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Strangers on a Train, the final excerpt!

On February 4 the paperback anthology Strangers on a Train is coming out from Samhain! I (as Meg Maguire), Ruthie Knox, Serena Bell, Samantha Hunter, and Donna Cummings all wrote themed novellas for the collection, and we’re sharing an excerpt a day in the run up to the release. This final teaser comes from Ruthie Knox’s story, Big Boy. Enjoy!

From Big Boy by Ruthie Knox

Copyright © 2012 Ruthie Knox
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

We met online. How else?

Lisa wants to find a life partner, and she’d talked me into thinking online dating made sense. I blame sleep deprivation. Josh was four months old then, and I hadn’t had an uninterrupted night’s rest since I took custody of him.

I moved through the days in a fog, mainlining coffee to keep from nodding off during any silence that lasted longer than twenty seconds. In my profile picture, I looked like a zombie, but the algorithm the dating service relied on kept matching me up with brainless men. After three hapless, awkward dates, I tried sifting through the profiles on my own.

That’s when I found him. Viscount Curzon. In his profile picture, he wore a cravat and a monocle.

In another one, he was Benjamin Piatt Runkle, a Civil War soldier. Under Accomplishments, he’d typed, Survived the Battle of Shiloh. His picture was tinted sepia, like a daguerreotype.

The third one, for Frank Sinatra Jr., made me laugh out loud. Dislikes: Living in father’s shadow. Likes: Loose women.

I found eight of them altogether, each with its own picture. He did a remarkable job of looking like eight different men. I mean, I could tell it was him—he had the same hazel eyes, the same sandy-brown hair in every photo. But he inhabited the disguises.

I showed Lisa, and she told me he was weird. I’d already figured that out. Still, I was surprised how much stock she put in it. His weirdness was what appealed to me. I felt so unfocused so much of the time in those days—like I wasn’t myself anymore, but I wasn’t a new person either. I was a blob with feet.

This guy knew something I didn’t. He knew how to change identities nimbly, with a gleam in his eyes that said I’m having more fun than you are.

I sent him an email. It had to go through the dating service, so he only knew me as Mandy, and I only knew him as Chet Baker. Likes: Porkpie hats, West Coast jazz, heroin. Dislikes: Rigamarole.

He told me he had rules. He didn’t want to know my last name or what I did for a living, and he didn’t want to tell me anything about himself, either. It was the very opposite of what the dating service encouraged us to do.

I accepted his boundaries and tried to engage him in chitchat about music, movies, books. He asked me out. Sort of.

He proposed to meet me at the gate of the National Railroad Museum at eight o’clock on a Tuesday night. I had to wear something appropriate to 1957.

Lisa said he was a crackpot and I should stay away. But I liked the idea of meeting him in costume. If he could pretend to be Chet Baker or whoever, I could pretend to be the version of myself who didn’t have a four-month-old. I could be the superseded me, a competent grad student who never burst into tears at the drop of a hat.

I suppose I was betraying the new me, but I didn’t like her much.

Lisa agreed to babysit. She helped me find a boiled-wool travel suit and locate a source for heavy silk stockings. We curled my hair with rags.

When I got out of my car in the parking lot, I noticed the angle of his hat first. He wore a dark checked jacket with a pocket square, held a cigarette in his mouth that he never lit, and had a louche way of leaning against the brick side of the museum that put me at ease.

“You can be whoever you want,” he told me before he led me to the Aerotrain. “Just stay in character.”

The National Railroad Museum—a considerably less grand operation than the name implies—houses a couple dozen trains. Some are scattered around the grassy grounds, but most, including the fin-tastical 1950s Aerotrain designed by General Motors, are lined up in a huge outdoor shed that’s open on both ends to the elements.

Only the very best trains—the rarest, the well preserved—are indoors, in the Lenfestey Center. The main building also houses a few exhibits, staff offices and a gift shop. Four times a day, they offer a train ride around the tracks that circle the property.

It’s a quaint museum, neither large nor small, funded entirely with donations, grants, admissions and membership fees. Sort of medium-impressive for a city of a hundred thousand people. Very Green Bay.

I’d never been there before that night.

