Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Whose Line Story: Hard Deadline

So do you remember when we asked for you to tell us your line? Well if you did comment and left us your line, it can now be found in an original short story 'fuck yehs'. Check out the Whose Line post to get all reacquainted with how it all got started.


Title: Hard Deadline
Authors: S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet
Websites: SLArmstrong.net & KPiet.net
Blogs: S.L. Armstrong at Wordpress & K. Piet at Wordpress

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced or shared in any form, including, but not limited to printing, photocopying, faxing, or emailing, except for quotations included in critical articles and/or reviews, without prior written permission from the authors.

Dedication: To DarienMoya at Pants Off Reviews. It's been an awesome year, and we hope the next one is only better for you!


Elliot rubbed at his eyes one more time. They were dry and sore, dammit, and he wanted to leave the conference room and run to his desk. At least there he had some Excedrin and Visine. Christ, if he was going feel like he was hung over, he should be given the most basic of remedies. Neil's voice was sharp, calling his attention back to his boss. "I need an energy drink or more coffee or a drip of pure adrenaline," he sighed, stretching in his chair. "It's two in the morning, Neil."

 "And we roll the launch out at eight, so we're not going anywhere tonight." Neil stood up, tall and lean. Elliot's eyes moved down the length of Neil's body where the cloth of a dress shirt and business slacks hung in all the right ways. "I'll send John out."

 "John's asleep." Elliot pointed at the kid—who couldn't be more than twenty—who was asleep at the desk outside the conference room. "Which is exactly where I'd like to be."

 "In bed?"

 Elliot's head snapped up. Had he heard Neil right? That edge to his voice, and was that heat in his eyes? He was sure they'd been dancing around something for weeks, ever since Neil had promoted him, but he wasn't sure. And he wasn't going to do anything to find out because he valued his job. He wasn't just some code monkey anymore. "Yeah, in bed." He couldn't help the smirk that found its way to his lips. "But you're keeping me from it.

" Neil shook his head and picked up the phone. He dialed three numbers, and John jerked awake. "We need energy drinks and food." A pause. "We're in New York City. Something is open and selling food." He let the phone drop back into the cradle, an arrogant quirk to his eyebrow.

 "You like being the boss, don't you?" Elliot snapped.

 "Yes, I do." Neil crossed his arms. "You like not being a lackey anymore, don't you?"

 Elliot snorted. "I haven't been a lackey in years, Neil. I was senior developer before you made me project manager. Which, by the way, I still don't understand." Thunder rumbled outside, and Elliot stood up, went to the window. "Great, you sent John out into a damn thunderstorm.

Poor kid."

 "He'll survive." Neil's voice was closer now, and the hairs on the back of Elliot's neck stood on end. Neil had to be right behind him. That voice... fuck, what it did to Elliot's self-control. "I love thunderstorms," Neil all but purred behind Elliot.

 "What do you like about them?" Elliot asked, and was that his voice that had gone all husky?

 Neil chuckled. "The power. The darkness. The brightness."

 "You like power." God, how close was Neil to him now? "You like challenges to that power?"

 Neil's lips were close to his ear now, and the heat of his words traveled right to Elliot's cock. "Be careful, Elliot; you might not be able to handle what happens. Power is a wild, untamed thing.

" Elliot licked his lips and wondered if the movement could be seen in his reflection. He didn't dare move, even if his words were a whole hell of a lot bolder. "I can handle anything you throw my way, boss."

 "That's not what you said last night," Neil countered, and Elliot swore there was just a hint of challenge there. Was he supposed to take the bait? Should he just ignore it? What kind of game did Neil have in mind, and would it cost him his job if he fucked it up?

 He swallowed thickly before glancing over his shoulder, trying to keep his tone light. "Yeah, well, that was when before I brilliantly came up with the solutions to the five issues we were having with the code." The others had given up and gone home, but he'd been determined to see the project through and ensure they didn't blow past their deadline. He deserved a raise, dammit, or at least a hefty bonus for all this overtime.

 "I used to think you were so innocent..." Neil's eyes were dark, sultry even, and Elliot couldn't look away. "But now, I think there's a side to you that you haven't shown me."

 "You see what you want to see," Elliot tried to say nonchalantly, but his voice cracked halfway through, and he silently cursed himself.

 Neil chuckled, and the sound went directly to Elliot's groin. "I want to see more. I want to see what strange things make you weak. Tell me your secrets, Elliot."

 It was an order, and Elliot didn't know if he had the strength to deny him. He opened his mouth, and then closed it. After doing that three times, he just decided he should stop trying. Neil's grin was just growing broader by the second, and part of him didn't like giving him the satisfaction.

 "Need a little help with words? I bet I can inspire you."

 Before Elliot could formulate any kind of protest, Neil's hands were on him, pressing through his dress shirt all the way down to his slacks. His eyes widened, and he failed to swallow back a gasp as the hands moved forward and up his front. One hand trailed down his arm, and then Neil grabbed his wrist, and brought his fingers up to his mouth.

His heart was thundering in his chest, and he spoke in order to keep from squeaking. "Don't go putting that in your mouth," he warned shakily. "You have no idea where it's been."

"Maybe not." Neil smirked at him. "But I know where it will be," he purred, and then he drew two of Elliot's fingers between his lips.

"Oh, fuck," Elliot breathed, lust coiling low in his gut. "I can't believe it's not butter!"

Neil pulled back, brow furrowed. "What?"

A flush bloomed bright and hot on Elliot's cheeks. "I mean—I—Who the hell cares?" He cupped Neil's face and brought their lips together in a deep, hungry kiss. He'd wanted to do this since Neil had hired him, and if Neil was game, he was going to take every ounce his boss offered up.

Their hands made short work of ties, shirts, and trousers. Neil kicked off his wingtips while Elliot took off socks and loafers. It wasn't long before Elliot's hands were on Neil's boxers, yanking them down, exposing Neil's gorgeous, uncut cock. He licked his lips. "Gorgeous," he whispered before drawing his tongue up the hot, hard length of Neil.

He'd only managed two good licks when Neil's hands fisted in his hair, jerked his mouth away. "Seriously, if you touch it again, it will explode," Neil panted, his eyes wild.

Elliot rose, kicking his own boxers from around his ankles. "Anything we can use for lube in here?"

Neil's eyes darted down to look at Elliot's cock. Elliot puffed up his chest a bit as Neil swallowed. "I'll be bending you over the conference table, right?"

"No." Elliot pumped himself. He was proud of the size of his cock. No one expected the thickness or length from some geeky coder in an unremarkable cubicle. "I don't think so."

"Are you kidding me?" Neil shook his head, a nervous smile on his lips. "That thing would have me singing soprano for days!"

Elliot gave Neil's ass a sharp slap. "Find some lube, Neil, or I'm just going to spit in my hand."

The soft curse that Neil emitted brought a broad grin to Elliot's face, and he crossed his arms and watched Neil run across the length of the room to the mini fridge. He moved a hell of a lot quicker than Elliot had ever thought possible from a man with such broad shoulders. He eyed those shoulders, let his gaze wander down the line of Neil's spine to his ass. His cock twitched in anticipation.

Elliot's face contorted when Neil held up a Tupperware filled with some sort of oily mixture. A salad dressing? The questioning look thrown over Neil's shoulder told him Neil had no clue either. "It looks odd. Why is it so gray?"

"It's been that way for a while?" Neil guessed. "Fermentation?"

"Eww!" Elliot laughed. "You don't know where that's been! No fucking way I'm smearing that on my cock."

Neil tossed the container back into the fridge, all but slamming the door. Elliot could see the wheels turning in Neil's head, the quiet consideration and weighing of options. Neil was the analytical type, a boss that saw a million different details and was able to catalog them and file them away in his brain just in case he needed them. Didn't matter that their situation was out of the ordinary; Neil was obviously on the hunt, his eyes scanning the conference room for anything else that would do. Time was ticking. John would be back God knew when, and Elliot was sure Neil didn't want to be caught mid-reaming by the gopher.

A grunt of displeasure, and Neil made a beeline for the door, passing by Elliot along the way. "There's nothing else in here, dammit."

