Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 13


The walk into the grocery store was sticky and uncomfortable. The wet spot on my jeans was hidden by my shirt, but I still felt several pairs of eyes on me as I hurried to the bathroom. I cleaned up as best as I could with water and paper towels, wincing slightly at the rough texture on my sensitive dick, but it was better than nothing.

After my impromptu bath, I found the pet food aisle and grabbed a few cans of cat food and a pre-filled litter tray. Then I went to the pharmacy and grabbed condoms and lube. The cashier eyed me skeptically, but smiled and rang up my order. As I paid her, she winked and I blushed.

Max was waiting at the curb when I exited the store. I saw him holding Lucifer, rubbing his nose against the kitten's small cheek. Max was so freaking cute I had to smile.

We drove back to his house, after texting my parents that I was crashing with Max. Though the trip was only twenty minutes from the store, it seemed like an eternity. I held Max's hand in the car and he bit his lip. Damn I loved it when he did that.

When we got to his house, no lights were on. Max leaned over to kiss my lips gently. "Looks like we have the place to ourselves."

I grabbed the kitten's box and his accessories and carried them in. Immediately, Gio began whining. He must have smelled Lucifer as soon as we walked into the house.

Max rolled his eyes and said, "Hang on. Let me introduce Lucifer to him."

"What? He'll eat him as a snack!" I cried.

Max snorted. "Gio will probably be petrified of him. Just watch."

He scooped up the kitten and went over to the half-door of Gio's room. The huge beast jumped up and hooked his front paws over the door and stared at the new-comer. Lucifer tipped his head sideways. Deciding he was in no danger, he jumped off Max's hand, and sat down on Gio's snout.

Max was amazed. "That's just plain weird."

Lucifer leapt down and began exploring the space. I shrugged, opened the litter box and placed it inside Gio's room. Max emptied a can of the cat food into a shallow dish, and Lucifer ate ravenously while Gio sat back, licking his lips jealously.

"All right Gio," Max said. He leaned over to put food in Gio's dish. The sight of him bent over, ass in the air, made me even harder than I already was.

"Oh, Jesus," I whispered.

Unable to control my urge anymore, I walked up behind Max and pressed my hips against his backside. He was at the perfect height to thrust into, if we hadn't both been fully clothed. As it was, my pants rubbed against my dick and made me moan.

Max pushed back into me and chuckled. "This is definitely hot, but not with Gio and Lucifer staring us."

I stumbled back and my face flamed. "Oh God. I'm sorry. I'm just—shit. I don't know what I'm doing."

Max took me by the hand and led me upstairs. He lay down, fully clothed, and pulled my body onto his own. I propped my head up on my fist and leaned down to kiss him. A needy, little whimper escaped him and I grinned. "You taste good."

"And you feel good," Max replied. His hand snaked between us and ghosted over the bulge in my pants.

"Fuck," I groaned. If I didn't stop him, I was going to come right then. I grabbed him by the wrist and said, "Wait. Please."

"I'm sorry," Max said. "If you're uncomfortable—"

His nervous frown was adorable. I stopped his worrying by kissing him hard. My tongue forced its way into my mouth and I took my time exploring. I could tell he was holding back, keeping his hands off me, so I took his hand and carefully put it on my lower back. I figured it would be a little less sensitive there.

And it was, until he shoved his hand down the back of my pants. He sucked on my tongue as though he was sucking my cock. I couldn't keep my orgasm from slamming into me like a freight train. I pulled back from Max and gritted my teeth.

"Oh shit!" I shook against him as hot come once again soaked my boxers. When the last spasm worked through my body, I looked at Max in terror, then turned over onto my other side. I was completely humiliated to have come in my pants twice.

I felt Max's hand rub my shoulder. "Trace, it's okay."

"I feel like such an idiot."

He dragged his tongue up the back of my neck and whispered in my ear. "You are so fucking hot when you come."

Unbelievably, my cock twitched, trying desperately to resurrect itself. The cooling jizz in my underwear felt slimy and comfortable, though, so I pushed Max back gently and stood. "Is there a bathroom? I'm sort of…"

Max smiled. "Of course. It's right through that door. There're towels and cloths in the closet if you want to shower."

"Yeah, thanks." I shut the door quietly, then collapsed against the sink, barely able to stand. What the fuck was wrong with me? Was it the newness of it all? Was it just because if was Max? Whatever the case, I felt sticky, so I started the shower and stepped in. I closed my eyes and stood under the spray, sighing, and then washed quickly. After turning the water off, I stepped onto the bath mat and froze. A message was written in the steam on the mirror.

Don't sweat it. Let him take care of you. Give him purpose. –Philip

"What the…fig?" I looked to the ceiling and whispered. "Really? Now you chose to remind me of your presence?"


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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 12


A voice called out from the street. “Trace? Are you out here?”

Michael sighed and disappeared, leaving the cat on the wet ground. When I saw Max running down the alley at me, I gently pushed the kitten behind me. Max took me by the shoulders and gasped when he saw my ear. “Oh, shit! You’re bleeding! What happened?”

Before I could come up with an explanation, a loud purr bubbled up from the pavement. Once again, I pushed the kitten back out of sight, but it wasn't having that. It meowed loudly and clawed my ankle.

"Ow," I mumbled.

Max knelt and scooped the kitten into his hands. "Oh my God, look!"

Terror froze me to the spot. Once the kitten's wings sprouted and his fangs showed, Max was going to freak. But the wings didn't sprout, and when Max stood, cradling the animal tight against his chest, I couldn't see any fangs in the kitten's mouth. I rolled my eyes. Michael had transformed the kitten into what appeared to be a normal cat. At least, I thought he had. Was it horrible that I wanted to murder an angel?

My attention snapped back to Max's face when I felt his hand touch my arm. "Did the cat scratch you while you were trying to save it?"

His eyes lit with admiration and I thought, Fine. I'm going to milk this. With a sheepish grin, I nodded. "Yeah. Poor little guy was pretty scared. I heard him mewling in the dumpster."

"That's so sweet," Max gushed. He reached up with one hand and drew me down for a kiss which had potential to grow into something hot. A sweep of his tongue against my lips had me panting for another taste, but when I tried to draw Max's body close to mine, the cat hissed his displeasure. Max stepped back and chuckled. I stepped back and adjusted my pants.

"Can you take him to your house?" Max asked.

"Huh?" I replied numbly.

"You won't leave him here, will you? He's so small and helpless."

"Helpless my ass," I mumbled.

Max scowled. "What was that?"

I thought fast. "I said poor, homeless cat." The pout on Max's face broke my willpower. I sighed. "Okay. I'll take him home. Can't promise my mom will keep him, but—"

Balancing the kitten in one hand, Max wrapped his free arm around my waist and squeezed. "Let's go back to the bar and see if they have anything to put him in."

Ten minutes later, we were on the highway. I was holding a Bacardi box on my lap, peering down at the hellcat within. This was a very bad idea, but the thought of disappointing Max was worse. I reached in to pet the kitten, and its wings unfurled.

"Don't you dare," I whispered. The kitten looked contrite, and folded his wings up and out of sight. I glanced at Max, who didn't seem to have heard me over the radio.

"So what will you name him?" Max asked.

I snickered. "Lucifer."

Max nodded slowly. "I guess that works. After all, he did scratch you."

After all, he was created in hell. Time to change the subject. "You know, I really liked dancing with you."

His blush was impressive, even in the low light. "Me too," he said. "And, you know."

