Author Noel York – Exploring complex relationships one controversial book at a time.

February 17, 2013

Changes

I haven’t posted any updated recently because I’ve made some changes to my career plans. The bad news (well, it’s not bad to me, but I guess some people might not be happy about it), I won’t be publishing anything with Noble Romance Publishing. The good news? I’ll get to keep my cover, but I’ll obviously have to remove the Noble banner across the top.

So, I’ll be looking for a new publisher soon. Can anyone recommend a good publisher for gay erotic romance? I’m going to research the top three, once I discover who the top three are. 🙂

Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt from Birds of a Feather – Randy & Edward. It’s the first chapter, which introduces you to all the major players – who will all have their own book/story to tell. 🙂

Chapter One

Birds of a feather flock together. At least, that’s how Randy Horvath always explained the fact that he and his best friends, Jimmy and Alex—both of whom he’d hung out with since the eighth grade—had so much in common. All three of them preferred beer over liquor, comedies over action flicks, beef (medium-rare) over chicken, and cheese pizza. Not to mention, they were all gay.

What were the chances?

“I just don’t get it,” Kat, Randy’s kid sister, said. “You’re all so close. You get along so well; I don’t think I’ve ever seen you argue. You’d be great for each other.”

“What are you suggesting?” Randy teased her. “That Jimmy, Alex and I form a threesome?”

Kat shrugged, too damned worldly for her own good. “Whatever makes you happy, brother dearest.”

“I’ve explained this to you, what? Six or seven hundred times? If I hooked up with either one of those guys, it would be like dating my brother.” And while Randy didn’t mind a little kink now and then, he definitely didn’t go for that kind of kink.

A door slammed, followed by the sound of raucous laughter and clattering footsteps on the ceramic tile coming down the hallway.

“Speak of the devils, and they shall appear,” Kat murmured. She slid from her perch on the barstool and turned, just as Jimmy and Alex entered the kitchen.

“Kitten!” Alex pulled her into his arms and hugged her close. “I didn’t know you were in town.”

“Yes,” Jimmy said and gave Randy a pointed look. “Someone failed to inform us you’d be here tonight. How are you, Katharine?”

Randy grinned and watched his friends greet his sister. Despite everything the three of them had in common, physically, they were completely different. Alex—although shorter than average—had a nice build, especially for a guy who’d never seen the inside of a gym. He had sun-kissed skin, dark hair, and coal black eyes. He sported more tattoos than a Hell’s Angel and had the outgoing, outspoken, wide-open personality to match. Jimmy, on the other hand, stood over six feet tall, and he spoke like a Wall Street broker. The golden boy of their group, he had blond, curly locks—neatly trimmed—and bright blue eyes. And if Randy remembered correctly from the time the guidance counselor tested them all in junior high, Jimmy’s IQ hovered somewhere around 165. A genius plumber. No one who talked to him could ever guess what he did for a living.

“What brings you to San Diego?” Alex asked Kat. “Are you staying long?”

“A girlfriend of mine is getting married.” She took a step back and straightened her blouse, smoothing out the wrinkles caused by Alex’s bear hug. “You remember Denise, don’t you?”

“Nope. Can’t say as I do.” Alex ambled over to the refrigerator. He opened the door and leaned against it as he gazed inside.

“Yes, you do,” Jimmy said. He rested one hip against the center island and crossed his arms. “She’s the woman Katharine brought with her to my son’s kindergarten graduation last year.”

“Oh, yeah!” Alex looked back over his shoulder and grinned. “The one Joey kept hanging on and calling Neesie. How could I forget? She’s gettin’ hitched?”

“She is.” Kat smiled and slid back onto a barstool. “And my darling brother here has offered to give away the bride.”

Randy met his friends’ enquiring looks, shrugged, and smiled. “She doesn’t have any family. Kat offered my services. What was I going to do, say no?”

“Hell, I think that’s terrific, although I never imagined you in the role of father of the bride. Besides, I love weddings.” Alex grabbed the jug of O.J. and finally shut the refrigerator door.

Randy shook his head. No wonder his electric bills were through the roof.

“You love wedding receptions,” Jimmy said. He turned to Kat. “When’s the happy day?”

