Excerpts from The Pride Trilogy: Three Kyle Callahan Mysteries by Mark McNease

Excerpts from The Pride Trilogy: three Kyle Callahan Mysteries by Mark McNease

The Pride Trilogy consists of three of the existing five Kyle Callahan Mysteries: Murder at Pride Lodge, Pride and Perilous, and Death by Pride. They were written in that order, with a break between the second and third to write Death in the Headlights featuring lesbian Detective Linda from the series. She and Kyle become partners in crime solving and she’s in all the books (soon to have her own in 2016!).

My intention when I created the series was to write one book featuring older characters, centered on a male couple modeled after myself and my now-husband Frank. As the publisher and editor for a website for over-50 LGBTQ people, lgbtSr.org, I wanted to write a book with and for people who were my own age. If the first book sold, I told myself, I would write a second. It did, and here we are five books later.

Here are short synopses of the three books making up the Trilogy, followed by single, selected excerpts from them. It seemed a better choice than just providing the first chapters. I hope you enjoy them!

Murder at Pride Lodge

Who killed Teddy the handyman – if anyone killed him at all? Was it Sid, one of the new owners of Pride Lodge whose past gets darker the closer you look? Was it the woman whose name was once Emily, when she witnessed the murder of her parents in a burglary gone bad, and who has waited thirty years for vengeance? Was it young Happy Corcoran, promoted to bartender only to vanish three days before Teddy was found dead at the bottom of the empty pool? Find out as Kyle Callahan refuses to believe it was an accident, doggedly pursues the truth in his friend’s death and does his best not to join him. Kyle and his life partner Danny Durban live in New York City, where murder never seems to be more than a subway stop away. In this first story, they head to Pride Lodge, their favorite getaway from the City, over what they expect to be a festive Halloween weekend. What they find instead is a web of murder, deceit, and revenge served cold as a knife blade.

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Pride and Perilous

The Katherine Pride Gallery is the center of high art and low death in Pride and Perilous, book II of the Pride Trilogy and the second of the Kyle Callahan Mysteries. Kyle, an amateur photographer, is about to have his first exhibit at the gallery, in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. As time ticks away, bodies begin to fall and Kyle realizes somebody wants this gallery closed forever. Join the chase as Kyle and his partner Danny Durban reunite with Detective Linda Sikorsky from the New Hope, PA, police force. They met solving the murders at Pride Lodge, and Linda has come to town for Kyle’s opening, only to find herself joining forces with him again to capture a killer … before he captures them.

Death by Pride

The Pride Trilogy concludes with ‘Death by Pride.’ It’s Gay Pride weekend, the most festive weekend of the year in New York City. Hundreds of thousands of partygoers arrive to show the world how to have a good time.  Stalking the party is the most successful serial killer the city has ever seen. He claims his victims in threes and has just begun his newest spree. Detective Linda Sikorsky comes to town to visit Kyle Callahan and his husband Danny Durban. It’s her first Pride Parade and may well be her last. Harmless fun turns to terror in a frantic effort to stop the killer once the first body floats to the river’s edge. This time it’s personal, and this time one of them might not make it out alive.

Murder at Pride Lodge – An Excerpt

Sam Tatum was found flat on his back in a parking garage three blocks from the Glendale Galleria at three o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon. Had it started raining an hour later he would have parked on the street and died in a puddle, his face wet with drizzle and his eyes staring up, unblinking, as rain flushed the life from them. The garage had been fate’s one courtesy, saving him the embarrassment of dying even more publicly than he did, insofar as corpses can be embarrassed. It was an ignominious death. While he’d expected to die from one too many lines of cocaine up his old man’s nose, or murdered, even, in a fit of pique by one of the hustlers he’d been too fond of for too many years, ending his life on the concrete floor of a parking garage, his head in an oil stain, was too seedy even for Sam. Had he been able to think once he was dead, he would have found it a tawdry end to a tawdry life and been glad it was over.

The woman who found him, walking with her 12-year-old daughter to their newly purchased Prius parked three cars to the left of Sam’s Camry, had worked as a nurse before marrying well and was familiar enough with dead bodies to make the call. The poor guy was old, out of shape, uncommonly pale, and obviously lived an unhealthy life. He was lucky to make it this far, she thought, more disturbed that her child had seen a corpse than that he was actually dead. She didn’t know him, what was it to her? Mostly it was an inconvenience, since she had the decency to call an ambulance, knowing it was much too late to save the poor slob, and stay around to speak to the police. She’d considered making it an anonymous 911 call, since her daughter’s ballet class started at 3:30 and this would mean missing it for sure. But something in her, that old nurse calling, that instinct to do the right thing, made her give her name and location and wait patiently for the paramedics who would try to resuscitate a man she knew was dead. His eyes were open, for godsake, and what life had been in them had slipped away some time ago. Anyone could see that.

