Something Like Hope

It’s both nerve wracking and very exciting when I release a book.  Something Like Hope is now out there in the world, and I really hope people like it.  Because I do.  A lot.  😀

There’s a fun little bit of promo over at Thorny’s today, where we did a little interview.  It’s about me, my writing, and the book.  It was fun for me to answer the questions, and made me think too, so I hope you enjoy it!

Aaron and Lucas have wormed their way into my heart, and I adore them.  They’ll be visiting us again for a few flash fics over the next few Fridays, so we can check in with them again and see how things are going. I always love revisiting my boys, and if you’re not quite ready to let them go either, then tune in to see what happens next.

Happy reading!


Release Day!!

Oh guys!  It’s here.  Something Like Hope is out!  Right now you can get it directly from Amber Quill and when other places become available I’ll update with links.

In the meantime, how does an excerpt sound?

I got to the set at three minutes after seven the next morning, and when I saw the Camaro in the parking lot, I moved quickly.  I walked straight to Lucas’ dressing room.  The door was cracked open, and I could hear the soft strains of some 80’s rock ballad.  I didn’t knock, didn’t ask for permission, just walked in the room and shut the door quietly behind me.

            It took him a second to realize I was there.  When he did his face lit up with a grin, before a scowl quickly took its place.

            “I wanted to say thank you.”  I kept my voice soft and calm.  “They’re beautiful, and I really appreciate it.”

            He opened his mouth, and for a second, I knew he was going to deny that he knew what I was talking about.  I could see it all over his face.  But then he deflated and blew out a breath.  “You’re welcome.”

            I waited, but he didn’t say anything else. Okay, then.  It was up to me.  I cleared my throat.  “Look, Lucas, I think we need to talk—”

            “Yes,” he cut me off fast, his gaze darting wildly around the room like the thought there might be someone spying.  “But not here, okay?”

            I nodded slowly.  I didn’t know the source of his nerves, but I didn’t want to spook him.  “Okay.  Not here.  Where?”

            “Um.” He licked his lips, and then his gaze finally settled on a spot somewhere over my left shoulder.  His voice dropped even lower, like he didn’t want to be overheard.  “Come to my place tonight?  I should be done and home by eight.”

            I weighed that for a long moment, really thinking it over.  It had to be a good thing that he was inviting me over.  He must finally be ready to talk, and I took that as a good sign.  As I stood there studying his face, I saw something like hope in his eyes.  He was a terribly confusing individual, and I didn’t understand anything about him or his motivation. But there was only one way to find out.

            “Okay, yeah.  I’ll come by tonight.”  I hadn’t taken my gaze off him, and I did not miss that brief flash of relief that crossed his face.

            “Good.  Okay.  Good.”  He blew out a breath, and he focused on me.  His lips quirked into a tiny smile.  It wasn’t much, but it was nice to see.  “I’ll pick you up on my way through, okay?”

            But I didn’t want to be stuck there if things went south.  I wanted to be able to leave if it got ugly.  I shook my head, but softened it was a smile.  “Just text me the address.  I’ll find it.”

            “Um.  All right.”  Lucas looked disappointed, but he dutifully rattled off his cell number for me to put in my phone.  I quickly shot him a text, a smiley face, so he would have my number as well.  That concluded, we both stood there, awkwardly staring at each other. 

            I broke first, laughing at the situation.  Lucas’ smile was sheepish, and he shook his head.

            “I’ve got to go to makeup,” he murmured.

            “Yeah,” I responded.  Then looked him straight in the eye.  “I don’t have to be here today.  I came to track you down.”

            His nostrils flared as he sucked in a deep breath, and his pupils widened.  “We’ll talk tonight.”

            My gaze didn’t waver.  “I’m looking forward to it.”

med_SomethingLikeHopeTelevision actor Aaron Zeller is thrilled when the character he plays on a popular primetime crime drama begins a gay relationship with one of the main characters on the show. While the cast and crew are mostly supportive, lead actor, Lucas Logan, is not. Aaron feels nothing but inexplicable coldness from the man.

