Hard-Ass Vacation by S.C. Wynne

Hello, all!037-6x9-Tablet-Coffee-Wood-Table-SMALLERCOVERVAULThardassvacation

Just re-released the sequel to Hard-Ass Is Here. It used to be called Hard-Ass Christmas, but it really isn’t a holiday story. Phillip drags Taylor up to Big Bear for the holiday, but the story is about how the two of them learn to trust and take the next step.

AMAZON

EXCERPT:

He’d dropped the subject of my father like a good host. I was happy. Talk about a buzzkill. Discussing my old man was not conducive to a romantic evening. I suppose it was touching that Phillip thought he wanted to know about my past. Maybe he’d seen too many Hallmark movies.

Phillip cooked the steaks on the built-in grill in the kitchen while I sliced plump red tomatoes and settled for drinking wine and keeping him company. It grew dark outside. The mountains were black silhouettes against the fading light. The last time I’d checked, it was still snowing, and the forecast promised more tonight and tomorrow.

“How do you like your steak?” he asked, flipping one of the warm brown fillets.

“I prefer it when the plate doesn’t resemble a bloody murder scene.”

His laugh was rich and husky. “I’ll do my best.”

He continued to give the meat his full attention, and I gave the wine mine. I enjoyed watching him cook, his tan, slender hands so practiced and assured. A silky raven lock of hair fell across his forehead, and his thick lashes rested on his angular cheeks. He glanced up and caught me watching him.

“I’m starving. How about you?” he asked.

“Always.”

“Can you pass me the Worcestershire sauce?”

I handed him the dark bottle. He slathered the steaks with the sauce and scooped them off the grill onto pretty blue plates. He dipped into another pot and spooned red potatoes onto the dish.

My phone vibrated in my pocket, startling me. I pulled it out and could see the number of the person texting me. Gregory. It flustered me to see his name, and I gave a guilty glance toward Phillip. I stuffed the phone back in my shirt, a nervous fluttering in my gut as I heard the little beep reminding me I had a message.

“If you put the salad on the table, we can eat,” he said, unaware of my dilemma. He carried two plates to the big, knotty pine table on the far side of the living room.

We settled into our chairs across from each other. Phillip topped off his wine and mine. The steak was perfect. It melted in my mouth with a rich, tangy burst, and the potatoes were firm and buttery.

“This food is so good,” I mumbled.

“Sometimes I think instead of the brilliant financial wizard I am, I should have been a chef.”

“Yes, you’re such a slacker.”

“I hope it’s not too late to leave my mark on the world.” He looked like he was holding back a smile.

“You’d really make a killing right about now if you owned a snow shovel company.”

“That’s a great idea.”

“I can picture the sign, Daniels Shovel Company.” I grinned. “Your jingle should go something like: ‘Nobody shovels it better than Daniels.’”

“I love it,” he said. “Smart-ass.”

I helped myself to salad, drizzling some dressing over the green leaves. “I’ll handle the phones. I have such stunning people skills.”

“I think it might work. We make a great team.” He was smiling, but he kept his gaze averted.

I dropped my gaze to my food, giving it my full attention. I could get used to this. Nice meals, laughter, and someone who seemed to care. But after my failed experiment in domesticity with Gregory, it was best to take this budding relationship with Phillip one day at a time.

I was chasing a tomato around my plate when everything plunged into darkness. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the light from the fireplace and candles.

“I guess that means no movie tonight,” Phillip quipped.

“We lost power?” It was a stupid question.

“We did indeed.”

“Good foresight to have a candlelight meal.”

Phillip’s gaze glittered in the half-light. The wind howled outside around the eaves of the roof. It was silent without the background noise of things like the refrigerator or the heater.

“I had a big night of needlepoint and karaoke planned. Now it’s all shot to hell.”

“I guess there is a God,” I said, putting my hands together in mock prayer.

His white teeth were visible in the darkness. “It should come back on in about an hour.”

“The important thing is, I can still see the wine.”

“Should we tell spooky stories?” he asked in a ghoulish voice.

“Of course.”

“The one about the babysitter and the guy calling from inside the house; that one always freaked me out as a kid.”

“That one was creepy,” I said, my eyes wide.

We finished off the meal, laughing about the scary stories of our childhood. Then we cleared the table, setting the dishes in the sink until morning. The fireplace glow didn’t reach quite far enough to clean the kitchen to Phillip’s standards.

I sat on the couch in front of the hearth. Phillip brought over the wine and our glasses.

“Well, this is quite nice anyway,” he said. “Who needs electricity?”

He settled in next to me, and we put our feet up on the coffee table.

“My mom would be irritated with me right about now.” He laughed.

