Category Archives: Free Gay Fiction
Hello readers! Here’s a short story for everyone! I hope you like it.
Comfort and Joy
Ki Brightly © December 2018
The icy wind cut through my leather coat, which wasn’t really thick enough for winter but made my shoulders look great. The steps to the front door of the cozy stone cottage were icy, because I forgot to scatter salt yesterday before I left. Clutching my huge shopping bag closer, I swore under my breath as I used my other hand to grip the metal railing until I hoisted myself onto the little porch under the overhang.
“Yup,” I puffed out, “my fault.” It wasn’t as if Robbie could get out to do it himself. My hair flopped in front of my eyes and I shoved it back. In all the chaos getting ready for the holidays I’d skipped a haircut I needed. The blazing red and green lights around the large picture window on the front of the house looked good, and the Christmas tree sitting in place of pride had been decorated down to the last icicle with Robbie giving grunts of acceptance that this would be happening from behind his laptop while I sang carols at him.
He really was a good sport. Warmth settled into the pit of my stomach that I ignored.
Smiling to myself I fished out my keys and gave a little knock before I let myself in. “Robbie, I’m here,” I called. Somewhere toward the back of the house I heard water running, so he must be in the shower. Suppressing a little shiver at the idea, I toed off my boots in such a hurry that I ended up stepping in wet sludge, went through the kitchen to set down my stuffed full bag on the kitchen table, and then hustled back the short hallway that ended with the bathroom. “You’re supposed to wait for me!” I tapped on the door.
I’d never seen Robbie naked, even though I was ostensibly here as a caregiver. Really, I felt more like a glorified house boy. His left arm didn’t work very well anymore and his left leg also lagged, but he was able to do most of his personal care himself. Half the time I thought he paid me just for the company, and whenever I got around to those thoughts I felt awful about it and cleaned something.
“Yeah, yeah. Well, you’re here now, so stand out there and if I die I’ll let you know,” he called, his sarcastic wit out enforce, but I could hear the smile in his words.
Huffing, I unwound my scarf and went back to the front door, hanging my things on the hook there. Robbie barely ever went anywhere, he said he hated using a wheelchair in public and walking most places was just too far for his bad leg. But we’d been working on that. In fact, he’d agreed to go out with me tonight to see The Nutcracker, of all things, and I barely believed it.
Smiling the entire time, I stood outside the bathroom door until I heard the water shut off. After he called out that he was fine, I went to the kitchen and got busy cooking his lunch. The room was small, clean, and full of stainless steel, which I loved. Cooking was one of the few small jobs he consistently allowed me to do, and I suspected it was because he didn’t know how. If he did know how to do more than reheat pizza, he’d probably not allow me near the kitchen either. Humming to myself, I dragged a quiche I’d put together last night out of my bag and put it in the oven, and then took a few presents over and sat them under the tree, to the back so they couldn’t be tripped over.
A shuffling behind me had me turning around guiltily.
“What are you up to?” Robbie asked, but I held my breath. He was older than me by about ten years, and when he wore a beard it was shot through with a respectable amount of gray, but he’d taken the time to shave. He had managed to tame his long curly hair down at the nape of his neck. Even though he had problems with balance, he stood tall and had sturdy wide shoulders. The hand gripping his cane was large and looked strong. He took up a lot of space, in the best way possible. His lips were the kind that were naturally bright and always made me stare, especially when they twitched into a smile like they did now.
I shrugged. “What would you like to me to do today?”
“Not much to do. I should have told you to stay home.” He shook his head, blue eyes unnaturally bright in the lights from the tree.
I sucked in a breath. I’d been coming six hours a day, six days a week to Robbie’s home for nearly two years now. He’d never once said to stay home, not even when I was sick last year and sneezing everywhere. “Oh,” I faltered. “I thought… you told me we were going out tonight…”
He ran a hand along his hard jaw and gave me the type of look that had me sure I’d over stepped my bounds. It had seemed so much like he was asking me out though. My heart clenched. Professional wasn’t exactly my middle name when it came to Robbie. How had I let myself hope this was going to be something more?
“It’s a nice thought, Justin, but there will be a lot of people,” he grumbled, using both hands to support his weight on his cane. Sometimes this was hard for me to wrap my mind around because who cared if a bunch of people saw a hot guy in a wheelchair?
“You got tickets for”—I wanted to say us, but obviously there was no us—“the show?”
“Sorry. I can’t,” he said.
“We don’t have to stay for the after cocktails if that’s what you’re—”
He turned and stumped back to his office, instead of allowing me to finish, his left foot dragging a bit.
Heat built in my eyes, but I cleared my throat and turned back to the kitchen. I had my suit on a hanger in my car, had brought everything I needed to look nice and smell nice for tonight so I could change here. Leaving from his house together had meant something to me. This would be the first time I managed to get him out of the house.
I’d been so sure this time it would happen. And my heart hurt, far more than it should as I stood there blinking at the tree, fighting off the water gathering in my eyes. I knew I’d been building this up way more than I should. Knew I was way too tangled up in him since I saw him almost every day. I’d let my social life sort of give way to him, coming by some evenings after I went to the gym to hang out even when I wasn’t being paid, and I’d let that turn into something else in my mind.
