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?”


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

“That’s good to know.”

“See you in about an hour?”


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.”


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 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.”


“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?”


“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.


“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?”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.

Release day excerpt for “Possession”

March 30, 2011

It’s release day for Possession, my first novella, so I thought we’d get the party started with the excerpt that can also be found at the Dreamspinner Press site where you can buy your copy of Possession:

IT WAS a sunny Saturday afternoon in the Westcroft neighborhood. A mild autumn breeze stirred Tyler Ward’s dark curls as he strolled along, crunching the dry fallen leaves underfoot. The trendy end of the city was a cross between an artist’s village and boys’ town, a close-knit community that often felt like one big family. Most every storefront on charming yet chic Aspen Avenue was a small, locally owned business that proudly sported a rainbow flag on the premises, and everyone knew their neighbors.

Tyler rolled his eyes as a particularly flaming couple across the street circumvented a ladder leaning against a building, despite having to walk into the street to do so. Some people were so gullible about that sort of thing. Wasn’t it more dangerous to walk into the road and risk being hit than to walk under an empty ladder and risk some vague, mystical punishment of “bad luck”?

The smell of fresh roasted coffee from the Celestial Café, a block down the street, was a perfect complement to the scent of turning leaves in the cool, crisp air. Tyler’s stomach rumbled slightly; it was definitely time for his Saturday afternoon snack. Tyler knew most everybody in their little “gayborhood”—many of the shop owners were good friends of his, and Saturday was usually his day to visit and shop with friends.

“Hey, Ty.” Lukas Zamora, the owner of the café, smiled from behind the counter. Tyler could always be trusted to show up on a Saturday afternoon while business was slow. Lukas put down the local indie paper and automatically poured a cup of hot water, knowing exactly what British expatriate Tyler would be having.

“No extra business from the fair on Chestnut?” Tyler asked, sitting down at the bar.

“Yeah, we were pretty busy earlier. Probably pick up again when they all come back to their cars this evening. Oh, Ty, if you’re shopping, this isn’t a good day for you to… um…. Wait a minute,” Lukas said, pulling up the astrology website on his ever-present laptop. “Here: ‘not a good day to bring home anything impish’.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to hit the sex shop, but now you’ve mentioned it….” Tyler grinned at Lukas.

“Hey, it’s serious, man. Says here it could have ‘disastrous and far-reaching consequences’. See, Mars and Saturn are conjunct right now with Uranus, during a freakin’ Jupiter retrograde. And I think Mercury is also square Saturn, which just reinforces the whole point. You being a Capricorn and all….”

Tyler quirked his brow and smirked at his friend. “Just give me my cuppa, yeah, mate?”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Lukas said, handing Tyler his usual cup of Earl Grey with vanilla syrup mixed in.

“I consider myself duly warned.” Tyler nodded gravely, handing over a five, taking a peanut-butter brownie, and telling his friend to keep the change.

“You and Kevin coming over for dinner tomorrow?” Lukas asked, putting Tyler’s change in the tip jar, where he knew it would end up even if he’d forced Tyler to take it. Tyler and his partner, Kevin Strabane, had been joining Lukas and his partner, Daniel, for Sunday evening dinners for the last few years. Daniel worked in Kevin’s art gallery and was also a former Briton who had been one of Tyler’s first friends in the US.

“Yeah, of course,” Tyler said, munching on his snack at the counter. “What are you cooking?”

Lukas shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ll probably figure that out when I’m in the store at one in the morning.”

“You need to let other people close up shop once in a while, mate. Well, I’m off. See you guys tomorrow,” Tyler said, finishing his brownie. He headed across the street, sipping on his tea and leisurely window-shopping the avenue. He was tempted to try on a new pair of shoes, the red-brown alligator oxfords in the shoe boutique window really catching his eye, but his shoes already outnumbered Kevin’s by about five to one.

Instead, Tyler continued on to the vintage clothes shop a block up. Stefan, the shop owner, couldn’t wait to show him the collections of Levi’s he’d just gotten in, and Tyler ended up gleefully taking two pairs of the jeans, along with a dark brown corduroy jacket, a belt, and a couple of autumn-toned scarves.

