The Rhubarb Patch – Deanna Wadsworth Blog Tour and Book Review

Write what you know.

That piece of advice is often doled out to writers. And it’s good advice that often allows a writer to infuse a story with enough details that a sense of reality is added to the characters, setting, or plot. It’s these kinds of details that lift Deanna Wadsworth’s The Rhubarb Patch from a good four-star story to a very good five-star one.

Now, full disclosure, I know Deanna. I have talked with her at several different Pridefest events where we sold books from the same booth. I’ve spent time with her at GayRomLit (GRL), the conference for gay romance readers and authors. I am friends with her on Facebook and we chat on Messenger on occasion and comment on each others’ posts.

But my friendship with Deanna aside, I have to say this story is one of her most personal to date. I’ve read most if not all of her stories, and I’ve seen her posts on Facebook and Instagram. Deanna has taken the old adage “write what you know” to heart for The Rhubarb Patch, and you should definitely check it out.

The story starts off with Scott Howe moving into the house he’s inherited from his estranged grandmother. The place sits on a few acres of land outside the small town of Gilead, Ohio, and is cluttered with the odds and ends of a woman in her eighties with an affinity for yard sales and flea markets. Soon he meets his big, bald bear of neighbor, Phineas (Phin) Robertson, and an unlikely friendship develops, despite Phin’s Republican viewpoints and homestead practices that Scott finds at first amusing, but later more on something bordering amazement.

It is in these homestead practices where the details really bring the story together. Deanna Wadsworth loves to garden, and she infuses much of that love into Phin’s life. From harvesting rhubarb to making jam, the small details help breathe even more life into Phin’s character. There’s a reason for his “living off the land” attitude, and the attention to detail around his work in the garden, the different harvest times for plants, and the backstory of a type of tomato Phin has been growing from seed, really help his part of the story thrive. Not to mention the aging but still feisty schnauzer, Sister Mary Katherine, Phin’s beloved pet who steals nearly all the scenes she’s in, along with a bite or two of food.

And Scott is a writer of science fiction gay romance, struggling to complete a book promised to his editor weeks ago, another area where Deanna Wadsworth brings in just the right amount of details to round out Scott’s character.

This book contains everything a reader could want from a summer story: a sweetly building romance; a hint of danger lurking on the periphery of the characters’ lives in the form of a cousin who feels jilted at Scott’s windfall; some steamy sex scenes; a few tissues-close-at-hand moments; and a realistic mother-son relationship between Scott and his mother, a woman who seems to always choose the worst man for her. Not everything is perfect by the story’s end, but it is happy and well-earned, and will definitely leave you satisfied with a happy sigh. Do yourself a favor and head on down to The Rhubarb Patch and see what’s ready to be picked.

Title: The Rhubarb Patch
Author: Deanna Wadsworth
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Release Date: July 24, 2017
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35455707-the-rhubarb-patch

Buy Links:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2uO2k4W
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2ufYf8i
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2voHMNx
Dreamspinner: http://bit.ly/2tv83aT

Blurb:
City boy, sci-fi novelist, and recovering pushover Scott Howe doesn’t know what to expect when he inherits his grandmother’s house outside the quaint village of Gilead, Ohio—but it isn’t an enormous bald man in nothing but tighty-whities and orange rubber boots shouting at him to keep his weed wacker away from the rhubarb patch.

Scott has never met anyone like Phineas Robertson: homesteader, recluse… Republican. A tender—if unlikely—friendship grows over the summer while Phin and his schnauzer, Sister Mary Katherine, teach Scott about life in the country and the grandmother he never knew. Opposites attract, but widower Phin worries his secret will send Scott running faster than his politics, and Phin isn’t convinced he deserves a second chance at romance.

Scott is convinced—rural life, and his one-of-a-kind, older neighbor, is the future he wants. Before he can settle in, his mother drops a bombshell that strains their already tenuous relationship, and a cousin who believes he is the rightful heir to the property puts Scott in danger. It’ll take a lot of compromises, and even dodging a few bullets before they’re out of the weeds, but nurturing something as special as true love always takes hard work.

 

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Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Sixteen

Hi friends and happy Monday! I should be writing a Christmas themed story with our Story OrgyTerror By Moonlight_cvr prompts right about now, but there’s so much to finish up with Demetrius and Cody, I’m just going to keep on with the Creature Feature if that’s okay with you?

By the way, the first book of this series, Terror by Moonlight, is available at Wilde City Press , Amazon , and All Romance eBooks! Check out the case that started it all for Demmy and Cody!

So far this creature feature is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: He had gone too far this time.

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

 

 Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Sixteen

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

Demetrius was beside himself. One side was terror: what had he just witnessed and where had it taken Cody and Amelia? The other side was pure panic: what was he going to do about it?

He held the flashlight in a trembling hand as he forced his way through the thick trees. Branches scratched his skin and clawed at his eyes. The beam of the flashlight bounced back and forth, sometimes picking out a massive footprint that let him know he was still going in the right direction. His thoughts were a jumble of images and feelings and memories, thinking of Cody and Amelia, wondering if they were still alive, and hoping he could figure out a way to save them.

Memories of the swamp monster kept coming back. The dank, noxious smell of it, and the mossy skin that covered bark and branches. It had been tall, incredibly tall, taller than Cody by almost a foot, and Cody was the tallest person Demetrius had ever met at six feet five inches.

Cody.

Demetrius’s heart seemed to quiver as he thought about him, remembered those words and, even in his panicked state, tried to decipher exactly what they meant.

Story_Orgy_logoI love you.

Well, of course Cody loved him. They were best friends, after all, and had been best friends for over twenty years. But there had been power behind those words, a force that Demetrius had never sensed from Cody before, and it made him feel a whole host of emotions that seemed to live separately inside him, shunted off to a corner while the main emotions of the moment guided him: concern for Cody and Amelia, fear they were injured, terror at what he’d witnessed and what he might find, and determination to get them back safe.

These other emotions were like dopplegangers to what he was currently experiencing: concern he might misunderstand Cody’s intentions, fear Cody had meant it the way Demetrius quietly hoped he had, terror over what the future might bring if they tried to get together as a couple, and determination to find Cody, ensure his safety, and, once and for all, have a frank discussion about their relationship.

But Cody was straight. Cody liked women, and Demetrius definitely did not qualify for a whole host of reasons. However, Cody had been acting much differently the last few months, even before the wolf man case. And something inside Demetrius had seemed to pick up on these subtle changes in Cody and started him thinking about Cody in a whole different light. Best friend or not, Demetrius appreciated Cody, and not just because he was handsome with a killer body and, now that he’d seen him jerking off, a much bigger cock than Demetrius had even dared to imagine. But it wasn’t just the physical aspects, and that’s what gave Demetrius hope at the same time it scared the shit out of him.

Cody was the person who grounded him, the person he spent the most time with, the person who was ingrained into all of his memories, all of his special moments. What if Demetrius did something to fuck that up? He would never get over losing Cody.

And now, he might lose him without ever having had the chance at a relationship.

Demetrius cursed at himself as he followed the monster’s footprints. The rain was falling harder now and the wind had picked up. He’d tried to call his Dad, but his cell phone had no signal out here, and he wished now they’d waited for the police, for a proper search party. But, no. Demetrius had once again had to react before he’d thought the situation through. He had stormed off into the trees armed with only a flashlight, and Cody had, as usual, followed him, trusting in him, wanting to please him. Well, Demetrius had gone too far this time, he knew it now, and the only thing he could do was try and save Amelia and Cody.

Swamp monster. Even with everything they’d seen over the last year—the wolf man, Agatha’s dog that had turned into a blood-craving beast, and Reed Wilkes who had turned into a steroid-fueled rage monster—Demetrius still found it difficult to grasp the concept. How had this creature come to life? Was it something that had adapted the specifics of its environment, or had it been created out here from some weird mix of chemicals and happenstance? And why all of a sudden was it grabbing people, and what did it do with them?

He thought about all the missing persons posters at the hospital, and then Hubert, and now Amelia and Cody and his stomach tightened with fear. He hoped they weren’t intended to be food, but a terrifying certainty that that was exactly what they were seeped into his system. The way the alligator they’d tried to return to the swamp had turned tail, literally, and run the other direction had been a sure sign something was off. That gator had been scared by something. The swamp monster was big enough and, from what Demetrius had witnessed, strong enough to be the alpha predator in this part of the Everglades. And Hubert’s comment about there being a lot more alligators showing up in swimming pools recently seemed to make sense. Maybe the swamp monster had just migrated to this area for a new food supply.

Demetrius leaned against a tree to catch his breath. He shone the flashlight around the ground, noticing now how swampy this area was compared to where they had encountered the creature. Murky water stood in spots, the depth impossible to gauge. The raindrops that made it through the leaf coverage sent ripples across the dark surfaces, and with a shiver Demetrius wondered what kinds of things those disturbances might be awakening.

A scream from off in the distance made his breath catch in his chest. He jerked his head up and directed the flashlight beam into the dark tangle of trees before him, trying in vain to see how far he had yet to go. The silence stretched out, frightening in its implication. Had that been Amelia’s death scream?

Demetrius refused to consider that possibility. He pushed off from the tree and made his way along the softening ground between the ever increasing and widening puddles of swamp water. He didn’t dare shout encouragement to Amelia or Cody for fear of alerting the creature he was still in pursuit. This would have to be done in a stealthy manner, for the sake of all of them.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

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Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Fifteen

Hi friends and happy Monday! I should be writing a Christmas themed story with our Story OrgyTerror By Moonlight_cvr prompts right about now, but there’s so much to finish up with Demetrius and Cody, I’m just going to keep on with the Creature Feature if that’s okay with you?

After a couple of weeks of NSFW, let’s get back to some creature feature action, shall we?

By the way, the first book of this series, Terror by Moonlight, is available at Wilde City Press , Amazon , and All Romance eBooks! Check out the case that started it all for Demmy and Cody!

So far this creature feature is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: “Just scrapes and bruises, that’s all.”

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

 Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Fifteen

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

The scream woke Cody, and he was up and out of bed in an instant, standing in his underwear in the middle of the dark and unfamiliar room, his mind still trying to recall where he had been sleeping. Had he met a woman at a bar and gone back to her apartment? Another scream cut through the night and he turned, cursing and letting out a shout as he stubbed his toe on the foot of a bed across from the one where he’d been sleeping.

It all came back in a rush. He was in Florida, at Demmy’s parents’ condo. Demmy had been sleeping across from him, but now the bed was empty. Was Demmy screaming?

“I’m coming!” Cody shouted and limped to the door. He stepped out into the hallway, looked left and right, then headed toward the living room.

“Demmy?” Cody whispered into the dark living room. “You up?”

The scrape of a chair leg out on the patio caught his attention, and Cody made his way to the sliding glass door and peered outside. It was dark, really dark, and the landscape lights only managed to throw a weak golden glow that barely managed to make it through the gloom. Toward the back of the yard a hulking shadow shifted, and Cody was just able to see a flash of white material carried over someone’s shoulder. Before Cody could slide the door open to shout to the figure, the tall stranger and the burden it carried stepped into the trees and the darkness closed around them.

He looked around the patio at the chairs tipped over and the table standing askew, and then caught sight of a pair of legs just beyond a toppled chair. His heart pounded as he flung the door open and stepped outside. The air was damp and heavy with the promise or a hell of a storm in the near future. Cody stepped around the toppled chairs and table shunted aside and swore quietly at the sight of Demmy lying on the patio, arms flung to the side.

“Demmy!” Cody knelt beside him and hesitated, hands hovering over his still form. He was anxious to check for a pulse, but terrified at the same time. What had happened out here?

“Demmy?” Cody picked up his wrist and held it, mimicking Dr. Zenona Baldwin, another of his ex-girlfriends back home in Parson’s Hollow, who had done it for him on a few occasions. A steady pulse beat in Demmy’s wrist and Cody let out the breath he’d been holding. He turned Demmy onto his back and gently tapped his cheeks.

“Come on, Demmy, wake up,” Cody said in a soft voice. “Wake up and talk to me.”

Demmy groaned and turned his head, frowning as he lifted his hand to wave Cody off. “Stop it.”

“Wake up,” Cody said, and shook him gently. “Come on, tell me what happened.”

Demmy’s eyes fluttered open and he squinted up at him. “Cody?” He pushed up onto his elbows, winced as he drew in a hissing breath, and then sat all the way up and looked at his scarped elbow. “Ow.”

“What happened?” Cody asked.

Demmy looked at him a long moment, then dropped his gaze to Cody’s briefs that were gleaming white in the glow of landscape lights. “Are you outside in just your underwear?”

“Hey, focus,” Cody said and snapped his fingers in front of Demmy’s face. “What happened to you out here?”

“I came out here to sit and think, and we saw something out by the fence.”

“We?” Cody looked around. “Who else was with you?”

“Amelia,” Demmy replied and looked around as well. “Where is she?”

They looked at each other and Cody felt his stomach do a free fall as cold chills ran through him. “I’ll check inside.”

He hurried into the condo, calling Amelia’s name but knowing in his gut he wouldn’t find her. Demmy’s father Marshall shuffled out of the hallway and frowned at him. “You might want to put some clothes on, Cody.”

“Amelia’s missing,” Cody said as way of explanation.

Marshall stared. “Missing? How? When?”

“Just a few minutes ago,” Demmy said as he entered through the patio door. “We were out on the patio and someone came up to us from the trees behind the yard. He knocked me out and now we can’t find Amelia.”

“Knocked you out?” Marshall switched on a lamp and approached Demmy. “Are you hurt?”

Story_Orgy_logo“Just scrapes and bruises, that’s all,” Demmy replied, showing him the scrape on his elbow and matching one on his knee.

Cody checked the rest of the condo for Amelia but found no sign of her. He stopped in the guest room to pull on a pair of basketball shorts and a T-shirt, then joined Marshall and Demmy in the living room. Marshall was just picking up the phone to call the police and Demmy had turned toward the patio door.

“Where are you going?” Cody asked.

“To see if I can track her,” Demmy replied, switching on a flashlight he had grabbed from the kitchen utility drawer.

“Dammit, wait for me, I need shoes,” Cody shouted after him. He ran into the garage and made a face as he slid his bare feet into his muddy and cold shoes he’d been wearing during their alligator drop off earlier that day.

Once he had tied his shoes, he grabbed Demmy’s out of the utility sink and left the garage through the side door that opened into the backyard behind the fence. Cody saw Demmy standing at the back of the yard shining the flashlight into the trees just beyond the fence and he trotted over to him.

“I brought your shoes,” Cody said and dropped the shoes on the ground near Demmy’s feet.

“Thanks.” Demmy kicked off his flip flops and stuck his feet into the shoes, grimacing at the sensation.

“Yeah, it’s pretty gross,” Cody said.

“I want to a little ways into the trees,” Demmy explained, shining the light on a flattened section of the cyclone fence and then the trees right behind it. “Maybe we can pick up the trail.”

“You didn’t happen to bring another flashlight, did you?” Cody asked.

“Sorry, I just knew where this one was,” Demmy replied. “Ready?”

“No,” Cody said, then waved toward the trees, “but go ahead, lead the way. You’re the one with the light.”

Demmy walked over the felled section of fence and Cody followed him. They stopped at the edge of the trees and Demmy shined the light along the ground, searching for some kind of trail. The flash light beam picked out large foot prints, big enough for Cody to stand with both his feet inside. He looked up and met Demmy’s gaze as his stomach did a slow roll.

“He is a big fucker, isn’t he?”

“Really big,” Demmy agreed in a quiet, scared voice.

They looked into the woods and then Demmy took a breath and, shining the light ahead of him, stepped between two palm trees. Cody followed and just a few minutes later they had lost track of the Singleton’s backyard.

“Fucking creepy in here,” Cody muttered.

“Just think of it as being in the woods back home,” Demmy suggested.

“Fucking creepy there as well,” Cody replied. “At least this time there’s no monster dog or farmer suffering from ‘roid rage after us.”

“No, just a swamp monster,” Demmy said.

“Goddammit Demmy,” Cody whispered. “Stop jumping to conclusions, that’s usually my job. I’m the Mulder, you’re the Scully, right? And if this turns out to be a swamp monster, I swear I’m going to find a way for us to apply for some kind of monster hunter license or something.”

“Shh,” Demmy said. “Let’s keep quiet so the swamp monster doesn’t circle around and come up behind us.”

Cody looked over his shoulder, completely spooked, but could only see a few feet behind him in the back glow of the flashlight. He turned forward again and continued on after Demmy, both of them stepping over roots and branches and around trees. Now and then they came across another footprint, just as big as the one they’d seen outside the trees.

They walked for a few minutes in silence, then Demmy stopped at a fallen tree to shine the light around the ground, looking for footprints. Cody tried to help, but with just the one flashlight it was more frustrating than anything, so he sat on the tree and tried to look everywhere at once. Lightning flashed through the leaves of the trees, startling them both, and several seconds later it was followed by the rumble of thunder.

“Perfect,” Cody grumbled.

“We’re going to lose whatever tracks it might have left,” Demmy said, searching more frantically for footprints.

“You keep saying “it,” and it’s freaking me out,” Cody said.

Demmy shined the light in his face. “Fine, I’ll call it “him,” okay? Just help me look for tracks!”

Cody squinted against the light and brought up a hand to shield his eyes as he turned his head away. “Get that damn light out of my eyes!”

“Cody!” Demmy shouted. “Behind you!”

Cody turned his head, the movement seeming to take minutes, hours, even days instead of seconds. A putrid stench assaulted him, similar to that of rotting vegetables he often encountered in his refrigerator crisper drawer, and it was combined with the musky damp odor of dirt. Fear made Cody’s heart gallop and his stomach and bladder shriveled up as his mouth went completely dry, even in such high humidity.

It stood behind a trio of trees that had grown close together, perfectly illuminated in the beam of Demmy’s flashlight. Even as Cody stared, his mind still trying to come to grips with what he was looking at, the thing lifted a hand and let out a roar of irritation that sent a repulsive wave of air over him. At least seven feet tall, possibly taller, its body appeared to be made up of moss, leaves, algae, and large pieces of bark. Arms of thick branches ended in clawed twig hands. A leaf had sprouted from the twig thumb of the thing’s left hand and as Cody stared at it, the leaf shivered in a breeze.

Cody sat transfixed by the creature, staring as it extended its twig claws toward him. The thing—swamp beast, swamp creature, swamp monster, whatever it was—let out another roar that finally snapped Cody out of his stupor and he pushed off from the fallen tree at the same time he heard Demmy shout, “Get back!”

His heart thundered hard now, way past the gallop stage, sending the blood rushing through his veins. The swamp monster’s claws swiped through the space where Cody had been sitting just as he moved. His relief at evading the thing was short lived, however, as Cody tripped over his own feet and fell to the ground, arms extended to break his fall. His hands sank to his elbows into the swampy ground, and even over the monster’s roar he heard Hubert’s voice in his head grumpily correct him: “Swampish.”

With his hands mired deep in the soggy ground, Cody was stuck in place. His breath came in short, panicked pants as he tried to pull his hands free, but the swampy muck held them fast. Demmy knelt in front of him and dropped the flashlight on the ground to grab hold of Cody’s wrists with both of his hands. He tugged hard, grunting and cursing as he worked to get Cody free.

“I’m stuck!” Cody shouted.

“I know!” Demmy shouted back.

Rough, wet fingers grasped Cody’s ankles and lifted his legs off the ground. Cody let out a shout as he hung like that, staring into Demmy’s eyes with his hands still anchored deep in the muck and his feet held high as if he were part of the wheelbarrow position. Everything slowed down. Cody saw drops of rain splash against Demmy’s cheeks that made him blink. He watched Demmy’s long eyelashes sweep closed and then open again. He saw a couple of scratches on Demmy’s face, probably caused by branches, and knew he had a few himself.

The fingers tightened around his ankles, the skin rough and scratchy like the bark of a tree. The cool, slick mud clutched greedily at his hands, but he could feel the strength in the monster’s grip on his ankles, and he knew how this was all going to turn out.

He stared into Demmy’s eyes, the back wash of the flashlight beam making them glow like sapphires as everything around the two of them stood in timeless suspension. It felt to Cody as if the entire world, in particular this scene that he was in the middle of, had paused to take a deep breath. From a place deep inside him, a spot he’d either never known existed or had just never bothered to pay attention to until now, the words came up without any forethought or fear, and he said them even as the moment of timelessness seemed to have stretched to its limit and was about to come to an end.

“I love you.”

It seemed as if the words were the trigger for the moment to pass. The monster gave a tug, seeming to Cody that it had not even pulled as hard as it could have. His hands pulled free of the ground with a slick, wet sound. Demmy tried to hold onto him, his eyes wide as he shouted “No!” But he was no match against the monster.

Cody was hauled up and slung over the thing’s shoulder. He felt the rough scratch of its bark skin scrape against his belly where his shirt had rucked up. He braced his hands against the monster’s back and tried to raise the upper half of his body, but his hands were slick with mud and he kept slipping back down. The creature’s shoulder pressed up into his gut, limiting his ability to draw a deep breath, and it felt as if he were suffocating as the thing stomped off into the woods. Cody knew he had to get free and quick before he was carried too far away from Demmy and the way back to civilization, but when he pushed up once again, the back of his head struck something, a low tree branch maybe, and darkness took him.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

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Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Fourteen – NSFW

Hi friends and happy Monday! I can’t believe it’s NOVEMBER!!! I hope you all had a great Halloween and are planning a delicious and relaxing Thanksgiving. I should be writing a Christmas themed story with our Story OrgyTerror By Moonlight_cvr prompts right about now, but there’s so much to finish up with Demetrius and Cody, I’m just going to keep on with the Creature Feature if that’s okay with you?

This week’s post is also very, very NSFW! I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

The first book of this series, Terror by Moonlight, is available at Wilde City Press , Amazon , and All Romance eBooks! Check out the case that started it all for Demmy and Cody!

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: It was that time between dusk and dawn.

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

 Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Fourteen

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

Demetrius looked around his parents’ bathroom as he dried off, noting the bottle of his mother’s perfume sitting alongside his father’s aftershave, the decorative touches still so familiar. It felt good to finally wash off the sweat and mud from the Everglades, but he was going to need some Afterbite or something by the looks of the number of insect bites on him. But that would be dealt with later; now he wrapped the towel around his waist and walked through his parents’ bedroom and down the hall. He paused outside the open door of the guest bathroom and frowned then flicked on the light. It was obvious Cody hadn’t showered yet, and he wondered what was taking him so long.

Demetrius approached the door to the guest bedroom, hesitated a moment with his hand on the knob, then knocked lightly. There was no response, so he opened the door a crack and peered in.

Cody was stretched out across one of the beds, nude and masturbating. Sweat glistened on his skin, the dark hair on his torso damp with it, as was the hair that lay across his forehead. His eyes were squeezed shut tight and his brow furrowed as he stroked his cock hard and fast. Demetrius couldn’t pull his eyes away from the sight, and his own cock roared to attention at seeing Cody in such a position.

He should have backed out of the room and closed the door as quietly as he’d opened it, but Demetrius was transfixed. He moved his gaze over the long, strong lines of Cody’s body, taking in all the minute details, some of which he’d seen before, and some of which he’d only been able to fantasize about until now. Cody’s cock was bigger than Demetrius had even imagined, and the sight of it ignited a fluttering feeling deep inside his gut and made his mouth go dry. The muscles in his ass tightened in anticipation of taking Cody inside him, and suddenly he had to swallow hard past a lump in his throat.

He only looked for a few seconds, but the scene was emblazoned on the front of his brain. Demetrius noticed his laptop open on the bed in front of Cody, and he figured Cody had gone out to the web to check out some porn site like Hot Girlz Doing Hot Thingz, or Lowdown Dirty Slutz or something. It was obvious that whatever Cody had been looking at on the laptop had gotten him really turned on and initiated the jerk off session.

After letting his gaze run the length of Cody’s body once more, drinking in all the details he could, Demetrius slowly, carefully closed the bedroom door. He hurried into the kitchen and busied himself unloading the dishwasher and replacing the clean dishes with those he and his Dad had left piled in the sink. He still wore just the towel and he was hard underneath it, so if Cody decided to pay him a visit in the kitchen he’d most assuredly take note of Demetrius’s condition and make some kind of comment about it.

A few minutes later, Demetrius paused in his wrangling of the dishes when he heard the bedroom door open down the hall. Without a word, Cody scampered off to the guest bathroom, and Demetrius let out a relieved breath at not having to face him just yet. Once he knew the guest bedroom was clear, he hurried down the hall and ducked inside, then stopped, feeling a little dizzy as the powerful scent of Cody’s sweat and semen hit him full force. His cock hardened even more and now throbbed with need as Demetrius cursed himself for not knocking louder, not looking away the minute he realized what was going on and just closing the door.

It was then he noticed he had the body wash in his hand, he must have grabbed it off the counter where he had set it once he’d fled the kitchen. He didn’t think Cody would have thought to bring his own body wash, so he took a breath and, adjusting his towel to conceal his hard on as best he could, walked down the hall to the guest bathroom and knocked on the door.

“Yeah?” Cody asked, his voice cautious.

Demetrius cleared his throat and asked, “Need body wash or… anything?” He made a face and cursed himself for unintentionally offering up something he didn’t think he could deliver. Obviously his body—and the speech area of his brain—felt differently, but Demetrius’s heart was already boarding up windows and sealing the cracks in the stone wall around itself like some kind of hurricane was about to blow in. And maybe it was, now that he’d seen Cody in action.

Cody opened the door a crack and peered out. His eyes widened at the sight of Demetrius standing there in his towel and his gaze bounced up and down his body before settling on Demetrius’s face. “Yeah, I forgot it.” Cody flashed a grin that didn’t look very convincing.

Demetrius studied him a moment, trying to see what was making him so uncomfortable. But the longer he focused on Cody the more his brain just revisited what he’d just witnessed, so he shifted his gaze away and held out the body wash. “I just thought I would check.”

“Okay, thanks,” Cody said, and took the body wash.

Cody’s fingers on his right hand—the same hand he’d just used to jerk off—lightly touched Demetrius’s as they passed the body wash between them. The center of Demetrius’s chest heated up fast, like a supernova had just gone off inside him, and he felt the heat traveling through him and up into his face and knew he had to get away from Cody and fast.

“Yeah,” Demetrius said, helpless to avoid giving him another quick glance. “Of course.” Then he turned and walked to the guest bedroom and stepped inside, closing the door behind him and leaning back against it.

He drew in a deep breath, pulling in the heady scent of Cody’s musk that hung heavy in the room, laced with just a trace of that familiar, intoxicating, bleach-like smell of come.

“Fuck,” Demetrius said with a quiet groan. He grabbed his hard, pulsing cock through the towel and squeezed it. Did he have enough time? He figured he did and reached to lock the door, then cursed again when he found there was no lock to engage.