Robbie had never indicated he felt more than friendship at best, and employer employee when he was feeling snappish. I glanced at my watch and went to the fridge to do my daily check and make sure that he’d taken his medications. I snagged down the med container from on top. He had taken his pills, which was good, but didn’t give me a reason to go back the hall to his office and bother him at his computer.
Which was probably for the best. Sniffing gently, I sat the pill case back where it belonged. I checked the quiche and then took the cleaning bucket into the bathroom along with my phone. With the fan on so I wouldn’t make myself sick with the fumes, I rolled up my sleeves and started scrubbing down the walk in shower. There were enough things in this house to clean that I could do it for six hours. Afterward, maybe I’d download one of those apps I’d been ignoring. As much as I liked Robbie, it didn’t get much clearer than this.
He didn’t trust me to keep him safe outside of his house. He didn’t like me like that, even if he sometimes put a hand on my arm while he smiled and invited me to eat lunch with him.
The gentle sound of Justin’s upbeat music wafted into my office. I glanced from the screen where I was trying to coax a line of code into doing what I wanted—for some reason the movement of this one forest elf was still jerky. Why? I’d been over and over the code a million times. Angrily, I shoved back from the desk to go tell him to turn the annoying music off, but couldn’t bring myself to go out and do it.
The way his warm brown eyes had crinkled when I’d said I wouldn’t go, and his cute round face had fallen… he’d looked so devastated. That wasn’t a surprise. Somehow I always found myself disappointing him. My chest got tight and I carefully slid back into the desk. Justin was one of those people who did his job helping because he was genuinely kind. Slim, sweet and quick on his feet, he always took care of whatever I wanted him to do with a smile. He chatted. He sang. Relentlessly cheerful, I took it for granted that he’d be in my house every day and moped through Sundays without him. When he arrived on my front step with the help wanted section of the newspaper clutched in his hands, I’d taken one look and knew I wanted him. But not for an employee. Hiring him was a mistake I’d come to regret, but not because he was bad at his job. He made my house a home and kept my clothes washed. He went to the store for me.
The only fly in the honey was that he wanted me to do things, get out of the house, live my life, and all I wanted to do was hide here and work. Why couldn’t he just leave it alone? Why did he have to try to change anything? The fake smell of pine and clean things reached me after a while, and then the music shut off.
A soft knock on my door had me scrunching into my seat.
“Lunch,” he called quietly, not even opening my door. He always came in to bother me for a few minutes before he went back to puttering around the house, doing all the shit I didn’t want to be bothered with.
Unhappily, I leaned forward to rest my forehead against my fist, and my back twinged, but I didn’t care. Telling him I wouldn’t go with him tonight was a lousy Christmas present. He’d been so ecstatic when I said yes. The day the tickets arrived in the mail he’d thrown his arms around me and given me the warmest hug, and his body heat had gone straight to my groin. I wanted to take him out so badly, have him smile at me, kiss him, but I didn’t want him to have to be bothered about the things I needed the entire time. How would that be fun for him? Walking around the house was one thing, but to go out for real we’d need the wheelchair. He’d end up pushing me. People would look at me with frowns and raised eyebrows, trying work out why someone who looked fine was in a chair.
I put on my noise cancelling headphones, turned up my playlist to the point that I couldn’t hear the small sounds of Justin in the house, and worked. Typing with one hand was difficult, so after a while I switched to dictation and that helped me drown out my thoughts.
Eventually, I realized the room was dark and I was working in the glare from my computer screen. Stretching, I grabbed my cane from where it was leaned against my desk and dragged myself to my feet before I wandered out of my office. The house was dark except for the colored lights from the tree washing through the living room. I went the couch and eased myself down, my stomach gnawing and hungry, heaviness in my limbs that had nothing to do with my body hating me.
I knew if I went into the kitchen my lunch would be wrapped up in the fridge and dinner would be waiting to be popped in the oven. I’d worked late. Staring at the tree, I noticed the glitter of silver wrapped packages stuffed back where I wasn’t supposed to notice them. Justin, my little elf, had hidden them there. The soft lights from the tree got shimmery and I swiped at my eyes with my sleeve.
What if I had gone tonight? I already liked him too much, a hell of a lot more than I should for someone who pays his bills, and how would it have been fair to him to put him in the uncomfortable spot of knowing how much I wanted to be with him? What if it all blew up in our faces and I had to tolerate someone new in my space? We’d never really talked about much, but the way he looked at me, all heat, with his dark hair soft around his face… I think he wanted me too. In the end, this was better. I didn’t want to make him turn me down if I was wrong, and I would have done something stupid like try to hold his hand. I’d have ruined this for myself.
But his gifts were there and the tickets were still on the coffee table. I frowned. Why didn’t he take them and go by himself? I’d meant him to. He couldn’t have missed them sitting there, right?
