To Move Forward


Geoffrey Bauernfeind

They were once best friends but time does what it does – circumstance forced them into different lives.  Different worlds.  Twenty years later they meet again and things are quite different; one is recently divorced and has a son, the other is seeking love and commitment. They know only know that they must be together and for that to happen, both will have to sacrifice something to move forward.

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Into The Team

Into The Team by Rob Damon

Debut author Rob Damon explores the world of bromance and self discovery in this first tour de force.

To honor his father, young footballer Todd Mackerson commits to his goal of playing for a professional team. When, at the age of 20, he is offered a place to train with one of England’s biggest clubs, he leaves home convinced his dream is within reach.

Being warned by his new team mates of the tough rules and hard training routines, Todd is undeterred. But when he discovers that the player’s way of bonding borders on the sexual, and that he must learn to accept the erotic affections that connect the team together, he wonders how far he can go for his dream.

But, after experiencing the care and attention men can give to each other, Todd feels awakened. Learning that each player has a special “partner” on the team, who they play and bond with as intimately as lovers, Todd becomes fascinated with the idea.

And when he develops feelings for one player in particular, he discovers how a stronger kind of romance – that between two men – can be pure and powerful enough to bring magic and success on the pitch.

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…The locker room was quiet. It was nearly four PM and the rest of the first team had left after lunch. It felt good to be alone with Kieran, and Todd grew more confident about the guy becoming his partner.

But he was uncertain about what to do. Although he’d suggested the sauna, he wondered if Kieran took that to mean they were going to have some hand contact with each other. Perhaps he’d been through a similar experience with Jason or one of the other players when he first came to the club, and was now taking it for granted they were going to get intimate.

While they stripped out of their gear, they talked about Todd’s parents. He mentioned his father had passed away.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Kieran stopped half way through taking off his running pants.

“It happened years ago.” Todd smiled, hoping to ease Kieran.

Although it was a moment of sorrow for him, and he detected a pensive slant in Kieran’s voice, he felt positive about the knowledge he’d shared.

Once out of their underwear Todd placed a hand on Kieran’s neck and gave a delicate rub. “Let’s shower before the sauna.”

“You always need a shower after the session.” Kieran laughed. “Get all that sweat off you before you sweat some more.” He rubbed Todd’s back as they walked into the shower room.

Would he need to soap Kieran like he saw Josh doing for Leo? Todd headed to the wall and decided to just wash himself. He needed to get this right, and making a move too soon could blow it.

Kieran showered next to him and they talked some more about what music they liked. Kieran liked the Irish bands like Coldplay and U2. Todd agreed, and added Ash to the list.

“What about American rock?” Kieran asked.

Todd soaped up his legs and tried to remember if he’d heard any recently. Music wasn’t his main interest but he tried to keep up to date. “I like that song which has a bloke screaming about money or something.” He frowned. “The video has him ransacking his bedroom, looking under floorboards and shit.”

Kieran stopped washing and glanced at him with a lost expression.

“You mean ‘No Cash No Hash’?” he asked. “Yeah, the video has him running around his bedroom searching through draws and coat pockets.”

Todd laughed. That was it. The bloke loses it at the end of the video and leaps from his tenth floor flat. “NO CASH NO HASH!” he screamed.

“GONNA SPLASH MY MASH!” Kieran continued. “I AIN’T SEEN NO GREEN! NO HASH NO CASH!” Kieran beamed while Todd laughed.

Seeing Kieran’s eyes, bright and adoring, Todd felt suddenly out of place. Kieran was four years older and yet he seemed like a younger guy. He was the same height as Todd, but his body was slimmer, more athletic than Todd’s tougher frame. He wondered if this meant he had to take the lead in this budding pair process.

“I think we should spend more time training.” Kieran smiled. “We’ll both get each other hot for the game in two weeks and show the boss we’ve got something going.”

The positive tone in his voice lifted Todd’s stomach.

“Yeah, we should.”

His head filled with the two of them on the pitch for the charity game, passing the ball to each other as they ran to the opposite end, dodging every challenge. It could be just like that time when he’d gone to the tournament with his father and met that kid with whom he’d played so well.

“Tomorrow, yeah?” Kieran said. “We can work on our defense. If you can show the boss you’ve got good tackling skills, he’ll probably play you for longer.”

Todd liked that. It sounded like Kieran had been thinking about where his skills needed work.

As Kieran stuck his head under the jet, Todd took a deep breath. Looking down, he noticed his cock had swollen a touch. Although still limp, it had reached the pre stimulation stage, where it felt heavier and appeared bigger than usual. Casting his eyes to Kieran’s, he could see a slight increase in his cock too.

Heading to the sauna they grabbed a towel each. The sauna was a long room with the door at one end. Todd went in first and headed to the far corner. Even though the locker room was empty, and he had no worries about being disturbed, he felt it best to go to the furthest point away from the glass door.

He spread the towel on the bench and sat down. Kieran sat at an angle to him.

“Everyone’s glad you’re on the team,” he said. “We’ve been in need of a new pair of feet for years.”

Todd wondered if that piece of small talk was a sign of Kieran’s uncertainty. “Thanks.”

“I’m glad we talked at Sean’s party,” Kieran went on. “I didn’t get a chance to talk to you last week or the week before.” Looking over Todd’s body his face grew serious. “You should try to lose some weight.” His eyes widened. “Not that you’ve got any fat on you, I just mean that you should try to lose some of the muscle.”

“This is my natural shape. I’ve trained for years on the pitch, done loads of sprinting, and I’ve always been this weight.”

