Sexy Six Anniversary Short – Second Honeymoon by Matt Brooks

May 20, 2013

Second Honeymoon

by Matt Brooks

“I see in the L. A. obituaries that Mary Miles Minter died,” Rey remarked, reaching for his coffee.  “Stroke, apparently.”  He turned the page of the Sunday paper, oblivious to Dale’s quizzical expression.

“And I’m interested in this because why?” Dale finally asked, after Rey had turned another page.

Rey looked up.  “She was a big star in Hollywood,” he answered.  “I’m surprised you don’t recognize the name.  She made dozens of films.  She and Mary Pickford were just about equally famous.  Silent era.  She was still a big name when I was a boy.”

“Oh,” Dale said, his voice flat.

“She was acting in film at the same time as Lillian Gish,” Rey added.  “And we saw Gish get a Lifetime Achievement Award or something like that last spring, remember? On television?”

“One of those we’ve-never-given-you-an-Oscar awards Hollywood hands out every year,” Dale scoffed.

“Yes, well . . .”  Rey’s voice trailed off.

“Well, with her gone now, and Fred Waring just last week, I guess my life is over,” Dale said drily.  “I’ll just have to marry royalty or something to get a little excitement back.”  He reached for the business section.  “You’ve read this already, right?” he asked, twitching it out of the pile.

Rey glanced up.  “Uh, yes.  All yours.”  He regarded Dale quizzically for a moment, then went back to the newspaper.  “You’re moody this morning, sweetheart,” he said behind the page.  “Are you feeling okay?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m fine,” Dale said slowly.  “Just thinking about years passing.  I keep coming back to the fact that we’ve been together twenty years now.  It doesn’t seem anything like that long,” he continued.  “But here I am, almost forty, and I wasn’t even twenty when we met.”  He sighed.

“You have regrets?” Rey asked carefully.  “Lost youth, maybe?”

“Oh, heavens, no!” Dale laughed.  “How could I regret that? Twenty years with the most wonderful man . . . I’ve been so lucky.”  He leaned across the table and took Rey’s free hand.  “Do you remember Thomas and Lucas, who came to the hotel when we were first dating? They’d been together over forty years? And remember how Lucas said his mama taught him to thank God every day for the good things in his life? You know I do that – morning, noon, and night – thank my lucky stars that we met and I get to spend my life with you.”  He kissed Rey’s palm.  “No, corazón.  No regrets.  Never any regrets.”  He paused.  “Well, actually I do have some regrets.  Those gold corduroy bell bottoms, and the burnt orange and chocolate brown sweater I bought in ’73.”

Rey laughed.  “I never did understand how you got suckered into that fashion statement,” he said.

“Just about couldn’t find anything that wasn’t flared that year, if you recall.”

“And it made you look short and squat, with all that fabric flapping around your ankles and the collar covering half your shoulders and chest.”

“Fashion isn’t helping lately, either.  Put this oversize stuff on me and I look like I’ve been raiding grandpa’s closet,” he grumbled.  “At least I have a couple of suits that fit and look like they belong on my body.  I suppose I’ll have to hang onto them until styles change for the better.”

“Wardrobe thrift,” Rey said with a soft chuckle.

“Well, I’ve decided what I want to do with all the clothing money I’ve saved in the last couple of years,” Dale said as he set the paper down.  “It’s time to have a party.”

Rey glanced up, alarmed.  “Party? You don’t like parties,” he said.

Dale corrected him.  “I don’t like big parties.  They make my head hurt.  But a small party now and then isn’t a bad thing.  I’ve always enjoyed the pool parties the tíos give, after all, and they’re not usually big groups of guys.  Besides, why did we buy this house except because we wanted to entertain more?”

“So, what do you have in mind for this not-big party?”

“I thought Labor Day afternoon would be good.  It’s the twentieth anniversary of when I moved into Honeymoon Cottage with you.  Closest we’ll ever get to a wedding anniversary, probably.  I thought a lunch buffet, catered but not formal.  Probably no more than three dozen guests.  Family and people who’ve been important to us as friends over the years, not business connections.”

“You’ve been thinking about this.”

“Well, you know I like to plan things, not just jump in and start splashing around.”

Rey laughed.  “Yes, you do plan.”  He went back to the paper for a moment, then spoke from behind the page again.  “And when it’s over, you and I are going to steal away like honeymooners and go out of town for a couple of days.”

“What are you talking about? Tuesday’s a work day,” Dale said, shocked.

“Arrange with your crews to take a couple of days off,” Rey said mildly.  “You’re the boss.  You can do that.”

“What are we going to do, like honeymooners, then?” Dale asked.

“Just plan your party.  Leave the rest of it to me,” Rey said, turning the page.

~*~*~*~*~

Labor Day morning was foggy and gray.  Surveying the weather through the oversized patio doors, Dale was only disappointed for a moment.  The fog usually lifted by noon at this time of year; the afternoon should be fine for the party.  He finished his coffee and got out the duster and the carpet sweeper.  He’d learned not to do more than tidy things up on the day of a party:  inevitably, there would be more cleaning to do afterward – why do it twice? Besides, there was something soothing about using the carpet sweeper, quietly freshening the rugs after the ostrich feathers had taken the dust off the furniture.

Rey came out of the bedroom as Dale was finishing with the sweeper.  They ate breakfast quickly, and Dale cleared the kitchen for the caterers, swabbing down the counters and putting the small equipment into the pantry.

The catering crew arrived at 11:30 to begin setting up.  Dale had decided on a picnic theme with a light wine punch, the crew to wear tee shirts and jeans.  It looked wonderful when everything was in place, a mix of Mexican and Anglo foods arranged for easy eating, set out on red checkered tablecloths, and punctuated by several small bunches of common garden flowers – daisies, tickseed, cornflower, dog roses – in canning jars.

As they usually did for larger entertainments, they had asked Tío Germán and Tío Mark, nephew Patricio and his lover Joe to come a bit early.  They were all good at getting a party going, and it was a pleasure to see them in any case.  Doña Ysabel, Rey’s mother, would come a few minutes after 1:00, when the party officially began, and she was another who could brighten conversation and make a party come alive.

It was Doña Ysabel who noticed the ants.  She brought her concern to Dale, who promptly moved toward the buffet tables to see what the problem was.  He came back with the worry cleared from his forehead, chuckling.  “They’re part of the decoration,” he said, happy not to have an insect attack.  “I told them I wanted a picnic – and what’s a picnic without ants?”

Ysabel laughed.  “I should have known from the size of them,” she admitted.  “Very clever, though.”  She went back to the buffet for a cup of punch before greeting her brother and his lover.

The crowd ebbed and flowed through the afternoon.  Patricio’s parents arrived around 2:00 and his father, Raúl, managed to keep his ill humor to himself the entire time they were there.  Both Patricio and Dale heaved sighs of relief when Susanna and Raúl came to say thank you and goodbye after an hour of tension for Dale and wariness for Patricio.  Rey and Joe were considerably more relaxed, and simply laughed at their lovers as they watched Raúl leave through the side gate.  “No grumbling about grandchildren today, Tricho,” Dale said.  “You think the five he has might be enough now?”

“Damn, I hope so, Tío Dé,” Patricio replied.

“He can rag on your brothers if he wants more,” Joe said comfortably.  “I’m sure they’ll oblige him if he makes enough stink about it.”

Around four o’clock, Rey edged next to Dale and muttered in his ear, “You finished packing? The caterers should be starting to clear up soon.”

“My suitcase is in the car,” Dale said.  “All I have to do is write a check and lock the house.”

