Monday, December 29, 2014

Have a happy and healthy new year.  The Gay/Lesbian Fiction Excerpt blog returns next week, January 5th 2015 with a new excerpt from the best of gay/lesbian fiction.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Deadly Prayers excerpt (wip) by Victor J Banis

Victor J Banis, in the raw.  This excerpt is from Deadly Prayers, the latest in the Deadly series.  Still a work in progress – no sales information, no links, no cover art.  The only constraints are from the plots and characters prior to it in the Deadly series

Excerpt:  Deadly Prayers

The highway turned inland and shortly after that they took a road that turned off it, followed along a stone wall for half a mile or so, until they came to a gate with signs on either side that said Keep out. Private Property. No Beach Access. Violators Will Be Towed.
“This is it,” Chris said.
The gate itself was unlocked but heavy and its mechanism not easily understood, so it took both of them to struggle with it before they got it open and were able to drive through. As he got out to close the gate after them, Stanley had the odd sensation that he had just committed himself to something, though he had no idea what. He had an irrational urge to suggest that they turn around and go out again. Which was silly – he was here, after all, for rest and relaxation—had practically been guaranteed both, and if you couldn’t trust the word of a friar…
“Someone walking on my grave,” he told himself and climbed back into the car. He was partial to omens, however, and the sense of some impending trouble never quite lifted itself from where it sat weightily on his shoulders.
The road so far, even this side trail, had been mostly well tended, but it deteriorated badly beyond the gate, challenging even the sturdy Honda’s shock absorbers. Chris drove slowly, trying carefully to stay within the sometimes deep ruts left by earlier passengers.
“Not very Edenic,”Stanley said aloud.
“Well, one supposes the caretakers did want to discourage the casual visitor, didn’t they? You never knew who was going to be after your apples.”
“In this case, I’m thinking cherries – these dears at the monastery are supposed to be virginal,” Stanley said.
“Sugar, if you want to put it that way, you and I are probably supposed to be virginal.”
To which Stanley could only harrumph noisily. One of the difficulties with really close friends is that, more likely than not, they knew you too well.
They crested a steep knoll and suddenly the way spread out before them, even the road seeming to smooth itself out. In the distance they could see the monastery itself, looking like someone’s idea of a medieval fortress. Two small stone cottages, about twenty yards apart from one another, sat between them and the monastery proper. Although they were on the headlands, they could not yet see the ocean, but they could hear its sibilant murmur, and its unmistakable tang filled the air. From somewhere nearby a bird – a jay, Stanley thought – scolded them noisily.
Scolding us for what? Stanley wondered. We haven’t done anything yet.
He turned his attention to the land spread out before them. It was austere, sere even, but not without a certain bucolic charm. Stanley recognized some of the plants growing nearby – that was juniper there, surely, growing alongside the lane, wasn’t it?  – but many of the plants were just dark green foliage to him. Far off to their left he saw the unmistakable silver green of olive trees – a long time martini drinker, he recognized them, at least - and a row of cypress stood like brave sentinels in the middle distance.
All in all, after the rigors on the incoming lane, it looked, if not entirely hospitable, certainly not forbidding either. Maybe a place for convalescing. Better than that hospital, surely – and what was the alternative? Their apartment? With Delightful popping in and out, as he imagined it. No, that wasn’t an acceptable alternative. This desert-like landscape was surely preferable to that. He’d sort out the flowers later.
 e’d sort out the flowers later.
“Father Brighton’s is the first cottage,” Chris said. “The Briars, it’s called.”
They parked in front of it. The cottage was unprepossessing, with no porch, only a front stoop, and a pair of straggly bushes, briar laden, which suggested where the cottage had gotten its name. There was a window on either side of the closed door, curtains carefully pulled over the panes. The front yard, which was nothing more than clumps of grass sprouting here and there from the sandy soil, was closed in by a crude wooden fence so low that an intruder would need only to step over it, shunning the gate that hung somewhat awry at the entrance way.
“I’m surprised he hasn’t come out to greet us,” Chris said. “Michael is always so happy to see folks.”
“He knew we were coming, and he must have heard the car, or at least my last yelp when we bounced off that rock.”
Once again, Stanley had that strange conviction that they should turn around and leave—but they could hardly do that, could they, now that they were here? Certainly Father Brighton would have heard them arrive, and would wonder why they left without a word. Some premonition, however, told him that this visit was already not going well.
The gate, perhaps predictably, creaked loudly when they pushed through it. There was no answer to Chris’s knock at the door, not even when he had repeated it, a bit louder than the first time.
Stanley reached past him and tried the door. It was unlocked and swung inward easily. It was only midafternoon but the interior, with its curtains closed over the small windows, was as dark as twilight, and silent, a silence so utter it disdained even an echo. It was a minute or so before they could see.
A scent of firewood told them that a fire had died out on the hearth some time earlier, perhaps the previous night. Someone was seated in the chair before it.
“Michael?” Chris said, taking a tentative step forward.
There was neither reply nor movement from the chair. Premonition became certainty. Stanley stepped past Chris, rounded the chair to look down at the man seated in it.  It was certainly Michael Brighton. Only, not the laughing vivacious friar he’d met just a short while before.…
“He’s dead, Chris,” he said, shivering as if an arctic wind had suddenly blown over them. All he could think was, I knew it.