Elliot shook his head, following him with quick steps, his stride a bit shorter than Neil's. He leaned against the door frame, his arms crossed as he watched Neil rummage through the bottom drawer of John's desk. His eyebrows rose when Neil stopped short and held up a ridiculous stuffed animal.

"Okay, can you tell me why the kitten has purple polka dots?" Neil asked before tossing the furry plush haphazardly over his shoulder. He obviously didn't expect an answer, which just made Elliot chuckle. Neil grunted his triumph when he held up a tube of lube and a condom.

"What the...? John? Here at the office?" Elliot chuckled. "He wouldn't be the only one, but still. You knew?"

Neil straightened, and then yanked him back into the conference room. "Nothing happens in this office without my knowledge."

Elliot fought not to shiver, and when their lips collided again, he battled Neil for dominance until his lips ached and his persistence won out. He snatched the lube and condom from Neil and bit at Neil's throat, inhaling the scent of aftershave and pure, masculine musk.

Furious kissing led to a small duel of whom would be on top of whom, and Elliot wasn't about to give his boss that particular satisfaction. Well, not yet, at least. He bit Neil's lip before he spun him around, pressing Neil's bulkier, broader frame face first against the conference table. "Stay," he ground out.

"I'm not a dog."

Elliot laughed, the sound deep and dark. "You would look lovely in a collar."

"Watch it." Neil glared over his shoulder. "I'm still your boss."

"I know, which is going to make this so damn good." Elliot rolled the condom down his cock and squeezed the tube of lube. A peel of thunder sounded, and then Neil's shout filled the room. Elliot buried himself to the hilt in one swift, sure thrust. "Fuck!"

Neil's breath rasped in and out. "Christ, Elliot. Not much for foreplay?"

"Not when John could be back any minute." Elliot's rhythm was fast, hard, the sound of his flesh meeting Neil's loud, wet, and he groaned. Oh, hell, he wouldn't last long. He was going to embarrass the hell out of himself by coming too soon. "God, so tight. No wonder... you're such an asshole."

Neil pushed back, met him thrust for thrust. "Fuck you."

"Mmm." Elliot grinned as he watched himself moving in and out of Neil. "Too busy fucking you, boss man."

It was everything his wet dreams had been. Neil bent over the conference table, moaning and clutching at the high polished top, and Elliot's cock plowing his tight hole. God, how was he going to keep working here without getting a hard-on every time he saw Neil? Screw it. He'd worry about that after they rolled out the new version of the shopping cart. Right now, he just wanted to come. He reached around and took Neil in hand, and he pumped as fast as he fucked. It was furious and base and, oh, God, he was going to come!

Elliot threw his head back and let loose a shout as his hips snapped forward, milked the moment for all it was worth. Neil's shout of climax was a distant sound compared to the pounding of his own heartbeat and the next rumble of thunder. When he came back to himself, his brow was pressed to Neil's sweaty back, his hand covered in come, and he felt the best he had in, at least, a month. He shook his head, letting go of Neil to hold the condom tight as he pulled back.

"Fucking hell," Elliot groaned, flopping back into the nearest chair. "I needed that."

Neil stood, turned, and leaned against the table. He was flushed, covered in sweat, and Elliot just wanted to fuck him all over again. "So did I. It took me a while to figure out that those side-long looks of yours weren't wishful thinking on my part."

"I dropped every hint I knew of!" Elliot tossed the condom into the waste basket. "Six months! I could have fucked you six months ago!"

"Yeah." Neil laughed. "If you'd just asked me."

Elliot let a laugh bark out of him. "Bastard."

"I didn't get to be the CEO of this company any other way."

They dressed in relative silence, and then Neil ducked out of the room. As Elliot was buttoning up his shirt, he saw Neil walk through the main office space with a step ladder. "Er... where are you going with that ladder?" he called, leaning out the conference room door.

"Do you want security to see the video of you banging my ass?" Neil smirked when Elliot blinked. "Didn't think so."

By the time Neil came back, John had come and gone, leaving them with bags from some local joint. It was odd packaging, and Elliot poked at it. Neil raised an eyebrow. "Is that a big pizza pie in the sky that the cowboy is riding toward?" he asked, pointing to the logo and motif on the bag.

Elliot rolled his eyes. "No, the moon doesn't look like a big pizza pie; that's just your Italian wolfy hunger speaking. Eat. It'll look like a moon again."

"I'm not Italian." Neil sat in the chair beside Elliot and snagged the bag closest to him. "My family is Irish."

"Are they?" Elliot opened up his hamburger, eyes sparkling. "I look forward to meeting this Irish family of yours... and getting to know you a lot better."

Neil rolled his eyes and plucked a fry from the bag. "You're fired."

Elliot laughed again. "Anything you say, boss man."

The End

The Big Finish: A Dreamspinner Press Giveaway

A Big thanks to all the Dreamspinner Press  authors who have taken part in my Blogoversary pants losing giveaway. Your generosity is very much appreciated.

Today is the last day of Pants Off one year anniversary \o/ And do I have a treat for you, and you have only to answer 1 question.


You Could Win.... 1 of 2 Dreamspinner $10 Vouchers



And You Only Have To Answer 1 Question

What book have you read recently that has caused a pants losing of epic proportions? I'm talking serious pants losing, like how do I get my pants back pants losing!

  • Must be 18yrs or older
  • Answer the Question with email
  • Winner has 24hrs to reply to my email or another winner gets chosen 
  • Contest runs until August 6th 11:59pm EST





Monday, July 30, 2012

Sex Scene & Giveaway with Katey Hawthorne

By The River
Blurb:
After a bad breakup, Adam Kavanaugh returns to his sleepy old river town to find himself. His family hasn't changed, but he has some work to do readjusting to small town life, so much that he wonders if he's made a mistake by coming home.

But from the moment Leith Marshall pops out of the Ohio River and smiles at him, there's no turning back. Between Leith's swimmer body, sweet laugh, and gentle soul, Adam is head over heels. Leith lets Adam into his little world bit by bit, from his mother's abandoned aquarium shop to his elderly father's fairy tale delusions.

Which might not be so delusional after all. Leith does have a certain affinity for water. It seems almost to listen to him. The current never pulls him downriver, the tub doesn't splash, and the pool hardly moves around him even at an all out sprint. He can't spend a night away from his river, and then there's the way he sings. Adam has to admit, he'd steer his ship straight into the rocks for that.

So maybe Leith inherited a few things from his mysterious mother. It doesn't mean he'll disappear like she did. That's absurd.

Right?



Author Info:
Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of dark fiction and superpowered romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly, because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in the D.C. Metro Area. In her spare time she enjoys comic books, B-movies, loud music, Epiphones, and Bushmills.


Website: http://www.kateyhawthorne.com/
Twitter: @hawthornetaylor


Excerpt

When they relaxed and disentangled, Leith rose to his knees, panting.

Adam began to ask, “Wha—”

Leith crawled into his lap, sat down directly on his cock, and reached around behind himself, between his legs, to arrange it in the split of his ass.

Leith held it there, his thighs still shaking from his orgasm, while he rocked his hips. Held so tight, in that particular place, especially as slick as it was right then, Adam’s cock gave another swell, and the world spun. Leith kissed his face, then put his forehead against Adam’s. He never stopped moving, his hand holding the head of Adam’s cock in place when it thrust out, then guiding it back into the groove. Adam grabbed for his hips, fingers pressing tight into his ass on either side, slipping, desperate for a good grip. The water was so hot, swishing around them gently, much more gently than what little brain was left to Adam would’ve thought possible, and he was so hot, and…and…and…

“I want you, Adam. I want you forever.”

Adam didn’t know when always had turned into forever, and he didn’t care because he meant them both and might’ve from the beginning. He wanted to reply but couldn’t remember how. Adam kissed him, though the constant movement made it difficult to aim.

Leith rubbed at Adam’s right nipple with two fingers, then took it between them, pinched, squeezed it out, and started all over again. The fuzzy, sharp-hot thrill raced through him and into his dick, squeezed tight with Leith’s ass and hand, his balls, all tight and caught between them. Adam groaned so it echoed off the tile.

