Archive for July, 2010
July 30, 2010
On the Edge with Rick R. Reed
I’m excited to have Rick R. Reed back with us, discussing his newest print release ON THE EDGE. This collection of strong stories is filled with an emotional depth a reader rarely experiences. It’s a rewarding read and one you won’t want to miss.
Now, a little from Rick;
This book is especially for you if you’re one of those people who just doesn’t cotton to the idea of an e-book and prefers the look, smell, and experience of a real print book. ON THE EDGE collects eight of my stories that were previously only available in electronic format before. Check out the descriptions of each story below (titles are hyperlinked so you can go to their original publisher page, where you can read excerpts, see reviews, and a more detailed synopsis).
ON THE EDGE
Rick R. Reed
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-779-3 (Paperback)
Amber Quill Press – Amber Allure
Amazon Buy Link
In Rick R. Reed’s haunting, mesmerizing, suspenseful, and romantic world, his gay male characters live on the edge, often literally as well as figuratively. In this new collection, you’ll take a wild ride with some of literature’s most unforgettable characters. Along the way, you’ll be moved—to tears, to laughter, to uneasiness, and sometimes, to arousal. As Bette Davis once said, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Previously available only in electronic format, these eight stories of Gay Erotica and Romance have now been combined for a paperback edition! Included are the tales…
SUPERSTAR A story about promises made, promises broken, and dreams unfulfilled. Yet ultimately, it’s about realizing that love can come along when one least expects it—and in the unlikeliest of places.
THROUGH THE CLOSET DOOR A tale that brings to painful life the consequences of coming out of the closet when you’re married. Gregory’s mask is slipping, pulled down by the allure of a handsome neighbor and the demands of a desire that only gets louder the more he tries to quiet it.
RIDING THE EL AT MIDNIGHT When the gorgeous and twisted Mark boards a northbound el train, he is looking for love in all the wrong places. Finding Julio aboard that same train, Mark thinks, is the answer to his dreams. But are his dreams nightmares?
FUGUE SLIP into the dungeon playroom of a master and his boy. But in the boy’s mind, a dream state takes him places the master could not imagine…places where the established order turns upside down.
INCUBUS Two men, one predator, and a violent crime equal a journey into hellish nightmare territory. This tale merges horror with a tragic love story and the result is…chilling.
MAN-AMORPHOSIS I awoke one morning from uneasy dreams to find my penis had transformed itself into a vagina… Thus begins the story of a very unusual day…
NO PLACE LIKE HOME Trannies and Psychos and Bears…oh my! Burl discovers—in a hilariously bizarre quest—that there really is no place like home.
POTTERY PETE One long hot summer. Three gorgeous men. And a burning triangle set down in the middle of a factory filled with sweaty men with bulging biceps.
Thank you, Rick, for sharing your wonderful books. As always, it’s a pleasure to have you visit us.
I’ll be back next week. Until then…
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell
Sloane said @ 7:52 am
July 29, 2010
Do You Have Demons?
Today we have the uber-talented Rick R. Reed with us. Rick’s writing talent is unsurpassed, and his books are filled with love, horror and suspense. I think you’ll enjoy his step away from the everyday.
Here’s a little from Rick:
Well, it’s finally here and available both in e-book and paperback editions: my fifteenth book (and fourth with MLR Press), A DEMON INSIDE.
This book continues my goal of combining both the horror and the romance genre into one compelling read. A Demon Inside is as much a romance as it is a chilling horror novel. I believe it will satisfy readers of both genres equally.
So here’s a little bit about the book, along with an excerpt.
A DEMON INSIDE
Rick R. Reed
ISBN 978-1-60820-165-5 (print) $14.99
ISBN 978-1-60820-166-2 (ebook) $6.99
Hunter Beaumont doesn’t understand his grandmother’s deathbed wish: “Destroy Beaumont House.” He’d never even heard of the place. But after his grandmother passes and his first love betrays him, the family house in the Wisconsin woods looks like a tempting refuge. Going against his grandmother’s wishes, Hunter flees to Beaumont House.
