No Sunrise, Mummy Underwear, Co-writing #writestuff #caffeinateme

Greeting friends and readers! *gulps coffee* No sunrise today- well, there was one I presume, I just couldn't see it. The sky is all grey and dreary and it's actually rained twice so far today. That's all right. We'll make our own sunshine, right? Perfect music for battling this rainy gray day? I've got some Tom Petty cranked up and some Bad Company to follow.

Good news is, I finally have a blurb for A Man of Unusual Talent. I won't share it all- after all the editor hasn't seen it yet, but here's a bit I'm especially fond of:

            When marshmallows are involved, the course of true-love is bound to get sticky.


Today I'm finishing up part four of Mum's the Word, where our heroes begin their work for the sinister Professor Gregoire. At least, Owen seems to find him creepy. Izzy, that brat, seems to think he's pretty hot. If all goes according to plan that should be posted this evening or tomorrow. And immediately after that, I start part five. No end of deadlines with this prompt writing! It's a load of fun though.
What brand of underwear does a mummy wear? 
Fruit of the Tomb!

The thing I'm most excited about is that it's nearly September. The year just zoomed by, and now I get to work with Havan Fellows again. Last year we co-wrote a great book, Christmas in His Heart. It was an amazing experience- we had some kind of creative synergy going on. I never got stuck once or had a day where the words weren't there when I needed them to be. I'm looking forward to replicating that experience as we write a second holiday story- this one featuring two characters- Chaz and Sprocket- who were introduced in Christmas in His Heart. Chaz has been talking to me, and apparently he's not pleased with the leisurely pace we've taken in writing his story. It seems he has a master plan. You know the sort? Own your own restaurant by the time you turn thirty, get married at thirty-two… etc. He's got an internal clock ticking for some reason. I'll keep you posted on that.

Speaking of keeping posted, Mark's Opening Gambit has been on sale at All Romance eBooks for 50% off. The sale ends on Monday, so if you haven't picked up a copy, now's the best time to do that. This is the story of a two men who are opposites, a blue collar grocery store employee who's out and open and closeted chess parlor owner who is under his parents' thumb. It was one of the first books I wrote and was originally published by Breathless Press. The gorgeous cover is by Victoria Miller.

Heading off to make some pumpkin bread and get some words on the page. Thanks for hanging out with me, y'all. It's time to change the CD's and get to work.


Coffee people, pineapple margarita, yet another mummy joke #writestuff #caffeinateme

Good morning everyone! Here I am up bright and early again. Two days in a row! Whoo hoo! *sips coffee* The sunrise was so gorgeous, all soft pink and muddled purple through the trees. Makes for a great start to the day, let me tell you. Skimmed my email and found this article from Publisher's Weekly  about a picture book that suddenly zoomed up the amazon charts. Awesome stories of success like this make me smile. It does an indie author good to see others succeed.

In the same batch of email was a teaser from Pinterest. They thought I'd be interested in a board for Triple Sec. I wasn't. Well, not really. Only in so far as Triple Sec leads to Margaritas and margaritas, well, margaritas are something I'm always interested in. So I skipped over to Pinterest and found a few new margarita recipes to add to my Great Margarita Quest board to try later. Found one to try tonight: Pineapple margarita . Do you have a favorite Margarita recipe? If so, I'd love to try it!

Who is the best mummy wrapper in Egypt? 
The Wizard of Gauze!

As far as an update on the work in progress goes, today marks I think day three of working on that A Man of Unusual Talent blurb, and day two of working on the fourth chapter of Mum's the Word. Progress is being made, very slowly. That's all right. Sometimes writing is like trying to build a dam over a gushing river and sometimes it's like filling a bucket with dew drops. However, exciting news! Will @ Pride Promotions sent me the list of blogs participating in my Keeping House book blast on Sept. 7th. I'm really looking forward to that! Watch this space for further news on the tour stops and the contest. 

I was all set to get to work when this crossed my line of sight:

"Despite federalruling, Kentucky clerk refuses to issue marriage license for the third time"

Some people's children, huh? It is to be hoped that the local populace begin a recall action. Or perhaps some couple should file suit against the county clerk's office. Regardless, I’m sure the clerk's days in office are numbered.

Music today is courtesy of Thin LizzyThe Boys Are Back in Town. *raises mug* Wishing you a terrific Friday and heck… let's make all weekend, shall we? 


