Gazing into the Crystal Ball
April 22, 2010 | Friends
The future is bright for talented Clare London who allows her effervescent personality to shine through her work. Clare has a master plan filled with intriguing contracted stories that will be published over the next few years. Today, we focus on her paperback releasing this Sunday from Amber Quill Press. It’s a collection of her latest e-books I know you will enjoy.
HEART AND HOME
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-798-4 (Paperback)
Amber Quill Press – Amber Allure
BUY LINK goes live April 25, 2010
From two men in the middle of a secret affair, to a young muse bringing inspiration to a failing artist, to an established couple discovering they can still surprise each other, to ex-lovers finding compromise far more important than conflict, this collection of stories celebrates the diversity and delight of lovers who seem mismatched, but whose love is strong enough to find the way to each other’s heart—and a home together.
Previously available only in electronic format, these four stories of gay erotic romance have now been combined for a paperback edition! Included are the tales…
HOME SWEET HOME
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-649-9 (Electronic)
Amber Quill Press – Amber Allure
The attraction between Chaz and Ryan is as strong as ever, but they’ve taken a relationship break, frustrated by each other’s lifestyle. Chaz is a drifter, casual to the point of carelessness. Ryan is a control freak, preferring order and organization. It just wasn’t working between them. When Chaz moves apartments yet again, the project is fraught with chaos and plenty of breakages. Despite Chaz’s determination to be independent, Ryan comes to help out. Chaz admits he’s grateful for the friendly support. Or at least, that’s how it starts.
I took a deep breath. “I think I was meant to be changing my own behavior as well. I think I made promises, too. About growing up, about remembering I might have someone else’s interests to consider. Right?”
There was wary gratitude in his eyes. “Yes, you did. You were going to watch yourself, as well.”
We did some more of the staring thing. “Haven’t been too good at it so far, have we?”
“No.” He shook his head, eyes rueful. “Control freak…you said that, plenty of times. I was sweating the small stuff. Chill out, you said. Back off.”
I winced. “Yeah, I can talk shit, too.”
He smiled, genuinely amused I think. “Look, I said before, I don’t want you to be different—”
“No,” I interrupted. “I know that. Wouldn’t work anyway, eh? But it wouldn’t work with you, either.”
“And that’s just how I like you, Ryan Crawford.”
He went very quiet. I couldn’t hear a breath, couldn’t see his chest moving. He worried his lower lip and I couldn’t take my eyes off the gesture. My gut was still disturbed, but it wasn’t an entirely unpleasant feeling. I suspected I knew where this discussion was leading.
“Yeah,” I said, more firmly. “You. As you are. Liked you the first day I met you.” Fell for you shortly after. “Whatever crap I say to the contrary, it’s good to know I can rely on you. Good to know you look out for me. Yeah, you drive me mad. But…” What should I say? How should I say it? He could take a joke like the next guy, but this was something else. “You’re a challenge to me. It’s exciting.”
“You mean the differences?” He was looking at me from under half-lidded eyes.
I held his gaze, trying not to blush like some idiot. “More than that. You…yourself.”
He nodded. Didn’t answer.
It was still my spot on stage. “I can see that this lifestyle of mine is a problem for you.”
“Yeah. And I’m sorry about that, I genuinely am. I guess it wouldn’t hurt me to be a little more responsible. It wouldn’t hurt me to admit that just concentrating on me doesn’t always get me where I want to be. That sometimes I have to backpedal a bit, and mop up a few mistakes. That sometimes I wish…”
Ryan’s mouth opened slightly and he moistened his lips. “Chaz…”
“I wish sometimes I’d thought things out a little more carefully.”
He looked startled. “You mean, like the moving?”
“Uh-huh.” But that wasn’t actually what I was thinking. I was suddenly more concerned that I’d let some pushy blond with cute manners talk me into a separation that—if I’d ever had the sense to realize it—I’d never wanted. I did like the way he looked out for me, provided the anchor for my occasional turbulence. Yeah, I blustered about it but, I’d missed it. And if I’d put some kind of careful thought into the whole separation suggestion, rather than the arrogance I wore like a badge of honor, I might have been able to bring some compromise to the table, rather than a shrug and a surrender. It was a two-way street. Or so someone once told me.
Ryan’s face was a picture—a picture of strange, shocked hope. At least, I hoped that’s what it was, and not permanent hemorrhoids from sitting on the damp, crappy stools that I was sure I’d thrown out after the last move.