Pulling out my phone I texted him to ask why the hell he didn’t go. He didn’t answer for a long while, and it was almost midnight, so maybe he was in bed? My phone dinged and I thumbed his message open.
I wanted to do that with you, and since you didn’t want to I went out instead.
Where? I had no right to question him. Shouldn’t have asked. But I sent it. Again there was no answer for a long time.
After a bit I got back: The Rainbow Room.
Stunned, I stared at my phone. What was he doing there? Back before, when I still went out, it was the largest gay bar in the area, but I knew there were other clubs now where people went to dance until they were too horny to take it and then went into backrooms to fuck. I couldn’t exactly do most of that stuff anymore, but the idea of Justin, on his knees, looking up at me with that crooked little grin of his went straight to my cock. I rearranged myself and continued glaring at the phone.
Torturing myself with the image of him for a few more seconds, there and ready to touch me, I wanted to put myself out of my misery, or maybe just go jerk off and tell myself it was a nice but ridiculous daydream? So what if he was gay for certain? That didn’t make anything else easier.
Either way, I knew as I sent the next query I was way out of line. Did you go to the backroom yet?
My stomach churned and my hands shook as I tossed my phone down on the couch cushion beside me. I wanted him to say no because I wanted him, but I needed him to say yes so I could let this go and stop wondering what it would be like to have him. My phone dinged again.
I stared at the screen. What did that mean? Not yet. Why not? Were the guys not that great tonight? But on a Saturday there were always a million people out downtown. Standing up as quickly as I could, I decided to go to bed, but when I got to my room I scowled furiously toward my closet and pulled up an app to get a ride to The Rainbow Room.
“Come dance with me.” Mr. Drunk and Handsy pressed his front to my back. He was hard. Ugh. Fighting to smile, I shook my head. The music thudded so loud I could feel it in my gut.
“I’m waiting for my boyfriend. When he gets back we’re leaving.” The blatant lie escaped me easily because this guy just gave me an unpleasant crawl along my skin. He was cute, tall, and blond, but I didn’t like something about him. There was no real reason for the way my stomach flopped, but he didn’t move away.
“Been watching you all night. Try again.” There was a hard bite to his words and he slid his hands around my waist as he cocked an eyebrow, urging me off my stool. I had to grip the bar to stop myself from falling.
“Please leave me alone.” I turned enough to glare into his face.
He scowled and crowded closer bringing the smell of alcohol with him. “Who do you think you are? One dance and then we can get out of here. I’ll take you back to mine, put you ass up, and make you scream.” He seemed to think that would have me listening because when I elbowed him away his face went red.
“Fuck. Off. That clear enough?”
The guy huffed and disappeared into the crowd. Unhappily, I turned to stare at the bar top and pushed my gin and mint away. How much shittier could this night get? A firm grip landed on my shoulder and I barked out, “If you don’t keep your hands off me, you’re going to lose one.”
“Are you okay?”
“Robbie?” I froze up and then carefully turned.
He stood there, dressed in nice jeans and a red and black flannel shirt open over a plain white T-shirt. Simple, but the clothes looked good on him. He had his cane in hand, and there was sweat popped out on his forehead. “What the hell, Robbie?”
I moved so he could have my stool, but he shook his head and smiled. “Should I not have come here?”
“I’m just confused.”
He moved closer to me and took my hand. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have made plans with you and then broken them. I didn’t… the idea of you here, by yourself…” he shrugged and looked at our linked fingers, rubbing his thumb over my knuckles. My breath caught.
“You came down here because you were worried about me?”
“That’s a nicer version of why, but partially.”
He frowned up at me, his pretty lips gone soft and slack. “What do you mean?”
“I didn’t like seeing that guy all over you, for one thing.”
“You didn’t?” He shuffled closer to me and put his arm around my waist. I knew what he was up to, trying to give me something to lean against, but it was also nice because he was warm and solid and close.
Exactly what I’d predicted was happening on the dance floor. Half the guys out there looked like they’d be coming in their boxers soon. Had I missed Justin moving his narrow hips to the beat of that music? I’m not sure I would have really cared if he was pressed up against someone else while he did it as long as I got to see. But then his fingers tightened on mine. I’d have probably smacked someone out of the way with my cane to get to be that person.
“Did you get to dance?” I leaned close and whispered in his ear.
He flushed and cut a sharp glance at me. “I wanted to go to the theater with you. This isn’t… me.” He jerked his chin toward the crowded space.
I let go of his fingers to ran a hand along the curve of his spine, and he leaned closer. “Tomorrow’s show wasn’t sold out, but we’ll have to sit in front of the stage.”
He leaned back, eyes wide, and bounced a little.
“Are you serious?”
“Those are the good seats!”
He nudged his hip against mine, but not hard enough to knock me off balance. “You know they are.”
“And you’ll go?”
“I will,” I grumbled, “but I’m taking the cane not the chair.”
He turned stern and stood up straight, baring his teeth like a puppy trying to be mean. “What if you’re in too much pain tomorrow after this tonight?”
I looked at the ceiling, but he skimmed both hands up to grab my ears and gently tilt my head down so he could give me the evil eye.