Butternut Squash, Pinterest, Punctuating Dialogue #writestuff #caffeinateme

Good morning everyone! (Guess what? I wrote this this morning, then forgot to post it! See the effects of not enough caffeine? See? ) Look at me all awake at six am! I actually got to see the sunrise over the treetops this morning. I always find that inspirational. Today is list day. I need to sort through the cupboards and make a list of all the items that I'm out of or running low on. Then I need to meal plan for the next two weeks. Then compile a complete list so that I can do the dreaded shopping Friday and Saturday. Yes, it takes two days. Couple of things that I started craving as soon as the cooler temperatures hit are Butter Nut Squash SoupRoasted Butter Nut Squash  and sweet potatoes. Think I'll buy extra and freeze a bunch. 

This morning is a Pinterest kind of day, and as usual I found a load of great articles and recipes while I was loitering over there. I was supposed to be working on one of my boards. But Uh… I got distracted. At first it was a dozen or so butternut squash recipes, then sweet potatoes, then I realized I was really craving thick creamy soups… So you see how that tunnel widened and sort of swallowed me up, right?
What is one room a mummy doesn't need in its house?

A living room!

I finished the third chapter of Mum's the Word yesterday, and it will go live here at noon. My incredible editor Jae finished the third round of A Man of Unusual Talent edits yesterday and I found they were already in my in-box when I checked email this morning. So today's tasks are the third round of edits for AMUT and the fourth chapter of Mum's the Word. I'll be writing up the blurb for A Man of Unusual Talent today too, hopefully. Yesterday I managed one sentence of it. One that I'd already had in mind since I started writing the story, mind you. There's still time. I don't have a cover yet, so it's all good.

In other news, yesterday this article on mistakes rookie writers make hit my inbox. . Yes, I know. It's loaded with profanity and ego crushing snark. The thing is, he's not personally insulting anyone; he's making a point. I don't necessarily agree with everything the man says or even how he says it. If you take nothing else from this article, it's a great overview of how to punctuate dialogue. I don't know about you, but that's something I always have to double check in my manuscripts. Then I look at the dialogue so much that I have to grab a grammar book from the shelf to make sure I did it right. The explanation there is clear, concise and accurate.

On the other hand? Adverbs are your friends and there are other ways to say said. Remember, it all comes down to you and the story you want to tell.

This morning's note has been brought to you by the power of caffeine and the music of Tom Petty. Wildflowers. I just love that song. My heart lifts every time I hear it. Do you have any songs like that? *refills coffee mug* Thanks for hanging out with me, guys. Got to get over to those edits and see how Izzy and Owen are doing. 

Story Orgy Creature Feature: Mum's the Word Part Three #storyorgy #malexmale #serial

Good morning friends and readers! Today I have a special post for you- the third episode of my new Story Orgy story! Just one more "catch up" post this week, and I'll be on track next Monday. Now that we've met both Izzy and Owen, it's time to meet the professor.

Mum's the Word
Chapter Three
Aug 17: The setting sun was blood red.