Fine, it was worth the risk. Perhaps he could exorcise the scene of Cody masturbating that was currently playing on a loop inside his brain. He undid the towel and walked up to stand between the beds. There he hesitated, one hand slowly stroking himself as he looked between the beds, contemplating his course of action. Finally, he decided in for a penny, in for a pound, and stretched out on top of the comforter in the same spot Cody had been lying. The material beneath him was still damp with Cody’s sweat, and Demetrius could not help letting out a moan. He dug his toes into the carpet in about the same place where Cody had planted his bigger feet and closed his eyes.

In his mind, he imagined stepping fully into the room on discovering Cody pleasuring himself and walking right up to him, losing his towel along the way. He would walk around to the other side of the bed and lean down to kiss Cody hard on the mouth upside down like that hot scene in the first Spider-man movie with Tobey Maguire, tongues tangling in a desperate, passionate dance. Cody would lift a hand and put his big palm on the back of Demetrius’s head as they kissed, still stroking himself, but slower now as he focused more on the kiss than the sex.

Demetrius would move down Cody’s body, kissing him, licking up the sweat, tasting him like he’d tried not to but couldn’t help imagining now and then over the years they’d been friends. All the while, Cody would lift his head to kiss and lick Demetrius’s body as it passed by overhead until, finally, he would take Demetrius’s balls into his mouth and stroke his cock as Demetrius swallowed the long, broad length of Cody. He would suck Cody eagerly, ravenous for the taste of him, to know him in this intimate way that all of his girlfriends had known but no other man had been offered the opportunity, not until now, not until Demetrius.

The fat head of Cody’s cock would swell where it lay lodged deep in Demetrius’s throat, and hot, tart semen would flood his mouth, which Demetrius would eagerly swallow.

“Oh… oh yeah,” Demetrius said with a gasp, narrowing his strokes to the spot just beneath the ridge of his head. “Oh, fuck yeah.”

Story_Orgy_logoHe shuddered as he came, the hot, sticky semen splashing high up his torso. For a moment he lay still clutching himself, breath and heart rate slowing back to normal as the come thinned and spread on his skin. He didn’t have much time until Cody would be done with his shower, so he needed to get up and do a quick rinse off down in his parents’ bathroom. He got up off the bed and pushed back the tide of guilt that threatened to flood him over his fantasies of his best friend as well as cleaning himself of come in his parents’ personal shower. He grabbed his towel and, holding it in front of himself, hurried out of the bedroom and down the hall. As he stepped beneath the spray, Demetrius mentally chastised himself for allowing himself to fantasize about Cody, who was not only his business partner, but his best friend to boot. He knew it had just been the fact that he’d caught Cody masturbating and that he and Oliver were broken up and that he was, well, tense about the whole situation down here with his Mom’s health and now Hubert going missing. This had just been about satisfying a carnal need, a simple quick release, nothing more, and catching Cody masturbating had been the trigger for the fantasy.

As Demetrius turned his face into the spray of the shower, however, his mind produced an image of Cody straddling him as he stroked his big cock to a sloppy finish and came all over Demetrius’s face. His traitorous cock hardened in an instant and Demetrius punished it by soaping it up and then simply rinsing it off and leaving it further untouched. That would teach it.

*     *     *

Hours later, Demetrius sat in a softly padded chair on his parents’ patio. He pressed a button on his phone to check the time and sighed. It was 2:45 in the morning, that time between dusk and dawn when it seemed only men and creatures with evil intent prowled the earth, or those like Demetrius who had too much to think about. Memories of Cody masturbating churned within his mind, interspersed with concerns about his mother’s upcoming surgery as well as the mystery surrounding Hubert Potts. All of these things had kept him from being able to sleep, and so he had snuck quietly out of the guest room where Cody lay snoring quietly, and crept through the living room, past Amelia breathing quietly on the sofa, and out onto the patio.

He tipped back his head and looked up at the stars. A quarter moon sailed high in the sky, illuminating a bank of clouds that had gathered with ominous intent on the horizon. The weather reports had been filled lately with the twin tropical storms currently churning up the Atlantic, Patrick and Rhonda, and Demetrius figured those thick clouds were the feeder arms of one or both of the storms. That seemed to be the only thing newsworthy lately. Well, that and the rush on grocery items and home repair stores for people getting an early jump on riding out the storms.

The patio door slid open and Demetrius looked around. He wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen Cody step outside, his dark hair tousled adorably from the pillow, eyes half open. Instead, he discovered Amelia sneaking outside and easing the door shut. She smiled at him in the moonlight and soft glow of the landscape lights and sat in the chair to his left.

“I thought I heard you get up a little while ago,” Amelia said.

“Sorry if I woke you,” Demetrius replied. “You should have taken one of the guest room beds like Cody and I both offered.”

“Oh, mangrove trees, the way both of you boys snore?” Amelia laughed and shook her head. “No thank you. Besides, I helped your mother pick out that couch I’m sleeping on, so I know it’s more comfortable than those inexpensive twin mattresses you and Cody are using.”

They both chuckled at that and then fell into a comfortable silence until Amelia said, “You’re worried about your mother, I know, but she’s in good hands.”

Demetrius nodded and flashed a quick smile. “I know she is. But I’m a Singleton, so I was born to worry about things outside of my control.”

“What about the things within your control?” Amelia asked.

Demetrius frowned. “Do you mean Hubert?”

Amelia shook her head. “No, that’s outside of your control, too. The police and park rangers are searching for him. I’m talking about whatever is going on between you and Cody.”

Shock and fear zipped through Demetrius like twin electrical charges. He sat back in the chair and tried to act casual and confused, but realized his leg was bouncing in an agitated tempo.

“I don’t know what you…” His power of speech seemed to simply dry up and he let the sentence hang in the slightly humid night air.

“I’ve known you all your life, Demetrius Barnaby,” Amelia said. “For the sake of cypress trees, I’ve practically raised you. And I’ve watched you and Cody over the years as your friendship deepened, and I know when something is going on between the two of you. He was practically desperate to get down here to be with you, you know.”

Demetrius looked down at his hands clutched together in his lap. He didn’t know what to feel about it all, and so his emotions seemed to have shut down completely. “He’s my friend, and he was just worried about me.”

Amelia leaned in over the patio table. “A worried friend will send you text messages more often than usual to check on your mother’s condition. But someone who loves you, who really, truly loves you and feels protective of you and wants to try and make things all better for you, that someone drives across the country to be with you, see you, and make sure you’re coping all right.” She sat back and smiled. “That is the sign of someone who’s in love.”

Demetrius’s heart seemed to stutter in his chest. “Love? What are you saying? It’s Cody.”

“Oh, just open your eyes, Demetrius,” Amelia said with an exasperated sigh. “For the love of magnolias, it’s all right there in front of you, and you keep backing away from it.”

“But, Amelia,” Demetrius said, lowering his voice even though it was too late for anyone else to be up, “Cody is straight. I don’t have the right… equipment.”

“Oh, my dear, sweet boy.” Amelia smiled and shook her head. “You’re part of the younger generation, but you still don’t seem to get it. Love doesn’t always recognize gender, and sexual attraction can be a very fluid thing. I read a blog post recently about a man who had dated women all his life. He became very ill, so much so he needed someone to care for him, and so a male friend helped him out. Along the way, they both realized they missed each other when they were apart, and they looked forward to sharing their experiences during that time apart with the other. Now they’re in a relationship, a sexual relationship, and they’re both very happy.”

Demetrius sat and blinked at his aunt. Here she was, almost seventy-years-old, and he wasn’t sure if he was more surprised over her statements about sexual identity and love or the fact that she was out on the Internet reading blog posts about it. Her story, however, made him think—as if he hadn’t been doing enough of that lately—and he looked out across the small yard toward the chain link back fence. Could Amelia be right about it all? Could Cody have developed stronger feelings for him than either of them had ever expected? If that was the case, could Demetrius himself love Cody back? He’d occasionally fantasized about sex with Cody, but never really considered the realities of it. Would they be compatible? Would Cody only be a top? Would he not want to kiss, or suck Demetrius’s cock? How would it look to all of the people they knew back home?

“That’s a lot to think about,” Demetrius said in a quiet voice.

“I know it is, dear,” Amelia replied, and reached out to touch his hand momentarily. “And I didn’t mean to burden you any more than you already are, but I thought someone needed to make you aware of what was going on. I think you’re a bit too close to the situation to be able to see it with very much clarity.”

As Demetrius stared out into the yard, he noticed movement in the trees beyond the fence. Someone stood just on the other side of the chain link fence, watching the two of them on the patio. Whoever lurked in the humid darkness was tall, taller even than Cody’s six feet five inches, and seemed to stay in the shadows cast by the moonlight. A sliver of fear worked its way in between the confusion and emotional shock of Amelia’s revelations. Who would be out at this time of night, and for what purpose?

“Demetrius?” Amelia asked. “Are you all right?”

“Someone’s out there,” Demetrius whispered, “just past the fence.”

“What?” Amelia looked out into the yard. “Where?”

A few things happened at once. The bank of storm clouds finally overtook the moon, and the night darkened even further. At that moment, the figure beyond the fence moved closer, looming over the chain link that suddenly appeared much more delicate. Amelia must have noticed the figure when it moved, because she let out a gasp. Demetrius pushed up from his chair and stepped forward to stand at the edge of the patio, squinting into the darkness in an effort to see better. The figure behind the fence stared right back, sending a chill up Demetrius’s spine.

“Who is that?” Amelia asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

“Not sure,” Demetrius replied.

“You there!”

Demetrius jumped and turned to find Amelia on her feet, waving her arms and speaking in a loud tone of voice that made his heart thump hard.

Amelia clapped her hands loudly. “We see you! Go on now, get out of here. Shoo! We’re going to call the police if you don’t move along.”

“Amelia!” Demetrius said in a fierce whisper. “Lower your voice.”

“Well, it’s not right for someone to just skulk around outside peoples’ yards at such an hour,” Amelia said. She looked across the yard again and even in the gloom Demetrius could see her eyes widen and her mouth drop open.

He turned and had just enough time to let out a shout before a massive dark shape filled his vision. A fetid, dampness filled his nostrils and then the shape before him swung a heavy fist from which hung slick strands of wet material, catching Demetrius on the side of the head and sending him tumbling out into the yard as somewhere close by Amelia screamed.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

Comments Off on Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Fourteen – NSFW

Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Thirteen – NSFW

Hi friends and happy Monday! I’m back from San Diego after an amazing and fun filled GRL, also known as Gay Rom Lit, the funtastic gathering of authors, readers, and reviewers of all things gay romance. Even though I’m still Terror By Moonlight_cvrworn out from getting back to business at the EDJ and adjusting to EDT, I’m still giving you a new chapter in Demetrius and Cody’s latest case. What can I say? I’m a giver. So get ready to read on for more Creature Feature with Demmy and Cody, and have an awesomely horrifying Halloween!

This week’s post is very, very NSFW! I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

The first book of this series, Terror by Moonlight, is available at Wilde City Press , Amazon , and All Romance eBooks! Check out the case that started it all for Demmy and Cody!

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: “So… it has come to this.”

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

 Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Thirteen

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

Voices and thoughts filled Cody’s head, distracting him from all external stimuli. He was so inside his own head, he nearly walked into Marshall and Olivia’s condo wearing mud-caked shoes without a second thought. Demmy grabbed his arm and held him back, prompting Cody to give him a wide-eyed look as a crazy thought—it was crazy, wasn’t it?—bubbled to the surface of his mind: Demmy wants to kiss me.

“Hey, we can’t go in my parents’ house like this,” Demmy said.

Reality and disappointment surged to the forefront of Cody’s brain. Demmy was not aware that Cody was wrestling through feelings of attraction for him; they were dirty as pigs after a rain storm, and needed to remove some articles of clothing before they could go inside and clean up properly.

The thought that Cody would see Demmy in his underwear registered as a combination benefit and complication, but then Demmy pulled the front door shut and gestured for Cody to follow him.

“I forgot myself,” Demmy said over his shoulder as he led the way to the attached garage. “Guess we’ll have to strip to our skivvies in the garage and then go inside.”

“Yeah, sure,” Cody said as Demmy entered the access code on the garage door. “I wasn’t even thinking.”

“Distracted, huh?” Demmy asked, turning to look at him as the door rumbled open.

Cody met his gaze and tried to act casual, as if the consideration to change the nature of their relationship wasn’t simmering on the front burner of his mind these days. “Yeah, I guess I am.”

“I am, too,” Demmy said, and shifted his gaze away from Cody.

“Oh?” Cody asked, a glimmer of nervous hope sparking to life within him. Was Demmy going to make the first move perhaps?

Demmy turned away to enter the garage. Cody followed, perhaps a little too closely because when Demmy hit the close button near the entrance to the house, he jumped a bit and took a step back.

“Yikes, I didn’t know you were so close behind me,” Demmy said. The garage door shut with a quiet thump, sealing them inside the humid single car garage Demmy’s parents used to store stacks of plastic storage bins.

Cody met Demmy’s gaze and held it for a moment, waiting, hoping to hear Demmy say he’d been thinking about them, about their friendship, and how much more Cody had come to mean to him than just a friend.

“So, I guess we should take off these dirty clothes?” Demmy said in a questioning tone. “If you’re okay with that?”

“What? Oh, yeah! Yeah, sure.” Cody stepped back and, keeping his gaze on Demmy, kicked off his shoes that were more mud now than shoe.

Demmy half turned away and held onto a nearby bin for balance as he did the same. Cody realized he was staring and, most likely, making Demmy uncomfortable, so he half turned in the other direction as he peeled off his dirty socks.

“You said you were distracted, too?” Cody asked.

“Oh, yeah,” Demmy replied without looking at him. “I mean, with my Mom’s surgery and now Hubert just… gone, I’m having a tough time focusing.”

Cody nodded and tried not to feel disappointed. Demmy had a lot going on down here with his Mom’s condition, and now they were involved in a missing person’s case, which didn’t help. “I get it. It’s so weird that Hubert just left.”

“Or was taken,” Demmy said.

“But, by who?” Cody wondered, shucking his shorts and forcing himself to keep looking at the bins in front of him that had CHRISTMAS written on them in black marker.

“Or what?” Demmy offered.

Cody looked over and managed to keep his eyes on Demmy’s face though he stood there in just his white briefs. “What are you suggesting?”

Demmy shrugged then made his way to a small laundry sink situated beside a stacked washer and dyer. Florida living meant having the washer and dryer in the garage, apparently. Demmy filled a nearby bucket with water, added a touch of laundry soap, then proceeded to wash his feet with a handful of paper towels. As he cleaned off his feet and shins, Demmy continued to talk, and Cody was mostly able to focus on what he was saying, even as he grabbed quick glances at the rounded swell of his ass covered by the thin white cotton of his briefs.

“Anyway, what if an alligator got Hubert?” Demmy wondered. “I mean, I know we lugged one out there to release it, but what if another one was lying in wait on the other side of the trail?”

Demmy stepped back from the bucket and pulled off a couple handfuls of paper towels. One handful he handed to Cody and the other he used to dry off his feet. Cody stepped up to the bucket and bent over to wash off his feet, talking as he cleaned himself.

“I think we would have heard an alligator attack,” Cody said. “Besides, our gator took off running back the way we had come, so I think he was scared of something.”

Cody looked up as he finished cleaning his feet and was just in time to catch Demmy trying not to look as if he was checking out his ass. Demmy quickly turned away and walked through an aisle in the stacked bins to open the door to the interior of the condo, saying over his shoulder, “What are you suggesting?”

Cody dried off his feet and found a path through the bins to stand before Demmy, keeping his gaze on Demmy’s and not allowing himself to look any lower. “I’m just saying our gator should have been excited to get back to the swampy waters of home—”

Story_Orgy_logo“Swampish,” Demmy corrected, and they shared a sad smile as they both thought about Hubert. Demmy turned to open the door to the condo and Cody followed. As he trailed Demmy into the condo, Cody kept his eyes up and gaze locked on Demmy’s bare shoulders, thoughts focused on the conversation and definitely not on Demmy’s pale smooth skin, or the tuft of soft brown hair that grew at the small of his back. The cool air inside the condo dried the sweat on his skin and made him shiver.

“Anyway,” Cody continued, “that gator was not interested in sliding into the muckity muck it’s used to, so something spooked it.”

Demmy stopped outside the guest bedroom and turned to look at him again. Cody stood a couple of feet away and managed to affect a casual air as he shrugged at Demmy and looked him in the eye.

“Well whatever it was, why didn’t it spook us?” Demmy asked.

“Maybe it was stalking Hubert?” Cody offered.

“Well, shit,” Demmy said, and shivered. “That creeps me right the fuck out.”

Cody nodded. “And now we’re back to the original question.”

“Why does crazy shit like this keep happening to us?” Demmy asked, and let out a quiet, humorless chuckle.

“Well, yes, that,” Cody agreed, “but also, what the hell is out there that can scare an alligator?”

Demmy sighed and turned his back, and Cody couldn’t help checking out his ass again. Dammit, when had Demmy developed such a nice ass? Had he always had one and Cody had just never noticed?

“Are you checking out my ass?”

Cody jerked his gaze up to find Demmy looking at him over his shoulder. “What? No! No, I wasn’t.”

Demmy tried to look down over his shoulder at his backside. “Do I have a leach or something down there? Shit, is there a leach on me?”

“No, there’s no leach,” Cody assured him. “You’ve just got some mud there.”

Demmy glared at him. “Is that a joke? We’ve got mud everywhere.”

Cody shrugged. “Good point. Sorry.”

Demmy studied him a moment longer, then asked, “I can shower in my parents’ bathroom if you want to use the guest bathroom to clean up.”

Cody nodded. “Yeah, sure.”

“Okay, let me grab my shaving kit from the spare room,” Demmy said and turned away to open the guest room door.
Cody followed him into the room and pointedly looked away from the two single beds sitting so close together. Demmy pulled his laptop out of the bag and set it aside, then withdrew his bathroom kit and a clean pair of underwear and shorts.

“Okay, I’ll see you in a few,” Demmy said and left the room.

Cody listened to him walk down the hall, then eased the door shut. He pulled a T-shirt out of his own bag and spread it on the bed, then sat on it and opened Demmy’s laptop. It was just in sleep mode, and the screen lit up right away. The wireless connection symbol lit up as it automatically connected to his parents’ wifi, and Cody clicked on a browser. He called up a search engine and, with his stomach in nervous knots and his thoughts spinning in a cyclone of acceptance and denial, he typed in free gay porn videos.

“So… it has come to this,” he whispered to himself, then clicked Search.

About 5 million results were returned and Cody sighed, then glanced nervously at the door before clicking on the top link. He felt like he had when he was a kid and had snuck a peek at his brother’s Playboy and Penthouse magazines, his stomach in knots and his adrenaline up. His cock was like a steel rod beneath the laptop, stretching the confines of his briefs. It wasn’t the images that had him hard and ready, but the thought of him and Demmy together, which was even more confusing.

The first couple of scenes he looked at did nothing for him, and he actually lost some rigidity. Maybe this gay sex idea wasn’t for him after all? He looked at the time on the laptop then glanced at the closed bedroom door. It had been four minutes since Demmy had walked away.

Then an image of another video caught his eye and he sucked in his breath. An actor—or was that model?—in that scene looked surprisingly like Demmy, enough that a sudden wave of fear and excitement that Demmy had actually done porn to help pay the bills some time in the recent past rushed through Cody. He clicked on the image and the video started to play, the intro music loud enough to cause him to mute the laptop altogether. When the models appeared on camera, Cody let out a relieved breath to find that it wasn’t Demmy, but a man who had similar looks: strong nose, rounded chin with a dimple and short brown hair. Where Demmy was slighter with toned muscle, this model was beefed up more, but still had that familiar look about him. This Demmy stand in was paired up with a tall, blond stud, and they wasted no time with words and got right down to getting to know each other Biblically.

Cody was entranced. The Demmy look alike was flexible as all hell, twisting and contorting himself as he worked the blond stud’s nipples and even, Cody was shocked to see, armpits. He’d never had anyone lick or suck his armpit, and frankly, right now, it sort of grossed him out what with all the sweat he’d worked up. But it looked like the blond stud was thoroughly enjoying it, and Cody thought it might feel good to have someone give some oral attention to his armpit. He wondered if Demmy had ever gotten into armpit licking with Oliver, or even Clint, Demmy’s longest relationship, and his worst choice ever, in Cody’s opinion.

But that was all beside the point, because now the Demmy look alike was sliding down the blond stud’s muscular torso, licking and kissing the entire way, and Cody’s cock was a solid column of needy impatience. He hadn’t been with a woman for months, and he hadn’t jerked off in weeks, which was a pretty long dry spell for him. Lately though, whenever he had tried to masturbate, fantasies of being with Demmy barged their way into the front of his mind and confused and frustrated Cody. They’d been friends for so long, Cody knew sex should be a natural extension of their friendship, but he wasn’t sure about a lot of things. Was Demmy a top, bottom, or versatile? Would Cody be open to being on the receiving end of anal sex with Demmy? He had read blog posts about men who enjoyed having their girlfriend or wife use a strap on to penetrate them, but Cody had never experimented with something like that. Would his being a bottom make him feel emasculated, or shouldn’t it matter?

Too many questions always erupted around his fantasy scenarios with Demmy, and even his tried and true fantasy women like Sofia Vergara, Jessica Alba, or even Zooey Deschanel and her gorgeous blue eyes hadn’t been enough lately to keep him focused long enough to finish. Now however, this blond stud and Demmy-lite model had little Cody all sparked up and rarin’ to go.

Cody looked toward the door, then paused the clip just as the Demmy wannabe grabbed the elastic waistband of the blond stud’s amazingly clean and tight fitting white briefs. He got up and, with his dick pointing the way, hurried to the bedroom door and opened it a crack. From the end of the hall he could hear the shower running in the master bathroom and the sound of Demmy whistling something.

He closed the door and was dismayed to find there was no lock. Really? No one in a senior living complex needs any privacy? Deciding he would be finished pretty quick anyway with the length of his dry spell, Cody peeled off his briefs and took himself in hand as he strode back to the bed and sat on the T-shirt he had spread out. He positioned the laptop on the foot of the bed and started the clip, keeping the sound muted in case Demmy finished before he did.

Pre come was already drooling down his shaft and it provided enough slick for his fist without losing the best part of the friction. In the video, the Demmy wannabe ran his tongue up and down the blond stud’s now exposed shaft and Cody closed his eyes, imagining Demmy doing that same thing to him. He had to have been drawn to Demmy right from the start of their friendship, but maybe he hadn’t been mature enough to understand that attraction until just recently. And now Cody wanted more from their relationship. He wanted to feel Demmy’s tongue and mouth on his cock, and he wanted to find out how Demmy’s cock and balls tasted. He’d never thought this way about another man before, but Demmy wasn’t just another man. He was… Well, he was Demmy.

Cody opened one eye to check out the video and quietly groaned. The models had gotten into a sixty-nine position, each of them sucking for all he was worth, their shaved balls slowly pulling up. Cody closed his eyes again and thought about being in a sixty-nine position with Demmy. He wanted to nuzzle his nose under Demmy’s balls and breathe in that special scent of him, know him that intimately, make him feel good and have Demmy make him feel good in return. He wondered if Demmy shaved his balls, and if he would be surprised to find out that Cody shaved his own, since a girl he had been seeing a few years ago had convinced him to try it and now he continued to shave them because he liked how it felt.

His hand pumped fast along his shaft, his orgasm so close now. It wouldn’t be long.

He opened one eye again to check out the video and had to bite his lip to keep from moaning aloud. The blond had topped the Demmy wannabe in the missionary position and drove into him hard. The Demmy wannabe’s calves were braced over the blond stud’s broad shoulders and his feet bounced with every thrust. Cody thought about how it would feel to be that blond stud, to be sliding deep into the heat of Demmy’s body, burying himself inside him, connecting with Demmy in such an intimate way.

So close now, it wasn’t going to be long. He closed his eyes and leaned back on the bed, sweat standing out on his body, the stink of his efforts filling his nose as he curled his toes into the carpet. He heard a soft sound and opened his eyes only to find the laptop screen filling his vision. The blond stud was now fucking the Demmy wannabe doggy style and had braced himself with his fists resting on the pale, firm globes of the bottom’s ass.

Cody lifted his head to check the door—so close, just a few more strokes—and saw that it was still closed, but there was no way he could stop now. His train was about to arrive in the station and it was a long one, loaded down with a lot of freight.

His balls pulled up and muscles throughout his body tightened as the rush came over him and come exploded out of his cock with a loud, wet pop. Drops of it landed on his cheek and chin, startling him even as more splattered across his torso. It was hot and the sharp scent of it joined the odor of his sweat in the room. His strokes slowed as he milked out the last of his come and he caught his breath. As his heart rate slowed back to normal, Cody opened his eyes and looked at the laptop. The blond stud stood on the mattress now, bouncing fast and pile driving his cock into the Demmy wannabe who supported himself on his shoulders, legs curled up over his head.

The sight of them caused Cody’s cock to stir even as it lay in puddles of come, and when the Demmy wannabe reached a gushing climax that splashed all over his own face, Cody’s cock was hard once again. Jesus, what the hell was it about thoughts of sex with Demmy that got him so worked up?

A sound from the hall outside the door brought him around and he quickly closed the browser, then the laptop. He tossed it onto Demmy’s bed and grabbed some tissues from the box on the nightstand, trying to mop up as best he could. His heart pounded and his hard on had faded with the threat of being caught.

With the clump of sticky tissues clutched tight in his fist, Cody grabbed his shaving kit and eased the guest room door open. Demmy was in the kitchen, making noise with some dishes. Moving quickly and quietly, Cody hurried down the hall in the nude and ducked into the guest bathroom, closing the door behind him and leaning back against it as he let out his breath. That had been close.

A minute later, a soft knock on the door startled him and he kept himself pressed back against the door as he said, “Yeah?”

“Need body wash or anything?” Demmy asked through the door.

Cody looked around and cursed quietly. He had forgotten to bring body wash. Son of a bitch. He stepped back from the edge of the door and opened it a crack to peer out. Demmy stood in the hall with a towel around his waist, hair still damp from his shower and a bottle of body wash in his hand.

“Yeah, I forgot it,” Cody said, and tried a relaxed grin that felt like it didn’t fit right on his face.

Demmy looked him in the eye for a quick moment, then darted his gaze away and held out the body wash. “I just thought I would check.”

“Okay, thanks,” Cody said.

“Yeah,” Demmy said with another quick glance at him. “Of course.” Then he turned and walked to the guest bedroom and stepped inside.

Cody wondered just how funky that room smelled, then decided there was nothing he could about it, and he needed to clean up. He closed the bathroom door and dropped the sticky, smelly clump of tissues into the trash can then started the shower. Pausing to look at himself in the mirror, Cody wondered for a moment how Demmy really saw him, and on the heels of that, if Demmy could ever think of Cody as anything more than a friend. Then he wondered if he would ever really have the guts to tell Demmy how he truly felt.

Dammit, when did shit get so complicated?

