#FlashFictionFriday 06/23/2017 Adventures with Ben and Jerry #FlashFic

Flash Fiction Friday

Here is the third of the three original story scenes reintroducing my old Adventures with Ben & Jerry characters. Like the scenes posted the past two Fridays, this was written back in 2008 or 2009 and posted on the Torquere Livejournal Social Group. Way back when, authors at Torquere would sign up to host the group for a day when they wanted to promote a new release (or whatever). One of the things authors often did while hosting was ask for prompt words, then a mere couple hours later, post a ficlet featuring those words. The scene I’m reposting today was the result of one of those times.

I made a few minor tweaks to the original post (and added the word “exhausted” that was left on last week’s post), but it remains mostly unchanged. Full disclosure: commenters were able to leave as many words as they wanted, and I only promised to use at least one from each. I always kept that promise, and this time I used them all. Here are the 11 words/phrases left by 3 people:

noonerblindfoldcameraintensenumbice creamtomatoeskeychainspiral staircaseflagpoleWaterPik shower massager

Note: This scene has a higher heat rating than I typically go for on the site, so most of it is behind a spoiler tag. I toned down the language a bit from the original, but even so, please don’t click on it unless you are 18 or older. 🔥

You’ve got to come home right now. For Spooner. It’s an emergency. Jerry’s voicemail hadn’t been very specific. Ben was numb with worry as he trotted from the car to the front entrance of their new house. Poor little kitty.

He fumbled and dropped his keychain, then knocked his head on the poorly placed flagpole.

“Dammit.” He stood and stumbled to the door, rubbing his head.

“Jerry?” Ben hollered through the house. “Where are you? Where’s Spooner? Is she going to be okay?”

Ben’s jaw dropped as Jerry sauntered out of the kitchen, buck naked, eating a bowl of ice cream as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

“What do you mean?” Jerry asked.

Ben sputtered. “Your voicemail. You said ‘For Spooner.’ You said it was an emergency.”

If you are 18 or older, click to read the rest of this story scene.

Jerry grinned. “For Spooner? No, she’s fine. I said for a nooner.” He glanced down at his half-hard cock and shrugged. “It’s kind of an emergency.”

“You’re kidding.”

“You’re not mad, are you? Sorry, you look upset. Or maybe exhausted. Are you okay?”

Ben scratched at the sore spot on his head. “I’m fine. I’m not mad at you. I hit my head and I would have sworn you said Spooner, so I was worried.”

“Sorry hon. Didn’t mean to worry you.” Jerry leaned over and gave him a light kiss.

“Mmm, nice.” Ben wrapped his arms around Jerry’s neck and pressed in. Jerry’s arms came around his waist, then Ben shuddered as cold ice cream slid down his back.

Ben jumped back. “Shit. You’re tipping your bowl.”

Jerry grimaced. “Sorry. Damn. I keep having to apologize to you today.”

Ben looked into the dripping, half empty bowl Jerry still held in his hands. “What the hell is that? Please tell me you don’t have tomatoes mixed in with your pistachio.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

Ben sighed. “Nothing I guess. Just don’t ever give it to me that way, okay?”

“Check. No tomato with pistachio for you.” Jerry wiggled his eyebrows. “Hey, this mess works out, anyway. My surprise for you is in the shower.”

“There’s a surprise?” Things were looking up. He rather liked Jerry’s surprises.

Jerry got an intense look in his eyes. “You’re really gonna like this one.”


Jerry put his bowl down on the coffee table and led Ben to the spiral staircase leading up to the loft that had been the deciding selling point for the house.

Upstairs Jerry opened his top dresser drawer and pulled out a purple blindfold. Uh-oh. “When did you get that?”

“Last weekend. I want you blindfolded for the surprise.”

“O—kay.” He could go with that. He closed his eyes as Jerry wrapped the thing twice around his head.

Then Jerry stepped away. It was disorienting standing there in the dark. Ben put his hands up, reaching for Jerry.

A click and whirring noise cut the silence, and a barely detectable flash of light made it through the thick material of the blindfold. “What was that? A camera? Tell me you didn’t just take a picture of me standing here like a doofus.”

“Um, sorry, that’d be a lie.”

“That better not end up on the Internet.”

Jerry laughed. “Quit worrying. Just relax. You need to get undressed now for our shower.”

“Fine.” Ben pulled off his tie and unbuttoned his shirt as Jerry went straight for his pants. Ben kicked out of his shoes so Jerry could get them off. His socks and boxers were peeled off last.

“Much better.” Jerry’s voice was cheery as he led Ben to the bathroom. Once there, Ben leaned against the wall as Jerry adjusted the water. “Okay, it’s hot enough, come on in.”

Ben stepped into the shower stall, but where was the water? He reached up to adjust the shower head, but it wasn’t there. Instead a hose ran out. He followed the hose down to a sprayer in Jerry’s hands.”

“When did we get a hand-held shower thingy?”

“I got it this weekend. You’re going to loved it. It’s not just any old sprayer, it’s a WaterPic shower massager.”

(Technically I’ve used all the prompt words now and could just end it here. But what the heck, they’re already nekkid…)

Ben laughed. “You sound like a commercial. But cool, that sounds good.”

“Just wait.” Jerry’s voice changed to his bossy tone. “Turn around. Put your hands on the wall.”

Ben shivered as a grin spread across his face, and he did as he was told.

Jerry started on his forearm, and worked up to his shoulder. It wasn’t too intense, but it was nice, and he relaxed into it.

When Jerry reached the other shoulder he adjusted the nozzle and water powered out, pulsing as he drew circles on Ben’s back with the powerful stream.

Ben moaned and dropped his head down. Damn, Jerry’d been right. He loved it. It was so relaxing. Jerry’s free hand landed on his ass, kneading his cheeks before trailing around to the front, right where Ben wanted it.

“Like the surprise?” Jerry’s voice was low in his ear.

Ben’s reply was more of a groan. “Love it. Don’t stop.”

“Do I ever?”

Nope, he sure didn’t. Jerry never stopped until after Ben expected him to. Of course, that was one of the many things he loved about the man.

Jerry’s brought the nozzle around to Ben’s front and the water jet pulsed across his chest. Ben pushed back as Jerry pressed against his back, grinding along the crack of his ass.

Jerry moved the water massager lower to circle around his abs as Jerry’s other hand maintained its firm, steady, slippery slide. Ben groaned as teeth nipped along his shoulder, and the grind against his ass turned frenzied.

“No.” Ben protested when Jerry’s hand dropped away. He was that close to coming. “Don’t fucking stop.”

“Just ramping it up a bit, love.” Jerry turned the nozzle on the shower head, this time to a less intense pulse, before grabbing Ben’s length again. Ben appreciated the water adjustment when the jet hit his balls.

Ben’s reaction was immediate. A groan tore through him as Jerry’s firm grip milked him.