She’d told her daughter Kelly to get into the car the moment she saw the man’s feet come into view. Kelly, being a precocious, ballet-class-taking 12-year-old, wanted the full view and instead of doing what she was told rushed around ahead of her mother to get a good look. She had never seen a dead body before and she could tell by her mother’s lack of urgency that the man was probably beyond help. After an inappropriate but predictable, “Cool!” she obeyed her mother and skipped ahead to their car. Once inside, she tweeted that she and her mother had found a dead guy, and waited for her friends’ texts to start flooding in.

**

Thus it was that someone on the other side of the country who happened to read DeathWatchLA took notice and knew that the email he’d gotten from Sam two weeks earlier was not the panic of a man who had used too many drugs and bought too many young men. Sam Tatum was dead. He had not been paranoid, but convinced someone was after them, and he had been right. Three months earlier there had been another death, a man named Frank Grandy, this one in Detroit. Neither of them had spoken to Frank in years, and it was only when Frank left Sam $2000 in his will as a very belated repayment of a loan, that Sam knew their old partner in crime was dead. No suspects had been named, no one identified, but the report mentioned an antique pocket watch Frank was selling on an internet auction site. The watch case was there, but the watch was gone. Robbery, they assumed, but the investigation had gone nowhere. That was what rang the alarm bell for Sam, the watch. He was surprised Frank had kept it all these years, but not surprised it had led to his death. The past, it seems, had been waiting patiently to find them, and it had.

The two deaths spoke not of coincidence, but of a plan, with a planner and only one target left. The DeathWatchLA reader logged off his computer, swiveled around in his desk chair and cheerfully took a cup of coffee from his partner, smiling as if nothing had changed and they were simply beginning another gorgeous day. Time to get started.

Pride and Perilous – An Excerpt

It had been five years at least since Devin had worried about being followed. That’s how long he had been living as Devin 24/7. Denise Ellerton had ceased to exist – officially, legally, physically, psychologically, and every other way in which each person functions in the world.  For Devin, she had ceased existing long before that, when he had realized as a teenager that he was not like other girls; that the simple reality of pronouns was different for him, as he thought of himself as “he” while everyone else insisted on calling him “she.”  Tom-boyish Denise, odd Denise, rough-and-tumble Denise.  He had wanted to correct them then, and even younger, as early as the third grade.  “I’m not a girl,” he had wanted to say, but it wasn’t until he was in college that he fully understood what was going on with him, and when he finally had the distance from his family to do something about it.

The sensation of being shadowed down a dark street was one of those things that belonged to Denise, to women. Devin had long been aware of the differences in experiences men had from women; to suggest there were no differences was to choose denial over reality. There were experiences unique to men, and experiences unique to women, as well as experiences unique to those who did not fit readily into either. Devin had become a man in every way possible. The transition had been made, the journey completed, and not since before it had he worried about being followed down his own Brooklyn street, late on a rainy Friday night. There was something different about this, too. It wasn’t random, as if he’d crossed paths with the wrong person in an accident of fate, as so many people did who found themselves the victims of crimes of opportunity.  Devin had the very distinct and unsettling feeling that the man coming up slowly behind him had been there for awhile, had followed him off the R train, along the platform, up the stairs, and now, six blocks later, nearly to his apartment on Prospect Avenue.

Devin was tall at five-eight, and worked out religiously at the local New York Athletic Club. He’d had a trainer for two years and always believed he could handle himself in a tight situation. Not that it happened often: he didn’t drink, didn’t stay out late unless he had a showing of his artwork or was attending one of a friend’s exhibits; he hadn’t dated in three years, and he was a night person, meaning he worked at night in his studio apartment and made every effort to be home by 7:00 pm, when he would start his routine of coffee-fueled creativity, putting together his latest collage or designing a multi-medium piece that he would then spend the next two or three weeks bringing to life.

He was an attractive man, too, or so he’d been told enough times to believe. His natural height was complimented by a thin frame, short black hair he gelled back, a high, wide, forehead, moist brown eyes that had never been bothered by glasses, a thin but ready smile, and a nose that had once been broken in a fall, although he told everyone it had been a boxing match. It was the one lie he allowed himself. He just liked the idea of having a nose broken by a fist in a boxing glove. And it made the person who had once been Denise all but unrecognizable.

