Momentos-Final Excerpt

July 17, 2011

San Sebastian - Donostia Photos
This photo of San Sebastian – Donostia is courtesy of TripAdvisor

We went through the motions, checking in at the Hotel Monte Igueldo, requesting adjoining rooms.  Tono went out to the car and brought back two bags, surprising me  with his forethought.  I had no idea what was in the bag Tono handed me, but I accepted it as my due, carrying it upstairs to my room.  As soon as we locked our respective doors, and unlocked the one separating the two rooms, we were in each other’s arms.
 
Tono lifted me easily, carrying me to one of the queen-sized beds and easing me down gently.  We continued kissing, even as items of clothing were removed piece by piece.  The shirts came first, followed by several minutes of tongue play over nipples that responded to each luscious lick.  I buried my face in the light brown curls that layered Tono’s chest, acquainting myself with this new treat.  Paul had insisted on waxing, and so this, being with someone who had no qualms about leaving everything  au natural was refreshing.  I rubbed my face against the soft fur, loving the feel of the silky hair while enjoying the smell of Tono’s skin―a combination of soap and body odor that was pleasantly musky and all male.  Everything about the man was intensely masculine, starting with the thick shadow on his face, which scratched the hell out of my skin.  This roughness, combined with a tender touch, set Tono apart from previous lovers, raising the bar for the future.  I hadn’t realized how much I would enjoy the vast difference between Tono and Paul, but it was fitting that the two were nothing alike; I would never be able to compare them.
 
Paul was usually silent during lovemaking, except for the standard expletives, whereas Tono liked talking and hearing me respond in kind.  A lot of what he was saying was in Spanish, which I hadn’t quite perfected yet, but the cadence and the feeling behind the words stirred me.  I couldn’t help but respond to Tono’s pillow talk, reveling in the joy of being wanted again, after being discarded so easily.  I hadn’t thought about being with someone special until tonight and was grateful that Tono had insisted on waiting, even for only twenty-four hours.  It said a lot about his intentions. 
 
Tono carpeted my neck and ears with soft, warm kisses while his strong hands were everywhere, kneading and rubbing and cupping.  This dual assault was taking its toll, and soon I was begging.  The needy, mewling sounds were pouring out of me, and instead of lighting a fire, Tono hunkered down.  He seemed to be taking perverse pleasure in hearing me beg.  His pace was deliberate and leisurely, interspersing every lick and suck with a litany of Spanish words that were driving me insane.  I gasped when Tono licked a wet swath down my chest, pausing momentarily to play with my belly button before moving on to wrestle with my belt, forcing my jeans apart when the zipper got stuck.  I heard Tono curse in Spanish.

“Tono, please―”

“Shh…paciencia, cariño.”
 
Tono was driving me mad with this methodical journey down my body. “Fuck patience!”  I lifted my hips and shoved my pants down, along with my boxers, and threw them across the room.  My cock bobbed up toward my stomach, swollen and seeping fluid.  I cried out when Tono slurped at it, savoring the flavor like an appetizer.  “Tono, sweet Jesus…fuck me

Tono let go of my cock reluctantly and began the tedious process of removing his pants, pausing for effect just before he unzipped and pushed them down his thighs.  I sucked in a shocked breath, never expecting Tono to go commando, but commando he was–there was nothing between his enormous cock and his chinos.  It sprang forth like a living thing, eager to get down to business.  Tono grinned when he saw the look on my face.

“You still want me to fuck you?”

“Hell, yes, but lube up first.”

Momentos-Excerpt #3

July 17, 2011

San Sebastian - Donostia Photos
This photo of San Sebastian – Donostia is courtesy of TripAdvisor

August and September flew by and soon fall was upon us. The weather remained temperate so I asked Mom and Dad to come for a visit. It had been over eight months since I’d left New York, and although I lacked for nothing here in Spain, I did miss my parents. I’d invited them to spend the entire month of October, promising to take them on a mini tour of Spain and France. There were many places I’d yet to see, and Tono was due for a vacation as well, so why not spend it with the three people I loved more than anything in the world.