When Dr. Gamez advised students from this office, the first thing visitors saw as they walked through the door was a full wall mural of a blood red setting sun behind a giant red-gold pyramid. Some previous lover, some art student decades earlier, had painted the dazzling artwork. Ernesto kept the mural after the art student wandered off never to be heard from again because he liked the way it looked behind his mahogany desk in photos.
Izzy stumbled to a halt a foot inside the doorway, jaw hanging open like a fourteen year old at at One Direction concert. For a moment, despite the sexy accent that had intrigued him, all he could take in was the absence of that mural and its vibrant colors. The new occupant had painted the office a pristine, sterling white.
It was a declaration of change.
That expanse of white was somehow offensive and creepy. As though Ernesto Gamez had been wiped instantly from existence by the obliteration of the mural.  For the first time Izzy felt like a creep for even trying to keep this job after Ernesto’s resignation. Maybe he was more like his father than he thought.
The discreet cough came at the same time as Owen’s sharp elbow jab and Izzy jerked his gaze from the wall to the man at the desk. Forcing his jaw shut, he took a minute to survey their new boss. Generations of archaeology students had grown up with images of a whip wielding Harrison Ford as their idol. Certainly he had. This man… Micahn Gregoire according to his name plate, took whip wielding to an all new level.
He was dark, swarthy, lean and firm, handsome features. Probably at least twenty years older than Izzy if the crows feet at the corners of his eyes were anything to judge by. Those crows feet owed nothing to humor- not if the foreboding expression in the dark depths of his eyes was perpetual. He looked like danger. A dark shadow of man, like one of those vampires in an old fashioned movie that exuded sex appeal and used his powers of mersmerization to compel people to do his bidding. He was definitely not easy going and jovial Professor Gamez.
And despite this… Gregoire had a dark appeal that made Izzy nervous in a way he hadn’t been since he was a teenager. “I’m Izzy,” he announced, blatantly staring. Ernesto had been a well educated man with brilliant theories, but he hadn’t spent a lot of time in the field. He preferred classrooms. This man… it was hard to imagine him standing in front of a whiteboard lecturing.
“Good morning Professor.” Owen jabbed him sharply again, and Izzy winced. “We’re pleased to meet you.”
The dark gaze transferred from Izzy to Owen, and Izzy released a breath he hadn’t been aware he was holding. It at least explained the ache in his chest that he’d begun to feel. Striving to regain his composure, he watched the two quietly.
“You are highly recommended by the staff.”
Oh God… that accent… It was as intriguing as he’d thought. A shiver threatened but Izzy bit his lip and braced his knees.
“We’ve been here for a while now. Professor Ernesto was our advisor. We were looking forward to working for him.” Owen didn’t appear intimidated by the man, but Izzy had caught something… derogatory in the way he said highly recommended that made him think Gregoire wasn’t so impressed by their credentials.
Owen it seemed wasn’t as impressed by Gregoire’s dark gaze and sneer. Good. Life was always better when they weren’t interested in the same men. Interested? In your boss? Grow up.
“I am keeping you on because I have an urgent project that needs to be completed before the annual alumni ball after homecoming. If your work is up to par, then you can consider yourselves employed for the year.”
Right. Boss. Don’t forget that. This guy held their future in his hands. He willed away the tingle of arousal, but couldn’t fight the awkward awareness. At least awareness wasn’t visible. No one could see the prickle of hair on his nape or the rush of blood in his veins or hear the hum.
“We were hired to be TA’s. Teach freshman level courses, grade papers, and work on our dissertations. Maybe do some field work with the professor.” Owen squared his
jaw in a familiar stubborn gesture and Izzy stifled his sigh.
“That is still possible. You’ll have ample time for your dissertations, but as for teaching and grading, we shall see. This special project takes precedence.”
“So what’s this project?” Izzy forestalled the challenge he could practically see Owen was about to make.  
“The museum. The board of directors wants to re-open it. The exhibits are date and old. There are dozens of rooms full of donated material that need to be cataloged and the displays updated.”
“They want us to  create museum displays?” Now Owen sounded excited. Izzy got that too. After field work, actually digging in the earth and uncovering artifacts, creating ways for other people to share in discoveries was a glamorous aspect of archaeology.
It was almost as good as authoring a paper or discovering a missing link.
“They want me to create displays, yes. Given the time restraints, that means you’ll be assisting.”
“When do we start?” Izzy finally found his ability to speak.

“Be at the back entrance to the museum dressed to work, not to teach.” He gave each of them a faintly derisive glance, as though he himself weren’t standing there in a thousand dollar suit. “At seven-thirty tomorrow morning.”

If you enjoyed my post, click on over to the rest of the Orgiasts and read more! 


Running Late, Things to Tell Writers, Ugly Rant #writestuff #caffeinateme #news

Good afternoon friends! *gulps coffee* I'm running way late again today! Here it is afternoon and I'm sitting in my PJ's trying to get caught up. Thank goodness for coffee! It's another gorgeous fall day, which is quite unusual for where I live. Usually it's sweltering in August and September. I'm really enjoying the milder temperatures. Haven't had to turn the ac back on since I turned it off last week. J The day was made brighter by this fabulous review from Melanie at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for Dead Man's Hand, the latest book in my Pulp Friction series Jack of Spades. I've been stressed all season about how people were perceiving Sabine, and finally I feel like I'm getting it right in showing his true nature and motivations. This review single-handedly renewed my enthusiasm for writing the final installment. Then again... Melanie makes it pretty clear she's expecting big things in book five. The pressure to deliver is on! 