Lucas admits his attraction for Aaron, but he is reluctant to act on his desires because of the potential detriment to his career should his sexuality become public. What they have between them could be sizzling hot, but is it worth the risks?

Flash Fic Friday

Love Wins Flash Fic

**In honor of the SCOTUS’s momentous, stupendous, about freaking time decision, a flash fic.  I’ve brought back Jack and Ryan to tell the tale.**

Jack had lost hope years ago.  He was convinced that, despite the way the country as a whole was leaning, the Supreme Court would never rule in favor of same sex marriage.  My cynical, pessimistic boyfriend was utterly certain he wouldn’t see a nationwide mandate for equal protection and rights under federal law in his lifetime.  Jack was sure we would have to fight for the rest of our lives to be recognized for what we were to each other.  That I would always be his significant other, his partner, but never his husband.   And he thought I was a fool for believing, deep down, that things would change.

Today, Jack was proven wrong in the best possible way.

I’d been anticipating the decision, most of me convinced that there be would positive news.  Though I was scared we’d be once again denied, I just couldn’t let go of that shining hope that finally, finally, it would be as it should have always been.  And it wasn’t just about the wedding, about the marriage.  Jack and I were as committed to each other as any straight married couple could be.  We could have left Montana behind and moved to any number of states if it was just about that, and wed one another.  No, it was about being recognized as equal.  As valued as any other human being out there.  Now that we had that, now that we had the legal protection we’d been so long denied, there was no better way I could think to celebrate than with a proposal.

I’d been planning it for a long time.  Because I knew that Jack would never ask.  And while I would have taken the news at any time, that it was the end of June was perfect.  Because that was when we had met, seven years ago.  I’d been up on a ladder, picking pine cones off the trees.  Jack had wandered down the row to check on our progress.   I’d taken one look at him and I had known he would be mine for the rest of my life.  We’d had our bumps, and a necessary separation, but now we were stronger than ever.

I couldn’t wait anymore.  I grabbed the jewelers box from the back of my sock drawer, and headed out the door.

I found Jack among the Scotch pines.  At least a dozen workers were picking pine cones from the trees, and I ran up the row just as Jack was climbing down from a ladder.  He saw me, and his face lit up for just a second before a scowl and concern replaced it.

“Ryan?” Jack’s voice was full of worry.  “Baby, what’s wrong?”

I shook my head, trying desperately to catch my breath.  It took just a minute or two, and then I beamed up at my beautiful man.  “Did you hear?  The Supreme court ruled for equal protection and a fundamental right for all people to marry.  Everywhere and in every state.”

Jack’s smile was soft, and his gaze was fixed solely on me.  I could see a hint of disbelief there, but mostly relief.  He reached out for my hand, and squeezed it tight, not being able to say a word.  He didn’t have to.

I dropped to one knee, and held up the box with the hand he wasn’t holding.  It only took a flick of my finger for the lid to spring open and show off the two gold rings inside.  Jack’s breath caught.

“I love you.  Always have.  Always will.  Even when we were apart, my heart beat for you.  I never want to be parted from you again.  Marry me.”

There was a long beat of silence, and then Jack simply said, “Yes.”

It was all I needed to hear.

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**Oh Ben and Zack, how I love thee.  This week brings our story to a close, and Ben is taking over the narration again.  I’m not saying we’ll never see Ben and Zack again, because you never know where they will pop up, but their coda is complete with this week’s challenge of a moving mishap, questioning commitment and serenity.  Enjoy!**

He was so quiet it was starting to become unnerving.  And the less he spoke, the more nervous and quiet I got in return.  We’d been home—well, back in New York at any rate—for one day, the moving van had arrived with my things, and as we unpacked the boxes and crates, Zack had all but ceased speaking.

