Tag Archives: Over 40

Release Blitz: The Q by Rick R. Reed

The Q | Rick R. Reed

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: February 1st, 2021

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Female, Male/Male, Female/Female

Length: 51,500

Buy Links:

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Blurb

Step out for a Saturday night at The Q—the small town gay bar in Appalachia where the locals congregate. Whose secret love is revealed? What long-term relationship comes to a crossroad? What revelations come to light? The DJ mixes a soundtrack to inspire dancing, drinking, singing, and falling in (or out) of love.

This pivotal Saturday night at The Q is one its regulars will never forget. Lives irrevocably change. Laugh, shed a tear, and root for folks you’ll come to love and remember long after the last page.

The Q New Release

Excerpt

The Q
Rick R. Reed © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One: Hey Bartender!

Mary Louise hated the term fag hag.

It was demoralizing, conjuring up an image of an older woman, heavyset, with too much makeup and hair that was too big. She would be sitting at home with her two cats, Will and Grace, drinking Cosmos alone and streaming Queer as Folk or Queer Eye while she waited for one of her gay male friends to call to shape and determine the extent of her social life. She’d maybe drink a little too much and laugh a little too loud. She’d play wingperson and watch wistfully from the sidelines as her cohorts paired off for an evening, a week, a month, or a lifetime. She’d tell her friends and family who’d never darkened the threshold of a gay bar that she liked going to them because she didn’t get hit on by predatory losers and she could let her hair down.

She knew the stereotype because for many years she’d been it—well, maybe not exactly, but close enough to make her cringe at the memory.

Sure, she still owned cats (or they her, far more likely), who were Siamese and not named Will and Grace, but Harry and Sally. Her hair had never been big and her idea of great TV was streaming the Golden Girls on Hulu. “Okay, so that’s a little gay,” she heard Sophia saying in the back of her mind. Her drinking taste leaned much more toward beer or a nice glass of whiskey, neat.

She’d broken free of being the wingwoman to the various gay men she befriended. She’d gotten rid of the idea that her happiness depended on a man, gay or otherwise.

She still laughed too loud and probably always would. One of her friends, Mort, delighted in acting out a scene with her from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf when she let loose with one of her ear-splitting laughs. He’d accuse her of braying, and she’d respond, in her best Elizabeth Taylor, “I don’t bray,” and then command him to make her another gin and tonic. He always would comply and would sheepishly respond, “All right. You don’t bray.”

Mort had been gone since 1992, when AIDS took him at the tender age of twenty-eight. Mary Louise still missed him and kept a picture of the two of them, taken while on vacation in Provincetown, a year before Mort was diagnosed. She’d look at that photograph of the two of them, arms slung around each other on Commercial Street, and her eyes would well with tears, even though it had been close to thirty years since Mort had passed in an AIDS ward in a Pittsburgh hospital with only Mary Louise at his side. That loss still was tragic, not only because of Mort’s tender age, but because he was so alone. His partner, Nate, and his folks in Shippingport had abandoned him, the former claiming he couldn’t stand to see him this way and the latter voicing concerns that they might catch the virus. He was your son! She’d wanted to scream at the parents. He needed your arms around him. He needed you to see him. He was your lover! she’d say to Nate. His dying and death wasn’t about you and your fragile feelings.

Mary Louise hoped there was a special place in hell waiting for all three of them.

She’d watched many of her friends succumb to the virus before protease inhibitors came onto the scene, turning what was a death sentence into a somewhat manageable condition. She’d never stop mourning the loss of so many beautiful men.

When the fallout from all this was over, for all practical purposes, Mary Louise found herself bereft of friends. That’s when she decided to pack up and move back to her home town of Hopewell, where her mom and two sisters still lived. There was comfort in coming home to a place where her roots were deeply embedded, even if the area was blighted with poverty. It was still some of the most beautiful countryside Mary Louise could imagine.

Chicago had suddenly seemed too big and, at the same time, paradoxically empty. There were so many reminders—the Boystown strip along Halsted, the Baton Club on Clark, the Swedish restaurant Ann Sather next to the Belmont L stop—all of these places and so many more held more painful memories than she could count, even if they had the power to make her smile and laugh. She figured time and distance would transform the painful memories into joyous ones.

But each recollection of a night of drunken revelry out with her boys or a bleary-eyed brunch the morning after, were a hot touch to her grief, a pain that may have softened, but never went away. Mary Louise was grateful—she’d never willingly give up the hurt. She wanted to hold onto these memories of her boys forever. Despite the fact she was a bit of a stereotype and fit the fag hag profile pretty much to a T, the days and nights in Chicago with her circle of gay friends had been some of the happiest days of her life. And she didn’t even realize it at the time. Wasn’t that always the way?