"Kissing you? God yeah, I definitely liked that. I wanted to do more, but…" I pointed at the cat.

"Yeah…" He looked at me with burning lust in his eyes. The car suddenly slowed as Max pulled off into a deserted rest area. He threw the car in park, took the box from me, and set it gently in the back seat. Then, he unbuckled his seatbelt and pounced.

There wasn't much room to maneuver in the small car, but with a little wiggling, Max was able to straddle my lap. We looked at each other for a moment before he covered my lips with his. I opened my mouth and our tongues fought for dominance. The now faint taste of beer drove me wild and I moaned.

"Want you," I panted. "Want to touch you."

He breathed. "Please, Trace," before kissing me even harder than before.

I struggled to get his pants opened, but I finally succeeded in freeing his cock from the tight denim. Max's cock was on the smaller side, and thin, but it felt good in my hand. In my previous existence, I'd touched plenty of dicks, and it was fun, but it was different with Max. It was…right. I tightened my fingers around him and rubbed my thumb over the weeping head.

"Fuck, yes," he said between panting breaths. "Feels so good, Trace."

With my experience as a lover, I planned on making this as good as I could for Max. I collected his pre-come on my thumb and wiped it across his mouth. Then I held his face in both of my hands and licked it off, pausing briefly to nibble on his bottom lip.

"So fucking hot," I whispered. "You want me to make you come?"

He nodded, but didn't speak. The innocence sent my arousal through the roof. I wanted to try to bring him out of his shell. I wrapped my fingers in his hair and licked a path up his neck. "Say it, Max. Say it out loud."

"I-I want to come." His voice was barely audible.

I nipped at his throat. "Louder, Max. Tell me what you want, baby. Louder."

I reached my fingers farther into his pants and rubbed against his taint. He convulsed and let out a strangled cry. "Trace! Oh, fuck, make me come!"

My fingers tightened on his cock and I stroked faster. I watched in wonder as Max's eyes rolled back in his head and he slid quickly over the edge. As his come covered my fingers and ran down his shaft, my own orgasm rocked through me.


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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 11



The voice was as dark and frightening as anything I’d ever heard. The black fog enclosed me and bound my arms to my sides. My blood chilled and I struggled to get away from the ghost.

“I’m no ghost.”

Apparently it could hear my thoughts. The amorphous mist formed into a half-man, half-animal and my heart stopped. His nose crinkled when he sniffed at me. Slimy lips split to show four fangs in an otherwise empty mouth. I gagged on the putrid smell of blood on his breath. He had bumpy, black and red skin like a hellish frog. Paper-thin wings fluttered with his panting breaths.

He raised a hand to my chin and gripped me with razor-sharp talons. His gaze traveled down to my feet and back to my face. He came to some decision.

“I want this one,” the voice scratched.

“Oh Jesus,” I whispered. I was very close to pissing myself.

“Release him!” Michael boomed. His feathery wings flapped violently and he rose into the air. With a howl of rage, he put up his hand and hurled a ball of light at the demon, who roared and let me go.

“I should destroy you where you stand, Pentus!” Michael bellowed. Another ball of silver-blue light began to grow in his hand. “Get what’s yours and go.”

The demon backed slowly away until he reached the two unconscious men. When he touched them, the humans woke and began shrieking in fear at the apparition before them. They both lunged for the exit to the street, but the demon blocked their path. His great claws tore into the men’s flesh and he laughed at their cries of pain. He growled in triumph. “Fine. You can keep your one, Michael. I’ll take two.”

Holding his quarry tight, Pentus swirled into a cloud of black dust and disappeared. When the air cleared, the only thing left was a pile of bloody clothes. I pushed Michael out of my way and emptied my stomach onto a pile of trash. After I stopped heaving, I wiped my mouth with a damp towel which Michael produced from thin air. He somehow procured mouthwash and handed it to me.

I swished and spat, but before I could ask, “What the fuck was that?” the black cloud swirled up from the ground and Pentus once again stood before us, with a small, furry bundle in his hands.

Michael sighed harshly. “What do you want, Pentus? You are testing my patience.”

I braced myself for the possibility that the thing was going to hurl whatever beastly object he held at me. But he didn’t move in my direction. In fact, he didn’t move at all. Instead, he bowed his head and asked quietly, “Is he well?”

Michael narrowed his eyes and said sharply, “What right have you to ask after him?”

“I have every right to—”

“No! Your greed and lust ate away your soul and you were cast down. You lost him, Pentus. Let him forget you.”

“I will. I will never ask of him again, if you give him this small gift.” Pentus set the ball of fur on the tar, and then slipped through the cracks in the pavement and vanished. The ball rolled over and a small, black kitten mewed up at us.

Michael glared at it. “Oh, He is not going to like this.”

“A kitten? Oh, it’s so cute.” The animal cried again, so I bent and scooped it off the cold ground. When I took a closer look, long, white fangs protruded from its tiny mouth.

“Demon cat!” I announced. I dropped it and it landed awkwardly at my feet. With an annoyed hiss, two small wings unfolded from its back and the animal of the underworld flew up and landed on my shoulder. While I stood stick-still, amazed by its very existence, the kitten proceeded to clean its whiskers.

The kitten’s wing tickled my ear. I swatted it away and the animal bit my finger. “Ouch!” I sucked at the bead of blood. “Michael, who was that? And what is this?”

He scratched the cat’s chin and answered me. “Pentus is a carnifex. He’s an executioner of souls—the opposite of an angel. Instead of accompanying men to the light of God, Pentus drags the wicked into Hell.”

“Oh, my God—I mean gosh. So those two men…?”

He nodded. “Those two men had been marked long ago. Pentus must have thought I was going to claim them, so he tried to prevent me. He’s very competitive. The two of us don’t get on well.”

I raised an eyebrow. “I’d hardly imagine angels would be BFFs with demons.”

“True, but we tolerate their existence as part of the Holy One’s plan. Angels of course are much stronger and if needed, we can and will defend God’s chosen by destroying a carnifex.”

“So why didn’t you rub Pentus out with one of your lightning balls? That was awesome, by the way.”

His mouth drew down. “Because of Philip.”


“Yes,” the angel said sadly. “Before he was cast down, Pentus and Philip loved each other.”

“What? You mean loved, loved? Ouch! Stop biting me, fur ball.”

I detached the kitten's claws from my shirt and held it up so I could look it in the eye. It blinked its wide eyes at me and lay down on my hand, purring contentedly. I handed it to Michael.

“What do you want me to do with it?” he asked.

“Um, let’s see. How about something not involving me? I won’t exactly blend in with the human population with a demon cat flying around my head. Someone is bound to notice sooner or later.”

“You always wanted a kitten when you were little.”

“A kitten with wings and fangs? Are you out of your gourd?”

“I’m sorry. I’m just not looking forward to telling Philip about this.”

I rolled my eyes. “I am not adopting a demon cat.”


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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 10


Panic set in. “No, thanks. I’m not much of a dancer.”

“Too bad for me.” He sighed and disappeared into the crowd.

It wasn’t technically true. I didn’t like to dance, but I was pretty decent. It was more that I didn’t want to leave Max on his own. I turned to say something to Max, but found him flirting with a man who was easily twice our age. I suddenly realized this wasn’t just a trip solely for my benefit. In my head, I’d made this into a date and it wasn’t. Max planned to hook up with someone. And that someone wouldn’t be me.

Shit. I felt like an idiot. When the guy asked Max to dance, he looked guiltily at me. I put a smile on my face and said, “Go ahead.”

