Madison Worthington has worked hard to get to where he is. Thrown out of his pack at a young age, he finds his home in the San Antonio Pack, eventually talking himself into a job as Damien’s PA. He doesn’t get the respect he’d hoped for, but he holds his head high as he works behind the scenes keeping Damien’s club and pack running smoothly. At night he dreams of a mate who will hold himself in strong arms and love him just the way he is. Unfortunately, the Fates appear to have other plans.
Sebastian D’Eath, son of Thanatos the Angel of Death, has always known the Fates would throw a mate in his path. He just didn’t realize he had to dive into flood waters to stop the man from drowning. But no matter how cute his mate might look as a drowned rat, Sebastian has his arguments ready. He doesn’t want a mate; won’t take a mate and no one can make him. However, he soon finds out the Fates have other plans for him, too.
Angry words lead to Madison being captured by a wolf with a sick mind. Salvation comes from an unlikely quarter, but Madison returns to the pack with a change of heart. He has some scores to settle and Sebastian is the first in the firing line. Hellhounds, dinners and a red convertible – will Sebastian ever get the man he claimed he didn’t want?
Madison Worthington ran his hand over the lapel of his new suit and eyed his reflection critically. The cut was perfect, the dark gray material held a faint sheen under his mirror lights as it emphasized his tight butt and slender waist. Madison patted the trim ends of his golden blond hair where they fell artfully over his face. He kept it short for neatness purposes but he purposefully gave the men in his life something to hold onto on top. He leaned forward and peered at his reflected skin. Eyeliner was expertly applied to bring out a pop in his bright blue eyes. He just needed a spot of lip gloss and he’d be ready to go.
“You’re going to knock ‘em dead tonight,” he said with a smile at his reflection, pushing back familiar negative thoughts about never finding the one meant for him. If only Damien…. Madison stamped the floor with his elegantly booted foot, shutting down that line of thinking. His days with Damien were well over and his Alpha was happy with Scott. Mate, I need to find my mate, he thought, but he shoved that idea away as well. I have a good life, he told himself firmly, I have all I need.
My name is Lisa Oliver. After spending years writing non-fiction books, the lure of fiction and the men in my head finally had me sitting down and writing The Reluctant Wolf, an M/M paranormal erotic romance in November 2013. Since that time I have written twenty odd books including the Cloverleah Pack series, the Bound and Bonded series, Alpha and Omega series, and the Stockton Wolves series. I have also written a vampire/wolf shifter novel - The Power of The Bite. All of my books are M/M (or M/M/M) come with a guaranteed HEA and absolutely no cheating.
I strongly believe in the power of love - and all of my books are based on the true mate trope. However, for me, insta-lust does not equal insta-love and all of my books tell of the journey my main characters need to go through to reach that state of being in love with someone special. All of my books can be read as standalone, but in cases like the Cloverleah series you get a good idea of the back stories of secondary characters by reading the books in order. I love to hear from all of my readers so please feel free to catch up with me on Facebook, Twitter or through my blog.
I got a lot of pushback from my then faith community when I started writing positively and explicitly about gay couples. This warm and peaceful song by a popular Christian band helped me remember that God is love, desite the people who speak hatefully in God’s name.
This avant-garde electronica track was popular in gay nightclubs in the mid-1990s, when the book is set.
Johnny Cash, “Sunday Morning Coming Down” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgcNoP4Wudw
Like the Man in Black, Julian is a Southern boy who drinks too much, and regrets his lost innocence even though he knows that being an outsider is what makes him an artist.
Julian’s mentor and sometime lover, Richard Molineux, is a cryptic, pretentious magazine editor who introduces him to the fine arts. One of their first scenes together takes place at a fashion show set to opera-techno music.
Julian is wild for 80s music. This song features in a pivotal scene near the end of the novel when he makes an unsettling discovery about his lover’s kinks.
What songs would you add? Read the book and let me know!
Title: Two Natures Author: Jendi Reiter Release Date: September 15th 2016 Genre: LGBT fiction, MM Romance
Two Natures is the coming-of-age story of Julian Selkirk, a fashion photographer in New York City in the early 1990s. His faith in Jesus helped him survive his childhood in the Atlanta suburbs with an abusive alcoholic father, but the church’s condemnation of his sexual orientation has left him alienated and ashamed.
Yearning for new ideals to anchor him after his loss of faith, Julian seeks his identity through love affairs with three very different men: tough but childish Phil Shanahan, a personal trainer who takes a dangerous shortcut to success; enigmatic, cosmopolitan Richard Molineux, the fashion magazine editor who gives him his first big break; and Peter Edelman, an earnest left-wing activist with a secret life.
Amid the devastation of the AIDS epidemic and the racial tensions of New York politics, Julian learns to see beyond surface attractions and short-term desires, and to use his art to serve his community.
**Kindle Price $0.99 from February 20th – March 17th ** (normally $9.99)
Honors: 2016 Rainbow Awards: First Prize, Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction; First Runner-Up, Debut Gay Book Named one of QSPirit’s Top LGBTQ Christian Books of 2016
The storm hit when we were about an hour south of the campgrounds. Sheets of rain covered the Chevy’s windshield. We crawled along, following the fuzzy glow of the taillights in front of us. Peter searched the AM band for a local station that could give us traffic and weather. I refrained from saying that we could see both of those by looking out the window. There’s the difference between us: he likes to know that he can’t do anything about a situation, while I just assume it.
Up ahead, flashing lights and a row of orange cones marked a lane closed off by a wreck we couldn’t make out. Peter was all for pulling off the highway and finding a shortcut via the local roads. Phil’s presence made me less adventurous. We had to get this right. If he’d been awake to vote, though, he would have sided with Indiana Jones, so I resigned myself to studying the map for the shortest possible detour. “Hey, did you know there’s a city in New York called Sodom?”
“Is it anywhere near Coxsackie?”
We bounced along winding roads through tired towns that blended together in the rain: another white clapboard with a sagging porch, another vintage Pepsi sign over a liquor-store marquee (“happy 21st birthday Amanda!”), more black and white cows grazing around a metal silo. I never went in for that Depression-documentary stuff. People who wear overalls deserve their privacy.
After half an hour we seemed to have outrun the rain, but finding our way back to the highway was another story. We stopped for coffee and pie in a diner with turquoise vinyl siding, where the waitress gave us directions to the campsite. I could have sworn one of the truckers at the lunch counter was cruising me. If I hadn’t been with my boys, I might have gone for him, and probably gotten myself murdered. It’s not a good idea to die luridly if no one knows you’re a celebrity. I doubted whether the local Walgreen’s carried Femme NY.