I had to wonder if he thought he made the wrong decision.  Now that I’d invaded his home, he may have changed his mind.  He possibly discovered that he wasn’t as committed to this as I was, and he didn’t want to be with me forever.  While I wished he’d figured it out before I moved all the way across the country to be with him, I couldn’t really fault him.  Sometimes, it took something that big to open one’s eyes.  I didn’t doubt Zack’s love for me, I just thought that he felt we were moving too fast.

I’d have to live with Josie until I found a place of my own.  Or went back to California.

“Ben, I need to talk to you.”  Zack’s voice was soft, contrite, and full of worry.  Here it was.  He was going to tell me he’d made a mistake and that we would have to part ways and slow down.

“All right then,” I responded slowly, shoring myself up.

Zack took a deep breath, and then he took my hand, pulling until I followed him upstairs and into his spare bedroom turned office.  The movers had shoved my desk up against the far wall.  Zack’s hand trembled as he reached out and opened the box set on top, and then, with another deep breath, tilted it so I could see the contents.  Inside was the antique hot chocolate pot that had belonged to my father’s grandmother, the one she’d protected on the journey across the ocean.  It now lay in three pieces.

“I’m so sorry,” Zack whispered, and I heard the anguish in his voice.  “I swear I packed it carefully, did everything I could to ensure that it would be safe.  But it wasn’t enough, and I found it hours ago and I didn’t know how to tell you and—”

“Zack,” I said, cutting him off and pulling him into my arms.  We were basically the same height, I only had maybe an inch on him, and I loved that I could look right into his deep blue eyes.  “Is that what’s had you so upset?”

He blinked.  “Well, yeah.  It was a family heirloom and it got busted in the move.  The move you made for me.”

I kissed him, quick and hard, my relief making me giddy.  Later, I would tell him what I’d thought, and I knew he’d get indignant that I’d questioned his commitment to me.  But for now, I was so relieved that his behavior had been over a piece of broken porcelain that I couldn’t help but pour that into the kiss.  Zack responded in kind, and it was only when he needed to breathe that he pulled back.  He lifted his hands from where they were clutching my waist so that he could cup my face and tilt my head until he could look right into my eyes.

“You aren’t mad?” he asked like he couldn’t quite believe it.

“I’m not mad,” I responded honestly.  “I’ll glue it back together and set it in the cabinet.  It’s not like it was ever used, and it has more sentimental value then monetary.  It’s fine, I promise.”

“Oh thank fuck,” Zack breathed.  Then he gave me a wicked grin.  He pushed his body a little bit closer, his hands and hips working in conjunction to position me the way he wanted me, which was trapped between him and the desk.  “We’ve worked long and hard today.  I’d say it’s time for a shower, to wash off all the sweat and grime.  And we should probably call it an early night.”

I shivered at his commanding tone, and nodded eagerly, happy to follow behind when he tugged me out of the room.


Later that night, Zack was snoring softly beside me.  Even in sleep, he refused to let me get far.  Every time I moved, he moved to match my new position.  I didn’t mind one bit.  Sated and pleasantly sore, I snuggled closer into his embrace.  This was what it was all about.  The deep seeded contentment, and peace I felt in his arms.  Our beginning was not the easiest, and I was certain we’d have arguments and disagreements in the future.  I didn’t expect smooth sailing, and that was just fine.  Nothing worth having was ever easy, and working at a relationship had never scared me.  Just being with him settled something inside me, and it had been like that from the first.  We would have to put in the work to keep things good between us, but we had a solid foundation.

I sighed happily, and pushed even closer, loving that Zack immediately pulled me in tighter.  As I fit my body to his, a sense of true serenity washed through me.  I savored it, knowing it was the kind of thing that didn’t happen often.  It might have taken me decades to find it, but now that I had it, I was never letting it, or Zack, go.