The WaterPik dropped to the floor of the shower stall as Jerry pressed Ben up against the wall. Ben’s head fell back on Jerry’s shoulders and Jerry made his final frenzied thrusts along Ben’s crack. Jerry held him tightly, then moaned into his shoulder as heat spilled into the crush between them.

Long moments later, Jerry released him. Feeling disoriented in the dark, Ben kept his hands on the wall as Jerry retrieved the sprayer and rinsed them off.

The water turned off, and Jerry’s hands carefully unwound the blindfold. Ben turned to Jerry’s smiling face.

“Am I forgiven for my minor subterfuge to get you home?”

“I knew you’d said, ‘for Spooner.’”

Jerry grimaced. “Sorry. Forgive me?”

Ben sighed. “Of course.” Then he rolled his eyes and smiled. “It was worth it.”

“Love you.” Jerry’s grin was wide.

“Love you, too.”


“That better not end up on the Internet.”

I’m going to return to my old rule for prompts. Leave as many as you like in the comments, but I’ll only promise to use one from each contributor in next week’s post (although I’ll try to use them all).

#FlashFictionFriday 6/16/2017 Adventures with Ben and Jerry #FlashFic

Flash Fiction Friday

Once again I’m reposting a scene to reintroduce my old Adventures with Ben & Jerry characters. This is the second in a series of three preexisting scenes that were written back in 2008 or 2009 and posted on the Torquere Livejournal Social Group. Way back when, authors at Torquere would sign up to host the group for a day when they wanted to promote a new release (or whatever). One of the things authors often did while hosting was ask for prompt words, then a mere couple hours later, post a ficlet featuring those words. The scene I’m reposting today was the result of one of those times.

I made a few minor tweaks to the original post (and added the word “tinsel” that was left on last week’s post), but it remains mostly unchanged. Full disclosure: commenters were able to leave as many words as they wanted, and I only promised to use at least one from each. I kept that promise, and in the end I used twenty-five words (or phrases) left by ten commenters, and only four on the table. Here are the original twenty-five:

woodpilekindling — hearth — watermelon — mangoheathowlbrotherstarscincherstallionsnowicewindybitter coldjingle bellsfruit cakecolored ballssquirrel — puddingtoastersirchocolategrinbatteries not included

(In case you’re interested, the ones I didn’t use were: thunder, photocopier, red-nose, and spider.)

“I’m not calling in sick to play hooky again!” Ben was adamant.

But, Jerry’s grin was mischievous. Ben was learning to get nervous when that grin appeared. “I’m not saying right now. We can plan it for Saturday.”

“But a picnic? In December? I don’t know. It’s pretty darned bitter cold out there. Not to mention windy as hell. All we’d need is snow and ice to make it the craziest picnic on record.”

Jerry laughed and looked at him like he was the one that was nuts. “Not outside. We’ll spread out a blanket in front of the fireplace. I’ll scrounge through what’s left of the woodpile for logs and kindling. The heat from a roaring fire will be just the thing to make us forget the howl of the wind outside.”

Some of the tension drained from Ben’s shoulders. That sounded pretty good, actually. Ben could get behind a cozy little hearth-side carpet picnic. “I wonder if I can find a watermelon in December? Or mango. I love mango.” Especially since learning it was an aphrodisiac.

“Yeah, and pudding. I love chocolate pudding.”

“Well yeah, I can make pudding, but that’s not picnic food. Heck, we might as well break out Aunt Gertrude’s fruitcake if we’re not going to stick to the theme.” He’d much rather squirrel that heavy monstrosity away somewhere in case they both lost their jobs and were starving. Really starving, ’cause damn.

“Oh, okay.” Jerry rolled his eyes. “Hey, let’s do it after dark so it can be like we’re camping next to a campfire. The Christmas tree lights reflecting off the colored balls and tinsel will be like we’re looking up at the stars.”

Well maybe for someone with Jerry’s imagination, but Ben could go with that. Night would be better for getting frisky in front of the fireplace, and he could certainly get behind that. “Fine.”

“One more thing…”

Oh brother. “What?”

“Wear that waist cincher I got you for your birthday? You haven’t worn it for me yet.”

Ben’s mouth opened but nothing came out. Well, okay, he could do that. He’d had way more fun than he’d ever expected to have the last time Jerry’d gotten a wild hair in his ass, and Ben had ended up with a purple dildo in his. He nodded.

Jerry’s grin widened. “Good. I’ll have you open that present with the gold jingle bells on it, too. Hey, make sure we have some double A’s.”

“Double A’s?”

“Yeah, batteries. The box you’ll be unwrapping said ‘batteries not included’. We’ll definitely want to have some on hand.”

Ben took a deep, steadying breath. Jerry hadn’t steered him wrong yet. He blushed to admit it, but he liked it when Jerry turned all dom on him like that. Jerry turned into such a—for lack of a less cheesy word—stallion. “Okay. I’ll make sure we have some.”

“Oh, and the toaster. We’ll need to bring the toaster out here, too.”

Ben’s eyes widened. “Do I want to ask?”

“Probably not.”

“You going to make me call you ‘Sir‘ again?”

“That a problem?”

No. It sure wasn’t.

I think when I created Harrison and Mason, I must’ve modeled them after Ben and Jerry—at least somewhat. Ben and Jerry are a little wackier, though.

Since I’m still trying to put all my free time into a short story I need to finish by the end of the month, I’ll probably post the other final existing installment in the Ben and Jerry ficlets next Friday. Even so, you are welcome to leave a prompt word in the comments, below. If I can reasonably work it into the next scene (like I did with “tinsel” this week, then I’ll do that. Otherwise, I’ll hold it for the next fresh scene I write.


#FlashFictionFriday Reintroducing Adventures with Ben and Jerry #FlashFic

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’ve been mired in edits for Cultivating Love and trying to write a short story, on top of things getting busy in my real life, so I figured this would be a good time to kind of cheat for my Flash Fiction Friday post by reintroducing a couple of recurring characters I used in flash fiction years and years ago. It’s only “kind of” cheating, because I worked the word left on last week’s Flash Fiction Friday post (grumpy) into the existing story scene.

This scene was written back in 2008 or 2009 and posted on the Torquere Livejournal Social Group. Way back when, authors at Torquere would sign up to host the group for a day when they wanted to promote a new release (or whatever). One of the things authors often did while hosting was ask for prompt words, then a mere couple hours later, post a ficlet featuring those words. I was terrified the first time I tried, and the scene I’m reposting today was the result.

I made a few minor tweaks to the original post (and like I said, added the word “grumpy” into the mix), but it remains mostly unchanged. Full disclosure: commenters were able to leave as many words as they wanted, and I only promised to use at least one from each. I kept that promise, and in the end I used eighteen words (or phrases) left by nine commenters, and left twelve on the table. Here are the original eighteen:

sunshine — breakfast — coffee — alarm clock — school bus — Large Haldron Collider — sweltering — studio — purple dildo — leather — shovel — hornet — dominate — hot chocolate — rhinestone — leash — flake — If you do that one more time…

(In case you’re interested, the ones I didn’t use were: bed, neanderthal, satin, pretzel, boutique, quill, sunflowers, “That’s Amore,” minimalist, half-life, dweeb, and loser.)