We crested the hill leading into the campgrounds as a yellow-gray sunset was filtering through the pines. Peter surveyed the scene and frowned. “Guys, I don’t think this is it.”
“Nah, I saw the sign, just like the waitress told us — Deer Mountain Nature Preserve,” Phil said.
“But it’s not how I remember it, from when we used to come here — I thought there was a lake, and this little bunkhouse with showers.”
“Maybe we’re on the other end.”
“Does it really matter?” I asked impatiently. “Nature is nature, right?”
“And why is it called a nature preserve? Maybe we’re not even allowed in here,” Peter fretted.
“Cool, we’ll be, like, anarchist squatters,” Phil said. Thus outvoted, Peter pulled the Chevy into a broad clearing with a view of the mountains, where we would pitch our tents. He’d brought two,
in case Phil and I wanted some privacy. The ground was damp and spongy under a fragrant carpet of pine needles. I sprayed a mist of bug repellent all around us. In the forest, you think it’s quiet, but it really isn’t, once you let go of expecting to hear human voices. Phil had brought a battery-operated radio that played staticky doo-wop oldies (the only station we could find out there) while I built a campfire.
The sky slowly turned from purple-gray to black. We drank Cokes because Peter didn’t like mixing beer and weed, and cooked hot dogs on sticks over the sputtering fire. Phil tried to get away without eating anything with his evening pills. “I thought you always had an appetite for this,” I said, waggling a plump hot dog in front of his face. We ate that one from both ends and met in the middle, and Peter sang the Italian-restaurant song from “Lady and the Tramp”, and I laughed so hard the soda came out of my nose.
The radio was off. If we strained our eyes, we could see faint stars that vanished into the cloud cover when we looked directly at them. “I want to try and find the lake,” Peter said.
“It’s too cold to swim,” I said. “We should have come sooner.”
“I just want you guys to see it.”
A nearly-full moon had risen, cresting and sinking in the swells of clouds that drifted across its light. That and our flashlights helped us find a marked trail. There was no reason to think that it led to any lake, but we were buzzed and lucky to be there, and why not hope our luck would hold?
Phil slapped at the mosquitos that were drawn to our flashlight beams. “So there, suckers — my blood is toxic.”
“Must you think about that every minute?” I said.
“I got a right.”
Peter slowed down to put his arm around my shoulders as we trudged uphill on the winding trail. My tense breathing eased and I began to enjoy the trek in spite of myself. The spindly pines swayed above us in the wind. Our slow progress through the dark was hypnotic. Peter hummed a tune under his breath and we joined in intermittently to stay focused. I heard Phil cough a couple of times but he didn’t stop walking or look back at us, so I couldn’t do anything.
The trail ended at the edge of a rocky outcropping overlooking a valley. Silver light flashed below us, a fast-moving stream tumbling over glistening rocks. To our left, a thicker, darker gray cloudbank was building up, edged with moonglow.
I reached out to pull Phil closer to me so we were all holding each other. Maybe it was the whisper of the stream we heard, or maybe it was too far away and we only heard the trees tossing in the wind. Warm from the climb, I spread my top-layer sweatshirt on the ground for Phil and me to sit on. We leaned against each other and kissed, while Peter sat cross-legged on Phil’s other side, holding his hand.
“Got your camera?” Phil whispered. “Like you ever don’t.”
“Too dark…besides, right now…let’s just be here.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean.”
Oh, those blue eyes. I saw you, Phil, I was inside you, closer than sex, clearer than words. And you in me. I hope, I believe. In the end, you trust it or you don’t, the ground under your feet, the air in your lungs, and something surrounding you that’s more than particles of heat and scent and skin.
The distant sky rumbled. A small flock of dark birds swooped and scattered into the valley. Phil sneezed. I took off my other sweatshirt and wrapped it around him. He didn’t object. Peter stretched out on the ground, propping his chin in his hands, and looked down at the stream with a sigh. “I guess this is as far as we’re going to get.”
“It’s all right,” Phil said. “I’m happy here.”
“Good, ’cause we’re going to leave you here,” I deadpanned.
He slugged my arm. “Hey, you promised me an ice floe.”
“What’s the big deal about the lake?” I asked, since Peter was still acting glum.
“It’s where he lost his virginity,” Phil teased.
Peter rolled over and swatted at him. “Ah, screw you.”
“Is it?” I pressed him.
“For your information, I lost my virginity in the back of a comic-book store in Brooklyn Heights. And I bet I was ahead of either of you guys, too.”
I wolf-whistled. Phil said, “I moved in with Ted, that was my first boyfriend, when I was sixteen, but we’d been doing it since the year before. He worked construction, like me, and the first time, we were fixing up this old lady’s attic and we all of a sudden got all over each other, and when she complained about the noise we told her she had squirrels.” Peter and I laughed. Phil looked expectantly at me.
“Define virginity,” I stalled.
“Fucking or being fucked. Messing around doesn’t count.”
“So how old were you?” I asked Peter.
He hesitated. “Thirteen.”
Phil made a face, like he didn’t believe this, but I didn’t think Peter was kidding. “Who the hell would do you at thirteen?” I blurted out.
Peter looked away. “Hey, I wasn’t totally hideous,” he muttered.
“No, I meant — ” Too frustrated for words, I touched my hand to his cheek. “I’m sure you were as delicious then as you are now, but I’m feeling this primitive Southern urge to punch that guy in the face.”
“It wasn’t so bad. I mean, it was good. I liked him.”
I stayed where I was, touching him. He wrapped his fingers around mine.
“Who…who was he?” I didn’t want to know, but I had to.
“Uh, a friend of my dad’s. I worked in his store the summer after the last time we came here — after my real mom found out about Ada.” He gestured impatiently at the view. “Only it’s not here, we’re somewhere else.”
“Wherever you go, there you are,” Phil volunteered.
“Oh, profound,” I said.
This time the dull boom of thunder sounded closer. The wind had picked up, whipping the branches around. “Oh crap, we’d better get back,” Peter said.
“Not until Julian tells us about his first time.” Phil slid his hand down my leg. I felt a flash of desire and wondered about the mechanics of safe sex in a sleeping bag.
“It was you,” I said, almost inaudibly.
Phil glanced up from nuzzling my neck. “Naw…I thought you’d been with lots of guys,” he said, just as softly.
“Yeah, but we said blowjobs didn’t count, only real sex.” I kissed his ear, trying to revive the tender mood of a moment ago.