“Where should we take them?” I asked, lying on our bed and watching Tono get ready for work.

“We can drive to Paris and spend a couple of nights. There are some picturesque towns along the way; we could stop and poke around.”

“That sounds good. They’re flying into Madrid, so why don’t we meet them there and stop at points of interest on our drive back.”

Sí,esta bien. We can take them to Valle de los Caidos and Escorial. There’s also Toledo and the Roman aqueducts in Segovia. Do they like old architecture? Castles?”

“Who doesn’t like that? I’d like to see them as well.”

“How about futbol? Maybe Real Madrid will be in town when we’re there.”

“My dad would love it.”

“We’ll draw up a plan, cariño. Map it all out and take our time. I have three weeks vacation. I’m sure we can find plenty to do.”

And we did…find a million things to do; deciding which took priority was the hard part. In the end we decided to let Mom and Dad weigh in on the decision.

On the way to Madrid Tono voiced some concerns, which hadn’t even occurred to me. My parents were the most easygoing couple in the world, but Tono didn’t know them so his fears were understandable.

“Do you think your folks will like me?”

“Of course they will.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“They like everyone and the world adores them.”

“They probably liked your ex very much.”

I looked at Tono and frowned. “Paul again? I thought we’d put that demon to rest.”

Cariño…they knew Pol for years.”

“They were also there to sweep up the pieces when he broke my heart. He’s not high on their list of favorite people right now.”

“Did they like him before the fight?”

“I don’t think you understand the extent of the argument, Tono. It wasn’t just a lover’s quarrel. Paul accused me of being a user and riding on his coattails to weasel my way into Alcott Press. He insulted my integrity as well as my professional skills. I didn’t need connections to get published. Fuck that condescending piece of shit!”

“You’re emotional when you discuss him; it means you still feel something.”

“All I feel is anger.”

“They say anger and love go hand in hand.”

“Bullshit! I’m not going back to him so stop harping on the subject.”

“What if he were to show up tomorrow and apologize?”

“Oh. My. God! I’m getting out of this car and walking if you don’t quit it.”

He started gnawing on his lower lip, a nervous tick which would result in a mouth that looked like I’d worked it over with rough kisses. I took a deep breath and counted to ten, telling myself it was natural for Tono to continue feeling insecure. Our relationship was still young and fragile while my ties to Paul were grounded in history and shared experiences. It would take years for Tono to catch up, but the thing he didn’t realize was how much I loved him. And that was my fault. I had to prove that there wasn’t a chance in hell I’d ever consider going back to Paul Alcott.
“Tono, I’m sorry.”

He grabbed my hand and brought it up to his lips. “It’s my fault, cariño. I shouldn’t have brought it up.”

“I understand why though, and I promise you on everything you hold sacred that I will never go back to him.” Years later, I’d have to eat those words, but at the time I was sincere. Tono was heartened by my declaration and the questions were put to rest.

My parents were quietly enthusiastic about my new relationship. My mother was immediately smitten when Tono took her hand and kissed it in lieu of a handshake. His inherent politeness and impeccable manners won her over immediately while Dad was impressed by his knowledge of soccer and the statistics related to the game. Tono was an athlete in every sense, and Dad responded on a visceral level. I had never shown an interest in sports beyond what was expected from me in school, and although I watched sporting events, it was for Tono’s sake. I was far more content playing tourist with my mom.

We ended up splitting my parents for the afternoon. Tono and Dad went to Bernabeu Stadium to watch Real Madrid decimate the visiting team while Mom and I spent the afternoon touring Madrid in a double-decker bus. It took us all over town, and we ended up getting off in front of the Royal Palace and touring the gardens, which were open to the public. Mom was an avid gardener and interested in the different species of plant life indigenous to Spain. After half an hour, we re-boarded the bus and proceeded on to the Plaza Mayor, where we disembarked to have coffee and a pastry outside one of the many cafés in the area. The choices were endless, and we split a Napoleon, the delicate pastry layered with a buttery crust spread with creamy filling, and a couple of miniature apple tarts drizzled with caramelized sugar.

