Tags: andrew grey

The Fight Within

A Heart Without Borders is Now Available

A Heart Without Borders released last night at midnight and I cannot believe the wonderful reviews and reader feedback I've been getting.  I want to take a minute to thank the wonderful reviewers and readers for their amazing comments and kind words.  They mean alot.  I'm bowled over by how readers seem to love Wes and Anthony.  This story touched my heart because the living conditions described in the story are very real. 

HeartWithoutBorders MD



Pediatrician Wes Gordon will do just about anything to escape his grief. When opportunity knocks, he signs on to work at a hospital in a tent camp in Haiti. One night while returning to his quarters, he comes across a gang of kids attempting to set fire to an underage rentboy and intervenes, taking the injured René under his wing. At the hospital, diplomat Anthony Crowley tells Wes that the kids involved in the attack are from prominent families and trying to hold them responsible will cause a firestorm.

In spite of the official position Anthony must take, Wes’s compassion captures his attention. Anthony pursues him, and they grow closer during the stolen moments between Anthony’s assignments. Escaping earthquake destruction for glimpses of Caribbean paradise. When Wes realizes the only way to save René is to adopt him, Anthony is supportive, but time is running out: Wes must leave the country, and Anthony is called out on a dangerous secret mission. Now Wes must face adopting a boy from Haiti who has no papers without the support of the one person he’s come to rely on most and may never see again.

Purchase from Dreamspinner Press:   http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4117

Excerpt

Wes made an “after you” motion and followed her out of the ward. They removed their masks, and Wes took a deep breath. Hot or not, it felt good to breathe freely again. They walked down the hallway to another, much smaller area with fluorescent lights hanging from a beamed ceiling. The space had been converted into a sort of mess hall for the doctors and other hospital workers. Everyone at the camp hospital worked long, hard hours, usually six days a week, so there was always food available. Wes took a seat in one of the plastic chairs at a folding table and yawned. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired and unable to sleep in my life.”

“Go on and get your food,” Sandy told him, stifling a yawn herself.

“Do you want me to bring you something?” Wes volunteered.

“Anything, and plenty of coffee,” she said, slipping off her resilient shoes.

“Okay. I’ll be right back,” Wes said. He grabbed a tray and went through the line. It was a cafeteria with serviceable food that was nourishing, if a bit tasteless. But the food fit the bill, and Wes carried two trays back to the table—one with food, and the other with mugs and a pot of strong coffee.

“You’re a godsend,” Sandy told him as she took both mugs from the tray and then the coffee, filling the mugs while Wes set down the food. He sat, and they began to eat. He’d never really talked to Sandy much outside of work. “How long have you been here?” Wes asked her.

“About nine months. I originally volunteered for six, but extended it for another six. After that I think I’ve done what I can do,” she told him before sipping from the mug. “I can take the misery, the rain, the heat—God, the heat—but I think what’s driving me home is this terrible coffee.” She sipped and grimaced. “What I wouldn’t give for a rich cappuccino right about now.” She held the mug in her hands and breathed deeply.

“Me too,” Wes sighed. He sipped, and the coffee went down hot and hard, like the moonshine his uncle made when he was a kid. He and his friends used to sneak sips of it. “Reminds me of homemade whiskey—take too many sips and you end up flat on your ass.”

“Amen, brother,” she said, raising her mug. She took another drink and then began to eat.

Scalloped potatoes and ham stared up at Wes from the plate. He remembered what his mother used to make and knew this was going to be absolutely nothing like it. But he ate anyway, because it was food and he needed the energy. He still had hours to go before his shift ended. “I’ve been here four months and have three months to go myself ,” Wes said for something to talk about.

“Why’d you volunteer?” Sandy asked.

Wes sighed loudly. “I’ve been blessed with so much. I earned a scholarship to medical school, and after I graduated I wanted to see the world and do some good.”

Sandy stared at him hard and then smiled. “That’s the bullshit answer. The political one you tell people because it’s the right things to say. I know; I’ve used it more times than I can count. What’s the real one?”

“Honestly, I was hoping I could do some good in the world,” Wes answered.

“Okay,” Sandy said. “Most of us are here because we want to help, but I can guarantee there’s always another reason.” She lifted her mug to her lips, but didn’t actually take a drink. “What are you running away from?” Wes stared back at her with his eyebrows raised. “Fine. I’ll go first. I’m really here because I wanted a tropical vacation.” She flashed a quick smile and arched her brow.

Wes leaned over the table. “Next time, specify a location with cabanas and gorgeous shirtless pool boys. That’s my idea of heaven.”

She smiled, and tension drained out of her body. “I never would have guessed. You’ve asked me to join you for dinner a few times, and I always thought….” She snickered and then began to laugh outright.

“You thought I was…?” Wes joined in her laughter. “God, no. I was just interested in being friends with someone who understands.” Their laughter was short-lived, and they returned to the food, eating now in companionable silence. “Does it ever get to you?” he finally asked once they were nearly done with the food.

“Of course,” Sandy answered with a shrug. “When I first got here there were nights I damned near cried myself to sleep. But then I got up and went to work. Things are changing, but way too slowly.” She pushed away her plate and closed her blue eyes. “It’s hardest working with the children.”

“Yes, it is. I went into this profession because I love kids and I figured I’d get to work with them. I didn’t really understand that most of the time I’d be working with the sick ones,” Wes admitted, and Sandy smiled.

“So, I’m dying to ask about this ex-boyfriend of yours….”

“I don’t talk about it much here,” Wes said, looking around. “Rumors fly, and I don’t want it to become an issue at work. That could very easily happen.” This was Haiti, the Caribbean, where views were very traditional and much less tolerant. Things had been bad enough in the small coal town in West Virginia where he grew up, but the people there were PFLAG supporters compared to the attitudes in Haiti.

“I understand,” Sandy said. Wes refilled her mug and then his own, and they talked a bit as they finished their coffee. Then he took care of the trays and dishes before walking back to the ward with her.

Wes worked for several more hours. There were so many children, and all of them deserved his attention. He got the pleasure of releasing some children, but it seemed like for every one he got on the road to recovery, two more came in the door. Finally, his relief came in, and Wes left the hospital for the night. He was half asleep on his feet as he walked to the exit. Unlike the hospitals back home, no door swung open for him. He pushed open the heavy door and stepped out into the soupy, tropical air. The hospital was at the terminal end of the old airport, the rest of the area a makeshift city. Except this city was made up of tents and shelters with walls made up of whatever could be scrounged from the ruined buildings of Port-au-Prince —wood, poles, fallen billboards. Roofs were sometimes canvas, but more often tarps lashed to whatever was nearby to provide some shelter from either the torrential rains or the beating, merciless, tropical sun. Thousands, tens of thousands of people called this place home now, more than two, no, closer to three years after the earthquake that had leveled or damaged much of the city. And it was never quiet. The sound of so many people packed so closely together sounded a bit like a beehive on steroids—not quiet, but with no one sound standing out as everything blended into a buzzing cacophony.

He began walking around the lighted perimeter of the building toward a compound adjacent to the hospital, where he had a room. He’d just rounded the corner when a bloodcurdling scream of absolute terror pierced the night, drowning out everything else. Wes began to run in that direction and heard others shifting around him. Another scream followed the first, this one fainter, but it sent a shock through his bones and he ran faster. “What’s going on?” Wes yelled and kept running. He could now make out other footsteps, and as he passed the last tent in a row, he spotted a small group of men, yelling in anger. One of them, taller than the rest, held a small gasoline can. “Get the fuck away!” Wes screamed, and all the men turned toward him. Wes saw they weren’t really men, but older boys. Back home, they might be going off to college, but here they were out to cause trouble.

The Fight Within

A Heart Without Borders is Just Around the Corner

A Heart Without Borders releases tomorrow night at midnight.  I have to tell you that this story will touch your heart.  The early reviews have been amazing with Becky Condit of Mrs Condit and Friends Read Books awarding it 5 Stars and sending me an email to tell me how special this story was.  I really hope you love it and find it as special as it was for me to write. 

HeartWithoutBorders MD

Link to Becky's 5 Sweet Pea Review:  http://mrsconditreadsbooks.com/index.php/?p=14002


Pediatrician Wes Gordon will do just about anything to escape his grief. When opportunity knocks, he signs on to work at a hospital in a tent camp in Haiti. One night while returning to his quarters, he comes across a gang of kids attempting to set fire to an underage rentboy and intervenes, taking the injured René under his wing. At the hospital, diplomat Anthony Crowley tells Wes that the kids involved in the attack are from prominent families and trying to hold them responsible will cause a firestorm.

In spite of the official position Anthony must take, Wes’s compassion captures his attention. Anthony pursues him, and they grow closer during the stolen moments between Anthony’s assignments. Escaping earthquake destruction for glimpses of Caribbean paradise. When Wes realizes the only way to save René is to adopt him, Anthony is supportive, but time is running out: Wes must leave the country, and Anthony is called out on a dangerous secret mission. Now Wes must face adopting a boy from Haiti who has no papers without the support of the one person he’s come to rely on most and may never see again.