“I’ll let you push me.” With my hand on his lower back I put pressure on him until he melted against my front, his face buried in my neck. Warm little puffs of his breath sent shivers along my spine.
“Okay. Do you… want to go back to your house?”
“Yeah. I do.”
He walked with me outside. It took a while for the cab to come, and I ended up leaning more of my weight against him than I meant to, but he only smiled and slipped both arms around me so that I felt like I was standing there with my… well, boyfriend. Smiling, I held my breath while he looked like he might faint. Finally, I just did it. I leaned forward and brushed my lips to his. In the cold, the heat of him had me delving into his mouth. Mint. The tease of his tongue against mine and the little whimper that escaped him had me hard against him. When I broke away, he leaned his head against my chest, hiding from me, but that was fine. He held me tight.
“What do you think the costumes will be like?”
“Why on earth would I care?”
“I’ve seen so many productions. I danced when I was younger, but wasn’t that kind of good. Mom would only pay for one night a week.” He chatted on and on, resting against me, and while none of the show stuff was anything I gave two shits about, I liked hearing how happy he was and so nodded at intervals to keep him talking. Eventually, he laughed and rested his forehead against my temple with his eyes closed.
I tried to get myself together to answer him, but the cab pulled up in front of us distracting him away from the conversation. Once we were in the warm, dark backseat of the vehicle, he wiggled over against me. Hesitantly, I ran a hand over his on the seat and he turned it under mine so that our fingers wound together.
By the time we got home, my back was hurting and my achy leg and left arm were thudding with a familiar pain, but I ignored it as we collapsed together onto the couch, where we should have ended up all along tonight. He curled up close to me and rested his head on my shoulder just like he had outside after we kissed. I ran a hand over his soft hair.
“Justin.” He looked up, and I leaned in, giving him plenty of time to turn away.
I brushed my lips against his, and with a happy little sound, he pressed closer, turning it into a real kiss. It went on for a while, a sweet warm slide of his mouth against mine. When we came up for air, I smiled at him and he grinned back.
“I think I need some help.”
He frowned, and I realized I’d fucked up when worry had him nibbling on his bottom lip. “Let me run to the kitchen and get your—”
Leaning forward, I kissed him again and he sort of melted against me.
“Need help with this,” I rasped. He shivered in my arms as I dragged his hand from where it rested with mine slowly along my thigh to a very excited part of my body. The slight pressure felt good and I rocked against his hand when he cupped me.
Awe had me carefully mapping the landscape. He was large and firm and clearly ready for anything. Robbie slitted his eyes closed and the lights from the trees bathed the skin of his face with warmth. One lone curl had slipped free and was a spiral along his cheek. That, more than anything, made my heart stutter. I kissed his neck and caressed my palm on his growing hardness, getting more excited myself with every passing moment.
“How do you want to do this?” I whispered, unwilling to hurt him even if it broke the mood.
He didn’t answer with words, but instead leaned over and urged me to move with his hands on my waist until I was straddling him, my ass resting on the hard ridge of his trapped erection. Together we opened my pants while we kissed and he ground against me, every now and then letting out a satisfied growly kind of sound that made me want to melt like a snowflake. In no time, I was whimpering at the feel of his hand on my bare, hard shaft. He gently rubbed at my foreskin for a second before pushing me back with one hand on my chest. He watched me squirm, my cock dancing for him, and played with me, sending heat streaking to my balls. I rocked on his lap, rubbing my ass on him, hoping that would make him move his hand.
“Never saw someone uncut in person.”
“Play later,” I demanded and he laughed, low, rough. A sharp spike of pleasure washed through me, especially when he gently squeezed the skin over my cockhead, using it to rub the spot that had me squirming and rocking faster on him while he ate at my lips with his.
My clothes got too hot and my shirt went flying along with his. Standing, I tried to give him a little show as I stripped the rest of the way, but was in too much of a hurry. Together we got his pants off, and I flushed all over at the way he watched me while I was bent down tugging the jeans off. I settled back where I was before and rested myself against him. He ran his fingers over me again and every inch of my body tingled with the torment. All of his hot soft skin against my own naked chest chest, and his relentless teasing on my shaft had me ready to do anything. I must have said something like that out loud because he laughed.
“Go to my room. I’ve got a stash of supplies in a box on my dresser.”
“I know,” I mumbled, but couldn’t bring myself to feel guilty as he tightened his grip on my cock and pumped faster. “Cleaned in there before.”
“Snoop,” he grumped and bit at my neck. He slid his cock up to press between my cheeks. I wanted him so bad. He stopped working me over and slapped my ass hard enough to sting. “Go.”
I ran in, fumbled, came back and straddled his lap again. I wanted him so bad my cock leaked drops out onto his stomach. He kissed me and I rubbed mindlessly against his body until he made me stop with another light crack of his hand on my ass. It took almost no time for him to get me ready and together we smoothed the condom onto his ramrod erection. I couldn’t wait. It felt so good to come when I was full, and this was Robbie.
