Giving Up- Excerpt

Giving Up- Truth or Dare book 3
Release Date: August 5th

Can Brandon Blake change? 

He stood automatically, reaching out to shake her hand in greeting and murmuring polite good mornings.  A slight heat rose in his cheeks and he hoped to hell the blush wasn’t visible.  And why the fuck a simple handshake for the doctor should cause him to blush he didn’t know, but something about her made him feel self-conscious and uncertain in ways he hadn’t felt since he was a wild sixteen year old serving as his beautiful mother’s escort to Hollywood’s wild parties.

            He stiffened his spine and forced himself to meet those sharp blue eyes, unwittingly squeezing her hand just a little too tightly.  He watched as the blue eyes flared wide then narrowed, and Dr. Grey gently removed her hand from his.  The flush on his cheeks grew and he felt his stomach churn alarmingly.  He and Trick were about to have more in common than he’d ever thought possible if he couldn’t calm down soon. 

            Dr. Grey led him into her office and he took the same seat he normally did on the plush leather chair in front of the desk.  Somewhat surprised, he noticed that instead of taking the chair adjacent to him as she usually did Dr. Grey seated herself behind the neat steel and glass desk.  Crossing her hands on the desktop, she met his questioning gaze calmly, and Brandon let out the breath he hadn’t realized he held.  His roiling emotions calmed as he took in her stillness, and even his churning stomach was soothed.  This was different, but not wrong. 

            Or so he thought until she spoke. 

            “I’m afraid, Brandon, that I can’t keep you on as patient any longer.”

            Panic flared.  “What? Why not?”  His stomach heaved and he forced himself to breathe deeply through his nose, swallowing rapidly to prevent the consequences of the sudden lurch.  Nothing of his feelings showed on his face.  He had twenty-three years of practice at making sure of that. He couldn’t have heard correctly. 

            “Because I can’t help you in a professional capacity.  I’ve given you the tools to manage your problem, you’re an intelligent man and you can resolve your issues from here on your own.”  Her voice remained the same as it always had, soothing and cool, her gaze untroubled and calm. 

            Damn. How had he come to depend on that calmness in such a few meetings?  How would he deal without the soothing effect her voice had on his nerves and stomach?  Quickly pulling in resources to hide the shocking sense of abandonment he suddenly felt, Brandon grasped the tiny thread of anger and blew it up. 

            He surged upright and waved his phone in her face.  “Fuck.  I could have been at the office heading off a dozen major crises!  See this?  It’s called a cell phone. I have it with me all the time.  Next time you need to change our plans, use it!”


In the Kitchen with LeeAnn Sontheimer Murphy

JULY release - Kinfolk (Champagne Books) by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Some of my ideas spring full-blown from the muse and others start with a single line.  KINFOLK began as a line - the exact sentence did not survive into the final cut but the original idea was "She stepped off the bus in Springdale, Arkansas. " I had the image of a woman, fleeing some kind of danger who went home to her native Arkansas to hide even though Arkansas had become an unfamiliar place to her.    This story holds a special place in my writer's heart because, although not the first to find publication, it was the first of my longer fiction works to net a contract.   When it debuts this July, it represents the fruition of years of hard work and the realization of dreams.   The dedication is to my grandmother, Granny, who could have been a writer of amazing power if she had the opportunity.   It's a long tale but in essence, she told me as a teen, noting my  budding way with words, that although she couldn't become a writer so I did.   


The last thing that writer Katherine Vaughn expects when she flees California for her native Arkansas is to fall in love, especially not with a former Navy SEAL and her cousin’s widower. Nor did she expect that the thugs seeking retribution for her late husband’s drug debts would follow her back to Arkansas.
As she and Ben Hatfield fall in love, their happiness faces trials that include an unexpected illness and his grandfather’s death. After Ben’s apparent death, Katherine has little time to mourn after the California drug lord’s minions kidnap her in a final effort to collect on the debt. Her life is in jeopardy as she wonders if there is any hope left in her heart.
Kinfolk is a novel about the power of love.

And recipe....since Katherine loves to cook old-fashioned, down home country food, here is her biscuit recipe:

Baking Powder Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 soft shortening
1 cup buttermilk

Sift flour into large mixing bowl.  Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Cut shortening into the dry mixture using either a pastry knife or two forks.  Make a hole in the center and pour the buttermilk into it.  Blend gently until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough onto a large floured surface (cutting board, platter, etc.).  Kead about a dozen times until dough becomes pliable and then roll out to about a 1 inch thickness.  Cut with a bsicuit cutter and place on a prepared cookie sheet or biscuit pan.  Bake 10-12 minutes in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven or until brown.


Story Orgy Presents: Just A Cat

Greeting Story Orgy Readers!  
Welcome to another Monday of M/M Romance fun!  
Just a few announcements to get out of the way here, first!  
Story Orgy is taking reader prompts for a December, holiday themed Anthology.  Email your person, place and thing to storyorgy@ymail.com by July 31 and your Orgiasts will spend the dog days of summer writing a holiday story just for you!  
In other news, you can like us on Face Book for all the latest news about the Orgy.  Also, several Orgiasts participated in the Hot July Days event sponsored by the Good Reads M/M Group over at Good Reads.  If you're not a member there, join up.  The Hot July Days event alone brings you 113 free reads!  There's always tons of fun to be had perusing the picture threads or skimming the various book threads.  When I"m looking for something to read, that's where I head!  

Thanks as always to the lovely Jade Baiser who spoils us with her beautiful art.  This particular picture was particularly heart wrenching, don't you think?