Purchase an advance copy form Dreamspinner Press:   http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4117

Excerpt

Wes made an “after you” motion and followed her out of the ward. They removed their masks, and Wes took a deep breath. Hot or not, it felt good to breathe freely again. They walked down the hallway to another, much smaller area with fluorescent lights hanging from a beamed ceiling. The space had been converted into a sort of mess hall for the doctors and other hospital workers. Everyone at the camp hospital worked long, hard hours, usually six days a week, so there was always food available. Wes took a seat in one of the plastic chairs at a folding table and yawned. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired and unable to sleep in my life.”

“Go on and get your food,” Sandy told him, stifling a yawn herself.

“Do you want me to bring you something?” Wes volunteered.

“Anything, and plenty of coffee,” she said, slipping off her resilient shoes.

“Okay. I’ll be right back,” Wes said. He grabbed a tray and went through the line. It was a cafeteria with serviceable food that was nourishing, if a bit tasteless. But the food fit the bill, and Wes carried two trays back to the table—one with food, and the other with mugs and a pot of strong coffee.

“You’re a godsend,” Sandy told him as she took both mugs from the tray and then the coffee, filling the mugs while Wes set down the food. He sat, and they began to eat. He’d never really talked to Sandy much outside of work. “How long have you been here?” Wes asked her.

“About nine months. I originally volunteered for six, but extended it for another six. After that I think I’ve done what I can do,” she told him before sipping from the mug. “I can take the misery, the rain, the heat—God, the heat—but I think what’s driving me home is this terrible coffee.” She sipped and grimaced. “What I wouldn’t give for a rich cappuccino right about now.” She held the mug in her hands and breathed deeply.

“Me too,” Wes sighed. He sipped, and the coffee went down hot and hard, like the moonshine his uncle made when he was a kid. He and his friends used to sneak sips of it. “Reminds me of homemade whiskey—take too many sips and you end up flat on your ass.”

“Amen, brother,” she said, raising her mug. She took another drink and then began to eat.

Scalloped potatoes and ham stared up at Wes from the plate. He remembered what his mother used to make and knew this was going to be absolutely nothing like it. But he ate anyway, because it was food and he needed the energy. He still had hours to go before his shift ended. “I’ve been here four months and have three months to go myself ,” Wes said for something to talk about.

“Why’d you volunteer?” Sandy asked.

Wes sighed loudly. “I’ve been blessed with so much. I earned a scholarship to medical school, and after I graduated I wanted to see the world and do some good.”

Sandy stared at him hard and then smiled. “That’s the bullshit answer. The political one you tell people because it’s the right things to say. I know; I’ve used it more times than I can count. What’s the real one?”

“Honestly, I was hoping I could do some good in the world,” Wes answered.

“Okay,” Sandy said. “Most of us are here because we want to help, but I can guarantee there’s always another reason.” She lifted her mug to her lips, but didn’t actually take a drink. “What are you running away from?” Wes stared back at her with his eyebrows raised. “Fine. I’ll go first. I’m really here because I wanted a tropical vacation.” She flashed a quick smile and arched her brow.

Wes leaned over the table. “Next time, specify a location with cabanas and gorgeous shirtless pool boys. That’s my idea of heaven.”

She smiled, and tension drained out of her body. “I never would have guessed. You’ve asked me to join you for dinner a few times, and I always thought….” She snickered and then began to laugh outright.

“You thought I was…?” Wes joined in her laughter. “God, no. I was just interested in being friends with someone who understands.” Their laughter was short-lived, and they returned to the food, eating now in companionable silence. “Does it ever get to you?” he finally asked once they were nearly done with the food.

“Of course,” Sandy answered with a shrug. “When I first got here there were nights I damned near cried myself to sleep. But then I got up and went to work. Things are changing, but way too slowly.” She pushed away her plate and closed her blue eyes. “It’s hardest working with the children.”

“Yes, it is. I went into this profession because I love kids and I figured I’d get to work with them. I didn’t really understand that most of the time I’d be working with the sick ones,” Wes admitted, and Sandy smiled.

“So, I’m dying to ask about this ex-boyfriend of yours….”

“I don’t talk about it much here,” Wes said, looking around. “Rumors fly, and I don’t want it to become an issue at work. That could very easily happen.” This was Haiti, the Caribbean, where views were very traditional and much less tolerant. Things had been bad enough in the small coal town in West Virginia where he grew up, but the people there were PFLAG supporters compared to the attitudes in Haiti.

“I understand,” Sandy said. Wes refilled her mug and then his own, and they talked a bit as they finished their coffee. Then he took care of the trays and dishes before walking back to the ward with her.

Wes worked for several more hours. There were so many children, and all of them deserved his attention. He got the pleasure of releasing some children, but it seemed like for every one he got on the road to recovery, two more came in the door. Finally, his relief came in, and Wes left the hospital for the night. He was half asleep on his feet as he walked to the exit. Unlike the hospitals back home, no door swung open for him. He pushed open the heavy door and stepped out into the soupy, tropical air. The hospital was at the terminal end of the old airport, the rest of the area a makeshift city. Except this city was made up of tents and shelters with walls made up of whatever could be scrounged from the ruined buildings of Port-au-Prince —wood, poles, fallen billboards. Roofs were sometimes canvas, but more often tarps lashed to whatever was nearby to provide some shelter from either the torrential rains or the beating, merciless, tropical sun. Thousands, tens of thousands of people called this place home now, more than two, no, closer to three years after the earthquake that had leveled or damaged much of the city. And it was never quiet. The sound of so many people packed so closely together sounded a bit like a beehive on steroids—not quiet, but with no one sound standing out as everything blended into a buzzing cacophony.

He began walking around the lighted perimeter of the building toward a compound adjacent to the hospital, where he had a room. He’d just rounded the corner when a bloodcurdling scream of absolute terror pierced the night, drowning out everything else. Wes began to run in that direction and heard others shifting around him. Another scream followed the first, this one fainter, but it sent a shock through his bones and he ran faster. “What’s going on?” Wes yelled and kept running. He could now make out other footsteps, and as he passed the last tent in a row, he spotted a small group of men, yelling in anger. One of them, taller than the rest, held a small gasoline can. “Get the fuck away!” Wes screamed, and all the men turned toward him. Wes saw they weren’t really men, but older boys. Back home, they might be going off to college, but here they were out to cause trouble.

The Fight Within

The Senses Series

The second story in the Senses series, Love Comes in Darkness, just released last Friday. I've posted an excerpt and links if you need them. ( http://andrewgreybooks.livejournal.com/142329.html)   What I thouhgt I'd do is post an excerpt of the first story Love Comes Silently, for those who haven't read it yet.  I love both of these stories and I'm currently working on the next in the series, Love Comes Home. 

LoveComesSilentlyMDLoveComesInDarkness MD

Caring for a loved one with cancer is tough. Doing it alone is overwhelming—especially when that loved one is a child. But ever since Ken Brighton’s partner left him, Ken has spent his days at the hospital with his daughter, Hanna, hoping for a miracle. Maybe the mysterious care packages that appear for Hanna don’t qualify, but they bring a spark of hope into his and Hanna’s tired life—and so does Ken’s neighbor, former singer Patrick Flaherty.

For two years Patrick hasn’t been able to focus on anything but the life he should have had. An injury robbed him of his voice, and the idea of introducing himself to new people intimidates him. But over the past months, he’s watched as his neighbor nursed his sick child, and once he meets Ken, Patrick starts to crave a life with him—a life he isn't sure he can have.

Ken doesn’t realize he’s fallen in love until the doctors send Hanna home, saying there’s nothing more they can do: Hanna will either recover or succumb. Ken’s heart is set on a new beginning—with both Patrick and Hanna. But Patrick's silence leaves Ken wondering what Patrick wants.

Purchase from Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3252

Purchase from Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Love-Comes-Silently-ebook/dp/B009JXNXS0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349090037&sr=8-1&keywords=love+comes+silently

Excerpt:

Patrick Flaherty had seen the little bald girl’s reaction to the box of hats he’d placed outside the front door of the house she shared with her father. Patrick had found out the man with the beatific smile and eyes so deep it looked like the worries of the entire world would fit inside them was named Ken, and that he was some sort of artist. He hadn’t heard much else about him, other than he was new in town and that his daughter had been very sick. Patrick did know from watching him that the other man who’d lived in the house had been Ken’s boyfriend, but he appeared to have moved out, and now it was just Ken and his daughter. That was fine with Patrick. He’d noticed the other man the very first day he’d moved in two houses down the street from the small house Patrick had inherited from his mother. Not that he had any illusions that Ken had noticed him, other than to see him outside working.

People in town had been talking about Ken and his daughter for months, their tongues flapping like a flag in the wind off Lake Superior. Apparently, Ken Brighton was some really famous artist, with his paintings hanging in museums and selling for big bucks all over the country. That was one thing Patrick had found out very quickly after the accident that left him nearly completely silent—people figured that since he couldn’t talk, he couldn’t hear, either, or think. Patrick clenched the handle of the snow shovel as his anger and hurt welled inside. He was the same person he’d been before the accident, and he wished he could make others see that.

After watching the front of the house for a few seconds more, Patrick let the squeal of joy he’d heard drifting on the wind bring a smile to his face as he returned to his chores. He had to get these done before the snow that had begun to melt hardened into ice he’d never get off the sidewalk.