His eyes met mine as I gripped the back of the couch. My thighs had that amazing sex burn as I sank onto him, closing my eyes to revel in the stretch and slide. Knowing I would have to be the one to do most of the work got me wound up too. I wanted to please him, make him feel good. It was my job to make sure he had a good time. I don’t know if he saw some of that on my face or what, but he gripped my hips tightly and surprised me by thrusting up with one smooth motion. My breath caught and I sank back down with him. He rubbed past that spot in my ass that had me groaning and gyrating my hips and it was his turn to gasp.
“We’ll do this together. No talking, only screaming,” he said with a wicked grin that sent me rocking against him while my cock ached for his touch. I worked myself on him and he moved me back a little until he was rubbing me inside just right on every upslide and I forgot all about everything except the intense tightening of my stomach and the coil of pleasure building in my ass and sending sparks up my shaft.
Panting, I managed to get out, “Almost.”
“You make me so happy, Justin.” He kissed my ear and rocked up into me and that was it. Liquid heat spurted up my shaft and quivers of delight stole my breath. I wrapped my hands around Robbie’s shoulders and held on as he pumped a few more times and then shoved in deep with a groan that had me squirming against him, fighting for a last aftershock of joy as my cock rubbed against him smearing my cum everywhere.
“Is this okay?” I asked quietly when we were both pressed close and breathing normally, his fingers still gripping my asscheeks. He didn’t let me go, only mouthed kisses along my shoulder.
He chuckled and then sunk his teeth into me hard enough to have me rocking on his still hard cock. “Who cares, as long as it’s what we want?” He mumbled against my skin, raising the hair on my arms.
“You’re still ready?” I asked as he urged me to move again.
“You wouldn’t believe how long I’ve been thinking about you,” he sighed. “I’m planning to love you as many times as my body will let me.”
Laughing, my breath hitched as he hammered my prostate. My cock swelled again. It had been years since I’d gone more than once for someone, but I wasn’t about to complain. And Robbie wasn’t just anyone. I hummed “All I Want for Christmas” and he groaned, but landed a light kiss landed on my cheek, and I’d never felt happier.
To read the next story in the Rainbow Advent, please visit the Facebook Rainbow Advent Group.
You can also find the List of Published Advent Stories and stories to come here.
Today I’m hosting Elizabeth Noble during the Excerpt Tour for her book Ringed Love! Take a look! Happy reading!
Hello and thank you Ki for hosting me today. The first chapter of Ringed Love is posted on Dreamspinner Press, so over the next two weeks I’ll be offering the first one hundred or so words of each subsequent chapter.
Today’s excerpt is from chapter 12.
“Is there a sheet soaked in saltwater in the backpack?” Nick asked as he and Todd made their way through the tables and found a place to sit near the back. Their position would afford them a good view of anyone coming in or leaving the bar.
Todd sat at the table, took off his pack, and dropped it to the floor between his feet. “Uh-huh. Sort of.”
He glanced around the bar and pulled menus from a holder on the table, handing one to Nick. “I found a local tourist shop that sells novelties associated with area legends. They had ponchos and wraps made with a dye combined with, among other things, salt, to create different patterns. According to the sign next to the ponchos, they’re supposed to protect you from evil and having your soul stolen. Very pretty. It’s a shame I plan on tossing it into the lake.”
New Colorado Protectorate fell with the assassination of Chancellor Clarke. Like many others, Todd and Nick Ruger left the land of their birth and made a home to the north in Yellowknife. Their world was ever changing. The time came to say a sad farewell to some of their friends and loved ones, but they were taken in with open arms by others and in turn offered shelter to yet more. Through the years they remained steadfast in their duty as sentries to protect and defend those that needed it the most.
Time marches on but through it all they hold each other dear and cherish the love they’ve shared. There are still angry ghosts, Windigos and water spirits to contend with. Their lives change, offering them new roles. When the time comes, they do what sentries have done for generations prior and teach others the skills to carry on as sentries. The Rugers lives were rich and their hearts full with their devotion and love for each other. The tradition of the sentries lived on forever. It was the legacy of Todd and Nick Ruger. That was the way it was always meant to be.
Elizabeth Noble started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into books and fanfiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M romance fiction. Being able to share her works with Dreamspinner is really a dream come true. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural and a bit of an unnatural interest in a super-volcano in Wyoming.
Elizabeth has three grown children and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed breed canine princess and her sidekick, tabby cat. She lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening and winter and summer sports (go Tribe and Cavs!) and stargazing all year long. When she’s not writing she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.
Elizabeth received several amateur writing awards. Since being published two of her novels have received honorable mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Her novel Jewel Cave was a runner up in the 2015 Rainbow awards in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category.