Yesterday on FaceBook I saw this, which really made me smile, and secretly cheer. Authors need to hear this. 10 Things You Should Regularly Tell Writers.  My favorite bit is:


Margaritas! Bring me margaritas and I will write until I pass out. If you're an author, what would you like to hear? Or what do you need to hear? I need to hear that people like what I'm writing. Feedback feeds creativity. I don't know how or why, but it does. So if you read something and like it? Let the author know.

What kind of coffee do mummies drink?


Today I sent the edits for A Man of Unusual Talent back to my fabulous editor, Jae. Now I have to write a blurb for it. Blurbs are one of the worst things about writing. I have learned though- just a bit, in the last five years. For future projects, I plan to write the blurb first, then the book. I've done it a few times, with Cranberry Pi and some other stories. Staring at this blank page today makes me think I should enforce it as a general rule of writing. After that, I'll be tackling the next section of Mum's the Word. Look for that to be posted here tomorrow.

In other news, I'm helping out Will at Pride promotions with a cover reveal for a new book, Unbreak Broken. The reveal is on September 1. There's a great blurb and giveaway, and you should come on over and enter that.

I was all set to share an article on the role of the audience in writing  this morning, but then when I logged into G+ to hang out with my fellow PF writers, this happened: 

The blogger's point is well taken. We've all seen a multitude of covers that use the same models. How many Jimmy Thomas covers are there out there? Fabio? What I find off-putting about this article is not that point. It's the abusive tone and derogatory comments like "Butt-ugly". The post in general makes me regard the site in a different light. What do you think?

This morning's note has been brought to you by the power of caffeine and the music of Steve Miller  *refills coffee mug* Thanks for hanging out with me, guys. Sorry to make it so fast today, but I think I'm running behind and I won't feel like I've caught up until I get a few words on the page.


Story Orgy Creature Feature: Mum's the Word Part 2 #storyorgy #serial #malexmale

Good morning friends and readers! Today I have a special post for you- the second episode of my new Story Orgy story! There'll be 2 more "catch up" posts this week, then I'll be on track next Monday. Yesterday we got to see a lot of Izzy- now let's take a look at him from his roommate's perspective.

