Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #38 (10.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Dreams sometimes do come true. At least for Ryan and Ben they have. After a decade apart, they consummate their love and vow to stay together forever. See how they're doing in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale!  Enjoy!

In Pieces #38 (10.1)

The warmth of Ben’s body against his was soothing. Ryan couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept so well. After they’d made love, he’d fallen asleep, wrapped around Ben. Even now, he was reluctant to open his eyes, start a new day—he wanted their first night to last forever… or at least as long as possible.

He felt soft lips touch his own, eliciting a smile at the thought of Ben.

“Morning, sleepyhead,” Ben whispered, then kissed him again. “I forgot how adorable you look when you’re sleeping.”

Ryan cracked one eye open, just enough to peer into Ben’s face, hovering just over his. No one had ever called him adorable before. His heart swelled at the words, even as he couldn’t help but think what a lovesick fool he was. But he didn’t care. If Ben wanted to call him adorable, he could, even if that word applied to Ben much more than him.

“Why are you awake? Let’s sleep a while longer.”

Ben’s smile was dazzling, and yet wistful. “Wish we could, but it’s going on noon. We have a show tonight, things to do.”

Almost twelve? Jesus. Ryan couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept in so late. Normally, he wasn’t one to linger in bed.

“I wish we could stay here all day,” he blurted out without thinking, then blushed.  His mouth was running ahead of his brain, which was still half-asleep. He didn’t want Ben to think he was avoiding work, that had nothing to do with anything. Ben’s pleased expression told him he had nothing to worry about.

“I wish we could too.” A slight crease furrowed his brow, and he cast his gaze down, not meeting Ryan’s. Ryan’s heart skipped a beat in concern.

“Is something wrong?”

Ben didn’t answer immediately. Ryan reached for the hand that was pressed against his chest, lifted it and kissed each fingertip. “Ben….?”

“I was just wondering….” Ben began then paused. “I mean… was I…. okay?”

Oh, so that’s what the problem was. Ryan felt himself relax. He turned Ben’s hand over and gently kissed the palm. “You were magnificent,” he said softly. “Everything I ever dreamed you’d be…” Damn, did he say too much again?

Ben glanced up, eyes filled with wonder. “You… you dreamed about us being together… you and me?” He sounded incredulous and excited both.

“Of course I have. I’ve loved you for a long time, Ben. Losing you was the worst thing that ever happened to me.” That was his heart speaking now. Nothing but the truth between them, from now on.

“I’m sorry, Ryan. So so sorry…”

As Ryan watched, a tear fell from one of Ben’s eyes, then another. He quickly brushed at them, but Ryan was faster. He brushed his thumb across Ben’s cheek, trying to stem the tears. “Please don’t cry,” he said. “It wasn’t your fault, it was…. It wasn’t your fault,” he amended hastily. He didn’t want to bring up his stepmother. Maybe he didn’t care for her, but she was still Ben’s mother and he had to respect that. He didn’t want to upset Ben by badmouthing the woman, whether she deserved it or not.

He suddenly realized, though, that Ben had not mentioned her once since they were reunited, except to explain that Liza had taken away his phone and laptop, so he’d been unable to communicate with Ryan. He pushed the thought away. What did that matter? At this moment, It didn’t.

Several moments passed in silence. But it was a comfortable silence, not an awkward one. Ryan felt as though he could gaze into Ben’s eyes forever. But alas, all good things must come to an end. At least that’s how the saying went. Unfortunately for Ryan, his bladder was becoming insistent on being dealt with, and he certainly couldn’t do that there.

As if he could read Ryan’s mind, Ben leaned down and whispered, “We have tonight, my love, and every night from here on.” God, how good those words sounded.

“You know it,” he replied. “You and me. Forever.”

Without warning, Ben pulled off the light blanket that covered Ryan, his gaze roaming along his naked body before settling on his crotch.

“Got wood?” he said mischievously. Leaning down, he planted a soft kiss on the head of Ryan’s cock. Ryan moaned. Damn, why did he have to get up?

“Come on, we should get moving. I’m surprised they haven’t beaten the door down yet.” Ben reluctantly rose, his hand trailing across one of Ryan’s bare thighs. “Damn, I hate to see you cover that.”

Ryan blushed fiercely, but before he could respond, a knock sounded at the door.

“Looks like I jinxed us.” He winked at Ryan, before calling out to their unseen visitor, “Be down in a few.”

“About time,” Ryan heard someone mumble, but he wasn’t sure who it was, and he didn’t really care. Groaning, he pushed himself up, then swung his legs over and forced himself to rise. Ben was already rummaging in his dresser, pulling out articles of clothing.