“Would she scold you?”

“Yes.” He sipped his wine. “Then she’d have turned it into a joke.”

The shadows flickered on the walls with the occasional pop from the fire. The wine made me groggy, and I snuggled against Phillip’s warm shoulder. I didn’t feel the need to move away and find my own space at the moment. Maybe later I would, but for now it felt okay.

“Are you happy at Peterton Financial?” I asked.

He turned to look at me. “I am. Why?”

The alcohol was making me feel less guarded than usual. “I know regionals move around a lot.”

“I don’t plan on going anywhere if that’s what you’re asking.”

“You’re so smart. No wonder you’re the boss.”

He chuckled. “You can ask me stuff, you know. I’m private, but not with people I…care about.”

My heart lurched. Don’t get ahead of yourself. You can care about a parakeet.

“I could ask the same of you. Are you happy at Peterton?” he asked.

“I am, and I will say I enjoy work more than usual at the moment.”

“Me too.”

The fire crackled and danced near us.

“For reasons of full disclosure, I should tell you they did offer me another position in New York,” he said.

I felt like he’d kicked me in the stomach.

“Are you going to take it?”

“Didn’t I just tell you I wasn’t going anywhere?”

“Why the hell do they move you guys around so much? It creates instability within the local branches.” I scowled.

“It’s not an orphanage. It’s a brokerage.”

I laughed. “I know, but any company should have stable management. How do you create a team environment if the players keep changing?”

He rubbed my thigh. “To be fair to them, I used to ask to be moved around.”

I absorbed that for a moment.

“I see.”

“When I was first with Peterton and going through my divorce, I got restless easily.”

“When you were living in Japan?” I asked.

“It was when I got back from Japan. That’s when I decided to stop torturing Mary by living a lie.” His lips were pursed, and his expression in the firelight was brooding.

I covered his hand with mine. “You did the right thing.”

“Took me long enough.”

“Can I ask you something?”

He turned his sharp features toward me. “I encourage it.”

“Were your parents accepting of…?” I stopped.

“Being gay?”

I nodded.

“It’s such a cliché, but they wanted me to be happy. Whatever my choices.”

“You’ve led a charmed life, my friend.”

He shrugged. “It was up until my parents died.”

I felt like a heel. I needed to try and remember other people loved their parents. Most people didn’t consider their mother and father to be simply sperm and egg donors like I did. “Sorry.”

He stroked my hand. I guess he forgave me.

“I’d love to take you to Japan someday.”

The idea excited and stressed me. Vacationing together in another country would be a whole new level of intimacy. I wondered if I could handle it. “There’s an interesting thought.”

“I lived in Tokyo when I worked for Frandin Finance. There’s this place called Kabukicho. It’s this little area, can’t be more than six hundred square meters, but it’s the largest entertainment district in East Asia. I think I heard last count there are four thousand businesses crammed in there.”

“Sounds claustrophobic.”

“It can be. But it’s a fun place. There are tons of bars and fast-food places.”

“So I could still get me a burger while I’m there?”

“I hate to break your heart, but it will taste different,” he said.

“They shouldn’t mess with my beef.”

“It has a different sauce on it or something.”

“That does it. I’m never going to Japan,” I said, laughing.

“We’ll see if I can persuade you when the time comes.” His tone was gentle. He leaned over and kissed me. It was soft, searching, and my stomach buzzed with desire. He took the glass from my hand and put it on the coffee table. Then he turned back to me, the light of the fire reflected in his gaze. “I want to fuck you on the floor, in front of the fire,” he whispered.

I glanced over at the expansive, furry bearskin rug near the hearth.

“On that?”

He displayed a wide grin. “Yes. Let’s defile the damn thing.”

“You’re insatiable.”

“I am when it comes to you.”

S.C.

http://www.sc-wynne.com

Re-release of Hard-Ass Is Here

HARDASS036-6x9-Standing-Ereader-Tablet-Coffee-Cup-COVERVAULT

I just re-released what was my very first MM romance, Hard-Ass Is Here. It was originally published in 2013 and I still remember how exciting it was to get that acceptance email. Honestly, that thrill never wears off no matter how many books I write. Evey time I get an acceptance letter, it’s amazing. But there’s something about that first time. That first ‘yes’ we want your story.

The storyline of Hard-Ass Is Here is about, Taylor, who’s just gotten out of a bad relationship where he lost his cool and got himself arrested. Enter the new hard-ass boss, Phillip, who’s investigating a theft at Peterton Financial, where Taylor works. Unfortunately, the account being pilfered is Taylor’s responsibility.