Ben turned on the coffeemaker and pulled a box of corn flakes out of the cabinet. The alarm clock had gone off way too early this morning and he wanted lots of caffeine with his breakfast.

“Good morning, sunshine.” Jerry’s voice was as sunny as the day. “Coffee smells great, but I’m in the mood for hot chocolate today.”

“Hot chocolate? Really? It’s gonna be sweltering.”

Mr. I-love-mornings winked at him. “You’re drinking coffee.”

Ben couldn’t refute that logic so he poured his cereal, sat down, and willed the coffee pot to drip faster. “You going in to the studio today or the office?”

school bus rumbled by, and he missed Jerry’s reply. It involved an eye roll, though.


“I said, what’s the point? The earth’s going to be swallowed by a black hole today anyway. Might as well stay home for it.”

Ben shook his head at Jerry and his Large Haldron Collider worries. “You’re pretty chipper this morning considering the world’s coming to an end.”

Jerry smiled. “Well, I don’t really believe that. But don’t you think it would be a fun excuse to stay home? You know. Say ‘to hell with it all, we’re playing hooky today.’”

Ben grinned. Jerry was a free spirit and sometimes his attitude was contagious. There wasn’t anything he needed to do at the office today that couldn’t be put off a day, was there? “What excuse should I use?”

“You could just tell old Prather a hornet stung you. You’re allergic to freaking everything so that’d work. He’s such a flake anyway you could tell him anything.”

“What about you? Jenkins is always grumpy. I can hear him now: ‘if you do that one more time…’

Jerry laughed. “He always says that. I’ll just tell him I’ve got the stomach flu and I’ll work from home. I’m pretty much done with that project anyway.”

Ben wasn’t going to tell his boss he’d been stung by a hornet, but he could see a case of the stomach flu buying him a day at home. “What do you want to do with our day off? We can’t go out and risk being seen after calling in.”

Jerry had a playful glint in his eye. “We’re being bad. I think we should be really bad. Remember those gifts Randy gave us when we moved in together? The ones you put in the back of the closet?”

Ben’s jaw dropped. “The leather collar?”

“And the rhinestone studded leash.”

“Oh yeah.” Jerry had such a hopeful look in his eyes. “Ah, okay. Who’s going to wear it?”

Jerry gave him an eyebrow wiggle. “Wanna dominate me? Or would you rather be dominated?”

Ben wouldn’t know where to start. The idea of Jerry getting all Dom on him was kind of intriguing, though. Hot even. “Uh, you can be in charge.”

Jerry’s eyes turned serious. “I’ve got a purple dildo with your name on it.”

Ben choked.  A what? Was it too late to back out? He opened his mouth, but nothing came out.

Jerry walked calmly over to the coffee pot and turned it off. He poured a cup and set it in front of Ben. “Drink up and shovel in some cereal. You’re going to need the energy.”

What had he gotten himself into?

Since I’m still trying to put all my free time into the short story I mentioned above, I’ll probably post the other two existing installments in the Ben and Jerry ficlets for the next two Flash Fiction Friday posts. Even so, you are welcome to leave a prompt word in the comments, below. If I can reasonably work it into the next scene (like I did with “grumpy” this week, then I’ll do that. Otherwise, I’ll hold it for the next fresh scene I write.


#FlashFictionFriday – Cultivating Love “alternate universe” Bonus Scene – #FlashFic #amwriting

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m using the word left on last week’s Flash Fiction Friday post:


…and 14 additional words I got from https://www.randomlists.com/random-words (screenshot, below):


Screenshot 2017-05-30 17.11.10

This is a bonus scene for Cultivating Love. It’s not a continuation scene, or a “missing scene” that could fit somewhere in the middle. It’s a “WHAT IF?” scene. As in what if, in some alternate universe, Ed and Joe traveled to Mayfield in the spring before the action in Cultivating Love takes place? Before Ed’s father is tragically killed in a motorcycle accident? Note: The action in this scene is NOT consistent with the published story, and cannot be considered a true prequel.

Ed stared out the window at the white trail behind a plane crossing the sky. “Maybe we should’ve flown to Denver.”

“Nah,” Joe replied. “It’s just one day of driving each way—about eight hours plus stops. This way we’ll have my truck to get around in while we’re there.”

“Yeah, I know. Sorry, I’ll quit bellyaching.” Lengthy road trips sucked, but Ed didn’t need to make the long drive across Nebraska worse by bitching about it to Joe. Besides, he was looking forward to everything they had planned to do in the city. Everything from the thrill of seeing a ballgame at Coors Field to the diversion of the planetarium and exhibits at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, to the awesomeness of the vintage cars at the Forney Museum of Transportation. He needed to exchange his whiny attitude about being stuck in a car for a more upbeat one that reflected his excitement for the days ahead.

A lively rabbit hopped at the side of the road, drawing Ed’s attention to the road sign next to it. “That’s the Mayfield exit. My dad was from there.”

“You’ve never visited the town, right?” Joe flicked on the turn signal and slowed the truck. “It’s as good a place as any to pick up some road snacks. That way you can at least see the town where he lived.”

Cool. Yeah, that’d be great.”

Joe took the exit and they traveled a few miles down a secondary highway before reaching Mayfield. They found the town square without any trouble. It was like stepping back in time as they drove the circuit, passing by a bank, a diner, a hardware store, and a general store. The pharmacy had a cute sign with crisscrossed bandages above the words, “We heal you.” Ed pointed toward a brick building with a large sign simply stating “Groceries,” and Joe pulled into a parking spot in front of it.

A middle-aged woman’s eyebrows rose sharply when they entered the store. She stood near the cash register, restocking a shelf of impulse items all stores seemed to have next to their checkout lines. Ed nodded and smiled as he picked up a hand-held basket and followed Joe. The first aisle straight ahead of them had crackers and chips visible on display, so that’s where they went.

A bushel basket atop a crate held various single serve snack items, but Joe pulled full-sized boxes and bags off the shelves and tossed them in Ed’s basket. Just as well, since they’d want snacks in their motel room in Denver, too.

The woman from the front wasn’t particularly subtle as she kept an eye on them. Maybe they looked like potential shoplifters. More likely it was because they were strangers, and in a town this size, that stood out.

“Hey,” Joe whispered. “Let’s give her something to talk about.”

“What are you planning? I don’t want to get arrested by some backwoods sheriff.”

Joe snorted. “Nothing illegal.” He bounced his eyebrows a couple times and leveled a knowing look at Ed. “Think the old dear will piss herself if I kiss you?”

Ed choked on a laugh, and Joe didn’t wait for an answer—he leaned in, placed a hand on Ed’s jaw, and planted a big smooch right on Ed’s mouth. If Joe had been hoping for an outraged reaction from the woman, he’d be disappointed, because if the smirk that appeared on her face was any indication, she was amused.

