Detour Contest 1

April 13, 2011

Detour Contest 1:

Now for contest one. First person to answer the question below correctly gets an All Romance Ebook – $ 10 ebooks bucks! (must have an account there so I can send to you)

What inspired me to write Detour and what did I use to write the start of the story?

Detour Excerpt 1

April 13, 2011

I’ll be sharing a few different excerpts throughout the day.

To start off I want to introduce you to Miguel.


Detour by Talia Carmichael
Now available from Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link

Excerpt:

“Does your wife mind that you have these poker days?” Robert asked.

Miguel frowned, straightened, and looked at him. Robert’s attention was still on the house. When Robert looked at him, there was no guile in his eyes. Miguel stifled a chuckle. He couldn’t believe Robert hadn’t seen his interest. He could clear it up that he was very much into men, but Miguel observed Robert and decided to let him figure it out himself. He couldn’t wait to tell his brothers.

“No wife. It’s just me living here, and I don’t mind.” He winked at Robert.

Robert’s eyes widened, and he licked his lips. Miguel turned away to get the beer, stifling a chuckle. It probably wouldn’t take Robert long to figure out he was queer, but until then, it was going to be interesting. He shook his head. No wonder Robert hadn’t made any advances; he thought Miguel was straight. Miguel lifted the beer, putting it over his shoulder. A moan sounded behind him. He shifted the beer onto the other shoulder, flexing his muscles. Trying for innocence, he looked back at Robert.

“Grab the bags for me. The guys eat through food fast,” he said.

Robert came to him, and he didn’t shift away. Robert grabbed the bags, his body brushing up against Miguel’s. Robert stepped back quickly. Miguel took a breath, inhaling his maleness. Musky man and delicious-smelling cologne filled his senses. Yes, it would be sweet once Robert figured it out. His thoughts filled with all he would do to Robert when he did.

“Miguel, are you okay?” Robert’s voice came as from a distance.

Miguel shook himself out of thoughts that were not helping his already hard erection.

“I’m good.”

The leery look was back on Robert’s face. Miguel didn’t like seeing it at all.

“Hey, why don’t you invite your friend—Alex, I think you said—over to join the game?”

“Are you sure?” Robert asked.

“Yep! The more the merrier, and more money to win.” Miguel started walking to the door.

“Okay. I’ll call after we get inside and see if he’s not busy.” Robert sounded relieved.

Miguel smiled, since Robert couldn’t see him. He read people very well, and he knew he made Robert nervous. Heck, he was sure Robert was also horny. He shifted, trying to ease the pressure on his hard cock. He opened the unlocked door with his free hand and waited for Robert to go in, then chanced a quick pat of that firm ass. Robert jumped, startled, and looked back at him. He smiled innocently and strode inside.

A turn down a wrong road

April 13, 2011

I was out with some friends on my way to dinner with some other friends. We were running really late to meet up with everyone and someone insisted they knew a short cut to get to the restaurant. So we took the detour and well we got really lost. Driving around trying to find our way. We happened to pass a cop and stopped to ask him for directions. The cop was gorgeous and funny. He was gracious enough to give us directions and we were on our way. As we drove away I looked out the back window at the cop. The sun was behind him casting him in a glow which made him seem so steady and almost mythical. An idea started to form.

We went to dinner and got the ribbing about our being lost. As everyone chatted and caught up with each other I was still thinking about the cop. I asked the waitress for some napkins and pulled out a pen and started to write. That was the start of detour. Officer Miguel Rodriguez came to me that day because of a wrong turn and a cop who inspired me.

Detour – Blurb

April 13, 2011


Detour – Blurb
By: Talia Carmichael
Dreamspinner Press
Available Now
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Something in Common– Book 1
Format: E-Book
Buy here from Dreamspinner Press

Robert Berkus’s steady academic life seemed to be an open road until the day he took a detour… right into Officer Miguel Rodriguez’s path. When Miguel helps the sexy professor change a flat tire, Robert is absolutely oblivious to Miguel’s interest. That suits Miguel just fine, though. He’s used to being the aggressor although it sure would be nice to get this sweet and staid college professor to make the first move.

When Robert gets his act in gear, the results prove explosive. Miguel wants Robert in his bed and in his life permanently, and Robert enthusiastically agrees—but they’ve already learned that life makes detours. Sometimes it takes love a little courage to arrive at its chosen destination.

Detour – Release day celebration!

