All posts by J.M. Snyder

Heat Wave: Richmond



GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
LENGTH: 16,413 words

BLURB: Danny Masterson is finally getting a place all his own, and he couldn’t be more excited. Since college he’s lived with his best buddy Rob, but when Rob’s pregnant girlfriend moved in, Danny knew it was time to move out. His new apartment has all the amenities, and the sexy neighbor living downstairs named Kyle only sweetens the deal.

But a heat wave hits when Rob helps Danny move in, and the apartment’s A/C isn’t working right. Maintenance won’t come out because Danny isn’t listed as a tenant yet, so he’s stuck sweating it out over the long, Fourth of July weekend.

Kyle invites Danny to stay downstairs in his apartment in air conditioned bliss, but he has a pretty roommate named Nadia who may or may not be his girlfriend. Danny thinks Kyle might be interested in him, but so far Kyle hasn’t said or done anything to move things forward between them. Will things ever heat up between them? Or is Danny going to end up getting burned?


EXCERPT:

A sporty little red car zooms into the lot at breakneck speed and skids to a stop next to mine, half in two spots. I glance over at the driver, a young woman my own age who still has that fresh out of college look going on -- tousled hair pulled back in a sloppy ponytail, sunglasses obscuring half her face, a crop top paired with sweats that hug her round ass, and flip-flops that smack the pavement with the same sound she makes cracking her gum. I stare at her as she exits the car, trying to catch her eye, but she studiously ignores me and disappears around the back instead. I hear her pop the trunk, hear the rustle of grocery bags, and think, My first neighbor. I should probably introduce myself.

When I get out of my car, too, she still ignores me, so I lean in and grab the folder full of paperwork off the passenger seat just for something to do. By the time I’m standing up, the sunglasses are pushed on top of her head and her hands are full of grocery bags.

Now she looks at me. I flash her a winning smile and say, “Hey. I’m Danny.”

Her response is anything but cordial. With an exasperated sigh, she rolls her eyes and starts to walk away. Then she notices where I’m parked and stops. “Oh, wait,” she says, as if she’s just remembered how to play nice. “Are you moving in?”

“Upstairs,” I tell her, nodding. “Apartment G? So I guess that makes us neighbors, or something?”

Shifting all the bags to one hand, she sticks out the other. “Sorry, I thought you were hitting on me. I’m Nadia. We live under you in A.”

I give her hand a good shake and follow her gaze to the terrace below mine. It’s double the size of my balcony, with two screen doors instead of the one I have. “We?” I caught that. As she starts to redistribute the bags again, I ask, “Do you need any help?”

“Can you get the water from the trunk?” She nods at her car but doesn’t answer my other question.

We. I imagine an apartment full of sorority sisters, slumming it like Nadia here or camped out by the pool I haven’t seen yet, maybe sunning themselves on the terrace over the weekend. The downstairs apartment can’t be that much larger than mine, but they probably sleep two girls to a room, so I’ll hear squeals and giggles drifting up through the floorboards at all hours of the day and night, like a perpetual slumber party, or something. They’ll run up to knock on my door, ask me to open pickle jars and come kill spiders in their bathtubs, or hang pictures on their walls. It’ll be Rob’s girlfriend Lara multiplied to the nth degree.

I’m already wondering if I can’t maybe ask about any other single apartments in the complex that might be available when Nadia hoists the grocery bags over the terrace railing and hollers, “Kyle! Get out here and help, you lazy ass.”

So, no suite full of sorority sisters but the usual boyfriend/girlfriend playing house scenario. Which lets me off the hook, then, since anything she’d need a guy to do, she already has one to do it for her. It really is Lara all over again.

As I duck down into the trunk to retrieve the case of bottled water, I hear a screen door open and shut. Someone yawns, a loud, leonine roar, then a man’s sleepy voice gripes, “You woke me up.”

“You sleep too much,” Nadia complains. “Here, take these.”

I heft the case of water out of the trunk and step around the side of the car. With my elbow, I try to close the trunk but can’t. I get it down halfway, then have to turn my back to it and catch it with my hip. In the end, I’m practically sitting on it before it clicks shut.

Her boyfriend sees me before I see him, because I hear him ask, “Who’s that?”

“Danny,” she says. “He’s moving in upstairs. Danny, this is Kyle.”

When I turn back around, he’s standing on the other side of the railing, on the terrace itself, dressed in a too tight heather gray T-shirt and a pair of baggy Bermuda shorts. His short-cropped hair is mussed from sleep and he blinks owlishly at me, as if he’s still waking up. With his tanned skin and blond locks, he’s about as all-American as you can get, and so damn sexy, it hurts. Physically; I feel lust grip me somewhere below my balls and squeeze hard, threatening to never let go.

Damn, he’s one fine mother.

Eyes as gray and faded as his shirt, slightly too big for his face, shielded by lashes a little too long to belong to a guy. Strong, straight nose. Wide mouth and thin lips that slide easily into a welcoming grin. Teeth so white and perfect, he could do toothpaste commercials. The faintest blond fuzz on the corners of his chin, as if he forgot to shave this morning, curling up along his jaw to meet the darker hair in front of his ears. It’s cut close at the sides and back but kept long on top so it sort of flops over his forehead. I bet he spikes it up sometimes, though. He looks like the type.

You’re staring, I warn myself. I know I am, and worse, I know Nadia knows it, because there’s the slightest little grin toying at the corners of her mouth, a smirk that says, Look all you want, but you know he’s mine, right?

Yeah, yeah, bitch. Rub it in.

Recipe for Romance



GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
LENGTH: 48,328 words | 162 pages

BLURB: Preston Pruitt put aside his dreams of becoming a gourmet chef at a high-end restaurant to raise his daughter while her mother was on active duty in Afghanistan. Now Abby is a precocious eight-year-old in love with fairies and princesses, and Preston works at an unimaginative and monotonous job as a short order cook.

Abby has her quirks, and when she tries to wear a pair of costume wings for her school pictures, her father is called to help talk her out of them. That's when Preston meets Cam Richards, a handsome photographer with his own studio in town. Between Cam's quick smile and flirty manner, Preston is smitten and surprises himself by asking the guy out. Late night phone calls lead to dinner dates, and soon Preston is falling for Cam. It helps that Abby approves of her father's new special friend.

With Cam’s encouragement, Preston gets the chance to interview for an executive chef position. Now that he has all the ingredients, will he finally fulfill his dream of becoming a top chef and find the perfect recipe for romance?


EXCERPT:

Because the rest of Abby’s classmates had had their pictures taken earlier in the morning, they jumped down after the group shot and hurried offstage, eager to take their place in the lunch line forming along one wall of the cafeteria. Abby stayed behind, though, hurrying across the stage to take Preston’s hand in both of hers. “Don’t leave yet, Daddy,” she told him, leaning back so she could balance on her heels and tug on his fingers, trusting him to hold her. “Stay and eat lunch with me!”

“I have to get back to work, sweetie.” Preston wondered how he would ever be able to face his boss again after what he’d seen in the back office, though. Or Maureen! The woman hadn’t even blinked, damn. He shook his head, trying to get the image to go away.

Abby twined his arm around her like a dancer. “Then at least stay until I get my picture taken. Hey! Where are my wings?”

Real fear tinged her voice and she pulled away, frantic all of a sudden. Preston caught her arm before she could race off. “Don’t worry,” he told her, “I got them, they’re safe. I’ll take them back with me so nothing happens to them.”

“Whew!” She wiped her forehead with an exaggerated gesture. He had to bite his lip not to laugh. Leaning against him again, she buried her face against his stomach and sighed. “I don’t know why I can’t wear them for my own picture. The other kids might get upset because they don’t have their own wings in the class photo, but why would they care what I’m wearing in the one with just me? None of them are going to be in it, too.”

Preston wasn’t sure exactly what to say, but luckily he didn’t have to answer, because at that moment, the photographer’s assistant came up beside them. Through a weary smile, she asked, “All set?”

Abby nodded, hiding her face in Preston’s shirt. But when the assistant held out a hand to take Abby’s, his daughter ignored it. “Come on, honey,” she cajoled, the strain of the day evident in her voice.

Another long moment passed. Abby obviously wasn’t going to give in any time soon. With a sympathetic shrug, Preston took his daughter’s hand and told her, “Come on, Abadaba. They’re ready for your close-up.”

“Abadaba,” the assistant said with a nervous grin. “That’s cute.”

Abby gave her a withering glare. “Don’t call me that. My name is Abigail Louise.”

The assistant looked at Preston, shocked. “I’m sorry, I was…I didn’t mean --”

“It’s okay,” he assured her. “We’ve had a rough morning.”

The woman sighed. “Tell me about it.”

With Abby in tow, he followed her to another part of the stage, where curtains hid a backdrop, a chair, an expensive-looking camera on a tripod, and two large, bright studio lights, also on tripods. When Abby saw the lights, she giggled. “Those lamps have umbrellas on them,” she said. “It makes them look funny.”

“It makes them work better,” a man said behind them.

Preston turned and found himself face to face with the handsome photographer from the class photo shoot. Up close, those amber eyes looked like faceted topazes, reflecting the light as effectively as the umbrellas that had made Abby laugh. And Preston could see the man’s face wasn’t only freckled across the nose; no, the entire skin was covered in a fine dusting of tiny spots, each a tiny sun-kissed speckle barely a shade darker than the lighter skin beneath it. From a distance they almost blended in together to form one even tone, and only the larger, browner dots stood out. Like the smattering across the bridge between those jewel-like eyes, and that single, fascinating smidge on the lower lip ...

Aware that he was staring, Preston cleared his throat and switched Abby’s hand from his left to his right, then wiped his hand on his jeans before offering it to the photographer to shake. “Preston Pruitt,” he said, hoping his grip was as firm and confident as the other man’s. “I want to thank you for being so patient with my daughter.”

The photographer’s smile was disarming. “All in a day’s work. I’m Cam Richards. You’ve already met my assistant, Lacy.” Turning the full wattage of that sunshine grin onto Abby, he said, “Remind me what your name is again, little lady.”

Preston opened his mouth to answer; Abby didn’t usually speak to strangers, and after Lacy’s failed attempts at drawing her out, he was pretty sure she’d have nothing more to say to anyone else for the rest of the day. So he was more than a little surprised when he heard his daughter say in a small voice, “Abby.”

From behind the photographer, Lacy whistled. “Impressive. She must like you.”

Before he could stop himself, Preston asked, “What’s not to like?”

That smile again, lighting up those eyes, damn. “Flattery will get you everywhere, Mr. Pruitt,” the photographer joked. “Do you maybe want your picture taken, too, while we’re at it?”

Preston waved him off with a laugh. “My ugly mug? Nah. And it’s Preston. Mr. Pruitt makes me sound old. Do you go by Mr. Richards?”

“Call me Cam,” came the reply. “Now, Little Miss Abby, let me see that smile.”

Playing the Field: Volume 2 Box Set



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
LENGTH: 52,781 words | 168 pages

BLURB: Playing the Field is a series of hot, sexy stories about gay athletes finding love and lust on the playing field. This first volume collects the first four stories of this best-selling series in one sizzling box set!

Contains the stories:

Batter Up: Rob Ritchie sneaks into the ballpark to watch practice and ends up going out with short stop, Mike Hennessey. It isn't until they face off on the baseball field that Mike realizes he slept with the enemy. Can Rob talk his way back into Mike's bed after the game?

Victory Lap: After a hard look at his life, Josh Helton ditches his abusive boyfriend and takes up running. On a morning jog he meets Chad, a sexy bicyclist who's everything Josh has always wanted in a guy. But Josh isn't confident in himself any more ... so it's up to Chad to make the first move.

Getting Wet: Rory Holt is the best swimmer on the team at State U. and he knows it. If he hopes to win Olympic gold one day, he can’t let anything distract him. But new teammate Chase Cohen is determined to catch Rory’s eye. Rory can’t deny the attraction he feels towards Chase, but when it costs him his spot on the leaderboard, he’s pissed. Is Chase after Rory’s position on the team, or Rory himself?

Out of Bounds: Jo plays basketball on his college team. At an off-campus party before the season begins, he hooks up with a guy named Kevin. Things heat up between them, leading to a night of hot sex. But the next day Jo learns Kevin has been hired as his team’s new assistant coach. Is their budding relationship over before it even begins? Or will Kevin go out of bounds to be with Jo?


EXCERPT:

From Victory Lap:

As he neared the athletic building, he heard giggling and thought of the women on their bikes. Water splashed, more laughter, a locker slammed shut. He ducked into the breezeway and saw them, three pretty women in their late twenties, hair tied back, long legs and arms bared for summer. They wore tight biker’s shorts and loose tank tops, and their Keds were well-worn and dusty from use. The three of them crowded around the building’s only water fountain. One held the button down while another drank from it; the third held her friend’s hair back out of the way so it wouldn’t get wet. The laughter came because the one with her finger on the button kept letting go, stopping the flow of water just when her friend tried to drink. “Crissy, stop!”

Josh paused at one end of the short breezeway and leaned over, hands on his knees, to wait out their antics. The women saw him and giggled more -- this close, they sounded like a bunch of turkeys gobbling to each other in a language he couldn’t quite understand. “Stop,” the one said again, nodding her head in Josh’s direction. “You’re getting me all wet.”

That set them off again. Josh rolled his eyes and waited. Finally Crissy held down the button long enough for her friend to drink and the ladies switched positions. Then it started up all over again. Seriously? he thought, watching them. Can’t I just get a quick sip and be on my way?

Before he could ask, a door squealed behind him and their friend exited the men’s room. “Hey,” he said to Josh. When he biked past, Josh hadn’t had a moment to really look him over, but now ... sweet Lord.

Six five, maybe, very tall. Not slim really, but lean, arms and legs thick with muscle. He wore Bermuda shorts and a T-shirt with the sleeves ripped off, a baseball cap clamped down backwards over dark, wavy hair, and a pair of wraparound, iridescent sunglasses hid his eyes. But the cut of his jaw, the set of his mouth, the hollow of his throat ... everything Josh could see only made him want more.

Hoping his voice didn’t really sound as high-pitched and squeaky as it did to his own ears, Josh limited his response to, “Hey.” Anything more would have turned into an invitation to go back inside the men’s room for a quick fuck.

Yeah, right, he berated himself. A guy like that isn’t interested in your fat ass.

Only he wasn’t fat anymore, was he?

The guy looked at the water fountain, then back at Josh. “Come on, girls. Can’t you see he’s waiting to take a drink?”

One of the girls gave Josh a seductive smile. “You look hot to me.” Her friends squealed with laughter, and she pressed the button to activate the fountain. “Let me hold it down for you.”

“Kelly, seriously?” The man groaned and turned to Josh. “I’m sorry, man.”

“It’s cool.”