But will the house be the sanctuary he had hoped for? Soon after moving in, Hunter realizes he may not be alone. And who—or what—he shares the house may plunge him into a nightmare from which he may never escape. Sparks fly when he meets his handsome neighbor, a caretaker for the estate next door, but is the man salvation…or is he the source of Hunter’s terror?
Hunter Beaumont awakened drenched in sweat, striped sheets twisted around him. His heart pounded and an irrational fear coursed through him, disproportionate to the calmness of the dark bedroom surrounding him.
He sat up, rubbing his hand over his slick face, and reassured himself with the same words countless nightmare sufferers have told themselves since the dawn of time: “It was only a dream; it was only a dream.” But it was that same dream again. The one that was part memory, part horror movie. The one where he was camping with his parents and he can see the glow of the campfire flickering on their faces. It’s a lovely scene, at first, romantic and warm. His parents’ voices are hushed, his mother’s laugh tinkling, as the two of them huddle together, the fire keeping the darkness of the woods at bay. But then a shadow falls over his mother and father’s faces and their eyes turn in an instant from contented and adoring to terrified. Then come the screams…and the blood, all the blood. That was when Hunter always awakened.
But this time something more than the nightmare had awakened him. Was someone knocking on his bedroom door? Yes, there it was again, an almost tentative tapping. In his post nightmare state, Hunter imagined the worst—that a monster lurked outside, something needing to be invited in. And once inside, it would rip him limb from limb, gorging on his flesh and drinking his blood.
Hunter allowed himself an embarrassed laugh and attempted to pull himself together. He sat up straighter against the headboard and used a corner of the top sheet to dab at the beads of sweat still gathering on his forehead. “Yes?” he called out.
With a creak, the door opened a crack and Lori Schmidbauer, his grandmother’s nurse, peered in. Even backlit, Hunter could see the kindness in the woman’s dark brown eyes and the concern and sadness on her face. She glanced down the hall and then back toward him, gave him a tentative smile.
“Hunter? Honey, I’m so sorry to wake you. Can I come in?”
Hunter pulled the sheet up further, covering his chest. A new kind of alarm began inside, the dread beginning to churn like something alive in his guts. “Is everything okay?”
Lori didn’t respond. She simply tiptoed into the room and sat down gingerly on the edge of his bed. Hunter leaned over and switched on the nightstand lamp. Lori still wore her scrubs and her curly brown hair was pulled loosely into a ponytail. She looked tired. Hunter repeated his question and added to it. “Is everything okay? Is Nana all right?”
Lori clutched his hand, squeezed it, and let it go. “I don’t think so, dear.” She stared off at a point over Hunter’s head and he could see her eyes glistened with tears.
It felt like his stomach dropped a couple of feet. He bit his lip. “Is it time?”
Lori drew in a quivering breath before responding. “Yeah. I think it is.” She stood. “You better come now if you want to say goodbye.”
“Okay,” Hunter whispered, barely able to find breath to put behind the single word. For his whole twenty-two year life, his grandmother had been his savior, protector, shield, comforter, mother, father, playmate, and teacher. There actually was a monster outside his door, and its name was cancer. That monster was about to rip all he held dear away from him.
Lori waited on the bed, watching him. He could tell she was trying to gauge his reaction, to see if perhaps he would need a hug. Lori was the kind of nurse that was free with her hugs. A good woman. But right now, Hunter needed a moment to himself and he told her.
“Sure, sweetheart. Just don’t be too long.” She got up and paused at the door. “I don’t know how much time we have.” Sorrowfully, she nodded, her lips coming together in a line indicating sympathy. She took her time leaving his room, then he heard her quickened pace as she hurried down the long hallway to his nana’s bedroom.
Hunter didn’t know if he could do this. Part of him thought if he just stayed here in bed, he could delay or prevent the inevitable. If he could only freeze time at this moment, he would never have to face a world without Nana in it. He shook his head and chastised himself for being weak.