Bodies. No matter how he tried, he couldn’t seem to get away from them.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Batteries Not Included excerpt by JL Merrow

How would you react if you woke up one morning to find you were in bed with your favorite rock star? More to the point: how would the rock star react?
In Batteries Not Included by JL Merrow, animal rescue worker Sam is content to dream of rock sensation Cain Shepney. Trouble is, his meddling mother Lilith thinks he deserves to have all his dreams come true -- and she isn’t above performing a little magic to achieve her ends! Sam’s shocked to wake up one morning to find himself actually in bed with his celebrity crush -- but that’s nothing to how Cain feels about it! Suddenly Sam’s got to deal with an irate, naked, and very distracting rock star in his bed.

Cain has it all -- he’s good-looking, famous, and adored by millions. But his life takes a turn for the surreal when he wakes up in bed with Sam. Expecting everyone to be worried sick by his disappearance, Cain’s horrified to find his manager -- and even his mum -- insisting he’s an imposter, and the real Cain Shepney is right where he belongs.

Sam just wants to help, but with Cain convinced he’s a crazed, celebrity-kidnapping stalker, Sam’s got his work cut out for him. Can he get the object of his affections to trust him long enough to find out just what the hell’s going on?  Will this romantic screwball comedy have a happy ending?

Batteries Not Included
JMS Books (12/14/14)
ISBN: 9781611526851


“Holy shit, who the hell are you?”
As wake-up calls went, I could think of better ones. At least, I could have if I wasn't terminally sleep-deprived. I cursed the day I ever let Lilith buy me that voice-recording alarm clock—she must have been laughing herself silly when she sneaked in to leave that little message—and reached out to turn the bloody thing off.
And hit flesh. Bare flesh.
What the fuck?
Suddenly more wide awake than if I'd been mainlining espresso all night, I stared into wide, grey eyes, surrounded by enough kohl to start a fire with. The face that went with them contained full, red lips, a cute little nose, and was topped off with spiky black hair with just a hint of purple.
“Oh, thank fuck for that,” I breathed, relaxing. Because I'd just realized I was dreaming. Had to be, as no way was the real Cain Shepney, pop phenomenon and mega-star winner of Britain's Got the Idol Factor, stark bollock naked in bed with me. “Come back over here, Cain,” I mumbled, reaching out for him.
“Get the fuck away from me!” I felt a sudden chill as Cain ripped the duvet from the bed and wrapped it around his naked form, backing away slowly.
Oh, bloody hell. It was turning out to be a nightmare. Which was odd, because usually my dreams about Cain Shepney were strictly of the pleasurable variety. You know, the sort where you have to change your boxers after, and possibly the sheets as well… is that too much information? My mates are always telling me I over-share. Then they meet Lilith, and they realize that actually, I'm pretty reserved, considering. I lay back on the bed and closed my eyes. Maybe if I tried to direct the dream a little, it'd go back to being good? “Mmm, Cain,” I murmured.
“Look, just shut up, will you? And, and tell me who the fuck you are, where the fuck we are, and just how the hell I got here?” Cain's voice got higher and higher, and cracked on the last word. It was a good thing this wasn't real. It couldn't have been good for his vocal chords.
I sighed. “Look, it's a dream, okay? Just relax, and it'll turn into that one with the teddy bears and the novelty condoms.”
“You're completely insane,” Cain muttered. “And depraved. Seriously, teddy bears? I'm calling my manager.”
