Sapphic Planet

Contributors: Jodi Payne, Beth Wylde, Meg Leigh, Ann Cory, Allison Wonderland, Adriana Kraft, Kissa Starling, Nan Andrews
Genre: ,
Release Date: February 19, 2012

Welcome to Sapphic Planet, a literary realm where women are free to love one another without fear of prejudice or reprisal. Inside these pages you’ll discover nineteen stories written specifically to tease and titillate your senses.

From a frolic in the rain with a Bathing Beauty, to a concerned sibling showing his sister some Brotherly Love, and everything in between. Whether you’re in the mood for steamy romance or unrequited lust, we’ve got a story guaranteed to satisfy your cravings.

This anthology showcases just a fraction of the talent from the writers of Sapphic Planet, a group specifically created for authors and aspiring authors of quality lesbian literature.

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Title: Sapphic Planet
Published by: Sapphic Planet

Keeping Promises

Contributors: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Series:
Genre: , , , ,
Release Date: March 23, 2021
Pages: 262

Jeremy M. Dunn III has the single dad thing down, so the last thing he wants to do is call his ex-husband to ask for help with their two kids. They didn’t part on good terms, and they’ve barely spoken since the divorce. But with a cast on his arm that goes up past his elbow, Jeremy has no choice. He needs a few days to figure out how to bathe their daughter, make school lunches and parent their son one-armed, and there isn’t anyone else he can ask for help.

Former rodeo cowboy West Belen was already on his way back to his kids, and to Trey (“the third”, his nickname for Jeremy). He made a promise to try again, and he means to keep it, so when he sees his chance to move back into his family’s life, he grabs it like the brass ring he knows it is. He’s determined to be more than an “every other weekend” dad to his children, and he doesn’t want to keep on living with regret about how he and Trey ended.

Jeremy still desires West, but he isn’t sure he can trust West to be responsible and available. West still thinks Trey is the hottest thing he’s ever seen, but he has no idea how to convince the man he’s ready to settle down. The two of them have never had trouble butting heads, but now they need to learn to work together to make a home for themselves and their kids where they both belong.

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Also in this series:

 

Excerpt

 

Chapter One

“Kiddo. Kiddo, you awake?” Hank’s voice jolted West upright from where he’d been dozing in the old recliner he’d moved near the hospital bed they’d put in the sunroom so Hank could see out the window and watch the hummingbirds.

“Yessir. You hurtin’? I can get Gretchen.” The little hospice nurse was on it. She lived two houses down, too, so it took her no time to show up.

“No. No, I just wanted to talk to you.” The hand that had been whole and strong three weeks ago was a sack of bruised bones, and West took it so carefully.

“Anytime. Anytime at all.” Hank had been his best friend, his mentor, his adopted father for as long as he could remember, and time was getting short. They could both sleep when Hank was dead.

“You’re a good man.” Hank stared at him, gray eyes seeming to blaze with light, and West thought maybe that was what happened when the best of them was being called home.

“I try. I’m not feeling all the way on that, you know.”

Hank shook his head. “No. You’ve been dealt some shit, but you have managed it. All of it.”

What was he supposed to say to that? “Thank you.”

“If you could go back and change anything in your life, what would it be?”

He rolled his eyes at Hank. “I would have bet on me two years ago in the finals.”

Hank swatted his hand. “I’m serious, boy. Tell me. It ain’t like I’m telling.”

West took a deep breath. He knew the answer to this one. He’d known it for two years, two months, three weeks, and four days. “I would have told Trey no when he asked for a divorce. I would have stuck like a burr and kept my kids and my husband and damn the consequences.”

Hank bobbed his head at him like a big, dying bird. “I hear you. I couldn’t have had a family like y’all did. I never will now.”

Shit. He didn’t say anything to that because he didn’t have anything to say. Hell, he’d lost his whole life—his kids, his husband, his house. He was working a job that was Friday through Sunday, and those were the days he could see Lukas and Ava. He got to keep his truck, his child support payments, and the knowledge that his ex hated him enough to make sure he had to choose between rodeoing or his babies.

Shit, why did he even want Trey back?

He guessed because he loved the son of a bitch.

“So, go make it right.”

West looked up, just utterly confused. “What?”

They were divorced. That meant it was over.

“Go home and fix it. You have a chance. You survived that last bad wreck; you can do this.”

He rubbed the back of his head, that heavy scar back there. “Oh, Hank… Trey don’t want me no more. He hates everything about my life.”

“So change. If you want it—them—bad enough, do what you have to. Those babies need you, even if Jeremy Fancy Pants No Fun doesn’t.”

He started chuckling. Jeremy Fancy Pants No Fun. That was going down in history.

“Promise me, kiddo. Swear you’ll try. Don’t—don’t end up dying with your regrets.”

“Hank—”

“Goddamn it! I’m dying. You give me this. I’m never going to get to see those babies again. Promise me you’ll try.”

“I swear to God. I’ll try.” West felt his face try to crumple, because he didn’t want to figure out how to be a man without the person who taught him how to cowboy up. He kept it together, though, because it was their way. “I promise, Hank.”

“Good boy.” Hank sighed, that light fading as he closed his eyes. “Know that I love you, West Belen. You are my son, just like as if I’d borned you.”

“I love you, Hank. I got your back.” Even though this was a trip West couldn’t make with Hank right now, he was here ’til the bitter end.

“I never doubted that for a second. Just hold my hand a minute and pray for me.”

So West did. All the way until Hank wasn’t holding on anymore.

 

Chapter Two

“You did what?”

Jeremy shook his head and tried not to glare at the nurse fussing with his IV. “Remember I told you I was going to paint the kitchen?”

“Jeremy Dunn the Third versus a cane-back cafe chair.” Drew laughed. “Loser.”

“It has a wobbly front leg.” He’d managed to go thirty-two years without breaking a single fucking bone. He wasn’t pouting. He was not.

Drew snorted, and he could picture the exasperated look on his best friend’s face. “Then why were you standing on it, idiot?”

“Fuck you.”

His nurse gave him the side-eye. “Watch your language, please.”

“Sorry.” He shrugged at her.

“Where are the kids?”

“Annie has them. She’s had them a couple of times before.” He wasn’t sure what he’d have done if his neighbor hadn’t been home.

“She’s keeping them overnight?”

“I—maybe? I’ll be home later today, but it’s my right arm…” Four years of high school sports, rock climbing, and all of his idiotic shenanigans in college, running and mountain biking all over Boulder…and he shattered his elbow falling off a stupid fucking chair.

“Your right arm? Jer, how are you going to—I mean, maybe…” Drew sighed, and Jeremy’s stomach sank as he realized what Drew was going to say before he said it.

“No.” Nope. No way.

Drew sighed. “You have to—”

“I’m not fucking calling him.”

“Jer—”

“What?” He shouted. “Did I hear someone yell ‘shark’? Sorry, what? You have to go? Okay, man. Enjoy your honeymoon, get a great tan.”

“Don’t be an ass, Jeremy.” Drew shouted back over his babbling.

“Talk to you later! Bye!”

He hung up.

Yep. He hung up on his best friend for not quite suggesting that he call his ex-husband for help with their kids.

Because he knew Drew was right.

Jesus, he’d gone off the deep end.

He looked at his phone. It was great of Annie to take them for the night, but she wasn’t going to keep the kids long. She had a life and four hundred boyfriends and a day job.

West was their father after all, and it wasn’t like Jeremy had asked him for anything since the divorce. Nothing. Ever. Maybe West could come take them for a few days until he figured out how to scratch his butt with his nearly useless left hand.

He pulled up West’s number and frowned at the picture, feeling sick that he still thought that smiling vortex of chaos in a cowboy hat was handsome.

“Fuck.” He hit the number and dialed.

“Trey.” No hello, no what’s wrong, just that nickname that he hated.

“Hey.” He could hang up. Say he butt dialed West by mistake. The idea of asking his ex for a favor was making the bile rise in the back of his throat. But he tried to imagine giving four-year-old Ava a bath left-handed while trying to keep from jostling his right arm and decided he was going to have to suck it up. Fuck. “So…listen, have you got plans the next couple of days?”