“He seems like a very nice man,” Mom commented, in between sips of bold Spanish coffee. I was recounting my first meeting with Tono and trying to explain the nuances of Jai alai.

“I love him, Mom.”

“So soon?”

“Soon? I’ve been here for almost eight months.”

“What about Paul?”

“What about him?”

“Do you hear from him at all?”

“Hell, no, and I don’t want to hear from him ever again.”

“Sweetheart, you were with Paul practically your entire life. Surely, a little forgiveness and understanding are in order.”

“I think not.”

“So, that’s it? You’re going to give up years of happiness with your true love over a silly quarrel?”

“Mom, you’re supposed to be on my side,” I bristled with anger. “You know what he did. It’s over, and I’ve moved on, as I’m sure he has. It wasn’t a fucking whim, Mother. He destroyed our relationship, brutally and without qualms.”

“Language, Mick.”

“Sorry.”

“I’m only playing the devil’s advocate here. I don’t want you to ever regret this decision.”

“I won’t.”

“I do like your young man. It’s very obvious how much he loves you.”

“He makes me happy to be alive.”

“And that’s what life is all about, sweetheart. Loving and being loved.”

“I learned from the best.”

Momentos: Excerpt #2

July 17, 2011

This is a scene from Chapter 2. Mick and Paul are getting acquainted after meeting for the first time that morning. They’re in Paul’s bedroom. Mick is the speaker and he’s interviewing Paul for the school paper.

“Let’s change the subject,” I said, feeling sorry for him suddenly. I threw myself on Paul’s bed and crossed my arms underneath my head. “Are you a virgin?”

Paul’s eyebrows almost hit his hairline when he looked at me in shock. “It’s really none of your business.”

“I suppose not, but I’m being nosy again. I’m a technical virgin, if you want to know.”

“What the hell is that?”

I sat up, hugging the pillow to my chest. “I’ve done everything but fuck.”

“Why?”

“I haven’t found the right person.”

“I’m sure there must be a hundred cheerleaders waiting in line.”

“Who’s talking about girls?”

“What?”

“I’m gay,” I said easily. “Is that a problem?” Now would be the time to freak and throw me out.

“Why are you telling me?”

Although his voice was steady, Paul’s fair skin lent itself to blushing, and right now his cheeks were blood red. “Don’t sweat it,” I said, trying to put him at ease. He looked like he was about to faint. “I thought I should get the disclosure out of the way.”

“Okay,” Paul exhaled. “Is there something about me that gave you the wrong impression?”

Someone knocked on the door, rescuing me. I was never happier to see anyone in my life. I realized, way too late, that I should have kept my mouth shut. I’d made a friend in a brand new school and didn’t want to blow it before it even got off the ground. Paul seemed like a nice guy, and if he wasn’t into me, that was cool. I wouldn’t mind having him as a buddy.

The pizza smelled heavenly and I lunged, almost knocking it off the tray that the butler balanced precariously. I swiped a piece, grabbed a paper napkin, and took a huge bite. “Damn, that’s good,” I garbled through a mouthful of steaming hot, cheesy crust. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Baxter replied stiffly. He probably wasn’t used to such enthusiasm over food. Part of it was my nerves. I was sure Paul would ask me to leave any minute now.

“Is there anything else you need, Paul?”

“No, we’re good.”

“Very well.”

“Why does he call you, Paul?” I asked, as soon as the door closed. “Shouldn’t he be saying your highness or some other crap, seeing as how he’s your butler?”

“Baxter’s been around since I was six years old. He’s practically my mother.”

“Mine’s much prettier,” I joked, “but he seems like a nice guy.”

“He is a nice guy. Way cooler than my dad and always there for me.”

“Then you’re lucky,” I said, wiping the grease off my hands and mouth. “Now, answer my question.”

