Flash Fiction Friday


Movie Night

"Why are we watching Dr. Zhivago?"
Greg shrugged.
"Isn't there any Psych on?" I grumbled, but flopped down on the sofa, laying my head in my lover's lap. I glanced at the screen occasionally, but my mind wandered.  His warmth distracted me. I turned my head and breathed out hard, sending a wave of hot moist air through worn denim. I shifted. My next breath hit the flat plane of his abdomen.
I tongued the silver metal button, traced the waist band of his jeans with damp lips. Didn't need to lay a hand on him to seduce this man

Like that? Check out these Flashers! 

New Excerpt: The Librarian

Coming Soon 


Breathless Press

The Librarian

(see more here)

Valentine Michaels has just taken a vow of celibacy. 

Adrian Gray is going to convince him to break it.


Adrian writing in purple ink stunned him more than the idea that Adrian had a crush on him. After all, they'd been down that road once before. Purple ink was so not Adrian. Black. Or Blue. Traditional. Classic. That was Adrian.
"Yeah, did you like it?  Here, grab a cup of coffee and a pastry and let's take a walk."  The other man turned and walked out the door, apparently assuming that Val would follow.
Val grabbed a coffee and hurried to catch up with Adrian. Jeez. Now what would he do? He had to let Adrian down gently. No sense ruining what had been a perfectly good friendship. No way could he ask Adrian to help with the redecorating project now. Distance, not closeness, was called for.
 "Listen, Adrian, we have to talk. I really meant it when I said I'm not interested in men right now and honestly," he touched the other man's arm sympathetically, "you're just not my type, you know?  So, much as I appreciate all the little gestures, I just feel friendship for you, okay?"
The other man's blue eyes sparkled at him, in apparent—amusement?  "Are you done, Val?"
"Well, yeah, that's what I wanted to say. No hard feelings, right?"
"Right, Val. Let me set you straight on a few things before we talk about feelings, okay?  First of all, I noticed you were down Friday, so I sent you the flower, yeah. I love those bird of paradise flowers. The colors are so sunny and cheerful. Then this morning, I wanted to talk to you about something, and sorry, but the coffee and pastries were as much because I knew I'd be hungry as for you. Yeah, you're hot as hell, but I know I'm not your type. And you know I know it, too. That's why you've been ramming tales about your wild and crazy love life down my throat for the past ten years, isn't it?  I've heard about every new man as soon as you've met him, and every break up when it inevitably comes along. Why do you do that, Val?  It's not for your own benefit, you know? You've been making sure that I knew that you weren't interested in hooking up with me all these years. I fucking get it, okay? You don't seem to see that I'm not the same man today as ten years ago. And that's your loss, not mine. I've done things, experienced things in the last few years that have helped me define who and what I am, in and out of bed, Val. Too bad you can't say the same."
Val swallowed and pulled his hand back. He shook his head as his brain whirled trying to keep up, to comprehend all the data Adrian threw at him in one long speech. "Whoa. Sorry. I just talk while I'm working, you know? I…shit…sorry."


Holiday Flash: Christmas with Jacob

Holiday Flash for you all... 

Christmas With Jacob

Malcolm lay stretched out on the sofa, watching Jacob decorate the small pine tree he'd brought down to the cabin.  He'd tried to place a few ornaments himself, but after being gently corrected for the third time, he'd giving up. He sipped hot apple cider and nibbled on the chocolate chip cookies he'd baked. Jacob had tree decorating down to a science, apparently, and every bulb and bow needed to be placed at precise intervals or the "Whole effect would be ruined."

Since he had no intention of inadvertently ruining any aspect of their very first Christmas as an official couple, he decided to turn up the Christmas music and just enjoy the show of supple muscles flexing and sexy strips of skin peeking out as Jacob's purple t-shirt rode up when he stretched to wrap a string of popcorn around the small tree.

His blood warmed slowly and he sighed softly in contentment. This was what he'd missed most over their time apart. Yeah, he'd missed the most amazing sex of his life, but the contentment of being with someone you love, someone who loved you, that was what he'd rather die than give up again.

That was the reason he held back, watching, taking his cue from Jacob's actions, trying to read every little expression and reaction.  He didn't ever want to misread his lover again.  He closed his eyes tightly, trying to shut out the memories of those long, dark years. Years when he'd felt alone, even in the bosom of his family.