Leith crushed his lips into Adam’s again. “Harder?”
“Please.” Adam bucked into Leith with his hips, burying his dick in the split of Leith’s ass one more time.

Quickly, Leith sat up and readjusted so Adam’s cock was between their bellies. He sat back down and started jerking, one hand tight and slippery around Adam in the water, the other still pinching. Adam flexed his hips with it, quick, sharp, hard. The sensations at either end of the hotwire flared into one; his head hit the tile behind him, and he moaned, riding out the very edge of his climax, holding it, holding it…

Leith said, “Come on. I’m watching. Let me see.”

Adam gasped as he came, feeling nothing and everything at once, so much pleasure and heat that he teetered at that teeth-gritting spot, on the verge of the high almighty nothingplace, for long seconds.

When it passed, he relaxed his grip on Leith, leaned back, and let out a long, heavy breath. “Ohhhh, ffffuck.”

Leith laughed like the water splashing and edged backward, nestling between Adam’s knees, where he had been at first. He wrinkled up his nose, looking down into the bath. “Sex is so gross when it’s done.”

Adam laughed, still breathless. The hot water prolonged the after-pulse in his dick, like one long but minor mini-orgasm.

Still grinning, Leith cocked his head. “Weird?”

“You? Or the sex?”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah. And I love you both.”

“I know.” Leith turned around and pulled the plug. “C’mon. I’ll wash your hair in the shower.”

But Adam wasn’t even close to functional yet, so he leaned back into the tub seat, head against the cool tile. He admired Leith as he arranged the soap and shampoo, occasionally stopping to unselfconsciously watch the water make a little funnel as it sucked down the drain.


~Katey has offered one copy of By The River to one of my pants losing peeps~ 

  • Must be 18yrs or older 
  • Leave a comment on this post with email 
  • Winner has 24hrs to reply to my email 
  • Contest runs until August 5th 11:59pm EST

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sex Scene & Giveaway with Nessa L. Warin

Stamp of Fate
Blurb:

A dead body is never a welcome sight, but it’s especially troublesome when Tadd Leventis and Declan Anagnos return home to find one in their foyer. Most people know the dead woman as a curator at the local museum, but Tadd and Declan recognize her as someone from their distant past—Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare. To Tadd and Declan, it's more than a murder. It's a threat to the mortal lives they've worked so hard to build—and a wakeup call that their immortal lives are in danger too.
At Zeus’s request, they once again don the mantles of Ares and Hermes, but when they start investigating their fellow Olympians, Tadd and Declan discover things are far more complicated than they seem. As the body count rises, tracking the killer becomes more dangerous, and the investigation starts to strain their relationship. Can they patch things up in time to catch the killer, or will the killer catch them first?


Author Info:
Nessa L. Warin lives in southwestern Ohio with a cat who graciously allows her to pay all the bills and demands pampering on a regular basis. She enjoys wine tastings and travel, and can easily get lost in science fiction or fantasy stories. She's a true geek, enjoys costuming, and can be found dressed up at at least one Renaissance festival and fantasy convention each year. When she's not having fun, Nessa works in Corporate America coordinating the production and mailing of marketing materials and wishing she had more time to write. Visit Nessa's blog at http://nessa-l-warin.livejournal.com/and follow her on Twitter @nessalwarin. She can also be reached at nessa.l.warin@gmail.com.


Excerpt

“It’s my fault Adara’s dead.”

Declan looks up from the program running searches on Cal’s recordings. He widened the search, including Egan’s and Adara’s names in it as well in the hopes he can find something besides their history linking them to either Cal or Sofia, and now he’s watching the results scroll across the screen almost faster than he can read. “What do you mean?” he says, furrowing his brow in confusion. “I know you didn’t kill her, so how is it your fault?”

Tadd lets out an unamused laugh that makes him sound slightly crazy. “I’m glad you realize that, at least.”

“Tadd.” Declan sighs. “Please.”

“Sorry.” Tadd tips his head back and stares up at the ceiling. “She came to me,” he says, lowering his gaze so he’s looking at Declan again. “She specifically asked me to keep her safe from Egan, and I didn’t.”

Declan rolls his chair around the corner of their desks and stops it right next to Tadd’s. “You did what you could.”

“No, I didn’t. That’s the point. I was pissed off, Declan, mad at you, mad at Lukas, and I didn’t want to put up with her bullshit. I told her I needed to arrange protection for her because I couldn’t stay with her all day, and she didn’t want to wait. She left and I let her go.”

“You couldn’t have known.”

“I should have!” Tadd jerks his arm out from under Declan’s hand and slams his fist down on the desk. “She asked me for help!”

Declan waits long enough to be sure Tadd isn’t going to hit anything else, and puts his hand back on Tadd’s forearm. “You asked her to stay, didn’t you?”

“Told her to.” Tadd rolls his eyes. “She didn’t listen.”

“So how is that your fault?”

“I should’ve—”

“You know how to do your job, Tadd.” Declan squeezes Tadd’s arm and starts stroking his thumb along the inside of Tadd’s wrist. “You couldn’t have stayed with her all the time, anyway, especially not if you were going to listen to Bront and keep me safe too. Arranging for help was the right thing to do.”

“I could have waited, let her run her errand first.”

“And then she would have wanted to run another, and another, and another.” Declan lets out a breathy chuckle. “She would have kept you running until you dropped, just because she could, and you would have gone along with it to be nice.”

Tadd raises one eyebrow. “Nice? Me?”

“Yes.” Declan pokes Tadd’s shoulder. “I know about the gooey inside under that crusty exterior.”
Tadd raises his other eyebrow. “You. Over there. Now.” He points back toward Declan’s desk with a scowl, but it’s mostly faked. Even when Tadd is mad at him, Declan is able to push all the right buttons to calm him down.

Declan slides back around the desk and stops just on the other side of the corner. “Fine, but this doesn’t change the fact that I know you’re secretly a fluffy marshmallow inside.”

“Would you like me to show you how wrong you are?” Tadd narrows his eyes further. “I can.”

Declan stills and slowly lifts his gaze to meet Tadd’s. “I’m not wrong.” His heart is pounding in his chest, and he has to fight to keep his breathing under control. He doesn’t want to seem too eager, but he’s been itching to touch Tadd. It’s killing him that he feels like he can’t.

Tadd’s blood starts to boil. “Yes, you are,” he growls, fisting his hands in his pants to keep from shaking with anger. “I would not have followed her around all day. I—”

“Yes, you would, and we both know it.” Declan stands, sending his chair rolling toward the wall as he pushes it away. “If you’d given in and gone with Adara on one errand, you would have spent all day following her around. You’d still be with her.”

“And she’d still be alive!” Tadd jumps to his feet and takes a step closer to Declan. “Adara is dead because I didn’t go with her!”

“She’s dead because some asshole killed her, Tadd!” Declan steps forward, rounding the corner again so he’s chest to chest with his husband. “If you want to blame yourself for not going with her, you should blame her for being so stubborn and not listening, and you should blame me for not having caught the killer yet. Hades, blame me for Cal too, while you’re at it. I should have figured out who killed Sofia before either Cal or Adara died!”

“You were trying!” Tadd throws his hands out wide as he pushes up into Declan’s face.

Declan leans down to meet him. “And so were you! It’s no different!”

“Yes, it is!” Tadd moves quickly, grabbing Declan’s shirt and shoving him against the desk. The edge digs into Declan’s thigh as Tadd manhandles him, laying him out flat across the wide, clear surface. He leans over Declan, his breath hot on Declan’s cheek, and growls, “It’s my fault.”

“No, it’s not.” Declan keeps his voice quiet and his body still. “It’s the killer’s fault and no one else’s.”

“Shut up!” Tadd shakes Declan hard enough to rattle the pens in the cup on the other side of the desk.

Declan looks him straight in the eyes, meeting his gaze calmly as he twists his lips up into a purposely goading smirk. “Make me.”

Tadd growls and lunges forward to capture Declan’s mouth in a bruising kiss.

It would be easy for Declan to give in, to let Tadd have his way and control this from beginning to end, but that’s not what Declan wants at the moment. He wants to get them back on the same page, to eliminate the friction between them, and the only way he’s going to do that is to get Tadd to work out all of his aggression now. If there’s something he can do to speed that along, he’s going to do it.

