Contains the stories:
A Haunted Love: Nick works at a Colonial America site. One foggy night he meets David, the sexiest man Nick has ever seen. Because Nick's missed his bus, David invites him to stay the night at the inn. Though there's a spark between them, David is gone when Nick wakes. When David's claim of working as an apprentice doesn't pan out, Nick begins to wonder about him, and the ghost stories he's never believed true.
Devil of a Night: Carlos must have taken a wrong turn somewhere because he and his lover Steve find themselves lost in the back roads of New Jersey, what's known as the Pine Barrens. Half-joking, Carlos tells Steven a local legend about a mysterious creature called the Jersey Devil. Then they're run off the road by ... something, Steven can't say what. He feels it out there in the woods watching them. Waiting ...
Hunted: Once a month, the Hunt begins ... Hartley is a cervidae, human in form with deer-like features. When the Hunt starts. Hartley knows he's tempting fate. Almost silent in the darkness, a felidae -- half-human, half-lion -- stalks him, but something more than bloodlust runs through Tau's veins tonight. He's hungry for Hartley. Can the shadowed alleys of Richmond hide this forbidden animal attraction?
Inked in Blood: Tom stops at Tattoo 804 just as it's about to close. Rist has a fetish for vampires and agrees to ink Tom after hours. What begins as a simple procedure turns erotic when Rist notices how hard Tom is for him. They give into their primal desires right in the tattoo chair. But things take an unusual turn and Tom wonders if Rist is just into a little blood play ... or if he isn't one of the undead.
The Last Thing on My Mind: Yesterday he told me he loved me. Today we're dead. Two college guys on spring break. Friends, roommates, lovers. A moment's distraction while driving on the highway and suddenly their lives change. Forever. It's an easy promise to make when you know you won't live that long. But what happens in the afterlife?
Lover's Cross: After a bad car accident, Jory's lover Peter assures him he's doing fine. But when Jory attends a get-well party at the house of a coworker, he's surprised no one asks him how Peter is. More disconcerting, Peter's gold cross necklace is missing, and Jory suffers from headaches whenever his best friend Bruce brings up the accident. Where is the cross? And why does Bruce keep asking about Peter?
Persistence of Memory: Five years ago Joah was culled -- kidnapped by the government to be trained as a soldier. In the process, they erased his memory, destroying his past, his dreams, everything but his name. Armed with that alone, Joah escapes from the facility in search of someone to help him recall the man he used to be. That person is Tobin, Joah’s husband, who never gave up hope of finding him again.
JMS Books |
From Persistence of Memory
The word races through my mind, looking for something to connect with, but it's been so long since I've heard or even thought it that I have no concept of freedom anymore. Even now it amazes me and I can't stop to think about it or I might freeze and then they'll catch me and I'll lose this wind rushing against my hot skin, this grass swishing against my legs, this burning in my lungs as I run. I can't stop, not now, not until the smoky buildings that block out the night sky are just bad memories. Not until the steel fencing that looms in the darkness is behind me, miles in the past, and the alarms that ring around me, raising the guards, are muffled screams I hear only in nightmares.
When the first shouts cry above the klaxons, I jump for the fence. Even though I know it's deactivated, I half-expect to feel its electric bite as my fingers fold through the chained links. How long will it take someone to realize the current has been cut? Long enough for me to vault over the top, I hope. With moves I've rehearsed over and over again in my mind, I climb to the top of the fence, risking a glance back at the armed guards who begin to pour from the building. The hard echoes of boot heels on concrete ring through the courtyard, and the first shots ping into the night as I reach the top of the fence. There's no wire, nothing keeping me in, nothing but the way they tried to break my spirit and drag me down.
But it was all a lie. Everything -- from the moment I came here, I've been living a lie, their lie. And I almost believed it. Almost.
My hands close over the steel rod at the top of the fence and I'm free, I'm free ... Below me the guards are shouting at each other, their guns aimed at me, the shots loud around me in the night, but I'm almost free --
Pain explodes through my leg, flames licking across my thigh like a wildfire, and in a graceless heap I tumble over the top of the fence. I can't catch myself in time; my hands scrape helplessly against steel as I fall. When I hit the ground, pain shoots up my back, balls into fists behind my eyes, and punches my mind so that I can't think, can't act, can't breathe. The voice in my head tells me to stop, stand still and await directions, wait for the guards to take me back.
Back inside, back in there. My body is numb, listening to the reasonable, bland voice I've heard since they imprisoned me. The voice that tells me the lies. The voice that keeps me from being free.
The dull scrape of steel on concrete as the gate opens goads me into action. Like one of their bullets, I fling myself into the dark of night, stumbling across the tall grass, heading for the trees and underbrush beyond. I've measured the distance in my mind; I've calculated the steps. But I hadn't counted on the pain eating away at my leg, gnawing on my bones like a hungry mutt, and as I run I try to shake it free from my body. I tell myself I don't feel the blood that drenches my pants, I don't feel the ache in my head. I don't feel anything, I don't think, I don't even breathe anymore, because each breath is labored and gasped, flames that burn down my throat and sting my lungs, filling them like a dragon's bellows. I just need to get to the trees, lose myself in their growth and then I'll be free.
>A word I almost forgot existed. A concept I told myself didn't apply to me. The alarms fade in the distance, and the angry shouts of the guards become lost in the rustling branches I push aside as I tumble into the woods. I let the word roll through my mind, looking for something to define it, something to cling to.