The Aerotrain’s engine was a sleek bullet, but inside, the cars smelled of mouse nests and spent oil, and I had trouble pretending at first. I focused on the wedge of his back moving through the car in front of me. The way his hat sat over his ears.

Lisa had cautioned me to be safe, to keep my hand on the pepper spray in my purse until I knew he was no psychopath. But as I watched him walk, he became just a guy on a train, and I wasn’t afraid of him. I was Florence from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, taking the Saturday special to visit my sick sister in Harrisburg. If I had butterflies in my stomach, they were only because I wasn’t accustomed to traveling, and because I didn’t normally have opportunities to meet such nice-looking men.

His name was Philip. He took me up the steps in the dining car to sit where it was quieter, and he bought me coffee and pastry.

It was an unimaginable relief to talk to him. For one stolen hour, I was somebody else. We swapped stories. Told jokes. We laughed a lot.

When we finished drinking coffee that didn’t really exist, he escorted me back to my seat, his hand settled at the base of my spine. I would’ve let him kiss me goodbye, but he didn’t try.

He waited another two months to kiss me.

* * *

You can order Strangers on a Train from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Tune in tomorrow for the final excerpt!

Strangers on a Train, day four!

On February 4 the paperback anthology Strangers on a Train is coming out from Samhain! I (as Meg Maguire), Ruthie Knox, Serena Bell, Samantha Hunter, and Donna Cummings all wrote themed novellas for the collection, and we’re sharing an excerpt a day in the run up to the release. Today’s teaser comes from Donna Cummings’ story, Back on Track. Check it!

From Back on Track by Donna Cummings

Copyright © 2012 Donna Cummings
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

“Your turn,” Allie said. “Tell me three things. And I can guess which one is the lie.”

“Sounds good,” he said.

She sat forward, her chin on her fists, waiting for his answers. He picked up a glass filled with a pinot or merlot and spent a minute or two thinking, as if he was trying to decide where to start.

He glanced at her a couple of times, and then a huge smile brightened his face, and Allie could swear his eyes were twinkling again. Or maybe they were sparkling. It was hard to decide. She was definitely mesmerized, so much so that she almost missed what he said next.

“I’m Matt Kearns.”

She gasped.

“Have you heard of him?” he asked casually, swirling the wine in his glass while he studied her face.

Heard of him? She’d been trying for months to convince Matt Kearns to pose for her client’s celebrity calendar. Unfortunately, his manager made sure she never got to talk to the baseball superstar, even though she had called every couple of weeks to make her pitch. But Allie couldn’t let this guy know about that.

Especially since she’d realized about five seconds ago he really was Matt Kearns.

Allie nearly shivered. She’d seen a couple pictures of him when her client had waved around a wish list for the calendar. At the time, she had thought his pics were gorgeous, but now, up close, he was incredible. Handsome in that rugged way that made modern women melt, even when they swore they were immune to such things. His eyes were an intense blue, and his skin was tan from being outside all the time, making his smile seem more brilliant in comparison.

She didn’t have the strength to check out the rest of him. Well, except for his long legs encased in skin-tight jeans. And a button-down shirt that covered up what everyone knew was a killer body. Baseball uniforms didn’t leave much to the imagination, after all.

Allie needed to fan her face, but she couldn’t, because then he would know she was thinking about his physique. She supposed she could blame her red cheeks on the wine she’d consumed.

If only he had agreed to be part of the calendar. It was for a worthy cause—rescued greyhounds. But he’d refused repeatedly, his manager saying Matt wanted to be known for his baseball skills, not the results of his strenuous workouts.

Now here he was, sitting right next to her.

But she was confused. Did he want her to know who he was? Or had he told her his name in the hope she wouldn’t have heard of Matt Kearns, and he could hide in plain sight?

She had thought coming up with one lie would be the tricky part of this whole scenario. Now she had to figure out whether to act like she believed him or thought he was lying.

The only thing she knew for sure was she couldn’t blow this opportunity. The calendar was way more important than ending her dating slump.

She glanced again at his baseball cap. “Matt Kearns.” She tapped a finger against her lips, then tilted her head to the side. “Isn’t he the one who catches footballs or something?”