Especially when it’s so much fun.

Declan leans up into the kiss, tangling his fingers in Tadd’s hair and holding him close as he slips his tongue into Tadd’s mouth. Tadd snarls as he pushes his tongue back past Declan’s lips, curling it around Declan’s. They battle back and forth, their tongues gliding over and around each other until Tadd growls again, nipping at Declan’s bottom lip as he slides his hands up Declan’s arms and pins them to the desk above Declan’s head. “Don’t.”

“Don’t what?” Declan asks, shifting under Tadd. He lifts his hips, deliberately brushing against Tadd’s groin and letting Tadd feel how hard he is. He’s aching, his hard cock tenting his dress pants. It almost hurts to have it rub against the silky material of his boxers, and he wants nothing more than to pull it out and let Tadd wrap his hands around it, but instead he lowers his hips back down, twists his head so he can look into Tadd’s eyes, and meets Tadd’s stare with one of his own. “Don’t reciprocate? Do you want me to lie here and take it, Tadd? Let you pin me down and pound all your anger into me?”

Tadd falters for a second, but then his eyes narrow and he leans in closer, pressing his body against Declan’s everywhere he can make them touch and putting his lips right against Declan’s ear. “Yes.”

The word comes out as almost more of a growl than speech, but Declan knows exactly what Tadd means. He waits until Tadd pulls back enough for them to look into each other’s eyes, and then lets his lips curl up into a lazy, smug smile. “No.”

Before Tadd can do anything, Declan moves, using his speed to twist free from under Tadd and drop to the floor. He lands on his knees, grins, and yanks on Tadd’s pants without bothering to unbutton them. The material rips, easily giving in to his immortal strength, and Tadd’s cock springs free, bobbing in front of Declan’s nose. He leans in and slides his lips all the way to the base in one swift movement.


Tadd’s knees buckle at the unexpected sensation. He catches himself on Declan’s shoulders, digging in with powerful fingers as Declan grabs his hips, holding him still as he pulls back, licking as he moves.

It’s phenomenal. Declan has always had a talented tongue in more ways than one, and he's always enjoyed using it this way. From the first time Declan gave Tadd a blowjob, distracting him from Plato’s obnoxious alarm clock, this has been Tadd’s favorite of Declan’s talents. It’s nothing like laying Declan out beneath him and having his way, but the sensations shooting up his nerves and threatening to short-circuit his brain are among the best he’s ever felt.

He thrusts hard, fighting against the grip of Declan’s hands and the wobbliness of his knees, controlling the pace as Declan continues to suck. His teeth scrape lightly along the swollen skin of Tadd’s cock, sending pleasure and pain shooting through his body and leaving him breathless. Tadd thrusts harder, pushing his hips forward so he’s fucking Declan’s mouth, taking back every little bit of control Declan claimed. He throws his head back, letting his mouth fall open as he moans and his eyes flutter closed so he can focus on the feel of Declan’s mouth around his dick.

The world narrows to just this, Declan on his knees, his fingers digging into Tadd’s hips and his lips curling around the tip of Tadd’s cock. He licks and sucks, humming as he bobs up and down, keeping time with Tadd’s thrusts and moving opposite them, pulling back when Tadd does and pushing in so his lips slide down Tadd’s cock with a speed he’d have to use his powers to match. He grazes one hand along Tadd’s hipbones, brushing fingertips over the sensitive skin before slipping them between Tadd’s legs and carefully curling them around Tadd’s balls. Tadd gasps, his hips bucking wildly as he lets out a deep moan and starts chanting Declan’s name. He digs his fingers hard into Declan’s shoulder until Declan stops moving, and then tangles them in Declan’s hair and pulls him back.

“No,” Tadd growls, dragging Declan up with not-so-gentle pressure in his hair and twisting him around and pressing himself against Declan’s back. Declan is still completely dressed, and his pants feel rough against Tadd’s cock as he presses into Declan. Tadd fumbles for the waistband as he bends Declan over, and when his fingers curl around both pants and boxers, he yanks, ripping the material with his full strength and tearing it away from Declan’s body with ease.

Declan shudders at the sudden blast of cold air, and his cock dips a little bit, but then Tadd rubs his finger along the cleft of Declan’s ass, and Declan shudders, his elbows wobbling as he braces himself on the desk. “Hurry,” he breathes, pushing back into Tadd and begging for more.


Tadd complies, giving in to Declan’s demands easily now that they match his own. He shoves Declan forward, pushes his arms out from under him, and pins him to the desk. His cock presses hard against Declan’s ass as Declan curls up over the desk. He’s hard and aching, leaking precome onto the mahogany surface, and when Tadd shifts to grab lube from the closest drawer and slides one slick finger inside Declan’s body, Declan moans. “Tadd. Now.”

“Yes,” Tadd breathes, vanishing his shirt as he slides a second finger in. Declan makes his own shirt disappear as he squirms beneath Tadd, shoving back against Tadd’s hand as he slides one of his own down the dark wood of the desk and curls it around his cock. He strokes in time with Tadd’s scissoring movements, his hand banging against the wood as his ass presses against Tadd’s hip.

He’s almost at the edge, his hand slick with precome and his cock red and engorged, when Tadd pulls his fingers out, lines himself up, and thrusts in, hard. He shoves Declan down over the desk, pressing his cheek into the smooth surface, and pulls almost all the way out before he adjusts his angle and plunges in again. He thrusts over and over, hitting Declan in his sweet spot every time.

Declan clenches around him, his buttocks squeezing Tadd’s cock. His hand grips tight at the edge of the desk, giving him extra leverage, and Tadd pushes hard, slamming forward again. He puts one hand at the base of Declan's spine, holding him to the desk, and curls the other around Declan’s cock. He strokes as he thrusts, the movements fast and ragged and yet still falling into a synchronized rhythm as he moves.

It doesn’t take long before Declan is whimpering and moaning. “Gonna… Tadd… gonna come.”
That’s all the warning he’s able to give, and then he spurts over Tadd’s hand, crying out Tadd’s name as his entire body shakes and writhes. He can still feel Tadd inside him, slamming forward and pulling back, and it’s the best feeling in the entire universe. It carries him through the aftershocks, and then Tadd pushes forward one last time, leaning over Declan and pressing his lips to the back of Declan’s shoulder as he comes.

They lie still for a minute, gasping for breath, their sweat-slicked bodies pressing against the strong polished wood of the desk. Tadd is heavy and warm over Declan, but his weight is comforting, reminding Declan this argument they’re having is temporary. He’s uncomfortable—sticky and hot and struggling for breath he doesn’t really need—but he doesn’t ask Tadd to move.


Tadd stays still for a few minutes, his breath ghosting over Declan's neck. When he pulls out, he slides his hand down Declan’s back as he stands. “I’m going to shower,” he says, stepping away and grabbing his clothes off the floor.

Declan pushes himself up and twists so he’s leaning against the desk. “Want me to join you?” He keeps his tone light and hopeful, though he doesn’t expect Tadd to agree. Sex is one thing; showering together is probably far more intimate than Tadd wants to get right now, given their earlier conversation.

“No.” Tadd manages a strained smile as he looks at Declan. “We have things to figure out. We can’t keep getting distracted or someone else might die.”

"Right." That’s the last thing Declan wants, and it’s what he focuses on as he wipes himself down with the bundle of fabric and heads off toward the bathroom.

This job comes first. Then they can work out their issues.

~Nessa Warin has offered up one copy of Stamp of Fate~

  • Must be 18yrs or older
  • Leave a comment with email
  • Winner has 24hrs to reply to my email
  • Contest runs until August 4th 11:59pm EST



Guest Post & Giveaway with Andrea Speed


You know all those games you can play with your iPod and MP3 players? You know, the “soundtrack of your life” and all that? I've decided to play that game with my characters, although I've limited it to three songs, supposedly designating past, present and future. And then they comment on the songs. Feel free to Google the songs and listen along, although I warn you – Roan's is not for the faint of ears. Especially those last two.


