Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Blog Tour: All of the Above by Quinn Anderson #Excerpt #Giveaway



Author: Quinn Anderson
Book: All of the Above
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Publication Date: November 20, 2017
Length: 158 pages

About All of the Above

Brendon isn’t in a rut, per se—he just always seems to be in-between things. Jobs. Degrees. Boyfriends. He never finishes what he starts. The perfect path is out there somewhere, and if he can just figure out what it is, he’s certain everything else will fall into place.

The last thing he expects is to meet his soul mate in the pages of a magazine quiz. “Who Is Your Perfect Man?” by Matthew Kingston seems like a road map to his future husband: the author himself. Brendon may not have his life figured out, but if Matt is as romantic as his quiz, Brendon can check “true love” off his to-do list.

When Brendon fakes a meet-cute between them, Matt proves to be as wonderful as he hoped. The more Brendon gets to know him, the harder he falls. But Brendon has a confession to make: how can he explain to Matt that he arranged their “fated” meeting? Brendon can’t tell if he’s found his soul mate, heartache, or all of the above.



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Thanks for joining me on my blog tour. I’m Quinn Anderson, author of the Murmur Inc. series, and I’m here to share some inside information about All of the Above, coming out November 20th. Stay tuned to hear fun facts about this novel, learn where I get my ideas from, and find out more about the characters. Leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win a $10 Riptide Publishing gift card!