His eyebrows shot up with obvious surprise, and she thought he growled before saying, “He’s a pitcher. With one of the best arms in the league. An ERA of 2.92, and three-time winner of the Cy Young award.”

Allie covered up a smile. “Oh, him. Now I know who you’re talking about. That’s a good one. Funny you should mention him.” She leaned forward and looked from side to side before whispering, “I dated him for a while.”

* * *

You can order Strangers on a Train from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Tune in tomorrow for the final excerpt!

Strangers on a Train, day three!

On February 4 the paperback anthology Strangers on a Train is coming out from Samhain! I (as Meg Maguire), Ruthie Knox, Serena Bell, Samantha Hunter, and Donna Cummings all wrote themed novellas for the collection, and we’re sharing an excerpt a day in the run up to the release. Today’s teaser comes from Sam Hunter’s story, Tight Quarters. Get some!

From Tight Quarters by Samantha Hunter

Copyright © 2012 Samantha Hunter
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

“Just tell me what you want, okay? I’ll do the same. Like I mentioned, I don’t plan on spending much time in the room other than for sleeping, so it will be easy, I promise.”

Brenna bit her lip and nodded, feeling like an idiot.

“I made notes too,” she said, then regretted saying it out loud.

“Notes?”

“On Post-its. You know, to hang on the door. Things like Don’t Enter until Note Is Removed so we didn’t have mishaps. Like walking in on one another while we’re dressing.”

Reid pursed his lips. “I see. And would that be so bad?” he asked, the mischief rising to the surface. “I think we should just take our chances.”

She fought a smile in response. He leaned over the table, holding his hand out.

“Give me the notes, Brenna.”

She resisted, but then pulled them out of her bag, putting them in his hand. She watched him dispose of them like he had the schedule.

“Are you up for an adventure of your own, Brenna?” He picked up the book, looking at it. “Because that’s what we have here, right? A chance to live our own adventure.”

“I—I don’t know.”

Though she did know. She wanted that adventure very much, but she wasn’t sure she could have it.

“What holds you back?”

“I’m claustrophobic.”

“Most people are, at least a little.”

“Did what happened when we were in the room seem like a little to you?” she bit back.

“No. But all the more reason to take it by the balls and squeeze, Brenna. You’re here. Make it count.”

She shook her head. “I’m more successful, more comfortable, if I can control my environment.” Her eyes slid over to where the schedule lay in waste.

He stared at her and then took a breath, sliding out of the booth to land on her side, beside her.

“What are you doing?”

“Showing you that you can’t control your environment all the time. There are too many variables. Me, for instance. Things you can’t control by drawing boxes around them. Like how this train will follow the track and tilt to the inside as we go around that upcoming curve. It will make my body shift a bit closer to yours. But it’s okay to be uncomfortable. To know you can’t control everything. Maybe you can even learn to enjoy it.”

Her mind scrambled as she looked out the window at the curve in the tracks he was indicating. It was a wide, long curve circling around the base of a tall, stony hill. In just moments, the train would be only yards from the rock face, and she was bare inches from Reid, trapped between the two. Her throat tightened, strangling her voice as she put both hands on his shoulder, intending to push, needing to escape. He didn’t move.

Big. Solid. Close.

Her heart slammed, her breath shortened, warmth infusing her entire body, but she knew it wasn’t because she was afraid. The entire time they rode around the curve, she was focused on Reid. What she had perceived as the threat somehow suddenly became safety, and she felt herself holding more tightly to his arm.

As he predicted, his weight shifted slightly toward her, pressing against her hip. He did nothing to brace himself or keep the motion from bringing them closer. His dark gaze burned into her, and she returned it as they swept around the other side of the hill. He leaned in, much more than was necessary from the slight tilt of the tracks, and smiled.

Brenna wasn’t at all sure she was even breathing when he put his face against her hair, whispering into her ear.

“See? You’ll be just fine, Brenna.”

* * *

You can order Strangers on a Train from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Tune in tomorrow for the next excerpt!

Excerpt time again!

As I mentioned yesterday, on February 4 the paperback anthology Strangers on a Train is coming out from Samhain! Myself (as Meg Maguire), Ruthie Knox, Serena Bell, Samantha Hunter, and Donna Cummings all wrote themed novellas for the collection, and we’re sharing an excerpt a day in the run up to the release. Today’s teaser comes from Serena Bell’s story, Ticket Home. Enjoy!

