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“Weld will do The Handyman, Nick, but not with your name attached. They have an affiliated imprint, Flescher, that handles that sort of book. It’s a good book. Just not one to be put out in your name, or by Weld.”
“I’m not ashamed of it, Parker. You of all book editors should be open to it.” Parker Parnell was my editor at the Weld publishing house. I pressed my forehead to the windowpane and looked down into the front yard of my house on a quiet street in Shepherdstown, Maryland, a small university town on the Potomac River a long way upstream from the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capital. I was watching hunky, black Ev Jones mowing my lawn shirtless. The vibrations coming off the lawnmower were making the glass of the windowpane shimmer and I felt close to Ev by feeling the vibrations his mower was causing. Ev revved my engines. I had fantasies of Ev driving me. His muscular ebony torso glistened in the dappled sun coming through the trees on the North Mill Street lawns—the torso of a black Adonis.
“It’s not the book, Nick. I like it. Howard likes it. The editor at Flescher loved it. He’s jumping at the chance to publish it. A historical about subsequent generations in a small New England harbor town from founding to the present and the secrets they keep. The secrets being on the relations between the men of the town, what’s not to like?”
“The gay male threads running through it? That the action is graphic?” I asked, a bit amused. I was only paying half attention to him because I was mesmerized by the graceful dance of the big, black buck across my lawn. We were just a couple of blocks over from Shepherd University, where I taught English composition, but we could have been in any small, sleepy town that was wealthy when these Victorian houses were erected at the turn of the twentieth century. This town could be just like the town of The Handyman, Shernhaven, and the male love secrets it kept.
“No, we love that, but . . . why did you submit the manuscript under a pseudonym, Nick? Why did you send it to us under the name of G. P. Hardd?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” I answered. Ev was noticing that I was watching him from an upstairs window. I drew myself up so he could get a real good look. Smiling, he waved and turned to cut a row toward the street and away from the house. “I think I wanted it to be judged completely on its own and not on my reputation. It’s quite a departure from what I usually write.”
“Bingo. There you have it. Even you sensed that it wasn’t something that would go over well with your name attached.”
“That’s not what I meant,” I flared up, turning to the man who had shepherded my books through the Weld production process for the past five years—five years and six books. We couldn’t be any more different in looks—Parker pushing fifty; tall, trim, and elegant; wavy gray hair, patrician, with an aquiline nose and the look of a professor, and me, actually a professor, not so tall, a bit stocky, dark and, some said, sultry. Always the mischievous look. But we’d melded well as a pair. I knew I should be listening more closely to him, but I had more books in my mind like The Handyman and I wanted to get them written and published. I wanted them published as well as my other books had been.
“I don’t think you realize what you mean, Nick. You don’t have to choose between this book and your mainstream literary historicals. You can do both, although we’re running up on the first manuscript submission date for Alton’s Folly. I hope you have that in hand.”
I didn’t want to go there. All I could think of once I’d gotten the Shernhaven epic out of my system was a D.C. vice cop trapped by his own desire for young men series my brain was spinning, and the sex. I wanted to be graphic—honest, sweaty fucking. No, the full manuscript draft of Alton’s Folly was not just about ready.
“You can do both, Nick, and Weld will publish and promote both—but in different lanes. What you were acknowledging when you sent the manuscript for The Handyman in under a pen name was that your audience for Nick Hampton books wouldn’t accept a graphic gay male genre from you. You knew that yourself; you just didn’t realize you knew it. We’ll do both—just separately. Separate publisher imprints and separate author names.”
“Why do you bring this up now and here?” I asked. I looked down at the lawn. Ev would be finished mowing soon. He usually came in for a beer and a spell after doing my lawn. Parker Parnell had arrived unexpectedly. I didn’t want him here when Ev came in—and I definitely wanted Ev to come in.
“You came all the way down from New York to tell me I am two authors now, with two different publishers?”
