Rarer Than Rubies, Excerpt 2 (PG)

July 29, 2011

Here’s another little taste to tempt you to check out Rarer Than Rubies! Hope you enjoy it!

****


“Are you following me around?” Trent put his backpack on again, this time putting both arms through the straps. Obviously he wasn’t taking any more chances. Reed knew he wouldn’t get another chance to get into the pack, but where could the map be? Had Trent found it in his pack and knowing it wasn’t his, already thrown it away? Or was he working for a competitor and had already passed it off. Reed hadn’t let him out of his sight for very long, but there might have been someone waiting in his room at the Pink Tiger.

But this guy appeared too clueless to be part of any underworld organization. No one was that good an actor. The only explanation was Trent somehow realized the map was valuable and hidden it hoping to sell it to someone who would pay big money for the information.

“No, man. Bangkok’s really kind of a small place for farangs, you know? I run into the same people all the time. I’m Reed Acton, by the way.” He started to put a hand out but Trent didn’t look to be in a trusting, hand-shaking mood yet. He also didn’t volunteer an introduction.

Farangs?” Trent rolled the word around on his tongue and squinted in puzzlement.

“Foreigners…Westerners. It’s kind of an insult, but if you spend enough time here you get used to it.”

“But you speak Thai. You said you live here?”

“Yeah, for work.” Fuck. This conversation was getting into dangerous territory for Reed. But he didn’t want to just walk off on his own and suddenly it had nothing to do with the map. He wanted to get closer to Trent Dallas and breathe in the beautiful scent of him—probably courtesy of that fancy body wash Reed had watched him apply earlier—and lick along the curve of his jaw, and then maybe rip off that shirt Trent was wearing and trace around every muscle on his chest and abs. Reed had seen what was under there and this time he wanted more than to look. He wanted to touch, and taste and…

“Well, thanks for getting my bag back. Do you want a reward or something?” Trent’s voice jolted Reed back to reality and with difficulty he pulled his mind out of Trent’s pants. Which was too bad, because he was just starting to plan out what he wanted to do with that ass.

“No, no.” Reed shook his head. “I don’t want money. If that’s what you’re thinking, that I’m trying to scam you or something, you’re dead wrong.”

“Well…” Trent looked at Reed out of the corner of his eye and Reed knew he wasn’t convinced Reed was harmless.

“Look, let’s sit down for a few minutes and grab something to drink. The heat is getting to me.” Reed wiped the back of his hand across his sweaty brow and smiled up at Trent, getting another suspicious look in return. But Trent looked hot and sweaty, too—though it just made him look even sexier—and let Reed lead him to table set up under a canvas canopy near half a dozen street vendors.

Reed ordered cool coconut drinks for them. Trent eyed the drink warily at first, but when he saw Reed slurp down half the glass in one long pull he cautiously sipped and smiled in delighted surprise. The coconut drinks were one of Reed’s favorites, though some vendors made them too sweet. He loved the soft fresh coconut flesh that floated in the glass and he’d usually save a few pieces to suck on and savor the taste after he’d drained the liquid contents. From the look on Trent’s face he seemed to be relaxing and Reed decided to take a time out here and put him at ease.

“I admit I saw you in the airport and thought it might be fun to hang out. I know a lot of places to go in the city, if this is your first time here …” Reed smiled hoping Trent would trust him, no matter how suspicious Reed’s behavior might have been up till now. He wished he could forget about the map and enjoy a few fun-filled days with Trent Dallas—preferably in a bed in Reed’s air-conditioned apartment where they ordered in food and didn’t get dressed the entire time.

“How do I know I can trust you? I mean, what were you doing in the airport anyway?” Trent repeatedly poked his straw at the pieces of coconut at the bottom of his glass.

“I had to pick up a package for my boss.” Thankfully Reed could tell the truth. “It got misdirected so I have to get it from a different location later today.” He paused for a moment. “You can eat that. It’scoconut flesh.” Reed took a bite from a piece he pulled from his own glass, to demonstrate it was safe.