Patrick worked for nearly an hour, and he was about to put his shovel away when he saw Ken and his daughter come out of the house. He couldn’t suppress a grin when he saw the little girl was wearing the poofy pink hat he’d given her. She held her father’s hand, and Patrick walked closer, waving at both of them. He saw the little girl wave back at him before she pulled her hand from her dad’s and walked down the sidewalk toward him.

“Hello,” she said with a smile. “Thank you for the mac-cheese, it was really good.” Patrick nodded and smiled, watching as the girl cocked her head curiously. Patrick touched his throat and shook his head. “Can’t you talk?” she asked, and he shook his head.

“Hanna, don’t bother the nice man,” Ken said as he came up behind his daughter.

“Daddy, he can’t talk,” Hanna said to him. Patrick was used to the pitying looks or even tsking sounds when people found out, but Ken smiled at him and extended his hand.

“I’m Ken Brighton, and this is Hanna,” he said as he firmly shook Patrick’s hand. Once Patrick let go, Patrick pointed to the embroidered name on his coat. One thing he’d begun doing after the accident was have his name added to his jackets and coats. It was the best way he could figure out to easily tell people his name. “It’s nice to meet you, Patrick,” Ken said with an ease that Patrick rarely saw in others. Most people didn’t quite know how to react to him. “We both wanted to thank you for the macaroni and cheese. It was fabulous,” Ken said, and Patrick began to shift slightly under the other man’s piercingly perceptive gaze.

Patrick smiled once again and nodded, placing his hand over his heart in a gesture that meant their thanks was appreciated.

“We’re going to the store, and then Daddy and I are going to paint,” Hanna told him excitedly.

“We need to get going,” Ken said. “You shouldn’t be out in the cold for very long.” Ken might have been talking to Hanna, but he continued looking at him, almost studying him. “Thanks again for the food. I’ll return the dish later today,” Ken added with a slight smile, and Patrick felt his insides jump a little. Patrick waved as the two of them walked back to the car, and after getting inside, Patrick saw Hanna wave as they drove away.

He’d been attracted to Ken since the first time he saw him. But he quickly found out that he had a boyfriend, so Patrick did what he usually did—pushed his interest aside and went on with life. Granted, he wasn’t sure if the boyfriend was really gone, and if the relationship had just ended, then his handsome neighbor probably wasn’t looking for someone else right away. Not that he’d be particularly interested in Patrick, but he could dream. He watched until the deep green car disappeared from sight before putting his shovel away in the garage and then opening the door to the attached workshop.

Patrick turned on the lights, looking over his woodworking shop and the chest of drawers that he’d been working on. He made his living making fine handcrafted furniture, and he had an order he had to get completed, so he put the way his neighbor moved beneath his clothes and the depth of Ken’s eyes out of his mind and got to work.

The Fight Within

Love Comes in Darkness Released at Midnight.

Love Comes in Darkness, the follow up to Love Comes Silently released at midnight last night. This story really truly touched my heart. The opening scene with Howard in the car and being left by the side of the road came to me while I was laying awake one night. The helplessness, loneliness, and fear of being stranded that way had me shaking and I couldn't get those feelings to go away until I'd written the scene.

LoveComesInDarkness MD


Howard Justinian has always had to fight for his freedom. Because he was born blind, everyone is always trying to shelter him, but he’s determined to live his life on his own terms.

When an argument with his boyfriend over that hard-won self-reliance leaves Howard stranded by the side of the road, assistance arrives in the form of Gordy Jarrett. Gordy is a missionary’s son, so helping others is second nature—and he does it in such an unassuming manner that Howard can’t say no.

Life is barely back on track when Howard receives shocking news: his sister died, leaving him her daughter to care for. Howard now faces his greatest challenge yet: for Sophia’s safety, he’ll need to accept help, but will he learn to accept it from Gordy, the one man who will not curb his independence?

Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4071

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Comes-Darkness-Senses-ebook/dp/B00EER6FM2

Rainbow eBooks: http://www.rainbowebooks.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=11533

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-lovecomesindarkness-1266324-149.html


Excerpt:

Chapter 1

“You’re going too fast,” Howard Justinian said. He sat with his arms planted on the armrests.

“I’m going sixty in a fifty-five,” Cedric returned sarcastically.

“I didn’t mean that and you know it,” Howard retorted. Riding in strange cars was always very disorienting for him. He had no idea how fast he was going, and the sound of the road varied with tires, pavement, and even the wind. Cedric had shown up at Howard’s with what he said was a new car. But there was none of the scent he equated with a “new” car, and the seats had enough lumps that Howard had to consciously keep from fidgeting. He only hoped he wasn’t riding in some sort of death trap.

“Howie,” Cedric began coaxingly, “it would be so much easier for me to help and take care of you if I was living with you. You need some help, and if I was there, I could make sure everything was the way you like it.”

On the surface the offer sounded good, and a few days ago, Howard probably would have said yes without question. Before what had happened. Cedric lived just down the street in a second-floor apartment. It was summer, and when Howard had opened his front door, he’d felt the sun on his face, so he’d decided to take a short walk. He’d picked up his cane and made sure he had his keys before he closed the door behind him and navigated the two steps down to the walk. Eight steps later, he reached the sidewalk and began his careful journey to Cedric’s. The air had been warm, and people must have had their windows open, because he’d heard snippets of conversation mixed with television programs as he made his way.

He knew where he was by the feel of each section of the sidewalk. To most people it felt the same, but to Howard’s keen senses, small differences in pitch, places where tree roots had raised slabs, even cracks, were like signposts telling him exactly where he was. At the large crack that made one piece of the walk rock slightly, Howard took two more steps, then made the turn as he verified with his cane that he was truly where he thought he should be. He took the twelve steps and climbed the three stairs to the porch in front of the house. He stepped across the porch, careful to avoid the loose floorboard. Howard felt for the doorbell and was about to ring it when faint sounds drifted down the fourteen steps he knew were in front of him.

Howard pulled open the screen door and quietly took a step inside. Yes, it was what he’d thought. Loud moans reached his ears, and then a cry of, “Fuck me,” in what was most definitely Cedric’s voice. Howard stood stock-still, unable to move.

A Harley Davidson rumbled as it came up the street, the potato-potato sound vibrating around him. Howard opened the door and stepped out, then let it close behind him. Then, as dejection cascaded off him, Howard had slowly made his way home.

“Don’t ‘Howie’ me,” Howard said now, as he felt the car slow down a bit. “You’re not moving in with me.”

“But you need help,” Cedric said again, and Howard refrained from grinding his teeth. “There are so many things I can do.” Cedric stroked Howard’s leg, so Howard pulled it away, shifting closer to the door. When they’d first met, Cedric had been solicitous. He’d helped without intruding and had actually made Howard’s life easier and better. Howard had fallen in love with him quickly—way too quickly, it turned out.

“I don’t think so,” Howard said. “Just give it a little more time.” They were on their way to a party being given by his friend Ken, and he just wanted to get there and have a nice evening. He should have canceled on Cedric and called to see if Ken could pick him up.

“I’ve given things plenty of time already. How long am I going to have to wait before we can be together?” Cedric asked. Instantly Howard regretted this whole thing and wished he was back home, where he wasn’t under Cedric’s control.

“Can we please talk about this after the party?” Howard asked levelly and as sweetly as he could manage.

“No,” Cedric said, and Howard felt the brakes being applied. A loud rumbling sounded as the car continued to slow.

“What’s happening?” Howard asked as the car pulled to a stop.

“Get out!” Cedric said roughly. “You think you’re so independent and don’t need me, then you can find your own way to the party. Now open the damned door and get the hell out.”

“Are you serious?” Howard asked, scared.

“Get the fuck out!” Cedric screamed, and suddenly Howard was more afraid of Cedric than anything else. Howard felt for the handle and pulled it. He pushed the door open and unfastened the seat belt. Then he carefully got out of the car and stood up. He closed the door. Tires squealed, and he turned away as bits of gravel pelted him. He listened as Cedric’s car sped up and the sound disappeared into the whizzing of traffic as it zoomed by him.

Howard didn’t move. He didn’t even have his cane with him. He had folded it up when he got into the car, and it must have shifted when Cedric braked, because he didn’t have it with him. Slowly, he took baby steps back from traffic. Just a few—he didn’t dare go any farther. He had no idea where he was or what was around him, other than cars passing by. Was there a ditch, a wire fence, a creek? He had no idea. At least he should be far enough back that he wouldn’t be hit. “Don’t panic, think,” he told himself as he pushed down the fear that welled inside him. With no points of reference other than the cars flying by and the ground under his feet, he was lost and getting more confused by the second. To make matters worse, the wind was coming up and the heat from the sun he’d felt when he’d first gotten in the car was gone. He inhaled deeply and groaned when he smelled water in the air. It was likely coming off Lake Superior, but it shouldn’t be in that direction. Either that or he was very turned around and even more lost than he thought. He patted his pockets quickly and found his phone. Breathing a small sigh of relief, he raised it to his ear. “Call Ken,” he said, and then he took a deep breath to calm his nerves.

“Calling Ken,” the rich male voice said, and Howard waited.

“Ken,” Howard said when the phone was answered, but all he heard was a mumble. “Patrick, is that you?” Two simple vocal tones sounded. “I need Ken. We were on our way to the party and… well, Cedric and I had a fight, and he left me along the side of the road.” A long wait followed, and then he heard movement behind Patrick.