Cody stepped into the shower and sighed as the water washed away the stink of the Everglades, the evidence of his attraction to Demmy, and, he hoped, his nervousness around his best friend.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

Comments Off on Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Thirteen – NSFW

Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Twelve

Hi friends and happy Monday! I’m on way back from San Diego after an amazing and fun filled GRL, also known as Gay Rom Lit, the funtastic gathering of authors, readers, and reviewers of all things gay romance. Even though I’m on the other side of the country from my faithful writing desk, I couldn’t leave Terror By Moonlight_cvryou hanging with no post! So get ready to read on for more Creature Feature with Demmy and Cody.

The first book of this series, Terror by Moonlight, is available at Wilde City Press , Amazon , and All Romance eBooks! Check out the case that started it all for Demmy and Cody!

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: It was all he expected.

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Twelve

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

Cody prided himself on maintaining his temper. He’d always been the calm inside the storm of his family, most likely because he was the middle child of five boys, and his parents were more hippie throwback wannabes than parents with a schedule or a plan. Even though he was disorganized and terminally late and more than a bit lazy about housekeeping chores, Cody was, he liked to think, a calm and rational person. He’d been that way all through school and even on the Parson’s Hollow High School football team where he was known as Cool Headed Cody.

The state trooper who was questioning him and Demetrius, however, was about to push Cody over the edge. Not only was the trooper a walking stereotype, but based on his comments, he was also a misogynistic racist bigot, and he had pushed all of Cody’s trigger buttons in the hour he’d been questioning them about Hubert’s disappearance.

“How did you come to have the key to this National Park gate?” Trooper Bentworth asked for the fifth time.

Demmy jumped in to respond before Cody could refer the trooper back to his little notebook he’d been scribbling in non-stop.

“Hubert had the key and opened the gate,” Demmy explained, “and he didn’t tell us how he came by its ownership.”

Trooper Bentworth turned his Ray Bans on Demmy. “You two licensed to work as animal control here in Florida?”

“No, sir,” Demmy replied. “Like we said, we were doing Mr. Potts a favor and helping out the Underwoods who had hired him to watch their dogs while they were off visiting their grandchildren in Arizona.”

“I see.” Bentworth studied his notes, then looked up at Cody. “Where you boys from again?”

“Parson’s Hollow, Pennsylvania,” Cody said. “Look, it’s really hot out here and we’re covered in insect bites. Can you take down our address and phone numbers and let us get back to the Singleton condo and clean up?”

Trooper Bentworth took a step closer and gestured toward the open gate that led to the trail into the Everglades. “A man is missing, Mr. Bower. I would think you’d have some respect for that fact.”

“I have the utmost respect for that fact,” Cody said, “but us standing here repeating answers to questions you already asked isn’t helping to find him, is it?”

“You’ve got a bad attitude,” Bentworth said. “Maybe a trip to the station will help set you to rights.”

“I don’t think that’s necessary, Trooper Bentworth,” Demmy said, pulling the trooper’s glare to himself. “We’re not used to this heat, so forgive us for any attitude. But we have told you everything we know and we’ve provided our contact information. I am concerned about Mr. Potts as well, but my mother is scheduled to have open heart surgery tomorrow, and I do need to get to the hospital and make sure everything is all set.”

Trooper Bentworth took a couple of steps back and looked between them. “All right, I can appreciate that fact. I’m very close with my mother as well.”

Cody just bet he was, and added mama’s boy to the end of his description of stereotypical misogynistic racist bigot.

“I’ll call in a search team,” Bentworth said with a look down the trail. “But we’re stretched pretty thin what with all the other missing persons in this area.” He gave Cody a long, steady look. “I just hope you didn’t think to take advantage of that situation and do away with Mr. Potts out there in the ‘glades.”

Story_Orgy_logo“I can assure you, we had nothing to do with it,” Cody said. “And I sincerely hope you find him safe and sound out there. But we do have to be going, as Demmy stated.”

“Demmy?” Bentworth repeated, and looked at Demetrius. “That’s what he calls you?”

 Demmy nodded. “It is.”

“Sounds kinda gay to me,” Bentworth offered. “Don’t know if I’d like it if I was you.”

“Well, I don’t mind it,” Demmy replied, and managed to keep any malice out of his tone. He always managed to keep his temper when dealing with douchebags like Bentworth. It was true Demmy through and through, and it was all Cody expected of him.

They nodded to Trooper Bentworth and got into the motorized cart. It had taken Cody a few minutes to figure out how to operate the damn thing after they’d searched for Hubert on their own then had to drive out of the trail to get a cell signal and call for “help,” which arrived in the form of the offensive Trooper Bentworth. Cody got the cart started once more and drove back down the street, trying not to scratch the multiple insect bites or mourn his mud caked shoes and socks.

“What a fucking tool,” Demmy muttered from the seat beside him.

Cody let out a long, loud laugh and they shared a smile. He squeezed Demmy’s shoulder and asked, “You doing okay?”

“I’m trying,” Demmy replied. “I just have no idea what happened to Hubert, and I feel awful about it. I mean, we were right there with him. How could he just vanish like that?”

“An excellent question,” Cody said, and dropped his hand to the space between the seats. He touched something metal and lifted up Hubert’s large and heavy key ring. “Well, he’s not planning to go breaking into people’s places, that’s for sure.”

“That’s even more worrisome,” Demmy said, and met Cody’s gaze. “What the ever loving fuck have we gotten involved with now?”

“Your guess is as good as mine,” Cody replied.

Demmy’s phone buzzed in his pocket, and he pulled it out and checked the display. “It’s my Dad.” He took a breath then accepted the call. “Hi Dad, sorry, we got into a bit of a mess helping Hubert with his favor… No, nothing like that. There was an alligator in a swimming pool… No, we don’t usually deal with alligators, so it was a bit of a learning process… It was at the Underwoods’… Yes, the vegetarians.” He gave Cody an “Oh my God, really?” look and shook his head, then returned to the conversation with his father. “There was a bit of a problem, though… No, we’re fine, but Hubert’s missing… Yes, I said missing… We don’t know what happened, Dad. He took us to a trail into the Everglades with the Underwoods’ cart… What?… Yes, it’s a very nice cart.” Demetrius rolled his eyes at Cody. “Anyway, we let the alligator loose near the swamp… Sorry, I know it’s not technically a swamp…” Demmy huffed out an exasperated breath. “Fine, we let it loose down by the water, but it ran back down the trail toward the street, and when we looked around Hubert was gone… Yes, we called the state police and they sent someone to talk to us, but there’s no sign of Hubert yet… I don’t know, Dad, I guess we’ll return the cart to the Underwoods’ place and take the keyring to his wife and let her know he’s missing… Yes, he left his keyring in the cart… Yes, we figured he’d take that with him if he had the choice… Yes, I agree. Hey, how’s Mom? Any word from the surgeon?… Oh, they moved it out a day?”

“Everything okay?” Cody asked as he pulled the cart into the Underwoods’ garage and switched the power off.

Demmy held up a finger for Cody to wait a moment as he continued to talk with his father. “Why did they move out the date?… Oh, okay. But they’re not worried about it?… Okay, that’s good then. Hey, look, we just got back and we’re both a mess. Can you and Amelia visit with Mom tonight and tell her I’ll see her tomorrow?… Yeah, Cody and I will find something to eat, no problem. We’ll just hang out at the condo.”

Apprehension filled Cody as he realized he and Demmy would be alone for hours in his parents’s condo, with nothing to do but watch TV or talk. This was his chance to let Demmy know how he had been feeling lately. The thought of it, though, made Cody’s stomach tighten and sent a low wave of nausea through him. This could very well change everything between him and Demmy, and while Cody was feeling something very strong for Demmy these days, he wasn’t sure he was ready to risk their friendship.

But keeping quiet about something like this was really eating at him. He needed to figure out if he was just feeling too attached to Demmy because they spent so much time together these days, or if it was something more than that. Maybe he needed to see if gay sex was really for him, but how? He wasn’t about to go cruise the gay bars, either here in Florida or back home, so what could he do?

“Earth to Cody,” Demmy said and shook his shoulder. “You in there?”

“Huh? What?” Cody looked over at Demmy who had gotten out of the cart and was leaning in over the seat with a hand on his shoulder. “Oh, sorry. I drifted.”

“Thinking about porn again?” Demmy asked with a grin.

A lightbulb went off inside Cody’s brain, and he smiled as he knew what he might be able to do to figure this crazy attraction out once and for all.

“Who?” he asked with a grin. “Me?”

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

Comments Off on Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Twelve

Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Eleven

Hi friends and happy Monday! I’m currently in San Diego a few days early, getting ready for the start of GRL, also known as Gay Rom Lit, the funtastic gathering of authors, readers, and reviewers of all things gay Terror By Moonlight_cvrromance. Even though I’m on the other side of the country from my faithful writing desk, I couldn’t leave you hanging with no post! So get ready to read on for more Creature Feature with Demmy and Cody.

The first book of this series, Terror by Moonlight, is available at Wilde City Press , Amazon , and All Romance eBooks! Check out the case that started it all for Demmy and Cody!

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: Death changes everything.

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Eleven

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

While Hubert corralled the barking Pomeranian dogs into a back bedroom, Demetrius stood beside Cody and stared out the patio door at the alligator floating in the pool.

“Think we could lure it out of there?” Demetrius asked.

“You going to cut your palm to do it?” Cody wondered.

“Um, no,” Demetrius replied.

“Me neither.” Cody looked around the living room of the condo. “Think these people left a chicken in the freezer?”

“Interesting thought,” Demetrius said, and headed for the kitchen.

There was nothing in the freezer except vegetarian microwave meals and some ice cream. The refrigerator held only condiments and some suspicious looking cheese slices.

“Great, the only seniors in the whole complex who eat out every day,” Cody mumbled.

Hubert stepped into the kitchen and gave them a frown when he found them looking in the refrigerator. “What are you doing?”

“We were going to try and lure the alligator with a frozen chicken or something,” Cody said.

“The  Underwoods are vegetarians,” Hubert said, his tone making it more than obvious that he thought the idea and, most likely the two of them, idiotic. “Come on, we’re wasting time. The dogs need to wee wee and I’m not walking them on a leash in this heat.”

Hubert stomped out of the kitchen and Demetrius looked at Cody. He found him looking right back at him, trying to hold in a laugh. Demetrius held a finger up in Cody’s face, but felt himself grinning as he whispered, “Don’t you dare laugh.”

“He said ‘wee wee,'” Cody whispered in a voice choked by laughter. “Hubert the grump said ‘wee wee.'”

“You keep that laughter in, Cody,” Demetrius said. “Don’t you dare laugh.”

“You two cooking me dinner in there or what?” Hubert called from the other room.

“Coming,” Demetrius replied, then lowered his voice. “Pull it together!”

“Why didn’t you tell him we were taking a wee wee?” Cody asked.

Demetrius broke into a snuffling, snorting laugh and saw that Cody had tears running down his face as he tried to laugh as silently as possible. Demetrius leaned his head onto Cody’s shoulder and laughed along with his best friend, letting go of all the worries about his Mom and money and life in general and simply enjoying the moment. Cody put his arms around Demetrius and held him close, and for once, Demetrius allowed himself to be supported by Cody’s strength. It felt good to give up not just his concerns about everything in his life, but also the physical strength of just standing on his own feet, even if it was just for a moment.

Their laughter faded, but Cody kept him close for a little longer, and Demetrius was surprised that he wanted to linger there in Cody’s strong, warm, still slightly damp with sweat but not a gross way embrace.

“You two make out on jobs back home all the time?” Hubert asked from the kitchen doorway.

Demetrius pushed back from Cody and felt himself blush as he stammered over his words that seemed to tumble out of his mouth in a rush. “What? No! We weren’t making out. We were just…” He stopped, unable to find the words to explain what had been happening between him and Cody.

“I wasn’t… We weren’t…” Cody said at the same time Demetrius was speaking.

Hubert looked between them, then shook his head and gestured over his shoulder with his thumb. “Well, whatever it was, you’re burning daylight. Let’s get a move on. That gator’s not going to vacate himself.”

Hubert walked away and Demetrius looked at Cody.

“Sorry,” Demetrius said.

Cody shook his head, but couldn’t seem to look Demetrius in the eye. “What? No! Not your fault. I shouldn’t have… It was just something silly that…” He blew out a breath and stepped aside, waving for Demetrius to precede him out of the kitchen. “After you.”

Demetrius nodded and walked past him. Hubert waited until they were both at the door, then slid it open and all three stepped out onto the patio. Even though they were under the shade of the awning, Demetrius instantly started to sweat, but he wasn’t sure if it was mainly because of the heat, or his proximity to the alligator.

“How do you want to do this?” Demetrius asked.

“Carefully,” Cody replied, his eyes on the gator.

“That would make for a nice change,” Demetrius said.

Cody spared him a glare. “Cute.”

Demetrius gave him a tight grin. “I thought so.”

Cody looked around the pool area. “There’s one of those cleaner things over there by the shed. We could try to lure it to one of the pool corners and get some rope around the snout.”

Demetrius nodded, then asked, “Where are we getting the rope?”

“I don’t know,” Cody muttered. “I’m making this up.”

“Let’s check out the pool equipment they have,” Demetrius suggested.

They walked around to the other side of the pool, giving the edge a wide berth. The alligator moved its tail back and forth, spinning itself to watch them.

“That’s bigger than ten feet,” Demetrius said.

“Never took you for a size queen,” Cody said, surprising a laugh out of Demetrius.

“Inappropriate,” Demetrius replied, “for many reasons.”

The leaf rake leaned against the shed, and a life ring hung on the outer shed wall. A length of rope was attached to the life ring, and Demetrius watched as Cody tested its strength. A splash from the pool behind him made Demetrius yelp and jump forward to the fence and turn to look back. The gator had turned to float back into the deep end of the pool, keeping one eye on them as it slowly swished its tail back and forth in the water. Demetrius let out his breath and tried to step away from the fence, but his shorts caught on something. He looked down to see a gap where the wire fencing had pulled away from the steel pole, obviously where the alligator had gotten into the yard. A long, slimy looking strand of moss or seaweed had snagged on the top of the cyclone fence, and Demetrius leaned in to peer at it more closely.

“Okay, I have a plan,” Cody said.

“Huh?” Demetrius looked over at where Cody stood with the leaf rake in one hand, and the life ring rope coiled in the other. “Oh, yeah. Okay.”

“You distract it with the leaf rake, and I’ll lasso its snout.”

“Yeah?” Demetrius asked. “Have you ever rally lassoed anything before?”

“Have you?” Cody asked in reply.

Demetrius sighed. “Fine.”

He took the leaf rake and warily approached the deep end of the pool. The alligator turned to keep him in sight. Cody circled around the other side of the pool, the rope held loosely in one hand. Hubert stood back in the shade under the awning.

“Hey buddy,” Demetrius said as he dipped the end of the leaf rake in the water and made some splashing sounds.

“Let’s get you out of there, okay? You’ve got to hate the chlorine, don’t you? I bet it’s messing up your eyes, isn’t it?”

The alligator floated closer to the edge of the pool. Demetrius took a couple of steps back, extending his reach to keep the leaf rake in the water.

“Careful Demmy,” Cody said in a calm, gentle voice.

“Yep, absolutely,” Demetrius replied.

He knew alligators could move fast, but when the thing lunged at the leaf rake, as prepared as he thought he was, he was still unprepared for it. The gator grabbed the leaf rake in its strong jaws and twisted as it dove beneath the water. Demetrius reacted without thinking and tightened his grip instead of releasing the rake. As the gator pulled the leaf rake under, it pulled Demetrius into the pool and under the water as well.

Fear flared inside him like a supernova. He finally released the leaf rake and struggled up to the surface. This section of the pool was ten feet deep, so he couldn’t touch the bottom, and every moment he expected to feel the alligator’s jaws clamp down on his foot, or his leg and drag him underwater for good. Demetrius swam toward the edge of the pool that now seemed miles away instead of just a few feet. Cody was shouting something, but Demetrius couldn’t make it out over the sound of his own panting breath and splashing water.

Story_Orgy_logoSomething hit him in the back of the head and Demetrius screamed, thinking it was the alligator. But then he realized it was the life ring, and that Cody had thrown it to him. He grabbed the ring to hold himself up and looked across the length of the pool as he reached out for the concrete edge. The alligator swam right for him, its snout creating a furrow through the water. Demetrius’s heart pounded and his breath came in short pants. He was never going to see how his mother’s surgery went. He was never going to see his parents again. He was going to die with a whole list of things he had yet to do.

Cody was shouting his name over and over again, but Demetrius could not understand what he was saying. All he heard was the blood rushing in his ears and the sound of his own breathing. The alligator lifted its nose up out of the water and started to open its jaws. It was only a few feet from him now, and coming fast like a speed boat.

Demetrius pushed off from the wall, dragging the life ring along without thinking about it, just wanting something to hold onto, something other than water to touch to keep him anchored in life. The alligator hit the edge of the pool, sending a tidal wave of water out onto the deck and thrashing its tail in anger. Demetrius did the side stroke, heading for the shallow end of the pool as he kept the gator in sight, his left arm hooked through the life ring.

The alligator dove under the water and a sense of panic enveloped and consumed the fear inside him, building on it, quadrupling then octupling it lived within him like some kind of invasive spirit, making it difficult for him to breathe. Demetrius swam faster, kicking with his feet, stretching with his right arm as he watched behind him for any sign of the alligator. It was coming up from beneath him, he knew it, but there was nothing he could do about it.

Something tugged on the life ring, pulling him off his course and toward the side of the pool closest to the house. At that moment he felt the swell of displaced water behind him and it pushed him even further toward the house side of the pool. The alligator had surfaced right where he had been swimming, and if he hadn’t been pulled out of the gator’s path, Demetrius would have been dragged beneath the water and drowned.

Cody crouched on the side of the pool, Hubert right behind him, both of them pulling on the rope tied to the life ring, dragging Demetrius through the water toward them. Both men were shouting, but Demetrius still couldn’t understand what they were saying as his heart pounded, his breath rasped in his throat, and the water sloshed around him. He touched the side of the pool and then reached up, feet kicking, stretching for the bottom but still unable to find it. How fucking deep was this pool, anyway? Then Cody had  hold of his hands and lifted him out of the water and into his arms.

“I’ve got you,” Cody said, holding him tight against him. “I’ve got you. You’re safe.”

Demetrius’s heart pounded, and he could feel Cody’s heart beating in time. They both had been frightened by his fall into the pool.

“Someone’s upset he missed dinner,” Hubert said from behind Cody.

“Look out!” Cody said and pulled Demetrius back from the edge of the pool.

The alligator hauled itself half out of the pool, jaws opening and closing as its claws scrabbled for purchase on the slick concrete. Demetrius found himself staring down into the gator’s gullet, and when it closed its jaws briefly, reacted on instinct. He crammed the life ring onto the animal’s snout and pushed as hard as he could. The ring stuck tight around the alligator’s jaws and it dropped back beneath the surface of the water, the rope trailing after it.

Cody let out a whoop of joy and pulled Demetrius up against him, back to front, for a strong hug. Demetrius clung to Cody’s strong forearms as he leaned back against his strong frame, shivering even in the humid heat of the day as the adrenaline left his body.

“I thought I was dead,” Demetrius said.

“I thought so, too,” Cody said, and hugged him a little tighter. “I need to talk to you.”

“About what?” Demetrius asked. Hubert was tracking the alligator from the far end of the pool, pointing to it and laughing as the gator tried in vain to dislodge the life ring from around its jaws.

“Everything,” Cody replied. “Near death changes everything.”

“Let’s get rid of this gator first,” Demetrius said. “Then we can talk, okay?”

“Yeah.” Cody released him, but kept his big hands on Demetrius’s shoulders for a moment before finally letting go.

“Okay,” Cody called to Hubert. “We’ve got it kind of contained. How do we transport it back to the swamp?”

“The Underwoods have got a cart they bought from an airport auction,” Hubert replied, pointing to a roll up door for the garage. “It should manage the weight of the thing. We just need to wrangle it into the cart.”

Cody looked at Demetrius and rolled his eyes. “Oh, is that all?”

“Yeah, right,” Demetrius said, then looked away, wondering what it was Cody needed to talk about.

“It’s doing it for us!” Hubert shouted, pointing at the pool.

The alligator had been spinning beneath the water, doing barrel rolls as it tried to free its jaws. The rope attached to the life ring had wound around its body, pinning its front legs against its belly and further securing the gator.

“Holy shit,” Cody whispered. “We’re gator wranglers.”

“We are not adding this to our business cards,” Demetrius said.

“I am with you on that one,” Cody agreed. “Okay, let’s get this guy out of here.”

It took less time than Demetrius had expected. With the gator’s jaws secured, they used their end of the rope to pull it into the shallow end. Demetrius and Cody then got into the waist deep water and secured the alligator’s legs with the rest of the rope and made sure the life ring would keep the jaws shut. With much grunting and swearing, they lifted it out of the water and onto the hard backed transport stretcher they found on the far side of the shed and belted it in place.

“Good thing the Underwoods believe in being prepared for anything,” Cody said as he hefted his end of the stretcher.

“This thing weighs a fucking ton!” Demetrius said, muscles straining as they hurried the gator to where Hubert had backed the cart out on to the deck of the pool.

They had to rest one end on the cart—they chose the end with the gator’s jaws—and Demetrius and Cody help up the tail end of the stretcher as Hubert slowly pulled the cart through the garage and out onto the driveway. As Demetrius and Cody shifted the gator to ride across the back compartment, Hubert closed up the garage and let the Pomeranians out to ‘wee wee’ on the small strip of grass.

“I could use a wee wee myself,” Cody muttered.

“I don’t, I went in the pool,” Demetrius said, and they both laughed. “What did you want to talk with me about?”

Cody looked at him, really looked at him, and gave a mysterious half smile. “We’ll talk later.”

“Okay.”

Hubert returned and set off at a slow pace down the road, and Demetrius wondered what it was Cody wanted to talk about as he sat on the cramped back jump seat facing Cody, both of them with an arm around the gator to hold it in place. People stopped to stare and drivers swerved to give them plenty of room as Hubert cruised slowly down the street. Soon, they came to a cul-de-sac and Hubert pulled into a narrow driveway that led to a chain link gate secured with a padlock. A sign posted on the gate stated EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK – OFFICIAL ADMITTANCE ONLY.

“You’ve got a key to the Everglades?” Cody asked as Hubert got out of the cart.

“Let’s just say I found one,” Hubert replied with a wink.

He unlocked the gate and pushed it open, then climbed back into the cart and drove through the gate and onto a long, bumpy dirt trail. Trees grew close to either side of the trail, moss and lichen hanging from the branches down into the dark, still waters of the swamp. The air was close and even more humid inside the trees, and bugs swarmed them almost immediately.

“Great place your folks moved to,” Cody griped as he swatted several bugs in a row. “Does our health care cover malaria treatment?”

“I don’t think I checked that box when I signed us up,” Demetrius replied.

“Did they mean to move in behind the nation’s biggest swamp?” Cody asked.

“It’s not a swamp,” Hubert said over his shoulder, “it’s swamp-ish.”

“Swamp-ish?” Cody and Demetrius said together.

“Yeah,” Hubert replied with a wave of his hand as he kept his eyes on the trail. “Not really a true swamp, but it is a wetland. It’s swampish, but not a swamp.”

“Thanks, that clears it up perfectly,” Demetrius said and exchanged a wide-eyed look with Cody.

The alligator struggled within the rope and belts keeping it in place on the stretcher and they both tightened their grips on the board.

“I think we’re far enough from the condos now,” Cody said between swats.

The bugs didn’t appear to be bothering Hubert, and Demetrius wondered if there was some secret lotion he and Cody weren’t told about.

“Still too close,” Hubert said over his shoulder. “This gator needs to not find his way back again.”

They rode for another fifteen minutes, the alligator becoming more and more agitated the deeper they traveled into the Everglades. Birds called all around them and they drove through several swarms of biting bugs that left Demetrius and Cody covered in welts.

“Enough!” Cody shouted and reached forward to grab Hubert’s shoulder. “We’re getting eaten alive back here, man! Come on!”

“Okay, okay!” Hubert shouted back with a wave of his hand.

He brought the cart to a stop and they all clambered out. Demetrius and Cody did quick dances to shoo away the bugs swarming around them, and then approached the gator. Demetrius was at the head and watched the alligator’s eyes roll back and forth, scanning the area as they lifted the stretcher off the cart and carried it a few feet off the trail toward the dark, swampy water.  The ground was soft and their feet sank up to their ankles in muck.

“Oh, gross,” Cody exclaimed. “It’s in my shoes and my socks!”

“I know!” Demetrius said. “Me too!” He looked over his shoulder to where Hubert stood back on the trail. “This is so very much a swamp!”

“It’s not!” Hubert called back. “it’s–“

“Yeah, yeah, we know!” Cody shouted as he struggled in the muck. “It’s swampish!” He struggled to pull his foot free and finally said, “Here. Just set the fucking thing down here!”

Demetrius was glad Cody called it, because his left foot was stuck up to his shin in muck. He was afraid he was going to lose his shoe trying to pull his foot out. They set the stretcher down with the gator’s snout pointed toward the water about five feet away. Cody eased kept the stretcher belts fastened and slowly unwound the rope. He waved his hand at bugs and swatted a few, but kept focused his task as he had to pull the rope out from under the gator’s belly and then untangle it from around its legs. When he had the rope completely unraveled from around the alligator, he eased the life ring off the snout. The gator opened its jaws as it tried to get off the stretcher, but it was still belted down tight.

“On three,” Cody said as the gator thrashed back and forth. “One, two, three!”

Demetrius released the seatbelt style clasp on the belt near the tail at the same time Cody released the clasp on the belt near the gator’s head. They leaned back as the gator clawed its way off the stretcher… and turned away from the water and back toward the trail. It rushed past Cody who stood stuck in the muck, shouting in terror and waving his arms overhead. Demetrius was similarly stuck, his feet buried in mud, and they could only stand and watch the alligator run fast up to the trail and then head back toward the gate.

Cody looked at Demetrius, his expression of incredulousness mirroring just how Demetrius felt.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Cody shouted.

“Oh my God!” Demetrius shouted back.

“It’s going right back to the condos!” Cody looked over to the trail. “Hey, Hubert! That gator doesn’t like your swampish national park any more than we do. I guess he’s taken a liking to the taste of chlorine!”

Demetrius was focused on pulling his foot free without losing his shoe, so he didn’t think anything of it when he heard Cody calling Hubert’s name over and over again. He finally managed to work both feet free of the muck with his shoes still on, and he made his way carefully back to the trail, dragging the stretcher behind him. He stood beside Cody at the back of the cart and they looked up and down the trail.

“Where’s Hubert?” Demetrius asked.

“That’s what I’d like to know,” Cody replied.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

Comments Off on Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Eleven

Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Ten

Hi friends and happy first Monday of October!