The last guest left at 4:45, and Dale immediately went to the den to get his checkbook.  Along with the check, he handed the caterer an envelope with a generous tip for the crew.  By 5:15, it was impossible to tell that there had been a party for forty guests in the garden, aside from the bent lawn grasses and scuffed gravel paths.

“So, where are you taking me?” Dale asked as they drove away.  “You told me to pack casual clothes but put in a sport coat and slacks.  You have a plan, obviously.  Spill it, baby.”

“Nope.  Surprise.  Trust me.”

Dale had to be content with that as they drove north; no amount of prodding and guessing elicited any more information from his lover.  He finally settled back in his seat and gave up on the game, setting his hand on Rey’s thigh as he had always done when they drove anywhere – a comforting habit now, for both of them.

~*~*~*~*~

When they stopped in Morro Bay after a couple of hours’ driving, to stretch their legs and have a smoke, Dale began to suspect what Rey’s plan might be, but he kept it to himself.  It was a beautiful evening; a walk along the waterfront and a sandwich from the boxed supper the caterer had provided were a pleasure he could enjoy without nagging, so he relaxed and let the trip continue to flow.

His suspicions were confirmed when they pulled into the parking area at La Barranca Motor Inn in Monterey.  “I knew it!” he crowed, turning to Rey.  “I guessed you were taking me here, where we had our first vacation together.  What a sweetheart you are!” He leaned over to give his grinning lover a quick kiss before clicking his seatbelt open and jumping out of the car.

Dale’s surprise was complete, however, when they were taken to Suite 210, the same room where they had stayed in 1964, now expanded in renovations, with a water view through the french doors to the balcony.  A bouquet of roses with real fragrance stood on the small dining table; smaller posies were placed throughout the two rooms, and Dale inhaled their perfume with delight.  Rey knew he despised the hothouse roses that had begun to appear in flower shops, flown in from all over the world, perpetually in season – beautiful but cut before they had a chance to develop any scent.

Rey moved the bouquet off the table and they ate their belated supper, Dale occasionally giggling with joy.  After they finished the meal, they unpacked, took a leisurely shower together, and fell into bed for an unhurried session of sweet lovemaking.  They fell asleep spooned together, listening to the ocean.

~*~*~*~*~

Room Service knocked at 8:00.  Rey let the waiter in, and they sat down to breakfast later than they ever did at home; in comparison, it felt almost like brunch.

“You’re going to spoil me for real life,” Dale joked, pouring second cups of coffee.  “I could certainly get used to this schedule.  It’s nearly nine o’clock and we’re still at the table.”

Rey laughed.  “It would last about a month before you got twitchy and began finding things to do early in the morning again.  Don’t kid yourself.  You get up and going even when you’re not wide awake.”

“I guess that’s true,” Dale admitted ruefully.  “Still, I can fantasize, can’t I?”

“Of course you can, sweetheart.  Now.  What do you feel like doing today? Walk along Cannery Row? Look at historic gardens? Prowl the art galleries?”

“Let’s look through the art galleries,” Dale said after a moment.  “Find out what the competition is up to.  You can take notes for Joe, when we get together with him and Tricho next weekend.”

They spent the morning strolling through galleries and marveling at the prices of some of the art.  Dale resolved to task Rey with increasing his own prices when they got back home.  If the paintings they saw in some of the galleries, ranging from indifferent hackwork to downright ugly, were getting that kind of money, talent like Rey’s should certainly be rewarded, he thought.  After lunch on the waterfront, they returned to the Inn for some snuggling and a siesta.

Dinner that evening was romantic, at a small French restaurant a few blocks from the Inn.  They walked there in the dusk, not quite holding hands, and Dale marveled at how life had changed for them in the twenty years they’d been together.  When they first met, it was dangerous even to look too friendly when people were around; now they could walk down the street without trying to look like they were just buddies.  After the meal, they went to a club the desk clerk had mentioned, El Fandango, and there again Dale marveled at the way things had changed – when they met, gay clubs had small, discreet signs and no windows open to the street; the sign for El Fandango, on the other hand, was bright neon and the façade was open windows from end to end.  The all-male clientele was a mix of types, from leathermen to clones to twinks to bears.  Several couples were dancing as they entered, and Rey pulled Dale onto the dance floor for a couple of songs before they looked for a table.

Dale mentioned his reaction when they returned to the Inn.  “Being in a different town like this really brought it out,” he said.  “I remember how discreet we had to be when we first met, and how careful we were in talking around other people.  I felt so daring the first time I kissed your cheek in Sal’s place, but tonight it almost felt like we could have bedded down in that booth and there wouldn’t have been more than a raised eyebrow.”

“Remember that word – almost,” Rey said, looking scandalized.  “Times have changed, I grant you, but not quite that much.”

“I think beating back the Briggs Initiative in, what was it?, ’77 or ’78 made a big difference in our lives,” Dale said.  “Sure, it was all about the teachers, but it spilled over onto all the rest of us.  Hah! Take that, enemies of equality!”

“Speaking of taking that,” Rey said as he peeled off the last of his clothes, “I’m going to take a quick shower and then I’m taking you to bed.”

“Ohhh, god,” Dale moaned appreciatively.  “You’re going to do unspeakable things to me, aren’t you.”

“Yes.  And you’re going to love them.”  Rey went into the bathroom and a moment later the sound of water came through the door.

~*~*~*~*~

Driving home on Friday, Dale felt more relaxed than he had in months.  “Thank you for whisking me away, love,” he said.  “You knew what I needed better than I did.  So romantic! A real second honeymoon.”

“Who do I love?” Rey asked rhetorically.  “My papi, that’s who.”

“And who do I love?” Dale countered.  “My papi, is who.  The sun and the moon and the stars, all wrapped up in one man, and I get to love him all my days.  I’m so damn lucky!”

~*~*~*~*~’

Did you enjoy Second Honeymoon? If so, look up Honeymoon Cottage, the Dale and Rey’s full story!

From Ambush to Payback to Switch

May 23, 2012

Follow Zeke and Miles through the three stories. Feel free to tell me which one speaks to YOUR inner desire :)
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In AMBUSH, Zeke is planning his provocative new exhibition on Bondage, when he decides to push Miles a step further than before. Miles is used to being in control … but tonight, Zeke is calling the shots. And Miles finds himself trapped and unable to do a damned thing about it.

In PAYBACK, Miles plots his revenge in his typically determined and strategic way. It’s about time that Zeke learned to surrender control as well, but not necessarily in a physical way. Miles decides it’s time to turn the tables and make Zeke follow *his* wishes – and they’re both in for a surprise, sexually and emotionally. 


SWITCH (short story)

 

Available today at Dreamspinner Press

Sequel #3 to True Colors

Miles Winter and Zeke Roswell have excited and enthralled each other since the day they met. Zeke’s uninhibited lovemaking has allowed Miles to grow in confidence and their relationship to deepen. Back from a business trip, Miles knows he should take care of his backlog of work, but the delight of being reunited with Zeke makes him realize he has other, more important needs—including the one sexual step he hasn’t yet taken. Business can wait in favor of a commitment far more primal and more permanent.

EXCERPT from Switch:

Miles had arrived late for Bondage, after a succession of airport delays, and the show was already in full swing. The room was full of laughter and loud commentary and more than a few glasses of champagne being raised in salute to Zeke Roswell. Miles had pushed through the door behind a group of Japanese collectors and barely found a space to settle his case and coat. Malia had spotted him first, rushing over to make him more comfortable. But it had only been another few seconds before Zeke’s gaze found his, over the heads of the visitors milling around him. It was eerie, the way Zeke always knew he was there within moments of arriving. Eerie, and very exciting. Miles had recognized the look of welcome in Zeke’s eyes—shortly followed by weariness and the onset of frustration in the face of so many people’s clamor for attention.

