Crawl in Bed With Nicole Dennis

Crawling Into Bed With Nicole Dennis
And a Good Book

Important things first, are these sheets silk or cotton?
Cotton! To be precise - T-shirt Cotton Sheets. They are the best.. They feel like your favorite, oldest T-shirt worn down by many washings and dryings wrapped all around you. Mmm.. So cozy.

What are you wearing?
I'm boring - one of my fave T-shirts n pants n bright fuzzy socks. I get cold!

What are we snacking on in bed while we read tonight?
Since it's near holiday time, I managed to snag a bag of Hershey's Cherry Cordial Kisses and mugs of Hot Cocoa w/Marshmallows. Careful, mine is made w/soy milk. Sorry, no dairy for me.

*bed jostles hard* A large black n orange tortie calico cat pads across the bottom, blinks at us from a half black/half orange face with bright green eyes, and lays her considerable weight down.

Sorry. Fat Cat is joining us. Good thing she doesn't want to lay right on you. She's known to knock the breath out of you, or put a paw in the wrong spot, if you know what I mean.

If I open this nightstand drawer, what will I find?
Umm.. The top drawer has my writing pad, pens, box of tissues, chap stick, the latest book I'm reading, lots of bookmarks, an herbal neckwrap, a nightlight clip. In the bottom drawer... Nothing... Honest... Female stuff... *blush*

Do you roll up in the blankets like a burrito, or kick the covers off during the night?
Curl up to my ears, at least what I can pull away from the Fat Cat.

Can I put my cold feet on your calves to warm them up?
Sheesh.. It wouldn't help to put them against me, I got ice blocks for feet. Why do you think I wear fuzzy socks? Put them against the fat lump at our feet. She's a great purring blanket.

What are we reading?
My latest from Silver Publishing and part of their A Special Kind of Love series - Skylar's Salvation.

Skylar Deering has suffered from schizophrenia since high school. Despite feeling safe with boyfriend Ben Radclyffe, Skylar slides deeper into his private hell. When Skylar enters a special clinic, he wonders: will Ben stick by Skylar's side as promised?

Ben Radclyffe was a tea house owner who saw a young man wearing colorful scarves entered for a cup of tea and pastry. He saw him count his money with care, but sat in a corner to stare in the distance or spoke to someone who wasn't there.

Skylar Deering has suffered from schizophrenia since late high school. Even with Ben, who saw him beyond the hallucinations, delusions, and voices, he continued to slid deeper into his private hell. When he found himself in a special clinic, Skylar dug deep to climb back to recovery. Skylar can only wonder: Will Ben, the one man who didn't turn away from him, be there, sticking as he promises, when he comes out?

Excerpt: (Over 18)

While he sang to the Josh Groban song playing over speakers of his artsy teahouse, Bennett Radclyffe swung his hips around the various tables and chairs in time with the floor sweeper. He spun the green handle out, did a little shimmy of his tight ass, and danced back to the flat sweeper. He crooned to the top of the handle, but stopped when he got the prickly feeling between his shoulders of someone watching him. He turned his head and noticed a group of guys in fashionable club clothes standing outside on the sidewalk.

Only one turned to watch him through the large front window. Ben checked out the gorgeous, lanky young man whose chestnut hair with bright gold highlights swept down across his eyes. Dressed in club clothes which emphasized the thin frame, Ben found his attention moved to the black, silver, and blue patterned sparkly scarf wrapped around the long, swanlike neck. A colorful man purse was slung across his shoulder and rested on his hip. He only knew one male who wore a scarf and purse. Well, he didn't actually know him. This was the same young man who often came to his teahouse. Every time he managed to catch a glimpse of this man while he worked, one he figured to be a little younger than his thirty-two years, Ben's cock became interested. The highlighted hair, the dark eyeliner, and tight club clothes enticed him like nothing else. Even those different scarves he saw wrapped around the young man's neck. He wanted to grab hold of the scarf to tug the man in close for a long, hard kiss.

Though they'd never exchanged names, Ben recognized the young man from the multiple times he'd passed outside the teahouse or came inside. The young man often counted out his money from a colorful change purse, sat in the corner, and carried on conversations with himself. Even with this quirk, Ben found himself watching the stranger, entranced by his beauty. With a sheepish grin, Ben admired the painted-on black jeans which skimmed low across skinny hips and a gorgeous ass. He waved at the man, who didn't respond but looked away and danced on his toes to some unknown tune. A restless hand moved through his hair before he rubbed his knuckles together.

"Damn. Another opportunity lost," Ben muttered as he stared at the group of men around the young twink. "Who are you hanging out with, gorgeous? They don't look like your type."