Feeling numb, Hunter roused himself from bed. He slid into the jeans and sweater he had left on the rocker by the window. He looked outside, where the inky darkness revealed nothing, a void. He knew Lake Michigan was out there and in the morning it would reveal itself in aqua or gray, depending on the quality of light, but right now it seemed as though the huge body of water had vanished. The night’s darkness pressed against his windows like something palpable, aching to get inside.
Barefoot, he padded down the hall to his grandmother’s bedroom. Ever since he had lost his parents at the age of five, this had been his home, and suddenly the big old house seemed strange and unfamiliar, as if he were seeing it for the first time. Here was the portrait of his father, painted when Daddy was sixteen, looking young and vibrant, and not that much different from Hunter: the same smile and auburn hair. And there was the old Oriental rug, its pinks, blues, and grays faded, leading the way to the door to his grandmother’s bedroom, which yawned open. Hunter stood for a long while, staring at that doorway and breathing in the smell of sickness that emanated from the room. “Go,” he whispered.
He ducked into the room. Nana lay propped up on her old four-poster bed, the one she had had since marrying Hunter’s grandfather about six decades ago. She looked small and shriveled, vulnerable and nearly lost among the pillows, blankets, and quilts that never could keep her quite warm. Her hair looked like gray straw and parts of her scalp peeked through. A few days ago, they had taken her off the IVs and oxygen, knowing there was no hope. The medical detritus stood in a corner of the room, looking like defeated soldiers.
Lori stood near the bed. When she saw Hunter, she leaned down and whispered to Nana, whose eyes fluttered open at the sound of the nurse’s voice. Although she had not been completely coherent for the past couple of weeks, a combination of the morphine she took to manage her pain and her own failing memory, her eyes brightened when she saw her grandson. She even managed a weak smile, which vanished almost as soon as it arrived, as if the effort to maintain it was just too much for the old woman.
It probably was.
Lori stepped away from the bed and donned a fleece she had left on a chair nearby. She hugged herself and then said, “I’ll leave you two alone. I’m going to run downstairs and call Dr. Blackstock.” She squeezed Hunter’s shoulder as she left the room.
Hunter sat down beside his grandmother on her bed. “Nana?”
“Hunter,” Nana croaked, her voice only an echo of the vibrancy it once had. She tried to lift her hand to his face but it appeared she didn’t have the strength, letting it drop back down to the bedding. She closed her eyes and swallowed; the latter action looked painful and Nana winced.
“Don’t talk, Nana. If it hurts, don’t talk.” He picked up one of her withered hands and covered it with both of his own, trying to impart some of his own warmth to the frail appendage, feeling now as if it had been made of parchment and bird bones. She nodded, staring up at him. She licked her lips. “I just want to go to sleep now. I’m ready. Can you tell the nurse?”
“Sure.” Hunter smoothed her hair away from her forehead and leaned in close. He bit his lips, not wanting to cry in front of the old woman. What if she didn’t know this was the end? He couldn’t be so cruel as to reveal that to her. And even as he thought these things, he knew—deep in his heart—that Nana knew perfectly well what was happening.
“Sleep. That sounds good.” Nana’s eyelids fluttered and closed. Hunter thought she had fallen asleep and simply sat with her for several minutes, holding her hand. Finally, he thought maybe he should creep away, hoping against hope that this was not the final moment. Lori could have been wrong after all.
But then Nana opened her eyes, and Hunter thought he needed to speak while there was still time and before he gave in to the tears and sobs that were clamoring inside. He gathered the old woman up in his arms and pulled her close. Placing his lips close to her ears, he thought for a moment, grasping for something profound to say, but finally decided on only:
“I love you so much.”
“I love you, too,” Nana whispered. She slumped back against the pillows.
Hunter covered his mouth. Was she gone? But her eyes opened once more, about half-mast, seeking him out even though his face was only inches from her own.
“Beaumont House,” she croaked.
“Beaumont House. Promise me you’ll burn it.”
Want more Rick Reed? You can find him on the internet at his website, blog, Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check Rick out and learn more about this ingenious author.