Ed added a bag of cheese popcorn to their basket and they returned to the front to pay for their food. The woman looked them up and down again. “You boys in town visiting relatives?”

“No ma’am,” Joe replied. “Just passing through.”

“Huh.” She turned to Ed. “I would’ve sworn you were a Jamison.”

Ed’s heart skipped a beat and he grabbed Joe’s arm. “I am a Jamison. Ed Jamison.” Maybe his mom had been wrong, and he did have some family still alive. “I didn’t think I had any living relatives here. Are there some? My dad was from Mayfield, but he died before I was born.”

She looked bewildered with her brow scrunched and her mouth pinched. “Hmm. Not sure who your father was, but you look a lot like Fred Jamison. He has a farm on the south side of town. He can probably sort it out for you.”

“Fred?” That had been his father’s name. Ed turned toward Joe.

Joe shrugged. “Maybe a cousin? Want to check him out?”

Ed turned back to the woman. “I’m so glad you said something. Thank you. I didn’t think I had any relatives left at all. Do you know if his number is listed? Do you think he’d mind me questioning him about the family?”

“He’s listed. You won’t need it, though.” She inclined her head toward the square out the front window. “That’s his truck in front of the diner.”

Ed grinned. “Fantastic.” He turned back to Joe. “That okay with you? We’re not on a schedule, right?”

“Yeah, no problem.”

They paid for their groceries, thanked the woman again, and left. They tossed the bags in the truck and walked toward the diner. “I’m nervous,” Ed said. “I hope this guy isn’t peeved that we’re interrupting his lunch.”

“Nah, it’ll be fine. Quit worrying.”

Ed pasted a wide smile on his face as they opened the door and entered the diner.

I’m going to be a mean bitch and end it there. Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total. 😁 If you want this scene continued, you might consider leaving something that’ll be useful for that.

The 1st edition of Cultivating Love is available at Loose ID through (probably) June 8 or 9.

The rewritten and expanded 2nd edition will be out at JMS Books in ebook formats on June 24, and in print on June 30. It’s available for preorder, now:

JMS Books, LLC | Amazon Kindle | Kobo

Cultivating Love - Cover - Addison Albright

A man of few words, Joe is a hard-working farmhand who likes his simple, uncomplicated life. Ed is satisfied with his existence as an auto mechanic, but thrilled when an unexpected development in his life allows him to help Joe realize a dream.

It forces them, however, to reevaluate the casual, undefined nature of their relationship. They’re too macho to speak of love, and neither would acknowledge he doesn’t really mind when it’s his turn to bottom. When life throws them a curve ball, and the rules of their game get old, Ed tries to take every aspect of their relationship up a notch. Can Joe adapt to the open sentimentality Ed’s injecting into their relationship, let alone the new spice in their bedroom activities?

Note: This is a previously published story that has been rewritten, expanded, and re-edited.

Summary of May, 2017 Prompts – Adventures with Harrison and Mason #FlashFic

I came across this list of writing prompts for May, 2017 on the Writer’s Write page and thought I’d give it a whirl. I wrote a series of drabbles (precisely 100-word scenes) that feature the characters from my Adventures with Harrison and Mason flash fiction story scenes, and flow together to tell the story of a significant event in their life.

Thirty-one drabbles in a row made some of my category archives unwieldy for people wanting to look over my flash fiction, so I’m collecting all of those daily drabbles into this one post, then sometime in the next week I’ll remove the individual posts from all the categories except the May, 2017 Prompts category.


Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday – April 27, 2017 – ’Til Death Do Us Part – Bonus Scene

Flash Fiction Friday

This week’s Flash Fiction Friday is a bonus scene for ’Til Death Do Us Part, with a quick cameo from Nash and Emmitt of To Love and To Cherish. It uses the word left in last week’s post (naïve), and 14 words found at http://creativitygames.net/random-word-generator/randomwords/: captainislandparadecannonfountainprizeeveningbookfilmtargetleadkeyfaintgarden.

2017-04-28 - Words

For more flash fiction and bonus scenes from many of my published stories as well as some stand-alone or recurring character scenes, check out the tabs in the menu at the top of the page.

Aiden’s eyes widened as he turned in a circle taking in the array of rides and games offered at the Apple Blossom Festival’s carnival. His jaw dropped as the quickly spinning “Round Up” began to tilt. “Dad, why aren’t those people falling off?”

“Centrifugal Force,” Sam replied.

Aiden’s face scrunched up. Typically, he’d ask for a definition, but this afternoon there were too many distractions. Instead he pointed in another direction and said, “That’s the biggest slide in the whole world!” He turned to me. “Papa, can I go down it?”

After spending most of his life growing up on a tiny island where he’d been marooned with me and two other men, Aiden might have been naïve, but he certainly wasn’t faint-hearted.

“Probably. That’ll be up to your grandparents, though.” We were meeting Aiden’s birth families here to pass him over into their care for the weekend. We’d purchased a carnival ride wristband in advance for him, but not for ourselves. We didn’t plan to stay since we didn’t want to intrude on Aiden’s grandparents’ time with him. There was a film festival this weekend as well, and we’d be heading to that this evening. I’d miss experiencing this with Aiden, but we would have him for the Apple Blossom Parade next weekend, instead.

Sam laid a hand on Aiden’s shoulder and pointed at the line of carnival games. “Let’s go win you a prize while we’re waiting for them.”

“Yeah! Let’s do that!”

Sam took the lead, and we passed by a game where some guy dressed like Captain Hook was luring customers to his booth to fire tennis balls out of a plastic cannon in hopes of getting one to not bounce back out of the angled array of bushel baskets. If there was any way short of dumb luck to win that game, I wasn’t sure what it might be.

We settled on a simple booth where Aiden could throw darts at a wall of balloons. The woman gave Aiden three darts. Sam squatted to Aiden’s level. “Look, the darts are dull, and the balloons are underinflated. The key to winning is to not worry about accuracy. Just throw it as hard as you can and hope you hit your target.”

Aiden reared back and threw his first dart with all the strength his thin little arm could muster. He didn’t hit a balloon, he didn’t even hit the board where the balloons were attached. At least he didn’t hit the woman running the booth. His second dart hit the board and bounced off. He took a deep breath, narrowed his eyes in concentration, and hurled the last dart.

“Yay!” Sam and I cheered. That last dart had barely landed inside the board’s frame but had picked off an edge balloon in the process.

The woman checked the prize marker inside the exploded balloon. “Fantastic!” She was all smiles as she showed it to Aiden. “You won the top level prize!”

I knew before he said it which prize Aiden would select. He’d been learning about dinosaurs lately and was utterly fascinated by them. Especially the—

“That one!” Aiden’s ear-to-ear grin was infectious as he pointed to the large stuffed Tyrannosaurus Rex. When the woman handed it to him, he gave it a big hug (because T-Rex’s are so innately cuddly) before turning and jumping up and down and waving. “They’re here! Hi! We’re over here!”