April 13, 2011

Hello, everyone!

I’m Talia Carmichael. I’m a romantic who believes that family, no matter if it is by blood or those you choose as family, is integral to who you are. I enjoy creating stories that encompass all that falling in love or lust entails, from the highs of that first blush of attraction to the lows of not knowing if you can make your coming together as a couple work, and then finally to the acceptance of the reality of making a life together. It’s all about the journey.

Today is my first release with Dreamspinner Press. My book is called Detour. I’ll be around at various intervals all day today celebrating the release of my novella, Detour.

Thanks for coming by and hanging out with me today. Planning on lots of fun and chatting.

Overdrive Excerpt #2

April 8, 2011

Daniel and Frank’s first race as a team…

Overdrive by Ariel Tachna
Now available from Dreamspinner Press
Buy link

Blurb:

All his life, French racer Daniel Leroux has dreamed of one thing: winning the World Rally Championship. To do that, he needs a co-driver he can trust. If only he could find one….

At the end of a disastrous season, Daniel’s manager replaces his incompetent co-driver with Frank Dufour, a young Canadian whose rally team let him go because he was gay. Daniel’s in heaven, thinking he might find more than just a teammate, but his manager puts the brakes on, declaring Frank firmly off limits. Frank isn’t any more ready to risk his second—and last—chance at making it in the WRC, no matter how attractive he finds Daniel. Sex and cars don’t mix.

Amidst a bitter rivalry with another driver, sabotage attempts, extreme weather conditions, and the stress of racing, Daniel and Frank forge a partnership that defies the odds, but just as things start to heat up between them, a family emergency calls Frank away. Will they find their way back together or will the separation and the spotlight be too much for their fledgling love to survive?

Excerpt :

“There’s no fresh snow this morning,” Frank reported as they drove north to Hagfors for the service park and the day’s stages, “so the roads should feel very much like they did yesterday except for the better traction from the racing tires. The trick here is going to be not making mistakes. We don’t have to beat everyone else’s times. We have to stay in the race and place high enough to get points toward the championship.”

“Yeah,” Daniel said, “the winter rally almost always goes to one of the Nordic drivers, although Michaels took the stage last night.”

“A two-minute stadium course that was more showboating than anything else,” Frank scoffed. “I know he’s good on gravel, and he’s proven himself on ice in the past, but it isn’t a given that he’ll win. He’s had some pretty spectacular crashes on the ice too. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes.”

“Let’s hope we don’t make any this time,” Daniel said.

“We won’t,” Frank replied, his voice confident. “Do you want to go over the pace notes for the first three stages again today, before the regrouping and service park at lunch time?”

“Yes,” Daniel said. “Going through them before the race helped keep things clear in my head for yesterday. Let’s not mess with success.”

They spent the rest of the drive to Hagfors to meet Isabelle and her mechanics, as well as the other drivers and race officials, discussing the stages to come. Isabelle shooed them away from the car the moment the service park time began, the four mechanics going over every inch of the car with as much care as if they hadn’t seen it in ages. Daniel would have made a comment about Isabelle second-guessing herself or not being sure she’d done the job right the first time, but she’d been surprisingly civil last night after the super special stage so Daniel hoped maybe Frank’s conversation with her had helped. He wouldn’t start anything if she didn’t.

Forty minutes later, the race officials called for the drivers to start lining up for the first stage. Daniel strapped in and took his place behind Ryan Michaels’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. Daniel would start two minutes after Michaels did, enough that he wouldn’t have to worry about catching up with the American, not at the speeds they’d be driving, unless Michaels had a wreck or technical problems that slowed him down. He’d be happy with not losing time.

Michaels disappeared in a spray of snow, and Daniel drove into position, eyes fixed on the starter. It flashed one minute and started the countdown. He waited, foot hovering over the accelerator as the count continued. As it neared zero, he gunned the engine, foot still hard on the brake. The moment the counter hit zero, he released the brake, Frank’s voice in his ear guiding him through the bends. The car skidded beneath him on the bends, but their practice in the Alps held him in good stead and he managed the bends with enough control not to lose time. He clipped a snow bank on one curve, but it didn’t slow him down by more than a fraction of a second as he manhandled the car back to the race line and around the next bend. He’d have a second chance at that stretch of road this afternoon. Hopefully he wouldn’t make the same mistake a second time, but he’d worry about that during the break for lunch. For now he had to concentrate on the road in front of him, the car beneath his hands, and Frank’s voice talking him through the course.