Tyler and Stefan chatted for a bit about news in the neighborhood and around their little circle of friends. Tyler couldn’t help snickering and grinning at the aging drag queen that passed by the shop, waggling fuchsia fingernails at Stefan through the window. Stefan just smiled back politely before shooting Tyler a glare.

“Aw, c’mon, don’t you like Tierra?” Tyler cackled. “I guess I oughta get outta here, though. I think she wants to stop in while you’re not with a ‘customer’.”

“Sometimes I really hate you, Ty,” Stefan muttered.

“Yeah, of course you do, Steffers. You won’t be saying that when I’ve brought you some of Kev’s pumpkin bread.” Stefan was an absolute addict for Kevin’s sweet autumn breads, as were most people who’d ever tried them. “Okay, I’m gonna go poke around in the antiques for a bit. I’ll ring you sometime this week,” Tyler said.

“Alright. No, wait, don’t call me till like Thursday. Lukas told me this morning that there’s something bad about communication for people born too close to each other’s signs or something.”

“Bloody hell. You two are too susceptible to that shite. He told me not to bring home anything impish, for fuck’s sake. What’s that even supposed to mean?”

“I dunno. Don’t pick up any flavored condoms?” Stefan grinned.

“Yeah, well, Kev and I don’t need those anyway. I’m leaving now. I promise I won’t ring till Thursday.”

Tyler just shook his head at all these silly ideas as he crossed the street again to the antiques shop. The prices were a little high-end for him, but he hadn’t been in there in ages, and he really enjoyed just looking at the old and odd things acquired there. He quietly wandered about the three levels of the old house-turned-shop for a little while, looking at hand-painted fireplace screens and paintings of people’s grumpy-looking grans, barley-legged tables and cut-glass wine sets, old porcelain dolls and heavily embroidered ottomans. The soft hum and vibration against his thigh told him Kevin was calling, and Tyler started back down to the main level of the shop as he answered and told his boyfriend he’d be home in about ten minutes.

Just as Tyler hung up, though, something caught his eye. In front of the shop’s downstairs fireplace, amongst several sets of fireplace tools, was a painted cast-iron figure of the mischievous puppet Mr. Punch, in cameo. The prominent chin and drooping jester’s hat made the form of a crescent moon, with a hooked nose, hunched back, and evil grin. The words DON’T YOU TELL were painted along the base of the figure.

It was a rather grotesque thing and patently creepy, but it made Tyler chuckle. Out of pure curiosity, Tyler moved closer to look at the tag, which simply said, “19th Century English Punch doorstop: $50.00+.” It was an incredibly low price for anything in that shop, and Tyler felt like he really couldn’t resist. Sure, it was ugly and disturbing, but Punch and Judy shows were so nostalgically British that Tyler just had to have it as a little reminder of home.

As he signed the check and handed it to the old woman who ran the shop, he couldn’t help grinning as he thought of that horoscope’s warning. It didn’t get much more impish than Mr. Punch. Maybe this would show Lukas and Stefan to see reason when nothing bad happened just because he brought something “impish” home. Because, of course, nothing would happen….

I’ll have a few more goodies to share today as well, including a little bit about me, some background on how Possession came to be, and interviews with my wonderful MCs Tyler Ward and Kevin Strabane.

Enlightened Release Party: Brian and Jamie interview J. P. Barnaby

March 14, 2011

[Brian McAllister]: Hello, my name is Brian and I’m here with my boyfriend Jamie <sweet smile at the mention of “boyfriend”>  and the author who so graciously agreed to tell our story.  Say hi, Jamie.

[Jamie Mayfield]: Hello <small wave and indulgent smile at Brian>

[Brian]: J. P., our series of books are your first with a traditional publisher, before that you were self-published. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

[J. P. Barnaby]: Hi Brian. Hi Jamie. You know, recently, we went through Enlightened and edited it for the re-release by Dreamspinner Press.  It was wonderful to meet you guys all over again.

[Brian]: Wait, you edited it? You didn’t cut out anything important did you?!?

[JP]: Nothing was cut from the original version, don’t worry. In fact, like we talked about a few months ago, the book is now 20% longer (about 10,000 words). Three scenes were  added along with bits and pieces through the novel.

