Read an Excerpt
'Highland Gaymes' by Carol Lynne
Shaw Fitzgerald was roused from sleep by his eldest brother, Brannon. “Five more minutes.”
“Take all the time you want. I just thought you’d like to know the games are about to begin.”
Shaw sat straight up and brushed the wayward curls from his face. “We’re in Riverside already?”
Brannon laughed, his deep voice vibrating Shaw’s chest. “We’ve been in Missouri since about two this morning, been parked since about four-thirty.”
Shaw swung his legs over the side of the bunk and jumped down. Someday, he wanted to sleep in a real bed, but for as long as he could remember his family had lived and worked out of one recreational vehicle after another.
“Anyone in the shower?”
“Nope. Ronan’s getting some much deserved sleep and Lachlann and Niall left about thirty minutes ago in search of a grocery store.
Before disappearing into the miniscule bathroom, Shaw turned back to his brother. “Thanks for waking me.”
Brannon waved him off. “I know how much you enjoy watching the competitions, though I guess I’ll never understand it. You’d think after seeing them all your life they’d start to get old.”
Shaw shut the bathroom door. He couldn’t tell Brannon or any of his brothers the real reason he’d become obsessed with watching the men compete. When he’d first realised he was gay, Shaw enjoyed ogling all the men, but recently, he’d set his sights on one in particular. Probably the straightest of the straight, Curt Macaula was the object of Shaw’s nightly fantasies.
He took his morning erection in hand and squeezed. As images of Curt’s six-foot-three-inch frame came to mind, Shaw stroked his cock. He’d always wondered what it would feel like to run his hands over the smooth, shaved skin of Curt’s head.
Just like every morning, it didn’t take long for his seed to rush from the end of his cock to the drain below. He gave himself a quick rinse and turned off the faucet. Stepping out of the shower was a bit like straddling the stool, but it was commonplace for Shaw.
He wrapped a towel around his waist and walked into the one and only bedroom, and over to the sink. Shaw studied his chin in the mirror. At the age of twenty-one, he still only had a handful of whiskers, he’d be better off plucking them he knew, but he shaved daily nonetheless.
Keeping quiet so as not to wake his sleeping brother, he made his way back into the main room of the RV, hoping he had a clean summer-weight kilt to put on. Instead of the Fitzgerald blue he wore when playing in the band with his brothers, Shaw found his favourite black and tossed it on his bunk along with a black T-shirt.
He glanced out of the window to the thermometer mounted on the side of the RV and whistled. It wasn’t even nine o’clock and already the temperature sat at eighty-eight degrees. Instead of pulling out his black shorts and black knee socks, Shaw opted for a black jockstrap and flip flops.
'Good Cop, Bad Cop' by Jenna Byrnes & Jude Mason
Thursday evening and the Rocky Rode, the only gay bar on the west side of town, was next to empty, which suited Kevin Sands just fine. Standing behind the long wooden bar, he polished the beer glass deliberately before sliding it alongside the dozens of others lining the shelves on the rear wall. Two dudes sat near the front of the large, dimly lit room, another four lounged by the fireplace, talking quietly while downing yet one more round of brews.
Kevin sighed and looked at the clock over the mantel. It’d been a long day and he’d hoped for a little excitement by then. Another glass in hand, the cloth tucked inside, he twisted it, wiping the few drops of water.
A noise coming from the large oak doors dragged his attention that way.
“Yowsahs,” he murmured, eyeing the tall hunk of dark-haired muscle and bone walking towards him. The man wore a pair of engineer’s boots, snug but well-worn blue jeans and a plaid shirt that drew tight across his wide chest and arms. The rugged looking man’s forearms showed bronze where he’d rolled up his sleeves, and a small tuft of hair poked from the deep V at the front of the shirt. A leather vest finished off the outfit.
The new customer slid onto one of the bar stools and propped his elbows on the well-polished bar. He seemed flushed. It could have been from the last of the summer’s heat outside, but Kevin didn’t think so, not from the hungry look he saw in the man’s deep brown eyes.
'Elliot's War' by Kim Dare
Elliot Channing took a deep breath and tried not to panic. It wasn’t easy, especially when certain very specific, and very pertinent, facts were taken into account. They’d only travelled three hundred yards through the wood, and he’d already found four separate tree roots to fall over. The rope around his wrists was starting to chafe. His Roman sandals were giving him blisters. And his captors were all painted blue.
Being gagged, tied up, and led through the forest by a dozen men was bad enough, but it was the blue streaks and swirls that covered the other men’s skin that were really starting to freak him out. And even the woad wasn’t the worse of it.
Elliot wasn’t going to think about the worst fact surrounding his current predicament. The ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away theory hadn’t done him a damn bit of good so far, but he hadn’t quite given up hope that it might yield fantastic results any second.
The guy holding the other end of the length of rope knotted around his wrists tugged at it. Elliot sped up and promptly stumbled over yet another bloody tree root—didn’t any of the damn things grow underground in Wales?
One of the other students who made up the party of Celtic warriors looked across at him and laughed. Ha, bloody, ha ha! Elliot was pretty sure the guy with the screwed up sense of humour was the same man who’d rugby tackled him right into a muddy ditch in the first place. He was never going to get the stains out of his toga.
Something moved in the forest to Elliot’s right. None of the Celts appeared to notice. Elliot tried to be subtle as he stole another glance at the patch of trees. Somebody had been standing there a moment before, Elliot would bet his life on it, but there was no sign of him now.
That was good, Elliot decided. Whoever was there was being covert. He was pretty sure that’s what people were supposed to do when they were rescuing prisoners from enemy soldiers. Someone was coming to save him, and if they hurried up, they might actually have time to do that before everything got very, very complicated. There were some things Elliot really wasn’t ready to explain to his captors.