Hopewell brought a sense of quiet, with its looming tree-covered hills—the foothills of the Appalachians and its position on a winding curve of the mud-brown Ohio River.

Moving back had simplified her life, even if it drained a lot of the bustle and color from it. In Chicago, she never walked alone; the streets, no matter the time of day or night, were always busy. In Hopewell, she could wander and never bump into anyone.

It was her mom, at eighty-six, who needed her help with things like shopping, cooking, running errands, and chauffeuring her to doctor’s appointments. Old Trudy, as she and her sisters referred to her behind her back, refused to move in with one of them, or God forbid, the assisted living facility up the road in Newell. Trudy always said, “I live alone because I like it. They say money is the root of all evil, but the truth is it’s people.”

Mom got by with her girls. And Mary Louise, even as she sometimes got nostalgic for the bright lights and hustle of the big city, knew she was doing the right thing. She’d experienced the Chicago skyline on a clear night, Lake Michigan’s blue/aqua/gray waves crashing against the shore, and the vast diversity of people living on its shore, and no one could ever take those memories away.

Even if she was feisty, clearheaded, and mobile, no one knew how much longer Mom would be with them.

At the Q, Mary Louise still could eye the boys, flirt with them, tease them, and play matchmaker in her role as bartender.

Right now, she stood behind the bar in a pair of unflattering black orthopedic shoes. Once upon a time, Mary Louise adored a pair of CFM (come-fuck-me) pumps with four-inch spikes. Oh, how great they made her legs look back in the day! Not that many noticed in hangouts like Sidetrack or Roscoe’s.

Now, midfifties, she needed to be comfortable when she was on her feet all night. Her smile depended on it, and thus her tips.

Currently, she waited for the doors to open, which would happen in about an hour. She was blissfully alone. Well, maybe blissful wasn’t the right word because all the lights were on as she prepped citrus and olives for drinks, washed glasses, polished the bar, and made sure the bottles behind it were stocked and ready to go.

The overhead lights cruelly stole most of the limited magic the Q possessed. And that was too bad. One of Mary Louise’s favorite characters was the tragic Blanche Dubois, from Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and one of her favorite lines from the show was Blanche’s opinion that she didn’t want realism, she wanted magic. The shadows, soft lighting, and even the disco ball above the dance floor lent a kind of alchemy to the place, transforming it from run down to a setting where anything could happen, where hope lived.

Just before the doors opened, though, the joint looked tired and sad (as Mary Louise herself often felt). The cinder block walls, painted black, possessed a menacing air, like a dungeon—and not a fun one! The concrete floor, stained, showed its grit and the cracks that ran through it. Even the single long rectangle window at the front appeared dusty. Night pressed in on the tinted glass like a monster, hungry for admittance.

Stop it! Now you’re just getting crazy. Mary Louise finished her prep work and allowed herself a moment to sit on the stool she kept behind the bar. It might be her last chance for several hours to relax, if only for a few minutes. She dreaded the coming ache of her feet at evening’s end, orthopedic shoes or not.

But, oh, how she looked forward to seeing everyone! Every Saturday night was a party, and she was the hostess with the mostess.

Despite how some of the regulars could try her patience down to its last reserves, it brought her joy to watch the revelers, to serve them, to offer oblivion in a glass or a bottle. Even though her dancing days, mostly, were well behind her, she loved seeing everyone out there, bodies gyrating and spinning. Some were great, others awkward, others downright embarrassing, but to witness them cut loose after a long week was a thing of beauty, no matter their level of expertise or coordination. She especially loved some of the older patrons, who would bring their shakers of corn starch in to sprinkle on the floor, making it easier to slip and slide to the pulsing dance beat.

Gracie, Rose, and Liz were a lesbian trio that she particularly adored. Even though she’d never had much conversation with them, other than to take their drink orders, the three seemed so well-adjusted and happy, despite never once pairing off, as half the bar expected them to do. And Mary Louise, who considered herself a pretty astute observer of human nature, could tell from a mile away that Gracie was in love with Rose. So obvious! Why couldn’t Rose see it? Or did she simply not want to? Mary Louise had wondered if maybe they were a throuple, but everyone she talked to about that particular suspicion shot in down. “They’re best friends, that’s all.”

She turned as the door squeaked open. There stood Billy Breedlove, her barback and bouncer when needed (not often) in his usual garb—black combat boots, black cargo pants, and a black T-shirt that appeared to be painted on his beefy physique—looking worried.