“Why? What’s wrong? Are the kids okay?” West’s voice was sharp, clear, and focused. God, he remembered being the center of that focus.

“Yes, they’re fine. I’m… I’m in the ER.” He let that hang out there a second since West hadn’t asked if he was okay.

“I’ll be there in four hours. I was doing a signing in Raton.” West’s voice got quiet. “I got to bounce. Family emergency. Yeah. See you.” Then West was back. “What’s wrong?”

A signing. Still in the limelight. Some things never changed.

“I broke my elbow.” I got into a fight with a rabid dog… I was barreling down this crazy trail on my bike… I went rock climbing and man, it was a close one. “I…fell off a fucking chair.” He rolled his eyes. Drew was right; he was an idiot.

“That hurts like a motherfucker.” West didn’t laugh, but Jeremy knew that bastard was grinning. “Who has my babies?”

Asshole. West had broken every bone in his goddamn body. Twice. “Our children are with Annie, next door. I’ll text you her number if you want it. They’ll be fine with her for a while.”

“Okay, good. Do you need a ride home, or should I just come to the house?”

“Let me know when you get up here, and we’ll see if I’m home yet.” Annie had a key, but no way was West going to wander around his house and pack up the kids unsupervised. His lawn might get mowed, but the kids would be covered in mud, and there’d be no beer left.

“Fine. I’ll see you in a few.” And just like that, the line went dead. Infuriating asshole. Seriously, if Jeremy hadn’t needed him…

“Ow!” He dropped his phone.

“Sorry. I need to get your sling fitted.” The nurse picked his phone up and handed it to him.

“Thanks. Sure.” He nodded and sat up so she could reach, the simple move making him a little dizzy. He tried to text Annie’s details to West, but texting with one hand, and left-handed at that, was a pain in the ass and it took him forever.

“Jeremiah M. Dunn, the Third.” A doctor came in, grinning broadly and reading his full fucking given name off an iPad. “That’s quite a name.”

“It was my father’s.” Ha-ha. So funny. “Jeremy works.”

“Jeremy. Got it. How are you getting home today?”

Fuck.

Title: Keeping Promises
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-43-7

Syncopation: A Collaborations Novel

Contributors: Jodi Payne, BA Tortuga
Series: Collaborations #2
Genre: , , ,
Release Date: January 6, 2020
Pages: 204

Colt Boudreaux was raised in the Louisiana bayou and is gifted with a talent steeped in the rich and soulful New Orleans blues tradition. He makes a living as a session musician, playing guitar for anyone who needs him. When his manager sends him to New York, the Cajun is as beguiled as he is baffled by the energy of the city—and just as charmed by Kyle Alexander.

Kyle is a successful classically trained ballet dancer, choreographer, and native New Yorker whose unbridled talent defies convention, and whose rebel spirit favors ink, shuns the orchestra, and is every bit as unique as Kyle himself.

They find a connection right away that inspires rhythm and movement, mood and music, both in and out of the bedroom. It’s not long before they’re as obsessed with each other as they are with their art, and they decide to work together on an improvisational piece for Kyle’s upcoming solo exhibition.

But Kyle is focused, and Colt is free-spirited. Colt’s work ebbs and flows with inspiration, and Kyle’s is rehearsed. Kyle is social and sophisticated, and Colt… isn’t. When their talents weave together, it’s magical, but will their differences destroy it all?


Also in this series:

EXCERPT:

Chapter One

“OO-EEE!” OH praise Jesus, that felt like motherfucking heaven. Colt let the guitar rest, dangle from his fingers, the burning of the skin under his calluses promising to make tomorrow earned hell. It was worth it. Every fucking second of it. The music had poured through them all like they was all Robert Johnson hisself.

“Damn. Damn, that was fine, Boudreaux. You can play with us anytime, right boys?” Little Mel was sweating like a whore in church, her braids and mandolin dark with their good work. Hank Bennett and Mr. Bill were in the same boat. They’d laid down their tracks, wrote some, and then started jamming again. That last piece?

Lord, Lord.

Babies would be made under that song.

“I ’preciate it. For reals.” Colt didn’t know no one here, but he knew music, and he knew jamming, and he knew when it was right.

“You want to go get some food? You have to be starving, boy.” Mr. Bill grinned at him, gold tooth shining, and Colt nodded.

“Yessir. I got a hollow leg, me. I could eat.” He couldn’t believe he was here, not really. Not here starving, either, but here making music because someone wanted to pay his happy ass to do it.

Him.

“Come to New York, Colt. You’ll play some studio gigs, write some songs. It’ll be fun.”

What? He was gonna say no? What else did he do? He picked and played.

So here he was, ’til Nathan said to do something else. This place was like a dream, and he found himself going from little room to studio to little room, over and over. He’d traveled some—Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio—but this place was… different. Cool and exciting, but he’d never felt so small.

He pulled his gimme cap on and put his guitar away with a smile. He’d reckon it. He’d managed fine so far, hadn’t he? Yessir. And he was loving all the different folks, all the different styles. All the music.

No wonder men sold their souls for this.

“Great work, guys!” The guy who worked the booth bebopped in, grinning like a gator. “The sound rocked.”

Little Mel grabbed the guy up in an embrace, and, damn, he sorta disappeared into her.

Whoa.

“Dang, Mellons. You gotta give a brother a chance to bail out before he suffocates in there.”

Little Mel laughed, the sound rich. “You’re on the wrong team, Timmy, honey. You’re the only one that complains.”

Timmy grinned at her and winked. “Hey, I totally got that whole last track even though you were just jamming. It was pretty sweet.” The guy started cleaning up, pulling mics and dressing cables.

“Boudreaux can find one hell of a hook.”

Colt bowed at her words, making a show of it. “La, it’s a good job.”

“Timothy Webb. Timmy.” Timmy stuck his hand out for a fist bump. “You can’t fake it and keep up with this crew. That was pretty boss, dude.”

“Colt. Pleased and thank you.” He didn’t have an ounce of fake in him. Just music and a little bit of wild child.

“Now, if you’re eating with them, you might find it harder to keep up. Especially with Mr. Bill. He can totally put it away.” Timmy packed the mics into a crate and put the cables on top. “You guys using this kit tomorrow, or should I break it down?”

“Can you jam tomorrow, Cajun?”

“Surely do. Just point and shoot my happy ass, Mr. Bill.” He didn’t have any other reason to be here, and no one had said he was going anywhere else.

“Right on. I’ll leave it, then. Just need the pickups.” Timmy crawled all over the drum kit, pulling the electrics to lock them up. “Colt, just leave your cables be. You want to lock up your instrument with everybody else’s babies, that’s okay by me. So you don’t have to carry it around? I keep the key, and I’m first in, last out of here.”

“Yeah?” He looked to Little Mel, because this one wasn’t his acoustic, but she was special. She was his, and she spoke to his heart. The acoustic spoke to his soul.

“It’s cool, man. Seriously. It’s safer here than sitting by your feet at a diner.”

“Right. Thanks, boo. I appreciate it for true.” He shot Timmy a grin. “You want food too?”

“You know it. I’ll join you guys in a few. Just gotta wrap up here. Hank, you want to show the newbie where you keep your toys on the way out?”

“Oh, I suppose I can handle that. C’mon, Colt, I’ll show you the locker.” Hank hauled his ass off the chair like he was made of stone. Had to be seventy if he was a day.

“I’ll catch up, dude. Shake Shack?”

Little Mel nodded. “I’m in, honey. We’ll see you there.”

He followed Hank, a melody tickling around behind his eyes, something happy and old, something his granny had sang to him, once upon a time.