“Not just that, although I wanted to get that settled. We’ll do separate contracts too. We can legally set it up that the copyright will be in the G. P. Hardd name for The Handyman too but that it will trace back to you—just in a very close-hold way. We don’t want to unsettle the fan casino siteleri base you’ve already established with your previous books. But that settled . . . it is settled, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it’s settled,” I answered, almost absentmindedly. Ev was taking a break. I’d forgotten that he said he was going to do the neighbor’s yard too. So, I had time with the Parker issue. He had taken a pull from a water bottle and then let the water stream down his bare chest. I involuntarily moved a hand to my crotch. I was hardening up.
“Good,” Parker said. “That’s not the only reason I came. Since you’re going to be two authors, you’ll need to be promoted as two separate men, and that’s going to be tricky. When The Handyman is in the press, which can be soon because you delivered the manuscript in great shape, Flescher wants you to do a couple of appearances as G. P. Hardd. Your genres are quite different, so we think you can pull off being two different people at a few book festivals until you get the new author established. Maybe it will be enough for you to shave off your beard and mustache. You don’t keep them long, so you can quickly establish them again when we start promoting Ashton’s Folly. Maybe you could die your hair. There’s an erotica publishers conference in Annapolis, Maryland, in May, just as The Handyman should be coming out. Flescher wants to slip you in on a panel there as G. P. Hardd. I’m here to go over how we can manage that.”
“Is that why you’re really here, Parker?” I asked, turning now to the bed, where he was stretched out on his back, in erection, stroking his cock with a hand. “It isn’t because I haven’t been up to New York in several months?”
“It’s true, I’ve missed you. Come back to bed. Enough publishing talk for now.”
“You do look like you’ve fully recovered from earlier,” I said.
Parker stretched out his free arm. “Come and ride it, Nick. Your G. P. Hardd descriptions in The Handyman manuscript made me so hard I had to take care of myself repeatedly. I don’t like doing that alone. Come back to bed and be G. P. Hardd for me.”
Climbing over him in bed, still naked—I’d been naked and had been exposing myself to Ev Jones at the window—I straddled Parker’s pelvis, reached back and positioned his cock at my hole, and sank down on him. When we’d fucked in a cowboy position when I was just Nick Hampton, I had given him a basic ride, sitting on the cock facing his head, palming his pecs, and rising and falling on him. As G. P. Hardd, I was more inventive. I slowly revolved on the cock, both facing and facing away from his head, and I moved into the position of the crab, supporting myself suspended over his body on my feet and hands and rising and falling on him in that position. He became more inventive too, lacing his legs between mine, as I stretched on top of him, and raising and spreading our legs together, putting my arms in a full Nelson, and fucking up into my passage. Both of us were much more athletic and inventive when I became G. P. Hardd.
We fucked for nearly an hour. I was afraid I’d missed Ev Jones. But I hadn’t. After Parker had showered and dressed and I was seeing him off to his room at the nearby Bavarian Inn to rest before we had dinner together there, I found that Ev had retreated to the shelter of my deep front porch after finishing the lawn and was enjoying a major proportion of a six pack I’d placed in ice in a cooler there for him.
“You still want me to come in?” he asked, as we watched Parker walk over to his Jaguar parked in my driveway.
“Of course,” I answered. “Why wouldn’t I?” He reached out and tugged at the silk robe I was wearing—all that I was wearing.
“I heard you two. You were having quite a session.”
“Come into the house, Ev,” I murmured.
He fucked me bent over one of the stools at the kitchen island. The balls of my feet barely reached the ground, and he initially wanted my arms and head dangling down the other side of the stool as he covered me and worked his massive black cock inside me. He liked to fuck me in strange places and exotic positions. His technique had been the model for several of the steamy scenes in The Handyman, a strong, muscular, big-cocked ebony body covering a smaller white one and taking its pleasure however it wanted to was, I thought, as hot on the page as it was in person.
After establishing the rhythm of the fuck, though, Ev whipped the sash from my robe over my head and onto my throat and used it as reins to arch my torso back to him and to ride me and ride me and ride me. Parker and I had been inventive. Ev was a wild man. Both types of scenes, run back to back, would fit nicely in my next gay male novel.