“Howard, what happened?” Ken asked as he came on the phone. “Patrick looks like he’s ready to kill someone. Are those cars I’m hearing? Are you by a freeway?”

“Yeah,” Howard said as he swallowed hard. “Cedric kicked me out of the car. I’m standing by the side of the road. We were on our way to the party and we had a fight. He kicked me out of the car and left me,” he repeated, desperation kicking in.

“Howard, hon, the party is tomorrow,” Ken said softly. “We had to reschedule because Hanna needed to go in for some tests.”
“Is she okay?” Howard asked, forgetting for a moment about his predicament. Seven-year-old Hanna had been through leukemia treatments, and everyone hoped she remained cancer-free.

“She’s fine. Just routine follow-up,” Ken said. “I called you last week and… shit, Cedric answered your cell. Let me guess, he didn’t give you the message.”

“No,” Howard said, clutching the phone like a lifeline.

“Do you know where you are?” Ken asked. “We’re on our way to the car.” He heard a door close in the background.

“I must be someplace between Marquette and Pleasanton, but I’m not sure where. I’m by the highway. We’d been traveling for about ten minutes, I think, if that helps.”

“It does. Just stay on the line,” Ken said. “We’re leaving now.” The connection clicked, and for a second Howard thought he was going to lose them. “Hanna and Patrick are in the car with me. The phone is on hands-free, so I can drive.”

“Okay,” Howard said a bit nervously as cars continued to zoom by. “I think someone is stopping. God, I hope it isn’t Cedric coming back.”
“If it is, you tell him to hit the road. I’m driving as fast as I dare,” Ken said with energy, and Howard breathed a bit easier.
“Okay. The car is definitely stopping. But I don’t know if it’s Cedric’s.” He would have known the old one by the ticking sound the engine made, but he hadn’t immediately registered a unique sound for Cedric’s latest car. Howard heard a car door slam closed and he flinched slightly.

“Do you need help?” a melodious voice asked, definitely not Cedric’s slightly nasal tone.

“Yes, please,” Howard said, turning toward the sound of the voice. “I have friends coming to get me. Can you tell me exactly where I am?”

“Huh?” the man asked.

“I’m blind and I got dumped here. My friends are on the way, but I’m not sure where I’m at,” Howard said, hoping the guy didn’t decide to rob him or something.

“You’re between mile markers 135 and 136, or pretty close,” he said, and Howard relayed the message to Ken.

“That son of a bitch,” Ken swore. “We’ll be there as fast as we can.”

“Where were you headed?” the stranger asked.

“To Pleasanton,” Howard answered.

“No wonder. You’re going the other way,” he told him, and Howard swore.

“He did this on purpose,” Howard said mostly to himself. “The bastard did this to me on purpose.”

“Why would he do that?” both Ken and the stranger asked in each ear, and Howard shook his head.

“I’ll stay with you until your friends arrive,” the man said. “They can call you when they get close.” Howard relayed the message to Ken, who swore again.

“What?” Howard asked, concerned. Ken rarely cursed, and almost never in front of Hanna.

“I picked up a cop. Shit,” Ken said.

“Daddy, you swore… lots,” Hanna sang. “Potty mouth. Does that mean Daddy Patrick will wash your mouth out with soap?”

Ken groaned, but didn’t swear. “I’ll be there as soon as I can explain what’s going on,” Ken said.

“Call when you’re close. I’ll be okay.” He hung up but held onto his phone.

“You can sit in my truck if you want,” the man said. Howard heard him take a step closer, and he tensed. The man’s touch on his arm made him jump, but only for a second. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. Let me guide you toward the truck.” His touch was gentle and he stayed slightly behind, guiding rather than tugging Howard forward. Cedric had never gotten the hang of walking with him. He’d always tried to pull Howard along. “I’m Gordon Jarrett, but my friends call me Gordy.”
The Fight Within

Excerpt of Love Comes in Darkness - Releasing on August 9

Love Comes in Darkness, the follow up to Love Comes Silently, releases August 9.  In this story you'll meet Howard, Gordy, and Sophia as well as see Patrick, Ken, and Hanna. 

LoveComesInDarkness MD

Howard Justinian has always had to fight for his freedom. Because he was born blind, everyone is always trying to shelter him, but he’s determined to live his life on his own terms.

When an argument with his boyfriend over that hard-won self-reliance leaves Howard stranded by the side of the road, assistance arrives in the form of Gordy Jarrett. Gordy is a missionary’s son, so helping others is second nature—and he does it in such an unassuming manner that Howard can’t say no.

Life is barely back on track when Howard receives shocking news: his sister died, leaving him her daughter to care for. Howard now faces his greatest challenge yet: for Sophia’s safety, he’ll need to accept help, but will he learn to accept it from Gordy, the one man who will not curb his independence?

Purchase an advance copy: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4071

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

“You’re going too fast,” Howard Justinian said. He sat with his arms planted on the armrests.

“I’m going sixty in a fifty-five,” Cedric returned sarcastically.

“I didn’t mean that and you know it,” Howard retorted. Riding in strange cars was always very disorienting for him. He had no idea how fast he was going, and the sound of the road varied with tires, pavement, and even the wind. Cedric had shown up at Howard’s with what he said was a new car. But there was none of the scent he equated with a “new” car, and the seats had enough lumps that Howard had to consciously keep from fidgeting. He only hoped he wasn’t riding in some sort of death trap.

“Howie,” Cedric began coaxingly, “it would be so much easier for me to help and take care of you if I was living with you. You need some help, and if I was there, I could make sure everything was the way you like it.”

On the surface the offer sounded good, and a few days ago, Howard probably would have said yes without question. Before what had happened. Cedric lived just down the street in a second-floor apartment. It was summer, and when Howard had opened his front door, he’d felt the sun on his face, so he’d decided to take a short walk. He’d picked up his cane and made sure he had his keys before he closed the door behind him and navigated the two steps down to the walk. Eight steps later, he reached the sidewalk and began his careful journey to Cedric’s. The air had been warm, and people must have had their windows open, because he’d heard snippets of conversation mixed with television programs as he made his way.

He knew where he was by the feel of each section of the sidewalk. To most people it felt the same, but to Howard’s keen senses, small differences in pitch, places where tree roots had raised slabs, even cracks, were like signposts telling him exactly where he was. At the large crack that made one piece of the walk rock slightly, Howard took two more steps, then made the turn as he verified with his cane that he was truly where he thought he should be. He took the twelve steps and climbed the three stairs to the porch in front of the house. He stepped across the porch, careful to avoid the loose floorboard. Howard felt for the doorbell and was about to ring it when faint sounds drifted down the fourteen steps he knew were in front of him.

Howard pulled open the screen door and quietly took a step inside. Yes, it was what he’d thought. Loud moans reached his ears, and then a cry of, “Fuck me,” in what was most definitely Cedric’s voice. Howard stood stock-still, unable to move.

A Harley Davidson rumbled as it came up the street, the potato-potato sound vibrating around him. Howard opened the door and stepped out, then let it close behind him. Then, as dejection cascaded off him, Howard had slowly made his way home.

“Don’t ‘Howie’ me,” Howard said now, as he felt the car slow down a bit. “You’re not moving in with me.”

“But you need help,” Cedric said again, and Howard refrained from grinding his teeth. “There are so many things I can do.” Cedric stroked Howard’s leg, so Howard pulled it away, shifting closer to the door. When they’d first met, Cedric had been solicitous. He’d helped without intruding and had actually made Howard’s life easier and better. Howard had fallen in love with him quickly—way too quickly, it turned out.

“I don’t think so,” Howard said. “Just give it a little more time.” They were on their way to a party being given by his friend Ken, and he just wanted to get there and have a nice evening. He should have canceled on Cedric and called to see if Ken could pick him up.

“I’ve given things plenty of time already. How long am I going to have to wait before we can be together?” Cedric asked. Instantly Howard regretted this whole thing and wished he was back home, where he wasn’t under Cedric’s control.

“Can we please talk about this after the party?” Howard asked levelly and as sweetly as he could manage.

“No,” Cedric said, and Howard felt the brakes being applied. A loud rumbling sounded as the car continued to slow.

“What’s happening?” Howard asked as the car pulled to a stop.

“Get out!” Cedric said roughly. “You think you’re so independent and don’t need me, then you can find your own way to the party. Now open the damned door and get the hell out.”

“Are you serious?” Howard asked, scared.

“Get the fuck out!” Cedric screamed, and suddenly Howard was more afraid of Cedric than anything else. Howard felt for the handle and pulled it. He pushed the door open and unfastened the seat belt. Then he carefully got out of the car and stood up. He closed the door. Tires squealed, and he turned away as bits of gravel pelted him. He listened as Cedric’s car sped up and the sound disappeared into the whizzing of traffic as it zoomed by him.