Guess he’d get this over with so they could attend to business. That’s why they were there, after all. And Ben was right… they had tonight, and every other night for the rest of their lives to be together. Nothing would tear them apart now.

to be continued

Now go see what' s up with the other Briefers!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 18 Review

Blue Exorcist, Vol 18     

Author: Kazue Kato
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: January 2, 2018
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/202 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Rin and Yukio have been sent by Mephisto to rescue Shura, only to find her in the clutches of the demon Hachirotaro Okami. When Rin attacks the serpent, using his Satan Bomb move, Shura realizes he has gained greater control of his flames. He’d been against the name at first, finding it stupid, but she explained to him that it would be easier for him to remember, and she turns out to be right. The brothers rescue Shura but the serpent escapes. Shura can’t help but remember when Father Fujimoto asked her to watch over the twins, although she was less than interested, and she wonders if he foresaw this day.

They use a key to get back to True Cross, and Yukio winds up in the infirmary, to his chagrin. Rin tells him to get better and then he can go back to his special training, whatever it is. Shura starts to talk to Rin about what happened to Yukio in Aomori, then decides against it. Meanwhile the search for the demon serpent is on, but unfortunately someone on the other side finds him first and turns him over to Lucifer and his forces.

After she recovers, Shura goes to see the director and learns the serpent has been given to the others. They suspect Shima, but have no proof, since he is a double agent. Shura asks Mephisto if all of this is part of some big plan of his, but as usual he is cagy, and remarks that she cares more about others than she used to.

Back at the dorm, Rin is practicing grilling fresh fish, so he can cook for Yukio in the hospital. The others tell him he won’t be allow to grill there, much less with Satan’s flame. They find Bon hanging out Lightning’s laundry and make fun of him for allowing him to use him in that way, but he explains that he is trying to attain a state of selflessness, so they let it go.

Lightning takes Suguro to the underground library of the True Cross Japan branch, which is huge. Lightning got them permission for five days of research, and he intends to investigate the Illuminati. He thinks everything that is going on began on the Blue Night. He’s sure Mephisto knows the truth and he intends to make him talk.

Things are really getting good in this volume, especially trying to figure out everyone’s hidden agenda. Since her rescue by the Okumura brothers, Shura has become more human and likeable, although I could do without the skimpy outfits. Shima is an enigma. You want to intensely dislike him for being a spy, and yet there is something compelling about him that makes you want to give him the benefit of the doubt. One of the funniest parts of the book involves Rin’s confession to Shiemi that he likes her, and its aftermath, which involves the return of someone Rin cannot stand. Lightning isn’t the punk I first took him for, and his investigation of the Illuminati, along with Bon, is becoming very interesting, especially if it leads in the direction I think it is.

Another great volume from Kazue Kato, I look forward to the next one.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Anime Review 1-24-19

I realized it's been a while since I talked about the shows I watched, and since I started subscribing to Crunchyroll, I've beeen watching a lot of anime, so I thought I would start there, at least with a couple of things I am watching.

First, there is Bleach. *****POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*** My daughter Sarah and my friend Angela are both huge fans of the series

Bleach is about a young man named Ichigo, who accidentally becomes a Soul Reaper, thanks to a girl named Rukia. I just watched episode 23, so I have quite a ways to go. Ichigo lives with his father and two sisters, Karin and Yuzu, who run a clinic. Ichigo has the ability to see the dead, but becoming a Soul Reaper takes that to an all new level. Besides Ichigo and Rukia, there are a lot of interesting characters, including Orihime, Chad, Uruhara, Ishida, and a cat named Yoruichi, among others. The interesting thing about this anime is that just when you've decided someone is a real asshole, something happens to change your mind. In other words, character development!

I thought Ishida was a real dick. He's a Quincy, and although his goals are similar to Soul Reapers,
the results are not the same, and he holds a grudge against all Soul Reapers. He even tries to destroy Ichigo because he's such a fanatic.
But as I said, what you see isn't always what you get, and he's not such a bad guy. I should have known that when I found out Sarah likes him lol

Another very interesting character is Uruhara. He is a seemingly harmless shopkeeper who sells things to the Soul Society. But don't let that mild-mannered exterior fool you. He has a knack for appearing when he's needed, in the thick of things, and he knows far more than he is letting on, I have a feeling. The first time I saw him I recognized his hat - Sarah has one, and also his robe. In recent developments, Rukia was taken back to the Soul Society by her brother and his henchman for alleged crimes against the Soul Society, and is awaiting execution. Not content to let that happen, Ichigo and his friends have set out to rescue her. But before they could go, Uruhara spent some time training Ichigo, and that was a close call, as he almost became a Hollow. Hollows are demons who possess the dead and are very harmful. That's who the Soul Reapers fight against. Of course, Ichigo succeeded, becoming even stronger in the process.Rescuing Rukia won't be easy, but in the meantime, Ichigo and his friends are meeting some interesting people, such as Jidanbo, the huge man who is the guardian of the gate, and Ganju and his friends, boar-riding punks. Yeah, I said boar-riding.