Terror By Moonlight_cvrThe first book of this series, Terror by Moonlight, is available at Wilde City Press , Amazon , and All Romance eBooks! Check out the case that started it all for Demmy and Cody!

Are you ready for another chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature story with Demetrius and Cody?

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: It was the smallest of regrets.

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Ten

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

Thoughts collided inside Cody’s mind as Demetrius drove them back to his parents’ condo. Each collision caused the thoughts to explode into other, smaller thoughts that branched off into a wide variety of directions his brain tried to follow. Demetrius was talking about his Mom’s condition and the strong drinks he’d had the night before, but Cody was only half listening. He was still pretty amped up on the energy drinks, and whenever he turned his head it felt like his brain took a couple seconds longer to catch up.

And then there was the whole needing to talk to Demmy thing. There was a speech running on a constant loop in the back of Cody’s mind, sort of like a film clip in a museum that just repeats itself every few minutes. In his internal film clip, however, he could see himself from Demmy’s point of view, and he looked beat up and wicked bad. How long had it been since he’d had a decent night’s sleep? Shit, those missed hours seemed to be stacking up harder against him now as the years piled on him. Anyway, in the film clip, he would be able to see and hear himself stumble through an admission of sorts, that went something like, “Demmy, we’ve been friends for most of our lives, and now we’re spending even more time together running a business. As you know, I’ve been pretty restless in my dating life, only staying with the same girl for a few weeks at most. Well, I’ve done a lot of soul searching about it, and I think I’ve figured out what’s been missing.” Here he paused for dramatic effect and looked Demmy right in the eye. “You.”

“Goddamn it, take the senior shuttle and save all our lives,” Demetrius practically shouted. His exclamation pulled Cody out of his thoughts and back to the present where Demmy was trying to avoid rear ending a senior driver who had come to a sudden and complete stop directly in front of them. The elderly driver sat half outside of the center left turn lane, and now that all forward motion had halted, decided to switch on the left turn signal.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Demmy grumbled and waited for a break in traffic to their right before speeding around the elderly man who could barely see over the steering wheel.

“You okay over there?” Cody asked.

“I’m fine,” Demmy muttered. “Sorry about that.”

“Perfectly understandable,” Cody said. “It’s like a whole state filled with Widow Monroes.”

Story_Orgy_logoDemmy laughed, which was what Cody was going for. JoAnn Monroe, known around Parson’s Hollow as the Widow Monroe, was the widow of the town’s late fire chief who passed away forty years ago. She held a special place in the heart of the townspeople, for even as the hospital burned and collapsed before her, her husband trapped inside, JoAnn Monroe kept her emotions in check and continued to tend to the injured lying on the south lawn.

Now that the Widow Monroe was in her nineties, 96 at least, she refused to quit driving. For the safety not just of the Widow Monroe but everyone in town, the sheriff had installed a revolving yellow light on top of her car. It was a beacon to all others, motorists and pedestrians alike, and allowed people to keep track of where the widow was and adjust their own speeds and trajectories accordingly. Though she was annoying and, everyone quietly admitted, a menace to public safety in general, Cody had to concede the point that the Widow Monroe had inadvertently saved their lives a few months ago by running down a rage and steroid fueled monster pursuing them who had once been Reed Wilkes, a local farmer. All hail the Widow Monroe.

Cody looked over at Demmy’s profile, taking note of the strong line of Demmy’s nose, his rounded chin with its perfectly centered dimple, and a day’s worth of beard. He wanted to say something reassuring about Olivia’s condition, and then follow it up with a hint at the confusion of feelings that teemed within him… but the words, so clear in the film clip looping over and over in his brain, seemed muddled and in the wrong order when he considered saying them aloud.

Demetrius turned the car into a retirement village, which looked like every other one they’d passed, and Cody let the moment pass. If he tried to say something now, after being in the car for more than 16 hours and buzzed on energy drinks, he’d most assuredly fuck it up even more than he would if he were completely prepared. No, better to wait and get it at least half right than rush into it and get it all wrong.

Besides, Cody wasn’t really, truly sure he was ready for this big of a change. He knew he wasn’t satisfied with his personal relationships, but he wasn’t completely convinced he was prepared to switch teams and go gay, or at least bi. And he was definitely not sure he wanted to risk the most important relationship outside of his family on that kind of experiment. No, he needed to think about this for a bit longer, and get it right.

“Here we are,” Demmy said as he pulled into a driveway.

Cody stepped out of the car and groaned at the damp heat. He looked up and down the street at the condos that lined each side and then looked at Demmy. “How the hell do any of them get back to the right house?”

Demmy laughed and shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine. Some of them have seasonal flags to stand out, but the association has really strict rules about making changes to the condo’s appearance. Maybe it’s how the association employees get their kicks?”

“Weird,” Cody said, then grabbed his duffle out of the backseat. “Okay, let me drop off my bag, drain the dragon, and wash up a bit, then we can see what this old guy needs us to do.”

“Drain the dragon?” Demmy repeated as he preceded Cody to the front door.

“Well, it’s much bigger than a lizard, so, you know, I’m not gonna short change myself,” Cody said.

“I see.”

“Do you?”

Demmy unlocked the door and stepped into the condo and Cody followed, sighing gratefully at the cool air conditioning. He followed Demmy down the hall to what he assumed was the guest bedroom and they stood side by side just inside the door as they looked at the two single beds, one neatly made and the other with sheets in a tangle, apparently the one Demmy had slept in the night before. A small nightstand separated them, with barely enough room on its top to support a tall lamp and a wind up alarm clock.

“Which one of us is Laverne and which is Shirley?” Cody asked.

“Well, given your dating history, I’d say you should be the one with the big L on your chest,” Demmy replied.

Cody nodded in acceptance. “I see your point.”

He dropped his bag on the neatly made bed and unzipped it. After pulling out his flip flops, a few pairs of underwear and shorts, Cody finally found his toiletries bag. Demmy still lingered in the doorway and Cody held up his kit.
“Bathroom?”

Demmy stepped out into the hall, and pointed toward the far end. “Bathroom is two doors down on the left.”

Cody head for the bathroom, but stopped and turned back when Demmy called his name.

“I really am glad you drove down,” Demmy said, and shrugged. “Sorry I lashed out at you. I know you did it for me, to support me and my parents, and I appreciate it.”

Cody smiled and felt something within him loosen a bit at Demmy’s apology which sounded more sincere than it had back at the hospital when Cody’s anger and frustration had been so close beneath the surface of his skin.

“You’re welcome, Demmy. I’m glad to be here.”

After peeing for what felt like half an hour, Cody brushed his teeth, gargled with mouthwash, washed his face, and applied fresh deodorant. He felt a little better when he stepped out of the bathroom, closer to human at least.

Demmy was not in the bedroom when Cody walked in to return his shaving kit, and he took the opportunity to survey the narrow gap between their single beds. As best friends, they’d slept in the same room numerous times over the years, but with Cody’s recent contemplations about their relationship, this time the room sharing might be a little more awkward.

“You ready?”

Cody looked up and found Demmy standing in the doorway, keys in hand and that familiar expression that was a mix of slightly impatient touched with a bit of anxiety on his face. Cody stuffed his shaving kit back into the duffel he had haphazardly packed before Amelia had driven over to pick him up, and nodded.

“I’m ready. Let’s hit it.”

He followed Demmy down the hall and out the door, both of them griping about the heat the minute they stepped outside. Cody walked to the passenger door of the car and was surprised to see Demmy walk past the car and down into the street.

“We’re not driving?” Cody called out.

“No, Hubert lives just down the street.”

Cody felt his shirt already sticking to his back. “Oh? How far? Should we maybe drive down there in case we need to get the car like real quick?”

Demmy looked back at him, hands on hips. “I know the heat is a lot to get used to, but everyone sweats down here, Cody. You’ll get used to it, too.”

“Ridiculous state,” Cody muttered as he tromped down the driveway after Demmy. “No wonder it’s full of old people, their blood’s a lot thinner.”

It felt to Cody as if the sun were focused on them through a giant magnifying glass, probably pay back for all the ants he’d burned in such a manner when he was young. He regretted doing it now, but it was the smallest of regrets. Right now the heat was making him so crabby he’d set a whole colony of ants on fire if it would help ease his tension.

A few condos down from the Singleton residence a large boat anchor rested in a flowerbed, surrounded by some kind of wonder flower that didn’t seem to mind the blazing sun and heat. Demmy turned up the driveway and knocked at the door, and Cody noticed a long line of sweat sticking the back of Demmy’s T-shirt to his spine. He wondered whether he would be inclined to run his tongue through beads of sweat on Demmy’s skin if they did ever have sex, and the confused turmoil in Cody’s mind, sudden hardening of his cock, and oppressive heat nearly made him pass out. Thankfully, the door opened and an attractive woman in her mid-sixties stood there, looking cool and fresh. She smiled at Demmy, then set her eyes on Cody.

Over the years, he’d become pretty good at detecting the predatory lust in the gazes of women he met, and this woman took that lust to a whole new level. She practically dropped to all fours and let out a cougar growl. In a moment, however, she recovered herself and, running a hand through her platinum hair cut in a shoulder length bob, she stepped aside and allowed them to enter the deliciously cool interior.

“Thank you for coming over, Demetrius,” the woman said, then stood in front of Cody with her hand held out. “And who might this be?”

“This is my friend and business partner, Cody Bower,” Demetrius said. “Cody, this is Eunice Potts, Hubert’s wife.”

Cody heard the undercurrent of warning in Demmy’s tone, but Eunice either didn’t hear it or didn’t care about it, as her smile broadened and she took another step closer. Cody reacted on instinct and leaned down to kiss the back of Eunice’s hand.

“A pleasure to meet such a fresh daisy of a woman among all this humidity and heat.”

“Oh, my,” Eunice said, then stepped back when her husband entered the room.

“Took you long enough,” Hubert groused, and then glared at Cody. “Who’s this one?”

Cody stepped forward, hand extended. “Cody Bower, sir. I’m Demmy’s business partner and good friend.”

“Business partner?” Hubert nodded, ignoring Cody’s hand as he looked between him and Demmy. “Good. It’ll probably take the two of you. You’re animal control back up north, right?”

Hubert headed for the front door, and Cody sagged a bit when he realized they were headed back out into the heat and scorching sunlight. With a tight smile and a nod toward Eunice, Cody followed Demmy who followed Hubert out into the swampy heat.

“Yes,” Demmy was replying to Hubert as they headed across the street. The condos on this side of the street butted right up against a chain link fence behind which stood thick trees hung with moss. “We run a business called Critter Catchers.”

“Good name,” Hubert said over his shoulder. “Cute and catchy.”

Cody was surprised to hear such a description from the gruff and seemingly just this side of miserable man. Before he or Demmy could reply, however, Hubert pulled a key ring with a number of house keys from his pocket. He sorted through the keys and selected one which he fitted into the lock of a door at a condo which sported a Georgia Bulldogs flag. Two small Pomeranian dogs barked and pawed at the windows to either side of the door and Hubert groused at the animals as he pushed the door open.

“I know, I know,” Hubert told the dogs. “I’ve got help now. You can go out into the backyard soon.”

The air in the condo was cool, and Cody wondered if his skull might crack at such a drastic temperature change. The Pomeranians trotted around all of their feet, barking and pausing now and then to paw at their legs. Cody resisted the urge to reach down and pet them—he didn’t trust small dogs—so instead he nodded down to the keyring in Hubert’s hand.

“That’s a lot of keys,” Cody said.

“Yeah, I’m the pet sitter of a good part of the village,” Hubert said, and gave a small shrug. “I like the animals. This condo belongs to the Underwoods. They’re away visiting their grandkids in Arizona. But that’s beside the point. This is the problem I need help with.”

He led them to a sliding door and they stood side by side peering out at the backyard. The Pomeranians barked non-stop and pawed at the glass door, and Cody winced at the sound as he wished Hubert would just open the door and let the little rats out already. Something had to be amiss, though, so he looked around the backyard. An inground pool took up the majority of the backyard, save for a small patio right outside the sliding door and a strip of lawn the dogs probably wished was four times as wide. An awning extended from the back of the condo out over the patio, casting cool shade over a couple of tables and a number of chairs. An inflatable raft in the shape of an alligator floated low in the water.

“Notice anything unusual?” Hubert asked.

“Nice pool,” Cody said, then looked at Demmy. “Do your folks have a pool?”

“No,” Demmy replied with a sigh, then he frowned and squinted, leaning in closer to the patio door. “Did I just see what I think I saw?”

Cody looked out the door again. He frowned as he looked the backyard over, trying to find something unusual. “What did you see?”

“Is that a live alligator?” Demmy asked.

“What?” Cody stared at the pool float and jumped when the eye facing him blinked. “Holy shit. That’s a gator!”

“You’re both pretty quick,” Hubert said dryly. “Yeah, it’s a live gator.”

“Uh,” Cody said, but Demmy picked up his train of thought and interrupted him.

“Hubert, we’re not licensed to work here in Florida,” Demmy said. “And especially not with alligators!”

“I’ll pay you five hundred dollars,” Hubert said.

Cody lifted his eyebrows and looked back out at the gator. It was about ten feet long, but that didn’t seem that big when he considered the five hundred bucks.

Demmy cleared his throat. “That’s a generous offer, but surely there’s a team or a group associated with the village here that would handle this?”

“There’s been a lot of gators in peoples’ pools lately,” Hubert replied. “So they’re a little tied up. Until next week, actually.”

“That many gators?” Cody asked.

“That many gators,” Hubert said.

“Is that a typical number of gators in pools?” Cody wondered.

“No, it’s a lot higher than normal,” Hubert said, then shrugged. “Seems to be going up just like the number of missing people lately.”

“Think the gators are getting the people?” Cody asked.

“Doesn’t seem to be the case. Lot of the people are away from home when they go missing. You probably saw the notices at the hospital.”

Cody shook his head, but Demmy nodded and said, “I did see a number of flyers. My Dad said they were posted at the hospital in case the seniors had memory problems and ended up there.”

“Not that many Alzheimer’s patients around here,” Hubert said. “They’re in more controlled places.” He lifted his chin toward the pool beyond the door as the dogs continued to bark like mad. “What do you think? I’ll give you eight hundred, and that’s as high as I’ll go.”

Demmy blew out a breath and looked up at Cody. “What do you think?”

“Eight hundred bucks could help a lot,” Cody said. “It’s just an animal, right? And, to be honest, we’ve dealt with worse.”

Demmy smiled and nodded. “True. Okay, let’s give it a try.”

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

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Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Nine

Hi friends and happy last Monday of September. We are officially in autumn now!

Terror By Moonlight_cvrThe first book of this series, Terror by Moonlight, is available at Wilde City Press , Amazon , and All Romance eBooks! Check out the case that started it all for Demmy and Cody!

Are you ready for another chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature story with Demetrius and Cody?

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: Once…

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Nine

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

Demetrius yawned as he stood in line in the Coastal Waters Memorial Hospital cafeteria, holding two large cups of coffee. Both he and his father had had a tough time getting up and moving that morning. Apparently, Eunice’s super duper rockin’ and rollin’ margaritas packed more of a punch than either one of them had realized. Now, while his father visited with his mother in ICU, Demetrius had volunteered to make a coffee run to the cafeteria.

He remembered talking with Cody early in the evening, but couldn’t remember what had been said. As he shuffled up to the register, a bleary memory surfaced of him crying while talking with Cody, and he must have flinched because the woman behind the register asked, “Everything all right, dear?”

Demetrius flashed a quick smile and said, “Yeah, thanks,” as he handed over the twenty his father had given him, trying not to feel guilty about the fact that he was almost thirty years old and still taking money from his father for coffee.

The quiet sounds of the hospital pinged and scuffed and squeaked and gurgled around him as he made his way through hallways to the elevator, then up to his mother’s floor. She was sleeping when he walked in the room, her face turned away from the door and toward the corner where his father had dozed off in the one comfortable chair. Demetrius took a long moment to study them both, feeling as if a bubble of warmth and peace surrounded them all right this very moment, shutting out the ICU and the nurses and the reality of his mother’s condition. Right now it was just the three of them here together, just like it had been while he’d been growing up.

His birth had surprised them just when they had been planning out their retirements, but all of his life, they’d given him everything he needed and most of what he wanted. They had never once made him feel guilty for his late arrival, they’d only made him feel loved and cared for. When he’d realized he was gay, Demetrius had suffered with years of crushing guilt over being unable—unwilling?—to provide them with the standard daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Sure, he could adopt, or find a woman willing to be a surrogate, but Demetrius knew it wouldn’t be the same.

When he’d finally come out to them, they’d been quiet, but supportive. They’d told him it wasn’t the life they’d hoped he would lead, but that they loved him and supported him and wanted him to be happy. And then they’d each hugged him and told him it was okay to be gay, that they knew some very nice gay men who owned a florist shop in town and they seemed happy, and so they were sure he would be happy, too.

Now, as he leaned in the doorway of his mother’s hospital room, tears filled Demetrius’s eyes and he set down both coffees to grab a tissue from the box near his mother’s bed. He used the abrasive tissue to wipe his eyes and wondered why the hell hospitals couldn’t spring for a softer tissue with all the money they raked in. He decided to let his parents both rest, and set his father’s coffee on a small table beside him then left the room. He stopped at the nurse’s station down the hall and asked how his mother had slept, then when the doctor would be making rounds.

“Not until three o’clock,” the nurse replied, “sorry.”

“Ugh, long day,” Demetrius said. “Any word on a time for my mother’s surgery?”

“Oh, yeah, they have her set for 7:00 AM tomorrow,” the nurse said, then frowned. “No one told you? I’m sure we discussed it with your father.”

Demetrius sighed. “He probably thought I was there with him and heard it as well. Okay, thanks for letting me know.”

With the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon stretching before him, Demetrius decided to go down to the lobby. He needed some time to think and the cafeteria would soon get crowded and loud as more people arrived and lunch approached. He left a note for his parents telling them to send a text when they awoke, then he took the elevator down to the first floor. After getting turned around a few times, he finally figured out the color coded signs and lines on the floor of the hallways and stepped out into the glass and steel lobby where he paused to look around. Half of the lobby had been built as a large interior garden, with a number of paths and spaces set aside with benches near water features and colorful beds of flowers. Demetrius wandered through the paths for a bit, then settled on a bench set off in a corner that also allowed him a view of the hallway to the main elevators so he could keep an eye out for his father.

His brain was still sluggish from the tequila the night before, and Demetrius let his thoughts wander. He thought about growing up in Parson’s Hollow with older parents and how alienated and different from the other kids he had felt until he had met Cody. They had just enough in common to be able to stand just how different they were from Story_Orgy_logoeach other. Cody had always been exuberant and just this side of wild, having grown up as the middle child of five boys who were being raised by parents most considered just this side of hippy status. Demetrius, on the other hand, liked to read, spend time on his own in the woods around Parson’s Hollow exploring nature and birdwatching, and was the only child of parents who had already applied for the AARP cards. Once… well, more than once, Cody had claimed Demetrius was the oldest kid he had ever met. Memories of his time spent growing up with Cody made Demetrius smile, and he checked the time on his phone. It was just after eleven in the morning, and hopefully Cody was out on a job and earning them some money. Even though Marshall had promised to pay for Demetrius’s flight, there was still the matter of all the utility bills, both at the office and their apartments.

Demetrius decided he was too tired at that time to call Cody and check in on things, so he put his head back and closed his eyes. He needed to put aside all of his worries, the finances would take care of themselves, or they would close up shop and find new jobs. Either way it worked out, Demetrius knew he and Cody would still be friends, although if he had his preference, he’d rather keep working with Cody than meeting up for drinks with him after whatever soul-crushing desk jobs released them for the day. The past few months had provided more excitement, more danger and death, and more craziness than Demetrius had ever anticipated he’d experience in his lifetime. But the fact that Cody had been beside him the entire time had made Demetrius feel safe and protected.

Though right this moment he felt calm and relaxed, Demetrius knew tomorrow would be difficult. The doctors had said her bypass surgery could take six or more hours. And then there was recovery time in the hospital, and then recovery time back home which would take weeks. He’d have to arrange for someone to assist his parents at home for a while before he could even think about heading back to Parson’s Hollow. Again, too many thoughts tried to crowd into the front of his brain, and he made himself take a breath and push them all aside.

He listened to the quiet sounds of the water features and soft bird songs piped in from hidden speakers and let his mind drift. A bit of meditation instruction from a cassette he’d used during high school to help him prep for final exams came back to him and he latched onto it. He was a boat on a calm lake. Around him is nothing but silence and water. On the lake there is no vanity, no ego, no arguments. Here there is only himself and the space he is taking up. His problems and concerns have been left back on the shore and only rest and tranquility have accompanied him.

“Demmy?”

Demetrius started and opened his eyes, blinking up, way up, at the man standing before him. He had dozed off during his meditation and was a little confused, frowning as he stared up at this new arrival. Where was he? Was he back home and had been dreaming this whole time that his mother was going to have heart surgery?

“Demmy, it’s Cody.” He hunkered down in front of the bench and looked him in the eye, concern clear in his expression. “Everything okay? You all right?”

“Hi,” Demetrius said, and pushed himself upright on the bench as he looked around in confusion. He was still in the lobby of the Coastal Waters Memorial Hospital, he sat in the garden and could hear the bubbling of the water and the electronic bird sounds. But if he was here, how was Cody crouching in front of him? “What? How?”

Cody smiled and the warm and wonderful sight of it made Demetrius smile in return.

“After you and I talked last night I called up Amelia and we drove down,” Cody explained. “She drove the first five hours while I slept, and then I drove the rest of the way.” He widened his eyes, the dark chocolate brown so familiar and comforting. “I’m kind of tired, but I’ll sleep when I’m dead, right?”

“But, who’s running the office?” Demetrius asked.

Cody rose to his full six foot five inches with a grunt and sat on the bench next to him. “Well, remember I told you about Jugs helping me out?”

Demetrius nodded. “Yeah. But he’s not trained.”

Cody shrugged. “I trained him.”

“In a day?”

“It was a crash course,” Cody said, then put an arm around Demetrius and pulled him in close. “Sorry if I smell funky, but I just spent sixteen hours in a car driving like hell.” He chuckled. “Aunt Amelia could be the next Danica Patrick.”

Demetrius pushed away from Cody and glared at him. “Dammit, Cody, I told you things were fine down here. And now you’ve hired someone we barely know to run our business while we’re both away? Come on, I trusted you to be responsible and take care of things back home and a day later you show up down here in Florida. How is this helping us grow our business? How is this bringing in money for us to be able to live on?”

Cody’s open and earnest expression shut down as Demetrius spoke, and he pressed his lips tight together. When Demetrius had finished, Cody looked at him and when he spoke his voice was chilled by anger. “I appreciate what you’re saying, but I feel like you’ve stepped over a line, Demmy, and it hurts. Just so you know, I came down here to support you during a really difficult time, so I’m sorry if my concern for you and my friendship has become a bother to you, because like it or not, I think of you as my best friend first and my business partner second. And, second, your Aunt Amelia wanted to come down and I suggested she and I drive down in her car to save all of us the money of a last minute flight, which I would hope you could appreciate since you jumped on one to come down here yesterday. I would have appreciated hearing a thank you instead of getting bitched out for leaving someone behind to field calls and manage our business, yes for a cut of the money coming in, but also as maybe a future employee we could use to, I don’t know, go on vacation ourselves.”

He got to his feet and stood looking down at him, his expression and stance so closed off and defensive a tidal wave of shame and guilt swamped Demetrius.

“Cody…”

“I get that you’re stressed, okay,” Cody interrupted him. “But it doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole when someone does something nice for you. You could be a decent human being about how much Amelia and I put ourselves out to be down here to support you and provide what help we can.”

He turned and started to walk off, but Demetrius was fully awake now and got to his feet quick, grabbing Cody’s arm and pulling him back. Cody resisted, but just slightly, and that gave Demetrius hope that he hadn’t done any permanent damage with his rant. He tugged on Cody’s arm, feeling the muscle tighten beneath his fingers and wondering how it would feel to be as strong and tall as Cody even as he pulled his friend around to face him again.

“I’m sorry,” Demetrius said, looking Cody in the eye as he continued to hold onto his upper arm. “Please forgive me. You surprised me and I had just been worrying about money before you showed up.”

Cody grunted and looked away a moment, then back at him. “You’re always worried about money.”

Demetrius nodded and grinned. “I’d have to agree with you about that.” He gave Cody’s arm a gentle shake.

“Forgive me?”

After letting out a heavy breath, Cody nodded and pulled Demetrius in for a tight hug. “How could I stay mad at my best friend?”

Demetrius closed his eyes and lost himself in the damp heat of Cody’s body and the vague funk of his travel sweat. It was good to have Cody here now, despite his concerns about what was happening back home with their business. Now with Cody alongside him, Demetrius felt he could handle anything that might happen.

“Cody?” someone said from behind them, and they turned to see Marshall standing there with Amelia beside him, both of them smiling.

“Hi Mr. Singleton,” Cody said, and reached out to shake Marshall’s hand.

“Oh, stop that handshake foolishness and come here,” Marshall said and pulled him in for a strong hug, looking ridiculously short and elderly compared to Cody. That didn’t stop Marshall from thumping Cody on the back a few times before releasing him and stepping back. “And I think it’s time you started to call me Marshall. You’re more like family than anyone else in Demetrius’s life.”

“Marshall it is,” Cody said, and glanced at Demetrius, his grin igniting a warm feeling of home inside Demetrius’s chest. Then Cody looked back at Marshall and asked, “Can we see Mrs. Singleton… sorry, Olivia?”

Marshall frowned. “I’m sorry, son, it’s family only. They’re very strict about that sort of thing here.”

“You take Amelia upstairs, Dad,” Demetrius said. “Cody and I will head to the cafeteria.”

“You sure?” Amelia asked as she moved around Cody and Marshall to give Demetrius a hug.

Demetrius hugged her back, grateful she had arrived to help take some of the pressure off of him. “Oh yeah, I’m sure. I’m getting hungry anyway.”

Marshall and Amelia turned away, then Marshall turned back and pulled his phone from the pocket of his shorts.

“Oh, I forgot, Hubert sent me a text asking if you could help him with something back at the condos.”

“Oh?” Demetrius asked, curious what Hubert would need him for since the condo association had a maintenance crew. “Do you know what it is?”

Marshall shook his head. “No idea. I’ll forward you the text and his number. Here, you can take our car since Amelia has her car here now.”

Demetrius accepted the keys and pocketed them, then looked up at Cody as Marshall and Amelia turned the corner and disappeared from sight.

“Well, we can go back to my parents’ condo and you can get a shower and sleep a bit if you want,” Demetrius said.

Cody nodded, his expression thoughtful as he met Demetrius’s gaze. “Yeah, why don’t we head back there. I’m not that tired right now though, I had a few energy drinks the last leg of the drink so I’m pretty perky.”