[Brian]: That awesome! I’m sorry, I interrupted you.

[JP]: That’s okay, there’s really not much more to me than you can read in my bio. I read a lot, play video games and keep the writing precariously balanced with my career as a software developer.

[Brian]: Have you written a lot of books?

[JP]: In addition to the Little Boy Lost series, I’ve written two novels, a novella, and two short stories that are all published (except the novella which will be out with Dreamspinner in the fall) and maybe a dozen stories that aren’t. These are being loaded onto my website [http://www.jpbarnaby.com] as free fiction as they are edited.

[Jamie]: Where is the best place to find your stories if someone were looking?

[JP]: They could find everything under my author biography at Amazon.com  or on my author profile at Goodreads.com no matter where the story has been published.

[Brian]:  Okay, okay, enough about you… Let’s talk about us. <laugh> Where did the idea for Little Boy Lost come from?

[JP]: It came from you, and from Jamie. At first, you started just giving me bits and pieces, glimpses into your story. Then, we started to sit down and really talk – after that, it just flowed.

[Jamie]: Tell us a little about the first book. That time was so turbulent for us. It was hard, but at the same time…wonderful.

[JP]: For me, Enlightened is a beautiful story – but then I’m biased because I’ve come to care for you guys so much. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the last year.  The story is about love and loss, faith and fear, acceptance and persecution. It’s about two teenage boys who find solace and love in each other amid the hatred and bigotry of their small town.

[Brian]: Did you find our story difficult to write?

[JP]: In some ways, I did, but in other ways it was easy. The love and happiness were easy to write while the pain and sorrow broke my heart for you.

[Jamie]: Enlightened was originally released in March 2010, exactly one year ago. People have been waiting for the second book for a pretty long time. Is there an expected release date for Abandoned?

[JP]: Abandoned will be released by Dreamspinner Press on May 16, 2011. After that, the books are scheduled to be released every 2-3 months. One of the great things about working with Dreamspinner is that they have an established process. Each book goes through the same process on a clearly defined schedule.

[Brian]: Okay, can we get a peek at Enlightened?

[JP]: Sure. This is one of my favorite scenes in the book – your first kiss.

<Jamie reaches over to take Brian’s hand and smiles>

From Little Boy Lost: Enlightened

As I watched, his expression softened, the fear and the shock replaced by a different emotion. He kept his eyes on mine and leaned forward ever so slightly and then hesitated. If I hadn’t been watching him so intently, I wouldn’t have noticed that he had moved at all. When I didn’t punch, scream, or even back away, he leaned in a little closer—an unspoken question in his eyes.

Do you feel it too? 

I felt his warm breath on my face; he was so damn close. My heart rate accelerated wildly, and I could hear the blood pounding in my ears. He whispered, almost too softly for me to hear.

“Please… please don’t hate me.”

Then, in the lightest of touches, soft but unyielding, his lips pressed against mine. My eyes closed, and I felt a rush of emotion, sexual tension, something, building within me. As his mouth molded over the contours of my lips, we reveled in the untamed surge of passion that flowed between us. The kiss was delicate, sweet, and lingered just long enough to make me want more. I had waited my whole life for my first kiss, and while it wasn’t exactly how I’d pictured it in my youth, it was perfect. His lips were warm and smooth as they moved against mine, causing a swelling tension in my stomach. The rain continued to pound the tree house roof as my arms nearly ached to go around him. I was scared to break the spell that had enveloped us. It was everything that a boy’s first kiss should be.

Only it wasn’t with a girl.

[Jamie]: God, I was so scared. I really thought you were going to hit me.

[Brian]: Have I ever hit you? <strokes Jamie’s face gently>

[Jamie]: No, no you haven’t…  Okay, JP – if I promise not to tell anyone, including Brian – will you tell me if you gave us a happy ending? <Brian smacks Jamie’s arm>

[Brian]: There, now I hit you.  She’s not going to tell us that!  Uhmmm… Are you?

[JP]: Nope. We have a pretty long and dangerous road ahead of us, and I want everyone to enjoy the ride.

