Rob Colton

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Meet My Character Blog Tour: Peri McSmith

Today I have a special post, part of Tali Spencer's “Meet My Character” blog tour. We have an interview with Peri McSmith, Devin's best friend from The Degan Incident. Peri also made a memorable cameo appearance at the end of The Cassini Mission.

Check out Peri’s interview and an excerpt from my current work-in-progress: Galactic Conspiracies Book 3: The Degan Paradox.


State your name for the record.

My name is Perin McSmith, but I go by Peri. What’s this all about anyway?

This is a standard Union Navy security screen. It is required before civilian travel on any Union Navy starship. Please state your destination.

The Degan Homeworld, in the Ursa Major Alpha system.

Yes. Alpha Ursae Majoris IV. What is your business there?

I’m relocating there. My best friend Devin lives there with his family.

Do you personally know any Degans?

Of course. I’ve met Devin’s husband Bastian several times. And I met Bastian’s uncle Beshel and a couple of Beshel’s co-workers.

Beshel Drago, Degan Federation Chief Investigator?

Yeah… I guess that’s his work title. Why are you asking me about him?

As I’m sure you’re aware, Degans are not members of the Galactic Planetary Union. If you have a relationship with a ranking member of a foreign government, that would be something Union Security would need to know. So what is your relationship with Chief Beshel Drago?

I wouldn’t say we have a relationship, because ew. He’s not really my type. I mean, he’s kinda hunky, but his personality…

When was your last contact with Chief Beshel Drago?

I haven’t had any contact with Beshel, if you’re trying to imply something. I haven’t seen him since… Um… He was supposed to help me pack up Devin’s apartment, but… We were supposed to order Chinese and pack. He didn’t show up…?

You don’t sound sure, Mr. McSmith.

Well, to be honest, I don’t remember anything about that night at all. When I think about it, it gives me a migraine. I don’t know.


Describe Beshel Drago.

He’s a Degan, so you know… big, muscular, seven-foot fur-covered beast. He’s very serious, severely lacking in any sort of pleasantries, not to mention spontaneity… If you run a bioscan on him, you’ll find he is missing a funny bone.

You are aware the “funny bone” isn’t an actual bone in the human body.

Oh my god. Are you sure you don’t know Beshel, because you might be his twin. So am I clear for travel or what?

We’ll be in touch, Mr. McSmith.


Excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Degan Paradox

“Sir?”

Degan Federation Chief Investigator Beshel Drago looked up from his comPad toward the officer who’d just entered. It was just as well. He’d read the damn intelligence report three times now and still didn’t understand a word. His B Team was investigating a xenophobic faction whose protests of the influx of off-worlders were turning violent.

What the hell?

Why was he having so much trouble focusing lately? He rubbed the knot on the back of his neck, digging fingernails into his fur, in a vain attempt to ease the tension. “What is it, agent?”

Beshel’s second-in-command, Agent Barlan was fair-furred, though he had a noticeable scar bisecting the fur near his left cranial horn. Likely a battle injury. Not unlike Beshel, he was a bit on the short side for an adult Degan male, but made up for it in the width of his shoulders and generous muscle mass.

Barlan raised a brow. “If I may be blunt… you look like shit. Sir.”

“It’s this damn rock. The sooner we get off it…”

“Agreed, sir. I’m ready to get home.”

Besh longed to return to the lush vegetation that covered his homeworld.

He turned and glanced out the window. Chunks of metal and concrete littered the landscape of ruined, crumbling buildings. The road into the facility was riddled with potholes large enough to swallow a Degan battleship.

Centauri Colony was a shithole, to be frank. The human colony had been decimated years ago during their war with the Mirans, back before Earth joined the Galactic Planetary Union. Today, most of the planet was still abandoned, left in ruins. Not that it was a gem before the war. The world was little more than a barren ball of dry dirt, stripped completely bare of any natural resources that might have been even remotely valuable. Only two kinds of people made Centauri Colony their home: nutballs trying to live off the grid… or those with something to hide.


Do you have any questions for Peri? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading!

Noah’s New Plan: Chapter 34

Here is Chapter 34 of my free Wednesday Briefs story, Noah’s New Plan. I passed the 1000 word mark by a few words this week, but that’s okay since I missed a week or two lately. The prompt I used this week was a picture of a pinata.

This week’s chapter is for mature audiences!

