After Anna - Excerpt
Incubus - Prelude scene to After Anna
Beneath the Neon Moon - Part I of The Neon Moon trilogy
Rising Wolf - Part II of The Neon Moon trilogy; excerpt
Not Five Years - Short story
The Vampire's Boy - Excerpt
Eromenos - Excerpt
What I Need - Excerpt
The Band Plays On - Excerpt
Of Wolves and Witches and Fireballs in the Sky (adult fairy tales written under a pseudonym)
Will and Tyler are partners on the police force, best friends ... and maybe more.
When Will's girlfriend dies, Tyler supports him in every way he can, even when Will's increasingly self-destructive behavior endangers them both on the job. And as Will withdraws further, a desperate Tyler can't keep his feelings hidden anymore.
But Will doesn't turn his back on him. In fact, Will might have some feelings of his own he's kept hidden. The trouble is, Tyler's kept more than one secret. He knows something about Anna's death--something that could end their relationship for good.
As the pressure mounts, denial, anger and pain drives one of them to do something he’ll never forgive himself for. Luckily his best friend has enough forgiveness for both of them—at least until he disappears, leaving behind a grieving partner who’ll do absolutely anything to save him.
“Actually, I think I've heard of this before.”
“Yes, really. Copulatia fuckititus, pal. I remember it from college, now you mention it.”
“I'd hate to waste good whiskey, but I'm about to throw it at you.” Tyler stood and followed Will, swaying, still trying to use a napkin to pat at Will's blue shirt. He managed to slop some more on Will from his glass in the process.
Will glared at him. “If you don't mind, I'm trying to pontificate, here.”
“So poontang all you want. I'm trying to wipe the booze off you.”
Will laughed. “Shit. You said that on purpose.” He bent over, holding his stomach, and laughed some more. “Poontang.”
Tyler grinned hugely and gestured at Will's bent-over posture. “You have to take a piss or you getting friendly on me?”
Will laughed again and collapsed on the couch and then, just like that, the laughter was gone because all the fucking in the world, all the drinking and all the jokes weren't going to fix this. It hit him like a bag of sand right between the eyes.
“Will?” Tyler finally asked, a little thickly. Will sat there, head lying at a steep angle, resting it on the back of the couch. His throat moved as he swallowed. “Hey. Hey, Will. Talk to me.”
“I had no idea about Anna. None.”
“She didn't want you to know.” Tyler slouched down beside him.
“There was this whole other part of her that I didn't know. Some detective, huh." Will shook his head in disgust. "Shit, I've been on the streets enough to recognize the signs. I didn't. That bastard fed her all the drugs she wanted and had himself an easy piece of ass for his troubles, didn't he? And I was oblivious, walking around with my head in the goddamn clouds. What an idiot.”
“You weren't an idiot. I never saw her high, either. So you trusted her. Something you do with people you love,” Tyler said with a gentle sarcasm.
“Love is blind, huh? Only if you're a fucking idiot.”
Tyler tapped the back of Will's hand. “Do not do this.”
Will raised his head up and blinked, trying to meet Tyler's eyes. “Do what?”
“Make me stare at you. I'm too drunk to hold my head steady.” Will smiled a little. “C'mon, don't blame yourself. You know better.”
“You have this idea of me, Ty, and I don't know who you're seeing, but it isn't anybody who knows better.”
“The hell with that. I know what I see. It's you who's too busy blaming yourself to see how things are.”
“Oh, really?” Will asked listlessly.
“You don't have any fucking idea how I see you, Will, so shut up.”
“Just where the hell is this coming from?”
“Maybe you're right. Maybe you don't see things sometimes.”
Will raised his voice. “I fucking know I don't, that's what I said. Why the fuck are you on my case?”
Tyler didn't reply, his lips set in a tight line.
Will sat back again slowly and shrugged. Forcing his body to relax, he leaned back and dropped his head against the top of the couch again.
The sofa creaked and the seat cushion next to him rocked downwards. Will's eyes flew open and Tyler's face hung over his, angry and determined and almost scared. His mouth lowered, touched Will's, soft, then harder, something unleashing from inside him, and he drove Will down into the cushion, pushing his weight into him.
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Short prequel scene to After Anna
I have a recurring dream that's driving me fucking crazy. In it, we’re up at my uncle’s cabin. Will’s sprawled over the same bunk he slept in last time. He's wearing that black undershirt of his, half-buttoned so that it shows quick flashes of skin when he moves.
It's night. Moonlight splashes in across the windowsill to spill over him like a statue, over the individual hairs of his legs and crotch, tracing them in gleaming detail like a fine pattern set in silver.
Oh, I don't think I mentioned that the black shirt is the only thing he's wearing.
Anyway, his back is curved against the headboard, legs thrown apart, eyes closed against the cold light. The shadows gather in the dark corners of the room, watching his palm come down to cup the crown of his cock. He rotates his hand against the head slowly and makes a low, soft sound. Long fingers stretch, move down, then slide upward.