Phillip suspects Taylor might be the thief, but he’s hugely drawn to him too. Things get more complicated when the men give in to their mutual attraction, but the stealing continues.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Excerpt:

“What the hell is this?” I scowled as Randy dumped a huge, sloppy pile of files and data sheets onto my desk.

“The new hard-ass is here.” Randy’s voice had the usual respect he afforded the higher-ups. None. “He wants us to go through all of these, ASAP,” Randy said.

“He’s here already?” I swiveled my chair and peeked out of my office to see a man standing with the bigwigs in front of the shimmering Christmas tree in the lobby. The new guy was about forty, black hair, at least six feet tall, with broad shoulders impeccably encased in what was probably a two-thousand-dollar designer jacket. His jaw was tense, belying the air of relaxed confidence he was doing his best to sell.

The guy allowed a polite smile as Sally, the receptionist, pulled a piece of shiny silver tinsel from his shoulder. Knowing Sally, she’d be positioning him under the mistletoe first chance she got.

“Where did he come from?” I asked.

“Your dreams?”

“Why didn’t anyone tell me he was already here?” I asked, ignoring Randy’s sarcasm.

“I am telling you.”

“I mean sooner. Why didn’t you tell me sooner? Did you explain to him we’ve compiled this already?”

“I tried. He’s good-looking, but he might be lacking in smarts.”

I exhaled impatiently. “It makes no sense to go through these again. We have it all in digital files already,” I grumbled, flipping through the sheets. “What is this, 1984?”

“You can take it up with Pretty Boy yourself. Looks like he’s making the rounds, and he’s coming this way.”

Great. This was who they sent? The guy looked like maybe he’d be an expert on hair products, but not necessarily business theft. We had a crook here at Peterton Financial and we needed someone who really knew their shit so we could catch the culprit. We’d been hemorrhaging buckets of money due to theft. Reviewing data printouts of losses we’d already gone over a hundred times was a waste of energy. My energy.

But the higher ups didn’t always care what I thought. Peterton Financial was a large, well-oiled machine, which meant it took a lot of busywork from little guys like me to justify the big bonuses the guys at the top raked in. I guess I’d have to shut up and let the new boss take a stab at fixing our branch’s problems. And when he failed and left, like the last two, I could get some actual work done.

“Ten bucks says he doesn’t last the week,” Randy whispered, waving a bill in front of my nose.

I eyed the new guy’s perfect haircut and aquiline nose. Maybe he was tougher than he looked? Probably not, but it was only ten bucks.

“You’re on.”

“Like taking candy from a baby,” Randy said, tucking the money back in his pocket.

Lucinda Mercy, the office manager, stopped at my door with Mr. Haircut.

“Taylor Williams, I’d like to introduce our new regional manager, Phillip Daniels.” She smiled at me, lipstick on her teeth. “Taylor is the senior financial analyst for the New York project.”

“Nice to meet you, Taylor.” Daniels took the lead. His shake was firm, the skin of his manicured hand smooth. I got a whiff of grapefruit, lavender, and lemongrass. He smelled terrific, I wasn’t going to deny he was enticing, but he wasn’t nearly as impressed with me since his gaze appeared tepid at best.

It had been a long time since I’d met someone as good-looking as Phillip Daniels up close and personal. In fact, I hadn’t been up close and personal with anyone in quite a while. I assumed that was why my pulse sped up and I felt a little flustered standing so near to him.

“I look forward to grabbing some alone-time with you.” My face warmed as I realized I sounded like I was hitting on him.  “I mean… you know to do work.” I grimaced.

His lips twitched. “I assumed.”

I laughed a little too loudly. “Right.” Pull it together.

He cleared his throat and said in a velvety tone, “I see Randy dropped off the files I want you to comb through.”

“Yeah.” I shifted uneasily. “About that, we’ve got all this on the computer. I don’t need to go through the hard copies.” I met his cool stare and hoped I didn’t sound as annoyed as I felt.

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist.” He lifted his chin.

I gave a surprised laugh. “No, I mean it’s been done several times already in hard copy and on the computer.”

He leaned toward me pointedly. “Then one more time going over the physical paperwork won’t hurt anybody, will it?”

I hesitated. Did he have bad hearing or something? “Seems a little silly to pay me to do something I’ve already done many times.” I spoke through gritted teeth, but I attempted to keep my expression pleasant.

“Why don’t you let me worry about the man hours?”

“Looking at the same thing thirty times isn’t going to change the outcome.”

“I guess we’ll see.” He narrowed his gaze.

Angry heat filled my face. “I’m happy to look over the computer stuff again if you really want me to. But I’m not inclined to go through all those paper files when it’s not necessary.”