Eleven minutes and thirty-three seconds after they started, they crossed the flying finish. “How’d we do?” Daniel asked Frank breathlessly as he slowed the car to normal speeds and started the trek to the next starting line.

“We won’t know until lunch, but it felt good,” Frank said, “other than the one snow bank. You ready for the next stage?”

“Bring it on,” Daniel said, flashing Frank a cocky grin as he navigated the narrow country roads, glad of the metal spikes on the tires even at normal speeds.

Michaels was already there ahead of them when they reached the second starting line of the day. They had a few minutes before the start of the next stage, so Daniel got out of the car to stretch a bit, hissing at the cold temperatures.

“Having problems there, Leroux?” Michaels sneered from his car.

“Not me,” Daniel shot back, stretching his back a little.

“Don’t worry,” Michaels added. “You won’t be eating my dust for long.”

“No, you’ll be eating mine,” Daniel retorted, finishing his stretches and returning to the car. “His ass is mine,” he said to Frank as he climbed back in the car.

Frank laughed. “Somehow I don’t think you mean that the way it sounded.”

Daniel scowled at his co-driver. “We can’t let him win the championship. Regardless of how he does during this rally, he’s going down for the season.”

“You bet, boss,” Frank agreed. “Are you set for the next stage?”

“All we need is the green light,” Daniel replied as Michaels’s start time arrived and he sped off down the course. Daniel pulled the car into position and prepared to tackle the third stage.

Overdrive contest

April 8, 2011

How about a contest?

To enter this contest, simply tell me what sport you’d like to see included in an m/m romance. The contest will go until noon Eastern time on Saturday, so you have a full day to enter.

The winner will be selected at random from all comments and will receive an eBook download of Overdrive.

Overdrive Excerpt #1

April 8, 2011

I’ll share a couple of different excerpts over the course of the day, but I want to start with this one to introduce you to Daniel and the world of WRC racing.

Overdrive by Ariel Tachna

Now available from Dreamspinner Press

Buy link

Blurb:
All his life, French racer Daniel Leroux has dreamed of one thing: winning the World Rally Championship. To do that, he needs a co-driver he can trust. If only he could find one….

At the end of a disastrous season, Daniel’s manager replaces his incompetent co-driver with Frank Dufour, a young Canadian whose rally team let him go because he was gay. Daniel’s in heaven, thinking he might find more than just a teammate, but his manager puts the brakes on, declaring Frank firmly off limits. Frank isn’t any more ready to risk his second—and last—chance at making it in the WRC, no matter how attractive he finds Daniel. Sex and cars don’t mix.

Amidst a bitter rivalry with another driver, sabotage attempts, extreme weather conditions, and the stress of racing, Daniel and Frank forge a partnership that defies the odds, but just as things start to heat up between them, a family emergency calls Frank away. Will they find their way back together or will the separation and the spotlight be too much for their fledgling love to survive?

Excerpt:

“Putain de merde, qu’est-ce vous faites? Vous ne pouvez pas lire les indications que vous avez écrites vous-même?”

Daniel Leroux glared at his co-driver in frustration as they finally came to a stop. He’d lost count of how many times the car flipped this time, but this was not the first time his co-driver’s errors had led to them rolling and being eliminated from a race. He could just see his rank falling as once again a rally ended with no points in his score column.

The crowd rushed over to make sure they were unhurt. Daniel summoned a smile as he pulled himself from the car to the cheers of the fans. Finland was a hard course, and he wasn’t the first driver to wipe out on this turn, nor would he be the last, he was sure, but his co-driver telling him the road curved left instead of right was more than a miscalculation. It was the kind of gross error that got people killed. He didn’t plan on being one of them. When they got back to the hotel where they were staying for the week, Daniel intended to talk to the team manager. He was already out of contention for this season. Even if they won every remaining rally, they couldn’t catch the leader, and they’d have to come in third or above in every remaining race to end up in the top five. With a co-driver he could trust, he might have done it. With the idiot climbing out of the car on the other side as co-driver, he’d be lucky to be alive still at the end of the season.

The spectators helped push the car back onto the road, allowing Daniel to continue down the course, but he didn’t push the time. He could hear from the sounds coming from the engine that they wouldn’t make it at high speeds. He’d get off the course so it was clear for the next driver and then withdraw from the rest of the race.