He’d taken Malia to one side, and they’d managed to extract Zeke from the crowd shortly afterward. Zeke had already spoken to everyone who wanted to meet him; given soundbites galore for the press. Miles reminded him that the gallery had staff to cover the remaining hours of the event, and hustled him out to the limo and off to dinner at an undisclosed location.

Now they were at last in Miles’s bed, Zeke’s body stretched out underneath him, his comfort and passion in easy and willing reach. Tonight, the gentle touches made Miles shudder with excitement and impatience, even though he was usually the one who took a little longer to relax and surrender. Whereas Zeke knew exactly what he wanted and pursued it with hunger and mischief as swiftly as he could.

Usually.

But tonight… tonight was different. Miles rolled over again and spooned back up against Zeke. This time he didn’t flinch when Zeke ran his hand over his ass; this time he pushed back into the caress, inviting more.

“Talk to me,” Zeke murmured. He continued to stroke Miles, his strong hand running the length of Miles’s back, over his buttocks, down his thighs as far as Zeke could reach, then back up again. “Tell me what you saw at the show.”

Miles pursed his lips. “Not sure I can do you justice. My color blindness, remember? I don’t always get the full benefit ….”

Zeke gave a dismissive grunt and slid one of his hands around to Miles’s belly, playing with the trail of dark hair down to his groin. Miles’s cock thickened and stretched, the need starting an ache in his gut. “Not just the colors. Tell me what you saw.”

Miles frowned. He wished he could see the expression in Zeke’s eyes, try to guess what Zeke wanted. But Zeke had always told him to speak his mind. To speak his feelings. “Well, there was the usual dramatic combination of art and sculpture, all sizes, all mediums.” He smiled at the memory. There’d been a ladder effect of exhibits—paintings and other creations, stepping up beside each other, behind each other, making the visitor crane his head to be able to see it all. There were pictures of seducers and the seduced; those in bondage and those dominating; those who flushed with pleasure and the pure contentment of finding their sexual place in life and those who fought against it, anguished both physically and emotionally. The sexual bondage scenes had been playful, exciting and stimulating. But there’d been other, different views of bondage— photos of couples arm in arm but with body language that cried for separation, of workers miserable at their desk, of people of all ages who looked nothing but painfully uncomfortable in their clothes and home setting. The leaflets and placards Zeke had showed him in the office some weeks ago were there, evidence of protests against discrimination and repression. And in amongst the pictures were structures and tokens illustrating the locations where these things happened. In back streets, in public forums, in the comfort of a man’s living room. Everything in together, a riot of activity, a challenge to anyone’s critique. A jumble, like the box of exciting goods Zeke had spilled on Miles’s office carpet. Seemingly a mess, yet brought together by Zeke’s talent into an experience like no other. It was what people had come to expect of a Zeke Roswell show.
Miles’s smile caught on a gasp as Zeke bit mischievously at the skin stretched tight over Miles’s hip.

“Turn over,” Zeke muttered. “On to your belly. Keep talking.”

Miles rolled slowly over, resting his head on his hands. His heart beat more rapidly again. Zeke had a way of demanding things of him that reached into Miles’s equally assertive soul and invited total surrender. He wished they’d spent more time on familiar foreplay tonight, kissing and nipping gently at skin until one or the other of them laughed or begged to move on. He wanted to taste Zeke’s cock on his tongue, wanted to suck and lick it, a better taste by far than the champagne at the show. He wanted time to—
No, he didn’t. There’d be time for all that, another night.

“What did you feel?” Zeke murmured in his ear, breaking into his thoughts. “Tell me.”

“I felt excitement, suspense, anticipation.” Miles’s mind drifted back to all he’d seen. “There were curtains over the corners of the room, half-hiding the displays underneath. There were corners I turned and came face to face with shocking images. Sometimes it inspired anger or distress, sometimes titillation. There were explicit scenes of erotica, of both pain and ecstasy. Scenes of platonic but deeply felt love. It was… tantalizing.”

Zeke nodded. Miles felt the brush of Zeke’s hair on his shoulders as Zeke shifted down the bed. His tongue lapped gently at the small of Miles’s back, making him gasp again. Zeke stretched his leg over the back of Miles’s calf, momentarily holding Miles down on the bed. Miles felt the cheeks of his ass tighten with something between thrill and trepidation.

“I said, keep talking.”
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Clare London … Writing Man to Man

           

Website        Blog     Facebook    Twitter

Greetings from London – three times the charm?!

May 23, 2012


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Hi from Clare London and welcome to the Dreamspinner blog today, where I’m celebrating the release of #3 of my sexy shorts, featuring the tall, dark ‘n deep entrepreneur Miles Winter and the fey, passionate, talented artist Zeke Roswell. A match made in hell, people might think – but as we all know, you can’t fight Love :)

Miles and Zeke met in TRUE COLORS, which I’ll introduce you to later on – unless you’ve already met them there *g*.

These are a further three steps to heaven – for Miles and Zeke, at least! Join me today for excerpts from all the stories, and further developments in their lively but loving relationship.

NOTE: WIN a copy of ALL THREE shorts today- just comment on any post today and I’ll draw a winner tomorrow. :)

Before meeting Zeke Roswell, Miles Winter’s priorities were clear: business, then pleasure. Before Zeke, he wouldn’t have cleared his desk earlier than usual, waiting for his artist lover to share his preparations for his latest gallery exhibit—on bondage. And he certainly wouldn’t have let Zeke try out some of the pieces on him, right there in the middle of his office. If he’d had any choice, that is.

Available HERE.
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Zeke Roswell and Miles Winter met as business enemies, when Miles acquired Zeke’s precious but neglected art gallery. And then things changed. Over time, they were thrown together as mismatched—and very reluctant—partners, until their attraction grew stronger than any argument. Even if Miles did protest the other night when Zeke cuffed him to his office filing cabinet and had his way with him. In fact, Miles promised there’d be payback… and Zeke doesn’t know it yet, but Miles is about to collect.

Available  HERE.
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Miles Winter and Zeke Roswell have excited and enthralled each other since the day they met. Zeke’s uninhibited lovemaking has allowed Miles to grow in confidence, and their relationship to deepen. Back from a business trip, Miles knows he should take care of his backlog of work, but the delight of being back with Zeke makes him realise he has more important needs–including the one sexual step he hasn’t yet taken. Business can wait in favor of a commitment far more primal and more permanent.

Available TODAY At Dreamspinner Press.
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Covers by the very talented Anne Cain.

Did someone say “free reads”?

July 30, 2011

I did!

Want something short, sweet and HOT? I have a few over on my website. Enjoy!

EM’s Free Reads


Free stories

Chunky or Creamy? — Richie thinks he may have found his perfect mate, if only the guy can fuck as well as he applies eyeliner.

The Interview — NSFW (2700 words) — Dylan is asked to do some very inappropriate things at this “job interview,” but it makes him want the job even more.

Pineapples & Chocolate — NSFW (2300 words) — Ben’s late-night grocery shopping is for much more than food. written from prompts: ecstatic, tuba, goldfish, nut sundae, greivous, craptastic, fire truck, pencil, pineapple and dinosaur

Going to the Zoo – NSFW (2200 words) — Nate & Cory from “A Heat.Seeking.Missile” are back for a fun sexy short. Written from prompts: Nate & Cory, zoo, rubber band, ice cream, elephant (Extended version published by Torquere Press as “Animal Instincts”)

What’s for Dinner? (1600 words)– Maybe getting stuck in the elevator isn’t so bad after all. Written from prompts: Elevator, trip, klutz, grin for Addison Albright

Chapter 1 from Sex, Lies & Wedding Bells — NSFW (April 2009)

–EM

EM Lynley
http://www.emlynley.com/free_reads.html


Free Read: Life After

October 31, 2010

Hi all! First time posting here, so please excuse any kinks I need to work out. (Not that kind of kink!)

