Mark and Tony #1
Coming home from work to find my boyfriend banging our hairy, married landlord -- in our bed -- was bad enough. Discovering Jamie had also cleaned out my bank accounts made it officially the worst day of my life. I think I can be forgiven for wanting revenge, even if a few little laws (and possibly Jamie's nose) got bent in the process.
Fortunately, the law is on my side in the form of my oldest friend, Tony Gervase. I've tried to deny my attraction to the sexy trooper for years. After all, he made it clear long ago that he wasn't interested in me that way. But if the hot encounter in his kitchen is any indication, he is now. At least the day is ending a whole lot better than it began...
But the morning after, the Jamie situation goes from bad to seriously messed up. The jerk's in more trouble than I could have imagined. And as it turns out, I don't know Tony as well as I thought I did either...
Max and Finn #2
When I walked out of his office after the hottest sex of my life, I thought I’d left Max Douglas behind me forever— along with my favorite argyle socks and my self-respect. The last thing I need is the too-serious, too-sexy former Marine living across the hall from me while he acts as a bodyguard for one of my students. Especially since he fired me from my job tutoring his brother—after we hooked up.
I shouldn’t want him. I should despise him after the way he treated me. But he’s exactly my type: older, experienced, in control—and it’s obvious the lust is still mutual. While I may not be able to keep our relationship strictly professional, I’m determined to keep it purely physical. But when the stalker threats escalate, it looks like Max is going to be sticking around the school for a while—and the more I get to know him, the more I’m in danger of losing my heart.
Seth and David #3
He's everything I've never wanted -- too young, too weird, too wild.
I wasn't impressed that I had to get my weekly massage from a guy with a toe ring. But when I discovered David Cooke's skills as a masseur were literally orgasmic, I couldn't stop thinking about him and his amazing hands, day and night. Especially at night.
He's full of surprises. And despite my bad behavior, David's just as eager to explore this chemistry between us. Turns out, there's a lot more to him than hemp pants and tattoos. If he's so wrong for me, why does being with him feel so right?
Adam and Holden #4
They were star-crossed lovers from the start.
Former television sensation and renowned world explorer, Holden Worthington, is held prisoner by crippling agoraphobia. When a sexy young laborer arrives to set his property to rights, a ray of light begins to glimmer in Holden's dark and narrow world. A grisly discovery throws the two men together, and Holden finds his world turned inside out-- by his inappropriate longing for his awkward, young employee, Adam Morgan, and by a threat growing around them both. All of Smithfield believes Holden has something to hide, and Adam is determined to bring everything--including Holden Worthington--into the open.
Sam and Aaron #5
A never-before-published Men of Smithfield book
With our family's legacy, Meyers B&B, in the flailing hands of me, Sam Meyers, and my sister Wynne, we're determined to revive the place. We've started a series of blind-date cooking classes, and taken on our first boarder. Granddad is even now rolling in his grave.
Signed up for the class is our new guest, Aaron Saunders, a Californian transplant who's distractingly handsome and clearly up to no good. I can't quite figure him out. He blew into town and has been relentless in his search for…something.
The sexy sneak is intriguing. And we've had a steamy moment. Or two. But now I can't stop wondering why he's searching in secret. From the library, to the historical society, to my own backyard, Aaron leaves no stone unturned or record book unopened. He's definitely gotten my attention. But that might not be the only thing he's after.
I stormed into St. Joe's at the height of the Noon Ash Wednesday Mass. Still dressed in my scrubs, I blew through those massive chapel doors like a gust of bitter February wind. I'd just seen Jamie's pretentious car parked in front of the church, and I figured he'd come to this penitential mass hoping for absolution. He sat in the third row, head bowed, his gloriously tousled mass of golden hair gleamed like a beacon of innocence next to the shining helmeted updo of his repressed, miraculously blonde mother.
