Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Don't Look Back #3.0

Happy Hump Day to one and all! Welcome to another edition of Wednesday Briefs, brought to you by the Wednesday Briefers, who love to write flash fiction and present it to you for your entertainment. Each flash runs between 500 and 1000 words, and is inspired by a prompt given to the group, whether words or a picture!

Today, in Don't Look Back, we see Lee and Marshall, and someone who is very important to them both, as plans are made for a night out. Enjoy! And don't forget to visit the other Briefers, whose links follow my tale. Enjoy! (If you notice the numbers have changed on Don't Look Back, that's just for my benefit as I'm putting each week's flash together to make actual chapters, so that when I'm done, I can make a cover and upload it as a freebie!)

Don't Look Back 3.0

Dinner was done. Evening’s shadows crept along the backyard, prefacing the darkness of night.  Nothing stirred in the grass, and the birdbath was vacant, its former occupants gone to roost.

Marshall  had decided to grill—thick pork chops he’d seasoned with a little salt and pepper. And a touch of cayenne, for a little extra kick. He’d learned everything he knew about cooking either from Lee or the Food Network.

Clad only in a pair of jeans that barely kissed his hips, Marshall finished drying the last of the dishes and put them away. He’d be glad when this week was up, and he could go back to using the dishwasher. It was his own fault, couldn’t blame anybody else. He’d wanted to be fucked so badly he’d lost by default.
But it was worth every minute of it.

He dried his hands on a kitchen towel, turned out the light, and joined Lee in the family room. Lee was kicked back in his recliner. The television was on, but Lee’s attention was focused on a book in his lap. He turned a page and looked up as Marshall entered.

“That didn’t kill you, now did it?”

“Guess not.” Marshall laughed.  “Doesn’t mean I have to like it.” He started to stretch out on the couch, just as a knock sounded on the screen door, and a familiar voice called out, “Anybody home?”

“Come on in, Roy, door’s open,” Lee yelled in reply.

Marshall rose as the sheriff entered the room. Roy Landry was a grizzly bear of a man. But anyone who made the mistake of thinking of him as soft learned the hard way that his gentle appearance belied his strength.  Roy was like a second father to Marshall, and had been instrumental in reuniting him with Lee. 
He’d been a part of their lives ever since.

“Evenin’, Roy,” Marshall greeted him. “Can I get you a beer?”

“That sounds real good.” Roy dropped onto the end of the couch, his accustomed place whenever he visited. Removing his comfortable white wool cowboy hat, he dusted off the brim and set it beside him.

“Want one too?” Marshall asked Lee, who nodded.  Marshall retrieved three longnecks from the refrigerator. He took the other end of the couch, curling his bare feet on the cushion beside him.

“How’s business?” Roy asked. He took a long appreciative drink of the brew.

“Pretty good,” Lee replied. He’d closed his book and set it on the table next to him. “No matter how bad the economy gets, people still want their computers running like clockwork.”

“It’s this generation,” Roy commented. He winked at Lee, but his words were obviously aimed at Marshall. “They’ve been spoiled so much they think they can’t live without their pcs and laptops and tablets, all those gadgets we grew up without. Never hurt us, did it?”

“Not a bit,” Lee agreed. “But I guess these are different times. You adapt, or you get weeded out.”

“Now just hold on there a second,” Marshall protested. “We’re not spoiled. Who gave this generation the computers they grew up with? They didn’t grow on trees.” Not that he’d had one. That was something his mother hadn’t provided—among other things. She was a subject never touched on among them, one Marshall had left in his past. In the dark time when he thought he’d lost Lee forever.

“I dunno,” Lee drawled. “Who was whining about missing his dishwasher, just because he has to wash dishes by hand for a week? When I was a kid, we didn’t ever have anything like that. The only dishwasher was me, and it didn’t kill me.”

“What’s wrong with the dishwasher?” Roy looked at Marshall, who pretended to scowl at Lee.

“Nothing. I just lost a bet, and now I have to do dishes by hand for a week.”

Roy laughed. “Don’t you know better than to bet against Lee, boy? Do you ever win?”

“I don’t remember. I’m sure I have. Not that it’s important.”