Excerpt


Chapter One

“Hey, Soul Sister” came over the ceiling speakers for the thirteenth time that day. Brendon contemplated exiting the mall simply so he could go out to the parking lot and hurl himself in front of an SUV.
He didn’t want to die, per se. Just get maimed enough so that he could leave work and go home. It was either that or allow the constant barrage of mild, inoffensive adult alternative music to eat away at him until he snapped. If he walked out the door right now, he’d be doing the general public a favor.
But he didn’t. Sigh. He had bills to pay, same as everyone else. He needed this job. Although, if the SUV broke his legs, he could sue the driver . . .
Oblivious to his grisly thoughts, a steady stream of shoppers sailed placidly past him. Most of them avoided looking at Brendon. One of the few benefits of working at a mall kiosk: no one wanted to make eye contact, lest he take that as an invitation to pounce. But a few sets of eyes lingered on the flat stomach his ice-blue crop top bared. Predominantly male eyes, he noted.
Sometimes, their gazes would trail up to his face. What happened next never failed to make Brendon smile. Upon realizing he was a guy, they jerked their heads away, looking inexplicably furious. Brendon liked to think he was doing his little part for feminism. Served dudes right for ogling every inch of skin they saw like the world was their personal meat market.
His phone rested on the glass display case he was currently leaning against. He touched the home button, and the screen lit up. It was 7:17 p.m. Shit. Still two more hours to go.
He stood up and stretched to his full height of five foot ten. A head rush hit him, and the polished tile beneath his sequined sneakers swam. Tilting his chin back, he focused on the pink sign above his kiosk, which read Hairway to Heaven in white letters. His opinion of the pun changed daily, depending on what sort of mood he was in.
A second later, his vision cleared. He should really stop draping himself over things. Or maybe see a doctor. Good one. With what money?
He glanced around and immediately wished he hadn’t. The mall’s sameness was oppressive: off-white storefronts, gray ceiling tiles, beige floors, and frosted white lights humming overhead. It all blended together into a lackluster sea. Even the people walking past him were just a trickle of blank faces, their features melding together until he swore the same twenty people passed him in a never-ending loop.
It was the lights that did it for him, interspersed at intervals like symmetric, unnerving stars. And the lack of windows. It couldn’t be healthy to not know what time of day it was at any given moment. And then of course, there was the music.
Brendon really hated the mall.
Just as he was reconsidering getting maimed, a girl broke away from the throng and approached. There was a wariness to her expression that made him want to roll his eyes. He had no idea why customers thought he was going to bite. If anything, he’d charge extra for that.
“Hi,” he greeted her when she was close enough. He flashed what he hoped was a winning smile. “How are you?”
“I’m fine.” She flicked beautiful, curly hair over her shoulder. Brendon went into salesman mood and assessed it without thinking: good shine, healthy chestnut color, and minimal split ends for that length. But her curls were perfect, which meant she probably wasn’t interested in the free flat-ironing they offered.
“What can I help you with, honey?”
“Which way is Starbucks?”
Ugh. Brendon hated when people used him as a living directory. But cute girls were what made his job tolerable, so she got a pass. He flashed another thousand-watt smile and pointed her in the right direction. She thanked him and wobbled off on ankle-breaking spiked heels. More power to her. Brendon knew as well as anyone that beauty was pain.
He checked his reflection in one of the lightbulb-lined mirrors on either side of the kiosk. Tired green eyes looked back at him, set between pale, plucked eyebrows and high cheekbones. He’d always thought there was a feline quality to his sleek features, but right now, he looked more like a droopy basset hound.
His hair was holding up well, though, as it should, considering how much effort he put into it. Every shoulder-length blond strand was as straight as when he’d blown them out this morning. The royal-blue ends were striking against his pastel clothes. And the dull mall backdrop, for that matter. He was like a sparkly little hummingbird in a drab haystack.
He snapped a quick selfie and uploaded it to Instagram. God bless filters. Making him look less like a zombie since 2010.
Someone walked up behind him in the mirror. He spun around on autopilot. “How can I help you?” He blinked. “Oh. Hey, Areesh.”
“Try not to sound so disappointed.” Areesh held his muscular arms out as if to invite a hug. “Happy to see me?”
“As always.”
Areesh was the tall, dark, and handsome to Brendon’s pale and pastel. Brendon spent a good portion of every workday trying to convince Areesh to let him play with his silky black hair, but Areesh never allowed it, the tease. He owned an endless supply of V-neck shirts that he used to display his broad shoulders and thick chest hair. It was a look that would make most of the bears Brendon knew chuck in the flannel towel.
But even with all that going on, Areesh was somehow straight as a wicket. It was a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare.
Brendon put his phone down. “What can I do for you?”
