You accept that failure is death? Flashing Friday #500words #mmromance #fairytale #flashfiction

Welcome back friends! It's Friday, and on Friday we flash. Today's flash took an unexpected turn, and I'm going to have to confess, I love it. I'm making plans to expand this into a full fledged fairy tale sometime in the future!
If you like flashing, pleas do drop by Havan's Heavenly Haven to visit my cohort in crime this morning!

Flash Fiction May #4
Waiter in a tuxedo on a black background

At Your Service

“If Sir will enter.” The butler indicated an ornately carved door.
Spencer kept his back straight and his jaw squared as he followed the direction. Show no weakness. Be strong. His father’s advice rang in his ears. He resisted the urge to straighten his jacket, tweak his trousers into place.
Channeling calm, he marched down the velvet carpet. Halfway, he snuck a peek to the left. His breath caught in his throat and his heart tripped, then vaulted into overdrive. The caged man was stunning, his limbs slender and well muscled, his  face… Oh God. His jaw was lean and clean shaven, his hair a silky straight fall of gold… his eyes though… His eyes were deep, clear pools of blue. So tranquil Spencer was certain he could stare into them forever.
“Sir Spencer Overburton of Cliproot Pass.” The booming voice startled him into paying attention to what he was doing.
A well dressed man appeared from the left. “State your business.” At his side was a scribe, who held an inked quill over a thick volume.
His tongue swelled, his mouth dried. The words he’d rehearsed in the carriage all the way over fled. “H-h-h--- Marriage.” He dragged in a deep breath, his eyes stung in humiliation. He could sense the courtiers… the other claimants in the background tittering over his lack of presence. “Proclamation. I… offer myself.”
“You will undertake the quest?”
“I… yes.”
“You accept that failure is death?”
He found his voice, finally, cast an admiring glance at the caged Prince. “The prize is worthy of the risk.”
Another man stepped forward, bowed obsequiously. “Beg pardon, liege. But this is Cliproot’s sole son and heir. Surely his family lineage dictates a different sort of marriage?”
Spencer intervened hastily. “My father has avowed himself willing to declare my cousin Niall heir in my place.”
“Then he is eligible.” The scribe scrawled his name in the book, sprinkled it with dust, and then slammed it shut.
“So be it.” The man he’d taken for a courtier gazed sternly upon Spencer. “Return from the dragon’s lair with the key to the cage, and my son will become your spouse, making you Prince of the realm and heir to the kingdom. Fail… forfeit your life to the dragon or the palace guard.”
“I will retrieve the key or die in the attempt.” His gaze roamed to the naked Prince. To call such beauty his own… Swallowing, he bowed deeply to the man he now recognized as King.
“The crown names Spencer Overburton of Cliproot Pass as affianced of Prince Gorin. Tonight we celebrate…”
The crowd responded with a mixture of jeers and cheers, but their noise faded in the background as Spencer met his prince’s eyes. What he saw there caused an ache in his heart like Spencer had never felt before. The blue depths were no longer tranquil- they were such a tormented mixture of hope and despair… he vowed then and there that the dragon’s days were numbered.


New Release! MM Contemporary Romance #mmromance #chef #sexy

New Release! M/M Contemporary Romance 
Like A Wolf

Young, fresh, and wise beyond his years, Robert Redding finds culinary success and contentment with The Lunch Basket, his upscale diner that dishes up good old-fashioned country food. Serving the food he loves to his customers has always made him happy. He sees no need to step outside his comfort zone. He doesn’t want to be famous; he just wants to feed people.

Every good meal should be served with an edge of danger…
At least, that’s Hank Wolf’s philosophy of food. Step through the doors of Hungry and you’re putting yourself in his hands. In the kitchen, Hank is in control of everything, and the result is a mouthwatering dining experience that the whole town loves. Letting go of the tight control he has on every aspect of his life just isn’t in the recipe.

Curiosity leads Robbie to Hank’s so he can see for himself what all the fuss is about, and the attraction between the two chefs comes to a quick boil. But give these two restaurateurs the same ingredients and watch haute cuisine and home-style come head-to-head.

Exclusively At AMAZON

FREE for KU Users


Chapter One
That's what the fortune cookie said.

