Just like Demetrius rejecting Helena. Though I admit I prefer Shakespeare’s similes.
“Ray, please, give me another chance. I know I’m not hot like you, but I can be loyal.”
“How many times do I have to say it? You and I will never happen, dude.” He pushed Enoch away and headed offstage.
Having witnessed the encounter from upstage, Braedon Walsh hurried to his best friend’s side. The hunky little blond threw his Hermia wig on the stage floor and placed a comforting arm around Enoch. “Are you all right?”
Enoch laughed bitterly. “Obviously not, according to Ray.”
“Don’t listen to him.”
“Why not? Ray holds the opinion of the majority.” Tears streamed down Enoch’s face. “Why did I think it could be any different?”
“Enoch, don’t let Ray, or anyone, measure your self-worth.”
“Easy for you to say. Everyone loves your self-worth, remember?”
“Enoch, why can’t you see all you have going for you?”
Ray appeared at Braedon’s other side. “Braedon, what are you doing after rehearsal?”
“Getting a quick bite to eat and then going over my scenes.”
“Let’s do it together.”
Braedon waffled. “I don’t think—”
“I’m really confused about this last scene. Won’t you help me, man?”
Braedon looked up at Ray. “Well, I guess I can—”
Enoch’s face turned the color of Braedon’s peach dress. “Are you two kidding me right now? You’re going to hook up together—with me standing right here watching?”
Ray groaned. “Nobody asked you to stand here and watch.”
“Enoch, I want our show to be a success. I think I can help Ray with—”
Ray grabbed Braedon’s arm. “Come on, let’s go.”
Enoch pushed Braedon away. “Go ahead, Braedon. No more pity party for me. I release you from your duty as my best friend.” He choked out, “And I hope you two are happy together.” Enoch stormed offstage.
“Enoch!” Braedon started to go after him.
Ray held him back. “Let him go. He needs a reality check, big time.”
“How could you treat him like that?”
“No matter what I do, I can’t get the guy off my back.”
Braedon’s green eyes bore into Ray. “You don’t know Enoch like I do. He’s been my best friend since we were kids. The guy is really sensitive.”
“The guy’s oblivious. I told him over and over again that I’m not interested.” Ray scratched at his washboard abs. “How can I get him to understand I don’t want a relationship with him? What am I doing wrong?”
Braedon’s shoulders dropped. “I guess this isn’t your fault, Ray.”
“I agree. And it’s not your fault either. People like who they like.” He smiled. “And I happen to like you.”
Braedon returned the smile. “That’s really sweet.”
“Totally.” Ray wrapped his arms around Braedon. “And we’d be really sweet together.”
“I’m flattered, but I don’t want a relationship. And I have to talk to Enoch. He looked so desperate and despondent. I need to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.”
After Braedon headed offstage, Ray said to himself, “What’s stupid is you not jumping at the chance to hook up with me tonight, dude.” Then Ray went backstage.
Before Braedon could fully exit the stage, Elliot Hinton and his understudy, Graduate Assistant Yates Aldrich, both appeared in Lysander’s chocolate-colored tunic, tights, and high boots. They surrounded Braedon, causing him to resemble peach filling inside a chocolate bar.
Elliot towered over Braedon. “Don’t tell anyone, but I smuggled some beer from the dorm. Meet me outside?” He winked at Braedon. “Or after I’m a star, you’ll regret missing the opportunity.”
The graduate assistant’s sapphire eyes sparkled in the stage lighting. “Braedon, I picked up some sandwiches from the deli in town—turkey and veggies with pesto mayonnaise. I know this sounds corny, but the veggies reminded me of back home on the farm. It made me feel warm all over, and I thought of you. Let’s head to the Tiring House and share some lunch.”
Braedon replied, “Thanks, guys, but I’m really worried about Enoch.”
Yates replied, “It’s nice of you to be concerned about your friend. But I’m older than you. I’ve had more years of schooling. And believe me, you can’t spend your whole life feeling sorry for a dish rag.”
“Enoch’s not a dish rag. He’s my best friend!”
“You need to make some more mature friends.” Yates grinned.
Elliot winked at Braedon. “And I’m the guy to show you how to do it.”
“I appreciate the offers, guys. But I can’t.” Braedon brushed past them, calling out, “Enoch!” And he was gone backstage.
Elliot and Yates shrugged and followed.
A few minutes later, the student stage manager called everyone back from break. All the actors and understudies sat on the benches in the groundling section—except for the five Mechanicals who took their places behind the center entrance, waiting to come on stage. After five tries to get the lighting change, the stage manager finally succeeded and gave the cue to begin.
Outside his house, Peter Quince commences rehearsal for the play he wrote to be performed at Duke Theseus’s and Queen Hippolyta’s wedding.
At the sound of their characters’ names, Martin and Ruben applauded wildly from their box seat.