Short Story: My Brother Benjamin by J. P. Barnaby

March 13, 2011

The hammer shook in Jamie Duncan’s tiny hand. The job of putting it back on his father’s garage workbench was forestalled by confusion and fear. Eight years old, he did not have the frame of reference needed to process what he was seeing. The frayed and battered tennis shoes, the ones his brother Benjamin wore every single day, were suspended about a yard from Jamie’s frightened face. Surprised amusement had surrendered quickly to shocked disbelief as Jamie noticed the white socks still peeking out from below his brother’s jeans, just above those beloved red canvas shoes.

A strangled scream, drowned in his panic, erupted from him as nothing but a strained whimper. Reaching out, Jamie touched his big brother’s leg, alien in its stillness. The younger boy could not remember a time when Benjamin had ever been so still; it was almost worse than the silence. Staggering back several feet, Jamie continued to stare at the cherry colored sneakers, terrified to look any higher and see his brother’s face.

“Benji?” Jamie whispered, his voice small and scared, it was almost as if he were trying to wake his big brother, like he did after he’d had a bad dream. In his heart, the little boy wished as hard as he could. In fact, some may have even called it prayer. He wished that Benjamin would wake up and tell him that there was nothing to be afraid of.

“Benji, I’m scared.” He thought about how his brother would sigh and pretend to be mad when Jamie woke him in the middle of the night. In the end, the older boy would always pull his blankets back, inviting his little brother in so he could protect Jamie from the monsters.

Jamie looked up to see his brother’s staring, unseeing eyes and he knew that the monsters had finally gotten Benji.

Standing as high as his little feet would allow, Jamie stretched up and pulled at his big brother’s T-shirt. He wanted to make Benji mad, to make him yell – because even yelling would be better than the silent blank stare. A crumpled piece of notebook paper fell from his brother’s slackened grip and dropped to the grungy floor. Not taking his eyes from those red sneakers, Jamie bent and scooped up the note.

Slowly, he sounded out each word like Mrs. Martin had taught him. Reading the words around the damp smudges, he thought maybe his brother had been writing in the rain.

Their hatred burns like fire, scorching, consuming

The very air blisters my lungs

I can’t breathe

Acrid smoke blocks out the sun

I can’t see

Roaring Flames engulf my soul

Everything lies in ruins

There is nothing left


I’m just so tired. I can’t fight anymore.

They tell me I’m going to go to hell for being a fag and maybe I am, but it can’t be any worse than school.

I’m so sorry. Please tell Jamie that I’m sorry. I’m supposed to be there to protect him but how can I do that when I can’t even protect myself?


Clutching the note against his chest, Jamie sank to the floor and pulled his knees up trying to protect himself from the weight of his brother’s confession. He knew what it was like for kids at school to be mean. Joey Thompson had pushed him off the bars at recess a few days ago. In his child’s view, he couldn’t understand why Benji didn’t tell a teacher. They had to have teachers in the tenth grade, just like they did in third.

The reality of his brother’s death became more real for Jamie as he held the note in his hand. He wanted to run, he wanted to tell someone, but he just couldn’t leave his brother alone. In that note Benji sounded so scared. Benji would never have left Jamie if he were feeling scared.

Jamie continued to sit on the cold concrete floor below his brother’s body and waited for someone to come.

The Trevor Project  helps to show our GLBT youth that It Gets Better and that they are loved 

Need to TALK? 1-866-488-7386

Live Chat available at http://www.thetrevorproject.org

Copyright (c) 2011 – J. P. Barnaby – http://www.jpbarnaby.com

Excerpt – Little Boy Lost: Enlightened by J. P. Barnaby

March 12, 2011

Little Boy Lost: Enlightened coming March 14th
As I watched, his expression softened, the fear and the shock replaced by a different emotion. He kept his eyes on mine and leaned forward ever so slightly and then hesitated. If I hadn’t been watching him so intently, I wouldn’t have noticed that he had moved at all. When I didn’t punch, scream, or even back away, he leaned in a little closer—an unspoken question in his eyes. 

Do you feel it too? 

I felt his warm breath on my face; he was so damn close. My heart rate accelerated wildly, and I could hear the blood pounding in my ears. He whispered, almost too softly for me to hear. 

“Please… please don’t hate me.” 

