Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday's Montage Mantlepiece: Rules to Live By

Four intimate tales of power exchange, discipline, risks taken, and pleasures earned.

A list of rules to live by.

In Cari Z’s House Rules, jealousy leads Jonathan to break the rules his lover has established. He can’t decide which he enjoys more: his punishment, or the reward afterward. Good thing he gets both.

A lesson in humility.

In The Harder They Fall by Heidi Belleau and Lisa Henry, spoiled college boy Tad hires a prostitute, but “Daddy” couldn’t care less about what Tad wants. Instead, he’s going to give his spoiled little boy exactly what he deserves.

A cage that means freedom.

In Master Key by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox, Marquis offers Navin the key to the most intimate of locks, hoping it will help them to prioritize their relationship. And it does—until work and insecurities threaten to drive them apart again.

A spool of rope and a desire to be bound.

In CTRL Me by Anna Zabo, a night out between friends turns hot and tempting when Gabe deliberately pushes Tom’s submissive buttons. Then Tom discovers rope in Gabe’s glove-box—and not the type for securing luggage.

At the end of the workday, a week and a half after Sherri dumped me, Gabe spun his chair around on the other side of the cube we shared, and I turned, expecting a question about code or environments or something. Engineering stuff.

“Isn’t Thursday your date night?”

I was sure my expression gave away my anger, frustration, and sadness, since the next words from his mouth were, “Ah. I’m really sorry, dude. I know you liked her.”

I had. Up until the night she’d left. “It’s fine. It . . . just didn’t work out.”

Understatement of the year. While she’d been somewhat adventuresome in the bedroom, my last suggestion had made her flee. Apparently scarves and handcuffs were her limit. Anything more was “freakish.” That had been the word she’d used. A sour burn formed in the back of my throat. I’d told her I was bi, and discovered while open-minded in theory, she was a bigot in practice.

Figured. I had a knack for picking real winners when it came to relationships. The one before her had been even worse.

“Tough break.” Gabe gave one of his endearing, lopsided grins. “How ’bout a drink later?”

“Sure.” I should have said no. But man, I needed a beer, and Gabe, well, he was the closest friend I had after five months in Pittsburgh. My best friend.

His smile was a quick flash of teeth. “Great. I need about twenty more minutes to wrap this up. That fine?”


We rotated back to our respective screens.

If I were still living in San Francisco, I’d have thrown myself into the scene, either the BDSM or LGBT one, the day after Sherri had called me a freakish fag and stormed out. But alas, this was Pittsburgh. I didn’t even know if they had a scene. After what had happened in San Francisco, I was a bit gun-shy to find out. I should have Googled around for the Pride crowd at least, but . . .

But Sherri had put me into a bit of a spiral. I hoped the rest of the town wasn’t like her, all fun and full of adventure on the outside and conservative as hell inside. I shook my head. Shouldn’t judge an entire city on one person. Or, if I did, I should judge it on Gabe.

Gabriel Visser. That’s what the tag on the wall read. Originally, I’d been paired with Gabe for training, but there really hadn’t been anywhere else to put me in the crowded office, so we still shared the large cube.

Gabe had been born in Pittsburgh. Left for college, but came back when tech opportunities blossomed. Quick to smile, wickedly smart, and as easygoing as a summer day, Gabe had been the one to point me in the direction of a good bike shop, told me about interesting concerts, and introduced me to Geek Night.

Which, of course, was where I’d met Sherri.

Fuck. I checked the clock. Fifteen minutes. I didn’t really have anything I could start on and not fall into for hours, so I leaned back and pretended to stare at code while Gabe worked.

Normally, his sharp mind made me code all the harder. I loved working with folks smarter than me. Made me up my game. Gabe’s smiles and his nods of approval when I fixed bugs or found them before the test engineers, well, that made any day good.

That he was gorgeous helped. Short, dark hair, stunning blue eyes, and a sleek, limber body beneath his T-shirts and jeans. The day he’d stripped off his shirt when we’d gone bike riding down the Montour Trail? I’d seen he had a tattoo that ran down the side of his chest and disappeared into his shorts. God, that had made the ride back into the city interesting. I discovered rather quickly that a hard cock and a bicycle seat didn’t really work well together. I couldn’t help wondering what the rest of that tat looked like, and where it ended.

Not that he even showed the slightest interest in me. Guys like Gabe? I was never that lucky. They were either straight or as good as married. Since he wasn’t seeing anyone or married, I was betting straight on Gabe.

Still, a beer with a friend? Yes, please.

Author Bios:
Heidi Belleau 
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write. She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!) When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.

Anah Crow 
Anah Crow has been writing with Dianne Fox since 2003. Her job in their partnership is to spew out ideas, hammer out prose, and bomb, drown, incinerate, and otherwise torment their characters. Fortunately, she has Dianne to channel all that energy into something publishable.

When she isn't writing with Dianne...she's usually writing. She lives in Canada with two dogs, her partner, her teenager, far too many craft supplies, and a small herd of computers -- Macs and PCs (don't tell Dianne about those).

Dianne Fox
Dianne Fox has been writing with Anah Crow since 2003. Her job in their partnership is to organize their shared toys, herd cats (shorthand for keeping Anah's brain on track), and polish everything they produce. She manages to keep sane -- or something like it -- with help from her unnatural affection for list-making.

When she isn't writing with Anah, she's working as a nanny, taking a break from chasing Anah by chasing children. She lives in the USA with her partner, her two cats, far too many craft supplies, and her beloved Macs.

Lisa Henry 
Lisa credits her love of reading to her grandfather, who had stacks of books in every room in his house, and to her parents, who couldn't afford a television when she was child.Lisa lives in Australia, and shares her house with too many pets. She still devours books today.She also has a television.

Anna Zabo 
Anna Zabo writes erotic paranormal romance and fantasy. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think. A lover of all things fae, and wonderful, she looks for the magical in the cracks of her city. We have hills. And trees. And rivers. And trains And I can see all these things from my office window.

She has a MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

She reviews books under her non-pen name, since she's been on GR under that name since 2007...

In real life, she does not talk about herself in third person, though she did date a guy who did that.

Cari Z.
Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut and said, "See ya!" She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She's still climbing that ladder, but can't stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get 'im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there's a lot of love to go around.

Cari has published short stories, novellas and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on, under the name Carizabeth.

Heidi Belleau

Anah Crow

Dianne Fox

Lisa Henry

Anna Zabo

Cari Z


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