I want to taste him, wrap my mouth around the hard length of him, feel the big vein throbbing beneath with my tongue. I know what he'd feel like in my mouth, imagined it enough. Want it enough.
His eyes open up and the light makes them look like deep green glass. His hand strokes, squeezes the head of his cock in his fist.
My hand drops down, rubbing, slow push against the growing bulge in my jeans. I imagine it's Will's hand and unzip myself, thrust out my hips, do it again.
His eyes widen. He sees me.
I know it's a dream, it's impossible, but he’s looking at me. At my hand, still now, frozen. At my hard-on.
I feel my face flush warm and I lean against the doorframe, legs gone to rubber. I open my mouth to speak but nothing comes. What the hell would I say?
He leans his head against the headboard, gaze gone down to lazy moon glints. His hand stills. He watches me, face expressionless.
"Will?" I finally whisper, my heart pounding drumbeats just beneath my skin.
He smiles a little, a statue come back to life. His hand slides down his cock. It strains against his fingers and his hips push into them, his eyes hot on me. He groans and my name is in it.
Suddenly I can move again. I stumble forward and fall to my knees on the floor by the bunk.
He looks at me, in me. He leans over, slow mouth lowering, covering mine, moving over me, heat, wet, longing. He pushes me with the weight of his body. His hands move to my face and I close my eyes as he kisses me into the wall with his tongue, his teeth, his wordless voice, his harsh breaths.
It's just like I imagined, how I knew he'd feel, how I knew I'd feel. Like everything I ever wanted. But when I open my eyes, he'll be gone. It's not real, never is.
Some day, though. Tomorrow or next week or next year—though that year thing makes something hurt deep in my chest—I'll look and he'll still be here.
One day. One time. Just once.
I open my eyes.
BENEATH THE NEON MOON
Part I of The Neon Moon trilogy
Zach's alone, he's lost his job and the rent's coming due. He thinks he knows all about bad luck, but he's about to find out what it really means.
In high school, Mal was the golden boy. Then he lost his way. Now he's back on track, working his way through college and looking toward the future.
They've never met, but one summer night changes everything for both of them. Suddenly they're in desperate trouble, trapped and bound together in darkness.
The moon is riding high and bright in the sky when Zach notices Mal's changing, growing volatile and wild. Suddenly Zach's got bigger things to worry about than being kidnapped--he's trapped with a man who's going wolf with the full moon.
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Part II of The Neon Moon trilogy
By all rights, Zach should be dead, with Mal forced into the wolf pack that turned him into a monster. But that's not what happens.
Mal is a werewolf, but he's not part of the pack. He and Zach are alive and swearing vengeance on the wolves that started them down this road. All they have to do is figure out how, with a seemingly invincible wolf pack determined to claim Mal as their own.
That's not the only problem. Zach thought staying alive was their biggest obstacle, but he's wrong. Mal's not himself, grappling for control of the rising wolf inside. Coupled with Mal's guilt and fear for Zach's safety, retaliation seems more and more of a pipe dream.
So, Zach adjusts his expectations. First, he has to convince his co-kidnapee-turned-boyfriend that they need to stay together.
Sounds doable, right?
Zach heard faint music coming from the phone in the background. A piano. "I have some stuff here that you could use, and I want you to have it. I was doing research, remember?"
"Yeah. I have the notes from the library you emailed me. I think I could rock the unibrow thing."
Zach smiled in spite of himself. "Nobody rocks the unibrow."
"So, did you have a good time going out last Thursday?"
"It was okay. I went out a bunch with Charlie and Mark and some of the other guys after I got laid off, but truthfully it's beginning to get old. I mean, I like seeing the guys, but…same old, same old, I guess." The cat's body on his leg was too warm. Zach shifted on the couch. Jasper looked at him, eyes wide and dark, but declined to get off him.
"So who are Charlie and Mark?"
"Mark's a guy I've worked with off and on over the last couple of years. Charlie's my best friend since I was kid."
"Even moving around the way you did?"
"Yeah, I met him before we started moving so much. Charlie's had me a summer job waiting when I hit Caraville the last couple of years."
"It's weird that we don't even know each other's best friends."
"Feels like we should know each other through and through," Zach agreed. That's one of the reasons it's so hard to think you might not come back.
"Yeah, I'm actually surprised when I realize we don't, yet. Anyway…I read over the notes you took, and I read up on silver."
"What'd you find out?" Zach asked, despite the fact he'd meant to give Mal the information he had and then get off the phone as quickly as possible.
"Mostly that there are more forms of silver than I knew, and it has a lot of uses. I'm wondering how all the different forms affect weres. I bought a few things from a pawn shop in the foothills and ordered some other stuff to be delivered, since I figured I'd be here a few days. So I guess I'll find out."
"By testing them on yourself?" Zach stroked Jasper's back. The cat twitched beneath his fingers, fur flying in the air. He needed combing. He seemed to shed all the time.
"I don't know how else to do it."