“There’s some sweet stuff in here. Trust me, your guitar will be in good company.” Hank opened a door, which looked like any other door, but the door behind that one had a handle crank like a bank vault. The old man gave it a shove, and it swung open the rest of the way by itself, opening into a large, brightly lit room. There was a double row of guitar hangers on the far wall, and shelves with just about everything else imaginable on each side. Percussion instruments, strings, drum kits, a couple of leather jackets, a pair of cowboy boots. “This whole place could burn down and this thing would still be standing. I keep a bunch of my gear in here. I don’t know who half this shit belongs to, but Timmy does.”

“Merci, Vieux. This is sweet. Never seen nothing like this.” They weren’t near so fancy, back home.

“Welcome to the Big Apple, friend. Check out the pictures on the way out, get a little perspective. This isn’t exactly a small operation.”

“Big, small—whatever. I just want to pick.” The Big Apple. Why an apple? Huh.

Hank waited for him to hang up his guitar and then followed him out. “You will, if you keep up like you did today. Something you may or may not already know? Make friends with Timmy. He makes it easy, so it’s not like you have to try very hard. But he sits at that console every day whether you’re here or not. And if you’re not but someone that needs someone like you is? Timmy’s your best friend.”

They met up with the rest of the band in the lobby.

He filed that away. Friends he could do. Shit, he liked folks. He loved music. He loved folks that loved to play. All good, so far as he went.

The Shake Shack was crazy as all get-out. Loud and busy, burgers and dogs, and since this was Times Square, everyone was there. Suits, little kids, hipsters, uniforms, you name it. Sorta felt like New Orleans, but with less blues.

They’d only just sat down when Timmy arrived. He gave everyone a wave and got in line to order, head down and texting.

“So your manager sent you up here to us?” Hank asked, pulling at his cheese fries.

“Yessir. I come up from Houston, last, laying down gospel tracks. Good work, that.” It soothed the soul, even if they’d all spent the late nights so fucked-up on grain alcohol that he swore he was gonna go blind.

Hank nodded and looked at Little Mel. “He’s working for me. You?” Colt reckoned this was Mel’s band, best he could tell. And he was pretty clear that today’s session was an audition of sorts. That’s how things usually worked out.

“You know it. We can finish this album out, if you’re willing.”

“Yes, ma’am. As you want. I’m easy, me.”

“He’s easy, him.” Mr. Bill laughed, poked Colt with his elbow. “Just playin’ with you, son. You can pick with me any day.”

“Hank, you remember that dancer we did a mix for a couple of months ago?” Timmy worked his way into the table between Mel and Hank.

“The bad-boy ballet kid?”

“Yeah, dude. Him. Kyle? He just texted me. I cut him a couple more CDs from the master. He’s coming to pick them up.”

“He was a trip and a half. I guess it did okay?”

“I think he’s going to let us know.” Timmy picked up a hot dog covered in vegetables. Something about that didn’t make no sense. “I guess they’re keeping you, dude? If not, you’d have totally split by now. This crew is pretty straight shooting.”

“I guess so. I like being kept okay.” He was easy that way.

Hank laughed, elbowed Little Mel. “He’s just like Timmy, all laid-back and whatever, dude.”

“Hey! Timmy!” A guy in a big sweater and a mop of dark hair waved from the doorway.

“Kyle. Dude.” Timmy waved his friend over.

“Duuuude.” Kyle grinned, teasing. “Good to see you.” They exchanged some complicated handshake and ended with a bro hug. “What the hell are you eating?”

“It’s that veggie dog thing.”

“Really, Timmy? Go with a cheeseburger next time. Hey, Hank.” They shook hands.

“Kyle. This is Little Mel, Mr. Bill, and over there is our new picker, Colt Boudreaux.”

Kyle shook hands and grabbed for Colt’s last. “Pleasure.”

Strong and warm and Colt’s body tightened, the sudden rush of want surprising the shit out of him. Huh. Pretty. “Pleased.”

Sit, boo, and watch you. Folks is folks and no one might want to know you swing the rainbow way.

Then again, he kind of thought Kyle held his hand, and eyes, just a little too long.

“I got your CDs, man.” Timmy dug around in his messenger bag.

“Oh, great. Thanks.” Kyle gave his hand an extra squeeze before letting go and taking the CDs from Timmy.

He set to his french fries, letting the greasy saltiness soothe his belly.

“So, Timmy, I’ve got another project to talk to you about. Do you have some time?”

“Um. Well, I’m in the studio with these guys for at least the next few days. Why don’t you come by?”

“Yeah? Okay, cool.”

“What kind of project is it?”

“I need something simple. Like really simple. Maybe just a guitar even. I’ll tell you all about it, and you can help me decide.”

“Yeah, sure, dude. No sweat.”

“Thanks, sweetheart. Nice meeting you all. I’m headed to rehearsal. Gotta run.” Kyle kissed Timmy smack on the lips.

“Later, twinkle toes.”

“Oh! Timmy! Roulette. Tomorrow night, karaoke and crazy shit. You should come.”

“Sounds great, dude.”

Kyle disappeared onto the street.

Lord have mercy, that was hot. He knew a few places in the Crescent he could do that, but here? Good to know.

Timmy laughed. “That guy is insane, dude. ‘Karaoke and crazy shit’ could literally mean anything. Oh. Colt. I meant to ask—you good with a place to stay? I know the studio is putting you up for a couple of days in a hotel, but after that? I got a room if you need one.”

“Yeah? I—I gotta call Nathan and find out what happens, but I might could use a real place. Somewhere I can cook.” He could spend him a few days in a place not a hotel room.

“Sure. Offer stands, kitchen isn’t big, but it’s got all the… kitchen stuff. I don’t cook.”

Mr. Bill and Hank gave them all a shake. “I’m gonna get Hank into a cab and head home. We’ll catch y’all tomorrow morning, yeah?”

“I’ll be in by eight. Studio is yours whenever you show, bro.”

Little Mel was looking at her phone. “No later than nine, boys. I want the full day we’re paying for.”

He nodded, nibbling on his fries. “I’ll be there, ma’am. No worries.”

He didn’t want to go back to his room and sit.

Timmy patted the table. “How about a drink and a little New York style jazz, dude?”

“Yeah? I’m in, boo.” Oh, he liked this guy. He wanted to go and see, hear. Do.

“Birdland, Mellons. You coming?”

“Timothy, if you call me ‘Mellons’ again….”

“If the shoe fits, sister.”

Little Mel grinned at him. “Get out of here before I squash you flat.”

Timmy leaned in and kissed her cheek. “Yes, ma’am. I’ll see you at eight, I know. Come on, Colt. Mellons means business.”

“Timothy!”

Timmy laughed himself silly all the way to the sidewalk.

He followed along, bebopping to the music that seemed to be everywhere. “Thanks for the invite, boo.”

“Oh, yeah. Dude, I’m up for music any night, and you don’t want to hang out in a stale hotel room when you have this city at your feet, right? Oh, and by the way? Don’t change a thing, but up here when someone says boo, they mean honey. Like ‘that’s my boo.’” Timmy grinned at him.

“Yeah? ’Kay. Good to know.” He knew that it would pop out anyway. He was all about the habits, from chewing toothpicks to falling asleep to Abbey Road.

“So I saw the CV Nathan sent, dude. You get around, huh?” Timmy turned a corner, and they headed down a long block.

“I go where the music takes me.” It was the best life. His daddy would be damn proud. Prob’ly was looking down and grinning right now.

“You’ve got sick fingers, dude. I’m glad it brought you around here. You play anything else?”

“Anything you can pick, boo.”

He could see the flag that hung outside the club down the block, and the neon in the window drew his eye a second later. There was a line—not a long one; he’d seen worse—but still a line.

“This isn’t too bad. We should be golden, dude. Hey, stand with the neon; I’ll get a picture for you.” Timmy pulled out a phone.

He went to stand, posing like the littlest Cajun dork in history, hooting as he boogied and Timmy laughed.

“That’s rad. You got AirDrop? I’ll… send it… huh.” Timmy glanced up at him and then back at the screen.

“What? My hair weird?”

“No, dude. Kyle is asking about you.” Timmy laughed. “He thinks the whole world wants him.” Timmy started texting.