 Both men laughed at that. Marshall’s cheeks flamed slightly, but he was grinning nonetheless.

“Anything going on at the sheriff’s office?” Lee asked. He’d switched the TV off so they could hear better.

“Not much. Couple of speeding tickets. Had to bust up a fight at Milly’s. Some out-of-towners with nothing better to do and no place to do it in. They hit the road again quick enough when I let ‘em know we don’t tolerate that sort of thing here.”

“In other words, a fairly typical day.”

“Pretty much, Lee. Can’t complain. It’s a living, and I like it here. Glad I came.”

The reason for his coming lay unspoken between them, but it was one they were all aware of.

“You still seeing that widow in Little Bend?”

Roy shrugged. “Off and on. Mostly off. I think she’s looking for someone with better prospects. When I told her I liked being the sheriff here, and wasn’t thinking of doing something else, she kinda cooled off.”

“Her loss. Plenty more where she came from.”

“Amen to that,” Marshall agreed.

“You doing anything tomorrow night?” Lee asked.

“Not that I know of. Why?”

“Why don’t the three of us make a night of it and head up to Partners? Haven’t been for a while. Whaddya think?” His glance encompassed both Roy and Marshall.

Marshall was grinning from ear to ear. “Hot damn, sounds good to me. I wanted to show off those new boots I got. That would be the perfect chance to do it.”

“Did you break them in yet?” Lee arched an eyebrow at Marshall. “Otherwise, all you’ll end up with is blisters and sore feet. Then you won’t be able to dance, like I’m guessing you want to.”

“Hell yeah, I want to. And I will. Just you see,” Marshall replied, a little defensively.

“Want to place a bet on that?”

Marshall pushed out his lower lip in a pout as Roy began to laugh.

to be continued

Now, go see what the other Briefers are up to!

Virtual Blog Tour: Wrong Locker

Book Name: Wrong Locker
Author Name: Jackie Nacht
Author Bio:
Short, sexy and sweet— where a little love goes a long way.
That’s the best way to describe Jackie Nacht’s stories. She was introduced to M/M Romance through her sister, Stephani, and read it for years. Then, she thought it was time to put her own stories on paper. Jackie began writing short and sweet stories that ended with a happily ever after.
Thinking back to her own book addiction, where there were many nights Jackie stayed up way too late so she could read just one more chapter— yeah, right— Jackie decided to write short romances for young adults as well as adults. Hopefully, they will give high school and college students, or working men and women something they can read during their lunch hour, in between classes or just when they want to briefly get away from the daily stresses of everyday life.
Author Contact:
Cover Artist: Zathyn Priest – Scarlet Tie Designs
Publisher: Featherweight Press
Sometimes the best way to turn your bad luck around, is reach out for the hand willing to help.

Sophomore Shaun Richards could not have any worse luck. The front office ended up placing his locker in the senior wing this year. A month into the year and it hasn't gotten any better. A group of seniors make it their mission to prove that he doesn't belong and gives him a hard time on a daily basis.

While eating lunch alone one day senior, Nash Wilder comes to sit with him. Shaun has had a crush on the senior all year and wonders what the heck the senior was doing sitting with the geeky underclassman?

Wrong Locker by Jackie Nacht
I was in pure hell. As I stood in front of Northeastern High, I could already feel my body tremble in panic. I was barely able to swallow, my throat dry with fear. Scrubbing a hand over my face, I wiped away the stray beads of sweat that showcased my anxiety to everyone passing me by.

Why was I so afraid to walk through those double doors? Oh that's right. The front office had assigned me a locker in the senior hallway this year due to overcrowding. A sophomore in the senior wing? What in the world had they been thinking?

"You get up late, Shaun? Do you need me to start calling you in the morning again?" Wade adjusted his backpack as he came to stand next to me.

Wade was my only friend in school. We had grown up together and were tight as they came. He was protective of me and vice versa. He was also the only one I'd ever told I was gay, outside of my mom, even though I was teased ruthlessly by the jerks who just assumed. I wasn't hiding it, but it was no one's business either, so I didn't confirm or deny.