Areesh gave him a sour look. “Don’t use your retail voice on me. It’s creepy.”
“Sorry.” Brendon cleared his throat. “I’ve been working for too long. It crawls under your skin.”
“Don’t I know it. But I brought you something that should brighten up your day.” Areesh had a canvas tote bag slung over one shoulder. He held it out to Brendon.
Brendon took it, wobbling beneath the weight, and set it on the ground. “What’s this?”
“Open it and see.”
Brendon reached in and pulled out a handful of magazines. Their glossy covers gleamed. “Oh, Cosmo! Where did you get these?”
“Sasha cleaned out our closet yesterday and found them. She wanted them to go to someone who would appreciate them. Naturally I thought of you.”
“Tell wifey I said merci.” Brendon rifled through the bag. “Vogue. People. All the greatest hits. I am definitely ready to read a hundred tips on how to have my best sex yet.”
Areesh shook his head. “Shameless. Anyway, you can thank her yourself. You work tomorrow, right?”
“Yup. And the day after that, and the day after that. And every day until my cute butt is outta cosmetology school and set up in some fab salon somewhere.”
“It’s nice to have goals.” Areesh looked past him. “And customers. Show time, tiger.”
Brendon dutifully turned away, but he whispered, “You sound like a fifties stage manager,” before greeting the two women who had approached his kiosk. They were his usual fare: early twenties, giggly, with Frappuccinos in their hands and their hair in messy buns. Brendon made best friends with a dozen of them a day, and he honestly loved it. They always preened over his hair and complimented his shoes. And they told the best stories while he was fixing them up. Nothing like a little gossip to help the long hours pass.
He gave both of them the complimentary flat-ironing, talking up their hair the whole time. He never lied to his customers. They all had something that set them apart, be it beautiful natural waves, thickness, color, whatever.
In this case, one of them had some serious bleach damage but shine that just wouldn’t stop. He recommended a ceramic-plated iron to her, and to his delight, she bought one. Her friend went with a leave-in conditioner and a calming serum he swore by. A hundred and eighty dollars later, they waltzed off a bit more glamorous, and Brendon packed an extra nine dollars onto his paycheck. It wasn’t much, but bonuses were bonuses.
After they left, he sank back into beige-tinged boredom. He wasn’t a pushy salesperson—he’d sooner wear Crocs than hound people to let him do their hair—which meant he ended up having a lot of downtime. If he were smart, he’d pull out one of his textbooks and study for his esthiology class. But even skin care couldn’t rouse his interest this close to the end of the work day.
Instead, he dug into Areesh’s tote bag and grabbed a magazine at random. Extra. He’d never heard of it before. He flipped it open and shuffled through the pages. The first few columns featured the usual: fashion, healthy living, and what famous face was wearing what unpronounceable brand. There was even an article about the latest trends that he perused with a grain of salt. Whoever thought pigtails were coming back was dead wrong. It had taken Britney Spears herself to make him like them once.
About a quarter of the way in, it occurred to him that the magazine was a little . . . off. The articles were all what he expected, and the layout looked typical, but something was missing. The pages weren’t as glossy, and the color quality was low. He didn’t think much of it until he glanced at the advertisements: they were for local companies. Hell, he’d been to a few of these bars.
Curious, he flipped to the back cover and read the label. Sure enough, Extra was local. Weird. He couldn’t imagine why someone would try to launch a fashion magazine out of this little swath of Nowheresville, Ohio. They’d have an easier time selling tractors and corn products.
They were doing a decent job of it, though. Extra’s content was solid. Brendon read an article about boyfriend jeans that made him seriously reconsider his marriage to high-waisted. He found himself flipping page after page and even taking snapshots to post on Facebook.
By the time he reached the last few pages, there was only half an hour left until the mall closed. That was the kind of time-wasting magic he needed in his life. Normally, he would start counting the register around now, but instead he turned to the very last page, looking for subscription options.
Instead, he found a quiz.
Who Is Your Perfect Man? the title asked in bold, black letters. Brendon groaned aloud. He used to be addicted to online quizzes. They were all over social media, and . . . well, he had a lot of downtime. But one day he’d caught himself trying to figure out what flavor of pie he was, and he’d quit cold turkey.
He was about to close the back cover when the first question caught his eye.
If forced to choose between sex and food, which would you pick?
Brendon huffed a laugh. He wasn’t ashamed to admit he’d put real thought into that one before. He liked sex plenty, but food was a special pleasure for him. He was known for saving up for weeks so he could treat himself to nice dinners. Cheesecake and sex were basically the same thing, as far as he was concerned.
He scanned the answers, just for fun.
A) Food! Can’t survive without it.
B) Sex. I might only live for three months, but I’ll be smiling in the end.
C) Sex, but it would have to be really good sex.