Remember to checkout wedbriefsfic.com for more free fiction from my fellow Wednesday Briefs flashers! 

image

Noah stood in the closet he now shared with Eli.

It was quite a bit smaller than he was used to. Even after donating roughly half his clothes before moving, he was still embarrassed he needed to overflow his wardrobe into the guest bedroom’s closet.

"What’s with the scrunchy face?" Eli asked.

He moved up behind Noah, wrapping his arms around him. The muscles tightened around his body. A hand slid up underneath Noah’s t-shirt, the rough skin warm against Noah’s smooth stomach and chest.

Noah’s eyes fluttered shut and he let out a soft hum. “You know I can’t think when you touch me like that.”

"Good. You think too much sometimes."

Read more

L’Expérience Degan (The Degan Incident French Edition)

The Degan Incident is now available in a brand new French language edition!

L’Expérience Degan (Conspirations Galactiques 1)

Travaillant seul dans un spatioport, Devin McSmith accueille Bastian Drago, un étranger exotique d’apparence bestiale de la planète Dega, et commence une aventure qui le mènera jusqu’aux étoiles et au-delà.

Devin et Bastian apprennent à se connaître l’un l’autre et leur relation évolue rapidement. Alors qu’ils commencent à tomber amoureux, Bastian disparaît sans laisser de trace.

Lorsque la rencontre de Devin avec Bastian déclenche un changement surprenant dans son corps, Devin est fait prisonnier et détenu dans un centre de recherches top-secret.

Bastian pourra-t-il retrouver Devin avant qu’il ne soit trop tard ?

Available in eBook:

Amazon.fr (France) and Kindle

Amazon.ca (Canada) and Kindle

Amazon.com (US) and Kindle

AllRomanceEbooks.com

BarnesAndNoble.com and Nook

Available in Paperback:

Amazon.fr (France) - includes free ebook version with Kindle MatchBook

Amazon.com (US) - includes free ebook version with Kindle MatchBook

CreateSpace.com

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Guest Post: M. A. Church

Please welcome back M. A. Church! She’s here with her brand new release, the French language translation of Priceless: Inestimable.


Buy Link: French translation link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5340

Blurb:

Des étincelles jaillissent quand Cupidon vise deux mortels à Las Vegas : Randy Jones, un homme ordinaire, en voyage d’affaires, croise le regard de Garrett Shiffler à une table de craps et le temps s’arrête alors. Rejetant tout ce en quoi il croit, Randy se lance dans une aventure torride de deux nuits avec lui, avant de paniquer en réalisant qu’il est tombé amoureux.

Le milliardaire cynique Garrett Shiffler a tout ce que l’argent peut acheter, et la plupart des hommes avec qui il sort, n’arrivent pas à voir plus loin que son portefeuille. La vie lui a appris que l’innocence et l’amour ne sont que le fruit d’une imagination collective. Mais quand Randy disparaît, emportant avec lui des sentiments que Garrett n’imaginait même pas avoir, il s’engage dans la bataille la plus importante de sa vie pour gagner son amour. Mais cette fois-ci, il se bat avec son cœur, et non son compte en banque.

Pendant ce temps, Cupidon se demande ce qui s’est passé. Ses flèches dorées ne ratent jamais leur cible habituellement, sauf quand le Destin intervient. Si Garrett veut récupérer Randy, il va devoir le faire seul, car le Destin a d’autres plans en réserve pour Cupidon.

Excerpt:

APRÈS S’ÊTRE encore fait demander sa carte d’identité, l’homme à l’allure juvénile entra dans le casino. Ses yeux brillaient d’une lueur espiègle alors qu’il scrutait la foule de gens. Il écarta quelques mèches blondes et bouclées de son front, cherchant cette fois un certain type d’individu. Il avait maintenant juste besoin d’inspiration pour frapper, et ses flèches loyales étaient prêtes à l’emploi. Se déplaçant dans la foule, il regarda autour de lui. Il avait le choix parmi tant d’hommes solitaires qui avaient besoin d’amour dans leur vie.

Il était connu sous bien des noms, mais il préférait Cupidon, le nom que sa mère lui avait donné. Mythologie grecque, mythologie romaine… Il haussa les épaules. Les humains ne savaient pas à quel point ils avaient massacré le panthéon, non pas que cela importe de toute manière. Il connaissait la vérité, tout comme ceux de son espèce la connaissaient.