Hungry was a bar…more of a club really…on the outskirts of the town of Millbrook. It had once been an old schoolhouse, and then a gift shop sometime in the seventies when the town began to grow and attract tourists, then finally a restaurant.
As a restaurant, it was too far from the main attractions of the city, and didn’t boast a spectacular enough menu to draw crowds.
The building was abandoned for some six years before Henry Wolf bought it. For him, it was perfect. He had the drive and ambition to turn it into something Millbrook needed desperately—something he called fine dining with an edge of danger.
The restaurant was rustic; the food, as many a satisfied patron declared, was three star worthy.
Robert Redding stared at the building. Despite the rather full—for a Tuesday night—parking lot, it seemed deserted. Not a bit of light peeked out, glinted, or shimmered in a window, unlike his own cheery diner in downtown. His place was deserted tonight, as was usual for a Tuesday night. He’d left his waitress Bella and the sous chef, Nico, in charge while he went on his fact finding mission because he had to know.
Why does everyone flock here and leave my charming restaurant with its pretty, smiling staff empty?
Wasn’t the remote location.
Or the charm of the building itself, which was squarish and rather lumpy.
“Are you going to stand here all night staring at the place? Did you change your mind?” The eagerness in Saul’s voice was unmistakable. His friend wanted to go inside Hungry.
“No, of course I didn’t change my mind.” But he had. A hundred times from the moment he’d opened the fortune cookie and read its rather mundane little message, Hungry had been on his mind.
To triumph, you must face your competition.
That was what the fortune cookie said.
“Then come on!” Saul tugged on his arm, and Robert reluctantly left behind the weak shelter of the single lit parking lot light and headed into darkness. “I’ve been dying to try this place!”
“It looks like trying it might be fatal,” Robert muttered under his breath. “Would it kill them to put some more parking lot lights out here?” Maybe considering Hungry to be his competition was cocky. After all, he ran a diner, not a fine-dining establishment. And he wasn’t even certain Hungry qualified as a restaurant. Maybe it was just a bar with good snack. He hadn’t actually managed to locate or talk to anyone who’d actually eaten there.
He stumbled slightly when his foot landed on something in the parking lot that he could feel dig rather painfully into his insole even through the rubber bottom of his shoe. “I hope there’s more lighting inside. I hate eating food I can’t see.”
His eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness, and he managed to get up the shallow step to the door without further mishap. “I just want to see what’s so special about this place.” His cheeks burned a bit as they crossed over the threshold. He sounded so…petty. “I mean, it's not looking like a big deal so far.”
Inside was better. There was a lot of dim candlelight creating intimate little circles, a lot of shadowed alcoves that were… “Creepy,” he uttered.
“If you say so.”
The deep voice from the left startled Robert and he gave an embarrassing squeak. “Oh!”
“I prefer to think of them as romantic, secluded little enclaves where a man can be alone with his…dinnerdate. At least, I assume you’re talking about the curtained tables?”
Shuddering, Robert turned to the left. The man standing at a host’s podium was worthy of the reaction his voice had caused. He was tall, broad of shoulder and narrow of waist. His hair hung in a smooth curtain of darkness to the shoulders of his simple white dress shirt, nearly bursting at the seams trying to contain the muscles packed into that frame.
“I…we…” His voice gave out, probably because all his brain cells were focused on striving to see through the gloom to make the blur of white that was the man’s face into an image to go along with the voice and the figure.
“You have a reservation.” The voice purred smoothly along his skin…stroking it, leaving prickling hairs rising in its wake.
“You know who I am?” Startled, he moved closer and found himself under intense scrutiny from a pair of tawny gold eyes with a curious, elongated slant, almost Asian. “I…” Again, he was at a loss for words.
“No.” A soft chuckle broke the silence before it could grow awkward, and Robert started. That chuckle went straight to his groin. “You’re standing at my podium, and…” He raised a big hand in a cavalier gesture. “The rest is logic. Name please?”
“Redding.” Robert was grateful for the shadowy darkness that hid his face…and his blush, hopefully, from the man at the podium. “Um… Robert.”
The chuckle erupted into a full-throated, husky, ball-tightening laugh. “Ah, Red, I am the Wolf. Henry Wolf, to be precise. My friends call me Hank.”
Was that an invitation to be his friend?
“This way please.” Robert hung back just long enough to pick his jaw up off the ground, then followed Hankthe wolfhis host and Saul through the restaurant to a tablenot one of the curtained alcoves, thank god, but a decently located table that would allow them to see. “I hope this is satisfactory. I need to get back to the kitchens, but your server will be with you shortly.”
Saul blinked across the small table at him. Soft candle light revealed a pewter place setting and creamy white linen napkins. “This is amazing.”
Robert shook off his fascination, broke his gaze away from the host’s retreating back, and looked at his friend. “What’s so amazing about it? It’s a candlelit table in a dark room. We haven’t had a crumb to eat or sip yet, so
“Aside from that hot hunk of man that just seated us? And flirted with you? Oh my god, he flirted with you!” Saul’s lashes fluttered in rapturous mockery.
“Oh shut up! He did not!” Robert adjusted his napkin, turned his water glass upright. “Where are the menus? I want to see what’s so special that this dark and dreary place is full on a Tuesday night when everywhere else in town is dead.”
“There’s no menu.” Saul leaned over the candle. “It’s chef’s choice, a minimum of three courses, but sometimes there’s been as many as seven.”
I’d choose the chef, too. Robert blinked, dispelling an image of those tawny eyes and the sexy shoulders. “How did you find that out? No one I talked to mentioned it.”
“Yelp.” Saul shrugged. “I was on there, posting a review of your new dessert menu, and well… Hungry popped up in the sidebar.”
“Yelp?” Robert shook his head.
“Here you go, Red…and friend.”
A rough pewter tray appeared between them in a large hand, tipped with polished blunt nails, decked with fine dark hairs. Robert followed the trail of hairs to a thick wrist, swallowing hard. A gleaming metal watch, a strong forearm, a rolled up shirt sleeve. At the other end of that hand was the man who’d sent his senses into disarray. How far did he want to go on this visual track? Was he braced for the impact of those eyes peering into his soul?
No. No, I am not.