“The pretty one?” For true? He liked the thought of that, yes he did.

Timmy glanced up at him again and nodded. “The super pretty one. I was about to…. It’s cool, I wasn’t trying to freak you out, dude. I can tell him to simmer down… unless…?”

“You into him? I ain’t no poacher.”

“Aw.” Timmy laughed, a little embarrassed. “No. I thought maybe I was at first a while back, but no. He’s a lot of fun, but he’s a buddy, that’s all.”

“Bon amis are good, yeah? Better than lovers sometimes.” He got that. Your friends didn’t fall out of your life near as much.

“A lot of times, dude. Totally. So, what do you want me to say? You want me to tell him to chill, or are you interested?”

“I could be interested.” His cheeks burned some, but that was okay. A guy needed a little fun in between gigs.

Timmy elbowed him and grinned. “Yeeeeah, dude. That’s the way to be. He’s a party and a half.” He watched Timmy text and speak everything out loud. “Colt… is totally… into hanging out, dude. Yeah? That work?”

When he nodded, Timmy hit Send and waited for a reply.

“Kyle says, ‘Great. Bring him to karaoke tomorrow night.’” Timmy looked at him. “Cool? This karaoke thing he does? It’s more like open mic night. It’s all theater peeps, and it’s total talent.”

He nodded. Open mic night he understood. He’d spent most his life picking for anyone who would listen. He sang, wrote, played—if it was music, he was there.

“I’m telling him you’re in.” Timmy texted, grinned at something that popped up on the screen, and put the phone away. “You have a date, boo.” Timmy winked at him.

“Lookit me!” He gave a holler, and all the folks stared.

Timmy gave him a fist bump and took his arm, steering him into the club.

Title: Syncopation
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B083L9X81S

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!

Mergers & Acquisitions

Contributors: Jodi Payne
Genre: , ,
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Pages: 212

 

New York attorney Teague Whitaker is so close to making equity partnership he can taste it. He’s spent two years cultivating a relationship with the Avenstone Group and he’s finally landed them, bringing in a big-money deal in a big-money industry.

Jason Kovacs is…from Jersey. He’s been a barista, a bike messenger, a third-shift stocker at D’Agostino. He tries out new jobs and quits them all the time, not because he hates them, but because he doesn’t love them. But that changes when he lands a job dancing at The Wiggle Room.

When Teague bellies up to the bar, Jason can tell he’s had a bad, bad day. Jason also knows money when he sees it, so he swoops in on the polished hottie, hoping to make bank. Stunned by the unexpected loss of his career-making deal, Teague is there to drink. He’s looking for a distraction, and chatting up the buff and pretty boy that just swiped the cherry from his whiskey sour is a damn good start.

Neither expects sparks to fly with one unplanned kiss, but that’s just the beginning of the unexpected for Teague and Jason. They’re from the same city, but they’re living in two different worlds. Their relationship may be unconventional, but if they can meet in the middle—halfway between Wall Street and Jersey—they just might make it work.

Buy the Book: Amazon~~Universal eBook Links

 

EXCERPT:

Chapter One

 

Jason stood at the bottom of the stairwell at the 49th Street subway station, psyching himself up for a four-block slog in the pouring rain. Not north and south blocks, of course, but four long-ass avenue blocks. What the hell was going on? It hadn’t been raining this hard when he left Brooklyn.

Seriously? This was so gonna suck.

Finally accepting that the rain wasn’t going let up anytime soon, he pulled his hood tighter around his face, shrugged his backpack onto both shoulders, and took off at a jog. The deeper he went into Hell’s Kitchen, though, the more the wind blew the rain into his face until he found himself trudging along and leaning into it, forehead low, hands stuffed into his pockets for warmth.

He didn’t have the cash for the cab ride across the bridge and into the city, but maybe he could find someone who would be into sharing a ride back to Brooklyn once he had some tip money in his pocket.

Assuming he made some money tonight. This crappy weather might keep people away. Maybe not the tourists, but the locals would probably say to hell with it, stay home and watch porn instead. That was totally what he would do if he wasn’t working.

He crossed against the light at Ninth, sprinting the last few feet to get out of the way of a big black SUV with Jersey plates that was honking at him. The asshole was probably headed for the Lincoln Tunnel.

“Screw you, Jersey!” he shouted and flipped the driver off. Wasn’t likely they’d see it, but whatever. It made him feel better.

“Jason!”

That had to be Danny. Who else would be running in platform boots and a bright-yellow rain slicker? “Danny! You’re ruining those heels in this weather.”

“What, these? These are my rain boots, baby.” Danny laughed and took his arm.

Jason pulled Danny under the awning of a dry cleaner and smiled. “It’s Dallas, by the way.”

“Dallas? Are you going away?” Danny looked confused.

“No, my stage name. It’s Dallas.”

“Really?”

“Or maybe Austin? No, I think it was Dallas.” Texan, in any case.

“You’re gonna be a cowboy?”

He nodded. “That’s what Aaron said he wanted when he hired me.”

Danny leaned close, shivering a little even as he giggled. “Well, you’ve got the guns for it, sweetheart, that’s for sure.”

“Ha ha.” He did, though. The guns, the quads, the abs…he was proud of his body. His rent might be late, but he was always paid up at the gym.

“Let’s hear your accent.”

Jason laughed. “Okay. Can ah git you a draink, sugar?”

Danny wrinkled his nose. “Oh, baby. That’s…wow.”

Bad. He knew. “Shut up.” They both started laughing. What was he gonna do? The owner wanted a cowboy, and he wanted a job. He’d get better.

“Thanks for getting me the interview.” Maybe it wasn’t a classy job, but man, did he need the money. Plus, whatever gene it was that kept normal people from being completely shameless? He just wasn’t born with it. This could actually turn out to be the perfect job for him.

“I hope it works out for you, baby. I think you’re going to do great. Lord knows you can dance.”

“Let’s hope. We better get moving before we’re late.”

“Ugh.” Danny sighed dramatically. “This fucking weather is murder on my hair.” Danny’s long, dark hair, which he usually tamed and styled with product, had that beautiful, naturally wavy thing going on. But yeah, the humidity was hell on Jason’s short, dirty-blond curls, so he could only imagine the time it took Danny to compensate.

The two of them ran the last half block together arm in arm. They ran right past the main club entrance and stopped by a completely unmarked metal door with no handle on the outside.

Jason squinted up at the marquee through the raindrops. On top of it were the words “The Wiggle Room” in neon pink and green, surrounded by blue chasing lights. He shook his head at himself. Yep. This was for real. He was an entertainer now.

Danny banged on the door with the side of his fist, protecting his bright-yellow nail polish, and one of the biggest men Jason had ever seen opened the door for them. A barrel chest and tree-trunk arms filled the doorway, completely blocking the view of whatever was inside.

“Come on in, ladies.” The guy stepped out of their way.

Jason winked. “That’s ‘cowboy,’ actually.”

“Oh, yeah? Yeehaw, then.” The security guy didn’t even crack a smile.

“Oh, Jackson.” Danny gave the man a poke in the chest and looked at Jason. “He’s a big softie, baby, don’t let him fool you.”

“Yippee ki-yay.” Jason smiled at Jackson and tipped an imaginary hat. Still not one hint of a smile. Wow.

Jackson blinked at him slowly. He’d have bet the man was stoned. “Bruce Willis.”

“What?”

“That’s not cowboy, that’s Bruce Willis.”

“Oh. Right.” Shit, I’m too Brooklyn to be a fucking cowboy. “Thanks.”

Danny took his arm. “Come on, baby, let’s get you settled.”

“Later, cowboy. Welcome to the club.”

“Thank you, Jackson.” Jason laughed and followed Danny down a narrow hall. Just beyond the entryway was the dressing room he’d seen during his interview. It had rows of lighted mirrors along one wall and several garment racks along another, and men were in various stages of undress as they got ready for work.

“There you are.” Aaron’s deep voice vibrated in his ears as the club owner crossed the room to him. “Are you ready?”

Jason nodded. “Born ready.”