“Really? I’ve never seen it so soft.”

“It’s from young coconuts. I guess they don’t leave them on the trees long enough to get really hard. They’re much easier to open when they’re young, too.”

Trent fished a piece out and took a tiny bite. He quickly ate the rest of it. “Mmm.”

“See? You can trust me.” Reed laughed. He enjoyed watching Trent consume the rest of the coconut pieces, picking each up and licking it to catch the last drops of the drink before sucking it into his mouth with a tiny slurp.

“Eating coconut and going somewhere with you are two entirely different things.” Trent tilted his head slightly then licked his lips and Reed had to keep from jumping across the table and kissing him. Did Trent know how he was torturing Reed as he imagined what else those lips and tongue could be doing. The smile on Trent’s face led Reed to believe that maybe he did. Damn tease! But Reed was enjoying the game. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt a spark like this for anyone.

“Fair enough.”

They chatted casually for another ten minutes, where Reed kept the conversation mainly about Thai food–deftly avoiding personal topics–until Trent seemed to have relaxed and become less suspicious. Reed noticed Trent’s appraising glances and grinned, hoping his dimples might be extra convincing. God, he hated doing it this way but he was on a short timetable and he didn’t have the luxury of being smooth about it.

“Have you decided you can lower the threat level on me to blue or green?”

Trent laughed and Reed’s spirits picked up. He liked the sound of Trent’s laugh.

“Well, I might go as low yellow, with an option for blue.”

****

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EM Lynley
http://www.emlynley.comhttp://emlynley.livejournal.comhttp://facebook.com/emlynley

Rarer Than Rubies by EM Lynley, Excerpt 1

July 29, 2011

RARER THAN RUBIES by EM Lynley
Paperback, 214 pages

When Trent Copeland runs into Reed Acton at a Bangkok airport, he thinks the handsome American is too good to be true. Why would someone like Reed be interested in a quiet, introverted gay-romance writer? After all, even an obvious tourist like Trent can see that there is more to Reed’s constant unexplained appearances in his path than meets the eye.

Reed Acton has one mission and one mission only—he needs to get the map that was accidentally slipped into Trent’s bag and keep the mobsters who want the priceless artifact from taking deadly revenge. Trent Copeland is a delicious and damned near irresistible diversion, but Reed can’t afford distractions right now, especially if he wants to keep Trent safe.

From Bangkok’s seediest back alleys to the sacred north, the two men will fight to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and learn that the only treasure worth finding is… each other.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2430

EXCERPT

Prologue

“WE’LL be landing in Bangkok in approximately thirty minutes.”

The voice over the loudspeaker broke into Trent Copeland’s consciousness and he pushed it away, thinking it was simply part of his dream. He attempted to return to the comfort of his slumber.

“Sir, your immigration card.” Someone shook his shoulder and pushed an official-looking form at him, and he realized he wasn’t dreaming at all. It was real. And about to get even more real.

He blinked and sat up, bringing his reclining seat to a sitting position. He heard, as well as felt, a shift, as the jet literally changed gears and began its descent.

For a moment he stared at the paper, trying to trace the steps that had brought him here. Had it been only two weeks earlier that he’d been jolted out of the security of his routine by an unexpected and unwelcome phone call from his literary agent?

What had he been thinking, letting Beth and Cassandra plan this trip for him?

He better get plenty of inspiration for his next novel, or plenty of sex—or both—or someone was going to be in big trouble when he got back. If he got back. He took a deep breath and pressed his face to the tiny window, wondering what lay in store for him once he landed.

- 1 -

Two weeks earlier

Los Angeles, California

THIS wasn’t really happening. It had never happened to him before. Okay, once. But never twice—in a row. His friends told him it was natural and sooner or later it happened to everyone. Now it was happening to Trent.

“Rejected? What’re you talking about, rejected?”