Pretty standard stuff. Brendon’s fingers were already poised to flip the page. When he got to the last option, however, his heart stopped.
D) Definitely food. Cheesecake is just as good as sex.
Huh. That was almost exactly how he felt. Most people he knew would choose food, but not for the same reason.
The coincidence was odd enough to bring him back to reality. He scanned his surroundings. The crowd was thinning by the second as the mall got ready to close for the night. If he were smart, he would get ready too, so he could book it as soon as the doors shut.
He debated with himself. It was unlikely he’d get another customer now, but not impossible. Every once in a while, he got a last-minute request for a free hair straightening, usually from someone who was about to hit the clubs for the night. Even if they didn’t seem like they were going to buy, he’d have to help them. Surely he couldn’t cash out and lock up until he was certain no one else needed him?
Brendon had never felt quite so dedicated to his job. He folded the magazine open to the quiz and settled on the kiosk’s stool.
He selected a pink pen from the assortment of cheap ones they kept scattered in the supply drawer, circled D beneath the first question, and moved on to the next one.
Where would your perfect man take you on your first date?
Well, so far the questions weren’t scoring any originality points. He knew how most people answered this: dinner and a movie. But in Brendon’s opinion, neither was an option. First dates were supposed to be memorable. A good story to tell the kids one day. He’d die if he had to sit his adopted children down and say, Kids, on our first date, your father took me to Red Lobster, and then we saw the latest movie adaptation of whatever YA novel was big at the time! No, thank you.
Leary, he scanned his options.
A) He’d take me to a bookstore! We’d buy each other copies of our favorite books. Then we could talk about them on our next date. The Dragonscale bookstore on Eighth and Manor Drive is perfect for first dates.
Brendon’s eyebrows shot up. That was actually a damn cute idea. And he knew that bookstore. He got his textbooks there. The in-line advertisement was a little weird, but the magazine probably needed all the revenue it could get.
B) We’d hit up a farmers’ market, buy the ingredients for a recipe neither of us have tried before, and then cook it together. If it goes well, we’ll both have learned something. If it doesn’t, we can laugh about it as we break out the delivery menus.
That was also a cute idea. He devoured the last two options:
C) Buy some disposable cameras and take a stroll downtown. Take photos of everything: the people, the stores, the lights, and of course, each other. Maybe our first kiss could get caught on film!
D) Pick something off your bucket list and do it together. It can be something as small as taking a pottery class or as big as sky diving! When we look back, we’ll always remember that we took that step together.
Brendon stared into space, mind whirring. He would happily go on all four of those dates. In fact, he wanted to. None of the men he’d gone out with in the past had displayed the creativity that this magazine had in just one question. Whoever had written this was very, very good.
He dithered between options A and C before finally choosing C. The concept of immortalizing his first kiss with his future husband was too cute to resist.
Brendon moved to the next question, now fully invested in this quiz.
What’s your favorite movie?
He wondered how the author would handle this one. Usually the answers were a collection of blockbuster hits, vague genres, and “anything starring insert popular celebrity here.” Option one seemed to confirm his theory:
A) Anything directed by J.J. Abrams! Am I blinded by love or lens flares? Don’t know, but there’s a Star War going on for my heart, and he Treked right into it.
Wow. Brendon pursed his lips. That was terrible. But funny in a corny way, he supposed. And hey, he worked at Hairway to Heaven, so he couldn’t judge.
He read the next option and nearly choked on the breath he’d just taken.
B) The Ramen Girl starring Brittany Murphy. “Stop thinking about words! Use your heart!”
Brendon blinked three times in rapid succession. What the fuck? He didn’t know anyone else who’d even seen that film, let alone would dub it their all-time favorite. Quizzes like this usually listed popular movies to appeal to a wide audience. It was shocking to see an Indie film mentioned by name, let alone Brendon’s favorite film.
Goose bumps crawled up his arm. He didn’t even read the rest of the options. He circled B and jumped to the next question.
How do you want to be proposed to?
A) At a family gathering. Mom and I can start making wedding plans right away, and I can show off my bling to my unmarried cousins.
Well, that one definitely wasn’t Brendon’s choice. He didn’t have any close family, let alone cousins to be passive-aggressive toward. His parents had moved to Florida after he’d turned eighteen, and hadn’t taken him with them. He was pretty sure they’d sent him a birthday card back in May. Too bad he’d been born in April.
B) Somewhere public, like at a baseball stadium or at a concert. I want all eyes on me when he gets down on one knee!
Anyone who’d met Brendon’s manicured self would assume he’d pick that, but surprisingly, Brendon hated public proposals. Way too much pressure. And instead of thinking about what was happening, he’d probably panic and forget to answer. Plus, it was kind of shitty to spring a question that important on someone in front of an audience.