He’d stayed out later then usual tonight and had been cursing his lapse in discipline when he first realized someone was behind him. This stretch of Prospect Avenue, unlike nearly all streets in neighboring Manhattan, was sparsely populated at night and the presence of other people was noticeable, especially other people who were shadowing you. He’d become aware of the man behind him not long after coming up the subway stairs but had thought nothing of it at the time. Then, a block later, he could hear the footsteps, as if he were in some B-movie thriller and a stalker was shortening the distance between then. Now, four blocks from the subway and just one from his apartment building, he became convinced he was the object of the man’s attention.  Had it not been so worrying it would have been interesting: why would a strange man be following a reclusive artist down a deserted Brooklyn street on a rainy Friday night?  He decided to ask the question directly.   He adjusted his umbrella, with its caved-in side to his back, letting rain trickle down and soak his jacket, and he turned around to get a look at the man he now knew was his pursuer.

As Devin turned to face him, the stranger stopped. He was only about thirty feet away now.  Devin saw that he did not have an umbrella, but his face was hidden by a hoodie pulled down over it.  In late April the air was still chilly at night and most people wore jackets, sweaters, other clothes that kept them warm in the cool darkness.  Hoodies were especially popular, but also had the disconcerting effect of hiding the person’s face. It was only human nature to want to know who was beneath the hood, and why he was covering his face.

The man made no attempt to pretend he was not following Devin. He didn’t keep walking with a turn this way or that; he didn’t cross the street and continue; he didn’t even keep coming, as someone would who really was just walking along the same street at the same time.  He stopped.  In the rain.

“Who are you?” Devin shouted, tilting his umbrella back to show himself and improve his line of sight.

The man just stood and, Devin assumed, stared. It was dark out and raining, and neither could see the other with any great clarity.

Then the man began to walk toward him.

Decision time. Devin could run for his apartment, which was only a block away; he could call for help, someone would throw open a window and call 911 – or would they? – or he could do what he decided to do and stand his ground. He was tough, he trained two hours, three days a week; he was quick and fit and thin, and above all he was not Denise, not anymore. He had not endured the challenges of his life, the demands of simply being and becoming who he was, to flee in front of some punk on a Brooklyn street. He eased his shoulders back, loosened his grip on the umbrella to free his hands, and prepared for a fight.

The closer the man got, the more familiar he looked. He was wearing jeans, red sneakers and the green hoodie, and although his face was hidden, something about his overall presence rang a bell. There was also the limp, if that was the right word, a way of walking that made it appear one leg was shorter than the other, but housed more in the pelvis, a sort of up and down motion, like a piston misfiring every time the man took a step. Devin noticed the emblem on his sweatshirt, a rainbow flag with wording underneath it he couldn’t read.  He relaxed; it must be a neighbor after all, or someone coming to visit a neighbor.  At the very least the stranger was gay and, by inference, non-threatening.

But still he had not responded to Devin’s asking him who he was. And he had stopped, then kept coming.  He was only about ten feet away now, and Devin put it all together: the walk, the sweatshirt, and finally, as the man drew close and eased his hood back – the face.

“You!” Devin said, startled.

Death by Pride- An Excerpt

Killing wasn’t as much fun as it used to be. He expected to be a bit rusty after three years, but he had never anticipated this … dullness, this sense that, in the words of bluesman B.B. King, the thrill was gone. Maybe he had just been away from it too long; maybe he needed to get up to speed. The man whose body he deposited into the East River just before midnight was, after all, only the first in his current series. There would be two more before the week was out, and maybe the old rush would return with the next one. He had to trust it would, to believe as a child believes that Santa Claus is real and will come shimmying down the chimney every Christmas Eve. Or how Dorothy believed, clicking her slippers in that dreadful movie. That might be a more appropriate comparison, given the occasion. Click, click, click … and he was home.

He did not come all the way back to New York to resume his annual ritual for something as lackluster as this first kill. Had it been the young man himself whose death stirred so little response in him? What was his name? Victor? Victor Someone. Dense and inattentive; he had been too easy, and far too handsome. Cute, really. The kind of cute that becomes very sexual in manhood. Innocent smile, calculated shyness. Victor Someone knew exactly what he was doing flirting in the store that afternoon, and he had succeeded, much to his regret.

Unfortunately, Victor wasn’t nearly as enjoyable to kill as he was to look at. Too easy, too unchallenging. Like a cat who had no trouble capturing a wingless bird, he had not had fun with this one. He would have to analyze the experience, figure out why it had not been as satisfying as it was before, and what he might need to do to reignite his excitement. Did he need to be more brutal? Did he need to introduce tools into the game, a scalpel, perhaps, or a drill of some kind? He would think hard on it. A decision had to be made quickly; he’d already placed an online ad looking for the next one and the emails were flooding into his special account, the one no one would ever trace no matter how hard they tried. A phantom as elusive as he was deserved a phantom email routed through Chicago, then London and Tokyo, server after server erasing any clue to its origin.