As Josh moved toward the fountain, the ladies backed up to let him use it. At the last moment, Kelly moved out of the way, too, casting a hard look at the man with them. “Party pooper,” she mumbled as Josh bent to take a quick drink.

When he leaned over the fountain, one of the girls let out a loud wolf whistle that echoed through the breezeway. Another said, “Mmm, baby,” and her friend added, “Sexy butt.” Josh felt his face burn and he dipped it under the flow of water to cool it off. Was this how women felt when men catcalled to them? Part of him wanted to like it, but part of him couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there.

Their male friend muttered, “God, you’re worse than a bunch of construction workers.”

“Guys like it,” one woman said. “You would, too, admit it. If we were a bunch of hunky dudes instead of your sister’s friends.”

“Shut up,” he growled under his breath.

But her words caught in Josh’s head and stayed there like a thorn, jostling as he moved but refusing to work itself free. If we were a bunch of hunky dudes ... did that mean what he hoped it meant?

Like you stand a chance with him, he reminded himself.

Playing the Field: Out of Bounds



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Interracial, Romance
LENGTH: 13,386 words
This story is included in the anthology, Playing the Field Volume 2

BLURB: Jo Gaithers is a bright, energetic college student with a bad case of senioritis who can't wait for basketball season to begin. As the star player on the men's team, he hopes to go all the way to the NCAA final in March. But before practice starts up, he takes advantage of the downtime and goes to a party off-campus, where he hooks up with a sexy guy he knows only as Kevin.

Kevin is a graduate student at State, and a welcome distraction from Jo's studies. There's just something about Kevin that makes Jo want to know more about him. Things heat up between them at the party, creating a first impression neither will soon forget. By the time they call it a night, Jo has Kevin's number and the promise of seeing him again soon.

The next day a chance encounter at the gym makes Jo realize he and Kevin have more in common than he first thought -- and that isn't necessarily a good thing. The men's basketball team has hired a new assistant coach, someone Jo now knows a little too intimately. Is their budding relationship over before it even begins? Or is Kevin willing to go out of bounds to be with Jo off the court?


EXCERPT:

Jo stepped forward to close the distance between them. He led with his hips, tucking his hands into his back pockets, and found an empty space to bump against the counter beside the sexy player. The guy wore a cropped jersey cut off at midriff, baring his firm abs, and a battered pair of skinny jeans that were meant to look as if he’d picked them at random, but Jo knew better. He’d spent hours before trying to pretend like he hadn’t.

Above those chocolate eyes was a helmet of bushy black fuzz, a thick kink with the consistency of a Brillo pad. Jo shoved his hands deeper into his back pockets to keep from reaching out to touch those tight curls. He wondered what they’d feel like in his palms or threaded through his fingers. The guy had an earring, too, or rather, an industrial piercing, a silver bar that went through two holes in the upper part of his ear where the cartilage was.

God, that was hot.

“Hey,” Jo said. He raised his voice to be heard over the crowd, but leaned in towards the guy at the same time, hoping to create an intimate space between them, showing his interest without saying as much. “I’m Jo. Just got here. Can you get me a beer?”

The guy reached over and plucked a longneck bottle from the sink. Killian’s Irish Red, good choice. As he handed it over, he said, “Kevin. You know Vicky?”

“Who? No.” Jo twisted off the beer’s bottle cap with his bare hand and shook his head. “I think my friend does, though. He’s the one told me about this party. We go to State. You?”

Kevin gave Jo a not-so-subtle once-over, head to toe, that gave away his interest in an instant. “Me, too.”

Taking a swig of the cold beer, Jo leaned against the counter and let his hip rest against Kevin’s. “No shit? I ain’t seen you around. What year are you?”

“Just started grad school,” Kevin admitted. “You?”

With a laugh, Jo shook his head and moved a step closer under the pretense of making room for others around them, but the truth was, they were all alone in the crowded room. The moment Jo laid eyes on Kevin, everyone else ceased to exist. “Senior, undergrad. Damn, man, you don’t look that much older than me.”

Kevin moved an arm behind Jo along the counter, easing it into place around his waist. “Nah, I ain’t. I graduated high school a year early, so we’re probably about the same age.” Now his hip bumped Jo’s, too, a good sign that things were heading in the right direction.

Just My Style



GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
LENGTH: 19,591 words
This story is included in the anthology, 2015 Top Ten Gay Romance

BLURB: When hair stylist Jai Hathaway decided to open his own salon, he knew he would sacrifice some of his personal time to run the business. But long hours working late have him feeling lonely, and he just doesn't seem to connect with the few men he dates. His business partner Kiki suggests what he needs is to find a different type of guy, someone who isn't in the salon business, but not only does Jai not know how to find a guy like that, he isn't even sure where to look.

On a particularly cold morning in January, the salon's hot water goes out and Jai scrambles to find a plumber on short notice. Enter Duane Schneider, sexy and confident, and interested in getting more than just Jai's hot water boiling. But he's so outside Jai's comfort zone that, at first, the stylist isn't sure how to react. When it becomes obvious Duane wants to continue things outside of business hours, though, Jai agrees to a date, if only to see where the evening might lead.

Is Kiki right when she said Jai needed to find someone different? Or will Duane turn out to be just his style after all?


EXCERPT:

Jai hurries down the block and stops in front of the salon. Inside the cab of the truck sits a man bundled in a dark, bulky jacket with a hood pulled over his head. He holds a steaming cup of Starbucks coffee in gloved hands. Jai waves and jingles his keys, as if to say look, I’m finally here. As he’s unlocking the salon’s front door, he hears the guy get out of the truck. There’s a thud as the truck’s door shuts behind Jai, then heavy footfalls as the guy crosses the sidewalk to tower behind him.

The key sticks in the lock like it tends to do in the cold weather, or when Jai’s in a hurry to get inside. He jiggles it, tugging on the knob as he curses under his breath. “Come on, you fucker ...”

Behind him, the plumber asks, “Aren’t you cold?”

Over his shoulder, Jai gives the man a withering look. “No, what do you think?”

This close, the guy is intimidating. His jacket makes him look huge, and in one hand, he carries a clunky toolbox. A lingering warmth radiates from him that must have followed him from the cab of the truck. It’s hard to see what he looks like beneath the hood -- Jai sees a chiseled jaw with a few days’ growth of unshaven whiskers, bow-shaped lips too pink from sipping the coffee, and a straight, patrician nose with a bright red tip from the chilly weather. But his eyes are hidden in the hood’s darkness, as are his cheeks, his forehead, his hair. He could be watching Jai struggle with the door, or he could be dozing up under there, Jai wouldn’t know.

At least he’s warm, Jai thinks. Note to self: next jacket I get has a hood. That, or he really is moving to Tahiti.

As if the plumber knows what Jai is thinking, he asks, “Where’s your coat?”

Jai flicks the collar of his Ralph Lauren leather windbreaker, which he got for a steal when a boutique in Carytown was going out of business over the summer but which does little to seal in his body heat in below freezing temperatures. “Excuse me, this is Polo.”

The guy sniffles. “Yeah? Well, it doesn’t look real warm.”

“I didn’t pay for it to look warm,” Jai says, turning back to the lock.

“That the right key?” the guy asks with another sniffle.

“You know what?” Jai snaps. “You want to be helpful, why don’t you move behind me and block the wind or something? I’d be able to open the damn door already if I wasn’t shivering so much.”

“You wouldn’t be shivering if you had on a real coat,” the plumber mutters.

But he takes a step to one side and the bulk of his body cuts the wind. Jai didn’t think it’d do that much good, but suddenly he does feel warmer, and he’s able to turn the key without issue, pushing the door open and letting them into the salon.

Inside it’s dry and warm, and he sighs with relief. “God. Okay. Our hot water’s out. I don’t even know where you’d start with something like that.” Hoping to be helpful, he points at the sinks. “Maybe there?”

The guy pushes back his hood, revealing pale gray eyes that take Jai’s breath away. A thick thatch of surfer-boy blond waves fall from a perfect part down the center of his crown to frame his face. With the gruff unshaven cheeks and chin, the hair gives him a leonine look that’s only enhanced by his bulk. Suddenly every move the guy makes is imbued with a feline grace, and Jai knows he’s staring but he can’t help it. He wants to lock the door behind them and never let the man leave.

Maybe this is what Kiki meant when she said he should find a different type of guy. Because he’s never had anyone like this, and Lord knows he’d like to give this man a try.

Hoping to smooth over any earlier awkwardness, he steps forward and says, “Oh, hey, where are my manners? Welcome to my salon. I’m Jai. And you are ...?”

The jacket comes off, and underneath, the guy’s almost as large as he was with it on. He wears a thin Henley shirt that outlines every muscle in his arms and back, and a pair of tight jeans that frame his hips and ass in all the right places. “Duane. Where’s your water heater?”

Jai lets his gaze trail down Duane’s backside as the plumber hangs the coat up on a nearby old-fashioned coat rack. “Hmm,” he moans, maybe overdoing it just a tad, “I don’t know but I’d love to help you find it.”

Firelight



GENRE: Erotica, Historical, Interracial
LENGTH: 1,464 words
This story is included in the anthology, Flashed!

BLURB: Captured by the Sioux, American soldier John finds himself in front of a camp fire, the sound of the drums and the movements of a warrior’s dance hypnotizing him into a state of sexual arousal. When the dance ends, another, more personal, one begins.

They may not speak the same language, but John and the warrior have no problem communicating their needs and desires.


EXCERPT:

Another button on John’s shirt slipped free, and his hand trailed down his chest to fall into his lap, where a sweet ache pulsed in time with the drums. As he watched the dancer, his hand worked between the ties in his breeches to cup the erection that throbbed at the center of his being. His fingers massaged his thick length, squeezing in time with the drums, the chants, the fire and its wild patron whose movements matched the dancing flames.

John raised his knees before him, leaned back a little, and let his fingers slide under his balls. The moan that escaped him disappeared in the warriors’ chants. The tip of his dick protruded from his breeches now, and his hand fisted along his shaft, kneading it, working it hard.

As the dancer’s rhythm increased, John’s ministrations quickened with an almost frantic air. His blood raced through him, his skin crawled, every nerve seemed to sizzle with lust. Now, he thought, squeezing his cockhead in his palm. He felt a bit of come in his hand, but nothing much. Nothing that released the energies in him. He squeezed again. Now. And again -- now.

There was one final beat of the drum, and then silence pressed in around him, so complete he thought he’d been struck deaf. He glanced up to find the dancer swaying above him, so close that John could smell the animalistic scent of sweat and power radiating from the man. In a guttural voice, the warrior said something to John, but the white man did not understand the Indian’s language. He was so damn close. His head felt foggy, his body incomplete. “What?”

Stepping around him, the warrior grabbed John’s arm in passing and dragged him a few feet, away from the bonfire and the crowd. John scrambled to stand, one hand tucking his dick into his breeches while the other tried in vain to find release. “I don’t,” he started -- his tongue felt thick in his mouth, unused. “I don’t know what you want.”

Taking him by the elbow, the warrior led John to a teepee on the edge of the Sioux camp. John’s feet were clumsy in the darkness and he stumbled several times, landing heavily against the native’s side. His heart throbbed in his cock, and the second time he tripped, he found himself thrusting his hips against his companion. “Please,” he sobbed, weary and worn out and so goddamn close to orgasm that he just wanted to cry. “I need to stop ... please --”

He found himself shoved into the teepee. He fell to the ground and, on hands and knees, crawled onto a luscious carpet of fur. Pressing his face to the musty pelt, he breathed in the rich scent of cured leather and sleepiness stole over him -- here was where he wanted to stay.

2014 Top Ten Gay Romance



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
LENGTH: 87,070 words | 280 pages

BLURB: 2014 Top Ten Gay Romance brings together the best-selling short stories published by JMS Books that year.

From first love to true love, from submission to sensual, from heat to sweet and everything in between, the couples in these stories are sure to keep you turning the pages as you fall in love with them.

With stories by J.M. Snyder, Drew Hunt, J.L. Merrow, A.R. Moler, Jeff Adams, Terry O’Reilly, Iyana Jenna, J.D. Walker, Sam Singer, and Paul Alan Fahey, this head-over-heels collection goes beyond bedtime reading. Whether happily ever after or happy for now, there’s an ending for everyone in here!

Contains my story, Blurring the Lines. Greg is straight, or so he thinks, but makes money offering himself to gay men online. When he hooks up with the handsome, rich RC, he doesn't understand why such a guy needs to pay for companionship. They get to know each other better, and Greg gets scared when he starts to fall for RC. Will their next appointment be their last, or will he embrace something he didn’t even know he was looking for?


EXCERPT:

From Blurring the Lines:

A long porch leads to a screen door. I can see inside -- an island in a kitchen, marble countertops, steel appliances that look brand new. Down a short hall is a flat-screen TV larger than the longest wall in my living room. A leather sofa faces it, and I catch a glimpse of the back of a man’s head. Short-cropped dark hair, and when I knock on the side of the door, he turns and I see a trim beard, a very manly look. He sees me and grins, his eyes sparkling.

He sent a picture in his e-mail so I already know what to expect, but to be honest, I thought he’d used a photo of a sexy model in some luxurious country home. I didn’t think he’d really be so ... well, so perfect.

When he stands, I notice he’s bare-chested, and the hair on his muscled pecs is the same brown-black as that on his head and face. He wears a low-hanging pair of sweatpants that leave little to the imagination and nothing on his feet. As he approaches the door, his grin is contagious and I can’t help but return it. “Hey,” I say as he opens the screen door wide. “RC?”

Of course he is. “You must be Mike,” he says.

Up close, his eyes are the palest shade of blue I’ve ever seen. I almost correct him -- actually no, it’s Greg -- but then I remember my rule about never telling them my real name and I just nod instead. He holds the door for me to step inside. To say I’m impressed would be an understatement. This dude is rich.

Still, I’m pleased I manage not to sound awestruck when I tell him, “Nice place you have here.”

“It’s home,” he says.

Must be nice.

He closes the screen door behind me, then shuts the back door for good measure. For a moment I almost believe I’m just here to visit -- we’re friends and he’s invited me over to watch the game, maybe, and we’ll eat pizza on his leather sofa in front of that big-ass TV. Then his smile widens and his eyes heat up as he looks me over, and I remember we’re not friends. The lust I see when he looks at me says as much.

But he’s a gracious host. “Are you hungry?” he asks. That’s a first. “Or do you maybe want something to drink first?”

I shake my head. “I’m good. We can just go in the ... I don’t know, the bedroom or something? Unless you want to do it here ...”

“What? No, no.” He laughs, a throaty sound that reminds me of summer thunder. One hand runs through his hair, but it’s too short to really muss up. It rises up off his forehead in a sensual sweep. “This is sort of my first time doing this.”

I find that hard to believe. “Come on, really? A hot guy like you --”

“I thought you said you were straight.” His eyes cloud over, suddenly wary.