* * * *
I immediately sensed him there beside me at the bank of urinals in the men’s room of the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel convention center. It may have been the scent he let off, a strong, manly woody scent. It was how I’d thought of him when I looked out onto canlı casino the audience in the room where I was on a panel of new authors of gay male historicals at the Annapolis Erotica Book Festival. This was one of the book fairs I’d agreed to go to with the Flescher Press. They had brought quite a display to the venue. The Handyman was hot off the presses. Presales had been good and Flescher was doing a good job of promoting the book here at the book festival.
He’d been standing in the back of the room, and my eyes kept going to him. He was solidly built and swarthy. He was both of these aspects in good terms—body-builder muscular through the chest, wearing a tight black turtle-neck knit shirt that showed every curve and a flat, muscular, if thickish waist—muscle thick, not fat thick. I had the feeling I’d seen him before and that he’d given me a jolt of arousal even then, but it wouldn’t have been in the black suit he was wearing now. He was darkly tanned, a face tending toward the thuggish, determined, in command. Part of the “in command” impression was that he was in his late thirties or early forties, looking like he’d been around the block several times and knew every crack in the sidewalk. He had a five-o’clock shadow beard and mustache, which I surmised he kept permanently close cropped. He looked like someone’s bodyguard or a narcotics cop. The broken nose screamed of “you should have seen the other guy.” When each element was considered separately, it was a little frightening, but, as a whole, the man was sexy as hell.
I’d kept looking to the back of the room at him during the panel session I shared with two other male authors, both published by Flescher Press, which was sponsoring this session. I couldn’t place where I’d seen him before. I fancied that he kept looking at me too.
I went to the men’s room at the end of the session and before going to sit at the Flescher booth to sign books, my spirits up at seeing that a line was already forming at my table. There wasn’t anything worse than sitting for a book signing with the authors on either side of you with lines and you having none. That was how my career in the mainstream had started. I didn’t face that with my historicals and mysteries in the mainstream anymore, but it would have been deflating to have to start there again with my erotica.
I was at the urinal when he came in, saddled up to the one beside me, unzipped, and pulled out a huge cock. Of course I looked, and, holy hell, was he hung. I’m gay and a submissive to a good cock. I always looked if they didn’t lean into the urinal and hide themselves. He most certainly didn’t do that. He leaned back from the porcelain at the hips and sent a strong arc of urine into the bowl. I was mesmerized and stood there, holding my cock, deciding whether I should lean back as well to give him a view of me—I had nothing to be ashamed of—or if I should make it obvious that I could see him. This “porcelain sex” foreplay, as I called it, could be dicey. You couldn’t always be sure the other guy was signaling. Sometimes the guy was totally oblivious to the possibilities and that, for some, it was a mating game.
If this guy was signaling, he was going to make it a long game, because he folded himself back in and zipped up before turning toward me, giving me a little smile—and he looked gangstery or cop-like enough to never give more than a slight smile—going to the washbasin, and then on out of the men’s room.
We weren’t the only men in there, so maybe that’s what held him back, but I was trying to tell myself that he had, indeed, signaled. He must be gay, I thought—and a top. He was too hung and had too much of a swagger to want it from another guy. He was at the session where three pretty graphic gay male novels were on the menu. And I’m the one who came into the men’s room first. He’d followed in behind me.
As I walked toward the Flescher Press booth, where the table was set for the three of us from the panel discussion to sign books, the mystery was solved of why I had recognized him. The back wall of the booth displayed oversized copies of that season’s book covers. The mystery man, stripped to the waist, and looking magnificent, was on the cover of three of the books. He was a male book cover model. A publishing industry signal of a gay male book was to have a half-dressed steamy/dreamy male or two on the cover. That’s why he was familiar. I’d seen those covers before. And that’s why he wasn’t instantaneously identifiable. This evening he was more dressed than he was on any of the covers.
That said, he, indeed, was a hunk and a half. More than that, I was working on a book about a rough-sex gay D.C. vice cop I’d named Hardesty, which I wanted to fill out into a series and get Flescher to publish, and it hit me that this guy was Hardesty. When I wrote about Hardesty now, this is the guy I would have in mind. I instantly decided I’d go back and do whatever rewriting was required to make kaçak casino Hardesty this guy.