“Oh boy,” Demetrius said with a groan and led the way toward the parking garage and his parents’s car. “Try not to over perk yourself, eh?”

“I love it when you talk dirty,” Cody said.

“I know you do,” Demetrius replied, and punched the button for the elevator, then grinned up at Cody. “I’m glad you’re here.”

Cody furrowed his brow. “Really?”

Demetrius nodded. “Really. I just hope Jugs doesn’t burn someone’s house down.”

Cody shrugged. “We’re probably due for that ourselves, the luck we have.”

“Good point.”

The elevator arrived and they stepped into the car. As the doors slid shut, Demetrius’s phone buzzed and he looked at the text from his father with Hubert’s phone number and the brief message the man had sent. No clue in the message as to what Hubert wanted Demetrius’s help with, and he wondered what he might be in for. Well, if Cody was going along with him, Eunice would probably fall all over herself to get Cody to drink one or two of her super duper rockin’ and rollin’ margaritas, and that would open the doors to anything happening. Oh boy.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

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Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Eight

Hi friends and happy Monday!

Terror By Moonlight_cvrThe first book of this series, Terror by Moonlight, is available at Wilde City Press and is now up for preorder at Amazon. Check out the case that started it all for Demmy and Cody!

Are you ready for another chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature story with Demetrius and Cody?

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: “I would like to make an exchange, please.”

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Eight

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

A ball of sweat ran down Demetrius’s side and buried itself under the waistband of his underwear. He picked up the margarita glass—also sweating—and took a sip, then coughed and blinked back tears. It was mostly tequila, and Demetrius needed it after the long day he’d had. He had talked with nurses and doctors and more nurses and different doctors, trying to understand everything and retain it. Then he’d talked with his parents while fielding text messages from Cody and Amelia. Even Oliver Berridge, the man he had dated for several months until things just sort of faded out, had texted just to check in and hoped things were well. Apparently word was spreading around Parson’s Hollow about his mother’s condition, and Demetrius wondered ruefully if Oliver was going to write a short article about it, maybe title it something like, Here’s What’s Up With…

“How’s that ‘rita treating you?”

Demetrius took another sip and, as the tequila burned its way down his throat and brought fresh tears to his eyes, he nodded and smiled. “Just what I needed.”

Eunice Potts stood on the lanai of the condo she shared with her husband, Hubert, the slightly prickly man who had picked Demetrius up at the airport earlier that day. Had he only been in Florida less than one day? Demetrius took another sip of the margarita that tasted like a chemical fire in his throat and felt the warmth of the liquor seep through him as he blinked away more tears and smiled at Eunice. Her shoulder length platinum blonde hair perfectly framed her tanned, youthful face, and her tan shorts and pink polo hugged her trim body. If Demetrius had to guess, he’d say Eunice was at most sixty-five years old to Hubert’s most likely seventy-eight, and she was in a hell of a lot better shape than her husband.

“Spending the day inside a hospital is a real suck ass way to pass the time in Florida,” Eunice said with a firm single nod, tiny hands fisted on her hips. “Your parents are real lucky to have a son like you who flew all the way down here to help out during all this.”

“Well, they’ve done so much for me,” Demetrius said, shocked to hear himself already slightly slurring his “S” sounds. “It’s the least I can do for them.”

Hubert stuck his head out the sliding door, his silver pompadour sweeping back from his forehead which was now wrinkled with concern. “Those storms are getting stronger out in the Atlantic.”

Eunice smiled over her shoulder at her husband. “We’re not planning to do any sailing on the ocean, dear. We get more tropical storms than we can count down here, you know that. No need to raise the alarm yet.”

He made a noncommittal grunting sound, followed up with, “I’ll be back in a few minutes. I need to walk the Fosters’ dogs.”

“Okay. I’ll keep Demetrius and Marshall company,” Eunice replied and smiled at Demetrius, then frowned and looked toward the house. “Where is your father?”

“I’m here, I’m here.” Marshall stepped through the sliding glass door. He wore white shorts with leg openings that seemed to float around his skinny thighs, a bright red short sleeved button down shirt, and dark socks with sandals. He held a margarita glass of his own and took a sip from it as he crossed to sit beside Demetrius at the glass topped table.

“How’s your ‘rita, Marshall?” Eunice asked.

Story_Orgy_logo“Well, let me check and see.” Marshall reached out to pick up the drink that sat in front of Demetrius and took a sip. His eyes widened and he blinked a few times as he stared at Demetrius. He slowly returned the drink to its place in front of Demetrius, then held his own glass out toward Eunice. “I would like to make an exchange, please.”

Eunice folded her arms and gave him a steady look. “Oh, you would, would you?”

“Yes. I would like one with just as much tequila as my son’s.” Marshall shook the glass, making the ice cubes rattle.

“You should not have so much alcohol while you’re taking blood pressure medicine,” Eunice said.

“If it’s not the alcohol it will be something else, Eunice,” Marshall replied, and shook his glass a little harder. “I’d like to enjoy what time I have left.”

Demetrius was about to swap drinks with his father just to end the stand off between two when Eunice let out a heavy, persecuted sigh and stomped up to the table. She snatched the glass out of Marshall’s hand and strode into the house, sliding the patio door shut hard behind her.

Demetrius looked at his father for a moment, both of them wide-eyed, then they each lost control at the same time and burst into laughter. It lasted just a minute or two, but it felt good to have that bonding moment with his father, whom Demetrius had never felt very close to as he’d been growing up.

“She’s the worrier of our group.” Marshall gestured toward the patio door. “She’s kind of like an exuberant Girl Scout who wants to make sure everyone else is safe and sound before seeing to herself.”

“She’s nice,” Demetrius said. “Both Eunice and Hubert are nice.”

“Hubert’s a bit of a prickly pear at times, but he’s a dependable friend.” Marshall nodded and his eyes took on a faraway, sad quality. “They’ve helped me so much with your mother’s health problems.”

“Health problems?” Demetrius asked after another swallow of his margarita. “Has she had problems before this?”

“Oh, a few,” Marshall replied, seeming flustered now, as if he’d slipped up and said something he shouldn’t. “We didn’t want to worry you about those things, though.”

“But I do worry about you guys,” Demetrius said. “Just like you worry about me. I feel now like I should call you more often to check in.”

“No no no.” Marshall waved Demetrius’s statement away. “We are very proud of you, and happy that you’ve started this new business venture. We both just hope you find someone special to bring into your life soon. And we don’t care about the fact that you’re gay, we just want you to be with someone who loves and appreciates you for who you are.”

Tears filled Demetrius’s eyes, and he grabbed his glass for a hearty swallow. “Dad—”

Eunice opened the patio door and stepped out, balancing a small tray supporting two margaritas with one hand as she used her free hand to close the door behind her. As she approached the table, Demetrius’s phone buzzed in his pocket and he pulled it out to check the display.

“This is Cody,” Demetrius said. “It might be work related.”

Marshall nodded and sipped the fresh drink Eunice handed him. As Demetrius accepted the call and got out of his chair, he heard his father say, “Now that’s a margarita!”

“Hi there, how are you?” Demetrius said, the air conditioning making him shiver as he stepped into the condo.

“Hey, hi,” Cody said, sounding surprised. “I didn’t expect you to answer. I was prepared to leave a message.”

“Dad and I are at a condo down the street from my parents’ place, having drinks,” Demetrius explained.

“Drinks to celebrate Mom being okay?” Cody ventured.

“Well, drinks to relax us,” Demetrius said. “And, boy, am I relaxed now.”

“What’s going on, Demmy?” Cody asked, his voice soft.

“It’s a lot to deal with, that’s all,” Demetrius replied. “I mean, I just got here this morning and I’m already exhausted. I don’t know how people deal with health care for an aging parent on a day to day basis. It’s pretty overwhelming.”

“I’m sorry,” Cody said. “What can I do?”

Cody sounded so earnest and thoughtful and open to whatever Demetrius needed from him, that it sent a wave of emotion through him he was powerless to hold at bay. The tequila had loosened him up, and now Cody’s sincerity and understanding had knocked aside the small barriers Demetrius had erected during his day at the hospital. He tried to say that Cody was doing what needed to be done by staying at home and managing the business, but what came out was an audible gulping sound followed by a hitching breath and then a choked sob as tears spilled down his cheeks.

“Demmy? Jesus, are you crying?” Cody’s tone was alarmed and Demetrius could just picture him pacing the open space in their office, or perhaps the length of the living room of his apartment. “Demmy, talk to me. Tell me what you need me to do. Do you want me to come down there? I’ll be there tomorrow morning. Fuck, I’ll pack a bag and start driving there right now.”

Demetrius took some deep breaths in an effort to get himself under control. He palmed the tears from his eyes and wished he’d brought his drink inside with him. When he felt like he could talk again, he said, “Sorry about that.”

“Hey,” Cody said, that gentle tone back in his voice that seemed to reach right inside Demetrius’s chest and wrap around his heart. “You had me worried there. I thought things were, like, really super bad down there.”

“No, just kind of lonely.”

“Want me to come down?”

“We can’t afford to have both of us away from the business,” Demetrius said.

“Hell, we can afford to be closed for a few days.”

“We haven’t made enough to pay the rent on the place yet this month,” Demetrius told him. “And besides, I’m fine. I’ve just had a very strong margarita, and you know what tequila does to me.”

“Makes you horny, if I remember correctly,” Cody said, and Demetrius could hear the smile in his voice. “You say nice things and get pretty handsy.”

“You’re an ass,” Demetrius muttered.

“Yep, got a fine one at that,” Cody shot back, then turned serious again. “I could be down there in no time, Demmy. Just give me the word. You know that.”

Demetrius smiled as he thought about Cody coming down to Florida. Cody would charm all the senior women in the retirement complex and befriend all the men within an hour. And his parents loved Cody, they’d probably fed him half the dinners he’d eaten all the years they’d been friends in school, so they would enjoy seeing him, too. But the money was a concern for Demetrius. He’d always been very budget conscious, his parents instilling in him from an early age the importance of budgeting his money and not overspending. But with this business they’d started, it felt most times like he’d overextended his monetary reach, and it left him feeling unsettled and edgy.

“I know, Cody,” he finally said. “But I’m okay down here, really. I’m tired from the flight down, and the first day was just a little overwhelming with all the doctors and medical decisions. She’s going in for a bypass in a couple of days.”

“A bypass? Shit, Demmy, that’s pretty serious. Shouldn’t Amelia be down there with you guys at least? I mean, she is your Mom’s sister.”

“No, I don’t think she needs to be here,” Demetrius replied, trying to explain his parents’ wishes while he didn’t believe them himself.

“That’s your folks talking,” Cody said, calling him out immediately. “They’ve always been like that, the whole,” here he tipped his voice into a falsetto range as he said, “‘No, we don’t want to put you through any bother, but Olivia is having open heart surgery, but everything is fine!'”

Demetrius could not help laughing. “My parents do not sound like that.”

“Maybe not to you, but that’s because you grew up with them,” Cody said. “To the rest of us, they sound just like that.”

“You’re crazy.”

“You’re crazier for being my friend.”

“This is a good point.”

A comfortable silence stretched out between them, and within it Demetrius thought he could hear the whispers of so many things he should be saying but couldn’t. Not only was Cody straight, but he was his best friend, and also completely out of Demetrius’s league. Even if Cody were gay, there was no way he’d be interested in Demetrius as more than a friend. They were just too different. And Cody was way too good looking for Demetrius to even hope to land him. And, as he’d had to remind himself many times over the years, Cody was straight. End of story.

Sometimes, opposites didn’t attract.

“Okay, I should get back out on the patio,” Demetrius said, “before my father gets himself plastered on margaritas.”

“Keep us posted, okay?” Cody said. “I mean it.”

“I will, I promise. Jobs going okay?”

“Yeah, sure,” Cody said breezily. “I go to a place, I get dirty, I get paid, I come back to the office. The usual.”

“No crazy monsters to chase?”

“Not yet,” Cody replied. “But the week is still young.”

“Yeah, true. Well, take care.”

“You, too,” Cody said. “Talk to you soon.”

“Bye.” Demetrius disconnected the call and stood for a moment in Eunice and Hubert’s maritime themed living room, smiling at the salt water fish tank. It had been good to talk with Cody, even if it was for just a few minutes. He did miss the big lug, he had to admit that.

Demetrius took a breath, let it out, then headed back out on the lanai where his father and Eunice were arguing over which grocery store that had the best price for turnips.

*     *     *

Cody stood in the middle of his apartment living room holding his phone. The sound of Demmy crying had flipped a protective switch inside him that he couldn’t seem to deactivate once it had been thrown. No matter what Demmy had said after he’d pulled himself together, Cody knew he and Amelia should be down there.

He scrolled through the contacts list in his phone and touched Amelia’s number, listening as it rang on her end.

Amelia answered sounding slightly out of breath. “Hi Cody, have you heard anything?”

“I just talked to Demmy and he’s trying to tell me we don’t need to be down there, but…”

“I want to go,” Amelia said immediately. “Do you think we can get flights this late?”

“Not sure, but that’s pretty pricey anyway,” Cody said. “Tell me, how many miles do you have on your car?”

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

Comments Off on Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Eight

Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Seven

Hi friends and happy Monday! Are you ready for another chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature story with Demetrius and Cody?

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: This was not about you.

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Seven

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

Cody stood on the back patio of Parson’s Pines Nursing and Convalescent Home of Serenity. It was early—well, early for him at 9:30 AM—and the day was already warm and on its way to hot. He stood with his arms crossed and legs spread, watching his grandmother Felicia where she sat on a bench under a shade tree. She was very animated, looking years younger than her actual age as she talked and tipped her head back in bouts of gleeful laughter. It was all very idyllic, but Cody just wished his grandmother sat with at least one other person. Instead, she sat on her own, talking to whoever might be appearing in whatever time period she was living in at that moment.

Finding her in these states made him uncomfortable. He loved seeing her happy, but worried for her. Most times when she slipped into the past, she had no idea who he was, and that always left him feeling sad and alone. She was the only relative that remained in Parson’s Hollow. His parents had moved to Arizona years ago, and his four brothers had scattered to different states where they were busy with families of their own. Cody hadn’t stayed in Parson’s Hollow just for his grandmother, but now that she was living in the past more than the present, he was glad he’d remained close. Now, not wanting to confuse her, he hesitated to approach where she sat on her own out under the tree.

“She’s asked about you.”

The voice was sure but shaky and when Cody turned he found a spry looking elderly man standing behind him. He was about a foot shorter than Cody with wild wisps of white hair standing up around his nearly bald head. A retro cool Star Wars T-shirt made Cody grin before he responded to the man’s statement.

“Asked how? Like wondering why I haven’t stopped by more often?”

“No, nothing like that,” the man said with a shake of his head and a frown. “More like wondering when you’d come by again. She says you’re her favorite grandson.”

“Probably the only one she can remember,” Cody said as he looked across the lawn to where his grandmother was enjoying the party inside her mind.

“Not on her lucid days,” the man said. “She mentions all five of you by name, but gets a big smile when she talks about you.”

“That’s better than most of my ex-girlfriends,” Cody mumbled.

“I hear that,” the man agreed.

Cody grinned and stuck out his hand. “Cody Bower.”

The old man took Cody’s hand and gave it a surprisingly firm shake. “Wallace Benson.”

“Thanks for the talk, Wallace. I needed it today.”

“Glad to help.” He gestured to Felicia. “Go on out and visit with her for a while. I know she’d like it.”

Cody walked out to the space beneath the tree. A grouping of chairs surrounded the bench on which Felicia sat, and he lowered himself into the one nearest her. She was in the middle of a laugh, and when he sat down, the laugh cut off abruptly and she turned to give him a long, steady look.

“Hi Grandma Felicia,” he said. “How are you today?”

Story_Orgy_logo“This was not about you,” she said. “But I’m glad to see you.”

Cody cocked his head and gave her a tentative smile. “Oh? Well, I’m glad to see you, too.”

“You’re the only one of my grandchildren that comes to see me,” Felicia said. “I still have some of my memory intact, you know.”

Encouraged, Cody moved from the chair to sit beside her on the bench. He stretched his arm out around the back of the bench and touched her bony shoulder. Even with the heat of the day she felt cool to his touch, and he considered going back inside to grab a sweater from her room.

“You know, I’ve always been able to tell when you’re troubled, Cody Duran,” she said. “And lately, you seem to be dragging trouble around behind you in a great big bag.”

“You make me sound like Santa Claus or something, Grandma,” Cody said.

“Santa Claus with a bag full of deep thoughts maybe.”

“First time anyone’s considered me having a deep thought.”

“Well, I doubt that’s the truth,” Felicia said with a sniff. “You’ve been known to stretch the truth when it suits you.”

Cody laughed and shook his head, then pulled her up against his side for a hug. “You don’t let me get away with anything, do you?”

“Can’t say as I do,” she replied. “Now what’s on your mind?”

Cody shook his head. “Just feel like I’m at a crossroads right now, Grandma.”

“Those are the most exciting places to be,” she said with a smile. “It makes you decide, one way or the other, about something.”

“It could mess up something very special,” Cody said.

“So it’s a romance quandary,” Felicia guessed. “Take it from my many decades of experience, it’s very telling if you are feeling this confused and concerned about her…” She leaned in closer and lowered her voice. “…Or him.”

A shock went through Cody, and she must have felt it reverberate through him because she let out a gentle laugh and said, “Oh, I may have hit the nail on the head.”

“What are you saying?” Cody asked. “How do you know so many things?”

She gave a gentle shrug. “When all you do is sit and talk to people from your past who are no longer alive, those around you tend to talk more openly. I’ve seen the way you and Demetrius act around each other. You care for him, and you owe it to yourself to find out just how much.”

“This doesn’t bother you?” Cody asked. “The fact I’m thinking about a man in this way?”

“You’re all hung up on the masculine and feminine of it all,” Felicia replied. “You need to put that aside and focus on the relationship. Does it feel right? Does it feel good? But most important of all, does it make you happy and do you make each other laugh?”

Cody sat and stared at the trunk of the tree for a long moment. He thought about Demmy and all the years they’d known one another. He thought about the connection between them and how deeply he felt it when they were together, and how much he missed Demmy now that they were apart. It felt as if things were unfinished or something was not quite right in his life. It was similar to how he felt when he went to the store without a list and couldn’t remember the one important item he’d written down, only this was much more intense and left him feeling hollow and out of sorts. Was Demmy feeling this way without him around, or was he too busy trying to manage his mother’s health care?

“He does and we do,” Cody finally said, and when he looked at his grandmother, he saw she had tears in her eyes and felt the sting of his own. “Why are you crying, Grandma?”

“Because, my dear sweet boy,” she replied and wiped away her tears, “after all of the years of dating and trying to find someone to keep your interest for longer than a few weeks, you’ve finally realized he’s been beside you all along.”

“Jesus, has it been that obvious?” Cody wondered, suddenly scared his brothers and his parents might have figured it out as well and have something less accepting to say about it all. Especially his brother Robert, who was the most conservative out of all of the Bower boys.

“Not to everyone,” Felicia said, “and I’ve only noticed it very recently.”

“I just never thought I would be… gay, you know?”

“It doesn’t mean you’re gay, my dear. It just means you have feelings much more intimate than friendship for Demetrius. It’s not a gay or straight concern, it’s love.”

Cody laughed. He tipped back his head and laughed loud and long at the tree branches arching overhead. Behind them, he could hear a small group of residents talking and laughing as well, and he hoped he and Felicia were the subject of their conversation.

“Where did you come up with all of this stuff?” Cody asked.

“Oh, honey, just because I’m in my nineties doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s going on,” she replied. After a long pause, she held up a wrinkled and bony finger and said, “Usually I don’t know what’s going on. Sometimes I get confused. But right now, I know perfectly well that I’m talking with my grandson, Cody, who I love very much, and who I want to see happy.”

“Well, Grandma, I want to be happy, so we’ve got a lot in common.” He kissed her on the cheek and gave her a careful hug. “Now, let’s talk about something else.”

“Good, Horatio over here was getting bored with all of this gay and straight talk,” Felicia said with a wave to an empty chair and an elaborate roll of her eyes. “He’s so dramatic.”

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

Comments Off on Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Seven

Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Six

Hi friends and happy Monday! Good God, can you believe it’s LABOR DAY?! I hope you’re enjoying your long holiday weekend (at least my US friends). Summer has flown past, and so is this story! Are you ready for another chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature story with Demetrius and Cody?

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: There were sirens.

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Six

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

There were sirens approaching, and Marshall Singleton slowed and pulled the car to the curb to allow the ambulance to pass. Demetrius studied his father’s profile, noting the thick white hair swept back from his narrow forehead which was now lined with deep creases, nose that seemed somehow larger—dear God, was this what Demetrius had to look forward to?—and the square jaw with the deep cleft right in the center.

“So many ambulance runs down here,” Marshall said, his deep voice sounding tired. “Those companies make a fortune off us seniors.”

Demetrius squeezed his father’s shoulder and gave him a quick smile. “You want me to drive, Dad?”

Marshall frowned and gripped the wheel tight. “I’ve been managing to drive for almost 80 years, Demetrius. I think I can manage to get from our condo to the hospital.”

“Okay, I was just offering.”

Demetrius looked out his side window at the retirement communities and acres and acres of swampland they slowly passed by. His father was a slow driver, always had been, and it made Demetrius think back to when he had been growing up in Parson’s Hollow. Because his parents were so much older than pretty much every other set of parents in town with kids his age, Demetrius had always felt like an outcast, at school, among his few friends, at their community pool, and at social events like picnics and even Cub Scout meetings. His parents were always the oldest parents in attendance, their silver hair standing out among the younger and hipper parents, and Demetrius felt somehow responsible for that. He sensed their awkwardness when interacting with the other parents—awkwardness which extended to both parties in the interaction—and Demetrius felt bad for them. He felt so bad, he stopped telling them about every event, and took to showing either alone or as a member of Cody’s jumble of brothers with his calm, down to earth mother or his environmentally conscious father.

A few years after he and Cody had become friends, Cody had cajoled Demetrius into figuring out how old his parents had been when Demetrius had been born. Instead of just coming out and asking, Demetrius had made it a kind of investigation. He snuck into their bedroom and checked their driver licenses for their birth years, then he did the math and was surprised to discover that his mother had been forty-seven years old and his father fifty when they’d had him. He remembered being stunned at those ages back then, and still to this day.

All through his life, Demetrius had heard the story of how he had been conceived and born. Marshall and Olivia Singleton had tried to have children all throughout their twenty-five years of marriage. Only a few pregnancies had resulted from their countless nights together, and each of those had ended in a miscarriage. The two had put all thoughts of having a family behind them when, three months following their silver wedding anniversary, Olivia had discovered she was pregnant yet again. She was anxious about the pregnancy, and her doctor had cautioned her about the dangers of childbirth at her advanced age, but she took her vitamins and exercised and ate right and went to see her doctor more frequently than a younger mother would. The next six months went like clockwork and finally, on August 26, a stormy night in 1987, following ten hours of labor, she gave birth to their son, their precious little miracle, and they named him Demetrius Barnaby Singleton. Demetrius had been his mother’s father’s name, and Barnaby was the name of his father’s favorite relative, an uncle who had died more than a decade before.

Story_Orgy_logoHis father turned into the parking lot of Coastal Waters Memorial Hospital, and Demetrius looked up the side of the ten story building that blazed white under the hot sun. Thankfully, a tall parking structure was attached, and after searching for ten minutes, Marshall finally found a spot on the fourth level. They walked without speaking to the steps and Demetrius was glad to see his father walking down to the crosswalk with no problems whatsoever. He was 78 and still pretty spry. Demetrius had that going for him, at least.

Marshall waved to a number of older people they passed in the halls, greeting several of them by name. When they were alone in the elevator, Demetrius asked, “A lot of your friends are here it seems. Are they visiting Mom?”

The smile Marshall gave him seemed grim. “This area is just a way station to the grave, Demetrius. We all came down here to die.”

“Jesus, Dad!” Demetrius exclaimed. “That’s a bleak way of looking at it.”

Marshall shrugged as the elevator doors opened. “It is what it is, son. We’ve had a good life, and we have enjoyed living down here. What happens next is just like what happens with everybody else.”

“Well let’s hope it’s put off a little bit, okay?” Demetrius said as he followed his father down the hallway. “No need to rush the reaper, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh, I know what you mean all right,” Marshall replied and stopped at the hydraulic doors leading to the Intensive Care Unit to turn and look at him. “I don’t want to alarm you, but your mother may look … bad to you.”

“Bad?” Demetrius repeated. “Bad how?”

But Marshall had slapped his hand on the plate to open the doors and was already power walking away. Demetrius grumbled a curse and followed after his father who he found just around the corner at the nurse’s desk.

“This is Demetrius,” Marshall said with a wave of his hand.

“Hi Demetrius, and you’re they’re grandson?” the nurse asked with a smile.

“I’m their son,” Demetrius corrected.

“Oh. I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right, Peggy,” Marshall said with a smile. “It happens a lot. I just wanted you to know who he was since he’s come down to see to us. Anything you tell me or Olivia you may also tell him.”

“Well, it’s very good of you to come down,” Peggy said with a smile. “I will make a note that Demetrius may be updated about Olivia’s condition as well. Let us know what we can do to keep Olivia comfortable. Her surgery is scheduled for two days from now, so any questions you have in the meantime or any items you all might need, just let us know.”

“Surgery?” Demetrius said, looking between Peggy and his father. “What surgery? When was this decided? Why wasn’t I told?”

“I’m sorry,” Peggy said, flustered once again. “I thought your father would have told you.”

Demetrius looked to his father but found himself looking at Marshall’s back as he walked off down the hall. “Yes, I would have thought so, too.” He put his hands on the counter and smiled at Peggy. “Apparently, my Dad isn’t up to discussing this with me. Can you please give me a quick overview of my mother’s condition?”

Peggy tapped some keys on her computer and gave him a quick update on his mother. Olivia had suffered a rather severe episode of angina. While not technically a heart attack, it was a symptom of a heart condition. After a number of tests, the doctor had discovered she had a number of blockages of her coronary arteries, and so had scheduled her for a triple bypass.

“Oh my God,” Demetrius said, his voice barely above a whisper. He felt cold and a little light headed. How could his father not have told him about all of this? He’d mentioned the possibility of a bypass during the phone call, but why hadn’t he told him about the surgery on the drive over?

“It’s really a much more simple procedure these days,” Peggy assured him. “The surgeons here do a number of them every day. She’s in very good hands.”

Demetrius gave her what he hoped was a genuine smile. “Thank you, Peggy. For the reassurance and the update. And for taking care of my parents.”

“They’re very sweet,” Peggy replied. “The whole staff likes them both and we’ve been taking good care of your Mom. She’s down the hall in room 38.”

Demetrius thanked Peggy and headed down the hall, pausing outside room 38. He heard the low murmuring of his parents conversing and took several deep breaths, preparing himself for his mother’s condition. His father had warned him his mother would look pretty bad, and Demetrius didn’t want to make her feel any worse than she probably already did. When he felt he was ready, he fixed a big smile on his face and stepped into the room.