“How about you get inclined?” His eyes flashed with irritation.

I sucked in a calming breath and counted to twenty. Ten wasn’t good enough. “I’ll see if I can get to it.”

A muscle in his jaw hardened. “On the contrary, I want you to make this a top priority.”

Apparently, we were now soundly engaged in a pissing contest. He might be gorgeous, but he was either dumb or an arrogant prick. “Maybe I’m not making myself clear. Let me try this one last time; these have already been gone through and saved to the computer. Everything piled on my desk right now is already scanned into the computer.” I spoke slowly, in case he was having trouble understanding the big words.

“Look, Taylor, is it? We need to get something straight right off the bat. I’m your boss, and I’m giving you a direct order.”

“I understand that, but I have a lot of work and this is a waste of my valuable time.”

Until Lucinda gasped, I’d forgotten she was there. She looked nervously between Phillip and me. “Um… Taylor what can it hurt to look the stuff over?”

I held up my hand. “With all due respect, Lucinda, I don’t think Mr. Daniels quite grasps my point.”

“Do you actually want to catch the thief, Taylor?” Phillip snapped.

“Of course I do, but—”

“Then you should be willing to do whatever it takes. Since you’re so familiar with the data, it shouldn’t take you long.”

“It’s not as simple as that. Going over all this is extremely time-consuming,” I said. “I have other things I need to get to. I have other deadlines.”

“I’m sure you’ll work it out. I expect a report ASAP.”

He turned his back on me and walked to the next cubicle, perhaps to spread his good cheer elsewhere. I stared after him feeling embarrassed and irritable at his abrupt dismissal.

“Wow, you like the rough stuff.” Randy snickered.

“Fuck off.” Warmth crept under my skin, and I kept my gaze as far from the frustrating Phillip Daniels as possible.

hardasscoverFINALapril6version2LAYERS

 

 

 

WRITING TO MARKET By S.C. Wynne

BelievingRory_FBprofile_OptizimedForFeedI was thinking about how sometimes, as an author, I feel pressured into writing to what I think is commercial rather than what I would want to write about. But it occurred to me that isn’t why I write. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the lighter stories. I enjoy every story I write or I wouldn’t write it. But I do seem to be occasionally drawn to darker subjects. (Believing Rory and Painful Lessons would be examples of that) Or maybe just writing a story that isn’t dark, so much as it deals with dark subjects like stalking, death or subjects such as those. After all, I’m writing romance.

So I guess my question is; do you not buy books if they have any kind of serious subject? Do books that touch on the subject of death or grief turn you off? I don’t like movies or books that end sad, but I can handle anything if the book or movie ends happy. Are you like me, or do you veer away from anything that isn’t super cheerful and fluffy?

Go ahead and leave a response in the comment section along with your email address and I’ll pick two winners to receive an e-book of choice! I’m excited to hear what you have to say. Should authors just write to market or can you handle romance books that aren’t always light and fluffy, so long as they ultimately end happy?

S.C.

www.sc-wynne.com

PainfulLessonsFS

 

Also failed to mention…

3D-Book-TemplateDuring my lazy period *cough, cough* I also neglected to mention another book I released in May. It is called Unleashing Love. How about a blurb and an excerpt to catch you up? 🙂

Blurb:

A year ago Drew dropped out of the corporate world following the death of his boyfriend, Steven. Unable to stomach the cutthroat environment of his old job he starts his own dog walking business. Drew struggles to move forward, consumed by guilt over his lover’s death.

Kyle Bradley is rich, successful and relishes his orderly life. But things get turned upside down when his sister Janie gets sick and he temporarily inherits her dog and her five year old son, Benjamin. Drew can see that Kyle is completely out of his depth with the dog and the child and he offers to help out.

The two men are drawn to one another and as time passes the feelings grow stronger. But Drew is still guilty over Steven’s death and afraid to embark on a relationship with someone who comes from the shallow world he now hates.

AMAZON

ARe

KOBO

PAINFUL LESSONS GIVEAWAY!

Painful Lessons is the story of Brett Bridgeworth’s first year in college. He runs into a few problems when he falls under the spell of an obsessive guy. It was written by tapping into those strange, insecure emotions of the new adult years. We’ve all been there. Maybe we didn’t have to go through what Brett goes through in this story, but we were all messed up, emotional kids at one point.

PainfulLessonsFSI guess if I’m honest I still often feel like that awkward kid. I think that person is still very much alive inside of me. I think I’d hoped that as I got older all my insecurities and pressure to measure up would just fall away. But it didn’t, and I don’t think it ever will.

GIVEAWAY!!