“You sure?” Max asked. I nodded and he allowed himself to be dragged onto the floor. His slight form was quickly swallowed into the crowd. I leaned back against a post and sipped my beer. A few men smiled in my direction, but I pretended I hadn’t seen them.

Ten minutes went by and I was beginning to get worried. I hadn’t seen Max at all and the club seemed even more crowded than before. I finished my beer and headed into the gyrating knot of bodies, receiving a few bumps and gropes as I passed.

In the center of the crowd was Max, dancing with his eyes closed, tuning everything out but the music. He had his back to the stranger and arms wrapped around the guy’s neck. The man dancing with him reached around to unbutton Max’s shirt and slipped it from his shoulders, and tucked it into Max’s back pocket.

A strobe came on and I lost sight of the pair. Brief flickers of blinding light animated the dancers like a stop motion camera. One moment I saw Max’s slender form, twisting to the music; the next moment, he had vanished. Frame by frame, I searched for him. I pushed and was pushed, sweaty bodies pressing me from all sides.

Someone bumped me hard from behind. I turned and saw a shirtless back, a Celtic cross inked on the left shoulder. My eyes drifted down the undulating muscles to the shirt hanging from his pocket. I couldn’t stop the jealous scowl from darkening my eyes. The man Max was dancing with caught my gaze, recognized it for the threat it was, and walked away. Max dropped his arms and stood still, no doubt wondering why his partner had left so suddenly.

It took a moment before I worked up the courage to touch him. With shaking fingers, I slowly traced the tattoo. Max spun around and a smile slowly spread across his face. He grabbed my shirt and pulled me down to his mouth.

Beer and salty sweat flavored our lips and tongues. I tilted my head to bring us closer together and fisted my fingers in the curls at the base of his neck. Max moaned and gripped my ass. Even through the denim, I could feel the heat of his hands. He was still dancing, grinding his hips from side to side, but somehow never breaking the seal between our mouths.

My cock was painfully stiff and I knew I was moments from coming. If I didn’t stop soon, I would humiliate myself. Sweat soaked my shirt and my head swam with the giddiness of dancing with Max. Actually, we weren’t really dancing. We were having clothed, vertical sex. Oh, god, I had to get out of there.

“I’ll be back,” I said into his ear.

He frowned. “You okay?”

Max looked disappointed… or was he nervous? Perhaps he thought I didn’t like what had happened. Nothing was farther from the truth and I made sure he knew it. I kissed him hard and spoke in his ear. “I only need to cool off a bit. Then I want you to show me more of those dance moves.”

“Oh, okay. Just be careful.” He bit his lip and smiled shyly.

I fought my way to the door and smiled at the bouncer that had let us in. He nodded and said, “Hey, man. Don’t go far.”

I heeded his warning and walked down to the corner of the building. I figured it’d be a good place to have a nervous breakdown. I leaned against the cool brick wall and closed my eyes. What was I going to do? What was this sudden attraction to Max?

“Hey there, pretty boy.”

My eyes snapped open to see a very large man headed toward me. He wore tight jeans and a black vest with no shirt. Tattoos covered his arms and a thick mustache added to his intimidating look.

I decided to flee, so I casually turned to my left to go back to the club, but another similarly dressed, equally large man blocked my way. I was trapped, and took the only option I saw—I ran down the alley.

Four feet slapped the tar behind me and I prayed that I wasn’t going to die like this, raped and gutted in the dark. When a dead end loomed before me, I turned to face my attackers. Instead of their burly forms, however, I saw a pair of wings blocking their path. Dark, flowing hair told me who my savior was.

“Michael!” I sobbed.

The two men that had been pursuing me stood before the angel in terrified shock. He took them by the shoulders and without a word, rendered them unconscious. With a deep sigh of relief, I took a step toward my protector, but the air suddenly went cold. A black shadow swept between the buildings and hit Michael from the side. His wings crumpled and he smashed into the wall.

“What the—” I took a step toward Michael, but stopped when a pair of bright red eyes appeared in front of me.


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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 9


I shook my head. "Sorry. I'm so dumb."

"You're not dumb, you're just new to the scene. Trust me. I was clueless six months ago. The only way you learn is to get out there."

I wasn't sure how to respond, so I asked, "You like to dance?"

"Love it."

"You're so different at school."

"Have to be. Less fuel for the fire. Sometimes I want to beat the shit out of Steve, but I've learned to ignore him most of the time."

"Well, if it makes it any better the next time Steve goes at you, just know that he wet the bed until he was thirteen."

Max turned to me with wide eyes. "You're kidding!"

"Nope. That's why we call him Crinkles."

"I thought it was because of his curly hair," Max said.

I snickered. "It was the sound of his plastic sheets."

Max laughed so hard that tears came to his eyes. "Oh, damn. Guess I won't call him out on that. Not unless I want to get beaten to a pulp. I guess I’m lucky he hasn't bashed me before.”

“It’s Stone,” I explained. “Someone talked about ‘smearing the queer’ once and Donny flipped. He threatened to beat the shit out of the guy if he laid a finger on you.”


“Yeah. He's a decent person, when he’s not running his mouth. He’s got it pretty hard at home. His parents died in a car accident when he was eleven and he lives with his grandparents. His gramp had a stroke last year, so Donny spends most of his spare time helping his grandmother and doing stuff around the house.”

Max nodded thoughtfully. “Thanks for telling me. I’ll give him a little more credit than I always have.”

“He’s the only one of my so-called friends that I really like. I don’t know why I stuck around with that crowd so long.”

He put a hand on my leg. “Trace, you’re a ballplayer. You spend about every minute outside school with them. I don’t blame you for keeping the status quo and not coming out.”

The heat from his hand burned through my jeans and heated my blood. My pants started to get tight. Max suddenly realized that he was touching me and snatched his hand away. “Sorry,” he mumbled.

“It’s okay,” I said, a little too quickly. Could I be any more lame?

For the next quarter hour, Max concentrated on driving and I concentrated on anything but Max. When the bright lights of the city began streaming past my window, I snapped out of my trance. “What part of the city are we in?”

“The docks.”

“The docks?” I asked. “You know how dangerous it is down here?”

He rolled his eyes. “Live a little, Trace! It’s fine. We’ll park in a garage right across the street from the club. ‘Kay?”

I felt like a complete spaz. “Right. I don’t mean to be such a buzzkill.”

Max laughed. “Buy me a beer and we’ll call it even. I promise we’ll have fun.”

It took about ten minutes to reach the club. He swung a hard left into an underground garage and I braced myself for my journey into the unknown.

We walked across the street and I saw the long line of people waiting to get in. Before I could sigh, Max grabbed my hand and pulled me to the front of the queue. Everyone else waiting began to grumble with complaint, but the bouncer quieted them with one mean glare.

He quieted me too. He was several inches taller than I, and several feet wider, and the tribal tattoos on his face rendered him fiercely intimidating. When the lines and swirls across his nose and cheeks began to undulate, I realize he was smiling.

“Hey, Little Man! How you been?” he asked Max.

“Great, Tai.” Max bumped knuckles with the giant, and then added, “This is Trace.”

I nodded and said, “Hi.”

Tai asked, “You Max’s age?”

“Course he is,” Max said when I remained silent.

“Yeah, I am,” I repeated. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be twenty-one or not.

Tai laughed. “First time, eh? Well, have fun.”

The door opened and music blasted out into the street. The deep bass rhythm vibrated in my chest and I leaned into Max. “Damn, it’s loud.”

Max turned and yelled, “What?”