Mum's the Word
Chapter Two
Aug 10: He yearned for it.
“Hey, Izzy?” Wiping damp palms down the sides of his beige Dockers, Owen paused in the middle of Warburton Hall, the history wing of Mid-State U. The building smelled like history… and floor wax. Built in the twenties, back when it was a “normal school” whose sole purpose was turning out black teachers, it had been the one of six original campus buildings. Now that segregation was a thing of the past, and all black or all white colleges with it, the campus had grown to over twenty buildings spread over a nearly mile square campus. The newer buildings housed colleges of business, political science, medicine, and computer science. Fusty old fashioned subjects like history, archeology and literature were relegated to the old buildings with their plaster walls and marble floors and narrow, high ceilinged corridors. Owen kind of liked them better than the huge generic classrooms where his freshman classes… like civics and biology, had been housed.
He realized that Izzy had stopped walking and was staring at him, one thick black brow raised in demand. He was looking particularly geeky in a navy blue suit with one of those fancy designer brands. Not like Owen, who considered his own button down oxford and dockers to be “extra-effort” clothes.
Swallowing and wiping his hands again, Owen quashed the unaccustomed trepidation that had made him stall right outside their new boss’s office. “What do you call a mummy who wins the lottery?” He threw out the corny joke and the black brow dropped.
Izzy gave a patient sigh, shrugged his thin shoulders, flipped a lock of black hair over his shoulder… he really should have gotten it cut before the meeting, but Owen was kind of glad he hadn’t because he liked Izzy with long hair. It softened … no, more like outlined his features, framing his eyes and cheekbones, making his pale skin dramatic and more than pretty. Like Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park… intelligent and sexy only without the big nose and curly hair… and maybe not so much like Jeff Goldblum at all. Except that smart turned Owen on, and--
“I don’t know, Owen.”
“A lucky stiff.”
“Ha ha.” Izzy snorted with laughter, the laugh that had turned them from suspicious new roommates into friends for life back in their freshman year.
Owen felt a pang of regret over that. They could have been so much more. In hindsight he saw that clearly, but Owen Nichols at seventeen had a chip on his shoulder the size of the Great Pyramid at Giza, and Izzy at nineteen had screamed over-privileged youth with his four hundred dollar jeans and three hundred dollar shoes. At times, Owen yearned for the opportunity to start things over between them, but too much time had passed for that.
The pig-snort laughter had broken that ice, but it had taken years for Owen to see past the rest. And moments like these, when Izzy looked dashing and scholarly in a fine suit and Owen felt like a cheap knock-off, they made him realize that chip wasn’t any smaller than it had been, he had just learned to bear its weight better with Izzy at his side. “I don’t feel adequately dressed.” He confessed in a mumble.
“I told you so.” Izzy’s eyes narrowed as they looked Owen over critically from head to toe. “You should have let me buy you that suit last spring.”
“And wear a winter suit in the fall?” It had been a clearance sale at Brooks Brothers. Izzy had gloated over the forty percent off offer, and his mother had obligingly ordered three suits for her son, pleased that he was “living up to the standard expected in the Waters household”.
“It was forty percent and we’ll need suits for interviews when we get our doctorates. No one is going to hire a professor in dockers.” The words stung, but Izzy’s hands were gentle as he brushed Owen’s hair back from his brow. “Okay. This is what we’re gonna do.”
Izzy stripped off his jacket, revealing a crisp white dress shirt. He held out the jacket to Owen who shook his head.
“I can’t wear that.” Izzy was narrow of shoulder and hip, a long lean line of a man whereas Owen was broad shouldered and thick, muscled, not fat. He’d earned his way into college playing sports and it showed.
Blue eyes rolled in mockery as Izzy loosened his tie, making himself look more casual. “I know that. You’d bust out the seams. Just drape it over your shoulder like you took it off because it’s too hot. No one will get a good enough look at it to tell that it’s not yours.”
“Oh… Yeah. Okay. I can do that.” Owen hooked the jacket with one finger and tossed it over his shoulder. He still felt like an idiot who was dressed for an interview at a sporting goods store instead of a professional position on a college campus, but Izzy was on his side and he wasn’t going in there alone, so …
“Let’s do this.” He rapped sharply on the door, stiffening his spine when an accented voice called out in response.
Only it sounded more like eenter, or something. Dragging in a last, calming breath, heart beating, Owen glanced over at Izzy, who was mouthing the word silently, an intrigued expression knit his brows together. Izzy always had liked accents. Half his boyfriends in the time Owen had known him had accents. Nigel, the British boy from freshman year who wrote truly awful poetry; Ricky the Australian swimmer who screamed during intimate moments, Li-Yeun the Vietnamese physics student a quiet cypher of a boy who’d never once met Owen’s eyes during the time he’d been sleeping with Izzy, a red -headed Irishman whose name Owen never could remember who was only around on weekends,  and most recently the video game obsessed Mitch, whose deep south drawl had intrigued Owen too.
Great. Now he’d get to work for the man and watch Izzy flirt with him too?

If you enjoyed my post, click on over to the rest of the Orgiasts and read more! 

Highest Rated, Under Wraps, Kiss #caffeinateme #writestuff #freebie

Good morning everyone! *gulps coffee* This day came way too early. I got up in time to see the sunrise, mostly because the cat wanted her breakfast. While following my daily routine, checking sales stats, logging into social media sites, etc., I happened to notice that The Aristocrat and His Servant is smack in the middle of the Highest Rated list in the Short Story category at All Romance. This is a sexy, short romp in Regency England. The series is heavy on the sex, light on the plot. It's up to five or six episodes now, but this particular one is free at ARE. If you haven’t already tried it, why not pick a copy up today? Also? That first book in the list? That's an awesome read by my friend Havan Fellows. Which I believe is also free right now.

In my email this morning I saw a review from M/M Good Books about a great read by a wonderful author: Garron's Gift by Carol Lynne. Carol is one of the writers who first attracted me to the romance genre with her Cattle Valley books. Garron's Gift is part of a series that is actually the pre-cursor to Cattle Valley. I really enjoyed reading it. Cat at M/M Good Books gave it 5 stars, and I assure you they are well-deserved. The first book in the series is Sonny's Salvation, and probably you should start there if you're interested. 
            Why do mummies tell no secrets?
They like to keep things under wraps.