“I’m sorry, Jean-Paul,” Daniel said, tossing his helmet and gloves on the table as he turned to face the team manager. “I can’t work with him anymore. I’ve tried and tried. Watch the onboard if you don’t believe me. A little off with the timing is bad enough, but telling me it would be a left turn instead of a right turn is more than bad timing. We’re lucky we weren’t killed.”

“You mean we’re lucky you’re a damn good driver,” Jean-Paul corrected. “Even with Isabelle working her magic, it’s going to take time to repair the car. So what are you thinking, Dany, besides that you want me to fire Xavier?”

“I’m thinking that we can’t even pull off a respectable place this year,” Daniel replied. “I think we should withdraw from the remaining races and spend the rest of the year and the off-season training up a new co-driver, someone I can really work with this time.”

“Did you have somebody in mind?” Jean-Paul asked. “Or should I look at the draft and see who’s available?”

“There was a kid who was co-driving in the J-WRC,” Daniel said. “A Canadian. Frank something. His career seemed to be taking off and then his team let him go. I liked what I saw of him before that. And he was with a French-speaking team so he’s got to be at least conversational in French, which is good, since I doubt I could follow pace notes in English. Can you find out what happened and see if he’s available?”

Jean-Paul’s eyebrows lifted. “You’ve been thinking about this, haven’t you?”

“Yeah,” Daniel admitted. “I kept hoping we could make it through this season with a decent showing, but it isn’t going to happen, so I’d rather make the break now and come back strong for next year.”

“I’ll see what I can find out about your ‘kid’ and anyone else who might be available,” Jean-Paul said. “Tell Isabelle so she can let the crew know we’re packing up and heading back to Auvergne. We can spend the fall and winter there getting ready for next year. There are back roads there not even you have driven.”

“You keep telling yourself that,” Daniel said cockily, picking up his gear. “I’m going to talk to Isabelle and then get a shower.” He stopped when he reached the door, turning back to face the man who had been in charge of his career for the last five years. “Thanks for believing in me, Jean-Paul. I know that what happens out there on the road is ultimately my responsibility, and I appreciate you not blaming me for the rough season we’ve had.”

Jean-Paul smiled. “We expected this to be a shakedown year, with Christophe retiring last season and you having to find a new co-driver. We didn’t expect it to be quite as challenging as it’s been, but you’ve proven yourself. Second in the world last year, and by only a few points, is nothing to throw away. We’ll have more time to find a good match since we’re starting early now. Don’t worry. We’ll get this team back on track.”

Daniel summoned a smile in return, but it faded when the door closed behind him. Number two in the world last year, and not even ranked this year because he didn’t finish the season. Talk about a bitter pill to swallow. Jean-Paul could say what he wanted. Daniel knew he’d let a lot of people down with his record this year. He’d be okay because he brought in more money in a year, even an off year, than he could reasonably spend, but he had no idea what would happen to the mechanics on the team once they were all back in Auvergne and the car was ready to go. Isabelle could handle the maintenance on the training runs since they wouldn’t have the tight schedule of a rally. Unless he busted up completely like he’d done today, most of the mechanics would be sent home for the off-season. Usually, that was a matter of a month or two between the last rally in October or November and the first one in January or February, but it was only August now. Maybe he’d talk to Jean-Paul and see if something could be done for them. He wanted them to come back next year. Isabelle had talked several times about how well her team had worked together this year. If only he’d had as much luck with his team.

“Dany!”

He looked up and saw his sister and head mechanic rushing toward him. “Salut, p’tite sœur,” he said, catching her in a tight hug. “I’m fine. I promise, I’m fine.”

She glared up at him. “Did you let the EMTs look you over?”

“Isabelle, I’m fine,” Daniel insisted. “No pain in my neck, no limping, nothing.”

The fingers that dug into the muscle of his bicep were strong from working with cars all day and brooked absolutely no refusal. She marched him down the hall and out to the car. “If you won’t show sense, I’ll have to show it for you.”

Daniel tried to resist, but he’d never yet managed to break free of her claws once she had a grip on him.

Three hours later, X-rayed and poked at until he was ready to snap, Daniel walked back into the hospital waiting room. “I told you I was fine,” he said with a grin for his sister. “I’m always fine.”

“You keep saying that, you might actually get someone to believe you,” Isabelle retorted, punching the same spot on his arm where she’d dug her fingers in earlier.