“Straight but not blind,” I assure him. “You must look in the mirror. You know you’re hot. Don’t tell me you’ve never ...”

He laughs again, and his eyes crinkle into half-moons I’m sure women and men alike swoon over. “I’ve never paid for it,” he says. “But it’s hard to meet people, you know? And things always get so damn complicated. I thought hey, this is a one-time thing. You need the money, I just want to fool around. What’s the big deal?”

“Exactly.”

He heads out of the kitchen but takes a left instead of a right, which would put us in the living room. I follow him down a dimly-lit hall, past closed doors that lead to who knows where, to the single open door at the far end. He stands aside, arm outstretched to let me go first.

A perfect gentleman. Even though I know I shouldn’t, I’m liking this.

Ambush



GENRE: Erotica, Historical, Interracial
LENGTH: 1,513 words
This story is included in the anthology, Flashed!

BLURB: None of the soldiers can pronounce his real name and few care to try. But an MP called MacMurphey nicknames him Triage because he often hangs around the MASH tent when the wounded are brought in. Triage is curious and hungry, and not just for food.

War may be raging in the jungle but men still have needs. What happens when Triage ambushes MacMurphey to fulfill those needs?


EXCERPT:

By midday, heat baked off the jungle in waves that warped the still air and stunned the human mind into a dull stupor. Triage hid in the hot bush, silent, his breath thin and shallow as he peered through the leaves at Mac. The day was eerily quiet -- no artillery firing in the distance, no choppers cutting through the air, nothing that gave any indication they were in the midst of battle. The only movement came from the soldier picking his way through the low brush, kicking rocks as he wandered away from his camp.

From the shadows, Triage watched. And waited.

When he was sure no one followed Mac, Triage slipped closer, moving through the undergrowth with a stealth common to his people, but that the Americans were unable to counter. Closer, closer, Triage crept around branches without rustling their leaves, his bare feet silent over stunted grass. Mac was turned from him, unaware he was being hunted. Another step, and another, and Triage coiled into himself at the edge of the foliage, ready to strike.

With a rush of sound, he leapt from the jungle and threw himself at the American. His arms caught Mac around the waist in a spectacular tackle that knocked them both to the dusty ground. As Mac rolled over beneath him, Triage clambered onto the man, straddling him, pinning him down. Fear flashed through those blue eyes like lightning before a storm.

Then Mac recognized his crooked grin, and laughed. “You! Jesus, scare the shit out of me, will you?”

“Got you,” Triage said.

The scent of the soldier beneath him inflamed his senses, and what had been a slight erection at his crotch stiffened into a full-blown hard-on. Staring into those blue eyes, Triage moved his hips slightly, grinding his cock against Mac’s groin. His dick hardened, caught between the press of their bodies, and after a moment or two, he knew Mac could feel his thick length. There could be no question about his intentions.

Hawaiian Wedding



GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
LENGTH: 54,034 words | 178 pages

BLURB: City planner Remy McIntosh and architect Lane Anders are back from the best-selling novel, Just the Three of Us, to plan their Christmas wedding! When Remy married Kate, he’d only done so because it was the right thing to do, as she was pregnant with Braden. This time around, he’s marrying for love, and he wants everything to be just right.

At the time of their engagement, Virginia didn’t allow same-sex couples to marry, so Lane suggests they splurge and plan the perfect wedding in Hawaii. Because the island is so far away, Remy hires someone local to plan everything for them. He hates giving up so much control, but the wedding planner is someone Lane knew in high school, so she can’t be all bad, can she?

Unfortunately, things go wrong right from the start. Remy hopes to spend a week alone at Christmas with his lover in Hawaii before their families arrive for the wedding. But his son is erroneously booked on the same flight as Remy and Lane, and they have to spend their romantic tropical holiday entertaining a nine year old boy. Then the wedding planner disappears for the weekend to participate in a surfing competition.

When Remy decides to obtain a marriage license on his own, he discovers he needs proof of his divorce, which he doesn’t have with him, and Kate’s stuck in Virginia in a freak snowstorm that may ground her plane until after the wedding is scheduled to take place.

As things continue to spiral out of his control, Remy doesn’t know whether to laugh at his troubles or cry with frustration. Will he and Lane get to say “I do” on an Hawaiian island beach? Or should they just throw in the towel and elope back in the courthouse in Virginia?


EXCERPT:

One evening Lane had run out to pick up Indian food for dinner when Remy’s phone rang. He glanced at the time -- quarter to seven. Too late to be the real estate agent? He hoped not. But when he grabbed his cell, it wasn’t Lane’s number on the display at all, but Kate’s.

He tried to hide his disappointment as he answered. “Hey, lady. To what do I owe this great honor?”

“Ha ha.” Kate sounded tired, but not upset or angry, so Remy relaxed a little. This wasn’t going to be one of those calls.

Still, he asked, “How’s Brae doing?”

“Oh, he’s fine,” she assured him. “Listen, the reason I’m calling is I got a charge on my credit card for a plane ticket.”

Remy nodded, even though she couldn’t see the gesture. “Okay. You did get the invite, right? You do know I’m getting married?”

With a laugh, she said, “No, I know. But it’s only one ticket.”

Remy grinned. “Well, see, it’s like this. Lane and I decided we were going to cover some of the costs for our families to fly out there, sort of as a way of saying thanks, you know, and as a kind of Christmas present. Then I thought that since you and Braden were in the wedding itself, I’d just foot your whole bill.”

“Aww, Remy!” Kate’s voice practically melted in his ear. “That’s so sweet of you!”

“Mike, though,” Remy said. “Sorry, but we’re not at the gift exchanging level yet, so he’s going to have to pay for himself. Since you only gave me one credit card number, I figured you’d just have him pay you back.”

Kate’s tone turned suggestive. “In some fashion.”

An image of Mike’s pasty skin and flabby stomach flashed in his mind and Remy winced. “Ew! Please, I haven’t eaten dinner yet.”

“So where are these tickets?” Kate asked.

Remy tucked the phone against his shoulder and started rummaging through the papers on the counter. It had become a catchall lately, a place to stash mail and random things he found while packing that he knew he needed to put somewhere safe, but exactly where that might be, he wasn’t sure yet. “I think she sent me something ... hold on ...”

Finally, at the bottom of a stack of old tax documents, he saw the edge of the FedEx envelope and pulled it free. “Here we go. Chell sent me some things a few weeks back. They’re probably in here.”

“You have them all?” Kate wanted to know.

Remy glanced inside. Since Lane had first opened the envelope, Remy hadn’t bothered to look at its contents more closely. Now he cleared off a space on the counter and spread out the documents. Chell’s cover letter was similar in tone to her emails -- in fact, it looked as if she’d written it in her email program and then just printed it out. Here are your tickets and schedules, contracts signed to date, yadda yadda. Anything you need, just LMK! Mahalo!

“Ugh,” he muttered, turning the letter over. “I’m so sick of her fake Hawaiian words. Mahalo this and aloha that. She sounds like a real poser.”

In his ear, Kate asked, “How’d you find this woman again?”

“An old friend of Lane’s, if you’d believe it.” Remy skimmed the next page and saw it was a listing of the contents of the envelope, so he set that aside, too. “Okay, here we go.”

After that came the confirmations for the airline tickets. Their wedding was scheduled for December 28th. Remy’s plan was to arrive in Hawaii a week or so earlier with Lane, and have everyone else arrive after Christmas. His and Lane’s confirmations were first, and the date was right -- December 17th. The price was much cheaper than flying the week of Christmas, and Remy grudgingly admitted Chell had paid even less than the costs he’d seen when he compared fares online.

Then he noticed Braden’s confirmation was on the same page as his. He looked at the flight times and numbers. He looked again.

“Damn it,” he muttered.

“What is it?” Kate asked.

Remy could feel his anger rising. “Oh shit.” Quickly he turned to the next page.

Kate and Mike were on a different flight leaving the next day. Not December 26th, but the next day, December 18th.

Fuck,” Remy cursed.

Through the phone, his ex-wife asked, “Jer, what? Tell me.”

“This bitch ...” He turned to the next confirmation, and damn it the hell, but Lane’s family was flying out of Newark on the eighteenth, too. And Remy’s parents were coming in from San Diego later the same day. Holding the phone away from his ear, Remy clenched his hands into fists and roared, “God!

There went his holiday. Again.

Pipe Dreams



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
LENGTH: 2,459 words
This story is included in the anthology, Flashed!

BLURB: When Paul Jacoby opens the door to plumber Ethan Randolph, Paul’s memories and libido are instantly reawakened. Paul lusted after the captain of the basketball team in high school, but he was too shy to do anything about his attraction to Ethan back then.

Can he pluck up the courage this time to make his yearnings for the hunky Ethan a reality, or will his pipes -- as well as his dreams -- remain blocked?


EXCERPT:

Paul leaned against the counter and watched Ethan open the cabinet under the sink. Those jeans ... a voice inside his head reminded him, but when Ethan bent over to move aside the stuff under the sink and his shorts pulled taut against his butt like a second skin, there was no way Paul would miss the show. Ethan began to empty out the cabinet, setting the bottles of cleanser and dish detergent out on the floor, and Paul noticed the gold ring on the second finger of his right hand. Nothing on his left. “You still seeing that girl?” he asked before he could stop himself. “What was her name? Jennifer?”

Ethan laughed. “God, no.” Leaning beneath the sink, he reached up and blindly grabbed one of the wrenches from his toolbox on the counter above him. “We broke up just after graduation.”

“Oh?” Paul asked, trying not to sound too hopeful. “I’m sorry to hear that.” And yes, I’m lying through my teeth.

Ethan eased out of the cabinet and winked at Paul. “Don’t be.” His gaze drifted to the ill-concealed erection at Paul’s crotch before he turned back to the pipes beneath the sink. “People change, you know?”

Paul nodded, distracted by that look. Did it mean what he thought it meant? What he hoped it meant? Sweet Jesus ... “What about you?” Ethan asked as he fiddled with the pipes. “You seeing anyone right now?”

“No,” Paul admitted.

“What about this roommate of yours?” Ethan sat back on his knees and watched Paul carefully, waiting for his response. “Bryant? Is that his name?”

“No, he’s not seeing anyone.” At the confused look on Ethan’s face, Paul realized that wasn’t what he meant. “Oh, you mean --” He laughed at the thought of getting with Corey, straight as a pin. His best friend who always managed to annoy the living shit out of him. “God, no,” he said, shaking his head.

The Merriest of Men



GENRE: Erotica, Historical, Romance
LENGTH: 1,493 words
This story is included in the anthology, Flashed!

BLURB: Robin of Locksley is renown for his prowess and cunning, and none of the men among his band of outlaws can best him when it comes to the bow and arrow.

None but the brash youth called Will Scarlett, who can bring the man called Robin Hood to his knees in more ways than one.


EXCERPT:

A lusty cheer rose from a clearing deep in the heart of Sherwood Forest. The archery tournament was a way for Robin Hood’s band of outlaws to practice their aim and work off nervous energy as they waited for the Sheriff of Nottingham to make his next move.

Robin’s was the score to beat -- each shot from his bow struck true. But then young Will Scarlett stepped forward to challenge him. The pitch went silent, men craning their necks to watch the exchange. Will’s deep blue eyes pinned Robin in place; a slow smile played around the youth’s wide lips like a promise. From the crowd, a drunken voice jeered, “No one bests Locksley!”

Will’s low voice didn’t carry beyond Robin’s hearing. “No one but me.”

The arrogance in that remark, despite its ring of truth, made Robin step up behind Will as he aimed his bow for the far target. Every eye watched them, every breath held in check. Robin waited, so close to Will that his breath stirred the reddish gold curls that brushed the younger man’s nape. Studiously ignoring him, Will drew back his bowstring, arrow held steady, bow taut --

At the last possible moment Robin leaned against the hard, tight body beside him. The familiar ease with which they pressed together thrilled him. One hand came up around Will’s waist, over his hip, to clutch the codpiece hidden beneath the youth’s tunic.

Will’s arrow shot from the bow with an audible plunk!, sailing over the heads of the now laughing crowd. As he spun around, furious, Robin shrugged. “You missed.”

Anger blotched Will’s pale skin. His mouth worked around bitter words that failed him, and the laughter changed to taunts. From the sidelines Little John called out, “Mayhap the bow was not the only thing set off at Robin’s touch.”

Someone else jeered, “Tell us of Locksley’s firm grip, Will.”

Yes-Man



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
LENGTH: 9,792 words
This story is included in the anthology, Working Men 2

BLURB: Bryce Howerton is an executive assistant for the president of Eckhart Industries, and he's very good at his job. On any given day, he must juggle his boss's hectic schedule with his own -- meetings, interviews, correspondence, office management. Not to mention the daily conferences with Mr. Eckhart himself. Bryce is kept very busy, indeed.

But he knew the requirements of the position when he took the job. In fact, Mr. Eckhart gave him a taste of his duties during his interview. It was unconventional, to say the least.

And hot, and erotic, and taught Bryce everything he'd need to know to become Mr. Eckhart's yes-man.


EXCERPT:

Mr. Eckhart met Bryce at the doorway, then ushered him inside the office, closing the door softly behind them. Indicating the nearest leather sofa, he told Bryce, “Please, Mr. Howerton. Have a seat.”

“Thank you for seeing me.” Bryce perched on the edge of the cushion, not quite sure how soft the sofa might be and unwilling to fall back into it. That wouldn’t make a good impression.

Mr. Eckhart sat on the opposite sofa and flashed Bryce a warm grin. Again Bryce thought how attractive the man was, and knew working for him would be a turn on. He’d probably spend a good amount of time in the executive bathroom jerking off to fantasies of what he could do to this sexy gentleman across from him ...

Wait, was there an executive bathroom? Would he have access to it, being Mr. Eckhart’s assistant? He hoped so. He’d hate to be rushed getting off in a public stall.

You’re here about a job, he thought, chastising himself. Stop thinking about sex.

As if he could read Bryce’s sordid mind, Mr. Eckhart’s grin widened and he leaned forward, elbows on his knees, hands clasped in front of him. In a soft voice, he asked, “Mr. Howerton, do you know why you’re here?”

Bryce cleared his throat. If only he could clear away his thoughts as easily. “Your secretary said something about a final interview ...”

“Do you know how many potential candidates for your position have made it this far?” Mr. Eckhart asked.

Your position. Bryce liked the sound of that. “Not many,” he guessed.

Mr. Eckhart arched one eyebrow. “Until today? None.”

Before he could stop himself, Bryce said, “So I’m your first.”

Stupid! How did that not sound sexual?

Mr. Eckhart’s grin twisted into a smirk. “Hardly. Do you know why you’re really here?”

Bryce wasn’t sure. Tentatively, he asked, “This is about a job, right?”

The only response he received was the slightest nod.