“Demetrius! Oh, my boy, just look at you!”

He stopped and stared, his smile falling as his expression went slack. His mother sat in a recliner pushed into the corner, her left leg crossed over her right thigh as she applied polish to her toenails. Her silver hair was cut short and worn in gentle waves that framed her tanned face. She had applied a light layer of lipstick and her blue eyes practically glittered with vitality when she saw him.

“Mom!” Demetrius managed to say. “You look great!”

“Oh, stop lying and come over here and give me a hug.”

Demetrius crossed to her and leaned down. Olivia pulled him close for a strong hug and kissed both cheeks before releasing him. She smiled up at him, practically beaming.

“I thought…” Demetrius looked to his father and found Marshall looking through a magazine. He looked back to his mother and shook his head. “Never mind. Anyway, you look really great for everything going on.”

“Well, I do get tired easily,” Olivia said, “but I thought that was the new blood pressure medication or something. Anyway, I cut back to three yoga sessions a week, and I’ve only gone to the track twice a week. The doctor says the blockages are most likely genetic and hereditary, so you might want to see your doctor when you get back home.”

“Okay, yeah, I will. Are you nervous about the surgery?”

Olivia widened her eyes. “I’m terrified! And I’m going to have a scar on my chest.”

“She’s going to obsess about it when she puts on her swim suit for water aerobics,” Marshall said and turned the page of the magazine.

“Oh, Marshall,” Olivia said before bending back to polishing her toes.

Demetrius stood at the foot of the hospital bed and looked between them. His mother sat in the recliner with her leg pulled up practically to her crotch in a show of flexibility that put him to shame, and his father sat in a plastic chair across a small table from her, looking through a magazine aimed at active geriatrics. If there wasn’t the smell of antiseptic in the air, the quiet calls for doctors in the hall outside the door, and the hospital bed to his left, Demetrius might think he was standing in the living room of his parents’ condo.

“So, you look well,” he said, unable to get past how youthful and vibrant his mother appeared. Had she always been this way and it had just taken Demetrius spending years apart from them for him to see it?

Olivia smiled at him, then gestured to the bed. “Have a seat, honey. Tell us about your company. What’s the name again? Critter Catchers?”

Demetrius sat on the edge of the bed. “Yeah, Critter Catchers. It’s been, well, it’s been a bit wild.”

“Oh?” Marshall put down the magazine and sat with his hands folded in his lap and an expectant expression on his face. “Wild in what way?”

“Well, we’ve had some really unusual cases.”

“Are you getting paid?” Marshall asked.

“Yeah, we’ve been paid,” Demetrius replied, and thought to himself, When our client didn’t end up dead.

“Making enough to get by?” Marshall asked.

“For the most part,” Demetrius said.

“How’s Cody?” Olivia asked, and smiled as she shook her head. “That boy is quite the charmer. Is he still charming?”

He was surprised to feel a genuine smile cross his face at the thought of Cody. “Yeah, he’s still charming. It’s been kind of fun running the business with him.” Demetrius left off saying that it was also a little confusing and sort of frustrating as well.

“Amelia loves when you two stop by her house,” Olivia told him. “Every time I talk to her she just raves on and on about you two.”

Demetrius shifted position on the bed, a bit uncomfortable at the fact that his mother—and, by extension, Aunt Amelia—made him and Cody sound like some kind of couple.

“Well, we both like to keep an eye on her,” Demetrius said.

“So, any nice men in your life?” Olivia asked.

“God, Mom, really?”

“What? A mother can’t ask about her son’s love life?”

A nurse walked in at that time with a plastic bin. “Time to donate some blood.”

Marshall got to his feet. “I’ll take Demetrius down and show him where the cafeteria is located.”

“Oh, bring me back a fruit cup,” Olivia said, then looked at the nurse. “Can I have a fruit cup?”

The nurse smiled. “Save your money. I’ll get you one from the cart.”

“So sweet,” Olivia said with a smile. “See you boys in a bit.”

Demetrius followed his father to the elevator and they rode down to the first floor in a group of men and women, all of them quiet as they watched the floor numbers change. When he stepped off the elevator behind his father,

Demetrius stopped to look at a bulletin board covered with missing persons flyers.

“Dad? What’s this all about?”

Marshall turned to look. “Oh, those are people missing from the area. Their friends and relatives post their pictures and information in the hospitals in case they’re brought in or wander in. Some of them most likely have Alzheimer’s.”

“This is a lot of people, Dad,” Demetrius said in a quiet voice as a chill went through him. “Has there always been this many?”

His father shrugged. “I guess so. A member of our pinochle group went missing six months ago.”

“What? That’s awful. Have they been found?”

“Not yet. We thought she might have wandered off into the Everglades and got taken by a gator. Lots of pets lost to those around here, you know.”

“Gators?” Demetrius looked back at the flyers and counted eight. “Do you think gators could have gotten all of these people?”

Marshall shrugged again. “I guess it’s possible. There are a lot of gators out there in the swamps. People don’t realize just how fast they can run, you know?”

“Yeah, but, did all of these people wander off into the Everglades?” Demetrius wondered.

“The ‘glades are big and wild, Demetrius,” Marshall replied. “No one really knows what happens out there.”

“You’re sounding kind of creepy there, Dad,” Demetrius said.

“Didn’t mean to.” Marshall put a hand on Demetrius’s shoulder and turned him away from the bulletin board with the smiling photos. “Come on, son, I’ll buy you some lunch and you can tell me about these wild nights catching critters.”

Demetrius allowed his father to lead him off down the hall, but he couldn’t stop thinking about the flyers posted on that bulletin board. How many other flyers were posted at different hospitals in the area? Weren’t the police involved in this at all? If he was back home in Parson’s Hollow, he or Cody would go to the police station and have a talk with Lucia Durant, a sheriff’s deputy and another in a long string of Cody’s ex-girlfriends. She usually gave them a difficult time whenever she saw them, but Demetrius could always count on her to be honest with him. Down here in East Glades Bayou, however, he had no connections at the police station, and if he were to pay them a visit and ask what they were doing about their many missing person cases, they might take offense.

It was probably a good idea to keep a low profile for now. Besides, he had his mother’s impending surgery to worry about.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

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Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Five

Hi friends and happy Monday! Good God, can you believe it’s the last Monday–the last DAY–of August? Summer has flown past, and so is this story! Are you ready for another chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature story with Demetrius and Cody?

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: Open the box!

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Five

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

Cody stepped back from the smoke and stench billowing out of the sink and coughed to clear his lungs. In an effort to save a little money, he’d bought frozen mini pizzas and stored them in a small fridge at the office. Of course, he’d had to first buy the small fridge from Costco. And the toaster oven in which he’d left the first two pizzas during his call to Demmy. So, in hindsight, he probably hadn’t saved much money when he compared it to eating out.

“No wonder Demmy’s worried about leaving you alone with the business,” Cody muttered.

He shut off the water he’d been running into the sink and surveyed the damage. The two mini pizzas were charcoal lumps and would have to be thrown out. The tray from the toaster oven would require a soaking, and then a severe scraping to remove the baked on pizza toppings. He sighed and put his hands on his hips as he shook his head. Maybe he shouldn’t be left on his own for too long. Maybe he should have accompanied Demmy to Florida and support him during this difficult time.

“Nice odor,” a man said from the kitchen doorway, “is that a new body spray?”

Cody jumped and managed to hold back a startled shout before he turned to find a tall, African American man standing in the doorway, his broad shoulders extending almost frame to frame. A soft halo of hair made him almost as tall as Cody, and he wore a big, bright smile on his handsome face.

“Jugs!” Cody stepped froward for a bro-hug, shaking Jugs’s massive hand and leaning in for a brief hug accompanied by a couple of hard pats on the back for each of them.

Darnell Perramon—known by the name Jugs because of the size of his pectoral muscles—had attended Harriettville High School, the nearest school to Parson’s Hollow and its biggest sports team rivals. While Cody played defense as a linebacker, Jugs had played as an offensive tackle, and the two had often gone head to head. Jugs was a few inches shorter than Cody’s six foot five height, but he had a massive chest and the name-claiming pecs to go with it. He was handsome and outgoing and probably three times as cocky as Cody, which amounted to around seven times more cocky than other men. They had always had an easy-going, casual friendship based on respect for each others’ athletic and dating prowess.

“What brings you by?” Cody asked.

Jugs shrugged his big shoulders and folded his muscular arms. “I was slumming around over here in Parson’s Hollow and thought I’d stop in and see how being a business owner was treating you.” Jugs slid a glance toward the ruins of the mini pizzas in the sink. “Pretty much the same as when you were in high school, huh?”

Cody waved him off and turned back to the sink to stuff the pizzas down the disposal. “Yeah, yeah. You think you’ve got it made over there in Harriettville with your fancy manager position at Furniture, Furniture, Furniture and your two bedroom apartment.”

“Well, I did have it made,” Jugs said with a sigh, “until they let me go.”

“What? What happened?”

“Business is dropping, so they had to make some cuts,” Jugs replied. “Guess they only needed fourteen people to manage Furniture, Furniture, Furniture.” He shrugged. “I’m trying to see it as a business decision, and nothing personal.”

“Well, that sucks,” Cody said. “I’m sorry to hear that. You have anything lined up yet?”

“Not yet. I’ve got a bit of money saved, so I’m taking my time.” He stepped back into the hallway and looked down the short hall to the office space. “I like what you and your friend have set up here. Demetrius Singleton, right? Your friend from high school?”

Story_Orgy_logoCody felt a small twinge of nervousness, wondering what track the conversation was about to take. He had no idea where Jugs fell on the gay acceptance spectrum—they really hadn’t been that close of friends, more like friendly rivals—but Cody mentally prepared himself to defend Demmy’s honor. And, apparently, his own, with the thoughts he’d been having lately.

“That’s right,” Cody replied. “Demmy had the idea, and I’ve come along for the ride.”

Jugs nodded then stepped out of sight, disappearing toward the office setup. Cody followed him down the hall and into the not much wider space taken up by his and Demmy’s desks pushed together to face each other, a filing cabinet, and a couple of plastic visitor’s chairs, in case they ever had a visitor.

“This is a nice setup,” Jugs said. “Small, but professional.” He cocked an eyebrow as he looked Cody up and down, taking in his work boots, cargo shorts, and old, comfortable polo. “It’s almost like you’re an adult now, Bower. If you’d just learn to dress better.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Cody said, waving off Jugs’s comment. “Look who’s talking.”

Jugs gave a quiet laugh and his expression shifted for a moment to something so sad, so lost, Cody was surprised to find himself choked up. He knew just how Jugs felt, because he’d been feeling the same way before Demmy had come up with the idea for them to start Critter Catchers. Trapped in some dead end job, or losing some dead end job, and not knowing where to go or how to feel happy.

Before he could respond, however, the desk phones rang, and he circled the desks to sit in his chair and pick up the receiver. “Critter Catchers, this is Cody.”

A woman’s voice sounded as if she were edging toward hysterical panic. “Hi, yeah, um, you’re animal control, right?”

“That’s right, ma’am, we catch all sorts of critters. What kind of critter is giving you problems?”

Jugs pulled out Demmy’s chair and sat across from Cody, smirking as he listened to his end of the conversation.

“There is a deer that’s gotten trapped inside my yard,” the woman explained, her voice going up in pitch with her frustration, “and it’s battering my privacy fence with its antlers. It’s ruining my fence!” She took the phone away from her mouth and Cody could hear her shout, “Hear now, stop that! Stop that right now!” She came back to the phone, a little breathless. “It’s very agitated, and when I’ve tried to shoo it out the gate, it’s charged me instead. It’s just frantic and I have to get it out of my yard. Oh, my jonquils!”

“Okay, I can help you out,” Cody said. “Give me your name and address and I’ll be right over.”

The woman practically screamed the information to him and Cody wrote it all down, promised her he’d be right there, and hung up. He looked at Jugs and found him sitting with his elbows on the desk, chin propped in his hands, grinning at him.

“The master at work,” Jugs said. “You got her name and address before you even got her number. Very smooth.”

“Hey now, this is all professional,” Cody said and grabbed his keys and wallet from a desk drawer before he stood up.

The comment from Jugs made him a little uncomfortable, and he wasn’t really sure why. Well, he pretty much knew why—he had a long standing reputation for being the Parson’s Hollow Lothario, but he wanted—needed—to change his ways if he was serious about pursuing something more meaningful with Demmy. All of this deep thinking and fretting was new to him, and it wasn’t just the whole guy-on-guy aspect of it all. Cody had never really, truly been in love before, with a woman or a guy, and when he thought about it, when he really let himself think about what he was contemplating with Demetrius, Cody seemed to just get more and more confused. He thought he was ready to step outside of his comfort zone, but this was going to be a major change for him, and he needed to be certain he was ready for it, not just for his sake, but for Demmy’s as well.

“So, you’re off then, I guess, huh?” Jugs said and got to his feet.

“Yeah, this woman, Ann Eaton, has a deer trapped in her backyard trashing her privacy fence.” Cody started to turn for the door, then stopped and turned back. “Hey, you got anything going on right now?”

Jugs shook his head. “Nope.”

“Want to do a ride along? We could catch up and you could watch a master animal controller in action.”

“Master animal controller, huh? We meeting someone else there?” Jugs grinned, then shrugged his big shoulders.

“Sure, why not? I’ve got nowhere to be and all the time in the world to get there.”

“Okay, then, come on.”

The drive to Ann Eaton’s place took fifteen minutes, during which time they talked about games they’d played in high school, and Jugs brought up girls they’d both dated. Cody was not surprised to find out he and Jugs had been swimming in the same dating pool. Ever since high school, when they’d first learned of each other, the two had seemed to be trading off a long list of girls, each of them dating a girl either just before or just after the other. It got to be a kind of competition, really, and one Cody liked to think he’d won. However, some evenings, when he sat in his apartment alone, playing video games or watching shitty reality TV shows, he had his doubts. And from the sound of things on Jugs’s end, he was having his doubts as well.

Ann Eaton turned out to be an attractive woman in her fifties with shoulder length blonde hair and hips that would make Cody’s Grandma Felicia shout “now she’s a baby-maker!” Ann stood on her front porch, hands clutched together, eyes wide as she watched them pull up to the curb.

“Ms. Eaton?” Cody called as he walked up the driveway. A loud bang from the tall privacy fence near the back of the house brought him and Jugs up short. The driveway ended at a grassy strip in front of the fence, just beyond a side door into the house. Cody saw no garage roof above the top of the privacy fence, which explained why there was only a standard gate entry into the yard, and not a double swing gate entry to allow a car to pass through.

“As you can hear, I have a situation,” Ann Eaton said. “Come inside and you can look out the patio door.”

Cody introduced Jugs—having to stop himself from using the man’s nickname and refer to him as Darnell—and they followed her into a small, bright kitchen and up to a sliding glass door. A wrought iron patio chair had been situated on the small wooden deck outside the door, most likely to discourage the deer from smashing through the glass and into the house. Two dogs barked from a back bedroom, sounding like a smaller breed, maybe Pomeranians or some kind of terriers, the kinds of dogs Cody didn’t care for. Every small dog he’d met had been a biter.

When he peered through the sliding door, Cody saw a 12 point buck run full tilt at Ann Eaton’s privacy fence, hit the once treated and nicely painted wood fencing, and then stagger back. Dents and splinters were left in its wake, and the deer turned to charge another section of fence with the same result.

“That damn thing is costing thousands of dollars,” Ann said with a groan.

“You tried opening the gate?” Jugs asked.

Ann gave him a sour look. “Yes, I tried opening the gate. And the stupid thing avoided it and chased me back into the house. Then the school down the street let out and I didn’t want it charging into a group of kids, so I closed the gate again.”

“Kids are a lot of trouble, aren’t they?” Jugs asked, apparently trying to lighten the mood. Ann gave him a long, steady glare and he took a step back though he towered over her by at least a foot.

“Okay, we’ll see what we’ve got out in the truck,” Cody said. “You called the right company.”

“Just hurry, please.” Ann flinched as the deer rammed into another portion of the fence, then shouted through the patio door, “Damn you! Damn you to deer Hell!”

Jugs followed Cody out to the truck and when they were out of earshot, tried to stifle his laughter as he said, “Damn you to deer Hell?”

Cody chuckled as he pulled his coveralls out of a storage compartment in the bed of his truck and stepped into them. He handed Jugs a spare pair of coveralls, and as he pulled them on, Jugs asked, “What the hell are you going to do to get that deer out of there?”

“I don’t know yet,” Cody replied. “I’m thinking.”

“Got a tranquilizer gun?” Jugs asked.

“We’re not that sophisticated,” Cody said. “Or licensed. Plus those things cost money, and we just got Demmy’s truck out of the shop and got our credit card balances paid down, so we’re about at enjoying food again.”
Jugs furrowed his brow. “Damn, Bower. Sounds like you and Demetrius are married or something, the way you talk about him.”

Panic and frustration reared up within Cody as he turned his back to Jugs and sorted through the various implements in another storage compartment in the bed of his truck. He knew what he should say—he should say that it was none of Jugs’s business what kind of relationship he and Demetrius had—but he was quickly finding out that the knowing and the saying were two different things. While Cody had slowly allowed himself to think about having a sexual relationship with Demetrius, he had no idea if either of them were ready yet for that kind of change. And he hadn’t really, truly sat down and considered what it would mean to the people they knew, including those on the outer edges of their personal networks. So, instead of what he should say, Cody managed to cobble together something that sounded good and truthful as he assembled a net with a long handle and a long handled tool with a loop at the end he thought he might be able to slip over the deer’s head and antlers.

“Well, Jugs, when you go into business with someone, it kind of becomes a marriage,” Cody said, and handed Jugs the net. “Here, make yourself useful, unlike that homecoming game we played against each other in 2003.”

“Was that the same game you let our quarterback slip past you three times to score?” Jugs asked.

Cody shot him a dirty look. “No. That was a different game.”

Jugs grinned. “I see.”

“Yes, I hope you do.” Cody started up the driveway once again. “Come on.”

“So what’s your plan?” Jugs asked, and Cody liked that the guy sounded a little nervous, because Cody was pretty much ready to piss himself. While deer were pretty much harmless, any pissed off animal could be dangerous, especially one with bone hard weapons on its head and sharp hooves on its feet.

“I’m kind of playing things by ear,” Cody said.

“Sort of like how you played football, eh?”

Cody stopped at the fence with his hand on the handle as he turned to meet Jugs’s gaze. “Exactly. Which is why Parson’s Hollow High beat Harriettville High in the state standings three years in a row.”

“Too bad about your senior year,” Jugs shot back, then nodded at the gate. “Ready?”

“Jugs my friend, I’m always ready.”

Cody pushed open the gate and stepped into the yard. He felt Jugs crowd in behind him, then heard the gate click shut. He scanned the yard, letting his gaze pass over a shed in the back corner as he looked around for the deer. Before he could locate it, however, Jugs gave a shout and ran off to the left, sticking close to the fence. Cody looked right and saw the deer charging at him, head down and antlers ready for a goring. He dove out of the way and ended up flat on his stomach on the ground as the deer hit the fence and staggered back, shaking its head.

With the deer momentarily stunned, Cody scrambled to his feet and ran to the opposite corner of the yard. He’d dropped the long handled loop somewhere along the way, but Jugs was waiting in the corner and still held onto the net. Cody was glad to see that Jugs’s eyes were wide and his smart mouth shut tight.

“That deer is fucking pissed,” Jugs said.

“Probably just got back from a date with your Mama,” Cody said.

“Really?” Jugs asked. “You gotta go there now? We’re about to be skewered by some ragaholic deer.”

Cody looked around the yard as the deer shook its head and regained its bearings. A crazy idea flickered to life, and he mentally cursed himself for dropping the loop.

“Okay, I’m going to get its attention,” Cody said.

“Uh, what?” Jugs asked. “You want it to charge us?”

“Yep,” Cody replied. “And we’ll wait until the last second and then jump out of the way. When it hits the fence it’ll knock itself silly for a minute or two and that’s when we’ll get our hands on it.”

“You want to grab it?” Jugs asked, his tone perfectly relaying what he thought about Cody’s idea. “With our bare hands?”

“I’m going to get the loop and we’re going to push it over and I’ll hog tie its feet together. Then we’ll carry it to the truck and take it out to the woods.”

“Really?”

Cody nodded. “Yep, really.”

“Is this the kind of bullshit last minute stuff you and Demetrius do every day?” Jugs asked.

“Pretty much,” Cody replied, and stopped himself from adding, Only we usually have a monster or two thrown into the mix every so often. Instead, he met Jug’s gaze and asked, “Ready?”

Jugs took a deep breath and let it out. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”

“Here we go.” Cody waved his arms overhead and shouted. “Hey, stupid deer! You’ve got some real anger issues. Come on over here and try to get us again. Come on, stupid!”

The deer lowered its head and charged them. Cody grabbed hold of Jugs’s arm, keeping him in place until the last possible minute when he released his hold and they jumped to either side. The deer stampeded between them and hit the fence at full speed. Cody ran across the yard and grabbed the handle of the loop, then turned to see Jugs with the dazed deer in a headlock, trying to get the animal on the ground. The deer wasn’t about to go down easily, though, and tossed its head, antlers narrowly missing Jugs’s face.

Cody ran to assist and pulled the deer’s hind legs out from under it, sending both it and Jugs toppling to the ground. He fell to the grass on his knees and gathered the deer’s flailing feet together beneath one arm, doing his best to avoid being kicked by the animal’s sharp hooves. Once he had all four legs held in place between his side and his arm, Cody got the loop around the deer’s ankles and tightened it.

“Got it!” Cody shouted, and he and Jugs moved away from the deer. It lay on its side, twisting its head around and flopping on the ground like a fish as it tried to get its feet free, but the loop held tight.

“I can’t believe it worked,” Jugs said, and then let out a deep, rumbling laugh that got Cody going as well.

“Did you get it?” Ann called from the sliding patio door. “My dogs have to pee!”

Cody remembered the dogs and looked around, dismayed to find he’d gotten dog shit on his boots and coveralls. Well, at least he had a change of clothes in the back of the truck. Jugs appeared to have escaped the poop land mines as he sat catching his breath, a small cut on his cheek the only sign he had recently struggled with an enraged deer.

“Yeah, we got it,” Cody replied. “Just need to get it out of the yard. Do you have a wheelbarrow or a cart or something?”

Ann remained inside the house as she stuck an arm out of the patio door and gestured toward a shed in the back corner that stood surprisingly unscathed. “There’s a wheelbarrow in the shed. It’s unlocked. You didn’t kill it, did you?”

“No, it’s not dead,” Cody said as he got to his feet with a groan. “Just angry.”

It took them longer than he’d hoped to get the deer into the wheelbarrow, and it bucked and thrashed the whole way down the driveway to the truck. After several attempts to lift the writhing and kicking deer into the truck, Cody and Jugs finally managed to slide the animal into the truck’s bed and, as the deer lay staring at them with glazed eyes, they leaned on the sides of the truck to catch their breath.

“This is a fucked up way to make a buck,” Jugs said, then grinned. “Make a buck. Get it? We captured a deer, we’re making a buck.”

Cody groaned. “A regular comedian. I’m going to get paid, get in the back.”

“Wait, what?” Jugs looked at the deer then back at Cody. “Oh, hell no. I’ll drive wherever you tell me to go, but I’m not riding back there to get beat on by some deer. This is your job, not mine.”

“Fine. Give me a minute.” Cody walked back to the front door where Ann stood with a credit card in hand.

“My fence will need to be replaced,” she said, giving the deer an angry stare as Cody swiped her card through the small reader he attached to his phone.

“Insurance may cover it,” he offered.

“I got video of it on my phone,” she said. “That lazy ass insurance agent better cover it.”

Cody wished her a good day then trudged back to the truck and climbed into the bed, sitting with his back against the sidewall and his legs over the deer’s side.

“Where to?” Jugs asked through the small back window.

“Parson’s Pond,” Cody replied. “Lots of woods out there.”

“You’re the boss,” Jugs said, and slowly pulled away from the curb.

As the deer snorted, panted, and thumped against the truck bed beneath his legs, Cody wondered how Demmy was doing down in Florida, and hoped his Mom was improving. He wished he’d gone down with him, or at least taken him to the airport, rather than agreeing to let Amelia drive him. He’d been spending so much time with Demetrius lately, his absence was like a physical presence.

Jugs turned down the dirt road leading to Parson’s Pond and the truck bounced over the ruts. Cody winced and grunted along with the deer until Jugs pulled the truck off the road and onto the grassy berm. Cody got out of the truck and he and Jugs hauled the deer to the edge of the tailgate, and Cody loosened the loop. The deer kicked and they both ducked away from the hooves.

“Feisty little fucker, isn’t he?” Jugs said.

“Cuz of your Mama,” Cody said as they managed to get the deer off the tailgate and onto the ground, “I told you that.”

The deer swung its head back and forth, and then, with a buck of its hind quarters, it ran off into the trees. Cody watched the deer go and suddenly felt a kind of kinship with it. He felt like he wanted to buck and kick free of his old life and run into something new, something better, and deeper, with Demmy.

“All right man,” Jugs said and clapped him on the shoulder, startling him back into the moment. “I need to get back.”

“Yeah, sure,” Cody said. “Let me get out of these coveralls covered in dog shit first.”

“I was going to say your new body spray sucks,” Jugs came back with, “but I think I already told you that.”

Cody chuckled and stepped out the coveralls and kicked off his shoes, tossing it all into the bed of the truck. He got in the driver’s seat and drove them back to the small strip mall housing the Critter Catchers office. Jugs followed him inside and sat at Cody’s desk to wait as Cody washed up in the small bathroom.

When he stepped out of the bathroom drying his hands, Cody said, “You did good on the job with me today. I appreciate the help.”

Jugs nodded. “I gotta admit, it was kid of fun. Even with you covered in dog shit, which is about the sweetest thing I’ve seen in a while.”

Cody smirked and shook his head. “Always a class act, aren’t you?”

Jugs spread his arms wide. “I’m just a great big chocolate covered Christmas gift. Open the box, baby!”

Cody laughed and pulled his wallet out of his shorts. He fished out $50 and handed the cash to Jugs. “You earned this.”

“Hey, Bower, you don’t have to do this.”

“No, seriously, Jugs, I couldn’t have done it today without you. Thanks.”

Jugs got up and stuffed the money in his pocket. “Well, hell, Bower, if you need help like that again, just give me a call. I can definitely help control some critters for a little bit of scratch.”

“You’re on, Jugs,” Cody said and waved toward the door. ‘Now get out of here. I need to get home and get a shower, then go pay a visit to my grandma.”

“You’re just as all American as they come, aren’t you, Bower?”

Cody shrugged and thought about Demmy and how he’d like to make a life with him and wondered if that would be considered all American. Instead of bringing all that up, however, he said, “Just like apple pie, baseball, and Superman, my friend.”