**

He would look at Victor Someone’s driver’s license in the morning. Sense memory was a beautiful thing, and nothing brought it back quite like his keepsakes. The license was his souvenir—his thirteenth. Lucky thirteen. The rest of the wallet stayed with the body. He wasn’t interested in making identification difficult. It didn’t matter if the police knew who had been killed, only that they would never find the man who did the killing.

It had been dark when he parked by the river. The new moon had worked to his favor, a first. No one had been around; he made sure no one saw a man with a heavy, strangely shaped object wrapped in black plastic trudging his way to the river’s edge. Then a simple heave and splash, and he was on his way home.

Bedtime at last. But before then, for a few minutes anyway, he wanted to go through those emails. He’d requested photos, knowing many of them would be old and meant to trick him, and that was okay. He was less interested in finding a man who looked exactly like his picture than he was in finding a man who made him want to kill. It was like falling in love with an image: he never knew which one it would be, but knew it when it happened. This one. Oh yes. This one will be here soon.

He turned off the kitchen light, took his tea cup with the little chain from the tea ball hanging over the side, and headed to his large master bedroom on the second floor. His laptop was open and waiting for him. He would sift through a dozen or so email responses and see if any of them struck his fancy. But first, the pictures of Victor. Victor Someone. He would enjoy those before sleeping. He always took pictures.

 

Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/Mark-McNease/e/B00579FA0E/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering Author Dorien Grey, aka Roger Margason

It’s been a little over a month since author Dorien Grey, aka Roger Margason passed away and yet his final words to his friends and fans shared by his good friend Gary Brown still bring me comfort, and I am sure to others as well. “It seems I have reluctantly been called away. But I wanted to thank each of you for the pleasure of your company on my journey through this all-too-brief life. I would hope I might remain, occasionally, in your thoughts, and that you might help my books, blogs, and other writings remain alive though I no longer am. “I have returned to the eternity from which I—from which we all—emerged at birth, and to which we all return. As a writer, I should be able to come up with a few memorable last words of my own, but I can think of none more fitting than those of Peter Pan, with whom I have always identified: ‘Second star to the right, then straight on till morning.'” — Dorien Grey

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Below is a re-posting of the interview I did with Dorien in November 2013.

My sit down with the wonderfully gifted “Dick Hardesty” creator – Author Dorien Grey

Where do you live? I live in Chicago, to which I returned after a 40-or-so-year absence, and now live on the same street and within five blocks of the apartment I moved into straight from college. Eerie to walk down the same streets, past the same buildings I was so familiar with so very long ago.

Writers rarely like to toot their own horns; seriously! What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?  Well, I assume the question was somewhat satirical, since I not only toot my own horn and often and loudly as possible, but have a full symphony orchestra of which I am the only member. It’s seriously difficult, though, to pick out one thing as my “greatest accomplishment” other than managing to live as long as I have. My life is my greatest accomplishment, I think.

Without getting too personal, can you share a little about your home life? I live alone, alas, with my black cat, Sheba (pathos, anyone?). I spend about 10 hours a day on the computer, too much of it spent directing my little symphony orchestra to convince people to read my books. I am grateful to my best friend, Gary, who lives in the next building to mine, without whom I might get out far less than I do, to plays and concerts and museums and coffee and…the usual big city stuff.

What inspires and challenges you most in writing?  My ever-active mind, which is like an industrial-strength popcorn popper churning out an endless flow of thoughts and ideas which I then enter into the computer in various ways. I will not be here forever, so I am almost obsessed with preserving in some form as much of my life and myself as I can. Words are my posterity.

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You’ve probably answered this question a hundred times, but please indulge as our readers and fellow writers) would like to know: Do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing or plot out your storylines?

I’ve always felt that, while detailed plotting works for some writers, plotting in advance, other than the sketchiest of ideas where I want to go, would be like wearing concrete boots. I sit down at the computer and turn my mind on, then just sit at the computer and watch what my fingers have typed. (Okay, it’s not quite that easy, but I often surprise myself by what appears there.) The classic example of this, which I’ve quoted often, happens in “The Good Cop,” book #3 of the Dick Hardesty series. I have Dick walk into a bar to pick up a local gay paper and…with absolutely no planning on my part…he meets Jonathan Quinlan, who turns into the love of his life and with whom he has shared every book since. I’m still both amazed and delighted to tell this story. How do you deal with the constant distractions such as blogs, FB, promo and real life (like that dreaded daytime job)?  I’m fortunate enough not to have a daytime job, and it often seems my life is one long series of distraction. Like trying to run between the raindrops, I just do the best I can. I do admit, lately, to have been very negligent on working on my current WIP, but I’ve decided not to let myself get too upset by it. I’ll know when it’s time.