Zach's fingers tensed. "It's a shitty way to find out. It's going to hurt you, Mal." The cat looked up at him, eyes narrowed.
"Now you're sounding more like yourself, Nurse Nightingale," Mal teased.
"I can't not sound like myself. I am myself," Zach said. Apparently Mal could get him to engage even over the phone.
"Now you're trying to irritate me. You know what, that ain't happening. I like hearing from you too much."
Zach sighed. "See that there gadget in your hand you're talking into? You can dial out."
"Last time I did I ended up pissing you off. I thought I'd give you a break."
"Mal—" Zach stopped, misery settling around his shoulders again. They'd been through all this before. "So, I have some of the other stuff on the list you'll want to check out, too. I told you I ordered mistletoe online, right?"
"Didn't I read mistletoe is poisonous to animals? It's not anywhere Jasper can get at, is it? "
"It's bagged up, Mal." Zach blinked back sweat. The room was too fucking hot.
"Okay, okay," Mal said, chastised. "I appreciate this. You're—" he faltered.
"Smart. Focused. That's what you were going to say, right? And helpful, and shit like that, yes?"
Mal laughed. "Yes, I was going to say that, absolutely. And also maybe a little intense. And incredible. But you didn't have to buy that stuff. I know you don't have the money."
"No worries, it wasn't much, and besides I got paid. I bought some rye seeds, too, since that's on the list. Turns out they sell 'em at health food stores. I can send you links or tell you where I bought this stuff if that'll help." He was talking a lot, clutching the phone too tight. Zach forced himself to ease up on the pressure. "There's more. I told you about a couple of things we could collect from up in the mountains. You know I'm working at The Pines, so I took a little trip into the higher altitudes after work one day and found some mountain ash and monkshood. It's drying in the laundry room."
"Yep. Creepy looking shit, kinda. Something about the texture of the flowers bugs me. But anyway, I wanted to make sure you get it."
"Okay," Mal said. "Thank you. I can't believe you did all this."
"Not that big a deal. Your parents live close to The Pines, right? I thought we could meet or something. Just to give you this stuff."
Whatever you want, okay?" Zach hesitated. "We don't have to, you know, hang out or anything."
"It's not like I don't want to see you." On Mal's end, the music in the background hit a crescendo.
"I'm just listening to what you've been telling me." Zach ducked his head, rubbing a hand over his short hair. "You don't think we can risk seeing each other. So let me give you this shit and get it over with, okay? Let me help this much, and I'll leave you alone." He sounded desperate and he knew it.
"I'm sorry, Zach." Mal's voice fell at the same time the piano in the background went silent.
"No more apologies. Or I'll shoot you with a silver bullet myself." Jasper jumped off Zach's lap, tail twitching. The cat disappeared into the gloom of the next room.
"I just keep fucking up with you, don't I?"
Zach closed his eyes at the raw tone. "I understand why you're doing this, okay? When do you want to meet up?"
"I can come by the site next week if that's good."
"Okay." Zach reached to end the call, finger hovering over the button, but he didn't press it. "Who was playing the piano?"
"Mom. She's pretty good."
"That sounded better than pretty good to me."
"That's Mom for you," Mal said dryly. "Perfection is her calling."
"That wasn't a compliment, sounds like. But you're glad to be home?" Now that the cat was gone, Zach stretched out his legs.
"Sure. I think. The fact that the folks let me in the door was a big step. I tell you, it's been interesting, trying to fix our relationship while suppressing these new instincts. The new, unimproved werewolf additions to my personality. Wouldn't want to do something bizarre in front of the family when I just got back in their good graces, now would I?"
"Bizarre, huh? Like what?"
Mal thought a moment. "This will sound weird."
"Who else can you talk to about this stuff?" Zach asked, intrigued.
"Uh, well. You know anything about wolf pack dynamics?"
"Some, I guess. Can you be specific?"
"It's all about hierarchy, you know?"
"Sure. Like dogs," Zach said. "So how's that affecting you and your folks?"
"It's not affecting anything because I'm not letting it."
"Okay, what are you not letting yourself do?" Zach asked, exasperated. "Are you actually embarrassed, Mal? You?"
"No," Mal said, lack of conviction evident.
Zach thought a moment. "Let's see…you're not like, marking territory or something?" A laugh escaped him in spite of himself.
"'Mal, confide in me.' Isn't that basically what you just said?" Mal said, desert dry.
"I know. I'm sorry," Zach said, and laughed again. "It's just I had a visual."
"Well, shit. I'm not pissing on the furniture if that's what you're asking, and what does marking territory have to do with hierarchy? You're amusing yourself at the expense of a werewolf. Is that really smart?" Mal was silent a moment, then added, "You're an asshole, you know that?"
Zach laughed again. "I know. I'm sorry."
"You're not sorry. Now listen. The problem is a dominance thing. Mom and Dad get all freaked out, talking about the past, and next thing you know I'm wanting to stand over them, make sure they understand who's—and it's—"
"What, Mal? C'mon."