Soft lips brushed lightly over his. Malcolm smiled, keeping his eyes screwed tight shut. He darted out his tongue, licked the teasing lips, parted them and swept inside. A smooth hand ran down his stubbled jaw, and he wondered briefly if he should have shaved before Jacob arrived. He shook away the thought, brought both hands up to cup Jacob's head, winding his fingers in the man's dark curls. His breath caught, his heart rate sped. Jacob tasted of apple and cinnamon and home.

His arms lowered and he crushed Jacob to him, pulling the man across his body so they lay together on the sofa. He pushed his erection against the cradle of Jacob's thighs. It might not be about sex, but sometimes, sex seemed like the only time he clearly understood what Jacob wanted and needed. The only time he really felt like he was what Jacob wanted and needed. His tongue plunged deep, stroked along slick surfaces, chased after Jacob's to lure it into his own mouth.

Jacob broke away to kneel in front of him with a short, mirthless laugh. "What's going on, Malcolm?"

"Nothing." He stared into curious blue eyes. "What's going on with you?"

Jacob pulled away.  "The tree is done. But you're just lying here. You were frowning. You don't like it? We can go with a more eclectic look, if you want?"

"No!" He cast a cursory glance at the tree. "It's fine. You like it, that's what matters."

"Since when, Malcolm?" Jacob asked intently, frowning at him. "Since when is it only what I like that matters?"

Malcolm shrugged.  He sipped from his mug, grimacing as he realized it had cooled. "I want you to be happy with me, this time around." Surely that was obvious?

Jacob scowled. A fine boned hand landed square in the middle of his chest as Jacob leaned over him. "Since when? All this time, I thought we were doing things differently this time. I thought we were going to do things right this time, not repeat the same mistakes."

"I'm not making any mistakes." Not taking any chances that Jacob would run away again, would leave him for someone else.

"Yeah, you are."

Malcolm froze, pushing up, shoving Jacob away. "Seriously? You're just looking for a reason to leave, aren't you? I've done everything you wanted, when you wanted, the way you wanted. If that's not enough..."

"It's not."

The pain ripped through him, leaving him gasping for breath. He needed a drink.  He reached blindly for the mug, succeeded only in knocking it over so the cold cider spilled across the pine table and dripped onto the floor.  It might as well have been his blood. He stood, frantically searching the room for his keys, finally finding the lump in his pocket.

"What are you doing?"

"I need a drink.  There's no alcohol here, ergo, I'm going to get some."

"No, you're not. Just us, remember? No booze, no cutting, just plain and simple, us and communication."

Malcolm sank to the floor, buried his head in hands.  He drew in a deep breath, blinked back the moisture in his eyes. "Yeah. Just us." He'd nearly fucked things up again, with the best of intentions, yes.  He snorted weakly.  "You said it, didn't you? We really did nearly fuck up this peanut butter sandwich trying to make a cake."

Hands slid around the nape of his neck, warm breath bathed his temple before a soft kiss landed at the corner of his eye. "Yeah, but we're not quitting, and we're not giving up. Now, I want to do something the way you want to do it, not the way you think I want to."

Malcolm glanced at the tree. "The tree is fine. I really don't want to re-do it."

A hand landed on his cock, squeezed. "Yeah, not the tree. You can tell me your theory on holiday decorating some other time."

   Light dawned as the buttons to his jeans were flicked open one by one.  "Oh, but you know how I like to do this."

A warm pink tongue lapped at his belly button.  "I do? But tell me you don't sometimes want to do it a little different...a little like that first time."

Groaning, Malcolm squeezed his eyes shut again.  His hand fisted in Jacob's curls, his hips thrust forward. "In the elevator."


"I was an ass."

"You were amazing."

"You want to do that over again?"

A sharp slap on his thigh. "I know you like that, rough and fast, and I want that if and when you want it. Love doesn't always have to be slow and careful. Sometimes it's a fucking storm that picks you up and tosses you around until you land battered and spent and grateful to be alive."

"Bed, now." Malcolm rose, towing Jacob behind him as he raced across the room, shedding clothes as they went.