Do you ever still feel like you’re that gawky kid from the past? Or do you have it all together now that you’re all growds up? Tell me how you see yourself now. Let me into your mind and heart.

Leave a comment below and I’ll pick three people whose answers resonate with me for a free copy of Painful Lessons.

 

BLURB:

As a freshman both in love and in college, sometimes there are painful lessons to be learned.

Excited to begin his first year of college, Brett Bridgeworth has just one problem: he sucks at math. Luckily there’s the sensual and mysterious math tutor, Jeremy Price, to help him out. It isn’t long before Jeremy is tutoring Brett in more than just pie charts, but it isn’t until they split up that Brett discovers Jeremy’s twisted, obsessive side.

Sam Hawthorne is two years ahead of Brett, and they share a strong mutual attraction. When Brett breaks it off with Jeremy and gets involved with Sam, disturbing things start happening. It soon becomes obvious that Jeremy isn’t willing to let Brett go without a fight.download

EXCERPT:

I definitely don’t want what I’m about to share to look like I’m bragging. But I think it’s important to give a glimpse into my first sexual experiences because it has a lot to do with who I am, or at least who I was, when I went through all of that shit with Jeremy. Looking back, now I can see so clearly that I was like a sail with the line sliced, flapping uselessly in the cool sea breeze. Well, maybe I’m getting ahead of the story a little bit. I tend to do that sometimes.

I’ve always been bad at math. I mean, like, really awful. But I’d managed to get through high school because my teachers liked me. Mr. Winter, my algebra teacher, liked me a whole lot. So much so that, senior year, he made a deal with me; he’d give me an A if I let him suck me off.

Mr. Winter wasn’t one of those hot teachers we students fantasized about. He wore a lot of loud polyester shirts, and he had a pot belly. I went back and forth about his offer, and I did a bit of research on the Internet so I’d know what I was getting into. But ultimately I agreed, because if I failed algebra I’d be held back, and that would be way too embarrassing to me and, more importantly, my dad.

My dad owns Bridgeworth Electronics, and if his kid failed high school he’d probably have a heart attack. So I let Mr. Winter pull the blinds, unzip my jeans, and do his thing. The sight of him on his knees and the glare off his shiny bald head was all very surreal. I remember being super nervous because, while I was eighteen and I knew I liked guys, I’d never been touched by one yet. It was just me and my faithful hand, up until Mr. Winter introduced me to fellatio.

At his first touch I was numb inside and grappling with insecurities. Would I come too soon? Would he be too rough? Or worst of all, was he going to make me suck him off? But the initial warm slide of his mouth chased those fears away. Old dude or not, my eyes rolled back in my head, and I’d thrust into his mouth, oblivious to the world around me. Afterward he’d grinned up at me with a crooked, lecherous smile, as if we were somehow coconspirators.

For my first time, it was a little seedy and humiliating. I’d certainly never pictured my initiation to a BJ happening quite like that. But I had to admit his lips on me still felt great, so I shoved down the feelings of shame and took my A. I never saw Mr. Winter again, and I went on toward college still horrible in math but no longer pure as the driven snow.

I spent my summer waiting for responses from the colleges I’d applied to, and worried someone would find out about me and Mr. Winter’s arrangement. Would they be able to retract my grade if they knew what I’d done to get it? I’ll admit to feeling guilty about the whole arrangement with Mr. Winter, but the thought of failing had been too terrifying. When my acceptance letter arrived from UCLA, I put thoughts of my old math teacher behind me and spent the rest of the break celebrating with my friends.

I will say, after my sexual encounter with Mr. Winter, it was as if my hormones woke up for real. I became a horndog of epic proportions. My dad hired a new pool guy for the summer, and he was the opposite of Mr. Winter. This guy was probably in his thirties and hot. I mean smoking, Zac Efron hot. We exchanged lusty looks for a few weeks before anything actually happened. One day after swimming, I was showering in the small side building near the garden, and Lex walked in on me.

He set his pool skimmer against the wall and pulled his shirt off with one yank. I swallowed the lump forming in my throat and waited for him to make the first move. Soundlessly he dropped his shorts and underwear and walked up to me. I couldn’t believe what was happening, but I was excited to think this gorgeous guy wanted to do things to and with me. I believe I said a breathy, “Hi.”

“How old are you, Brett?” he’d asked, almost as if it was an afterthought.

“Eighteen,” I responded right before he pushed me against the slick white tiles and took my mouth roughly.

He tasted like tobacco and cinnamon, and his hands were rough on my hips. His cock wasn’t as wide as mine, but it was longer and it fit next to mine nicely. When the kiss ended, he began grinding his cock against mine, and the heat that flared in my groin was like an inferno. I grasped his shoulders and held on as lust rumbled through me like a steam engine. It wasn’t romantic by any stretch of the imagination. The ceramic tiles were freezing against my back, and they hurt my shoulder blades, but I didn’t care. I was young and ready to explore what I needed sexually.