Sure enough, it looked like everyone in each of the clans—Aiden’s maternal and paternal extended birth families—was here to enjoy the festival. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Aiden’s paternal Grandmother, Rosa, scooped him up and gave him a big hug and kiss. “We’re going to have so much fun today!”

“I know,” Aiden said. “Look what I just won!”

“I see. That’s wonderful!” Rosa raised an eyebrow in my direction, and I took the hint.

“Aiden,” I said. “How about Dad and I take that home for you. You won’t be able to get on any rides holding it.”

The wide eyes and contorted mouth on his expressive face told us his opinion on that. I quickly added, “It’ll be waiting in your room for you when you get home on Sunday.”

He appealed to Sam. “How come I can’t get on rides with it?”

“It wouldn’t be safe, so it’s a rule.”

His brows came together as he heaved an exaggerated sigh. “Okay.” He handed his precious new dinosaur to me. “Maybe he can guard my dinosaur books while I’m gone.”

“There you go,” I said. “I’ll set him up in front of the bookcase.”

He reached for me, and I took him back for a goodbye hug and kiss, then passed him to Sam for the same. We waved goodbye then stopped by a couple food stands to pick up an early dinner before heading to the film festival.

We settled down by a fountain in Memorial Park to eat the sirloin burgers and curly fries we’d picked up at the Ramblin’ Gourmet, and the chocolate dipped fruit on a stick we’d gotten at Shishkaberry’s (because, you can’t go to a festival and not eat some kind of food on a stick).

“Fancy meeting you here!” Nash, Sam’s former fiancé, plopped down next to him, and Nash’s husband, Emmitt remained standing in front of us.

“Small world.” Sam gave Nash a hug then held out a hand to shake Emmitt’s. “Great seeing you guys here.”

“Yeah, good to see you again, too.” Nash peeked around Sam to flutter a hand at me. “How’s it going, Henry?”

“Life’s good. You guys going to hop on some carnival rides?”

“Nah. Gonna to grab some festival food then check out the Blossoms and Brews. We’re going to see The Secret Garden at the Fifth Avenue Theater tonight.

“We’re seeing that tomorrow night,” I said. We packed a lot into our “free” weekends each month when Aiden’s grandparents took him. Maybe too much.

“Cool.” Nash stood. “Well, I just wanted to say ‘Hi.’ See you around.”

They walked off, hand in hand. I glanced at the time on my phone, and no longer felt like rushing to pack in as many cultural activities as we could. “How bad to you really want to see the Femme Friday screenings?”

Sam quirked an eyebrow. “I thought you wanted to see them.”

“I do, kinda. I really want to see that play tomorrow, but if something’s gotta give so we can get in some quality ‘us-time,’ I’d rather lose the film festival.”

Sam’s Henry-melting grin appeared, and he leaned in so close his warm breath wafted over the sensitive skin by my ear. “We could always rent something very not-child-friendly for our very own private screening at home.”

I shivered deliciously at the thought. “Now you’re talking.”

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

Flash Fiction Friday – April 21, 2017 – Adventures with Harrison and Mason

Flash Fiction Friday

This week’s Flash Fiction Friday features my recurring characters, Harrison and Mason, and uses the words left in last week’s post (sneeze and muzzy).

For more flash fiction (including more Adventures with Harrison and Mason), and bonus scenes from many of my published stories, check out the tabs in the menu at the top of the page.

Harrison moaned as he rolled and reached for a tissue. He found the box, but it was empty. He didn’t even care when it fell and tumbled noisily across the hardwood floor.

Jaxon poked his head around the corner. “You feel any better, Daddy?”

Harrison blinked a few times, trying to focus on his son. “Feeling muzzy.”


“Brain’s foggy.” He closed his eyes and mumbled, “Could you have Pop bring more tissues, please?”

Harrison reopened his eyes when a heavier tread walked into the room. Mason grinned and set a glass of water on the bedside table. “Jaxon says you asked for a joint.”

“A what? No—tissues!” Harrison sat and covered his lower face. “Sorry. Gonna sneeze.”

Mason ran into the attached bathroom and returned with a wad of toilet paper. It was better than getting snot on his hands, so he snatched the pile in the nick of time.

“Be right back.” Mason dashed out, and Harrison dropped the used TP into the trash can someone had placed by the bed for him.

When Mason returned, he handed Harrison a fresh box of Kleenex and sat on the edge of the bed.

“Thank you. You’re a lifesaver.”

“Chicken soup’s heating on the stove. I’ll bring you some in a minute.” Mason ran fingers through Harrison’s sweaty hair, brushing it back out of his face. “I wonder why Jaxon thought you were asking for a doobie.”

“Dunno. I’m too muzzy to think straight.”

Mason sputtered then leaned across to plant a kiss on Harrison’s brow.

“Aw, I don’t want to make you sick, too.”

“Worth it.” Mason’s grin was extra wide as he chuckled his way out of the room.

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

Flash Fiction Friday – April 14, 2017 – Adventures with Harrison & Mason

Flash Fiction Friday

This week’s Flash Fiction Friday is a drabble (a precisely 100-word story scene) featuring my recurring characters, Harrison and Mason, and using the word left in last week’s post (penile), and an image I found on wiki commons (links with the picture, below).

For more flash fiction (including more Adventures with Harrison and Mason), and bonus scenes from many of my published stories, check out the tabs in the menu at the top of the page.

“Tossed Salad.”

Harrison turned his head and peered at Mason. The words had been muttered. The man lay on his stomach, his head to the side and eyes closed.

“Treasure trail.” Mason moved a little with the words. I mild kind of stretch one might make when half asleep.

Harrison nudged his husband. “You awake?”

“Wang.” The word was barely breathed.



Harrison snorted. “You’re a nut.”


“I’ll ‘penile’ you!” Harrison rolled and draped an arm across Mason’s back.”

One of Mason’s eyes cracked open as a grin spread across his face. “About time you figured it out.”

By rt69 on flickr.comPhotograph on Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Link

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

Flash Fiction Friday – April 7, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

This week’s Flash Fiction Friday is a mish-mash using the two prompt words left in last week’s post (whānau and traffic), and the three concepts from P.T. Wyant’s most recent Wednesday’s Words post (a man in odd clothinga tattered book, and a whistle).

For more flash fiction, and bonus scenes from many of my published stories, check out the tabs in the menu at the top of the page.

Casey reached back for Hemi’s hand as they crossed the small stream between the car park and the sands of Hot Water Beach on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. “I thought we’d never get here.”

“I hate dealing with heavy traffic,” Hemi replied.

“Aw, it wouldn’t have been bad except for that accident.” Casey turned his head to flash a grin at his boyfriend. “Anyway, we still got here at a good time.”

Hemi glanced at his watch and nodded. “It’s an hour ’til low tide.”