“Saturday. And you’re all invited, of course. I told Denise you guys were a package deal.” Kat cast Randy a sideways glance. “How come you didn’t tell them?”

Randy shrugged. “Slipped my mind. I’ve been a little bit distracted lately.”

“Yes,” Jimmy said. “Distracted by that hot tech support guy you met.”

Randy’s cheeks grew hot.

“What’s this?” Kat turned to him and raised a brow. “You’ve got a new love interest, and you didn’t tell me?”

“No, he was never a love interest. I just found him attractive, that’s all. I still find him attractive, but he’s straight as an arrow. Kat, didn’t you say Denise would be here to pick you up soon?” Randy made an effort to change the subject. He had zero desire to talk about his love life—or lack thereof. Not with Kat . . . not with anyone.

“She’ll be here when she gets here, Randall.” Kat turned to Jimmy. “What are we going to do with him? He hasn’t been on a date in more than a year. That’s not normal.”

“Kat, please. Not tonight. Can’t we have one conversation that doesn’t revolve around my romantic life?”

What romantic life?” She shook her head. “Alex, you’re not involved at the moment. Don’t you think you and Randy—?”

“Enough!” Randy hated taking a hard line with his baby sister, but the situation was quickly spiraling out of control. “Please. Can we talk about something else? Tell me about the wedding.”

Kat heaved a dramatic sigh, her shoulders drooping. “Have it your way. I just think—”

“Kat!”

“Fine. The wedding. What do you want to know?”

“Well, shouldn’t we have a rehearsal or something?”

“Yes, the dress rehearsal is Friday evening.”

“Where?”

“At the Hilton down on Mission Bay near the visitors’ center. Randall, I sent you an email last week with all this information. Didn’t you read it?” She tossed her head, and her long, dark hair spread about her shoulders in a messy, curly array.

“Kitten, your impatience is showing,” Alex said. He stepped around the island and laid a hand on Kat’s shoulder. “Cut him some slack. He’s had a rough few weeks.”

Damn it. Randy took a deep breath and braced himself for the worst.

Really?” Kat swiveled on her stool, faced Randy, and pinned him with her gaze.

Randy closed his eyes and wished to God he could disappear. He knew the look on his sister’s face, had seen it a million times. Sheer determination. She’d have the truth, even if she had to sit there all night. Realizing God wasn’t listening or possibly had better things to do than protect Randy from his little sister’s inquisition, he opened his eyes, shot Alex a thanks a lot, asshole glare, then looked to Kat.

“It’s nothing—”

“Randall!”

“Okay, okay. I had a little health scare, that’s all. But it turned out to be nothing.”

“A health scare? What kind of health scare? And why am I always the last fucking person to know when something important happens in your life?”

“Kat, I would have told you . . . eventually. And like I said, the tests came back negative, so there’s nothing to worry about.” Now. But for almost two weeks, he’d lived a nightmare, waiting, wondering, worrying. Just thinking about the possibilities he’d faced made his stomach clench.

Tests. You had medical tests done, and you didn’t discuss them with me?”

Kat worked as a plastic surgeon at a large hospital near Seattle, Washington, and she was friends with some of the best physicians on the west coast. When his doctor had found the lump under his left arm, Randy had immediately thought about discussing everything with Kat—the tests he faced, his fears he may have cancer, the possibility he’d need to go through radiation and chemotherapy. But he’d just as quickly dismissed the idea of telling her anything. Kat lived over 1200 miles away. She had responsibilities and a life. If Randy had even hinted he might be sick, she’d have dropped everything and been on a plane the same day.

“There wasn’t any point in telling you; I didn’t have the test results back yet, and I knew you’d be here this week, anyway. Why worry you for nothing? The tumor is benign, and I’ve got surgery scheduled for next week.”

“Tumor! Jesus, Randy.” Kat’s black eyes went wide. “You have a tumor, and you didn’t tell me because you didn’t want to worry me?”

“It’s benign, Kat!” Randy took a step back. His hands shook and his chest tightened. “Look, I can’t do this right now. Seriously. I haven’t slept more than a few hours in the last week. I don’t have the energy for verbal sparring.”