Outside the Office- Will romance survive? #mmromance #contemporary #redemptionisalongshot

Loving Jacob

An M/M Contemporary Romance

Chapter Three

Several weeks of hurried encounters later, Malcolm found himself once again rushing through breakfast with a bewildered Liam in order to reach the office early. He couldn't understand the niggling guilt that poked at his conscience any more than he did the urgent need to see Jacob. Adding to the unaccustomed emotional mix that caused his scrambled eggs and bacon to churn was a very troubling anger at having to cancel his plans with Jacob this evening in order to attend a school function with Penny and Liam.
I am not going to feel like this, he swore, rushing through the light foot traffic in front of the building. Calm down. A few deep breaths settled his protesting stomach somewhat, and deliberately, he paused before pushing open the tinted glass door. The frisson of excitement that prickled along his skin told him that Jacob was in the lobby somewhere. Malcolm refused to seek him out instantly. Instead, he paused to greet the perky young receptionist and grizzled old security guard where they stood at the marble information counter, poised to direct visitors to the building.
"Good morning, Molly, Ted." He fought the urge to let his gaze roam to the coffee bar. Jacob would be there. Would he be seated at one of the tiny tables for two, waiting for Malcolm, or engulfed in the crowd of laughing young men who hung on his every word?
"Sir. Lovely day," the receptionist responded timidly. The security guard merely smiled and nodded, and Malcolm couldn't stand it any longer. His hand tightened on the handle of his brown leather bag and the beat of his heart drowned out the click of the heels of his Italian loafers on the marble floor. He hoped like hell his emotions didn't show on his face as he turned toward the coffee bar. Slow, even pace, do not run, he cautioned himself as his gaze sought Jacob instinctively.
His gorgeous man stood at the counter, amethyst eyes twinkling and pink mouth stretched wide in a joyful smile. Malcolm felt the sudden smile that stretched his lips at the sight fade as he watched Jacob flirt outrageously with the Goth girl barista, covering her black nail-tipped hand with his own, before leaning across the gleaming mahogany bar. With a wicked laugh, the man-stealing little slut bent across the counter to meet Jacob as he moved forward. The girl's black lipstick-coated mouth closed in on Jacob's, and Malcolm's chest tightened as he watched in shock while they indulged in an obviously incredibly intimate kiss with a lot of tongue action.
His breakfast lurched in protest again as he remembered Jacob's words from their first encounter, "The man or woman with whom I share my life fully…" Fuck. Jacob was seeing other people? And why shouldn't he? Malcolm chided himself as he forced his feet to continue across the lobby. You knew he was looking for a Prince Fucking Charming, maybe he's decided on a princess instead. The thought that Jacob may have found someone else turned Malcolm's incipient nausea into an imminent threat.
Laughing, Jacob pulled back from the kiss and scrubbed black lipstick from his mouth with a napkin. He waved at the Goth girl and spoke a few words to the golden-haired muscled guy from accounting that stood in line behind him, and then picked up two insulated cups of coffee as he turned to find an empty table. When his searching gaze caught Malcolm's, his face lit up with excitement and the amethyst eyes sparkled with pleasure. His voice rang out across the lobby in greeting.
"Malcolm! There you are! I got your coffee. There's a table over here." He wound his way through the maze of tiny tables, gesturing for Malcolm to follow.
Surprised and appalled by the volume of that comment, which fell into one of those tiny moments of silence that sometimes occur even in busy places, Malcolm hurried over to the table Jacob had selected and seated himself.
He glanced cautiously around to see if anyone observed the intimacy of their meeting. No one paid them any attention. Relieved, Malcolm noted several tables where two men sat chatting together amongst the other mixed-sex couples and larger groups, and relaxed slightly.
