Tag Archives: AIDS

Audio Blitz: The Man From Milwaukee by Rick R. Reed & Narrated by Donald Davenport

The Man from Milwaukee | Rick R. Reed

Man from Milwaukee Audio Banner

Narrator: Donald Davenport

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: July 20, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins

Buy Link: Audible

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Blurb

It’s the summer of 1991 and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer has been arrested. His monstrous crimes inspire dread around the globe. But not so much for Emory Hughes, a closeted young man in Chicago who sees in the cannibal killer a kindred spirit, someone who fights against the dark side of his own nature, as Emory does. He reaches out to Dahmer in prison via letters.

The letters become an escape—from Emory’s mother dying from AIDS, from his uncaring sister, from his dead-end job in downtown Chicago, but most of all, from his own self-hatred.

Dahmer isn’t Emory’s only lifeline as he begins a tentative relationship with Tyler Kay. He falls for him and, just like Dahmer, wonders how he can get Tyler to stay. Emory’s desire for love leads him to confront his own grip on reality. For Tyler, the threat of the mild-mannered Emory seems inconsequential, but not taking the threat seriously is at his own peril.

Can Emory discover the roots of his own madness before it’s too late and he finds himself following in the footsteps of the man from Milwaukee?

Excerpt

The Man from Milwaukee
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Headlines

Dahmer appeared before you in a five o’clock edition, stubbled dumb countenance surrounded by the crispness of a white shirt with pale-blue stripes. His handsome face, multiplied by the presses, swept down upon Chicago and all of America, to the depths of the most out-of-the-way villages, in castles and cabins, revealing to the mirthless bourgeois that their daily lives are grazed by enchanting murderers, cunningly elevated to their sleep, which they will cross by some back stairway that has abetted them by not creaking. Beneath his picture burst the dawn of his crimes: details too horrific to be credible in a novel of horror: tales of cannibalism, sexual perversity, and agonizing death, all bespeaking his secret history and preparing his future glory.

Emory Hughes stared at the picture of Jeffrey Dahmer on the front page of the Chicago Tribune, the man in Milwaukee who had confessed to “drugging and strangling his victims, then dismembering them.” The picture was grainy, showing a young man who looked timid and tired. Not someone you’d expect to be a serial killer.

Emory took in the details as the L swung around a bend: lank pale hair, looking dirty and as if someone had taken a comb to it just before the photograph was snapped, heavy eyelids, the smirk, as if Dahmer had no understanding of what was happening to him, blinded suddenly by notoriety, the stubble, at least three days old, growing on his face. Emory even noticed the way a small curl topped his shirt’s white collar. The L twisted, suddenly a ride from Six Flags, and Emory almost dropped the newspaper, clutching for the metal pole to keep from falling. The train’s dizzying pace, taking the curves too fast, made Emory’s stomach churn.

Or was it the details of the story that were making the nausea in him grow and blossom? Details like how Dahmer had boiled some of his victim’s skulls to preserve them…

Milwaukee Medical Examiner Jeffrey Jentzen said authorities had recovered five full skeletons from Dahmer’s apartment and partial remains of six others. They’d discovered four severed heads in his kitchen. Emory read that the killer had also admitted to cannibalism.

“Sick, huh?” Emory jumped at a voice behind him. A pudgy man, face florid with sweat and heat, pressed close. The bulge of the man’s stomach nudged against the small of Emory’s back.

Emory hugged the newspaper to his chest, wishing there was somewhere else he could go. But the L at rush hour was crowded with commuters, moist from the heat, wearing identical expressions of boredom.

“Hard to believe some of the things that guy did.” The man continued, undaunted by Emory’s refusal to meet his eyes. “He’s a queer. They all want to give the queers special privileges and act like there’s nothing wrong with them. And then look what happens.” The guy snorted. “Nothing wrong with them…right.”

Emory wished the man would move away. The sour odor of the man’s sweat mingled with cheap cologne, something like Old Spice.

Hadn’t his father worn Old Spice?