“Yeah?” Aaron seemed happy with that answer. “Guess we’ll see, won’t we? Come on.”

Danny gave Jason a kiss on the cheek. “See you out there, doll.”

Title: Mergers & Acquisitions
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B08ZMDJZ9Z
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-15-4

Tending Tyler

Contributors: Jodi Payne, BA Tortuga
Series:
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: May 18, 2021

Bartender, Tyler McKeehan, feels like his whole life is on hold. All he does is work and sleep, because he just doesn’t know how to move on with his day to day after the shocking loss of his best friend. When he meets Matt at Les’s Bar where he works in New York, though, he thinks he might have found someone who can nudge him out of his rut. The cowboy seems to live on fast forward, but at the same time, this kind, generous man makes Tyler feel wanted and safe.

 

Ranch owner, Matthew Whitehead, is just in New York for a visit. But when he runs into Tyler at Les’s Bar, he can tell right away that Tyler is special. Matt’s family thinks he makes snap decisions, and they worry about him, but he knows what he wants, and even after just a few days, he’s willing to fight to keep Tyler in his life. When Matt has to head back to Texas, he tells Tyler to come visit him and meet his kids. Soon.

 

Tyler doesn’t know if he can just pick up and go to Texas, but he misses Matt’s affection and calming presence, so when life gets too overwhelming, he makes the call. Between Matt’s huge, boisterous family, his children, his busy ranch, and the vast differences between New York City and Texas, Tyler wonders if he should go back to his old life every day. Matt is determined to keep Tyler right where he is, but can they overcome the odds against them and make a new life together?

Title: Tending Tyler
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-46-8

Deviations: Submission

Contributors: Jodi Payne and Chris Owen
Series: Deviations #1
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: December 30, 2019 (Third Edition)
Pages: 338

Tobias Vincent is a big animal vet, and also skilled and seasoned Dom. City beat cop, and sub Noah desperately needs to find a man to help him work through a block but has yet to find someone who can take him where he needs to go.

Through a series of encounters in the world of bondage and discipline, Noah reveals why he has trouble trusting, and why he needs such a firm, steady hand. Tobias is confident he can help Noah, but he has trouble letting himself love. Still, Tobias can't resist Noah's charms, and the two of them set about making a scene for themselves, one that works for them and their unique set of challenges.

They learn to love, but how will they stay together while they explore each other’s secrets, in an environment where all is laid bare and emotions run high?

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:

 

EXCERPT FROM SUBMISSION

There were many truths in this life, Tobias decided as he knotted his tie for the evening. Death comes to all, taxes must be paid, and fortieth birthdays were a reason for one's friends to buy nice wine, make lavish cakes, and throw dinner parties. Forty-first birthdays, on the other hand, went unremarked upon by all but one's nearest and dearest. As he had cards from a few friends and a message from Phan, he thought he'd just about exhausted the expected well wishes.

But turning forty-one did not mean he was dead or unable to make his own fun. He'd made his arrangements for the evening, planning with as much detail as he could—which, admittedly, wasn't much. He knew what to wear for his mood; he knew where he'd go and what he'd eat; he knew what he wanted. But there were an amazing number of variables at play, more than he usually allowed.

He was thinking about that as he straightened his dinner jacket and pocketed his keys. It was a highly planned evening of spontaneity that lay ahead of him, the novelty of which made him smile. Perhaps letting the fates blow once in a while was a good thing. In any case, he'd find out shortly; the worst he could do was have an evening of fine dining and a bottle of wine. The best would be far, far better, but it was rare to find exactly what he sought.

Tobias ran a comb through his hair one last time as he waited for his car, the light in the entry to his condo making the few stray silver hairs shine among the darker brown. Forty-one wasn't too old, he decided. It was a fine age to be, the height of his success and skill. He lacked for nothing, really.

Only someone to share his birthday with.

The phone rang and he pushed the thought away, startled to realize it wasn't the house phone signaling his car, but his landline. ''Dr. Vincent,'' he said as he answered. God, he hoped it wasn't an emergency—he really wasn't dressed to have a lamb be born, or to nurse a horse through colic.

''Good evening, Doctor, I'm sorry to call like this. I'm sure you have plans,'' came the smooth and cheerful voice of his elderly housekeeper.

''Oh, Mrs. Miller, hello. I do, yes—I'm just on my way out, but I have a few minutes.'' He smiled to himself ruefully; he would talk for as long as the lady decided, and he knew it. No matter how successful he got or how many birthdays he had, there would always be Mrs. Miller to defer to.

''I'm merely calling to wish you a happy birthday,'' she said, ''and to ask if you'll be out to the farm this weekend.''

Tobias’ smile grew. ''Thank you, Mrs. Miller, that's really very kind of you. And yes, I'm planning to drive out tomorrow afternoon until Monday.''

''Should I tell Peter not to come then, or would you like him to exercise the horses?''

''No, I'll do it,'' he decided. It was one of the best things about going to the country, and he wouldn't happily pay someone to do it for him when he was there. The house phone buzzed at him, two shorts. ''Thank you again, Mrs. Miller.''

''I'll see you tomorrow, Doctor,'' she said, and he could picture her grinning. ''Enjoy your evening.''

''I hope to,'' he said with a smile. He hung up, buzzed the front desk, and headed to his club.

* * *

The car pulled up in front of the building and Tobias lowered his window for the security guard. ''Good evening, Tobias,'' the man said with a smile that was entirely professional, despite his use of Tobias' first name. It was a club rule that all members were to be treated equally until there was an agreement in place between individuals, and as last names were not used at all in order to preserve anonymity, given names were expected.

''Timothy,'' Tobias said with a warm smile. ''When did you start out here?'' The last time Tobias had been to the club Timothy had been inside.

''About five months ago. I like it, though I'm called back inside if needed.'' Timothy made a note of the number on Tobias' membership card and smiled at him again. ''Have a nice evening, Tobias. And welcome back.''

The car moved slowly ahead and stopped at the wide front steps; by the time Tobias had opened his door the driver was there, and the front door was opening.

''Tobias! Timothy said you were here.''

Tobias shook his head and smiled again. ''I trust you don't mind me appearing again after all this time?'' he asked Bradford.

Bradford met him on the steps and shook his hand. Tobias' friendship with Bradford went back far too many years to count anymore, and even after Tobias’ long absence from the club, the man’s firm handshake felt as familiar and comforting as a favorite sweater. ''The day we turn you from here, my friend,'' Bradford told him with a warm smile, ''is the day I close the old place up. Now, come in! Eat. Enjoy your birthday. I have a room reserved for you, as you requested. You're not meeting anyone are you?''

The club had a small, exclusive membership made up of carefully screened Dominant and submissive men. These men had been screened not just for their level of training but also style and personality, thereby keeping the membership diverse and varied. It wasn’t a BDSM club in the common sense; it was more a place for men to meet, socialize and fulfill each others’ needs and fantasies in a safe and monitored environment. Bradford had taken over management of the club a number of years ago, and eventually assumed ownership as well when his mentor, a smooth, confident Dom who had also been a mentor of Tobias’, was ready to retire. Bradford was a natural host; he knew his membership well, and he had a knack for making everyone feel right at home.

Tobias shook his head again and allowed himself to be led inside. The solid doors closed behind him and he took a deep breath, immediately relaxing. There was just something about the dark interior, the plush fabrics and deep wingback chairs that called to him. Or perhaps it was the crossed whips decorating the walls.

''I don't have a guest, if that's what you mean,'' he told Bradford as they made their way to the small bar. ''But I'm open to possibilities.''

''I was hoping you would say that.'' Bradford suddenly looked speculative. ''In which case...''

''Wait,'' Tobias said, laughing. ''I'm not saying I want you to find me a date. I'm just saying I want to have a pleasant evening—a nice meal, people I like around me—''

''And it's been eight months since you've been here, Tobias. I know you spend your weekends on the farm and your weeknights in town. I'd certainly have heard if you had someone new.'' He shook his head sadly, making Tobias grin. ''No, my friend, you deserve to play. And I might just have the right someone for you.''