How could I tell Wade that every day I tried to be this late? That way I might avoid having to walk to my locker in a hall crowded full of jerks that made it their life's mission to put me through hell on a daily basis. If I came in late enough, I would only have to deal with a few stragglers as opposed to the whole gamut.

"No, I'm good, Wade." My voice quivered. I hated feeling this way.

We entered the school together, and Wade paused at the front of the sophomore wing, pursing his lips. "Do you want me to go with you?"

As much as I wanted to say yes, I knew these jerks would be horrible to Wade, and I wanted to protect my one and only friend. "Go on to your locker. We only have a few minutes to make it to class."

Walking away from Wade was a test of my courage. My whole body started to go on lockdown, ready to be verbally attacked, insulted and made to feel like a piece of chewing gum on the bottom of a shoe.

Putting my head down, I turned the corner, heading for my locker. I learned that if I didn't make eye contact with the seniors, usually they would ignore me. I prayed that this would be one of those days. Getting to my locker, my fingers trembled as I grabbed my lock. Sheesh, I couldn't even get the combination in I was shaking so badly. After screwing it up once, I had to try ‑­

spinning the combination out and trying again.

I took too long. The presence behind me confirmed that my day of hell was about to begin. Leaning my forehead against the cool locker, I didn't even bother to try opening it up as my breath quickened.

A fist slammed next to me, causing me to jump.

Blake was there, leaning against the locker next to me with two of his buddies standing next to him. I have no clue what I ever did to offend the guy, but he hated me with a passion and was the ringleader to a group of seniors that gave me hell on a daily basis.

"Why haven't you left yet? No one wants you here, fag." Blake all but sneered at me.

It was the same thing every day. A sophomore wasn't wanted in the wing, but it was more than that. This guy hated me. And I absolutely loathed being called a fag. That was just as bad as a slap to the face. Worse.

There was no point in responding. I'd tried the first couple times, explaining administration couldn't switch my locker and that the sophomore wing was on overflow to other wings. Heck, there were a few more sophomores in this wing too, but they didn't seem to have half as much trouble as I did. Of course, those sophomores were athletes.

Me, I was more on the small side, skinny as they came with stylish brown hair that I used to love but now seemed to be a beacon for these jerks.

"I don't want to see you anymore. I don't care how you do it, but I don't want you walking in this hallway again." Blake slammed the locker with his fist again. The three walked away, laughing and jeering at my humiliation.

I had hoped that it would get better, that these guys would get bored and leave me alone. Yeah, they hadn't physically hurt me, yet. I knew that it was only a matter of time. Things had escalated too quickly in the last month since I had started school.

The bell rang, and I groaned, knowing that I was going to get into trouble for another tardy. Some days it just didn't pay to wake up.

I ran all the way to my classroom and got a stern look from my Spanish teacher before sitting down in my assigned seat. This was the best part of my day. While one group of seniors were jerks, they weren't all bad. Spanish was an elective that students were required to take two years of. Most waited until the last two years but I knew that I wanted to minor it in college so I wanted to have four years of languages.

This period, I got to stare at the back of the football co-captain, Nash Wilder. The man was gorgeous with sun-streaked light brown hair that had a short messy style to it. He was filled out ‑­

with muscles that I would forever lack and a tan I wish I could achieve. However, in my paleness, all I could hope for was a third degree burn. The man was handsome and unattainable. It seemed every girl dreamed he would ask them out, but the guy remained oblivious, concentrating on sports and school.

Glancing up at the dry erase board, I began doing my silent work of conjugating verbs and putting them into sentences. The tension in my body was still there from my earlier confrontation, but a small amount slipped away, knowing that I would have at least a small reprieve.

I was just about finished when Nash turned and stared at me. I glanced up from my paperwork into his puppy dog chocolate-brown eyes, surrounded by long dark eyelashes.

My jaw threatened to drop as he just scrutinized me. What was he thinking? Did I have something on my face? Oh God I did, didn't I?

"You okay, Shaun?" Nash whispered, doing a quick glance over his shoulder to make sure the teacher wasn't looking.

Nash knew my name? He freakin' knew my name. I didn't think anybody as popular as him would ever notice someone like me, unpopular and not an athletic bone in my body. He also sounded concerned. About me?