 Just A Cat

Flip Walters didn’t care that Trey’s Friday night flirt had evidently become a Saturday morning something else.  He didn’t care that the beefy blond with the bold green eyes was looking him over with evident interest either.  Actually, that part was the least surprising of all, as he stood in the doorway of Trey’s plebian little apartment in a nondescript little neighborhood wearing a pair of swim shorts and his trademark flip flops and nada.  He knew he looked good, he spent enough money making fucking sure of it.  Not that looking good had ever gotten him what he really wanted in life.  It hadn’t even been enough to keep the one thing that had always been his, as long as he could remember.  Still, it was habit.  He kept it up, the salon visits, the shopping expeditions, the gym, the tanning; it was all he had left, all he was good for.  He was Flip.  Irreverent and useless, but charming and decorative, indulged by his parents, grandparents, friends and family. 
Right now though, he didn’t care about any of it.  The money, the credit cards, the fast cars and party loving friends.  The only time in his life that he’d felt as miserable as he did right now, had been six months ago when Trey, Terrence Albright Richards III, had packed his bags and moved out of the elegant, sexy little loft they shared. He didn’t even care about the havoc Trey’s decision had wreaked on his life. 
All he cared about was getting to Trey, feeling Trey’s comforting arms wrap around him.  Muscles could stand there and watch him cry too, he didn’t fucking care about that either.  He’d gotten used to crying in the last six months, had resigned himself to bursting into tears at odd moments.  But this was different. This was the last straw.  He survived Trey’s departure.  He couldn’t take any more loss.
Maybe he shouldn’t have come here, maybe he didn’t have that right any more, and maybe Muscles would be within his rights to shut the door in his face.  He didn’t really know what the guy was to Trey, and if his world were more concrete at this moment, he might be prepared to feel angry or even jealous that Trey had replaced him so quickly and with someone who was so obviously, just more, than Flip would ever be. 
But he wanted Trey now, needed Trey, and there had never really been a time in his life before when Trey hadn’t been there for him when he needed him, or even wanted him. He had to have faith that there was this much left between them, that Trey would be there for him one more time.
“Yes?” Muscles asked, sounding cautious.
“Trey,” Flip pushed the word out, twisted to see around the blond into the dreary depths of the apartment. 
“Does he know you?” Muscles asked dubiously, giving Flip the eye from top to bottom, lingering in places that would have made Flip preen a year ago.
Does he know me? What the fuck? Flip dashed at the tears on his cheeks, and scowled at Muscles.  “Of course he fucking knows me.  I’m Flip.”
The blank stare that garnered pissed him off.  Everyone in his life knew who Trey was. Six months apart and Trey didn’t even mention him? “My picture is on his nightstand by the bed.  We’ve known each other forever.  “Trey!” He yelled. 
“Who is it?” Trey came up from the depths of the apartment, a white terry cloth towel wrapped about his waist and peered over Muscles’ golden shoulder at Flip.  His sleepy eyes widened in surprise.
The sight of Trey hit him in his weakened state like a physical blow.  Flip tried to remember whose fault it was that he hadn’t seen Trey for six months.  Probably his.  Everything eventually ended up at his door.  He could have called, could have come around and seen Trey.  Could have let his hurt and pride go sooner. 
As expected though, Trey reached immediately for Flip, bumping hips with Muscles to get him to step aside. “Flip, what is it? Come in.”
Flip cast a scathing glance at the sheepish looking pile of muscles.  “I need you.” That was the bottom line.  He walked into Trey’s comforting arms and felt the ache in his heart ease a bit.  Trey would know what to do. Trey always knew what to do.
“Of course.”  Flip’s world narrowed to the blue of Trey’s sympathetic eyes, the familiarity of his face.  He was vaguely aware of the door shutting behind them as he let Trey guide him through the living area of the apartment. 
He barely registered the bleak pedestrian look of the place, a stark contrast to the uptown loft he and Trey had shared a year ago.  Their place had been sleek and sexy, minimalist and expensive.  This place was closed, cramped and looked to be furnished from an IKEA yard sale.  Definitely not the sort of environment to let Trey shine. 
But when Trey’s dad lost everything and Trey had to get a job, he’d refused to live with Flip in the loft anymore.  Turned out his oldest friend, best friend, lover, had more pride than either of them could stomach.  He wouldn’t let Flip support them, wouldn’t live where he couldn’t contribute equally to their expenses.  Which was fine.  Except he wouldn’t hear of Flip sacrificing any part of his charmed life so they could be together either. 
In the end, Flip couldn’t stand the place without Trey, so he’d sold it and moved back home. His parents were thrilled.  He didn’t care.  Home was as good a place to be as any other without Trey. 
And that’s where his new trouble came from. Six months ago he’d been so furious, so betrayed, he’d stupidly sold the loft, and disposed of all the things he’d had there that reminded him of Trey.  Everything from their past was gone.  No pictures, no vacation souvenirs, concert tickets or art.  Everything was gone except one thing, and now he was losing that too.  It just wasn’t fair.
He allowed Trey to lead him to the patio overlooking the pool.  Ewww.  He hoped to God Trey didn’t actually swim in that public venue.  Flip felt Trey’s arms wrap around him, and they leaned back against the building, Trey’s whisper a soft caress against Flip’s ear.  Any other time he would have reacted strongly to the familiar pose, the perfection of feeling, physical and emotional that came with Trey’s closeness. 
But now, he couldn’t pull his mind from the mire, the grief that threatened to overwhelm him.  He’d made it this far, and now with the security of Trey’s arms around him, his voice soothing away the terror he felt, he could say it.  He could. 
“She’s dying, Trey and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”

 If you enjoyed my post this week, hop on over to the other Orgiasts and see what they've done with our beautiful artwork today! 


Because I Love It

Thanks to Story Orgy's JR Boyd for posting this.  I love the video- the song's all right too... <3

Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955