Roan's (of the Infected series, Dreamspinner Press)

Past: Pansy Division – The Best Revenge
Present: Mr. Bungle – Goodbye Sober Day
Future : These Arms Are Snakes – Subtle Body

Roan – Look, I know you're supposed to listen to mellower music as you get older, but I'm just not that kind of person. I still like noise. It speaks to me in a way little else does. And if Holden says that makes me the one old sad guy at the concert, tell him fuck him too.




Holden's (of the Infected series, Dreamspinner Press)

Past : My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult – Sex On Wheels
Present : Fall Out Boy – Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?
Future : The Good Natured - Wolves

Holden – I bet Roan's was all noise, wasn't it? I don't think he actually likes listening to it, I think he just says he likes it to be contrary and difficult, his usual modus operandi. What's the over/ under on him secretly listening to Fleet Foxes? Oh, and tell Roan he can't afford me.


Dylan's (of the Infected series, Dreamspinner Press)

Past: Elliott Smith – Last Call
Present: Sun Kil Moon – Dramamine
Future: Blitzen Trapper – Sci-Fi Kid

Dylan – I guess I've always liked the mellower stuff, although I did go through a Goth phase, and I still enjoy Sisters of Mercy, which is probably as noisy as I get. But for a while, Roan and I shared iTunes, until I accidentally downloaded one of his Skinny Puppy songs to my iPod. I'm sure they're very nice people, but the music was so angry and sinister, I couldn't imagine what kind of mood you'd have to be in to listen to that. (Interviewer suggests a Roan mood.) That's why we have separate iTunes accounts now.



Josh's  (of Josh of the Damned, Riptide)

Past : Beck – Loser
Present : Metric – Combat Baby
Future : El-P – Up All Night

Josh - I tried very hard to listen to only cool bands in high school, but I never knew what those were. By the time I figured it out, they weren't cool anymore, or to like them made you a follower. So eventually I gave up. I was never gonna be the cool kid anyways. I was somewhere between band geek and AV club, so the best I could hope for was to get ignored. Which I generally managed to pull off. I guess I'm still that way, although really I'm too tired to keep up. I think you need a day shift job for that sort of thing.


Colin's (of Josh of the Damned, Riptide)

Past: The Clash – London Calling
Present: Siouxsie & The Banshees – Cities In Dust
Future: Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant

Colin - I really like old punk, but I like to excuse this with the fact that I'm three hundred years old. Us old fogies cling to our music. I don't get young poeple with their auto-tunes and whipped cream bras and YouTubes ... (Interviewer points out Colin was well into his two hundreds when punk came along.)  Yeah, well, it was pretty much the last time I gave a damn about music. I don't spend all that much time on Earth. You know, where I'm from, the band I like most is Unquiet Dead. (Interview admits having never heard of them.) Oh, they're an all vampire band. I don't expect our music gets to your world. Which is a pity, 'cause they're awesome. Although they do talk about killing humans a lot ...


~Comment to win a book from Andrea Speed's backlist. Winner's Choice~

  • Must be 18yrs or older
  • Leave a comment with email
  • 24hrs to reply to my email or another winner will be chosen
  • Contest runs until August 4th 11:59pm EST


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway with Tam Ames

Long or short – what’s your preference? 

 Oh. My. God. Get your mind out of the gutter. Oh wait, we’re at a review site that promotes pantslessness, so, carry on.

 But I MEANT hair. In my newest release Summer School,

Lucas has long hair, which while he acknowledges is a pain in the ass to maintain and blow dry, he also knows it turns most guys, especially Jeremy’s, crank - so he deals with the inconvenience in order to please the boys (who in turn please him *eyebrow waggle*). 


 I always say I could never date a guy who has nicer hair than I do, but I do love guys with long hair that is well taken care of. Not just pulled back in a ponytail all the time or looking ratty. And please, once you start to go bald, do us all a favour and keep it short. When we were in New York City last fall, they were filming an episode of Nurse Betty in a park near our apartment. Walking by one evening there was a young man wearing torn tights (I presume an actor) with gorgeous thick wavy chestnut hair. Let sigh. Kind of like this guy. 

http://fashionpix.org/data/media/28/Willy2.jpg (model Willy Cartier) 


 When I write a story, if the guys are in my head, I tend to keep an eye out for pictures that I think might fit my character. I’ve never seen anyone with perfect Lucas hair (Willy as a natural blond would be closest), but I did find these guys and they are pretty close.



Add about another 6 inches to the hair, and Lucas would never smoke. 




 Definitely Lucas’s body type, but no tattoos and add another 6 inches to the hair. 

Pretty close except no uni-brow. O_o 







Pretty close but Lucas is definitely not as fem and pretty as Andrej 










So tell me, how do you like your men? I should also be clear; I like guys with short hair and medium hair as well. Lover of diversity, thy name is Tam.

~To win copy of Summer School, just answer Tam's question. How do you like your men. All contest rules apply, runs until August 2nd 11:59pm EST~



Summer School 
English teacher Jeremy Decker's split with his boyfriend has left him with no plans for the summer and credit card debt. One solution is to teach summer history classes. College history major Lucas Van Sloan is brought in to assist Jeremy, thrilled to have a summer job that doesn't include supervising kids at the hometown swimming pool. 


A summer heat wave has Jeremy more snarly than even upbeat Lucas can handle. Lucas drags the teacher back to his place and out of the heat, determined to drag Jeremy into his bed while he's got him there. However, Jeremy's ex isn't quite ready to let go, and a college student may be no competition for a high-powered attorney. 

Tam Ames Bio: 
Tam is a single mom, and she and her teenage daughter live in Ontario, Canada. Encouragement from her friend, not to mention the friendly dares, inspired her to start writing m/m romance. When not working her day job, she keeps busy traveling as much as possible with her daughter, reading, writing,



Twitter: Cdn_Tam
Blog: http://cdntam.com
Email: cdn_tam@yahoo.ca 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway with Ana Bosch

Help me welcome Ana Bosch to Pants Off. She brought an awesome post and great giveaway today, so give a Pants Off welcome Miss Ana.


Hi! Ana Bosch here, joining the celebration for the Pants Off Reviews 1-Year Blogoversary! I'm really excited to be here, and what better way to celebrate a year of taking your pants off than to talk about guys who take their pants off?

 I'm not talking about our lovely porn stars or exotic dancers this time. I'm talking about nude models, the type you find at an art school. I have a huge amount of respect for good nude models because the only thing worse than having to sit absolutely still for 20-minute intervals throughout a 3-hour period is having to do it naked.

 Say you're a nude model. You arrive at your class, perhaps make some awkward small talk with a few of the students, and then change into your robe. From there, the instructor might start you out with a series of gesture drawings, where you try to come up with as many varied 30-second or 1-minute poses in succession as you can. You'll run out of ideas and end up contorting yourself into some painful positions for the sake of variety. Then you'll sit around during your break and wait for your spine to settle back in place, and you'll try to ignore the uncomfortable draft that blows into your robe while the instructor tells his students whatever he needs them to know.

 Next, you'll probably move on to some longer poses. You'll try not to fall asleep or lose your balance or have any unfortunate mishaps with your body—such as getting aroused during a two-person modeling session, as I've seen happen before. (Say you're an artist. It can be a little startling if you've sketched in a man's privates and when you go back in for detail and shading, they're in an entirely different position.)

 Back to the modeling session. You put in your three hours of posing, and your body is slowly giving out with each passing minute. What's your reward at the end of the session? You get to see some of the world's most hideous renderings of yourself by kids who are on the verge of transferring out to study nursing. You'll get to listen to the instructor critique the few good drawings and say things like, "You idealized him," which is basically a synonym for, "He's uglier in real life." In extreme cases, the instructor might point out the inches that the students have added or subtracted from your manhood. Of course, I should mention that most of the students probably didn't really draw your genitals in that much detail. If you look at student art, you'll see a lot of mysterious shadowy voids between men's legs—voids that might also cause you to doubt yourself a little.

 So yes, these models deserve a lot more appreciation than they probably get from their young, sleep-deprived, unskilled, and often hungover audience. If I could, I would go back and kiss the feet of every single model who posed for me when I was in college.