Then with a sickening hit to his stomach, he witnessed one of the men grab hold of the dancing man's hand and shoved him back against the wall. With the same sexual aggression, the bigger male cupped the younger one's dick and captured his lips in a hard kiss.

"What the hell…" Ben muttered as he moved between the tables.

Through the glass, he heard the cheers and rowdy comments as the others urged the bigger man on. The unknown aggressor pulled back from the kiss, tugged away the beautiful scarf, and moved down the slender neck to bite at pale skin. The younger man looked away with no expression upon his face, his gaze focused on something else. Ben noticed his full, reddened lips formed words. A slender hand moved as if to swat something away. Ben shoved a chair out of the way and pressed against the window. He needed to hear what was going on and, if necessary, bang on the window to stop the attack. If it got worse, he knew damn well he would run out of the teahouse and head to the rescue.

"Go away. Fray, damn you! Go away…" The young man made a fist and banged it against his temple. "No… Don't want you around. Go!"

Ben barely heard the words from the young man. When he studied the area outside around them, he wondered if one of the men was this Fray, but none of them seemed to respond to the name.

"Go? I thought you wanted this, little whore. You dragged me and my boys out of the club for this. We gave you the money," the man said with a sneer.

Ben pulled in a sharp breath.

The young man beat his fist against his temple.

"He's bat-shit crazy, Jerry. I told you we shoulda dumped his ass in the alley," one of the others said.

"Are you scamming me, little whore?" the bigger man called Jerry demanded, grabbing the fragile man's chin between his thick thumb and forefinger in a grip hard enough to bruise the pale skin.

Ben banged on the glass multiple times and shouted, "Get the hell away from him!"

"Fuck off! None of your business," Jerry shouted back. He wrapped his hand around the twink's upper arm and dragged him off the wall.

"No!" Ben yelled, then he tossed aside the broom and raced to the front door. He fumbled with the locks, but managed to open them and the door. When he reached the sidewalk, he hastened after them. He caught up as they were about to turn into a nasty alley. The young man seemed to be talking more to himself than to the others. His hands fidgeted in Jerry's tight grip.

"I said let him go!"

"What the hell! Who are you?" one of the tagalongs asked.

"I'm someone who happens to give a shit about others. Let him go. Turn him over to me and I may let you walk out of this alley with your pride intact."

"I don't think so, you irritating bastard. Jump him, guys," Jerry ordered.

Thanks to years of martial arts taken to rebuild the muscles and strength after childhood illness and surgeries, Ben could now use his honed skills to save someone. With an ease he hadn't realized he possessed, he had most of the men doubled over and useless in a few swift moves.

"You fucker!" Jerry shouted as he threw the young man to the ground in order to face Ben.

Ben almost cried out when he saw the young man's head hit a rock and his body crumple. The scarf fluttered a few feet away from him and landed in a dirty puddle. "I swear you will pay for this cruelty."

"He's a damn crazy whore high on something. Why should you care about some addict on the streets? Did he let you use his ass? Is he your little toy to use when he isn't trolling the clubs? I bet it was a tight, sweet, and hot ride. I want to tear it up. Perhaps I still will after dealing with you. Maybe I'll let you watch me take the whore before I knock you out for good," Jerry sneered.

Not wanting to hear another word from the bastard, Ben spun and lashed out with a ferocious kick to the man's face. It was satisfying to hear a nasty crunch of bone and see a spurt of blood. Though he'd never drawn another man's blood in anger before, he held onto his composure to finish. He ended the confrontation with another hard kick and punch until the man's eyes rolled up and he crumpled to the ground in an unconscious pile, finally spitting on the man's face. "What a fucking worthless piece of shit."

A soft groan echoed against the brick walls. The pitiful sound didn't come from one of the men whose ass Ben kicked. It yanked Ben's attention out of the red-hot blast of anger and back to the reason why he was in the alley. Faster than his back enjoyed, he pivoted and hurried over to crouch next to the thin frame crumpled in the disgusting alley. Even with the crouch and movement, he kept his back straighter than most due to all the years spent in braces and his surgeries. He wove an arm under the slender shoulders and helped the young man to a sitting position, leaning against him.

"No. Please don't hurt…"

"Ssh, you're safe. I promise you're safe, sweet one. I'm not one of them," Ben soothed while he drew his fingers through the brightly highlighted hair in the front, moving it away from the slender face.

Long, thick lashes lifted from pale, high cheekbones to reveal a slightly dazed, ice blue gaze. The pale irises were rimmed with sapphire. The long lashes lowered to cover the bright color before they opened to dazzle Ben once more.

"Hi there, I'm Ben. What's your name?"

"Sky… I'm Skylar Deering," he said and lifted his fingers to touch Ben's chin. "I know you. You're the tea man."

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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