Rain began to patter lightly on the leaves. “Guys, come on,” Peter urged, standing up.
Phil hung onto my thigh, keeping me on the ground. “What about the first time you were on the bottom, was that me too?”
“Let’s talk about this later, please?”
“Who was it?”
“I don’t know, okay?” I burst out, pushing him off me. “He was just some guy in Central Park.”
Phil caught up to me as I followed Peter’s bobbing flashlight beam along the narrow path downhill. “Here’s your jacket,” he said gruffly, draping the grass-stained sweatshirt over my shoulders. He didn’t take his arm away afterward, pretending to need my support as he dodged the humped tree roots underfoot.
Superimposed on the path before me, there returned my one memory of that man’s lined and wistful face, the pure gratitude in his eyes when he held me for a few seconds after fucking me under the arcade by Bethesda Fountain. I hadn’t expected it and it hurt quite a bit, though there was a thrill in it too, the way he invaded the center of me, opening what had always been closed.
The downward-sloping trail was slippery with wet leaves. Distracted by my thoughts, I stumbled and fell, skidding on my ass into a clump of bushes. The sky chose that moment to flush its cosmic toilet. Water poured down hard. I swore as the prickly bushes snagged my clothes. Phil tried to help me out but got entangled himself, like two fools in a fairy tale glued to the golden goose.
“I’m sorry,” he shouted over the noise of the storm. His face was smudged and wet. “Jule, I know…I know you didn’t want…to be with me, like this.”
“Phil. I love you.” Words I’d never said before. I warmed his rain-chilled lips with mine. His arms were the most solid thing in the world. How could they vanish, how to conceive of a time when all of us would become unreal?
Doubling back with the flashlight, Peter found us still clenched in our silent embrace. Since he was the only one who’d thought to bring gloves, he had little trouble pushing aside the thorny branches. We found our way back to the campsite in silence.
“Oh, crap crap crap!” Peter exclaimed when we saw the fallen tree limbs crushing his tent. He did this little stomping dance of frustration that would have been funny if we’d been watching it from someplace dry. He glanced back and forth from us to the other tent, which had stayed upright. “Okay, I guess I’m sleeping in the Chevy.”
Phil and I exchanged a look of agreement. I was just desperate to get him inside. He wasn’t hiding his shivering very well. “No, there’s room for you,” Phil said.
Inside the tent, we stripped down to our T-shirts and underwear, leaving our wet clothes in a heap by the door flap. Peter had found some spare blankets in the van to supplement the two sleeping bags, which were barely enough to cover the three of us when we zipped them together to make a sort of comforter.
I thought Phil should go in the middle. “Nah, night sweats,” he said, nudging me to change places with him. His eyes were saying more than that. So I lay against Peter’s chest, with his arms around me, and Phil, on my other side, reaching over to hold Peter’s hand where it rested at my waist. Phil tucked his head into the curve of my neck, the way we always liked to sleep. I felt his heartbeat, steady and strong, and heard the faint wheeze of his breath growing more regular
as he drifted off. Peter’s body, too, relaxed without easing his hold on us. I was just thinking about kissing him goodnight — on the cheek, would it be so wrong? — when he pressed his face to mine. Silent softness of mouths and tongues, a few minutes standing in for all the time gone and time to come, until the three of us were sleeping in the incomparable warmth we made together.
Jendi Reiter’s books are guided by her belief that people take precedence over ideologies. In exploring themes of queer family life, spiritual integration, and healing from adverse childhood experiences, her goal is to create understanding that leads to social change. Two Natures is her first novel; a sequel is in the works. Her four published poetry books include Bullies in Love (Little Red Tree, 2015) and the award-winning chapbook Barbie at 50 (Cervena Barva Press, 2010). She is the co-founder and editor of WinningWriters.com, an online resource site for creative writers.
For the past few years Yarroway L’Estrella has lived in exile, gathering arcane power. But that power comes at a price, and he carries the scars to prove it. Now he must do his duty: his uncle, the king, needs him to escort Prince Gareth to his wedding, a union that will create an alliance between the two strongest countries in the known world. But Yarrow isn’t the prince’s only guard. A whole company of knights is assigned to the mission, and Yarrow’s not sure he trusts their leader.
Knight Duncan Purefroy isn’t sure he trusts Yarrow either, but after a bizarre occurrence during their travels, they have no choice but to work together-especially since the incident also reveals a disturbing secret, one that might threaten the entire kingdom.
The precarious alliance is strained further when a third member joins the cause for reasons of his own-reasons that may not be in the best interests of the prince or the kingdom. With enemies at every turn, no one left to trust, and the dark power within Yarrow pulling dangerously away from his control, the fragile bond the three of them have built may be all that stands between them and destruction.
REVIEW: August Li has built a world of magic, mayhem, and myths. Notthing is as it seems, and no one is who they seem to be. Yarrow, Duncan, and Sasha are three wildly different people, each with their own quirks, goals, and inner demons. I found it utterly fascinating watching the three of them gradually becoming closer despite their initial dislike of each other. If the actual journey wasn’t challenging enough, Yarrow, Duncan, and Sasha have to navigate the mindfield of power plays, hidden agendas, schemes, plots, betrayal, doublecrosses, and enemies attacking at any time. I was hooked fromm the very first page, and just could not put it down waiting to see what would happen next. The sex between the three men was hot enough to almost set my ereader on fire. The ending almost broke my heart, but left me wanting to grab the next book in this fantastic series.
BLURB: Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative
religious colony, has come to Oberon-unique among the Common Worlds- in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnson, a
handsome, cocky skythane with a troubled past.Neither knows
that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the
world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea
what’s coming-or the bond that will develop between them as
they race to avert a cataclysm.
REVIEW: This is one of the most original and fascinating
stories that I’ve read in quite a while. It’s a unique and
interesting blend of science fiction, fantasy, and the
paranormal, grabbing my attention from the very first page.
The world building is solid, complex, complicated, vividly
detailed, and so realistic I almost felt like I was there.
This is a sweeping novel that rivals the science fiction
classics written by Issac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and many
others. Seething with ploys, plots, greed, hate, power
plays, and more, this compelling tale took me on a wild,
action-packed rollercoaster of a ride, and will be at the
top of my reread list for a long time to come. There are
hints that there’s a sequel, or maybe even a series, and so
I’ll be keeping an eager eye out for it.