I’d had a growth spurt toward the end of high school, and I was slightly taller than Lex. I clutched his damp chestnut curls and panted against the orgasm gathering at the base of my cock. He was louder than me. He groaned a lot and cussed as he threw his head back and flexed his hips like a jackhammer. I liked his noises. They were guttural and dirty, and they made me excited as my need ramped even higher. When we came the warm water washed the evidence down the drain as if it never happened.

I remember he stroked my cheek afterward, as I stared into his golden-flecked brown eyes. “That was nice,” he panted, and then he washed under the water with me, dried off with my towel, and got dressed. Right before he left, he turned and asked me, “Are you a virgin?”

I’m sure my cheeks turned red. They were warm now, thinking about how embarrassed I’d been to answer yes. Not to mention I wasn’t even sure if I was answering correctly. Was I a virgin? Did blow jobs count, or did not having had anal make me a virgin? But Lex had just smiled and quietly closed the door. I wasn’t a “virgin” much longer because a week later, Lex took me in that little shower area. I still remember the smell of the coconut-scented lube and the first burning glide of his cock in my untouched ass.

I learned a lot from Lex. The guy had zero inhibitions. We fucked our way through that hot summer, and when it came time to leave for college, I was thankful I didn’t have to go there not knowing anything about sex. I’d assumed I’d show up at UCLA horrible in math and a virgin, but thanks to Lex, only the “bad at math” part was still true.

My dad didn’t have time to drive with me to my new school. He said something about a crisis in the capacitor industry. I didn’t know what he was talking about, and it didn’t really matter because it wasn’t like it was negotiable or anything. Hey, how about you come to my college, see my room, and pretend you give a shit about me for a day? I’ll bake brownies for you?

Yeah, not gonna happen.

I guess at this point, I should mention the reason it was only me and him was because my mom died when I was ten. She went in for a routine hysterectomy and never came home. I remember coming back from school and finding my aunt Rose sobbing in the kitchen. She’d hugged me and my dad, and stayed for weeks to cook casseroles and keep the house clean. But after that she’d had to go back to her family in New York. Aunt Rose called me and my dad “her boys,” and she phoned to check on us often. But my dad’s never home, and I didn’t want to talk about my mom dying, so the time between calls had become longer and longer.

So back to my college experience. My roommate, Ted, was nothing like me. He was boisterous and loud and straight as a ruler. He was hugely into sports and talked about football nonstop. I, on the other hand, knew little about that subject, preferring reading and sketching to getting dirty and running around a field with a pigskin.

We still found some common ground since we both enjoyed eating. We always went to the cafeteria together for all our meals. Generally his jock friends would descend, and I’d sit mostly in silence, shoveling my cheese macaroni in like a machine. I think having Ted as my roommate protected me from being picked on by his homophobic buddies. They gave me hard looks and didn’t sit too close to me, but nobody ever said a disrespectful word to me.

One of the guys I didn’t mind so much. He had auburn hair and light green eyes, and he always smelled like vanilla. His name was Sam Hawthorne, and he was the only one who would speak to me without looking like he was afraid my gayness would get on him. I didn’t hide that I was gay, but I also didn’t flaunt it. The “gayest” thing I did was wear a small diamond stud in my ear that was one half of a pair of earrings my mom had owned. I didn’t wear the earring to make a statement as much as it made me feel connected to my mom.

I soon learned I liked being away from home. When nobody knew me, I could be different and didn’t have to play the role I’d always felt had been thrust on me: good son. Grieving son. It had been eight years since my mom died, and while I missed her and her quirky sense of humor, I wanted to live a little. These were my college years, and I was expecting to have new and exciting experiences. I wasn’t supposed to sit around trying to remember what my mom looked like, although sometimes the fact that I had trouble recalling her features bugged me a lot and made me feel like a horrible person. So I’d pull out the crinkled picture I kept in my wallet. The photo was of a family vacation at the beach a year before she died. She looked happy, and we were both smiling like idiots. My dad wasn’t in the picture, and I guess I mean that both literally and figuratively.

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON

ARe

DREAMSPINNER PRESS

 

ASSASSINS ARE PEOPLE TOO.

SCWYNNE_ASSASSINSAREPEOPLETOO__COVERlgI was thinking about how everybody seems to need love. Even tough types who pretend they don’t, probably do. Even if it’s just a friend’s love. What is it about having people care about us that makes us happy? I know there are some single people who will say they’re perfectly happy on their own. But they aren’t truly on their own because being single doesn’t mean you don’t have family and friends who love you. 