Ses yeux scrutèrent à nouveau le casino… là ! Il avait trouvé ce qu’il cherchait. Cet homme. Avec un large sourire, il se fraya un chemin à travers la foule.

 

GARRETT REGARDAIT la foule du casino ‘Palms’ de Las Vegas d’un air ennuyé et nonchalant, ses yeux ne voyant rien de ce qui se passait autour de lui. Il était agité, et même l’excitation habituelle du jeu n’arrivait pas à piquer son intérêt. Il fit négligemment sauter le dé dans sa main, ne s’intéressant pas aux montants élevés des mises de la partie de craps qu’il était en train de jouer. La foule autour de lui eut le souffle coupé en voyant que sa chance avait tourné, et qu’il venait de perdre plus d’argent en un seul coup de dé que ce que certaines personnes gagnaient en un an. Mais même cela ne parvint pas à le tirer de son humeur morose. Soudain, la chance lui sourit de nouveau avec le coup de dés suivant.

Son corps fut parcouru d’un frisson et ses cheveux se dressèrent sur sa nuque. Quelque chose, un changement dans l’atmosphère peut-être, attira son attention. Une fois encore, il examina la foule autour de la table de craps, cherchant… quelque chose. Il plissa les yeux et se concentra sur l’homme en face de lui, de l’autre côté de la table. Le temps sembla ralentir, et se figer. Le brouhaha agaçant du casino devint un simple bruit de fond jusqu’à ce qu’il n’entende ni ne voie plus rien… à part, lui.

Le cœur de Garrett rata un battement et augmenta rapidement, accélérant soudain, puis prit une courte pause avant de battre à un rythme effréné. Son esprit imagina une série de scènes en Technicolor qui exigeait que l’homme en face de lui prenne la pose, se penche et s’étire dans un nombre de positions érotiques et explicites. Les yeux de Garrett le scrutèrent jusqu’à ce qu’ils rencontrent des prunelles surprises, de couleur gris acier, et un autre frisson traversa rapidement son corps.

Ces yeux brillaient d’une douce lueur innocente comme Garrett en avait rarement vue et qu’il ne croyait pas exister encore aujourd’hui. Son esprit restait incrédule. Personne ne pouvait être aussi innocent, personne. Mais une partie de son âme longuement réprimée chuchota… ‘Et si’ ? Et si cet homme n’était pas un simulateur et qu’il était réellement ce qu’il semblait être ? Surpris par la réaction de son corps, il décida d’en avoir le cœur net. Il fixa l’homme de l’autre côté de la table de son regard glacé. Un petit sourire en coin flotta sur les lèvres de Garrett alors qu’il faisait signe à l’homme de venir à ses côtés.

M.A. Church

M.A. Church lives in the southern United States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football, racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.

But her most beloved hobby is reading. From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would write a book.

By sheer chance she stumbled across a gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.

My links:

Blog http://machurch00.blogspot.com

Twitter @nomoretears00

Facebook: http://goo.gl/k4SbBI

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5141393.M_A_Church

Guest Post: M.A. Church

Roswell – Myth or Fact

According to much widely held public opinion, the United States government successfully recovered the remains of a crashed UFO along with its extraterrestrial occupants near Roswell, New Mexico, in July 8, 1947. In what is now known as the “the Roswell incident,” the U.S. military is said to have quickly covered up the affair and continues to shroud it in extreme secrecy even today.

If these events surrounding Roswell in the summer of 1947 actually took place, as have been claimed in several books on the subject and by numerous UFO researchers, it would certainly constitute the story of the millennium and be the greatest government-sponsored coverup of all time. Indeed, should irrefutable evidence ever surface that any government on this earth possessed the physical remains of either an extraterrestrial spacecraft or its occupants, it is an understatement to say that such a revelation would fundamentally transform humanity as we know it.

Now… according to Ziang, Daroshi’s commanding officer, there was a crash. How does he know this? LOL. He was involved. He was there. And guess, what? Aliens do exist and have visited Earth.