“Never mind!”



The music picked that opportune moment to stop and several people turned to stare at the screaming kid in the doorway. Max burst out laughing and pulled me by the hand toward the bar. The DJ began another song and I became less self-conscious. We ordered beers and found a section of wall to lean against.

I drank in my surroundings while I sipped from the cold bottle. The dance floor was a writhing mass of sweating bodies and I began to wish I’d worn looser pants. Max touched my arm and said, “Whaddya think?”

“Don’t know yet. It’s-”

Someone came up behind me and smacked into my elbow, knocking me forward. I was profoundly glad I didn’t fall or spill my drink. The guy who hit me turned and smiled. “Oh, shit. Sorry. You okay?”

It was hard finding words at that moment, as I was busy staring at the skin-tight purple jeans he was almost wearing. His cock was in a fight with the shiny denim and from the size of the bulge, I was waiting for the cock to win at any moment.

Max jabbed me in the side to snap me out of my flagrant stare. I looked up into the stranger’s eyes and felt my face flame. “Yeah. Christ, sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

The man stood on his toes and spoke loudly in my ear. “Go ahead and look. That’s why I wore ‘em.” I blushed and he laughed. “I’m Colby.”


“Dance with me.”


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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 8



"Hell yeah. It's Friday. We'll go later. The clubs don't really start to pick up until after ten."

Astonishment nearly bowled me over. I hadn't thought Max would be the excitable club-kid into which he had just transformed. It made a difference, though. The severe frown that he displayed at school was gone, replaced by a bright-eyed smile.

His raw enthusiasm brought me out of my funk and I spoke before I thought. "Sounds great."

Max clapped and did a little dance of victory. The movement of his hips drew my attention to the nice ass and hips hiding under his jeans. I could easily imagine curving my fingers around his pelvis and rubbing his lower back with my thumbs.

Whoa! Down boy!

Suddenly terrified of those thoughts, I hauled my eyes away from temptation, hoping Max hadn't seen me checking him out. He was bent over the counter, reading my Spanish paper, though, so I was in the clear. He had a nervous habit of tucking his hair behind his ear. I watched him do it and smiled. I could get used to looking at this boy on a more regular basis.

When we were done, Max took me upstairs to his room. He began rooting around his drawers and closet until he'd assembled his "club" outfit. Five minutes in the bathroom, and he reemerged like something out of my wet dreams. Dark blue jeans slung low on his hips and a scarlet red, button down shirt that clung to his frame. As he shuffled his hair into place and checked his reflection in the mirror, I asked, "So, what club are we going to? Do they have underage clubs in the city?"

Max laughed. "Not where we're going."

"Max, we'll never get into a club."

He raised one eyebrow and smiled like the devil. "Trust me."


I took my car home to change into something more appropriate for a club. After searching through my drawers and closet—and cursing myself for being such a slob—I was able to pull together a clean pair of nice jeans and a dark blue shirt. The outfit, however, had more wrinkles than a Sharpei puppy.

My parents were watching TV when I came down. My mother asked, "Where are you going? Nowhere in that shirt, I hope."

"I know," I said miserably. "Where's the iron?"

She scoffed. "So you can burn my house down? I'll do it. Take it off. Pants, too."

Stripped down to my boxers, I followed her up to the laundry room. She expertly ironed my shirt as she tried to be sneaky and figure out what the hell I was up to.

"So…is this a date?"

"No, mom," I said with a scowl.

"Who are you going with?"

"His name's Max."

"Is he…like you?"

I rolled my eyes. "Yes, he's gay."

After a few minutes, she handed me my shirt and asked, "Where are you going?"

"Into the city."

"Where in the city?"

"Mom," I warned.

"Fine. I get it. Here are your pants. Should you shave?"

I yanked the pants on and said, "Goodnight, Mom."

"Bring a coat."

"Got one."

"Don't take any pills from anyone."


"Use protection."

I fled down the stairs and called, "There is such a thing as being too supportive, mom!"

Dad was outside bringing the trash cans in from the curb. I reached for one, but he stopped me. "I think I can handle it for one night, sport."

Max's car pulled into the driveway and I said, "See ya."

"Trace, wait a minute." He took forty dollars from his wallet and said, "Most clubs have cover charges." I blushed, knowing I'd been busted. Dad laughed. "It's fine, Trace. Just don't get drunk. Even if you can trust Max, there will be a lot of men there who won't be interested in your safety."

The fact that my dad was warning me of the dangers of a gay bar was almost comical. I put the cash in my wallet and smiled. "Thanks, Dad. For everything. I love you."

"Love you too, sport. And as patronizing as it may sound, please call me if you need me to—"

"I will. I promise. Gotta go." Mom opened the door, and I hurried to the car before she could try and introduce herself. I shut the door and sighed.

"Hey," Max said, backing out onto the street. "Fun times in Parent-Land?"

I laughed. "My mother had to iron my clothes. And then I went through the Spanish Inquisition. Christ! She even warned me not to take drugs from anyone."

"Have you ever done drugs?" Max asked quietly.

I nodded. "Smoked a joint once with the guys, then got violently sick. They ribbed me about that forever! What about you?"

His mouth twisted to one side. "I took E once. It's not really worth it, though. Yeah, I felt great, but I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up at some orgy."

My mouth dropped open. "No shit! That must've been an experience."

"Don't know," he said. "As soon as I figured out what was going on, I was outta there. It sucked, too, 'cause I had to call Dad to come and get me. When I told him and Mom what happened, Mom went into a big lecture about safe sex and gave me a box of condoms. God, it was so embarrassing."

An image of Max rolling a condom down over his dick popped into my head and fire raced to my groin. I shifted slightly and changed the subject. "So, where are we going? Hopefully nowhere too over-the-top."

Max merged onto the highway and chuckled. "Most gay bars aren't exactly under-the-top, Trace."


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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 7


I scrounged around for Max's number and punched in the digits. He picked up on the third ring. "Hello?"

"Max? It's Trace Worthy."

There was a scuffling noise and a quiet bang, as though he'd dropped the phone. "How's it going?"

"Not bad so far. I stayed home from school today so we've yet to see."

"I can't say I blame you. I saw your mom and I was going to say something to her, but I didn't know if she knew and—"

I scoffed. "She knows. She and Dad were upset that it happened like it did and that I was hurt by my friends, but they were very accepting. My mom even asked if I wanted any kind of special diet or anything, like I was becoming a vegan."

Max laughed out a groan. "Oh my god, that's classic! My parents kinda always knew that I was gay. Dad doesn't like it, but only because he thinks it makes life hard for me. Mom loves that I'm an uninhibited spirit. Her parents were hippies, so she embraces the whole free love thing."

"They sound great."

"They are. Kinda overwhelming sometimes, but I'd rather have that than have them throw me out of the house or something."

There was an awkward silence before I said, "Well, I'm calling because of my—"

"Spanish paper. I know. What was up with that? You normally do really well."

No way was I going to tell him that I failed because a meddling angel wrote the paper. "It's a long story," I confessed, "but I would really appreciate some help."

He sounded hopeful. "Sure! I mean, yeah, that's fine. Do you want to come over here? Say… seven-ish?"

"Um, okay."

"Awesome. See you then, bye."


The Holbrooks lived a mile back into the woods on the east side of town. The evening sun barely filtered through the trees, turning the long driveway into an eerie wooded tunnel. The large home looked as though it had been carved out of the surrounding forest. It was multi-leveled, following the natural landscape. The siding was rough wood, punctuated with large panels of glass. I'd never seen anything like it before.