“Try to eat less protein and more carbs…I mean, I think you look good as you are but most players have an athletic build.” He shook his head and looked downcast. “Sorry man, I’m not having a go.”

Todd cast his eyes over Kieran’s body. “You’ve got a good build,” he said. “Do you lift weights?”

“I keep that to a minimum. I think the less weight you carry around the field, the more stamina you have and the better you are at using your body.”

Todd found himself wanting to rub him and wondered whether he should ask. Glancing at his cock he saw it was flaccid but still in that ready state. He decided to shift his butt towards him so their legs touched.

“I got a massage last week from Jason.” He felt a coy grin break on his face. “It was sort of, interesting.”

Kieran’s eyes narrowed for a second, making him look mischievous. “I once had one from him. I think he likes giving them.”

“Did you like it?”

Kieran laughed. “It was ok.” He looked at Todd with amused eyes. “We should just get it over with, yeah?”

Todd exhaled. Beads of sweat snaked their way down his forehead as he pushed his butt back on the bench and spread his thighs out.

Kieran placed his pert butt between Todd’s legs.

Feeling free to do what he wanted, Todd started on his lower back and gently rubbed with his thumbs. Kieran had smoother skin than Jason and Todd’s hands slipped easily over it. He rubbed slowly up his back towards his neck. Kieran’s head flopped down in front of him, and his breathing turned slow and even.

“You’ve got good skin,” Todd said as he rubbed below Kieran’s hairline.

“I eat lots of tomatoes and drink lots of water.”

“Do the rest of the guys on the team drink a lot of beer often?”

“No.” Kieran shook his head. “Saturday night was rare. Sean often has the lads round at his house, but we don’t go mad. Those Tequila shots were too much. I think they just went overboard to celebrate your arrival. You know, it’s really affected everyone.”

Having spent most of his time trying to deal with being the new boy, Todd had given little thought to how his arrival affected everyone else. They’d had a stable team for several years, and now suddenly he was amongst them. The notion that he’d had an effect made him feel confident.

The question of who Kieran woke up next to after that party crept into Todd’s mind again. But he kept quiet and rubbed delicately under his arms, and as he did, he felt Kieran’s hands on his thighs.

“You have got some muscle on those legs,” Kieran said.

Todd tensed them.

“Jesus,” Kieran hissed. “That is solid.”

Todd chuckled and worked his hands slowly around his chest just like Jason had with him. The guy seemed to like it and slid back a little further until his ass met Todd’s slowly growing hard on.

Kieran gave it a soft squeeze with his butt cheeks. Todd saw that as the signal to go for it and dipped his hands down Kieran’s hot sweaty torso. They slid smoothly, as though coated in oil, and it wasn’t long until they brushed the hard tip of Kieran’s cock.

“Yeah, do it for me,” Kieran whispered.

Todd curled his fingers around the shaft. Kieran’s cock was a little smaller than his own, but it felt good in his grip. Like Jason had done for him, he worked it slowly, gripping delicately with each downward pull. Kieran’s back inflated and subsided against him, deeper and deeper with each jerk. With his free hand, Todd dipped lower and stroked Kieran’s soft balls. His lips brushed close to Kieran’s neck and the desire to gently kiss his skin, stick out his tongue and lick the sweat running down it, grew steadily with each heaving motion of the body in front of him.

Kieran reached a hand down to Todd’s cock and after lifting his butt up an inch, directed its length beneath him and sat back down.

Todd was reminded of Sean Thompson, the night on his bed with Jason Collier. They didn’t fuck. Sean had done to Todd what Todd was now doing to Kieran, and that was just sliding his cock between his crack, pushing it forward until the tip hit the ball sack.

Relief lifted him. He pressed in harder.

Kieran let out a dull breathy sound as a warm trickle slipped over Todd’s fingers, making him look down over the defenders shoulder to watch.

Kieran thrust into his grip and fired.

REVIEW From Chris Scully (Goodreads)

When I first read this manuscript as a beta-reader, I got so caught up in Todd’s journey from a rough mining town in northern England to a big-league soccer stadium, that I read it in one sitting. I’m happy to say that the finished, published novel had the same effect on me too. Into the Team defies categorization, which is one of the reasons I love it—not exactly ‘gay fiction’, not entirely romance either, it can best be described as a coming of age story set against the world of soccer (football).

At the heart of the novel is a young man’s transition from boyhood to manhood. Still grieving the loss of his father years ago, Todd finds in his teammates the belonging he seeks, the strength to follow his dreams and an unexpected sexual awakening. Rob paints the characters so vividly that they could be real and by the end, the notion of ‘intimate team bonding’ seems entirely plausible and you wonder why it’s not a real thing (or is it!?). His unique style captures the excitement and beauty of the Beautiful Game and kept even this non-sports fan on the edge of her seat: “All he knew was that the crowd was alive with hands in the air, their screams flowing down the terraces in a thundering wave.”

The novel blurs lines when it comes to sexuality and labels. This is not strictly speaking a MM romance(there is M/F sex in here and multiple sexual encounters for those who are concerned about that), and yet I found it incredibly romantic in the ‘long looks and unspoken words’ way. It’s subtle, which I found refreshing. Nor is it an endless sex romp as you might expect from the blurb, although it’s definitely erotic. There’s a lot packed into this deceptively simple story as the author deftly explores ideas of masculinity, sexuality and belonging.
This is a wonderful debut from a promising author.