“I can see things a little more clearly, too,” he said. His voice wasn’t hoarse anymore. It was soft and low, issuing from those soft yet firm lips of his. Ryan spoke a lot of sense. He could be a fool, same as me, but I knew it was plain cussedness that often prevented me from distinguishing between the two. “I guess I can see that it’s not the end of the world, not having a plan.”
My turn to be startled. “No?”
His face twisted in a wry smile. “Guess that’s something from a control freak like me, eh? Sometimes I like the carefree, the sudden. The spontaneous.”
“I’m working on it. You’re worth it.”
Dammit. That sly grin of his infiltrated my defenses like a rat under a fence. I took another deep breath. “Ryan, I want to do something fairly spontaneous right now, but I’m just not sure how close you are to that coffee machine, which will either explode in your face or you’ll want to beat me off with it—”
He beat me to it, instead. He took two more steps forward, slid his hand around the back of my neck, pulled me forward and kissed me. Hard. His lips were at the firm stage, his palm was slightly sweaty—just how I liked it on my skin—and he smelled like the most delicious thing I could think of, if I’d been able to think clearly at that moment, if his tongue hadn’t been sliding into my mouth, if he hadn’t been whispering against my cheek such incoherent sounds of need, such gasps of please…
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-588-1 (Electronic)
Amber Quill Press – Amber Allure
Gavin McGrath’s art career is in ruins, his health is failing, his wife’s left him because of his promiscuity, and he’s alienated people in the industry with his aggressive and arrogant behavior.
But when a full pot of red paint falls on his current canvas, apparently ruining it, it brings a change in his life he never expected. A strange, beautiful young man appears in his studio as his companion and Muse. Matteo is from another time but he understands artists all too well—and now his place is with Gavin.
Matteo brings devotion and inspiration across the centuries, forcing Gavin to take stock of his life and his behavior in the months he has left to him. Eventually Gavin realizes he must reconsider the capacity for love he’s always scorned—before it’s too late for both him and Matteo…
…Matteo yawned slowly, not self-conscious at all. Then, quite calmly, he dropped to the floor and settled himself cross-legged beside my easel. “You said it yourself. You can’t ignore the cries from inside your gut. That painting cries to me.”
Dear God. “And what does it cry to you, Matteo?” The sarcasm wasn’t as sharp as I’d intended. “You said I painted it from life, but that’s nonsense.”
He sucked thoughtfully on the orange, his nose crinkling every time his teeth bit into it. It was an innately charming, affectionate gesture. “It cries life to me. Hurt. Love. Warmth. Death.”
“Clichés,” I snapped. I was surprisingly disappointed in him. He was nothing but a high school critic, a pretentious mimic. No better than Ailsa and some of the other fawning idiots who came around, ostensibly to learn from me. A trespasser.
He shrugged again and reached for the other half of the orange. He’d sucked the first half quite dry and there were flecks of its flesh on his lower lip. He looked up at me from under thick, dark lashes. “It cries passion to me.”
My breath stilled in my chest. I’d have been scared by the fierce concentration in his gaze if I didn’t know all this couldn’t be real. “That’s not what I want. Not now.”
Matteo laughed as if we both knew I was talking complete crap. Other people had laughed at me in the past, but their laughter was full of scorn and dismissal. Matteo’s was…happy. Fond. After a moment, I smiled, too.
He snagged another orange and settled his back against the wall. He drew his legs up against his chest, well-developed muscles straining against the material of his pants, one hand resting on his knees. “But for now, you must also finish what you’ve started. All these paintings…” With the hand holding the orange, he gestured toward the stacked canvases. “You must decide on the good ones and make them better. Then sell them so you have enough money.”
I shook my head, astonished at his boldness. “You know nothing about it. They’re all crap, there’s nothing new there.” Or so my agent had said, both to my face and then in correspondence, because he was a coward. I wasn’t an idiot, I knew my bad temper had increased over the last few years. I’d scared the shit out of him more than once and also alienated most of the gallery owners in town. Even hardened art journalists thought twice about approaching me nowadays. What did I have to offer anymore? I was at the end of the road on so many levels. I’d never have admitted my failures to Ailsa, but here I was, baring my rather soiled soul to this weird, misguided young man.