Crawl in Bed with Patricia Logan

Crawling Into Bed With
Patricia Logan
And a Good Book

*crawls across bed* Important things first, are these sheets silk or cotton? Errm… 600 thread count… Something Egyptian… JK… I am a former retailer… Egyptian cotton. *rubs her hands across the softness* Feel this, pumpkin… Better than silk all day long and perma-press… do they use that term anymore? Sorry, I’m just old… *blushes*

*blinks*  Ummm... that's nice, Patti.  What are you wearing? *waggles eyebrows* Naughty Lee… *stands and twirls in front of the hottie* See… Latex… just kidding… PVC… okay, no, flannel.

*chuckles* I thought pvc was that white plastic stuff they made pipes out of for plumbing? What?  What are we snacking on in bed while we read tonight? Stuffed Twizzlers and wine coolers… *rolls eyes* Seriously, Tequila Lee? That’s a loaded question… How many Tequila Friday’s have we spent together? Hmm? *grins*

*sips tequila*  Well, as long as it's the good stuff...If I open this nightstand drawer, what will I find? Hang on… *rummages, looking over her shoulder* Okay… the coast is clear… um, dust bunnies, cuticle nippers, pens and OH MY!!! I didn’t see that!!! I know what you’re thinking… but it is every woman’s fantasy… Taco Bell Hot Sauce… What? I’ve been married 26 years… *narrows eyes* What were you thinking?

*clears throat* Hmmm... Taco Bell Hot Sauce, huh?  Right. Do you roll up in the blankets like a burrito, or kick the covers off during the night? I *clears throat* am a very refined sleeper. I never toss and turn, roll up in blankets or kick the covers, neither do I snore… I… just… sleep… like an angel from heaven, in one position and when I awaken, my bed looks as though it’s never been slept in atall…

*snorts* Okay then.  Can I put my cold feet on your calves to warm them up? Lee, you naughty man! I’m thrilled! Of course… *snuggles up to the hottie* *slaps hand* Down boy! I’m taken, by a very jealous man… Oh, but so are you! *grins*

*winces* that wasn't my hand, Patti.  And it wasn't intentional! What are we reading?
“A Very Good Year” was released December 17th and “Gypsy Knight” will be released this month, January, 2012. Next month, please look for “The Slave’s Mask” part of a Valentine’s day trilogy with Lisa Worrall and Sue Brown called “Valentine’s Day Masquerade” due out February 4th

The kiss deepened and Dmitri let Mav take him right down along with him. He’d never been kissed by someone that he wanted to kiss back. Marcus had taken from him. But this was different. Maverick was giving to him and it had Dmitri heady and reeling under the big cowboy’s onslaught. His cock hardened to a steel pole, something he didn’t think he’d ever experienced with Marcus. Something he never wanted to experience with the filthy pedophile. He knew Mav must have felt it because the big man’s own substantial cock was grinding against Dmitri, seeking the inevitable release Dmitri also needed.

Dmitri moaned, vibrating all the way from his chest up and into Mav’s mouth. That was all the encouragement the cowboy needed. He disconnected his lips from Dmitri and leaned his forehead against the smaller man’s. His breathing came in short pants, his chest heaving as he looked into Dmitri’s lust-filled gaze.

“Knew you wanted it,” Mav declared matter of factly. He rocked his cock against Dmitri’s hips again, which were held in place by Mav’s massive paws. “Feel that? Want it too,” he said before diving back down onto Dmitri’s lips. Dmitri could do nothing but open to him, this time eagerly, as he reached up and clutched at Maverick’s shirt, pulling his head down toward him hard.

“Oh God!” Dmitri managed to groan as Mav’s lips left his own, blazing a flaming trail down the side of his jaw to Dmitri’s neck. Dmitri yelped as Mav bit down on the soft skin then moaned as the cowboy’s tongue snaked out and soothed the area. “Yeah,” Dmitri heard himself saying. “Yeah, mm… yeah there,” Dmitri sighed as Maverick latched onto the spot and began sucking softly. A shot of pure lust zinged through Dmitri when Mav groaned in his ear.

“Wanna suck you,” he whispered, his gravelly voice sending shivers down Dmitri’s spine. “Wanna suck the come outta you now, Dmitri. Wanna taste all that spunk you got for me. Come on… You want it?”