I’ve posted a ghostly little romance at my blog for your Halloween reading pleasure. Please stop by, and I hope you enjoy it!

Life After

A Fairy in His Bed by Aundrea Singer and Corinna Silver — Another Excerpt

October 16, 2010

Here’s another excerpt from A Fairy in His Bed by Aundrea Singer (taste_is_sweet on Live Journal) and Corinna Silver, available in the Myths And Magic: Legends Of Love Anthology. Here, Daniel finally meets the fairy Quinn face-to-face.


Daniel didn’t remember falling asleep, but he knew he had to be dreaming.

There was someone else in the room. It was a man–very, very obviously a man. He was naked, tall and lanky with hair that fell in soft, messy curls around his forehead and neck. The effect made him look both cherubic and dangerous, like a seraphim recently thrown out of heaven. His smile was as innocent and sweet as it was a direct, unmistakable invitation.

“What are you doing here?” Daniel asked, curious but unconcerned because he was so obviously dreaming. He sat up, letting the coverlet slide down his chest to pool around his hips. He felt languid and slow, like a cat curled up by the fire. Whoever this stranger was, Daniel was certain he meant no harm.

“I’m here to thank you,” the man said, moving onto the bed. He had a British accent, which made Daniel smirk at himself, wondering idly what kind of Freudian significance there might be in this man sounding like his mother.

“Thank me?” Daniel asked vaguely. He was too distracted by the man to worry about the answer to his question. At first glance the man’s hair had just looked like a warm chestnut brown, but now that he was closer Daniel could see that it was actually a rainbow of browns and reds, like leaves in autumn. His eyes were a mixture of green and brown, flecked with gold. Daniel realized he shouldn’t have been able to see the other man so clearly with only the streetlight barely illuminating the room, but it was as if the man was surrounded with light.

“You’re gorgeous,” Daniel murmured, distantly pleased with himself that he had such a great imagination. “What’s your name?”

The stranger’s laugh sounded like cool water rushing over smooth stones. “Quinn,” he said with his lilting accent. He was pulling the coverlet back while he spoke, exposing Daniel’s legs. “And you’re gorgeous, too.”

“Thank you,” Daniel said, which made Quinn laugh. Quinn had dimples in his cheeks, which only emphasized his veneer of innocence. “My name is Daniel.”

“Hello, Daniel,” Quinn said. “I want to kiss you now.”

“Okay,” Daniel said faintly. He’d gone to bed without a shirt and Quinn’s warm hands on his shoulders made him shiver. Quinn straddled Daniel’s legs, nestling their groins together. He moved his hands to the sides of Daniel’s face, then leaned in and finally kissed him.

A Fairy in His Bed by Aundrea Singer and Corinna Silver

October 16, 2010

Hello! I’m Aundrea Singer. I posted here last about my short story Skunk, Bryan, Spoon (And A Badger) in the Necking Anthology, which you can read about here. Now I’m extremely happy to be able to tell you about A Fairy in His Bed, a short story in the new Myths and Magic: Legends Of Love Anthology, which I wrote with the lovely and talented Corinna Silver.

A Fairy in His Bed was actually written for the Brush Of Wings Anthology, when we saw the call for submissions late last year. We thought it would be fun to choose an otherworldly being that wasn’t an angel, and ended up with Quinn, a fairy as whimsical as he is beautiful, and Daniel Tibbits, the cynical, heartbroken writer who accidentally inherits him.

Inherits? Oh, yes….

A Fairy in His Bed was created in an eight day whirlwind of brainstorming, manic typing and a lot of laughing. I’ve rarely had so much fun writing a story, and a story has rarely come so quickly or easily as this one. Writing with my best friend made its own magic.

Equally magical was the warm reception our labor of love received at Dreamspinner. They asked if they could use A Fairy in His Bed for Myths And Magic: Legends Of Love. We were thrilled to have our story included with so many excellent authors.

Corinna and I fell quite in love with Daniel and Quinn, and we hope you do too. Here’s an excerpt of the first time Quinn and Daniel meet, though Daniel doesn’t know it….


It had been one of the worst days Daniel Tibbits had ever endured, and that was before his stupid cats tried to kill him.

“God damn it!” Daniel swore as he climbed to his feet. He brushed uselessly at the wet snow that had ground into the knees of his pant legs. He glared at the three black and white cats who were circling him unrepentantly, head-butting whatever parts they could reach and bawling at him as if Daniel had been away for months instead of barely an afternoon. Dewy sniffed at his pant leg, apparently none the worse for wear despite nearly being kicked as she tripped him. Daniel started petting her automatically, glowering the whole time. He hit the cold-stiffened cloth of his jeans a little too hard and winced, since he’d managed to scrape off what felt like sixty layers of skin off his palms when his hands had hit the icy pavement. “This is exactly what I need,” he snarled at the cats, squinting at his upturned hands in December’s early dark. They were stinging, but at least he didn’t see any blood. “With my luck, I’ll probably get gangrene,” Daniel muttered. At least his agent might get off his back if he didn’t have any fingers.

“All right, already! All right! You’re hungry, I get it!” he said to the yowling cats. “Can you at least let me get inside the house?” The cats naturally ignored him. “For Pete’s sake, it’s not like I never–ah, fuck.” Daniel took a deep breath, then closed his eyes as he let out a heavy sigh.

He’d dropped the teapot when Dewy had tripped him, and it had smashed on the walkway. Of course.

Daniel sighed again. He rubbed at his face and pushed his snow-damp hair off his forehead. It was a standard ‘Brown Betty’ teapot, the kind everyone sung about in kindergarten: short, stocky and dark red-brown. The shards were still gleaming cheerfully, scattered amongst the freshly-fallen snow.

“Fuck,” Daniel said again. He picked up one of the larger pieces and used it as a receptacle for two smaller fragments. He started searching for the other bits, but the teapot had practically exploded on the front walkway. To do the job properly he’d need a broom, and some daylight. The dark shards were nearly impossible to see in the quickly deepening twilight.

“Fuck!” Daniel threw down the pieces he’d been holding, watching them burst with vicious satisfaction against the concrete. “That’s my life, right there,” he said. “And because I’m such a fucking hack, that’s the best metaphor I can come up with.” His mouth twisted in a bitter smile.

Daniel shook his head. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” He trudged the rest of the distance from the sidewalk to the wooden steps of his front porch, fishing in his jacket pocket for his keys. The cats followed him eagerly, still giving the occasional mewl as if making sure he didn’t forget them.

The house had been built in the 1920s. The floors creaked and all the doors stuck and the stairs were treacherous, but the lights Daniel had left on that morning were shining brightly through the windows and he knew it would be cozy and warm after the freezing night outside. Right then it was all Daniel had to look forward to. He opened the door.

A short puff of warm air blew by his cheek.

***

You can read Aundrea Singer’s Live Journal Blog here, and I’d love to get your email at aundrea.singer@gmail.com

Lan Caihe: The Yin Yang God

October 16, 2010

A few months back, I saw the Call for Submissions for the Myths and Magic Anthology here at Dreamspinner Press. It was a note on Facebook, and I thought it sounded intriguing, but since I had such a heavy summer schedule, quickly forgot about it. I was practically weaned on Greek mythology, reading about Zeus and Athena and the rest of the Gods and Heroes before I ever moved on to Dick and Jane. In college, my major was history; my core studies were in Classical History.