I knocked on the door and almost crapped my pants when a deep, loud quasi-bark erupted from inside. Unlike the sharp warning calls I'd heard from other dogs, this animal emitted a breathy boof, boof like it a wolf with asthma.

A voice inside called, "Come here, Gio! We're not under attack."

The barking subsided and the door opened to reveal Max struggling to restrain one of the most massive dogs I'd ever seen.

"Oh, holy fuck!"

Max yanked on the beast's collar. "I swear, he's fine. Just excited to see visitors. He's very gentle."

Its face was so wrinkled I couldn't see the eyes hidden in the folds. When it began to pant, I was amazed at the size of its mouth. I put out a hand to pat his head and a giant tongue emerged to cover it with slobber. I stared down at the slime and scowled. Max bit his lip. "God, sorry! Come in and you can wash your hands."

We walked into the kitchen which was surprisingly modern compared to the exterior of the house. I noticed a half-door on my left with a sign that read "Giovanni."

"What's that?" I said, pointing to the door.

"That's Giovanni's room," he replied, pointing to the slobbering canine at my side. "It's his version of a crate."

"What kind of dog is he?" I asked, as I scrubbed the drool off my hands.

"A Neapolitan mastiff. My father's part of a rescue group."

"It seems like Giovanni could rescue himself."

Max shrugged. "It's mostly about people wanting these cute, wrinkly little puppies and then realizing what a huge mistake they've made once the dog gets to be a hundred and eighty pounds."

"So how old is this dog? Like twelve or so?"

"Actually, he's two. Just about full-grown."

My mouth fell open as I compared the size of the beast from the old country to the size of my tutor. Max was pretty small, maybe five-foot-seven, but he looked like a dwarf next to Giovanni. The dog's head came up to just below Max's chest. Max herded him into his room and threw in a two-foot-long rawhide bone. I guessed the treat would probably last for five minutes.

"'Now he's penned in," Max said, "can I get you something to drink?" He turned to an industrial glass-front refrigerator and yanked the door open. "Oh, hmm. I only have organic pomegranate soda, goat's milk or iced vanilla-honeybush chanakara tea."

"Wow, those are some different kinds of drinks."

Max blushed. "Yeah, my mom's a hippy nutritionist. Mostly, I drink water."

"Water it is."

He grabbed two mismatched pottery tumblers from the cupboard and filled them straight from the tap. He handed one to me and we smiled at each other, then fell into an embarrassed silence. Finally, he cleared his throat. "As lame as this sounds, are you doing okay considering what's happened?"

I shrugged. "Even though I've been bi for a while, I didn't really act on it. There were a couple little hook-ups, but nothing led anywhere. I feel so clueless! I don't have any friends that will accept me now. I don't know where to go."

As hard as I tried to hold them back, tears rolled down my cheeks. Max handed me a napkin. "I could tell you everything's going to be okay, but that's bullshit and you know it. Things are gonna get rough for a while, Trace. It's hard to find a place to fit in around here." I slumped further into my self-pity pool and frowned. Then Max jumped up from his stool and declared, "The city's got an amazing scene, though! Do you want to go after we're done with the paper?"


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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 6


I really didn't want to face them, but I figured it wouldn't make it an easier by putting the discussion off. I trudged down into the living room, where my parents sat stiff as boards on the couch. I slumped into a chair and studied the pattern of the carpet. When I'd come out to them the first time—before I'd died and been resurrected, so to speak—they had been supportive. I'd had the time to sit them down and break the news gently. This was altogether different.

My father sighed. "I'm sure you know what we need to talk to you about."

I sniffled and nodded. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I hadn't told anyone 'til today. I told Stone, and then Steve found out and he told the entire school, and now everybody hates me!"

Sobbing hard, I curled up and brought my feet up onto the chair. Mom knelt on the floor next to me. "Trace, honey. We still love you just as much as before. This doesn't change how we feel about you. You're my baby."

I came out of my crouch and blinked my tears away. "Really?"

"Of course," Dad replied. "I'm just sorry that everything happened this way. We don't want to see you hurt."

Mom handed me a tissue. "How would you like some cake? Or maybe a brownie sundae? I'll go make you one."

She flitted off into the kitchen and dad laughed. "You better watch out, or you'll weigh nine hundred pounds."

A few minutes later, Mom brought me a huge bowl of ice cream and warm brownies. "So, tell us what to do," she said.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, what do we need to do to be supportive? Is there any special food you want?"

My father rolled his eyes and said, "For God's sake, Sara. How about sushi and drinks with little umbrellas in them. What do you think?"

"There's no need to snap." She glared at him, then turned to me. "Do you know how to have sexual intercourse with a man?"

I inhaled a mouthful of brownie and hacked violently. Even my father was speechless—he stared at mom with his jaw nearly falling off. When I could speak again, I yelled, "Mom! Can we not talk about that? Ever? As in, at no time in the future do I ever want to discuss this subject with you. Stand back. I think I'm gonna hurl."

"Sorry," she mumbled. "But I just want—"

I shook my head. "Don't. Please. Just know that I am…responsible."

"Oh good," she said with a relieved smile. "Well, do you have a boyfriend?"

"No. No one. And no friends anymore, either. I'm gonna go upstairs."

She hugged me tight. "Night, sweetheart. Remember, this is the beginning of your life. Go on from here and meet people who will love you for who you truly are, not just because they're popular."

Dad hugged me, too, and I took the chance to look at the spot on his arm that would one day take his life. "Hey, Dad, have you seen this? It looks strange. Maybe you should see a doctor about it."

He drew his eyebrows together and shrugged. "Nah, it's nothing, just a mole."

Mom scratched at the spot with her finger. "You never know what might be dangerous. You need to have your cholesterol levels checked anyway. Why don't I make an appointment and you can let Dr. Ainsley take a look at it? You should have a prostate check, too." With a little shutter, she added, "Ooh, that must be so uncomfortable."

Her words settled onto the three of us like ash from Vesuvius. I cleared my throat. "Well, this just got awkward beyond imagining. I'm gonna disappear now."

I rested against the headboard of my bed and considered the future. It had been so much simpler for the old Trace. For Trace 2.0, things were proving far more complicated. Loneliness and anger slammed into me and I growled in frustration. Then I remembered I had a Spanish paper due the next day. I hadn't even started it.

"Shit!" I hissed.

My phone beeped with a text from a number I didn't recognize. I looked at the message and laughed, realizing it was from Philip, my angel mentor.
Philip: stp swearing pls! + find "Span Paper" on yr lptop.
Me:   TY!
P:   no probs
Me:   whose cell do u have?
P:   the king's
Me:   God has a cell phone???
P:   no. but Elvis does. TTFN

I searched for the file name and was thrilled to find a completed Spanish essay. I printed it out, and then did a little more homework before falling into a dead sleep.

The next morning, I convinced my mother to let me stay home and asked her to drop off the paper to me. A few hours after she handed it in to the school, I got an email from Señora Degas.

Trace, I've heard what's going on, and I wanted to tell you that you can come to me if you need anything. However, after reading your essay, I was concerned. I'm not sure if it was the stress of the situation or some other factor, but it's definitely not up to your usual excellent standards. I've set up a tutoring session for you with Max Holbrook. Maybe he can help you edit the paper and turn it in again. He said you have his number. Take care, see you soon, Sña D.