“Trent, honey, I’m sorry. The publisher isn’t interested this time around.” Cassandra’s slightly British-accented voice came through the phone clear as crystal, but still Trent didn’t think he’d heard her correctly.

“Why not? I’m one of their top-selling authors!” If there were a New York Times best-seller list for gay erotic romance, every one of his books would have been on it. “Aren’t I?” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he knew he sounded like a child.

Trent got up from the couch, tipping his Siamese cat Godiva off his lap and causing her to loudly meow her displeasure as she landed on all fours. Trent paced around the living room, cordless phone pressed tightly to his ear. He wished he had a phone with a cord so he could twist it around his editor’s neck. No, Cass’s neck. What the hell kind of agent was she, if she couldn’t sell either of his last two books?

“Yes, Trent, you are one of the top sellers, but your editor told me she’d read this one already. Twice.”

“What the fuck? I just finished it! How could she have read it twice? Is she a psychic as well as an editor?” He stopped in the middle of the living room and Godiva, who had been tagging along at his heels, crashed into him with a less-than-ladylike snarl. She hopped back onto the vacant couch, out of his way.

“Well, honey, it is an awful lot like the last one you wrote, you know?” Cassandra’s voice rose ever so slightly at the end of the sentence, as if he actually were a child she wanted to appease. It didn’t work.

“Grrr,” was all he could manage in reply. He started pacing again, trying to burn off anger and nervous energy while he crafted a suitable response. “What kind of agent are you, anyway? You’re supposed to get them to want it.”

“Trent, honey, I’m a pretty good agent, but I’m not a miracle worker. You always have the option of coming up with a new pen name and I can shop this to someone else.”

“No!” Trent practically shouted. He remembered how hard it had been choosing a pen name in the first place. He and his two best friends since college days, Beth and Mick, had sat around in his crummy old apartment tossing around ideas; he’d had to endure asinine suggestions such as I.M. Hung from Mick. Finally, with Cassandra’s input, he’d settled on J.T. Dallas, though he came from a little town in Oklahoma and hated when people thought he was Texan. But Cassandra said Texas sounded sexy to readers and Dallas brought back images of the rich and ruthless, which always helped sell romance. She’d been right, as usual, and it had proved a good decision. Since then, she’d been much more than an agent. She’d not only helped shape his heretofore successful career, but had become one of his closest and most-trusted friends.

He realized Cassandra had been talking while he’d been strolling down memory lane and he struggled to catch up to what she was saying.

“… but I think you just need a little change of pace, a vacation or something. Get a new perspective,” Cassandra went on. “Shake things up a bit and spark your creativity….”

“I don’t know how they can say this is like the last one!” He wasn’t giving up. “This one is about a cowboy and a NASA scientist, while the last one was about a university professor and a… cowboy….” His voice trailed off at the end. “Okay, maybe there are some similarities. Slight similarities.” He couldn’t even convince himself. No wonder the editor had thrown it back.

“You’ve finished two books already this year. Take some well-earned time off and spend some of those fat royalty checks you’re piling up.”

“I don’t need a vacation.”

“Yes, you do. You can’t just sit around all day watching Turner Classic Movies and Lifetime.”

Trent grabbed the TV remote and quickly hit the mute button. Damn, she knew him entirely too well.

“Give me a call in a couple of days and we’ll go for lunch with Beth and you can tell me where you decide to go for your vacation, okay? Gotta run, sweetie. Love you!”

Cassandra disconnected and Trent tossed the phone onto the couch, narrowly missing Godiva, who meowed imperiously before racing for safety behind the television.

“Sorry, baby.” Trent plopped himself down on the couch and pouted while he figured out what to do next.

Maybe Cass was right and a vacation wasn’t such a bad idea. He had gotten into a rut. He glanced down at the carpet and wouldn’t have been surprised to find he’d worn a trail into the floor following the same path over and over and over. He should visit the travel agent around the corner and pick up some brochures. Better yet, he’d call Beth and she could help him choose a destination.