Howard didn’t move. He didn’t even have his cane with him. He had folded it up when he got into the car, and it must have shifted when Cedric braked, because he didn’t have it with him. Slowly, he took baby steps back from traffic. Just a few—he didn’t dare go any farther. He had no idea where he was or what was around him, other than cars passing by. Was there a ditch, a wire fence, a creek? He had no idea. At least he should be far enough back that he wouldn’t be hit. “Don’t panic, think,” he told himself as he pushed down the fear that welled inside him. With no points of reference other than the cars flying by and the ground under his feet, he was lost and getting more confused by the second. To make matters worse, the wind was coming up and the heat from the sun he’d felt when he’d first gotten in the car was gone. He inhaled deeply and groaned when he smelled water in the air. It was likely coming off Lake Superior, but it shouldn’t be in that direction. Either that or he was very turned around and even more lost than he thought. He patted his pockets quickly and found his phone. Breathing a small sigh of relief, he raised it to his ear. “Call Ken,” he said, and then he took a deep breath to calm his nerves.

“Calling Ken,” the rich male voice said, and Howard waited.

“Ken,” Howard said when the phone was answered, but all he heard was a mumble. “Patrick, is that you?” Two simple vocal tones sounded. “I need Ken. We were on our way to the party and… well, Cedric and I had a fight, and he left me along the side of the road.” A long wait followed, and then he heard movement behind Patrick.

“Howard, what happened?” Ken asked as he came on the phone. “Patrick looks like he’s ready to kill someone. Are those cars I’m hearing? Are you by a freeway?”

“Yeah,” Howard said as he swallowed hard. “Cedric kicked me out of the car. I’m standing by the side of the road. We were on our way to the party and we had a fight. He kicked me out of the car and left me,” he repeated, desperation kicking in.

“Howard, hon, the party is tomorrow,” Ken said softly. “We had to reschedule because Hanna needed to go in for some tests.”

“Is she okay?” Howard asked, forgetting for a moment about his predicament. Seven-year-old Hanna had been through leukemia treatments, and everyone hoped she remained cancer-free.

“She’s fine. Just routine follow-up,” Ken said. “I called you last week and… shit, Cedric answered your cell. Let me guess, he didn’t give you the message.”

“No,” Howard said, clutching the phone like a lifeline.

“Do you know where you are?” Ken asked. “We’re on our way to the car.” He heard a door close in the background.

“I must be someplace between Marquette and Pleasanton, but I’m not sure where. I’m by the highway. We’d been traveling for about ten minutes, I think, if that helps.”

“It does. Just stay on the line,” Ken said. “We’re leaving now.” The connection clicked, and for a second Howard thought he was going to lose them. “Hanna and Patrick are in the car with me. The phone is on hands-free, so I can drive.”

“Okay,” Howard said a bit nervously as cars continued to zoom by. “I think someone is stopping. God, I hope it isn’t Cedric coming back.”

“If it is, you tell him to hit the road. I’m driving as fast as I dare,” Ken said with energy, and Howard breathed a bit easier.

“Okay. The car is definitely stopping. But I don’t know if it’s Cedric’s.” He would have known the old one by the ticking sound the engine made, but he hadn’t immediately registered a unique sound for Cedric’s latest car. Howard heard a car door slam closed and he flinched slightly.

“Do you need help?” a melodious voice asked, definitely not Cedric’s slightly nasal tone.

“Yes, please,” Howard said, turning toward the sound of the voice. “I have friends coming to get me. Can you tell me exactly where I am?”

“Huh?” the man asked.

“I’m blind and I got dumped here. My friends are on the way, but I’m not sure where I’m at,” Howard said, hoping the guy didn’t decide to rob him or something.

“You’re between mile markers 135 and 136, or pretty close,” he said, and Howard relayed the message to Ken.

“That son of a bitch,” Ken swore. “We’ll be there as fast as we can.”

“Where were you headed?” the stranger asked.

“To Pleasanton,” Howard answered.

“No wonder. You’re going the other way,” he told him, and Howard swore.

“He did this on purpose,” Howard said mostly to himself. “The bastard did this to me on purpose.”

“Why would he do that?” both Ken and the stranger asked in each ear, and Howard shook his head.

“I’ll stay with you until your friends arrive,” the man said. “They can call you when they get close.” Howard relayed the message to Ken, who swore again.

“What?” Howard asked, concerned. Ken rarely cursed, and almost never in front of Hanna.

“I picked up a cop. Shit,” Ken said.

“Daddy, you swore… lots,” Hanna sang. “Potty mouth. Does that mean Daddy Patrick will wash your mouth out with soap?”

Ken groaned, but didn’t swear. “I’ll be there as soon as I can explain what’s going on,” Ken said.

“Call when you’re close. I’ll be okay.” He hung up but held onto his phone.

“You can sit in my truck if you want,” the man said. Howard heard him take a step closer, and he tensed. The man’s touch on his arm made him jump, but only for a second. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. Let me guide you toward the truck.” His touch was gentle and he stayed slightly behind, guiding rather than tugging Howard forward. Cedric had never gotten the hang of walking with him. He’d always tried to pull Howard along. “I’m Gordon Jarrett, but my friends call me Gordy.”

LoveComesSilentlyMD
The Fight Within

Stranded Has Been Released!!!!

Stranded released last night at midnight and I'm so excited I can hardly sit stil.  I really hope this story finds and audience.  Its a real departure for me and I can't help being a little nervous.  I supppose most people are when they take a chance on something new.  Well, the story isn't completely new for me, it is a romance, but its also a thriller.  I've already seen a five Sweet Pea review from Mrs. Condit Read Books:  http://mrsconditreadsbooks.com/index.php/?p=13421#more-13421 a 5 Star Review from Paranormal Romance Group, and a 4 1/2 Drop Review from House Millar,  http://apmassie.com/4-5-drops-review-stranded-by-andrew-grey/

I hope you'll pick up a copy and see for yourself what this story is all about.  If you do, please be sure to tell me about it.  andrewgrey@comcast.net.  Or you can just leave a comment here or in Facebook.

Stranded md

Kendall Monroe is handcuffed to a car in the desert.

Is this life imitating art or art imitating life? The only thing he’s sure of is that the situation he finds himself in is a copy of a scene he filmed earlier, only this time, there is no director yelling “cut” and no crew to rescue him. Terrified for his life, Kendall takes comfort remembering happier times with his long-time lover, Johnny. He hasn’t seen Johnny in weeks since Johnny stayed behind to finish his latest best-selling novel.

As he attempts to survive scorching-hot days and freezing nights, Kendall tries to figure out who did this to him. Could it be Johnny, or the research assistant he suspects Johnny is having an affair with? Both options fill him with bitterness. Or is it a more likely suspect? Kendall has a stalker who sends him flowers and always seems to know where he is. But what does this stranger have to gain by leaving Kendall stranded in the middle of nowhere?

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3994

The door buzzer sounded. Kendall hated to leave, but he knew it was probably the messenger, so he turned and left the apartment, then took the flight of stairs to the main level. Sure enough, he saw a bicycle messenger waiting outside the door. He took the package and gave the kid a tip before making sure the door closed tightly and then going back to the apartment. Johnny was back at work, immersed in his story, and Kendall knew he needed to let him work.

He opened the envelope and pulled out the screenplay for Stranded, then threw away the wrapping. Then he sat in one of the chairs, the clacking of computer keys his accompaniment as he began to read.

He hardly moved for almost two hours as he read the script from cover to cover. By the time he was done, he had an excellent idea about the story.

“So, what do you think?” Johnny asked. The lid of his computer was closed and Johnny handed him a glass of iced tea. “I figured you could use something to drink.”

“Yeah, I think so,” Kendall said as he took the glass and drank down half of it. “This is….” Kendall swallowed. “I think this could be very powerful, but I don’t know if I can do it.” He opened the script and found the pages he wanted. “The main character gets stranded in a car. You know I’m claustrophobic, and they want to handcuff me in a car for hours on end.” Kendall could already feel the sweat threatening to break out all over at the thought.

Johnny read for a few minutes. “Hey, think about it. The car will only be parts of a car, because they have to film it. So while it’ll look like you’re stuck in a car, you won’t really be.” Johnny handed him back the script. “I think you’re trying to psych yourself out so you won’t have to do this.” Johnny sat next to him. “Here in New York, you’re a big fish. Everyone knows who you are, and yes, you can get almost any part you want. But this would be like starting new. You should be excited, not afraid.”

“Are you trying to get rid of me?” Kendall asked.

“No. I’m only returning the favor. You encouraged me with my first book, and now it’s time for me to do the same for you. You need to spread your wings.” Johnny lightly patted his leg and then leaned in and kissed him softly. Kendall hoped for something a little warmer, and attempted to pull Johnny closer, but he pulled away. “I have an appointment with one of the librarians at Columbia.” Johnny glanced at his watch. “I’ll only be gone for a couple of hours, and when I get back, we can have dinner together. I promise.”

“On a Sunday afternoon?” Kendall asked, but Johnny was already up and going. He grabbed a light jacket and hurried out of the apartment. Kendall didn’t know what the hell to do, so he went back to the bedroom and opened the book he’d started earlier. But he couldn’t concentrate.

A cell phone ringtone sounded, and he snapped the book closed and located Johnny’s phone. He answered it to stop its incessant ringing. “Hello,” Kendall said tentatively.

“Johnny?” a young male voice asked.

“No, this is Kendall, can I help you?”