*Grin* Bryan can tell you all about aliens and their tentacles. ;)

Nighttime series:
Nighttime Wishes Book #1: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-nighttimewishes-790160-340.html

Nighttime Dreams Book #2: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-nighttimedreams-994823-148.html

Buy Link:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/455044

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-nighttimepromises-1562900-350.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nighttime-Promises-M-Church-ebook/dp/B00LKP48WK

~I’m running a giveaway at my blog too. It runs until July 18th! http://machurch00.blogspot.com

Blurb:

Be careful what you wish for…

The first time Daroshi spotted Bryan, the Maz’Rarian warrior knew he wanted the small town sheriff as his mate. Things have been going downhill since. Daroshi doesn’t have experience dealing with humans, especially a very unhappy human male who’s just had his well-planned life jerked out from under him. Little does Daroshi know the changes Bryan will insist be made to help him adjust. But he also never dreamed someone would actually try to kill his mate.

The shocks just keep coming for Sheriff Bryan Coltrane. Finding out aliens exist was bad enough. Finding himself mated to one was definitely not on his to-do list. Wait, what? Did someone say tentacles? And if that’s not enough, a killer tried to poison him. Added to his misery, now he’s on his way to another planet—a planet that he hates on sight. How’s he supposed to survive in such a cold, ugly industrialized world? Can you take the country out of the boy without killing his spirit?

As Bryan struggles to adapt, a killer plots to end his new life… before it even begins.



Excerpt:


The stress of the past few weeks sure caught up with him—saying he was gaunt was putting it nicely. His sapphire blue eyes were sunken in his head and the laugh lines around his eyes slashed deeper into his face. The dark circles didn’t help matters, either. God, he looked like he had two black eyes. The skin was that nasty bruise color and puffy.

And were there more than a few strands of gray in his dark hair now? At age thirty-four this was ridiculous. That’s what stress would do, though, and this was about as stressful a situation as he’d ever been in. Bryan sighed. The poisoning deal scared him; he could have died. Should have died, actually. Someone was after his ass and they didn’t know whom. On top of that, they were hurtling through space toward a planet he’d soon be calling home. With an alien.

Yeah, stressful. “Shit,” he muttered. “Things have got to get—”

“Bryan!”

Bryan flinched at the roar from the other room. Damn, do these aliens know how to do anything other than yell?

“Where are you? Bryan? Bryan! By the stars, answer me!”

A loud crash echoed into the bathroom.

“Oh, for God’s sake.” Bryan shook his head. What the hell was Daroshi doing out there? Tearing Medical apart looking for him? Did Daroshi think he’d… what? Run away? Where was there to run? Besides, he had someone trying to kill him. He damn sure wasn’t going to go wandering the halls alone.

“Bryan!”

“I’m in here, Daroshi.”

Daroshi slammed into the bathroom area, chest heaving and tentacles writhing on his back. Jesus, he looked fierce. “What are you doing?”

“Playing checkers.” Bryan rolled his eyes. “What do you think I’m doing in here? It’s a bathroom. Come on, big guy, you figure it out. Jeez.”

Daroshi leaned against the doorframe, the rise and fall of his chest slowing. “I’m not even going to ask what this ‘checkers’ means. Bryan, the medibed stopped monitoring your stats. The low beeping noise ceased. I woke up thinking there was something wrong, and instead I find you’re… You weren’t there.”

“Aw, man, I didn’t think. I had to use the bathroom and… What are you doing?” Bryan grabbed hold of Daroshi’s shoulders as his feet left the ground.

Daroshi hoisted Bryan into his arms, growling loudly even as a tentacle snaked across one massive shoulder to pet Bryan. “I’m taking you back to the medibed. You know, it’s that thing that monitors your body’s systems. You were poisoned and shouldn’t be up. Do you understand how serious this is?”

Huh, sarcasm. “Since I was the one poisoned I’d have to say that yeah, I get it.” Bryan rested his head against Daroshi’s neck. Good thing he already went to the bathroom. “Wow, is that your best bedside manner? Because I have to tell you, it leaves a lot to be desired.”

“Waking up and finding you missing left a lot to be desired.” Daroshi gently lowered Bryan back down onto the medibed. “Do not do that again.”



M.A. Church bio

M.A. Church lives in the southern United States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football, racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.

But her most beloved hobby is reading. From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would write a book.

By sheer chance, she stumbled across a gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.

My links:
Blog http://machurch00.blogspot.com

Twitter : https://twitter.com/nomoretears00

Facebook: M.A. Church: http://goo.gl/k4SbBI

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5141393.M_A_Church

Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007A8JA4C

Noah’s New Plan: Chapter 33

Here’s Chapter 33 of my free Wednesday Briefs story, Noah’s New Plan. This week I used the prompt “Did you see…”

Be sure to check out the Wednesday Briefs web site for more free fiction from my fellow briefers.