That's hysterical. I've got the first two episodes of Mum's the Word up on the blog- just enough to introduce the characters so far, but if you're interested in meeting Izzy and Owen, you can find Part 1 and Part 2  will post at noon. Today I'm working on part three- bringing in the evil. *Shifty eyes* I mean, introducing a new character.

I'm still watching The Walking Dead. It's kind of interesting to see their infallible structure. There's always a great hook before the opening credits. The opening sequence itself is dramatic from the music to the snapshots. Then people argue, Carl does the wrong thing, or the thing he was told not to do, zombies show up in incredible hordes: which alone makes me shake my head every time. I mean, there's a finite number of people on this earth guys. They can't all be converging on a prison in the forests of Georgia for no apparent reason, can they? See a zombie, get it in the head, and eventually humans will outnumber zombies. Anyway, the middle is often mellow- things happen slowly, a touch of humor, a few moments of touching humanity. Then at the end, there's a rush of action and a huge lingering cliffhanger. You bet I'm taking notes. After all, a mummy is just a zombie with a different sort of fashion sense, right?

Otherwise on the agenda, I'm heading into town today to pick up some supplies for my garden beds and greenhouse. I'm needing some potting soil and a few other things. Also saw a neat trick on Pinterest this morning for prepping your garden beds for spring planting. The article showed them putting flattened card board boxes down over the cleared beds. The boxes decay over winter and leave you with ready to plant beds in spring. Sounds good, huh?

Waiter! There's a hare in my pancakes!

This morning's note has been brought to you by the power of caffeine and the music of Kiss. *refills coffee mug* Thanks for hanging out with me guys. It's time to change the CD's and get to work. Here's a funny to keep you company. 


Story Orgy Creature Feature: Mum's the Word #storyorgy #mmromance #serial #malexmale

Good morning friends and readers! Today I have a special post for you- the much belated beginning of my new Story Orgy story has finally arrived!
Please meet Izzy and Owen, two modestly ambitious archaeology students who are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Look for updates all this week as I write and edit like the wind to get caught up with Hank, who is sharing the fourth episode of his story today. (Link below)