'Crossed Hearts' by Lisabet Sarai
Fresh meat. Jason Hofstadter grinned as he took a deep breath of the sweat and testosterone scented air. Men of all shapes and ages milled around the carpeted receiving area outside the ballroom, waiting for the registration desk to open. There were grizzled codgers in denim overalls and wire-rimmed glasses; toned young executives, dressed down but instantly recognisable by their leather-covered attachés—middle-aged dads with baseball caps and hairy chests—and dozens of succulent college boys, nervous and eager, in rock-band T-shirts and shorts that showed off their tanned thighs and calves. A few women wandered through the crowd as well, but as usual the participants in the annual Four States Scrabble Championship were overwhelmingly male.
That suited Jason just fine. He’d been competing since he was a senior at Nebraska U, and had placed in every tournament except his first. And every single year, even that first time, he’d managed to hook up with one of the other contestants for a bit of extra-competition stress relief.
He remembered the first guy, a thirty-something lawyer from Kansas City. Mike. Jason never did get the last name, even after two days of sucking the guy dry and wallowing in his cum. But he could still summon Mike’s smell, high-end cologne mixed with perspiration and butt funk. Mike had coffee-coloured curls scattered over his muscled chest, a short, fat cock that felt like heaven stretching Jason’s hole, and pale buttocks that held the livid imprints of gripping fingers long after Jason had emptied himself into the other man’s ass. Jason never saw him again, but he silently thanked Mike for establishing a tradition. Now Jason came to the Four States Annual for two reasons—to play Scrabble and to get laid.
The hotel air-conditioning was no match for August in Omaha, especially with this many people crammed into the low-ceilinged space. The armpits of his Abercrombie & Fitch polo were soaked. A guy his father’s age mopped his bald pate with a bandana. A teenaged hunk unbuttoned his shirt almost to the navel and fanned himself with his registration form. Yum. Jason didn’t really mind the heat. It helped diffuse the pheromones.
'Rough Riders' by Devon Rhodes
“What?” Luke shouted incredulously, grabbing Mario by the upper arms with no little force. Mario calmly withstood the rough handling as if he’d been expecting it. And he probably had. Because even though Mario had a passionate, volatile temperament, the whole scene so far seemed carefully planned and staged. Which meant that the usually impulsive Mario had been thinking about this for a long time.
Luke let him go, sighing in frustration. His older companion had chosen the absolute best place to avoid a confrontation, the team sports locker room at The Valley Rec Centre, the huge community sports complex where they both were members. And they were surrounded by dozens of their peers, none of whom knew Luke Briscoe and Mario Santos had a relationship that went well beyond workout partners and teammates.
“How can you do this here?” he hissed under his breath. Shock and fear of discovery roiled in his gut as he tried to regain his composure, then another thought popped into his head. “Wait a minute. What about the team?”
“Sorry, chulo.” Mario gave an elegant shrug. “I think it is best that we have a clean break.”
“Mario, we need to talk about this,” Luke whispered urgently. “You can’t just walk away from the team like this. We’re defending our title this year. Football season starts in a week!”
Mario smiled sadly. “Ah, yes. The team first, sì? This is why it must be this way.”
“No, not the team first. But the team is all I’m going to discuss in the fucking locker room.” Luke couldn’t believe this was happening while he was half-dressed. He turned back to his bag to grab his jock, then hesitated, reluctant to strip in front of his apparently now former lover.
“Go ahead, Luke.” Mario actually sounded amused. Asshole. “I won’t look.” He winked and sat on the bench, facing pointedly away from Luke. It was only then he noticed Mario hadn’t brought his own gym bag into the locker room. Realising Mario was dead serious about this, he silently collapsed to the bench next to the other man.
'Contact Point' by Gwendolyn Cease
Bright lightning lit the sky as thunder rolled and thrummed, signalling the approach of a storm. Jesse Chandler glanced up at the darkening clouds and picked up his pace. He didn’t want to add wet to his already shit day. He’d started out the morning by hitching a ride with a trucker. He’d done it before and had no problem. Today, though, there’d been something about the guy that raised his hackles. At a rest stop, Jesse had slipped away and started to walk. At the time, it’d been a good idea, or at least he’d thought so. Now, walking in the middle of nowhere, it didn’t feel good anymore. Finally, spying lights, he’d changed directions, hoping to find someplace he could hang out until the rain passed. He shifted his backpack higher as the first drop of moisture hit his nose. What started as a small trot became an all-out jog as he approached the place he’d seen from the highway. Truly, he didn’t care what it turned out to be. As long as he got safely out of the storm, anywhere was fine with him.
He ran, head down, past cars and motorcycles until he hit the front door. It flew open with a bang and he shook the moisture from his eyes and hair to find most of the people in the place staring at him. It was a bar, and judging from the amount of leather and tattoos, it was a biker bar. Fuck, he was dead. Turning, he closed the door and walked, head down, to the bar ignoring the looks from the patrons. Yeah, he knew he didn’t belong, but it was raining, and he was damned if he went back out just because he didn’t fit in. If he left every time he didn’t fit in someplace, he’d have died of pneumonia a long time ago. Jesse had never fit in anywhere.
He stepped up to sit on a stool and dug in his backpack for the few crumbled dollars he’d allow himself to spend. A cup of steaming hot coffee appeared on the bar and Jesse turned to find the scariest man he’d ever seen standing in front of him. The man was probably six-four, with broad shoulders and huge muscled arms, and there wasn’t an ounce of fat on him. He had short, thick, shaggy brown hair and tattoos. What caught and held Jesse’s gaze was the man’s face. It was a true work of art with high-carved cheekbones, an impressive aquiline nose, and full lips. When Jesse finally met his eyes, they were a cold grey and stared at him from under dark brows drawn together in a frown.