REVIEW from Kathy (Goodreads)

Only the strongest bonds will win

Into the Team, by Rob Damon is his debut novel about a small boy, who lost his father at a very young age, growing into a man and fulfilling, both, their dreams of playing football. For those of us who live in America, we call it soccer, but it doesn’t change the dynamics of what the book is about, and that is team companionship/spirit/support/connections to your fellow team member.

Todd has dreamed of playing football since he was a small boy. He’s now twenty and it looks like his dream is coming true. He has practiced hard for this chance and he has a good head on his shoulders.

As he is driven to an undisclosed location, by a football scout, he hates to get his hopes up for what this could mean. He soon finds out that he is being offered a spot on one of England’s biggest clubs and he is ecstatic.

In the locker room, Todd sees two players in the shower together and this really confuses him. He’s pretty sure they were touching each other in a sexual way, but why isn’t anyone saying anything?

The more he learns about team dynamics and bonding the more questions play havoc with his head. When the boss notices Todd’s concern he pulls him into the office for a talk. His theory has proven that by partnering up with another team member, one that you connect with strongly, makes the flow of your skill on the field much better.

Todd doesn’t deny that knowing your team members and being able to anticipate their moves on the field works great but he is not sure about the intimacy he witnesses.

I really enjoyed this story and I liked the author’s writing style. I wasn’t sure how the story was going to play out, but I was intrigued enough to stay with it and basically read it in one sitting.

I wouldn’t consider this a romance, at all, more like a bro-mance. There isn’t any sex in the book, to speak of, however, there is touching and kissing. Most is handled off page allowing the reader to use their imagination.

With that said, there are moments of intimacy between the players that was very realistic and sweet, bordering on hot and sensual. The more comfortable Todd becomes the more he is at ease with expressing his feelings. At first, he’s very reserved and almost bashful, but he soon gives in wanting that connection with his teammate

“Nothing feels as good as letting yourself go with a teammate. When you’re at your most intimate, that’s when you’re at your most trusting, at your most real.”
— Jason – Manford Reds player

He does start to question his sexuality, however, and wonders if he is gay or at least bi. His partner on the team is Daryl, who is very shy and keeps more to himself. He has never clicked with anyone on the team until Todd came along. These two have a history together that I was really hoping would bring them closer off the field, as well as on.

The story flows along at a nice pace and the author spends most of his focus on the field or locker rooms where the players are learning to trust and form connections. There were some phrases that I was not familiar with since this happens in England but I wasn’t thrown from the story. At one point, I was completely under the author’s spell, when the guys were on the field and the author narrated the game, play by play.

I actually felt as though I was on the field watching, holding my breath, willing the ball to go into the net. It was intense and I think I held my breath through the whole game. Great job by the author with his detailed descriptive narrative.

The author, in my opinion, leaves the story open for the reader to form their own opinion as far as the HEA or HFN. I choose to believe that Todd and Daryl, both, have their happy ever after and I would love to see more about them in the future to see if I am right.

I would definitely recommend this story to other readers who like a story with heart. There is a scene where I had tears pouring down my face as Todd faces some of his past about his dad. It was a beautiful and heartfelt moment and the author had my undivided attention. Then, there were moments that had me smiling from ear to ear celebrating their joy with them. Overall, the story was very moving and I would definitely read more from this author.

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“A Hard Day’s Night”

“A Hard Day’s Night”


High school senior Kalin (Lennon) Macready knows several facts for certain: John Lennon is his hero. Beaumont Finley Danforth (Fin) is his best friend. And—this is the complicated one—he feels more for Fin than mere friendship.

For weeks, Lennon pesters Fin, who like Lennon admits to questioning his sexual orientation, for a commitment to spend twenty-four hours together exploring “the gay side of life.” Fin reluctantly agrees. Each boy will seek to answer the daunting question, Am I gay? Lennon pre-plans the day, filling the hours with what he assumes “gay life” is all about: shopping for fashionable clothing, indulging in lavish dessert crepes, boogying to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, and yes, listening to show tunes.

However, Lennon quickly realizes that in creating his plan he has succumbed to the most common and distorted of gay stereotypes. Can he be gay and not fit them? And more importantly, is it possible that spending one very hard day and night together will help Fin accept that he’s gay, too? If so, maybe Lennon has a shot at winning the heart of the boy of his dreams.

“A Hard Day’s Night” is an amusing young adult contemporary romance about two boys who seek to discover if they must fulfill stereotypes to be together.

In the end, maybe all you need is love.

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“Fin and I have managed to get locked into what I will refer to as a repetitive pattern of affable behavior, and, in my opinion, it’s working out splendidly. We are the dearest of friends.”

Scratch that. Starting over.

And since I know it’s well past time for some brutally honest self-talk, I sit up in my bed, and by the warm glow of my Yellow Submarine nightlight, study my frayed picture of John Lennon. To complete the visual, it’s the photo from Mom’s retro record set, The White Album, that I pinned to the wall beside my bed and have worshipped regularly since I was in the seventh grade. Behind those round wire glasses, the man’s piercing eyes don’t lie—John was a brutally honest sort, often to his detriment. After all, back in 1966 didn’t he assert that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ? Now, that is certainly calling it exactly as he sees it.

Not that I necessarily agree with the sentiment, I respect that kind of directness in a person.

I owe him this much.

Out of respect for John, I revise and reissue my previous assertion.

“The Finster and I are stuck in a rut of pleasant compatibility…an unusually deep rut, at that.”

This attempt at telling-it-like-it-is is definitely an improvement, but it’s still not right on the money, and I’m nothing, if not specific.