"They're giving off these, these signals and scents. Uncertainty, fear. It sets off something in me." Mal huffed out, frustrated. "They're unsettled, and I have to make sure they know who's boss, that I can take care of it. Them. But they're my parents. Damn if it doesn't feel odd, Zach. I'm not embarrassed so much as it's hard for me to understand. There's this whole new set of reactions in me, trying to take over."
"They won't take over if you don't want them to. Hell, you controlled yourself enough to get me out of the leg chain the first time you turned. You can handle this."
"Here's hoping you're right." Mal paused. "Nothing's the same. And it's weird, waking up and realizing my brother's gone."
Zach blinked. "You have a brother?"
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NOT FIVE YEARS
He's been gone less than a week.
I miss Dean. I’m not a guy who normally admits to stuff like that, tries not to think it, either, but he’s been gone for a week.
Okay, nearly a week. Five days. Feels longer. Anyway.
He had a family reunion back in New Hampshire. Mom, Dad, cousins, the whole bunch. And Dean’s got a big family. Okay, so I’m not one for crowds to begin with. When he asked me to come with him, I begged off. Not because of the crowd thing. It’s just that I’m not ready, especially not when I know how his family reacted to his coming out last year.
I’ve seen those looks on other faces—remember all too well how it sat on my brother’s face. My father’s. Uneasy because they didn’t know what to do with the fact of me being gay, and tense because they tried so hard to cover up the unease.
It’s not that they didn't try, but the truth of the matter is that it made my entire family uncomfortable. Which made me uncomfortable.
Shit. Dean’s been gone five days and I’m acting like the dog someone left at the kennel to go on vacation, for God’s sake.
So, we have a house. It’s small, one-story. And we have a dog (speaking of). I love Chewie. I love him even more at the moment. He keeps me company. The house may be small but it feels damn big at the moment. Empty.
I turn off the TV, hear Chewie lapping up water down the hall in the kitchen, and go to let him out. It’s dark out and there’s a cool breeze. Chewie stands at the fence and barks at the neighbor’s dog. Seems like he’s in no hurry to come in, so I head inside for a quick shower.
Even with the dog barking outside, it feels quiet.
I felt like a fucking idiot getting on that plane. I’ve only been gone five days, not five fucking years, but by the time I landed I didn’t even bother feeling stupid anymore. And by the time the cabbie let me out in front of the house I just wanted to see him.
Okay, and maybe other things.
Chewie runs from behind the house and jumps me, hitting me with both paws square in the middle of my chest. I laugh and ruffle his ears and head, talking nonsense to him, then go inside. I don’t hear David until I head for the bedroom. Then I hear the shower and stop outside the bathroom door. Push it open.
His body’s all slick-wet, hair plastered to his skull. Strong legs bracing himself against the shower wall, stroking himself hard, cock jutting, gleaming in the cascade of water, making those grunting noises in the back of his throat. His hand moves faster, jacking himself, open-mouthed, eyes closed, gasping, his dick going a dusky color in his fist.
I drop my bags and step in the shower. Fully clothed. At this moment I could care less if the President himself got on the boob tube and announced that I am a spineless, miserable wuss who can’t stay away from my boyfriend for five days without folding like a bad hand of cards.
His eyes fly open and for a second he looks scared shitless. After all, it’s not like I told him I was coming home early. I wanted to surprise him. I smile and cover his mouth with mine, and when we finally break away, he looks down at my soaking clothes and laughs his ass off. But only until I sink down on my knees.
I catch the head of his cock between my lips, feeling it jump, feeling the heat, the pulse of him inside my mouth, and then I suck him hard, hot and close. His green eyes burn and he pants, mouth open, holding my head and pushing me harder down on him. I grab his ass in both hands, feeling him heavy in my mouth, sucking him hard and fast, and I run a hand between his legs, behind his balls, and push just a little inside. He's so tight- I feel him spasm around the tip of my finger. Then he opens his legs wide, pressing down, asking for more. I push another finger just inside, rotating them both, pushing my mouth over his cock as far as I can go. He arches his spine, eyes gone dark and wild, desperate, looking into mine. His mouth is open and wet, panting, and then he’s writhing against the wall, shooting off, jerking against my lips.
I take everything he’s got and swallow it, asking for more. God I want more.
And I tell you, even if it's only been five days and I’m an idiot for missing this guy so damned much—this big, lanky, moody guy with the green eyes and wide smile made just for me—then so be it.
So fucking be it.
THE VAMPIRE'S BOY
Jared is on the receiving end of a young vampire's obsession. He's also in love with his best friend, Jordan. But he pushes Jordan away, fearing for his safety.
Jordan is just beginning to make sense of the pent-up feelings he's had for Jared over the years. When Jared rejects him, he's crushed. Then he discovers Jared's hiding something from him.
Something that’s killing him.