Lincoln Stallworth, bass player for Black Ice, has quietly watched each of his band mates fall in love and has accepted the fact he’ll probably never find the same for himself. He doesn’t really believe in true love, couldn’t fully understand the absurdity of it, or the notion there could be just one perfect person for everyone. A debilitating health issue began to shadow Lincoln in the middle of their last tour. As his physical symptoms worsen, Lincoln has to fight the urge to hide from the world and himself inside his estate.
Aaron Baylor enters Lincoln’s life at his lowest point. Lincoln feels broken, damaged beyond repair, and he’s ready to give-up. Aaron’s patience and unwavering support slowly begin to pull Lincoln back to being present in his own life and gives him hope for a future and for love. Will Aaron be the glue that holds the broken pieces of Lincoln’s life together? Can Lincoln fight his way back to good health and take a chance at love? Or will the task be too great for Lincoln to handle?
Beyond The Music is Book 7 in The Rock Gods series. This is the final story in the series, but also the launch of a new M/M spin-off series, Guarding the Gods, which will have many cameo appearances from The Rock Gods characters in each story. If you enjoyed The Rock Gods, I hope you’ll give Guarding the Gods a try!
WOW! Boss, one whole year since you released Beyond The Music, and also since I started working for the most incredible boss anyone could only have hoped for. It’s been the most amazing year, celebrating your success along side you and all your achievements thus far. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be on the craziest but most exciting ride ever. Who knew we could have such a giggle while you have been writing stories your fans love, and love you they do. Thank you for giving me a chance to prove myself. Thank you for introducing me to a whole new world of love. Most of all thank you for being YOU! My Rock Queen. I love you.
Dearest Ann!! Congratulations on this wonderful achievement. Being a writer doesn’t come without difficulty but with your stories and the success of your books you make it look easy. I know however you are one of the most hardworking ladies in the industry and your astonishing books and incredible writing are a testament of that. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey and for bringing so many incredible characters into our lives. You indeed ROCK!
Congratulations on a whole year passing by since the release of Beyond The Music. Also, almost a year since I was able to see your pretty face in person and give you a big ole hug. Thank you for bringing your Rock Gods to life and sharing a piece of yourself through Aaron. Your books bring sexiness and happiness to your readers. Can’t wait to see what these characters continue to tell you in the next year. Love you.
Jen Reilley. Rock Gods Fan
She is my chocolate pudding pop, my little ray of sunshine, and one of the best people I know.
For personal reasons, Lincoln’s story touched me to my soul. Only you, Ann, could manage to combine such serious topics with horny, gay rockers without lessening its importance or taking away from their uber-sexy hotness. That, my friend, is why you are our Superior Rock Goddess!
Ann is one of my favorite authors. Whenever I get a new Ann Lister book in my hands, I war with myself. I want to dive right in, yet I want to savor it, as well. I love her writing and she created my all time favorite couple, Jayson and Cooper, from Make You Mine. I’ve never met Ann in person, I hope to rectify this one day, but from our interactions on Facebook, I think she is not only kind and generous, but she also truly appreciates her readers.
Ann Lister ….. When I think of you I think nothing but good things. I think of several words…. Friend, sweet, sexy, Mother of the Rock Gods, strong, mother, wife, author. I remember chatting with her way back when and was so impressed with her! You have a great writing style and such a smooth way of getting the story across, I am in awe each and every time I read your books. You work tirelessly on your stories so that they are the best that they could possibly be. I know I always want more and more books from you, but you don’t want to rush any story or release it before it’s perfect. I respect that!
You are such a strong person. You don’t give yourself enough credit for a lot of things. You have learned to take control of your “business” and learned about trust and friendships. You’ve been hurt and learned how to get back up and do better! I am so proud of what you have done for yourself.
You are so humble. You still get nervous with each new book launch. I was so honored the first time you asked me to format your book. I have loved working with you and treasure our chats. I would love to meet you in person some day!! You are one of those people that I would totally hang out with even if you didn’t write books! I love you to the moon and back!!!
Where do I start ?
First I want to thank you for being my absolute Rock Goddess Queen.. words can’t express how much you mean to me, you’ve been my anchor and such an important part of my life your friendship means the world to me I cherish our friendship more than words can ever express.
You keep me grounded, I love our talks daily you’re my sister from another mister.
I want to thank you for giving me my favorite series I’m in aw of your talent and words. Congratulations on your one year publiversary of Aaron and sharing his story and a part of you through him, I am so honored to be a part of your team you always know when I’m in need of a pick me up and and you send me a piece of your brilliant story you are working on .
Best of luck to you always I can’t wait to follow you throughout your journey.
I Love You Always and Forever. ♡♡
Ann Lister is a native New Englander currently living on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with her husband. She has pulled details from her years living in the New England area and uses many local settings and landmarks in her novels.
After graduating art school, marrying, and raising two daughters, she established her own video production company. Her nearly two decades working in video production included work within the music industry and won her a coveted Telly Award. Her ‘behind-the-scenes’ exposure to the music world and her love of rock music is the inspiration for her erotic rock star romances.
The Rock Gods series gave her Bestselling Author status on Amazon. Beyond The Music, Book 7 in the series, hit #1 in the Gay Erotica genre during the Pre-Order and held that spot for several weeks. This last book in The Rock Gods series launches the spin-off series, Guarding The Gods, which releases in early Summer of 2016.
BLURB: Two men who believe in second chances meet and their lives are never the same again.
Layne Daly comes to participate in the American Royal. He’s there to show off the abilities of the retired thoroughbreds he adopts straight off the track. He wants people to know these animals can do so much more than race. He has three horses there to do exhibitions in reining, barrel racing and cutting. When his usual groom gets sick, he has to hire someone fast.
Carl Stewartson used to love coming to Kansas City for the rodeo. He’d ride broncs and hang out with his friends. But since his career-ending injury early in the year, Carl has been spinning his wheels, trying to find something to do with his life now that he can’t rodeo anymore. He runs into Layne and offers to help him with his horses.
Together, they have to deal with not only the stress of the event, but also starting a new relationship. Second chances are what Layne does best and he’s more than willing to give Carl the opportunity.
REVIEW: This is a short but sweet story about two men who believe in second chances. Layne Daly and Carl Stewartson meet by chance at the America Royal Rodeo in Kansas City. Layne is there to show off the abilities of his retired thoroughbreds. Show that these horses can be more than just race horses. But when Layne get his horses to the gate, his groom is nowhere to be found. He gets a call from Quinn, his groom, stating that he was under the weather and probably wouldn’t make it. He needs help with these horses especially one in particular that is quite spirited. So now what can he do?
