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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author Eloreen Moon to Stories That Make You Smile! Eloreen is here today to tell us about her smokin’ novelette, Together. She’s brought along a lovely excerpt, a generous giveaway, and has kindly brought along some of her characters for a little Q&A. Pull up a chair and join the conversation! 🌟
Together by Eloreen Moon
Apart, they are incomplete. Together, they are perfect.
Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis
Release Date: May 27, 2019
Length: Novelette / 15,731 words / 80 pages
Heat Rating: Erotica
Pairing / Genre: M/M/M Contemporary Erotica Romance, interracial, multicultural, LGBTQ, M/M, poly, ménage, fiction, gay, bi, friends to lovers, second chances
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Victor has loved El and En since high school. The problem is, they love each other and only see him as a friend. Victor leaves town, unable to cope with watching them together, but now he’s back—and his heart still feels the same.
El and En have had feelings for Victor for a long time, they just haven’t said anything. After all, a poly relationship isn’t something society looks upon kindly. But that isn’t going to stop them, not now they understand what missing Victor is like. They want their third, no matter what anyone says—they just have to find out whether Victor is up for the challenge.
Together again, individually, the three men know they’re meant to be a trio. The thing is, who will say so first? And will the dynamic work if Victor joins a stable couple? Can Victor fit in and have the relationship he’s dreamed of with the two men who have held his heart in their hands for what feels like forever?
Find out in Together.
Sitting on the patio outside our favorite North Atlanta diner on a spring-like April Friday should not have been cause for melancholy. This was, after all, our regular weekly lunch whenever we were all in town. But it had been around this time, three years earlier, when my best friends, El and En—Miguel Armenta and Enrique Cruz—had dropped a life-changing bomb on me. I couldn’t help thinking back to high school when they’d told me they were moving in together after graduation.
My world had gone dark that day.
I hadn’t let it show. I’d hugged them gently, told them that they were my best friends and we would keep in touch, while hiding behind my shoulder-length black dreads. I quietly changed all my post-graduation plans, embarrassed that I was running but certain I didn’t have any other choice. My pain was too great. Fortunately, I hadn’t told them of my plans before it had happened. It was around that time I had begun to realize I had feelings other than a simple crush for my best friends in the months before we got our diplomas.
I almost had another panic attack shortly after heading for university when I realized I wanted both of them; I couldn’t choose between them and proceeded to break up with my then girlfriend so I wouldn’t string her along for any protracted length of time than I already had. I had to get as far away from the ones I desired so I hightailed it to California like my ass was on fire.
The subsequent change of scenery had triggered a lot of soul-searching. During that time, I came to the realization that I could have feelings for both men and women. Following that, ménages were not unheard of as far as committed relationships went. I returned home from school three years later after graduating early with my newly minted degree in systems engineering. I went back to my hometown in Metro Atlanta because of the availability of tech jobs even though I knew returning would put me in their zone again. They had never left the small town north of Atlanta where we’d grown up. The lower cost of living in the region and my initial salary made it an easy decision. In reality, I had missed them while in school too much to stay away. I was sad sometimes but I had other interests and friends, kept in shape with kick boxing, and hung out with them on a semi-regular basis. I had made my peace to be near them again but was about to find out that may not continue.
I had taken another bite out of my sandwich while they had been quietly talking and reminiscing when a shout of surprise penetrated my consciousness. It was the expectant looks on their faces that finally registered, and I realized that someone had asked me a question while I hadn’t been paying attention.
I chewed quickly so I could focus on the two dark-haired, golden-skinned, Latino men sitting across from me.
“What? Did I miss something?”
My heart squeezed as I looked at their gorgeous faces. They both had slightly oval-shaped jaws, and mustaches, but En had trimmed scruff along his jaw while El was clean-shaven. My attraction to them had never waned, but I wasn’t going to break them up to satisfy my selfishness. I ignored the familiar pain, just as I had for the previous eight years, and waited for them to respond.
El rolled his dark blue eyes at my tendency to get stuck in my head and answered for them both. He usually did—being the one who was six-two standing and slightly taller than En, while En was the quieter one. El was protective of him, too. Considering En is a writer and El a lawyer, they fit. The thought flitted through my mind that I wanted to hold and protect them both. I mentally shook my head and focused on the repeated question.
“Vic, would you be our best man at our wedding in two weeks?”
I reared back in shock. “What! How? When did this happen?” I stood instantly to my full height of six-five, almost toppling the chair in my haste. Slightly embarrassed at my reaction, I continued to deflect, “Of course I’ll be your best man. Together?”