Quince’s play is entitled, “The Wedding of Pyramus and Thisby.” Joining Quince to rehearse the scene, among others, are Bottom playing Pyramus the groom, and Flute cast as Thisby the bride. After their rough rehearsal, they all execute a flashy jazz dance, lifting Bottom in the air singing, “We All Need a Good Bottom.” Mid-lift, Bottom comes crashing to the floor—onto his bottom.
Ruben cried out from the box, “If he’s injured, we’ll be sued.”
Martin screeched, “I refuse to be penniless when I reach old age.”
Ruben glared at him. “You reached old age before pennies were invented!”
Graduate Assistant of Movement, Yates Aldrich, raced up the stairs onto the stage. He kneeled next to Assistant Professor of Music Dante Bravo—our Bottom. Yates’s sapphire eyes displayed fear and concern. “Dante, are you hurt?”
Dante stood on flabby, and shaky legs. “No harm done.”
Everyone applauded, and appropriately shouted, “Bravo!” Dante milked the attention by bending over for a deep bow, which landed him on the stage floor bottom down once again. He smiled. “Now if I could just get a handle on the play.”
Braedon Walsh, our much-desired Hermia, hurried up the stairs. The compact student helped the bear of a professor back onto his flat feet and off stage.
Behind me, Detective Jose Manuello bragged in my ear, “During my understudy rehearsal as Bottom, I understood every word of the play, and I was as light as a feather on my feet—including during the lift.”
I glanced back at Manuello’s full tunic. “I hope the other actors are insured for hernia surgery.”
“Very funny, Nicky.”
“I’m glad you appreciate my fine wit, Manuello.”
“I appreciate it like I appreciate my enlarged prostate.”
I gasped. “Manuello, must you throw your prostate in my face?”
“My prostate isn’t anywhere near your face.”
“And let’s keep it that way, Manuello!”
Suddenly, I heard a piercing scream followed by, “Demetrius!”
Glancing around the theatre house, I noticed Ray Zhang had never come back after the break.
“Don’t move, Nicky.”
Ignoring Manuello’s orders as usual, I sprung up the stage steps, ran across the stage and through the right doorway, following the sound of the scream. I arrived in the Hut to find our prop person, Sharon Delwab, pointing to the lifeless body of Ray Zhang. Our Demetrius was face up on the floor with the point of a foil penetrating his chest. Foiled!
DRAMA FAERIE (the 9th Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO
Discount pre-order sale until Feb. 1 only!
It’s summer at Treemeadow College’s new Globe Theatre, where theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. With an all-male, skimpily dressed cast and a love potion gone wild, romance is in the starry night air. When hunky students and faculty in the production drop faster than their tunics and tights, Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is taking swordplay to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining ninth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on star-crossed young lovers, a faerie queen, an ass who is a great Bottom, and murder!
Praise for the Nicky and Noah mysteries:
“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless, and his use of farce, along with his convoluted plot-lines, will have you guessing until the very last page, which makes his books a joy to read. His books are worth their weight in gold, and if you haven’t discovered them yet you are in for a rare treat.” Divine Magazine
“a combination of Laurel and Hardy mixed with Hitchcock and Murder She Wrote…
Loaded with puns and one-liners…Right to the end, you are kept guessing, and the conclusion still has a surprise in store for you.” “the best modern Sherlock and Watson in books today…I highly recommend this book and the entire series, it’s a pure pleasure, full of fun and love, written with talent and brio…fabulous…brilliant” Optimumm Book Reviews
“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet….I can’t find anything not to love about this series….This read had me laughing and falling in love….Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple.” Urban Book Reviews
“For fans of Joe Cosentino’s hilarious mysteries, this is another vintage story with more cheeky asides and sub plots right left and centre….The story is fast paced, funny and sassy. The writing is very witty with lots of tongue-in-cheek humour….Highly recommended.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“Every entry of the Nicky and Noah mystery series is rife with intrigue, calamity, and hilarity…Cosentino keeps us guessing – and laughing – until the end, as well as leaving us breathlessly anticipating the next Nicky and Noah thriller.” Edge Media Network
“A laugh and a murder, done in the style we have all come to love….This had me from the first paragraph….Another wonderful story with characters you know and love!” Crystals Many Reviewers
“These two are so entertaining….Their tactics in finding clues and the crazy funny interactions between characters keeps the pages turning. For most of the book if I wasn’t laughing I was grinning.” Jo and Isa Love Books
“Superb fun from start to finish, for me this series gets stronger with every book and that’s saying something because the benchmark was set so very high with book 1.” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“The Nicky and Noah Mysteries series are perfect for fans of the Cozy Mystery sub-genre. They mix tongue-in-cheek humor, over-the-top characters, a wee bit of political commentary, and suspense into a sweet little mystery solved by Nicky and Noah, theatre professors for whom all the world’s a stage.” Prism Book Alliance
“This is one hilarious series with a heart and it just keeps getting better. I highly recommend them all, and please read them in the order they were written for full blown laugh out loud reading pleasure!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
More About Author Joe Cosentino:
Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland with Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings (NineStar Press);andthe Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Chair of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and he is happily married. Joe’s books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com