Then, in the lightest of touches, soft but unyielding, his lips pressed against mine. My eyes closed, and I felt a rush of emotion, sexual tension, something, building within me. As his mouth molded over the contours of my lips, we reveled in the untamed surge of passion that flowed between us. The kiss was delicate, sweet, and lingered just long enough to make me want more. I had waited my whole life for my first kiss, and while it wasn’t exactly how I’d pictured it in my youth, it was perfect. His lips were warm and smooth as they moved against mine, causing a swelling tension in my stomach. The rain continued to pound the tree house roof as my arms nearly ached to go around him. I was scared to break the spell that had enveloped us. It was everything that a boy’s first kiss should be. 

Only it wasn’t with a girl. 

About Little Boy Lost: Enlightened  | View Trailer 

Little Boy Lost is the story of Brian McAllister, the boy next door. 

Brian goes to school, does his homework, and helps his foster parents around the house. Brian also has a secret: he is in love with his best friend, Jamie. But in Crayford, Alabama, being in love with another boy is the worst kind of sin. 

 Brian and Jamie will discover just how deep their emotional bond runs, and at what cost. What will they do if their secret is discovered? From fumbling through their first sexual experiences to hiding all aspects of their relationship from everyone in their lives, Brian and Jamie battle for the one thing that is truly theirs—love.

Undercover Sins: excerpt (adult)

March 7, 2011

Lust clouded any reason. Ty groaned and grabbed Demetrius’s arm. Demetrius’s fingers wrapped around Ty’s now-erect member and, instead of pushing Demetrius away, Ty’s hand pulled. The involuntary reaction gave the opposite impression of what Ty wanted. “You need to stop.”

“Are you sure?” Demetrius whispered, slowly pumping Ty’s cock. “I like how ragged your breath became.”

Ty clenched his jaw and took a deep breath. Sleeping with a monster with the intention of capturing him was a far cry from falling victim to a lust that shouldn’t exist. “No, stop,” Ty forced out.

“I hadn’t expected you to deny your urges.” Demetrius slipped his hand free and took a step back. “At least your reaction was entertaining.”

Ty’s eyes shot open and found Demetrius’s grinning at him. “What are you saying?” He gasped, and Demetrius grinned larger.

“I’m toying with you.” Demetrius chuckled and stepped further back. “You aren’t able to control yourself around me. You should work on that; a pet shouldn’t desire his master.”

Ty took several breaths to calm down. Demetrius returned to the couch and to his position of lounging across the cushions. Anger replaced the heated blood, and Ty glared at Demetrius. The prick had seriously toyed with him. Ty could sulk away defeated or teach Demetrius he shouldn’t fuck with him. The game was dangerous, but Ty now had enough anger not to lose.

Ty walked to the couch and Demetrius smiled at him. “I won’t be finishing what I started,” Demetrius warned with amusement dancing in his tone.

Ty surprised Demetrius by straddling him. “I won’t be finishing either.” Ty pushed back the robe to unveil Demetrius’s half-erect member. “Were you excited by me or that juicer on the TV?”

Demetrius sat up just enough to grab Ty by his shoulders. “You’re stirring up bad waters, Ty,” he warned calmly, and Ty smirked.

“Someone who loves cats does not frighten me,” Ty mocked Demetrius as he took the member in his hand and slowly worked the length.

Purchase Undercover Sins from Dreamspinner Press. Paperback or ebook.

Undercover Sins: excerpt

March 7, 2011

“Ty,” Demetrius spoke gently and moved over. “You did splendidly,” he whispered against Ty’s ear. “I was amazed by your action. Do you not have any fear?” Demetrius put his arms around Ty and pulled him close.

Ty felt his body reacting to Demetrius’s: increased heartbeat, shortness of breath and heating skin. There was no reason for these reactions other than the shock his body had just gone through. “He’ll kill me,” Ty whispered without fully realizing.

“He won’t touch you.” Demetrius’s lips brushed Ty’s neck. “He knows you belong to me.”

“I don’t,” Ty stated, and Demetrius chuckled.

“You will if you want to live.”

Ty gasped and pushed Demetrius back. “You planned this.” He studied Demetrius’s calm expression. “You force me into being collared by you just to live.”