You currently have two gay mystery/suspense series known to fans as the “Dick Hardesty” and “Elliott Smith” mysteries, with the Hardesty mysteries at fourteen books now! How do you sustain serialized, continuing characters? 

One of the nice things about a series is that I–and the reader–get to know each of the recurring characters as real people, and just as real people change and evolve over time, so do the characters in a series. Of all my characters, I think Jonathan has evolved the most, from an awkward young kid who Dick tended at times to treat as a surrogate son to a full partner in the relationship. The addition of Joshua, Jonathan’s young nephew, to the series had solidified many of both Dick and Jonathan’s traits.

Well, I’m waiting for The Serpent’s Tongue…Dick Hardesty #15…to be released

As am I, Jon…as am I. I have never had a shred of patience, and while one might think patience would come with age, one would, in my case, be wrong.

Have had you ever had to deal with homophobia after your gay novels are released, and if so, what form has it taken?

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I can honestly say I have never encountered any overt homophobia surrounding my books. I’m sure there must be someone out there who has it, but I’m not aware of it, thank God. I do not suffer bigots gracefully.

Last question; can you share with us a little about your current release and/or WIP? One of the reasons I have been neglecting work on Cameron’s Eye, book #5 of the Elliott Smith paranormal mysteries is that I have been concentrating on having all my books done as audiobooks. I’ve become intrigued with audiobooks and their ability to reach out to markets regular print and e-books cannot; specifically to the blind and dyslexic, as well to those who enjoy listening to novels while traveling to and from work or longer distances. I’m going to start beating the drums for giving audiobooks (as well as all other forms of books) as holiday presents; they’re the perfect gift and you don’t have to go any further than your computer to shop for them.

On behalf of the Facebook Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Group, thank you for giving us a little of your time today, answering questions fans of the genre really want to know.

And I am really grateful to you and your readers for allowing me this opportunity for my “orchestra” to play a few selections.

UPDATE – December 19, 2015

All of Dorien Grey’s Dick Hardesty Mysteries are currently being re-released by Untreed Reads, the most recent, The Bottle Ghosts, a Dick Hardesty Mystery  released December 15, 2015.

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Find Dorien Grey on the web: Dorien’s website is www.doriengrey.com. His Facebook page is still live https://www.facebook.com/dorien.grey His past blog posts: www.doriengreyandme.com.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: One Marine, Hero by Em Lynley

One Marine, Hero

by EM Lynley

He’s a hero to everyone but himself.

Marine helicopter pilot Captain Jake Woodley struggles after receiving the Medal of Honor for a mission where he didn’t bring every man back alive. Being called a hero and having his photo plastered across the news makes him hate himself more. He despises his cushy job flying with the Marine One squadron, carrying the president and other officials, when he’d rather risk something, even death. He gets his wish when he’s ordered to fly a series of classified trips.

Matt “Beau” Beaumont has been relegated to covering the fashion beat after getting downsized from a hard-news position. But an unexpected invitation to a White House dinner might be the boost his career needs. Offering a hot marine an after-dinner blowjob wasn’t on Beau’s agenda, but when Jake takes him up on the proposition, some phenomenal casual sex soon blossoms into a relationship both of them crave.

When Beau’s extracurricular research uncovers defense department funding anomalies, he soon discovers the trouble goes higher than he imagined. Just as events start to make sense, the investigation puts Beau and Jake in deadly danger. It takes a daring play by Jake—risking everything he loves—to uncover the truth.

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Excerpt:

JAKE WOODLEY LONGED to leave the White House as soon as respectfully possible. He hadn’t wanted to go at all, but Colonel Lewis insisted he attend in order to earn his spot back in the POTUS rotation. With the prospect of flying the high-profile missions as incentive, Jake was happy to attend, but he hadn’t realized how fucking boring the dinner would be. But with Lewis there, watching, Jake had only managed two glasses of wine.

Some men from his squadron brought girlfriends or wives, who were thrilled to be at a White House dinner party. Jake couldn’t wait to leave, but the colonel seemed insistent on punishing him, so he couldn’t leave while his CO was still there. Mrs. Lewis appeared to have recovered some of her vitality and positively glowed. She softened the colonel’s sharp edges when they were together, and no one could miss how much the man doted on her.