When the idea came, it had nothing to do with Greece, but rather China. I’ve long been a practitioner of the Chinese arts of Tai Chi and Hsing I, but I’m not very well-versed in Chinese mythology. But I am familiar with the Eight Immortals of Taoism, and Lan Caihe immediately came to mind as the love interest of my story The Flower Boy.

When I mentioned this story idea to a friend who lives in Taiwan, she knew immediately who Lan Caihe is; she said her Taiwanese friends call Lan the Yin Yang god. It is not clearly known if Lan Caihe is male or female, or both. In art, he will take on one identity or the other, but is generally portrayed as vaguely androgynous. He is a rather charming and eccentric character who wears only one shoe, a belt of wood and frequently carries a woven basket on a hoe over his shoulder. She’s the deity of flower sellers and of beggars. In the summer, Lan wears winter clothing and in the winter, Lan wears light summer wear.

Lan was a bit of a puzzle to write, primarily because of the confusion over his/her sexual identity. Is he a she? She a he? Perhaps Lan is both. I eventually decided that Lan was who his hero needed him to be. It’s up to the reader to interpret Lan in the way that suits them best.

Excerpt: The Flower Boy by Belinda McBride

“Ni hao! Would you like to buy some flowers?”
He whirled at the sound of the musical voice, eyes wide with shock, and then with anger.
“This corner‟s taken!” He wasn‟t a particularly militant sort of man, but like a beggar, he‟d defend his patch of concrete to the death. Well, maybe not that far.
He blinked at the person who was approaching him down the concrete traffic divider, for truly, he wasn‟t certain if it was male or female. A blue knit cap was pulled down over black hair, with several long black braids escaping and hanging down his shoulders. He… or she… wore a pale blue tunic with a ratty wood-fiber belt hanging low on slender hips. A large yin yang pendant dangled from a jute cord around his neck. His shorts were loose and simple, baring pale, elegant legs. Oddly enough, he wore only one shoe, while the other grubby foot was bare. Philip shivered in sympathy, but he didn‟t seem affected by the cold winter weather.
He, Philip decided, for there was the hint of a package at the V of his legs. But then he looked at the face and changed his mind. Ivory skin and ruby lips and sparkling almond eyes spoke of femininity.
“I was asking if you wished to buy a flower.” Indeed, the youngperson carried a woven bamboo basket over his arm. It was loaded with all manner of wildflowers: daisies and chrysanthemums, poppies and sunflowers. All brought a smile to Philip‟s lips, and they made his roses look drab.
Frankly, the kid looked more destitute than he did. What could it hurt?
“How much?”
“One dollar per flower.”
He dug into his pocket and fished out the ten-dollar bill. “I‟ll buy one then. That Shasta daisy.”
The youth‟s ruby lips curved up into a smile. “I have no change.”
So it was all or nothing. Philip sighed. “What‟s your name?” The youth looked him in the eye with a guileless smile. He couldn‟t help but smile in response. Something about him made Philip simply feel good.
“I‟m Lan Caihe. But you can call me Lan.” He bowed slightly, clasping his hands together in front of his chest. Automatically, Philip bowed back. Some habits never died, not completely.
The name was vaguely familiar, but Philip didn‟t know enough Mandarin to translate. His mother would have known.
“Well, Lan, I hope your flowers bring me luck.” He handed Lan the money, extending it with both hands. He had rice in the cupboard and some broccoli in the freezer. He‟d put in a few hours at the florist, helping out for the upcoming spring weddings. He‟d make it to the end of the week, when his check arrived, and somehow he‟d get his share of the rent.
Lan formally accepted the money with both hands and carefully picked out a variety of flowers, handing them to Philip with a flourish. With a smile, Lan tucked the white daisy down into the center of the bouquet he held. It looked like a drop of snow against the vivid red background.
“Thank you, sir.”
“Philip.”
The youth bowed slightly. “Philip.” His rosy lips turned up in an impish smile.

www.belindamcbride.com

Like Minded by Dawn Kimberly Johnson

May 29, 2010

I’ve written a short story of interplanetary/interspecies love among the stars. I hope you enjoy.

***

“Are there many on your planet like you?”

“Pardon?” Joe asked, blinking rapidly and adjusting his glasses. He found the atmosphere on Mars irritating. During his pre-flight physical he’d been warned that was likely to happen. It was just one of the bugs in the first Rapid Artificial Atmosphere Development system.

The Macaloran sitting directly across the table from him blinked more slowly. His large black eyes appeared to take a picture of him, one using a slow shutter speed. “Are there many—”

“You must forgive Benor,” Madam Alba said, raising her long, slender hand to silence her companion. Benor’s face went from its normal coppery-brown to a vivid red as he lowered his eyes briefly. “This is his first meeting with off-worlders.”

“I understand,” Ambassador Colby said. “It’s the same for my assistant as well.” He glanced sideways at Joe and smiled falsely. Joe got the message. Don’t fuck this up. He tried his best to settle, but Benor was watching him again, and he felt like he was falling forward into pools of liquid onyx.

Then he noticed Alba’s appraising gaze on him. “Assistant? This….” She paused, glancing back at Colby.

“Uh, Joseph. His name is Joseph.”

“This Josoph is not of your clan?”

“No.” He glanced at Joe with disdain. “He simply works for me.” Colby looked sharply back at Alba. “If I may ask, why would you think we were related?”

“We of Macal work as a clan, a family.” She indicated Benor at her left. “He is a social scholar and wishes to learn of your people, and he is my… I believe what you would call ‘grandson’.”

“Really?” Joe asked, his blue eyes widening in surprise. “You’re so… so different.” He suddenly had two pairs of large, round, black eyes on him—as well as Colby’s angry brown ones. “Sorry.” He looked down at his hands and silently vowed to never speak again.

But he was right.

By Earth standards, the two didn’t look like they could be related beyond belonging to the same race. Just as humans had the same basic anatomy, Alba and Benor were clearly Macaloran in appearance, at least judging from the photos Joe had seen during his briefings: those amazing eyes, elegant, fine-featured faces, and all of them had white hair. The females: tall, slender, lithe. And the males: a bit shorter, with athletic builds, most commonly shirtless, Joe noticed. But Alba and Benor were different colors, and not just different shades of Benor’s copper, but practically opposites.

Alba was a pale, pleasing, soft green and wore a black matte gown, her straight white hair hung loose to her shoulders. So, on some level, Joe could understand why they might assume Colby, who was African American, and Joe, who was a blond, cornfed boy from Iowa, could be blood relations.

“Please forgive him,” Colby fumbled. “He doesn’t mean to offend you.”

Alba’s hypnotic eyes landed back on Colby. “No offense taken, Mr. Ambassador. I assure you.” Alba and Benor looked at each other silently for a few moments, long enough for Colby to glance nervously at Joe, who shrugged. Alba then raised her arm, indicating the breadth of the room. “This is an impressive first effort at an off-world colony for your people, is it not? Perhaps you might show me its wonders. It would give us a chance to speak privately.” She looked at Benor and then at Joe. “Without the children.”

Joe bristled at the ‘children’ comment just as Colby got to his feet quickly.

“I’d like that very much, Madam Alba,” the ambassador said. He turned to Joe. “You can show him around the station. But,” Colby said, almost pulling Joe to his feet, “find something inoffensive to do.”