Noah stepped out of the bathroom, still slightly damp from his shower, wearing only a pair of grey boxer briefs.

"We need to get the moving truck," he said as covered his mouth and yawned.

Eli’s eyes slid up and down his boyfriend’s body appreciatively, lingering at the soft hairs in the middle of his chest. Traveling downward, he followed the hair that led from his navel into his underwear. Eli was intimately familiar with what hid inside, though the bulge in the tight little briefs left little to the imagination.

"What on earth are you wearing?"

Noah’s voice snapped Eli out of his trance.

"Huh? This?"

Eli looked down. He wore sneakers, camo pattern shorts, and a black tank top. Oh. The shirt had a pair of glasses on it, taped in the middle, and in large block letters was written “NERD MAGNET”.

Eli chuckled. “Cute, huh?”

Only Noah wasn’t smiling or laughing.

"What’s wrong?"

"Oh, I don’t know," Noah answered sarcastically as he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

"Why are you upset?" He spread his arms out. "I’m wearing this out of love. Nerd love."

Noah shook his head. “You’re crazy.”

"Yup."

Eli pulled Noah close and wrapped his arms around him. He pressed his lips to Noah’s head, planting a series of kisses. “Mmm, you smell good.”

"It’s your body wash."

Eli sniffed Noah’s hair. “It doesn’t smell that good when I use it.”

"I had to use your body wash on my hair."

Eli ran his hand over his smooth shaved head. “I don’t have much use for shampoo.” He pecked a kiss on Noah’s lips. “Anyway, I got something for you.” Opening the bottom drawer of his dresser, Eli pulled out a folded t-shirt. “Here ya go, babe.”

"What’s this?" Noah flicked the shirt, unfolding it, then holding it in front of him.

He looked down at it and started to laugh. The shirt had the face of a cartoon bear and it said “BEAR MAGNET” in block letters. Noah shrugged, then pulled the shirt on.

"It’s a little tight."

"Nah, it fits perfectly." Eli reached around and smacked Noah’s ass. "Put some shorts on and let’s go."

* * * *

Noah stepped back, moving out of the way.

Eli had brought his older brother, Jack, and his friend Rex. Between the three of them, they broke down the bed and furniture, and did all the heavy lifting. Leslie and Nicholas had volunteered to help, but they were missing in action.

Eli and Rex each had an end of Noah’s desk. Slowly, they carried it out of the apartment and down to the truck.

Jack walked past with the headboard.

Leslie and Nicholas walked in, carrying a carriers of coffee.

"Who is that?” Nicholas leered, staring at Jack’s ass while the big man made his way down the stairs. “Did you see… that… butt?”

"That’s Eli’s brother, Jack."

"Damn, why didn’t you tell me he had a hot brother?"

"He’s straight."

"I could turn him."

Noah sighed. “Oh god. Thanks for showing up, by the way.” He looked at his wrist, miming checking the time on a watch.

Leslie pointed at Nicholas. “It’s his fault. Diva had to get her hair just right.”

"Well, everything’s almost loaded into the truck anyway."

Nicholas grinned. “Then we’re right on time.” He took a sip of his coffee.

Leslie pulled at the sleeve of Noah’s T-shirt. “Nice shirt, by the way.”

"Eli bought it for me."

"What? You’re kidding?"

"Just pick up some boxes, please."

* * * *

Once the truck was loaded, they headed over to Eli’s house. Between everyone, they unloaded the truck, piling everything in the garage. Noah would go through it later.

Right now everyone was relaxing, enjoying pizza and beer. Noah’s treat.

Jack took a swig of his beer and kicked back in his chair. “So, do you feel different now that you two are shacked up?”

Noah thought about it for a moment. He could honestly say he didn’t feel different. They spent more nights together than apart. He should be freaked out, but he wasn’t.

"Not really." Noah smiled.

Eli slung his arm around Noah’s shoulders. “I feel happy.”

Special Pride Flash! Sail Away with the Wednesday Briefers

This June, in honor of Gay Pride month, the Briefers decided to take part in the Beth Wylde special events taking place all month long. We came up with a special themed storyline, centered around a gay cruise, with a host of secondary characters we can all use to interact with our original stories and main characters. This is totally separate from our regular weekly flashes, and we have some fun stuff also going on at Beth Wylde today. You can learn more about the Briefers, chat with us, offer up some ideas and comments, AND win some prizes, including 3 $25 gift cards provided by our members.