This is a fun series. I watch one episode a day, and should be done first day of 2020.

Another anime I love and am now caught up on, sadly, until the new season later this year, is Food Wars. ****SPOILERS AHEAD*** Soma Yukihira lives with his dad Joichiro and works in the Yukihira family diner. As the series starts, Soma saves the diner, in his father's absence, from people trying to close it down, only to have his father announce on his return that he is closing the diner for two or three years and traveling. In the meantime, he is sending Soma to school - none other than the famous Totsuki culinary school! 

Soma is a very unconventional and most excellent chef, taking after his father. The two of them have had shokugeki, or food wars, for years in which they battle each other, each making a dish and seeing whose is best. So far, Soma has lost every time. But he never gives up and he never loses his enthusiasm for the challenge.

Upon entering Totsuki - late, which is usual for Soma - he immediately butts heads with Erina Nakiri, the granddaughter of the head of the school. Erina is known for her God tongue. From an early age, she has had an incredible palate, and even now is in great demand for her talents. She tries to have Soma eliminated, but Fate has other ideas, with a little assistance from Senzaemon Nakiri. Apparently, Totsuki is a very difficult school, and less than half of the students ever graduate! In fact, sometimes, students are expelled after losing a challenge!

Soma finds himself a resident of Polaris House, which is an unusual place filled with unusual students. Soma has to pass a challenge to even earn the right to stay there. But he really fits in, and we later learn this is the house where his father stayed, while a student there. Soma makes some great friends, such as Megumi and Isshki (who is known for his habit of wearing nothing but an apron around the house, and sometimes not that), Marui, Ibusaki, Yuki, Ryoko and more.

I don't want to give too much away, but the gist of the story revolves around the food wars, and the various food battles. Be prepared to become hungry watching these, as they do go into detail about food and its preparation, and these dishes look fabulous! (except for some of the horrible mishmashes Soma and his dad cook up, but that's another story lol)

There is a definite class structure at Totsuki, and the Polaris Star house is not considered very greatly. Also, there are the Elite Ten - the top ten students of the school. They have certain privileges, as well as a certain amount of authority, which you'll discover. Erina is one of these, and so is Isshki.

I highly recommend this anime, but keep a couple of things in mind, in case this isn't your cup of tea. Whenever the judges eat food that is remarkable, they have a tendency to lose their clothes, which brings all new meaning to food-gasm! No, you don't really see anything  explicit. The second thing is that the artist does like women with big breasts, and you get a lot of fanservice. Not my taste, but I put up with it for the rest of the story, which is phenomenal. I am also reading the manga, which is great, but now I'm caught up and waiting for the next volume to come out.

These animes are both available on Crunchyroll. You can watch them for free, and put up with the commercials, or you can pay $6.95 a month and be commercial free. I find it's worth the small free not to watch the commercials.

That's all for now, hope to do this more often. Hope you enjoyed this!  Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #37 (9.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

The lovemaking continues for Ryan and Ben in this week's episode of In Pieces. Together at last! What can possibly go wrong? Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #37 (9.3)

Ryan wasted no time in scrambling onto his bed, into Ben’s waiting arms. He nuzzled Ben’s neck, inhaling him. Ben wound his arms about him, pressing their bodies close together. He tangled his fingers in Ryan’s hair, clutching at him as if he’d never let him go.

Ryan was no virgin. He’d had a few lovers over the past ten years, but none who felt nearly as good as Ben did at this very moment. No wonder his relationships had never lasted. Somewhere in his heart he’d always known Ben was the one, and everyone else was but a pale imitation of him.

Ben was warmth, Ben was security… Ben felt like coming home. Making amends for something that should always have been which had been torn asunder through no fault of their own. They couldn’t change the past but they could write their own future from here on. Beginning with tonight.

Ryan began to kiss his way up Ben’s neck, the fine hairs tickling his lips, then along his jawline. He loved the feel of Ben beneath him, loved the way Ben held on to him. Ben’s grip was a little tight, but he wasn’t about to tell him to lighten up. A little pain mixed with pleasure wasn’t a terrible thing. It probably gave Ben something to hold on to, he realized.

He worked his way up to Ben’s lips and claimed them. Ben’s were soft and pliant and moist and wonderful—they parted at his touch. Ryan licked the upper lip, then the bottom, feeling Ben shiver at his touch before he plunged his tongue inside Ben’s willing mouth. Their tongues began to mesh and explore each another, connecting on an all new level.

Ben’s next move surprised Ryan—he rolled them over so that now he was on top of Ryan. He pulled back from their kiss, and it took Ryan a moment to register what he had in mind. He reached between them and grasped Ryan’s aching cock. A thin stream of precum leaked from the head, slicking Ben’s hand as he began to pump.