“Bend over the bed and spread your legs. Accept your plug.” Master ordered. Slave moved to obey, still unsteady on his feet. Master noted that he trembled with fear. He moved away, walking to the sideboard and opened several drawers, removing an object. He knew that the minute he walked away, Slave’s terror would ramp up. There was a special bond between Slave and Master and it was the Master’s place to set the tone in their relationship. He had the responsibility to make sure that his Slave was well cared for but not at the expense of his absolute submission. He opened the bed table drawer bringing out the jar of cream he would need and then moved in behind Slave. He placed his left hand on the small of Slave’s trembling back. His hot red ass, blushed beautifully after his spanking.
“You have nothing to fear from me, Slave.” He bent to reassure the young man, knowing that as his towering form surrounded Slave’s back, his body would be very intimidating to the vulnerable sub. “I am going to insert a plug into your back hole. It will stretch you and it will hurt at first but you will become accustomed to it. You will stay aroused because it will press upon your gland, deep within and you will be ready for me whenever I desire you, stretched to accommodate me.” He felt his small sub shudder beneath him, but to his credit, the man didn’t utter a sound, not so much as a whimper. “Have you ever had a plug before, Slave?”
“No, Master,” came the shaky reply.
“Good, then I will be the first to do this to you, along with many other things that I have planned for the week.” He knew how smug he sounded and he waited for, and was rewarded by a tiny shiver. He ran both hands from the small of Slave’s back down to the blushing tight globes of his ass. He massaged them for a moment, drawing a whimper and then Master, separated the cheeks with his two very large hands. At the first glimpse of Slave’s tight hole, he went rock hard beneath his silky robe. “Ahh, you are very beautiful my Slave,” he growled.
“Thank you, Master,” came the muffled answer.
Master let go of the young Slave’s ass cheeks and picked up the plug that he had selected. It was curved at one end, designed to press constantly against the young man’s prostate and larger than the dildo he had used on Slave the night before. He had selected it for its size to stretch Slave for his own cock. Though Master was longer and thicker than any of the glass phalluses in the velvet box, he still knew that a man of his size would most certainly hurt a small man like Slave if he wasn’t very careful with him, and he had no desire to damage his beautiful cherub.
Master opened the jar of cream and spread a liberal amount all over his fingers and then slipped a finger into the crack of Slave’s ass. Slave jumped, probably because of the cold against the heated flesh. Master found Slave’s tiny hole and massaged it for only a moment before inserting it, sliding it deeply within as he told Slave to breathe easy and relax. He heard a tiny moan as he worked Slave’s hole, thrusting more deeply as he prepared him for the plug. Slave’s entire body began blushing and Master loved the sight of it. He ran a practiced palm up and over Slave’s bottom as he inserted a second finger. Slave gasped and Master leaned in and kissed the globe, he’d just been touching.
“It’s all right my pretty slave. You will take whatever I give you because you know it pleases me. You also know that I will push you to take more and more. Soon you will be begging for a good hard fucking. I have a large cock, Slave, and it will be hard for you to take, but take it, you will.” Slave moaned as Master scissored his fingers inside his back passage, opening him up as he gave him an internal massage. A few minutes later, Slave was riding the fingers. Master smiled to himself and slipped in a third, stretching him wide.
“Master!” Slave gasped. “Too much! It’s too much! Ahhh…”
“It’s not too much. You will take what I give you and though it may hurt, your pain brings me pleasure, so you will endure it,” Master growled low.
“Ahh, ahh, mmm… yes, Master,” Slave groaned quietly. He writhed on the bed in front of Master and began humping the sheets below.


Gypsy Knight Blurb:

Gavin Kentworth, gypsy half-breed knight, has just returned to Sheffield, the estate in England where he grew up. He’s brought along his lover Malik Shahosseini, a warrior crusader who fought by his side in the Holy Land. Gavin has returned to keep a vow to his friend and mentor the old Lord Sheffield, who he’s just buried. He is to serve the young heir to a mighty dynasty, the teenaged Thomas James, Lord of Sheffield.
Gavin is honored to serve young Thomas but has forgotten the beauty of his older sister Bree. Malik, though deeply in love with Gavin knows that his lover must marry and have sons. He sees Bree as Gavin’s opportunity for everlasting love. When Gavin finds himself falling for the beautiful young virgin, he is torn in two, never wanting to give up the man he also loves.
When Lord Thomas becomes the target of a vicious killer and his people are continuously harassed, the knights realize that they have more than love to worry about. Then, unexpectedly, Gavin’s shameful past comes back to visit him as well. Join our three in an all consuming ménage of action, adventure, sex that burns up the sheets and love. 