Jugs gave him another bro-hug, and then stepped out into the July heat. Cody milled around in the office for a bit before he left and locked the door behind him. He wiped sweat off his brow before he got into the truck and headed for his apartment, thinking about Demmy and wondering if it would be too much to call and check in again, maybe tell him about the job with the deer and get him to laugh. But then again maybe it would be better to leave that for tomorrow. Later tonight he’d go see his grandma and maybe stop by Amelia’s house and check on her, too.

As he drove, Cody thought more about Demmy and caught himself whistling.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

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Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Four

Hi friends and happy Monday! Are you ready for another chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature story with Demetrius and Cody?

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: He closed his eyes.

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Four

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

The plane banked and Demetrius leaned forward to see, flinching at the pull of the scrape on his back. It was better that morning, but still sensitive. He was sitting between a nervous woman in a business suit who occupied the window seat and a painfully thin man with a dark, wispy goatee and a glazed look on the aisle. How the man had managed to get through security, Demetrius had no idea, but at least both had left him to his thoughts and didn’t try to force conversation for the flight to Florida.

The blue water of the Atlantic Ocean sparkled down below, while just past the white sand of the beaches glass and steel buildings glittered. They were descending into the gleaming jewel of Miami, perched on the dangling tip of the Florida peninsula, and the nearest airport to his parents’ retirement village, East Glades Bayou. Demetrius had never really understood the name of the place. Well, not a part of the name anyway. East Glades referred to the fact that the community sat on the eastern edge of the Florida Everglades, about an hour north west of Miami. The Bayous part of the name was a mystery to Demetrius, to him that was more of a Louisiana term.

Story_Orgy_logoOddly named community or not, his parents had moved there when he’d been finishing up his final semester of college. All of eastern Pennsylvania had just endured an especially brutal winter, and his parents had announced their plans to permanently relocate during Demetrius’s standing Sunday afternoon phone call home. He hadn’t been very surprised by it, they’d been complaining about the ice and snow in and around their small town of Parson’s Hollow for years, and Demetrius was glad they’d finally just decided to follow the lead of a group of their friends and move south. Their house had sold in less than a week, and two days after his last final exam for college, he had packed up or set aside everything in his childhood bedroom and moved into his current apartment.

That had been five years ago, and now, in the last clutches of July, Demetrius was flying in to Miami where the temperature was a reported 96 with equally high humidity. Ugh.

The plane descended and soon Demetrius felt the vibration in his feet of the landing gear extending. Just before the wheels hit the runway, Demetrius closed his eyes, his hands clutched together in his lap. He didn’t mind the flying part of air travel, but the take offs and landings always made him nervous. The landing was smooth and in a short amount of time, he had snagged his carry on from the overhead compartment and followed his glaze-eyed seat mate off the plane, along the jetway, and into the terminal.

He’d only brought a carry-on bag to make traveling easier and a little bit cheaper. Now he headed down to baggage claim to check into the possibility of a rental car or, if there were none available, make use of his Uber app. When he stepped off the escalator, an older gentleman with a dramatic silver pompadour and wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt over basketball shorts and dark socks with sandals caught Demetrius’s eye. The outfit was a true attention getter, but the sign he held surprised Demetrius because it had his full name printed on it: DEMETRIUS BARNABY SINGLETON.

“Um, hi,” Demetrius said with a small wave, “I’m Demetrius.”

“Oh yeah?” The man looked him up and down, then shrugged. “Yeah, okay. You look like the photos. Come on.”

“Wait, I don’t… Who are you? And where would we be going?”

The man stared at him in silence for a long moment, and just when Demetrius had thought he should repeat himself, the man finally replied. “I’m Hubert Potts. Marshall sent me to pick you up.”

“My father sent you?” Demetrius asked.

“Yeah, your Dad. He didn’t want you having to rent a car or use that Usher car thing.”

“Uber,” Demetrius corrected automatically.

Hubert stared at him a moment. “They warned me you might be a bit testy.” He tipped his head toward the outer doors. “Come on, I’m parked at the curb.”

Demetrius bit back a response about which of them was the more testy and followed Hubert outside. The humid air closed around him like a damp blanket taken right out of the dryer and he let out an involuntary gasp.

“You get used to it,” Hubert said over his shoulder.

“How long have you lived in East Glades Bayou?” Demetrius asked the back of Hubert’s Hawaiian print shirt.

“Nineteen years,” Hubert replied as he circled a white Lincoln MKS that sat gleaming beneath the bright sunlight with its hazard lights flashing. He used the remote to unlock the car and pop the trunk open and Demetrius stowed his bag in the trunk then slid slowly into the leather passenger seat and eased back. The interior smelled like Old Spice and Ben Gay, but it was still cool from Hubert having the air on as he’d driven to the airport.

Once Demetrius had determined that Hubert was a good and cautious driver, he spent the ride looking out his side window as they drove away from Miami toward the Florida Everglades. A morning talk radio show was turned low, but Hubert bumped up the volume as the hosts started talking about a pair of tropical storms that had just started forming out in the Atlantic.

“Two at once,” Hubert muttered. “That could be a mess.”

“Do they expect them to strengthen into hurricanes?” Demetrius asked.

Hubert shrugged. “Never know with Mother Nature. She can be a bitch or a goddess, but never both at once.”
Demetrius nodded and they both fell silent for the rest of the drive. He stifled a yawn and looked out the window again. His hectic travel day was starting to catch up with him, and it wasn’t even 2:00 PM yet. He’d been up early to get to the airport in time to board his first flight, and then had to rush to catch his next plane in Atlanta, Georgia, for the remainder of the trip to Miami. The early hour to his day and the smooth car ride did him in and he closed his eyes.

“We’re here,” Hubert said, his voice bringing Demetrius up out of a deep doze.

Demetrius blinked awake and looked around. His mouth tasted like it had been stuffed with cotton and he wiped his lips with the back of his hand. They were sitting in the driveway of his parents’ condominium. It was a white ranch home that looked identical to the other homes all up and down the curved street. Palm trees grew tall and regal at perfectly placed intervals, and each home brandished a different decorative flag alongside the front door. His parents’ home sported a colorful flower print behind the words Happy Summer! This was, indeed, his parents’ condo, as Demetrius had visited once years ago when they had first moved down.

Hubert kept the engine running and pressed a button to pop the trunk. He gave Demetrius a long, serious look then nodded once. “Good to meet you, Demetrius. I know your Dad’s glad you’ve come down. Key’s under the third flower pot.”

“Why didn’t you take me to the hospital?” Demetrius asked.

“Your Dad wanted me to bring you here to their condo. He thought you might want to clean up before going to see your Mom.”

“Oh? He said that?”

Hubert nodded. “He did. Oh, and he said to text him when you got here and he’d come and pick you up.”

“Okay, I’ll do that,” Demetrius said. “Thank you for the ride, Mr. Potts.”

“Hubert, please.”

“Hubert it is.”

Demetrius shook Hubert’s hand and stepped out into the crushing heat. He grabbed his bag from the trunk, closed the lid, and approached the house. The key was under the third flower pot and Demetrius let himself in, exhaling at the blissfully cool interior. Blinds at the windows were made up of wide wooden slats and had been left half open, keeping the glare of the sun to a minimum. The condo was quiet and still, and it gave Demetrius a shiver as he set his bag in the hallway.

After using the bathroom, Demetrius poked his head into each bedroom. The largest at the end of the hall included a well appointed master bathroom accessed through a closet area, his parents’ king sized bed, their dresser and bureau, and a flat screen TV fastened to the wall. A room down the hall had two single beds with a nightstand between them and a small dresser. Demetrius set his bag at the foot of one of the beds and then slowly stretched out across it on his back. He adjusted his position until it was more comfortable, and then stared at the white plaster ceiling as he tried to get himself acclimated to actually being in Florida.

Pulling out his phone, Demetrius called his father and listened to the ring. He was expecting it to go to voice mail when his father picked up.

“Demetrius? Are you here?”

“Hi Dad, yeah, I’m here at the condo. How are you? How’s Mom?”

“Oh, your mother’s doing all right. I’ve just been talking to the doctor about their treatment plan for her.”

“Yeah? And what’s that entail?”

“Well, it’s a lot to go into right now. Let me come get you and we can get some lunch and talk about it on the way back to the hospital.”

“Okay. How long will you be do you think?”

“About half an hour,” Marshall replied. “I’ll see you soon, son. We’re both glad you’re here.”

“Me, too, Dad. Drive safe.”

Demetrius ended the call and lay with the phone on his belly, still staring at the ceiling. He needed to sit up and start moving or else he was going to doze off again. Just as he was about to sit up, his phone buzzed, startling him, and he picked it up to check the display. It was Cody, and Demetrius smiled at the photo he had chosen to display when Cody called. It was one Demetrius had snapped of Cody when he’d been sitting across from him at Margie’s Diner one day during lunch. Cody had a big smile and looked relaxed and happy and handsome, and just seeing his friend’s picture on his phone opened up a tiny ache of loneliness inside Demetrius, and he was surprised to realize he missed Cody.

Before his thoughts could swing into strange territory, Demetrius accepted the call.

“Hello, you have reached the hottest level of Hell, how may I direct your call?” Demetrius said in a calm, phone support tone of voice.

Cody laughed. “So I take it you’ve arrived all right.”

“Yep. I arrived on time and was picked up at the airport by Hubert Potts.”

“Hubert Potts?” Cody repeated. “Who’s that?”

“He’s a friend of my parents. Interesting dresser. He had my full name printed on a sign down in baggage claim.”

“Nice touch,” Cody said.

“Oh, and I corrected him when he referred to Uber as Usher, and he said he said he had been warned that I might be, and I quote, “testy.””

“Oh my,” Cody said, and Demetrius could perfectly visualize his friend’s grin. “It sounds like you might have met your match down there, Demmy.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Demetrius grumbled.

“How’s your back feeling?” Cody asked.

“It’s better, thanks. Still a little touchy.”

“Testy?” Cody asked.

“Um, no. I said touchy, smart ass. So how are things there? Burn the office down yet?”

“No, but speaking of which, do you know if we have any lighter fluid?”

“Funny.”

“I was kinda being serious,” Cody said in a quiet voice.

“And the funny has ended,” Demetrius said drily. “Seriously, did we get any calls?”

“A couple. I handled them though. A woman had lost her boyfriend’s ferret inside her house while she was watching it during his business trip.”

“Tell me you caught the ferret and didn’t sleep with her,” Demetrius said.

“Come on, Demmy, that hurts my feelings.”

“Just say yes or no.”

Cody sighed. “I did find the ferret, and I did not sleep with her. And before you ask, I did not ask her for her number, either.”

“Wow, really?”

“Yes, really. I have changed, my friend. You’re talking to the more mature, more responsible version of Cody Bower.”
A loud beeping in the background interrupted Cody and it made Demetrius sit upright.

“What is that?” Demetrius asked. “Is that the fire alarm? I was just kidding about the fire, but what’s going on there?”

“Um, nothing to worry about, no fire, just a lot of…. Um, just a lot of smoke. Look, everything’s fine, but I have to go, okay? Give your folks my love and I’ll talk with you soon. Okay, Demmy, take care, buh bye.”

Cody disconnected and Demetrius made a sound of disgust. He sat on the edge of the bed staring at the phone in his hands. If he called Cody back it would just go to voicemail, so that would be a waste of time. Besides, his father was on his way to the condo to pick him up. Demetrius would have to trust in Cody to do the right thing and instead focus on his current location and situation. Right now he needed to be present for his parents, pay attention to the doctors, and try to think of the right questions to ask.

Demetrius took a deep breath, let it out, then repeated it. He hesitated, then sent Cody a text: Call me when you’ve finished putting out that fire. And don’t sit at my desk and fuck with my chair settings, I like it just the way it is.

He felt better after he’d pressed Send, and he stood up, put the phone in his pocket, and grabbed his shaving kit. Carrying it into the hall bathroom, he brushed his teeth, then washed his face and neck and made sure he looked halfway presentable. With that done, he sat on the microfiber sofa in the living room to wait for his father to arrive. The condo was so quiet he could hear the ticking of the mantel clock that his mother had inherited from her grandmother and which had resided on the mantel of their home back in Parson’s Hollow ever since he could remember.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

1 Comment

Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Three

Hi friends and happy Monday! Are you ready for another chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature story with Demetrius and Cody?

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: The sun was blood red.

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Three

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

Demetrius knew the food was good—Amelia was an amazing cook—but the pain overrode whatever joy his tastebuds might experience. Cody had cleaned and bandaged the scrape on his back almost an hour ago, and the pain lingered as a flickering heat, as if he sat with his back too close to a roaring fireplace.

Once he finished eating, Demetrius excused himself and stood at the sink to wash dishes.

“Oh, honey, I’ll do that,” Amelia said.

“Actually it feels good to stand up,” Demetrius reassured her. “I’ll clean up. You cooked for us, it’s that least I can do.”

Story_Orgy_logoAs Amelia and Cody talked at the table about various people and events in and around Parson’s Hollow, Demetrius rinsed and stacked dishes in the dishwasher and washed pots and pans by hand. The sound of their conversation and laughter was familiar and comforting, like long standing family dinners or evenings with friends. Every now and then he looked out the window over the sink into Amelia’s small, neatly maintained backyard. The ceramic garden gnomes were in their summer positions, as Amelia called it, interspersed among the flowers and keeping watch over her vegetable garden. Dinner had been served later than usual, and the setting sun was blood red as it eased lower in the sky. The clouds turned golden, then pink, then orange, and finally red once the sun had dropped out of sight.

Demetrius’s phone buzzed in his pocket, but his hands were submerged in soapy water and he let it go to voice mail, wondering who might have called since he was standing in the room with the two likeliest suspects. Things between him and Oliver seemed to be cooling off lately. Demetrius didn’t really understand why, it was most likely just one of those things, and not the fault of either one of them. He liked Oliver, and he hoped they could be friendly when they saw each other in town, but the passion—or whatever that special X ingredient was that helped bind two people together—just didn’t seem to be there for them. He supposed Cody would be thrilled to hear that he and Oliver were done; maybe he’d hold onto that tidbit for a while longer, until he was certain there was no chance for a recharge to their relationship.

Amelia’s landline wall phone rang, startling all of them. Demetrius looked over his shoulder toward the table to find Amelia and Cody staring at him.

“I don’t get many calls on that line,” Amelia said. “I use my mobile phone more these days.”

“Might be a really early election robocall,” Cody suggested and got out of his chair to pick up the receiver. “Yello.”

Demetrius shared a snicker with Amelia then turned his attention back to the final pot he was scrubbing. Behind him, he heard Cody’s tone change to something a bit more serious.

“No, this is Cody… Oh, hi Mr. Singleton—Sorry, Marshall, I forgot… Yes both of them are here… Okay, um, sure, I’ll put her on. Good talking with you.”

Demetrius finished rinsing the pot and turned his back to the sink, drying the pot as he looked at Cody and frowned. “That’s my Dad?”

Cody nodded, keeping his gaze on Demetrius as he held the phone out to Amelia who was just getting up from the table. “Yeah. He asked for either of you and I thought it would be good to start with Amelia, seeing as it’s her phone.”

As Amelia took the phone, Demetrius put the pot in the cupboard and pulled his mobile phone from his back pocket. Three missed calls, and all from his Dad. How had he missed all three of them? He checked to see if his father had left a voice mail, but there was nothing waiting.

“How did he sound?” Demetrius asked. “Did he sound okay?”

Amelia had taken the phone into the living room, stretching the coiled cord, and Demetrius felt his gut clench and his heart jump when he heard her say, “Oh, dear. Oh, Marshall, no.”

Demetrius didn’t remember crossing the kitchen but found himself standing in front of Amelia in the living room, staring at her worried expression.

“What is it?” Demetrius asked. “Is it Mom? What’s happened?”

“Marshall, wait,” Amelia said, “Demetrius is here and should hear this too. I’ll give him the phone and pick up the bedroom extension.” She held out the receiver. “It’s your Mother. She’s in the hospital.”

Demetrius gripped the receiver and was glad to hear his voice sounded steady when he spoke. “Dad? What’s going on?”

“Hello, son.” His father’s deep voice sounded tired, used up, as if he’d been talking a lot. “Your Mother’s in the hospital down here. Intensive care unit.”

A chill went through Demetrius and he reached out his free hand to grip the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. Cody stood in the middle of the kitchen, watching him closely.

“Intensive care?” Demetrius repeated, and heard the click of Amelia picking up the extension. “What’s happened?”

“They say it’s her heart,” his father continued. “Just like the last two times. But this time seems a little more serious.”

“How much more serious?” Demetrius asked. Cody was beside him now, one big hand resting on Demetrius’s shoulder, warm and comforting, grounding him.

“They’re going to stabilize her and then check for blockages,” Marshall Singleton explained. “It most likely means some kind of surgery, probably a bypass.”

“Bypass?” Amelia repeated. “Oh dear.”

“I’m coming down,” Demetrius stated.

“No, son,” Marshall protested, but with no real energy behind the words. “You have your business up there. We’re fine here.”

“Dad, you’re not fine down there,” Demetrius shot back, “Mom’s in the hospital and you sound used up. You need help.”

“We have our friends and neighbors to help us out.”

“They’re not family,” Demetrius explained. “They won’t be able to see her in ICU. Only family can see a patient in ICU. Remember the last time?”

“Oh,” Marshall said, his voice soft and quiet, already tired. “I didn’t think about that.”

“I’ll be down there tomorrow,” Demetrius said. “I just need to pack and get a flight out.”

“What about your job?” Marshall asked.

“Cody can manage any jobs that come in, don’t worry about that,” Demetrius said, and felt the affirming squeeze on his shoulder from Cody. “I’ll send you a text once I have a flight, okay?”

“Okay, I’ll meet you at the airport.”

“No, don’t worry about that,” Demetrius said. “I’ll use a ride share or a taxi and meet you at the hospital. Tell me what hospital and room number.”

Marshall gave him the information and Demetrius repeated it, watching as Cody wrote it down on the notepad beneath the phone.

“All right, I’ve got it. I’ll see you tomorrow, Dad. Get some rest, okay?”

“Marshall, do you want me to come down?” Amelia asked.

“Not yet, Amelia,” Marshall replied. “You stay put for now. Demetrius and I will let you know if we think you should come down as well.”

Emotion surged up within Demetrius at his father’s words. If they were going to call Amelia to travel down to Florida, it would be to say goodbye. Three of his mother and Amelia’s siblings, two brothers and another sister, had died throughout the years, two from heart attacks and another from cancer, leaving just Amelia and his mother, Olivia. He blinked back tears and had to fight to keep his voice steady as he said, “I love you, Dad. Tell Mom I love her, too, okay?”

Marshall’s voice was tight as he replied. “We love you, too, Demetrius. And you as well, Amelia. I will see you tomorrow, son. Be safe.”

Demetrius said goodbye and hung up the phone. Cody didn’t say a word, he just pulled Demetrius into his arms, holding him tight and being careful not to touch the scraped area of his back. When Amelia emerged from the bedroom, sniffling and dabbing at her eyes with a tissue, Cody pulled her into the hug as well and the three of them stood in place, holding each other and trying not to cry too hard. There was time enough for that later.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

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Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Two

Hi friends and happy Monday! Are you ready for another chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature story with Demetrius and Cody?

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: He yearned for it.

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Two

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

Cody was at a crossroads in his life. It wasn’t anything simple like which subject to sign as a major in college, or whether he wanted to live in Parson’s Hollow any longer than necessary. Nothing as cut and dried as that was rattling around inside his brain, the thoughts and considerations as constant as a cicada’s hum on a summer’s day whenever those little buggers finally woke up. This crossroads had more to do with his inner workings, Cody’s inner dialogue and the well spring that truly made him who he was supposed to be.

He had started to have feelings—maybe urges was the better word for it—about his best friend. His male best friend. His gay male best friend. And Cody had always been straight. Well, to be more current and politically correct about it, he had always identified as a straight male. When he thought about it—and Cody had been thinking about this lately, a lot—he could safely say he identified as a man. He liked being a man. He enjoyed the male camaraderie—which he did not think was a closeted way of saying gay—as well as the natural competition that existed between men. Because he worked out at least three times a week, Cody was in good physical shape. He liked being strong, being able to let hair grow pretty much anywhere it wanted to on his body, and he liked the attention of women. He liked standing up to pee, liked having a cock and a set of balls, and he really enjoyed feeling his cock harden when he was aroused and the tightening and rush of release during orgasm. Yep, he definitely liked being a man.

Lately, however, he’d noticed that although he enjoyed receiving overtures from women, that attention had started to feel less and less satisfying. Instead of looking forward to hitting a bar or two on his own, or even with a designated wingman, and maybe meeting an attractive, funny woman, or maybe not, Cody had found that the thrill of the hunt, so to speak, had tarnished. He was spending more evenings—even weekend evenings—in his apartment, alone. Or with Demmy. They weren’t doing anything unique or extravagant, mostly watching TV or movies, talking about the business, and maybe playing video games if Cody promised not to sneak up on Demmy and ambush him too much. As time had rolled on, Cody found himself anticipating spending time with Demmy more than he looked forward to going out in search of a woman to date.

Story_Orgy_logoAnd now he was back to the crossroads. All thinking these days seemed to lead him right back here. It felt like he stood on that crossroads set from the show Demmy had got him watching—and which their lives seemed to now be imitating—called Supernatural. On the show, one of the characters would go to to a lonely crossroads, with fields stretched out in a couple of directions, and one or two run down buildings on the corners. The crossroads were used by the characters to summon a crossroads demon and strike a deal—asking for something they really, truly desired and in return signing over their immortal soul.

Cody, however, didn’t believe in all of that sin and sinner and damnation stuff. Oh, it made for great storytelling in books and on TV—he really did like Supernatural as a show—but in his life he was pretty well set with where he was going. He was a good person, who didn’t steal, who hadn’t killed any one, and who respected and loved his parents who lived out in some crazy commune type of situation in Colorado. No, Cody wasn’t going to burn in Hell for even considering the merest possibility that he maybe, could possibly be, slightly gay. Or, maybe, gay for Demmy. Was that a thing?

“You agreed to go to Amelia’s, right?”

Demetrius’s voice was like a giant glass of ice water thrown in his face. Cody blinked back to the fact that he was: A) driving, and B) with Demetrius, and shoved all those random, life altering thoughts off into the shadowy corners of his mind.

“Sorry what?” Cody asked, just to buy himself some more inner housekeeping time.

“Amelia’s house,” Demetrius said. “You were okay with us going by her place, right?”

“Oh, Amelia? Yeah, sure. Love her. Of course. Why not?”

“Well you just drove past her street,” Demetrius said, looking out the passenger side window and turning his head to watch the intersection go past.

“Son of a …” Cody completed a 3-point turn and then hooked a left onto Amelia’s street. He parked in the driveway and stepped down out of the pickup, shaking his head at himself as he walked around the front of the truck to meet up with Demmy.

“How’s the back feel?” Cody asked.

Demmy rotated his shoulders and winced. “Tightening up. Going to need some attention to it, I’m afraid.”

“Dr. Bower is at your service, my friend,” Cody assured him.

“Oh, it’s doctor now, is it?” Demmy asked.

“Might be,” Cody replied with a grin, “I just haven’t printed out the authentic online certification yet.”

By that time they stood on Amelia’s front porch and Demmy snorted a laugh as he rang the doorbell. Moments later the door was opened and Amelia Waugh, Demmy’s aunt on his mother’s side, smiled out at them. “Well, the two most handsome men in Parson’s Hollow, here to see me. How’d I get to be so lucky?”

“Luck’s on our side, Amelia,” Cody said as he followed Demmy into the house. “The pleasure, as always, is ours.”

Amelia giggled, waved off his comments, and headed for the kitchen, her round bottom swaying within her Bermuda shorts. Her silver hair was cut in a bob that framed her wide, friendly face and bright blue eyes, and Cody tried to remember a time when he hadn’t seen her with a smile. Oh, right. Last year when her friends had been murdered by a real life, blood-thirsty wolf man. He wondered if maybe he and Demmy should go talk to the Parson’s Hollow City Council about putting some emphasis on that case, bring in some tourists and boost the local economy. On second thought, he wasn’t sure the type of people that news would attract would be a good fit for their small eastern Pennsylvania town.

“I’ve just started dinner, boys,” Amelia said. “Stuffed peppers. Going to be another half hour most likely.”

“Good, that’ll give me enough time to tend to Demmy’s injury,” Cody said.

“Injury?” Amelia snapped her head up, face paling as she looked between them. “What injury? What happened?”

“It’s nothing, Aunt Amelia,” Demmy said after shooting Cody a stern look. “I just scraped my back on a low joist while I was in a crawlspace for a job. You worry too much, Amelia.”

Amelia shook her head and folded her arms. “Oh, hickory trees I worry too much. I practically raised you, Demetrius Barnaby Singleton, and as such I’m allowed to worry as much as I wish.”

Cody managed to suppress a laugh, just barely. Dummy’s Aunt Amelia was one of his most favorite people on the planet. Instead of using traditional cuss words, Aunt Amelia relied on the names of trees to voice her displeasure, and she always seemed to have a species of tree locked and loaded, ready to go.

“I know that,” Demmy said. “Really, it’s just a scrape.”

“Show me,” Amelia demanded.

Cody knew Demmy had no choice, and apparently Demmy realized it, too, because he sighed then started to slowly work his T shirt up.

“Need help?” Cody offered.

“I can manage to undress myself, thanks,” Demmy said in a snappish tone.

Cody nodded and took a step back. “Yep, I see that.”

As Demmy inched the T shirt up his torso, slowly exposing his pale, flat belly covered with dark hair, then his torso, then his nipples, Cody forced himself not to stare. He allowed himself glances, however, because it was too much like a slow striptease not to check Demmy out. He’d seen Demmy without his shirt before—hell, they’d been naked before when skinning dipping or rinsing off after a swim at the pool—but Cody had never taken the time to really look at Demmy’s body. Now that he had become more in tune with this newly emerging part of himself, he had to admit he liked what he saw; he liked it a lot.

Demmy finally managed to pull the T shirt over his head and turned his back to them. Cody heard Amelia echo his gasp, and they looked at each other with wide eyes.

“What?” Demmy tried to turn his head to see over his shoulder, but he’d never manage it. “Is it bad? Like really gory bad?”

Cody shook his head, his gaze locked on the raw, red scrape that ran down the center of Demmy’s back, right along his spine. He realized Demmy wasn’t looking at him and said, “No, it’s no gory bad. But it’s a pretty decent scrape.”

“Cody Duran Bower, you are telling the biggest fir tree fib right now,” Amelia said and shook a finger at him. “That wound needs to be seen to by a doctor.”

“Ugh, another visit to PHMH?” Demmy asked, referring to the Parson’s Hollow Memorial Hospital. He looked at Cody and asked, “Can you call Zenona and send her a picture of my back and ask what she thinks?”