What is it about being loved that makes you happy? Why couldn’t you be just as thrilled on your own?

ANSWER IN THE COMMENT SECTION AND THE THREE ANSWERS THAT RESONATE THE MOST WITH ME WILL WIN A FREE COPY OF MY LATEST STORY FROM LOOSE ID.

Now here’s an excerpt from Assassins Are People Too:

I stepped into the elevator, noticing my favorite twentysomething blond guy tucked neatly in the corner, holding a huge potted plant. We’d exchanged flirty glances over the months, but nothing more. He shifted his baby-blue gaze toward me and then slowly disappeared behind the fronds of the shrub. Hiding wouldn’t do him any good, because I made it a point to know who my neighbors were. It was safer that way.

The ding of the elevator distracted me from my musings, and when a tall Hispanic guy entered the car, I gave him all my attention. He was new to the building. Something was off. He was sweating way more than was normal for January in New York. I didn’t care for the way he watched me out of the corner of his eye either. He was hunting.

We all rode in companionable silence for a few floors with various people getting on and off. I noticed Slick—that was my nickname for the Hispanic guy because of his perspiration issue—glanced impatiently toward Blondie occasionally. I had a strong feeling he was frustrated that Blondie wasn’t getting off the car. That only made me even more suspicious of him.

As we neared the top floors, I guess Slick came to the end of his patience. He stepped to the side and slammed his palm on the elevator Stop button. The car lurched, and Blondie fell forward, dropping his plant and landing at my feet. Since I’d fantasized about him being on his knees in front of me numerous times, it distracted me just enough to give Slick time to take a swing at me. I barely got my arm up in time to block the punch.

I didn’t like Blondie being too near the action since I would’ve hated for his pretty face to get messed up. “Get in the corner,” I growled at him, wrestling with Slick.

Blondie scrambled back to his favorite spot, his eyes huge. Slick and I traded blows for a few minutes, and I did a few front kicks to show off, but Slick still somehow managed to get a knife out of his pocket. I had to give it to him. He was pretty good. I slapped the weapon out of his fist, and he whacked the side of my face with his elbow. I saw stars for a second. Slick shoved me against the mirrored back of the elevator and put his big, beefy hands around my throat.

This was embarrassing. The last thing I wanted was to die in front of Blondie. I kneed Slick in his groin, and he grunted like a bull, only loosening his grip slightly. Was he wearing a cup, or did he literally have balls of steel? It was hard to say.

I was getting light-headed from the lack of oxygen. How had I let this happen? I’d been too distracted by Blondie, I guess. I was going to pass out. Shit. That meant I was going to die, because Slick wasn’t here to play Twister—he was here to end me.

There was a flash of movement and shards of ceramic pieces and potting mix rained down on my head. Suddenly I could breathe. Slick was at my feet moaning, and Blondie was staring at me as if he wanted to be sick. His plant was in a pile on top of Slick, and I was alive because of it.

He’d sacrificed his rubber plant for me. What a guy.

I smacked the button to get moving again, and the elevator came to a stop at the next floor. When the doors swooshed open, I grabbed Blondie’s hand and pulled him after me, past the half-blind screeching lady from 36B. If I’d been alone, I’d have finished Slick off. It was risky not to. But if Blondie was stressed over his plant dying, he’d probably have a coronary if I killed Slick in front of him. We couldn’t go to my place. That was obvious. But I didn’t want to leave the building immediately in case Slick had someone watching the exits. I slipped into the stairwell, and we trudged up three flights of stairs to Blondie’s floor. From there I headed straight for Blondie’s apartment.

“Open it,” I commanded in a clipped voice when we reached his door.

“How did you know my apartment number?”

“I’m observant.”

SCWYNNE_ASSASSINSAREPEOPLETOO__BANNER

 

WORK IN PROGRESS-A LITTLE DARKER THAN USUAL.

Howdy all,

I’ve been working on a story that’s darker than usual. My stuff always has tons of angst, but this one deals with suicide. It’s a New Adult story about a high school senior whose best friend kills himself. He finds out a lot about his friend and himself while dealing with the aftermath. This story was hard to write and easy all at the same time. It’s allowed me to tap into so many forgotten feelings from high school and college it’s been cathartic.depressed-boy

Ultimately, of course, my MC finds his way out of his depression by meeting an equally damaged individual. They help each other become whole again.

Here’s an excerpt: (Be warned there are sweary words)

I’m distracted by my thoughts of how terrified I am at ever making the first move when I hear Rory’s mother call my name. I’m frozen in place. What does she want?