“Executive assistant,” Bryce continued. He wracked his brain, trying to recall the job description he’d been given at the first interview. “Someone to manage your daily correspondence, maintain your schedule, represent you at in-house meetings when you cannot attend ... um, coordinate travel arrangements as necessary, work with Alecia on day-to-day office management and new hire procedures ... something about overseeing departmental managerial staff projects ...”

With a dismissive wave of his hand, Mr. Eckhart said, “You have a good memory, I’ll give you that. But what I want to know is, what do you think the job entails?”

“You need a yes-man,” Bryce said, cutting to the chase. “Someone who will do what you want him to do, no questions asked.”

Mr. Eckhart sort of shrugged, which Bryce thought might be a sign he was impressed. “And do you think you can do that?”

Bryce bit back a smile of his own. “Yes, sir.”

“Let’s see, then.”

But Mr. Eckhart didn’t move, so Bryce waited, wondering what exactly he had to do to prove himself qualified for the position.

After a long moment, Mr. Eckhart said, “I am going to see how loyal you can be, and I should warn you, it will be graphic. I give you my word -- you will not be harmed. In fact, you might say I’ll be sure to use protection. If this makes you uncomfortable in any way, tell me now and we will end things here. You won’t get the job, of course, but --”

“Yes.” The word was free before Bryce even knew he’d spoken out loud. Mr. Eckhart was talking about sex, he had to be, and when he said he’d use protection, Bryce’s cock woke with a start. “Let me prove to you I’m your man. Please.”

Mr. Eckhart said simply, “Then close your eyes.”

Playing the Field: Getting Wet



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
LENGTH: 17,639 words
This story is included in the anthology, Playing the Field Volume 2

BLURB: Rory Holt is the best swimmer on the team at State U. and he knows it. Swimming is his life, and if Rory hopes to attain his dreams of Olympic gold one day, he can’t let anything distract him. Every morning finds him practicing at the campus fitness center, and every afternoon he blows his teammates away with his speed and finesse in the water.

The new semester brings with it new tryouts, including the bright, up-and-coming Chase Cohen. Chase is sexy and sure of himself, both in and out of the pool, and seems determined to catch Rory’s eye.

Rory doesn’t want to share the podium with anyone else, and he doesn’t like hearing his coach say Chase might even be better than he is when he already knows he’s the best. Chase’s attentions are annoying at first, but the more he persists, the harder Rory finds it to ignore him. Soon Rory can’t deny the growing attraction he feels towards his new teammate.

But when that attraction costs him his top spot on the leaderboard, Rory is pissed. Is Chase after Rory’s position on the team, or Rory himself?


EXCERPT:

By the time Rory reaches the far end, the other swimmer is already pulling himself up onto the side of the pool. He turns and sits, his legs dangling into the water, and grins as he watches Rory surface. At first, Rory can’t really see the guy -- the goggles obscure most of his vision, and the water streaming down his face smears the rest. But he pushes the goggles up onto the top of his head and wipes a hand across his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose, then blows water and air into his palm to clear his senses.

A moment later, he pushes himself up onto the side of the pool, too, and flings his goggles and swim cap to the concrete. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing here?” he growls.

The guy’s grin never falters. “If I’m not mistaken, I think I’m beating you.”

Rory’s blood surges at the challenge in the other swimmer’s voice. “We weren’t racing,” he snaps. “In case you didn’t notice, the pool’s closed.”

“You’re here,” the guy points out.

“I’m supposed to be,” Rory tells him. “I’m on the swim team.”

That damn grin burns brighter, if possible. “Me too. I’m Chase.”

“I don’t care who you are. This is my time.” Rory scrambles to his feet, water splashing as he stands, and stomps down around the length of the pool to put some distance between them. To cool off. Another minute listening to this idiot and he’s going to hurt somebody.

Rory doesn’t know if the guy’s lying about being on the team or not, and he has no way of finding out until the next practice. Just because Rory doesn’t recognize him doesn’t mean he isn’t telling the truth. It’s early in the spring semester, and the coach was going to hold tryouts over the winter break for fresh blood, as he liked to call it. A few of their older teammates graduated in the fall, and a few spots on their roster opened up.

But no one coming in now would even make a dent in the rankings, which means Rory’s position at the top of the team isn’t in jeopardy, so he didn’t bother attending the tryouts. Why waste his time? He never races against his own teammates, and the only time their speed impacts his time is in the relay. So why spend a Saturday watching a bunch of would-be hopefuls splash each other and dog paddle around the pool all day? If anyone new even approached his speed, he was sure he’d hear about it soon enough.

So why hasn’t he heard about this Chase kid yet? He has half a mind to call the coach right this second and find out.

When he’s halfway down the length of the pool, he hears a splash behind him and knows Chase dived into the water again. The guy may be fast, but he’s noisy as hell. Rory stops and turns, arms folded across his chest, a sour frown on his face as he watches the water churn with Chase’s passing. Automatically he counts down the seconds, timing the other swimmer. It takes Chase less time to cross the pool’s length than it does Rory, and that only makes him frown harder.

Something twists inside Rory as Chase emerges between the starting blocks. Water beads and drips from that lean body. Muscles flex in Chase’s arms and thighs and ass. His narrow waist disappears into a bright blue Speedo that hugs every line and plane and curve. Every clenched sinew is on display, flexed and tightened, and time seems to slow to a crawl as he exits the pool. Rory knows he’s staring, and he hates himself for it, hates even more the way his body reacts to Chase’s sexy, seductive backside.

Then he sees a hint of smile on Chase’s face and realizes the other swimmer is drawing out the moment. Rory fists his hands against his sides, biting back the jealous anger simmering within him. This is his time, damn it! He doesn’t share it with any of the other members on his team, and he isn’t going to start sharing it now.

Come Whatever Storms



GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
LENGTH: 76,150 words | 240 pages

BLURB: In the near future, a deadly flu-like virus decimates the Earth's population. The few who remain struggle to survive without electricity, fresh food, or any other amenities they once took for granted.

John “Court” Courtland and his best friend Ronnie Densch are two such survivors. Court has never known a time when Ronnie wasn't in his life. They grew up together. But it's only as they begin to move forward in the post-apocalyptic chaos of Virginia that Court realizes he's in love with Ronnie. Always has been, and always will be, even if he never lets himself admit it out loud.

Ronnie is a private, inscrutable man who lets no one close to him except Court. With winter coming on, Ronnie wants to move farther south to warmer weather, and Court follows without question. Along the way, they're joined by other survivors, a ragtag bunch all looking for guidance. As they travel, they hear faint radio signals from Fort Sumter, South Carolina, where a rebuild effort is underway.

The world Court once knew has changed, leaving behind a dangerous and lawless landscape. But come whatever storms, he knows he can weather them with Ronnie by his side. Will Sumter turn out to be everything Court hopes for and more? And will he find the courage to tell Ronnie how he really feels before it’s too late?


EXCERPT:

“I never asked to be in charge.” Ronnie scrubbed at the gun barrel now, no longer careful and tender but furious. “I didn’t ask for any of this, you know? At first it was just you and me, and then we picked up Adam, and then Bree, and then this one, and then that one ...”

“I know.” Court kept his voice calm, hoping it would entice Ronnie to lower his. With a grin, he joked, “I don’t even know half those people out there, do you? I mean, where’d the hell they come from? Why follow us?”

Ronnie nodded, and Court sensed the fight leaving him as quickly as it had kicked up. “Exactly. Like we know what the fuck we’re doing.”

“You fake it well,” Court teased, laying his head in the crook of his arm to grin at his friend. “You act like you know what you’re doing so everyone just falls in line behind you. That, or they just like watching your ass in those jeans when you walk.”

Ronnie grunted. “Yeah, well, that might be your reason, but I doubt it works for everyone.”

Something tingled along Court’s spine -- anxious anticipation? Lust? He didn’t know, and it was gone before he could bother to identify it. At least Ronnie’s anger had dissipated. Court could always seem to diffuse his friend. “It might work for Bree,” he said with a shrug. “Adam, I’m not so sure. Maybe that Dizzy fellow ...”

“Bree’s too busy watching your ass to look at mine,” Ronnie countered. “You should show her that box of condoms you found. See what happens.”

Court grinned. “How do you know about those? Did you go through my pockets?”

With a grin, Ronnie said, “Let’s just say I know, okay?”

“I’ll go through your pockets,” Court threatened. Ronnie just shrugged, and Court climbed out of his sleeping bag and over Ronnie’s to reach the pair of jeans folded behind his friend. “What do you have in these, hmm?”

Ronnie stretched an arm under Court’s stomach to pull him back. “Don’t --”

“Too late.” Court sat back on his legs, Ronnie’s jeans in his hands. When Ronnie lunged for them, Court held them out of reach. One hand dipped into the front pocket like a magician looking to pull a trick out of his hat. “Let’s see.”

The first pocket held a tube of Chapstick, a wadded up tissue, and a handful of pennies. “What do you need these for?” Court asked as they clinked together in his palm.

“Put them back.” Ronnie set aside his disassembled gun and reached for his jeans again. “Come on, stop it.”

Court scooted back, his hand already reaching into the other pocket. “What’s in here? More change ...”

But no, it wasn’t coins he extracted -- it was a pair of rings Court would recognize anywhere. Solid gold wedding rings. He’d been with Ronnie when they bought four of them. One set for him and Jeanie, one for Ronnie and Melissa. As far as he knew, both their wives had worn the rings to the grave.

These rings were the men’s bands, plain and unburnished, nothing fancy. The last time Court had seen his was when he tucked it into his dead wife’s hand. He didn’t remember exactly when Ronnie had stopped wearing the other -- when Melissa died? No, that wouldn’t be right ... he could recall a moment when the two of them had been sitting in his living room, Jeanie cleaning up in the kitchen after dinner, and Ronnie’s hand had rested beside Court’s on the seat of the couch. The ring had been there then, and Melissa had already been gone for a good nine or ten months at that point.

Court remembered the scene because he had covered Ronnie’s hand with his so the rings clinked together, as they did now in Court’s palm. “The rings match,” he’d joked at the time. “We could be married to each other.”

Now he looked at the rings, then raised his gaze to meet Ronnie’s. Steady, unflinching. No apologies in those dark eyes, no shame. Had he pried this ring from Jeanie’s grip? Had it fallen while he carried her from the bedroom and he went back to pick it up after the burial? Why keep it all this time?

Gently, Ronnie said, “Put those back.”

Because Court didn’t know exactly what he wanted to ask about them -- or rather, he didn’t know if he wanted to hear Ronnie’s answer -- he tucked the rings into the front pocket of Ronnie’s jeans and handed the pair of pants back to his friend.

The silence between them stretched until it was almost unbearable. When Court couldn’t stand it any longer, he said, “You really should throw those pennies away. I mean, they were already sort of useless before the virus came along. Even if we do bring back money, nobody’s going to want them.”

“They’re a piece of our past,” Ronnie explained. “No matter what happens here on out, I don’t want to lose that.”

Court wondered if maybe that also answered the question he couldn’t ask.

Never Met a Stranger



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
LENGTH: 51,280 words | 194 pages

BLURB: English professor Gavin Dozier hasn’t had much luck when it comes to love. When his last boyfriend cheated on him, he was driven to experiment with women. Sex with Marian, though, had its own dangers, and before he knew it, he was a father. Now estranged, the only thing Gavin and Marian have in common is their daughter Evie, a precocious seven-year-old who stays with Gavin every other weekend.

While out with her daddy, Evie meets the heavily-tattooed Brody Phelps, a sketch artist with serious talent who still dresses like a brooding punk rocker, even though he’s in his thirties. Brody is instantly attracted to the sexy college professor, but knows Gavin is out of his league -- the man has a kid, which probably means he isn’t gay, and besides, Brody never even graduated from high school. Guys like Gavin don’t go for guys like him.

But when Evie leaves Gavin’s cell phone behind, Brody has the perfect excuse to meet up with them again. To his surprise they hit it off, and when he asks Gavin out, the professor accepts.

Even though Evie brought them together, will her demanding personality pull them apart? Is Gavin ready to trust his heart to someone else again? Can Brody overcome his own fears of inadequacy and let Gavin in? And what will Marian have to say when the father of her child starts dating again?


EXCERPT:

Turning to a clean page in his sketchbook, Brody starts drawing Evie with quick, short strokes of his pencil. She leans over, fascinated, as the outlines of her face appear on the paper. It doesn’t take much for her to recognize herself -- the moment he’s finished with the eyes, she squeals in delight. “That’s me!”

With a grin, Brody keeps working. The pencil moves almost by itself, his hand simply holding it as lines stream from the lead to form the basic structure of the girl before him. He glances up at her to assess the next area he’ll draw, then his gaze returns to the page to bring her doppelganger to life. When he looks up again, Evie strikes a pose: back straight, head cocked, smile firmly in place, as if he’s taking her picture and not drawing it.

“You can relax,” he tells her, sketching without pause. “I’m not drawing how you really look but how I see you in my mind.”

“Draw me like this,” she says, propping one hand on her hip and tilting her head in the opposite direction, her eyes rolled back. Then she switches sides, opening her mouth in a surprised O with her eyes wide. “Or like this. Or this!”

From somewhere behind them, a man calls out, “Evie?” An undercurrent of fear laces his voice, and he raises it when he says her name a second time. Then, sharply, relieved but annoyed, “Evie!”

Sitting up on her knees on the stool, Evie waves frantically. “Daddy! Here I am! Come look at my drawing!”

Brody throws a look over his shoulder and sees Evie’s father -- about his age, handsome in a romantic, Harlequin book cover sort of way. The man has fair hair like Brody’s, but his is obviously natural, not dyed. It falls back from his angular, pretty-boy face in waves. As he approaches the counter where Brody and Evie are sitting, there’s a second or two where Brody envisions him striding slowly, eyes smoldering, the hint of a smile toying around his full lips, as a sultry soundtrack plays in the background.

That’s the problem with being artistic, Brody’s found. His mind sees things that don’t exist, and now the damn image of this guy sashaying through the restaurant is going to stick with him until he draws it down. That’s the only way to get the mental pictures out of his head, put them on paper instead. When he’s finished Evie’s portrait, though, then he has the birds he wants to finish up…

“Hey, little lady,” the guy says as he nears the counter. “What are you doing over here?”

Brody hunches his shoulders -- he knows what’s coming. The look that says, What the hell are you doing with my daughter? The frown, the hand grabbing her arm a little too tightly, the tug to get her away from him. Come on, Evie, he might as well say. I don’t want you hanging around freaks like him.

But there’s none of that, surprise surprise. “Daddy, look!” Evie waves the picture of the Angry Birds in front of her father’s face. “Brody drew it for me! Look!”