Carl actually used to participate in the rodeo’s bronc riding competition but due a knee injury, his riding career was basically over. So now here he was with no way to make a living doing what he loved to do best. Then an opportunity comes up for him to use his knowledge of horses as he was raised on a ranch and maybe make some money doing it. Of course it didn’t hurt that the two men were attracted to each other but without confirmation neither was willing to make assumptions. But working so closely together to help Layne with his horses for the exhibition revealed their mutual attraction.
I actually liked this short read and wished that there was more to their story, more time to get to know the characters. The fact that one of the characters had a physical limitation made me more interested in his character. I liked how the two men come together to help each other. The physical attraction between the MC’s made for a few steamy scenes. So overall it was a pleasant read.
Valentine’s Day is a time for many of us to celebrate with our significant other, whether it is our lover, husband, wife, whomever it is that shares our lives and our hearts. There are many things we relate this holiday with; flowers, champagne, candlelit dinners, and even making love.
What many may be surprised to know is that the root of the holiday comes from ancient Rome and a festival called Lupercalia. The festival was a fertility celebration held annually on February 15th. But in 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius recast the pagan festival as a Christian feast day and changed it to February 14th, declaring it to be St. Valentine’s Day.
Personally the festival name makes me think of shapeshifters! Maybe this is where mpreg shifter romances were born? Kidding, of course. But it’s definitely interesting history!
In my newest release, Champagne Kisses, Sam Evans is looking forward to spending the holiday with his lover only to be disappointed when his boyfriend ditches him for work. Who wouldn’t be depressed and upset over such a thing? But Sam isn’t quite prepared for the surprise that awaits him after he closes up shop after work.
Their date cancelled on the most romantic day of the year, Sam Evans feels betrayed by Dean, who often puts work before their relationship. Brooding about his lover’s lack of commitment toward him, he leaves work early only to be stunned by what awaits him outside the door. Excerpt:
February 14th, 3:05 P.M.
Sam Evans stared broodingly out of the window of the small bookstore he worked at part time. There were little to no customers in the shop and he couldn’t be more thankful. His spirit was definitely not in the mood for being people-friendly. All he wanted to do at the moment was wallow in self pity. How could Dean do this to him?
“I’m sorry, Sam, but it’s a really big case. We can’t afford to miss anything or he could walk.”
“But it’s Valentine’s Day! You can’t take a few hours off to spend it with me?”
“I’ll make it up to you. I promise. I’ve gotta go. I’ll call you later.”
Damn him! Sam scowled even harder. Six months they’d been together and Dean still put his work over their relationship. Sometimes he wondered if it was even worth it, but then he’d remember how sweet and sexy the man could be and his anger would dissipate until the next time Dean would cancel a date or break plans they’d made together. He loved him and couldn’t imagine spending his life with someone else, but if things didn’t change soon, he wasn’t sure how much longer he could deal with it. Though Dean had no idea how deep his feelings went. They’d never used the big L word and Sam would be damned if he said it first with how things were between them.
He hadn’t even gotten Dean anything for Valentine’s Day. Because if they weren’t going to spend it together, what was the point of getting him a gift? Maybe he’d even done it a little bit out of pettiness and disappointment. Okay, it was true. He’d been selfish and hadn’t wanted to think about buying something for Dean because he was mad and because it depressed him even more to think about spending the holiday, meant for lovers to be together, alone.
Sam thought back to the first time they’d met and flushed at how clumsy he could be at times. His best friend and confidante, Aaron Beckinridge, had opened a catering business a little over a year before he met Dean. Sam could still hear Aaron’s excitement when he’d found out he’d gotten the gig for a huge charity dinner party for some of the big wigs at City Hall. A few hours before the event, Aaron called Sam in a tizzy because he was short-handed and needed a body to help fill in. He’d begged Sam and despite Sam’s many attempts to wiggle out of the obligation, Aaron managed to back him into a corner until Sam reluctantly agreed. He’d never been entirely comfortable in social settings, but at least he wouldn’t be expected to make polite chit chat or entertain anyone.
At first, the party had been dull, a bunch of stuffed shirts bragging about their latest wins in the courtroom or their golf handicap. As the night wore on, Sam wandered through the crowd holding a tray of champagne glasses while attempting to entertain himself by making up stories about the attendees. One overweight man who brayed like a donkey and sweated like a pig reminded him of the arrogant, selfish Duke in one of his stories. A seemingly straight-laced blonde woman in a tight black dress would have made the perfect gold digging Black Widow. He made mental notes of everything to work into his stories, including some of the decorations and food from the evening.
In the midst of his imaginings someone bumped his arm causing the tray to over balance. One of the champagne flutes tipped and spilled all over a pair of expensive-looking black patent leather shoes. Sam immediately apologized and looked up into the most breathtaking hazel-green eyes he’d ever seen. His voice failed him.
Easily six foot four, the man towered over Sam’s mere five-nine. The severe cut of the tuxedo clung to the stranger’s lightly muscular physique in all the right places. Short light brown hair swept back from the man’s features accentuated the strong jawline and firm rounded chin with a slight cleft in it. Sam’s mouth dried out in desire and he swallowed hard, attempting to find his voice once more. He shoved a strand of his almost shoulder-length dirty blond hair behind one ear nervously.
“No worries. I hated these shoes anyway,” the man drawled amusedly, his full lips lifting in an almost smirk.
Sam snapped out of his daze and blushed. “I’ll get something to clean it up with,” he mumbled and threaded his way toward the kitchen at the back of the mansion to grab a towel. Rushing back out, he saw that the attractive guy had disappeared and fought off disappointment as he cleaned up the spilled drink. He didn’t delude himself into thinking the man could possibly be gay. If he was a guest at the party, it meant he was a lawyer and he hadn’t heard of many gay lawyers, if any at all, in this city.
Sighing, he went back into the kitchen, dropped the rag on the counter and decided to take his break. “Hey, Aaron, I’m going to get some fresh air.”
Aaron waved him off, shouting instructions at one of his regular waiters. Sam walked out of the back door leading onto a large balcony overlooking a huge, well-kept garden, which no doubt cost more than he made in a year. He breathed in the night air deeply as he moved to the railing and leaned against it, his hands resting on the cold cement. He tilted his head to stare up at the bright half-moon overhead while berating himself for being so inept. The man probably thought him an utter disaster. Frowning, he shook his head and tried to dislodge the stranger from his mind. Why should he care? After tonight, he’d never see the man again anyway.