“What question?” Paul evaded.

“Are you a virgin?”

“I …guess I am,” he stuttered.

“You guess?”

“I am.”

“How come?”

“What?”

“How come you haven’t slept with anyone yet? You’ve got it all, dude, the looks, the car, the money. I would think they’d be tripping all over themselves to climb into your bed.”

“I haven’t found the right person either.”

“Do you date?”

“Of course I date!” Paul huffed indignantly.

“What’s her name?”

“Who?”

“Earth to Paul…you sure are spacey.”

“Jesus, Mick. This was supposed to be a relaxed interview, not a fucking cross-examination. What are you, a cop?”

I busted out laughing. “I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Now what are you talking about?” Paul asked.

“My dad’s a detective.”

“I thought he was a big pothead?”

“He was. Now he’s a cop who smokes pot recreationally like other men drink. He’s not a junkie, Paul.”

“We should be grateful,” Paul deadpanned.

“Are you always this serious?”

“No…but I’m not hyper like you.”

“Spontaneous is the word I like to use.”

“Whatever, man. I think I’ll have a slice of pizza before you demolish the entire thing,” Paul said, reaching for his share of the rapidly diminishing pie. His arm brushed against my chest and he pulled it back instantly. “Sorry about that.”

I looked into his eyes and could see the panic. Whatever was going on in his head was starting to show through his increasing sarcasm but I was determined to set him at ease. “Don’t worry, Paul, I’m not going to seduce you. Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m a sex maniac. I can control my urges. And yeah, you’re hot and all, but I would never force you to do anything that goes against your nature.”

“Why are you so defensive?” Paul asked, and then blushed even more as he realized what I’d said. “I’m hot?”

“Yeah, you are,” I said softly, “but that’s neither here nor there. I’m tired of guys who feel like they have to wear a chastity belt around me when I announce I’m gay. If I were straight, you wouldn’t have thought twice about brushing up against my chest.”

“I’m sorry,” Paul apologized.

“Don’t you know anyone who’s gay?”

“No.”

“I can guarantee you I’m not the only one in our high school who’s into guys. The others just aren’t honest about it.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?” Paul asked, using the word tentatively.

“I’m working on it,” I smiled. “Are you offering?”

Paul shook his head vehemently.

“Too bad,” I said. “There’s something about you that I find very attractive.”

“Do you think I’m gay?”

“Are you?” I stood, stepping over the makeshift picnic on the floor, and walked toward Paul who’d also stood up but was backing away from me.

“Don’t come closer,” he warned.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Paul.”

“Am I radiating some kind of signal?”

“Should you be?” I was encouraged that Paul was talking, instead of pushing me away angrily. If he were straight, he would have hit me by now or thrown me out. I got closer, licking my lips and practically devouring him with my intense gaze. “Have you ever had fantasies about men?” I asked gently. “You can tell me, Paul.”

Paul stepped back and gasped when he hit the wall. His eyes rounded in surprise, and his cheeks were no longer red; they were pale and beads of sweat dotted his upper lip. I was sure he was going to faint, so I reached out and touched his arm lightly. “Forget about my question. It was out of line.”

“No,” Paul shook his head and took a huge breath. “The truth is,” he confessed, “I’ve had…thoughts.”

“Man on man thoughts?” I knew it!

“Stay away,” Paul begged, pushing lightly against my chest.

“Do I scare you?” I lowered my voice but never moved from my spot. I was close enough to smell his fear and see the veins pulsing at his temple as he clenched his jaw. I could have kissed him easily but I knew he’d bolt.

“A little,” Paul whispered.

“Is it me, or is it the entire concept of being gay that’s freaking you out?”

“Both,” Paul admitted, “I’ve never acted on my feelings.”

“There’s always a first time.”

“Wait,” Paul said as my face dipped toward his. He didn’t push me away though, he closed his eyes instead

Momentos: Mick’s Journey-Excerpt #1

July 17, 2011

Scene-Mick is watching Tono play Jai alai for the first time. It’s also the night of their first official date.