From Ticket Home by Serena Bell

Copyright © 2012 Serena Bell
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

He was waiting for her on the platform at the end of the day, leaning against a pillar, a study in male nonchalance.

Her insides got tangled as her heart tried to leap at the same time her stomach tried to sink, and then she knew half of her had hoped he’d go back to Seattle, while the other half had been hoping just as hard he’d be here, on the train again.

Stupid workaholic Jeff with his stupid phone.

As she stepped through the sliding doors, he pushed himself up off the pillar, an uncoiling of muscle, and closed the distance between them. Aligning himself at her side, matching her stride.

She sped up, ran for the train, and he chased her, bounding on behind her and following her up the aisle.

There was, of course, no place to go. No way to get away from him. Unless—

There was a conductor at the end of the car, and she started toward him, but Jeff caught her wrist again and spun her around to face him. He was very close, so close she could see the circles under his eyes and the pale brown stubble on his jaw. So close she could remember the exact feel of that well-formed lower lip.

“No more games.”

It was a command. It was a growl. She felt it, everywhere.

“Do you know what I spent my morning doing?”

She shook her head. From behind her, someone said, “Excuse me,” and he sat abruptly in an empty seat and tugged her down to sit beside him. A group of passengers went by and distributed themselves into the seats beyond.

She tried to get up, but he held her firm.

“Jeff,” she protested. “You’re hurting me.”

He released her instantly, and she rubbed the place where his fingers had dug into her.

“Your little stunt this morning with the conductor got me detained by the transit police for questioning. Apparently they take ‘See something, say something’ very seriously in the year of the tenth anniversary of September Eleventh.”

“Oh, God,” she said. “Oh, God.”

“It’s okay. It turns out I don’t have a police record or obvious links with terrorist organizations, and I haven’t traveled out of the country in the last couple of years.”

“Jeff, I’m so sorry.”

“Yeah, well. You can make it up to me by not running away again. Okay? Just talk to me.”

She felt terrible about siccing the MTA police on him, but that didn’t mean she wanted to be trapped here with him. It didn’t mean she wanted to rehash bits of their relationship better left behind. And it definitely didn’t mean she wanted his body a few inches from hers, tension rolling off him like fog off the early-morning Pacific Ocean. If she let her eyes flicker sideways, she could see that even his thigh was tensed, the big bulge of muscle straining the wool of his dress slacks.

“I’m not playing games,” she said. “I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to fix things up. I want you to get off the train and leave me alone. It’s over.”

“And I want you to come home with me.”

He said it so simply, it stopped her dead.

* * *

You can order Strangers on a Train from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Tune in tomorrow for the next excerpt!

Excerpt! Strangers on a Train…

Sorry, long post, but on February 4, the paperback antho Strangers on a Train is releasing from Samhain! Myself (as Meg Maguire), Ruthie Knox, Serena Bell, Samantha Hunter, and Donna Cummings all wrote themed novellas for the collection, and we’re sharing an excerpt a day, starting today! This first one happens to be from my story, Thank You for Riding, set in the super-sexy Boston subway in the dead of winter. The story contains some pretty epic dry-humping, if I may say so myself, though this snippet’s rated G. Enjoy!

From Thank You for Riding by Meg Maguire

Copyright © 2012 Meg Maguire
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Caitlin took stock, looking for a bright side. She was trapped in a subway corridor with the cutest, most charming man she’d had the pleasure of getting asked out by in months. Life could be worse. Unless she lost a toe to frostbite. That might not be the best way to kick off a would-be courtship.

“This thing starts running around five,” she said. “Even if we can’t reach anyone, neither of us will drop dead in three and a half hours, not of cold or hunger or thirst, right?”

“Nah, we won’t.” Mark shook his head a bit too energetically, faking calm.

“You’re not claustrophobic, are you?”

“No, no. Just…” He made a dramatic shuddering noise. “Feels weird. Being locked in. I’ve gotten so used to being the lone adult in a room or a bus full of kids, the one who fixes stuff. Just frustrated.”