Story Time

So here’s a story about how I was surfing around publishers websites months ago and looking at submission calls.  It’s something I do.  Because I really like writing to sub calls.  In fact, everything I’ve ever published has been a direct result of a sub call inspiring an idea.  (I need direction, just ask the Admiral).  So I saw this sub call and immediately my brain starting writing the character of Aaron Zeller.  I knew who he was and what his story was, and a quick discussion with the Admiral cemented who his love interest was.  And when I had those two pieces, the story just happened.  I wrote it over a couple of months, and before I was even that far into it, the Admiral planted the idea for a series.  And once that was in my head, there was no stopping it.  It went from one standalone book, to a series of at least five stories.  And  Something Like Hope, the first one, will be released on Sunday, June 28th.  That’s, you know, six days from now.

There’ll be links and stuff once they become available, but until then, the unofficial blurb:

Television actor Aaron Zeller is thrilled when the character he plays on a popular primetime crime drama begins a gay relationship with onemed_SomethingLikeHope of the main characters on the show. While the cast and crew are mostly supportive, lead actor, Lucas Logan, is not. Aaron feels nothing but inexplicable coldness from the man.

Lucas admits his attraction for Aaron, but he is reluctant to act on his desires because of the potential detriment to his career should his sexuality become public. What they have between them could be sizzling hot, but is it worth the risks?

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**What to say about this week’s fic?  What the Admiral demands, is what you get.  So more Ben and Zack, as they navigate their relationship.  And also, NSFW.  Enjoy!**

Ben had joined the ranks at Marley, Leonard and Smith seventeen years ago, and had been a junior partner for the last five.  So I wasn’t surprised the firm was throwing my boyfriend a farewell party.  I just hadn’t expected it to be so lavish.  Gourmet food and an open bar combined with tailored suits and cocktail dresses had me feeling completely out of place.  The last time I’d dressed up was when I had to chaperone the senior ball last spring.  I was so far outside of my element, it was all I could do to keep from constantly fidgeting.

But despite the pretentious atmosphere of the restaurant, Ben’s colleagues were pleasant and cheerful.  I got the feeling that they would genuinely miss him, but that they were glad for him at the same time.  I appreciated how much they cared for Ben, and I liked them all.

Well, all except that bitch Clarissa Deveraux.  She was staring at my man like she wanted to unhinge her jaw and swallow him whole.  And then take his office.  I kept an eye on her, just in case.

The party, though lively, wasn’t anywhere close to what could be described as raucous.  It was pleasant, and fun.  But I was more than ready to go home.  I didn’t know any of these people, and though I’d been visiting for five weeks, I’d only been to Ben’s office a handful of times.  I’d met his secretary, Riley, and one of the file clerks, whose name escaped me but that was it.  But I tried to keep my weariness inside.  This was about Ben, who was changing his life for me, and I would not begrudge him his need to reminisce and celebrate with his colleagues.

Two hours later, things finally would down.  As the guest of honor, Ben was among the last to leave.  He was smiling uncontrollably, and his cheeks were bright red.  He let out a contented sigh and leaned heavily against me.  I had to smile.

“My baby is a little bit drunk, huh?” I said softly, guiding him toward the car.  I suspected I’d be the one driving home when he’d returned from the bar with his second glass of wine.  Glass number three confirmed it, and the fourth was just a bonus.

“Not drunk,” he said with a warm, delicious sounding laugh.  “Just tipsy.”

I was sure he was right and glad to hear it.  I pointed the car toward home, and had to concentrate on navigating LA traffic.  The restaurant wasn’t terribly far from Ben’s condo, but everything in LA was a drive and it took us nearly forty-five minutes to get home again.  When Ben didn’t pass out during the drive, I knew he wasn’t lying when he said he wasn’t drunk.

Ten or so minutes from home, he put his hand on my knee, then slowly slid it higher up.  His fingers curled around my thigh, and then devilishly brushed toward my groin.  I sucked in a breath and adjusted my position in the seat, spreading my legs just a bit more.

Ben’s laugh was wicked.

“You know I love you.”  It wasn’t a question.  Ben’s statement was soft but firm, and I spared him a glance to see his brown eyes just glowing.  The man looked hungry

“I should hope so,” I responded even as I tilted my hips to better feel his fingers.  “You’re moving across the country to be with me.”