“If I wanted to own you, I wouldn’t need to go to such lengths,” Demetrius said evenly. “Hitting Arden was not a reaction I had expected. When I said ”bite”’ I meant with words.”

“Why are you after me?” Ty narrowed his eyes. “Your payment last night, the bonus, the suit, and the payment for tonight is all too extravagant. What are you after?”

Demetrius sighed and shook his head. “You might not understand, Ty, but being a man like me, you get very bored. You can have everything you desire. No one treats you as an equal. Do you know how long it has been since I had someone as brazen as you play a game of chess with me?”

“That game was hardly normal.”

“That’s my point,” Demetrius laughed. “You’re so different. You don’t seem to care about my status or the fact that if you anger me you’ll be gone tomorrow. I am most taken by that attitude.”

Ty shook his head. “You aren’t making a lot of sense.”

“If you please me tonight with the attitude and behavior I think you have, I want you to be as near me as Lee is,” Demetrius explained with a child-like smile.

It all seemed too strange to Ty. Was Demetrius truly this easy to win over? “You’ve never met anyone that treated you unlike a Greek god?”

“Arden hardly counts.” Demetrius seemed to read Ty’s mind. “He is my rival for ownership of the business his father runs. He is afraid of me because I hold no fear toward him.”

“Do you want to make me a pet?” Ty questioned. “You don’t partake in pets.”

“In title and outward appearance, yes; except you’ll have two lives like I do. In private you won’t need to behave like a pet, but in public I only need you to give the appearance of a loyal pet.” Demetrius leaned back and explained with a soft smile. Ty had never hated that smile before this moment, but now he saw how easily it deceived. “I still agree to no games,” Demetrius added.

As he saw it, Ty had two options: becoming a pet or losing Demetrius. He could remain close to Demetrius and gather the evidence he and his department needed to arrest Demetrius only if he agreed to be a pet in public. Of course, Lesley would not agree to it. A pet’s treatment was poorer than that of a whore. Pets were discarded by their owners at the slightest whim. Could Ty wander into Demetrius’s world as a pet and remain sane?

Purchase Undercover Sins from Dreamspinner Press. Paperback or ebook.

Mr. August by K.R. Foster

February 20, 2011

Hello, everyone! *Waves*

I’ll be the first to admit that I was nervous about writing for this anthology. I tend to dwell in the land of fantasy and science fiction, and honestly had no intention of writing a contemporary cowboy romance.

However, my younger sister always tells me that I should forever be willing to try something new; as usual, she’s right.

Sometimes writing is like trying to breathe underwater without an oxygen tank—useless and impossible—just one step away from death. But sometimes, on occasion, a story just wants to be told and the words pour from my fingers without hesitation. Those are the stories that I most enjoy working on. Luckily for me, Mr. August is one of the stories that doesn’t want to drown me. *Grins*

Mr. August isn’t what I expected it to be, certainly didn’t head where I thought it would, and proved to me once again that the words are the mistress and I’m their slave. I hope you enjoy this daylong ride outside my comfort zone; I know I did!


Colby Fremont, owner of Ghost Creek Ranch, has learned everything he needs to know about city boys. They’re only good at one thing—leaving. But famous photographer Ethan Walker won’t get off Colby’s property, no matter how many times Colby tells the damned boy that he isn’t interested in being in Ethan’s cowboy calendar.


Colby Fremont huffed in annoyance and yanked open his front door to stop the incessant knocking. He took one look at the man on his front porch, glared, and slammed it shut again.

“Mr. Fremont! I—”

“No!” he snapped, perfectly aware that his gruff voice would carry through the door. When the knocking started up again almost immediately, he turned and stalked across the wood floor of his living room, boots clomping loudly.

The doorbell started ringing at the same time as knuckles rapped again, and Colby barely restrained the urge to take his shotgun off the wall and blow a hole through the door. He most certainly was not going to participate in that… travesty. Ugh.

After turning the corner and entering his large and empty kitchen (his workers were actually out working like honest men), he strode toward the back door, scooping his beaten brown Stetson off the table and onto his head along the way.

Smirking once he realized the aggravating harassment of his front door had ceased, Colby twisted the doorknob, opened the back door, and walked right into the bastard who was no longer on the front porch.