Emory gripped the pole until his knuckles whitened, staring down at the newspaper he had found abandoned on a seat at the Belmont stop. Maybe if he sees I’m reading, he’ll shut up. Every time the man spoke, his accent broad and twangy, his voice nasal, Emory felt like someone was raking a metal-toothed comb across the soft pink surface of his brain.

Neighbors had complained off and on for more than a year about a putrid stench from Dahmer’s apartment. He told them his refrigerator was broken and meat in it had spoiled. Others reported hearing hand and power saws buzzing in the apartment at odd hours.

“Yeah, this guy Dahmer… You hear what he did to some of these guys?”

Emory turned at last. He was trembling, and the muscles in his jaw clenched and unclenched. He knew his voice was coming out high, and that because of this, the man might think he was queer, but he had to make him stop.

“Listen, sir, I really have no use for your opinions. I ask you now, very sincerely, to let me be so that I might finish reading my newspaper.”

The guy sucked in some air. “Yeah, sure,” he mumbled.

Emory looked down once more at the picture of Dahmer, trying to delve into the dots that made up the serial killer’s eyes. Perhaps somewhere in the dark orbs, he could find evidence of madness. Perhaps the pixels would coalesce to explain the atrocities this bland-looking young man had perpetrated, the pain and suffering he’d caused.

To what end?

“Granville next. Granville will be the next stop.” The voice, garbled and cloaked in static, alerted Emory that his stop was coming up.

As the train slowed, Emory let the newspaper, never really his own, slip from his fingers. The train stopped with a lurch, and Emory looked out at the familiar green sign reading Granville. With the back of his hand, he wiped the sweat from his brow and prepared to step off the train.

Then an image assailed him: Dahmer’s face, lying on the brown, grimy floor of the L, being trampled.

Emory turned back, bumping into commuters who were trying to get off the train, and stooped to snatch the newspaper up from the gritty floor.

Tenderly, he brushed dirt from Dahmer’s picture and stuck the newspaper under his arm.

*

Kenmore Avenue sagged under the weight of the humidity as Emory trudged home, white cotton shirt sticking to his back, face moist. At the end of the block, a Loyola University building stood sentinel—gray and solid against a wilted sky devoid of color, sucking in July’s heat and moisture like a sponge.

Emory fitted his key into the lock of the redbrick high-rise he shared with his mother and sister, Mary Helen. Behind him, a car grumbled by, muffler dragging, transmission moaning. A group of four children, Hispanic complexions darkened even more by the sun, quarreled as one of them held a huge red ball under his arm protectively.

As always, the vestibule smelled of garlic and cooking cabbage, and as always, Emory wondered from which apartment these smells, grown stale over the years he and his family had lived in the building, had originally emanated.

In the mailbox was a booklet of coupons from Jewel, a Commonwealth Edison bill, and a newsletter from Test Positive Aware. Emory shoved the mail under his arm and headed up the creaking stairs to the third floor.

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About the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…”

Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

About the Narrator

Donald Davenport. I am a screenwriter, author, educator and podcaster. I am also a film producer and director.

donalddavenport.com

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Book Blast: Caregiver by Rick R. Reed

Caregiver | Rick R. Reed

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Gay Fiction

Re-Release Date: 01.12.19

Buy Links:

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Caregiver-Rick-R-Reed-ebook/dp/B07ZMKCQ7R

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Caregiver-Rick-R-Reed/dp/1702823164

Audiobook: https://www.amazon.com/Caregiver/dp/B00H40LEUE

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Blurb

Winner of the 2013 EPIC eBook Award for Best Contemporary Romance

It’s 1991, and Dan Calzolaio has just moved to Florida with his lover, Mark, having fled Chicago and Mark’s addictions to begin a new life on the Gulf Coast. Volunteering for the Tampa AIDS Alliance is just one part of that new beginning, and that’s how Dan meets his new buddy, Adam.

Adam Schmidt is not at all what Dan expected. The guy is an original – witty, wry, and sarcastic with a fondness for a smart black dress, Barbra Streisand, and a good Mai Tai. Adam doesn’t let his imminent death get him down, even through a downward spiral that sees him thrown in jail.

Each step of Adam’s journey teaches Dan new lessons about strength and resilience, but it’s Adam’s lover, Sullivan, to whom Dan feels an almost irresistible pull. Dan knows the attraction isn’t right, even after he dumps his cheating, drug-abusing boyfriend.