I’ll be back tomorrow. Until then…
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell
Sloane said @ 7:58 am
July 28, 2010
The Spotlight’s On
and burning bright at Off the Keyboard where Sarah Grimm digs deep to uncover the real Sloane Taylor. Join me HERE to learn more.
AND over at Melissa’s Imaginarium, Melissa Bradley has posted a completely different interview! You can check it out HERE.
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell
Sloane said @ 7:41 am
July 26, 2010
I’m so excited, Sultry In Sweden, Book Two of the Melt the Ice series, is now available through Amber Heat! Check out the gorgeous cover Trace Edward Zabar created. Isn’t it terrific?
SULTRY IN SWEDEN
ISBN 13: 978-1-60272-723-6
Amber Quill Press – Amber Heat
Battered hockey player Colt Coltrane arrives in Sweden with one thing on his mind–victory. A bad spill later, however, and he’s at the tender mercies of the sexiest masseuse he’s ever seen. From that point, all his good intentions go straight to hell when he strips for the Swedish iceberg.
Disa Ellstrom has had it with sports figures who always expect more from her than a massage. She can’t believe her friend Carl sent the American goalie to her. Unable to ignore the man’s pain, however, Disa takes on Colt and soon finds her heart melting faster than a spring thaw.
Combine a hot-blooded American and a Swedish spitfire and they’re sure to set Stockholm ablaze…
Disa ran her fingers along Colt’s deltoids, watching the strong muscles flex under her touch. His shyness had been endearing along with confusing. She wondered if his physical problem went farther than the normal aches and pains of a professional athlete. If so, she intended to help him overcome the situation. If not, then he was in for a satisfying surprise. She hoped.
A quick scramble across the sheet gave him more room, then she tugged on his shoulders so he would lay back against the pillow. He winced, but continued to draw his legs up onto the bed.
She combed her fingers through the crisp auburn hairs sprinkled across his broad chest, descending to his beautiful hard dick nestled in a curly, reddish tuft. She swallowed hard, fighting her desire to suck him until he came.
“You are a fine-looking man, Colt.” She rose onto her knees, then traced a fingernail around his tight balls, her inner muscles clenching with desire.
He laid a hand on her calf and slowly eased it up toward her thigh, caressing her. His fingers climbed higher. A shudder ran through her from his gentle massage over her rear end up to the small of her back, then down, slipping a finger between her cheeks. Pressure built when he circled her sphincter, dipping his fingertip into the tight circle, out again, then back in.
She nipped at his balls, laving the tight sacs, savoring their salty taste. Her hand pumped his cock, starting slow and increasing the speed. His hips jerked, rocking with her rhythm, thrusting along her palm.
Deftly, Colt maneuvered out from under Disa and knelt facing her. He wrapped her in his arms and kissed her with a passion she had never known. She clung to him, loving his strength, savoring his taste. He pulled away, the skin pulled taut over his cheekbones.
“It’s time to make you happy, baby. How about rolling over?” He tugged on her hip until she faced the brass headboard. “A little more to the center, so we can watch in the dresser mirror.”
She scooted across the rumpled linen and glanced into the antique glass. Their eyes met in the reflection and breath caught in her throat.
“Spread your legs, Disa.” He gently nudged her shoulders to the mattress. “I promise to go easy.”
Kisses rained down her back as he mounted her. His thick cock played against her wet labia, the swollen head teasing into her. After a smooth thrust, he was inside, filling her. One firm palm kneaded her lower abdomen, while his long fingers curled through her pubic hair, covering her mons. He stretched a finger along her nether lips, separating the folds, and massaged her fiery clit.
Tingles shot through her, watching their wavy images across the room. His arm muscles bulged as he moved his hands to her hips, gripping them tight, guiding her to him.
He rocked into her, the strokes faster and faster, his balls slapping against her perineum. He clutched her hips, slamming into her, riding her hard. She reared back, keeping pace, clenching her muscles to hold him tight, straining to swallow him in deeper. She gritted her teeth, biting back the scream that tore through her. Her body pulsed with his touch, screaming for release from the magnificent torture that only he could provide. She clutched the sheets, wadding the warm material in her fists, and burrowed into them, inhaling his musky scent.