Once the meal was over, the nightmare portion of the evening began: the guests who insisted on talking to him or asking the same questions about his heroic feats over and over, forcing him to trot out the safest answers he could in order to keep himself from ripping apart inside.

Couldn’t the colonel understand how agonizing this was for Jake? He’d rather get shot down and crawl miles over broken glass than tell one more civilian how it felt to be a hero. He hated the word. He was no hero, and every time someone used the word, it felt like another blow coming down on his body, a beating that wouldn’t end until he was pounded into a lifeless pulp.

He stopped at each of the three bars set up in different rooms and managed a couple of quick tequila shots at each. The resulting buzz provided a layer of protection, but it didn’t make the evening any more bearable.

Almost as bad as the people who asked were those who didn’t say anything. Some gazed at him with admiration and unspoken questions. Others stared at him with pity.

One man, however, stared at him in a way he couldn’t fathom. He seemed to recognize Jake, but with neither the usual hero worship nor pity in his gaze. Jake had spotted him in the library, then at the edge of the ballroom, and now as Jake moved toward the bar, the guy was there.

And again, their gazes met. The man said something to his female companion, a plump, smiling woman, and now he was heading directly for Jake. He wore a stylish tuxedo, but his purple paisley cummerbund looked like something from the Early Elton John Collection.

Was there time to duck into the men’s room or behind the draperies to avoid him? Could he make it to the West Wing door? He knew the Secret Service agent on duty over there tonight, and he’d easily be able to get in to hide from the attention.

“Hey there.”

Too late. Purple paisley guy was two feet from Jake now. “Yeah?” Jake gave the word a particularly rough growl to scare him off. “Uh….” Paisley smiled. He had a nice smile, a knockout smile in fact. He dropped his gaze to the ground in a charmingly shy way, but appealing as that was, whatever he said wouldn’t be anything Jake hadn’t already heard a thousand times.

“Go on, get it out. Say what you came to say or ask me.” Jake tipped his glass for the last mouthful of tequila, then shifted his gaze to the blinding smile right in front of him.

The guy looked him square in the eye. “Would you be interested in a blowjob?”

Jake nearly choked on the last sip. “What?”

“Blowjob?” The guy smiled and melted away the last vestiges of Jake’s icy defenses. “If I’m not your type, you can simply pretend for the best ten minutes of your life or—”

“Ten minutes?”

Hero

“Fifteen?” Paisley’s smile got brighter, elevating the corners of his mouth into a smirk. “Or my friend Laney would be happy to do you. It. Do it to you.”

Jake blinked and looked the guy up and down, then back up again.

“Don’t worry. You’re definitely my type.”

Jake took his time giving the guy a full once-over.

Nice looking. Good body, almost as tall as Jake, and he had the most sinfully lush lips Jake had seen on anyone who wasn’t in porn. When the guy closed the distance between them and crossed into Jake’s personal space, the air between them crackled with sexual electricity. The little pilot light of constant low-level arousal at Jake’s core ignited to a full flame, and every inch of his skin tingled with anticipation.

“Here?”

“Now,” the guy said, the word a delicious promise Jake wanted to cash in. “Now.” It was a statement on Jake’s part. A fully formed decision. The guy’s smile brightened and his chocolate brown eyes danced, mirroring the way Jake’s insides jumbled around with white-hot desire.

The image of his cock sliding between those perfect lips had him hard, and he fought to think clearly enough to decide where to go.

“This way.” Jake turned and headed toward the West Wing, away from the guests. A bathroom, a coat closet. Something. Someplace. Any place.

The Secret Service agent guarding the door at the end of the hall nodded as they approached. “Evening, Captain.” He waved Jake in without requesting his ID or asking about Jake’s companion.

The lights were low in the hallway, and Jake opened the first door he came to, not caring what was on the other side.

Paisley went in, then came out again before Jake could take a step inside.

“Occupied.” He chuckled. “I think Colonel Sanders was in there.

Without his chicken.”

Jake tugged on an elbow and opened the next door.

It was a small conference room lit by a couple of lamps. But they were alone.

He’d barely closed the door behind them when his new friend—best not to ask names—was already on his knees with Jake’s trousers unzipped.

Then Jake’s shorts slid down and a cool breeze caressed his balls. A second later wet heat wrapped around his cock.

“You don’t waste time.”

“Mmmm-mmm.” The guy looked up between the flaps of Jake’s jacket from under thick lashes and smiled around Jake’s dick.