My blog is : http://naughtypassions.blogspot.com/?zx=b5a189a9c8296804 My email address is patricialogan.author@yahoo.com and you can always find me on FB at https://www.facebook.com/#!/ploganauthor

Crawl in Bed with Raine

_Raine Delight
*crawls across bed to snuggle in the pillows* Hi! Important things first, are these sheets silk or cotton?
Raine: *looks on the tag* Cotton…I find Silk sheets too cold in the winter. Though if I had a big strong man, *snuggles next to Lee*, I am sure I would be warm enough *winks*

*shivers*  You're pretty warm. What are you wearing?
Raine: Well damn….um…*looks down* Lounge pants, black tank top and fuzzy socks. No snickering. *glares at Lee* It’s my writing outfit, thankyouverymuch.

*blushes*  Well, it's not like I'm not out running around in my flannel pj's.  I wasn't being critical, honest! What are we snacking on in bed while we read tonight?
Raine: oh no, snacking in bed. A no-no for me since crumbs in sensitive areas just doesn’t go over well with me. 

Well, okay.  If I open this nightstand drawer, what will I find?
Raine: *blushes* um…lube, massage oil, silk scarves and handcuffs. Shhh don’t tell anyone...pretty please? *bats eyes at Lee*

*chuckles*  I won't say a word.  Do you roll up in the blankets like a burrito, or kick the covers off during the night?
Raine: Well according to the DH, I am a bed cover hog. *sighs* I can’t help it. I get cold at night.

I've heard that before. In fact, I resemble that remark. Can I put my cold feet on your calves to warm them up?
Raine: EEEkkkk No…*tries to crawl away* Oh no, no cold feet on me…unless I can do the same to you. *starts to stalk Lee across the bed*

*shrinks back against pillows* We better get another blanket, cause if we're both freezing we might bet in trouble here! What are we reading?
Raine: My latest release is part of my Devon Falls Series and is the fifth book in the series. Moonlight and Magic tells of a white tiger shifter who learns the meaning of home is where the heart is when he visits Devon Falls and finds his mate, a woman who has been hurt in love before and doesn’t trust that he will stay around this time.

Can a were-tiger convince one stubborn woman that she is his for all time and show her that falling in love is just as sinful as a chocolate kiss?

Devon Falls 5: Moonlight & Magic
Raine Delight
Secret Cravings Publishing
Coming December 26th, 2011
*I will send you a buy link once it is up on the website*
Paranormal, Shifter, Contemporary Erotic Romance

Dixie Sinclair has watched her cousins all fall in love and now she wants the same. Dared to go to the annual Masquerade ball, Dixie finds the one thing she desires: love…one problem…can she trust that it will last after that one night?

Michael Barnes is a rare white were-tiger who was thrown out of his pride long ago for a trumped up crime, Michael roams the world searching for the one place to call home. Finding that peace in Devon Falls, he finds the one woman who stirs him like no other. Can he convince Dixie that she can trust in him forever?

Sneak peek Excerpt:

Please include any links you'd like to share with readers.

Secret Cravings Publishing: www.secretcravingspublishing.com


Crawl in Bed With Ellis Carrington

Crawling Into Bed With
Ellis Carrington
And a Good Book

* crawls across bed* Important things first, are these sheets silk or cotton?
Flannel! Feel how soft and fluffy! We can really curl up and snuggle in these. I hope you don’t mind Lee, I’m extremely touchy-feely.

I sense danger approaching.  Let's hope Havan doesn't read that part, huh? What are you wearing?
When given the option, I always come to bed in the nude, but it’s getting chilly this time of year. I might opt for something fleecy. It depends on whether you mind me rubbing against you when I get chilly, Lee.