Mary Louise was taken a little aback. For one, her breath always did a little catch in her throat when she saw him, accompanied by a skip of a heartbeat. He was a beautiful man with his muscles, his bleached-blond buzz cut, and the tattoo sleeves, wildly colorful butterflies and birds that ran down both arms. The fact that he was unattainable made him even more attractive.

And then she’d chide herself. That young man is a good twenty years younger than you, if not more. Cougar. Shame on you.

He’d once told her, when the doors were closed and the lights back on, as they concluded the evening’s business and everyone had headed home, that he was a volcel.

“What the hell’s that?” Mary Louise had asked, mystified.

“I’m an ace,” he’d said, only confusing her further.

“Voluntary celibate, asexual,” Billy told her. “I’m better off without the nasty, you know. I just don’t want it. It would be hard, no pun intended, if it didn’t work for me. But honestly, I never think about sex. Call me weird, but it works for me. And that’s all that matters.”

On hearing those words, she laughed, disbelieving. She fully expected him to laugh, too, maybe slug her in the arm for being gullible. When he didn’t join her in her laughter, her heart broke for him because she knew he wasn’t kidding. She’d pined with unrequited love for gay men most of her adult life and here was one who was most likely straight. And wouldn’t you know it? He’d sworn off sex.

The world was a hopeless place.

He’s too young for you anyway.

The second reason Mary Louise was taken aback was from the worry stamped on Billy’s face.

“There’s been an accident,” he called over. “It’s bad.”

“Oh no.” Mary Louise stood. “What happened?”

RickRReed-524x749

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.

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New Release Blitz: Raining Men | Rick R. Reed

Raining Men | Rick R. Reed

Chaser #2

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: March 9, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 100,416

Buy Links:

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 Blurb

The character you loved to hate in Chaser becomes the character you will simply love in Raining Men.

It’s been raining men for most of Bobby Nelson’s adult life. Normally, he wouldn’t have it any other way, but lately something’s missing. Now, he wants the deluge to slow to a single special drop. But is it even possible for Bobby to find “the one” after endless years of hooking up?

When Bobby’s father passes away, Bobby finally examines his rocky relationship with the man and how it might have contributed to his inability to find the love he yearns for.

Guided by a sexy therapist, a Sex Addicts Anonymous group, a well-endowed Chihuahua named Johnny Wadd, and Bobby’s own cache of memories, Bobby takes a spiritual, sexual, and emotional journey to discover that life’s most satisfactory love connections lie in quality, not quantity.

And when he’s ready to love not only himself but someone else, sex and love fit, at last, into one perfect package.

Excerpt

Raining Men
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Bobby sat on a leather chair in therapist Camille D’Amico’s office, took in his surroundings, and mused on why the therapist had arranged the office as she had.

He made certain assumptions. Camille had placed the seating to be comfortable, yet not confrontational. Bobby supposed she wanted her office to have the effect, the ambiance, of a living room—a safe, calm place where she and her charges could relax like two old friends, just gabbing, getting to the heart of their problems. The office was dimly lit—blinds drawn and a Pottery Barn ceramic lamp the only illumination, sixty watt—and for Bobby, it had what he imagined to be the desired effect: calming. From the small charging/speaker unit on Camille’s desk, the violin of Joshua Bell played softly, a warm background accompaniment.

Camille adjusted her halo of frizzy brown hair, running her fingers through it, and pushed her glasses up on the bridge of her nose. She didn’t say anything, and Bobby supposed she was waiting for him to begin.

Bobby fidgeted with a button on his sport coat, not sure where to start. Camille eyed him up and down, and Bobby knew what she saw: a tall, lean man with above-average—well, way above if he were being honest—looks. And it wasn’t just his vanity that informed him. He had been told more times than he could count that he was gorgeous, hot, that he had the kind of virile beauty seldom seen outside of men’s fashion magazines. His clothes were expensive, tasteful—a soft navy blazer with a white, button-down, Egyptian cotton shirt crisp beneath it. His jeans were indigo blue, the kind that went for hundreds of dollars a pair. His red suede sneakers bore the subtle Prada logo beneath the laces. Bobby had thrown the look together to display a kind of casual elegance, and from the way the therapist was eyeing him, it succeeded in spades.

Even Bobby’s face spoke of good health and clean living. Skin so fine it almost appeared without pores. His auburn hair, close cropped, had just a touch of product to give it sheen, even here in this dimly lit warren. From him wafted the aroma of Hermès, sprayed in a cloud that Bobby had walked into, to ensure he got just the right amount on him.