Click the banner to visit the Beth Wylde group or go to:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/bethwylde/info

Rough Seas for Marshall

by Rob Colton

 

“You didn’t have to do that.”

Marshall Sprague was equally grateful, yet equally annoyed. It had been, what, fifteen years, since he’d seen Ronnie Spangler? And then he comes swooping in like a goddamned white knight to save him from that perverted weirdo Speedo-wearing stalker.

Marshall never should’ve agreed to do that auction anyway.

That damn Charlotte.

His best friend—make that former best friend—knew how vulnerable he was when she asked him to come on this cruise, where she worked on the events planning team. Then she used the excuse of needing additional volunteers for the bachelor auction. He’d been on the boat a hot minute when she practically shoved him into the middle of the ballroom floor to be auctioned off like some desperate piece of meat.

If he’d known it was all a setup to pair him off with her cousin, then he never would’ve set foot on this boat. Not after what Ronnie did.

“Sure I did, Marsh.” Ronnie shrugged.

Marshall looked at Ronnie. Really looked at him. He was different. Physically, the difference was night and day. He hadn’t recognized the man at first; it wasn’t until Charlotte spoke his name that he realized it was Ronnie Spangler.

Back in high school, Ronnie was a jock. He’d always been big and muscular. Now he’d hit his thirties, though, and time had caught up with him. His full head of brown hair was thinning on top, nearly gone at the crown. Ronnie was… fluffier around the middle, to put it nicely. His redneck lumberjack look seemed so out of place on a cruise ship, Marshall wondered if it was a costume for another of Charlotte’s stupid events.

The scraggly beard he always sported in high school had filled in at least, giving him a decidedly manly look. There. He’d found something nice to say.

Not that Marshall was all that to look at, though. After his mom died, he’d been stuck in that hell-hole small town. His boyfriend had long since bailed, leaving him with nothing but debt and anger. He then spent too much time drinking, and not enough time eating. He reached up to scratch his goatee, before he remembered shaving it off for his mom’s memorial.

But what really stuck out was the way Ronnie wouldn’t meet Marshall’s eyes.

He probably feels guilty for what he did.

God, Marshall needed a drink.

“You know, if you’re trying to make up for what you did back then, this” —Marshall waved his hand toward the auction floor— “this doesn’t cut it.”

“Cut me some slack, Marsh. I was eighteen, and scared. All I can say is I probably would’ve done things differently, knowing what I know now.”

“So was I!” Marshall had raised his voice. He immediately pulled back. “Whatever.”

If Marshall could’ve done things differently back then, he would have told his younger, dorky self the fastest way to chase off a man is to act needy and pathetic. Secondly, he would have told his younger self Ronnie Spangler was a motherfucking asshole.

“Whatever you think I did, I’m sorry.”

“You’re sorry? You told all your buddies you fucked the town fag, and you’re sorry!”

“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I never told anyone.”

“You’re a damn liar.”

“Christ, when did you get so fucking bitter?”

“When did you get so fucking fat?”

* * * *

Ronnie got up from the table and left the room. He needed some air.

First some fresh air. Then, to kill his cousin.

Gripping the railing, he clenched his jaw, holding in the scream building up. The gentle rocking of the ship should have calmed him, but it didn’t.

Contrary to what Marsh thought, he never told anyone about what happened. Why the hell would he?

It wasn’t like Ronnie had forced himself on Marshall. The boy wanted it. He begged for it. But goddamn, that was good. Most people talk about their first time being a disaster. His first time with Marsh had been amazing. He still thought about it to this day.

It was at one of his football buddies’ graduation parties. Marshall had come with Charlotte. He looked so damn nerdy, so damn cute. Marsh didn’t know how sexy he was, but Ronnie did. Ronnie always noticed, just like he noticed the way Marsh used to stare at him when he thought no one was looking.

When their eyes met that hot summer night, years of pent-up sexual tension exploded between them.

And now, not only was he still pissed, but he had a hard-on to go with it.

Just fucking great.

* * * *

“You are dead ass wrong.”

Charlotte stood with her hands on her hips, glaring at Marshall.

Marshall balked. “I’m dead ass wrong? What about you? You manipulated me. You manipulated Ronnie. Did you think I was just going to swoon, say ‘My Hero!’ then jump into his arms and his bed?”

