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Four Tales of M/M Romance

Four pairs of lovers get their Happily Ever After.

THE DAY OF THE CLIFFORDS

Can a teenage crush ever develop into the ‘real thing’? When the teenage Clifford brothers, Jerry and Matt, spend their summer holidays next door, fellow teen, Sam Dempsey, develops a romantic crush on Jerry, although the guilty secret they share will eventually tear their friendship apart. When Sam and the Cliffords meet up again ten years later, can anything be salvaged?

CHRISTMAS IN JULY

Kauko Sallinen has fled his native Finland for the warmer climes of Australia, where he hopes to find himself a bronzed Aussie to complete the picture. But he slips during a bush walk, injuring his foot and confining his movements. But things aren’t all bad when the doctor who calls to attend his injury is exactly what Kauko ordered, except the doc has a secret that could bring their budding relationship to its knees.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE CUDDLY

Sheriff Haskell keeps the itinerant cowboys and the girls of Miss Kitty’s cathouse away from the god-fearing families of Headstone, but the fragile peace is threatened with the arrival of a handsome, young Italian by the name of Benedetto, who the cowboys take to calling Bernadette.

HE WON’T SEND ROSES

Christopher runs a florist shop on the dangerous side of town, so he knows he's about to die when a loud motorbike pulls up outside and a behemoth of man, heavily tattooed and muscled like a steroid freak, strides through the front door.


Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Excerpt from:

He Won’t Send Roses

Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any worse, the door to my florist shop opened and I knew I was going to die: stabbed, strangled, knifed, or shot. At that precise moment I wasn’t sure which method he’d use, I only knew I was taking the last few breaths of my short and miserable life.

Why, oh why, hadn’t I taken those self-protection courses the Gay Center ran on five consecutive Friday nights? Why? Because I’m too chicken shit, that’s why. I was afraid of being laughed at by the gay men who attended the courses. That’s what I told my friends when they encouraged me to be more pro-active. Pro-active? That sounded more like an ingredient you’d find in yoghurt to me. In private, I admitted to myself that the reason I wouldn’t go to classes was a fear of failure, but also a fear that I’d be so turned on by the instructors and the other macho men in attendance I’d be crippled with desire.

But even now, confronted with my own grisly demise, I wasn’t about to break out into a chorus of that Edith Piaf classic, “Je ne regrette rien” because, in fact, I regretted just about everything in my fucking life. If I was one of the Seven Dwarfs, my name  would be Timid.

Thirty years old and afraid of my own shadow. Qualified for nothing, although I’d taken my uncle’s florist shop, Petals to the Metal, from near bankruptcy to a thriving business. I don’t have a head for big business; my life comes in smaller portions. I don’t really have a body for small business either. Those long hours on your feet, fighting with pushy sales people, screaming about missing deliveries, trying to keep an eye on the shady shop assistants – mainly drunks and drug addicts – the sort of people who respected my uncle but who see me as an easy mark.

I knew he was trouble the moment he entered the shop. I was preparing the Valentine’s Day floral tributes, cursing that the delivery man or woman was running late, totally alone as it was still too early in the morning even for my caffeine regulars. I was too trusting; I should have locked the door, not that the glass panels in the entrance would keep out a determined thief – or killer.

The door had one of those old-fashioned bells that jangled to let me know when someone came in. Looking up I was confronted with my worst nightmare. A giant of a man, a bandana wrapped around his forehead, otherwise dressed only in tight leather pants and biker boots. He was pierced and inked. He was a formidable fucker and my knees buckled. He glanced around the shop as if to scope out the enemy. I stood up from where I had been sorting dozens of red roses as I consulted my order list, and backed up against the counter keeping my hands where he could see them.

He eyed me up and down, his lips curling in a smirk that said he knew I was no threat. My life may be a little on the dull and uneventful side, but there was no way I wanted to die for the miserable few bucks in the till at the hands of some junkie who just wanted enough for his next fix. Shit, to save my neck I was prepared to go to the nearest ATM and take out as much as he needed. “Just take the cash and go,” I squeaked in a voice so terrified it barely carried. “There’s not much but it’s all yours. Don’t hurt me, just take it and go.”