*chuckles* Not sure how that'll work, since I'm usually freezing. What are we snacking on in bed while we read tonight?
Each other? Okay that was just awful, I was thinking like vampires or zombies because you know I write mostly paranormal creatures, and it came out sounding naughty. Can you believe that? Shame on me. I think I recall we share a mutual fondness for roasted nuts…okay, that sounds a little naughty as well, doesn’t it? I’m so sorry…

I"m absolutely certain that that was unintentional, Ellis. I mean, who would believe that we were getting up to anything naughty here?  If I open this nightstand drawer, what will I find?
Let’s see here…I have a copy of “The New Joy of Gay Sex,” What a classic. Excellent pictures in that book. His Name is John by Dorien Grey, a book light and spare AA batteries, and some almond hand lotion and lip balm. It’s important to stay moisturized when the winter air gets dry. Oh, and the charger for my phone and my iPad, because I would climb the walls without technology to tether me to sanity.  

Oh, wow! I totally loved His Name is John!  Dorien Grey is awesome. Do you roll up in the blankets like a burrito, or kick the covers off during the night? I’m either a kicker or a cover stealer. A lot of it depends on the other person. (insert suggestive nudging and winking, here)

I'm not sure, but it sounded like you just threatened to kick me if I didn't let you steal the covers. Can I put my cold feet on your calves to warm them up?
Only if I can rub my legs against you like a cricket!

Oh, fine.  The things I suffer through in order to read a good book! What are we reading?

Amor Prohibido—Available from Amber Allure and Amazon.com


Jacob Freehan has no job, no man, and no motivation. In pain both from ending a long-term abusive relationship and a severe back injury, he escapes to the sunny seaside town of Puerto Morelos, Mexico for a little yoga, a little R&R, and possibly a place to quietly end his own life.

Pakal is a centuries-old immortal Mayan spirit guide who has been charged with getting Jacob on the path toward healing. Romantic involvement with a spirit charge is strictly forbidden, and it has never been a problem...until now. Pakal sees something special in Jacob, but failure to keep a rapidly growing attraction at bay could result in Jacob losing his life and Pakal being condemned to the Underworld forever... 
They were plodding carefully through a large corridor of stalactites and stalagmites that gave the appearance of a giant shark’s mouth, when Jacob stepped absently and slipped. Pakal grabbed Jacob from behind, just narrowly preventing him from being impaled on the business end of a sharp, vertically jutting piece of rock. Many a tourist had landed at the nearby clinic for such accidents.
“I warned you to be careful of where you stepped. It’s slippery in here.” Pakal’s breath was heavy, and he was panting right in Jacob’s ear. His heart thudded against the thinner man’s back. Their bodies vibrated together as if they shared the same skin. They were dangling over a great precipice just then, and for the life of him Pakal was too caught up in the thrill to truly care about the consequences. He tightened his grip around Jacob’s naked waist and his light slipped from his fingers into the water. It was stupid. It was dangerous.
It was too late.
The thought was interesting, but fleeting, as Pakal’s hand dipped inside of Jacob’s loose, surfer-style swim shorts.
“Holy, Jesus. What are you doing?” The words held a note of obligatory protest, but even as he said them Jacob’s ass pushed into Pakal’s crotch, and his forearm and head came to rest against the curve of the cave wall. Both men breathed heavily, totally in sync.
“Keep it down,” Pakal whispered. Gods, Jacob’s cock was smooth. Deliciously soft and hard at the same time. “You’re so tense. I’m helping you to loosen up.”
Jacob’s breath hitched. “Someone could come by here any minute.” Yet even as he said it, Jacob’s hard length fucked faster into Pakal’s wet fist. His dick was perfect against Pakal’s skin; it was long and thin, with only a small amount of soft hair at the base. Pakal’s fingers strayed for a moment to roll Jacob’s weighty sac in his hand, and he longed to feel it inside of his mouth.
“Better be fast, then,” Pakal breathed.
Amor Prohibido is available from Amber Allure and Amazon

Also check out Goodreads for Ellis’s free short story, Yes, Sir. Find out more at EllisCarrington.com, Ellis’s author page on Facebook, or on Twitter @MMbyEllis.