“Understandable. This ever happen at the Y?”

“Nope. No practice in this particular crisis.” He studied her in the scant light and smiled. “Better it’s you and me here, and not me and fifteen under-rested, over-sugared adolescents, like the time I was on a bus that broke down in Western Mass.”

Just him and her? Better indeed. “Sounds very Lord of the Flies.”

He laughed. “Nearly.”

“What’d you do?”

“Games, fun. Distraction. Trick the kids into thinking it was a sleepover.”

“I wish I’d brought pajamas,” Caitlin said. And slippers, and a nice fluffy robe.

“If we’re stuck here until the morning, we should set up camp closest to the platform. Maybe they keep the station heated through the night.”

“We can only hope. Less breezy, anyhow.”

They wandered back to the revolving gate, and Caitlin sat on the floor as demurely as could be expected in her tiny dress—not that Mark would be able to see much if she accidentally flashed him, not in this paltry light. She slipped off her shoes and set them beside her with a sigh, flexing her toes.

“Funny how getting dumped at a holiday party suddenly isn’t the worst thing that’s happened to me today,” she teased herself.

“Careful. Crappy stuff’s supposed to come in threes.”

“Oh, right. I wonder what’s next?”

“Guess we’ll just have to wait and find out.”

On the positive side, at least she didn’t need to pee. And though she didn’t know Mark well at all, she did have a crush on him, and if someone had forced her to choose a person to be trapped in this corridor with all night, his was the name she’d have blurted.

Mark stretched his legs out in front of him. “So. You like it so far? Our first date?”

She smiled, glad he was finding the humor in things again. “I would have preferred that coffee, I must admit.”

“You okay? Cold?”

She nodded. “Yeah, pretty cold.”

He unzipped his coat.

“No, don’t do that.”

He ignored her, slipping it from his shoulders. He draped it over her lap, and she tucked the edges under her legs and feet, happy for the soft fleece lining…though she wasn’t exactly cozy. The brick floor was turning her butt to stone, and the breeze still reached them, sucked from the street down into the station, off through the tunnels bound for other stops.

“Still think you can make it three or four hours?”

She nodded. “Yeah, I can.”

“Lemme know if your feet go numb or anything. You want my socks?” He reached for his shoes.

“No, no.” She tucked his jacket more tightly under her heels. “I’ll be okay.”

“Gloves?” He was already pulling them off, so it wasn’t a question.

She slipped them on, liking how they’d been prewarmed by him, and how small her hands felt inside them. Mark slid his own hands into the front pocket of his Dingoes sweatshirt after flipping up its hood and cinching it around his face. His very handsome face.

“Thank you,” Caitlin said, her voice sounding strange and disembodied in the dark weirdness of the space.

“Least I can do, after talking your ear off and getting us stranded down here.”

She shrugged. “I’d been willing you to ask me out with telepathy, so really it’s my fault. You were just doing my bidding.”

He laughed softly, and she wished she could see his grin better. That’d warm her up.

“Why didn’t you just ask me out yourself?”

“Well, I might’ve, except I’d already admitted I got dumped in the last few hours. That might quite rightly give a guy pause.”

“Ah. What does it say about me that I asked you out anyhow?” Mark asked, a smile lingering in his voice.

“That you like ’em desperate and vulnerable.”

Another laugh, a proper one. “Wow. I’m a scoundrel.”

“Nah. You’re cute.”

He turned to meet her eyes, raising a brow. “Oh?”

She nodded. “I thought you were cute at the Red Cross, with your scaredy needle-face and your library book and your reading glasses. And the fact that you were donating your platelets in the middle of a weekday.” And your shapely, shapely arm.

“How did you know I wasn’t unemployed, just there for the free snacks?”

“I knew. The way you squeezed that stress ball…” She sighed for wistful effect.

“Oh?”

“Oh, yes. Women can’t resist a man with strong squeezing hands. Tells us you must be great at, oh, I don’t know…making juice. Opening jars. Crushing beer cans.”

“Women really go for that, huh?”

She shrugged. “Maybe that’s my own perversion, after spending seventy hours a week surrounded by guys who speak in financial code.”

* * *

You can order Strangers on a Train from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Tune in tomorrow for the next excerpt!

