Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Top 5 Halloween Books

And we have a winner! Happy Halloween and congratulations to Peter Saenz! I will be in touch via e-mail. Thanks to all who participated, both here and on social media. If you didn't win, I hope you'll consider giving yourself a Halloween treat by clicking on one or more of the buy links below.

It's that time of year again. My favorite holiday, Halloween, is just around the corner.

 For your consideration, I offer up five of my scariest novels and hope you'll check out one (or more!) as a Halloween treat! So, in no particular order, here goes:

Hunter Beaumont doesn’t understand his grandmother’s deathbed wish: “Destroy Beaumont House.” He’s never even heard of the place. But after his grandmother passes and his first love betrays him, the family house in the Wisconsin woods looks like a tempting refuge. Going against his grandmother’s wishes, Hunter flees to Beaumont House.

But will the house be the sanctuary he had hoped for? Soon after moving in, Hunter realizes he may not be alone. And with whom—or what—he shares the house may plunge him into a nightmare from which he may never escape. Sparks fly when he meets his handsome neighbor, Michael Burt, a caretaker for the estate next door. The man might be his salvation… or he could be the source of Hunter's terror.

From Dreamspinner Press
For Amazon Kindle
(Paperback version also available at the above stores)

Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and his lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn't sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl.

When a second girl disappears soon after the first, Cayce realizes his visions are leading him to their grisly fates. Cayce wants to help, but no one believes him. The police are suspicious. The press wants to exploit him. And the girls' parents have mixed feelings about the young man with the "third eye."

Cayce turns to local reporter Dave Newton and, while searching for clues to the string of disappearances and possible murders, a spark ignites between the two. Little do they know that nearby, another couple—dark and murderous—are plotting more crimes and wondering how to silence the man who knows too much about them.

From Dreamspinner Press
For Amazon Kindle
(Paperback version also available at the above stores)

What would you give up for immortal life and love?

By day, Elise draws and paints, spilling out the horrific visions of her tortured mind. By night, she walks the streets, selling her body to the highest bidder.

And then they come into her life: a trio of impossibly beautiful vampires: Terence, Maria, and Edward. When they encounter Elise, they set an explosive triangle in motion.

Terence wants to drain her blood. Maria just wants Elise . . . as lover and partner through eternity. And Edward, the most recently-converted, wants to prevent her from making the same mistake he made as a young abstract expressionist artist in 1950s Greenwich Village: sacrificing his artistic vision for immortal life. He is the only one of them still human enough to realize what an unholy trade this is.

Blood Sacrifice is a novel that will grip you in a vise of suspense that won't let go until the very last moment...when a shocking turn of events changes everything and demonstrates--truly--what love and sacrifice are all about.

From Untreed Reads
For Amazon Kindle

Voices slam through the corridor of his wounded mind. The words of his dead sister cry out. His parents' taunts fill the silent room where he sits and waits--waits for the murderous rage, filling him with strength, driving him to kill, to touch the cold flesh, taste the warm blood--to feel alive again…

A witness has seen him, but his killing only turns her on and now she wants to protect him. His wife suspects him, but the private detective she hired cannot stop him. Joe MacAree fears nothing--except that he may no longer be human. The thirst that drives him is relentless, moving deeper and deeper into his own shattering, private realm, where each murder is a delicious new gift of life, where revulsion is beauty, and the obsession will never let him go.

"A harrowing ride through cutting-edge psychological horror, this one's got a vicious bite. Rick R. Reed's Obsessed is a twisted nightmare." - Douglas Clegg, bestselling author

From Untreed Reads
For Amazon Kindle

Someone--or something--is killing Seattle's gay men.
A creature moves through the darkest night, lit only by the full moon, taking them, one by one, from the rain city's gay gathering areas.

Someone--or something--is falling in love with Thad Matthews.

Against a backdrop of horror and fear, young Thad finds his first true love in the most unlikely of places: a new Italian restaurant called The Blue Moon Cafe. Sam is everything Thad has ever dreamed of in a man: compassionate, giving, handsome, and with brown eyes Thad feels he could sink into. And Sam can cook! But as the pair's love begins to grow, so do the questions and uncertainties, the main one being, why do Sam's unexplained disappearances always coincide with the full moon?