Second Sneak: The Librarian

Coming Jan. 6th

The Librarian

(see more here)

A sneak peak at Chapter 1

Impatiently, Val flipped his powder-blue locks over his shoulder, tapping the little whisk broom against the counter where his supplies were arranged neatly. "Derek, you left me standing around at Paul's for an hour, a place I totally hate by the way, without even a phone call to say you weren't coming, and then I walk past you playing ball in the park with your friends on the way back here. I'm not overreacting!"
He ran a swift eye over his supplies.  Scissors, combs, spray bottle with water, gel, mousse, everything seemed in order. While he prepared his workstation, he listened with half an ear to the deep voice on the other end of the phone, trying to explain or rationalize or whatever, but he wasn't into hearing what Derek had to say. The guy was an immature jerk who put his own wants ahead of everything, even if it meant leaving Val standing in a group of young college kids he barely knew, in a bar he usually avoided like the plague. He'd gone to the party in the first place for Derek. Being stood up while doing something so selfless just pissed him off. Just once in a relationship, Val wanted to find a guy who put him first, who loved him more than sports, friends, and all the other temptations the wicked world offered. "Just forget it, Derek. You don't get it. It's not just last night; it's the whole last few months."
More rumbling and babbling in his ear. He ran a dust cloth over the client's chair and then adjusted its height. Prepping his station at the salon was second nature and required little of his attention. Kind of like listening to Derek. Why the fuck do I listen to this shit? Derek had all the emotional understanding of a two-ton truck. Cute as hell, but clueless about what would melt Val's heart. In fact, Derek might accurately be called a little dense altogether. A little consideration, a romantic gesture or two, would go a long way. Hell, an apology instead of an excuse would probably have gotten him a second chance even this morning. Eh. Who are you kidding? Derek is a symptom, not the illness itself. "Fuck off, Derek. It's over. Do me a favor and lose my number, okay?"
Flipping the phone shut, he shoved it into the pocket of his smock and busied himself cleaning up his workspace. A quick spray of glass cleaner to the mirror, a swipe or two with a rag and he was done. Done with Derek, done with men, done with romance and love and sex, and fuck it all. He could be celibate. Masturbation didn't count as sex, did it? He'd need something if he wasn't getting any.
"Hey, Smurfette, your professor is here."
It happened. Just like that. Ted's sarcastic statement, delivered in his superior nasal twang, made Val's vow of celibacy probably the shortest in history. He put down the small whisk broom he'd been using to clean up his already spotless workstation and dusted his hands off on his powder-blue smock. The smock he had chosen deliberately to match his hair this morning because it highlighted his eyes and skin tone, even though he knew wearing it would invite Ted to make Smurf comparisons,. He'd only just made the solemn promise to himself to take a break from men and get his head screwed on straight before venturing back into the dating arena. He'd been celibate for all of five minutes maybe, if you didn't count the previous six days when he could have had sex if he wanted to with Derek, but he hadn't because he didn't. Want to, that is.
He'd almost forgotten about his regular ten fifteen appointment with Adrian Grey. Val shook his head. He knew better than that. That would be a lie and Valentine Michaels knew better than to lie. He did it so very badly. He could never completely forget about Adrian. They'd been friends for nearly ten years, since they were roommates in the dorm freshman year at NCU. Heck, for a few brief days, they'd been something more than friends, even. Though he didn't usually primp like this for his exes.
Adrian Grey, though hot as hell, exemplified everything Val was not looking for in a man. Where Val liked big, muscular men who towered over him, Adrian was only an inch or so taller than he was. Val preferred blonds, but Adrian wore his straight black hair cut long enough to curl under his jawline in front and curved higher in back to meet the university library's requirement that all male employees wear their hair above the collar. The wire-rim glasses he wore on a fine rope around his neck gave him a distracted air of intelligence and emphasized the almost delicate aspect of his refined features. His jawline was smooth and silky, whereas Val preferred the sexy appeal of rough, two-day stubble.
Everything about Adrian said successful, young professional. Adrian was solid, dependable, and reliable. All those -able words that no one had ever applied to Val. There was intelligence in those blue eyes, and humor in the tilt of that rosy mouth, and sexy didn't begin to describe his lean, firmly muscled body.