“Uh, yes… yes, sir.” Joe shoved his glasses back into place and straightened his collar before turning to face Benor. Taller than Joe by three or four inches, Benor looked down at him with those eyes. His long, ghostly white hair was pulled back in a tight braid, leaving his handsome face free of obstruction. His skin was no color he’d seen on Earth. Well, maybe in a dollop of amber, but to see that alive and breathing as skin—pulled over Benor’s rippling bare torso, his muscles moving beneath the surface—made it a whole other experience.

The alieness of him overwhelmed Joe, but he found himself smiling and pleasantly surprised to see Benor mimicking the expression.

“Shall we?” the Macaloran asked, extending his arm for Joe to lead the way.

***

The Mars habitat was only partially complete, with work still being done at various points along the structure and film of said, construction being sent to Earth every twenty-four hours for examination. This was part of the reason it had been chosen for first contact. It wasn’t far out enough in the galaxy to make the other inhabitants of the universe nervous. After all, if things went poorly, the “Earthers”, as they were called, could essentially and fairly simply be confined within their own galaxy. If things went well, the Macal would be given first information exchange rights and the responsibility of ushering the Earthers out into the universe, thereby minimizing any embarrassing—or fatal—encounters with other species.

Joe had been selected to accompany the ambassador because of his high scores in diplomacy testing. Unfortunately, those tests were developed and implemented on Earth, with no allowances or instruction on meeting and relating to non-terrestrial life forms or societies. In addition to that, there were many, including his current boss, who believed Joe only received this appointment because of his powerful grandfather, Silas Benjamin Tucker, incumbent senator of the great state of Iowa.

As he and Benor walked toward the promenade, Joe kept glancing up at the… man? Yes, he’s a man… a Macaloran man. Joe smiled, satisfied with himself.

“Is something amusing,” Benor asked without looking at Joe.

“Huh? Oh, no… no.” Joe tried unsuccessfully to loosen his tie. “I guess not.”

Benor paused as they reached the middle of an observation walkway. Joe stood by him at the rail, and they looked out on the red, rocky Mars landscape.

“This planet is so barren. No forests, waters, animal life.” He looked down at Joe. “Why would you wish to build here?”

Joe thought about it for a few moments and shrugged. “It’s one we could reach,” he laughed. “Just getting here and building what we have is significant for us. It’s an excellent first step.” Benor nodded, and Joe asked, “What is your planet like?”

“It is lush, green… beautiful.” He smiled down at Joe. “It is much like your planet, only the forests and wildlife are more plentiful. We Macal live in unison with our surroundings—” Benor stopped suddenly, blinking rapidly at Joe. “I apologize, Josoph,” he said quickly, his face brightening again. “I do not wish to offend.”

“You haven’t, Benor,” Joe said quickly. “It’s true. We’ve nearly squandered the beautiful world we were given. Hopefully we’ve caught it in time.”

Joe watched as Benor’s skin returned to its coppery brown. “My… grandmother spoke the truth. You are the first off-worlders I have met. I have never seen your like before.”

Joe remained silent for a few moments and then said, “You asked me… if there were many like me on my planet.” He glanced sideways at Benor and felt those large black eyes watching him. “What did you mean by that exactly?”

“I meant those who look like you, those who are like you.”

“Look like me?”

“I find you pleasing to see.” Benor reached out for Joe’s curly blond hair, but slowly withdrew his hand.

“Are like me?”

“A male who is attracted to other males.”

Joe stiffened next to Benor. “How… how can you know that?”

“Is it not true?”

“Well… uh….” Joe looked up and down the walkway. “Yes… yes it’s true, but how did you know?”

“I can smell you.”

“Pardon me?”

“Your… pheromones? I could smell the chemical changes in your blood as you watched me. You did not respond so to Alba.”

Joe felt his face grow warm. “I’m s-sorry. I don’t know what to say.”

“There is no need to apologize. This is not something you can control. It is… honest.”

They looked at each other and smiled, those eyes blinking slowly at him again.

***

Sitting down to a meal in the cafeteria, Benor looked over the offerings Joe had selected for them to try.

“This is safe for you to eat?”

Benor nodded as he looked eagerly over the tray in front of him. “Yes. Our scientists have examined all the food offered here,” he said as he picked up a piece of melon, smiling and dropping it quickly upon feeling the cool moistness of it, “and approved it for our consumption. He glanced nervously at Joe, who picked up a fork and speared a piece of melon from his own tray. Benor watched him place the succulent square in his mouth, chew, and swallow.

Benor unwrapped his utensils and repeated Joe’s actions. He smiled after chewing the fruit for a few moments and swallowing. For the next twenty minutes they tried apple, chocolate, potato chips, yogurt, tomato, banana, and several types of cheese. Benor shunned any animal products, wasn’t particularly enamored of coconut, and his shuddering reaction to peanut butter sent Joe into a fit of giggles.

“Your reaction, Josoph, when you learned I knew of your… desires?”

Joe choked a bit on his diet soda. “Uh, yes?”

“You seemed… upset… frightened?”

Joe wasn’t sure how much to share with Benor, but he knew he didn’t want to lie. “On my planet, in my country, there are many who feel my… desires are inappropriate, wrong, even evil in the extreme.” Benor seemed surprised by this. “It’s not like that on your world?”

“No. It is the norm for us.”

“How so?”

“The male and female join for a time to procreate, but we are bonded, joined for life with those of the same gender.”

As much information as there was in those statements, Joe seized on only one aspect. “For life?”

“If that is what they wish.”

“Aren’t any of you drawn to the opposite gender?”

“Oh yes, it happens, but not as often. It is estimated that approximately five percent of our population is born that way.”

“How are they treated?”

“Treated? Do you mean cured, changed?”

“No, I mean among the rest of the population. How are they viewed in your society?” Benor appeared perplexed by his question, so Joe elaborated. “On my planet, people like me are not—” Joe sighed heavily. “We’ve made progress over the years, but there are still some who don’t think of us as equals or deserving of the same rights as everyone else.” It was difficult for him to say, largely because Joe still had trouble believing gay rights were still an issue in this century.

“I understand. There are some like this on Macal as well, but theirs is a small voice. They have no power. Most believe our creator made all things and is never wrong. Those of us born to desire the opposite gender are right in who and what they are.”

“God doesn’t make mistakes.” Joe smiled warmly at Benor and felt a quiver in his gut when it was returned.

***

“What in hell did you two talk about?” Colby demanded.

Joe flinched. “Uh, sir… I’m not sure what you mean.”

“When the four of us met up again, they went all silent with each other, and then Madam Alba seemed chillier toward me. You must have said something inappropriate.”

“Sir, I swear. We only talked about….”

“What?”

Joe went over it all in his mind. “We talked about us building on Mars, about—we had lunch. Benor was eager to try some of our food.” Joe smiled. “He hates peanut butter and coconut.”

“I couldn’t care less.”

Joe flushed. “Um… we talked about his planet, how beautiful it is, and I learned a bit about his society and its structure.”

Colby didn’t seem satisfied. “I didn’t want you on this assignment,” he said, glancing sideways at Joe. “But you probably know that.”

“I do now, sir,” Joe said quietly.

“We’ll have another chance tomorrow.” Colby got up and went to mix himself a drink. “You were appointed to me because of your grandfather’s pull and nothing more.” He dropped two ice cubes in a short glass and poured a healthy amount of bourbon over them. “I swear… something this important—when I think about the things we could learn from these creatures….”

You’ve got that right!

“They could accelerate our space exploration by decades, maybe more.” Colby downed his drink in two gulps. “And they send you, some green—”

Joe stood abruptly. “Sir, do I really need to be here for this conversation?”

Colby sighed. “Actually, junior, I’d rather you weren’t.” He gestured toward the door, and Joe made a hasty retreat.