Six Sentence Sunday #37

Reversal is out! It’s the third of the Curio Vignettes, five episodic novelettes following up on my erotic romance Curio (the Parisian man-whore book). Definitely the roughest of the series, emotionally.

I smile to myself, remembering how it felt to be this man, to leave girls giddy from having mustered the courage to even address me, as if I were someone special.

Someday they’ll even pay for the chance to fuck you,
I want to tell that man. Don’t let them. The ones who coddle you now will pity you in time. They’ll pull the shades down and you’ll tell yourself it’s safer that way, but don’t believe it. Wait for the one who presses your face to the glass, the one who makes your heart pound so hard, in so many unexpected ways.

Thanks for stopping by! Now don’t forget to go check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts this week.

Six Sentence Sunday #36

Craving is out! It’s the second of the Curio Vignettes, five episodic novelettes following up on my erotic romance Curio (the Parisian man-whore book). In this snippet, Caroly is waiting patiently while her agoraphobic not-quite-a-boyfriend, Didier, works through an anxiety attack, having just ventured beyond his safe zone to meet her at a restaurant.

From the outside we must look like a couple on the verge of a breakup, me the cheerfully oblivious soon-to-be dumpee. But fuck what people think. Behind closed doors in the safety of the familiar, he’s warm and kind and wonderful. Not my boyfriend—his occupation doesn’t allow such an easy label. But he’s my first and only lover, my friend, and what feels more and more like a partner as the weeks pass.

Just now he’s as comfortable as an arachnophobe crawling with tarantulas, but I look past the fear to find his beauty, and past his beauty to all the fascinating depths beneath his skin.

Thanks for stopping by! Now don’t forget to go check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts this week.

Six Sentence Sunday #35

Just three days until Craving releases! It’s the second of the Curio Vignettes, five episodic novelettes following up on my erotic romance Curio. This installment finds us back in Caroly’s point-of-view, and she’s got it terminally bad for her Parisian prostitute not-a-boyfriend, Didier.

I sip my wine, liking the way he looks at me. Liking him, just being with him. If this is my first boyfriend, our romance doesn’t look like how I’d pictured it when I was that gawky mantis in Goodwill clothes. Our courtship is short on carnations and prom dresses, surprisingly heavy on the wine and antiques and orgasms. I missed out on getting groped in the cab of some redneck hockey player’s truck, but here I am in Paris, about to be taken to bed by a man so good-looking and so skilled at sex women pay for the chance to enjoy him for a night.

My first love came half a lifetime later than I’d hoped, and though it may look a bit twisted from the outside, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Thanks for stopping by! Now don’t forget to go check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts this week.

Six Sentence Sunday #34

Coercion is finally out! It’s the first of the Curio Vignettes, five episodic novelettes following up on my erotic romance Curio (aka the Parisian man-whore book). This’ll be my last six from this book. Next week maybe I’ll start taunting everyone with snippets from the next installment, Craving, which is out on September 26.

A beguiling, androgynous face worthy of a Dutch painting, high, rare cheekbones softened by those feminine curls. All of it even more enchanting in the candlelight.
Sometimes I see her touch her hips when she dresses, as though wishing there were curves there to accentuate. But with her angular body and her unusual face, she could buy the clothes off a couturier’s rack and be mistaken for a model. So utterly photographable and yet so terrified of being photographed. True, she is no classic American beauty—she is a single black pearl in a strand of the expected white, and so much lovelier for her difference.

Thanks for stopping by! Now don’t forget to go check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts this week.

Six Sentence Sunday #33

Happy Sunday! Only a few days until Coercion releases on Wednesday—the first of the Curio Vignettes, five episodic novelettes following up on my novel Curio (aka the Parisian man-whore book). Keeping it simple, here are the story’s first six sentences:

Inside, my world is small. Safe. Within the horizon of a curved boundary, everything is brass, steel, nickel. Air and shadows. The busyness of Paris fades, growing as distant as space, reality replaced by the movement of gears, the snap of springs. The rhythm and flow of the Métro, of walk signs and traffic lights—all are gone, and I’m lost in the tick and pivot of cogs.

Thanks for stopping by! Now don’t forget to go check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts this week.