He’d get right on that, after he finished watching Now, Voyager, one of his favorite films. He adored the classic scene where Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes at once, before handing one to Bette Davis. It made him want to take up smoking, the way the Thin Man films left him craving dry martinis. Trent clicked on the volume, grabbed a box of tissues, and settled back onto the couch.

****

Stay tuned for another excerpt!

Blind Items excerpt #3

July 28, 2011

I shrugged and stood up. “I should probably get going home.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“Where do you live?”

“I’m renting out the ground floor of a house in Boerum Hill.”

“Oh. I’ve always liked Boerum Hill. How do you like it?” I walked outside, wincing at the wall of humidity that hit me as we left the air-conditioned bar. The weather clearly hadn’t gotten the memo about it being fall.

“It’s nice. I’m on Dean Street. It’s a pretty neighborhood.”

And then this bit of stupidity slipped from my lips: “Ah. Well, I’m not too far from there. Do you want to share a cab?”

“Sure, all right.”

I was afraid to say anything important. I proposed walking towards First Avenue because it would be easier to get a cab there. I shoved my hands in my pockets to curb the temptation to touch him, and we walked in companionable silence, speaking only to comment on the temperature or to warn each other away from detritus on the sidewalk. When we got to First Avenue, I held up my hand and we got a cab fairly quickly. I directed the cabbie to go over the Brooklyn Bridge.

We hit traffic near Canal Street. Jonathan looked out the window and groaned. “Look at all the kids out. Clubbing on a Wednesday? Really?”

“Kids? Aren’t you only twenty-five?”

“Twenty-six. Too old for that scene.”

“Aw, come on. You didn’t go through that phase when you were right out of college and finally living on your own, when you just went nuts? I remember being twenty-three and… God, I did a lot of stupid things.”

“Yeah?” He looked like he wanted to ask what those stupid things were. I wasn’t anxious to volunteer. A lot of going home with the wrong men, more risky sex than I was really willing to confess to. But Jonathan just said, “No, I never went through a phase like that.”

“And yet you drink like a fish.”

Jonathan sighed. “I was nervous tonight.”

The parade of stupid continued when I heard myself ask, “Do I make you nervous?” Jonathan’s eyes widened, which was all the answer I needed. Breaking through the Great Wall of Denial would be the challenge here. Whispering, I said, “My editor wanted me to out you in the article, but I couldn’t do it. I want you to know that.”

Jonathan closed his eyes. Then the light changed and the cabbie raced through the intersection at Canal Street and hit a pothole hard, jostling us passengers, who hadn’t bothered with seat belts. I was pushed towards Jonathan, and I put out my hand to prevent myself from falling over his lap. Instead, my hand landed on his thigh, and when the cab was moving smoothly again, I found I was leaning against him, his face just inches from mine, our lips perfectly aligned.

“Uh…,” Jonathan said.

I listened as the cabbie chatted in Arabic to the hands-free device in his ear. “That guy hardly speaks English. He doesn’t know who you are.”

“Doesn’t change anything.”

“It does. You can be someone else, if only for as long as you’re in this cab.”

“Who would I be?”

“Whoever you want, babe.”

Jonathan parted his lips but didn’t move closer. I was close enough that when I opened my mouth to say something else, my lips brushed against his. “Are you attracted to me?” I whispered.

“Drew, please don’t—”

“It’s a simple question.”

“I….”

We hung there, mouths poised to touch, not moving, breathing hard. Then the cab pulled onto the bridge and jostled us together again. I smashed my lips against Jonathan’s.

Blind Items excerpt #2

July 28, 2011

Rey and I did not see eye to eye on interior decorating, which was something I got a an earful about during a brief interlude when Rey was having the top floor of his house re-done. I decided to let him stay with me, meaning he slummed it by camping out on the futon in my living room. It was a mod furniture special with a lime-green cover on the mattress. I liked things that were clean and modern and brightly colored. Rey’s house was more muted and decorated in what I thought of as “pricey cheap,” furniture he paid full price for at high-end shops but that looked like it could have been bought at a thrift store.