He studied Jacob, who chattered away, oblivious to the roiling emotions making it impossible for Malcolm to concentrate, cheeks flushed, glossy pink lips smiling exuberantly. He'd seen that same look on that perfect face after he'd kissed Jacob, while they writhed together, cocks straining for release, bodies quivering in arousal and excitement. Only this time, he snarled inside, it wasn't your kiss that created the desire. He focused so intently on the movement of those lips, remembering them being devoured by the Goth girl barista, that he could barely distinguish the sounds that were coming out of them as words.
"Do you think I should get a tongue piercing? It felt amazing. I couldn't believe it. The soft wet heat, then the stroke of that metal ball rolling around in my mouth. I couldn't help imagining how it would feel on other parts of…"
Malcolm jerked his attention from Jacob's mouth to realize that the other man had grasped his hand and held it in his own in full view of everyone else in the lobby. He jerked his hand back in shock. What the fuck was he doing? Discretion. He had to be discreet. Holding fucking hands with another man in the lobby of his own office building was not discreet! It violated the parameters of his agreement with Penny, and shit…he'd be extremely lucky if he weren't the subject of gossip on everyone's tongue before lunch.
Too late he saw the hurt in Jacob's eyes as the other man's face paled and he dropped the offending hand into his lap. Whatever Jacob had been going on about before, Malcolm should have just stuck to what he needed to say this morning and left.
Before he could open his mouth to tell Jacob that he had to cancel their plans for the evening, the hurt vanished from his face to be replaced with a flush of anger. The amethyst eyes sparkled now with unshed tears, and the pink-lipped smile became a taut frown.
"What the fuck, Malcolm? What's going on?" Jacob kept his voice reasonably low pitched, for which Malcolm was grateful. He really didn't want a scene.
"Look, Jacob." He checked around again to see if anyone was watching them. "No PDAs, okay? I have to be in court at ten, and I…"
Jacob's face paled again, and his voice dropped even further, icy venom dripping from every word, this time there was no question of Malcolm not understanding everything Jacob said. "I'm not sneaking around to be some rich asshole's dirty little secret, Malcolm. Either you want to be with me, or you don't, but you don't get to drag me into the closet with you. I came out a long time ago, and guess what? I like living in the sunlight."
Fuck. "I'm not trying to drag you into the closet, okay? I just want you to be discreet here at work. I don't want people gossiping about us. Do you really want to be the subject of conversation at every desk and water cooler in the building?"
"I told you I wanted more than sex, Malcolm, and I haven't changed my mind. I'm looking for the whole shebang, two point five kids, a badly trained dog, a fluffy if somewhat disdainful cat, house in the suburbs, and a lover to help shoulder the load."
"And I told you I am not that man. Is that what was up with you and the barista? You ready to quit practicing and go for the real thing?" As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he knew it had been a mistake to let them escape.
Jacob stood, picking up his coffee cup. "Practice is canceled, Malcolm."
Guess that took care of the problem of Liam's school function tonight. Malcolm rose from the tiny table and scowled at the Goth barista, who responded to his unsolicited belligerence by sticking out her tongue at him. Her pierced tongue. He shuddered, comprehending Jacob's earlier blathering gratefully a little too late as the thought of Jacob's tongue adorned by one of those slick shiny metal balls tracing over his cock caused a predictable reaction.
He raced for the stairs, certain that the elevator would be just the thing to send his unsteady stomach over the edge. The trip up to the third floor in the silent enclosed stairwells should have given him time to calm down, but he couldn't stop the echo of Jacob's icy voice in his head, "Practice is canceled, Malcolm. Practice is canceled, Malcolm." It resounded with every footstep on the metal stairs, and by the time he slammed the door open on the third floor, Malcolm barely made it to his private bathroom before losing his breakfast.