Damn, so good.

Ryan lost himself to the pure pleasure of Ben’s touch. If Ben kept this up, though, he’d never be able to last and he was determined to last. He wanted to be inside of Ben so badly he could almost taste it. What if Ben didn’t feel the same way? That sobering thought was quickly dispelled when Ben positioned himself above Ryan’s cock.

“No, wait, we need—”Ryan’s words died away as Ben lowered himself onto him. Ryan could do no more than moan as his cock was enveloped in Ben’s velvety warmth. So very tight, so incredibly soft at the same time. He should have stretched him, should have prepared Ben to take him, but Ben had taken him by surprise and Ryan’s second brain was doing all the thinking.

Ben was completely seated now and he’d stopped moving. Ryan glanced up. Was he all right? Had they moved too fast? He had no idea what sort of experience Ben had. Surely he’d had other lovers over the past ten years. Ben’s eyes were closed and he breathed in short bursts of air. Was he in pain? Maybe Ryan needed to pull out.

But before he could put his though into action, Ben’s eyes opened again, and the most beatific expression spread across his face. “Oh God,” he moaned. “This is… better than… I ever….”

Ryan was shocked. Was this Ben’s first time? How could that be?  As gorgeous as Ben was? Why hadn’t there been others? Guilt battled with pride in knowing he’d made Ben feel this way, and that he was Ben’s first, and the reason why felt suddenly unimportant.

“Ben, are you okay? I didn’t mean to hurt you…”

“You didn’t,” Ben assured him. “It burned, but only for a moment.” As if to prove his point, he began to rock on Ryan’s cock, at the same time grinding himself against Ryan’s crotch. Ryan’s guilt was already dissolving into pure pleasure. He let Ben control their movements, thrusting up with his hips to match Ben in their dance. They quickly fell into a mutual rhythm, pacing one another, slowly at first, then with a growing urgency. When Ben leaned down to kiss Ryan, he whispered, “Get on top of me… please…”

Ryan wasted no time in complying. He reversed their positions without dislodging himself. Ben’s pale body glistened with sweat, and his eyes were glazed with lust, his lips swollen and pink. His streaked blond hair spread across the pillow, almost like angelic wings. Ben was his angel, always had been. To tell the truth, Ryan had never seen him look quite so lovely. So pure and yet so wanton, as if he’d just bit into the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

“Oh yes, yes, yesssssss.” Ben’s hand reached for his own hardness and began to pump. “Harder,” he encouraged Ryan. “Harder.” He lifted his legs, circling Ryan’s waist, locking his ankles against the small of Ryan’s back, offering a better angle of attack.

Ryan thrust in a continuous motion that Ben matched, moving as one unit. Ryan held out as long as he could, willing Ben to come, but his crescendo was fast approaching. It wouldn’t be long now.

Their orgasms seemed to hit at the same moment, one feeding off of the other, their bodies 
combusting into a fever pitch, energy flowing between them in waves while they rode their highs. And when they had nothing else to give, they collapsed together on the bed, breathless and spent, and very much together.

This had been all Ryan had hoped for… and more.

He eased his weight from Ben to the bed, as they settled into their familiar positions, Ben with his head on Ryan’s damp chest, Ryan holding him tenderly.

Now they were complete.

to be continued

Now go visit the other Briefers and see what's up!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #36 (9.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

After ten years of agonizing separation, Ryan and Ben have come together as young adults. Will they finally be able to consummate their deep passion for one another? See what's happening in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #36 (9.2)

The house was completely silent, not surprising considering the lateness of the hour.  No lights were on, and no sign of Cameron. Ryan hadn’t noticed his truck in the drive. But then again he hadn’t exactly been looking for it either.

What moonlight fell through the windows was sufficient for them to make their way up the staircase leading to the second floor.  Ryan noticed a dim glow coming from beneath the door of Aiden and Abby’s room. Maybe Aiden wasn’t ready for sleep. Or maybe he was keeping a watchful eye on his sister. He wondered just what Cameron had done to her, and how they felt about sleeping so close to his room? And why did the band still associate with him? Was it strictly for financial reasons?

Thoughts of Abby and Cameron dissipated as soon as he followed Ben into their shared room as Ben closed and locked the door behind them.

“Only to be opened in case of fire,” Ben said lightly. “And maybe earthquake.” His laugh sounded nervous.

Without hesitation, Ryan pulled him close, circling his waist. “We might not notice an earthquake,” he said softly.

Ben claimed his lips, meshing them together feverishly. Moving his hand between them, he began to undo the buttons of Ryan’s vest, then reached for his belt. But there was only so much he could do with one hand and with their bodies pressed together like that.