Brody stays focused on the portrait he’s working on, but he steals little glances of Evie’s father from the corner of his eye. Close up, the man is really attractive in a commercialized way Brody has always hated to admit he likes. Smooth skin, flawless complexion, nice definition to his arms and hands -- not muscular, but not scrawny, either. Wholesome. Handsome.

And so totally out of my league.

Going Pro



GENRE: Non-Fiction
LENGTH: 37,034 words | 178 pages

BLURB: Going Pro: One Author’s Advice on Getting Published with Small and Electronic Presses is a concise guide that offers advice on all aspects of writing for publication. From finding the time to write to finding beta readers, from navigating all the elements of a successful submissions packet to understanding a publishing contract to marketing your newly published book -- here I offer the best advice I can on getting your first story from a file on your computer to an e-book released by a small or electronic press.

Topics covered include: polishing your manuscript, finding the right publisher, working with an editor, writing blurbs, and promoting your book. I give detailed explanations of submission guidelines, contracts, rights and copyrights, cover art, and marketing plans. I also offer advice on what to do when things don’t go quite as you plan, whether it’s a bad review or a pirate site, or your publisher folds.

It can be intimidating when you’re just starting out and trying to get published. I know, I’ve been there, too. So if you’re interested in getting your stories published with a small press or e-book publisher, let me help you through the process!


EXCERPT:
TABLE OF CONTENTS:

    Part 1: Your Manuscript
    Chapter 1: Finding Time to Write
    Chapter 2: Feedback
    Chapter 3: Sharing Your Work
    Chapter 4: Back Up!
    Chapter 5: Using a Pseudonym

    Part 2: Getting Published
    Chapter 6: Publishing with a Small Press
    Chapter 7: Do You Need an Agent?
    Chapter 8: Finding the Right Market
    Chapter 9: Submission Guidelines
    Chapter 10: Cover Letter
    Chapter 11: Query Letter
    Chapter 12: Blurb
    Chapter 13: Excerpt
    Chapter 14: Synopsis
    Chapter 15: Full Manuscript
    Chapter 16: Marketing Plan
    Chapter 17: Understanding Publishing Terms
    Chapter 18: E-Mailing Your Submission
    Chapter 19: Follow-up
    Chapter 20: Rejection Letters
    Chapter 21: Acceptance Letters

    Part 3: Contracts
    Chapter 22: Assigning Your Rights
    Chapter 23: Exclusive Vs. Nonexclusive Rights
    Chapter 24: Copyright
    Chapter 25: Things to Look For in a Contract
    Chapter 26: Before You Sign

    Part 4: Before Your Book Is Published
    Chapter 27: Tax Documentation
    Chapter 28: Author Bio
    Chapter 29: The Dreaded Blurb Form
    Chapter 30: Cover Art
    Chapter 31: Working with an Editor

    Part 5: Promotion
    Chapter 32: What Your Publisher Does
    Chapter 33: WWW Dot You
    Chapter 34: Social Networking
    Chapter 35: Blogging
    Chapter 36: Ads
    Chapter 37: Reviews
    Chapter 38: Conventions

    Part 6: When Things Sour
    Chapter 38: Bad Reviews
    Chapter 39: Piracy
    Chapter 40: You Aren’t Getting Paid
    Chapter 41: Your Publisher Folds

    Part 7: Keep Writing
    Chapter 42: Keep Your Name Out There
    Chapter 43: The Pros and Cons of Branching Out

Vic and Matt Book III: Hometown Hero



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance, Superhero
LENGTH: 164 pages

BLURB: Vic Braunson is a city bus driver who falls in love with Matt diLorenzo, a swimmer he meets at the gym. When they finally hook up, there's no denying the energy between them.

Something about Matt brings out the best in Vic -- literally. Every time they have sex, Vic gains new superhuman powers from his lover. Can they learn to live with these abilities without losing each other?

Contains the stories: NOTE: These stories are available in the Everyday Hero Box Set and V Box Set.




PRINT ISBN: 9781495354014 | BUY IT NOW:
JMS Books LLC Amazon Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

From No Place Like Home:

Slowly Matt became aware of an insistent tapping on the driver’s side window. Tap tap tap. It seemed to mimic the throbbing in his head.

Tap tap tap.

He stirred, and suddenly felt hot breath on the nape of his neck. For one flitting moment he thought, Vic? But the wet tongue that licked his ear, causing him to jump in surprise and hit his head again on the windshield, brought to mind someone else. He flapped a hand ineffectually behind him. “Sadie, stop.”

Of course, she didn’t listen. Matt rolled away from her and felt the steering wheel dig into his ribs. Where was he again?

Tap tap tap. This time, a familiar voice followed. “Hey, are you dead in there, or what?”

Why does it have to be Roxie? he thought, opening his eyes to stare at the tree sprawled across the crumpled hood of his car. Gingerly, he eased himself back into the driver’s seat, rubbing his head with one hand. He glanced out the window, saw Roxie’s impish face pressed to the glass, and closed his eyes against the sudden flare of pain across his temples.

Then he opened them again, wide this time. What the hell was she wearing?

Roxie tapped the window again, using the shining star atop what looked like a fairy wand in her right hand. She still wore the double ponytails, but now a sparkly tiara sat between them, and her usual Goth makeup had been replaced with glittery pastels and metallic stardust. What looked like a pair of gossamer wings sprouted behind her shoulders. When she saw him staring, she smiled. “Good, you’re alive. Now get out here so I can kick your ass, mister!”

Matt groaned. God, what now? He fumbled for the door latch, remembering it’d been stuck before, but this time when he tugged on it, the door opened with ease. But what began as a slow extraction took a nasty tumble when Sadie bullied her way past him out the door, leaving Matt on his hands and knees in a trickling creek bed.

A strong hand caught him under his arm. “You okay?” Roxie asked, hauling him to his feet. “You just about ran me over when you came flying out of nowhere, man. What the hell kind of witch are you, anyway?”

“What?” He brushed her away, but stumbled back against his car. “I’m not a witch. What are you talking about?”

Now he saw the rest of her getup -- a barely-there shift made of some sort of shimmery material that moved easily with her and left little to the imagination. A pair of three-inch heels were on her feet, covered in ruby red sparkles. He so didn’t need this right now.

With her wand, Roxie pointed after Sadie, now squatting by a nearby bush. “Then is that the witch? How’d you get here?”

“Where’s here?” Matt countered. Pushing away from his car, he took a few steps up a lush, grassy embankment and turned to stare at what remained of his beloved Jaguar. The hood had accordioned up against the spider-webbed windshield, and even from this distance, he could see the scratches in the paint. “Fuck. Look at my car!”

Despite her painful-looking footwear, Roxie moved nimbly in the grass to where Matt stood. There she turned and frowned at the Jag. “Yeah. Tough shit. Guess you won’t be getting home in that, will you?”

He looked at her, unable to think of anything to say except, “Where’d you come from, anyway?”

She grinned. “I live here, stupid. You’re the one who dropped in.”

Matt pressed his hands to his head in an effort to make it stop hurting. “You live in the Fan,” he told her. “Downtown. I’ve been to your place. This is ...”

Where was he, exactly? He’d been driving down Hermitage when he saw a twister, then the road had washed out, and he hydroplaned ... “Where is this, again?”

Roxie held out the hand not holding the wand. When he just stared at it, she grabbed his own hand and pumped it once in greeting. “Welcome to the merry old land of Oz.”

“What?”

“Oz,” she said again. “I’m the Good Witch of the North, and you just about plowed me down when you came falling out of the sky.”

Oz. Matt laughed. It hurt his head worse when he did, but he couldn’t help it. “Oz,” he said out loud. “To be honest, my money would’ve been on you being the Wicked Witch of the West.”

“Where do you think I got these kick-ass shoes?” she asked, indicating them with a swish of her wand. “You caught me on a good day. Stick around long enough, and I’ll turn wicked on you.”

Blurring the Lines



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
LENGTH: 9,973 words
This story is included in the anthology, Working Men 2

BLURB: Greg is straight, but makes easy money offering his services to gay men online. He's inexpensive but has a few ground rules: never reveal his real name, never invite a client home, and never, ever, ever agree to more than three appointments with anyone. Ever.

RC is handsome, loaded, and lives in a big house in a swanky neighborhood. Greg doesn't understand why such a guy needs to pay for companionship, but RC’s been burned by men who are interested in only his money, and paying someone takes off the pressure of maintaining a relationship.

Their first appointment goes well, and they schedule another. But Greg is surprised when RC calls him a few days later just to hang out. Greg doesn’t pal around with his clients; it’s strictly business. But there’s something about the guy that makes him say yes.

At dinner, RC introduces himself as Ryan, and Greg breaks his own rule and shares his real name, too. By the end of the evening, the lines between client and friend have begun to blur. Does this count as their second appointment even if they don’t have sex?

By the time they meet up again, Greg is half in love with Ryan. Will this next appointment be their last, or will Greg embrace something he didn’t even know he was looking for?


EXCERPT:

A long porch leads to a screen door. I can see inside -- an island in a kitchen, marble countertops, steel appliances that look brand new. Down a short hall is a flat-screen TV larger than the longest wall in my living room. A leather sofa faces it, and I catch a glimpse of the back of a man’s head. Short-cropped dark hair, and when I knock on the side of the door, he turns and I see a trim beard, a very manly look. He sees me and grins, his eyes sparkling.

He sent a picture in his e-mail so I already know what to expect, but to be honest, I thought he’d used a photo of a sexy model in some luxurious country home. I didn’t think he’d really be so ... well, so perfect.

When he stands, I notice he’s bare-chested, and the hair on his muscled pecs is the same brown-black as that on his head and face. He wears a low-hanging pair of sweatpants that leave little to the imagination and nothing on his feet. As he approaches the door, his grin is contagious and I can’t help but return it. “Hey,” I say as he opens the screen door wide. “RC?”

Of course he is. “You must be Mike,” he says.

Up close, his eyes are the palest shade of blue I’ve ever seen. I almost correct him -- actually no, it’s Greg -- but then I remember my rule about never telling them my real name and I just nod instead. He holds the door for me to step inside. To say I’m impressed would be an understatement. This dude is rich.

Still, I’m pleased I manage not to sound awestruck when I tell him, “Nice place you have here.”

“It’s home,” he says.

Must be nice.

He closes the screen door behind me, then shuts the back door for good measure. For a moment I almost believe I’m just here to visit -- we’re friends and he’s invited me over to watch the game, maybe, and we’ll eat pizza on his leather sofa in front of that big-ass TV. Then his smile widens and his eyes heat up as he looks me over, and I remember we’re not friends. The lust I see when he looks at me says as much.

But he’s a gracious host. “Are you hungry?” he asks. That’s a first. “Or do you maybe want something to drink first?”

I shake my head. “I’m good. We can just go in the ... I don’t know, the bedroom or something? Unless you want to do it here ...”

“What? No, no.” He laughs, a throaty sound that reminds me of summer thunder. One hand runs through his hair, but it’s too short to really muss up. It rises up off his forehead in a sensual sweep. “This is sort of my first time doing this.”

I find that hard to believe. “Come on, really? A hot guy like you --”

“I thought you said you were straight.” His eyes cloud over, suddenly wary.

“Straight but not blind,” I assure him. “You must look in the mirror. You know you’re hot. Don’t tell me you’ve never ...”

He laughs again, and his eyes crinkle into half-moons I’m sure women and men alike swoon over. “I’ve never paid for it,” he says. “But it’s hard to meet people, you know? And things always get so damn complicated. I thought hey, this is a one-time thing. You need the money, I just want to fool around. What’s the big deal?”

“Exactly.”

He heads out of the kitchen but takes a left instead of a right, which would put us in the living room. I follow him down a dimly-lit hall, past closed doors that lead to who knows where, to the single open door at the far end. He stands aside, arm outstretched to let me go first.

A perfect gentleman. Even though I know I shouldn’t, I’m liking this.

V: The V in Valentine’s



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance, Superhero
LENGTH: 15,836 words
This story is included in the anthology, V: A Vic and Matt Series

BLURB: Book 6 in the Vic and Matt: V Series

Vic Braunson has learned to live with the many and varied superpowers he receives from his lover, Matt diLorenzo. Most of the powers come and go, and Vic can take them or leave them. It’s Matty he loves, not the abilities his lover gives him.

Officer Kendra Jones is determined to talk Vic into joining the police force. With his powers, he would make a formidable cop. But Vic doesn’t want to put anyone in danger, least of all himself.

For Valentine’s Day, Matt has the perfect evening planned. But Kendra interrupts, soliciting Vic’s help in finding an autistic boy who wandered away from his family campsite days earlier. A wintry storm is set to plunge outside temperatures into the teens. If the boy can’t be found before the weekend, chances are he won’t survive.

The timing couldn’t be worse -- Vic’s arsenal of superpowers are nowhere in sight, other than his default telepathy and strength. Despite all the odds, can Vic save the boy as well as the romantic evening with Matty?


EXCERPT:

Vic narrowed his eyes. Kendra never just ‘stopped by.’ She always had something up her sleeve. He could’ve read her mind and been done with it, but he respected her too much to do something so invasive. Part of learning to deal with his telepathic ability had been drawing boundaries -- both for himself and for others. The only person he had no boundaries with was Matt.

Still, he didn’t need to be a mind-reader to guess why she had ‘stopped by.’ “If this is about joining the force,” he started.

She didn’t even try to deny it. “There are a few spots opening up next month. One of our officers is moving up to detective, and they’re posting more rank and file positions, too.”

“You make it sound so glamorous,” Vic said with a smirk.

“I think you’d be a great cop,” Kendra insisted. “We could really use someone like you on the force. With your powers -- ”

“You know I can’t control them,” Vic interrupted. “It’s luck of the draw, or Russian roulette. Not all of them can be used to fight crime. Hell, I’m not a damn superhero.”

Kendra shook her head. “But you are, Vic. Your heart and soul knows what’s right, and you fight for justice when you have to. You don’t ignore the powers -- you couldn’t if you tried. I know Matt doesn’t like you to use them --”

“He doesn’t want me to get hurt,” Vic said. “They’re his powers, and he thinks if anything happened to me because of them, it’d be his fault.”

“But you can’t not use them!” Kendra argued. “I’ve seen you -- you can’t turn your back on someone who needs help, anyone. What about Sadie?”

“What about Sadie?” Vic countered, but he knew what she meant. Vic had found the dog that had taken over his and Matt’s lives so completely one afternoon while driving to work. A bunch of kids were teasing the stray, throwing rocks and trying to hurt the dog, or worse. If Vic couldn’t stand seeing anyone hurt, that went doubly so for animals, and he’d stepped in. When he called Kendra to press charges against the boys, she’d told him the truth of the matter was that the dog would probably be put down. Matt had been angling for a pet, and one look into Sadie’s chocolate eyes melted the hardest of hearts. Vic had no choice but to bring her home.