Matteo laughed. Such a relaxed, untroubled sound. “But I’m here now.” He leaned his head back and planted his bare feet firmly on the floor, wriggling once more to get comfortable. “So now you must tell me about yourself, Gavin McGrath.” When I opened my mouth to protest again, he shook his head, his young, soft eyes a little grave. “While you paint, of course.”
It was nonsense. Didn’t I say so? All of it. It couldn’t be happening and it shouldn’t be tolerated. But I got up from my chair and picked up the palette. Matteo nodded at me, encouragingly. I stood at the easel and concentrated on the top section of the canvas. The red paint had bubbled there; the light in the studio caught the top of each bump, reflecting and refracting, blending the dips and shadows. I could see the opportunity there to paint the emergence of a life, bubbling into existence, raw and innocent and clean. My vision was much clearer than usual and the pain in my chest had eased. For one brief, shocked moment, I thought I caught the scent of the orange, hanging in the air of the studio, tart and sweet. And as I painted, I started to tell Matteo about myself.
Several hours later, he stopped murmuring replies to me. I no longer heard the creak of the floorboards behind me as he shifted to get comfortable. Was he asleep? I wiped a bead of sweat from my chin, but for some reason I was wary of turning around to look.
There was a slight whisper—it might have been a draft under the door out of the studio. I tried for a careless, cynical tone.
“You never said who your artist friend is.”
He sighed, then. “Concentrate on your work, Gavin. It’s not important. And maybe you won’t have heard of him? He uses the name of his town, where he lived and his parents died. It was before he came to Rome. He goes by the name of Caravaggio.”
And when I whirled around, Matteo had gone. I never heard the door either open or close behind him…
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-628-4 (Electronic)
Amber Quill Press – Amber Allure
Since the day they met, Owen’s restraint has been an exciting foil to Caleb’s unruly lack of discipline. Now established lovers, they can’t deny how welcome that balance is in their lives. Two very different men, both strong-willed – it shouldn’t work between them, but it does! Owen’s steady world is rocked by Caleb’s boldness, and Caleb finds a haven in return. Now they share their lives, a strong need for each other and a highly developed love of play.
On this weary night at the end of a working week, they’re caught in traffic on opposite sides of town. They’ll have to wait to meet up until the journey’s over, to enjoy the evening together. Or will they? Caleb decides he won’t wait to play, and he’ll play as dirty as he dares – or as much as they can handle over the phone!
Caleb watched other vehicle headlamps arc across the side window of his car, then swoop away in the opposite direction. He relaxed a little in his seat and lifted one hand off the steering wheel.
“Caleb?” On the other end of the phone, Owen’s voice had that sharp edge again, sending welcome goose bumps down Caleb’s flesh. “What do you mean by that?”
“Didn’t I say? I don’t like waiting. I’m horny now.”
Owen made the tutting sound that Caleb also knew well. “So surprise me. Not. But there’s nothing we can do about it. I’m sitting in a cold, damp train carriage and you’re trapped in traffic.” He went silent for a moment, then when Caleb didn’t reply, he snapped again, “Caleb?”
Caleb sighed happily. In complete contrast to his lover, he felt increasingly relaxed. The car heater was on and the windows were slightly steamed. He was protected from the foul weather outside, also the noise and hassle of city life. Work had been tedious this week, but now it was over for another couple of days. Okay, so Owen was still miles away, but Caleb had an intriguing alternative. His guy’s voice was pitched at just the right level, irritated yet curious, too. Just at that cusp between fury and fascination.
Could go either way, Caleb knew that from experience. That was what made the game all the more delicious. He felt … yeah. Provocative.
“Don’t,” came Owen’s voice. He sounded apprehensive.
“Don’t what?” Caleb smiled broadly. He liked apprehension in a man, too. It certainly had its place in foreplay. “Like you say, there’s nothing we can do about it. Not we, anyway.”
Owen made a soft, strangled noise.
Caleb leaned around the steering column to be nearer the phone, dropping his voice to an almost-whisper. “I can always entertain myself. Not as good as lying spread out and naked on the lounge carpet, my breath heaving, my knees drawn up to my belly and your slicked fingers sliding in and out of me.” He sighed, rather theatrically. “But a guy’s got to make the best of a situation.”
Caleb didn’t really want to be distracted by the strained tone of Owen’s voice. All he wanted to concentrate on was how deep it was; how rich. That voice. His pants seemed to be getting tighter by the second. Owen’s protests – though Caleb couldn’t recall any of them ever being significant – did that to him every time. He rubbed his free hand gently over his lap, caressing the bulge there.