“Yes.  I am.”  Ben breathed the words like a vow, even as his tone was filled with heat and want.

I barely bit back a groan, and I grabbed his hand and placed it firmly on my dick, curling his fingers around the bulge.  As always, Ben took direction exceedingly well, and he squeezed with exactly the right pressure.  I almost missed the turn onto his street, but I made it just in time.  I literally sped to his driveway, whipping his sedan into its spot with little finesse. I threw the car into park, and then twisted so I could grab his head and bring his lips to mine.

I devoured him.

When I finally pulled back it was only so I could breathe.  Ben’s lips were swollen and red, his entire face flushed with arousal.  I wanted him, right then and there.  But I had enough decorum not to fuck my boyfriend in his car.  Instead, I pulled back farther, unlatched both our seatbelts, and pointed toward the house.

“Get inside,” I commanded, my voice low.  “Now.”

Ben moved quickly. He was always eager, and he loved it when I took charge.  That worked well for us because I loved being in command. I was only seconds behind him and I caught him just as he crossed over the threshold.  I barely took the time to shut the door behind me before I was pressing his body against the entryway wall.

With one hand, I pushed his chin up so I could bite and suck on his neck; with the other, I unhooked and unzipped his pants.  They fell to his knees the instant I had them open, and I felt his cock straining at the fabric of his underwear, wanting to be free.  I would let it out in just a minute.

“Get out of those pants,” I growled, stepping back just far enough to open my own pants and shove them and my boxers down to my thighs.  I kept my gaze fixed on Ben as he struggled to kick out of his shoes.  As soon as he got one leg free, I trapped him again, yanking is underwear down.  Finally, I had it over his socked foot, the rest still hanging off his other leg.  I didn’t care.  I pressed in with my hips, and reached down to grab the back of his thighs.

Ben understood what I wanted immediately, and he wrapped his legs around my waist.  I braced my feet and slid my hand up the back of his thigh and to his ass.

“You still loose?” I asked softly, right in his ear.  He shuddered when I licked the lobe, and arched into me when I bit down.  At the same time, I worked a finger into his ass.  He was still slick, and though not stretched, his muscles gave easily under my touch. “It’s only been a few hours.  Want me back in here?  Want me to fuck you hard up against his wall, baby?”

“Yessss,” he hissed out, rolling his hips so his cock left a wet smear on my shirt.

It was ridiculous.  We were grown men, nearly fully dressed, and unable to control ourselves, ready to fuck in the hallway.  I might have cared if I didn’t want him so damn bad.  If I didn’t know he wanted me just as fiercely.  With a little maneuvering, I was bracing Ben’s weight and had enough leverage to thrust up.  Only when I was ready, did I make sure I had his full attention.

Ben’s eyes burned bright with lust, and I kept my gaze fixed on his ensuring he couldn’t look away as I slid inside his body.  It had only been three days since we dispensed with the condoms, and the feeling of going bare was still new and novel enough to make my eyes roll back.

I set a hard and fast rhythm, knowing it was what we both wanted. What we craved.  Ben’s grip on my shoulders was tight, and I saw the strain in his shoulders as he tried to find leverage enough to meet my thrusts.  Neither one of us wanted to last that long though, so I pounded hard, angling my thrusts until I hit his spot and made him howl.  The relentless pressure inside him made him go over the edge, his entire body tensing as he came.

He pulled me over with him, and I thrust hard into his ass, pushing him into the wall, as I came hard and long.

By the time we finally untangled, Ben could barely stand.  The combination of two orgasms in six hours, four glasses of wine, and a belly full of good food had him lethargic and sleepy.  I loved that look on his face, and the way he leaned against me, trusting me to hold him up.

I loved him too much to ever let him fall.


Something Like Plots

The Admiral and I were talking the other night (as we often do) and the conversation turned toward my writing (as it often does). I had to remind him of something I plan for the future, which I don’t expect him to remember, and it devolved into this whole other thing where he wanted titles, plots, and characters for the upcoming books. 