“Wait!” Charlie called. “Look. Sideshow. We gotta to check it out.” He pointed at a big sign lit by glaring white lights with FREAKS OF THE WORLD painted in lurid green and purple letters. In smaller letters below were SEE THE PICKLED PUNKS and CECILIA – HEAD OF A BEAUTIFUL GIRL, BODY OF A 200 LB. SNAKE!! and finally 380 LB. BABY – IT LIVES!
“Sideshow?” Jared turned back slowly. The color was back in his face.
Jordan and Charlie nodded, grinning.
Jared’s brows rose. “Rubber babies in jars? Photos of rubber babies in jars?”
Jordan and Charlie nodded again, still grinning. “Don’t think there’s a jar big enough to hold a 380 lb. baby,” Charlie added.
“You never know. Marvels and mysteries inside,” Jordan said, sweeping a hand somewhat drunkenly toward the entrance and losing his balance. He recovered without falling, looking startled that he did. Jared cuffed him on the head, seeming to shake off whatever it was that had made him act so strangely.
The barker stood behind a podium at the top of the stairs by the entrance. He wore a red-striped suit and smelled like whiskey, strong enough that they could smell it even though they’d been drinking. The glaring lights bounced off his broad, bald head. He took their money and ushered them inside.
The display cases ran back-to-back down the middle, brightly lit, glassed in and facing outward. Curtains the color of rusty blood lined the walls from top to bottom, dark and blank, keeping the focus on the center of the room.
Jordan and Jared walked over to the largest display. Cecilia the snake girl sat behind plexiglass, wood chips strewn over the floor.
“As advertised,” Jared said, smiling at the girl. “Head of a girl, body of a snake.”
“Damn, that is one heavy shellac job on the snake part,” Jordan said, waving at her with two fingers. “See the mirrors?”
Cecilia smiled, inclined her head. “Want to hear my sad, sad story?” Her lips were bright red, and her dark hair flowed over her snake body.
“Thanks but no thanks,” Jordan said.
“We just wanted to see you,” Jared said, smiling at her. “You’re amazing.”
Cecilia laughed. Her teeth were white and small and perfect. “Aren’t I, though.”
Jordan looked at Jared incredulously as they walked away.
“Don’t give me shit, it’s her job,” Jared said, bumping Jordan’s shoulder with his. They moved down the trailer, checking out more of the displays.
“Ugh,” Charlie said, looking through glass at the huge hairless man in a diaper. “If that were my baby I’d shoot it.”
The man grinned at them and scratched his chest. “It’s a living.”
Jared smiled back, and Charlie patted Jared’s back.
“Most of this shit’s just pictures,” Jordan said contemptuously, moving past Jared and Charlie. The floor creaked beneath his steps.
“What’d you expect? I think it’s great,” said Jared.
Charlie reached into one of the cases and tapped glass. “Here’s the jar babies.” He peered closely into the viscous, greenish fluid. “Oh my god, this one’s got two penises.” He frowned. “I think. Kind of hard to tell on a fetus.”
He moved to the next display. This one had another jar inside, a “certified doctor’s statement” in officious-looking print, and a framed article. “Apparently this guy vomits up a gallon of puke every day. This says he tried to stop but he got really sick, and when he did blow, everything that was backed up came on out. It was like Old Faithful. Now he just goes with the flow, so to speak—oh ha ha, they made a funny. He’s in perfect health now,” Charlie said, reading. “Apparently his system has adapted to the acid in the digestive juices.
"And looky here, a jar of vomit preserved for the curious. Nasty. Looks like any old floating, preserved vomit. I guess.” He rolled his eyes.
Jordan looked in a tall aquarium sitting in one of the display cases. “Devil piranhas from Brazil strip a cow to the bone within minutes!!” he read, then looked in the tank. He sighed. “There’s not even a feeder fish in there to rip up.”
Jared stepped in front of the tank and peered in at the piranhas swimming around. “One of them is missing an eye. Bet the others ate it. Make you feel better?”
He moved off down the row of displays, then stopped before one of them and whistled, long and low. Jordan looked at the case where Jared was standing, seeing only a couple of black and white photos and a yellowed newspaper article taped up alongside them.
“His balls are so big he’s sitting on them,” Jared breathed. He leaned closer and peered at the picture, wrinkling his nose. “Motherfuckers, he is sitting on his balls.” He gestured at the others to come and see.
“That’s not real,” Jordan protested.
“How do you know?”
“Because I know. You’re gullible, man.”
“You don’t know. He’s got a bonafide condition. Gigantism of the balls. Poor guy.” Jared shook his head and then laughed. “How the fuck would you get around with a set like that? A wheel barrel, maybe?” The others crowded around him, peering inside the case.
“Never mind that. How does one even clothe gigantor balls?” Charlie asked.
“Best just to wear a mumu,” Jordan decided.
“A mumu.” Jared’s upper lip curled. The florescent light gave his hair a blueish tinge.
“If it were real and if I had those balls, I’d wear a mumu.," Jordan said.
“Thanks for that mental picture,” Charlie muttered. “Let’s get out of here.” He headed back toward the door. Jared and Jordan followed along slowly.