“Hang on a sec,” Ryan said. He took a step back and shrugged off his jacket, laying it carefully on Ben’s bed, followed by his vest. As he began to work on the buttons of his shirt, Ben unbuckled his belt and drew it through the loops, then pulled his zipper down. Ryan’s briefs were damp with precum, his cock hardening at Ben’s touch. He’d never been one to go commando, but just this once he wished he had.

“Oh wait, shoes,” Ryan said. “Duh.” He took a seat on the edge of his bed, unlaced his shoes and toed them off, leaving the socks on. He looked up to find Ben had removed the priest’s robes. Unlike Ryan, he had gone completely commando beneath his costume. Ryan stared at him, openmouthed.

“Is something wrong?” Ben took a small step back but Ryan grasped his wrist before he could move away.

“Nothing,” Ryan assured him. “You… it’s just that… I mean, you’re so beautiful.”  He could look at Ben all day and not get tired of the view.

“I…I think you exaggerate,” Ben protested mildly. “Do you intend to sleep in your pants?”

Oh yeah, he was undressing, wasn’t he? At least, he was supposed to be. “Yeah.  I mean no, I don’t.” Ryan was momentarily tongue-tied. “And I’m not exaggerating. I’ve never seen anyone as beautiful as you.”

Ben ducked down so Ryan could no longer see his face, focusing on his shoes. Ryan finished undressed, laid everything on Ben’s bed. Ben’s pale flesh was illuminated in the moonlight. Ryan couldn’t help but take advantage of Ben’s position. He slid one hand over Ben’s magnificent ass and cupped one taut cheek.  Ben’s skin was surprisingly soft and smooth. Acting on impulse, Ryan slid to his knees and gently kissed the cheek in his hand, inhaling the scent that was Ben.

“Do you want me to stop, Ben?” Ryan pressed his own cheek against Ben’s buttock and rubbed against it in a feline manner.

“No, don’t stop,” Ben said, almost tersely.

Scooting over on his knees, Ryan maneuvered himself into a more advantageous position behind Ben. He spread his fingers across Ben’s ass and gently kneaded the soft flesh. Emboldened by Ben’s moans, he spread his cheeks with his fingers, revealing Ben’s pink pucker. Ryan licked a line from Ben’s perineum to his hole. He felt Ben tremble at his touch.

They’d never done anything like this before. As teenagers, they’d kissed, and “accidentally” rubbed against each other. Not that the desire hadn’t been there, but the circumstances were wrong. Ben was too young, and Ryan too unwilling to harm him, even without meaning to. But now… now they were both grown men, and Ryan’s heart was keeping time with his body, and he was acting on sheer instinct.

He wasn’t sure what was about to happen, but whatever it was, it was right. Belatedly, he realized what an awkward position he’d put Ben into without meaning to. Scattering kisses across both cheeks, he held onto Ben’s hips and rose to his feet, helping Ben to straighten as he did so.

Ben kicked his shoes aside, as he pressed himself back against Ryan, shamelessly grinding his ass against Ryan’s hard cock. “Take me to bed,” he moaned. “Please, Ryan.”

Not waiting for a reply, Ben threw himself onto Ryan’s bed and rolled onto his back, arms open and beckoning, legs spread. “I’m all yours,” he said.

to be continued

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 17 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 17    

Author: Kazue Kato
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: July 4, 2017
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/186 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

When Shura disappears, Mephisto sends Yukio and Rin to find her, telling them to go to Aomori Prefecture, as that is where she is from. Plus the most recent GPS reading places here there. Yukio claims he can handle the assignment alone, to Rin’s dismay, but Mephisto insists they work together, so off they go. He also lets Yuki know that he knows about his dangerous training, and to be careful.

They take a train to Lake Towada and find room in an inn. The old lady who runs the inn assures them they’ll have privacy, having totally misinterpreted their relationship. As they relax in a hot bath, Rin questions Yukio about the dangerous training, which his brother blows off, then reveals how he has messed up with Shiemi. He asks Yuki if he likes Shiemi too, but doesn’t really get an answer to his question. Later, in speaking with the innkeeper, they learn that Shura spent the night there and said when she left that she was sort of going home.

Meanwhile, Shura meets with a mysterious figure she calls Hachiro who is insistent that she keep to the terms of her blood contract and have a child! As Yukio and Rin search for Shura, Yukio tells his brother the story of the baba yaga of Lake Towanda, and of how Father Fujimoto rescued  Shura, who was being held prisoner there. Rin senses trouble ahead. They find an injured Shura lying in the snow, and she tells them she is going to die soon! She tells them the story of the blood contract that began even before she was born…

This volume is primarily about Shura, but it’s also about Yukio and Rin, giving them some brotherly alone time which they seldom get. Shura’s backstory is interesting, and the contract she was burdened with horrendous. Finally resigned to her fate, it takes the two brothers to make her see she can have a life of her own. I love the flashbacks of when she met Father Fujimoto. The things she said and did made me laugh, especially when she said she wanted to have his baby! I loved seeing Rin and Yukio working together. I worry about Yukio, and whatever power is coming to light inside of him. I think he’ll be all right. After all, look at Rin! He’s a good boy, just high spirited. And not likely to be swayed to the dark side.