“Aïe! Did you have to hit me right there?”

“Yes,” Isabelle said with a grin. “Now come on. I want to know what you and Jean-Paul talked about for so long.”

“Let’s go back to the shop, and I’ll tell you,” Daniel promised. It would be easier to let his sister down there where she was surrounded by the cars she loved than it would be anywhere else. Damn, he hated this part.

Isabelle seemed to sense his mood because she dropped the sisterly hassling, driving to the shop in silence and parking outside the locked garage. She opened the side door and flipped on the lights, revealing what was left of the car he’d wrecked that afternoon as well as the spare car sitting beneath its tarp behind the first one. “I don’t need to pull the tarp off and tune up the other car, do I?”

Daniel shook his head. “I’m sorry, p’tite sœur,” he said. “We’re going back to Auvergne as soon as we can get packed up here. Jean-Paul is going to fire Xavier if he hasn’t already done it while I was at the hospital. We’ll start looking for someone to replace him. Someone better this time. Someone who can actually help me win instead of making me lose.”

Release day celebration!

April 8, 2011

Hello, everyone!

For those who don’t know me, I’m Ariel Tachna, mother of two, full-time writer and social networking coordinator for Dreamspinner Press. I’ll be around at various intervals all day today celebrating the release of my latest novel, Overdrive.

I want to start by sharing a video with you. This is not my video. I haven’t ever had the chance to attend a World Rally Championship race, much less in Sweden, but it should at least give you an idea of what my guys do for a living.

Enjoy!

Taste Excerpt #1

April 4, 2011

The sun was beating down on Lil’s shoulders as they stood in line to get on the boat. It was another scorcher of a day, with high humidity levels, but there was a slight breeze which made it somewhat tolerable. He wasn’t used to this kind of weather, being from San Francisco, but he’d remembered the sunscreen and had applied the non-greasy SP 45 lotion liberally on his arms, the back of his neck, and his legs. Jody had loaned him one of Clark’s baseball caps to protect his face and head.

Grier had shown up in another wife beater, a black one this time, with the words Vinita Ice Cream scrawled in neon green. It had big circles in vivid primary colors simulating ice cream scoops splotched throughout.

“Your T-shirt is very attractive.”

“I designed it,” Grier said proudly. “You like it?”

“As I said yesterday, what’s not to like?”

“I meant the T-shirt.”

“I know,” Lil smiled. He couldn’t see Grier’s eyes behind the Oakleys, but the seductive tone of his voice was a pleasant indication that nothing had changed since yesterdays meet and greet. “I thought you moved furniture?”

“Among other things.”

“I like a man of many talents,” Lil flirted.

“That’s me. I’m a veritable jack-of-all-trades.”

The line started moving again, and when they got on the boat they were given a choice of sitting below, in the cabin, or up on top, exposed to the elements. “Do you have a preference?” Grier asked.

“Even though the sun is deadly and will surely age me overnight, I’d rather sit up on the deck.”

“Good choice.” Grier steadied Lil with a hand on his lower back, guiding him up the narrow iron steps onto the open deck. Their seats were toward the rear of the boat, and they conversed while they waited for the rest of the passengers to be seated.

“Tell me about Vinita Ice Cream,” Lil asked. “Does it belong to the group of people you were with last night?”

“Yes. The Garcias are friends, as well as neighbors, and my family helps them each year with the booth.”

“Who does the little boy belong to?”

“Luca is Jillian’s son. She’s Jake’s twin.”

“Jake?”

“My best friend.”

“Oh, right.”

“I’ve known that family since I was four years old.”

“How old are you, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“I just turned twenty-five.”

“When’s your birthday?”

“June eighteenth.”

“A Gemini!”

“Is that a problem?”

“No, it’s a treat. Geminis are wonderfully complex.”

“And here I thought I was just bipolar.”

Lil laughed out loud. “A little duality, perhaps?”

“Something like that,” Grier said, smiling. “What’s your sign?”

“Pisces.”

“I don’t know anything about astrology,” Grier admitted.

“They say that Pisces are the best lovers.”

“Is it truth or hype?”

“I’ve never had any complaints,” Lil stated frankly.

“I like men with experience,” Grier said.

“Do you?” Lil took off Grier’s sunglasses for a minute so he could look into the dark eyes that were appraising him frankly. “Then you’ve just won the jackpot. It’s one of the few advantages of being over thirty.”