“Was it everything you hoped for?” Jordan asked Jared as they climbed down the stairs outside.
Jared grinned. “Yeah. It kind of was.”
Jordan laughed. “You’re trashed.”
The barker was silent, no one close enough to try and entice inside. He smirked at them. Jared stared at the light reflecting off his head and stumbled on the bottom step, twisting his ankle. He sat on the ground and pointed up at the guy. “Your head, shit. That is mesmerizing.”
“Fuck you,” said the carny.
“Let me get my shades first,” Jared sneered. The guy laughed.
Charlie put out a hand to pull him up on his feet. “You okay?”
“Yeah, sure.” Jared winced a little but started walking. “Need more booze.”
“Truer words. Come on, guys. Round the back,” Charlie said, pulling them both off the path, stepping over cables to behind the sideshow trailer. Other cables snaked over the ground, emanating humming electrical sounds. A hedge ran a couple of yards behind the trailer. There were shadows all around.
Charlie pulled the JD out of his pants pocket and looked at it sadly. “We hardly knew you,” he said to it. He took a long swallow, then passed it to Jordan.
Jordan took it, listening to the non-stop cacophony of music in the background. The trailer acted like a buffer between them and the rest of the world, the noise and movement on the other side of it still there but separate. He heard a voice ringing out from the strongman game, back the way they’d come: Who wants to prove they’re a man instead of a boy?
He tipped the bottle skyward, staggering backward into a warm body. Jared wrapped his arms around him. Jordan jerked, surprised, but stayed where he was. His limbs felt heavy, his back warm and comfortable where Jared leaned into him.
A bell clanged. Somebody must have been a man, not a boy, Jordan thought, trying not to think about how his heart was speeding up with Jared wrapped around him.
Charlie moved up close in front of him and leaned in, speaking softly. “Seen you looking at him, Jordan. It’s okay.” He leaned over Jordan’s shoulder, and Jared kissed him.
Jordan’s stomach tightened. “Uh, I don’t want to be the middle of your sandwich. And may I remind you, Charlie, you don’t like me?”
“I have grown to like you,” Charlie said, somewhat drunkenly. “This very night.”
Jared spoke in Jordan’s ear. “Told you. Nobody can dislike you unless they themselves suck ass and are stupid. Which Charlie is not.”
Jordan shivered at Jared’s breath against his ear. He turned his head and looked at him. This close, he felt the heat of Jared’s face, saw stubble catch red light from the double Ferris wheel on the other side of the Midway. Jared’s eyes were wide and happy, the hollows of his cheeks dark with shadow. His mouth curved, watching Jordan watch him. He pressed closer, chin digging into Jordan’s shoulder.
Jordan didn’t move. His heart was thumping in his chest. He thought maybe Jared could hear it.
Jared kissed him on the cheek. “Just inside,” he whispered, “is a guy with huge balls. And you think this is weird?”
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He is god, beast, and devil: Pan, Baphomet, and cambion combined. He sends dreams to his chosen one, summoning flesh unto spirit so that he might walk the land again. But the chosen one fights his commands.
Xander has no idea why his dreams have turned so repetitive, sexual and uncontrollable. They're threatening his sanity and driving his dorm-mate, Seth, crazy. Worse yet, the dreams have power. People are getting hurt, and neither of them has a clue how to stop it.
Luckily Xander has Seth, and that might be enough to overcome anything–even the commands of a god.
HARVEY GILPATRICK BOMBED his topology midterm in spectacular fashion, eyes glazing over the simplest question, tense fingers snapping the pencil in his grip.
Afterward, he walked through the line at the cafeteria for dinner, filling his plate. He ate methodically, speaking to no one, shoveling food into his mouth until the plate was clean. He drained his cup and wiped his mouth neatly.
Shoving his tray aside, Harvey fished inside the pocket of his jacket and pulled out an odd little instrument made of wooden pipes.
Airy notes rose above the buzz of conversation. The cafeteria quieted as the music grew louder.
One of the pipes was cracked—the music broke every time Harvey blew on it. He flung the instrument to the floor, climbed onto the lunch table, and began singing the alphabet in one long stream, voice off-key and hollow in the high-ceilinged room.
Laughter peppered the room here and there, but most of the students only watched him, eyes flickering left and right to see how everyone else reacted.
Harvey climbed off the table and stretched out on the cafeteria floor. He raised his head and slammed it onto the marble floor. The dull thump made some of the students jump and wince. Someone gasped. Harvey bashed the back of his head into the floor over and over, mumbling about topological spaces and the endowments of x.
An ambulance took him away. It was his third year of college, and he didn’t come back.
SETH MAYFAIR COULDN’T stand his roommate, and his roommate couldn’t stand him. If the college didn’t approve his room transfer soon, Seth swore he’d camp out on a park bench. Luckily that turned out to be unnecessary.
The week after Harvey snapped and left for good, Seth inherited his old room and his old roommate. Moving was easy—he’d already packed and was living out of packing boxes and suitcases.