The line was quiet for a few seconds. “No, that’s okay. I’ll see him later.” The call disconnected, and Kendall stared at the blinking number. He set the phone on the coffee table and was about to go back to his reading, but instead, he picked up the phone again and brought up the call history. While there was no name in contacts, Johnny had been getting calls from the same number every few days for at least the past month or so. Kendall closed the phone and placed it back where he’d found it.

He needed something to do, so he decided to start dinner. He chopped vegetables and got them ready to cook. He seasoned the beef he’d bought earlier and let that sit to build up some flavor, and peeled potatoes before getting them ready to boil. The entire time, Kendall found himself staring every few seconds at Johnny’s phone, and finally he allowed himself to voice what he was fearing: Is Johnny having an affair? At least that would explain the complete lack of interest. God, he didn’t want to think so, and his heart ached. He still loved Johnny, and he needed him. Johnny was his anchor, his rock—he always had been.

They had been growing apart; he could see that. But maybe it was just a product of their busy lives and months or years on very different schedules.

His phone rang, and Kendall hoped it was Johnny. No such luck. “Hey, Sal,” Kendall said when he answered.

“Did you get the script?”

“Yeah, and I read it,” Kendall said.

“Good. I wanted to make sure. They need an answer tomorrow,” Sal told him, and Kendall nodded.

“I know, and you’ll have it. I need to think things over. I know how you feel, and I’m giving this a lot of thought,” Kendall said as he wandered over to the window, peering out at the relatively quiet street below. “I have to be honest that I’m nervous about doing it.”

“Of course you are,” Sal said. Kendall settled on the bench and watched the people and cars as they navigated the narrow street. “This is going to be different with all new people, but I know you’re right for this part. I’ve represented many people who’ve gone from Broadway to Hollywood over my career, and rarely have any of them received a vehicle as perfect for them to make the transition as you have.”

“But, Sal, they’re going to lock me in a car,” Kendall said as he half watched out the window.

“I know. Isn’t it wonderful?”

“Sal!” Kendall yelled.

“Don’t take that tone with me. I know how you feel about enclosed spaces, but that’s why it’s perfect for you. Use that fear in the movie. Let them see what that does to you and your character. Don’t run from it—embrace it. Trust me,” Sal said, and Kendall sighed softly. “I told you it was perfect.”

“If you say so,” Kendall said as a cab pulled up in front of the building. “As I said, I’ll be sure to call you Monday morning.” The cab door opened, and Johnny got out. “I need to go. Johnny just got home from the library, and I need to get dinner ready.”

“You two have a big celebratory night planned?” Sal asked.

Kendall’s smile at the thought lasted until he saw another man lean out of the cab. He appeared to be speaking to Johnny. The other man disappeared from view back in the cab, and Kendall saw Johnny lean inside the vehicle for a few seconds and then back out once again. Johnny closed the cab door, and Kendall could have sworn he saw a huge smile on Johnny’s face before he disappeared from view.

“Kendall, are you there?” Sal asked.

“I’m here,” he said. “Tell the people in Hollywood I’ll do it.” Kendall said. Maybe three or four months on his own to explore a bit and figure out what he really wanted wasn’t such a bad idea, after all.

The Fight Within

Stranded Releases Tomorrow at Midnight

With this story I like to think I'm stretching my wings a little.  Back in October I was at Gayronlit in Albuquerque and beginning to think about my next story.  Sometimes ideas run around in my head for a while and I had the idea to do something around life imitating art.  But I didn't know what.  At the convention, one of the days was spent in town.  They transportedf there on busses.  As we rode we passes the desert landscape and at one point I saw a car sitting alone in the desert.  What a great literary devise.  What if a man was locked in a car?  From there the ideas began to bubble up. 

I really hope you enjoy this story.  It has action, intrigue, and of course a deep romance.

Stranded md

Kendall Monroe is handcuffed to a car in the desert.

Is this life imitating art or art imitating life? The only thing he’s sure of is that the situation he finds himself in is a copy of a scene he filmed earlier, only this time, there is no director yelling “cut” and no crew to rescue him. Terrified for his life, Kendall takes comfort remembering happier times with his long-time lover, Johnny. He hasn’t seen Johnny in weeks since Johnny stayed behind to finish his latest best-selling novel.

As he attempts to survive scorching-hot days and freezing nights, Kendall tries to figure out who did this to him. Could it be Johnny, or the research assistant he suspects Johnny is having an affair with? Both options fill him with bitterness. Or is it a more likely suspect? Kendall has a stalker who sends him flowers and always seems to know where he is. But what does this stranger have to gain by leaving Kendall stranded in the middle of nowhere?

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3994

The door buzzer sounded. Kendall hated to leave, but he knew it was probably the messenger, so he turned and left the apartment, then took the flight of stairs to the main level. Sure enough, he saw a bicycle messenger waiting outside the door. He took the package and gave the kid a tip before making sure the door closed tightly and then going back to the apartment. Johnny was back at work, immersed in his story, and Kendall knew he needed to let him work.

He opened the envelope and pulled out the screenplay for Stranded, then threw away the wrapping. Then he sat in one of the chairs, the clacking of computer keys his accompaniment as he began to read.

He hardly moved for almost two hours as he read the script from cover to cover. By the time he was done, he had an excellent idea about the story.

“So, what do you think?” Johnny asked. The lid of his computer was closed and Johnny handed him a glass of iced tea. “I figured you could use something to drink.”

“Yeah, I think so,” Kendall said as he took the glass and drank down half of it. “This is….” Kendall swallowed. “I think this could be very powerful, but I don’t know if I can do it.” He opened the script and found the pages he wanted. “The main character gets stranded in a car. You know I’m claustrophobic, and they want to handcuff me in a car for hours on end.” Kendall could already feel the sweat threatening to break out all over at the thought.

Johnny read for a few minutes. “Hey, think about it. The car will only be parts of a car, because they have to film it. So while it’ll look like you’re stuck in a car, you won’t really be.” Johnny handed him back the script. “I think you’re trying to psych yourself out so you won’t have to do this.” Johnny sat next to him. “Here in New York, you’re a big fish. Everyone knows who you are, and yes, you can get almost any part you want. But this would be like starting new. You should be excited, not afraid.”

“Are you trying to get rid of me?” Kendall asked.

“No. I’m only returning the favor. You encouraged me with my first book, and now it’s time for me to do the same for you. You need to spread your wings.” Johnny lightly patted his leg and then leaned in and kissed him softly. Kendall hoped for something a little warmer, and attempted to pull Johnny closer, but he pulled away. “I have an appointment with one of the librarians at Columbia.” Johnny glanced at his watch. “I’ll only be gone for a couple of hours, and when I get back, we can have dinner together. I promise.”

“On a Sunday afternoon?” Kendall asked, but Johnny was already up and going. He grabbed a light jacket and hurried out of the apartment. Kendall didn’t know what the hell to do, so he went back to the bedroom and opened the book he’d started earlier. But he couldn’t concentrate.

A cell phone ringtone sounded, and he snapped the book closed and located Johnny’s phone. He answered it to stop its incessant ringing. “Hello,” Kendall said tentatively.

“Johnny?” a young male voice asked.

“No, this is Kendall, can I help you?”

The line was quiet for a few seconds. “No, that’s okay. I’ll see him later.” The call disconnected, and Kendall stared at the blinking number. He set the phone on the coffee table and was about to go back to his reading, but instead, he picked up the phone again and brought up the call history. While there was no name in contacts, Johnny had been getting calls from the same number every few days for at least the past month or so. Kendall closed the phone and placed it back where he’d found it.

He needed something to do, so he decided to start dinner. He chopped vegetables and got them ready to cook. He seasoned the beef he’d bought earlier and let that sit to build up some flavor, and peeled potatoes before getting them ready to boil. The entire time, Kendall found himself staring every few seconds at Johnny’s phone, and finally he allowed himself to voice what he was fearing: Is Johnny having an affair? At least that would explain the complete lack of interest. God, he didn’t want to think so, and his heart ached. He still loved Johnny, and he needed him. Johnny was his anchor, his rock—he always had been.

They had been growing apart; he could see that. But maybe it was just a product of their busy lives and months or years on very different schedules.

His phone rang, and Kendall hoped it was Johnny. No such luck. “Hey, Sal,” Kendall said when he answered.

“Did you get the script?”

“Yeah, and I read it,” Kendall said.

“Good. I wanted to make sure. They need an answer tomorrow,” Sal told him, and Kendall nodded.

“I know, and you’ll have it. I need to think things over. I know how you feel, and I’m giving this a lot of thought,” Kendall said as he wandered over to the window, peering out at the relatively quiet street below. “I have to be honest that I’m nervous about doing it.”

“Of course you are,” Sal said. Kendall settled on the bench and watched the people and cars as they navigated the narrow street. “This is going to be different with all new people, but I know you’re right for this part. I’ve represented many people who’ve gone from Broadway to Hollywood over my career, and rarely have any of them received a vehicle as perfect for them to make the transition as you have.”

“But, Sal, they’re going to lock me in a car,” Kendall said as he half watched out the window.

“I know. Isn’t it wonderful?”

“Sal!” Kendall yelled.

“Don’t take that tone with me. I know how you feel about enclosed spaces, but that’s why it’s perfect for you. Use that fear in the movie. Let them see what that does to you and your character. Don’t run from it—embrace it. Trust me,” Sal said, and Kendall sighed softly. “I told you it was perfect.”

