So, I've been sick – hence the no Monday prompt this week (eeeeek and I'm sorry).
This crap I have (which I'm finally—FINALLY—recovering from after about 3 weeks of having it...going to the doctor sometimes really is your only choice lol) has messed up my life left and right. Not only did I not do a prompt this week *hangs head again* I was late with my Pulp Friction 2014 release—Blown Away.
I'm supposed to get it out on the fifteenth and it didn't see the light of day until the seventeenth...ouch.
Thanks to like some of the MOST awesome readers in the whole freaking world!!!!!!!!! OMG OMG OMG look where my guys Rowen and Mick were yesterday on Amazon. Seriously—only one day after release and they are #6 on the gay/lesbian short story list.
*plops down in chair speechless*
*okay found my speech*
All I can say is thank you!
If you are interested I've posted the whole first chapter here...please sit, sip your favorite beverage, and get to know Rowen and Mick—I can guarantee they are different...lmao.
Rowen Smithe stared out the window at the unfamiliar truck. The pale yellow of the Dodge Ram oddly enough worked, giving the new truck personality. But by god, the truck was huge, and with the crew cab and full eight foot bed, it was a force to be reckoned with, and came with its own zip code.
The midday sun glinted off the pale yellow perfectly, enough to make Rowen squint behind his glasses while measuring the meaning behind this intrusion into his day.
That shouldn't be here.
He nodded in agreement with…himself. That truck most definitely should not be driving in front of his cabin.
He noticed the rotations of the tires slowing down and realized he was in clear view of the danger. Damn fool's mistake. He dropped quickly to his knees, ignoring the sharp pain that shot up his legs from the instant contact with the hardwood floor. Bending his body awkwardly to the side, he continued to watch the threat from a more secured location. Whoever decided they needed a better inspection of cabin thirteen would never know they were getting inspected in return.
Immediately after the truck stopped, the tinted window smoothly rolled down, motorized, of course. In the muted light, all Rowen could see was an abnormally pale set of eyes turned his way. From this distance and without any aid, he couldn't exactly state the color, but the sheer lightness of them screamed a soft shade of blue.
Those eyes flicked over the entire front of his cabin, almost as if taking inventory of every knot and split visible in the wood.
Oh, but you can't see me.
The truck door opened, and Rowen automatically grabbed his bowie knife from its sheath on his thigh, flexing his hand around the bone handle and threading his finger in the ring.
The man climbed out of the truck and Rowen growled to himself. With the winter gear the stranger wore, his measurements were a secret not to be discovered at this point. The intruder advanced a few feet toward the front door before he halted suddenly and returned to his truck.
He reached into the cab of the truck and awkwardly tapped on the face of his phone. Finally, the futility of such movements with his gloves on must have struck him and he used his teeth to remove one.
He spoke into the phone without pressing any more buttons—presumably answering a call. The stranger looked back up to Rowen's cabin then swung his head and stared farther down the loop toward…toward Finn's home.
Who is guiding you?
Rowen waited to see what the man would do, breathing slow and steady in preparation for anything that might happen. The threat glanced again at Rowen's cabin then climbed back into his truck and accelerated slowly so as to not spin his tires in some manly show of supreme assholeness.
Who are you? I won't be taken by surprise again.
Acknowledging that the immediate threat to him was gone, Rowen absentmindedly slid his knife back into its sheath and took the stairs two at a time to the second floor of the cabin. Within mere seconds of the light-eyed stranger driving off, Rowen sat safely in his favorite pine over thirty feet from the ground with his electronic binoculars around his neck.
Over a decade ago, when he moved into the cabin, he learned that the trees brought him peace, a commodity he didn't take lightly. Upon realizing that one of the bigger pines in the area actually grew next to his house—second floor back window, to be precise—he groomed that tree to be his personal escape route. Making sure no limbs grew lower than the window, so the only access to the tree would be from inside the structure, and attaching wooden steps to help assist him where it was needed.
At first, transferring to the tree through the second floor window proved tricky at best, lots of bruises and scrapes occurred. Now, after so many years, he'd perfected the art of it to what undoubtedly appeared as a smooth singular swinging motion to an onlooker.
He raised the binoculars and watched the yellow late-model truck stop in front of his friend Finn's cabin.
Rowen reached behind him then cursed under his breath, he'd forgotten his bow and arrows in his rush to climb the tree.
Tallying in his head the amount of time it would take him to descend, grab a weapon, and return to his perch…too long. Even with the man-made "steps" he’d attached to the tree for ease of climbing, he'd never get back in time to prevent whatever the threat meant to do. He'd have to settle for watching and noting anything that might occur. If the stranger hurt his friend, he wouldn't get away with it. Rowen would see to that personally.
The man didn't hesitate to walk up Finn's steps as he had done at Rowen's cabin. He took the direct approach, straight to the front door, where he knocked with his still ungloved hand. Rowen tensed, holding his breath as he saw the door open slowly. He pressed a button close to his forefinger and the binoculars zoomed in on his friend's face, allowing Rowen to study Finn for any signs of fear or unease. But the tension of worry ended moments after it began as Finn flung his arms around the stranger and they patted backs. Rowen saw the laugh lines around Finn's eyes deepen with his teeth-revealing smile.
Friends. The stranger was obviously Finn's friend.
You are Finn's friend.
He watched as Finn shuffled the stranger into his cabin without even pausing to second-guess his actions.