Anyway, he’d told me on many occasions that he thought my futon couch was maybe the ugliest thing he’d ever set eyes on, so I was somewhat surprised to find him asleep on it when I came in one afternoon. He’d kept his keys from when he’d stayed with me in case of emergency, which usually meant that he just let himself in if he was coming to see me instead of knocking like a normal person.

I stood over him for a moment, and he slowly opened his eyes. I said, “Don’t you have those overstuffed monstrosities in your own house for use at nap time?”

Rey rubbed his eyes and sat up. “Oh, sure,” he said, “but I thought what I really needed was an unsatisfying nap and some back pain. What the hell is this stuffed with, Styrofoam?”

“To what do I owe this pleasure?”

“I wanted your advice on something.”

I sat and draped an arm over the back of the futon. I flicked at an errant lock of Rey’s hair with the tip of my finger. “Don’t do it,” I said.

“You don’t even know what I’m going to ask yet.”

“No, but I recognize that expression on your face. That’s the look you get when you’re going to ask my opinion on something but already know I won’t approve. I’m saving us time, see.”

“You and the high horse. I don’t know where you get off judging me, like you’re so righteous. You’re so afraid of anything bad happening that you don’t ever take any risks anymore.”

I tried not to get too defensive, primarily because I didn’t want him to know that he was kind of right. “I take risks,” I said.

“No, you don’t. I talked to Allie. She said you hardly ever go out anymore because you’re still avoiding Aaron.”

Geez Louise, why was everyone so obsessed with this? “I’m not avoiding Aaron.”

“If you’re not going to the places where you and Aaron used to hang out because you’re afraid of running into him, you’re avoiding Aaron.”

“I prefer to think of it as giving us both space.”

“So it’s true.”

I shrugged. Okay, so maybe I was avoiding Aaron. But there were armed conflicts that had more peaceful resolutions than our relationship. I deserved some slack. I tried to sound casual. “Maybe. It’s probably better for my soul if I spend less time in gay bars. I’m not a twenty-two-year-old twink anymore.”

Rey pursed his lips, looking skeptical.

“Look, I know that what happened is for the best, but Aaron and I were together for more than a year, so I think I deserve a little bit of time to mourn. But you did not come here to pester me about Aaron. Stop stalling. What do you need advice about?”

Rey rolled his eyes. “I need a date for the show’s premiere.”

I put a hand on his chest and batted my eyelashes. “And you’re asking me? Honey, I’m flattered.”

“No, you idiot. A female date.”

“I think I could pull off looking like a woman. I have a very pretty face. The right wig, a stuffed bra. What do you think?”

Rey laughed. I preened.

“If you were a foot shorter, maybe,” he said. “I hate to do this to you, man, but I’m not bringing you to the premiere.”

“Boo.”

“What do you think of me asking Allie?”

That was not something I liked one bit. “Aren’t there any aspiring starlets whose hearts you can break? The last time you went out with one of my friends, she stopped talking to me.”

“She moved to Virginia for a job.”

“Still. I like Allie. I want to keep her. She has a little bit of a crush on you as it is. You know I love you, but you, my friend, have a terrible track record with women. You going out with her… that can only end badly.”

“Fine. Maybe I’ll ask one of my costars.”

“Good.”

There was a pause. “How’d the interview with Jonathan go?”

“It went okay. I’m not allowed to print anything good, but it went okay.”

“What do you mean, you aren’t allowed to print anything good?”

I shifted on the couch. “I got him to tell me that he disagrees with his father on social issues, specifically on that whole banning-gays-from-the-country thing, but he told me he doesn’t want to get caught publicly disagreeing with the Senator. He just wanted me to know.”

“Right. Did you tell him you’re gay?”

“Not in so many words.”