And I had already known that the Hardesty I was writing about was a character I wanted to cover me and fuck me. That helped me construct the sex scenes—writing it as if I was the guy being plowed.
But I saw that the line waiting for me to gladhand readers and sign copies of my books for them was long enough that I was going to be fully occupied for the next good bit of time, after which the Flescher crew had said we’d go to a bar nearby to cap off the panel session. So, I filed the mystery hunk in the back of my mind, put on a smile, and checked to make sure pens had been supplied to the table I was settling at.
* * * *
By the time I finished signing books, which was very gratifyingly a long time—I didn’t get this much response to my mainstream books—most of the Flescher crew had gone ahead to a gay bar on South Charles Street in Annapolis. The Rowan Tree was subtle enough in atmosphere to include straights in its clientele and it wasn’t uncomfortably gay for any of those. I went over in the second wave with those who had to stay with the booth until closedown for the evening. The hunk I was focusing on was there, but at a table that already had all of its chairs occupied, so I dropped into a chair at a second, nearby table, facing the cover boy. The place was crowded and, as midnight neared, it was becoming more crowded. The interests of the clientele were switching toward the gay side, so I stayed to see how gay it would get.
“That’s Doug James,” one of the Flescher employees I queried said, identifying the cover model who was sitting at the other table. “He does this for the fun of it and for some personal advertising. He owns a men’s gym in Chelsea, in New York, and is a personal trainer. Makes good money, I hear.”
So, he probably couldn’t be bought. He’d have to be won.
I asked if Doug James was gay, but the crowd was getting too loud and we couldn’t hear each other talk, so it became just an evening of drinking, mouthing words to each other, pretending we understood what each other was saying, and giving meaningful looks around the room to anyone who was playing. I made sure to save some of my meaningful looks for Doug James at the other table, and sometimes they were met with a smile.
When he got up and headed to the john, I followed him. It was a lot more quiet in the men’s room than out in the bar, as we, once again, stood next to each other at the urinals, with our dongs hanging out. He turned his head, smiled at me, and said, “You’re really Nick Hampton, aren’t you? Just writing these books under a pen name.”
“Yes,” I admitted. “Different markets.”
“Yeah, I understand that. I’m usually involved in this just for the cover art, but I read you under the other name and so I checked into why you were here. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me. I like this hair color better than your other. I like your Hampton books a lot. Haven’t read any of these.”
“I could give you—” I started to say, wanting to move into something that would get us together more closely than just standing next to each other, our dicks out, and peeing into a urinal, but the door opened then, not only letting in two half-drunk guys yelling at each other because they were coming out of the crowded bar, but letting the bar noise in, as well.
Doug James zipped up and was headed back to the barroom before I could get any farther. I wanted to establish whether he was staying in the hotel the book conference was being held in, would be there that night, and maybe wanted to come to my room for company and more. He was becoming an obsession with me. I wanted him to fuck me.
I’d finished my drink before following him into the men’s room, so I went to the bar to order another drink.
“You’re G. P Hardd, aren’t you?” a rich baritone voice said from the barstool next to where I’d bellied up to the bar.
“Yes,” I admitted. I was here to gather fans, so I wouldn’t shirk my duty there.
“I read your book and liked it. I came from the same area of the coastline you wrote about—up in Massachusetts. The town you wrote about could be any number of small harbor towns I’ve been in along the Massachusetts’ coast. Cold on the outside and steamy under the surface. You really know the area well.”
I wanted to laugh. I’d pretty much made up all I written about in The Handyman.
“Thanks,” I said, though.
“Here, let me get that drink for you. What does the ‘G’ stand for in your name? I’m Stan Sinclair.”
“Thanks,” I said again. “The name is a pen name. I don’t know that we have an explanation for the ‘G’ yet. You can call me Nick.” It was only then that I focused on him. Late forties or early fifties, tall, solid, dressed expensively and casually, bald, but with a well-trimmed gray beard and mustache. Rugged, quite good looking and in great condition for his apparent age.
“Yes, I know,” he said, flashing me a mischievous smile. “Nick Hampton, isn’t it? I read your other books too. I recognized you from the jacket photo. I like your original hair color better. Let me buy you a drink and your secret is safe with me.”
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