Tobias tilted his head and considered his friend. Bradford had been running the club for a number of years, had been an integral part of Tobias' own training. There was perhaps no one more capable of knowing the type of partner Tobias needed, liked... desired.

''Tell me,'' Tobias invited, accepting a glass of ice water from the bartender.

Bradford beamed at him, delighted. ''I can, and will do you one better. Come.''

Tobias had little choice but to follow as Bradford crossed the room with purpose to a small table. Tobias, being behind, could see little other than a man sitting alone. He rose quickly as Bradford made a direct path to him.

''Tobias,'' Bradford said grandly, ''I would like you to meet Noah. Noah, this is Tobias. It is my opinion that the two of you are well suited. Of course, you may decide otherwise, but I encourage you to at least discuss the matter.'' He then bowed his head and stepped back, wishing them good evening with a knowing grin before turning and walking away, leaving Tobias to face this stranger alone, knowing no more than his name.

Title: Submission
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B083BKLWDJ
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-17-8

Submission is also available in AUDIO!
Purchase it at Audible, iTunes & Amazon!

 

Submission is now available in FRENCH!
Purchase it from Juno Publishing directly,
or on Amazon7switch, or Kobo!

 

 

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First Rodeo

Contributors: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Series: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy #1
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Pages: 303

First Rodeo: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy, Book One

When a killer strikes, Texan and former rodeo cowboy, Sam O’Reilly, loses his older brother. Unbeknownst to Sam, James was also the lover and sub of a sophisticated New York City Dom named Thomas Ward. Sam comes to the city determined to stay until he can bring the murderer to his own brand of justice, while Thomas’ more ordered mind is hoping for a legal solution. Neither man expects their connection to the other, but having each lost someone irreplaceable, their hearts are crying out for comfort almost as loudly as their bodies are screaming for each other.

Some yearnings refuse to be ignored, but transcending their differences to explore the fragile connection between them will prove to be a steep a hill to climb--the first of many. As Sam and Thomas take the first tentative steps on the rocky path that might lead to a relationship, the killer steps out of the shadows...

And this time, his sights are set on Sam.

*Note: Each of the books in The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy have fully realized romantic HEAs. However, the overarching suspense element leaves readers on a cliffhanger after books one and two, to be resolved in book three.

Available to purchase, or to borrow with Kindle Unlimited.

 

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:

Chapter One

“What the fuck are you going to do, baby brother?” Bowie stood at the gravesite, staring down at him like Bowie always had. Gigantic prick. “Do you think you’re going to fucking fix this? James is dead.”

Like Sam didn’t know that.

Fury flashed inside him, hot and fueled by an agony he’d never expected, and he turned, his fist shooting out and catching Bowie right in the uniformed gut.

Rule number two: never monologue.

That surprised Bowie enough that it doubled him over, and Sam got an uppercut in. He had to get his shots in while he could. His big brother outweighed him by sixty pounds and towered over him by damn near a foot and, he had to be honest, had ten years of being a Ranger behind him.

“Motherfucker!” Bowie reached for him, and he danced out of range.

“You kiss my momma with that mouth, grunt?” He went for Bowie’s trick knee, thankful he had his shitkickers on. That pointed toe was useful, and he had a chance to fell the giant.

Rule number three: once you get them down, keep them down.

Used to be that him and James would work together to take Bowie down. That was never going to happen again.

Never.

The thought of that closed casket, that slashed-up face he’d had the misfortune to identify hidden under the oiled wood, made him gag and stumble, and Bowie took advantage, the fists on the back of his neck enough to face-plant him in grave dirt.

“Rule number one, baby brother. Don’t start shit you don’t have the strength to finish.” The hands around his throat were strong, the tremble in them only noticeable because they were so tight.

The sound of a pistol cocking was sharp and clear, and the fuzzy image of Aunt Linda wavered in his sight. “Boys, if you upset your momma and daddy, I will be put out. Get your skanky asses off the ground. Y’all are in your Sunday clothes.”

“Seriously, Aunt Linda?” Bowie muttered. “Even I didn’t come to the gravesite armed.”

“I know you boys. Can’t trust you as far as I can throw you. Get your asses up. Now.”

Bowie stood up and hauled him alongside, just as easy as pie.

“Now apologize,” she demanded.

“He started it.” Bowie was still a suck-up.

“Jim Bowie O’Reilly! You apologize to your baby brother for putting your hands on him right now!” God, she was a harpy—broad as a barn and fierce as any woman who had raised her own siblings had to have been.

“Sorry, asshole.”

“Yeah. Me too. I just…” Sam waved one hand toward the grave. This wasn’t right. James was supposed to be in New York, living this amazing life with lights and a zillion friends. Bowie had the adventure, James had the city, and he was supposed to stay home here and…hold down the fort or something. He was the baby, and… “It should have been you, Bowie.”

Everyone expected that awful phone call. Every time Bowie was deployed, they lived with that quiet fear.

James was a motherfucking school teacher. An elementary school teacher who didn’t get tattoos or take drugs or—

“Sam!” Aunt Linda sounded horrified.

“What? It’s true!”

“Yeah. Yeah, I know.” Suddenly Bowie looked…diminished. Gray and tired and older than the seven years that separated them. “Fuck you, Sammy. I know. So what the fuck are you going to do about James? I have to report back to work.”

“I’m going to go clean out his place.” He was between jobs. Hell, he was between lives—college was pretty much done with him, he’d educated himself into obscurity in ranching, and God knew, no one needed a broke-dick cowboy with a master’s in art history, a shattered leg from bronc riding, and a temper that tended to flare at inappropriate-at-best times. He would go clean things out and see if he could encourage the detectives to find out…anything.

“You sure you’re not going to short out, Sammy?”

“Fuck you. I’ve been to Dallas, Austin. Hell, I went with James to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I ain’t a kid!”

“You’re my kid brother, Sammy, and I only have one left now.” An expression of pure agony crossed Bowie’s face, and Sam turned his back so he didn’t have to see it.

“I’ll be fine. I’ve got the time, and Momma’s got to take care of Daddy.”

Things hadn’t been good, but the news of James’s murder had made the little baby strokes turn into a real one, and while Daddy wasn’t crippled or nothing, no one was going to let him fly. Not yet.

“Come on. They’re waiting for y’all down to the big house. You know there’s food and all the Ladies Auxiliary waiting to make a fuss.” Aunt Linda didn’t so much as let a tear go, but she did slip her Saturday Night Special into her pocketbook. “Brother Martin will want to bless you both and lay hands.”

“That son of a bitch touches me and I’ll rip out his spleen,” Bowie growled, and Sam had to smile. That was his big brother.

He could hear James, right now, echoing in his head.

Be good, Jim, honey. You’re teaching Sammy bad habits.

God, it was never going to be right. Never.

“Come on. Let’s go.”

He turned and headed for his truck. James wasn’t here. That was a grave, a body, a stone. He was going to go find James where he’d lived.

 

Chapter Two

Thank God this was New York City, the only town he knew of, except maybe LA, where yellow police tape didn’t slow anyone down. Aside from the cops, he was the only one there, the only one who cared. Thomas had about as much privacy as he was going to get.

He leaned against the side of the building as the NYPD took the tape down, balled it up, and stuffed it into a nearby garbage can. The evidence markers had been gone for a couple of days, the chalk lines were gone now too, and even the bloodstains in the concrete were already fading. Another day or two and there wouldn’t be any evidence left that James had died here.

But Thomas wouldn’t forget. He couldn’t get away from it. He lived here, worked here, walked the same goddamn streets as whoever was responsible. He still carried around memories of his time with James that he’d never share with anyone. He carried around the plans they’d made and a future that could never happen now.

He hadn’t received an invitation to James’s funeral. This would have to be his closure, watching the investigation into his lover’s murder become routine, move on to the next “phase.” Watching all the evidence disappear.