“Fine,” I said. “But you're giving me back my bloody duvet first.” I made a grab for it, and Cain sort of squeaked. We had a brief tussle, which ended with me victorious and Cain sprawled on his arse on the floor. My mouth went suddenly dry. Bloody hell, he was hung like a cart horse. “Can I dream, or can I dream?” I said, smugly. “You sure you don't want to get back into bed?”
“What was it?” he demanded, getting up and grabbing the phone off the bedside table. “Rohypnol? Or did you just spike my drinks? Hello? Neil? It's me. Cain. I need you to send a car for me right now. And some clothes, all right? And yes, I know it's practically Christmas! Seasonal sodding greetings!” He broke off to glare at me. “What's the address?”
It was about this time I started to wonder. I mean, he was acting like, well, Cain Shepney, if he'd woken up in my bed. The real Cain Shepney. And trust me, I'd had the dream version in bed with me often enough to know the difference. “Er, 25, Eden Place?” I said cautiously. “That's St Albans, AL1 4OT, for the satnav.” I paused, then swung my legs out of bed. They felt like my real legs, not dream ones—I could tell, because my right ankle clicked when my foot hit the ground, where I'd broken it playing rugby. “Um, are you really Cain Shepney? My name's Sam, by the way.”
He stared at me, the phone seemingly forgotten in his hand, and then he nodded.
I sighed. “Oh, bloody hell. Did my mum put you up to this?”

Twitter - @jlmerrow,

To purchase from JMS Books, click here
To purchase from Amazon (UK), click here
To purchase from Amazon (US), click here 

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.
She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Two Loves excerpt by Jacob Campbell

Two Loves by Jacob Campbell is dedicated to the writer Mykola Dementiuk.  The author states, “Mykola is my dear friend and mentor, and he is a multiple Lambda Literary Awards winner. Mykola has been a constant encouragement since I began writing for publication. He suffered a physical crisis which left him partially paralyzed, and he types his books with one finger, a letter at a time.  I cherish his friendship and dedicate this novel to him with warmest wishes.”

In this book, Joey is growing up with no gay role models. In the dim light of the early 1960s, Joey only knew what he picked up on the streets, at magazine stands, and in public restrooms. In his senior year in high school, he falls in love with Ross, a beautiful athletic “straight guy.” But once in college, his love life takes a turn.

Ike, a flamboyant college freshman, turns Joey on to gay sex and the newly formed gay lib movement. But things don’t go well for Joey, and he fumbles through a few one-night stands and semi-relationships. After nearly losing Ike to a gay bashing, Joey gives up on love and turns his motorcycle toward New Orleans and the French Quarter, where he moves in with his bohemian cousin, Judy. 

Joey likes the gay scene in the Quarter but he is lonely, missing intimacy, and flails through life. The sexual nights in the French Quarter aren’t enough to satisfy his real needs -- but his resourceful cousin magically opens the door for him to have the best of both worlds.

Two Loves
JMS Books (November 30, 2014)
ISBN: 9781611526592


I was a goner from the first moment we met.

Ike was a kind and gentle man, a tender person. He was cheerful and talkative, and cared nothing for the fact that his gestures and speech mannerisms gave him away as a man who liked other men. In my earlier life, in high school, I’d fallen in love with a classmate who had similar atypical gestures and mannerisms for a boy. It wasn’t that Ike had girlish ways, but he lacked a macho stiltedness and his movements were spontaneous in all situations, with a sort of ballet-like gracefulness.