I bypassed the ushers, ignoring the hello from Mrs. Banks, my seventh grade math teacher and the folded program she tried to place in my hand. Failing to genuflect or splash myself with holy water--it would have sizzled on contact--I marched straight down the center aisle. My red rubber Crocs squeaked my progress through the hushed, echoing chamber of the sanctuary. Heads turned as I passed, no doubt wondering who dared to clop down the tasteful Moravian tile in the midst of this somber service. It was officially the kickoff to Lent, and the house was packed with the well-dressed, good citizens of Smithfield.
Faces I'd known my entire life surrounded me, but I blocked them out. I'm sure that even Christ's eye was on me. The priest, Father David, droned the glum litany and looked my way for half a second, before dismissing me, as if he was the voice of reason and I, little Markie Meehan, needed to sit my ass down and get with the program.
I found a place in the pew behind Jamie and slid in. Glaring at the back of his head, I struggled with an overwhelming violence. Never in my life had I felt that kind of rage. I wanted to destroy him, not engage in some hissed conversation and exchange of keys. Fuck that. I was beyond civility. And Jamie DuPree wasn't stepping one Gucci-clad toe in to my apartment. Ever again. The prick.
As I clenched the book rack, my fingers brushed against the Bible proudly displayed there. Eyeing the curls that hugged Jamie's rough jaw, I slid the Good Book from its safe haven. The cracked leather felt worn, but the bulk was reassuring. Encouraging, even. So fueled by a boiling rage, I hauled back and gobsmacked that bastard as hard as I could in front of God and everyone.
The Bible hit the back of Jamie's head with a resounding thwack! and Jamie pitched forward. His beautiful face collided with the pew in front of us with a sick smack. He hit the wooden lip hard, the sound like a puck getting whacked by the high-priced stick he valued far too much, and he dissolved onto the tile.
My follow-through sent me into an awkward nosedive over the back of the pew and onto the maroon cushion. Legs kicking, ass high, my face came perilously close to landing in Mrs. Dupree's lap. I clambered to my feet, spewing outrage and fury and maybe a little filth.
"In our bed, you fucking bastard!" The words rang through the congregation as the entire community froze.
At least I assumed they were frozen. I wasn't paying attention to anyone except Jamie and his stiff mother. I had nearly landed on top of her when the cushion shifted under her skinny ass and she rose to her perfectly clad feet and clutched her pearls. Her sour-lemon lips pursed, and she stared me down with--and perhaps I imagined this--the glowing eyes of demonic satisfaction. "How dare you?"
Max and Finn #2
"Stop by my office before you leave."
I glanced up from the table I shared with a gum-snapping sixteen-year-old Kyle Douglas who, to date, was one of the most underperforming students I'd ever known, and met Max Douglas's sober gaze. "Sure, Max."
Kyle took the half-second my attention was focused on his older brother to check his phone. "Put it away."
"Yes, Mr. Finn." He sighed.
I nodded to Max. "We'll be done here in a minute. Kyle is just finishing his essay."
No response. Max had dismissed me at my nod, expecting nothing less than full compliance. I watched the back of his head as he moved purposefully through the office on to his next vitally important task. No one in the office spoke to him as he passed.
Kyle shot a wad of paper at his brother and Max, in true soldier style, didn't so much as flinch as it bounced off his shoulder. Max entered his office and clicked the door shut.
"Two points, right?" Kyle popped his gum against the back of his teeth.
I'd give him five points for acting like a thoughtless douche and then detention. "He pays for your tutoring, and you disrespect him. He's been decent to you all summer. He's given you a job. Way to say 'thank you.'" He shrugged and I knew enough about teenagers to change the subject. Besides, Kyle's essay had improved. He'd shown some progress under my tutelage. His relationship with his brother had nothing to do with me. Still, I couldn't help but add, "I can't believe he lets you get away with that."
"Nah, he doesn't. He'll make me clean the entire office tomorrow morning when we come in. Like with a toothbrush or some shi--thing. And that's after we run five miles and hit the gym."