May 16 Kris Bethke https://kristbethke.com/
May 17 Susan Laine https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/11415563-guest-post-elizabeth-nobleMay 18 Meg Harding http://megharding.wordpress.com/
May 19 Jamie Lynn Miller https://jamielynnm.wordpress.com/
May 20 Charlie Descoteaux https://cdescoteauxwrites.com/
May 23 Grace R. Duncan http://www.grace-duncan.com/
May 24 Sarah Madison http://www.sarahmadisonfiction.com/
May 25 Rick R. Reed http://www.rickrreed.com/
May 26 Skylar M. Cates https://skylarmcates.wordpress.com/
May 27 Lou Sylvre http://sylvre.rainbow-gate.com/
May 30 Ki Brightly https://brightlybooks.wordpress.com/
May 31 Shira Anthony http://www.shiraanthony.com/
When you’re done reading all the Excerpts for Ringed Love you can pre-order Ki Brightly’s newest paranormal romance release at the Dreamspinner Press Website! (All e-formats available.)
Released June, 27th.
As a kid, Joseph Appleyard saw things hidden from others. Now he is The Paranaturalist, an investigator and cohost of a television show that seeks to prove the existence of the paranormal. Some think Joe is crazy, but they don’t realize he knows firsthand there’s more to the world than what most perceive. The trouble is, somewhere along the way, Joe lost his vision and it left his world flat and dull. One night an investigation goes horribly wrong, and a powerful ghostly manifestation sends Joe tumbling into a river. Spirit worker Owen Watson saves Joe’s life, and once they are back on dry land, whatever has been blocking Joe’s vision has been washed away.
When a haunting goes from annoying to dangerous, people turn to Owen Watson. He hates those infuriating hacks from TV, but when he pulls Joe from the river, his mind begins to change. Joe is scared and confused, and, Owen realizes, he might just be the real thing. Together, they work to understand the part of Joe that has been shut away for so long. But just as Joe is acclimating to his abilities, his career as a paranormal investigator is in danger of being ripped away. Owen would gladly battle a bloodthirsty spirit for Joe, but he’s out of his element in the world of reality television.
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I thought I would get directly into the good stuff with this first post. This is a little excerpt. We’re in Yulian Volkov’s head. He’s a werewolf and an entrepreneur and he takes both seriously…but not too seriously.
Evil. I know I’m being evil, but I grin and wink before sprinting for the shoreline. The water is a frigid shock as I splash in to swim out a short distance. The wind from the lake is clean. The water is clear and shallow. I can see the bottom of the lake in every direction spreading out sandy and dotted with rocks. I have nothing but exuberant gratification for the pulsing life in my veins while I stand dripping in the hot sun. I glance skyward, hoping for a half-cloaked glimpse of a pale version of the moon’s face in the sky, but the sun is too bright or it just isn’t there. I sink under a wave and come up wiping the droplets of water off my face with my hands. Gunshots blast my awareness back to the shore. My heart stutters before picking up double time.
Hell. I turn back to the beach in time to see Rolly finish unloading the Savage on a naked man crawling out of the underbrush near the tree line. He’s a mess, a bloody cracked-bone and leaking-innards mess, the likes of which I haven’t seen in a good while. A battlefield mess. The stench hits me, the rotting, foul stench of serpent. It’s not the same sick sweet of human. I’m almost surprised the blood is the shocking red it is, leaking out onto the sand. The dead man’s face is… gone. The brown hair on the scalp is matted. There were nine shots in the clip, all silver shot, and Rolly fires until the gun clicks dry. A grim satisfaction fills me as I watch him finish our kill from last night, witness him prove to himself and me that he is capable, can take care of himself. He’s an avenging angel with the gun snug to his shoulder. Part of my reaction is the moon. She puts us more in touch with our wolves, and the wolf is far more concerned with protecting our little pack than the right to life of a serpent who dared to slither his way into my territory. His death is… right. He tasted my blood, and my… my Rolly spilled his. I tread water, spread my fingers, and glory in the hedonistic sensations of my body cutting through the lake. Drifting. My erection doesn’t lose strength, fueled on by the happy thought that Rolly’s protecting me. He killed for me. Killed for our pack.
An insistent swirl of want pulses in my shaft.
“Fucking fuck, Yulian.” The way he yells my name sends a spike of worry into my core, dragging me away from my animal mind and spurring me to action. I force myself out of the water. Allowing gravity to tug at my body is unpleasant, but I’m closer to Rolly and his kill and that’s not. The sand is warm and sticks to the bottom of my feet. He’s not happy. I give in to my baser instincts, pulling him close when I reach him, snugging my body tight to his. I nuzzle my face against the cloth covering his shoulder. He’s unhappy? He gasps, whether from my touch or the cold wetness from my dip I don’t know.
“Thank you.” There’s an edge of a growl in my voice. He responds to it, curving his body around mine, sagging against me. He draws me closer to himself, nose in the hair at the top of my head. If he’s uncomfortable with my arousal, he doesn’t say as much. Maybe the dead body has something to do with his distraction? His chest expands under my cheek while he drags air into his lungs over and over, deep breaths. His muscles tremble and, finally, something holding him back breaks apart, and his arms wrap around me and grip me tight. The gun digs into my lower back because he still has both hands on the barrel even though he’s got me so tight to his body I can hear his heart beating. Time slips by and he gradually steps away, separating his body from mine. His eyes search mine, a lost look on his face. The frown tugging down his lips makes the dimple on his chin deeper. It takes a good breeze full of the scent of serpent blood to calm me, bring me back into the moment and away from the desire to ride his body here on the beach.