I prop up my pillow and lean hard against the creaky antique headboard (call it like you see it, Lennon—the headboard is just plain old), with the certain knowledge that I’ve completely outgrown this flimsy, twin size bed of my childhood.

So maybe it’s more like this….

“Fin and I each have one leg semi-submerged in a muddy ditch, and we’re in it well past our knees. This is the kind of murky and dark, seemingly bottomless, pit that will suck the rubber boot right off your foot with a single, hollow, slurping sound, and then belch with satisfaction.” For the third time I speak aloud in an effort to make my declaration official. “It appears that the two of us are gonna be stuck here in this mucky BFF-swampland for the long haul—bootless and slowly sinking into the sludge—unless, of course, I act decisively and with haste. And with great vigor—because, to accomplish the task I have in mind, I’m most likely going to have to shift into full-hyper-dunk-mode, possibly coupled with the drama-queen-approach. Neither of which poses a problem for me, other than that they require an excessive expenditure of energy.”

That was most definitely a mouthful, but an accurate mouthful.

And all I need is one day. Just one gay day.

Thankfully, ever proud of the open-mindedness he hides so well from his ultra-conservative family, Fin has granted me my greatest wish. On Saturday, March 21st, Beaumont Finley Danforth II (IMHO this BFD is a Big Fucking Deal) is mine for the day to do with as I please. I sincerely hope that a single day is sufficient to help Fin figure out what I already know.

Um, Lennon…maybe now is not the right time to start suffering with a debilitating bout of self-doubt.

Confidence is of key importance in this endeavor.

No, I do not have any worries, and yes, I do have twenty-four feminine-side-exploring, team-switching, relationship-igniting hours to make my homeboy see the rainbow-hued light. Starting bright and early tomorrow morning.

On that note, I’ll get started with my beauty sleep. I sure hope I’m gonna need it.

I wiggle down so I’m flat on my back with my feet sticking six inches over the end of the bed, pull the covers up to my chin, and listen to my mental arrangement of “Imagine” until I fall asleep.

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Uncommon Valor

Uncommon Valor by Rachel Ravenheart

“Lil’ Bro,

If you’re reading this, then something obviously happened and I’m not going to be around. I wanted to let you know how much I love you, and you don’t have to tear yourself up over this. I’m the one who chose to enlist, and I believe I’ve served proudly for the last few years. I know this won’t ease your mind any, but I believe I’m probably in a better place now. Please don’t be sad. I died doing what I loved, fighting for my country. I wish I could be there for you when you tell Mom and Dad about you being gay. Just know that I am with you in spirit. Look to Chase for guidance. I know he’ll be the big brother for you I can no longer be. The guys will be a great support for you, and they won’t care that you’re gay. They’re a great group of guys, and they’ll treat you just like I would. They’ll be a support system for you when Dad blows up, and you know he will. Be safe and know I will be watching out for you from the other side.

Love, Sam.”

Uncommon Valor is not just a story of a gay man, it is the fulfilling story of a young man who is on the verge of discovering his true self and he has the perfect prop to do that. He is also about to become a Dad. Will he pull through as a gay man and a Dad? Or will he fall upon the wayside and reject his newborn child, and in so doing, also reject the man of his dreams?

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Chapter 4

The Surprise

Last weekend with the platoon was great.

I met a ton of new people, and the guys were really supportive when I told them. I hadn’t heard anything from my Mom, so I wasn’t sure what to think about that, but I’d decided I wasn’t going to worry too much. I was on cloud nine from having spent time with people who didn’t care I was gay and treated me like one of the guys even though I wasn’t a Marine.

That all came to a halt when I ran into Tina in the dining hall on campus during the week.

Tina uses her beauty to her advantage. She’s medium height with red hair and green eyes. Whatever she said was right and she was of the opinion that no one could outsmart her. Personally, I tried to stay away from her if I possibly could.

But, she had a crush on me.

I never got the chance to tell my brother that during a night of drunkenness I had slept with her. There was a part of me that always felt something else had been involved, but I couldn’t prove it. I didn’t even know if we did anything. All I knew was I woke up the next morning in the same bed with her and both of us were naked. It wasn’t something I was proud of, and I honestly hoped I would never see her again. Unfortunately, we were both in law school together, so I knew that wasn’t going to be an option.

I’d almost completely forgotten about the incident because it had happened at the end of the semester and I had taken the summer off. The new semester had just started, and I had been lucky enough to not see her in any of my classes or around campus.

I was shocked to see her with what I would consider a baby bump, but I didn’t want to make any assumptions. I pretended to not see her, but she saw me.

“Jason! I need to talk to you,” she said, and grasped my elbow from behind.

“What do you want, Tina?” I yanked my arm out of her grasp with a snarl.

“It’s a private matter.”

“We can talk tat my house, but that’s all that’s going to happen.” I turned and walked away, expecting her to follow me to the parking lot. As it turned out, we were parked fairly close to each other, and I motioned for her to follow me as I got into my car.


We arrived at my house and I was still trying to figure out what she wanted to talk to me about. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to like it.

Inside, she headed for the lounge. “Would you like something to drink?” I asked. When I turned to face her she held her stomach in a protective manner.

“Water would be nice.”

“Have a seat and I’ll be right back.” I said, placing my bag on the floor by the door.

When I returned, she was standing in front of the bay window looking out over the park. “Here you go.” I held out a bottle of water to her as she turned around.

“Thanks, Jason. I’m sorry to put you out like this, but I needed to talk to you and I didn’t want to do it with people around.”