“Um, well, I don’t know,” Cody said, caught off guard by the sudden shift in urgency. “We’re not… I could, but that’s not really how injuries should be treated. She might not even be on duty tonight, and, you know, it’s not cool to talk to someone about work when they’re enjoying some time off.”

Demmy looked at him over his shoulder. “You broke up with her again, didn’t you?”

Cody sighed. “Demmy, it’s nothing big. It’s just what happens with Zenona and I.”

“Cody, you take him to the hospital right now,” Amelia said.

“How about I clean it out and put some ointment on it,” Cody suggested. “After dinner we’ll look at it again and decide then? I mean, you’re about to stuff the peppers, and it all smells so good. It wouldn’t be right to send us off to the hospital on empty stomachs. You know how long it takes to get seen by a doctor.”

Amelia looked between them, then blew out a breath that lifted a lock of her hair and nodded. “Fine. I see your point. You take Demmy into the bathroom and clean that wound out good. He’s not going to like how it feels, but it’s got to be done. And soon.”

“I’m on it.” Cody pointed at the hollowed out peppers lined up on a baking tray. “And you get busy stuffing your meat into those peppers.”

“Oh, go on with you,” Amelia said and waved them off as a blush turned her cheeks pink.

Cody followed Demmy down the short hallway to the small bathroom. He closed the door behind them and switched on the light, glad he was already used to the 1950s style pink tiled walls, pink toilet, and pink bath tub.

“I always feel like I step into someone’s stomach when I come in here,” Demmy said. He turned to look at Cody.

“Where do you want me?”

Far too many answers flooded Cody’s mind, and he stared at Demmy a moment as he struggled to pluck the correct response out from the midst of the suggestive and filthy ones. “How about you sit on the edge of the tub with your feet in the tub and I’ll sit on the toilet lid?”

Demmy studied his face a moment in silence, blue eyes taking in probably more than Cody wanted him to see. Finally, Demmy nodded and turned his back to brace himself on the edge of the pedestal sink as he kicked off his shoes and peeled off his socks. He stepped into the tub and sat on the fuzzy pink bathmat, sighing and hanging his head down.

Cody moved Demmy’s shoes and socks out of the way and looked at him in the mirror as he thoroughly washed his hands. The scrape was an angry red slash along the pale line of Demmy’s spine, but Cody wasn’t looking at that. He studied the back of Demmy’s head, noting the shape of his skull beneath the very short brown hair. After twenty-three years of friendship, it had become a familiar sight, but now Cody wondered what it would be like to wake up in the morning and see the back of Demmy’s head on the pillow beside him. Would their friendship evolve and deepen if Cody made some kind of move for a more intimate relationship? Would Demmy be open to something like that? Cody knew Demmy was seeing Oliver, the reporter for the Parson’s Hollow Herald, but lately Demmy seemed to be spending less and less time with Oliver. Perhaps that fling had flung itself out, and Demmy would be open to at least considering a relationship with Cody.

“This is going to hurt, isn’t it?” Demmy asked.

The question surprised Cody, seeing as his mind was whirling with relationship possibilities. He had a feeling that it was, indeed, going to hurt before it started to feel normal and right and true, but he realized with a sudden flash of insight, that it was something he needed. He yearned for it, and he thought that, given time and coaxing, Demmy might as well.

“I’m not going to lie to you, Demmy,” Cody said as he selected the rubbing alcohol, antibiotic ointment, and medical gauze and tape from the medicine cabinet. “It’s not going to be as fun as a circus.”

Demmy laughed. “You hate the circus.”

“Clowns are fucking scary,” Cody said, glad he had distracted him. “And I really hate seeing the lions and tigers caged up and made to do tricks like that.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Demmy said. “Circuses were born in a different time period. People can see those animals in their natural habitats now in vivid HD right in their living rooms. There’s no need for them to be caged up and have whips snapped at them and forced to jump through flaming hoops or whatever. It just seems cruel now.”

Cody soaked a piece of gauze with alcohol and sat on the fuzzy pink cover of the toilet lid. “Ready?”

Demmy took a deep breath and Cody watched the muscles up and down his back tighten. He wondered if they would tighten the same way as he slid into Demmy’s ass. He’d like to see them clench and release as he thrust in and pulled out.

“I’m ready,” Demmy said after blowing out a breath.

“Me, too,” Cody said quietly, and touched the cold wet gauze to Demmy’s back, flinching at the resulting shout of pain.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

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Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter One

Hi friends and happy August! Can you believe summer is zipping by this quickly?

Since we wrapped up our Story Orgy Superheroes stories last Monday, today we begin a whole new story. This time, in anticipation of the fall season fast approaching, we’ve decided to get a bit spooky and write creature features for your reading pleasure. And what better of my characters to appear in a creature feature than those paranormal critter catchers themselves, Demetrius and Cody.

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: “It’s my belief we’re all crazy.”

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter One

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

“Stop moving it around so much!”

Demetrius heard the words come out of his mouth, and stopped what he was doing to close his eyes, waiting for the expected response. True to form, Cody did not disappoint.

“That’s not what she said,” Cody quipped.

Demetrius sighed, then looked back over his shoulder, cursing when he thumped his head against a joist. He currently lay flat on his stomach in a damp, claustrophobic crawlspace, sweating in the July humidity in his Critter Catchers jump suit, complete with thick gloves which made gripping the long handle of the loop much more difficult. Cody was on his hands and knees a few feet behind him, half in and half out of the crawlspace entrance, one hand holding a powerful lantern to light Demetrius’s way.

“Hey, don’t glare at me,” Cody said. “You’re the one who suggested Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who crawled into this hell hole.”

“Hell hole?” a woman’s voice exclaimed, and Demetrius and Cody both made a face. Their client, a woman in her mid to late sixties with the ready-for-the-silver-screen name of Abigail Barcelona, had apparently decided to come see how their work was progressing. “This hell hole happens to be my home.”

Demetrius caught a wink from Cody and watched as his handsome best friend and business partner backed out of the crawlspace. Unfortunately, Cody took the flashlight with him and plunged Demetrius into claustrophobic darkness. As Demetrius practiced deep breathing to keep the sudden nightmare images at bay, he listened to Cody turn up his charm to 110%, working Abigail Barcelona like nobody had worked her in a long time. Although, based on the cougar vibe Demetrius had received from the woman the minute she’d opened the door wearing a negligee over a bustier and stockings with garters, he believed Cody may have met his match.

“Mrs. Barcelona—” he heard Cody say.

“Oh, Mr. Bower,” she practically purred, “please call me Abigail.”

“Abigail, of course. You may call me Cody.”

“May I?”

“Absolutely,” Cody replied, and though his face was out of Demetrius’s line of sight, he could just imagine the mega-watt smile Cody flashed. “What my partner and I meant by that reference—”

“Partner?” Abigail repeated. “I hope you don’t mean domestic partner. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. It’s just that, you’re both so handsome and strong, it would be a waste not to make good use of that prime DNA.”

Demetrius rolled his eyes and shifted position to alleviate pressure on his neck and shoulders as he peered over his shoulder at the small square of light that marked the outside world. He could see Cody’s legs and hips where he knelt in front of Abigail on the other side of the crawlspace entrance, and Demetrius hoped he wasn’t about to witness something inappropriate that would give him nightmares.

“Well, that’s very kind of you to say,” Cody replied. “I can assure you, I’m not nearly good enough to be Demmy’s domestic partner. We’re just business partners.”

Story_Orgy_logoDemetrius frowned and cocked his head at Cody’s words. While Cody had often mock flirted with him and made insinuating comments about taking their friendship to a more intimate level, those remarks were usually reserved for times they were alone. However, for the last few months, Demetrius had noticed a change in Cody. And he didn’t think it was just because it was about the time he’d begun having random, uninvited snippets of sex fantasies about Cody after his boyfriend, Oliver, had called him Demmy during sex, which was the nickname Cody used. The fantasies and lingering aftereffects were unsettling and, he hated to admit, arousing. Cody was incredibly attractive and more charming than any other person Demetrius had met. But he was also prone to rash decisions and had never been able to plan more than a week ahead of time. Demetrius, on the other hand, liked things planned out so he’d know what to expect. That, however, sometimes fell apart, especially with someone like Cody as a business partner and best friend. And these days, Demetrius was hyper aware of the close bond he shared with Cody.

Something moved in the darkness ahead of him, and Demetrius snapped his head around to squint into the shadows as a chill skittered through him. They had been called by Abigail to track down the source of a scratching sound the woman had been hearing for about a week, and here Demetrius lay in claustrophobic darkness without a light to guide him. They’d dealt with a couple of paranormal cases since starting the business—a wolf man at the local nursing home, and what they’d thought was a chupacabra out on the rural outskirts of Parson’s Hollow—and memories of those cases creeped up on Demetrius now.

“Cody!” Demetrius called over his shoulder.

“Yep, here,” Cody responded. “Sorry. I’m sorry. Here’s the light.”

As Cody crawled back into the crawlspace, the flashlight beam jumped around, touching on posts and hanging insulation and something big that kept darting out of sight. Demetrius pushed up off the ground and tried to back up, forgetting about the low clearance and scraping his back along a joist.

“Ahhh!” Demetrius shouted in pain.

“Demmy!” Cody shouted in fear. “What is it? Are you bit? I’m here.”

“My back,” Demetrius replied as he collapsed onto his stomach in the dirt. “Ow. My back.”

“What about your back? Is something on you?”

Cody crawled onto him on his elbows like an Army private in training. Demetrius felt the reassuring, heavy weight of Cody move up his legs, his muscular chest resting on Demetrius’s butt and his big hands at Demetrius’s elbows.

“You okay?” Cody whispered.

“Scraped my back on the joist,” Demetrius explained. He shifted beneath Cody and said over his shoulder, “Not to sound unappreciative of your concern and responsiveness, but I’m feeling a bit claustrophobic right now.”

“Sorry about that.” Cody eased back a bit, but that put his face right at Demetrius’s ass and he chuckled before asking, “Did you have chili?”

“What?” Demetrius looked over his shoulder, and through the tears in his eyes from the pain of scraping his back, saw where Cody’s face was situated. He shook his head and rolled his eyes. “I wish I had. It would be what you deserve.”

“For what? Rushing in here to your rescue?”

“How is this a rescue? I’m still lying here while something is stalking me in this dark, dank crawlspace.” When he said it, Demetrius remembered he’d heard something and turned his head to look forward again, squinting to try and see through the gloom. He reached back a hand and whispered to Cody, “Give me the flashlight.”

Cody handed off the flashlight and Demetrius aimed it ahead of him. He slowly moved it from one corner to the other, then down the front of the structure until it came to rest on a bundle of matted fur and small brown eyes.

“Oh,” Demetrius said, relief going through him at not finding a giant rat or the fluke man from that episode of The X-Files he and Cody had watched the other night. Why the fuck had he thought watching that would be a good idea?

“What is that?” Cody asked.

“I don’t know,” Demetrius replied, “but it’s scared. And it’s not a monster.”

“Thank God for that,” Cody muttered.

“Here, take the flashlight back and I’ll try to get the loop collar around it.”

While Cody focused the light on the tiny, trembling bundle of fur, Demetrius slowly extended the loop on the end of the long pole. He spoke in a calm, quiet tone that Cody picked up on and emulated.  The loop was nearly to the animal when Abigail Barcelona leaned down and shouted into the crawlspace opening.

“How’s it going in there?”

Demetrius jumped and the pole hit the floor joist with a loud bonk sound, then bounced off the dirt floor, scattering dust and soil and startling the animal. It bolted for the opening, its tiny feet leaving small dust clouds in its wake.

“Look out!” Cody and Demetrius shouted together.

Abigail Barcelona let out a shriek that any horror movie scream queen would have envied as the small ball of fur burst out of the crawlspace and ran for freedom.

“What in the living hell was that thing?” Abigail asked.

“You okay, Demmy?” Cody asked in a low voice filled with concern.

Demetrius blew out a breath and looked at him where he lay with his face right over his ass. He grinned and nodded. “Yeah. I’m okay. Ready to get out back outside though.”

“Nothing else left in here?” Cody asked.

Demetrius shined the flashlight slowly around the crawlspace and confirmed no other animal had taken up residence. He waited for Cody to back out then pushed the pole with the loop to him along the dirt. Finally, Demetrius inched back himself, wincing now and then when the movements pulled the scraped skin on his back. When he was finally out of the crawlspace, he paused to take a breath of dust free air, pulled off his gloves, and wiped sweat from his brow.

Abigail Barcelona stood nearby looking like she’d stepped right out of the early 1960s with tight white shorts, a cropped top, one hip stuck out to the side and one leg bent as she assessed them through the dark lenses of her over-sized sunglasses. She wore a big, floppy sunhat and held a martini glass.

“So what the hell was that thing?” she asked.

“Not sure,” Cody replied and got to his feet, reaching down to take Demetrius’s hand and pull him up as well.

“You’re not sure?” Abigail looked between them. “Aren’t you supposed to be animal control experts? Shouldn’t you know what every animal is you attempt to control?”

“Well, as you can see from here,” Demetrius said with a gesture toward the opening, “the crawlspace allows in very little light.”

“The bottom of the cover was loose when we started our work,” Cody explained. “I’ll make certain it’s well secured before we leave.”

“The animal didn’t seem hostile,” Demetrius continued. “It was dirty and matted, so we couldn’t really tell what it was.”

“Yeah, and now it’s loose in my neighborhood thanks to the two of you,” Abigail said.

“Well, that’s better than being trapped beneath your house,” Cody offered.

Abigail made a “hmph” sound and polished off her martini with one gulp. She stood in place for a moment, slowly swirling the empty glass as she looked at them through her giant sunglasses, then she turned and walked with a shimmy to the side door of her small house, her kitten heeled sandals snapping in the warm, still air.

Cody looked at Demetrius with wide eyes. “Wow.”

“I thought I was going to lose you for a minute when you backed out to give her an update,” Demetrius said. He sucked in a hissing breath at the pull of his scraped skin as he shrugged out of his Critter Catchers coveralls.

“Want me to look at it?” Cody asked.

“Not yet,” Demetrius replied. “Let’s just get paid and get out of here.”

“Roger that,” Cody said, and got to work securing the crawlspace cover as Demetrius packed up their gear.

Minutes later, Abigail reappeared with a check, smoking an unfiltered cigarette. She smiled as she held the check out to Cody, and Demetrius could see the tips of her nails were painted a light coral.

“Thanks for coming out on such short notice,” Abigail said, her demeanor now completely different than a few minutes before.

“No problem at all, Mrs. Barcelona,” Cody replied as he accepted the check and tucked it into a pocket.

Abigail playfully swatted his chest. “I told you to call me Abigail, Cody.”

“Right, sorry.” Cody screwed up his expression and stuck out his tongue. “I forget stuff sometimes.”

They bid Abigail goodbye and got in the truck, Cody in the driver’s seat. With the air conditioner on high, Demetrius sighed as the sweat cooled on his skin. He leaned back and closed his eyes, the scrapes on his back stinging with each bump.

“Doing okay?” Cody asked.

“I’m okay,” Demetrius replied. He raised his head and looked at Cody. Just a bit too handsome for their small Pennsylvania town, with dark hair worn shaggy enough to be wavy, a shadow of stubble around his square jaw, dark brown eyes, and a height of six foot five inches. Cody was outgoing, easy-going, and more loyal than a labrador. While Cody was straight and a serial dater of women, Demetrius was gay and more of a one guy at a time kind of dater.

“I didn’t know you were good with big cats,” Demetrius said, keeping his tone casual. “We should advertise that, bring in more business.”

“Big cats?” Cody frowned at him before turning his attention back to the road. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“Abigail Barcelona, that cougar you had eating out of your hand back there.”

Cody laughed and shook his head, shooting Demetrius a grin. “She was something, wasn’t she?”

“You into older women now?”

“Demmy old friend, I’m into whoever I’m into at the moment.”

“That’s not avoiding an answer at all,” Demetrius said.

“That’s the beauty of me,” Cody said as he tapped out a drum roll on the steering wheel. “I’m a joyful enigma.”

“You’re an enigma all right,” Demetrius responded dryly.

Cody laughed and continued to drum on the steering wheel. “Where are we headed?”

“I told Amelia we’d stop by after the job,” Demetrius replied. “She needs some help around the house.”

“Amelia Waugh, the woman, the myth, the legend.” Cody looked at him and grinned. “Your mama’s youngest sister’s got a thing for me, too. Maybe I am good with the cougar crowd. Trajectory set.”

It was Demetrius’s turn to laugh. “You are crazy.”

“Demmy my friend, it’s my sincere belief that we’re all crazy,” Cody said.

“That’s the most sense you’ve made all day.” Demetrius winced as he shifted position.

“Really hurts, huh?”

“It really hurts.”

“Amelia will have something we can put on it,” Cody said.

Demetrius noticed Cody had said something we can put on it, as if he had just assumed he would apply the ointment and secure the bandage. Just like a couple that had been in a relationship for twenty-three years. And just like Oliver had said to him one night last week as he’d walked off in a huff after yet another argument: he and Cody may as well be a married couple because they argued about stupid shit, worried about paying the bills, and weren’t having sex.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

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Welcome Deanna Wadsworth – Wrecked Blog Tour!

WreckedThank you so much for hosting me, Hank, for the second stop on my WRECKED Blog Tour! On May 15th Dreamspinner Press will be releasing WRECKED and can I just say how much I LOOOVE this cover!

Hank even gave it a “woof!” [Hank note: a BIG woof!]

When Paul Richmond asked me to fill out the form for what I envisWrecked1ioned, I attached a bunch of vintage eighties romance novel covers—you know the ones with Fabio and ripped bodices? I explained that I wanted an epic, classic romance novel cover. When Paul first sent his sketch, I almost FREAKED out, I was so excited. I mean, even in the black and white sketch, he NAILED it! LOL

So why did I want a vintage style cover? Well, firstly because, old school covers like this are few and far between. Rarely do you see them in gay romances. But mostly, I felt it really expressed the mood of WRECKED. And like my awesome cover artist Paul Richmond, the hero of Wrecked is also an artist. Take a look:

Blurb from WRECKED:

Off the Key West coast, Rief Lawson works as a wrecker, salvaging ships and their cargo. Exiled to the outskirts of society because of his mysterious gift of sight, Rief’s only respite from his loneliness is painting an unknown blond man. When a merchant ship wrecks during a violent storm, Rief rescues a drowning victim and comes face-to-face with his destiny.

It is the man from his art!
Heir to an English barony, Mathew Weston entered the merchant trade with his greedy father and soon-to-be father-in-law. Dominated by his father and smothered by the people around him—including his sweet but tiresome fianceé—Mathew is terrified to follow his true desires. Marriage and obedience seem safer than a life of secrecy and possible prison.
After the daring rescue, a fire ignites between the two men. Powerless to resist his desire, Mathew learns what it means to be a man in Rief’s arms. With this newfound confidence, Mathew teaches Rief through gentle touch that he deserves the affection he’s long been denied. Yet their affair is doomed from the start. Two desperate men, wrecked in heart and mind, must find a way to salvage the chance at love fate has given them.

I brought along an exclusive excerpt just for Hank’s blog and his readers. Since we are talking about art, I thought I would share the scene where Mathew interrupts Rief in his studio while painting a piece that will play great significance to the plot!

Enjoy!

Excerpt for WRECKED:

Naked to the waist, Rief set his palette down and stared at the unfinished work. It still needed some adjustments, a shadow or a highlight here and there. And the background wasn’t quite right either, but he would have to wait for the paint to dry to correct it. Even at this stage, it was a painting both wicked and alluring. The most beautiful thing he had ever done.

How could he think of destroying it?

A painful surge of want hit him, making his eyes sting. He’d been drawing Mathew most of his life, loving his image, and finding comfort therein. Even pleasuring himself to it, he was embarrassed to admit. The countless drawings of Mathew had been the one constant in his life. A bright spot in an otherwise wretched existence.

Yet the moment he met the real man, his own pride had ruined everything!

Knocking on the door startled him.

Probably Uncle Richard again, telling him the Lucky Clipper had returned to port. Or worse—looking for an explanation as to why Rief had skipped the auction and hadn’t been answering the door. The man had been so strange lately, acting as if he had something of great importance to discuss. But Rief had too much on his own mind to bother with what might be on his uncle’s.

“Go away, Richard.”

“Um, it’s Mathew, um—Mr. Weston.”

A long, resonant roll of thunder rumbled in the night, sending a wash of apprehension through Rief. He stared at the paintbrush in his hand, trying to decide if he was imagining things. He’d never considered himself insane, but he had spent the greater part of his life painting a man he’d never met, so having hallucinations was entirely plausible.

“Hello?” Mathew’s tentative voice came again. “You weren’t expecting me, but I brought you that book I mentioned. The White Whale? The one about the mad captain and Moby Dick? And well… it’s raining now. Would you be so kind as to invite me inside, Mr. Lawson?”

Nope, he wouldn’t have hallucinated that.

After making sure the painting remained hidden, he raced to the door, stubbing his toe in his haste. He cursed and fumbled for the handle. Finding it, he threw open the door. A heavy gust of wind blew into the room, the droplets like stinging needles against Rief’s face and bare chest.

“Hello,” Mathew said, fidgeting nervously. Impeccably dressed, he was hunched into a coffee-colored jacket, hand on his top hat and bracing against the winds, a book pressed to his chest. His blue eyes darted behind Rief, then to the wharf below.

Jumping back, he widened the door. “Please, come in.”

Mathew expelled a breath and entered. Rief’s heart raced as he passed him, filling his nostrils with that alluring scent. Something faintly sweet, but underneath, the definite aroma of man.

“Did anyone see you?” Rief asked.

He paused in the middle of brushing water from his coat. “I-I don’t know. I suppose I wasn’t thinking. I just wanted to….” As if their last meeting played out before them, his cheeks turned red. Then he straightened his shoulders and held out the book. “I wanted to bring you this. I found it in my belongings. It didn’t fare as well as I did in the storm, but all the pages are still legible.”

Rief accepted the rain-splattered book, its pages wrinkled and swollen from being submerged. “Thank you.”

“We discussed it, remember?” he said, a flash of insecurity in his face. “Aboard the Mirabella? We were talking about making oil from sharks, and I mentioned Melville, then you said you hadn’t read it, and I—”

“Yes, I remember,” Rief interrupted, stopping his rambling. I remember all of it. Every word you’ve ever said, each look you’ve given me. The way your lips tasted. The way I felt in your arms….

Don’t forget to enter to win one of the two copies of WRECKED! Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and good luck!

Author Bio

Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and a couple adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. She loves music and dancing, and can often be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.

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You can also find her young adult alter ego, K.D. Worth FacebookTwitter

Buy Deanna’s books at Dreamspinner Press, Decadent Publishing or at any reputable eBook seller.

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Wicked Reflection Excerpt

WickedReflection_Final

Kirk stepped to the bathroom sink and turned on the hot water. As he dangled his fingers in the spray waiting for it to warm up, he studied his reflection in the mirror, disheartened to see the toll of moving into his new house. Dark circles had gathered beneath his eyes. His dark blond hair was a spiky mess, and dust and dirt smears marred his pale skin. Even the blue of his eyes looked faded and tired.

The water heated up quickly, thank God, but it was rusty. He left the tap running and peered at the tub. Dirt and dust darkened the white surface, but it didn’t seem too bad. He could rinse it all down the drain and take a quick shower before Damon arrived. When he looked back at the mirror, however, his heart fluttered like a startled bird. Steam from the hot water had fogged it, revealing something written there.

HE LIES.

Kirk shut off the water, and checked around the empty bathroom. He stepped into the bedroom but found no one there either. He was alone. Kirk could not recall if he had locked the front door, so maybe Damon had arrived earlier than planned and let himself in, snuck upstairs, and written that in the steam when Kirk’s back had been turned.

Or someone else had.

“Damon?” he called.

The house was silent around and beneath him.

“Not funny, whoever you are!” Kirk shouted as a line of gooseflesh rippled up his back. He cleared his throat and called in a quieter voice, “Seriously, Damon, come on. Are you in here?”

He stepped back into the bathroom and looked at the words. Maybe they had been written on the mirror before Kirk had moved in, and the steam was simply showing the message again?

The doorbell rang, the old, heavy bell chiming loudly through each of the floors, making him jump.

Kirk’s heart pounded as he looked into the bedroom, then back at the mirror. The steam cleared, taking the words with it, and a small knot of unease tightened inside his chest. He cursed the mirror for giving him the creeps on his first night in the house.

The doorbell chimed again, raising the hair on the back of his neck.

Kirk descended both flights of stairs, then stood in the entryway staring at the front door. He hesitated, opening and closing his fists a few times. He knew he was being ridiculous, but he was afraid to see who stood on the porch. What if it was the man referred to by the mirror message: HE LIES?

His visitor banged on the door with a fist, the sound making him jump yet again, and he grabbed the large brass knob, worn smooth and dark with years of being handled.

A breath in and out, then Kirk opened the door.

 

 

Repossession Excerpt

Repossession_finalcvr

I step out onto the driveway, my feet clumsy with caked-on mud, and try not to slip as I walk to the car. It is a beauty—a new model Mustang, fire engine red, gleaming black tires. My stomach lurches as I suddenly realize I will have to sit in this spotless car in my rain-soaked, mud-splattered clothing when I drive it away from its owner, who is six months behind on his payments. Nervous at the thought of damaging the interior of such a pristine automobile, I stand and finger the car key in my pocket.

As I debate the situation, I turn my head and glance into the backseat. A navy-blue sweater with two white, horizontal stripes lies in a crumpled heap on the leather seat. I had a sweater like that once, before I kicked Jason Landis out of my apartment and my life. After searching high and low for the sweater in my small flat, I finally decided it had to have vanished along with Jason. Finding it here in this car makes me think it must have been a popular style a few years back. I haven’t seen it in stores since, and I have searched the malls and outlets for a replacement. I feel an ache in my chest and realize I really, really have missed that sweater. It went with a couple of my outfits quite well. The thought that I could take this sweater once I repossess the car crosses my mind, but guilt roars through me. I tell myself if I did that, I would be no better than Arnold Yondo. Stealing is stealing.

I glance around the deserted block, but no one is out on this cold, rainy night, and I reach down to unlock the driver’s door when something about the sweater catches my eye. I lean closer, squinting through the rain-washed window until I am sure I see a tiny tear in the waistband, and my eyes grow wide. My sweater had a small tear in that exact same spot. What a coincidence to find a sweater so much like the one that vanished along with Jason, lying in the first car I have been assigned to repossess.

It all hits home, and my stomach lurches at the exact moment the light of the house snaps on. The front door bangs open, and a tall, broad-shouldered figure appears on the porch, holding something. I squint through the rain and realize with a start it is a gun.

“Who the fuck is that?” the rugged, familiar voice snaps. “Get the fuck away from my car, asshole, or I’ll fuckin’ drop you right there.”