Rey raised his eyebrows. “What does that mean?”

“I showed him one of my Forum columns, but I didn’t say anything else on the matter. Not that it’s a big secret, of course.”

He sighed. “Probably he put together that the Forum is lefty propaganda and didn’t want to piss you off. Or he read your column and figured you are not in favor of Uncle Richard’s stance on stripping you of more of your rights.”

“Or he wants something else.” I raised an eyebrow. I hadn’t let myself entertain the possibility that he could possibly want me, but there it was.

Rey understood. “Wishful thinking.”

“On whose part?”

He rolled his eyes. “I still think you’re wrong about Jonathan. He’s not gay. I’d know.”

“You didn’t know I’m gay until I told you. Actually, I don’t think you really knew until you walked in on me having sex with Jake Monaghan back when we roomed together.”

Rey winced. “We were young. I didn’t know anything back then.”

“Well, anyway, I’m writing a really tame article and Wade’s going to hate it. So I must somehow reconcile the fact that your cousin came off as nice and sweet but kind of boring with the fact that if I don’t turn in an interesting story, Wade will never hire me for a feature story again.”

“There isn’t always a story.”

I stood to motion Rey out of the apartment. “That’s not the problem here. The problem is that there is a story here, but Jonathan won’t let me tell it.”

Blind Items excerpt #1

July 28, 2011

THE second time in my life that I had the premonition that everything was about to change was the moment I first laid eyes on Jonathan Granger.

I was making dinner in Rey’s kitchen. Rey was hopeless when it came to cooking, but he had the sort of kitchen that I’d always dreamed of, which seemed unfair. In fact, he lived in the sort of house I had always wanted to own, a gorgeous Park Slope brownstone constructed circa 1890 that had been renovated and restored before he bought it, with five floors and four bedrooms and really much more space than one man needed, but such is the life of a famous actor, I suppose.

Rey leaned on the counter, nursing a beer and making small talk while I cooked. It was pleasant, just the two of us, hanging out like old times. Then the doorbell rang. When Rey went to answer it, all of my nervous nausea came back. I checked on every element of the dinner I was cooking while I waited.

Rey returned, followed by a guy that must have been Jonathan, and, again, I just knew. The hair rose on the back of my neck, and I thought, Oh, fuck. Rey, oblivious as always, smiled and introduced us.

In an effort not to think about how attractive Jonathan was, I concentrated on looking for family resemblances as we shook hands. They weren’t obvious at first. Rey’s father and Jonathan’s mother were siblings but had chosen very different spouses, so where Rey was all dark good looks inherited from his Dominican mother, Jonathan looked a little washed out: dirty blond hair, blue eyes, pale skin. And yet they had similar faces: the set of their eyes, the curves of their eyebrows, their long, thin noses. Except where Rey was somewhat broad and boorish at first glance, Jonathan was effete and elegant. He was neatly dressed, not a hair out of place. He had long fingers like a piano player. Where Rey looked strong, Jonathan looked delicate. In other words, Rey was classically movie-star hot. But Jonathan was beautiful.

Rey introduced me as “My old friend Drew.”

Jonathan shook my hand. His palm was warm and his handshake firm, which made him seem a little more like a living person and less like porcelain. He smiled warmly. “Nice to meet you,” he said.

“Drew is in charge of meal preparation,” Rey said. “I don’t cook.”

“That’s a shame,” said Jonathan, looking around. “This is a great kitchen.”

“My sentiments exactly.” I felt the need to talk, to get a word in, to make Jonathan notice me. Like an idiot, I added, “I hope you’re not vegetarian, Jonny. There’s steak on the menu tonight.”

Jonathan turned to me and looked surprised. For the briefest of moments, he looked afraid, but then his face settled into a smile.

“Nope,” he said. “Steak sounds great.”