“What’s going on? I haven’t seen you since the end of spring semester.” I walked over and took a seat on the couch and waited to hear what she had to say.

“I went home for summer break and some surprising news came up just before I came back to school.” She came over and sat down next to me.

“Spit it out,” I said, frustrated. I just wanted her gone; something about her really irked me.

“The thing is, just before I came back I realized that I had missed my period so I went to the doctor and took a pregnancy test. I’m pregnant.”

“What’s that got to do with me?” It felt like I had been punched in the gut.

“Well, I hadn’t been with anyone for a while before you and I hooked up at the end of the semester.” She licked her lips and wrung her hands.

“We didn’t hook up. I got way too drunk and don’t remember anything until I woke up the next morning with you by my side and naked.”

“Why do you refuse to believe that what we shared was something special?” she whined. “You know you love me, you only need to admit it and we’ll be happy together as a family.”

“It wasn’t special. What do you want from me?”

“I want you to be a father to our child. I want us to be a family.” She tried to put her hand on my arm. I pulled away.

“We will never be a family. What the HELL were you thinking? Obviously you weren’t; that’s the problem.” I walked over to the bay window and glared out. “If the child is mine I’ll support it and even take custody of him or her, but we will never be together. As soon as the baby is born I’m going to fight for custody and before I commit to anything there needs to be a paternity test, until that time you are nothing more to me than a pregnant woman. Until you have further information, I think this is all we have to talk about.”

“We’d make good parents together. Why are you refusing to admit that?” she cried.

“I have no doubt that we will be good parents, but we won’t be a couple. I’m gay and will not be in a relationship with any woman. Now, if there’s nothing else, I think that it’s time for you to leave. Let me know when you set up the paternity test and I’ll be there. We’ll talk more after the test results come back.” I opened the front door and waited for her to leave. I was being mean and harsh, but I was pissed about what had happened, mostly at myself because I let myself get wasted at that party. I wished I could remember what happened that night.

She stormed past me and went out to her car mumbling under her breath. Part of me hoped I was the father, but there was a greater part of me that hoped I would have nothing more to do with her.

I hadn’t heard from Tina in two weeks and believed she had made the story up, when there came a knock on my front door. I opened it to find the mailman with a certified letter I needed to sign for.

After signing, I checked the return address and saw it was a local law firm. At first I thought it was about my internship next summer, but when I opened it I saw it was a court order for the paternity test. It showed when I was to be at the lab to have my sample drawn. I couldn’t believe she had taken it this far. I had volunteered for the paternity test; there was no need to involve lawyers.

My phone beeped, signaling a text message. It was from Chase. “How r u?”

“Irritated. U?” I texted.

I set the letter on the breakfast bar and grabbed an apple from the fridge just as my phone rang.

“Hey, Chase.”

“Hey, Jason. What’s wrong?”

“I had a bombshell dropped on me two weeks ago and she’s being a bitch now.”

“Want to talk about it?”

“Not on the phone.”

“How about over dinner?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“I’ll bring dinner and I’m sure we will sort this out, whatever it is.”

My heart skipped a beat. “You don’t have to do that. I appreciate the thought.”

“I promised Sam I would step up and be there for you. I want to do this.”

My heart dropped as I realized that he only wanted to spend time with me because of my brother, but I still wanted to see him.

“I really do need someone to talk to about this, I just don’t want to talk about it on the phone.”

“No problem. How does six o’clock sound and what would you like for dinner?”

“Six is fine. How about pizza?”

“Sounds good. What do you like on yours?”

“No mushrooms, olives, or anchovies.”

“Okay, I’ll pick up a couple of pizzas and see you in a few of hours. See you then.”

“Bye, Chase.”

I hung up the phone and decided this would be the perfect time to get the shelf put up in my office. I grabbed a hammer and some nails off my desk. Once the shelf was up, I put some pictures of my brother and me on it as a memorial.

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Indigent – Edited by Louis J. Harris and Kimi D. Saunders 

Our nature is to live and let live.Often disregarding the plight of our homeless, our sick, our aged and our handicapped LGBT fellow beings. It gives us great pleasure in presenting this volume of short stories to assist our community members wherever they may be. Many of our community members have nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat, and have no work. The proceeds collected from this book will go to rewarding several charities across the globe. These charities are passionate about what they do. Some take in the homeless and others provide a home for the aged and the handicapped. The charities we will be assisting are:

Gala, South Africa
Lost-n-Found-Youth, USA
Youth off the Streets, Australia
The Albert Kennedy Trust, UK
GALA is a centre for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) culture and education in Africa. Our mission is, first and foremost, to act as a catalyst for the production, preservation and dissemination of knowledge on the history, culture and contemporary experiences of LGBTI people.

Lost-n-Found is Atlanta’s only non-profit organization dedicated to taking homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth off the street and into more permanent housing, Lost-n-Found Youth is dedicated to the advocacy and service of youth from 13 to 25 years old.

Youth Off The Streets is a non-denominational community organisation working for young people aged 12-25 who are facing challenges of homelessness, drug and alcohol dependency, exclusion from school, neglect and abuse. We support these young people as they work to turn their lives around and overcome immense personal traumas such as neglect and physical, psychological and emotional abuse.

The Albert Kennedy Trust supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans homeless young people in crisis. Every day they deal with the the effects homelessness can have on young people’s lives.

These charities require funding to assist desperate, needy members of our community and this book is a mere drop in the ocean of how we can reach out socially to them.