 While I'm at it, I should probably also kiss the feet of some of my old classmates. The great thing about art school is that even when you're not in a figure drawing class, you're surrounded by fellow students who, for the most part, are more than happy to shed a few items of clothing and pose as reference for your latest illustration. After all, they understand your situation, and in a month, they may need you to reciprocate. Art school is the only place where I've ever been able to ask a hot twenty-two-year-old to take off his shirt, climb onto a table, get on all fours, and bare his teeth like a wolf so I could take pictures—and have him do it without even asking questions.

 (Okay, so I haven't tried out that request in a great number of places, and perhaps I'd have equal luck if I went to a bar and timed it just right, but a restraining order is probably the likelier result.)

 In Art of Death, my new novel, Riley is an art school graduate who is so desperate for cash that he returns to his alma mater as a nude model. This is not something I would ever be able to do. My sister, on the other hand, actually posed nude for her university's art college while she was still a student. Again, I don't have the guts to do that. Hats off—and pants off—to anyone who does!

~I'm giving away one free ebook copy of Art of Death. To enter the drawing, leave a comment and let me know if you would ever be willing to take your pants off for a classroom full of art students—or if perhaps you already have!???~

  • Must be 18yrs or older
  • leave comment with email
  • Contest runs until August 2nd 11:59pm EST



BLURB: 
Despite the support of his rich older boyfriend, starving artist Riley Burke is determined not to be a trophy—hence his second job as a nude model at the local art school. It’s important to him that he pay his own way, so when the artist Coliaro requests a private modeling session with him, he jumps at the chance to earn some real cash. 


 Then he hears the rumors—that Coliaro is undead. That his worshippers perform rituals to fill him with life energy.  That every time he paints a male nude, the painting transforms to depict a gruesome murder.  And that shortly after, a young man turns up dead. 


 The source of these rumors is a man named Westwood, who claims to be an instructor at the school and warns Riley not to get involved. Riley ignores the advice—but when the rumors pan out and another murder looms, he turns to Westwood for help. Westwood is clearly keeping secrets. He’s dangerous, and Riley doesn’t know if he can be trusted—which makes him all the more attractive. Riley is in way over his head… and his involvement with the undead may make him the ultimate target. 


BUY LINK: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3055

Thursday, July 26, 2012

And The Winners Are...

WINNERS


Nancy (Erica Pike Giveaway)


Anas (K-Lee Klein Giveaway)


~Thanks to Erica Pike & K-Lee Klein for offering up copies of their books. Congrats to the winners, and there is still lots more winning to do for those who didn't win this one~

Winners selected using random.org

Blogoversary: Connie Bailey Giveaway

Moonlight, Tiger, and Smoke
Blurb:

Taken from their families and raised to be assassins, Moonlight and Tiger are the perfect weapons and secret lovers. Even when they are sent into service with different clans, their love remains pure and strong until a more insidious threat divides them.

When Moonlight realizes his master is manipulating people for his own ends, the discovery threatens not only Tiger, but their entire society. Betrayed by a fellow assassin, the men are tortured and broken. If their love and their people are going to survive, one of them will have to defy everything he knows and stand up for the only thing he believes is real: Love.



A Big thanks to Connie Bailey for offering up a copy of Moonlight, Tiger, and Smoke!



  • Must be 18yrs or older
  • Leave a comment with email on this post
  • Winner has 24hrs to reply to email or another winner gets it
  • Contest runs until July 31st 11:59pm EST

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blogoversary: Ariel Tachna Giveaway

A Summer Place
Blurb:
Mount Desert Islands tranquility is shattered by murder. At the request of the sheriff, Nicolas agrees to hire the local blacksmith--and the probable next victim--in the hope that the secure construction site would be safer than his house in the village. Nicholas never expected the decision to lead to danger or love.







Bar Harbor, Maine, 1884


FOG.

That was all they had seen for days, a solid bank of unrelenting white, broken neither by sunlight nor moonlight as they inched their way north toward Bar Harbor. A ship had come in to Boston from the north, so they knew the harbor had thawed from the winter, but project overseer Nicolas Wells had begun to wonder if he should have waited another few weeks before heading up to resume construction on the summer homes his employer, the architect William Randolph Emerson, had designed for the moguls of American industry. They were all there: Pulitzer, Rockefeller, Dorr, Morgan, Vanderbilt and all the rest, building elaborate ‘cottages’ with forty to fifty rooms, heedless of the cost of transporting the granite, marble and gold by schooner up the coast to Mount Desert Island. Money was no object to these men, only being in the right quarters.

Pacing toward the bow of the four-masted schooner, Nicolas frowned as he heard a sailor’s cry, warning the captain of rocks ahead. At their slow pace, they could avoid them easily, but the thought that their continued safety depended on the sharp eyes of a boy hanging off the front spar made him increasingly nervous.

A foghorn sounded in the distance, the noise eerie in the blanketing whiteness. Even at night, it was white, a ghostly soup that reflected the light but gave no visibility. He would be incredibly glad to get back ashore and begin work. Anything to relieve the tedium of this trip.

“You shouldn’t be on deck in this weather, Mr. Wells,” the first mate, Mr. Worth, said softly so as not to interfere with the calls fore and aft.

“I can’t breathe belowdecks,” Nicolas admitted. “Even in good weather, it’s hard, but knowing it’s like this… I’d rather be up here.”

Mr. Worth nodded his understanding. He spent as little time in his quarters as possible for the very same reason. “Very well. Just stay out of the way of the crew in case they need to move quickly.”

Nicolas agreed, settling on one of the hatches leading to the cargo hold. As near as it was to the front mast, whose sails were down to slow the speed of the ship in the fog, he would be out of the way of the boom, the block and tackle, and the crew.

They had left Boston two weeks earlier and should have arrived already, but the fog had drawn out the trip. He hoped they were getting close, because he was far beyond restless now, ready to arrive and get started, just to be off this damnable ship. Sailing had never been his favorite way to travel, but with the current conditions added to the equation, he liked it even less. The entire amalgam led to a nebulous sense of dread that had never before accompanied his trip to Bar Harbor. He shivered in the cold wind that sprayed the condensation from the mast and lines across his face. Mr. Worth was right. He would probably be more comfortable below, certainly he would be warmer, but he could not face the dank gloom.

The sound of metal scraping on rock sent chills up Nicolas’s spine. Even he knew that was not a good sound. The cursing of the crew as they surged up on deck provided a confirmation he neither wanted nor needed. Shouted orders traveled back and forth along the ship as sailors loosened the sheet to let the sail luff, ending their forward propulsion. Others pulled on lines at the two center masts in response to an order to raise the centerboards halfway. Near the bow, still others pushed the schooner back off the rocks with long poles. Nicolas watched their focused industry helplessly, wanting to contribute in some way, but knowing that he would only interfere if he tried. He cursed silently, wondering what had possessed him to take the first ship, rather than waiting another week or two; wondering, too, if he would make it to Bar Harbor or if this was to be his end. Please, God, no, he prayed. He could face many things, but the thought of a watery grave froze the blood in his veins.

“There!” a sailor shouted. “Harbor light off the starboard bow!”

Nicolas peered into the fog in the indicated direction, trying to make out what the man had seen, but either the sailor had sharper eyes or Nicolas did not know what to look for, because all he saw was the unrelenting wall of white.

With the bow pointing in the right direction, the sails were trimmed again and the centerboards lowered partially. They continued their halting progress forward, every eye on deck searching for the lighthouse beam to guide them away from the rocks and into the harbor.

“Rocks fine on the starboard bow!” one sailor shouted.

“Rocks fine on the larboard bow!” another added.

Nicolas tensed, sure they were going to shipwreck. His hands gripped the mast as if that could somehow steady him or the ship.

“On the starboard beam!”

“On the larboard beam!”

It seemed, impossibly, that they were passing between the rocks without hitting them.

“On the starboard quarter!”

“On the larboard quarter!”
`
“Clear!”

“Clear!”

Nicolas let out a sigh of relief, sagging against the mast. When his legs stopped trembling, he pushed back to standing and walked unsteadily toward the hold.

“Good news!” Mr. Worth said when Nicolas walked by him. “We’re inside the harbor. We should dock in an hour or so and you’ll be safely ashore a few minutes after that.”