“If you say so,” Kendall said as a cab pulled up in front of the building. “As I said, I’ll be sure to call you Monday morning.” The cab door opened, and Johnny got out. “I need to go. Johnny just got home from the library, and I need to get dinner ready.”

“You two have a big celebratory night planned?” Sal asked.

Kendall’s smile at the thought lasted until he saw another man lean out of the cab. He appeared to be speaking to Johnny. The other man disappeared from view back in the cab, and Kendall saw Johnny lean inside the vehicle for a few seconds and then back out once again. Johnny closed the cab door, and Kendall could have sworn he saw a huge smile on Johnny’s face before he disappeared from view.

“Kendall, are you there?” Sal asked.

“I’m here,” he said. “Tell the people in Hollywood I’ll do it.” Kendall said. Maybe three or four months on his own to explore a bit and figure out what he really wanted wasn’t such a bad idea, after all.

The Fight Within

In Search of a Story Releasing Thursday Night at Midnight

Last October I was at a conference with a friend, Hope.  I had finished a novel and was looking for an idea.  At the conference I attended a seminar on storytelling and the leader quoted Henningway's answer to the challenge to tell a story in as few words as possible.  His response was "For sale, baby shoes, never worn."  I was fascinated with the idea and after talking it over with Hope the entire ride home, I began this story.

   Search of a Story MD

He’s searching for a story but finds so much more.

Brad Torrence is next on the chopping block at the newspaper where he works. Hungry for any source he can find, he runs across an ad in the classifieds: For Sale: Nursery Items, Never Used. It’s the lead he’s been looking for. Thinking a piece about the loss of a child will give him the edge he needs to keep his job, Brad follows up. He doesn’t expect a single man to answer.

Rather than being offended, Cory Wolfe finds sharing the story of his grief and pain liberating. He’s even surprised by the spark that strikes, and one story leads to another.

Brad digs into his stories and Cory’s life, eager to know everything about the man who’s caught his attention. But when a lead points him to the hospital where Cory works, he unearths a mystery that might have been safer left buried. Brad’s search for a story could prove deadly….

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Excerpt:

The man on his doorstep was as young as he’d sounded on the phone, with deer-in-the-headlights eyes and a nervous smile. “Hello, I’m Brad Torrence from the Crier,” he said and extended his hand. The kid looked a bit like an excited puppy.

“Cory Wolfe,” he said, and they shook hands. Cory stepped back so Brad could enter and then closed the door. He motioned toward the living room. He waited for Brad to take a seat and then he sat in his favorite leather chair.

“This is a great room,” Brad said with a touch of awe in his voice. Then he sat and waited. Cory got the impression he was waiting for something.

“You wanted to ask me some questions? I’m a little unsure why you’d want to interview me,” Cory said. “But I’ll try to help.”

“I probably should have been more clear: I was hoping to interview both you and your wife.”

Cory smiled. “Nope. It’s just me. No wife.” That simple statement sent a stab through his stomach.

“I’m so sorry,” Brad said.

“Wait, let’s back up. There’s never been a wife. I think we have a misunderstanding of some kind. I’m not married and never have been,” Cory clarified. Brad became jittery, and for a second Cory thought he might hyperventilate.

“But the ad…,” Brad said.

“Yes. Like I said, I never had a wife, but I was getting ready to have a baby,” Cory said. “I had a partner a few years ago, but he wasn’t interested in children, though I was. That and, well, other things, doomed the relationship….”

Brad smiled and opened the notebook he’d brought, appearing distinctly more relaxed.

“Aren’t you supposed to ask me questions?” Cory asked.

“I can,” Brad said. “Your ad caught my attention, and I thought there was a story behind it. I’ll admit that I was expecting to do a story about mothers recovering from grief after the loss of a child. My mother lost three babies after me.”

Cory nodded thoughtfully and then stood up. “Come on,” he said, and Brad stood up. Cory led him up the stairs, and at the small landing, he opened the door and turned on the light. He hated entering this room now. Brad stepped inside, but Cory remained in the hallway, physically unable to enter. “This was to be Adam’s room. I picked out the furniture, painted the walls. I spent days picking out just the right color blue. Then I asked a friend to paint the teddy bears on the walls, and we even added stars to the ceiling.” Cory didn’t look up. Unable to take any more, Cory stepped away from the door and waited for Brad to come out of the room. Then Cory turned off the bedroom light and closed the door. Without saying anything more, Cory led the way down the stairs and back to the living room, where he once again sat in his chair.

“Mothers aren’t the only ones to feel grief,” Cory said flatly.

Brad nodded slowly. “What happened?” he whispered.

Cory wasn’t sure why he opened up, but he did. “About a year ago, I found out my best friend, Eileen, was pregnant. She wasn’t married and was barely able to take care of herself. Eileen was wonderful, but there wasn’t a maternal bone in her body. She’d decided that she wanted to put the baby up for adoption, and I asked if I could adopt the child.” Cory’s voice broke, and he yanked a tissue from the box on the lower shelf of the end table. He never thought he’d keep tissues in various rooms of his house, but for months now he’d needed them. “Eileen was thrilled. She would still get to be a part of her baby’s life, and that was all she wanted.”

“You said his name was Adam?” Brad prompted.

“After we found out she was having a boy, I came up with the name, and Eileen liked it, so we started referring to him as Adam. I bought the nursery things and fixed up the room upstairs. Everything was ready.” Cory paused and blew out his breath. He needed to get himself under control. What he wasn’t prepared for was Brad to reach over and touch his hand. Cory hadn’t been touched in quite a while, and he liked it. The gesture was probably a breach of journalistic integrity and objectivity or something like that, but it was what he desperately needed.

“Please, take your time,” Brad told him. “I’ll listen.” Cory thought he might have seen tears in Brad’s eyes, but it was hard to tell through his own.

“Eileen was about eight months pregnant, and she was at home. I hadn’t heard from her that day, so I stopped by after work. I found her on her kitchen floor, where she’d fallen.” Cory figured he might as well finish the story and get it over with. “The autopsy showed that she had a blood vessel burst in her brain. It was probably a defect she’d had since birth, and it burst. They said she died pretty quickly.”

Brad had taken notes throughout his story, and Cory waited for him to finish. “Did you get any help? With the grief, I mean.”

Cory shrugged. “Some. I actually found a group for people who lost children in Harrisburg—eleven women and me. The thing was, at the time I didn’t consider my grief as bad as theirs. I wasn’t the one who’d carried the child, but….”

“You still lost a child just the same,” Brad said.

Cory nodded. He does understand.

The Fight Within

The Fight for Identity - Releasing Thursday Night at Midnight!!!

A number of months ago, I read in the newspaper about a piece of land, sacred to the Sioux, that was going to be auctioned off piece by piece.   Part of their creation story takes place on this land. So once again, I got fired up and decided, in my own way, to write about that struggle. This is a story about the struggle for identity as a people as well as personally. I really hope you enjoy it.

           The Fight for Identity MD

Will Martin’s racist father, Kevin, hates Native Americans and wants to keep them off his property, never mind that part of the ranch land is sacred ground for the Sioux. When they request access for prayer, Kevin refuses—but Will doesn’t share his father’s views. Ever since he first saw Takoda Red Bird during one of the Sioux sacred ceremonies, Will has been fascinated. He grants the tribe access.

Takoda defies Kevin on a regular basis. He often sneaks to the sacred site on the rancher’s land for prayer and knows Will has seen him there. When, out of spite, Kevin places the land up for auction, Takoda knows it is time for action and bands together with Will to stop the sale.

In the fight that follows, Will gets more than he expected. He starts out helping the tribe preserve their identity… and ends up finding his own.

Preorder a copy from Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3804

Excerpt:

When Will opened his eyes again, movement caught his eye. A lone man sat cross-legged on the ground, gently swaying back and forth. He didn’t seem to be wearing a shirt, his skin almost providing a type of camouflage against the red-brown land. Slowly, Will led Midnight down the far side of the rise, closer to where the man sat. As he approached and dismounted, the man’s posture stiffened, but he made no move to get up.

“If you’re here to kick me off, you can just go about your business,” the man said in a deeply rich voice.

“Why would I do that? You aren’t hurting anything,” Will said. He didn’t come too close. “You might get trampled by the cattle if they wander this way, but that’s the only kicking anyone is going to do.”

The man opened his eyes, and Will stared into the deepest set of brown eyes he’d ever seen in his life.

“I know you, and I know this horse,” the man said, and he slowly unfolded his legs and stood up, tall and proud. “I saw this horse and probably you a long time ago.” He met Will’s gaze. “I was coming to say hello when your grandfather pulled you away.”

Will swallowed as his gaze traveled over the man’s body before quickly returning to his face. He didn’t want to be too obvious, but damned if this guy wasn’t some sort of god come down to earth. “I remember you,” Will said, his mind conjuring up the memory. “I was watching the ceremony when I was a kid, and I remember you on your horse, riding bareback. I wondered at the time if I could ride like that on Midnight here, but I never tried it.”

“How do you know it was me?” the man asked.

“I remember the scar on your shoulder. The boy I saw had the same one, but it was fresher then. Now it’s an old wound, but not then.” Will met the man’s gaze. “What are you doing here?”