"I'm fine," I croaked out.

Someone in Nash's social stratosphere didn't want to hear about all my problems. Probably would bore the guy to death.

Nash stared at me for a moment more before he went back to his work. I blew out a breath with relief that I didn't have to discuss the jerks that constantly harassed me. How embarrassing would it be to admit to Nash the extent of my struggles, while crowded hallways seemed to simply part for him as he strolled along?

Rolling my pencil between my fingers, I frowned down at my work. This year was going to be so long for me. How was I ever going to be able to get through it? Sighing, I decided to try not to think about it as I got back to my work. Maybe in time I would have an answer, but right then, all I wanted was to survive the day.

Tour Dates: 8/20/14

Posting on 8/21/14:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rafflecopter Prize: $10 Amazon card and a PDF choice from Jackie’s backlist.
Sales Links:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Virtual Book Tour: Wet Paint

Book Name: Wet Paint
Author Name: Will Parkinson
Author Bio:

WILL PARKINSON believes that no matter what obstacles are thrown in the path of young love, it will always find a way to win in the end. He wants his characters to have their happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to come easily.
                None of this would have happened if he had followed the advice he was given many years ago. “What are you wasting your time on that for? It’s never going to amount to anything.” He believed it for the longest time, abandoning characters he’d created in his childhood.
                He picked up his very first m/m story by a writer named Eden Winters, who was an absolute joy when they corresponded. She asked him if he wrote and he told her the story. Eden explained to Will that the voices in his head would never go away and how he needed to let them out. With that thought in mind, Will put e-pen to e-paper once more. It was truly a liberating experience and one he has no intention of giving up again.
Author Contact:

Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Although Addy’s heart and body bear the scars from his life before he was adopted by the Deans, he’s ached for something he thought he would never find. Until he met Benny. He isn’t sure how anyone can care for someone as broken as he is, even though he wants it desperately.

High school senior Benny Peters has his whole life planned out for him, until a chaste kiss at summer camp opens a new world of possibilities. Determined to erase Addy’s insecurities, Benny works to take away his boyfriend’s pain and replace it with love.

When Addy’s past intrudes on their future, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what – or who – they face, they belong together.

Benny cast a glance at Addy, noticing how his eyes kept darting to him and then to the floor. He seemed troubled, unsure.
“Addy? Is there something wrong?”
Addy heaved a deep sigh, then was quiet for a moment. “Do I embarrass you?” he finally asked.
“What? No, of course not. Why would you even think that?” Benny was genuinely perplexed.
“Jackson and Taylor don’t seem to have any problem touching each other, but you act like I’ve got germs or something and won’t come anywhere near me when there’s other people around. I have to wonder if you’re ashamed to be seen with someone like... me.”
“Oh God, no,” Benny replied sharply. “Please don’t ever think that. You know what? C’mere.”
He grabbed Addy’s arm and dragged him into the lounge.
“Listen to me, little man. I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be ashamed of you. If anything, you should be ashamed of me.”
Addy looked puzzled. “Why?”
Benny slid his fingers through his stubbly hair, then rubbed the back of his neck before he spoke. “I’m not really comfortable with being... like this. I really do care for you, but I’ve never felt this way about a guy— well, about anyone—before, and I don’t know how to handle it. So no, I’m not ashamed or embarrassed of you at all. I’m just not sure how to deal with everything.”
Addy took Benny by the hand and peered into his eyes. “That’s all I needed to know. I don’t want to rush you. If you need time, you’ve got to know I’ll give it to you. I just wanted to be sure that you wanted me.”
Benny regarded his boyfriend. Yeah, his boyfriend. Benny had never been afraid to stand up for anyone in his life. Why should he be ashamed to stand up for himself now?
“C’mere, little man,” he growled, putting his hand on Addy’s neck, pulling him in close.
Addy’s eyes went wide, excitement dancing in them. Benny licked his lips and then pressed them to Addy’s in a deep, thrilling kiss. Someone whimpered. Benny wasn’t really sure which one of them it had been. He felt his synapses fry. It was the most incredible thing he’d ever experienced. A voice called out, startling them both.
“Benny? Is there something you’d like to tell me?”
Benny looked up and stared for a moment at Taylor, who had a wide smile across his face. Benny could feel his cheeks heat up. This wasn’t the way he wanted this to go, but damn, right now he needed Addy in the worst way.
“No, Taylor, not right now,” he replied quietly.
Then he went back in for another one of those amazing kisses.