“That is good news,” Nicolas agreed, feeling some of his fear ease.


SHERIFF Shawn Parnell loved two things in life: his job and his island. It was his job to make sure no one threatened his island, and right now, someone was. He did not know who or exactly why, but he did know how: murder. And he also knew, much as he would have hated to admit it, that it would not be an isolated case. He only hoped he was fast enough to outsmart the murderer and keep the likely next target alive. To that end, he stood on the pier, despite the cold and the fog, awaiting the arrival of the schooner which had been sighted entering the harbor, hoping that Mr. Wells would follow his usual pattern and arrive aboard the first ship from Boston. If not, Shawn had no idea what he was going to do to protect the island’s young blacksmith. They could not afford to lose him now that old Mr. Gibson, the former blacksmith, had retired and left the island for warmer climes. Shawn did not want to lose any of his residents, but the community could not survive without someone to do the metal work during the winter. Fortunately, Wells made a habit of hiring locally on his construction site before sending for more laborers from the south. Shawn’s young friend had resented the idea at first, but the sheriff had insisted. Now it remained only to gain the overseer’s cooperation.

Through the fog, Shawn could hear the shouts and curses of the sailors as they tried to dock. He gripped the rail of the wooden structure tightly. Docking was a delicate enough procedure in the light of day. With the fog obscuring objects only a few feet away, it was downright precarious. After several fraught minutes, he heard the shout signaling a line being thrown and another that it had been caught. Moving forward, he offered his brawn to help the men on the shore pull the heavy vessel into its berth. The harbor men knew the sheriff well enough to accept his help, heaving hard on the thick lines until the ship finally drifted into view. A few minutes more to secure the ship and arrange the gangplank, and the passengers were able to disembark. This early in the season, they were few in number and Shawn was relieved to see Wells’s blond head among them.

He hailed the overseer as soon as he set foot on the dock.

Nicolas looked up, surprised to hear his name called. He recognized the local sheriff, but that only surprised him more. The two men knew each other to speak on the street, but they had never socialized during previous summers. Nicolas wondered what Parnell wanted with him.

“Sheriff,” he acknowledged, touching the brim of his hat respectfully.

“Welcome back,” Shawn said with a hearty clap on the other man’s back. “Let’s get out of this damned fog. I’ll buy you dinner and a drink.”

Nicolas tensed as he always did in unfamiliar situations, especially in situations like this where his body’s unconscious reactions could give away his most closely guarded secret. In Boston, where he was mostly anonymous and relatively unimportant, it did not matter so much, but Nicolas had come to the island enough times to know better than to reveal it here. Still, he
could think of no good reason to refuse, and his belly craved a hot meal after the days of hardtack at sea.

“Since you asked so nicely,” he agreed, “though I will have to do something with my trunks.”

“I’ll have them seen to,” Shawn assured the other man. “You’ll be staying in the caretaker’s cabin by Cleftstone Manor again, I assume.”

Nicolas nodded, more than a little discomfited to realize the sheriff seemed so focused on his actions. In his experience, people only paid that much attention to relative strangers when they wanted something. He did not know if Parnell’s wants were personal or professional, and that made him nervous. Had he given himself away somehow? Had something in his behavior, as circumspect as he had always tried to be, made the sheriff deduce Nicolas’s preference for his own gender? And if so, what did that mean for his future here on the island?

Taking a deep breath, the builder reminded himself that he was jumping to conclusions, that Parnell had given no indication, in word or action, that he had guessed Nicolas’s secret, or that it mattered if he had. He would continue to act circumspectly, as he always had, and wait to see what transpired.

Shawn thought he sensed a certain tension in Wells that he had never noticed before, but he dismissed it as a normal reaction to an officer of the law. Even honest citizens were not always comfortable with him, as if afraid he was looking for fault. “Let’s go. I’ll have someone take your trunks out to your cabin.”

“Let me just get my satchel,” Nicolas requested.

Shawn waited patiently while the overseer went to his trunks and removed a battered leather pouch. He could not tell what was inside, but he could tell the contents were important to the other man by the way Wells held the bag.

Feeling self-conscious, Nicolas turned back, his satchel tucked under his arm. He trusted the sheriff, as much as he trusted anyone on the island, but he would not risk his secret in the hands of whomever Parnell found to transport his belongings. Some of the drawings in his sketchbook could be explained as artistic studies, but others were far too… intimate to be anything other than the sketches of a lover of men, and if that became public knowledge, he could say good-bye to his career. No crew would agree to work for him if they knew, and with no crew, he would have no job.

The two men left the wharf for a local tavern that also served meals. Parnell took a table away from the handful of other patrons, adding to Nicolas’s sense that the sheriff wanted something. They sat in silence, though, until after their food and ale were served.

“We had a murder last week,” Shawn began casually when he was sure they would not be disturbed. “I’m sure you’ll hear about it as you start to assemble a crew. A young man who moved here a few years ago from New York.”

“Really?” Nicolas asked disinterestedly. “Someone I know?”

“I don’t think so,” the sheriff replied. “James Reed. He was a clerk at the bank. Thin, blond, green eyes. He wore glasses when he worked, but never outside the bank.”

Nicolas remembered the young man in question. He had been attractive in a pretty sort of way, an almost girlish beauty that held a certain appeal, though the overseer generally preferred a more masculine appearance. “Why was he killed?”

“He made a poor choice of lovers,” Shawn replied diplomatically.

“A married woman?” Nicolas suggested. “Or did he despoil someone’s daughter?”

“It’s not quite that simple,” Shawn stalled. “You strike me as an open-minded man.”

“I try to be,” Nicolas agreed, not sure where this was leading.

“Reed’s lover, well, ex-lover, was a young man, and without revealing details you don’t need to know, it was obvious he was killed because he was a sodomite.”

Nicolas flinched at the word, though he could detect no condemnation in the sheriff’s voice. “And what does that have to do with me?” he asked coldly.

“The relationship between the two men came to light a few days before the murder when Reed and his former lover split rather publicly, and I’m afraid the other man is also at risk. I know he isn’t the murderer. He was here in the tavern when the murder took place and was clearly shocked at the news. My only concern is keeping the boy alive.”

“Boy?” Nicolas asked, concerned now as well.

Shawn shook his head. “No, not really. He’s well past being of age, but I remember him in short pants.”

“You still haven’t said how this concerns me.”

“The man is the island’s blacksmith. I know you’ll need one on your site, and I’m hoping you’ll agree to hire him. He doesn’t need the job, but your site is closed to outsiders. He’d be safer there than anywhere else on the island, except maybe in my jail, but I’m not really equipped to hold prisoners for more than a day or two, and he’s done nothing to warrant being locked up. Will you help me, Mr. Wells?”

Nicolas knew as soon as the sheriff asked that he would say yes, for only his own discretion had kept him from facing the same hate that now threatened the blacksmith, but he did not want to appear too lackadaisical about what should have been a shocking situation. “He does quality work?”

“The best,” Shawn assured the overseer. “His master, old Mr. Gibson, said he hadn’t seen such talent but a few times in his life. In a larger city, he could probably make a living as a sculptor, such is his artistry. Here, there’s not enough demand and so he makes barrel staves and horseshoes. And hopefully, the metalwork for your cottages.”

“Very well,” Nicolas agreed, “but I expect him to be discreet and pull his weight on the job site. It won’t just be forge work. We all have chores at the camp as well.”

“He understands he’ll have the same responsibility as anyone else on your team.”

“I’ll start hiring the local crew over the next few days. He can come whenever he wants, but it’ll be rough living until we have a cook and get a camp established for the off-island workers,” Nicolas warned. He knew there was an extra cot in his cabin, but he did not offer it. One man might share lodgings with another without censure, but not if one was a known sodomite and the other was supposedly not. He could not open himself to speculation that way.

“I don’t even know if the tents we used last summer survived the winter. He wouldn’t be able to return home like the other locals if the point of being there is to protect him.”

“It’s not a perfect plan,” Shawn agreed, “but it’s the only one I have. And there may be a bit of a camp already established. We’ve had a couple of ships come in from closer than Boston with some of your crew from previous summers.”