“Come for me, baby.” His voice rasped against her back. “God, I need you…”
I’ll be back later this week with two new releases from the fabulous Rick Reed. Until then…
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell
Sloane said @ 7:19 am
| New Releases
July 23, 2010
Willing to Voice Your Opinion?
If you are, then come on over to Rick Reed’s blog where I’m asking readers a few pertinent questions. Leave a short comment for a chance to win a free copy of TEDDI TURNS ON.
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell
Sloane said @ 7:38 am
July 22, 2010
It’s a HUGE Celebration
Aspen Mountain Press is celebrating its Fourth ANNIVERSARY!! They’ve slated several days of chats, blogs, contests and more at a variety of places. Check out the list below and mark your calendars. It’s a great opportunity to win cool prizes.
July 23rd kicks off the Anniversary parties with a sneak peek into the first three books to be released from AMP’s new imprint line. Come on over to the AMP Community Loop for an opportunity to win more prizes.
July 24th is celebrating the Del Fantasma line and its authors. Love Cody, the vampire bartender matchmaker? Then this day is the one for you at the AMP Facebook Fan Page.
July 25th celebrates the horror, thriller and mystery writers from Aspen Mountain Press at The Romance Studio - from 10 am-6 pm ET.
And from 9-10 pm EST, join AMP authors for a live chat at Romance Junkies.
July 26th meet the M/M Authors and their fabulous books at at Raine Delight’s Reader Loop from noon-8 PM ET.
July 27th celebrate with the Cougar Club line when the authors share yummy Cougar Club excerpts from their books at TRS_Blue Yahoo loop from 12 pm-8 pm ET.
July 28th celebrate with shifters, space pirates and other paranormal/Science Fiction stories. Meet the authors and read some yummy excerpts this day at Romance Excerpts Only Yahoo Loop 8 am-8 pm ET.
July 29th is hot erotica at Lizzie’s Tea Room from Noon-8 PM ET.
And from noon until 9 pm, you can catch more erotica authors at FARChatters!
So it’s erotica all day long, all over the web with AMP authors!
July 30th if you love vampires or a good fantasy story, then this day is for you! Celebrate with all AMP’s vampires and fantasy characters, along with the authors are at LR Café from 8 am-5 pm ET.
July 31st meet the new Aspen Mountain Press authors. These authors are brand new to the stable would love for you to get to know them. Check out their upcoming books at the AMP Community Loop all day.
August 1st is their HUGE party on the Community Yahoo Loop. Come on over and party with all the AMP authors.
Prizes galore will be given away and if you haven’t joined their newsletter, friended them on Facebook, twitter, and My Space, then please do so. You’ll have extra chances to win just it as well as joining in on the chats, blogs and other fun stuff planned.
Keep an eye out on their blog and community loop as Aspen Mountain Press celebrates its FOURTH Anniversary.
I’ll keep you posted on additional opportunities to win!
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell
Sloane said @ 7:43 am
July 21, 2010
Murder and Sex – Oh Yeah!
Today’s guest author is the amazing Clare London who writes Man to Man, and no one does it better. Clare has a new release, BLINDED BY OUR EYES. This is a well-crafted mystery that has received stellar reviews and a book you’ll definitely want to read.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Clare, here’s a brief bio:
Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant.
She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. Clare likes variety in her writing, while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.
Find details of her publications and plenty of free fiction at her website, as well as an invitation to her mailing list. You can also catch up with Clare on her blog. Visit her today and say hello!
BLINDED BY OUR EYES
London art dealer Charles Garrett has devoted his life to appreciating and acquiring beauty, both in art and in his companions. His fashionable life is rocked to the core when he discovers the body of a young artist, Paolo Valero, in a pool of blood in his gallery.
As Paolo’s mentor, Charles is haunted by the horror of his violent death. Seeking closure, he investigates Paolo’s past and soon discovers a tangled web of motives and potential suspects, some closer to home than he ever imagined. He’s drawn to Antony Walker, an aggressive, handsome sculptor with unsavory ties to Paolo. Charles is unsettled by Antony’s forceful nature but irresistibly attracted to his passion and his art.