I sat in the midst of a crowd of screaming fans as I watched Tono destroy his opponent. Jai alai, also known as pelota, was a version of handball, except, instead of a hand, or a racket, a basket of sorts was used to catch the fast moving ball. The banana-shaped mitt was tied to each player’s wrist with pieces of leather, and the ball made a loud thwacking noise when it landed in the wicker, clear evidence of the strength of the throw, and the rigid skins that made up the small white ball. The pelotari then flung the ball across an enormous space so that it hit a wall, only to bounce back forcefully, so the next player could catch it without dropping it first. The goal was to keep up with the fast exchange. The first man who dropped or missed the ball was out and replaced by another challenger. Last man standing was the winner. So far, Tono had won three games, which was huge according to the enthusiastic fan sitting next to me. He extolled the virtues of Tono Garat, advising me to bet on the player―a sure win, he guaranteed.

My only desire at that moment was betting on whether or not I’d get Tono in the sack by the end of the night. I was fascinated by the man, not so much the sport. Physically, he couldn’t be anymore perfect. His upper body was massive, and his torso tapered into a slim waist that showcased his succulent bottom, which I couldn’t help but notice. Tono’s legs were long and well shaped, covered in white trousers that stuck to the sweaty, corded muscles. I had spent half the night tossing and fantasizing about the Spaniard, imagining myself being fucked into oblivion. I kept envisioning Tono’s engorged cock, which I’d had a chance to see briefly when we’d stood naked underneath the stars. I hadn’t lusted this way in years. Tono was ringing ever damn bell in my body and the need to be possessed was intense.

I waited outside the fronton after the games were over, and Tono joined me, carrying a small athletic bag that probably contained his dirty uniform in a wadded up ball.

“My car is this way,” he gestured, heading toward a parking lot.

I followed, enjoying the view of Tono’s ass as he moved gracefully ahead of me. When we got to a blue Volvo, Tono stopped and pulled the door open, throwing his bag in the back seat. He waited until I strapped in, and we proceeded, driving across San Sebastian toward the town of Igueldo, located on top of the mountain that bore the same name. It towered over La Concha Bay, offering a spectacular view Tono wanted to share. There was a restaurant named Akelarre, which boasted the finest chef in town, an honest assessment according to all the rating guides; that, along with the view, was worth the drive.

San Sebastian - Donostia Pictures
This photo of San Sebastian – Donostia is courtesy of TripAdvisor

We shared a bottle of red wine and an assortment of delectable appetizers before enjoying the main dish. Tono had ordered bacalao, the salted cod dish that was typical of the region, simply because I’d never tried it before. He wanted to introduce me to new experiences, starting with the food.

“Did you enjoy the Jai alai?” Tono asked, captivating me with his warm brown eyes.

“I enjoyed watching you,” I replied, staring at him over the rim of my wine glass.

“You are very direct, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“What are you doing here?”

“What do you mean?”

“How long do you plan to be in the area, and why would you want to start something we can’t possibly finish?”

“You obviously don’t live in the moment.”

“I want more,” Tono stated.

“Tono.” I was stunned by his statement. I had no intention of jumping into another relationship, fresh on the ruins of my breakup with Paul. I was still reeling from that betrayal, and I wasn’t ready to start something new. Yet, there was something about this man that compelled me to take a chance. I decided to come clean. “I’m getting over a very difficult breakup.”

“Who was he?”

“My life.”

Tono frowned. “Did he cheat on you?”

I shook my head. “That was the least of it. He accused me of a terrible thing, which wasn’t true. I loved him, and he turned on me suddenly. I’m still recovering.”

“How long were you with him?”

“Twelve years.”

Tono whistled. “So, you’re shutting the door to potential happiness?”

I looked around quickly to see if anyone was observing us, and when I realized that we were relatively obscured by the wooden screen around our booth, I reached across the table and held Tono’s hand. “You’re the first man who’s interested me enough to crack that door open.”