“Then I would do well to get out to the site and make sure all is as it should be. Thank you for dinner, Sheriff. I’ll look for you and the blacksmith tomorrow.”

“You’re welcome,” Shawn replied, “but I’ll be bringing Philip out tonight. I don’t want him in his house alone even one more night.”


THE shadows protect me as the sheriff leaves the tavern in the direction of the sodomite’s house. He has never shown any sign of the moral abomination it is my task to end, but I will have to watch him closely. I will eradicate this pestilence from the island before it spreads further, corrupting other god-fearing youths. Reed was the first, for his faithlessness as well as his sodomy. I have yet to decide who will be next: the blacksmith or the dead man’s other lover. It will depend on their actions and on what opportunities arise. Either way, I will prevail and rid my home of this godlessness. I dare not linger to see what has brought the sheriff to Hall’s house, even under the cover of darkness, but I will know the truth before long.


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Guest Post with Blaine D. Arden


Title: "A day in the life of an A-team member" with Blaine D. Arden

Primrose is an an organisation tasked with monitoring and tracking aliens and alien technology. A not-quite-regular company running not-quite-regular hours. While for some departments, like Administration, the basic hours run from nine to five, departments like Security have to call their field teams out of bed in the middle of the night to hunt down A-watch alerts. A-watch being Primrose's alien substance detection system.

 One of those teams is team Alpha, one of the two teams under direct command of Security Lieutenant Natalie Tallis and her personal assistant Connor Smith. And, to show how hectic a field team Agent's day may be, Agent Ornella Amato is giving us a little glimpse into a day of her life by letting us read an entry from her own private diary...

 6:15 - Called out of bed to check up on an A-watch alert. I can't believe we have an early call again. Yesterday it was three a.m. Can't wait until we're off call and I can sleep in until eight.

  6:31 - In SUV on our way to Eggleby. Dennis Kelp's turn to arrange breakfast to go. Can't say I like dry doughnuts very much, but it's better than the home made soup he brought last time. Gregory Warren looks hung over and a little green in the face. You'd think, after being on this team for two years now, he'd know better than to go clubbing when on call. Friday or no Friday.

  7:45 - Arrived at the outer edge of Eggleby. Only barely getting light out. Area is deserted, seems like an old factory of some sort. Nothing to see from here.

  8:50 - In SUV, back to Primrose. Check up—including hour-long, detailed search of the factory, top to bottom—was a bust. No artefact in sight. Not the first time this has happened.

  10:04 - Debriefing by our teamleader, Travis Simpson, in canteen with a warm lunch. All except Warren, who disappeared into the loo the minute we arrived, and is toying with a glass of water.

  11:17 - Was run over in corridor by escaped walrus-like creature. No idea what it was secreting from its pores, but my jacket was drenched in orangy goo. Had to take clothes to Cleaning and grab a clean set out of my locker—last set. Filled out replacement request and put it in the mailbox near the entrance. Sent a text to Agent Smith about having Cell 4 checked for faulty latches... again. The stupid thing keeps breaking. And yet they keep putting creatures in Cell 4. Hopefully, he'll scare Maintenance into finally doing a decent job of repairing it.

  11:28 - Barely dressed and we have another call. Alien sighting, called in by old biddy from Leybridge.

  11:43 - Arrived to quite a sight. Front garden completely demolished. If owner and neighbours hadn't seen something large and black rooting around, you'd think they were doing a garden renovation, the hard way.

  12:25 - Caught the bastard. Fast bugger for its size. It managed to outrun us several times, until it reached the river. Who knew such a big fella would be so scared of a bit of water. The thing didn't even reach our knees. Still managed to put up quite a fight, though. No serious wounds; its claws weren't sharp, though it had a real mean left hook. Bryan Xiang's cheek's already starting to go blue. The rest of us came off with mere scratches. Only Quinn Flanigan got away unscathed, seeing as he was driving the SUV. I need to get me a licence. Clean up crew is going to have a difficult time explaining this one away. Too many clever witnesses. Can't wait to read the report and see what they came up with. A small bear, maybe?

  12:44 - Black monster in lock up—Kelp only dared calling it blackie once, before Simpson cuffed him. Once we got it tranq'd, it was easy to get in the SUV. A bit of a tight ride on the way back, with the thing being stuffed in the back seat. I spotted a repair man in Cell 4. Agent Smith works fast.

  13:00 - Got tetanus shot in Medical, third time this month, and had a quick shower.

  14:57 - I knew I shouldn't have made a comment about it looking to be a quiet afternoon. Another sighting. And just when I was beating Warren at Halo. Probably won't get another chance any time soon.


  15:02 - Ran into Stephanie Young from team Delta. I was about to comment on the blue streaks in her hair, when I noticed it wasn't a dye job. Not sure what it was, but it would probably be hell to get it out. 


15:30 - Arrived at site. Nothing suspicious at first sight. Simpson is talking to the man who called it in.  


15:35 - And we're on our way to Gelling—A-watch alert—leaving Kelp, Warren, and Simpson to chase the "small, ferret-like" thing that apparently chewed through his stainless steel fence. 


16:23 - And Bingo. When we arrived, I thought it would be another dud, but we actually managed to find it, albeit buried underground. No idea what it is—we know better than to touch it—but it looked like a mediaeval torture apparatus. Safely sealed it in a container. 


16:45 - Picked up rest of the team, including one ferret-like creature in non-metallic crate. Two successful catches in little over an hour. Not bad at all. Though Kep suffered a nasty bite from the ferret. Good thing he already had a tetanus shot earlier. 


17:30 - Delivered both packages and went to the canteen for dinner. Warren's finally eating something. Kelp's been recounting their ferret-catching tale, wildly gesturing with his bandaged hand, while Simpson keeps rolling his eyes. 


19:05 - Nothing for a while, so I decided to hit the gym for a nice run on the treadmill. If nothing hits us before eight, I'm going home. Fingers crossed. 


20:13 - On train home, texting with Teddy. He keeps pushing me to move in with him, but I'm glad I have my own flat to come home to when I'm on call. Couldn't stand to wake him up at god-awful hours and unable to say more than, "Have to go." 


20:40 - Hot chocolate and a classic Who, fourth doctor. Love the fake aliens. Though some are closer to creatures we've come across than the makers could have ever thought. 


21:34 - On train back into Primrose. Another alien sighting. 


21:45 - On our way to Greyson's Woods, joined by Young to replace Xiang, who's down with a migraine. Young still had blue streaks in her hair. 


00:26 - Combed out the forest, twice, it feels. Gathered plenty of traces for Research, but no alien anywhere. Scanners didn't pick up anything in the trees either. Whatever was here had long gone, or was too clever to let us and our scanners catch it. 


01:30 - Just noticed a text from Teddy, time-stamped 23:58, wishing me sweet dreams. Maybe I should see if he's free for lunch tomorrow. 


01:45 - Dropped off home, since my place was en-route to Primrose. I'm not holding my breath to get a good night's sleep, and I'm tempted to just veg out in front of the telly, but...

Connor Smith works for Primrose, an organization tasked with monitoring and tracking aliens and alien technology. It's a job that doesn't know the meaning of "nine-to-five". It also doesn't leave much room for a social life, a complication that Connor hasn't minded, until now. At the prodding of his best friend, Connor reluctantly puts himself back in the dating pool, even though it means lying about his remarkable life. 


 Elsewhere, Noah Jones has led a remarkable life of his own. Stranded on Earth in 1648, Noah was forced to transform himself permanently into human form to survive. He soon learned that in doing so, he'd become effectively immortal, aging only at a glacial pace. Alone, with no way to contact his people or return home, Noah becomes a silent observer of human civilization-always in the world, but never of the world. Then, hundreds of years later, he sees a face in a crowd and instantly feels a connection that he thought he'd never feel again. But he's too late: Connor's already taken. 


 Destiny is not without a sense of humor, though, and the two men are pulled inexorably closer, snared by the same web of dangers and conspiracies. Worse, Primrose is now aware of Noah, and they aren't ones to leave an alien unrestrained. So while Connor struggles to understand the strange pull he feels toward Noah, forces without as well as within are working against them to keep them apart.