He sighed once more. He wanted to be home, surrounded by his books and working on his latest novel. At least there he didn’t have to worry about making a fool of himself. Books aren’t concerned with what you look like or how you act. What he loved most about books was that they were places to lose yourself in. Somewhere you could hide from the cruelty of the real world and become a sexy, brilliant detective or a suave, confident prince who could have anyone they wanted, go anywhere they wanted and they never embarrassed themselves. It was why he loved working for A Book Nook, his usual day job. Most customers who came in were like him, looking for an escape from their lives. His own novels weren’t main-stream, but he made enough to be comfortable working part time and writing.
“I always did detest these kind of parties,” a deep, sexy voice disrupted his thoughts and Sam jumped, turning to look at the owner. The man he’d spilled the drink on stood a few feet away from him. He’d been so wrapped up in his thoughts, a bad habit mind you, that he hadn’t even known the guy was there. How long had he been watching him? The butterflies in his stomach kicked up once more and he could only nod in response to the stranger’s comment before turning back to staring at the stars and moon. Sam tensed when the guy approached and leaned onto the railing near him. He could feel the warmth radiating from his closeness and bit his bottom lip.
“I’m going to guess this isn’t your usual gig either.”
Sam shook his head, still finding his voice locked in his throat.
The stranger hummed. “If I hadn’t heard you apologize earlier I’d wonder if you were mute.”
“No,” Sam murmured. “I can talk.”
“Ah, there’s his voice,” the man teased gently, tilting his head toward Sam.
“I’m really very sorry about your shoes,” Sam apologized again, glancing at him out of the corner of his eye.
“I told you don’t worry about it. I have several pair like these and between you, me and the flowers, I’d rather go barefoot.” One hazel-green eye winked at him.
Sam blushed and swallowed hard, his fingers curling into half-fists on the railing. His chest tightened almost painfully. He’d never been very good at idle conversation. Even as a child, he’d found it hard to open up to strangers. It took forever for him to make friends, but once he did, he allowed himself to let go and show more of his true self to them. “Well… um…”
“Dean Saunders,” the guy offered.
The man’s name was as hot as the package. Sam managed to force himself to reply. “Sam Evans.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Sam,” Dean said holding out his hand.
Sam stared at Dean’s manicured fingernails uncertainly for several breaths.
Dean chuckled lightly. “I’m not going to bite, you know.”
Sam’s blush deepened at his social ineptitude and he placed his hand in Dean’s, shaking it briefly. When he pulled away, he felt Dean’s fingers trail over his palm and shivered at the almost caress-like touch. “I… uh… should be getting back to work,” Sam mumbled, pushing away slightly from the balustrade.
“Stay,” Dean cajoled. “I could use the company and I’m sure your break is a lot longer than five minutes.”
He gave a brief nod at Dean and relaxed against the banister. Nibbling on his lower lip, Sam focused on the fountain in the center of the garden, watching the way the water sprayed into the air before raining down to the surface. Dean shifted beside him and turned, leaning his elbows on the railing and tipped his head back to gaze up at the stars.
“So when you aren’t serving stuffed shirts at a party, what do you like to do, Sam?” Dean asked casually.
“Oh, this isn’t my usual job,” Sam protested. “I was just helping out my friend Aaron. He was short staffed and asked me to help out. I’m actually… I work for a bookstore.” He’d never felt comfortable telling others that he was a professional novelist. Most people took it as him bragging, or at least he thought it seemed they did. Although Aaron would always tell him to stop being so modest and to brag all he wanted, that becoming a published author was a huge accomplishment. Sam still felt as though he was showing off when he talked about it.
Dean gave the lop-sided grin Sam was beginning to see as his signature smile. “That suits you more than this place.”
Sam frowned, his brow furrowing. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It wasn’t meant as an insult,” Dean assured him. “I just meant that you seem like the type who prefers more casual environments rather than all this.” He gestured toward the mansion and the party inside.
Eyeing Dean, Sam debated on whether to accept the man’s words at face value, but figured it wasn’t worth challenging since he didn’t know him well enough to be certain Dean was being rude. “And what about you? Do you prefer casual or all this?” Sam tossed back, waving his hand similarly to Dean.
Dean shrugged. “I like being where I can be myself. The only reason I attend these parties is to meet shy, handsome waiters with gorgeous brown eyes.”
At first, Sam felt a warm flush race over his skin, but then he thought about Dean’s words and scowled, shoving away from the rail, the happy glow gone. “You don’t have to mock me.”
He spun around to go back inside except Dean grabbed his wrist, stopping him. He kept his back to Dean, trying to tug his hand out of Dean’s grip. “I’m sorry, Sam. I wasn’t mocking you. I’m afraid my flirting skills are a bit rusty.”
Sam stopped struggling and turned enough to be able to see Dean. Flirting?
“Give me another chance, please?” Dean asked softly, his grip loosening and his thumb rubbing across the smooth skin on Sam’s inner wrist. “I’d like to take you to dinner.”
His fear of being hurt as he had been in his last relationship kept him from accepting immediately. He’d remained single for five years because he didn’t want to ever go through the same pain again. Aaron constantly told him he needed to stop letting his past keep him from finding love, but it was easier to say than do. It was kind of like when you fell off a horse and were afraid to get back on. The longer you went without returning to the saddle, the stronger the hold your fears have on you. Several breaths went by before Sam replied. “I… I don’t know.”
Dean straightened away from the balcony railing and leaned closer to Sam, his fingers still loosely circling Sam’s wrist. “Take a chance, Sam. One date and if you aren’t convinced by the end that I’m a good guy, you don’t have to see me again.”
Sam hesitated again and Dean reached up with his free hand to brush a strand of Sam’s hair back from his face. “One dinner. That’s all I’m asking.”
Taking a small leap of faith, Sam decided one dinner couldn’t hurt, so he said yes. One date turned into two, then three, and finally on the seventh date Sam allowed Dean to seduce him. In the last six months, they’d been doing fairly well despite the multiple times Dean cancelled one of their dates to work on a case. Sam knew Dean wanted to help people and worked hard to do so, but he couldn’t deny it still stung that Dean would rather be at work than with him. This Valentine’s Day ditch was the hardest of them all. Why couldn’t Dean find at least a couple of hours to spend with him? Didn’t he want to? Or was Dean tiring of him already?