El and En stood with me, and we migrated close to each other as we talked.
At En’s nod, I continued, “That’s going to be some interesting coordination. Yes, sure! Where?”
I smiled through the searing pain that lanced my heart. I had gotten used to hiding my feelings from them for so long it was second nature.
Seemingly a little nervous, En showed the rings he had and said softly, “I just asked him now spontaneously.” He gazed at El lovingly while holding him around the middle, his head tucked under El’s chin, and his pretty brown eyes radiating happiness.
El wrapped his arms around him, grinning widely, and he eyed me intently.
“I said yes,” he confirmed as well.
“Awww, that’s cute,” I said, outwardly amused but inwardly I was shattered. “Sorry about missing the request the first time around. You know how I get lost in my head sometimes.” I walked the few steps to them and gathered them both in a group hug, my long arms almost encircling them.
I had no hope now, since I never saw any signs they were interested in me romantically, but I didn’t want to lose their friendship and so I’d never told them of my feelings. While I knew about polyamory, I wasn’t sure they did, and they never gave any indication that they were interested in something more than friends. I enjoyed the contact for a few more seconds then pulled back a little, catching my dreads in a loose ponytail with a hair looper I had on my wrist most of the time. “You haven’t figured out how to do the deed yet, huh?”
“Actually…we have,” El answered excitedly, practically jumping in our three-way hug. “We’re going to ask one of our friends who have their online ordination to marry us in Piedmont Park that Saturday. I’d been about to ask En tonight at home as I already got a marriage license last week.” He focused on En sheepishly, kissed him on the top of his short-haired head, and only separated some as he continued, “Apparently, great minds think alike and all as he had the rings with him today.”
Adorable. My heart turned over at how cute they were. God, I loved them so much. I’d thought it was just friendship with them growing up as I hadn’t ever had any feelings for guys. I’d liked girls as a kid and loved touching them. I’d noticed guys but only in passing, and it was fleeting, so I’d never thought about guys that way for many years. For fuck sake, I had a typical high school sweetheart cheerleader to my wrestling jock self!
It had never occurred to me that I was bisexual when I’d transferred to Appleton Middle School at the tender age of thirteen. My parents and I moved from Jamaica because of political unrest at the time. With a June birthday and different grade entrance laws in Georgia, I had to repeat sixth grade, so I was two years older than them. I was the ebony dark guy to their golden Latin American in a school system with only a smattering of non-whites to satisfy the diversity in the upper middle-class school system we had attended. People eyed me warily when I’d first arrived. Whispers of that N word and occasional other derogatory name-calling crept up over the years. I came to realize the stories of discrimination I had heard but hadn’t paid attention to before the move about the US in general, and the southeastern states in particular, were true. En and El became my best friends despite the lack of true diversity at the time and had me join them for lunches in the school cafeteria from day one. We’d continued the lunches over the years and only interrupted them when I went to college.
It hadn’t surprised me much when they’d started behaving differently with each other in sophomore year. They came out to me as gay about the same time they told me they’d begun their romantic relationship toward Christmastime that same year. It was a wake-up call, and I realized I had a crush on El first, then En invaded my heart later. Since I was eighteen at the time, I considered running from the feelings they evoked. Even then, I couldn’t leave as I didn’t want to lose our friendship. At Appleton High, I dated the head cheerleader, probably more due to being on the Varsity wrestling team despite the mixed-race pairing we were. I hadn’t understood why my heart ached even though I had no issues being intimate with Gwen until that fateful day that spring.
And now they’d done it to me again.
☆ Character Interview ☆
Eloreen: Victor, thank you for joining me in this interview. Let’s get started. What is your full name? And do you have a nickname? If so, who calls you this?
Victor: Glad to be here. My name is Victor Smith, no middle name.
Miguel jumps in: Enrique and I call him Vic. Since we’re here, my full name is Enrique Cruz. I go by En.
Eloreen: She looks pointedly at En and El. Victor is sitting with them amused. This is supposed to be an interview with Victor, Miguel. She glares at them.
Miguel: I know. Miguel smirks knowingly.
Eloreen: She rolls her eyes and clears her throat. It’s going to be one of those interviews, isn’t it?
Enrique: Yes, it is. He smiles at me gleefully. My full name is Miguel “El” Armenta. They call me El most of the time. He blushes some.
Eloreen: She rolls her eyes. Moving on. Victor, how much schooling have you had?
Victor: I have a Bachelor’s in System Engineering from a Football scholarship, but got into game developing and started my own company right after college.
Enrique: He’s very good with the programming. He winks.