"That sounds character building, at least."
"He wishes. So Mr. Finn, can we peace it? I'm done for today, right? I can pack my stuff and head out."
"Nice try. You have five minutes. Get busy."
Kyle clicked his pen and frowned at his essay. I couldn't blame him--he had his work cut out for him. I wondered again how he and Max could possibly be related, although the twenty-three year difference made Max more like an uncle than a half brother.
Max Douglas. Quiet, commanding, older, experienced, employed, gay--the man entered a room and my entire body perked up and took notice. And as the summer days turned into weeks, my casual interest in Max had become downright excruciating. I had a crush. An honest-to-God, sweaty-palm, man-on-man crush. I knew Max returned my interest at least a little, because when his hot gaze locked on mine, he held on until, flustered and red to my hairline, I was the first to look away.
He hadn't looked at me that way today, because of Kyle, but there were times when Max zeroed in on me with such unfaltering precision, I didn't know whether to run and hide or chase him down.
Years ago, back when I had no pride at all, I might have walked into his office and stripped--like, the ultimate icebreaker. No inhibitions, just unfettered sex free for the taking. No strings. No bullshit.
Of course, I wasn't eighteen anymore.
"Mr. Finn?" Kyle slid his essay across the table to me.
I blinked back to the present. "All set? Great." I used my most encouraging tone. "Next week we focus on math. Do your homework. You need to bring that score up by eighty points. You need to clear five hundred."
"Oh man, I'm going to have to say a novena."
"Nonsense. You'll just work harder."
Seth and David #3
I slid naked between the nubby flannel sheets, amazed anyone would bother to heat a table in the middle of summer. I appreciated the air conditioning, although I didn't appreciate the new age music piped through the ceiling. Or the cloying fragrance of lavender that permeated the entire spa. The soapy smell made the inside of my nose tickle and I sneezed loudly into the empty room.
I'd been in here so many times I could see the room with my eyes closed. The entire place was done up in somber gold and unthreatening sage green. Swaths of amber silk hung from slender rods and pooled in designer heaps on the floor. And like the glass of water they'd given me, with its fancy slice of cucumber floating on the top, the spa had no flavor yet I was supposed to be impressed. Quinn would have loved the place. He'd have enjoyed the hushed footsteps of the massage therapists and estheticians as they wafted down the carpeted hallways, careful not to disturb their next paying customer.
I waited for Linda and stifled another sneeze. 2:00 p.m. every Friday. Two o'clock. P.M. Standard. Weekly. No exceptions. How difficult could it be for a therapist to arrive on time?
My watch read 2:04.
Linda should already be here working on my shoulders and neck. For the last eight months she'd tried to ease the strain of my job and all the other disasters this year had wrought. Nikki's death. Quinn taking off for the Keys and making me buy out his half of the house.
I flipped onto my stomach, shifted around to find a comfortable spot, adjusted myself and then shut my eyes. My forehead rested on a scrap of cotton toweling. It, too, reeked of lavender. Why did everything in the goddamn room have to stink of flowers? I breathed through my mouth. I always meant to complain about the smell, but by the time Linda finished working the kinks out of my back, lavender didn't seem so important. It shouldn't seem important now.
But it was 2:07 and still no sign of Linda.
And who chose the music? Birds warbled along with Celtic fiddles, bagpipes and penny whistles. A little Dave Matthews would have been appreciated.
Tired, tense, and whining to myself, even I didn't much care for me right now. I rolled my shoulders again. Maybe that relaxation technique Linda always blathered about would help me. I began a slow tensing and releasing of each muscle group in my body in an effort to find my inner tranquility. Tranquility wasn't likely, but her technique would help pass the time.
I started with my toes. Squeeze. Release. Breathe. Try not to choke on lavender. Squeeze, release, breathe-- I worked up my legs. Squeeze. Release. Breathe. I tightened my thighs and clenched my ass hard.