When the evidence points toward Antony’s guilt, Charles is thrown into emotional turmoil. Has he lost his heart to a killer?
The sound of a man crying was the first shock. Deep, racking sobs echoing off the smooth walls of my showroom. The whole gallery was usually deserted and cool at this late hour, despite the urban truth that London never slept. Yet tonight something in the air resonated with tension. And huddled in the far corner was a slender, pale young man. Arms clenched around his drawn-up knees, his eyes hot and wet, staring at me through a fringe of bedraggled dark curls. He looked angry and scared, and for the first few seconds it was all directed at me.
Without thinking, I dropped my bag. I heard the thump as it hit the floor.
I’d never seen anyone who wasn’t a woman cry like this. The sound was strange, astonishingly loud and ugly, his breath rasping with each hiccup of anguish. His shoulders rose and fell awkwardly, the bones a shadowy silhouette under the thin fabric of his shirt, his knuckles white against the black fabric of his jeans.
How beautiful he still looked, how miserable yet how utterly fascinating. My thoughts disgusted me, yet at the same time I couldn’t deny them. As I stared back at him, the aggression in his eyes started to fade. Hope glinted there in its place.
Then I registered the blood on the floor around him. How the hell could I miss it? So much blood. It ran along the base of the far wall and pooled out over the floor, a shocking, plum-red stain on the pale wood. It was thick and unnaturally still, an occasional patch of it glistening under the dimmed overhead lights. Coagulated; no longer flowing. I had no idea how long ago it’d been fresh. The residue puddled around his bare feet and under his legs and arse, then slithered along the edge of the wall again, diverting around the base of a display case. I barely glanced at the case. It stood upright, but crooked as if broken, and the objects inside had been knocked over.
I just stared at the blood. Funny how these things strike you when you’re in shock; it was only after I noticed the mess that the smell hit me. Thick and putrid, seeping into my throat, daring me to gag. Why didn’t blood smell like this domestically? When I cut my hand, when I sliced meat? This was human blood in quantity, human life as it spilled. It had its own unique horror. Some of it had oozed between the young man’s toes—the dark crimson colour stark against the pale skin of his feet, a gruesome parody of piano keys. He sat like an island amongst a grisly sea, a pale shadow within the dark, viscous surround. When he put a hand out to the wall and started to ease himself up, I wanted to cry out, to tell him to stay still. I wanted to stop him spoiling the perfect, limpid surface around him, breaking the seal.
It was the shock made me think that way. Of course it was.
“Charles?” His voice was hoarse, as if he’d been shouting. “God, I’ve never been so glad to see anyone in my life.” He took a couple of shaky steps toward me. His shoes and socks lay in a discarded pile against the wall, soaked red with the blood. I couldn’t take my eyes off the print left by his foot, a dark smudge on the area of clean floor behind him.
There were other footprints—messy, scattered marks on the floor beyond the display case. They weren’t all his. A large huddled object lay against the right-hand wall, half hidden behind the furniture. That area, too, was covered in blood. It wasn’t an object, of course it wasn’t. I was ashamed to have thought of it like one of my exhibits.
It was a body. The body of another young man, even paler, even more disturbed. Even more still.
Walker laughed again, but more softly. He’d made his coffee while still doing something with the tools on the table, gathering them up, putting them away in the wooden box. I couldn’t see around his torso, couldn’t see what his hands were doing in front of his body. I heard the bolt snap shut on the box and he turned back around.
“What are you doing there?” I said, too loudly. I didn’t seem to have full control of my voice. “Why are you bothering with that now? I just want to talk to you.” What are you hiding from me?
He just glared at me, his eyes dark and unwelcoming.
I glanced over at his work in progress. “What kind of themes do you work with, Walker? Did you work with Paolo? He’s…he was a very talented sculptor.” Is that why you were together—as artists? Or was your relationship something else? Something fierce…
“He was a shit,” Walker growled, shaking his head.