Prepare yourself for a unique blend of dark suspense and erotic romance with The Blue Moon Cafe, written by the author Unzipped magazine called, "the Stephen King of gay horror". You're guaranteed an unforgettable reading experience, one that skillfully blends the hottest romance with the most chilling terror...

From Amber Allure/Amber Quill Press
For Amazon Kindle
(Paperback version also available at the above stores)

Tell me your favorite horror book or movie in the comments below and you can win your choice of one of the books above in ebook format. I will draw a winner from all the entries on Halloween! Please leave contact info so I can reach you when you win!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Good Karma, Good Books: HORNS AND HALOES by Charlie Cochrane

Every Wednesday, I put on my pimp clothes (I favor feathered hats and zebra prints

with a little crushed velvet) and help promote the new or old work of some of my favorite fellow authors. Be sure to stop by every week and see what’s new. 

This week, I’m all about HORNS AND HALOES by Charlie Cochraine.

Here’s what Charlie has to say about HORNS AND HALOES:

HORNS AND HALOES was inspired a training course I delivered. (I do some freelance training for school governors.) Now, that makes it sound as though my courses are full of fit young gay men flirting with each other, which is - alas - far from the case. One of the courses I run is Selection and Interviewing and it's funny how feelings can run pretty high when you get people with different views and aspirations in a room, dealing with important matters. I remember driving home one day and thinking, “What would happen if those feelings got channelled into romance?” The story just grew from there.

Like both the lads, I think that Valentine’s Day can be a bit overhyped. It puts a lot of unnecessary stress on youngsters, especially when they never get any cards. Been there, done that, in my formative years. I also sympathise with their frustrations at dinosaurian school governors! 


What do you do when finding a new boyfriend is like conducting a job interview?

It's Jamie's idea of torture---a training course about selection and interviewing and on February the fourteenth! Everybody's going to be full of romance and he'll be playing gooseberry as usual. When Jamie finds himself sitting next to the gorgeous Alex, who seems to hate the day as much as Jamie does, will he turn out to be the ideal candidate for the vacant position of boyfriend?

MLR Press

Mysteries with a dash of slash, romances with just a pinch of spice

Friday, October 23, 2015

What Love Is....

"Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident." 

(Louis de Bernières in Corelli’s Mandolin)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Good Karma, Good Books: Tied Together by Z Allora

Every Wednesday, I put on my pimp clothes (I favor feathered hats and zebra prints

with a little crushed velvet) and help promote the new or old work of some of my favorite fellow authors. Be sure to stop by every week and see what’s new. 

This week, I’m all about TIED TOGETHER by Z Allora.

Here’s what Z has to say about TIED TOGETHER:

Tied Together is the second book in The Dark Angels series. This hot rocker series was inspired by Adam Lambert and Tommy Ratliff 2009 American Music Awards kiss. I was living in China at the time the scandal happened. I was distressed to find out some of the sponsors dropped him and scheduled TV appearances were cancelled. The reaction was quite sexist since six years earlier Brittany and Madonna kissed and no one seemed to bat an eyelash. 

I enjoyed his music so I watched the Glam Nation tour as it crossed American via YouKu (China’s censored version of YouTube). I realized you could determine the level of homophobia in the state they performed in by watching the song Fever. In non-homophobic states Mr. Lambert lip locked Mr. Ratliff during the opening notes of this song and in more homophobic states no kiss. The same pattern was true as the tour came through Europe. The more open the country the wilder the kiss.

When the Glambert crew arrived in Asia I was distressed by the reception. Singapore seemed to play games with Mr. Ratliff’s passport (it’s illegal for two men to even kiss in the country). When they arrived in Malaysia (where sodomy can be punished by lashes and imprisonment) people actually protested the concert because they believed Adam Lambert would turn their kids gay. I was shocked at the level of ignorance. 

I wanted to lend my voice to promote love is love and gender has nothing to do with it. So I set out to publish my words hoping to change just one person’s mind.

Since I was already living in Asia I decided to write The Dark Angels series in a yaoi-style, which is meant to be fluffy, over the top and sexy. Though in each book I explore the variations within the spectrum of the rainbow. I have some free reads on my blog:

I’d to hear from you! You can find me on Facebook Z Allora Allora or e-mail me at

Hugs, Z.


Josh has loved Robin since the day they met, although he never dared to follow his heart. After the two are kicked out of their house, a night of despair turns into a night of discovery, forever changing them both. One taste of his dream leaves Josh hungry for more, but Robin’s fear of abandonment forces him to pull back, denying them both.

Their fortunes changed. Josh and Robin are now in the limelight with legendary megaband The Dark Angels, but Robin is still the scared little boy inside the rock star who isn't convinced he won't be left behind. He clings tightly to the word "brother" because stepbrothers can't leave, right?

There's only one way for Josh to prove to Robin, now and forever, that the love tying them together can never be broken.

Barnes and Noble

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Good Karma, Good Books: CHAOS STATION by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen

Every Wednesday, I put on my pimp clothes (I favor feathered hats and zebra prints
with a little crushed velvet) and help promote the new or old work of some of my favorite fellow authors. Be sure to stop by every week and see what’s new. 

This week, I’m all about CHAOS STATION by Jenn Burke &
Kelly Jensen

Here’s what the authors have to say about CHAOS STATION:
Like most books, Chaos Station came about when my friend Jenn and I asked “what if”. We’d been role-playing a couple of characters together, two guys, lifelong friends, who’d been separated by war. Each thought the other dead. When they were reunited, they discovered their friendship ran deeper and promptly fell in love. Their new relationship was complicated by more than the mental and physical scars left over by the war, however. Their big “what if” was their existing friendship. What would happen if the ‘love’ thing didn’t work out?

When we decided to share their story, we built them a world and started the first book at the point of reunion. We changed the backstory a little, and the guys were naturally different. You can never write the same character or story twice, I’ve discovered. But what we ended up with was so much more. As we explored the war that had separated the two, and the effects it had on them, we found a plot that resonated in so many ways: the effects of war and the fate of returned soldiers. The peaks and pitfalls of experimental technology. The attitudes of a future society toward the role of the individual.

And, most importantly, whether simple things like friendship, and complicated things like love, could survive all of the above. 

BLURB“You’re not real. Felix Ingesson is dead.”

The war with the alien stin is over, but Felix Ingesson has given up on seeing his lover, Zander Anatolius, ever again. Zander’s military file is sealed tighter than an airlock. A former prisoner of war, Felix is attempting a much quieter life keeping his ship, the Chaos, aloft. He almost succeeds, until Zander walks on board and insists that Felix isn’t real.

A retired, broken super soldier, Zander is reeling from the aftereffects of his experimental training and wants nothing more than to disappear and wait for insanity to claim him. Then he sees footage of a friend and ally—a super soldier like him—murdering an entire security squad with her bare hands and a cold, dead look in her eyes. He never expected to find Felix, the man he’d thought dead for years, on the ship he hired to track her down.

Working with Felix to rescue his teammate is a dream come true…and a nightmare. Zander has no exit strategy that will leave Felix unscathed—or his own heart unbroken.

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N |
KoboiBooks |

Monday, October 12, 2015


Today's the day! My opposites-attract love story about a nice but nerdy hunk and the stripper he falls for set in Chicago's Boystown, TRICKS, is now officially available from Dreamspinner Press


Tricks can mean many things: sex partners, deceptions, even magic—or maybe all three. 

Arliss is a gorgeous young dancer at Tricks, the hottest club in Chicago's Boystown. Sean is the classic nerd, out of place in Tricks, but nursing his wounds from a recent breakup. When the two spy each other, magic blooms.

But this opposites-attract tale does not run smooth. What happens when Arliss is approached by one of the biggest porn producers in the business? Can he make his dreams of stardom come true without throwing away the only real love he’s ever known? This question might not even matter if the mysterious producers realize their dark intentions.

1st Edition published by MLR Press, 2010.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Good Karma, Good Books: Ransom (Book 1 of the Royal Navy series) by Lee Rowan


Good Karma, Good Books: Ransom (Book 1 of the Royal Navy series) by Lee Rowan

Every Wednesday, I put on my pimp clothes (I favor feathered hats and zebra prints
with a little crushed velvet) and help promote the new or old work of some of my favorite fellow authors. Be sure to stop by every week and see what’s new. 

This week, I’m all about RANSOM by Lee Rowan.

Here’s what Lee has to say about "Ransom:"Ransom was my first published work, and will always be special to me--partly because it was nominated, and then won, the first-ever LGBT Eppie award in 2007.  It's also still the most complicated story I've written, because there are three sets of characters all moving toward the same point in time, and they had to get there all together.  I had huge handwritten timelines posted all over my writing area.  (I also had my first editor -- now my wife -- giving me her left-brained input:  "You have to change the time for this scene, a full moon would rise a lot earlier..."

I've also got a couple of close friends who were sexually abused in their youth, and I wanted a story that had a hero who had to deal with that and triumph over it. David Archer kind of surprised me, both in Ransom and in the sequels - a real case of discovering who the characters really were.  I had planned a series of adventures on the ocean waves -  a sort of romanticized Master and Commander, even though I knew that level of period style was beyond me. 

What I got was something different.  Will Marshall's sexual innocence was kind of endearing, but it created problems because he was not only growing up very fast, he was much more intense than I'd realized he would be -- and found his ambitions affected and altered by his love for Davy.  By the end of the second book, I realized that the universe was going to be more complicated than I'd ever imagined.

This was also my first attempt at writing sex... probably the most difficult part, so I stuck to the emotions and basic physical feelings -- I know brains are wired differently but not all that differently.  A gay friend paid me a huge compliment when I asked him to beta-read for any physical impossibilities.  He read the story and wrote back, "Are you sure you're a woman?"

Well, yes, I am.  But I grew up on adventure stories and there was nobody like Xena when I was a kid.  Like women who ran away to sea in that era - and there were some - it wasn't a matter of what's in your pants, but can you do the job? 

I never got to climb in the rigging as a child, but I spent a lot of time up in oak trees, and down at the lake.  And I dreamed of white sails....

La Rançon, the French edition of Ransom will be October 27!

An officer, a gentleman... and a sodomite. The first two earn him honor and respect, the third may cost him his life. David Archer realizes how hopeless his attraction to his fellow midshipman is from the moment a newly-arrived William Marshall challenges a sexually abusive shipmate to a duel – and shoots him dead.

To Marshall, the Navy is his one chance to move beyond his humble beginnings. While others spend shore leave carousing, he curls up with a navigation text. When they and their captain are abducted, Archer and Marshall become pawns in a renegade’s sadistic game. To protect the man he loves, David Archer chooses to face his own demons of past abuse returned in a different form. When Marshall learns of Archer’s sacrifice, he discovers what he feels for Davy runs stronger and deeper than friendship. He's in love, for the first time in his life, and he wants to know all about this new emotion.

But first they must escape. Only then will they find out if they can preserve their love without losing their lives
“Davy,” Marshall whispered. “Davy!” He caught his friend by the shoulders. “Wake up!” But Archer, trapped in his nightmare, only fought harder. Worse, he started shouting. Marshall had to clap a hand over his mouth and roll on top of him to stop his thrashing. Damn these nightmares! He didn’t want Archer whipped for creating a disturbance, and his own back would not welcome another beating. “Davy!” he hissed.

The struggling body stilled under his hand. “Wha—Will?”

“Yes. Davy, please, you must be quiet—”

His words were cut off as David’s arms snaked round his bare shoulders, pulling him down. Not an embrace; it was like a drowning man clutching at a straw. Marshall turned his face to get Archer’s hair out of his mouth, and his lips brushed against David’s. They parted, and he was lost. A surge of wild pleasure engulfed him; he found himself holding Davy just as tightly, just as close. It wasn’t exactly passion—more some strange mix of protectiveness and a need he’d never realized, a craving for something tangible in this fearful dark place where all the rules that shaped their world were suspended. For an instant he teetered between sensation and control, then the riptide of feeling yanked him under.

Some small part of his mind worried over the problem while his body hurled itself eagerly into the maelstrom. Wildfire blazed from his mouth all the way to his toes, kindling a flame in his groin as he felt himself harden. His lips tingled, the sweet hot touch of Davy’s mouth drawing his tongue deep inside—like kissing a girl but nothing like it, no courtesy, no caution, just a blinding urgency, almost the bloodlust of battle.

But he didn’t want to kill Davy or hurt him—God, no, he just wanted to get closer, somehow. He could feel his own blood racing, could sense another pulse through the thin barrier of cloth between them. He had never in his whole lonely life felt so close to another human being, but there was a familiarity about this, as though he knew exactly what to do. It was incredible, glorious, and hovering just out of reach was the tantalizing promise of one tiny bit more, and he wanted it desperately.

Archer was writhing against him now, one hand tangled in his hair, the other arm locked around his waist. He abandoned himself to the rhythm, hands sliding down with a will of their own to catch Archer's hips. Davy whimpered, and suddenly they were fumbling with fly buttons—their own, each other's, it hardly mattered. Trousers slid away and they were twined together in the straw, rolling around like a couple of young animals, slippery with the sweat of their furious struggle, frantic but silent.

It was like being on deck in a hurricane: no control, no chance of mastery, just holding on for dear life and hoping to survive the cataclysm. Davy's shirt was an obstacle, bunching up between them, and they wrestled that off, lips separating only long enough to get the thing over his head and out of their way.

The wave broke almost immediately as their naked bodies touched full length, small cries drowning in each others' throats. The tidal surge seemed to go on forever, then slowly ebbed until they were two separate beings again, two gasping, spent bodies, two very shocked and bewildered young men. But Davy held his face for a moment longer, time enough for a gentle, piercingly tender kiss. "Thank you," he breathed.

Released, Marshall rolled away, dazed, his body still humming like rigging in a gale. As the feelings calmed and his brain cleared, he realized that what had felt like an age could have lasted barely a minute or two. Had they been overheard? The only sounds he could detect were Archer's ragged breathing, the rustle of the straw, the creaking of the ship.

No alarm outside.

Hardly necessary. Alarm was shrieking within him, and he tried to still it with mundanity. "We—we had better wash up." He groped for the water bucket, shivering as the cold wetness splashed against his belly, rinsing himself, passing the refilled cup to Archer.

His breeches had wrapped themselves around one ankle, and the small problem of untangling them and pulling them back on gave him a moment to try to think. It was like swimming in glue. The enormity of what he had just done nearly paralyzed him. What in the world had possessed him? And Davy had thanked him. For stopping, of course. If he could voluntarily drop dead, this very moment, he would. But of course it couldn't be that easy.

He couldn't see David in the darkness, didn't have to look him in the face; that was a small comfort, since it meant Davy couldn't see him, either.  He couldn't hear Davy's breathing anymore, but sensed that he was waiting.  Speechless with fury, most likely. 

Oh, God, now what?  He sagged against the bulkhead, face in his hands, and struggled for words.  Finally, he took refuge in formality, pushing the phrases out through a throat almost too tight to breathe.  "Mr Archer, I--I most humbly beg your pardon. That was inexcusable, I don't know what came over me-"

Archer had curled into a tight ball, choking on pain, cursing his own stupidity.  He could have just released William, apologized, pretended to be asleep, something.  If only he hadn't said anything!  Well, he wouldn't have to worry anymore about being a pawn in the hostage game; now Will could simply find the Captain and leave.  Or I can just attack Adrian, if I can't kill him I'll just go on fighting until he has to kill me.  He heard Will say something about washing, took the cup that was thrust into his hand, used it to rinse away the stickiness on his belly.   For all the good it would do.  This won't wash off.

Then he heard Will's voice, and his mind finally made sense of the words.  Except that the words didn't make sense.  Why in God's name should William be apologizing to him?  But he sounded terribly upset, as why shouldn't he, and he seemed to be standing there waiting for an answer.  What came over him?  That was too absurd.  Archer swallowed.  "I seem to recall having something to do with it."  His voice sounded almost calm, strange in his own ears.   Well, he had just destroyed the last bit of anything that made his life worth living.   What was there left to fear?   Poor Will was breathing heavily, as though he’d run a mile.   "Will, for God's sake, please sit down before you fall over."

Marshall slid to the deck with a thud, knotting his hands together to keep them from shaking.  "If you wish," he said woodenly, "When we return to Calypso  I shall place myself under arrest for--for indecently assaulting an officer under my command, I shall resign my commission--"

"Are you mad?"  Panic flooded out any other feeling, though Archer had just enough control to keep his voice low.  "Will, that's a hanging offense.  Have you ever seen a hanging?  I have."  Terror made him babble.  "I was eight.  My father thought it would be an eye-opening experience.  He was right.  I didn't sleep for three days."  He took a deep breath and continued, trying to sound more reasonable.  "Even if you had... done anything to harm me, do you think I would say one word to send you to the gallows?" 
Dreamspinner Press ebook
Dreamspinner Press paperback

Thursday, October 1, 2015

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Raining Men & Johnny Wadd

No, it's not what you think....