“Praying,” he answered. “This place is very special to me and my people. I come here sometimes to pray to the gods to help my people, but they don’t listen.” He sounded angry. “Instead, they let your father keep us away from this land and bar us from coming here.”

“He did that?” Will asked. Not that he was surprised. Thinking back, his father had probably stopped them from using the land as soon as Grandpa died. Even now, Will didn’t know why his father hated Native Americans so much, but he’d found out that the man he’d thought his father was through young teenage eyes turned out to be far different from the man Will saw through adult eyes.

“Yes. He stopped my people from coming here two years ago. Now I’m the only one who comes. Your father would call the police if he found me, but I don’t care. It’s more important to practice my people’s beliefs than it is to obey the wishes of some small-minded, hard-hearted white man.”

Will didn’t move, but Midnight began to stomp and pull on the reins. He was getting impatient. “My father isn’t so bad,” Will said.

“Then why does he keep my people from this place? We do no harm, and we only commune with nature and establish a connection to our heritage and customs. This place is sacred, and it figures into one of our earliest stories.”

“I know. My grandfather used to tell me the stories he knew. He said he had a friend who was Sioux, and he shared the stories with him. I think that’s why Grandfather understood and didn’t interfere with you.” Will began to move to appease Midnight. “He told me the day I watched you that your coming here was the same as us going to church.” The man nodded. “Then I give you and your people permission to come here and to hold your ceremony.”

Will led Midnight farther away and got ready to mount, but stopped when he heard the other man laughing. “I know it’s your father who owns the land, or thinks he owns the land. But no one can own nature or the land. Not even you.”

Will stomped over to where the man stood, knowing Midnight would stay. “Look, you can play the stereotypical stoic Indian all you want. But I meant what I said. I happen to believe you should be able to practice your beliefs. So you can either act like an ass or say thank you.” Will stared at the annoying man, wondering why he was bothering at all.

“Native American,” the man said. “I’m Native American, not Indian, and why should I say thank you for allowing my people to practice beliefs we’ve held and passed down for thousands of years?”

God, the man was a smartass. “Okay, then don’t practice your beliefs and stay away. It’s no skin off my nose,” Will said as he climbed back into the saddle. “I was trying to help.” Will turned Midnight’s head toward home and clicked his teeth to start the horse moving.

“You were,” the man said, and Will pulled Midnight to a stop. “I should be grateful. At least my people will be able to come here for the ceremony this year.” When Will nodded, the man extended his hand and said, “I’m Takoda Red Bird.”

“Will Martin,” he said as he shook the offered hand, once again looking the man over. He had to stop that, but he couldn’t seem to help himself.

“You know your father is going to raise hell if he finds out what you said,” Takoda added. “You don’t have to do this. Your father has something against my people, and none of us knows what it is, but you don’t have to provoke his temper. Your grandfather was a good man, and I believe he understood, but your father doesn’t. You don’t have to put yourself in harm’s way for us.”

“It’s the right thing to do, Takoda. I’ll deal with my father.” Will nudged Midnight, and he started up the rise. It was the right thing to do, and what his grandfather had done. When they reached the top, Will raised his hand in greeting, and Takoda did the same. As his grandfather would say, his dad would have two strokes and a hemorrhage if he found out what Will had done. But it was still the right thing to do. Too bad he had forgotten that no good deed goes unpunished.

The Fight Within

College Chemistry Was Never Like This

I wrote Organic Chemistry on a whim.  An internet friend had told me that her son has Asperger's Syndrome and that he never really got to see himself in a story.  So I set out to change that.  I am by no means an expect on Asperger's but I did some basic research, threw in some of my own imagination, and came up with Brenson.  By the time I was done writing the story, I'd pretty much fallen in love with the guy.  He's smart, sweet, to a degree very innocent, but also willing to open himself to love, once he pulled his mind out of his research and realized that's what's being offered.  Josh on the other hand was much simpler.  I'm a geek at heart and in creating Josh, I wanted Brendon to hit the boyfriend jackpot, so to speak.  There is another story in the series, Biochemistry.  It will be released later this year.  It centers on new characters, but both Josh and Brendon make an appearance.
OrganicChemistryMD

Brendon Marcus lives for his work. A boy genius who fast-tracked his way to college professor by his early twenties, he doesn’t know any other way to be. People confound him. So when Josh Horton, the assistant football coach, pursues him, Brendon isn’t sure what to make of him.

Josh has his own problems. His successful parents aren’t particularly happy with his career path, and some of the players don’t like having a gay assistant coach. He begins to have doubts, but Brendon makes the world look a little brighter.

But when Brendon’s department head starts to make trouble, Josh and Brendon discover that standing up for each other is the first step to standing up for themselves.

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       An hour later, he didn’t have much. His frustration was blocking his thought processes, he knew that, but he was so angry at himself. And to make matters worse, the text he’d received that had caused the whole collision earlier was some marketing thing from his service provider. Texting and driving was dangerous, Brendon reminded himself, but he shouldn’t walk and text at the same time—it could be detrimental to his research.

A knock sounded on his door, which Brendon ignored at first because he was just starting to make progress. It sounded again, and he reached behind him and opened the door before returning to his typing. “Can I help you?” Brendon asked as he finished getting down one of the ideas he’d had.

“I’m sorry, but I think you dropped this earlier.”

Brendon turned to see the huge man he’d collided with in the hall holding the notepad. Brendon nearly snatched it out of his hand and then looked through it.

“Thank you,” he said with a relieved sigh. It was all there, and as soon as he saw his writing, the ideas he’d had flooded through his mind once again.

“I found it halfway down the hall, and it took me a while to locate you. I kept looking for a student,” he said, and Brendon glanced up to find the man looking him over. “I’m Joshua Horton. And no, I’ve never heard a who.” Brendon looked at him blankly, wondering what he was talking about. “Dr. Seuss, you know.”

Brendon shook his head. “Never read any of that stuff.”

“No way,” Joshua said. “How could you have missed that?”

“When other kids were interested in things like that, my mother was helping me read Treasure Island.” Brendon put down the notepad. “I’m Brendon Marcus,” he said, holding out his hand. “I’m an associate professor of chemistry.”

“My friends call me Josh or Freight Train. I’m the new assistant football coach,” Josh said as he pumped Brendon’s hand hard. When Josh released it, Brendon’s hand tingled, and he wondered where that had come from. Maybe Josh had caused nerve damage or something. “Sorry I bumped into you and spilled all your stuff. Did you get everything back?”

“I did now,” Brendon said with a smile of relief. “Thanks again. I had a bunch of ideas in there, and it was going to take a lot of time to try to recreate them.” Brendon wondered exactly how long he had to chitchat before he could return to his work. Eventually he began to shift in his chair. “Um, I need to get back to work now.”

“Okay. I should be going, then,” Josh said, and Brendon turned around and returned to his computer, but he didn’t hear Josh leave and eventually he turned back around. “Is there something I forgot?” He started to run through the social conventions his mother had taught him. Brendon never seemed to understand other people. He didn’t read facial expressions well, and vocalisms like sarcasm were simply beyond him. Lots of people thought he didn’t care, but he did care—he simply didn’t understand. Should he have offered Josh coffee? He didn’t think so. They really didn’t know each other. He reached for his wallet. “Do you need a reward?” He already had his wallet in his hand when Josh touched his arm.

“No,” Josh said.

Brendon looked at him, confused. “I need to go back to work, but you’re still standing here. Therefore I must have forgotten something, but I can’t figure out what it is.” Brendon was becoming agitated as he twisted his seat around and stared up at Josh, the Freight Train guy.

“You didn’t forget anything, String Bean. I was just trying to figure out how to ask if you might like to get some dinner or something?”

Brendon blinked. “No, thank you. I’m not hungry and I have to finish my work.” Brendon turned around to face his computer again. If the man didn’t leave now, he didn’t know how he could get him to go. He heard nothing from behind him, and for a second he thought Josh might have left, but then he heard laughter. “I don’t think I said anything funny,” Brendon said, looking over his shoulder.

“I wasn’t asking you to get dinner now. I thought I could come back here about five o’clock, and we could walk someplace nearby to get something to eat.” Brendon felt Josh place his hand on the back of his chair. “You do eat, don’t you?”

“Of course I eat,” Brendon said. “Everyone has to eat.”

“Then would you have dinner with me tonight?” Josh asked.

“Okay,” Brendon said and then turned back around to go to work. “But I don’t eat squishy food or fishy food.” He began typing. “Or stringy meat.” He shivered at the thought of eating any of that stuff. “It all feels funny.”

“Okay,” Josh agreed. “I’ll meet you here at a little after five for a nonsquishy, nonfishy, no-stringy-meat meal.” Brendon nodded and continued working. “Okay, I’ll see you then,” he heard Josh say, but he was already descending into his work and he barely noticed when the door closed. Brendon continued working for about five minutes and then stopped, resting his fingers on the keyboard. He was having dinner with someone. Like, as a friend. Without thinking, he brought up the Internet and began searching for articles on the right social conventions for a situation like that. Did he need to bring a gift? Should he have money to pay? The sources he found said he didn’t need to bring anything unless he was going to someone’s home for dinner, in which case he should bring something small, but it also said he should be prepared to pay for his own meal. He decided he could handle that, so he went back to his work.