C) I’m a traditionalist. I want a ring at the bottom of a champagne glass.
Blah. Definite pass. Way too cliché, and knowing Brendon’s luck, he’d swallow it. So far this round had left him underwhelmed. Maybe he’d given this quiz too much credit. He glanced at the last possibility, not expecting much.
D) Wine. Soft music. Candles everywhere. No one around but me and my perfect man. He cooks dinner, and after reminiscing about all the good times we’ve had, he’ll ask the big question. But wait. He doesn’t have a ring! Is the proposal ruined? No, because he hands me a blank check and drops me off at Tiffany’s.
Brendon snorted. Okay, that was hilarious, and the best proposal idea he’d ever heard. He circled it.
His initial spark of curiosity about the author had grown to a roaring flame. He checked beneath the title of the quiz. With any luck, it wasn’t an uncredited intern or a pseudonym. In a tiny font, he located the words written by Matthew Kingston.
A guy wrote this? Brendon hated to stereotype, but he’d been expecting a woman. Was this Kingston guy gay or just really devoted to his work? Brendon supposed he could be a romantic. Those still existed in this modern age.
The next question piqued Brendon’s interest if only because this was a local magazine.
Where in the city would you most like to spend your time?
If Kingston was smart, he’d keep the answers general, so they could apply to wherever the reader was. But as Brendon had learned from the movie question, this quiz wasn’t afraid to get specific.
He read the options quickly, and the very first one both solved the mystery and made his heart thud in his chest.
A) A little Spanish restaurant in the heart of the city. It has a second-floor balcony most people don’t know about. The regulars are allowed to slip out the window and enjoy their wine on the private terrace, which is draped in string lights and boasts a beautiful view of the city. And the food is just as amazing.
Though no name was mentioned, Brendon was certain he knew exactly which restaurant Matthew Kingston was talking about. It was Brendon’s favorite: Café Luis. It had fandango lessons on Thursdays, and their house wine was imported from their winery in Spain. And just like the quiz had said, they had a little balcony that was reserved for special occasions.
Brendon had been out there a handful of times. It wasn’t big enough for more than two people at once, so he’d never spent long out there, but it was easily his favorite place. Once, he’d sat on the ledge and swung a leg over, drinking wine while he watched the stars poke through the darkening sky. Up there, his uncertainties melted away, and life slotted into place.
Whenever he had extra money lying around, he went straight for Café Luis, and right now, he would bet his paycheck that was the restaurant the author had described. It was too much of a coincidence.
Actually, a lot of the answers had been huge coincidence. What were the odds that they both loved the same mom-and-pop Spanish food? And The Ramen Girl? And the Dragonscale bookstore? And everything else?
Who was this guy?
Brendon hurried through the rest of the quiz, which went on to list his favorite band, concert venue, and describe his ideal lazy Sunday morning right down to how he liked his eggs.
By the end of it, conspiracy theories were germinating in his head. Did the author know him? Had Matthew Kingston—whom he was now calling Matt in his head, as if they were old friends—written this quiz for him?
But that was ridiculous. How could anyone predict he’d read this magazine? That Areesh would clean out Sasha’s closet and give this to him? There was no way, but it was hard to believe it was a fluke too.
Brendon shook his head and checked the time just to have something to distract himself with: 8:51 p.m. He had some wiggle room, but he should really start packing up if he wanted to get home and cook dinner before it got too late.
He was burning with curiosity, though. Maybe the quiz results could tell him something. If there was a sliver of a chance, he had to take it.
He tallied up his points and found a key that directed him to the different types of perfect men. The results were silly: the Hopeless Romantic, the Bad Boy, the Sensitive Soul, and so on. Their descriptions weren’t much better. Your perfect man is sweet and caring and probably has a dog. He could be a teacher or a sexy firefighter! Brendon prayed his perfect man was a little more original.
His points took him to the Artistic Amor: Your perfect man is creative and fun-loving. Forget about typical dates and traditional romance. He’s got a head full of ways to woo, and he wants to use them on you! If you’re up for a little adventure, you and your Perfect Man will paint the town, sometimes literally. He probably works in a field that requires thinking outside the box, like advertising, graphic design, or even acting. Or maybe he writes romantic quizzes for a small, local magazine! Who knows? Whatever he does, his most important job is loving you, or it will be, when you two finally meet.
A new possibility occurred to Brendon. It was true that there was no way Matt could have written this quiz for him, but that didn’t mean fate wasn’t still at work. After reading that description, he was convinced Matt had put a lot of himself into this quiz, and since his choices lined up with Brendon’s, there was only one explanation.
He and Matthew Kingston were soul mates.