I fumbled for my cellphone and texted furiously:
Me:   Your span paper failed!
Philip:   That was the idea.
Me:   Wtf?
P:   *taps foot* That better mean "where's that flower?"
Me:   I'm serious! My teacher's making me get tutoring with Max Holbrook.

It struck me that it was the plan all along.
Me:   Very cleaver.
P:   Cleaver?
Me:   Clever. Angry cant type.
P:   I'm sirry I made you mud.
Me:   For an angel, yr annoying.


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 5


"So tell me."

"Not here. Outside."

Ten minutes later, we were leaning against my car. Stone was munching on a roast beef sandwich. I took a big gulp of soda, bit the bullet and blurted it out. "I'm gay."

Donny choked on his sandwich and looked at me in horror. He wheezed and coughed with a hand in the air until he could yell, "What the fuck?"

"Dude, please don't be like this."

"How the hell should I be? We've been friends since fourth grade and suddenly you're…" He shook his head slowly. "You've been lying to me this whole time, haven't you? Have you ever even screwed a girl before?"

"Of course I have. I thought I was bi, but it's been more one way than the other lately. I didn't wake up this morning and turn gay."

"You're like a brother, man. Why the hell didn't you tell me? I would've understood."

"Maybe you're right. Maybe you would have been cool about it, but what about the other guys? How do you think they'd handle the news? Look at how they treat Max—like a fucking leper."

"Holbrook?" Stone laughed. "The fag factor isn't the only thing wrong with him."

I was livid. "Fag factor? Wrong?"

He realized his mistake and back-pedaled. "I didn't mean it like that. You're my best friend. Of course I don't think you're wrong."

"But Max is?"

Donny was flushed with anger. "Oh, so you're all righteous now, huh? What about all the shit that you've given him?"

"Yeah, I have been horrible to him. I think it was more about fear, though. I apologized to him this morning."

"I bet that made his day. He crushin' on you now?"

I'd passed my breaking point. "Fuck you. This is exactly why I didn't tell you."

My best friend sneered and said, "'Scuse me for being freaked out that my best friend's a homo."

"No way!" said a breathless voice behind me. I turned around and saw Steve, the catcher, standing behind me, mouth gaping. I wanted to throw up. I'd been outed. Now that Steve knew, it was only a matter of time before the whole school knew. He took off running, pulling his phone out of his pocket at the same time.

Fighting back tears, I glared at Donny. He looked genuinely upset. "Fuck, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to tell him."

"Whatever," I mumbled, with no more strength left to be pissed. I walked back into the school, already hearing snickering and laughing in the halls.

The deserted bathroom on the third floor seemed like a good place to hide. Hardly anyone ever went up there. I sat on the toilet in the last stall and sobbed. I hadn't told my parents about my sexual preferences, and I'm sure it would get back to Mom before I got home from school. I was completely fucked.

Michael and Philip appeared next to me. I went off on them. "This is all your fault! If you'd just left me where I was…"

"You came out to your parents right after you graduated, so why are you so angry?" Philip asked.

"Because the whole school knows!" I yelled. "I was never out to anyone from high school. That's why I went to college half-way across the country. Everyone's already laughing out there. I can't do this. Take me back up there. It's too hard to be an angel."

Suddenly, the bathroom door opened with a loud squeak, and my heavenly guests vanished. I prepared myself for a bashing, figuring that the jocks were going to be gunning for me, but only one person came into the room before the door banged shut.

"Trace? You okay?"

I knew the voice at once. It was Max. I couldn't talk to him at that point, so I sniffled and said, "I'm fine, thanks. I'll…be okay."

The sound of digging through a backpack echoed off the tiled walls, and then a small piece of paper was shoved under the door. "Here's my number. And I'm not hitting on you. I only want to help if I can."

"Yeah. Thanks, Max, but I just want to be alone right now."

Max said softly, "I did, too. Just don't stay alone too long. And I'm sorry for being such a jerk earlier. I slammed you when you didn't deserve it. So, I'll see ya later."
"Thanks," I mumbled.

I skipped the rest of my classes and went home. It would be another three hours until my mother got home from volunteering at the hospital. The seconds ticked by so slowly that I almost went insane until finally, I heard the kitchen door open.


"Yeah?" I replied quietly. I wasn't sure if she'd heard my news already from a friend or nosy neighbor, so I played dumb.

"Why aren't you at practice?" she called.

"Oh. I…uh…I'm not feeling well."

My father got home around five. When his car pulled in the driveway, I rushed to my window. I hadn't seen Dad in twenty years and I tried to play it cool, but I couldn't. I raced downstairs and burst into the kitchen as soon as he stepped through the door.

"Dad!" I cried.

He was startled when I threw my arms around him and squeezed. My mother yelped. "What's wrong with you today?"

I cleared my throat and let my father go. He raised one eyebrow and took a step back from me. "Get hit in the head, sport? How was practice?"

"I, uh, didn't go."

Mom put her hands on her hips. "Well you look better now—" The telephone cut her off and she looked at the number. "Oh, it's Steven's mother. I wonder what she wants."

Oh. Shit. That bastard had taken no time to spread the news about me even to his mother. I mumbled an excuse and went up to my room.

Fifteen minutes later, my father called up, "Trace? Come down here, please."


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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 4


The smell of floor polish and chalk dust assaulted my senses the moment I walked into the building. It was so surreal. On the spot where I stood, twenty years later, there would be a shopping mall.

Somehow, I really did remember everything that had happened before now. I recalled what I'd had at lunch the day before, and the nasty joke that Donny Stone—my best friend—had told me.

"Weird," I mumbled.

Suddenly, someone slapped me hard on the back and I lurched forward. Stone laughed and said, "Talking to yourself, Worthy?"

"Yeah," I shot back. "I was saying how much of a douchebag you are."

I punched him good-naturedly on the arm and said, "Go ahead to homeroom. I gotta go…check with a teacher."

Stone looked at me warily. "You? Check with a teacher? Have fun, bud."

I headed up the back stairs toward the language classrooms. I knew that the Spanish room was the most likely place to find who I needed. He was a genius with languages, and had helped me muddle through Spanish papers a few times. Right outside the room, sitting on the floor amidst a pile of papers and books sat Max Holbrook. He was bent over a laptop, typing with one hand while sipping from a large travel mug.

"Hey, Max," I called.

He was so startled that the coffee cup went flying, landing upside down on his books. "Shit!" he snapped.

I dove for the cup and righted it before much could spill onto the cover. Then I used my shirt to wipe the spilled java from the paperback. When I was sure that not much damage had been done, I sat back and noticed that Max was staring at me in shock.

I mumbled, "Sorry."

"It's fine," he said. He snatched the book from me and replaced it on the pile. I smiled sheepishly at him and he scowled. "What now?"

"What now what?" I replied.

Max shut his laptop and sighed. He started shoving his books and papers into his bag and spoke without looking up. "I've already run through the gauntlet this morning with all your friends, so I'm kinda tired. I assumed that you came to add the icing on the cake. So, go ahead. I can stand a few more jabs. Do you want to go with the ugly route, or maybe the gay thing? Take your pick."

The blunt speech surprised me. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was poked in the back hard. I would have to thank Philip for the little nudge. I cleared my throat and said, "I'm sorry, Max."

"Sorry?" He blinked at me several times before frowning and saying, "That's a new one."

I held up my hands in surrender and said, "Look. I know I've always been an asshole to you, but I've changed—in more ways than you'll ever know—and I want to apologize."

He looked at me warily and finally smiled. I smiled with him, until his expression turned into a snarl. He took a step closer to me and said, "Fuck. You."