Sam regularly battled his fears and anxieties. His ex-boyfriend had left behind a lot of scars. Not physically, but emotionally. At the end, when the reality of how long the relationship had been dead sank in, Sam hadn’t wanted to accept it at first because it would mean the three years spent together meant nothing and he’d still been desperately clinging to the hope that they could work it out. Over the course of time since the breakup, he’d come to realize just how one-sided their relationship had been; the emotional and mental abuse, the way his ex would try to change him and mold him into what he thought was acceptable, and the way he’d used him until the very end. Dean had shown him even more just how wrong everything had been.
Sighing, Sam heard his boss, Marla, come out of the back room. “What are you so mopey about?” she asked, raising an eyebrow as she set a box of books on the front counter. She was one of his closest friends, right up there with Aaron, and knew him fairly well. More than once she’d helped him with his problems. When she’d found out he was seeing Dean, she’d fairly squealed in excitement and demanded all of the details. At the age of fifty-two, Marla had been married and widowed, had two adult children over the age of eighteen, and spent most of her waking hours running the bookstore. Sam had been trying to get her to go out more, to date, but she’d just laugh and say, “Sam, my late husband was the love of my life. No one will ever be able to give me back what I lost and I really don’t need to go on a bunch of bad dates to tell me that.”
He bent further over the counter and watched her cutting the tape on the box. “Dean’s stuck on a case and won’t be able to spend Valentine’s Day with me.”
Marla chuckled while opening the box and beginning to remove the books in it for stocking. “Child, if people only expressed their love for one another one day a year, there’d be a lot less marriages in this world. Dean loves you and that’s all that matters.”
Sam frowned. “He hasn’t told me he loves me.”
Marla stopped what she was doing and put her hand on her hip, shaking her head. “You seriously can’t tell me that you haven’t noticed how head over heels for you that man is, can you? I’ve seen the way he looks at you when he picks you up. It’s like he’s seeing his very first sunrise and it leaves him breathless.”
Sam ducked his head bashfully for a minute before peeking up at his boss. “You really think so?”
“I know so, hon.” Marla reached out and patted his hand lightly. “Tell him how you feel, Sam. You might just be surprised.”
He nodded as she went back to stocking the recent shipment on the shelves. Was Marla right? Should he just tell Dean he loved him?
“It’s a little slow today so we’re closing up shop a bit early, hon.” Marla looked at her watch. “Instead of eight, let’s call it at five, okay?”
“Sure thing, Marla.” Not that he had anywhere important to be.
J.R. Loveless is an avid fan, reader and writer of anything pertaining to male/male romance. She started out her adventure into the genre in 2004 when she discovered the anime Loveless, a softer side of Yaoi. The moment she saw Loveless, it sucked her in and hasn’t let go since.
After Loveless, she voraciously searched for anything she could find within the anime world pertaining to Yaoi and Shounen-Ai. She found Gravitation, Princess Princess, Gakuen Heaven, Junjou Romantica and so much more. As she searched for the different animes available, she stumbled across an amazing forum that to this day she is more than ever thankful she found.
J.R. currently has several works in progress and several more ideas on the slow cooker. Ideas come to her out of the blue, a lyric in a song, a line in a movie, or just out of nowhere while she’s standing in the shower. She loves to make up her own stories, to follow her heart, and to write things her way because she loves a happy ending.
She is always thankful for all of her followers on AarinFantasy and for all of the wonderful people who read her stories. Please feel free to send her an email or to drop her a note on Facebook. She will always try to respond, even if it isn’t right away.
BLURB: Tattoos don’t define a person’s character, or make him sexy. But, if you ask Sam Madison, they sure don’t hurt.
Dr. Travis Nelson has a passion for ink but keeps his many tattoos covered by long sleeves and trousers. He’s aware that as a pediatrician he’ll be judged not only by the other physicians in his practice, but also by the parents of his young patients.
When Sam Madison takes his young nephew, Levi, to be seen for an ear infection, he’s immediately attracted to Travis and the feeling is mutual. But Sam’s sister Melanie is going through a rough time and caring for Levi, and covering her obligations, keeps Sam occupied. He feels like he’s in no position to start a relationship.
Travis sees things differently, though he’s unable to truly understand the deep bond and connection Sam shares with his twin. As Melanie’s life goes from bad to worse, Sam is forced to make difficult decisions. Is protecting Levi enough of a reason for the two men to stay together, or will fighting for the child ultimately tear them apart?
REVIEW: Okay, so this author is new to me and I had no idea what to expect. Well, I really liked this book. I liked the immediate attraction between Travis and Sam. I enjoyed how their relationship grew and changed. The author gives you each characters POV which was nice. Their story never felt rushed to me. It was easily a feel good story.
There are some triggers in this story that may be uncomfortable for certain readers. Sam Madison is a total hottie. He’s sweet and loyal to a fault. Sam moves in with his sister Melanie to help take care of his nephew Levi. Melanie has issues, and I mean seriously messed up issues. Sam and Melanie are twins, so from the beginning you know they have a close relationship. Except Melanie, who has a major drug problem, is as far from a responsible parent as one could get. She totally uses and abuses Sam’s loyalty to her and his love for his nephew. I did not like this woman and kept wishing she would disappear from the story.
Travis Nelson, is a hot pediatrician who loves his job, his bike and his ink. Travis walks in to see his new patient and meets Sam who has taken his nephew for a doctors appointment. Both men are immediately attracted to each other but Travis is uncertain if Sam is divorced and straight as he mistakes the boy as Sam’s son. So Travis decides to keep his sexy thoughts to himself. Then fate steps in and bring the two men together again. This time Travis makes up his mind that he is determined to pursue the drool worthy Sam Madison.
I really enjoyed Travis and Sam together. Their chemistry worked especially when Levi was included in their dynamic. Levi is a cutie and your heart breaks a little when you learn some of the things he has had to endure. But you root for this kid to have some good in his life. I mean the family drama is off the charts. Despite my disdain for Melanie and how Travis sometimes turns into a controlling idiot, I liked the outcome of this story.
BLURB: For Lucky Gunn, the hardest fight of his life happens outside the cage.
On the South Side of Chicago sits an old gym called The Brick Yard.
Ten years ago, on a bitterly cold day, Lucky Gunn wandered into The Brick Yard dressed in a threadbare jacket, looking for refuge. He hadn’t expected the owner, Tony Brick, to welcome him with a job and a place to sleep when Lucky’s abusive and drug-addicted mother made it too dangerous to return home.
Dray was a gay man living in a world of straight fighters. When his secret was exposed to the media, he dropped out, giving Lucky a piece of advice-if you want to make it as a MMA fighter, bury the part of yourself that won’t be accepted.