Mum's the Word
Chapter One
Aug 3: "It's my belief we're all crazy."
“What kind of music do mummies listen to?”
“You’re crazy.” Ignoring his roommate’s greeting, Izzy dropped down onto the battered brown sofa beside Owen. He didn’t care that he smelled of gasoline, grass, and sweat from an afternoon of mowing lawns at his landscaping job.
It felt good not to support his own weight, so he let his head fall back and sank into the cushions in a tired sprawl,  using the edge of his mother’s old coffee table to pry off his sneakers. If Roberta Waters had seen it she’d have been appalled, but then there wasn’t much about Isaac Waters that wouldn’t have appalled his mother these days, from his threadbare jeans to his raggedy hair to his part-time boyfriend.
Said boyfriend didn’t look up from the tablet he perched on his knee, just shoved a white and red cardboard pizza box on the floor toward Izzy with his toe. “It’s my belief that-”
“We’re all crazy.” Having heard the statement, and various long winded explanations
of Owen’s pet theory many times in the past six years, Izzy finished for him. Stretching his arms toward the ceiling until his bones cracked, he rolled his head. Izzy leaned forward and flipped open the box lid. He scowled at the contents.  “I don’t like pineapple on pizza.” His stomach grumbled loudly at the criticism.
“And I don’t like salty fish.”
Anchovies and pineapple. Irreconcilable differences. Just one reason for that part time status. Izzy and Owen made great roommates because of their shared interests in archeology, B-movies, and the male anatomy, but made a lousy couple because as much as they were alike, they had certain quantifiable, unalterable, unacceptable differences.
“You could have at least gotten it half and half.” And that was the biggest difference of all. The one Izzy couldn’t get past. Where Izzy was happy to compromise, Owen wanted his own way all the time and saw only his own point of view.Izzy had seen in his parent’s marriage what happened when one person… his mother… did all the compromising. The other partner turned into a petty tyrant, like his father, who flew off the handle at the least sign of rebellion from his spouse or progeny.
Shrugging off the unwelcome thoughts, Izzy picked up a slice and plucked off a few offending tidbits of fruit. Beggars can’t be choosers. And by hanging out here all summer with Owen instead of going home to Oakwood Crescent, with its shiny three story pseudo-antebellum houses, country club wives and white-toothed, tennis-skirt wearing daughters, he’d chosen to be a beggar, hadn’t he?
At least, that’s how his father had put it.
“Nope. Jose said no more freebies. This is what was leftover at the end of my shift, so this is what I got. Dude called in the order and never showed to pick it up.”
“Free is good.” Spicy tomato sauce exploded on his tongue and his stomach growled again in appreciation. “Mmm.” There was just the slightest tang of pineapple leftover, but the garlic and tomato and cheese… “Mmm.”
Owen flicked his finger at the tablet screen and the television in front of them sparked into life. A damsel let out a distressed scream. The image froze. “You seen this one?”
Izzy snorted in disgust. “The Mummy, 1959, Terence Fisher. Gotta try harder. This one’s a classic.”
“Can’t believe Ernesto retired.” Owen returned immediately to the topic that had haunted their summer. Professor Ernesto Gamez had headed the archeology department at UM since decades before Owen and Izzy had taken their first intro to arch 101 class six years earlier.
“Whatever they say. He didn’t retire. He was forced out.” Izzy eyed his pizza gloomily. The previous spring his… their… favorite professor had been targeted by a hate campaign. “No way he molested that girl. Dude was gayer than a Pride Parade.”
“Way he checked out Peterson’s ass? No doubt.” Owen agreed gloomily, reaching for another slice of pizza.
“When does the semester start again?” Izzy dropped the gnawed crust of his own slice back in the box.
“Friday. You think we still have jobs?” It had been a long, hard summer. They’d managed to scrape by with a collection of low wage jobs by canceling everything except their internet services, not running the air conditioning and eating a lot of pizza from Owen’s delivery job.
“I’m going to assume so until I hear otherwise.” Professor Gamez had hired them as his TA’s for the coming year, which should have allowed for plenty of time to complete their dissertations, gain some classroom experience, deliver a few lectures, grade a few papers. When the professor had lost his job, they’d lost their internships for the summer, and the much needed field work. Losing the teaching positions would be devastating.
“They’d have called.” Owen muttered. They sat together in morose silence, staring at Isobel Banning running from the horrible Mummy’s embrace. The chirp- chirp of Owen’s phone broke the silence.
Prophetic. Please let it be the bursar’s office. Izzy crossed his toes and reached for another slice of pizza. “Answer it.” He muttered through his bite.
“Nichols.” Owen put on a cheerful, professional tone. His expression stilled, eyes widening. “Yes sir. Yes, we’re still available. Early? Tomorrow morning?”
Izzy let the pizza fall. Tomorrow? He had to work tomorrow. “I have a shift at the nursing home.”
Owen shook his head frantically, covered Izzy’s lips with a pizza scented finger. Effectively hushed, Izzy decided to take his revenge by nipping and sucking.
“Eight o’clock. We’ll be there. Thank you sir.” Owen disconnected the call and tossed his phone onto the floor, expression a mix of elation and arousal. “We still have our jobs!” he shouted, then toppled them both to the floor by tackling Izzy.
“Awesome,” Izzy murmured, distracted by the weight of Owen’s sturdy body… the lust that instantly burned away his tiredness and the ache of his muscles from hours of mowing lawns. That ridiculous second job that had helped pay the rent all summer.
“Mega awesome…” Owen’s hands dug under Izzy’s shirt, reaching for his nipples, as though he needed any foreplay. Then again, he did enjoy the pinch and pull.
“Ahh.” He sighed, arching, rubbing his firming cock against Owen’s thigh, his roommate’s thin athletic shorts scant barrier to the growing heat of his erection.
What followed was quick, dirty and just the sort of thing he needed to loosen up after a hard day of physical labor. They twisted and contorted themselves in the narrow space between sofa and table until they were able to get the kind of pressure that escalated sensation to the breaking point. Grunting and grinding their way to sticky, messy satiety was a matter of minutes.
“So…” Owen peeled himself away from the tangle of limbs with a grimace.
“Hm?” Izzy mumbled sleepily.
“You never answered. What kind of music--”
“Pfft. Wrap Music, of course.” Izzy blinked at him, and Owen almost got lost again in the depths of those blue eyes. Sometimes, he felt like there was more Izzy hiding in there than the whole world knew about, and if he could just stare long enough without feeling like a creep, he’d find out something real important. But staring was creepy, and uncomfortable, so he jumped back to a familiar topic.

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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