As I watched him storm down the hall and around the corner, I let my bag drop to the floor. "That went well." Then the bell rang and I realized I was late for homeroom. I trudged toward the stairs and groaned. "High school sucks."


I made it through my morning classes well. if anything, they were fun. With my extra twenty-eight years' experience, the history test that I took was a breeze. In algebra I was able to answer several of the questions that the teacher posed to the class. Stone sat next to me and kept shaking his head every time I spoke up.

On our way to lunch, Stone grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the streaming hallway crowd. He scowled. "What is it?"

"What's what?" I replied, trying not to shake with fear. Had he found out that I was dead and had been sent back on a secret mission to save the school outcast?

Stone leaned in closer. "What's got you so fucking hyped up? Did you do it with that chick from state?"

I let out the breath I'd been holding. I thought he'd figured out that I was now a quasi-reincarnated version of myself, but he was asking about a college girl I'd messed around with at a party the week before. "No. Nothing happened."

My best friend wasn't going to drop it. He grinned evilly and whispered, "What about the girl from Teauville, the team's manager? It was her wasn't it?"

Little did he know that it wasn't the female manager of the opposing team that I'd hooked up with. It was the shortstop. But was I going to tell Stone that? No way. He didn't know I was gay and I was in no hurry to tell him. Truth is, I was petrified of being mentally bashed like Max was on a daily basis. The tiniest shred of credit that I could give my friends was that they had never physically hurt Max. Our catcher, Steve, had once talked about "smearing the queer," but Stone went berserk and said that he'd smear Steve's face on the floor if he ever laid a finger on the smaller boy. That was the only reason that I hadn't severed my ties with Stone. Of all my friends, only he showed a little compassion. Too bad he didn't realize that mentally abusing someone can be just as bad as beating them up.

I came back to the present and realized Stone was still hounding me for the name of the girl he imagined had me in such a good mood. "What's-her-face from the cheerleading squad? That freshman? The mayor's daughter?"

"Will you shut up?" I barked. Stone blinked stupidly at me and I sighed. "I have to tell you something, Don."


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Thursday, August 13, 2015

5 Hearts for Remember Him from MM Good Book Reviews!

I'm thrilled with the reviews I've been getting for my book, including from MM Good Book Reviews. Click here to read the review. It's an amazing feeling to know that my hard work has paid off. Thanks to everyone who's read the book. I hope you enjoy it!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 3


"You don't need to be afraid," Philip answered. "Once you have saved Max, and your task is complete, you will spend eternity as an Adored One."

"So, I'll be whisked away, up through the Pearly Gates to float around?"

"Something like that," the dark angel laughed. "There are no gates, though. Just peace."

I tried to think of the place where my father had gone. "What's it like? Heaven, I mean."

Michael beamed. "Words cannot describe it! Imagination cannot render a likeness of its beauty. A million hearts could not contain the love and happiness that flows in God's presence."

"Wow," was the only thing I could think to say.

Philip smiled. "That's what everyone says. But it's time to start your journey, are you ready?"

"Now?" I asked. "But, I don't know what to do. Is there a manual or something?"

Michael put a hand on my arm. "No, no manual. However, you can look to God for guidance, and we will assist you as we can. Use your heart and your mind and you will succeed." They both stood and turned. The light started to fade behind them.

"No, wait! I still don't know what to do!" My head began to throb as my vision dulled. I staggered up and reached out toward the light and dark clouds, but they slipped through my fingers like smoke.


"Trace? Trace Worthy! It's time to get up!"

A beam of light from a split in the curtains felt like it was burning a hole in my forehead. I groaned and flipped over, but instead of my luxurious, king-sized, pillow-top mattress lulling me back to sleep, I rolled off the edge of a hard twin-sized bed and hit the floor with a thump.

Slowly, I sat up and rubbed my hand over my head. When I felt the collar length strands slip through my fingers, I gasped. I distinctly remembered having been to the stylist for my usual men's business cut a few weeks ago. "What the hell?"

"I really wish you wouldn't swear," came a quiet voice behind me. I spun around to see two men standing near my door. But we weren't in my obnoxiously large bedroom in my condo. We were in my childhood bedroom: cramped, clothes strewn over every surface and reeking of teenage boy. I burrowed my knuckles into my eyeballs, trying to wake myself up, but when I open my lids and my vision cleared, I was still in the tiny room in my parents' house.

"No way," I whispered. I noticed my voice seemed different. A little higher in pitch maybe.

One of the men spoke to me. He seemed so familiar, yet I couldn't quite place him. He said, "Listen to me carefully, Trace. When I touch your hand, you will remember what has happened."

He held out a hand and I took it warily. A momentary blinding headache knocked me backward, and then it dawned on me why I was now eighteen years old. I looked at the man whose hand I had touched. "You know, Philip, I really could have done without that shock."

The heavenly being chuckled. "It takes a little work to rewind the clock, you know. But now that you're up, get ready for school. Your mother will be up in a few minutes to wake you. Have fun on your first day back."

"Wait, am I going to remember what happened yesterday at school? If I don't know what's going on, they'll all think I'm nuts."

"It's all taken care of," Michael said. "Just remember, you need to make contact with Max today."

And just like that, they were gone. Seconds later there was a knock on my door. It opened slowly and my mother peeked in. "Oh! You're up."

"Yeah," I replied. "Can I have a laundry basket please? This room is a mess."

"Um…sure." She looked at me like I'd gone insane. In a few moments she returned and handed me the plastic basket. As I collected all of the laundry scattered over every surface of the room while she stood in the doorway, staring. When I excused myself and carried the clothes into the laundry room at the end of the hall, she asked, "Are you feeling all right, Trace?"

For a dead guy? Great.

"Never better," I replied with a forced smile. "Is…uh, Dad home this morning?" I was desperate to see my father, who I hadn't seen since he died from cancer almost twenty years before.

"Of course not," she laughed. "He always leaves before you get up. Are you sure you're okay? It's just that I've never seen you doing laundry."

I paused in my sorting and gave myself a mental nudge. I had to remember to act like a teenage boy. Damn. I said, "Well, I figure that I'm going off to college next fall. I may as well get used to doing laundry the right way. Not like you're going to be coming with me."

Mom shrugged and said, "Well, thanks. It'll be a great help." I emptied the basket into the bin, kissed my mother on the forehead, and then went back to prepare for high school.

Heaven help me.


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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Release Day - Remember Him is out!!

Hey there! I'm so excited to celebrate the release of REMEMBER HIM from eXtasy Books! I've set up a separate page for the book with an excerpt and details on how to enter the giveaway of a $20 Amazon gift card.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 2


"Ha! Of course. God, please make me wake up from this nightmare!"

"God has other plans for you," Philip said with a wide smile.

My heart skipped. It took a moment for my mouth to obey my mind. "P-pardon?" I stuttered.

Michael stood up and explained. "You died before your time, Trace. It was an accident."

"God doesn't make mistakes," I shot back with a sneer.

"Exactly," Philip said. "He planned this so that he might give you a wonderful opportunity. A quest of sorts."

I stood up and paced around the room. "Wait a minute. You're telling me that a teenager got drunk and plowed into my bike just so the almighty can give me a job? I liked the job I had, thank you very much! I slaved my ass—"

"Language, please," Philip reminded me.

I scowled and continued, "I slaved my backside off to earn that job and now you're telling me that all of that work was for nothing?"

"Of course it wasn't for nothing," Michael said sharply. "Your life has touched hundreds of people in ways you'll never know."