Vic shook his head. “No, okay? Just no.” Kendra opened her mouth to respond, but he cut her off. “Look, even if I could convince Matty I wanted to be a cop -- which I don’t -- most of the time my powers wouldn’t be of any use to you guys. Today I can speed-read. Big deal. That doesn’t mean I’m going to quit my job and take up copyediting. Tomorrow it’ll be something else ... and I don’t know what yet. It could be mundane or it could be destructive. It might even be something that is too hard to hide from everyone else, so I’ll have to call in and miss my shift. I’m not reliable, Kendra. The powers aren’t reliable.”

For a long moment, she studied him, lips pressed tight together, eyes large and wide beneath her blonde bangs. Finally she sighed. “But the telepathy is always there, right?”

Vic shrugged a little and nodded grudgingly. “I can tune it out now but yeah, it’s there. Like a radio playing softly in the next room.”

“And the strength,” Kendra pointed out. “You’re the strongest man I’ve ever met. How much can you bench?”

Vic felt a proud grin stretch across his face. “Before the powers, I could do three-fifty, no problem. Now? The gym doesn’t have enough weights for me to find out.”

“See?” Kendra crowed in triumph. “That right there makes you a more likely candidate for the force than anyone else in the whole city. Even without any other power, the telepathy and the strength combined will make you unstoppable. You’d --”

“Stop.” Vic held up a hand and shook his head again. “Just stop, okay? I said no.”

“But why --”

“I don’t mind helping out when I can,” Vic told her. “If I see something going down, you know I’ll step in. But I couldn’t do it every day. I won’t. I’m sorry.”

It wasn’t just Matty’s feelings on the matter; Vic didn’t want to see the underbelly of the city on a daily basis. It was bad enough he caught glimpses of it now and then -- muggers and rapists and thieves. Accidents on the interstate that left cars and people mangled beyond repair. House fires and stolen vehicles and shattered lives. He’d had his fair share of the worst the city had to offer, and each time he’d been called to help out, he had stepped up to the plate. But Vic didn’t think he had it in him to face crime day in and day out. Worse, to get paid to combat it. He didn’t want to profit off the misery of others, even if he were the one in the right.

No, his bus route held all the excitement he wanted out of work. If Kendra asked him to help out on a case -- and she had in the past, so Vic was sure she would again -- then of course he’d say yes. But he wouldn’t go out looking for crime to fight. No matter what she might think he wasn’t a superhero.

He was simply Vic, a man whose strange super powers came from making love to his boyfriend. No, his fiancé. The ring on his finger was proof of that.

Rub Me the Right Way



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
LENGTH: 9,178 words
This story is included in the anthology, Working Men 2

BLURB: It isn’t that state trooper Mitch Adams doesn’t trust his boyfriend Daryl Danson. They’ve been in an exclusive relationship for eight years, the last five of which they’ve lived together. He knows Daryl isn’t interested in other guys, and he knows Daryl loves him.

But Mitch doesn’t like the fact that Daryl, a physical therapist turned professional masseuse, spends his working hours touching other people’s bodies. It’s hard to understand that the loving massages he receives in the bedroom aren’t the norm, especially since he’s never had a professional massage.

Mitch decides to do a little investigative work and discover for himself what exactly happens in the massage parlor. But when Daryl finds out about the appointment, he decides to give his lover a rub-down Mitch won’t soon forget.


EXCERPT:

Inside the employee break room, Erin peered around the door, then let it swing shut. Turning to her coworkers, she let out a little squeal. “Yay! Hot guy at noon for me,” she said, her voice low so it wouldn’t carry into the quiet room. “You should see him. Woo! Sexy.”

Daryl and Manny were at the table, eating sandwiches Manny had picked up for the three of them. Erin’s was half-eaten nearby. The two men exchanged an amused glance. “I think you got my noon appointment by mistake,” Manny teased.

“Let’s see this hottie,” Daryl said, pushing back his chair.

As he passed, Erin grabbed his shirt. “You got a man, Dar. That one’s mine. Leave him alone.”

“Just because I got a man doesn’t mean I can’t look.” Daryl eased open the swinging door and glanced into the quiet room. At first he thought it was empty, then he heard a quiet cough. Something about the sound was familiar, and he ducked his head out farther ...

Then the door swung shut with a slap. “Shit!” he cried, eyes wide. “That’s my Mitch!”

“He’s mine today,” Erin countered. When she saw the look on Daryl’s face, she asked, “No, wait, for real? That’s your guy?”

Daryl looked again, and this time Erin pushed in front of him to look, too. Manny’s chair scraped as he came over to look, as well. “That’s Mitch,” Daryl whispered. His lover looked so incongruous perched on the edge of the chaise lounge, obviously ill at ease. “I wonder why he’s here.”

Erin elbowed him and he stepped back, letting the door swing shut again. “Well, duh,” she said. “He’s obviously here for a massage. With me, I might add.”

Manny’s brows furrowed together and he asked Daryl, “You don’t give him private sessions at home? Man, if I had a guy like that in my bed, he wouldn’t have to ask --”

“I do,” Daryl insisted. Mitch’s presence in his workplace bothered him slightly. What was Mitch doing there? And why hadn’t he requested Daryl as a masseuse? Unless ...

Daryl had it. A sly grin spread across his face. “I know what this is about,” he told his coworkers. “Mitch thinks all we do is dole out cheap thrills all day long.”

“Cheap?” Erin cried, rolling her eyes. “Does he even know we expect a tip? Because if he stiffs me --”

“No, let him stiff me,” Daryl said. At her frown, he quickly explained, “You know how it is when you’re massaging a lover. Mitch thinks that’s what we do all day long. He doesn’t realize the special treatment I give him at home is reserved for him alone.”

Erin shook her head. “Well, if he thinks I’m getting freaky with him, he has another think coming.”

“That’s just it,” Daryl said. “You take him back and get him set up. When you leave the room, dim the lights and tell him to undress. Then we’ll tag-team. I’ll go in and do the massage for you. He won’t know at first, and when things turn a little intimate --”

“He’ll think he’s right.” Manny leered. “A taste of his own medicine, eh? I like it. Too bad we can’t watch.”

Erin grimaced. “If you’re going to get like that, I’m leading him to your room. I don’t want to have to clean off the table when you’re done.”

“That’s fine.” Daryl’s blood surged at the thought of stealing time alone with his lover on the clock.

But Erin wasn’t finished. “And I want the tip. Make it double. It’s practically a couples massage.”

“Without you having to do any of the work,” Daryl pointed out. But it would be worth the twenty bucks to keep her hands off his lover.

Write Every Day Erotica Edition



GENRE: Erotica, Non-Fiction
LENGTH: 9,283 words | 194 pages

BLURB: Last year, I published a book of writing prompts to help jumpstart muses and get the creative juices flowing. Many of the prompts that didn’t make the cut in that book were salacious, to say the least. As an erotica writer, I sometimes like to think outside my own boundaries and try to tackle the art of writing sex in new and exciting ways. Let’s be honest -- there are only so many things you can say about sex before you start feeling as if the scene has become rote or mechanical. The romance of your first sex story soon dulls with time, almost like a marriage, and you’re left wondering what happened to the excitement you felt when you first fell in love with writing about ... well, love.

That’s why I decided to write a book of writing prompts geared specifically towards the erotica writer. Maybe you want a different position, or a new way of thinking about a familiar scene. Maybe you want to try your hand at something you’ve never dared write before. Maybe you just want to write about two people getting it on and don’t really know where to begin.

This collection of 366 writing prompts can be used daily throughout the year (leap years, too!) as a starting point to get you writing ... and keep you writing. Each day of the year has its own, unique prompt. Set a timer for fifteen or twenty minutes, and write wherever the prompt takes you. Or, if you’re between stories and looking for something different to work on, flip to the prompt for today (or any random page) and start fresh.

This book will kick-start your writing or take you in exciting new directions every day of the year!


EXCERPT:

January 5
While stuck in a traffic jam, you decide to pleasure yourself. Write the scene in delicious detail. Then retell it from the point of view of the truck driver in the lane beside you.

April 10
A married couple whose relationship is on the rocks unexpectedly run into each other while on lunch breaks from their respective employers, and the unlikely encounter leads to a hot, sexy tryst.

July 25
Write a sex scene set in a barn’s hayloft.

September 20
Write a sex scene between lawyers who face off against each other on opposing sides of a criminal case ... but who can’t resist each other outside the courtroom.

December 17
Write a sex scene involving scratching.

Just the Three of Us



GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
LENGTH: 52,658 words | 180 pages

BLURB: City planner Remy McIntosh is looking forward to spending the holidays with his lover, architect Lane Anders. For the past six months, he’s been planning the perfect getaway -- two weeks in a forest cabin at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains.

Remy also has a special gift he can't wait to give Lane on Christmas Day: a wedding ring.

But Remy's ex-wife changes her Christmas plans at the last minute, and asks him to take care of their eight-year-old son, Braeden. Remy loves spending time with his son, but balks at the idea of taking a child along on vacation. The main problem is that Braden has never met Lane, and doesn't know his father is gay.

Lane is ready to take his relationship with Remy to the next level, and has a secret Christmas gift of his own. Having a young boy along will put a crimp in their plans, to be sure, but Lane wants to be a part of every aspect of Remy's life, and that includes Braden.

How will Braden deal with meeting the "other man" in his father's life? What happens when Remy’s romantic holiday for two must also include his son?


EXCERPT:

From where he sat in the cushioned seat on the other side of Remy’s desk, Lane leaned his elbows on the arm rest and steepled his fingers under his chin. “You’re mad,” he said.

“I’m not mad,” Remy corrected. “I’m ... a little put out, that’s all.”

One of Lane’s signature smiles spread across his face. “Come on, what’s the big deal? You said it yourself, you wanted me to meet Braden one day.”

“One day, yes,” Remy emphasized. Opening his day planner for next year, he flipped to the page for May and pointed at a date that already had something written on it. “May tenth, one o’clock, I take Braden out for ice cream at Bruster’s and you stop by to say hi. I had it all planned out.”

“So move your plans up a little,” Lane countered. “Think about it. We’re going to a log cabin in the mountains. There’s a lake, and deer, and a huge fireplace for Santa to come down --”

“And no TV,” Remy pointed out. “No internet, no wi-fi, no nothing for a kid used to waking up and turning on cartoons while he checks his friends’ Facebook updates. He’s going to be bored shitless.”

Lane shook his head. “It’ll be fun. We might even get a little snow. It’ll be nice, relaxing --”

“You don’t know my son.”

Lane said, “Then tell me about him.”

Remy straightened the papers on his desk. He talked about Braden a lot, he knew, but somehow nothing he had ever told Lane really managed to capture the essence of the boy. “He’s ... I don’t know. Sensitive. Set in his ways. He doesn’t really like change.”

“Sounds like someone else I know,” Lane teased.

Remy shook his head. “No, really. It’ll probably make him mad that he isn’t going to be home with all his stuff. He’ll have his heart set on Christmas with his mother, and when he finds out he’ll have to stay with me, it’ll piss him off.”

“Like father, like son,” Lane said.

Remy stacked the papers he’d been reading into a neat pile and tucked them into his Inbox. “No, you aren’t listening to me. He --”

“He’s like you.” Lane reached across the desk and placed a hand on Remy’s wrist, stilling it. “Look at me.”

After a long moment, Remy did. What he saw in his lover’s eyes was a deeper understanding than he could’ve imagined existed. In that one instant, with Lane’s hand covering his, Remy thought simply, I love him. I do. The thought came unbidden, so raw and fresh, that he knew it was the truth.

“You’re upset, I know,” Lane said softly, “but you’re projecting your own feelings onto your son. This wasn’t your plan, and I’m sorry. But sometimes you have to give a little bit, Remy. Sometimes you have to roll with the punches.”

Remy sighed. “It’s going to be a disaster.”

“Don’t think like that,” Lane chastised. “Think of it as an adventure.”

Yeah, Remy thought. A disastrous one.

Head in the Cloud



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
LENGTH: 17,038 words

BLURB: College senior Jake Mallory cares more about his reputation as a former high school jock turned party animal than his grade point average. His time in class is spent counting down to the weekend, when he'll hit the gay club scene with his roommate Holly, who doubles as his designated driver. To celebrate being back at school after summer break, Jake parties so hard, he wakes up Sunday morning with blurred memories of the past two days. Worse than his hangover, though, is the fact that he can’t find his iPhone.

Holly's best friend Evan Williams is a grade A nerd, complete with slicked-back hair and thick, dorky glasses. Jake can't stand Evan on principle, though it's obvious to anyone with half a brain that Evan has a major crush on Jake. No matter how mean Jake is to him, Evan just won't take a hint. He might even know something about the missing phone, but Jake won't give him the time of day to hear what he has to say.

When Jake logs into the cloud online to access his homework, he finds photos uploaded from his phone that he doesn’t remember taking over the weekend. In them is a hot, sexy guy he hooked up with in the back seat of Holly’s car. Soon he realizes the guy must have his phone, and has begun taking explicit photos with it as if to tease Jake.

Holly knows who the guy is but she isn't telling, so Jake begs her to arrange a meeting. He wants his phone back, but more than that, he wants a chance to take things further with the hot stranger. She agrees to throw a house party and invite the guy over. At first, Jake is pissed when he doesn’t show up. Jake doesn't even know who he is. But as the night progresses, he gets his phone back ... and so much more.


EXCERPT:

As Jake reached the foot of the stairs, he heard a key scrape into the lock on the front door and thanked God he’d managed to find a clean pair of sweats to pull on before coming down. He’d foregone a shirt of any kind -- his dresser drawers were suspiciously empty, which made him think most of his clothing must have been in the wash. He’d have to ask Holly ...

“Oh, you know he won’t remember,” his roommate was saying as she opened the front door.

Jake froze on the bottom step, wishing he’d found a shirt after all. Who was with her?

The door swung wide and Holly Mason entered, followed by the geeky Evan Williams. He was everything she was not. Vivacious, talkative, flirty, Holly controlled the room the moment she entered it, whereas skinny little Evan seemed in danger of wilting into the nearest corner and disappearing from sight. He had a mop of blond hair that might have looked good on a surfer from California, but only looked out of place on him. He must have combed it back after he showered because from Jake’s position on the stairs, the teeth marks from the comb appeared to be etched into his scalp. When a strand broke free from the pack, he shook his head to the side to try to get it out of his face, but it didn’t move. His wire-frame glasses did little to enhance his appearance, and when he turned sideways, Jake could see just how thick the lenses were. No wonder Evan always looked as if he’d been spooked -- the glasses magnified his eyes until they threatened to eclipse his face.

Boys like Evan bothered Jake on some fundamental level. It wasn’t just his awkwardness or gawkish manner. It was his intellect Jake couldn’t really deal with. Who had a right to be that damn smart?