“I’m very hot tonight,” he murmured. “Very thick.”
Owen cursed under his breath, but Caleb caught most of the words. Owen had an impressively imaginative vocabulary when he chose to swear. Sounded like he touched on plenty of things that were currently coloring Caleb’s own imagination.
“Dammit, Caleb, you’re in the car. Have you pulled over?”
Caleb let out a slow, heavy breath, making sure the phone would pick up the noise.
“Yeah. And I’ve pulled out. Didn’t you hear my zipper?”
Owen’s breath made a sharp, gasping sound.
Caleb slipped his hand inside his open fly and ran possessive fingers along the length of his cock, swelling inside his briefs. “I’m hot. Way too hot. Lucky I wore the thin, white shirt today. You know the one? It’s loose. I can reach up under it and…soothe myself.” He impatiently flipped open the lower buttons on his shirt and slid his other hand up his chest to his nipple. It was pebbled already, and not from the cold weather outside. He pinched it between his finger and thumb and rolled it, hard. Made him wince, but in that good kind of way. “Ouch.”
“What are you doing?”
Caleb grinned. “I’m just touching.”
“Uh-huh.” He heard Owen’s hesitation; heard the catch in his breath when surrender started to win over self possession. That exact moment was as sweet as any pie they’d ever shared since that first night.
“What are you…?”
“Touching?” Caleb didn’t expect an answer, not if Owen was still in a public place. “Myself. My skin. My belly. My chest. I can feel my heart beating against my palm. It’s kinda fast.”
“Ouch. Yeah. Pinched too hard.” Caleb arched his body, only his shoulders touching the back of the seat. “My nipples are sore with it, guess I’m a bit rough. And maybe I’m wishing it was your hand, instead of my own. But it’s going to be fun, to get these pierced. Like I suggested, you remember? We can both play with them.”
Owen groaned; the sound carried well over the phone line. Caleb shivered with delight and ran his hand back down to his belly. He spread out his fingers and felt his way over the clenched muscles. Slowly, he slid his fingertips in under the waistband of his briefs.
“What’s happening?” Owen’s voice was low. “Caleb?”
Caleb frowned. “You can find out when you get home. Not long to wait, I thought you said.”
Owen growled. “Hmm. Maybe I’m the same as you, after all.”
The growl had been enough for Caleb’s whole body to tense up. Owen’s frustrated tone was just that extra frosting on top. “Yeah? I don’t think that’d be much fun.”
Owen tutted. “You know what I mean. Impatient. I can be impatient, too.”
“Stop saying…” Owen cut off the words with a grunt. Caleb imagined his lover’s expression. Angry with his situation, aroused despite it. His pupils starting to dilate, his fists clenched.
Oh, but the game was sweet, too!
“I guess you are the same in some ways.” Caleb reached down inside the cotton fabric to stroke his growing erection. He lowered his voice, too. “You don’t hold back, do you, Owen? At least, not now, not with me. I’d like to watch that, in person. The expression on your face; the clench of your muscles. I wish you were here.”
“Look, I know, so do I—”
“Right now. To see me. To stroke me.”
Owen groaned again. “I don’t think this is fair. I don’t see how I can…”
“Ah, but you can.”
“I can…what? Caleb, for God’s sake…”
“Surprise me,” Caleb whispered.
A GOOD NEIGHBOR
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-574-4 (Electronic)
Amber Quill Press – Amber Allure
Dylan hasn’t told his eccentric Aunts to stop matchmaking him with girls—or that he’s already having a secret affair with Neal, his nearby neighbor. Maybe it’s time for Dylan to confess, and to decide what kind of life he really wants with the man he loves.
Dylan admits it himself, he’s a relentlessly single man in a small town, consoled only by being a good teacher and a devoted nephew to his Great-Aunts.
When the Aunts take a hand in matchmaking him with Josie, the girl down the street, Dylan doesn’t tell them what kind of soulmate he’s really looking for—and the fact that he’s already found the man in question, Josie’s brother Neal. But a secret affair can’t go on forever, can it?
Faced with a heart-wrenching decision when his chance at love seems to be moving even farther out of his reach, Dylan knows it’s time for him to own up to what he wants…and what kind of man he really is…
Have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back next week with Selena Illyria. Until then…
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell