Here's a free excerpt below from my newest release, Cage James, that I'll post more about when it's launched next week. It's an 18,000 word novella that's a little out of my normal range...but it's still m/m fiction, with romance, and what I think is a happy ending. It's not easy to write about it without giving out spoilers, but I can say it's not the typical m/m romance happy ending and it's not a completely dismal ending either. It's just different from other endings I've written and I like to let readers know this up front. And, it's not that I'm veering away from the kinds of books I normally write. It's just that with this book the characters kept drawing me toward this ending and it wouldn't have felt right not doing it.
In any event, here's the blurb.
Hot San Francisco male stripper, Cage James, needs money to pay back loan sharks or he's in big trouble. He knows he'll be able to get the money, plus enough to never have to work again in his life, but he has to stall them for a while. His plan is flawless and all he has to do is marry a kinky young gay billionaire legally and find out where he keeps all his cash hidden. But Cage winds up falling in love with one of the big, strong-fisted loan sharks, losing control, and then dealing with a situation he never saw coming.
I'm posting the excerpt below at the bottom of this post, and please take into consideration that when I do this I always post raw excerpts and they might be subject to change and edits.
Will Young Slams X Factor
I've never actually watched X Factor so I know nothing about it. But openly gay singer/song writer, Will Young, recently came out with a few less than stellar comments about the show and what it's turned into. He was the 2002 winner of the contest.
The gay singer says he ‘loved’ the innocence of early talent shows but now finds contests now too slick and self-aware.
‘Everything evolves. Pop Idol looks like Eurovision from the 1970s now, but I fucking loved it,’ he told Digital Spy.
‘People know the possibilities [now]. I didn't know the possibilities, so it genuinely was really exciting.
‘It's always different when there's a knowingness to it. It is what it is.’
I think this is why I stopped watching American Idol about five years ago. It lost its innocence, so to speak, and when that happened it lost its appeal for me. I also disliked the way the judges kept changing.
Boy George Milkshake Festival
I don't know why this Milkshake Festival keeps me interested so much. I've posted about it before, and it's actually one of those things I'd love to see in person. Especially this year, where Boy George of 1980's fame, will be headlining as one of the DJs.
Festival organizers have confirmed ‘with pride Boy George and Marc Vdeo will spin their magic tunes at the Superbimbo stage during the festival. As if latest musical addition Ultra Naté wasn’t enough, we had to add another star to complete the shake.’
The Milkshake festival, a smattering of gay and straight, young and old, thick and thin, ‘wants to celebrate Amsterdam’s initiatives and is an impetus to bring the courtesy and friendly manners back into society.'
I've always been a big fan of Boy George for what he did back when no one else was doing it. The 1980's as a decade was a fairly conservative time, and he brightened things up a bit with his creative gender bending eye make up and music. I was a kid at the time and I missed all the fun of the 1970's. So when I think of the 1980's as a decade Boy George is one of the first things that comes to mind. Gay kids didn't have that many models or options back then. Plus, most things gay back then were focused on AIDS as a killer epidemic.
Gay Croatian Bears
On Wednesday I posted about the gay bears in Croatia having oral sex. Real live animal bears, not furry sexy men. Now this article talks about gay Croatian bears in a six year sexual relationship. The bears were observed under adequate conditions and inadequate stressful conditions. The same sex behavior and the act of oral sex didn't waver much under any conditions.
‘All cases appeared to be initiated by the provider, who approached the receiver while he was resting on his side or with part of his abdomen exposed,’ the researchers recorded.
‘If the receiver's genitals were not exposed, the provider would push his head into the pelvic region or use his paws to separate the hind legs.’
‘After accessing and initial licking of the penis, the provider would find a more comfortable posture, such as sitting or lying … once actual sucking started, neither bear changed position.’
If I didn't know they were talking about bears I would have thought they were talking about a normal day at the dunes in Provincetown.
Excerpt from CAGE JAMES
Almost everyone who was anyone on Castro Street knew Cage James. Maybe not intimately, but they knew of him. He could be found on street corners, hanging out in front of bars, or just walking up and down the sidewalk in low-rise jeans so tight they would have been considered obscene in a suburban shopping mall. His shirts tended to be as tight as his pants, to the point where they hugged his chest and left an inch or two of his bare abdomen showing.
When people saw him coming, they would either stop what they were doing and stare in his direction or nod as if expecting him to return the gesture. Sometimes he would nod; other times he would smile. Most of the time he would continue walking without offering any gesture one way or the other, which is why he often wore dark sunglasses at night. He'd learned that by not making eye contact with most people he could remain unaffected.
Cage knew they were watching him and talking about him. People had done that all his life. When they weren't staring at him they were flirting with him. When they weren't flirting they were gaping at his crotch or the back of his pants. He knew he had assets most other men didn't have. He never took his dark dangerous looks or his perfect lean body for granted, and he knew how to use them to his advantage as often as possible.
On a cool, rainy night in April he wore his tightest black jeans and shortest black T-shirt under a distressed leather jacket that looked as if it had been dragged over a bed of nails. Though it looked old, the leather jacket was brand new and he'd paid over a thousand dollars for it earlier that week. His black boots were new, too, and he'd paid almost two thousand for them. If anyone who didn't know him were to have glanced in his direction that night they would have thought money had never been a problem in his life.
As he swaggered down the sidewalk toward his favorite gay leather bar in The Castro, he passed a few hookers lingering in front of a tattoo parlor with a red neon sign that he knew were men dressed as flamboyant women. They chided him about his tight pants, they made lewd references about the way his dick bulged in his jeans, and one even patted him on the bottom and said, "I need to get me some of that hot ass, baby." He laughed and continued walking without giving them a second thought. He knew they meant no harm, and he also knew how hard they worked to make a living. Sucking dick was easy. Sucking it well wasn't.
When Cage reached the bar the hulking bald bouncer at the door nodded and stepped aside so he could enter without showing ID or paying a cover. Cage had had sex with the bouncer many times and he knew the bouncer wouldn't dare charge him a dime, especially not after Cage had gone out of his way to please this particular bouncer who had several kinks no one else knew about. Although Cage could pass for eighteen, everyone in this bar knew he was twenty-five. He'd worked there in many different capacities in the past, from bar back to male stripper. That's how he got the name Cage, because he used to dance naked in a cage on top of the middle bar. His real name was Nelson, a fact very few people knew.
It was a Tuesday night and the bar wasn't as crowded as on weekends, but he still had to push his way through the smaller crowd to get to the back bar where he liked to hang out alone so he could watch everything from a distance. A guy in black chaps patted his ass near the middle bar and he sent the guy a smile and continued toward the back. Cage had slept with him, too. He remembered that guy had an uncut dick with a birthmark shaped like the state of Florida. A tall thin guy in black leather jeans and a black leather vest rubbed his arm as he passed the rest room entrance. A few men in other types of clichéd leather gear with exaggerated facial hair smiled at him and patted his back. He kept his head down and continued walking. It was warmer than usual and he noticed the strong scent of poppers each time he took a breath.
When he went out like this at night it didn't always mean he was cruising for men. He wasn't even into leather or the BDSM lifestyle. He'd done BDSM at times in his life when the moment required it. But he wasn't actually part of the lifestyle in a literal sense. He went to this particular bar often because he felt more comfortable there. The men in this bar didn't take things as seriously as they did in other gay bars where all those young, politically correct Grindr queens seemed to be looking for a life partner or a soul mate just like they saw in TV. But more than that, with gay marriage being legal, now they all seemed to be looking for a husband. Cage had nothing against equality for all, but he wasn't too fond of the minivan and white picket fence concept, and the thought of sticky fingered little kids around the house made his stomach turn sideways. It just didn't feel right; it didn't seem gay: all that heteronormative goodness made him gag. Cage saw no reason to take all the fun out of being gay.
In this leather bar the men seemed want the same things Cage did and goodness had nothing to do with it.
Toward the far end of the middle bar, he said hello to an older couple he'd slept with a few times to pay his rent. He even remembered their names, Len and Perry. The only reason he remembered their names was because he associated them with Ben and Jerry of the ice cream fame. They were nice guys who had been together for almost thirty years and sometimes they needed a third in the bedroom to spice up the old sex life. In their case, because they were both well hung tops, they would hire a bottom boy to come in so they could take turns tagging him. Although they were more than twenty years older than Cage, he'd been pleasantly surprised at how much he'd enjoyed getting tag teamed by them. They liked the way he called them daddy and he got a thrill out of doing it. It almost felt sinister to take money for doing something he'd enjoyed so much.
He reached the back bar and walked to the far end where it was less crowded so he could order a beer. As he slipped his hand into his back pocket to get his money, someone grabbed his arm and said, "There you are, you little fucker."
Someone else grabbed his other arm and said, "We had a feeling you'd be here tonight. You're too predictable."
Cage turned to his left and looked at the guy who had grabbed the arm he'd used to reach into his pocket. "Hey, man," he said, forcing a smile. He showed no sign of distress.
"Don't hey man, me," the guy said. "Where's the money?" This guy's name was Jared. He was one of the few in the bar who wasn't wearing some type of leather gear. He wore a brown suede jacket, a white polo shirt, and Tommy Bahama beige slacks.
The other guy yanked Cage's arm and said, "You're not getting away this time without paying up." His name was Rick. He wore a light blue jacket, a peach polo shirt, and gray Bonobos. Cage wondered if they even cared about how out of place they looked.
"Give me a break, guys," Cage said. "I told you you'd get the money soon." He owed them a lot of money. He'd borrowed it from them six months earlier agreeing to pay it back with interest. At the time, he'd been in bad financial shape and borrowing the money from them had been his only alternative. He'd already maxed his credit to the limit and didn't know what else to do.
Jared held his arm tighter. "No more excuses. Pay up now."
"We wouldn't want anything to happen to that pretty face, baby," Rick said, yanking his other arm harder.
Cage knew they were both bi-sexual. They both had girlfriends, but they'd flirted with him on more than one occasion. He wasn't sure where they got all their money, but he had a feeling it probably came from something illegal. He took a deep breath and did the one thing he hoped might help get him out of this mess, at least for that night. He looked up at Jared, and then at Rick, with his most innocent expression and said, "I promise I'll get the money to you soon. I don't have it right now, guys. But I know where I can get it. I'll take good care of you both right now if you just let me have a little more time."
Jared and Rick exchanged a quick glance and they both released his arms at the same time.
"We're parked out back in the alley," Jared said. "I think we can give you a short extension if you'd like to follow us to the car."
Jared was tall and clean shaven with short dark hair parted on the side. In spite of what he did for a living, he'd always reminded Cage of a guy one might find walking through the Stanford campus with a stack of books under his arm. Rick had reddish brown hair and a red beard he kept scruffy on purpose with an electric razor. He wasn't as tall as Jared, but every bit as muscular, if not more so. It wasn't as if Cage wouldn't have had sex with them anyway, so he smiled at them both and said, "You guys lead the way and I'll give you something you'll never forget."