From the corner of her eye, Holly caught sight of Jake standing on the stairs and flashed him a quick smile. “Hey, speak of the devil,” she said, leaning on the bannister. “Welcome back to the land of the living.”

Behind her, Evan grinned nervously. “Hi, Jake.”

Jake grunted in response and pushed past them on his way into the kitchen. “You got my phone?” he called back.

Holly followed him, Evan on her heels. “Why, you lose it?” she asked.

Answering her seemed like too much of a hassle, so Jake ignored the question. He went straight for the cabinet where she kept over-the-counter medicine, but the cupboard was bare. The pain in his head pounded harder, threatening to swell again. “Where’s the aspirin?”

“By your bed,” she told him. “I thought you might need it when you finally woke back up.”

By your bed. Which meant that rattling bottle of pills he knocked off the bedside table, the one he almost tripped over and finally kicked away under his bed, was the very same bottle he needed to make his headache go away. The thought of bending down to find it made a vein in his temple throb. “Shit,” he muttered.

“Want me to go get it for you?” Evan offered, a little too eagerly.

Jake shot him a withering look, but it failed to register with the kid. Part of the reason Evan annoyed him so much was because, for some inexplicable reason, Evan liked him. Really liked him. No matter how mean Jake was to him, or how much Jake tried to ignore him, Evan wouldn’t shake off the crush. As if Jake would ever hook up with a nerd like that. He might be a slob, but he had standards. A hunk, for starters. A big dick, too. One look at the scrawny little chicken clucking behind Holly and Jake knew he’d never want any part of that, no matter how hard up he got.

Though if Evan were willing to retrieve the aspirin for him, Jake wouldn’t have to do it himself.

“It fell under the bed,” he said, which was as far as he would go to asking Evan for help.

Holly sighed and shook her head, but Evan was already dashing up the stairs. “You’re an ass, you know that?” she asked, pouring herself a glass of juice.

“He offered.” Jake held out a hand for the carton. When she gave it to him, he drank straight from it, which earned him another sigh. “What?”

“You’re a pig,” Holly declared.

“Yeah, yeah, you love me anyway.” Jake didn’t drink all the juice -- he wanted to save some to wash down the pills. While he waited for Evan to return, he asked, “So you don’t have my phone?”

Holly gave him an odd look. “Why would I?”

“I didn’t give it to you to hold for me or anything?” Jake persisted.

She shook her head.

I’ll Take the Rain



GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
LENGTH: 8,500 words
This story is included in the anthology, Love on the Rocks

BLURB: My boyfriend and I go to the same college, and one of the things I enjoy most is sharing a room with him. Sharing a bed. I hoped living together would improve our relationship, which has grown rocky as of late.

But he's the jealous type, and I always seem to say or do the wrong thing at the wrong time. I don't mean to provoke him; sometimes I just don't think how my actions might hurt him.

Unfortunately, our roommate only sees us when we're at our worst, so she thinks things are bad between us. When he's angry enough at me to kick me out of bed and I have to sleep on the couch. When he snaps at me for flirting with her, even though he knows I don't mean anything by it. She never sees how wonderful he is to me sometimes, or how perfect we can be together when we're alone.

I hope her misplaced concern won't come between us. Or maybe it'll be my own stupidity that tears us apart.


EXCERPT:

The two of us alone, finally, after a long day and an even longer night, but so far, he’s ignoring me. Where I sit on the bed we share, I nurse a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, practically choking it down, glancing over after every bite to see if he’s looking at me yet.

He isn’t.

He isn’t talking, either. He seems so far away, so distant, lost in his own thoughts. Talk to me, I want to say, but he doesn’t. Anything for his words, his touch. Please?

After a long moment, I clear my throat and hold out the sandwich like a peace offering. “Do you want a bite?”

He shakes his head without looking up from the book in front of him. No words. What did I say to bring on this silent treatment? What did I do?

I don’t know. Hell, it doesn’t take much anymore, does it? And he won’t tell me, not until he’s ready. If I’m lucky, he’ll say something when we go to bed, and maybe I won’t have to sleep alone on the couch downstairs. If he tells me why he’s mad, maybe I can apologize and sleep with him tonight. If he gives me the chance.

Minutes stretch like taffy between us. I force down the last bite of my sandwich, holding onto the dim hope he’ll want it instead of me, but he doesn’t. I finish my glass of water and think about brushing my teeth. Peanut butter isn’t all that great a chaser for champagne. My mouth tastes sour and it’s getting late.

As if he realizes the time, he pushes his chair back from his desk and stretches. I watch him openly, waiting for his gaze to turn my way, but it doesn’t. He stands, pushes in the chair, and heads for the door.

I catch his hand before he can make it past the bed. “Wait.”

He shrugs me off. “Was it worth it?” he asks, his deep voice quiet. He always speaks so quietly when it’s just us.

I’m not sure what he means. “Come here,” I say, reaching out to hold him.

He pulls away. “Tonight. The girls.”

There it is. He’s mad at that. “Seriously? You know I’m not interested in them.”

He pulls off his T-shirt and balls it into a fist before tossing it aside. I start to reach for the bare expanse of his back, but I stop myself before my fingers touch him. I know better. I don’t want him to move away from me -- I don’t need that rejection, so blatant, so stinging.

“You had to shake up the bottles, didn’t you?” he asks as he unzips his jeans. “Had to get her tits wet, didn’t you?”

It isn’t just the girls, I know. It’s sneaking the booze on campus in the first place, and taking all the credit for the party, and hobnobbing with the chicks, and rubbing up against them, and ... who knows? Maybe I looked at someone a little funny. Maybe he thought I flirted with someone -- male, female, it doesn’t matter who. The point is I invited him to come along and in the end didn’t really spend time with him. Instead, I had to be the life of the party.

He kicks off his shoes and shucks down his pants, his back still to me. I feel a tiny, ignoble pout begin to tug at my mouth as I watch him undress. It’s like I’m not even here with him. As if I don’t exist.

A Surprise for Daddy



GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
LENGTH: 7,028 words
This story is included in the anthology, Gay Daddies Box Set

BLURB: In this follow-up story to the wildly popular A Present for Daddy, it's been six months since Bobby Jansen ran into Dave Knarr, an old high school chum, and not only picked up their friendship right where they'd left off, but even took it to the next level. Dating now, the men share an apartment as they begin to make a life together. With Bobby's seven year old daughter, Jenna, they've even begun to make a family.

For their six-month anniversary, Dave has something special planned -- a surprise luncheon with his two favorite people in the world. Jenna's in on it, and excited to skip school for the occasion. But can they convince Bobby to ditch work and play a little hooky?


EXCERPT:

Dave watches Jenna pucker her lips and blow kisses at her reflection. Faintly, his stomach rumbles, reminding him it’s already after noon. He usually stops for an early lunch -- working as an ad-man for the local shopping mall, he hit the food court the moment it opened at eleven. Bobby’s lunch break was a little later, and because they worked on opposite ends of town, they rarely managed to meet in the middle of the afternoon.

But today is different. Today it’s been six months since they ran into each other again and picked up their friendship right where they’d left it years ago. Six months to the day of their first kiss. So in Dave’s mind, it’s an anniversary, of sorts. And an anniversary requires a celebration.

To Jenna, he prompts, “So when we get there, you’re going to ask for ...” He wants to run through the routine one last time before they put it into action.

Dabbing the corner of her lips to fix her cherry-flavored lip gloss, Jenna sighs. “Don’t worry, I know it.”

“Humor me.” Dave tugs at the bottom of his sports jacket, all too aware he’s getting nervous. Sure, he saw Bobby this morning, but he’s never visited his lover at work before. What will Bobby say when he sees Dave and Jenna? What will his coworkers say?

Jenna rolls her eyes. With a thick, fake accent, she intones, “Is Mr. Jansen available, puh-leaze? I vish to speak vith him at vonce.”

Dave laughs. “You don’t have to overdo it, honey.”

But she flips the end of the boa over her shoulder and turns up her nose at him. In a haughty voice, she declares, “I am an act-tresse. Do not interfere with the talent, please.”

Dave laughs again as the elevator slides to a silent stop. “Show time,” he murmurs, smoothing out imaginary wrinkles in his jacket and shaking his shoulders to loosen up.

God, he thinks, waiting for the doors to open. What is up with me today? This isn’t our first date. I’m just coming to take him to lunch, that’s it. So what’s with the sweaty palms?

“You ready, Jenna?”

She slips her small hand into his and gives him a reassuring squeeze. “I’m cool, Mr. Dave.”

In a loud stage whisper, he asks, “Do I look all right?”

“You look fabulous, dahling.” With one finger, she taps her sunglasses down to cover her eyes.

“I don’t feel fabulous,” Dave admits as the elevator finally opens to reveal the cut-glass windows of Shumley Construction’s main business office. “I feel like a nervous wreck.”

Leading him out of the elevator, Jenna sashays up to the glass door. “I told you to wear my other feathers,” she says with flawless, childlike logic. She stops in front of the door and waits for him to open it for her. “If you want to feel fabulous, you simply have to look the part.”

Playing for Keeps



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
LENGTH: 35,588 words | 126 pages

BLURB: Shy, soft-spoken clarinet player Thad Archer tours Europe over spring break with his college marching band. He's lonely so far from home and everything he's ever known, but at least he has his friends -- Mark, Peter, Seth, and Jamie. Thad has had a secret crush on sexy drummer Jamie McIntosh since they met but has never managed to pluck up the courage to confess his feelings. Could Jamie be as lonely and homesick as Thad?

Confident and cocky, Jamie is Thad's opposite in every way, but something about his quiet friend sets his heart aflutter. Unfortunately, Thad's deep in the closet, while Jamie is much more secure in his sexuality. Jamie doesn't want to rush Thad into anything he isn't ready for, but hopefully at some point in their friendship, they can move toward something more.

But any romantic hopes the pair have are frustrated by Mark, the band's drum major, who has his sights set on bedding trombonist Seth, or flutist Peter, or anyone, really. He isn't too picky. If he can't get into the pants of his straight friends, he'll settle for whoever he can get. Thad? Jamie?

The band will be flying back to the States in a couple of days. Thad knows once they're home, he'll have missed his chance with Jamie. Can he be satisfied just being friends? Or has Mark conducted his way between them?


EXCERPT:

Jamie’s a freshman, too, same as Thad. He lives down the other end of the hallway from Thad on the same floor of the same dorm. Quick to laugh, he has careless hair he can’t seem to tame and an infectious smile he shares with Thad every time their paths cross, be it at band practice or in the dorm. He said hi first, three days after Thad moved onto campus. It was the Sunday before classes started and Thad was in the bathroom, using the urinal and praying he could finish peeing before anyone else came in. After growing up an only child, sharing a hallway with twenty other guys was a bit intimidating.

The bathroom door opened and Thad jumped. “Hey, man,” the kid said with a casual wave. He ran the hand through his hair, pushing it back from his face. “I’m Jamie, room 403. What number are you?”

“What?” Thad choked. He started to turn toward Jamie, then remembered his unzipped pants and hurriedly hunched his shoulder to the wall, blocking the view. As if Jamie might be interested in stealing a peek. “Thad. Other end of the hall. Four-something.”

His mind refused to work. In the quick glimpse he had of Jamie, his heart stuttered to a stop and his cock stiffened in his hand. Almost perversely, his bladder finally decided to let loose at the same time.

“We’re all four-something,” Jamie said with a laugh, right behind Thad now.

God, you’re hot, Thad thought. His dick twitched and he prayed Jamie didn’t have to take a piss. The last thing he wanted was to be seen sporting wood in the bathroom of a boys’ dormitory.

“Four-eighteen,” Thad said. That sounded right. Part of him wanted to holler, Stop talking to me! while the rest of him never wanted the conversation to end.

“You’re Peter’s roomie?” Jamie asked.

Finished peeing, Thad flushed the urinal and tucked himself in his pants before turning to the sink. Jamie leaned against the counter, watching him. Watching. Hell. Thad hugged the wall as he approached to wash his hands. “Peter, yeah. You know him?”

“He’s in my band class,” Jamie explained. “I play drums. He said his roommate played, too ...?”

Thad scrubbed his hands furiously to avoid staring at the sexy guy beside him. After a long moment, he realized Jamie was waiting for an answer. “Um, yeah. Clarinet? It’s, um ...”

Jamie grinned. “I’ve heard of it. Are you marching, also?”

Thad could only nod. Marching, yes, right back to his room and locking the door to jerk off as he imagined this meeting ending with the two of them in his bed.

* * * *

Yeah, Jamie. Thad swallows the rest of his soda as he watches the way his friend moves on the dance floor. Here Thad is just another pair of eyes, anonymous in the crowd. There’s no chance Jamie will look over and guess the sordid thoughts racing through Thad’s mind. Jamie’s dark, wayward curls wink in the light refracted from the disco balls, and his body moves like seaweed in water, that graceful. One moment his shirt pulls taut across his thin chest; the next, his jeans hug his butt. If Thad closes his eyes, Jamie still dances in his mind.

It makes his heart ache.

I love him, he thinks. Jamie dances in the mirror, lost in the mindless rhythm of the club, blissfully unaware of the turmoil his moves cause in Thad’s loins. It’s that simple, I love him, I want him, I need him. As a friend, yes, but God, as so much more.

And what in the world am I supposed to do about it?

The answer is clear -- nothing.

His parents don’t know he’s gay. No one back home does. Thad thought college would be freer, more liberating, but so far he hasn’t gathered up the courage to come out to anyone. The six months he’s lived down the hall from Jamie have been delightful torture. Friendship grew between them but nothing else, and no matter how Thad tries to imagine making a move toward something more, he can’t. He doesn’t want to lose what little he already has.

Besides, what would his friends say? Peter Davis, his roommate? The other guys on the hall? Peter’s brother Seth, who plays trombone, or Mark, the drum major? Or anyone in the band?

No. He can’t take the chance. Even here, thousands of miles away from his real life, he doesn’t dare reinvent himself.

He takes another sip of his soda and winces at the taste. He wants to go home now.

Gay Daddies Box Set



GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
LENGTH: 62,526 words | 182 pages

BLURB: This box set collects four of J.M. Snyder's best-selling stories about gay dads with young children who want a fresh start ... and maybe a new relationship.

Contains the stories:

A Present for Daddy: Bob’s wife left him with a 7-year-old daughter. While visiting his parents for Christmas, he runs into Dave, an old high school friend, who admits he’s always been attracted to Bob. With his wife gone, Bob finds he’s open to the idea of a relationship with Dave. But what will his daughter think?

A Surprise for Daddy: In this follow-up to A Present for Daddy, it's been six months and Dave has something special planned -- a surprise luncheon with his two favorite people in the world. Jenna's in on it, and excited to skip school for the occasion. But can they convince Bobby to ditch work and play a little hooky?

One More Try: When Evan admitted his feelings for Charlie, his friend broke his heart. Now divorced with a little girl, Evan has started putting his life back together. Then Charlie returns for a second chance.