I’m not too proud to say I was on the verge of pissing in my pants. He just stared at me as if I were an alien with two heads, then threw back his head and laughed fit to burst. I failed to see the humor in my imminent disembowelment. The intruder laughed until he had tears in his eyes. I suppose I could have made a run for it but he was blocking an escape via the front door and although I could have locked myself in one of the back rooms and called the cops, this brute would have been able to break down the door in seconds flat. And the back door merely emptied into a yard bordered on three sides by the brickwork of adjoining houses and factories.

I regretted now that I hadn’t taken Adrian’s advice to buy myself a gun. There’s no way I could have fired a weapon but I could have used it, unloaded, as a threatening prop to, perhaps, escape unharmed. What I did have was a pair of secateurs for pruning the roses. I grabbed it off the counter, holding it in front of me, the curved blade pointed at the intruder. I backed away from the till. “Go on, take the money and go. Just leave me the fuck alone.”

The intruder appeared surprised although he didn’t take that superior smirk off his handsome face. Handsome? How had I managed to scrutinize his good looks while terrified I was about to die smothered in his powerful, muscular arms? OMG! I was getting turned on by my own murderer. I really am pathetic.

I was ready to surrender to my fate when he went and got my temper up. “For God’s sake, put those things down or you’ll end up cutting yourself.”

People tend to do foolish things when they’re mad. I began to inch toward him, thrusting the pruning shears aggressively ahead of me. He was so fast I didn’t even see him move. The end result was painful as he bent my arm behind my back, confiscating the dangerous weapon. He dropped it to the floor, kicking it behind the counter, then put his arm around my neck. I could smell his intoxicating, masculine odor; feel the warmth and power of his muscles against my neck. I relaxed into the death hug.

Make it quick, I prayed.

Instead of applying pressure, the guy let me go, taking a step back to just out of range of my fists. “I’m not here to rob you. Or hurt you. You must be Christopher.”

The penny dropped. The agency had sent him to do the deliveries. He was late, but I felt an absolute fool. “Shit. I’m so sorry. I took you for a thief. Please accept my apologies.” I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me.

“Apologies accepted. No harm done except to my ego. I’m pissed that you thought I was here to rob your store.” He gave a little boy sulk which made me laugh.

I looked him up and down carefully. “I’m sorry, though. You just won’t do. You’re much too scary to deliver flowers in this neighborhood.” He went to object. “Don’t worry. You won’t be out of pocket. I’ll see to that. I don’t know what the agency was thinking sending someone who looks like you.”

“What do you mean, looks like me?”

“You’re too…threatening. You’re too big.” I wanted to add, You’re much too good looking, the gay men around here will eat you alive. Or die trying.

“I’m a pussycat,” he said making an unsuccessful attempt to look coy.

“I’m sorry. I really am.” Besides, I’d find eye candy like him much too distracting. “If you’ll pardon me, I have to ring the agency and get someone else. I’m snowed under.”

He seemed more amused than dejected that I was rejecting him. I didn’t want to. He was my ideal man, but men who looked like him never gave me the time of day. They sneered at a wimp like me. Getting too close to their supernova of looks and masculinity would only result in getting burnt. But, oh, what a lovely way to burn.

“Okay, I can take a hint. Thanks, anyway.”

I don’t know what he was thanking me for. He made his way back to the front of the shop and I couldn’t take my eyes off the way the black leather clung to his chunky ass. My tongue poked out between my lips, eager to get down and worship him all over. He must have sensed my stare because, on the threshold, he turned and winked. “See ya.”



Print ISBN 978-1-909934-82-5 Cover price 12.99

eBook ISBN 978-1-909934-83-2 Cover Price: 7.99

Length: 276 pdf Pages / 61120 words

Gay, Romance, Drama

Heat rating: 4


Lambda Literary Award Finalist 2015