Sometimes a reader really touches your heart. That was the case when one sent me a sketch he had done inspired by the feisty little chihuahua in my book RAINING MEN, inappropriately named Johnny Wadd. The little dog plays a major role in helping my main character, Bobby, find his own heart and humanity. Anyway, I wanted to share the sketch with you.

Sequel to Chaser

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.

Dreamspinner Press

Bobby paused, listening, trying to hear beneath the din of traffic and the calls of street vendors selling Mexican treats.

There. It’s almost like crying.

He turned and looked around him, but other than discarded cans, papers, weeds, and endless concrete, he saw nothing that could be making the noise, which had, anyway, stopped.

The crying began again simultaneously with Bobby thinking his imagination was playing tricks on him and starting the move forward once more.

He really listened this time and was able to discern the direction from which the sound issued. Just before him was a little side alley, a passage for deliveries for the bar/restaurant next to it. He peered into the gloom of the sun-starved, brick-paved alley and saw only a lone Dumpster, its bright blue paint pocked with rust.

He stepped into the alley, and the crying grew louder.

At the back of the Dumpster, hidden from the street, he saw the source of the sound: a shivering (in spite of the warmth of the day) little brown Chihuahua, its ribs showing and the remains of fast-food wrappers before it.

Huge brown eyes, looking even huger, Bobby thought, on account of the dog’s emaciated condition, stared up at him. The dog went quiet, yawned, and rapidly licked its lips a couple of times. It gazed up at Bobby almost defiantly, in spite of the poor shape the animal appeared to be in.

Bobby was transfixed, and their eyes meeting seemed to erase the sounds of the day around them, isolating the pair, one two-legged, one four.

Bobby stood a couple of feet away from the dog and didn’t want to spook it. He squatted down on his haunches, murmuring softly, “It’s okay. What happened to you, little fella? Or are you a little girl?” It was hard to tell, with the way the dog sat. “Did someone leave you back here? Are you some street-smart survivor?”

Bobby slowly reached out, just letting his hand float, steadily, in the space between them. The dog eyed the hand with what Bobby thought were alternating shades of suspicion and hunger. He wondered if other hands had ever held out a treat to the little dog, or if perhaps human hands appeared to it as weapons, as something that would strike its tiny and terrified body.

Bobby dropped his hand. “I won’t hurt you. I promise. You and me, we’re both alone today.” Bobby inched a little closer, and the dog yapped at him in warning. He moved a couple more inches, and the dog bared its teeth, a low growl issuing from deep in its belly.

“I would never hurt you. But I’ll let you come to me.” And even though it would ruin his expensive shorts and leave him smelling like the Dumpster, Bobby sat down on the bricks of the alley and leaned back against the Dumpster, legs splayed out before him.

“I have all the time in the world.”

But all the time in the world is not what it took for the dog to begin a slow, cautious, one-step-forward-two-back progression toward him. Bobby didn’t make eye contact, simply stared ahead, wondering what the hell he was doing. You really should just get up and go. This little critter is not your problem. What’s the game plan here, anyway? In spite of the thoughts ricocheting through his brain, Bobby didn’t move, casting a glance every so often out of the corner of his eye to see that the dog had drawn a little closer, a little closer.

Finally, the little creature was at his hip, sniffing. Bobby did nothing but stare straight ahead.

Finally, Bobby dared to move to put a gentle hand on its tiny head. The dog darted back, yelping as if Bobby had struck it.

They regarded one another. “We’re never going to get anywhere without trust,” Bobby said softly. He thought he saw a glimmer of that emotion in the dog’s eyes. Or maybe he saw what he wanted to see. Regardless, the dog moved forward once more and allowed Bobby to hold his hand out close enough for it to sniff.

He petted him. In their little dance, the dog revealed to Bobby that he was, indeed, a male. And, for a Chihuahua, quite a well-endowed one. “You little stud,” Bobby whispered, laughing.

The dog settled under Bobby’s sure strokes, moving closer until he had placed one paw on Bobby’s thigh, as though he wanted Bobby to lean in so he could tell him a secret. When Bobby stopped petting him to look down and regard him, the dog nudged Bobby’s hand with his head, as if to say, “More. More.”