“Well, yeah.”

Marshall rolled his eyes. “You’re so gross.”

Charlotte sat down at the table. She leaned in and let out a soft sigh. “Look, I know how you guys felt about each other. Something happened between you two at that party. You had this look in your eyes. Not to mention you were definitely walking funny.”

“Again. Gross.”

“When he left, I saw how hurt you were.”

“How? You were gone, too. You left me behind.” A lump caught in Marshall’s throat. “Those guys… You don’t know what it was like, trapped there with them…” His voice trailed off. If he continued on, he’d break down, and he’d already shed more than enough tears.

“But you’re not there. You’re—”

“You’re right.” Marshall looked around, taking in all of the men around him. Men like him. Right now, he was away from that miserable hell of a town. Even for a few days, he had the chance to be himself. To change his life.

He wasn’t about to waste the opportunity.

* * * *

Want to read more? The flash will be expanded into a short story with the rest of today’s flashes, and available as an Anthology ebook.

Sail Away with the Wednesday Briefers!

Tomorrow is the Wednesday Briefers day at Beth Wylde’s month-long Pride Celebration. Join us at the Beth Wylde Yahoo! group for Q & A’s, chats, and contests with awesome prizes.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/bethwylde/info

Also, there’s still time to win a copy of Enforcer over at Cia’s Stories. Check it out for an exclusive excerpt, plus a chance to win a copy of the ebook. The contest ends tonight at midnight (EDT).

http://ciasstories.blogspot.com/2014/06/visiting-author-rob-colton-with-enforcer.html

Noah’s New Plan: Chapter 32

Here’s Chapter 32 of my free Wednesday Briefs story, Noah’s New Plan. This week is short but sweet. The prompt I used is “it’s not you, it’s me”.

Be sure to check out the Wednesday Briefs web site for more free fiction from my fellow authors.

Don’t freak out.

Noah glanced over at Eli. The man had both hands on the wheel, eyes on the road. Aside from the sound of the truck speeding across the asphalt road, it was silent.

Maybe Eli didn’t actually mean to ask Noah to move in. Maybe Eli was just feeling vulnerable because of his dad’s health scare. He didn’t know what he was asking.

You know he did. The man has your name permanently inked onto his body for god’s sake.

The tips of Noah’s fingers itched. Noah pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose as he cleared his throat. He really wished he had his notebook and a pen with him right now. He could start a pros and cons list. That would definitely help him decide what to do.

Eli’s voice cut though the silence. “We can pretend I didn’t ask, if it makes you feel better.”

Noah jumped at the unexpected sound. It took him another second to process Eli’s words, and then an additional second to process the hurt in Eli’s voice.

What was Noah afraid of? When Derek asked him to move in all those years ago, he didn’t hesitate. He’d thrown himself into Derek’s arms and kissed him like a fool. Why was he reluctant now with Eli? It was clear that Eli loved him.

And Noah loved Eli. He could admit it to both himself and Eli.

A romantic at heart, Noah always believed in finding one true love. He’d thought that Derek was that one. And after twenty years, it had exploded spectacularly like a supernova.

Was that what it was? He’d used his “one true love” up? But was it possible a person could have more?

What he had with Derek was real, no doubt about it, but people change. Derek changed. Or maybe Derek was the same man he always was, and it was Noah who actually changed. He certainly felt different, now that he was out of Derek’s shadow.

When he was with Eli, he felt confident and secure, and attractive. Heck, Eli even made him feel sexy.

Noah watched Eli… his handsome, sexy, man.

Eli gripped the steering wheel, his knuckles flexing. He wouldn’t look at Noah.

He’s bracing himself for my answer. He expects me to say no.

And that was Noah’s knee jerk response; he could admit it. The old Noah would have shouted “no” and ran. But another change Eli brought about in him was spontaneity. He didn’t need any lists, and he didn’t need any damn plans.

With Eli, the future was wide open.

Eli let out a tired sigh. “You’re about to give me the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ excuse, aren’t you?”

"Yes, Eli. Wait. I mean, no. I’m not giving you an excuse. I’m saying yes."

Eli shot Noah a sideways glance. “Yes?”

"Yes. I want to move in with you."

A grin lit up Eli’s bearded face.

"I knew you’d say yes."

"Oh, you did? And how did you know that?"

"It was all part of my plan."

Eli laughed and Noah joined in.