Kat went from livid lion to caring kitten in the blink of an eye. She jumped up from her stool and pulled him into her arms. “I’m sorry.”

“Group hug!” Max stepped in and wrapped his arms around both Randy and Kat.

After a moment’s hesitation, Jimmy moved to join them, albeit stiffly.

In the back of his mind, Randy knew how ridiculous they would look to an outside observer—how silly. But after everything he’d been through, and as crazy as it might seem, the warmth he felt surrounding him at that moment was exactly what he needed. He soaked up the love and caring, and his tortured psyche began to heal.

The doorbell rang, the chimes overly loud in the silence. Randy gently extracted himself from his friends’ embraces.

Kat sniffled and wiped her nose with the back of her hand. “That’s probably Denise.”

“I’ll get it.” Jimmy left the kitchen and headed toward the front foyer.

Randy nodded at his sister. “You go. We have all week to talk. And I’m sorry, Kat. Really. I didn’t intend to hide anything from you.”

“It’s okay. I understand. But we will talk about this. I love you, Randy. You’re my only family, and I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“I don’t know what any of us would do without him,” Max said. “But lucky for us, we won’t have to find out anytime soon.”

“Kat!” Denise preceded Jimmy into the kitchen. She threw her arms around Kat and hugged her tightly. “God, it’s so good to see you.”

Kat returned her friend’s embrace, and Randy took the opportunity to get himself together. By the time Denise pulled away to greet the rest of the group, he’d plastered a smile on his face and managed to act the role of gracious host and surrogate father of the bride. He mostly stayed in the background, listening while the others talked about Jimmy’s adopted son, Joey, and Jimmy and Kat teased one another about “exchanging services.” Kat had a master bathroom that needed totally revamped, and Jimmy had talked about getting a nose job for as long as Randy’d known him. Randy shook his head. He couldn’t imagine anyone going under the knife like that, just because they thought they had a too-big schnoz . . . .

* * * * *

Thirty minutes later, Randy found himself alone in his now-empty kitchen. Kat had taken off with Denise, after extracting a promise from him that he wouldn’t wait up for her, and that they’d talk over breakfast in the morning. Max and Jimmy had gone home to their respective houses, both of them having to work early in the morning.

Randy moved around on automatic pilot, putting away the orange juice, straightening up the small messes. His mind was on other things—on one thing, actually. The one thing he’d been dwelling on since what he’d come to call his “near brush-with-death experience.”

His lack of a life partner.

Coming face-to-face with your own mortality was a sobering experience. No doubt, everyone handled the situation differently. For Randy, the thought he might not have long to live had him thinking about what he’d done with his life so far and what he wanted to do with the rest of it. His career satisfied him. He worked as a freelance web developer for several major corporations—one of which employed the “hottie” Jimmy’d mentioned earlier. Randy had creative freedom, and he made more than enough money to pay the bills. He owned a tiny condo in Hillcrest—one of San Diego’s nicer neighborhoods, not to mention one of the most gay-centric areas in the country. He’d done a little traveling, had two of the best friends a man could ask for, and a sister who’d supported and loved him unconditionally his entire life. There was only one thing missing, but to Randy, it was a big thing. He wanted someone to share his life. Someone to come home to at night, to plan vacations with, to lay on the couch with on a lazy Sunday afternoon and watch old movies.

Nothing most other people didn’t want, really—but for Randy, those thoughts were foreign. He’d always been perfectly satisfied living alone. After all, if he needed a buddy, he had Jimmy or Alex. If he needed sex . . . well, a man could always find a ready and willing partner, if he knew where to look for him. A month ago, if anyone had asked Randy if he was satisfied with his life, as is, he would have responded with a resounding, “Hell, yeah!”

But something happened during those four days while he’d waited for his test results to come back, while he’d trolled the Internet until all hours of the night, scaring himself half to death by researching all the “what ifs” regarding the tumor. Suddenly, his life wasn’t so perfect, so full. In fact, when he really thought about it, his life seemed rather empty. Kind of shallow.

And the fact he’d been spared the worst—this time—hadn’t changed his feelings any. In fact, if anything, the second chance cemented his decision. Randy wanted someone to love, and someone to love him.