He had a class on Friday morning. After it was over, he headed back to his dorm, housed in an eleven-storied brick and stone building.
The new room was in the same building, on the opposite side and on a higher floor. He rode the elevator up, box in his arms and suitcases dangling from each hand. He fumbled, nearly dropping the box of clothes outside the door. Someone flung it open and grabbed the suitcases.
“Thanks,” Seth said, just as the bottom popped out of the stupid box, clothes plopping onto the floor.
The guy, presumably his new roommate, put the cases on the unused bed and walked back to the door. He was well over six feet tall, with dark hair that flopped over his brow and warm hazel eyes. He gave Seth a brilliant, somewhat shy smile.
It damn near leveled Seth, and would pretty much every time thereafter. He gave up on the box and stuck out his hand. “Seth.”
“Xander,” his new roommate said. “I’ve got a class, but it’s good to meet you. See you later today?”
“I’ll be here.”
The dorm room was a lot smaller than the one he’d left—a bed and a desk on each side of the room along with a mini-fridge, small TV, worn chair and a microwave. Thankfully, there was also a tiny bathroom and shower. Seth really didn’t love the idea of a communal bathroom.
By late afternoon, Seth was mostly settled. He finished trying to cram a few groceries into the tiny refrigerator and relaxed on his new bed.
Xander rushed in after track practice, in a great hurry to get somewhere else. “Hey. Finished moving in?” Xander yanked his sweat-stained shirt over his head, long arm muscles flexing and hair flying all over, layers beneath dark with sweat and clinging to his neck.
“Yeah,” Seth murmured, sitting up quickly. He tried not to look Xander up and down and pretty much failed. Xander’s skin gleamed, chest rising and falling. Jesus was he was ripped, wide shoulders, small waist. He looked—
Seth did his best to put the brakes on that particular train of thought. He didn’t need the complication of being attracted to a roommate.
Too late. Xander looked hotter than hell.
“Sorry I couldn’t help with the move. I’m heading out again. Plans.” Xander grinned.
“Plans,” Seth echoed, doing his best to keep his gaze at eye level.
At least Xander hadn’t stripped in front of Seth completely. He’d rushed into the bathroom with his jock still on.
Which hid so, so much.
Seth rolled on his belly and groaned. In the bathroom, the shower began to run.
Seth turned in early that night, tired from the move. He awakened sometime after midnight. Panting sounds came from his roommate’s bed.
Great. First there was naked Xander (or close enough) this afternoon. He guessed it made sense that the first night in the new room featured Xander beating off.
Seth pulled the pillow over his ears. No use.
In the darkness, he gritted his teeth, wishing his dick would listen to his brain for once and calm the fuck down. Like right now. Please.
His dick refused.
Seth squeezed his eyes tightly together, willing, no, commanding the hard-on from hell to lie down and heel. And maybe, just maybe, his willpower was a thing of wonder, because his dick began to cooperate.
Then Xander made another, louder sound, gasp and low moan mixed up together. All of Seth’s half-formed, self-congratulatory thoughts extinguished faster than the flame of a candle pinched between fingertips.
He took matters into his own hands, but quietly. Unlike an overly tall, self-absorbed roommate who apparently could give a shit if Seth might or might not be listening to him spank the monkey or what it might make him want.
The problem was, it wasn’t an isolated incident.
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WHAT I NEED
Jacob’s a damaged young man, trying to recover from his past and find what he needs to be happy. He meets a beautiful boy, Elijah, and falls hard for him. The problem is, Elijah’s a hooker.
Does Jacob have a prayer in a relationship with someone even more lost than he is?
I reached the alley and stopped at the end of it, uncertain. I knew it was stupid but I wanted to see him. I wanted to see him again from the first moment I saw him. I wanted to know his name.
There were puddles at the edge of the alleyway where it intersected with the road. Men were paired up further in. I heard a muffled groan, saw moving shadows. The blond boy came out from the darkness as if I'd conjured him, walking toward me. His hair was mussed. He wore a tight, plain black shirt, partly unbuttoned, and a leather cord necklace. His arms were pebbled from the air, the button to his jeans undone. I caught a glimpse of golden skin.
The corner of his mouth lifted up. “Are you looking for someone?”
“What’s your name?” I asked past the knot in my chest and the derisive voice in my head telling me to go home.
He cocked his head a little, like I was some kind of strange specimen he’d found under a rock. “Elijah,” he said.
I nodded, feeling awkward.
He looked at me interestedly. “So where have you been? I haven’t seen you lately.”
I hadn’t realized he might notice. I floundered. “I’ve been taking another route.”
He smiled at me as if he understood my unease. I didn’t know why it was so hard to keep looking him in the eyes when that's all I wanted to do.
He stepped closer. “Why would you do that? I like seeing you.”
My common sense threw in the towel at the question. “I think, uh … trying not to think.”
He nodded as if I’d made perfect sense. “About what?”
I didn’t answer, and then I did. “About you.” I couldn’t believe I was such an idiot as to actually admit it out loud. I could blame it on the drinks … maybe. Not really. Jesus. Now he’d know what a weirdo I was, spying on the alley boys.