“Mr. Fremont, I’m—”

“Can’t you read, boy?” Colby asked, looking down his nose at the overly hyperactive runt who couldn’t possibly have graduated from college yet.

The too-thin lips snapped shut for just a moment. “Of course I can!”

“You sure? Because I’ve lived here my whole life, boy, and I distinctly remember there being a Private Property: No Trespassing sign way down by the mailbox.” He gestured off east, toward the dusty road that led onto his ranch. “It’s black and orange—damn near impossible to miss.”

“I did see it, Mr. Fremont.” The kid stuck out his chin, which lacked even the barest hint of stubble. Had the runt even hit puberty yet? His brown hair flopped in his eyes like a puppy dog, that girly haircut all those actors in Hollywood seemed to favor.

“Then why’re you here, boy?” he drawled.

Additional Information:

To purchase Riding Double, the anthology that contains Mr. August and several other cowboy tales, please go here: Riding Double.

My other published stories can be purchased here: K.R. Foster.

Additionally, feel free to e-mail me if you would like to discuss my stories, offer constructive criticism, or just talk about writing. My e-mail is kamerreon@yahoo.com.

Thank you! Happy reading!

K.R. Foster

“Cowboys and IT-ians” by Xara X. Xanakas, in the ‘Riding Double’ Anthology

February 20, 2011

Blurb: Rancher Vidar Stendahl—known affectionately as “Whiner”—has a way of dealing with animals, but technology doesn’t cooperate with him. When his office computer crashes, a call to the “Dork Squad” brings Constantine Bagnoli—”Connie” to his friends—to Stendahl’s Stand, and a case of mistaken identity leads to a showdown they’d never have seen in the Old West.

Excerpt: The sky was threatening to open up any second, and the Hereford calf was still fighting, stuck in the mud along the creek bank. Once the rain started, the creek would fill up in no time. Whiner sat high in the saddle and slung his rope over his head, letting it loose on the front swing, neatly catching it around the neck.

“Ho, Fly!” He stopped the horse short, tied the end around the saddlehorn, and neatly dismounted in seconds. At six-foot-eleven, and over three hundred pounds of solid muscle honed on the range, he’d have no problem lifting the calf out of the mud, but he didn’t want the animal running off as soon as he was free. Dragging one massive gloved hand along the lead line, he carefully moved down the creek bank to the calf, talking to him in soothing tones, attempting to calm him down.

“Just what in the fuck did you think you were doin’ down here? Huh? Don’t you know you could get us both killed, you useless side of beef?” He cooed to the frightened animal just as lightning flashed across the sky and the rain started pouring down. “Shh. It’s okay, boy. Just calm it the fuck down so we can both get out of here and go the fuck home.”

Whiner reached the animal and started stroking his neck. The calf bucked and tried to rear away, eyes wide with panic as thunder clapped around them.

“It’s too late to make you veal and too early to make you spare ribs, so you better calm down,” he baby-talked, using his tone and his movements to soothe the calf. “I swear, I will leave your sorry ass down here and write you off my fucking insurance if you don’t settle down. And Bobby Joe, I see you up there. You could bring your lazy ass down here to help, you know.”

“I think you and Butterfly got it covered, Boss.”

“Sure we do, don’t we, meat?” Whiner asked the calf. He managed to work his long arms around the calf’s forelegs and haunches and lifted, working him out of the knee-deep mud. The calf kicked a couple of times and then was free on the firmer ground high on the bank, trying to scramble away. Butterfly stepped back and planted her hooves in the hard-packed dirt at the top of the ridge, pulling the calf back against the rope. Whiner started to follow the calf up, but his boot got stuck in the muck, making him lose his balance and fall into the slop, one clean white sock poking out of the bottom of his very dirty jeans. “Fuck!”

Butterfly whinnied, shaking her dark mane, and Bobby Joe laughed at his misfortune, not helping Whiner’s mood one fucking bit.

“You’re fucking fired, Bobby Joe!” He knelt down and started digging in the mud for his wayward boot. “Goddamn it!” He fished it out of the mire but slipped again and fell forward, covering his last clean spot in the sludge. He heard Bobby Joe’s cackle over the thunder and raised a glare up the bank toward him.