When he entered his assigned quarters, Joe threw his recording pad against the wall. “Son of a bitch!” he shouted as it landed with a metallic clang that reverberated around the room. “That arrogant, ignorant, fucking—!”

Stripping quickly, he stormed into his bathroom and had a vigorous, rapid shower, the warm vibrations ultrasonically cleansing him from head to toe and beating the tension out of his body and the anger from his mind, at least for the moment. As soon as he stepped from the shower, a light, pleasant tone sounded, indicating a call on his intercom. He crossed to his desk and activated it. “Yes?!”

“Uh—” Colby cleared his throat. “I think maybe you should keep a low profile during tomorrow’s talks.” His words sounded a bit slurred. “Probably best if you just stay away from our guests for the duration of our stay.”

“But, sir, I’d like—”

The line closed abruptly, and Joe dropped onto his bed, defeated. He wanted to see Benor again. He wanted to talk more about their worlds. Joe stared at his nondescript ceiling. He wanted to get to know him better. Maybe unbraid that hair and run my fingers through it, kiss him just under his jaw line, feel his pulse—assuming he has one there. “Are there many on your planet like you?” Joe smiled.

He’d grown up on a farm in Iowa—a fully automated farm. It wasn’t like the old days of the early 21st Century, but there was still a lot of work to do. He closed his eyes and remembered lying in a field of high grass and staring up at that amazing blue sky. He remembered Jimmy Linda suddenly appearing and blotting out the sun, dropping down next to him, and eventually putting his hands on him. Joe’s hand slid toward his crotch. God bless that tall grass.

Another pleasant tone sounded, and Joe groaned. “I don’t have anything else to say to you, you jackass!” The tone sounded again, and Joe sat up and looked at the intercom. The tone came again, and he realized it was his door. He hopped up, grabbed his glasses and slid on a robe before pressing the button that opened the door to his quarters. When it hissed away into the wall, it revealed Benor standing there, looking a bit uncertain. “Yes?”

“May I enter?”

“Uh, yeah, of course.” Joe stepped back and allowed the Macaloran to sweep into the room. He seemed agitated. “Is everything all right?”

Benor turned to face him, and Joe took a step back. “I had to see you. I can feel your….”

“My what?”

“Your thoughts.”

“Huh?”

“Our scientists did not think this was possible with another species, and you’re not completely clear, but I can hear, feel what you are wanting… wanting with… me.”

“You’re telepathic?”

“With you it is empathic, but with those of my own kind… yes, we can communicate our thoughts to one another.” Benor stepped closer to Joe, invading his personal space, and Joe felt his face flush and heat infuse his body. “But at this time, I only wish to address your desire for me.”

Joe looked up into Benor’s large, black eyes and felt himself leaning forward. Benor reached for him, but the movement snapped Joe out of his trance, and he stepped quickly back from the Macaloran.

“No. I… we can’t. I’m in enough trouble as it is.”

“I do not understand,” Benor said, stepping closer again.

Joe stepped away to maintain the same amount of distance. “My boss… Colby believes I shouldn’t be here, that I’m not qualified to participate in this mission, and he blames me for the change in Alba’s attitude after you and she met up again.” Joe paused and looked hard at Benor. “What did you two ‘say’ to each other, anyway?”

Benor blinked at him, and then he said, “I communicated some of our discussion, some of the aspects of your society that your transmitted data did not reveal to us.” Benor seemed to gasp in sudden understanding, his eyes closing tightly for a few moments. “I sensed she was dismayed by how some in your society view those like you—but, Josoph,” Benor said, stepping quickly toward him again, “I reminded her that we have a similar situation on Macal.”

“So she won’t end our contact because of it?”

“Oh no. I am certain of that.”

Joe visibly relaxed and smiled hesitantly at Benor. The Macaloran watched him closely, expectantly, waiting.

“May I… may I approach you, Josoph?”

Joe looked Benor over from head to toe. So strange, so beautiful. Except for the ample amount of white hair on his head, the rest of his perfect, dark amber body appeared hairless. He couldn’t stop his eyes from traveling down Benor’s bare torso to his pants, and he couldn’t stop himself from wondering what lay beyond the waistband.

When Joe glanced back up at the Macaloran, he saw Benor smiling broadly, more brightly than he had yet seen, and suddenly Benor swept him into his arms and kissed him. Joe didn’t know how he’d closed the space between them so quickly, but—he found he really didn’t care.

His thoughts spun away from him as the sensation of Benor’s lips on his, opening to his mouth, made Joe lightheaded. The powerful arms around him had him pressed so tightly against Benor’s chest, he could feel his strange, rapid 1-2-3 heartbeat against his own. The sudden embrace had knocked Joe’s glasses askew, so when Benor broke the kiss, he couldn’t immediately or clearly see the Macaloran’s expression. But he didn’t mistake the low growl that escaped Benor. Joe straightened his glasses and started at seeing the change in Benor’s beautiful black eyes. They seemed filled with starlight as they raked over Joe’s features.

Benor backed Joe up against the bulkhead of his quarters, knocking a book and vase off a small glass table as they went. A large picture window at the head of the bed revealed the red, dry, lifeless landscape beyond. There was no one to see them, no one outside to witness possibly the biggest mistake of his professional career.

“You, Josoph, are most fine,” Benor whispered in Joe’s ear as his hands rubbed between Joe’s legs and caressed the tight blond curls on his head. “I only hope you find me pleasing.”

“Guh!” was all Joe could manage, and Benor paused, pulling back to examine his expression.

“Should I stop, Josoph?”

“No!” He took Benor’s mouth hungrily, and they kissed and nipped at each other as they spun themselves in a strange waltz toward the bed, Joe nearly tripping over his discarded clothes in the floor, but Benor caught him. And they smiled at one another.

Both breathing heavily as they sat on the bed, they allowed their hands to slow.

Joe reached for Benor’s braid, but he stopped himself. “May I?”

Benor nodded, and Joe leaned close to his face, reaching around to begin taking the long white braid loose. He smiled at Benor as the hair spilled through his fingers like silk to lay about the Macaloran’s shoulders. Joe rested a palm gently against Benor’s face and gazed at him as Benor began to caress Joe’s hair again, smiling crookedly and cocking his head sideways in amazement.

“This is most strange to the touch,” he said before his eyes lowered to where Joe’s robe could open.

His gaze flickered back up to Joe’s face for permission, and soon Benor’s slender, long fingers came to rest against Joe’s crotch, pulling back from the heat and hardness at first but then coming back and squeezing gently, the light cotton the only thing separating them. Joe moaned, and Benor silently but quickly opened Joe’s robe. He slid his hands over Joe’s pale, bare skin, up over his shoulders, skimming the robe completely off of him.

Joe shivered a bit as he lay across and near the foot of his bed to allow Benor to look him over. He shut his eyes, fearful that Benor might not like what he sees, and then change his mind. What if I am too strange to him? He was more slender than the Macaloran, fit but not particularly muscular. He had a healthy covering of blond hair on his chest and a treasure trail leading down to a thick nest of dark blond pubic hair, which his painfully hard cock sprang out of.

“There is no need for you to fear rejection, Josoph,” Benor said softly. “Look at me.”

Joe opened his eyes and saw Benor smiling down at him. The Macaloran reached down and undid the snaps at the waistband of his pants, shedding them is one fluid motion. When he rose back up, Joe was treated to a full view of Benor’s beauty, and the Macaloran smiled, obviously aware, on some level, of Joe’s feelings.

“I please you.”

“Oh yes,” Joe whispered, unconsciously licking his bottom lip. Benor was a bit larger than Joe, in length and girth, and his cock—not a totally unfamiliar shape—was surrounded in a patch of straight, white pubic hair, just as silky as that on his head. That will do nicely.