The door to the massage room opened with a soft click. I relaxed, letting my ass deflate under Linda's scrutiny. No matter. I wasn't here to impress her. I was here to pay her for services rendered.
"Mr. Weston?" A soft masculine voice caught me by surprise and I jerked from the cushion to take a look. Just inside the room, a very attractive young man stood. His dark hair floated around his head in curls that fell to his shoulders. His light eyes--a pale, crystalline blue in this light--were framed by thick, soot-black lashes. He waited politely for me to respond. I tore my gaze from his and took a gander at the rest of him.
Adam and Holden #4
It was a bright, shiny Monday morning and I should've at least been trying to act like a productive member of Smithfield society. Instead, I sprawled on a rattan chaise lounge on the sun porch, a dying laptop hiding my erection, and I tracked the new lawn boy as he labored to tame the wilds of my backyard. A yard I had conveniently, purposefully, shamefully neglected for two full years.
I liked to think of the grounds as a sanctuary, an overgrown jungle for wildlife to find safe harbor. In truth, they were an eyesore. The roses, which had once bloomed under my meticulous mother's green thumb, were a tumble of sharp briars and deep thickets. And because I'd been so mired in disgrace when my mother died, it had been easy to let the rose arbor rot.
Besides, I couldn't go outside to garden.
The boy bent, muscular thighs tensing. He gripped a bag of mulch and slung it over his strong shoulder. I admired his sleek hind end covered in filthy, work-worn Carhartt jeans. His waistband dipped, his shirt rode high and a sweet patch of winter-white skin peeked above his plaid undershorts. I couldn't take my eyes off that strip of flesh, feeling dirty enough to smack my lips as I leered from the relative privacy of the sun porch.
A few weeks ago my brother Porter had come to stay and demanded I do something about our mother's legacy. At first, I thought he referred to the pair of us. Forty-ish and neither one of us functioning as well as one would expect given our heritage, wealth and education. But no, he meant the blasted roses.
Then Mr. Tindell sent this interesting new hire to help tidy the lawn. The gardener had pulled into the driveway in a rattletrap Ford pickup and he'd enchanted me, though I'd yet to speak with him. The kid came to mow the broad expanse of lawn that reached nearly five acres from South Street down to Meadow and he remained here on the job--coming to work at the house a few times during the week. Today he toiled with a wheelbarrow and a shovel. Sunlight warmed the cool spring air and he'd taken off his jacket.
I squirmed but I didn't look away. I couldn't. I kept him in my sight and watched as he moved effortlessly with pounds of cedar bark balanced on his shoulder. His gait loose, he radiated youthful confidence in his ability to lift that bale and tote that barge in the great wide out-of-doors.
The lucky bastard.
I should write some of this down. Vitality was exactly what my writing lacked these the past six months, which was why I'd recently turned my sorry focus to a culinary memoir.
The lawn boy's shirt dropped into place and that pale flash of lean flesh disappeared from view.
My computer ponged a warning as the three hundredth unread email landed in my inbox. I wasn't interested because finally, my muse had arrived. If the porch walls and ceiling were made of anything other than sheer, spotless glass, I might have touched myself. It had been a long time since I'd felt such interest in another man.
That thought would have depressed me if I weren't so altogether turned on.
From inside the house the whirl of my thousand-dollar vacuum cleaner crept nearer. I sat straighter and crossed my legs, adjusting the crotch of my Levis and hoping to hell Mrs. Henderson wouldn't catch me in a moment of depravity again. As it stood, she spent each Tuesday morning at St. Joe's saying her rosary for me. I wouldn't want her to add Wednesday as well.
LB Gregg (Lisabea) writes fun, fast-paced contemporary male/male romances for a variety of publishers including Riptide, Samhain, and Carina Press. Her wildly successful Men of Smithfield books feature hot, hunky men looking for love in small town New England.
Mark & Tony #1
Max & Finn #2
Seth & David #3
Adam & Holden #4
Sam & Aaron #5