Elijah laughed, an incredulous, hard edge to it. He took another step toward me, shadows under his cheekbones, eyes wide and dark. He leaned in slow enough to give me time to move away, and then his mouth brushed over mine, light as falling snow. I didn’t move, I couldn’t, and he pushed closer in and kissed me for real, lips pressing, sliding over mine, warm and wet.
After a minute I felt his breath on my ear. “What’s your name?”
“It’s Jacob,” I said, trying not to pant.
“I like that you think about me,” he whispered. “I watch out for when you walk by.”
I turned into him, searching for his lips, and we kissed again. His tongue pushed inside my mouth, and I moaned, opening up and letting him in. I felt exposed standing in the street but I ignored it, grabbing the back of his head and pulling him close as if I could block the rest of the world that way. Finally we broke apart, breathing hard. Elijah’s mouth was flushed and full, his eyes gleaming and half-open.
I didn’t know what to do or say next. “Didn’t know you’d like—” I gestured, feeling stupid again. “—this. Kissing.”
He grinned at me as if I’d said something really funny. “What makes you think that?”
I shrugged, feeling my face flush. “Something stupid I heard.”
“About hookers, you mean.”
My face felt like it was on fire.
He reached for me and quickly kissed me again. “Not that stupid. I don’t kiss most people, but you’re different.” He turned away from me into the alleyway. His ass was small and tight, gorgeous like the rest of him. His hair was gold in the light. He looked back. “Are you coming?”
I wanted to, more than anything, but I didn’t move. Was I going to pay for sex, was I really at that point?
“No.” I didn’t know I was going to say it until I did, and immediately I wanted to take it back.
He turned around again and looked at me, his eyes already shuttering. “You're sure?”
“Yeah,” I said. “I'm sorry.”
For a moment he looked tired and even younger, his face too solemn. “Okay then. Maybe I'll see you sometime.”
It felt so wrong, watching him leave. I almost started after him. But I didn't think I could afford the piece of me it would cost to get him to stay.
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THE BAND PLAYS ON
(also appears in the anthology Touched By Death, ISBN #9781622340422, from Enspire Publishing)
They'd met two months ago in Los Angeles. Slater was at the Toxicity Club, busy drowning in a toilet at two in the morning after a ninety minute set and too much liquor and blow. Jonah had fished him out.
Jonah wasn't into guys, but Slater was the exception to everything.
SHORT EXCERPT FROM A SHORT SHORT STORY
At least the world was full of women. And yet, incredibly, here he was on his back on Slater’s shitty sheetless mattress with Slater’s dick up his ass. Talk about burning holes.
“Remember that threesome you refused me on at Dante’s party? With uh—shit, what’s her name—fuck it, it isn’t important. The point is the threesome wasn’t the point. I had an ulterior motive. Wanted to see your dick, man,” Slater said. “Make sure you measure up, you know?”
Jonah raised a brow. “You’re a cock snob? Huh.” He drove his hips up. The burn spread and smoothed out, something good just beneath it. “Surprised you didn’t just ask if you wanted a look.”
Slater grunted, sinking further inside Jonah’s ass. “Knew you’d freak out. Prudence Everhart couldn’t wrap his head around a threesome, now could he?”
“Bitch. To think I was played,” Jonah said dryly. “And now you’ve got me. I’ll never be able to turn back once I’ve had a taste of the beast. Is that the idea?”
Slater dug his feet into the mattress and shoved his dick in deep in response. He hit just right, and Jonah groaned, his cock spurting a little pre-come onto his stomach.
“Sarcasm is the sign of a weak intellect or some such bullshit, and if you think you can shrivel my manhood with mere words you are talking to the wrong cock,” Slater panted. He brushed his lips over Jonah’s.
Jonah turned away. “Whoa, cowboy. I did not agree to kiss. That’s like what, the Final Frontier or something.”
“You didn’t say I could fuck you either, but—” Slater pointed out, and Jonah finished with him, “—here we are.”
Available at Enspire Publishing, Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iBookstore and more
The story is also available in the anthology, Touched By Death (NSFW), ISBN #9781622340422, from Enspire Publishing (formerly Forbidden Fiction)
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OF WOLVES AND WITCHES AND FIREBALLS IN THE SKY
short stories written under the pseudonym KLAUDIA BARA - explicit heterosexuality
(Formerly titled "Han and Greta," and published in Quietus Magazine and Tales of the Talisman, Vol 1 Issue 3)
A selection of fairy tales, retold:
"Of Wolves" (Little Red Riding Hood)
Someone walks with Ysabeau in the forest. Is he a wolf or only a man?
"Of Witches" (The Witch of the Woods)
Samuel's lost in the woods until a witch finds him. If she has her way, he'll never go home.
"Of Fireballs in the Sky" (Hansel and Gretel)
After the great wars, a family of four lives in the Melted City, scavenging for food. There's never enough.
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