Did I say giveaway?
Yes, there will be prizes! Some will be given individually, by members of the group. And others will be joint gifts - namely three $25 Amazon GC's. But there's a catch! You have to actually go to the Beth Wylde group to participate. So what are you waiting for? Haul your ashes over there and have some fun!
We're going to be posting some special flash fiction that we wrote for the occasion, our group effort. All of these stories take place in the same universe, on the Queen Bee, our gay cruise ship. There will be recurring characters in some of the story, such as the captain or the cruise director. But each story is individual to the writer who wrote it. Each author will post their story on their blog, and also at Beth Wylde.
Here is my story. I call it Raising the Sail. I hope you like it. We plan to take these bits of flash fiction and create an anthology. I'll keep you posted on that. For now, here's my story, I hope you enjoy it. See you at Beth Wylde!
The tension inside the car was as thick as the air outside it. Mississippi in the middle of June ran the gamut from chilly and brisk to hot and sticky. The mid-day sun wasn’t helping the situation any. And neither was the fact the air conditioning had quit running cold twenty minutes after they left home, but there wasn’t time to do anything about that now. They had a plane to catch, places to go. A cruise ship to board.
“Carson, don’t sweat it. Last night... was no big deal. Honestly.”
“I’d rather not talk about it, Terry.” His voice was cool, intentionally unemotional, but he gave himself away by white-knuckling the steering wheel, eyes fixed on the narrow blacktop before them. Living in bumfuck Mississippi, in the rather small town of Bodega, meant driving to Memphis to get to a decent-sized airport. Although the town they lived in was large enough to support businesses of the seedy persuasion, somehow it couldn’t handle having an airport of any magnitude. Go figure.
He tried not to think about the strip club again. Why ruin this cruise that had been virtually dumped into their laps with his own personal issues? Seemed rather self-defeating at best. Terry was a grown man, capable of making his own decisions. He didn’t need Carson to tell him what to do, or how to live his life. If Carson trusted him, it shouldn’t matter.
But somehow it did.
Terry laid a hand on Carson’s thigh and sighed. “Please don’t be upset, babe. It’s real nice of your sister to take care of the cats while we’re gone. And pick up our mail. And water the plants.”
Carson Kittredge forced a smile to his lips. He turned briefly and glanced at his companion. Terry Mancini, his live-in lover of two years, was so cute it made his heart ache. His brown hair had blond and red highlights from exposure to the sun; he had the most incredible gray-blue eyes, and the most devastating smile. So why was Carson unable to get it up with him anymore? The desire was there, the spirit was willing, but the body—ah the body was weak.
According to his sister, Caroline, there were a number of reasons, chief among them Carson’s inability to find work compensatory with his education and skill set. Sure he had a job, working as a bookkeeper for a local farm co-op, but it was a far cry from his previous position with Blumenthal & Weiss, one of the top financial advisors in the South. But when the economy tanked, so did his career.
And that led to his second frustration—a few months ago, Terry had taken on a second job. He was dancing at Shake’s, a rather shady but well-paying men’s club in Bodega.
God, he hated discussing these things with his own sister, but she was a trained therapist. Plus she had a way of worming things out of him, whether he wanted her to or not. It was damn humiliating to admit to anyone that he suffered from… He couldn’t even think it to himself, say the two words, or even the initials. He’d told her what to do with her offer of a prescription for the V word—that hadn’t gone over very well at all.
“Get some fresh air, have some fun in the sun, relax and forget about life for a while.” Those were her parting words, as she shooed them out the door of their home. He had a feeling, once the door closed, she made a beeline straight to the refrigerator, which Terry had filled with some of his best home-cooked dishes. He couldn’t blame her for that. Terry was a great cook.
Dammit, he was going to do just that. Have fun with Terry. How often did a trip like this happen to guys like them? Not very often. He didn’t want to ruin it for Terry. He loved him, he truly did. Which made his inability to make love to him all the more inexplicable.
It wasn’t just the strip club, though, and he knew it.
He heard Terry clear his throat beside him. Glancing up, he saw he was just about to miss the exit to the interstate, the one that would take them straight to Memphis. Damn. He quickly veered to the right, grateful no one was behind him, and managed to merge onto the highway.
“I packed plenty of sunscreen.” Terry scooted closer to Carson on the generous front seat of the old Lincoln. So close their hips touched. “And lots of lube.” He rubbed his face against Carson’s shoulder in a rather feline gesture. “And some of our favorite toys. And extra batteries.”
“Sounds like you have it all under control.” Carson attempted a smile. His face didn’t want to cooperate. It ended up feeling stiff.
“I just want you to have a good time, babe. This is our time. You and me. I love you so much, Carson.”
Pangs of guilt knifed his heart. He shouldn’t be jealous of Terry. Terry was the best, and he’d never given Carson any reason to doubt him. Never.
“Did you pack a swimsuit? According to the brochure, there’s a big pool onboard the ship.”
“Yep, I did. The red pair you like so much.”
“The extra tight ones?” Oh Lordy, how hot those were, the way they hugged Terry’s sexy ass, and just barely revealed a touch of the tasty flesh beneath. If that didn’t serve to get a rise from his libido, he didn’t know what would.
And wasn’t that a depressing thought.
“What’s the name of the ship again?” he asked, just to distract himself.
“Queen Bee. San Francisco to Hawaii. Fifteen glorious nights and sixteen fun-filled days.”
Queen Bee. A fitting name for a gay cruise.
He slung his arm around Terry’s shoulder, and cuddled him close as they fell into a companionable silence.
to be continued