So I gave it to him. 

See, in my head I knew the titles and could recite a plot summary paragraph. And I already have the book I’m working on and the next book roughly plotted. But the two after that were just nebulous plot summaries in my head. 

Yes. 2. Caught that, did you?  

The Something Like series has grown. Right now, it stands at 5 stories. And I intend for them all to make it to the page. Eventually. 

Could there be more?  Maybe. We shall see. Right now I’m working on Something Like Trust and I need to take things one step at a time. But knowing what comes next? That helps me get what I’m writing now right. So I’m glad to have my plot summary sheet to guide me. 


Bubble Vacuum

Sometimes, I wish I existed in a vacuum.  Or maybe a bubble.  Perhaps a vacuum-sealed bubble?  Mostly what I’m referring to here is to just be…isolated from the real world.  Because that real world has a really bad habit of intruding on my life.  Of getting in the way.

And I let it.

So life has been happening for the last couple of weeks, and I was caught up in it.  And even when I wasn’t, I was letting things slide.  There is much drama at the day job, and that’s been trickling over into the rest of my consciousness.  So I keep saying I need to relax and decompress.  Which is true in a lot of ways.  But even when it wasn’t, I was still saying it and letting it get in the way.

So, as you can imagine, I haven’t written much.  Hardly anything at all since my big awesome sequester.  I let it slide.  I used excuses.  I was stuck and I knew it, lost a little enthusiasm and drive.  I love these guys, but my confidence was shaky.  And I let real life sneak in and take over for a while.

I got called on it.  And that’s what I needed.  Because in a couple of hours this past weekend, I managed to make a fair bit of progress and get a bunch of words on the page.

This upcoming weekend, my sister and I are having another one of our Sistertime Weekends away.  And that’s going to be awesome and all the decompressing I need.  I have stuff I need to get done this week in preparation of that and I’m scheduling in some time with the words as well.

Something Like Hope releases in about two weeks.  And since I’m working on the sequel, Something Like Trust, and since I don’t want you to have to wait too long before you can read it, I’m determined to get it done.  I have a date goal in mind, and I fully intend to have a completed first draft by then.

Real life be damned.

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**Ready to see what’s going on in Ben and Zack’s life since we left them last?  Good!  I’m so glad to hear it.  Because I’m telling you, the Admiral has outdone himself with the challenges, and I only hope I can do them justice.  Enjoy!**

“My parent’s never let me have a dog.”

“What’s that now?”

I grinned, knowing I shouldn’t have just shouted that out from two rooms away.  I stood and traipsed off to find Ben.  He was in his office, sitting it his rolling chair and contemplating the bookshelf with a seriousness that was surprising.  I leaned a shoulder against the doorjamb and smiled.

“What’re you doing?”

“Deciding what to pack and what to get rid of.  I’m only going to take the ones that will be of help to me.” Ben let out a small sigh, and the swiveled to smile me.  “What was it you were saying?”

I walked farther into the room and then parked my ass on the edge of his desk.  It was a beautiful piece of furniture.  Big, heavy, made from cherry and stained a deep, rich color.  I had a feeling I’d have to insist on Ben bringing it along.  But I had no idea where we would put it.  Truth was, I had no idea where we were going to fit most of his stuff.  My duplex wasn’t that big, and while I was happy to get rid of just about anything I needed to in order to make room for Ben’s things, I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy.  We would probably have to get a bigger house.  Anxiety started to bubble in my gut.  I’d lived there for five years, right next door to my sister, having moved from her place when the adjoining home became vacant.  I couldn’t imagine not being so close to her.  We had our own space, our privacy, but she was literally seconds away if either one of us needed anything and—

“Zack?” Ben cocked his head to the side.  He looked at me with concern, and then slid a little closer so he could put his hands on my hips.

I forced a smile.  “My parents never let me have a dog,” I repeated, faking a lightness in my tone.  “I never got one after I lived on my own because it didn’t seem like the right time.  I thought maybe we could get one, when we got back home.”  I swallowed hard.