It looked even better than he’d imagined. He leaned against the wall for support because his knees threatened to give out.

With lips, tongue, fingers, Paisley brought Jake to the edge twice before slowing and beginning the build of heat and ache again. Jake ran the fingers of one hand through the straw-colored silk of Paisley’s hair; he needed the other for balance, or he risked falling off the face of the earth.

He closed his eyes and let the pleasure sing through his body, but as he approached the edge for the third or fourth time—he’d lost count—he forced himself to open them. He had to savor the look in those golden eyes as he pumped himself dry down this guy’s throat.

Jake groaned as the pressure built to a crescendo.

“Keep going. Don’t. Slow. Down.” Then it hit like a tidal wave. Though he knew it was coming, it still knocked him for a loop, forcing him to clutch the poor guy’s head to keep from crumpling in a wrung-out heap.

And the look on his new friend’s face was absolutely beautiful.

As Jake tried to catch himself from falling through the earth, he wondered whether a guy this talented could be a hustler. Would he expect money? If the guy charged him a week’s salary, the thrill of doing this in the fucking White House, with this guy, would have been worth it.

The guy planted a couple of soft, sweet, unexpected kisses on Jake’s cock, then slid his shorts back up. The thin cotton was too much for Jake’s sensitive dick, but he didn’t have the energy to protest. He could barely remember anything but the way the guy’s lips and tongue had felt.

“Thank you,” Paisley said as he stood up.

“Why are you thanking me?”

He replied with only a shrug and a shy smile. The guy stepped back one pace, and the room felt like winter had set in. Jake took hold of the guy’s hand.

“I’m Jake.” It had taken him a moment to remember his own name.

“Hi, Jake. Beau.”

 

About EM Lynley

EM Lynley writes gay erotic romance. She loves books where the hero gets the guy and the loving is 11 on a scale of 10. A Rainbow Award winner and EPIC finalist, EM has worked in high finance, high tech, and in the wine industry, though she’d rather be writing hot, romantic man-on-man action. She spent 10 years as an economist and financial analyst, including a year as a White House Staff Economist, but only because all the intern positions were filled. Tired of boring herself and others with dry business reports and articles, her creative muse is back and naughtier than ever. She has lived and worked in London, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., but the San Francisco Bay Area is home for now.

She is the author of Sex, Lies & Wedding Bells, the Precious Gems series from Dreamspinner Press, and the Rewriting History series starring a sexy jewel thief, among others.

Find EM Lynley Online:

emlynley.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/emlynley

twitter.com/emlynley

 

 

Excerpt: After The Horses (A Dan Sharp Mystery) by Jeffrey Round

EXCERPT: AFTER THE HORSES

by Jeffrey Round

Chapter 2 – “Tall in the Saddle”

The Saddle—or more correctly the Saddle and Bridle, as it was christened—had opened at the outset of the first AIDS decade. Back then it catered to a generation of gay men who felt they’d found themselves at last, only to discover that in finding themselves many would lose their lives and their friends far too early and in extremely unpleasant ways. The ugliness of the disease in its early years cannot be overstated, before drug cocktails and therapies commuted a death decree into a life sentence, but one with no foreseeable chance of pardon.

The bar thrived nevertheless, becoming one of Toronto’s preeminent dance clubs, changing hands and owners several times along the way before ending up in the reaches of one Yuri Malevski, a Macedonian immigrant who came to Canada seeking freedom from discrimination in the Old World. Malevski happily embraced all that was forward thinking about his adopted home, even while a fearsome syndrome was decimating his community in ways far more atrocious than even the worst politicians and religious fanatics had been capable of devising.

Like nearly everyone else in the gaybourhood, Dan had heard of the murdered nightclub owner. Who hadn’t? Over the years, Malevski’s reputation grew. He was praised for being a hard-working community entrepreneur, a generous AIDS charities benefactor, even while rumours proliferated about the deteriorating physical condition of the bar as well as its notorious after-hours activities. And the band played on. Few blamed Malevski for what happened behind the scenes in his club. Drug use was rampant and, despite the risks it entailed, sex had become a free-for-all. One pair of eyes could not be everywhere, they said. Not his place to try and stop it, they said. This was back in the days when the gay community was still reinventing itself, looking for greater acceptance from the world at large as it transformed from social pariah to business success. Who would dare to interfere?

afterthehorses

The old millennium ended and another began. All the while, the club thrived. Malevski became a solid part of the establishment, entrenching himself in the bedrock of the community. Then the murder happened. It was a shock to many, but not to all. The real bombshell was the way his reputation got served up to public censor. It was messy, semen-splattered news of the coarsest sort: a rich pervert who entertained hustlers, drug dealers, drag queens and transsexuals found murdered in his luxury home. The media feasted on it. What newspaper wouldn’t splash it across their front pages, wringing every last cent from a curiosity-starved public? Strangely, in all this, the police were unusually reticent, treating it as an everyday incident, a run-of-the-mill murder rather than the sensational headline material it was proving. That in itself, Dan thought, made it noteworthy. Why downplay the case when publicity might help catch a killer? Still, chasing illegal Cuban boyfriends and other potential murderers wasn’t his thing. Let someone else be heroic—the Dan Sharps of this world needed to be practical.