In the privacy of Ike’s room, we began kissing and his lanky frame seemed to wrap around mine. We kissed a long time before we moved our hands around exploring. We just hugged, kissed, and stared into one another’s eyes. The sensation of a fast fall into love was unmistakable. I was totally enchanted.

Hours into our private time in Ike’s bedroom, we took each other’s shirts off, and rubbed and kissed each other’s chest, stomach, and explored everything -- nipples, armpits, the long muscles of Ike’s neck and our hugging was wonderful.

We talked between kisses.

“You are so beautiful,” he whispered in my ear. His golden red stubble rasped on my cheek and our naked bodies folded into one another, soft accepting hard, hard pressing soft. “You smell so wonderful.”

It was so good to hear what he said. I felt so ugly lately, beyond ugly, and here he was telling me the opposite.

I spoke to him in whispers, “You are so elegant, so sleek, so strong and tight ... like a gymnast. What do you do?”

His dancer’s physique was a rush to touch, and we seemed to reach some sort of excitation crescendo mid-afternoon. We withheld actual sex all this time. We accumulated desire. We built anticipation. Our pants were tossed aside with wet spots in the fronts, and new heightened arousal as our skin in private parts of our bodies began to meet for the first time.

“Slow.” Ike whispered. “Go slow, make this last.”

“This is bliss.” Our voices so soft as to be almost inaudible, but we agreed to pause and savor this blissful threshold.

We were glowing and all I can say is that I fell in love with Ike again every instant as if this capitulating to his charm held new surrender each and every new moment.

He fell in love with me, too. It was impossibly fast in a sense, but what delays we experienced seemed to deepen our love. The emotions were unmistakable as love; but there wasn’t anything in my life’s experience that would have prepared me accept or to resist such a force of attraction. I was full, overflowing, joyful, and a roaring underground river flowed with warmth and majesty deeply within me carrying with it new love. New love flowed tangibly through us both.

Love at first sight unfolded like a lotus flower unfolds. Waves of excited blissful affection washed over us.

The sound of Ike’s voice whispering in my ear, the breath gently flowing past my ear and gently moving my hair…the clenching of our arms around one another -- everything was exquisite.

Somehow in my mind I remembered a past time when once I meditated at a botanical garden early one morning, and saw a lotus bud closed, but poised for opening at daybreak. I sat beside the pond, assumed the full lotus posture, and gazed unblinkingly at the purple and lime colored bud. It seem not to move from moment to moment but after a short while the petals expanded into a flower, and in a short time the lotus was fully opened. I felt the magic of natural unfolding from bud to flower as a parallel to this time in Ike’s room, in Ike’s arms.

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Cape of Good Hope Christmas excerpt by Lloyd A Meeker

“A Cape of Good Hope Christmas” excerpt by Lloyd Meeker, is not the typical Christmas romance with miracles and mistletoe.  It’s the story of an established couple who find they now want different things.

Chaz and Neil have been together ten wonderful years, but now for the first time it seems they each want a life too different for the other to accommodate. Taking a break from their regular surroundings they fly to Cape Town to spend a sun-filled Christmas with their friends Jerry and Piet in hope that the change will help them see their situation in a clearer light.

They love each other deeply, but can love provide enough common ground for their life together? Will a mid-summer Christmas at the southern tip of Africa bring them the gift of renewed happiness?