In short, he knew he appeared to be a man who had everything—health, looks, money.

He imagined the therapist must be thinking: So what the hell is he doing here? And then, sadly, he guessed her next thought might be: And why is it impossible for him to erase that mask of sadness that seems to cling to his face, marring those perfect features?

I’ll wait for him to tell me.

Bobby knew how therapists operated, even if he had never been to one. He had read enough about them and seen enough of them in movies and TV shows to know their modus operandi. She would know, Bobby surmised, that silence was often the most powerful tool in a head doctor’s arsenal. Silence prodded, pushing for respite, for release. It was human nature, these days especially, to want to fill that quiet void with talk.

But Bobby, too, waited. A full two or three minutes had passed since Camille had made her initial small talk greetings. Yet Bobby still played with the pewter button on his blazer, seldom lifting his arresting gray eyes to meet her gaze.

Camille tapped the toe of her shoe on the bamboo flooring, and Bobby wondered if she was beginning to get impatient. She stopped tapping suddenly when Bobby moved his gaze from looking around the room to her foot. He finally spoke.

“Caden sent me.”

Camille nodded. The simple nod and the sudden light in Camille’s eyes told Bobby she remembered his old friend. He imagined what the pair must have once discussed, here, in this very room. She had probably helped Caden through love problems that most young men experience and issues with his mother’s battle with cancer. Camille smiled, and Bobby thought it was because she knew Caden was now in a good place, in love with a wonderful man. Bobby wondered if she had heard Caden was moving in with his boyfriend, Kevin. Bobby wanted to tell her that Caden’s mother was winning her battle with that hateful disease and that she was now recuperating at home, struggling through chemo treatments with grace and humor.

But he only knew these latter two things because he had heard them from a mutual friend one night at Roscoe’s along the Halsted strip known in Chicago as Boystown. He had not heard them from Caden.

He had not heard a word from Caden.

“Caden DeSarro?”

“That’s the one.”

“He’s a good friend to have.”

“Was. Was a good friend.” Bobby realized Caden must have stopped coming to see her before Bobby had betrayed him, and the shame caused a rush of heat to rise to his face.

“Oh?”

“He and I kind of reached a parting of the ways, I guess you might say. I…” Bobby sighed and his voice trailed off. He stared down at the floor.

Camille said nothing.

“I kind of screwed up our friendship. I was an ass.”

Camille cocked her head, a subtle indication for him to continue.

“You want to know what I did, huh?”

“I want to know what you want to tell me, Bobby.”

“I tried to steal his boyfriend.”

Camille nodded.

“In my defense, I didn’t think Caden wanted him anymore.”

He guessed that the therapist’s first reaction to such news would be to recoil. Why not? Here before her was a man who had done a very bad thing, a reprehensible thing, and it seemed like he was sitting here wanting to blame the victim. He didn’t think Caden wanted him anymore? Seriously? What kind of defense was that? Even if that was the case, and it was, someone still didn’t go after a person their best friend had fallen in love with, no matter how sweet and sexy the man was.

But Camille, if she had any judgments, kept them to herself. Her face revealed nothing but a sincere desire to know more.

About the Author

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…”

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

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New Release Blitz: Never Knew Until You by L.E. Royal

Never Knew Until You | L.E. Royal

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: October 7, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Length: 63,900

Buy Links:

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Blurb

After the dissolution of her fourteen-year marriage to her cheating ex-wife, forty-year-old college professor Parker Freeman finds herself adrift. Suddenly middle-aged with so much time wasted, she seeks solstice online where she stumbles upon The Pandora Agency—an organization claiming to help individuals find themselves through submission. Encouraged to be a little wild by her best friend, Parker speaks to the agency and sets up a meeting with a female dominant, Miss Diaz.

Greeted at the door of an impressive Miami townhouse by a young woman, Parker questions her decision as she waits for the girl’s mother. Stunned by the reveal that 24-year-old Kristina is in fact the Miss Diaz she has come to meet, she is dragged headfirst into a new world.

Despite Kristina’s commitment issues and Parker’s shattered confidence, the two enter into a tenuous agreement that sparks Parker’s rediscovery of herself. Both are surprised by their compatibility until they stumble across the line from arrangement into relationship, and Kristina calls their time together to an end. When an unexpected catastrophe throws them back together, old demons are finally brought into the light, and both women must decide if letting go of the past is worth the future they could have together.

Excerpt

Never Knew Until You
L.E. Royal © 2019
All Rights Reserved

“Miss Freeman?”