“Perfect timing, in fact.” Casey lifted their shovel in salute. “Best ‘hot tubs’ ever.”

A cluster of people of varying ages—an extended family group, perhaps—straggled along behind them with their own shovels and buckets. Casey had to restrain himself from making an obvious double-take at the older man’s outfit. Not so much the incompatible pattern matchup between his swim trunks and open shirt, which was funny enough, but the socks he wore with his sandals. Socks. With sandals. On a beach. Not only that, they appeared to be hand knitted or crocheted socks. He carried a well-worn book in one hand, and a women’s large floppy hat in the other.

The group settled nearby at the tide line. Casey shrugged, dropped his towel, and began digging their own personal, natural, hot springs spa. The water that would bubble up from the coastal springs was rich in beneficial minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Simply put, it was an amazing experience, and he looked forward to a tranquil hour or so with Hemi.

He dug out a big enough pool for the two of them in no time at all. Hemi used the bucket they’d brought to fetch some ocean water to adjust the temperature in their little spa. They were all smiles as they slathered on sunscreen, then sat and leaned back on their elbows to wallow in the soothing heated water. Casey leaned across to drop a quick kiss to the corner of Hemi’s mouth, then closed his eyes and lifted his face toward the sun.

They both jumped when a shrill blast of a whistle shattered the calm. Casey brought a hand to his heart and turned toward the source of the noise. The whistle still hung from the old man’s lips. The child standing near the water’s edge turned and ran back to the group at the man’s hand gesture.

Casey turned with wide eyes at the sound of Hemi’s chuckle. “Really?” Casey mouthed the word, but remained silent. Not that he was surprised Hemi would be more amused than annoyed. Nor could he really blame the old man, even for that piercing blast, considering the reputation of the riptides at this beach.

Hemi smiled serenely and lifted a shoulder. “Reminds me of my whānau.”

Ah. His large, extended family. Well, they’d produced a warm-hearted and congenial young man in Hemi, so Casey was inclined to disregard the interruption to his meditation. It wasn’t as if it was a private beach, after all.

They rested their heads on the sand piled around the edge of their little bath, and Hemi’s hand slipped into his. With the distraction of Hemi’s thumb skimming back and forth along Casey’s wrist, he barely even noticed when the old man started reading aloud from the tattered book he’d brought.

Wikipedia: Whānau (Māori pronunciation: [ˈfaːnaʉ]) is a Māori-language word for extended family, now increasingly entering New Zealand English, particularly in official publications.

Maoridictionary.co.nz2. (noun) extended family, family group, a familiar term of address to a number of people – the primary economic unit of traditional Māori society. In the modern context the term is sometimes used to include friends who may not have any kinship ties to other members.



Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

Flash Fiction Friday – March 31, 2017 – Bonus Scene – ’Til Death Do Us Part

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m just using the one prompt word (jockstrap) that was left in the comments of last week’s post. In general I’ll use up to 15. If they aren’t left in the comments, then I may or may not grab some extras off a random word generator site. This week I went with not. 😜

Oh, and sorry, Nell, I broke the rule you attached to your word (“But you have to write something hotter than someone doing laundry and finding a hot jockstrap, that’s the rule 😉”). In fact, it’s literally found in the laundry.

Anyway, since April 3rd is the 1-year anniversary of the release of ’Til Death Do Us Part, I’m going with a bonus scene for that novel, today. The timeframe for this scene falls within the timeline of the story, rather than after it ends, so I suppose you could call it a missing scene. I picture this scene taking place shortly before the action in chapter 4, where Sam hands over his summer class to a grad student and surveys Henry’s office at the university.

For more bonus scenes from ’Til Death Do Us Part, as well as from a number of my other published stories, check out the “Bonus Scenes” tab in the menu at the top of the page.

Sam closed his eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath before reopening them and facing the hamper. In the days immediately following the news of Henry’s plane crash, he’d eyed the tall wicker basket despondently and had instead put his freshly used clothes directly into the laundry basket sitting atop the washing machine.

Would this be his last chance to catch Henry’s scent? It was already starting to fade on the sheets that were still on the bed. His heart wasn’t ready to give up hope, but it warred with the logical nature of his brain. Either way, he couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t take care of Henry’s personal effects himself. Regina had offered to handle this task for him, but he’d declined. He both dreaded and wanted to do this himself. He squared his shoulders, removed the lid, and reached in.

His own pajama bottoms lay on top. The ones he’d been wearing when he’d awoken that fateful morning. After watching the news report, he’d been too distracted to think. Apparently, he’d opened the hamper out of sheer habit and tossed them in. He transferred them to one of the laundry baskets he’d placed beside the hamper. Next he quickly sorted the clothes he’d worn earlier that day.

Sam sighed and stared at Henry’s lime-green Nike stretchy fitted shirt that he’d worn when they’d gone cycling together earlier in the afternoon before the flight. Henry had wanted to get his blood flowing before he’d be stuck sitting in an airplane for thirteen hours. Sam’s heart skipped a beat as the sweaty musk that permeated the fabric wafted up to him. He reached, then froze with his hand suspended above the brightly colored material. A sob wobbled in his throat, and he fisted the shirt and clutched it to his chest. He desperately wanted to bury his nose in it, but a vocal corner of his brain cried out, arguing that it would be impossible to turn back, emotionally, if he let himself flounder in his pain.

He tossed the shirt into a waiting laundry basket and gaped at the next item in the hamper. The jockstrap Henry had worn beneath his biking shorts. In typical Henry style, it was a tantalizing cross between form and function. No strictly utilitarian underwear for Henry, but neither was it meant purely as a fashion statement. It was bright blue with a wide gray waistband—pretty, but functional. And rich with Henry’s personal fragrance.

Again, Sam’s fingers hovered over the garment before finally clasping the material. The tears he’d been holding at bay flowed freely as he clenched and flexed his hand around the material. He kept his hands down at his belly, that corner of his brain now positively screaming that he’d never be able to turn back from the abyss if he lost control here and gave himself over to the desperate desire to wallow in Henry’s scent. His hand shook as he transferred the skimpy garment to the laundry basket. He shivered, picturing himself turning into some shifty creeper that came home and sniffed undergarments in a baggie every night. He ran his fingers through his hair and steeled himself to quickly sort through the rest.

He stood and carried the first load to the washing machine, opened it, and tossed in the clothes and a detergent pod. The bright blue jockstrap teased him from the top of the pile. He closed his eyes and counted to ten as he fiddled with a button on his shirt. When he reopened them, the rational corner of his brain whispered: This needs to be done, regardless. Either Henry will want his clothes clean when he returns, or they’ll need to be clean when you pack them away. Sam pushed back when that reasonable part of his psyche pressed him to accept it was the latter, and aloud, he murmured to the empty house, “I know the odds that you’re still alive out there are far closer to ‘none’ than ‘slim,’ but I’m not ready to let go of you, yet.”