A Cape of Good Hope Christmas
Wayfarer Press (November 23, 2014)
ISBN: 978-1-939092-07-6
I watched Chaz cut a bite of lamb from its bone, his delicate, precise motion thoughtful, and oh, so gentle—exactly the same way he arranged flowers in his shop. The soft light of the restaurant made him radiant, angelic, breaking my heart.
He was always that gentle, and in that particular instant I resented it. If our relationship was in trouble and he was the soft, pliant one, what did that make me? The hard-ass bad guy. It was unfair to be summarily convicted by his gentleness.
He seemed utterly absorbed in savoring his food, which I could readily understand. This was our third night at the Lanzerac Estate, nestled between the Paarl and Stellenbosch wine regions, and the rich flavors of the Cape’s vineyards and cuisine still surprised us.
The thick white linen on our table spread like a snowfield between us. Adoring him, hurting at our distance, I waited for him to glance up.
When he saw me staring at him, his eyes widened, as if surprised by danger. After eleven years together, I knew that startled deer-at-the-edge-of-a-clearing look very well. I hated that sometimes I scared him when that was the last thing I wanted.
Maybe he expected me to raise The Awful Issue. It hadn’t come up at all on our trip, and although I knew it eventually must, I was grateful it hadn’t so far. I wasn’t eager to share what I had to say from my side of the problem.
"Would you rather have stayed in Cape Town with Jerry and Piet?" I picked up my wine glass and stared into it, not wanting to spook the wary soft-eyed deer. As a worst-case scenario I could imagine he might have agreed to three days in the wine country even if he hadn’t really wanted to come. That would make it my fault if he wasn’t happy here. I was braced for that.
"No," he said, his eyes bright. "This is wonderful. Besides, the whole purpose of this trip is for us to be together in different settings. I want to be with you." He put down his fork. "I always have, from day one." Chaz smiled, radiant. So beautiful.
I ached when he smiled like that. I knew what he said was true—but he also wanted to be with me in ways I couldn’t give him, and it was tearing me apart.
He’d smiled at me like that almost twelve years ago when I walked into his flower shop The Enchanted Forest for the first time, needing flowers for a date. He’d led me on a slow tour of every cooler, standing half an inch in front of me, forcing me to peer over him as showed me what he had in stock.
It was easy to see everything he pointed to, because the top of his head barely came to my chin. In that first moment his melodic voice and uncanny grace enchanted me. I imagined the sharp floral odors of the shop to be the cool green scent of his body. He became a beautiful, slender sprite moving among his flowers and it took willpower not to pull him back against me and crush him into my arms.
My date that night years ago didn't go well, and I'll readily admit it was my fault. I'd been bewitched by a sprite in The Enchanted Forest. Every time I looked at the flowers I'd brought my date, I'd see Chaz's smile. The next day I returned to The Enchanted Forest after work, and every day after that, buying far too many flowers until he agreed to have dinner with me. And here we were at dinner years later and half a world away.
"I’m glad," I said, pulling myself back from sweet nostalgia. Reluctantly. Our present was a more difficult part of our story. I raised my glass "Here’s to Christmas in the Cape."
He lifted his glass to clink with mine. "To Christmas in the Cape."
"I love you," I said, holding his gaze. "No matter what."
"I know. I love you, too." His smile turned wistful. "We’d be in deep shit without that, wouldn’t we?
I nodded and took a sip. "Do you want to talk about it yet?"
He shook his head. "I can’t. I’m so certain your answer is going to be no, and I’m not ready to hear you say it."
"Will you hate me if I say no?"
He tilted his head a little to one side and smiled sadly. "Probably. For a little while, at least." And maybe longer. Which was exactly what I was afraid of.
Whatever I might have said right then would only make things worse, so I grabbed his free hand and held it. He turned his over so we were palm to palm, and spread his fingers. His sweet energy sparked up into me.
"I want you so much," he whispered. "Take me to bed."
I set my glass down and signaled for the check.
Back in our room I pulled off my own clothes in a hurry, but undressed Chaz slowly, standing behind him, reaching around him to unbutton his shirt, peel it away, rubbing against his back as I unzipped his pants and pushed them down. I pressed him down onto the bed to pull off his shoes and pants, stroking and kissing his knees, calves and feet as I uncovered them.
We made love in an unhurried ceremony of respect and tender affection—knowing, giving each other pleasure in ways we’d learned in our years together. We both were careful not to think of anything else.
The following morning we loaded up the car and drove back to Cape Town.
I blamed my sister Gillian for making Chaz want children. A mother of three, she’d somehow gotten to Chaz, filled his head and heart with the joys of parenthood, and then suggested we adopt a child. Or two—because two weren't a whole lot more work than one, and way more than twice the happiness.