Indigent has been produced to entertain and delight and all the stories leave the reader with a “feel good” state of mind.

Frederick Eugene Feeley Jr’s “Indigent”, after which the anthology takes it’s name, brings the reader to witness an apocalyptic war between the good and evil that rages in one man’s mind. Soon he will know that his problems are insignificant compared to those of others.

Mari Evans’ “Stumbling into Forever”, involves a handsome young vampire who will learn that just a sip of blood is the difference between love and freezing to death.

Leona Windwalker’s “If Only the World”, takes rejection to another level. A heartbreaking story that is turned on it’s head by the kindness of strangers.

Shaye Evans’ “Rescued”, is a contemporary social statement about the aftermath of a young man’s life after his drink has been spiked at a bar.

M. LeAnne Phoenix’s “Higher Love”, takes us on an almost spiritual journey through the minds of two people who have never met, but have spoken on a telepathic level. When they do come together, that bond is already cemented but there is a price to pay.

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Extract from Frederick Eugene Feeley Jr story “Indigent”

Hot didn’t even begin to describe the way he felt right now. Sitting in the middle of Friday afternoon rush hour traffic down Eleventh Street in Beaumont, Texas is how he felt. Because only people who lived here would understand southeast Texas heat in the middle of August.

Air-conditioning broken, rolling both windows down provided little relief in the granite-gray Dodge Neon Bobby had bought several years earlier. He was a kid then and the world seemed to be one giant road map. Now, he was tired of driving it, weary at twenty-seven years old, the charm of the road seeping out of him like sweat from his pores. To say he was anything short of miserable would be a terrible understatement.

Traffic was bumper to bumper as everyone made their way home for the weekend. Waiting at a red traffic light, Bobby threw his head back against the seat with a groan as he sat in the parking lot of cars outside Cristus St. Elizabeth, one of the city’s two hospitals. Baptist hospital, across town, catered for the insured only while the massive St. Elizabeth catered for indigent patients.

He snorted a laugh as he raised his hand off the steering wheel to look at the temperature gauge of the car.

“Indigent,” he muttered. The engine temp hovered in the red zone. Sweat rolled down his back and his shirt stuck to his skin like cling wrap.


Bobby and his ex-fiancé, Steven, had both racked up several visits to the hospital for indigents. Money was scarce; Bobby being a veteran working on his college degree through his Montgomery G.I. Bill and Steven waiting tables to help make ends meet. After the meeting of the ends, no funds remained for health care at all. No Blue Cross Blue Shield, no Tri-Care, no nothing but arriving at the E.R. in the middle of the night because a fever burned out of control.

They had tried for so long, but the world didn’t want them together and they split up two months ago. Looking back, Bobby wanted to blame Steven. But that was just the hurt talking. It hadn’t been Steven’s fault. Gay couples who seek love must climb mountains to just go to the grocery store, an appliance store or a church together without creating a storm in a teacup. People stared. People whispered. Add into the mix that they couldn’t marry. Their first kiss had been their first kiss goodbye and it made Bobby sick. They had had a shelf life, and when they tried to stay beyond their expiration date. Well….

Steven had been raised Catholic. Bobby Baptist. The subtle differences in the newness of their relationship seemed so engaging, but really did nothing more than add to fuel conflict at the end.

The semester was coming to a close, and that meant money was going to be scarce. Living off the G.I. Bill and student loans wasn’t easy. The thought of mounting debt made Bobby’s stomach cramp.

He was smart; Steven had always said so. He knew it, but the economy was bad. It had been for years. And although he soared in his studies, he worried it would all fade away as soon as he tried to enter the job market. He worried he’d crash and burn like he did after he’d left the Army.

“All these skills, all this knowledge, with a strong back and a strong mind, and…nothing. There’s nothing for me.” He remembered sobbing as the doctor looked at him coolly from his place next to the bed. He’d landed up in hospital the day he’d taken a knife to his arm in a desperate attempt to relieve the pressure in his soul.

His parents’ rejection when they found out he was gay had gutted him. They’d pulled all financial support. He couldn’t afford insurance. He’d wound up in a hospital like St. Elizabeth, as an indigent. High on the medicine they gave him, and lower than he’d ever felt in his life.

Afterward, he’d hit the road, needing a new place, a new start, and new faces around him. His family had turned their back on him and he’d returned the gesture in kind. He rubbed the spot on his arm as he waited for the traffic to inch up again.

The scar on his left forearm was covered with a tattoo that said, “What goes around comes around.” The thoughts weren’t original, and actually he’d seen it on the wrist of his favorite singer, Pink. The black ink covered the scar, at least on the surface. But the ink didn’t go deep and could not hide the indelible mark his night as an indigent had left on his soul.

“Major depression and coping problems,” the doctor had said as he stared at Bobby like he was yesterday’s trash. His dark skin on a European face indicated Indian origins, but his voice was void of the lilt associated with that region. As Bobby watched, he was speechless thanks to the medication deadening his tongue and preventing his thoughts from travelling from his brain to his mouth. The man handed him a script for more of the good stuff and walked out with his entourage in tow.

Major depression and coping problems? No shit, Sherlock. You needed an M.D. for that? Perhaps you could have told me the sky was blue, grass was green, and the Detroit Lions sucked. But he wouldn’t. Of course not. Why waste time on the indigent? The doctor had more patients to see and Bobby had been just one of many.

He’d lowered his standards right at that moment.

His mantra, which had always begged him to reach for the stars, whispered a new theme. Just…don’t…die. He teamed up with his biology against his mind from that point, even though his mind laughed at their feebleness.