About Quinn Anderson

Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.

A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. Her girlfriend swears her sense of humor is just one big Joss Whedon reference. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life, and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Yuri on Ice, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and more. Growing up, while most of her friends were fighting evil by moonlight, Anderson was kamehameha-ing her way through all the shounen anime she could get her hands on. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and Tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her.

Her favorite authors include J.K. Rowling, Gail Carson Levine, Libba Bray, and Tamora Pierce. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling, cooking, spending too much time on the internet, playing fetch with her cat, screwing the rules, watching Markiplier play games she’s too scared to play herself, and catching ’em all.

Connect with Quinn:







Giveaway

To celebrate the release of All of the Above, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 25, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 


Release Blitz: For the Love of Samuel by RP Andrews #Excerpt


 
Title:  For the Love of Samuel
Author: RP Andrews
Publisher:  Self-Published
Release Date: 11/20/2017
Heat Level: 5 - Erotica
Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage
Length: 50,500
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, eroic gay romance, erotic gay fiction

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Synopsis

New Yorker and aging gay man Billy Veleber who abhors growing old has lost Jim, his former meth head lover, to his habit, and Gus, the older man in his life and mentor, to despair, when he is confronted with the chance to become 21 all over again, through the magical prowess of the dog tag of a long dead Civil War soldier, Samuel Evans. Young again, Billy abandons Manhattan for Fort Lauderdale where he meets Dare, the love of his life, whose clever quick rich venture first bonds them, then threatens to end their idyllic lives together forever. Billy also faces the reality of having to tell Dare the truth about himself.

Excerpt



Billy Veleber, a 51 year old aging gay mam living in Manhattan, after a number of heartbreaks, decides to put on the dog tag of a Civil soldier given to him by Travis, a clerk in a thrift shop in Boystown, Chicago, who tells him it will give him eternal youth if he has had or has love in his life.  The dog tag had been handed down for generations since it was given to Walt Whitman by a dying soldier he nursed in the Washington, D.C., Armory Hospital in 1862. Over the intervening weekend, Billy begins his transformation to 21, the same age as the soldier, Samuel Evans, whose dog tag he wears, died ...

I leave the baths around five, and after a coma nap, a quick Smart Choice Fettuccini Alfredo 400 calorie dinner and a good hot shower - I notice with cocky satisfaction in the bedroom’s full length mirror that my love handles are history, my stomach is flatter, my receding hairline is unreceding, and most of the gray on my head and in my beard and and on  - yes! - my chest is going or gone, I head over in my leather vest, no shirt, and levis and boots for The New Eagle off Tenth Avenue. It’s almost one - a.m. - but as one of my fuck buddies before Gus and even Jim, said, “That's when they stop window shopping.”

Now it’s called The New Eagle because the old Eagle, along with the Spike and the Lure, the leather triumvirate of my youth and my years with Gus, were gone. They had become the victims of the real estate boom at the turn of the millennium, and had been brutally and sacrilegiously torn down for shiny, gleaming condos and spankingly clean baby carriages.

In the crappy bathroom at the Spike they had stenciled on the black wall in cheap white paint, “Don't flush for piss.” That said it all. I only hoped some gay historians had saved that piece of the wall before it too became history. Now all we have left is the hole on Tenth Avenue, what us hardcore leathermen sarcastically brand as Genuine “Vi-nel.”

I strut in, my goose-step no longer adopted but my own, and find the same Chatty Cathy cliques - different faces, same old shit - going on like the last time I was here with Gus just after we’d  gotten back from our first class holiday excursion to Athens and Rome and a few weeks before his stroke.

In between the groupies are some of the oldest members of our clan, The Old Guard, usually alone because most of their cronies are already dead, and usually with enough keys hanging from their belts to rival a night watchman at the Chrysler Building, the fucken handkerchiefs hanging from their pockets, so Twentieth Century, or the best of them in faded, stretched out jock straps that should be on Antiques Road Show along with their owners. Yea it’s true, the older some of these guys got, the less they wore. For attention I guess.

Admired or ridiculed, it doesn't matter; the greatest sin is to be ignored.

I order my nine dollar screwdriver with fifteen cents of vodka in it, and head up the stairs to the second level where just a year before Gus and I had had our leather marriage ceremony.