Ben rolled even closer, and wrapped his arms around my waist.  I spread my knees so he could fit between them.  “I guess we could.  Something small and not too yappy maybe?  Or a cat would be better.  I didn’t have pets growing up.  Mother thought they were too messy.”

Oh hell, his mother.  His father had passed years before, and I had lost my own parents, but Ben’s mother was still alive.  Not that he had much to do with her.  The occasional phone call just to check in, but nothing more.  She had problems with his chosen profession, his sexual orientation, and where he’d bought his home.  Ben always tried to sound like it wasn’t that big a deal when he spoke of her, but I thought she was a judgmental bitch. I hadn’t met her, and I didn’t know if I would.  And despite the fact that Ben didn’t get along with his mother, I couldn’t help but suddenly worry that he would regret moving so far away from her.  She was his mother after all, and in her seventies.   Surely that was enough to make Ben rethink moving to the other side of the country.

I wanted him with me, and I agreed that it made sense for him to come to New York, but suddenly I couldn’t see how it would work.  It was too big and too much to change.  There was no way he could be happy, not in my tiny little duplex on the opposite side of the country where it snowed.  Hell, he wanted a cat, not a dog, and as much as I loved him there just couldn’t be—

Soft kisses to the bare skin of my belly distracted me, and I looked down into Ben’s warm brown eyes.  Then he took a deep breath, and blew a raspberry on my skin.  I laughed and shied away, unable to help the ingrained reaction.  Ben’s laugh was rich, and he grabbed my hips tightly to keep me from moving.

“Stop thinking,” he said softly but firmly, tugging me down onto his lap.  I was too big to fit, but a few minutes wouldn’t be a problem.

“Ben,” I said quietly, reaching up and pushing my fingers into his thick hair.  “Are you sure you want to give up your life here for me?”

His face turned serious, and I knew by the way he looked at me that he wanted my full attention.  I gave it to him, and his smile was warm and reassuring.

“I’m not giving anything up,” he said, his tone full of conviction.  “I’m readjusting.  There’s a marked difference.  Yes?”

I nodded face, and Ben’s smile grew.  He pulled me in, and hugged me tightly.

“I love you,” he whispered against my ear.

“I love you back,” I said in the same tone.  And then pulled back far enough to glare.  “But I’m not getting a cat.”

Ben threw his head back and laughed.  “Once we get settled, we’ll revisit the dog discussion then.”

I nodded, and grinned.  I would win.  I wasn’t above resorting to using sex to my advantage if I needed to. In fact, there was no reason we couldn’t indulge a little right now.  I stood and took his hand, pulling him up and tugging.  I loved him and he loved me. Everything else could wait.

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**Oh, you guys.  On Monday, my newest novella released, and I love these guys so much.  But you know what that means.  Fridays in June, following along on the continuing saga of Ben and Zack.  The Admiral came up with some great challenges, starting with this one.  A drive, a date, and a dance–this time from Zack’s POV. Enjoy!**

The thing I really couldn’t get over was the lack of humidity.

I was well aware that it made me strange but I’d been here for five days, and I still couldn’t believe the air wasn’t an oppressive wall of heat.  Back home, eighty-five degree days would have me begging for mercy, the air so thick with moisture it was hard to breathe.  But not in California.  It was dry here, despite the ocean being so close, and I just couldn’t get over the difference.  Ben stopped teasing me about my wide eyed wonder on the second day.  Now I just got indulgent smiles.

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear, and the AC had already kicked on.  It didn’t make a difference to me.  I was snug and cozy in Ben’s bed, with Ben wrapped tightly around me.  Every morning I woke like this I felt luckier than the last.  A week ago, I still wasn’t sure that I could have this.  I knew now we’d be spending our lives together.  But that didn’t diminish the wonder I felt at being in his arms.

If I were honest, I hoped it took decades before that feeling faded.