Six Sentence Sunday #32

Happy Sunday! Six rather romantical sentences from Coercion, the first of the Curio Vignettes, five episodic novelettes following up on my novel Curio (aka the Parisian man-whore book). This story will be out August 29!

She settles against my chest. As I stroke her hair I think, I love this woman. For her kindness, her oddness, for the way she looks at me. I love her for having come to seek me, and even more so for spurring me to seek her, out in the wide world. In the most literal sense, she has brought warm sunshine and cool breezes and the smell of grass and clover back into my life. And if that isn’t love, I do not know what is.

Now if only Didier could ever find the balls to tell her.

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to go check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts this week.

Six Sentence Sunday #31

Happy Sunday! Long time no tease. Here are six sentences from Coercion, the first of the Curio Vignettes, five episodic novelettes based on my novel Curio (aka the Parisian man-whore book). This story will be out August 29!

It is a strange sensation to lie in this bed, a woman’s body against mine, and still suffer these insecurities. But Caroly’s no longer my client, and when she’s with me now I am only me, the faulty human, not the perfect man women pay me to be. It feels sometimes as though my skin has come off, as though she’s peeled away my clothes and not stopped at exposing my mere nudity, but shed every layer straight down to my heart and nerves and bones. If she lets go, I might come apart.

The anxiety hurts, so I go inside her body in my mind’s eye, and imagine all the places I might take her, within these walls. All the people we might become for an hour or two…women I’ve known and the man they wished me to play.

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to go check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts this week.

Six Sentence Sunday #30

Happy Sunday! I’ve been away awhile, but here are six sentences from the second of five episodic novelettes in an upcoming series following up on Didier and Caroly, from my novel Curio (aka the Parisian man-whore book).

“Show me the things other women want from you.” And what you want from them, so I can be everything…so I can maybe, just maybe, be enough.

Without a word he leaves me, standing beside the bed in the low light. A button is freed, exposing a slice of his chest, then another, two more and the shirt falls away. My heart speeds as it always does in the face of beauty, how I imagine a hunter’s pulse races when he spots a buck, how a wine lover’s mouth tingles as he twists the corkscrew. Didier opens his belt with those deft, capable fingers, sheds his trousers and kicks them aside, revealing an erection hugged in the boxer briefs he favors, a single spot of wetness darkening the cloud gray silk.

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to go check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts this week.

Six Sentence Sunday #29

Happy Sunday! For your pleasure, here are six sentences from that first in the upcoming series of short, episodic novelettes following up on Didier and Caroly, from my book Curio

SPOILER ALERT!!! If you haven’t read Curio but plan to, skip this excerpt if you don’t want to ruin a character reveal.

I was born of my father’s infidelity and my mother’s consumptive infatuation. I’m a bastard and a prostitute, crippled by agoraphobia…but I am beautiful. My deeper flaws seem to go unnoticed, cracks in the stained glass, lost amid the dazzling colors of the whole.

Had I not been beautiful, who knows what would have become of me. I might be as I am now, shut away in some garret with my projects and my view and my wine, but no woman would call on me, certainly none willing to pay for the luxury of sharing my bed. I might be forgotten, left in a cupboard to grow pale and soft and unmissed, unable to escape of my own volition.

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to go check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts this week.

Six Sentence Sunday #28

Hey, fellow Sixers! Long time no snippet. But here are six sentences from a new project, the first in a series of short, episodic novelettes following up on Didier and Caroly, from my novel Curio. Hoping to release this first story (currently untitled) in the summer. Thanks to everyone who shared kind words with me about the characters—your requests for more have not gone unheeded! Enjoy.

She fascinates me, Caroly. Her body, long and pale as winter, her rich, smooth voice softening the edges of that charming, homely accent. She arrived on my doorstep a virgin, a blank canvas, at once terrified and eager to be transformed. At first so cautious, yet never once has she dismissed any lovers’ game I’ve proposed. Every position and activity is a new delicacy to her, each sampled and many deemed worthy of ordering again and again…and my pleasure to be the man to serve her. At times she closes herself up, cold and tight as a mussel, but once you coax her open, she will let you swallow her whole.

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to go check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts this week.