Tour Dates: 8/18/14

Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Angel Martinez, Hearts on Fire, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Cate Ashwood, Amanda C. Stone, SA McAuley, Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings, Love Bytes, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Prism Book Alliance, Havan Fellows, Emotion in Motion, My Fiction Nook, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Charli Green, Jade Crystal, Lee Brazil, Trisha Harrington’s Blog, Will Parkinson, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wake Up Your Wild Side, EE Montgomery, Inked Rainbow Reads, Full Moon Dreaming, Top2Bottom, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Fallen Angel Reviews, Sinfully Sexy, Iyana Jenna, Andrew Q. Gordon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter Prize: One of two $10 gift card to Amazon or ARe
Sales Links:

Virtual Book Tour: Black Hurricane

Book Name: Black Hurricane
Author Name: Erica Pike
Author Bio: Erica lives in Iceland with her adorable little twin boys. She often says that her real name sounds like Klingon to foreigners. Seriously, if “Eyjafjallajökull” looks like a random strings of characters, it’s nothing in comparison to Erica’s name.
She’s been writing for several years, or ever since reading became an obsession. Aside from a business degree, Erica has taken English courses at the University of Iceland and gulped down anything that might help her in her career as an author. She takes great interest in English, but will break every single grammar rule for the sake of The Voice.
Author Contact:
Cover Artist: Scarlet Tie Designs
Publisher: MLR Press
Blurb(s): Twenty-three year old Jasper Jones fell in love with Dean McQueen at fourteen, but after a disastrous relationship, Jazz would like nothing better than to see the rock star choke on his own vomit.

After a catastrophic reunion, Dean seems bent on destroying Jazz’s life. It all started when an impromptu bar performance ended up on YouTube and Jazz became an internet sensation overnight. The name “Jazdean” keeps popping up in headlines and the paparazzi stalk his every move. To make matters worse, Jazz is about to end up on the streets for the second time in his life.

In a desperate attempt to keep his home, Jazz signs a deal with Dean’s band, Black Hurricane, to perform at a couple of concerts. It feels like one of Dean’s feeble attempts to get Jazz back, but painted into a corner like he is, Jazz has no choice.

Excerpt: “Jazz, take pictures!” Eric pokes me hard in the side with his bony elbow.
I wince and raise the camera, clicking a shot.
“Go to the front, like they’re doing.” He points at the photographers running to the front and clicking madly on their cameras.
Heaving a sigh, I drag my ass off the chair to walk forward. I rake my hand through my hair before I glance back at the monstrosity on the platform. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be in this position. Suddenly oil paint and new guitar strings don’t seem all that important. I just wanna get out, but Eric needs these pictures for the magazine and I’d rather die than let one of my friends down.
My heart thuds when I see Dean looking right back at me as I approach. His brow furrows as if he’s trying to place me. Typical. Of course he wouldn’t remember me. Why would he? My heart hammers a fast beat as my body breaks out in sweat. The inside of my throat thickens, stopping half of the oxygen from reaching my lungs. And still, I’m having the hardest time looking away.
Am I nervous under his green-eyed gaze? Or is it just the hate? It’s been years since I last saw him.
Not wanting to give the wrong impression of an adoring fan, I narrow my eyes and spew out all the venom I feel for this man into one, hateful glare, just before I raise the camera and snap my shots.

Tour Dates/Stops
August 18: Full Moon Dreaming
September 8: Decadent Delights
September 29: Prism Book Alliance
October 13: Cate Ashwood
October 20: The Novel Approach
November 3: Tara Lain,
November 10: My Fiction Nook

November 24: Amanda C. Stone

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter Prize: A $50 Amazon Gift Certificate and signed paperbacks of A Life Without You, Hot Hands and The Walls Have Ears. One (international) winner for the lot.
Sales Links: