Monday, June 24, 2013

Past Tense by Ethan Stone

Release date: 29 May 2013
ISBN: 978-1-925031-15-7
Category: Gay Mainstream

Sub-Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Fantasy/Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense, Romantic



Jason Holt was a young man when he lost everything; his family, his boyfriend, and his safety. He’s been on the run since, hiding from an evil man bent on revenge. Las Vegas was supposed to just be another pit stop in his travels but when he learns the very man he’s hiding from is in Sin City Jason decides it’s time to stop hiding.

Private detective Quinn Reynolds lost the man he loved several years ago and since then he has been hiding from life. He can’t move on and is obsessed with making the man responsible for his lover’s death pay for the crime.

When Jason comes to Quinn for help, Quinn finds a reason to move on. The dangerous situation around them quickly escalates and together they face an unimaginable evil. Can they survive the darkness and make it through to the light on the other side?


Something roused me from my deep sleep but when I opened my eyes, what I saw didn't make sense: a dog. A dog standing upright? I closed my eyes, but when I opened them again, the dog was still there. I woke up enough to realize it wasn't an actual dog but a man dressed as a dog. Not in one of those cutesy, furry dog costumes, but in the leather fetish style. The kind of costume for the hard core kink guys into puppy play. Not my scene, though I did spend a week with a guy who was very into it. I didn't mind the mask or the butt plug dog tail, but I just didn’t care for the barking.
“Who are you?” I demanded. “How did you get past my security?”
Leather Dog chuckled but didn't answer the questions.
“Who. The Fuck. Are you?”
“Someone you don't want to know.” His voice was raspy like he had smoked too many cigarettes. “Hiring Reynolds was not your best decision. Demos keeps an eye on him and his clients. We wouldn’t have known you were in town if you’d gone to someone else. We got pictures of you guys at Mandalay Bay.”
I tried to sit up, but his hand snapped out faster than anything I'd seen before. His fingers wrapped around my throat and kept me pressed to the bed.
“Don't move again, Jay.”
“I was just sitting up.” It was hard to speak with his hand on my throat. “It's not like I could do anything. I'm in bed...naked, and I'm sure you're armed.”
He nodded and pulled back the sheet. I didn't move because doing so might set him off. I had a couple ways to play this: smart and flippant or scared. I'd have to be stupid not to be scared, but I wasn't terrified. I’d been through enough shit to know staying calm even when afraid was important. I decided acting frightened was the best option.
“Are you gonna k-k-kill me?” I stammered.
“Eventually,” he replied, chuckling again. He reached out and stroked my chest. “You're a fine piece of meat. I might have to partake in a few pleasures of the flesh...before I cut your skin from your bones.”
“Please, I'll do anything you want.”
“Oh, I know you will. But taking what isn’t offered is much more fun.” He pulled out a knife with what looked like an eight inch blade, and he ran it around one nipple, then down to my cock.
“Please, don't cut me. I hate blood.”
“Pain and blood are a few of my favorite things,” Leather Dog said with a throaty laugh.
I'd been counting on him being a sadist. Sexual satisfaction was often also a man's weakness. He ran a hand over his leather clad body and down to his crotch. The leather suit was skin tight, and I could tell he was fit and built and had an erection. He cupped his genitals.
“Are you scared, Jay?”
“Y, y, yeah.” I wiped the tears from my eyes.
“Good,” he whispered. “That will make it even better.”
He grabbed my arm and flipped me on my stomach. He was a man who got off on rape and force, but he had mistaken me for someone who didn't know how to take care of himself.
He lay on top of me, and I felt the zipper on his crotch scratch across my bare ass. He held my hands to the bed and I cried out, begging him to stop.
“Yes, cry, boy. Cry out. Beg me to stop.” He roughly pushed his crotch against me. He was desperate for the next part, and for that he would have to let go of one of my hands.
I screamed and begged and pleaded. He laughed harder.
“I’m going to enjoy making love to your tight ass, boy. You’re going to scream.”
He released my left hand and I felt him reach between my ass and his crotch to unzip. My left hand slipped under my pillow, grabbed the hand held six-inch taser I kept hidden there. I reached backward and zapped him on the neck on one of the only bare spots of skin I’d seen. His body shook as three hundred thousand volts traveled through his body. I pushed him off me, he fell to the floor, and I was off the bed and out of the room as fast as I could move.
I knew my escape plan by heart, not that it was very complicated. Unfortunately, the lack of clothes was a problem. I didn't stop to grab even a coat as I ran into the bathroom and locked the door. I didn't think the lock would hold him for long, but I hoped the taser would keep the dog incapacitated long enough for me to get through the bathroom window. The window was small enough that a normal size man couldn't fit through, but thanks to my small stature and flexibility, I could. I undid the lock on the window, removed the block that kept it from opening from the outside and turned off the alarm tied to the window. I jumped when the bathroom door rattled.
“Little boy, little boy, let me come in,” he said in a singsong voice. “Or I'll huff and I'll puff and fuck you 'til you hemorrhage from your ass!”
I wondered how he had recovered so quickly but didn’t slow down and was halfway through the window when he slammed against the door. I expected the door to burst open, but instead the man screamed. Not a cry of frustration at not getting in, but a cry of deep, sharp agony. It didn’t make sense, but I couldn’t stay and figure it out. As I dropped out the window, I heard him smash against the door and he cried out in pain again.
“Poutanas gie!” he shouted. I didn't know what he said, but I knew he was speaking Greek.
I ran as soon as my feet hit the ground. The night was warm and humid, and I started sweating right away.  The hard cement tore my feet apart, but I didn’t stop. Living in one of the worst parts of Vegas was entirely intentional. Every place I had lived in the past several years was in the bad part of town because abandoned homes or warehouses were always nearby.
At that moment, my destination was a church a couple blocks away. This church had access to a basement from outside, making it damn near perfect for me. Still naked as the day I was born, as well as most Friday nights, I ran down the street. Vegas may be busy twenty-four/seven on The Strip, but where I lived it stayed quiet at night. However, a few people wandered around. Most of them were drunk or stoned, but up ahead I saw a white woman with a phone in her hand.
“There's a naked man running down the street,” she cried into the phone. “I'm calling the police,” she told me as I ran by.
“Good!” I yelled. “Be ready to call again when you see the giant leather dog following me.”

I darted down an alley and found my sanctuary. I opened the basement access and slid inside. I had a few items stored there, including a disposable cell phone, food, and a change of clothes. Grabbing the cell, I dialed Quinn’s number.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Raining Men By Rick R. Reed

Literary Nymphs Interview

Title: Raining Men
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 31, 2013

Do you write in more than one genre?
Yes, although lately my mind and my work has taken a decided turn toward contemporary romance. But I am also known, perhaps too well, for horror and was even labeled by Unzipped magazine as the “Stephen King of gay horror.” I have also mystery, psychological suspense, comedy, and paranormal romance.

What if any, is the hardest part of writing for you?
Getting started each day. Once I sink into my imaginary world, I’m fine, but I can find a million things to do—including mundane stuff like laundry and playing “just one more game” of Spider Solitaire—before actually starting to work on my current project. It’s funny, because I love to write, but I am the world’s worst procrastinator when it comes to actually doing it.

What inspired the story?
Raining Men is a spinoff of Chaser, my chubby chaser love story, published in 2012. It tells the story of the Bobby, Chaser’s most hated character, and actually redeems him. Bobby is very handsome, very promiscuous, self-centered, and conniving in Chaser. In Raining Men, we get to see a different Bobby, one who is finally discovering—spurred by the death of his father—who he really is and why it’s so easy for him to hook up for sex but nearly impossible for him to find love. It’s quite a journey and I like to think that readers who hated Bobby in Chaser will come to absolutely love him by the end of Raining Men.

Blurb for Raining Men
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.

Bobby’s Dream
THUNDER rumbles. Rain hisses. Flashes of lightning—brilliant and blue white—rip across the sky.
I know I’m dreaming, yet something about this whole scenario seems as real as the nose on my face, the hair on my head, the dick swinging between my legs.
In addition to the natural sounds of the storm, there’s another noise, and it makes me smile. Music. Rising. Percussion. Disco beats. And the powerful wail of Martha Wash and the Weather Girls singing “It’s Raining Men.”
I’m standing under some kind of awning—red, canvas—watching the rain pour down not in drops, but sheets. Blinding. The flashes of lightning are like a disco strobe light, revealing in flashes of blue and silver, a darkened cityscape. Night. But a netherworld cityscape, blue gray, unreal.
It’s the music that makes me want to move out from under the awning. The music that has me smiling, my hips, head, and arms in synchronized rhythm with the beat.
Even the rain, a cold shock to my naked body, isn’t enough to keep me from driving myself out into the downpour to dance to the song, which has long been a favorite of mine.
What a delicious notion—raining men! Men falling from the skies! More men than one can shake a stick at (or something that rhymes with stick, heh-heh).
I look up into the midnight-blue clouds, my mouth and eyes open to the water pouring down, and I see it: the first of the men.
I stare in wonder as he drops from the sky. A blond Adonis, smooth and muscled, allover tanned with a dick thick, long, and perfectly hard, pointing back up at the sky. He lands somewhere outside my vision, and I dance, spinning toward where I saw him fall, hoping to find him where he has landed so I can say hello, reach out and touch him.
But before I can make any progress, another man falls from the sky. This one is hirsute, bearded, husky but hard-muscled, putting me in mind of the actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan. He smiles. Before I can even smile back, other men tumble from the skies, and I want to laugh, cry out in jubilation at my good fortune.
It truly is raining men!
They start raining faster now—blonds, redheads, brunets, black, white, Asian, Latino (yum), lanky, beefy, short, tall—all the most gorgeous men I have ever seen. All naked.
All for me!
I raise my arms and shout, “Come to Papa!”
And they do.
The first body hits me hard, feeling more like a ton of concrete instead of the delicious marriage of sinew, skin, and bone that I have come to know and love as the male form. I collapse to the ground, wind knocked out of me, and look up at the man who has rained down on me. He seems to have no awareness that I am beneath him, and I scurry to get out from underneath the crushing weight threatening to suffocate me, pressing my bones into the wet concrete beneath my back.
I manage to get out just as another man drops from the sky, a hot African American, bald, and looking just like Taye Diggs. I scramble free of his path, but he lands on my leg anyway as I crawl through the rain-slicked street.
I hear my leg break with a sickening crack. It takes only seconds for the pain to radiate throughout my entire body.
I roll over, gasping, wincing, groaning, and look up to see an entire sea of naked men falling from the sky in ever-increasing velocity—all headed straight for me.
The music reaches a crescendo in time with my shrieks.
The sheets beneath him were twisted and damp with sweat. He gasped, trying to regulate his heartbeat, which was jackhammering so hard he expected to look down and see it lifting the skin off his chest. A cartoon heart.
The room was silent.
Where did the music go? Martha? Weather Girls?
Where was the rain? The thunder?
He breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly.
Just a dream. A nightmare.
Where are all the men?
Finally, he grinned, turning over in his bed.
Why, there’s one! Lying right next to me, looking at me with a concerned face, a handsome face. Even in a darkened bedroom, Bobby could still tell if they’re hot or not. It was his specialty.
This one, with a mop of curly blond hair and pecs like Michael Phelps, was a ten.
His voice was husky, sleep-choked. “Dude. You were having a nightmare. You okay?”
He placed what was meant to be, Bobby was sure, a comforting hand on Bobby’s chest. Bobby cringed a little, moving away.
This has never happened before.
I have no idea who he is.
Before Bobby could stop the words from tumbling out of his mouth, they came. “Who the fuck are you?” 

Chapter 1
BOBBY sat on a leather chair in therapist Camille D’Amico’s office, took in his surroundings, and mused on why the therapist had arranged the office as she had.
He made certain assumptions. Camille had placed the seating to be comfortable, yet not confrontational. Bobby supposed she wanted her office to have the effect, the ambiance, of a living room—a safe, calm place where she and her charges could relax like two old friends, just gabbing, getting to the heart of their problems. The office was dimly lit—blinds drawn and a Pottery Barn ceramic lamp the only illumination, sixty watt—and for Bobby, it had what he imagined to be the desired effect: calming. From the small charging/speaker unit on Camille’s desk, the violin of Joshua Bell played softly, a warm background accompaniment.
Camille adjusted her halo of frizzy brown hair, running her fingers through it, and pushed her glasses up on the bridge of her nose. She didn’t say anything, and Bobby supposed she was waiting for him to begin.
Bobby fidgeted with a button on his sport coat, not sure where to start. Camille eyed him up and down, and Bobby knew what she saw: a tall, lean man with above-average? well, way above if he were being honest? looks. And it wasn’t just his vanity that informed him. He had been told more times than he could count that he was gorgeous, hot, that he had the kind of virile beauty seldom seen outside of men’s fashion magazines. His clothes were expensive, tasteful—a soft navy blazer with an Egyptian cotton button-down white shirt crisp beneath it. His jeans were indigo blue, the kind that went for hundreds of dollars a pair. His red suede sneakers bore the subtle Prada logo beneath the laces. Bobby had thrown the look together to display a kind of casual elegance, and from the way the therapist was eyeing him, it succeeded in spades.
Even Bobby’s face spoke of good health and clean living. Skin so fine it almost appeared without pores. His auburn hair, close cropped, had just a touch of product to give it sheen, even here in this dimly lit warren. From him wafted the aroma of Herm├Ęs, sprayed in a cloud that Bobby had walked into, to ensure he got just the right amount on him.
In short, he knew he appeared to be a man who had everything—health, looks, money.
He imagined the therapist must be thinking: So what the hell is he doing here? And then, sadly, he guessed her next thought might be: And why is it impossible for him to erase that mask of sadness that seems to cling to his face, marring those perfect features?
I’ll wait for him to tell me.
Bobby knew how therapists operated, even if he had never been to one. He had read enough about them and seen enough of them in movies and TV shows to know their modus operandi. She would know, Bobby surmised, that silence was often the most powerful tool in a head doctor’s arsenal. Silence prodded, pushing for respite, for release. It was human nature, these days especially, to want to fill that quiet void with talk.
But Bobby, too, waited. A full two or three minutes had passed since Camille had made her initial small talk greetings. Yet Bobby still played with the pewter button on his blazer, seldom lifting his arresting gray eyes to meet her gaze.
Camille tapped the toe of her shoe on the bamboo flooring, and Bobby wondered if she was beginning to get impatient. She stopped tapping suddenly when Bobby moved his gaze from looking around the room to her foot. He finally spoke.
“Caden sent me.”
Camille nodded. The simple nod and the sudden light in Camille’s eyes told Bobby she remembered his old friend. He imagined what the pair must have once discussed, here, in this very room. She had probably helped Caden through love problems that most young men experience and issues with his mother’s battle with cancer. Camille smiled, and Bobby thought it was because she knew Caden was now in a good place, in love with a wonderful man. Bobby wondered if she had heard Caden was moving in with his boyfriend, Kevin. Bobby wanted to tell her that Caden’s mother was winning her battle with that hateful disease and that she was now recuperating at home, struggling through chemo treatments with grace and humor.
But he only knew these latter two things because he had heard them from a mutual friend one night at Roscoe’s along the Halsted strip known in Chicago as Boystown. He had not heard them from Caden.
He had not heard a word from Caden.
“Caden DeSarro?”
“That’s the one.”
“He’s a good friend to have.”
Was. Was a good friend.” Bobby realized Caden must have stopped coming to see her before Bobby had betrayed him, and the shame caused a rush of heat to rise to his face.
“He and I kind of reached a parting of the ways, I guess you might say. I….” Bobby sighed and his voice trailed off. He stared down at the floor.
Camille said nothing.

“I kind of screwed up our friendship. I was an ass.”
Camille cocked her head, a subtle indication for him to continue.
“You want to know what I did, huh?”
“I want to know what you want to tell me, Bobby.”
“I tried to steal his boyfriend.”
Camille nodded.
“In my defense, I didn’t think Caden wanted him anymore.”
He guessed that the therapist’s first reaction to such news would be to recoil. Why not? Here before her was a man who had done a very bad thing, a reprehensible thing, and it seemed like he was sitting here wanting to blame the victim. He didn’t think Caden wanted him anymore? Seriously? What kind of defense was that? Even if that was the case, and it was, you still don’t go after someone your best friend had fallen in love with, no matter how sweet and sexy the man was.
But Camille, if she had any judgments, kept them to herself. Her face revealed nothing but a sincere desire to know more.
Bobby shook his head and let a bitter laugh escape his full lips. “That’s bullshit. True, they were having problems. Caden was away—dealing with his mom’s cancer—and while he was gone, his boyfriend, Kevin, went from pudge to stud in six weeks.” Bobby laughed. “Most guys would be delighted with the change. I know I would. But Caden’s an odd duck. He likes ’em big and beefy.”
Camille nodded. Bobby wondered if she already knew this from her sessions with Caden.
“So I moved in. Made a play for the guy. I mean, Kevin was smokin’ hot. Blond, bearded, a real man’s man, you know? You’d never guess he was gay.” He looked up at the therapist with eyes that pled for understanding.
“I just wanted someone to love me.”
There it was. The raw truth. Bobby was surprised at himself—that he had allowed the heart of the matter to come out this early.
Camille agreed with him. “We all want that, Bobby.”
“Yeah, we do.” He fell silent once more and cut his gaze to the little digital clock on the end table next to her chair. He was surprised to see they’d already used twenty-five of their fifty minutes.
Bobby went on. “But I don’t seem to know how to go about getting it. I ruined a friendship trying to grab something that I knew damn good and well didn’t belong to me. And now, not only do I not have the guy I was after, I’ve lost the best friend I ever had.”
Bobby guessed, if he was human, the therapist might now see a glimmer of a tear or two in his eyes at that point. He would go on to make an admission she would recognize as honest, yet very painful.
But that was what Bobby imagined other people might feel. The truth was—and Bobby was aware enough to recognize this—he was a man who was so out of touch with real emotions that he wouldn’t recognize them if they came up and bit him on the ass.
But there was hope, wasn’t there? Hadn’t he just acknowledged, after all, his own culpability and bad behavior? Wouldn’t she see that as a start?
Camille took a deep breath and threw out the question therapists must be honor bound to ask at least once, if not many times, during a course of treatment. “And how does that make you feel?”
“Like dirt. Like the piece of shit I know I am.”
Harsh! But the sad thing was—it was true.
Camille shifted her weight in her chair, crossing and uncrossing her legs. Had he made her uncomfortable? Was he being too frank? Was she having trouble imagining how such a fine-looking specimen could feel his life was in such a shambles? He saw her write something quickly in her notepad. He wondered if she had jotted down one word: narcissist?
I certainly would fit the label, he thought sadly, although at this point in his life, he didn’t have a clue how to change it. “Do you think I’m a narcissist?”
“Bobby, I think I should be the one asking the questions here, if you’re going to benefit from your time with me. Why do you ask? Do you think you are?”
“Tell me again what the word means—your clinical definition.”
Camille looked undecided, not saying anything for several moments. Finally, she said, “Well, the clinical definition of narcissist goes something like this. It’s a person with an inflated sense of self, a deep need for admiration. They believe themselves superior to others, with little regard for other people’s feelings.” She paused and then added, “People who fit this trait are often people who have very fragile self-esteem, often hidden behind a mask of confidence. Because of that, it’s hard for these people to form wholesome, healthy relationships.” She stared at him, and Bobby felt forced to meet her gaze. “Do you think that sounds like you, Bobby?”
“That’s why I’m here,” Bobby said, looking away from her.
“Go on.”
“To figure out why I’m a narcissistic piece of shit. Why I just want to grab, grab, grab at whatever I want, heedless of who I hurt. What’s wrong with me? I must be missing something. In here.” He puts a hand over his heart.
Camille laid a hand, for a moment, on Bobby’s own. “I think it’s good we’re here to talk about that, Bobby. It’s good that you recognize you needed to talk to someone. Only when that happens can healing begin.”
He grinned, but the smile did not meet his eyes. “That, and the fact that I’m an irresponsible, unrepentant, insatiable… slut.”
Camille looked up at him. She looked more amused than shocked, and that surprised Bobby. She adjusted her pencil skirt, rearranged her halo of frizzy hair (for the umpteenth time—she really must find a way to stop that nervous habit), and asked, “Why do you feel the need to call yourself a slut? Most people wouldn’t take kindly to someone calling them that. So I wonder why you’d apply such a label to yourself.”
Again, Bobby said nothing for a long time. Finally, he glanced up from the loose thread he seemed to be contemplating at the hem of his jeans and gave her a warm smile, wide and welcoming. “Last week, I hooked up with seventeen guys.”
What he had said must have made her nervous, even giddy in a hysterical sort of way. Camille tugged on her earlobe and scribbled onto her pad, seemingly unable to meet his eyes.
Bobby thought he would jar her back to the present. “You’re not saying anything.”
“What do you think I should say?”
“I don’t know. Maybe something like: Shame on you? Have you been checked for STDs?” He grinned, but again, knew the smile would not reach his eyes, which he was certain reflected only sadness and resignation. “Where’d you find the time?”
Camille cut her gaze down to the clock, and Bobby saw that their time, for real, was up. “Listen, Bobby, I think we have a lot to talk about.” She smiled. “Can you come in again next week? Same time?”
He nodded, back to silent mode.
“Good. Just set it up with Clarice, out at the front desk.”
Bobby turned at the door. “It’ll probably be eighteen before night falls.” He winked. “Just how I am. Incorrigible slut.”
Before she could respond, he had closed the door behind him.

Buy Links for Raining Men

Where can we find your website?
Here are my contact details: Visit Rick's website at or follow his blog at You can also like Rick on Facebook at or on Twitter at Rick always enjoys hearing from readers and answers all e-mails personally. Send him a message at 

 Rick R. Reed Biography
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint." Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."