“I promise you won’t regret it,” Tono said. He squeezed my hand gently and let it go. “Shall we eat?”

“Can we hurry?” I said, unbelievably moved by the entire exchange.

“I’ve booked two adjoining rooms upstairs.”

“You didn’t.”

Tono’s smile was filled with mischief. “I ain’t as dumb as I sound.”

Momentos: Mick’s Journey

July 17, 2011

Join me in celebrating the release of Momentos: Mick’s Journey which will be available tomorrow, July 18, in eBook or Paperback format. Anyone who leaves a comment today will be entered into the drawing for a freebie. I’ll be posting a pictorial, excerpts, and unveiling the book trailer. 3 winners will be chosen at the end of the day. The party starts at 9:00

Momentos is the third and final book in the Basque Trilogy. Take a walk with Mick as he recounts his early years with Paul and Tono. Follow the events leading up to the emotional night of the awards ceremony in San Sebastian and the month that followed.

Interview with SJD Peterson

April 4, 2011

Recently, fellow writer SJD Peterson did an interview after reading and reviewing Loving Edits. It was the first time anyone has interviewed me in-depth so I thought I’d share. Click on the link:

http://sjdpeterson.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-03-02T05%3A16%3A00-08%3A00&max-results=3

Taste Excerpt #2

April 4, 2011

“Lil, I’m afraid I can’t make it.”

“Why not?”

“I’m babysitting for a friend,” Grier explained. “I’m really sorry.”

“Is it that kid I saw you with the other night?”

“Yeah, Luca.”

“Bring him along.”

“Are you serious?”

“Is he well-behaved?”

“Very.”

“Then bring him. What the hell, I’m not child-phobic.”

“That’s good to know.”

“See you in about an hour?”

“Okay.”

Grier disconnected and stepped back into his room, where he’d left Luca happily watching The Penguins of Madagascar on the Nickelodeon channel. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor with a Pop-Tart in hand.

“Pick up your crumbs, okay, kiddo?”

“’Kay,” Luca nodded as he chewed loudly.

“And close your mouth while you’re chewing.”

Luca shut his mouth instantly and proceeded to chew his food like a cow masticating grass, moving his jaw slowly from side to side.”

“You don’t need to exaggerate, buddy. You’ll end up with TMJ problems.”

“Huh?”

Grier laughed and ruffled Luca’s dark fringe. “You need a haircut.”

Luca agreed with a nod. “Tito A said I look like a girl.”

“When did he say that?” Grier frowned. Since when did Ali have a say in anything involving Luca? A girl? What the fuck!

“I don’t remember…the other day.”

“At the Taste?”

“No, at home. He came to have dinner with Mommy and me.”

Grier froze. “Does he come around a lot?”

“Not tho much,” Luca said, slipping on the S word.

“How many times, Luca?” Grier raised his hand and spread his fingers. “This much?”

Luca folded down two of Grier’s fingers leaving three standing. “That much.”

What the hell? How come nobody told him about this new development? “Finish up your breakfast, buddy, we’ve got to get going.”

By the time the cab made its way to Bucktown, it was close to ten thirty in the morning. Lil was already waiting at the door, looking very summery in khakis and a Tommy Bahama shirt. He’d left his hair product-free, choosing to have it flop naturally, rather than dealing with a sticky mess that resulted from the high levels of humidity. The end result was more youthful, with the soft hair falling over his forehead. Grier couldn’t help admiring the blond who’d captured his interest so acutely. He would have greeted him with a kiss but held back due to Luca’s presence. “Hey.”

“Hey, yourself,” Lil smiled broadly. “And who is this young man?”

“I’m Luca.” The boy stared at Lil with frank curiosity. “What’s your name?”

Lil was charmed. “My name is Lil.”

“Do I have to call him Tito Lil?” Luca turned toward Grier.

“That would be best,” Grier replied.

Tito?” Lil inquired.

“It means ‘Uncle’ in Filipino.”

“But I’m not his uncle.”