Our eyes met briefly before his gaze shifted down. I watched his eyes; he looked at my chest for a while, then he abruptly looked up again. I thought maybe he was checking me out, but it was hard to tell if it was that or if he just wanted to know where I bought my shirt. Before I could figure it out, Rey interrupted and said, “Can I get you something to drink? Red wine? Beer?”

“I’d love a beer,” Jonathan said.

I faked like I was turning back to my cooking and caught Jonathan looking at me again. I didn’t know what to do with that. On the one hand, I was always happy for a man I found attractive to be checking me out. On the other, I really didn’t want to be right about my suspicion that he was gay. I’d been hoping that Jonathan would turn out to be the straightest of straight guys so that I could go back to Wade, tell him there was no story, and call it a day. Instinct told me this wasn’t meant to be.

Rey escorted him over to the table and told him to sit. They chatted for a moment. I grabbed a short stack of plates and carried them over to the table. “Make yourself useful,” I told Rey, handing him the plates. I lingered for a moment, determined now to figure out what was going on in Jonathan’s head. He didn’t give me any clues. I tried smiling at him, but he frowned and looked at the straw placemat on the table in front of him.

Last post/excerpt!

July 27, 2011

I’m calling it a day everyone – just got off work and got to get working on those other projects *grins*

Also, I’m trying to write a short story for the DSP Christmas Advent anthology – featuring Derek and Brian! I hope it comes out okay and that its accepted.

So – the last excerpt for today – I hope I’ve stimulated all of you into thinking about purchasing – And just because I can, here is a little preview of their first *time* together…Not work safe

Enjoy my darlings!

Psychic Moon

They yanked at each other’s clothes and soon were able to press their naked flesh together. Derek made himself take a step back just so he could take a fulfilling gaze of Brian’s body. He wasn’t disappointed. Brian was lean with firm muscles under smooth skin. A light sprinkling of golden hair covered his chest and slowly darkened as it descended until it was a dark gold around his hard shaft. At his center, Derek took pause. Brian’s shaft was long and thin, and he grabbed it, unable to stop himself.

Brian gasped and gripped Derek’s arms, pressing his body once more to Derek’s.

Derek’s hand burned as it stroked Brian’s length, and he wanted to devour the treat before him. At that moment he felt like the luckiest bastard in the entire world. He also, for just that moment, felt like just a man. Not a shifter, not an animal cop. But a man.

Brian’s man.

Possessed, Derek grabbed and kneaded Brian’s butt before shoving him down on the bed. Derek pushed Brian further into the mattress with his body and kissed him soundly. Derek felt his own head spin as he swept his tongue everywhere inside Brian’s mouth.

He had the thought of taking it slow, however torturous that would be. He didn’t want to scare Brian or make him nervous. He wasn’t sure how long Brian had gone without sex, but he would do anything to put him at ease.

But when he pulled back to take a breath, Brian suddenly reversed their positions. Derek was shocked by the man’s sudden show of strength. Feeling oddly weak, Derek tried to capture Brian’s mouth again, but that mouth was currently busy kissing and scraping his skin in a downward descent. Derek heard groans and realized that they were his own.

His hands tangled in Brian’s soft, blond hair as that soft mouth finally reached its goal. Brian slid his tongue up Derek’s shaft, and the shifter gasped and tightened his grip. His muscles flexed under his skin as Brian slid him in and out of that wet mouth. Derek could actual feel his brain cells fizzle and short out. But he didn’t want to come yet. Not yet.

Unable to stand Brian’s warm mouth any longer, Derek gripped the man’s shoulders and hauled him up and onto the bed. His body was straining for release, but he had yet to sample all the pleasure he knew Brian’s body could give him.

Derek held Brian down by holding his arms to the bed with his hands while his mouth roamed at will. He nibbled at Brian’s neck before drifting his tongue over his collarbone. Brian moaned and lifted his hips, rubbing their sensitive groins together…

Find out what happens next by purchasing!

I know, I’ve said that a lot, but I’m just so darn excited! Its my first book with Dreamspinner and I’m very proud of it!

M.D.

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.”