"He's a librarian, you ass," he snapped at Ted. "And he's not my type." Type or not, Val found himself checking out his hair in the mirror, adjusting the powdery blue strands as he bit then licked his lips. Ah, well, he was a beautician, wasn't he? He had to look good, even for the clients who didn't want something creative in their personal look. Surreptitiously he breathed on his hand, checking his breath, and swiped his lips with a tube of clear gloss he pulled from the pocket of his smock. And, he reasoned triumphantly, he could appreciate beauty where he saw it for the exact same reason! And Adrian was beautiful in his geeky way.
He looked up and met Adrian's eyes in the mirror as the other man strode to the reception desk to receive his share of the crap that Ted dished out without prejudice. Mmm. That blue oxford really brings out the sparkle in Adrian's eyes, doesn't it?
"Come on back, I'm all ready for you." You have no idea how ready, he snickered inside as he spun the chair and waved Adrian to sit.
He always chatted away while trimming Adrian. It wasn't like he needed to concentrate in order to trim Adrian's hair into the same style he'd been wearing for the past six years. He rolled his eyes. Another thing about Adrian that was so not his type: Adrian resisted change. He even used the same fucking cell phone he'd had in college. Val used to try to convince Adrian to try a new cut once in a while, but Adrian liked what he liked and refused all offers to dye, cut or curl his hair into something other than the style he already wore. The chat kept him distracted from the heat of Adrian's body and the enticing scent of his cologne. It prevented his imagination from running away with him. In the past, the conversation had served as a reminder to himself that Adrian was off-limits.
Gesturing slightly with his scissors and comb, he asked, already knowing what the answer would be, "So, are you going to let me cut this in a different style for you today?"
As expected, Adrian simply shook his head and seated himself in the waiting chair.
"So," Adrian said, when Val found himself tongue-tied for the first time in their long history of Friday morning haircuts, "what's new in your life? Or should I say, who's new in your life? Ted just told me you broke up with Derek."
Val flushed. Was that really the impression he'd given of himself? He came off as the kind of guy who couldn't last a week without a lover?
A bit hurt, he snapped, "What? Like I always have to have a boyfriend? There's no one right now. After that dumb shit Derek, I'm taking a break from men for a while."
Adrian jerked in the chair, and Val cursed. "Be still. You could end up with a new hairstyle whether you want one or not, jumping like that!"
"Sorry. Just what exactly do you mean by taking a break from men?" The other man seemed bewildered for some reason.
"I mean," he declared dramatically, tossing his head, "I've taken a vow of celibacy. I'm swearing off men, drama, and love."
Adrian laughed softly. "Oh. That'll last. The next pretty boy with bulging muscles who strolls through that door for a haircut, or offers to buy you a drink at the bar, and you'll be back in the game, heartbreak forgotten."
Val gasped. "Oh, that was uncalled for! I'm not exactly heartbroken, just reevaluating where I stand on some issues. I'm tired of leading such a messy life. I need to figure myself out before I get involved with anyone else."
"I'm sorry." Adrian apologized. "I shouldn't tease you. It's just that I've known you since we were freshmen at the university, and ever since then, for ten years, you've always had a boyfriend—usually some muscle-bound, superhero jock-type."
Sighing, Val stilled his hands and met Adrian's eyes in the mirror. There was sympathy in the blue depths, but more, there lurked something indecipherable that he hadn't seen before. "It's not just Derek, Adrian." He confessed in a low voice. "It's all of it. Everything. The shop bores me. The bars and clubs are filled with younger and younger people every time I go, and I'm like a babysitter, or God forbid, my mother. Have you heard that crap they call music now?" He shook his head and went back to trimming fractions of hair from silky black locks and brushing strays from the blue oxford collar. Finished, he put aside the tools of his trade.
Adrian rose from his chair and scribbled something on a card he pulled from his shirt pocket. "Here's my cell number. Call me anytime if you need someone to listen or want to get together."
Val stared as the other man turned and left the salon, brushing stray hairs from his shirt as he did so. Down, boy. He glared at his cock where it arched up beneath the buttons of his 501s. He's not your type, remember? No amount of lecturing could convince his dick though. Maybe type was one of the things he'd need to reevaluate. He tossed the number in the trash, almost hoping Adrian would see him do it. Like he needed it. He'd had that phone number memorized for ten years. Not that he used it. Who needed a phone call when Adrian arrived every Friday, regular as clockwork? Slowly he wandered to the front of the shop, past Ted in his black, horn-rimmed glasses and bleach-splattered clothing, and on out the door, starting as he realized he was following Adrian.

Available soon from Breathless Press

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