He passed a muffin shop, letting his eyes roam over the display while noting a dozen ways to flavour something he didn’t particularly want before deciding he didn’t actually need another sugar high. He pictured Donny’s fingers tapping restlessly on the counter whenever he ran out of cigarettes. If he wanted to criticize his friend’s bad habits, it wouldn’t do to have too many of his own.

Dan found the Saddle and Bridle looking as forlorn and neglected as a cast-off lover. Sheets of bare plywood covered the windows. Concert posters had been pasted over the exterior like a second skin. From outside, it appeared to be little more than an overgrown, neo-gothic pub, heavy on the brickwork. Passing by on the street, you might not even register the nature of its clientele unless you stopped to consider the giant mural of two moustachioed men seated together on a black stallion, their smiles gleaming three storeys above the parking lot. Inside told a different tale. The walls were covered with far-more revealing artwork of men in various states of undress and sexual postures—nothing extraordinary for a gay bar, though Dan recalled a rumour the place contained a labyrinthine basement suitable for torture, long-term imprisonment and the deepest, darkest, acts of fetishistic carnality, all just waiting for Vlad the Impaler to return.

He skirted the building, trying first the front then the back door. Both refused right of passage, barring his entry. He was about to step aside and be on his way when he heard a staccato tapping from within.

A dim recollection surfaced through the bric-a-brac of memory: himself as a twenty-something club goer, right before he became a dad and his social life virtually ended overnight, having just had a pass made at him by a drunk whose hands wouldn’t accept “no” for an answer. He’d been upstairs in a corral-like area, surrounded by cowboys-in-drag with their chaps and spurs and Stetsons. This particular wrangler had a lasso strapped to his belt, though he’d looked too inebriated to use it even if he wanted to.

Freeing himself from the man’s insistent pawing, Dan pushed his way through a maze of black-lit rooms and out a private exit leading to a back alley fire-escape. At the bottom, he passed a trellised garden where a clutch of drag queens slinked about, cocktails in hand, before making good his escape onto the street. It was months before he returned.

Looking up now, Dan saw the fire-escape, smiling to find it intact after all those years. It touched ground in the back alley where he’d ended his youthful adventure. A quick climb up a rickety set of stairs and the exit door opened at his touch.

He stepped in and looked around. There was no one about—and therefore no one to see him doing something he shouldn’t be doing. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d overstepped his bounds and trespassed in order to get a firsthand look at something that conspired to keep him out.

PumpkinEater

Inside the bar, chaos reigned—if not supreme then at least supremely confident in its ability to make mock of the works of men. Floors were ripped up, ceiling tiles missing, walls in a shambles. The police had done their worst, tearing the place apart and tossing things aside in search of evidence of the nefarious intrigues that had gone on in the afterhours. There was no respect for the recently deceased, it seemed. What is a man remembered for? Dan wondered. The good things he does in his life, the legacy he leaves behind or for whether he partied to excess once in a while? Yuri Malevski had done favours for the gay community, but he’d also been the sort of man whose life harboured dark secrets. Nothing new in the annals of time, but clearly whoever had been through the bar in the days since his death had found little about him to honour.

He glanced around. There, behind what was once a very busy martini bar, lay the entrance to the rumoured dungeons of debauchery and sexual abandon. He tripped the latch and opened the door. Steps led down into darkness, but the lights still worked when he flipped the switch, illuminating a swath of wooden stairs descending to who knew where. He followed, wary of broken boards and slippery footing. It wouldn’t do to twist an ankle while trespassing.

At the bottom lay an overturned burlap bag with grain spilling from a tear in its side. A large rat waddled away at Dan’s approach. Cartons of empties were stacked along one wall, the wooden shelves old and dusty. The entire space was no more than twenty by twenty feet. No whips, chains or manacles, no implements of torture anywhere in sight, just a dusty, neglected storage space. Poor Vlad.

 

http://www.jeffreyround.com/