When he first raised the idea, Chaz’s eyes glowed with his eagerness. My response was very different. I filled with claustrophobic panic I’d never imagined, let alone experienced. I couldn't explain it. Then Chaz decided he didn’t want to adopt, since adoption was difficult for couples like us. Instead, he wanted me to sire children with a surrogate.
Gillian probably hadn’t put those ideas in his head deliberately, so although I blamed her I couldn’t be angry with her. She loved being a mother, and maternal contentment shone through everything she did. Raising those kids was her life, her calling. Childrearing was about as far as anyone could get from mine.
We watched the scenery slide by. Chaz pulled my left hand into his and squeezed it against his thigh. "You’re thinking about it, aren’t you?"
I squeezed back. "I haven’t been able to think of much else." He didn’t ask for more, and I was content leaving the rest unspoken. Straight people would have talked about having children early in their relationship, but when we first got together our current dilemma hadn't been a realistic option for us to discuss, let alone plan.
I loved kids. I did. But some terrified voice in my head insisted it made no sense for two men pushing forty to start a family. We both had successful careers that demanded at least fifty hours a week, and now after years of hard work we finally had the resources to travel more, which we loved to do.
Was it selfish of me to want to be free to travel now that we could? Maybe. Even for super-mom Gillian, loading the car just to go across town with infants required packing for an expedition. I'd watched her with amazement as she did it. Chaz said he was willing to sell his shop and be a full-time parent. I was certain he'd be a good one. I was equally certain I wouldn’t, and the prospect froze my guts every time the idea came up.
We pulled into Jerry and Piet's driveway, and it was a relief to be yanked out of the future into the present. Our plan was to take the guys out to dinner tonight, and then tomorrow spend the day at the Kirstenbosch Gardens.
I loved botanic gardens, but I loved Chaz's love of botanic gardens even more. Walking paths through unusual shrubs and flowers with him was nothing short of inspirational. He had a passion for growing things—their beauty, their uniqueness. When he saw them arranged or landscaped with artistry and imagination his excitement, his childlike wonder, carried me with him into a way of seeing the world that I could never experience by myself.
Next morning I awoke with the sad, quiet understanding that today I had to tell Chaz I couldn't be a parent, just didn’t have the most basic capacity for parenthood in me. Below the understanding sat a dark well of dread. I knew two things—no, three.
One, I couldn't dedicate the next twenty-plus years of my life to raising children. Two, Chaz might feel just as strongly that he wanted them. And three, if he wanted children so badly, he deserved them. What that might mean to our relationship was an unknown. If I had the right to take a unilateral stand for what I wanted or didn’t want, so did he.
The uncertainty of what my decision might bring wasn't as painful as not being completely open and honest with the man I'd loved and lived with for more than a decade. If he needed children to be happy, then with a broken heart I'd let him find someone he could raise children with.
I imagined him hauling kids to recitals and soccer games, attending parent teacher meetings, coming home to someone else. I could see him herding the kids to the dinner table and settling their squabbles, making them pick up their mess in the living room before bed. Crawling into bed himself, next to someone else. That part drove me crazy.
No matter which way I looked at the issue it was a colossal no-win situation. If Chaz stayed with me he didn't get children. If we did have children, I was certain there would come a time when I would resent both Chaz and our children for forcing me to live a life I didn't want and wasn't cut out for. That was unthinkable.
We got to Kirstenbosch no more than an hour after they opened, but even so the parking lot already held a dozen cars. We paid our R45 each and decided to hike up to the waterfall first while it was still cool. Because the gardens were set against the slope of Table Mountain, it wasn't likely to get as hot as it had been in the wine country. Still, a morning hike seemed the more comfortable choice. We ambled up to the waterfall, with Chaz providing expert commentary on what we passed.
The garden was stunningly beautiful, both the cultivated areas and the natural setting. The summer day was bright and perfect. But as beautiful as my surroundings were, I saw everything through the lens of my sadness, my fear that whatever happened between Chaz and me about kids would be bad.
At the waterfall we walked to the edge of the ravine to see as much as we could. Chaz stood so close that our hands touched on the protective railing. Without taking his eyes off the cascading water he said, "So. You're thinking about it again, aren't you?"
So this was the moment. "Yeah. I am. Are you ready to talk about it now?"

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