In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016, a gunman entered Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and opened fire. Forty-nine innocent people lost their lives that night, and many more were injured. The LGBT community reeled when the news broke, not only because it was the deadliest mass shooting in the US to date, but because the act of terror and hatred was aimed directly at them.
In the aftermath, many of us struggled for a way to express our grief and fear. With that goal in mind, the authors of JMS Books sought an outlet for their emotions; thus, this anthology of short stories and poems was created.
Love Is Proud celebrates queer love in all its forms, showing that love must triumph over hate. Whether it's spending a quiet evening together at home, a night out on the town, or attending the local Pride event, this collection embraces how empowering love can be between men -- or women, or any and every shade under the LGBTQIA umbrella.
Featuring never before published work from 49 different authors, Love Is Proud is a collaborative effort whose entire proceeds will go to Equality Florida to benefit the victims and their families of the Pulse nightclub shooting. All the work in the collection, including the editing, has been donated to offset the costs. This stunning anthology will be a charitable keepsake whose message of pride in who and how we love is an enduring testament to all those affected by this tragedy.
Contains my short story, The Reasons Why. After a long day at work, Eliot comes home to find his lover Ben hasn't made a dent in the honey-do list he left. He's on the verge of getting angry -- as a full-time writer, surely Ben has the free time to do something around the house during the day, right? -- when he discovers what Ben did spend the day doing. It seems Ben was thinking about Eliot all along.
From The Reasons Why:
Ben leaned his head back, and his pale gray eyes crinkled into half-moons when he smiled up at Eliot. "Hey, sexy. Missed you. Kiss me."
Eliot bent down to plant a perfunctory kiss on Ben's lips.
Before he could stand, Ben grabbed his tie to keep him in place. "Nice try," Ben murmured. "Now kiss me for real. Like you mean it."
With an exasperated sigh, Eliot rolled his eyes but did as asked. He covered Ben's mouth with his own, then opened his lips, parting Ben's to ease his tongue between his lover's. Ben tasted like lazy summer days, wine coolers and Doritos, and beneath the mingling fizz was a flavor all his own.
Eliot pulled back first and Ben ran a hand down the front of his shirt, as if smoothing down his tie. "Come sit with me," he said, raising his legs to make room on the couch.
But Eliot wasn't in the mood. "What's for dinner?"
Ben's expression didn't change. "What were you thinking?"
Eliot pulled his tie out of Ben's hand and stood. "You haven't started it yet?"
"I will," Ben said, reaching for him, but Eliot stepped away. "Eliot, I said I will ..."
"Do you know what time it is? What have you been doing all day?" Eliot asked. Was it too much to ask? He'd spent the last eight hours at work so what, Ben could sit on his ass playing video games? "Must be nice to sit around and do nothing. I thought you had a story to write."
"I do," Ben said, defensive. "I wrote all morning, dinner just slipped my mind, okay? I'll start it in a few minutes."
"Do you even know what you're going to make?" Eliot wanted to know.
Tossing his phone aside, Ben sat up. "Come here, will you? What's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong," Eliot said. "I'm tired, and I'm hungry, and --"
"Come here." Ben caught his hand and pulled him closer.
Eliot tried to resist, but who was he kidding? This was his husband. He never could withstand Ben's charms for long.
Opening his legs, Ben guided Eliot into the span between his knees. He wrapped his arms around Eliot's waist, then rested his chin on Eliot's belly, looking up at his lover. "There we go," he said, hugging Eliot tight. "Can't we just cuddle for a second? I haven't seen you all day --"
"You could've started cooking before I got home." Eliot ran a hand through Ben's thick head of hair, tugging gently when he reached the ends. "What am I going to do with you?"