Unfortunately, he didn’t have a clue where to find him.

February 21, 2012

My GORGEOUS New Cover for Birds of a Feather: Randy & Edward

Birds of a Feather: Randy & Edward

Birds of a Feather: Randy & Edward

Tah Da! Here it is, my beautiful cover. Thank you, Fiona Jayde, for creating this stunning masterpiece. She did a great job finding the perfect hotties, and I think she captured the story’s mood spot on.

What do you think? Pretty? 🙂

Upcoming Gay Erotic Romance – Birds of a Feather – Randy and Edward

I’m pleased as punch to announce my first M/M erotic romance releases soon. (Exact date not yet known, but I expect to hear something any minute now).

The title is Birds of a Feather: Randy & Edward, and it’s the first in a series of three BoF books. Here’s a little teaser to whet your appetite (and hopefully make you want more! LOL):

***

“Randy, this is Edward, Donald’s best friend and best man.” Denise made the introductions over dinner a short while later. “Edward, this is Kat’s brother, Randy. As you no doubt noticed, he’s agreed to give away the bride tomorrow.”

Following the rehearsal, the wedding party had adjourned to the hotel restaurant’s terrace. Due to his position in the ceremony, Randy had found himself seated at a table with Donald, Denise, Cindy, Kat—who would serve as Denise’s maid of honor—and Edward.

“Edward, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Randy shook the man’s outstretched hand. “Do you live here in San Diego?”

“I do. Born and raised here, actually. You?” Edward sat back, obviously relaxed, and ran a fingertip around the rim of his wine glass.

Randy took in the man’s long, tapered fingers with their well-manicured nails and stifled a sigh. He’d always had a weakness for nice hands, and Edward’s were those of a pianist. “Yes, I have a place up in Hillcrest, but I’m originally from Seattle. Been here about five years.”

“Hillcrest, hmm?” Edward gazed at him from beneath lowered lashes.

Randy heard the insinuation in the man’s question. Hmm, is right. Did Edward recognize a kindred spirit? And the look in his eye . . . was he flirting? He decided to go for broke and play along.

“Yes, Hillcrest. I find the area much more . . . welcoming than other areas I’ve lived in.” He leaned forward, rested his chin in his palm, and returned Edward’s steady gaze.

“I’m familiar with the area. I used to live there myself, but that was years ago, right after college. It’s an accepting community, very eclectic, lots of culture.”

“Right. That’s what I love about living there. It’s a mix, and there’s always something to see or do.”

“Are you into the club scene?”

Randy hesitated, then decided on the truth. If Edward preferred men who lived to party and partied to live, the two of them wouldn’t get on well, anyway. “No. I mean, I used to go out a lot, when I was younger. But these days, not so much. I have a few close friends, and we’ll hit the corner bar for a few beers and a game of pool now and then, but I’m not into the club scene anymore. Too much like a meat market. Besides, I’m old.”

Edward chuckled and finally leaned forward, shifting to face Randy, his back toward Denise. The intimacy in both the laugh and the body language wasn’t lost on Randy, and for a brief moment, he felt a wave a discomfort. What if someone noticed? He gave himself a mental shake. So what if they did? If he was straight, and Edward was a woman, he wouldn’t think twice about flirting at the dinner table in front of a bunch of near strangers. More importantly, no one else would think twice. How sad, in this day and age, that he still found himself worrying about how other people would view him.

“I’d hardly call you old,” Edward said, interrupting Randy’s thoughts. “What are you? About thirty-eight, thirty-nine?”

“Damn. You’re good. I’ll be forty next month.”

“I’m forty-six. We aren’t dinosaurs. I’d call us . . . well seasoned.” Edward winked and chuckled again.

Randy shivered. God, that throaty laugh made his balls ache. He cleared his throat. “Yeah, well seasoned. I’ll remember that the next time some young punk calls me Pops.”

“Pops. Are you kidding me? I didn’t think anyone used that term anymore. It’s like Daddy-O.”

Randy nodded. “They still use it. Believe me, I’ve heard it often enough.”

“So, what do you do for a living . . . Pops?” Edward asked.