Benor slowly joined Joe on the bed, hovering over him, seemingly uncertain where to begin. “You must guide me in how to please you, Josoph.”

Joe had never been very good at giving directions in intimate situations. “What w-would you like t-to do?”

Benor looked him over. “I wish to taste you,” he said, his voice heavy with lust. Joe nodded, and Benor took him gently in hand, carefully licking the head of his cock and smiling at Joe’s reaction. Joe felt his head growing heavy and found it difficult to keep watching Benor. The last thing he saw before allowing his head to drop and remain on the bed was Benor’s shockingly long, bluish tongue wrapping around his cock and tugging Joe into his mouth.

Benor gripped Joe’s hips tightly, holding him firmly to the mattress as he buried his face in Joe’s coarse blond curls. Joe could feel Benor sucking him, while the Macaloran’s tongue worked him from within his mouth. It wasn’t long before Benor, who didn’t appear to have a gag reflex, brought Joe to a screaming orgasm.

Joe came so violently, bucking off the bed, despite Benor’s efforts to hold him down, that he must have blacked out for a moment. The next thing he knew, he felt the most amazing sensation of being penetrated, his prostate being stimulated by something feather-light and quick, which simply could not be Benor’s penis. With difficulty Joe lifted his head and saw Benor’s face pressed to his ass, and he came again, immediately.

As he lay there recovering and soaked with sweat, Joe thought about just how far he’d come…. He laughed. Traveled.

Joseph Evander Tucker—only son of Alma and George Tucker, of Badger, Iowa, population 578—was currently lying on his back in Earth’s first Mars colony trying to regain some composure after being spectacularly pleasured by a handsome alien from another galaxy.

He threw his arm over his eyes and shivered as a burst of air from the filtration system passed over his sweaty body.

“Are you all right, Josoph?” Benor asked quietly. “I did not hurt you?”

Joe shook his head and finally removed his arm from his eyes. He smiled at Benor. “You did not hurt me. That was wonderful, glorious, fantastic.” Benor grinned. Perhaps he didn’t know what each of those words meant, but Joe was certain he could sense from him their meaning.

“Then if you have caught your breath, I would like to enter you now.”

“Oh yes. By all means. Please do,” Joe laughed, holding out his arms to Benor, who carefully placed himself between Joe’s legs.

“Relax yourself, Josoph,” Benor suggested as he nearly bent Joe in half. He was still slick from Benor’s oral attentions, and the Macaloran slid in beautifully. Joe felt filled and stretched and happy as he gazed up into Benor face. His lovely black eyes were closed, and his lips were slightly parted, a small grin turning up one corner of his mouth. “You… feel like Cocaloi,” Benor whispered. But sensing Joe’s confusion, Benor’s eyes opened, and he smiled down at him, whispering, “Your… Haven?”

Joe smiled up at him, then allowed his eyes to fall shut as Benor began to rock into him, gently at first, then faster and harder. Benor began to grunt and growl with effort, then he quickly shifted, allowing Joe’s legs to wrap around his waist instead. He fell onto his forearms, resting them on either side of Joe, virtually embracing him in a most intimate connection. He drove into Joe again and again.

And when he finally came, spilling his heat into Joe, his glorious white mane seemed to fan out around his head like one of those glowing halos from the paintings in Grandma Tucker’s old family Bible back home. Benor collapsed onto Joe’s chest, and Joe caressed him, stroking his head sleepily.

Movement to his right caught his eye, but having misplaced his glasses long ago, Joe had to squint to see five figures in bright blue spacesuits standing outside his window. The opaque, non-reflective gray shielding on their visors prevented him from seeing their faces, but they were definitely applauding and giving him the thumbs up in a strange silent display of enthusiastic praise. Some had tools—blow torches and patching gear—and at least one had a digital video camera, but Joe was beyond caring.

“Shades,” he commanded, and the windows began to automatically cover in a slow horizontal crawl from the far right. He imagined he heard a collective groan from their audience, and the video—woman, judging from her profile in the form-fitting suit—did her very best to keep ahead of the closing shades, eventually tripping and falling right before the group was obliterated from sight.

“Benor?”

“Yes?” His face was still buried against Joe’s neck.

“Come to bed.”

Joe guided the Macaloran into a proper, lengthwise position on the bed, and then he covered them with the blanket before they fell asleep in each other’s arms.

***

Joe dragged himself into the cafeteria. Several heads turned toward him, and if he hadn’t been so exhausted and miserable, he might have noticed the hushed conversations springing up around him—that and the pointing.

“Have a seat, young Mr. Tucker,” Colby said, apparently full of vim, vigor, and himself.

“Uh, thank you, sir.” Joe looked around. “Isn’t Madam Alba meeting with you today?”

“We’re meeting them for their return trip to Macal in an hour.” Joe couldn’t hide the frown that crossed his face. “What’s the matter? The Macalorans have given us the green light on the information exchange and will help us make our way further out into space. Madam Alba said our two species are clearly compatible. The mission could not have been more of a success!”

I wouldn’t call waking up alone “a success”. Joe began to pick over his breakfast. When he’d found Benor gone this morning, he hadn’t known what to think, and before he could ring his quarters, Colby had chimed in and ordered him to breakfast. At least I’ll get to say goodbye at the launch. Joe shoved his tray away from him. He wasn’t hungry.

“What’s the matter with you? Didn’t you hear what I said?” Joe nodded weakly. “Well eat up. You’ll only get the rehydrated meals during your flight back to Earth, and it’s a long trip.”

“Yes, sir. I haven’t forgotten our trip here.”

Colby frowned and passed the rest of the meal in silence.

***

“May we speak?” Benor asked, taking hold of Joe’s arm and ushering him off to the side and away from the pre-launch festivities.

“What do we have to say to one another?”

“I wish to apologize for leaving so abruptly this morning, but I simply had to speak to my grandmother.”

“I get it, Benor,” Joe said angrily, jerking his arm free of Benor’s grasp. A couple of heads turned toward them. “I was something new to try! I did the same thing on Spring Break one year. It didn’t mean anything. I was just—”

“No!”

Joe was brought up short by the intensity of Benor’s denial. He looked into the Macaloran’s eyes, and his mouth went dry. Joe was done talking and ready to listen.

“I had to tell her how I felt for you. Tell her of what you mean to me,” Benor said gently. “You are one I wish to take home.” He reached out, touched Joe’s face, then stroked his hair. This did not escape Madam Alba or Ambassador Colby’s attention.

The ambassador excused himself from the press and rushed over. “What is going on here, Tucker?”

Joe ignored him, his eyes riveted to Benor’s. “Say that again.”

“I wish to take you home… with me. Would this be your wish?”

Joe couldn’t believe it. He searched Benor’s eyes. “Is this for life?”

“This is for as long as you wish it. Our two worlds will be working closely together for some time to come.” Benor’s smile faltered. “But if there is someone already you—”

“No!”

Benor’s smile gained strength again, the delight and relief evident in his face.

“Now see here, Tucker, you can’t—”

“Benor, will I be able to communicate with home?”

“Yes. As I said, our worlds will be working together for some time.”

Joe turned to Colby. “Ambassador, I’m going home with Benor. Please tell my mother I’ll contact her the first chance I get.” Joe turned back to Benor and kissed him. “Help me pack?”

The two men rushed off toward Joe’s quarters to the sound of a sputtering ambassador and applause from a variety of witnesses—including a tall, green, proud, and happy Macaloran grandmother.

Joseph Tucker was going farther than he’d ever dreamed.