As I’m going up the stairs some twink in a super short Tux jacket, Bermuda shorts and floppies and one of those Abe Lincoln top hats - I guess he thinks he’s in the Garment District because anywhere else he’d be tire-ironed - and his angelic girl friend, a vision in pink, dressed in a fluffy chiffon skirt, low cut blouse and sneakers, are waltzing down the stairs. They give a funny stare but I stare them right back.

“You,” say I, pointing to the bitch, “don't belong here.”

“You can't discriminate against us, fucker,” replies her boyfriend who sounds like he shoots up with estrogen in the morning.

I give him a frumpy look back. Yea, buddy you’re right. The days when a leather bar could stop you from coming in if you weren't dressed “in code” are over. With the leather scene fading faster than an Atlantic City “Wish You Were Here” postcard, it's all about selling the liquor.

Period.

There's less people upstairs, the same Chatty Cathy shit going on or guys on their fucken phones GPSing you but never making a move beyond that, when I see HIM.

He’s tall but not too tall, hairy but not a gorilla like me, older but not old, with an open leather camouflage vest showing a tight, lightly furry chest and six pack out of one of Men’s Fitness cover stories, “Dynamite Abs in Just Six Weeks!”, a scrawny beard and face of a felon who did hard labor, and leather gloves and biker’s cap to complete the whole Neo-Nazi look.

Plus a pair of furry, honey melon buns deliciously hanging from his chaps begging to be tongued.

Fuck!

He’s standing at the other end of the bar, surrounded by clones though he is far and away the pick of the litter. I lock my eyes on him like a laser for a good ten minutes but I get hardly a glance.

Now in the old days before Jim and Gus when I was free as a bird but as timid as a spinster, I would have just moved on. Oh, but this was the new Billy, the ballsy Billy. I walk over and stand two feet away from Mr. Hot Shit and his court jesters and just keep staring.

Finally I get his attention.

“You got a problem, bud?” he says returning the stare of a killer. His cronies do the same.

“Well, I've been cruising you for at least ten minutes now and I didn't even get a fart back.”

“And…”

“So what are you looking for, some fem, or fat boy, or maybe some tough guy with whips, chains and razors hanging from his belt?”

His buddies begin to little girl giggle, but not a muscle moves in Hotshit’s Stone Mountain face.

“I’m not into watching your pubic hairs grow in, buddy.”

“How old do you think I am?”

“Thirty, thirty two maybe.”

Fuck, dude, I’d suck your dick all night just for that. But I continue to play it cool.

“So you get your kicks changing some old man’s Depends, I guess.”

Now Hotshit is the only one that's laughing.

“Okay, smart ass, buy me a beer.”

He follows me to the bar and after collecting our beers, we move to the other side and sit down on the wood bleachers.

“I gotta tell you buddy -”

“Billy, name’s Billy.”

“Hank, in from LA. Hell, Billy, you're the first guy I've met in a long time that’s got balls for real.”

“Hey, I know what I want, so why waste one another's time?”

“And you want me?”

“If you can deal with all this.” I glide my hand over the fur on my chest and abs when Hank puts his hand over mine and pushes it further down to my crotch.

And squeezes.

“I dig the fur big time. And most younger guys are so used to deleting and blocking everybody, they don't know how to talk, Christ, they don't know how to fart in public. But you - you sound pretty mature for a kid old enough to be my son.”

“You don't have to be old to have your shit together.”

Hank raises his razor chin. “So how old do you think I am, stud?”

Now with that hard core felon face, I took him for fifty but PR taught me to tell people what they wanna hear.

“Forty.”

“Good answer,” he replies. “I’m 46.”

“l just threw a guy out younger than you," I say smugly.

“Oh?”

“High maintenance. Wanted it all the time. Hey, what do I look like, some fucking machine?”

“You must be pretty tough.” He smiles for the first time since we connected, a tough guy’s, controlled, but a smile nonetheless.

“Yea, I’m a trust fund baby, do what I wanna do, when I wanna do it, with whoever I wanna do it with.”