But then Adam passes away, and it leaves Sullivan and Dan both alone to see if they can turn their love for Adam into something whole and real for each other.

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Excerpt

He started up the walk, not knowing what to expect, but imagining someone very weak, emaciated, whose skin was marred by KS lesions. No matter how bad he looks, Dan, you will be cheerful and friendly. You will not let the effect his appearance has on you internally show externally. Got that?

Dan rang the doorbell.

When the door swung open, Dan’s grin disappeared and his mouth dropped open, yet nothing came out. He cocked his head. His eyebrows furrowed.

“Well, don’t just stand there,” a seductive, Bette Davis voice intoned. “Get in here. I am not about to pay to air condition the great outdoors, especially not when the great outdoors happen to be located on the Gulf Coast.”

Dan still didn’t know what to say as he followed the feminine figure inside the little stucco house.

Mentally scratching his head and desperately wanting to act as though he was in on the joke, Dan stood near the doorway and took in what he supposed to be Adam Schmidt, since it didn’t appear anyone else was home.

Adam wore the classic little black dress, a string of pearls, black leather kitten heels, and sheer black nylons. His nails were painted a shocking red, a shade the gayest side of Dan was absolutely positive would have been called “Jungle Red.” Adam’s wispy blond hair had obviously been blown dry and sprayed into place. His angular features had been enhanced with a good concealer, a little blush, mascara, pale green eye shadow, and slash of red across his thin lips that perfectly matched his nails.

Adam put a hand on one hip and gave Dan the once-over. “Since you appear to be speechless, I’m going to assume you’re Dan something-or-other, something Italian. You’re going to be my new best friend, my buddy, right? But not my fuck buddy—God forbid!” Adam may have had AIDS, but it had no effect on his ability to weight his words with sarcasm.

Dan smiled and forced himself to move into the room. “Sorry. I, um, the cat had my tongue.” He stuck out a hand, feeling like an idiot. “Yes, I’m Dan Calzolaio. And I’m looking forward to getting to know you better, Adam.” Had a single human being ever sounded more nerdish, more square? Dan felt his face going hot, despite the wintry chill from the air conditioning. He regretted once more his nearly naked ensemble. He looked down at the goose bumps rising up on his forearms.

“Isn’t that sweet?” Adam turned toward the living room, which continued the surreal theme that had begun as soon as Adam opened the door. It was done all in shades of pink and vibrant green, with overstuffed rattan furniture that appeared as though it had been swiped from the set of The Golden Girls. “Come on and have a seat, Dan. I made us a batch of Mai Tais. You like Mai Tais, hon?”

“Oh yes. Love ’em.” Dan tried to recall when he had actually had one of the tropical drinks and drew a blank. He hurried to grab a seat on the couch, hugging himself to keep warm.

Adam observed him with an impish grin. “Cold? I’ll be right back.” Dan expected Adam to go into the kitchen to get their cocktails (Mai Tais at noon?), but Adam headed down a hallway. Dan could hear drawers being opened and shut.

Adam returned and flung a pair of sweatpants and a long-sleeved T-shirt at Dan. “Put some clothes on, sugar. As fine as all that tan flesh is to look at, it pains me to see you so chilly. Why, I can even see you’ve got your headlights on!” Adam giggled and Dan looked down at his chest, where Adam’s gaze was directed. His nipples poked through the thin cotton fabric of his tank like two pencil erasers. He hurried to put the sweats and T-shirt on over his clothes. “Whose are these?” he wondered.

“My boyfriend’s. You and he are about the same size.”

Adam disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a tray upon which were two tall glasses, each garnished with a Maraschino cherry, pineapple wedge, and a lime peel. Adam paused before Dan. “I know. I know. It’s kind of early for cocktails, but when time is short, you reprioritize. And I think the time is always right for a Mai Tai. Don’t you?”

About The Author

RickRReed-524x749

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love.

He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…”

You can find him at www.rickrreed.com or www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix.

Social Media

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed

Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rick-r-reed

Email: rickrreedbooks@gmail.com

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