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

Anniversary Promo 600x600

Flash Fiction Friday – March 24, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

I’m doing something slightly different today. I waited (for the 3rd week in a row) until Thursday afternoon to write the post, but that turned out to be a good thing because I stumbled upon this “daily writing prompt”…


…over at the Writers Write blog on Thursday and decided to use it along with the one prompt word (disappointment) that was left on last week’s post.

So here you go—10 items found in the rubbish, and 1 prompt word. Although this does continue with the same characters from last week, I’ll file it under Random Standalone Flash Fiction because I don’t intend for them to become recurring characters. I’ll revisit that if I change my mind down the road.

It had to be in here. Grant used a finger and thumb to gingerly pick up a rotting banana peel and toss it aside. He shuddered. Who put food remains in their bedroom trash can, anyway. No wonder the room reeked.

“Ew,” he muttered. The used condom could sift to the bottom. He wasn’t touching it despite the fact that Dreamy Daniel from the carnival had worn the thing. At least he assumed it had been Daniel and not Andy wearing the rubber. Either way, no doubt it was a contributor to the funky odor. The crumpled tissues and wet wipe were probably related, and also not anything Grant wanted to touch. He fetched a pair of tongs from the kitchen, because clearly this job needed either that or rubber gloves. This mission had better be worth it.

An empty chocolate syrup container, a candle stub, and an empty can of Reddi Whip came out next. Grant shook his head. Had they made banana splits in the bedroom, or drizzled this shit all over each other and licked it off? He could get behind the latter option, at least if he was one of the participants.

Good grief. An empty champagne bottle and about a dozen bitten off strawberry tops? On a first date? Andy’d pulled out all the stops for this guy. Even if Grant managed to finagle a date with the man, he’d be hard put to compete with this shit.

As he lifted off the last few strawberry greens the paper he was after emerged. Grant’s shoulders slumped with disappointment when he saw it. Daniel’s name was readable, but the ink for the phone number underneath it had run and speared into an illegible mess. Andy’s phone was the only hope of retrieving it, now. That or flirting with the man right in front of Andy. No, he felt low enough going through Andy’s trash. What plausible excuse could he have given even if he’d discovered the number, anyway? It was time to concede defeat. He sighed and returned the garbage to the plastic can.

Andy stood in the doorway with a hiked eyebrow when Grant turned to leave. “Find what you were looking for?”

“My self-respect? No, left it behind.”

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

Flash Fiction Friday – Prompt Word Ficlet – March 17, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m using 15 random prompt words for my Flash Fiction Friday story scene. I got one word (hamburger) from the comments of last week’s post, and 14 words (screw – conduct – degree – square – print – clever – existence – boot – famous – crack – hungry – hands – ignite – stiff) from a random word generator (screenshot below).

Screenshot 2017-03-16 13.16.09

This week I wrote another random standalone scene, unrelated to any of my existing publications or returning flash fiction characters. I think it might be my shortest non-drabble to date, coming in at only 244 words:

Screw that,” Andy said. “I’m hungry. Let’s go get some hamburgers or something before we get on any more rides.

“The line’s not going to get any shorter, you know.” Grant stood stiffly with his hands on his hips, tapping one gleaming ankle boot on the asphalt, and one eyebrow hiked up so far its very existence was in question, since it was out of sight behind his—admittedly long—side-swept bangs. Grant was famous among their circle of friends for his over-the-top theatrical conduct. “And I can’t stay late, I’ve got to get up at the ass-crack of dawn for work tomorrow. Boss-man from hell doesn’t care that today’s St. Patrick’s Day.”

“But I’m so hungry, I could…” Andy’s gaze landed on a strikingly good-looking man with green-streaked blond hair who’d just gotten into the line in question, and his attitude took a sharp one-hundred-eighty degree turn. It wasn’t a guarantee, but there was a good chance the guy was gay, wearing a shirt with rainbow lettering printed on a black square, stating, “He who is born round won’t die square.” Which was a clever Sicilian proverb meaning people don’t change their fundamental nature. So, yeah, the rainbow lettering was a clue. “Actually, come on. Like you said, it’s not getting any shorter.”

Grant’s eyes about popped out of his head. “What the hell ignited a—oh.” He turned and started walking. “Just because you saw him first does not mean you have dibs.”

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

If you’d like to enter a big giveaway that includes signed print copies of ’Til Death Do Us Part (which includes the short story, From This Day Forward), To Love and To Cherish, and Snapshots (my collection of eleven short stories), then hurry on over to Day 4 on the Diverse Reader week-long March Madness party: http://diversereader.blogspot.com/2017/03/march-madness-week-long-giveaway-day-4.html


Flash Fiction Friday – Prompt Word Ficlet -March 10, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m using 15 random prompt words for my Flash Fiction Friday story scene. I got one word (champagne) from the comments of last week’s post, and 14 words (bike – aromatic – bad – limit – hiss – bow – squeeze – train – soap – snow – improve – rainy – pain – grass) from a random word generator (screenshot below).

Screenshot 2017-03-08 21.25.31

This week I wrote a random standalone scene, unrelated to any of my existing publications or returning flash fiction characters:

Darren squeezed through a group of passengers standing near the exit and stepped off the train. He pulled up the hood of his jacket and hummed “Rainy Days and Mondays” as he made his way to the bike rack. A deep-toned hiss behind him indicated the doors had shut and the train would move on to its next stop.

Mondays were usually bad enough, but he’d reached his limit today when his pain-in-the-ass boss had dumped another project on his desk and announced he’d probably have to work through the next weekend to meet the deadline. There hadn’t been much he could do except bow his head in acceptance of his employer’s decree. Could his day—no, week—possibly get any worse?

“Could be worse,” a deep voice behind him said, as if its owner could read his mind. “At least it isn’t snow.”

Darren turned toward the holder of that sonorous sound, and his heart leapt into his throat, blocking the automatic reply he’d intended. Instead, he stood with his mouth hanging open, staring at the greenest eyes he’d ever seen. They were green as fresh grass on an early spring day, and framed by strawberry blond hair that seemed the perfect accompaniment to the aromatic cologne or soap the man wore that hinted of the apple-y floral scent of a fine French champagne.

Instead of raising a haughty eyebrow at his graceless reaction, the man smiled widely as his head tilted inquiringly to the side as if he both recognized and returned Darren’s undefended interest. “Hi.” He put out a hand for Darren to shake. “My name’s Stuart.”

Darren grasped the offered hand and found his voice. “Darren. And you’re right. It could be worse.” In fact, it was starting to improve already.

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

Flash Fiction Friday – Photo Shoot Bonus Scene – 15 Random Prompt Words

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m using 15 random prompt words for my Flash Fiction Friday story scene. I got one word (coffee) from the comments of last week’s post, and 14 words (build – office – furtive – approach – near – upbeat – receipt – open – undesirable – string – pen – note – smell – lackadaisical) from a random word generator (I used a new one this week).