He looked up in the rearview mirror. A black, Lincoln Navigator crept closer and stopped behind him. He could just make out the silhouette of a woman in the driver’s seat, possibly a man beside her on the passenger seat. The sun glistened off the windshield, but he knew whoever was behind the wheel was cool in their seventy thousand dollar machine. The leather interior would be cold to the touch, and perhaps they were listening to NPR on their way home. Bobby wondered if it was a doctor. Or maybe one of Beaumont’s many successful lawyers.

“Louisiana lawyers do well whether they want to or not,” he quoted from his favorite movie, Steel Magnolias, as he tore his eyes away from the mirror and reached for a pack of Marlboros. This wasn’t Louisiana but they were only thirty minutes away from the border here where he sat in the sweltering heat. He lit up and took a deep drag. The burn in his chest satisfied him as he held it there before exhaling. A bad habit, sure, but between the cigarettes and the caffeine in the Mountain Dew in his center console, it worked to curb the hunger that gnawed at his insides.

He exhaled the blue smoke upward and outward as the final cars in front of him passed through the yellow light. He stopped at the red again and watched the turn left and right in front of him.

I’m suicidal.

“Hey, Buddy, can I get one of those cigarettes?”

Bobby whipped his head around with a startled gasp and locked onto the most beautiful shade of blue eyes he’d ever seen. He stared speechless as they gazed at him, alert, wide, and curious and cool, like water beneath a frozen lake in the heart of February, and Bobby couldn’t help but tremble.

The man was dirty. His long blond hair wild and unkempt, glowing in contrast to his deeply tanned skin. His angular face adorned with a beard a week or two from a trim.

The eyes changed from curiosity and edged toward mirth before Bobby realized he was staring. Those eyes struck a chord deep inside him; a reminder of something. No. Somewhere. Or some time. A familiarity that shouldn’t be there, but was.

“Like a rose,” he murmured.

“Excuse me?” the man asked.

“I…uh….I’m sorry. It’s been a long day,” Bobby said and reached for the pack of cigarettes once more.

The man laughed. “It’s okay. It’s been a long couple of years here.”


Bobby felt pinpricks behind his eyes, threatening tears. He bit his lip to try and keep himself and his emotions steady.

“Yeah. I know what you mean.” He tapped out a smoke and handed it over.

The man’s dirty fingers enclosed the pristine whiteness of the paper surrounding the tobacco, his fingernails chewed down to nubs.

“Light?” the man asked, kneeling to bring his head level with the window.

“Oh…yeah, of course.” Bobby handed him a lighter and the man cupped his cigarette, snapped the flame on, and inhaled. His face became a picture of intense pleasure as he placed his hand, which held the lighter, on the windowsill to maintain balance. Bobby couldn’t help but stare at him in wonder again.

Like a rose.

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The Island Keepers


They could hardly have been less alike.

David is striking, blond with an ice melting smile, and possesses an unmistakable gift as a fiction writer. Wyatt is as plain as paper, white as a ghost, graceless, and a celebrated oil painter. He is single and he is out.

Both men are sent to Puffin Island and, within days of their arrival a young woman is washed ashore, frozen and unresponsive after her kayak crashes against the rocks. David and Wyatt save her life. Days later, Wyatt is charged with rape, and, while authorities investigate, the woman’s nineteen-year old twin brothers paddle their way to Puffin to teach Wyatt a lesson. Their goal, to avenge their sister.

David’s heart struggles with his embedded childhood dogma and lethally homophobic parents, propelling him to establish a bond of love with Wyatt, and, when the unthinkable happens, Wyatt is devastated and left alone. He turns to the unlikeliest of characters to fill the void,  a person who will teach him an important lesson; that to love again he must sacrifice a need that had been created by his past with David.


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Chapter 9

The helicopter’s rotors returned to life. The chopper lifted and disappeared toward the Maine coast.

“That fucking whore,” I said, having contained my fury as long as I could.

Both of us were too upset to think dinner, so we downed cheddar and crackers and one of the bottles of white wine I’d stuffed in my knapsack.

“How are you holding up?” David asked, sitting at the other end of the sofa.

“My stomach has been in knots since the uniforms dropped their life threatening bomb on me.”

“Mine too, and I’m not even the subject of their investigation.”

“I’m going to bed and read and see if that will take my mind off this shit.”

“I’ll write for a while. Maybe I can put something on paper that’s funny or full of wisdom.” He kissed my forehead, again. “We’ll get through this together, Wyatt. I know you are completely innocent. You saved that liar’s life.”

“Thanks, my friend. Your word is all I’ve got going for me.”

I closed the door to the room and stood there, staring at nothing. I have never been aroused by women, even the most beautiful or the cutest. I visualized my life in a cold, dark prison somewhere for a crime I didn’t and couldn’t have committed.

I must have cried louder than I thought.

A few minutes later David opened the door and sat on the edge of my bed and lightly massaged my shoulders.

“Here, let me give you a good rub down, Wyatt; a back buffing you won’t soon forget.” He went to the bathroom and returned with a bottle of baby oil sitting in a bowl of hot water while I kicked off the covers. He put his hands on my back, feeling the various muscles for tightness and knots, slathering the warm oil on my shoulders and rubbed gently.

His ministrations became stronger and firmer with time, although his actions were quite slow. He drizzled the oil on my mid back, the area between my shoulder blades and then repeated his technique on the lumbar region of my spinal column. The massage freed my mind, made me feel less threatened. He blotted the oil with paper towels and then used a warm wet washrag. He rolled me over. “Are you ticklish?” he asked.

