in White Satin." The aroma of red curry and sandalwood incense filled the apartment. I had everything in the oven on warm.
"Come on in, I said to Curry.
I shut the door behind him and I threw my arms around him. He kissed me, and I kissed him. There was a moment of blissful unification that I experienced. Sunshine was rushing through my system, and I was feeling most intensely each touch, each emotion, each tiny thing as though everything were processed through some kind of life amplification system.
Curry was carrying his knapsack with his overnight stuff, and, in one hand, he had a blue foil box that was gift-wrapped with a red ribbon. I was very curious, but I said nothing. I indicated for him to put it down on the table over in the corner by the bookshelf. That's when he noticed the gift-wrapped boxes for himself.
We had our dinner by candlelight. Then we sat on the sofa and kissed and cuddled. There was no motion to go into the bedroom to have sex. Not yet.
We opened the presents.
"Wow!," Curry said. "I've never seen any pants so beautiful in my life."
"Try them on and see how they fit."
I was extremely anxious that they were going to fit, even though I knew they were his size. I watched in anxious anticipation as he unfolded them and took his pants off, exposing his long beautiful legs. He slid into the velvet-like suede pants. They came up to his low waist, below his navel, and they buttoned snugly for a perfect fit. The shirt was also a good fit. I did what I set out to do, and I was overjoyed
"Thank you so much for this. I can't believe you bought this. This is so beautiful. I don't deserve it. Curry was clearly pleased.
"You deserve this and more. I would like to say that this is a present that I give you, and hope that you would just stay herewhere Im I mean stay here with me from now on."
Curry ducked his head and said. He reached for the cubical blue box and handed it to me. For a moment, I felt hopefulhope that there was some object in this box that indicated that Curry loved me. I unwrapped the box carefully and slowly, letting the tension build within myself. Then I opened the inner paper and found a beautiful, three-inch-tall, antique jade Buddha. It was like red jade.
"Is this jade? It looks like red jade!
"It's red jade.  I got it because you love Zen so much and because you love the color of my hair. Everyone at the Mental Health Center says youre as compassionate as the Buddha, too.
Knowing how screwed up and insane I am, I kept my mouth shut and just made humming sounds of approval.
The Buddha was absolutely amazing. It was an antique but had been cared for lovingly. It must have been over a hundred years or more old, from the markings on the base. It was of the laughing Buddha. The one where he is fat-bellied and has breasts that sag and hang down. I wondered if I seemed like a laughing Buddha to Curry. He leaned over and kissed me on the lips.
Thank you for taking care of me this summer. Ill never forget you.
This made me feel extremely good. I was glad to get such a present from him. More than the gift, I appreciated the sentiment behind it. His acknowledgement of my support made me feel better, if not somewhat categorized as utilitarian, like a professor or teacher.
I caressed the cool jade. I felt such connection with the Buddha statue. It seemed like the perfect present. I had never thought of red so much as I had since meeting Curry. Some people call that color hair ginger, but I dont see that in his hair. I see gold and red.
I took the Buddha and placed it on my handmade study desk. The little statue joined my magnifying glass, a couple of books, and a few of my pens decoratively set out. I never moved that statue from my desk except to pack to move a few times. My study desk was its home.
One thing led to another, and we wound up in bed, naked, tangled up. We made love. We took our time, and as the night wore on, so did the intensity of our lovemaking. But a surprise awaited me. When we neared our explosive climax, a devastating telltale sign that everything was terribly changed forever appeared.
Curry worked my cock so intensely that I came first, unable to hold back any more under the sensual assault. I was limp and drenched in sweat as I collapsed in his arms.
I came as Curry manipulated me with his hand. After that, something new happened.
He withdrew from me, got a towel to wipe me off, and lost his erection without having an orgasm.
At first I thought he was just tired, and it would come back. He lay down next to me, went to sleep, and slept the rest of the night. When I woke in the morning, I watched the light play on his beautiful naked body. However, his flaccid penis was a reminder to me that he had ended our relationship without, so to speak, our final consummation. The mutuality was missing. I felt the old familiar emptiness emerging from within.