Parker snapped her head back to her lawyer.

She still had her name, thank God for that. Amanda hadn’t wanted to go through the trouble of changing her medical license after they married, and transitioning from Professor Freeman to Professor Miller had just seemed like too much work.

“Doctor Miller has proposed that you keep the house in South Beach, and she will keep the condo downtown. Is that agreeable?”

Of course she wanted the condo. God, this is happening.

“Fine.”

Her reply was terse, and she tried to look anywhere but at Amanda, perfectly put together in her usual designer slacks and jacket. The resident she had been having an affair with for years—early thirties and gorgeous—waited for her in the hall. Parker felt frumpy, plain in comparison in her blue jeans and politely heeled boots, and forty years old.

She cried on the way home, still lost and furious. Deep down she’d known Amanda was having an affair for some time, but their life had been so comfortably routine, and the loss of that comfort scared her, so she’d adhered to the routine blindly.

Monday through Wednesday Amanda was on call and stayed at the hospital—or so she’d said—Thursday they went out for dinner, Friday Parker finished late after her office hours, and Saturday morning they had sex before Amanda disappeared to a conference, or a clinic, or some other work-related necessity. She’d resurface for her token appearance Sunday night, before it all began again.

Her mind still grappled with it all. How the hell she’d come to accept this as her life. The cheating, the lying, the regularly scheduled sex for God’s sake? She’d been so scared to lose the status quo, the only life she’d known for years, she’d just let it happen, and then she’d lost it all anyway. How is that fair?

The house was empty, which was nothing new. Amanda’s schedule left her alone a lot of the time before, but somehow, Parker noticed it more now.

She kicked off her boots, poured herself a glass of wine, and sat down with her laptop. Miserable, she resigned herself to answering emails.

Somewhere between recommending chapter nine and a review of last month’s lectures for the third time, she drifted out onto the internet. It had become a guilty not-quite-pleasure of late. Browsing divorce forums, searching in the sea of dissatisfied women behind keyboards for something, anything, to make her feel like any of this was going to be okay.

Part of her liked the bitterness of these women, and part of her was left desolate by it. Her brown eyes tracked line after line, post after post, before a thread caught her eye. Moving On and Rebuilding?

She clicked and began to read. Even on these forums among hundreds of others in her situation, she felt alienated, alone. Most of the posters had been scorned by ex-husbands. Very rarely did she find a woman trying to figure things out after the loss of her cheating, lying wife. The responses ranged from funny to sad. She didn’t want to go clothes shopping, her wardrobe was…fine, and although slashing Amanda’s tires had a certain appeal, she knew she would never go through with it.

Frustrated, left empty again, she was about to click off. A response caught her eye and made her pause.

If you are open-minded and serious about rediscovering yourself, I highly recommend the Pandora Agency. Through them I transformed my life and my views on my situation and myself.

The link took her to a website, dark and sophisticated with a definite erotic aura. She almost clicked away, but her eyes caught the first line and then she was reading.

Find yourself through submission. A professional and discreet agency, dedicated to connecting searching souls to their perfect counterpart to facilitate personal growth and groundbreaking life change.

Licking her suddenly dry lips, she carried on reading. The site was certainly convincing, and the testimonials were glowing.

Could I do that? Let someone dominate me?

She blushed at the thought. Of course she’d read the books—who doesn’t like a racy story every now and then—but that was honestly as much as she knew about…this. She was surprised to read testimonials from lawyers, CEOs, teachers, people with professional careers, people who sounded more like her than any of the tire-slashers had.

She told herself the agency probably had a line-up of controlling, chauvinistic men to choose from, though the idea was totally at odds with all the comments from women who felt empowered and in control after using it. She didn’t understand it.

Opening a new tab before she could think about it any harder, she did a quick Google search for “the Pandora Agency.” She was surprised to find more well written, articulate, and genuine rave reviews.

Am I seriously considering this?

The shrill ringing of her phone sounded. Jumping guiltily, she knocked it off the coffee table while trying to grab it. She scrambled to pick it back up and swiped to accept the call.

“Hello?”

She sounded breathless, flushed, heat on her chest and her cheeks as she snapped her laptop closed.

About the Author

L.E. Royal is a British born fiction writer, living in Texas. She enjoys dark but redeemable characters, and twisted themes. Though she is a fan of happy endings, she would describe most of her work as fractured romance.

When she is not writing, she is pursuing her dreams with her multi-champion Arabian show horses, or hanging out with her wife at their small ranch/accidental cat sanctuary.

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