Dear god, the moon is blanketing my mind today, making this dance much harder.
“It’s a body,” he murmurs into my ear, eyes fixed on a point over my shoulder. The blood from the serpent is starting to irritate my nose. I’d like to scrub it from existence. Maybe we can burn it? No… that will simply put the stench into the air. I might have worked up some guilt over the death, but he’d attacked Rolly. Today he may have been looking for aid, but last night he would have devoured him. Unforgivable.
“Yes,” I answer him with a shrug.
“There’s… there’s a dead body on your private beach.”
“So it seems,” I sigh. I didn’t want to do the work of hiding a body today, but he’s too large to leave as carrion.
“Well, what the fuck do we do with that?” he asks, raising his voice as he drops the gun to the sand. Quickly, I retrieve it, frowning at him. If I make him clean them a few times, maybe he won’t be so fast to leave my guns lying around. Damn it. That reminds me. I scan the beach for the jingal and frown when I see it.
“Maybe you shouldn’t have shot him?” I’m trying to make a point, but he closes off immediately, taking a step back from me. I wish I would have kept my thoughts to myself. He did what was necessary and now I will too.
“I…. Can I have my life back, please?”
“If you hadn’t shot him, we might have been able to find some information first, but if you want a reason why you shouldn’t have done it, that’s the only one I have.” I want to comfort him, but I have no words or patience for it. I consider the body. “And this is making work for us on a full moon. That sucks too.” I squat down to measure the man with my eyes. Maybe we could just wrap him up really well in some tarps and drop him in the basement of the Meadery. Deal with it tomorrow? That seems like a bad idea. “Better go get the shovels,” I mumble to myself.
“You don’t care that I killed a man, do you?”
“He’s the selfsame serpent you were terrified of. He tried to kill us. Now he’s not a worry.” I shrug. No. I don’t care a lick.
“But… he’s a man now… he doesn’t… he’s a man.”
“He’s both just like we’re both.” He stomps away from me and back, taking the gun, slinging it over his shoulder again as he glares at me.
“I don’t want to be both,” he says petulantly. In that moment I can see how much younger than me he is, but maybe that isn’t fair. How is he not more connected to himself? He is his wolf. It makes no sense.
“There’s nothing to be done for it, and there’s nothing to be done for the body. We’ll have to get rid of it,” I say as blandly as possible, trying to keep the irritation out of my voice. I’m not sure I did though when he gives me an assessing look and steps back from me another few feet.
“Bury him, I suppose. I would weight him down in the lake, but I don’t want to swim with him.”
“I’m going be sick.”
“If this makes you queasy, you should refrain from asking me about the war.”
“Ugh. Mother fuck, Yulian. You’re a stone-cold motherfucker, you know that? That’s a dead man.” He squints into the sun, grip tight on his gun.
Frowning at him, I stand as I brush sand from my hands. “Would you like for me to feel badly about it? And what? Call the cops? Call Dean and tell him we murdered one of his men? Ask if they would like to collect the body for a cheap funeral?”
“I… no… I… what the fuck? I can’t expect humanity from you?” He looks hurt, like I’ve betrayed him somehow, but I have to make the decisions that protect us both.
“Not in this.”
That shut him up, and not in a way I would have liked. He’s upset. His musk is tinged with something I don’t enjoy. It isn’t fear, but it’s close, and it’s because of me, or at least because I can’t pretend to care that this creature is dead. It doesn’t take long to trek back out to the barn, taking with me the long rifle Rolly dumped on the beach last night. He will be cleaning it, I decide as I tramp through the woods with shovels. When we’re staring down at the mess again, it seems like it might be easier to dig up the sand rather than dig a hole in the woods. If we hit water, it won’t matter too much because it will make the corpse decompose faster. I start digging beside the body so we can dump it in, my mind wandering back over all the holes I’ve helped to dig over the years. I didn’t think I’d be digging one so soon after bringing Rolly to my home.
“What are you doing?” His tense face squints around the beach as if he expects someone to come charging in to ask what we’re doing with a dead body. The wrinkle between his brows begs me to smooth it with a finger. I stop, jamming the shovel into the sand to lean against it.
“Digging a hole.” I nod to him, then continue, my shovel lifting the sand out of the growing hole and over my shoulder steadily. He doesn’t interrupt me again until the hole is well over my head.
“How are you going to get out of there?” He leans over the opening to look down at me so the only thing I can see is the dazzle of sunlight around his head like a halo.
“I was hoping you wouldn’t leave me down here.” I grin. I’m covered in sweat and sand, but the burn of the physical labor is nice. I can’t wait to take a dip in the lake. When I’ve decided the hole is deep enough, I stop and toss the shovel out. Rolly lends me an arm to help me climb up. I have a fine coating of sand on me. It’s uncomfortable, but the body needs to be at the bottom of the misshapen oblong hole I dug before I can do anything about it, so I wipe my hands on my swim trunks and consider it. With all the gore, I don’t want to touch the remains. I take the shovel to start pushing at the body, but it’s not budging or in enough pieces to shove them down one by one. I’m actually going to have to pick it up to move it. Sighing, I toss my shovel aside and bend down, grabbing a mostly intact leg. When I lift there’s a sickening sucking sound. I stop before I have a leg in my hand , dropping it to the ground.