Back at his desk, he opened the bottom drawer and pulled out a bottle of scotch, tipped it back and gulped a quick belt to settle his stomach. Breaking up with a lover had never caused such a reaction. Fix it, an insidious voice inside whispered. He had a horrible premonition that voice came from his heart, not his cock. Replacing the bottle and closing the drawer with a thud, he reminded himself he had to be in court at ten and didn't have time to fix anything.
The memory of purple eyes drenched with unshed tears interfered with what little work he attempted to complete before leaving for court, until with an exasperated sigh, he paused by Marge's desk on the way out.
"How many people does Martin have working for him in the tech department?" he mumbled.
"Three. There's that gal from USC, the little nerdy guy who fixes stuff, and that programmer you had me call up here before. The cute one, you remember?" Marge's smirk grated on his nerves, but Malcolm persevered.
"That's the one I need. I'm going to be in court all afternoon, but can you email me his contact information? I have a project I'm going to need help with."
The elevator's shiny doors slid shut on Marge's disbelieving gaze, and Malcolm was tormented on the short ride to the lobby by visions of himself on his knees in the elevator, taking Jacob's throbbing cock deep in his throat and begging the man without words to come for him, and only him.
His phone vibrated against his hip as he stepped reluctantly into the lobby. His hand went to it automatically as he forced his gaze away from the coffee bar, where the barista flirted with another customer. He'd overreacted. He knew it. Jealousy was just so fucking new to him. The humiliation of this morning's incident couldn't keep him from hoping that the vibrating phone meant Jacob wanted to talk to him. Flipping it open, he saw an email from Marge with the information he'd asked for.
Should he call now? His fingers tingled with the need to dial the phone. He wanted to explain his feelings to Jake. Make plans for a meeting in the morning. They could have their coffee in his office before anyone arrived and reestablish the rules they'd agreed upon weeks ago. Fuck buddies without penetration. Discreet fuck buddies. Remembering Jacob's anger, he decided to wait until the evening to call and give the other man time to cool off.
Teary purple eyes tempted him to call throughout the tedious jury selection process, and more than once, he jerked his hand from his cell phone with a silent curse. Patience and discretion, he cautioned himself. Give Jake the opportunity to realize he'd been protecting both of them from gossip. Discretion and sneaking around were not the same thing.
Six hours of jury selection tried Malcolm's patience to the edge of its existence and he'd barely seated himself behind the wheel of his luxury car before he had his phone out and input Jacob's number from Marge's email. The phone rang only twice before it was answered.
"Jacob?" he asked, caught by surprise. Why hadn't he planned what he wanted to say more precisely? Fucking eight years of school and fifteen years of speaking to judges and juries, and he couldn't put together a logical sentence when talking to this man.
"Malcolm?" Jacob's voice sounded slightly hoarse. Remembering the tears he'd seen earlier, Malcolm immediately wondered if Jacob had been crying over him.
Hesitantly, unsure if he wanted to know the answer, he asked, "Are you all right?"
A deep sigh over the airwaves was his only answer.
Concerned, Malcolm forced himself to speak. "I…" Shit. "Meet me in my office tomorrow morning?" Remembering being stood up after his first order to Jacob to meet him in his office, Malcolm was glad it had come out as a question and added, softening his voice to a husky whisper, "Please."
"Okay, I'll be there. I'm sorry about this morning." Jacob's voice had gained strength. "It was just a casual kiss, with Kelly, I mean."
Malcolm smiled at his phone. "I overreacted. I'm sorry. I'll see you in the morning."

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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