Another great volume, look forward to more!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #35 (9.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

The birthday party is over, and it's time for the band to crash back at Cameron's place. It's been a good night, and everyone is pleased, but tired. As the others wander off to go to sleep, Ben and Ryan decide to head up to their room as well. But is sleep really on the agenda? See what's going on in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #35 (9.1)

Once they ate their fill of the expensive finger foods—lobster en croute, caviar, and smoked salmon alongside nachos topped with pork and cheese and jalapeno poppers, as well as small chocolate cakes sprinkled with gold leaf, not to mention glasses of undoubtedly expensive champagne—they finished breaking down their equipment and loaded it. Ryan insisted on helping. He didn’t want to be dead weight. He might not be a member of the band, but as far as he was concerned, he was one of them, and not some delicate author who had to be cared for. With everyone’s help, everything was loaded in a short time.

Once they were finished and had made their farewells to their hosts, Deacon and Keanu took the van, and everyone else piled into Cameron’s sedan, Aiden again behind the wheel, with Abby sitting shotgun, and Ben and Ryan in the back seat.  Although it was well after midnight, the party was still in full swing, although at least half the guests had already gone home. Ryan assumed the rest  either would spend the night, call their parents, or take an Uber home

A contented silence reigned between them on the trip back to Mandeville. Abby must have fallen asleep. Ryan saw her leaning against the passenger window. That was probably why Aiden didn’t bother to turn on the radio.  Ben wrapped his arm about Ryan, and they snuggled close together. Ryan shut his eyes, focusing on the familiar feel of Ben, on his intoxicating scent. Oblivious to everything else, he paid no attention when they crossed over the hated bridge, too wrapped up in Ben to care. He felt as though he could sit like this forever.

But obviously that wasn’t going to happen. All too soon it seemed they reached Cameron’s house. As the car slowed, then came to a stop, Ryan reluctantly straightened. The van was already parked just in front of them, and its occupants were climbing out.  Ryan followed Ben, as Aiden came around and opened Abby’s door. She leaned sleepily against him.

“If you don’t mind, I’m gonna take Abby upstairs,” Aiden said.

“Yeah, go ahead. This can wait until morning,” Ben told him.

“Sounds good to me,” Keanu said. He yawned widely. “That was some party that kid got. I hope he appreciates how lucky he is.”

“Most of them don’t.” Aiden sounded cynical. “Night, everyone.” He wrapped a supportive arm around Abby, and they headed toward the house.

“Why don’t we get a night cap?” Keanu suggested. “Cameron’s got good liquor too. Maybe even better.”

“Let’s not and say we did, loverboy,” Deacon quickly said before Ben could even respond.  “C’mon, there’s a bed up there that’s calling our name. For purposes of sleep,” he quickly added.

“Damn, man, that’s just cold,” Keanu grumbled, but his words were muffled by another huge yawn.

“That’s what I thought.” Deacon laughed. “I don’t need to have you fall asleep on me. Again.” He came up behind Keanu and wrapped his arms around his waist, nudging him forward. “And don’t try to tell me otherwise,” he cut off Keanu’s next protest.” I was there. I know.

Deacon herded Keanu to the front door and inside. Ryan could hear Keanu continue to grumble until they were out of earshot.

“Did you want a drink or something?” Ben asked. He held Cameron’s car keys in one hand, jingling them almost restlessly. Ryan noticed Ben looked away from him, toward the night sky. 

“Not unless you do,” Ryan said. “To be honest, I’d just rather we go to bed.”

Ben shifted his gaze to Ryan. “We?” he said softly.

“Us, yes. You and me, Ben. The way we did before.” Ryan surprised even himself by his forthrightness. He didn’t want to play games, he just wanted Ben.

Ben exhaled, as if he’d been holding his breath. “Just you and me,” he repeated. “I want us to sleep together again. The way we used to.  I haven’t slept well at all without you.”

“Me either,” Ryan said sincerely.

Ben laid the palm of one hand against Ryan’s cheek and stroked it gently.  They stood there for a long moment, absorbed in one another.

“I guess I’ll have to take these robes off first. You wouldn’t want to see me be defrocked, would you?” he asked cheekily. Ryan couldn’t help but laugh.

“You’re right, I’m sure the Church would frown on us, wouldn’t they? They’re not exactly big on their priests having sex. ” Despite the light banter between them, Ryan’s heart began to thump, knowing that beneath their words swirled a sensuous undercurrent laden with meaning. “I’ll help you, if you’d like.”