“I’d love it if you’d say a few words, Lane.” She dabs at her red rimmed eyes with her tissue. “You knew him better than anyone.”

Finally. Validation that I was his best friend. I meet Baron’s gaze feeling triumphant. Until it sinks in she wants me to speak in front of everyone. I can’t do that. Does she not realize I never talk in front of people? How does she not know this about me? Why in God’s name did she not at least warn me, so I could have had some time to think about what to say? I swallow against the bile threatening to rise in my throat. With any luck I won’t throw up on the poor unsuspecting priest.

I force myself to walk to her side. I feel like I’m dragging my unwilling limbs along like a zombie. I’m certainly numb enough to be one of the undead. She takes my hand and I’m sure she must feel how cold and clammy my skin is. What should I say? Certainly not what I want to say; Fuck you, Rory, for killing yourself. Rot in hell Rory for leaving me here with all these other nobodies. I clear my throat, stalling for time. She’s shifting restlessly beside me. Well, lady, maybe you could have given me some God damned warning. That would have been nice.

“Rory was my best friend.” Great opening, genius. Everyone already knows this. My throat is like a rusty gate swinging open after years of disuse. Say something witty. Say something thought provoking. Say something. “I remember the first day I met Rory. He stopped some guys from tossing me head first into a trash can.”

That gets a little laugh. Perhaps I’m on a roll, now.

The smell of damp earth is heavy in the air, and a soft breeze blows my hair. Relax. Think about Rory. “From that point on Rory was always my protector.”

I see his face clearly in my mind. I’d had trouble doing that earlier, but now it’s there. I hear his husky laugh, and remember how he smells like the ocean when he hugs me. My heart aches because I never get to hold him again. “No one bothered me because they would have Rory to deal with.”

 I meet his mom’s gaze and there are tears streaming on her face. I gulp, pushing down the emotions that want to bubble up. “He was kind and…”  I’m shaking like a jackhammer as all eyes are on me. “He was sensitive…”

Why are they all watching me so intently? They must think I’m going to say something amazing. I’m not. Sweat trickles down my back and my legs prickle from the heat.  I’ll be lucky if I don’t pass out in the flower arrangements. “He was funny.” A crow squawks as it passes overhead. This moment would only be improved if he let loose a load of bird crap on my head. At least it would distract everyone from how awful my speech is.

Rory deserves such a better eulogy than I’m giving. God I suck. His image comes to my mind and my gut aches. I miss him. It’s like he’s been gone forever and it’s only been a week. I let him down so bad. I should have been more alert. I’m so fucking stupid. He needed me to notice and I missed the signs. I missed the signs and now Rory is gone forever. I’m so fucking useless.

I whisper, “I let him die. I failed my best friend and now he’s dead.”

There’s a gasp from the group of people staring. I drop Rory’s mom’s hand and head straight for my mother’s car. I can hear people mumbling in confusion but I just keep walking in a straight determined line. Why did my mom park so far away? I only stop when someone grabs my arm.

“Wait up, Lane.” I turn to find Baron beside me. He has that same nervous look again. The one that says he knows I don’t approve of him being Rory’s secret friend.

I’m embarrassed because hot tears are spilling down my cheeks. The statue is crying after all. “I failed him,” I choke out.

“No.”

I feel like I’m going to drown in my tears. “I’m a worthless piece of shit.”

“No. God, no.” Baron surprises me when he pulls me into his arms. He squeezes me so tight I feel like I can’t breathe, but I don’t really care. I’m tired of breathing anyway. His body is hard and warm. I can hear his heart pounding under my ear. “He hid it from you. He knew you’d try to protect him and he didn’t want that.”

I nod, even though it’s hard with him holding me so close. “He tricked me.”

Baron gives a tiny, hard laugh. “He fooled both of us.”

“I’m so angry at him.” My voice shakes with rage.

“Me too.”

He lets me go, and I swipe the tears off my face roughly. I don’t know why I started crying. Maybe it’s because everyone was staring at me. I hate speaking in front of people. Now I’m mad at Rory’s mom for making me do that.

Baron grips my shoulder. “Can we go get that coffee now? I can’t take another second of this scene.”

I can’t just leave without telling my mom where I’ve gone. But there’s no way in hell I’m walking back over to that group of gawking people. My hands tremble as I text Kit and ask him to tell mom I’m going to coffee with a friend. Kit and my mom know my only real friend was Rory, so they will probably be even more confused by my text.

I follow Baron to his black sports car. I give one parting glance toward the group of mourners. I’m just in time to see them lowering my best friend in the world into the cold, hard ground.

male-depression