It’s refreshing to create whatever past the moment calls for when you know, chances are, you'll never see the guy again.

“And you?” I ask. “You're not one of these aging hotties who live off those of us with money are you?” This time I place my hand on his chest, rubbing it slowly back and forth from nipple to nipple. He’s got a nice succulent set.

“You know something,” with his own smart ass grin. “I’m going to really enjoy hearing you howl while I fuck you.”

I get up, pat my ass for his benefit, then sit down again.

“This ain't yours yet.”

“Okay, fair enough.” He takes my hand, places it on his crotch, a respectable bulge at that. “I’m a set designer in Hollyweird, between gigs which is why I decided go visit New York and see some old buddies …”

“...who you're free loading off of.”

“If you mean, I’m staying with one of them the answer is yes.”

“Current trans-coastal lover, present or former fuck buddy, auditioning sugar daddy, which is it?”

“None of the above. Just a buddy’s couch and a lumpy one at that.”

“Well then, that makes it easy.” I get down off the bleachers and wait for him to follow. He does.

“Remember.” He taps on the chrome and leather armband on his bulging left bicep.

“So two tops can have fun,” I say matter of factly, taping on my neoprene version, also on my not quite as bulging as his left bicep. “Who ends up on the bottom bunk is a matter of luck and timing.”

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Meet the Author

 
RP Andrews spent most of his life in New York City as a public relations executive before relocating to Fort Lauderdale in 2002, where he enjoyed a brief second career teaching writing at a local university.

All his works of erotic gay fiction and non-fiction are available at amazon.com.

His first work of erotic gay fiction, a collection of edgy short stories called “Basic Butch,” was originally published by San Francisco-based GLBT Publishers in 2008. Basic Butch features characters who go down life paths that, in the end, they wish they had never explored.

His latest works of serious gay fiction include:
“The Czar of Wilton Drive,” the story of Jonathan Antonucci, a twenty-one-year- old, barely-out-the-closet gay man from suburban New York who overnight finds himself a multimillionaire, thanks to a bequest by his late gay uncle. Uncle Charlie has unexpectedly died of a heart attack, leaving him the sole owner of several of the most successful bars in Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale’s gay ghetto, making Jonathan the Czar of Wilton Drive.

Flying down to Lauderdale to claim his bequest, Jon encounters Uncle Charlie’s dubious friends and business associates, and is immediately submerged in Lauderdale’s scene of unbridled sex and heavy drugs. He also discovers his great uncle’s memoirs which reveal truths not only about Jon’s own past but also what may have really happened to his uncle. In the end, Jon is torn between avenging Uncle Charlie’s death or loving the man responsible for it.

“Not In It For The Love,” set at the turn of the new millennium. Josh, a young street-smart Florida drifter is snatched from his dead-end existence as a male hustler in a cheap Key Largo motel by Bishop, a Wall Street power broker who sets him up as his trophy boy in Manhattan society.
There, Josh, after leading a promiscuous lifestyle within New York City’s gay sub-culture, meets Hylan, a young, bi-racial, down-on-his luck, wheelchair-bound musician who awakens in Josh what love can be between two men. But their chance at happiness and the lives of those around them are forever changed by 9/11.

“Buy Guys,” published in 2015, is the story of Blaze and Pete, two handsome young drifters with nothing and nothing to lose. Blaze convinces Pete, who is falling in love with him, to leave dreary New Jersey and lead free and easy lives as male prostitutes in sunny Fort Lauderdale. Blaze, however, soon pulls Pete into a much larger, more dangerous scheme, a scheme that eventually threatens to destroy them both.

RP Andrews’ daily social commentary blog on gay life in America has been running since 2010 at str8gayconfessions.com, and a second edition collection of these commentaries is available as an e-book on amazon.com. Confessions of a Str8Gay Man is RP Andrews’ unvarnished, unorthodox views of Modern Gay America which are often counter to today’s political correct gay media.
In addition, there is “Furry Man’s Journal,” his erotic memoirs as a hirsute gay man as told through his experiences with the dozen iconic men in his life.
For more info, visit eroticgayromancebyrpandrews.com.

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