“Are you thirty-one?”

Lil handed back the sunglasses but not before he traced Grier’s scruff with gentle fingers and brushed his lips against the luscious mouth in a soft kiss. The brunet leaned into his touch, and Lil was pleased to see the spark of desire in the obsidian eyes before he hid them again behind the smoked glass.

“I’m thirty-seven and holding,” Lil whispered.

“Impossible.”

“Flattery will get you everywhere.”

“It’s the truth,” Grier insisted. “You don’t look your age.”

“I certainly hope not,” Lil said. “Nonetheless, time marches on, and plastic surgeons get more affordable each day.”

“You’re not a candidate yet.”

“You’re sweet,” Lil said, basking in the compliment.

“Tell me about Lyndon Lyle Lampert,” Grier asked. “Do you have a partner?”

“Heavens no.”

“Don’t you believe in love?”

“I do, but I haven’t met the right guy yet, and I won’t settle.”

“Does he have to walk on water?”

Lil laughed. “Not necessarily, but he’s got to make my heart flutter, my breath catch in my throat, my cock surge with interest, and not always in that order. Two out of the three ingredients are a requirement.”

“I suppose I could always glamour you.”

True Blood fan?”

Vampire Diaries,” Grier admitted. “My heart jumps around whenever the bad vamp shows up on the screen.”

“Damon is rather hot, isn’t he? Makes you want to bare your neck willingly.”

“And other parts as well.”

“Slutty boy,” Lil teased. “Do you have anyone special?”

“If I did I wouldn’t be here, would I?”

“Oh, you’re one of those good boys who believes in monogamy.”

“Don’t you?”

“I’ve never found anyone who’d make me even consider it.”

“That’s hard to understand.”

“We can’t all be Clark and Jody.”

“I wish I had a little bit of Clark in me.”

“Hon, you’re just as gorgeous, except he’s got the whole Viking God thing going, whereas you’re more Italian bad boy.”

“Shit,” Grier mumbled. “I’m nothing like Clark.”

“In what sense?”

“He’s out and proud.”

“And you’re not?” Lil was very surprised considering Grier had no problem kissing him in public.

“I take that back,” Grier clarified. “I’m out with everyone except my father.”

“And his approval means the most?”

“Yes.”

“What about your mother?”

“She passed away last year.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I miss her a lot.” Grier looked out toward the horizon, and Lil could feel the melancholy that swamped the young man as memories surfaced. “Her biggest regret in dying so young was leaving me unsettled.”

Lil put his arm around Grier and drew him close. “She was your friend.”

Grier nodded.

“Don’t think that Clark’s journey wasn’t difficult, Grier. His father is a homophobic megalomaniac. I can’t imagine your father being half as bad.”

“I read about Clark’s dad…he’s a little controlling.”

“A little is an understatement.”

“My dad is a good person, Lil. He loves me, and my brother, and has worked very hard to provide a future for us. Unfortunately, he doesn’t understand that my sexual orientation is nothing like his. Mom and I were trying to figure out how to convince Dad to let me finish my schooling, but then she got sick.”

“You’re not done with college yet?”

“Two years of general ed courses is all I’ve accomplished so far. When I asked to transfer to the Illinois Institute of Art, he had a fit.”

“Why?”

“Only queers go for design.”

“Give me a fucking break. Hasn’t he heard of Frank Lloyd Wright? He was one of the greatest architects who ever lived, and he was from the Midwest, for Pete’s sake, and from everything I’ve read about him, an absolute hound with women.”

“Lil, even if he’d heard of him, it wouldn’t make a difference. All he wants is someone to take over Dilorio Trucking, but even Ali won’t touch it.”

“Who’s Ali?”

“My brother, Alissio.”

“You boys certainly have unusual names.”

“Lil isn’t that commonplace either.”

“Touché.”

“Why do they call you Lil? I think I prefer Lyndon.”

“Oh, please, Lyndon makes me sound like an old fart. When I was younger, and utterly outrageous, my friends started calling me Lillian. It got shortened through the years.”

“Lillian,” Grier frowned slightly. “I don’t see it at all.”

“Enough talk about me, okay?” Lil said, embarrassed about bringing up ancient history. Grier was only eight years old when Lil was prowling The Castro and earning that nickname. He leaned into Grier and said, “Let’s postpone this conversation until after the tour, alright?” The boat had finally filled up and was slowly moving away from the dock.