This week you’re getting a bonus continuation scene for Photo Shoot, one of the short stories in my Snapshots collection. This is from Eddie’s 3rd-person POV:

Eddie cast furtive glances down the halls of the fine arts building as he passed near the art department offices. The smell of coffee hung in the air, and an upbeat instrumental melody of mixed string instruments drifted out as he approached the open door to the studio where he was supposed to meet Trent.

Ever since posing for that nude photo shoot for his now-boyfriend’s project, he’d been reluctant to go anywhere near the department where the panel of instructors who’d passed judgment on the assignment might be hanging around, and—God forbid—recognize him. Trent knew it, too. He knew Eddie would come up with excuses if Trent asked to meet him anywhere in the building. He knew this from experience. That’s probably why he’d left a cryptic note written on the back of a receipt—so Eddie wouldn’t have the opportunity to come up with some pretext for not meeting him. He’d used that purple pen with ink that smelled fruity as if that would sweeten the deal. It hadn’t.

A woman walked briskly out of the room in question and did a double-take as she strode past. “Trent’s already in there. Go on in.” She turned the corner before Eddie had even registered she was talking to him.

Heat infused his face, and he stopped short of the door. He’d never met that woman before. How did she know he was meeting Trent? Had she seen—

“Eddie!” Trent appeared in the doorway, a huge smile on his face. “You made it!”

More voices drifted out of the room, so he could discount the notion that the woman had made a logical assumption based on Trent being the only one in there. “Yeah. You ready to go?”

Trent seemed confused as he scratched the side of his nose. “Go where?”


Laughter and a middle-aged rail-thin woman wafted out into the hall. “Ah, there you are, Trent.” She smiled in Eddie’s direction. “And I see your Eddie’s arrived. Come in and join the party.”

Party? Eddie’s eyes widened, but Trent took his hand, possibly sensing Eddie’s urge to run in the opposite direction. “The department’s having a little celebration. One of the professors is getting married.”

“I’m Celia Hall,” the woman continued. “Has Trent had the chance to explain my offer to you, yet?”

Oh, dear God. Did he want to know? “Offer?”

“I need a model for my sculpture class. I think you’d be perfect.”

Perfect? The way Trent looked at him, he’d come to accept he wasn’t exactly undesirable, but he was hardly flawless. Of course, artsy folks maybe wanted imperfections to make things interesting.

“Oh, uh, geez. I don’t know…”

“It pays twenty dollars per hour.”

Eddie’s eyebrows shot up. His gaze darted to Trent, then back to Professor Hall. He opened then closed his mouth. Twenty dollars per hour? He could really use that extra money. He had to at least consider it. “Clothes?”

She shook her head. “Nope.”

His cheeks puffed out as he slowly released a stream of air. Could he really do it? He hadn’t thought he could handle posing for just Trent, but in the end, he’d felt comfortable enough. Maybe it was all about the attitude. He couldn’t walk in there all red-faced and obviously mortified, but if he could cultivate a lackadaisical mien, he could maybe bluff his way through the experience.

“Twenty, huh?”

She smiled, looking every bit like she knew she had him hooked. “Per hour.”

With a soft groan, he closed his eyes. When he reopened them, Trent winked. Bastard had no shame, whatsoever. Eddie’s “okay” sounded a bit whiney, but she didn’t seem put out by the tone.

“Wonderful. I’ll get your contact information from Trent and be in touch.”

Mission accomplished, she returned to the party.

How Trent managed to look so innocent standing there was a mystery. “You tricked me,” Eddie said, but the words lost some of their intended effect since he had trouble resisting a spontaneous grin in response to the thumb Trent was rubbing across his wrist.

“Aw, you’re too self-conscious. There was no reason for you to avoid showing your face in this building.” Trent leaned in to kiss his cheek. A delicious shiver rippled through him as Trent’s warm breath floated across his ear. “And, I’ll be sure to show you how much I appreciate you joining me here, later.”

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

Promo - Teaser - Snapshots

Click here for more information, review snips, and  purchase-links for Snapshots. Information on all my publications can be found in the menu at the top of the page.

Flash Fiction Friday – To Love and To Cherish – Bonus Scene

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m back to using 15 random prompt words for my Flash Fiction Friday story scene. I got one word (patriarchy) from the comments of last week’s post, and 14 words (level – cleanwaitcrimeapparelrocktestyagreeableunhealthyhangchannelbackrelyisland) from a random word generator (got them in three batches, otherwise they’re blocked by ads—screenshots below).


I should get bonus points this week for getting the word “island” and not using it for a scene from ’Til Death Do Us Part. 😇

“Oh, please. Don’t even try to tell me patriarchy isn’t alive and well.” Nash’s head snapped up as Angela’s voice carried over to where he and Emmitt were arranging a tray of fruit and vegetables to offer their company. “Did you read that idiotic letter to the editor some fool politician in Utah wrote?”

“No need to get testy with me.” Harley put his hands up in surrender. “I didn’t say it wasn’t still a concern, only that my company doesn’t discriminate or pay women less. I run a clean business.”

“Misogyny should be a crime,” Angela grumbled. “And don’t get me started on the sexism rampant in children’s apparel, either.”

“Lock ’em all up,” Harley prodded. “Send ’em all to ‘The Rock.’ Lower level, in solitary.”

Angela’s eyes narrowed. “I can always rely on you to stir in a little hyperbole.”

“I don’t suppose,” Emmitt whispered, “that it would be a good idea to inform her the Utah guy resigned two days later due to the backlash, would it?”

“Go ahead,” Nash snickered. “I’ll hang back here and wait while you go over and point that out.”

Emmitt chuckled and picked up the tray. “Not on your life.”

Nash grabbed a bag of chips out of the pantry since Harley had requested “something unhealthy” to go along with the nutritious stuff he’d known Emmitt would select.

“Or better yet,” Harley said, “ship the offenders off to that little island where Nash’s—”

“How about we change the channel,” Angela’s husband, interjected, “to something more agreeable than the news?”

“Good plan.” Harley’s fiancé, Oliver, picked up the remote and switched to a music channel. “Get us in the right frame of mind before we head out to Winterfest.”

Nash sat next to Emmitt on a sofa, and snuggled up under his husband’s arm with a spontaneous smile on his lips.

Harley raised an eyebrow and smirked. “Honeymoon’s still not over?”

Emmitt’s body shook with restrained laughter. Nash said, “Never. Is yours?”

“We’re not even married yet!”

“But you live together.”

“Not for that long. Not alone, anyway.” Harley waggled his eyebrows at Oliver, then pointed his finger at Nash. “It’s only been a few months since you moved out.”

Nash shuddered. “That was a fateful day.” The injury he’d sustained during the drive to move the last of his belongings to Emmitt’s condo had affected his life in so many bizarre ways.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again,” Harley declared. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to you.”

Nash wouldn’t have accepted that statement while enduring the pain and confusion of his recovery, but as Emmitt’s arm tightened around his shoulders, pulling him in for a hug, that familiar warmth spread through his chest, and he knew Harley was right.

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.


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