Randy grinned, enjoying the easy banter. “I’m a web developer. Freelance, for various companies. You?”

“I’m retired, actually. I used to work in city government. There were a lot of spending and budget cuts, and rather than wait around until they laid me off, I accepted an early retirement incentive package. So now, I spend a lot of time gardening.”

“Gardening.”

“Yeah, I grow weed.”

Speechless, Randy stared. He had an inkling he looked like a beached fish, with his eyes wide and his mouth hanging open, but he couldn’t help his reaction.

“I’m kidding.” Edward’s deep chuckle had one of the bridesmaids at the next table turning their way. Randy couldn’t blame her. That laugh did crazy things to a person.

“You’re kidding?” He finally managed to do something with his mouth besides acting as if he were catching flies.

“Not about the early retirement, but about the gardening. And definitely about the weed.”

“Damn. You had me going there. I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with . . . gardening. It’s just . . . .”

“I know what you mean. But believe me; I’m as straight as they come.”

“Straight?” Randy cocked his head. Had he misjudged the man? Surely not . . . but then again . . . .

Edward looked into Randy’s eyes, and for a moment, neither of them spoke. As Randy watched, a change seemed to come over the other man. His gaze grew distant, his jaw tightened, and he lost his easy manner.

“I was married for six years,” Edward said. “We divorced three months ago.”

Randy waited in silence, hoping Edward would utter that deep chuckle and say he was kidding again, but in his heart, he knew he waited in vain. Shit.

“So, you’re not . . . ?”

“No. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize where you were headed, what you thought, until just a moment ago.” Edward leaned back in his chair.

Randy studied him closely, noting the slight tremble of his hand as he reached for his wine glass, and the way he wouldn’t quite meet Randy’s gaze head on. Was he lying? He had to be. Randy hadn’t imagined the chemistry between them, and his instincts had never been wrong in this regard. He’d always been able to spot the gay man in a room. Birds of a feather . . . .

But for some reason, Edward had chosen to play it straight. Had he decided he wasn’t interested, and rather than hurt Randy’s feelings, decided to pretend he was heterosexual? That scenario didn’t make sense. No one made up a wife—an ex-wife—on the spur of the moment like that. And besides, up until five minutes ago, they’d been getting along great, and Edward definitely had been interested.

As Randy leaned in to question Edward regarding his sudden change in demeanor, the door to the restaurant flew open. A young girl raced out onto the patio, dark brown curls bouncing, frilly dress swirling around her bare knees.

“Daddy, Daddy! There you are! Mommy says you’re to come inside right this minute and speak with her.” The little girl, who Randy judged to be around three years old, launched herself up onto Edward’s lap, nearly toppling him from his chair. She wrapped her arms around his neck and delivered a smacking-wet kiss on his cheek.

“Ivy, sweetheart, easy. You’ll send us both onto the concrete.” Edward gently extracted himself from the little girl’s embrace. “You say Mommy’s inside?”

“Yes.” Ivy nodded enthusiastically. “And she’s very mad. You were supposed to meet us out front, remember?”

Edward looked at his wristwatch, frowned, then looked up at Randy. “She’s right. I lost track of time.”

“Oh. No problem. It was nice meeting you, Edward.” Randy stood and waited while Edward got to his feet.

“Nice meeting you, too, Randy.” Edward juggled Ivy onto one hip and held out his hand. “I’ll see you tomorrow at the wedding.”

“Sure. Right. Um, I’ll see you. Tomorrow.” Randy struggled to string more than three words together at once as he returned the handshake.

Edward gave him a quick nod, then turned and strode inside the restaurant, his daughter bouncing on his hip.

His daughter.

Christ, Randy thought, could I have been that wrong?

***

So, that’s it. Was Randy wrong? 🙂 You’ll have to wait until the book’s release to find out.

Meanwhile, I’ve set up a Facebook page and I’m working on all the other social media sites. There sure is a lot to do! I hope you will follow/friend/link to me. Assuming you can find me and I can find you. :-/ I am Noel York on Facebook. I think you can search under my Gmail address and fine me. author.noel.york@gmail.com.

See you around the ‘net!

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