“Oh, I’d like,” Ben said, closing the gap between them and kissing Ryan softly, then a little more firmly, finally licking at his lower lip before pulling back. “This is our night and no one else’s. I don’t care what happens, I’m not leaving you.” He took Ryan by the hand and led him toward the door.
Blood was pounding in Ryan’s ears, his heart felt ready to burst with happiness, and his entire body tingled with anticipation as he followed Ben inside.

 Tonight, tonight…

to be continued

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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 16 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 15     

Author: Kazue Kato
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: December 6 , 2016
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/218 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Yukio visits Shura in the hospital to discuss the current situation and to explain about Shima being a double agent. A tired, overworked Yukio doesn’t trust either Mephisto or Shima, but for the present there is nothing to be done about that. Shura tells him that Mephisto has given her tickets for everyone to an ultra bath in Southern Cross, and tells a reluctant Yukio he needs it as much or more than anyone else. So everyone heads out for some down time, including the acknowledged spy in their midst.

The girls share some time in the bath, while the boys goof around in their bath. When Shima shows up, they think he’s acting weird, until he reveals the reason for his behavior – namely, that Izumo, Shiemi, and Shura are right next door, and they are naked! His stated intentions of seeing them naked produces an unexpected declaration from Rin.

Back at home, Rin finds an abandoned kotatsu with a missing blanket, and dreams of being able to have people over for a hot pot party! Concerned about his brother, he questions Yukio, who blows him off, as always. At the Vatican, Mephisto is attending a meeting at True Cross Headquarters concerning recent develops. The name Igor Niehaus is brought up, the former instructor who was suspended after an attack on Rin and whose current whereabouts are unknown. Accused by Arthur Angel of being a traitor, Mephisto convinces them that he has their best interests at heart, and is working to keep the Gehenna gate closed. Lightning privately convinces Angel to have him assigned to the Japan Branch of True Cross, so he can look into matters.

To the Exwires dismay, Yukio informs them that they will be taking exorcist certification exam sooner than expected.  They must each resubmit their desired meisters ahead of time. Rin discusses the Yukio situation with Shiemi, but she is as much in the dark concerning his behavior as Rin is. Meanwhile, Yukio has his own agenda, one that brings him little sleep, brought on by unexpected observations of himself. Lightning shows up at True Cross as an instructor, and takes Suguro on as his acolyte/servant. The other Exwires can’t believe the highly alpha Suguro acting like such a toady, but Suguro insists Lightning is his mentor and he wishes to learn from him. He hopes that if he does well, Lightning will take him on as an apprentice.

Shiemi is uncertain which meister she wishes to study for, so returns home to consult with her mother, only to have an unexpected discussion. On a routine mission, Shiemi and RIn find themselves trapped together, and things are …. well, said… that could have interesting consequences.
The action doesn’t stop in this volume of Blue Exorcist. Never a dull moment. It’s interesting to watch Shima’s return to the school and see how the Exwires relate to him, especially Suguro and Konekomaru. Being a double agent must be tricky. How can either side fully trust him, not knowing for sure where his true loyalties lie since he has to be convincing to all of them? We see more into what Yukio is up to, and his doubts about himself as well as the potentially harmful way he is dealing with it. Sooner or later, I think he needs to tell Rin what’s going on, and Mephisto too. Despite being odd, I suspect there is more good than bad in Mephisto. A love triangle is forming, but I think it’s based on erroneous information and is more a comedy of errors than anything else. Can’t wait to see what happens.

Another great volume, looking forward to more!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 15 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 15   

Author: Kazue Kato
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: May 3, 2016
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/202 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

The Exwires manage to shrink a monstrous Gedoin down to a more manageable size and find themselves face to face with Shima, who manages to give them the slip yet again. Recovering in the hospital, Izumo learns the whereabouts of her missing sister and uses a key to go see her. She finds that her sister has been adopted into a nice family and is very happy. She doesn’t tell her sister who she is, and her sister doesn’t remember her, so returns to the hospital, crushed. She confronts Shiemi, who only wants to make her feel better, but Izumo isn’t ready for that and resists.

Suguro goes home to tell Shima’s family the awful truth about their son, only to learn something very unexpected. In the meantime, Gedoin has escaped and made his way back to Lucifer on the Dominus Liminis. Gedoin only wishes to please Lucifer, but Lucifer thinks he is nothing and quickly deflates him.

The Exwires return to school, and we learn more about what Shima is really up to. Naturally, Mephisto is involved. In the classroom, confusion ensues when first one and then a second Shima turn up. Who is the real one and who the imposter? And why is either one there? Mephisto arrives in the nick of time and transports some of the students back to his office before they harm Shima. There they meet Lightning, Arthur Angel’s second-in-command, who has come to determine if Shima is trustworthy. Other questions arise, such as why is Mephisto raising the son of Satan? Answers are demanded.