That was perhaps the most awful addition to his grief. He understood that James couldn’t be wholly out to his family back home in…well, somewhere in East Texas, but understanding it while James was alive and in his arms was one thing. Coming to grips with his exile now was something else entirely. He was bitter; he was angry. Not at James, not at anyone in particular, just at a world that made them hide. He felt humiliated, and that wasn’t a pill he could swallow without choking on it.

Everything about his life was deliberate, yet at the moment, he was experiencing a lack of control he’d never imagined possible.

One of the cops walked over and offered him a smoke. Colletti was his name. “Wouldn’t you rather be home?”

“This is as close as I want to get right now.” God, listen to him. He refused the cigarette, but just barely. Vices sounded like such a good idea.

“Dobson is going to call you, routine stuff. Did they ask you not to leave town?”

“Yeah. It wasn’t an imperative, but it was strongly suggested.” Insult to injury.

Officer Colletti gave him a nod. “We’re done here. Take care, Mister Ward.”

“Thanks.”

The squad car drove off, and New York seemed impossibly quiet all of a sudden.

A man with a duffel and a cowboy hat walked up to the stoop, and for a second, Thomas’s heart stopped. He closed his eyes until he could breathe again.

Fuck, tourists were everywhere in this city. He just hadn’t been prepared for one in a cowboy hat. He took a breath and headed down the steps. He needed a coffee.

They passed each other, the man meeting his eyes and nodding. “Afternoon.”

“Where are you going?” He knew those eyes intimately. He reached out and grabbed the man by the arm, that hazel making his heart pound. “Who are you?”

“Who the fuck is asking, motherfucker?” The little guy just popped right up into his face, those eyes flashing.

Christ, the cowboy sounded just like James too. Only James would have known better than to meet his eyes.

He stood his ground, inches away, instinct and training helping him stare the kid down. “You’re an O’Reilly. Which one? Sam, right? The bronc rider? You’re too small to be Jim.”

“Bowie,” the kid corrected immediately, even as he nodded. “Who are you?”

Nobody you’d know.

“Right. Bowie.” He let go of Sam’s arm. He knew he should back down, but it took real effort. “I’m Thomas Ward. I…knew your brother.”

Fuck. I loved him.

“Knew him? Y’all worked together?”

What was he going to do? He wasn’t going to out James now. What would be the point? It hurt, though, denying James and jumping back into a closet he’d slammed the door on as soon as he’d stepped foot in this city years ago. “No. We are…were really good friends. He told me all about you guys.”

“Oh. I’m here to…clean up, I guess. Stuff.” Sam tilted his head. “Is this your building too?”

“Uh.” Well, fuck. James had always said Sam was bright. “No.” He’d asked about moving in together. James had been thinking about it. “I was just missing him.”

“Oh. I—come on up, huh?”

 

Title: First Rodeo: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy, Book One
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B07YM1QNK4
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-02-4

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!

A Whole Latke Love

Contributors: Jodi Payne
Genre: , ,
Release Date: November 25, 2019
Pages: 46

A Hanukkah Short Story.

Have you ever been to an office holiday party? Well, Matthew Kaplan has been to plenty, and he’s not impressed. In fact, he hates attending the annual gathering at his office. This year, though, he’s trying to make partner in his small law firm and does his best to look like he’s enjoying himself, even though he knows the event is really a Christmas party with just the barest hint of a nod toward his own winter holiday, Hanukkah.

Ethan Becker works for a busy caterer, and although all the Christmas music at these holiday office parties used to make his head ache, he’s learned to tolerate it so he doesn’t lose his mind. Sometimes he even sings along. There aren’t enough toe-tapping Hanukkah songs for a party anyway, right?

Matthew is pleased to find latkes on the buffet and escapes the crowd to eat them peacefully in the kitchen, where Ethan recognizes his hunky one-night-stand immediately. Matthew remembers their night together fondly, but certainly hadn’t expected to run into the hottie with the sweet blue eyes again. When Ethan offers to make more latkes for Matthew another day, Matthew jumps to accept the invitation. But will their date be delicious or disastrous?

Available to purchase, or to borrow with Kindle Unlimited.

Buy the Book: Amazon
Title: A Whole Latke Love
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B081QN85ZR
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-05-5

Linchpin

Genre: , , , ,
Release Date: May 2, 2017

"This was such an exciting read. It really gets your heart rate up and blood pumping with all the danger, testosterone between these two alpha men, and of course all of the hot sexy scenes... Definitely a book I will recommend to others." -- Gay Book Reviews

He’s sent in to clean up and is left with one very hot mess.

Randall Quinn has been a cleaner for the mob for over ten years, but a particularly violent scene sets him to drinking alone and contemplating his options. At thirty-nine, it’s possible this is just a mid-life crisis so he tries buying himself a flashy car to satisfy the itch, and agrees to take another job to test his conviction. He’s expecting easy money when he arrives at a seedy motel to clean up after what the Boss told him was supposed to have been a simple execution. But what he discovers in that motel room is anything but simple, and from that moment on, every decision he makes for himself makes his life more and more complicated.

Buy the Book: Amazon~~Barnes & Noble~~iBooks~~Publisher

 

EXCERPT

Randall Quinn’s new ride was pretty sweet.

The BMW was fully loaded, including an in-dash navigation system, Bluetooth fucking everything, and a black leather and wood grain interior. She was comfortable and stylish, and her engine vibrated gently but powerfully, like a wild cat getting ready to pounce. Mrowr. Quinn tapped a button on the dashboard display and practically summoned up Zeppelin with the power of his fucking mind. Damn, the technology gods were good. He sped down the rural highway, Black Dog sinking straight into his psyche through the seven-speaker surround sound. Fuck yeah.

His new baby was paid for in full, and in cash. He’d finally laid by enough in savings that he could afford to spend with more freedom. He’d never gone in for such an extravagance before, but he’d been salivating over this baby at the dealership for a month and he’d eventually broken down and done it. She was a hot-red color—well, the dealership called it something stupid like Orange Metallic, but it was basically red—which, admittedly, didn’t fly under the radar the way she probably ought to, but Quinn didn’t care anymore. After over ten years in the biz, he’d fucking earned the right to show off.

He’d pulled in that stack of cash on a high-end hotel assignment he’d had a week ago. Swanky, several-thousand-dollar-a-night hotel suites were always a challenge, but this one was even more so than usual and had definitely warranted the boost in pay. The boys had made a royal mess of the place, so much so that Quinn figured they must have had some seriously specific and scary fucking orders. There’d been blood and fingerprints everywhere and Quinn had had to deal with stains in the carpet, on the wallpaper, and splattered across furniture. Even with a crew, the cleanup had been a pain in the ass and had taken almost two full days. He’d even had to replace the carpet and a fucking couch.

It was damn lucrative as far as such things went, to be sure, but Quinn had sat in a bar for a couple of hours alone afterward, and he and his bourbon had decided it was about time to call it quits. Quinn was coming up on thirty-nine and he was getting a little old for this shit. He’d kind of fallen into this line of work back in his twenties when he’d made his daily bread working for the coroner’s office and cleaned up crime scenes legally. It hadn’t been long before a particularly influential lover had shown him where the real money was, and Quinn had found himself literally seduced into a darker world by the fine art of cleanup to cover up.

“Aaaaaand, here we are.” This job wasn’t going to be as big a payday, but smaller gigs like this were simpler, and made up more of his bread and butter. He pulled into the motel parking lot, waving a hand across the display to mute the radio. So. Fucking. Cool. Slowly, Quinn drove along the length of the building until he found room three-twenty-nine. The location was perfect, way down at one end and on the first floor. Easy in, easy out. Seemed those muscle boys were finally learning. He turned around and headed back to the main entrance.

Quinn touched a button on the display and the sound of a ringing phone filled the interior.

“Found it?” a familiar voice answered—a fucking party in the sack.

“Hey, sweet cheeks.”

“Seriously, Randy? What did I tell you about work, man?”

Quinn laughed. Mikey had a lickable ass, but the rest of him didn’t interest Quinn much. “I’m here.”