His bluntness shocked me. “That’s—what the hell do you mean?”
His eyes narrowed. “You think people shouldn’t speak ill of the dead? Paolo Valero leeched off people. He was pretty and he was talented, but for all the time I knew him, he was a liar and a thief.”
I was stunned. “Money?”
“He stole money, yeah. And materials. And ideas.” Walker sighed. “But he stole time and attention, too. From me—probably from you, too.”
“Why are you saying this? Why are you slandering him like this?”
For the first time I saw uncertainty in Walker’s expression. “You have no fucking idea, do you? It doesn’t mean I wasn’t his friend. Though plenty of people in this business will tell you he got everything he deserved.”
“What do you mean?” I nearly shouted.
Walker shook his head. His frown got deeper. “I don’t have to tell you anything.”
“Is that what happened with you and Paolo?” I persisted. “What did he steal from you? How much?” Maybe too much?
Walker gazed steadily back at me. “You look at everyone like that, Garrett?”
“What do you mean?”
He took a step toward me, threateningly, yet I didn’t move away. I couldn’t identify the expression in his eyes, but it chilled me. “I know guys like you, right? Dealers.” He made it sound like a disease. “You watch other people create, you give your critique, then you pimp the goods. Always on the outside, never really involved. You look around this room with cold eyes. You see a block of stone, you see banknotes, where I see breath and beauty.”
I was furious—suddenly, blindingly furious. “Who do you think you are? You arrogant shit.”
He didn’t even flinch. “And that’s the same look you’re turning on me now. Appraising me.”
I couldn’t speak, my throat was closing tight with the anger. He was right, I couldn’t tear my eyes from him, but it was from anger, not admiration, wasn’t it? Nothing to do with the fierce, sensual attraction that emanated from him, the way his dark eyes caught and fascinated my attention.
“You’re looking at me the same way you look at the stone.” He stepped even closer. A trickle of sweat ran from his throat down the middle of his bare torso. I imagined it pooling above his navel, glistening and bobbing as his belly clenched.
“I’m not.” That’s not me.
“No?” he murmured. He peered at me, sounding puzzled. “Then it’s something else…” His chest was heaving, as if he had the same difficulty breathing as I did. Behind him, the point chisel was still on the edge of the table. He hadn’t locked it away with the other tools. Its handle was a foot from his grasp.
“Get away from me,” I whispered.
He frowned. “Say that again. And this time like you mean it.” He was still searching my face, but now his expression was confused, as if he’d lost whatever he was seeking. And then his eyes slid away from my face to my chest and down the whole of my body, slowly and carefully. When his gaze came back up, lingering for too long on my groin, I blanched. The sexual intent was never in any doubt.
And my body shuddered in response.
He looked back up at me and his hand lifted from his side as if he meant to reach out and touch something.
I stepped back. “Get away,” I repeated, sharply.
His eyebrows rose. He looked both startled and disappointed. “Yeah, just like I said. “Cold. You’re never going to melt that, Garrett, fucking men like pretty, passive Joseph. He’s never going to give you what you need.” He laughed without humour.
I lurched back another few steps, finally released from my strange paralysis. My escape from this room was only a few feet away, in seconds I could be out of the door and back down the stairs to the street.
“I can’t believe all this about Paolo.” I stared into Walker’s eyes, the pupils dilated. I could feel the door frame at my back now, I was brave in the face of my retreat. “Why do you talk about him like that? You want me to be as angry with him as you are. Were. Why?”
“Were you fucking him?” I cried, and he recoiled. Had I struck a nerve? “Did you want revenge for whatever he’d done to you? Did he make you angry enough to want to hurt him?”
“None of that is your goddamn business,” he snarled. “I said, get the fuck out or else I—”
I dodged back before he could follow up his threat, away from him, my hand reaching blindly for the door handle. I stumbled out onto the landing. Not bothering with dignity or pride, I just dashed down the stairs two at a time. I felt an idiot, and a ridiculously scared one, too.
I’ll be back tomorrow with information on a wonderful celebration. Until then…
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell
Sloane said @ 7:27 am