This volume of Blue Exorcist is filled with a lot, both in terms of action and character development and story. The truth about Shima was unexpected, and I can see it becoming problematic for everyone.  I love how outspoken Rin is. When asked if he thought Shima was trustworthy, he said no, but he meant Mephisto, not Shima. Plans are being made to fight the Illuminati, and time is of the essence. How much does Mephisto know that he isn’t telling? Also, what’s up with Yukio? An interesting scene hints at what I’ve been thinking all along.

Great volume, looking forward to more!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #34 (8.7)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Salvation is still playing at the birthday party of a young man with wealthy parents, and Ryan is beginning to see what kind of attention Ben draws from his fans. Can he live with that, or will it make him jealous? See what's going on in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #34 (8.7)

As it turned out, Ryan’s fears were groundless. Ben had Miles well in hand, and was keeping the infatuated  young man at what Ryan considered to be a safe distance. Ben was letting Miles’ friends take selfies of themselves with him, and all of the young people were clamoring for his attention, eating it up. But when Ben spotted Ryan coming toward him, his face lit up with unmistakable joy.

Ryan had intended to hang on the fringe of the group and take the photos for the host,  but Ben would have none of that. He bounced up to Ryan and welcomed him with a warm kiss, drawing a few giggles from the young people, as well as comments of “Hey, can priests do that now?” which were answered by a snarky “He’s not a real priest, dumbass.”

“I’m supposed to take some pictures for Mr. Champlain,” Ryan explained to Ben. “I’ve got some good ones already, but I thought he’d like more.”

“Cool. That means I’ll get to see you in action.  Want me to hold your laptop?”

“Sure, if you don’t mind.”

“Anything for you.” Ben kissed him again, then Ryan handed him the laptop. If he’d thought he’d have a problem getting Miles’ friends to pose, that idea dissipated as they enthusiastically fell in with his suggestions. Even Miles was unexpectedly good-natured about it, although he did glare at Ryan just a little when Ben kissed him. But he got over it quickly, and everything went well.  Afterward, Ben walked Ryan back to his seat, kissed him again as he whispered, “Tonight,” and returned to the stage.

The second half of the concert went very well. Ryan found himself transported by the incredible sounds Salvation was putting out. He’d never heard music quite like it before. How could they fail to become very successful with such talented performers in their midst, especially Ben?

Of course, if he was going to be completely honest with himself, it was thoughts of Ben as much as the music that had him floating on Cloud Nine. That and the implied promise of his parting words. What else could it mean other than tonight was going to be their night? Years of wanting and waiting would finally come to an end.

Salvation was a huge success. Their audience was reluctant to see the concert end, but when Mrs. Champlain told them a buffet had been laid out for them on the verandah, the promise of food was enough to take the sting out of their disappointment.

“You’ll join us too, won’t you?” she asked Ben. Ryan could tell he would rather not, but he gave her a gallant smile and said they’d be honored, although they couldn’t stay long. That seemed to satisfy Mrs. Champlain. She turned away and began to herd the young people toward the house.

“Sorry,” Ben apologized. “I know it’s late, but I didn’t want to be rude…”

“No, it’s fine. Are you sure you’re not too tired? I mean, everything still needs to be broken down, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, it does, but I think a small break won’t hurt. I bet the food’s good, if this house is anything to go by. C’mon, let’s find out.” He linked his arm through Ryan’s and they trailed the other band members at a comfortable pace.

“What did you think? About the band, I mean?” Ben asked, almost shyly.

“I think you’re all amazing,” Ryan said honestly. “I think you’re all going to be big stars someday. And I think you are incredible.” He couldn’t praise the group enough, and especially Ben.

“Everything I’ve done, I did for you.” Ben stopped suddenly, forcing Ryan to stop as well. Ben’s eyes seemed to glitter unnaturally in the bright lights from the house, probably because of his contact lenses. “I wanted to prove myself, to be someone you’d be proud to be with. You have no idea… the last ten years… I’ve missed you so much. I was so afraid that after all that time… that you wouldn’t…”

“Wouldn’t what?” Ryan prompted when Ben’s words trailed away.

“Wouldn’t want me.” Ben’s voice had dropped to the point where Ryan could barely hear him, but he heard him well enough to know what he’d said.

“Not want you? That wasn’t ever going to happen. I’ll always want you, Ben.  All the years without you, all the time we’ve been separated have been agony for me. Not knowing where you were, what you were doing or thinking. I was sure you’d find someone else, someone better—”

“There is no one better for me than you, Ryan, so don’t even think that.” Ben pressed their lips together and every other question Ryan had wanted to ask melted. Not now. Some other time. This was their time.

Nothing could ever separate them again.

to be continued

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