Miguel: Now En, keep it PG. He looks sternly at En. Do I need to break out the paddle?
Enrique: He giggles. Maayybee??
Eloreen: Guys! Let’s get back to the questions. Geez. She shakes her head. Victor, Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
Victor: How about a little of both? Can you be both?
Eloreen: I don’t see why not.
Victor: It does depend upon the situation, but in general, I’m an optimist with work-related stuff. Personal stuff… not so much. I tend to be pessimistic there.
Both Miguel and Enrique nod at that.
Eloreen: She huffs. Fine, I’ll bite. Miguel and Enrique, you both agree with him. I take it you have something to say. Enrique looks to Miguel.
Miguel: Definitely. Getting together with Vic was a challenge. He tends to run from his feelings. If it weren’t for Angela’s assistance, we would never be in the triad relationship we are in today. He looks to Enrique.
Enrique: Most definitely. Vic is a little better these days but through high school up until get together, he was always closed mouth about his feelings.
Eloreen: Fascinating. Well, since this is obviously not just an interview with Victor anymore, I’ll pose the next question to all three of you. What are your favorite hobbies and pastimes?
They look at each other doing the silent communication people in relationships, who’ve known each other a long time, do. They look back to Eloreen and they take turns answering the question.
Enrique: Well, I’m into reading, of course. I’m a writer, you see. There are other, less PG, things that I’m into—
Victor: En… He says it very sternly. Enrique settles down. Anyway, I like to work out, box, and occasionally get on my bike with the guys and ride around town. The game designing was a hobby that I ended up doing full time.
Miguel: Cycling with Vic and En is great. I try to do things with them in the outdoors when En and Vic are feeling sociable anyway.
Eloreen: That’s cool. Are you guys generally introverted or extroverted?
Miguel: He snorts. I’m most definitely the extrovert out of the three of us. With our entire social group, Angela is probably slightly more extroverted than I am.
Victor: I’ll agree with that. I’m not sure why she puts up with me at all, especially when we dated. I’m definitively an introvert.
Enrique nods with Victor’s statement.
Enrique: So am I. I can pretend to be an extrovert for books signings and such—I do like to do social things on occasion—but sitting down to read or write is more my thing.
Eloreen smiles at them.
Eloreen: I can identify with that. Not the book signing part but the alone thing reading, or writing, is good. Last question, what do you have in your pockets or purse?
Enrique: Is it bad that I have more of a notebook bag that I sling on my shoulder next to my hip? I take my laptop everywhere since I never know when I feel like writing. He winks. Other than that, I carry the usual: wallet, keys, and random bits of saltwater taffy.
Miguel: That he does. He’s a sucker for taffy. He smiles lovingly at him. He turns to Victor and his expression never changes. Victor, here, carries just the basics in his front pocket.
Victor: Hey, don’t give away all my secrets! El carries a purse with everything you can think of in case needed. He’s definitively always prepared.
Miguel: Looking affronted but with a twinkle in his eyes. I have you know that it’s a man purse. Helps with making sure my clients have a pen, if needed. And when El runs out of taffy. And when Victor forgets his keys—
Miguel stops talking because Victor has walked up to him and started kissing him. Thoroughly, and with tongue. Enrique slips in and they form a three-way kiss.
Eloreen: I think this interview is done… She fans herself with only a slight blush.
Meet the Author
Eloreen Moon is a pen name for a writer, reviewer, proofreader, and reader of all things romance, including alternate lifestyle (LGBT) stories and novels. Inspiration is all around and life will not limit her to one particular topic.
Her first story published is Charon’s Dilemma with the 2014 Love’s Landscape event from M/M Romance group on Goodreads.com. Her second story to be published is also with the Don’t Read in the Closet’s (DRitC) 2015 Love is an Open Road event, with Coil Me Up. She also finished five 300-word shorts for the Discovery: QSF’s Second Annual Flash Fiction Contest, Flight: QSF’s Third Annual Flash Fiction Contest, Renewal: QSF’s Fourth Flash Fiction Contest, Impact: Queer Sci Fi’s Fifth Annual Flash Fiction Contest, and Migration: Queer Sci Fi’s Sixth Annual Flash Fiction Contest (QSF Flash Fiction Anthologies 1-5).
She likes to read and write a blend of #LGBTQ science fiction, fantasy, historical, paranormal, and sometimes more than one together, especially if romance is involved. However, cowboys, lawmen, and contemporary times are fun too. In Real Life, she works full-time, has a blended family with children, and enjoys gardening, computer games, and enjoying nature.
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