“Got it. You’re on the clock.”

“Do I have resources?”

“Boss says he already cut the manager in. The boys told him you wouldn’t need a crew.”

“Did they, now? And what the hell do they know about it?” Seriously, you give someone a few too many steroids and put a gun in their hands, and they suddenly think they know everything. Those muscle boys were big and dangerous, no question, but they were dumber than a sack of hammers. Their combined IQ wouldn’t buy you a cup of coffee. Quinn, on the other hand, was an artist. What the boys did took brawn. His job was far more delicate. It required a keen mind and fastidious attention to detail. What could he say? It was hard to be humble.

“Make sure you talk to Davis. The room’s paid up for two days.”

“Perfect.” Unless those boys chopped their target into little pieces or pulled another Jackson Pollock, two days was more than enough time to set this derelict flophouse to rights. “I’ll check in again in an hour or so.”

“Later.” Mikey hung up.

Surveying the premises from the parking lot didn’t improve Quinn’s assessment one bit. This place was the very definition of shithole. The roof was warped, the siding moldy, and the main office wasn’t really an office at all—it was just a glass window with a fucking pass-through. Chances were good he was looking at bulletproof glass, too. Classy. He took note of the surveillance camera over the window as well.

Erring on the side of caution, Quinn left the car running and the driver’s side door open. He knocked on the thick glass, summoning a small man with greasy hair, dirty fingernails and a cigarette hanging from his mouth.

He squinted at Quinn. “Yeah?”

“I’m here for three-twenty-nine.”

The guy nodded. “Heard you was comin’. I’m Davis.” He slipped a key into the pass-through.

Quinn shook his head. “I’m not touching that. You let me in.”

Davis sighed. “I don’t want nothin’ to do with nothin’.”

“You wanna keep that paycheck?” Quinn asked, pulling his Beretta off his hip and holding it flat against the glass. “Or see what’s behind door number two?”

Davis sighed. “Right.” He took the key and disappeared back into the office, appearing again in the breezeway.

Quinn nodded and got back in his car. He’d be damned if he was going to let his baby out of his sight. He drove her down the length of the building again and parked outside room number three-twenty-nine, then pulled his kit off the front seat and got out of the car. “Don’t go anywhere, beautiful,” he said, polishing a fingerprint off the driver’s side door. Yep. Pretty sweet ride.

While he waited for Davis to catch up, he dropped his kit on the concrete slab outside the motel room door and took out a pair of latex gloves. After pulling them on with practiced ease, he tugged his gun from his belt again.

“I’m coming, I’m coming!” Davis called nervously, picking up his pace. He’d gotten the wrong idea, but Quinn was fine with that if it lit a fire under his ass. Davis put the key in and hastily unlocked the motel room door.

“Thank you,” Quinn said, tapping the gun against his thigh for effect. “Now. The surveillance camera—”

“Hasn’t worked in years. It’s not even hooked up to anything. I just keep it there so people think—”

“Fine. You can go now.”

Davis turned and hurried back into the office.

Quinn chuckled. This really was a great location. If Davis stayed nervously respectful, his motel could see some repeat business. Davis could even make enough money to put some lipstick on this pig.

The metal door to number three-twenty-nine looked as though it had been kicked in more than once in its lifetime. The jamb was bent, the doorknob sat at a bit of an angle and rust had eaten through the olive paint in several places. Quinn gave the knob a turn and it protested weakly, but then the door swung away from him.

He held his gun up near his face, sighting down the barrel as he scanned the room. Satisfied, he put the piece back in his belt and went inside, closing and locking the door behind him. The motel room was a pit. The bed was hollow, the drapes hung unevenly and were a hideous shit brown, and the carpet was industrial, worn with the traffic of many feet, and looked like vomit. He noted the older model TV, a tall lamp in one corner and a ragged-looking lounge chair underneath that. He squinted at what he supposed was meant to be art hanging on the wall over the bed. He sure saw a lot of fucking shit in this room.

What he did not see was a body.

With a shake of his head, he moved to the closet and pulled it open. Nada. He figured that the target must be in the bathroom, which was certainly considerate of the boys, as it was much easier to wash away the evidence in there. He stepped through the bathroom door and turned on the light.

“Mmr!”

Quinn’s eyes flew open wide. “What the fuck?”

Title: Linchpin
Published by: Pride Publishing

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!

 

 

Whence He Came

Genre: , ,

CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

When Elliot Cohen left his small town for college in the big city, he was expecting to do big things. He wanted to pull his feet out of the quicksand he called home and go where everything was bigger, brighter, and just moved faster. He planned to claim a little fame, a lot of money, and a high-powered, influential lover.

Well he found fame, he found money, and he even found a famous lover, but nothing turned out quite as he’d planned. And all the while, no matter how hard he tried, he never forgot Tony, the sweet, closeted boyfriend he left behind. He could even remember Tony's scent seven years later. So when the illusion that was his perfect life unravels and fame slips through his fingers, he knows just where he needs to go. Home.

But he's going to have to untangle the complicated and embarrassing web of lies he's woven and seek forgiveness if he has any hope of winning Tony back.

 

EXCERPT

Jenny laughed, though, saving him from having to reply. "You're embarrassing him, Daddy. Nobody wants to be famous all the time. He's just the same old Elliot here. Right, Elliot?"

"Thanks, Jenny." That's exactly what he wanted.

Mr. Davis snorted. "Well, welcome home, 'same old Elliot'. Glad to see you haven't forgotten the little people," he said, and disappeared back into the kitchen.

"Hungry?"

"My mother stuffed me with pastrami. How about some coffee?"

"You got it." Jenny nodded. "Come on."

He sat on one of the bar stools at the counter and watched Jenny pull a mug from the stack next to the coffee pots. She had always been a pretty girl. Elliot remembered her being shy and sweet, well dressed and friendly. She had been a cheerleader and played the flute in the high school orchestra, and she had always worked weekends for her dad at the diner. Her father had raised her by himself because her mother passed away when she was young. The fact that Jenny's mother had died was never a secret, but to this day Elliot had no idea know how or why, or exactly how old Jenny had been when it happened, despite how close they'd always been. It just wasn't a question he'd ever wanted to ask.

Jenny set a cup of coffee in front of Elliot and leaned across the counter. "So. You see Tony, yet?"

At his age, after everything he'd seen and done in the 'big city', after all the men he'd fucked and been fucked by, he'd have bet real money that he was too jaded ever to blush again. And yet, Elliot felt the heat rise in his cheeks as Jenny said Tony's name, as if she were privy to his private fantasies. A picture of Tony, smiling impishly and looking flushed, flashed through his mind and that only made the moment worse.

He tried to sound casual as he answered, despite the display. "He's still in town?"

"Oh, yeah. He's still in town." Jenny's tone made Elliot look up from his coffee. She was grinning at him in a knowing way.

"What?"

Jenny pushed away from the counter. "You'll see."

Elliot couldn’t imagine what she was up to. "Is he married?"

"No," Jenny laughed. "Oh, no."

"He's single?"

"At the moment."

"Is he still living up on Whitehall?"

"Oh, no." Jenny was slicing something that was half-hidden by the register and he couldn’t see. "No, he's got his own place now, a house over on Mulberry."

"Mulberry? Is that still a nice part of town?"

"Yep. He's got a big old Victorian. It's nice. He's doing well."

"What does he do?"

"He bought the hardware store from Mr. Barrett."

Wow, Elliot mused, Tony owned the hardware store. He had just walked right by there not fifteen minutes ago. "God, Mr. Barrett must be older than dirt now." Mr. Barrett had seemed old seven years ago.

"Ninety-three!" Jenny nodded, sounded awed. "Can you believe that? He still walks down to the store to check on Tony every day." She turned around and held a plate out in front of Elliot at about nose-height. It had an obscenely large piece of pie on it.

"Oh my God." Elliot's eyes went wide.

"Lemon meringue. Your favorite," Jenny sang, setting the plate down in front of him.

"Get a fork. You're sharing."

Title: Whence He Came

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!