"Exactly. I'll never know 'cause I'm dead." I ran out of energy and fell down into my chair. When I bounced on a soft cushion, I gasped. My hard, wooden office chair had become a plush sofa.

Philip motioned for me to lay down. "Relax," he said calmly. I rolled my eyes but did as he asked. I stretched out on the soft fabric and looked at the angel. He took my hand and said, "You are truly special, Trace. God doesn't grant everyone this chance at becoming one of The Adored."

"I thought he adores everyone," I said.

Michael chuckled and said, "You're right. He loves everyone, but there are a group of his flock which are referred to as The Adored Ones."

"You mean angels?" I asked incredulously. "God wants me to be an angel?"

"That is his plan, yes," Michael answered. "But you must first do what he asks of you."

I raised an eyebrow. "And what does he ask?"

Philip produced a folder out of thin air and removed a photo. He handed it to me and asked, "Do you know this child?"

It was a school portrait of a young man. The features were familiar: deep blue eyes a little too close together, mousy brown hair, acne. Thin lips attempted to cover teeth held tight by braces, but failed and gave the youth a forlorn appearance. I went back to the eyes and thought for a moment before I said, "Oh, yeah! Max. This is Max Holton."

"Holbrook," Philip corrected. "That was his seventh grade yearbook photo."

"Wow. I haven't seen him since high school. I wonder what became of him."

Michael took the picture from me and said, "In three weeks' time, Max is going to commit suicide. It's your job to save him."

"Save him?" I cried. "How do you suggest I do that? Am I supposed to talk him down off a bridge? I'm afraid of heights."

Michael sighed. "You misunderstand us. You're not going back to your life to save Max three weeks from now."

"Then what's the plan? 'Cause you've lost me."

Philip smiled and asked, "How would you like to go back to high school?"

It took a moment for the words to filter through my foggy mind. When I understood that the Almighty meant to send me twenty-eight years back in time to change the trajectory of Max's life, I hit the roof. "No way!" I yelled, hopping up from the couch. "I'm not doing it! I survived the whole high school thing once, and that was one too many times. If you expect me to go back to doing homework and picking up my room—"

"We don't expect anything," Philip said. "He does. God would not ask this of you if he didn't know you could do it."

"Besides," Michael said. "There are benefits. You can do all of your homework with the knowledge of a forty-six year old mind. You've studied mathematics and economics, languages. You've already learned how to write proper college essays. Think of the advantages!"

I had to smile. "So God's going to let me cheat?"

"That's not the word I'd use, no," Philip replied with a frown. "It's simply a way to make it easier for you to carry out your task without having to worry about spending all of your time studying. You just have to make sure not to give any hints about the future."

"You make it sound easy," I mumbled, flopping back down onto the sofa. I began thinking about my eighteen year old self and my life since high school. One event stood out, and I hopped up from my seat again. "My dad!" I shouted. "The year I graduated from college, my father died from skin cancer. If he'd been tested sooner…"

Neither angel said anything; they glanced at each other, and then placidly back at me. My heart ached as I asked, "If I can get him to have a test, will I be able to save him? Please! Answer me!"

Philip swallowed and said, "I-I don't know."

"You don't know? Too bad! I'm doing it. If there's a way to save Dad, I'm taking it. Maybe I'll try and fix a lot of things I've done."

Philip grabbed my arm. "Listen, Trace. God is charging you only with saving Max. When and where that happens is unknown even to us."

"What does that mean?"

Michael straightened his coat and explained, "It means that any of your actions may be the catalyst for changing Max's life; it is known only to God. We do not know how long it will take. You may say something tomorrow that will inspire him to change, or it could be some interaction years down the road."

"Why does that scare me more than being dead?"


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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 1


The clouds were dark, and thick with damp. Thunder crackled through the air, but it didn't cover the agonized shrieks of the angel as the feathers were plucked from his wings.

"No!" the angel pleaded. "Please, Father, I repent! Have mercy!"

His cries fell on deaf ears. He reached out to the other angels witnessing his punishment, but none of them came to his aid. Charles had committed the ultimate sacrilege, and was to be cast out of heaven and into hell. One by one, his smooth feathers were removed until he appeared more like a bat than an angel. Thin, brown skin covered the bones that flapped uselessly around him.

He fell to his knees and begged God, "Please, Father. I made a mistake."

"You are greedy," God said. "You had love. You were one of the adored. For years you have served me with all of your being. You have brought many souls of my children to my side. But now? A young man in the prime of his life is dead because you gave in to the devil's temptation!"

"I'm sorry. Please, I'm so very sorry."

Thunder clapped as God's anger intensified. He stood, towering over the stricken angel. "It is done. I strip you of your name as I stripped your wings. You will be known as Pentus. I cast you down into the pit, where you will serve as carnifex for eternity. While once you guided blessed souls to the heavens, you will now drag cursed souls to hell. Be gone from here!"

The ground beneath Pentus began to tremble. He looked down in panic, then quickly said, "I accept my punishment, but may I say one thing, Father?"

The trembling stopped and God nodded. Pentus said, "Tell Philip I will always love him. I know I've hurt him, but I'm sorry. Please, God, let him be happy when I'm gone."

A fissure opened beneath Pentus' feet. Unbearable heat and the rank smell of death blew up from the portal. Pentus shook with terror. He closed his eyes and stepped off the edge, crying out as he disappeared into the darkness.

God sat on his throne and wept.

In the garden, an angel with long, wavy, white-blond hair sat on a stone bench, covering his ears and whimpering. Although Charles' infidelity had hurt him beyond words, Philip had still hoped the father would show mercy. It wasn't to be. Philip couldn't imagine the torment Charles had endured, but he had heard it. Thunder and screams of anguish echoed around him, as the fallen angel was sent down. When the horrible sounds abruptly stopped, Philip felt as though his own heart had been cast into the pit.

Another angel approached him and touched his shoulder. "It is done," the dark-haired angel told Philip gently. "He is to be a carnifex."

"I heard, Michael."

Michael sighed and said, "I… brought you this."

Philip accepted the offered feather, and ran his fingers over the soft vane. Then, he fell onto the grass and sobbed. His heart was broken. His own wings hung limply beside him, the feathers glimmering in the moonlight as he grieved.



Early this morning, a car driven by Mark Habowitz spun out of control and struck an oncoming motorcycle. Habowitz, 19, is in critical condition. The other driver, Trace Worthy, 46 was pronounced dead at the scene. State police confirmed this afternoon that Habowitz was legally intoxicated at the time of the accident, and speed was also a factor…

I put down the paper and leaned back in the chair. Looking at the two men sitting across the table, I asked, "Is this some sick joke?"

The smaller of the men took the paper from the table and folded it under his arm. His white-blond hair glowed in the overhead light and made his pale skin glimmer like pearls. Narrowing his silver eyes, he said, "This is not a joke."

"Bullshit!" I yelled.

"Please don't use vulgar language in here," the other man said. His looks were as opposite to his crony as possible. Dark hair, olive skin and deep green eyes lent him a sinister appearance, but for some reason I was still not afraid. I knew somehow these men were… gentle?

His scolding had a strong effect on me, though. I cleared my throat and said, "I apologize, but this is insane. Why have you brought me in here to fool with my head like this?"

The black-haired man leaned over the table and said, "We're not fooling with your head, Trace."

"But this says I'm dead! And it's dated yesterday!"

"Yes. You died yesterday."

"Who are you?" I demanded.

"Philip," the blond replied.

"Michael," his cohort said. "We're angels."


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