Tyler's Teacher: Jason Peters is a young widower whose son, Tyler, is starting a new school in the middle of the term. His new teacher, Greg Boucher, is incredibly attractive. For the first time since his wife’s death, Jason finds himself interested in the possibility of a romantic relationship.


EXCERPT:

From One More Try:

Kasey stood on one of the dining room chairs, directing Evan as he filled their plates with spaghetti. “That’s too much, Daddy!” she said with a laugh. “You can’t eat that many. Put some back.”

Evan grinned at her and scooped up a large spoonful of the pasta. “How’s that?”

She frowned at the plate, picked up one long noodle, and stuck it in her mouth. It dangled down her chin. “Help.”

Evan held the noodle out as she slurped it up between her lips, and when he touched her nose with the tip of it, she giggled. “That’s good enough,” she told him, pointing at his plate. “It’s time to eat now. Did you turn off the TV?”

Evan set the pot of noodles aside. “Yeah, I did --”

Suddenly the doorbell rang, echoing through the townhouse and startling them both. He wasn’t expecting company.

Don’t let it be Mere, he prayed, though he knew it wouldn’t be. She was at the beach with Paul this weekend, enjoying her time off from motherhood. Raising his eyebrows at Kasey, he asked, “I wonder who that can be.”

The little girl jumped down from the chair. “I’ll go see!”

Before Evan could stop her, she raced through the living room towards the door.

“Kasey! Don’t run in the house!” As Evan set the pot of spaghetti on the table, he heard her fumble with the latch. He hoped it wasn’t Meredith. She had never interfered with his time with their daughter before.

From the living room, he heard Kasey open the door. “Hello?” she asked, her voice so tiny, so chipper. Maybe it was one of his neighbors. Maybe it was UPS.

He was wiping his hands on a dish towel when he heard a voice he hadn’t heard in years. It made his knees weak and his hands shake. “Hey there, baby girl. Your daddy home?”

Charlie. Oh my God.

Evan’s heart began to race. Before Kasey, before Meredith, there had been Charlie Madison, star pitcher for the Richmond Rebels who single-handedly took the minor league farm team to the state playoffs the last season Evan played first base. It’d been six years since Evan last saw Charlie’s warm brown eyes and sexy grin. Back then, Evan’s life had been in control and he knew what he wanted.

What I wanted was him. When I thought he wanted me, too. But I was wrong about that, wasn’t I?

And I thought I was over him, finally. Only now he’s back and guess what? I was wrong about that, too. Damn.

Tyler’s Teacher



GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
LENGTH: 24,570 words
This story is included in the anthology, Gay Daddies

BLURB: Jason Peters is a young widowed father whose son, Tyler, is a precocious first grader starting a new school in the middle of the term. His new teacher is Greg Boucher, a man near Jason’s age who is incredibly attractive. For the first time since his wife’s death, Jason finds himself interested in the possibility of a romantic relationship.

It seems Greg feels the same. At a parent/teacher conference, Jason admits he’s gay, and to his surprise, Greg asks him out on a date. They spend a wonderful evening together, but when morning dawns, Jason realizes things can’t move forward between them unless his son is comfortable with the arrangement.

Will Tyler understand Jason’s interest in his teacher? Or will Jason have to choose between what he wants and what’s best for his son?


EXCERPT:

The man jogging towards where Tyler and I wait is a few years younger than me. When did I get older than teachers? I wonder, but immediately on the heels of that thought comes the sobering reality -- when I had a kid of my own. Some days I still feel like I’m a teenager; it’s easy to do when I’m at home alone during the day, sitting in front of the computer and working on my latest short story. I’m too young to have been married, to be widowed, to raise a son on my own. I’m still too young ...

Then Tyler comes home and reminds me that, as much as I’d like to pretend otherwise, I’m not.

Mr. Boucher slows as he approaches us. He’s my height, a little heavyset, but young and vibrant, happy ... alive, to be honest, in a way I haven’t seen in anyone in a long time. Not since Lisa. His dark blond hair is neat and trim, which makes me run a hand through my own mess of brown waves in an effort to tame them. When did I shower last? What with moving and working on my new story to meet my own self-imposed deadline, unpacking, getting Tyler settled in, getting him to school, I haven’t really paid much attention to myself. I haven’t wanted to, really.

And suddenly here I am worried about what this guy’s thinking about me.

“Tyler,” Mr. Boucher says with a smile. He holds up an Avengers lunchbox that looks familiar. “Is this yours?”

I’m staring, I know it. Boucher has fair skin, flawless this close, and a thin mouth that crinkles in the corners when he smiles. There’s a faint indentation in one earlobe, a spot for an earring he doesn’t wear to work, I suspect. His hair is cut close to his head, a sandy color that fades to a darker shade at his temples. And he has soft brown eyes, impossibly soft, and kind.

This guy’s a teacher? If I had someone like him teaching me, I would’ve loved going to school. I don’t want to butt in, but there’s no way I’m leaving here without him saying something to me, too. I ask my son, “Tyler, why don’t you introduce us?”

“I told you, that’s my teacher.” Taking the offered lunchbox, Tyler says to Mr. Boucher, “This is my dad.”

Great, I think. Way to make me look like a chump. We’re going to have to have a serious talk about how to be a good wingman when he gets a little older.

Despite Tyler’s tactless intro, Mr. Boucher holds a hand out for me to shake. He has a strong, sure grip, and when he turns those eyes my way, I can’t help but grin. “Greg Boucher. Nice to meet you.”

“Jason Peters.” I hold his hand a second longer than I should, I know, but he doesn’t try to pull away and it’s hard to let go myself. Before the moment can draw out awkwardly between us, I let go and tuck both hands into my pockets again. “Since he got out of class, you’re all he’s been talking about.”

Beside me, Tyler groans. “Dad.”

Mr. Boucher laughs. “I think he’s really going to like my class. I haven’t had one complaint yet. He said you were a writer?”

Now it’s my turn to flush. Even if Tyler doesn’t realize it, he got me back for anything I might’ve said that embarrassed him. “I’m working on something,” I mumble, hoping Greg doesn’t ask for details.

He must see I don’t want to divulge more because he claps his hands and turns to Tyler. “Did you bring home all those papers for your dad to sign?”

“I’ve got them right here.” I heft Tyler’s book bag higher onto my shoulder so Greg sees it and joke, “It’s his first day of school and I’m the one who gets all the homework.”

“They’re just the standard forms,” Greg says with a smile. “I’m sure you’ve been through them all before. School handbook, upcoming dates you need to know about, things like that. We have a plantation field trip at the end of the month and our annual Career Day in April. It’s all there. Oh! And there’s a parent/teacher conference on Thursday, if you and your wife are interested.”

Again, I ignore the subtle reference to Lisa. “Thursday? What time?”

“Seven to nine,” Greg explains. “It’s the third one this year, so I’m not really expecting any parents to show up -- I’ve talked to all of them by now, and none of my kids are doing bad enough to warrant another visit. But if you’d like to stop by, say hi, see your son’s classroom, and go over the curriculum with me? That would be great.”

Thursday. It’s fairly short notice, but if I say it’s something I have to go to, I’m pretty sure I can convince my sister Dawn to babysit Tyler for the night. She has two kids herself, twin daughters three years older than my son who dote on their only cousin, so if I want to be really manipulative, I can ask in front of them and Dawn won’t be able to say no. It’s only for two hours, right?

Two hours alone with Greg Boucher. Something in the pit of my stomach flutters nervously at the thought. “Sounds good. I’ll be there,” I promise.

The Magician’s Apprentice



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Fantasy, Romance
LENGTH: 8,185 words

BLURB: Devon Taylor helped fashion a local street magician called Harry Marvel into the well-known illusionist Harry Marvelous. In the seven years they’ve been together, Devon has worked alongside Harry onstage as his apprentice. To Devon, Harry is an incredibly sexy older man, and the love they share is nothing less than pure magic.

But in today’s world, even children find it hard to believe in magic. When Devon overhears a teenager mocking Harry before a show, he invites the boy on stage to help out with Harry’s famous disappearing act.

Unfortunately, the boy really does disappear on his way back to his seat after the performance.

When the show is over, Devon and Harry find themselves confronted by security. Harry insists his illusions aren’t real, but does Devon know something Harry doesn’t?


EXCERPT:

This close, there’s a hardness to her eyes Devon didn’t notice before. His disarming smile does little to diffuse it. Maybe he was wrong about her having no kids. “Janine Morris, Landmark Security. I also work part-time with the city police department, so I’ve already put in a call to my unit downtown to give them a head’s up on the situation here. We take missing child cases very seriously in Richmond, Mr. Taylor. Police have already locked down the building and we’re searching the premises. With your cooperation, hopefully we’ll find the boy soon.”

Devon’s smile locks into place. He resists the urge to run a hand through his hair, a nervous habit of his, but he doesn’t want her to read anything into it. “You’re not suggesting I had anything to do with it, are you? This place is full of kids. It’s a magic show. I’ve been onstage the whole time.”

“With me.”

The voice behind Devon is melodious, hypnotic. Even after all these years, Devon still loves the sound of it. When a strong hand touches the small of his back, Devon relaxes as warmth floods his body. Tension drains away. That hand rubs around his waist in a quick, one-armed embrace, then drops away as the magician known as Harry Marvelous leans past Devon to bow with a flourish.

His top hat sweeps out, brushing the officer’s notepad on its way to the ground. His long, salted curls, tied at his nape with a silk ribbon, cascade over one shoulder, but with the hat off, Devon can see how far Harry’s hairline has receded. The magician still dons his stage outfit, an iridescent tuxedo that winks in the light and crinkles when he moves, and the makeup he wears during the show has caked into the lines on his face, making him look less than magical at the moment.

But the effect he has on Officer Morris is instantaneous. When he stands, pulling a single red rose from the depths of his hat and offering it to her, her eyes soften and a smile cracks through her tough exterior. She even giggles a little when Harry kisses the back of her hand. Then he stands, and the officer finds herself holding a fist full of rose petals. She laughs in delight.

Devon elbows his partner in the ribs. “Show’s over, Maestro.”

Harry’s arm finds its way around Devon’s waist again and he leans close to his apprentice. “One never stops performing, love. It’s the only rule I live by. You should know that by now.”

The term of endearment reminds Devon they aren’t alone. Taking Harry’s arm, Devon nods at the officer to remind the magician, as well. The stagehands and backstage assistants might think little if they overheard Harry’s flirtatious banter, but Officer Morris sees the closeness between the two men and her laughter dries up. Devon doesn’t need to be a mentalist to interpret the way her eyes narrow when Harry’s hand folds over Devon’s possessively in the crook of his arm.

“I believe the officer has some questions she wants to ask us,” Devon suggests. At Harry’s blank look, he adds, “About the boy you made disappear?”

“During the show?” Harry turns to Officer Morris, who nods. His smile flashes out, beguiling. “A true magician never gives away his secrets.”

Inwardly, Devon groans. So Harry doesn’t know. Turning away from the officer, he starts, “Harry --”

She interrupts him. “Mr. Marvelous, if that’s your real name, the boy you made disappear during the show never made it back to his seat.”

Devon watches as confusion flickers across Harry’s features -- it starts with a furrowing of the brow he knows so well, then fills those deep-set, chocolate-colored eyes he could lose himself in for hours. Then Harry’s patrician nose crinkles a bit, as if he smells something foul, and one side of his thin upper lip pulls up in a half-sneer that always reminds Devon of Elvis Presley.

It’s unintentionally sexy, that snarl, and Devon has to hold tight to Harry’s arm with both hands to keep from kissing it away. Later, he promises himself, when the officer is gone and the boy found, and he can allow himself the luxury of smoothing out the furrows in Harry’s brow, straightening the curls in his lover’s hair, and kissing away the snarl kinking the magician’s upper lip.

Cruising on Cary Street



GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Interracial
LENGTH: 3,735
This story is included in the anthology, Wild Boys

BLURB: Willis Moore is a detective with the Richmond City police department who was suspended after a case he was working on went sour. After his first day back on the force, he cruises downtown Cary Street off-duty, looking for a little action. What he finds is a street punk and hustler named Corey who reminds him of a previous lover. Will wants a piece of Corey, and won't let his badge get in the way of hooking up.

Note: This is part of the first chapter of the novel, Tricked Out. To read the full story behind Will and Corey, pick up the full book today!


EXCERPT:

But the one Will notices, the one he lowers his shades to get a better look at, stands by himself at the front of the group. He has translucent skin that seems to glow in the lamplight, as if he hasn’t seen the sun in years. His black hair shines almost blue in the night, the short bangs framing his face and ears in a pixie cut. He wears a silver mesh tank top cropped above his navel and a pair of black biker shorts pulled down low over bony hips. Will finds his gaze drawn to the flat planes of that bare stomach, the thin muscles taut and lean, the skin luminous against the shadows.

A car horn blares behind him -- the light changed. Will hits the gas and shoots through the intersection, mind lingering on the scantily clad hustler and his friends. At the next block, without making a conscious decision about it, Will turns and circles back for a second look.

Damn.

You shouldn’t, he tells himself, but his body doesn’t listen. His blood rises at the sight of exposed white flesh, and when he closes his eyes, he can well imagine his own dark fingers splayed over that pale midriff like the shadows themselves.

You didn’t even see his face, a voice inside him mutters.

Will doesn’t care. He’s been driving for hours, ever since he left the precinct, and for what?

For this.

Some part of him needs this, he knows. Why else would he be in the Slip, cruising the street? Music blaring, sunglasses on, an erection throbbing at his crotch? He needs release.

That damn voice in his mind won’t let up. This is Tea all over again. Will turns the radio up in an attempt to drown it out, but it doesn’t work. You find another street rat like that, pick him up, take him home, clean him up, and what happens next? Where’s Tea now?

Dead.

Will grips the steering wheel tight and leans forward as he takes the next turn. He isn’t thinking about Teabag anymore -- that part of his life was over, done with, case closed. It’s been a month already. Tonight is an escape, a way to move out of the past, a way to move on. And Will suspects a good, solid fuck is all he need to do just that.

Back on Cary Street again, Will slows as he approaches the hustlers’ block. This time he pulls over a bit, out of the flow of traffic, so he won’t be rushed. The guys come into view and Will slows the car. A few of them elbow each other, nodding his way. Then the guy in the silver mesh turns and watches him come to a complete stop.

Will sits back in the driver’s seat to wait. It doesn’t take long. Within a few minutes, the guy breaks away from his friends and drifts to the passenger side of Will’s car. As he approaches, Will turns the radio down to a mere whisper.

Leaning onto the open window, the guy flashes Will an easy grin. “Hey, dude,” he drawls. His voice has a raw quality to it, as if he spent the previous evening screaming himself hoarse at a concert. “See something you like?”