“Not normally. What kinky shit do you have in mind?”

He dripped baby oil on my stomach and began massaging my abdomen by making fists with his two hands, capturing my flesh in his fingers, and then opening his palms only to do it again. It felt strange, but it helped dislodge the butterflies that had collected and multiplied throughout the afternoon.

“The fur on your tummy feels soft.” He ran his oil soaked hands up my hairy chest and massaged my pecs using as much pressure as he had on my shoulders.

“You’re making me hard, big guy.”

“Well, you know the cure for a hard-on, Wyatt. You don’t need me to tell you.”

He blotted the oil from my skin, and again applied a hot washcloth to wipe me down before drying me with a terry cloth towel.

“Did it help?”

“For sure, though it did create another problem.” I lowered the bed covers to show him my erection.

“That part you’ll need to massage yourself, but I can tell you from my vast experience that baby oil helps there, too.” He bitch slapped my erection with the back of his hand and grinned as he walked away while I folded myself in two in agony, or ecstasy.

I’m not sure which was which.


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Sol’s Solstice

Sol’s Solstice By Leona Windwalker

Sol is used to flying under his family’s radar, unless focusing unwanted attention away from  his  more outgoing, older twin. The day comes when pays a steep price for attempting to shield his brother.  Running for his life, he is nearly run over by a car driven by Seth.  Can Seth help Sol find his way back from the darkness?

With each sale of Sol’s Solstice, Leona Windwalker will donate her royalty to GALA (Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action). GALA is a centre for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) culture and education in Africa. Their mission is, first and foremost, to act as a catalyst for the production, preservation and dissemination of knowledge on the history, culture and contemporary experiences of LGBTI people.

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Chapter One

Sol shifted in his bunk. He could hear the regular breathing of his twin through the stillness. The crickets had long ceased their chirping, and the only other sound that could be heard was the gentle rustling of the curtain as the occasional breeze made its way through the open screened window along with glimmers from the streetlight outside. The bed creaked as Ben shifted slightly in the top bunk. The bed was nearly as old as his father, and truth be told, some nights Sol feared he would awake with bits of lumber, a mattress, and Ben burying him. But this was not why Sol felt uneasy tonight. Something else had woken him, and he concentrated on the dark stillness to try to decipher what that something could have been.

There–what was that? He strained to hear, body gone tense, willing himself to discover the origin of the slight sound without opening his eyes or turning to look. He wanted to know, but he was very afraid that he already knew what it was. Wanting confirmation that his suspicions were correct, but not wanting to provoke that which was making the sound. A low chuckle, then a voice giving the dreaded confirmation, “I know you’re awake, boy. No sense tryin’ to fool me none. Now, Ben, he’s asleep. But you’re awake, and I can see that just fine, even in the dark.”

Sol stiffened, then forced himself to relax. No sense letting him see he’s gotten to me. Creepy bastard, standing there watching us sleep. Best answer him, and maybe he’ll go away.

“What is it, Shane?” he asked softly, turning his head towards the man who stood just inside the closed doorway.

“That’s Uncle Shane, to you, boy. I might only be a bit older’n you, but I am your elder and you’ll show me respect. As fer what it is, is I wanted to see if y’all were sleepin’ like you should. Or if you were doin’ bad boy things. Dreamin’ what you shouldn’t, or mebee touchin’ yerself. I know what teenaged boys is like. So, tell me, what was you dreamin’ about? And did you say yer prayers all proper like your mama and daddy and granny woulda wanted?”

Shit. Shane was on one of his kicks. From the way he was acting, he must’ve had more than just the one beer and a toke. Sol tried to calm his racing heart. With Shane in a mood like this, things could go one of two ways. He’d either be easily placated and go back to his couch and smoke some more weed and drink a few more beers until he went to sleep, hopefully without causing a fire, or he’d get aggressive. Sadly, there was no way to know which way things would turn out, as Shane was very unpredictable once he got this way. Sol inwardly cursed his parents for leaving him and Ben with this asshole in their absence.

“Yeah, we said our prayers, Uncle Shane, and I don’t recall if I was dreaming anything. Maybe I haven’t had my dream yet. How about you? Trouble sleeping? Want me to cook a pizza and watch some TV with ya ’til you’re ready for bed?”

“Yes, Uncle Shane, I said my prayers,” mimicked Shane, sarcasm adding a dark edge to his voice that left a chill in Sol’s bones as Shane’s shadow fell across him. “Don’t you go mocking me, boy!” The punch was half expected, but it still hurt like hell when it landed. Sol let out an involuntary cry of pain.

“What? Sol?” Ben startled awake,

“Back to sleep, boy.” Sol heard the crack of a backhanded slap as Shane let loose his rage.

The last thing he remembered was shouting, “That’s enough!” as he tackled Shane’s legs, then a sharp pain in his skull, then nothing.

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Stars Fall

Stars Fall by Louis J. Harris

Keegan Mansfield is a loner.

A bilateral amputee athlete.

With only one goal; to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games. But, there are forces trying to stop him. In the wake of his own Stardust he does not realise that these forces are mostly of his own making. Although he has the determination and the will to succeed, there is  an ingredient missing from his life that he so desperately needs. Love.

When he finds it, the consequences will be too ghastky to contemplate.

When team mate Conrad Smith saves him from a violent incident, both embark on a journey that will bring them pain and happiness,  and a tragedy that will bring them closer.

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