“And neither am I, but we’re adults, and in his culture it would be disrespectful if he addressed us without a formal salutation.”

“I see.”

“Everyone buckle up and let’s get this show on the road,” Grier said, helping Luca into the cab and adjusting his seat belt. They headed toward the Loop, not very far distance-wise, but with the perennial gridlock, they inched their way across town. Finally, a few blocks away from Willis Tower, they asked the taxi driver to stop. Walking would be far more enjoyable than sitting in a stuffy cab. Lil paid and they exited onto the sidewalk.

“Wow,” Luca said, craning his neck when they finally arrived in front of Willis Tower. “I can’t see the top of the building.”

“It’s certainly impressive,” Lil seconded. “This should prove very interesting.”

“Why’s that?” Grier replied, noting the tiny bit of apprehension in Lil’s voice. “I thought you wanted to do this?”

“I’m not comfortable with heights,” Lil confessed. “They make me queasy, and I always have this urge to throw myself over the edge.”

“I’ll hold your hand, Tito Lil,” Luca said solemnly. “Don’t be afraid.”

“Thank you, Luca. I need all the help I can get.” Lil looked at Grier and mouthed. He’s so fucking cute!

Grier smiled. “He is.”

Taste by Mickie B. Ashling

April 4, 2011

Will Lil and Grier build a life and a family together? Taste (m/m) by Mickie B. Ashling, available from Dreamspinner Press.

What should have been a brief interlude turns into something deeper when Lil Lampert meets Grier Dilorio at the Taste of Chicago. Lil is in town visiting good friends Jody Williams and Clark Stevens, and he didn’t plan to hook up with a younger man and discover a mutual love for architecture, interior design, and a unique sexual kink that keeps Lil coming back for more.

By all appearances, Grier is the quintessential bad boy who loves speed, tattoos, and leather, but Lil slowly uncovers another side: selfless, responsible, and tender, especially for Luca, the son he’s had to deny. With Lil’s love and support, Grier will make a decision key to opening the door to a possible future together, one that includes fatherhood, something Lil has dreamed of but has never dared to explore.

Buy in eBook
Buy in print
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Novel

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.

What Inspires a Story

April 4, 2011

Last July I had a craving. Don’t some of the best things in life start out that way? I had ice cream on my mind, never suspecting that a brief stop at my favorite store, Oberweis, would be the spark to ignite my muse. The guy who attended to me was all smiles and quite gorgeous. Being an m/m writer, I’m not ashamed to admit I’m always checking out faces and bodies and transferring them to my writing. There was something about this man that spoke to me. I suppose if I were a guy, certain body parts would have twitched. In any case, he served up my Heath Bar Frostbite with a smile and told me to come back any time. I left with five hundred calories in my hand and the seeds of a story planted firmly in my brain.

The next day, I attended the Taste of Chicago, and my idea for this novel started running rampant in my head. How I was inspired while sweat rolled down my back, is beyond me, but I was. Instead of letting the heat and discomfort bring out my internal bitch, I imagined I was Lil and took in the sights through his perspective. I’d been meaning to give this much loved character from my novel Horizons his own story, and after two years I would finally have an opportunity to do it.

That night I went home and poked my head into the wonderful m/m group over at Goodreads. Their erotic picture threads have been a source of inspiration in the past, and I clicked on the link that said “Ink”. I have this thing for tattoos. I saw a photo that blew my mind, and my character Grier was born. There were several other photos that caught my attention, and fired up the muse, but I won’t embellish as it would be a major spoiler. I wrote this novel in about five weeks. I was inspired. Wouldn’t you be looking at this guy? I still have him up as my screensaver!

This is how Taste was born. Stay for a while and read a couple of excerpts and an interview I did recently over at SJD Peterson’s blog. Anyone who comments on this post will be in the drawing for a signed paperback with a free bookmark. I’m celebrating my second year anniversary with Dreamspinner and handing out bookmarks to anyone who buys one of my paperbacks in the month of April. It’s my small way of saying Thank You to all my wonderful readers.