I could tell the moment that Ben started to wake up, because his body went from that heavy, relaxed state to tense for just a moment before he stretched.  I remained still, knowing he still wasn’t used to having someone else in his bed.  After a moment, he pressed his nose into the back of my head, inhaled deeply, and then kissed my neck.  I smiled and slowly rolled over to face him.

“Let’s get up and go for a drive.” He didn’t even bother with a good morning or a kiss.  His eyes were alight with excitement, and I wouldn’t be the one to dampen it.  I would do whatever he wanted.  He was the one packing up his life and moving across the country for me.

I kissed him first, deep and hard, before I gently slid out of bed.  “Sure.  Drive to where?” I asked as I headed for the bathroom.  Suddenly my bladder was making itself known.

Ben just grinned and waggled his eyebrows.  A secret then.  I chuckled and shut the door, crossing the cold tiled floor to the toilet.  If he wanted it to be a surprise, that was fine.  I trusted him and I knew he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me.  As I bent to lift the lid, I shouted out, “Fine!  But make me coffee.”

Ben’s laughter was a beautiful sound.


We ended up driving for more than an hour on the Pacific Coast Highway.  I craned my neck, trying to take it all in.  This was the famed PCH, highway number 1, right along the coast.  The tourist in me was desperate to see it all.

“It’ll be better on the way back. The ocean will be on your side.”  Ben gave me a grin, and squeezed my knee.  I captured his hand and brought his fingers to my lips.  I loved this man and I wanted him to know it.  I never wanted him to doubt his decision.  And I was a bit afraid, that with a view like this, he would change his mind.

Eventually, we reached our destination.  Malibu was gorgeous and when we parked the car, Ben was quick to come around to open my door.  He took my hand and pulled me in close, his extra inch or two of height making it so that I had to crane my head back, just a little.  One of his hands came up to cup my jaw, his thumb brushing my bottom lip.

“Here’s to a date you’ll always remember.”  His voice was soft and sultry, and I had to swallow hard.  He had to know that I’d never be able to forget this.

We walked on the beach.  We ate at a sweet little restaurant that had the best seafood I’d ever tasted.  Ben had the scallops and angel hair pasta, which he let me taste.  I had beer-battered halibut that was to die for. We walked on the pier and stopped in the souvenir shops.  It was a fantastic day, and when we made our way back to his car, I was feeling relaxed, happy, and joyful.

I was transfixed to my window on the way back, staring in awe at the ocean.  It wasn’t the first time I’d ever seen such a vast amount of water, but this coast seemed even more beautiful and majestic than mine.  Again, I was worried that Ben wouldn’t want to leave all this behind.  New York had its own beauty, things that I was overly fond of, but I had been raised in it.  Hell, I even loved the snow.  But New York was so vastly different from California, I was worried Ben would regret his decision.

I was so absorbed in the ocean and my thoughts that I didn’t almost didn’t notice when Ben pulled off the PCH and into a scenic lookout.  There were no other cars in the gravel space, but it afforded a gorgeous view of the sun setting over the ocean.  I scrambled out of the car without even sparing Ben a glance.  I needed to see this up close and personal.  The steep edge was protected by large boulders, and I walked right up to them before I stopped.

A moment later, Ben was behind me, wrapping me up in his arms and pulling me back against his chest.  We were quiet for a long time, soaking in the peace and the crashing waves, and the bird calls.

“Are you going to miss it here?” I finally got the courage to whisper.

Ben squeezed me tightly.  “Of course I will,” he said easily, and my heart sank.  But he kept talking.  “We’ll have to come back and visit at least once a year, don’t you think?”

Just like that, everything seemed lighter.  Ben was the master at compromise, and I couldn’t be luckier because he loved me and wanted to make a life with me.  I laughed as I turned in his arms, pulling him in close, and starting to sway.  Looking up into his deep brown eyes, I hummed a tune as I moved our bodies.  Ben matched my movements immediately, joining in the dance without qualm.

I was the luckiest man on earth, because Ben Winters loved me.