Lucky discovered the cage was the perfect place to keep his demons at bay, but when he learns his trainer and mentor, Brick, is suffering from end-stage cancer, he begins to spiral out of control. After eight years, Dray returns to help Lucky and Brick deal with the devastating news.
With Dray so close, Lucky’s old desires return, and Dray teaches him more than how to fight. Torn between his career and the passion he feels for Dray, Lucky’s past demons resurface in full force, threatening his sanity and his budding relationship with Dray.
Despite leaving the cage years earlier, Dray finds himself in the battle of his life with the only man he’s ever loved. Will he stand and fight or walk away like he did years earlier?
REVIEW: First let me say I loved this book. It really captured my heart. This book is truly a angsty romance that will have you experiencing every range of emotion possible. This is a love story, but it reads like a labor of love for Ms. Lynne.
This very emotional story is about two men, one of whom has had his dream of becoming a MMA snatched from him, and the other is trying to become the next champion. I fell head first into the story of Lucky Gunn’s life. As you meet these very complex characters you will get pulled into a very intriguing and intensely emotional story I couldn’t put down and neither will you. The Brick Yard becomes a safe haven for Lucky and many other boys who suffer from physical and emotional abuse…sometimes neglect at the hand of a parent. The owner of the Brick Yard, who goes by the name Brick ( I know right), becomes a father figure to Lucky.
I thoroughly enjoyed the journey of these two men and their connection to the others that form a family of sorts. As you meet Dray, Mack, and the boys you will laugh, cry, and at times get very angry. I’m a fan of this author and this book did not disappoint. Without a doubt this will be one of my favorites for this year.
Jeff Wilde is waking up from the best and worst five weeks of his life. He remembers his boyfriend breaking up with him. He remembers going camping. He even recalls hitting his head and waking up in 1927, decades before he was born, but now he’s woken up in the 21st century again. His boyfriend claims they never broke up and that Jeff has been in a coma for five weeks. As Jeff eases back into the 21st century life he thought he’d lost, he needs answers. Did he really travel to 1927 or was it all a dream? Did he really save a little girl’s life in 1927? Could that little girl have been his grandmother? Did he change history, and, if he did, was it for the better?
A hard object hit Jeff in the leg.
“Wake up!” The voice was male and held a nasal drawl. “I know yer alive. I see ya breathing.”
His head felt like the top was coming off. Jeff moaned and opened his eyes. The barrel of an antique bolt-action rifle was pointed at his head. He frowned. “Hey. Think you could point that thing in some other direction. I’m not armed.” Patting his pockets revealed no weapon except a pocket knife. “At least I don’t have a gun.” He held up the pocket knife.
“Don’t move.” The gun didn’t waver as the man grabbed the knife. “Who are ya, and whatcha doing on my land?”
Jeff tried to answer, but no name came to his mind. He blinked and searched his mind. “I don’t know.” He hesitated and looked up at the man with a frown. “I can’t seem to remember who or where I am. Who are you?”
The man wore a pair of tan trousers held up by a pair of suspenders. An off-white shirt with puffy sleeves and a pair of brown boots completed his wardrobe. He looked to be about the same age as Jeff’s thirty-five years. His sun-bleached hair, topped by a straw hat, touched his shoulders. Hard brown eyes squinted out from under bushy eyebrows, and a stubble of light brown covered his face like he’s forgotten to shave that morning. He moved the rifle away from Jeff’s face. “I’m Cletus Strader, and yer on my land.”
Jeff held his hands out to show they were empty. “Can I sit up, please?”
Cletus moved the gun to hover over Jeff’s chest. “Move real slow like.”
He pulled himself up to sitting position and rubbed the back of his head. “I seem to have hit my head on something. I have a knot there, and it’s painful.” He pulled his hand down and looked at it. Rusty-colored, dried blood was flaked on his fingers. “Maybe that’s why I can’t remember anything.” As he stood, a twinge of pain shot through his ankle, and he nearly fell. “I appear to have twisted my ankle also.”
Cletus rested his gun in the crook of his elbow, grabbed Jeff, and helped him stand by putting his other arm around his waist.
Jeff discovered he was about three inches shorter than Cletus. He liked the feel of his arm around him. Whoa! This was a stranger. Not safe to reveal his feelings. The man could be anti-gay. That was strange thought. What did it mean?
“Ya sure are dressed funny. I’d a thought ya was too old for short pants. And what’s that writing on your shirt? It says ‘Chiefs’ and has an arrowhead on it. It ain’t got no buttons. Kind of looks like it should be underwear, but I ain’t never seed no red underwear.”
Jeff tested his weight on the ankle and looked down at his clothing. “I don’t know. I’m not dressed like you, that’s for sure. You said I’m on your land; where’s that?”
“Outside of Zebra, Missouri.”
“Never heard of Zebra, Missouri. At least I don’t think I have.” His heart was racing. Who was he? Where was he? Who was this man? His head ached from trying to remember.
“Ya sure ya ain’t one of them Govermit men that’s trying to take our land?
“Why is the Government trying to take your land?” The confusion was worsening.
“They want to dam up the Osage River and make a big lake here. Say it’s gonna supply electricity for half the state. Don’t know what we need electricity fer. We gets along jest fine without it.”
“Osage River? That kind of rings a bell.” Jeff looked beyond Cletus and saw a half-plowed field and a mule hitched to a plow at the edge of the woods. He again patted his sides. Now that he was standing, he could feel things better. He pulled a wallet, cellphone, and car keys out of his pockets. “Maybe these will tell us something.”
“Gimme that.” Cletus grabbed the wallet.
Jeff limped over to a fallen tree and sat on it.
Cletus opened the wallet and pulled out money, some credit cards, and Jeff’s driver’s license. “This here money don’t look like nothin’ I’ve ever seed before. It says ‘In God We Trust’. Looks counterfeit to me. The colors look a little funny.” He looked from the license to Jeff. “This here’s yer picture. It says it’s a driver’s license for the state of Missouri. Don’t know many people drive automobiles.” His eyes grew wide and his mouth dropped open. “This says ya was borned in 1981, and this here license was issued in 2015.” He shook his head. “That can’t be. This here is only 1927.”
“Does it say who I am?”
“Says your name is Jeffery Wilde.” Cletus tilted his head to one side. “Does that sound familiar?”
Jeff shook his head and pursed his lips. “No. Can’t say it does.” Anxiety was churning in his stomach. This seemed like a bad dream. His stomach heaved, and he turned and vomited. He wiped his mouth with the tail of his shirt. His mouth tasted of stale beer. That was something at least. He knew what beer tasted like, even the second time around.