“Will you—” I cut myself off when Rolly makes a dainty gagging noise behind his hand. Either it came from him or a mouse, but with the unnatural paleness of his face making him look like a blue-eyed ghost, it must have been him. I don’t intend to laugh, but once I start, it gets a little out of hand. He glares at me, giving me a look I don’t know I’ve ever gotten from anyone as he flips me off.
“I’m not a fucking damsel in distress, so stop it, but… I’ll do just about anything in the world if you don’t make me touch…. Why does it smell so bad?… fuck…. Please?” he says widening his eyes and pouting. Oh, he’s used this before, but it works, my gut twisting, my hard-on that had wilted with the physical labor more than happy to start firming back up, accompanied by a warm rush of awareness.
“Oh… now… that’s an offer I can consider. What will you give me?” I’m flirting over a corpse. I… let it never be said something new doesn’t happen every single day. I smile my brightest smile and relax, hands resting lightly on my hips.
“Come, now. You can’t think of a single thing you’d give me after making the offer?”
“Clean your house?”
“You’re already doing it.”
“Work for you at the Meadery?”
“You’ve already technically started there.”
“Well, what then?”
“I’m sure you’ll think of something,” I say with another grin and throw in a wink. I drop down to my knees, put both hands on the largest intact piece of the body, the torso, dig my feet into the sand, and push. It’s not as easy as it should be because of the sand, but there isn’t far to go. Good old-f ashioned ingenuity. Why doesn’t everyone dig a hole beside the corpse? Make life easier? With a solid exertion of effort I tumble the body into the hole, but a leg stays behind. Rolly gags again when I pick it up and drop it down. There’s a wet plop at the bottom. It sounds like water is already filling in the hole. Damn it. We will probably be able to smell this for a month or more. Frowning, I use the shovel to scoop up the bloody sand and toss it down into the hole too. No sense leaving evidence lying around, plus it smells to high hell. Rolly doesn’t seem to mind the blood as much. He uses his shovel to help me scoop the rest of the stained sand into the hole and then comes the easy part, packing the dirt and sand back in where it came from. By the time we’re done, the smell has significantly lessened, and even though there is a rounded mound where the body is, it’s probably going to settle out in a few days, and it doesn’t look that out of place after we toss some dry sand onto it.
“You’re pretty good at this whole… disposing-of-a-body disaster. Have you done this before?” he asks, following me to the edge of the lake. He stares out over the clear water, brushing back bangs that are a little too long. The water seems colder after warming up my muscles, so I wade out carefully. I wish he would strip down and come in with me.
“A few times, but never here.” When the water is deep enough and I dip under the surface. There’s an anxious moment while my ears aren’t tuned to the shore, where there’s nothing but the womb-like silence of the water around me, but when I surface, there are no gunshots. No yelling. My heartbeat slows back down to somewhere near normal. I rub the water off my face so I can be ready for anything, but the beach is as peaceful as it ever is.
“I’m sorry,” Rolly says as he bends down to lift something off the sand. It’s another piece of beach glass. He holds up the small red piece, letting it catch the sunlight, a wisp of a smile on his face, before he drops it into his pocket. How does he keep finding the red ones?
“Not your fault.”
He doesn’t say anything, but wanders farther down the beach. My instincts are yelling at me to track him and comfort him, but I swim out, striking for an outcropping of rocks a quarter mile from shore. When I get there I pull myself up onto them, frightening a few indignant seagulls, who wheel away, squawking at me. Settling in, it’s easy to watch him wandering the beach. He drops the Savage onto a bone-white log, not something I’m happy with while I spy, but he’s out of shells anyway. While I sit, the gentle breeze kicks up into a wind, pulling at his clothes, tossing his hair. It’s nice to see him mostly relaxed, pausing to skip a rock here and there. After a bit he stops, waves at me, and a thumping warmth in my chest spreads out to the rest of my body while I wave back. He’s going to be a large, solid man when he’s done growing. His shoulders are taking on a heavier appearance from what he was last year. His father was a mountain among hills, so it makes sense the son might follow, but he has his mother’s slimness, so perhaps he is done filling out? It will be a pleasure to see either way. I lean back to watch some clouds, my desire firm and heavy between my legs, the moon buzzing in my head as I drop back onto the sun-warmed rock.
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I hope you enjoyed this small glimpse into the book!
Check out a brand new flash fiction over at the Dreamspinner Press Blog. It’s a sweet little Halloween outtake from The Shape of Honey Universe.
Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.
Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.
Hello! I have a flash fiction piece over at Lex Chase’s blog today. Check it out.
Lex Chase was kind enough to invite me back for another Flash Fiction Friday!