“Can’t get enough, huh?” Bobby asked, resuming the petting and scratching behind the ears. He chuckled. “You and I have that in common.”

At last, the dog crawled onto his lap and curled up in the warmth of his crotch. He fell asleep. “Well, would you look at that,” Bobby wondered. Bobby stared down at the dog, not sure what to do next. “You’re gonna give me fleas—to add to the crabs I probably just got up yonder.” Bobby’s laughter, bordering on tears, startled the dog awake, and he stared up at Bobby, head cocked.

“What am I gonna do with you?” Bobby whispered. He wished there was a collar with a tag on the dog. That way, he could at least do the logical thing and try to find his owner.

He couldn’t just leave him here. Not now. They had forged some sort of bond in a few quick minutes. Bobby sighed. “That’s the way it goes with me and well-endowed males. Can’t help it.” He laughed, and again, the dog met his eyes, as if he too wanted in on the joke.

Bobby thought he could take him to the pound. He looked down at the poor little creature—his bordering-on-starvation body, the slight underbite that made his lower teeth stick out. This was not a pretty boy.

“You’re just a streetwise thug, aren’t you?” Bobby scratched the dog behind the ears. “Rough trade.”

Bobby wondered what would happen if he took him to the pound. No, he didn’t really wonder. Who would want this little guy? Especially if there were puppies to compete with, as he was sure there would be, or if there were purebreds and cuter dogs, as Bobby knew there would be.

The most likely scenario, Bobby knew, was that the dog would be gassed after its however-many-days were up.

And already, as he looked down at the brown-eyed face, so ugly it was cute, he knew he could never sentence this animal to a certain death.

“You son of a bitch,” Bobby said to the dog, noticing how he wagged his tail at the epithet, which made Bobby chuckle. “I guess that would be true of any male dog, wouldn’t it? But seriously, what am I gonna do with you?”

Bobby sighed; he already knew the answer. To leave the dog sitting there would break his heart, especially if he, as he did in Bobby’s imagination, followed him.

So he stood up, wiping the back of his shorts with his hands, feeling both grit and grease in a single swipe. The dog stared up at him, tail wagging, as if it knew not what was in Bobby’s mind, but his heart.

Part of him—the part that worked downtown, the part that ogled the Barney’s and Room and Board catalogs, the part that wondered how soon he could trade in his BMW for the latest model, the part that guzzled designer cocktails, the part that worked them off at a chic gym—did tell him he should just walk away. After all, the dog could belong to someone, a child, maybe, and he had just darted out of an open door. Distraught owners were combing the north side for him right now.

Right. A dog in this neglected condition most likely belongs to no one, and, if he does, that owner doesn’t deserve him.

So he squatted down next to the brown dog, holding out his hands in a little cradle. The dog hopped right into them. “Oh, so you’re easy. You and me, we’re two of a kind. You’ve probably waited your whole life behind that Dumpster, anticipating the moment I would walk by and hear your pitiful cries. Don’t worry. I know all the tricks to snare a man. You don’t fool me. The real trick is keeping one.”

Bobby stood, cradling the dog close to his chest. He looked out at life pulsing by on the street beyond the alley’s mouth and wondered how he had gotten here. The sun, he could tell from the quality of light, was beginning to set—the shadows were long and the air was cooler.

Bobby held the dog, and the pair of them emerged from the alley as if they had been made for each other, both clinging to the other for dear life. Never had the cliché, Bobby thought, been more apropos.

Just before Bobby turned the corner to begin the long trek south again, he asked the dog, “Now, what are we gonna call you?”

Bobby paused, thinking, and the name came to him all at once, brought on, not surprisingly, by the Chihuahua’s surprisingly large member. “Let’s call you Johnny, Johnny Wadd,” he said, christening the pooch after porndom’s biggest, literally, star, John Holmes.

As Bobby headed south on Clark, holding onto Johnny, who really weighed so little he barely registered, Bobby had a bracing thought.

He’d felt more connection, more joy, more happiness from the few moments with this dog than in all the eleven times he had been fucked earlier in the day.

“What does that say about me?” he wondered to Johnny.

And Johnny’s large brown eyes regarded him, but he kept his own counsel.

Dreamspinner Press