That simple gesture brought a wave of jealousy rolling through Rowen, but he managed to tamp it down. How would it feel to do something like that? To welcome someone into your home without wondering if they had any hidden devices on them, if they were mentally cataloging your collection of reading materials for background intel, if they were noting the dimensions of the room in accordance to the obviously most sat on piece of furniture as to where it rested near the closest point of entry…
The anguished cry ripped from his body as Rowen shook his head violently to block out the thoughts that threatened to take over again. He was beyond that point in his life. He was in control, not his wayward imagination.
So that's what you're calling it today? Imagination? Baby, if you put your so-called imagination on paper you'd sell a million copies.
Rowen dropped his binoculars, allowing the heavy equipment to thump his chest as he scurried farther up the tree. Maybe, maybe if he climbed high enough, fast enough, that voice wouldn’t reach him. It’d been so long since the voice taunted him. The time without it an indescribable peacefulness that helped him forget the desperation the snide noise evoked.
Feeling the exertion burn the muscles in his arms and legs, he slowed his ascent and rested on one of the larger limbs. He fell limp against the trunk, his mind secure and body cradled as if in a mother's loving embrace. Up here he was safe.
"Holy shit, he's climbing up even higher. The man is like a monkey or something…no, not a monkey, more like a squirrel. Yeah, he definitely reminds me of a squirrel the way he's scurrying up that damn fucking tall tree." Mick Rutger shook his head in amazement as he stared out the window at the almost miniscule man defying the laws of nature. With the light slowly fading from the impending sunset, he had to squint to make out the man dot, but luckily, enough sun still existed to distinguish his friend's neighbor from everything else.
Finn chuckled behind him. "Get away from the window, he doesn't like being watched. Oh, and he'll know that you're watching him, if he doesn't already."
"You never told me you lived next to a freak." Mick walked over to his oldest friend and accepted the steaming cup of coffee.
"No, I don't suppose I would've told you that, considering I don't." Finn cocked his head at Mick, the look in his eyes well-knowing.
"That was an asshole thing to say, yeah, I get it. He just, I don't know, he fascinates me and I haven't even met him yet." Mick situated himself in front of the window again and stared at the dark spot he knew to be the man. What he stated wasn't a lie either. When he was looking for cabin numbers, he'd seen a tall, long-haired man staring at him so intensely Mick was happy he didn't combust. Thanks to his truck's tinted windows, he knew the curious man couldn't actually see him, but their eyes met anyway—Mick's staring at his knowingly and his staring at Mick unwittingly. It was definitely a moment…too bad only one of the participants knew they were having it.
"I hate to break this to you, Mick, but you probably won't ever meet him either. He's a loner. I haven't even gotten the okay to bring Siggy over to meet him yet."
Mick choked on his coffee, coughing a few times to clear his airway. "Siggy is a maniac."
"Siggy is a perfect gentleman when need be."
"Yeah, yeah, if this guy…" He eyed Finn until the man relinquished the neighbor's name.
"Rowen," Finn said with an indulgent sigh.
Mick smiled in triumph. "If Rowen truly is a loner, then Siggy's natural robustness will scare the shit outta him. He needs to meet someone with tact first. Someone who can charm a nun outta her panties…"
"You've never been interested in getting a nun out of her panties."
Mick looked out the window again. "Ah, but I can, and that's all that matters." The dark Rowen spot seemed to be descending toward the ground. Mick was interested in how he got up there considering there were no limbs anywhere close to the bottom. He'd only glanced out the window and seen the dot already climbing. When the dot came even to the second floor window he jumped, causing Mick to flinch. "Oh that's brilliant, you can only access the tree from the house."
Finn reached in front of Mick and pulled the drapes closed. "That's enough of that. So tell me what brings you here?"
"Oh, you know, tired of the parental figures asking when I'm gonna start doing something with my life. I finished the six years of college they required of me, now I'd like a couple years of doing what I want. Then I thought, fuck it—they don't control my purse strings, thank you very much, Gransmama and Papa. Figured I could crash with you while I figure out what the hell I want." He absentmindedly chuckled. While staring at the closed drapes, Mick's tunnel vision kicked in. "I'm gonna introduce myself to Rowen. Since I'll be here for a while, it's the neighborly thing to do, right?"
"Oh no, you don't…"
Mick studied his old friend, wondering if there was some hidden reason as to why he didn't want Mick to get to know Rowen. Perhaps some attraction that Finn himself wasn't aware of? No matter how much this monkey man piqued Mick's interest he wouldn't step on his friend's toes if a prior claim existed.
Finn never turned his gaze from Mick, never blushed or diverted his eyes. Mick laughed heartily and clapped his friend on the back. Finn wasn't pining over Rowen, he was protecting him like a brother would. Pure Finn. "Sure I do, and you wouldn't expect anything else from me."
Mick handed him the coffee cup, pecked Finn's cheek, and then put on his cold weather gear.
"If he kills you, don't say you weren't warned."
Pausing with one arm in his coat, Mick studied Finn's face. "Um…is that a joke or a real possibility?"
Finn turned from him and shrugged as he headed back into the kitchen.
Mick loved a challenge, and this neighbor of Finn's already proved to be more interesting than anything else Mick could think of. His mind went back to that tall, wiry man staring out his window with his long hair falling about him. Oh yeah, definitely a promising distraction from boredom.
"Well then, donations to Soul Dog Rescue in lieu of flowers."