Angel and Firebird – excerpt

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Five years ago, Phoenix lost his lover Gabriel, his angel, in a horrific hate crime. All he wanted was to follow him into death and he struggled a long time trying to get his life back together. All this time later he still hasn’t been able to put the past behind him and forget about the love of his life.

On the anniversary of Gabriel’s death—and 25th birthday—Phoenix’ apartment building catches fire. Will Phoenix do the reasonable thing, or will he rise from the ashes to reunite with his beloved angel?

Available now:

JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Google Play | Smashwords

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Excerpt:

I shake my head, trying to get out of the funk I’ve been in since I woke up. Grabbing his favorite throw blanket and my Kindle, I carry them to the living room and dump them on the couch before continuing to the corner of the room masquerading as a kitchenette and chug down a bottle of water. It’s pitch black outside my window and the streets are silent. Not even the cat that’s usually perched on a branch high in the tree spying on guileless birds is present. But sounds of people moving around in the hallway drift through my front door. I scrunch my eyebrows together and glance at the clock on the wall. Three thirty. Is the neighbor having one of his crazy all-night parties again?

Sighing, I shrug. I don’t really care what he’s doing. We made an agreement one of the times I woke up in the middle of the night to him blasting Nirvana so loud I was sure the people two streets away heard it: I would ignore the ridiculous volume and he would never try to invite me to the parties again. It has worked well so far.

A loud banging on my door, followed by a panicked “Fire!” makes me jump. “Yo, Phoenix, you in there? Get out, get out!” After another bang, hasty steps disappear from our apartment and the procedure is repeated next door.

My heart speeds up. The damned fire alarm must be broken. Again. If it’s not the elevator, missing light bulbs, or a faulty water heater, it’s the fire alarm.

Shaking my head, I try to get a grip on my thoughts. I need to get out of there, but my naked feet are glued to the floor and I can only stand there listening to the sounds of doors opening and people running. There aren’t many apartments on each floor in this crappy building, the sounds soon disappear, leaving behind only a thundering silence.

Fire.

Fire!

“Move, dammit,” I mutter to my feet and thankfully they obey. Jogging to my bedroom, I grab my phone and wallet. I shove my feet in my shoes and pull a warm sweater over my head before hurrying to the door.

When I get back out to the living room I feel it. The stench of smoke. It seeps in under the door, invades our home, and threatens my entire existence. I fight the urge to cough. Flutters of panic start in my belly and it has never taken so long to cross the floor of our small place as it does now. I feel like I’m stuck, like I’m moving in slow motion, like I’ll never make it.

But of course, I do. I reach for the handle, ready to get out of there, but …

The photo album! Shit, I almost forgot!

I can’t leave without my pictures of him. My most prized possessions that I watch regularly because I fear his dear face will fade from my memory and slip into oblivion.

I want to remember his piercing blue eyes forever. The way his entire person lit up as he laughed. I want to remember his chin dimple and the nose that was crooked because he sledded into a tree when he was a kid and broke it. I want to remember his hands, his long legs, his ridiculously small ears, and everything about him. I can’t go on with my life if I forget what he looked like.

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Excerpt from WIP

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Hi everyone, happy Friday to you all. This week, I’ve had my nose buried in my current WIP, because I have a deadline looming not far on the horizon (next week – gaaah!). This means I haven’t had time to write Alan and Jon. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I know they’re popular, but to compensate I have a really fun thing planned for them next week. So tune in next Friday when Alan will make a little cameo somewhere else…other than here. 😉

But to not deprive you of my excellent writing (heh!), I thought I’d post the beginning of my WIP. It still hasn’t got a name. I got stuck on something that doesn’t really work (it’s on the clunky side) so I have to unstick my mind and solve the name problem this weekend.

Anyway, this excerpt is told from Beckett’s POV and it’s unedited. I hope you enjoy.

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Chapter 1 – Beckett

“Hi Becks. What’s so funny?”

I looked up from my phone and was met by my best friend’s smiling face. “Matt. You’re late.” I gave him a mock frown to remind him about my opinion on people not being on time, but my smile lingered and made it difficult.

“I know. Sorry. But I had to rescue him—” Matt pointed his thumb over his shoulder, “from the Hell Sisters and it took a while.”

I peeked over his shoulder to see who he was referring to just as the ‘he’ in question lightly punched Matt’s upper arm with a scowl.

“Sorry, sorry,” Matt said and threw himself down on the chair across from me. To me he said, “I’m not allowed to call them Hell Sisters even though they’d make Lucifer seem well behaved.”

Matt’s company joined us at the table and I swallowed. Hard.

Levi Byrne. Matt’s little brother. Or one of them at least; the Byrne family consisted of eleven kids, Matt being the eldest.

And Levi…Levi was three years younger than us and the spitting image of his brother. Except that Levi was cute. Very cute. His nose was maybe a little too long for his face and his hairline showed signs of receding at the tender age of twenty-three. But none of that mattered. When I looked into his eyes, every blemish disappeared and all I could see was kindness. He had the gentlest eyes I’d ever seen, in a deep caramel brown as if the caramel was made from dark muscovado sugar. Sometimes I thought I could detect a twinkle of mischief in them, but it could be my imagination. Levi was the quiet sibling. When all the other Byrne-kids spoke louder to make their voices heard in a sea of children, Levi did the complete opposite. He grew silent.

I’d had a crush on him for years, but he was Matt’s little brother, and besides…what would he see in someone like me?

I pulled in my stomach and sat a little straighter. Not that it helped. My belly couldn’t be hidden.

“Becks! Where’d you go?”

“Huh?” I blinked and turned my attention to Matt. “Sorry.”

“Whatever. You gonna tell me what was so funny just now?”

We were interrupted by the waitress before I had time to answer. For a second, I considered ordering something healthy, like one of those fancy avocado sourdough sandwiches that were so popular. But Matt would have a million questions if I did, and I’d always been a terrible liar and would never be able to fool him. So, I ordered my usual: a stack of pancakes with half a pig’s worth of bacon on the side, and their biggest mug of hot chocolate to top it off.

After taking our orders, the waitress brought us our drinks and Matt asked again what I’d been laughing about when they arrived.

“What’s your sign?” I asked.

Matt gulped down some of his coffee, grimaced, and started fanning his mouth. Levi smiled at me and shook his head. Matt never learned.

“Your birthday is in July. So, you’re…what? Cancer?” I asked when he’d calmed down.

“Oh! Yeah, I guess.”

I woke up the screen on my phone, cleared my throat and started reading out loud. “Until the end of the year, Jupiter continues to bring fullness to your life in the areas of creativity and romance, and this influence is extra strong tonight. So maybe take what your boyfriend offers this evening and leave the extra-large dildo in the drawer for once. You’ll be stuffed enough tonight without it.”

Matt’s eyes grew wider and wider as I read, and when I finished, he was staring at me as if I had emerged from the depths of Hell. “Dude! What the eff?” he choked out.

I glanced at Levi. His face flamed bright red and he bit his lip, looking everywhere except me or Matt.

“What the heck are you reading?” Matt asked and rubbed his ears as if he was trying to erase what he just had heard.

I held up my phone so he could see.

QX – your guide to all things LGBTQ+

Matt squinted, and then turned to Levi. “You programmed that site, didn’t you?”

Levi nodded. He was a computer wizard and had started programming almost before he could read and write. He’d designed his first webpage professionally in his freshman year in high school and if his parents hadn’t been adamant he had to graduate, he would have dropped out and started his business before his junior year.

“Why are you reading…that?” Matt hissed out the last word.

The waitress took this moment to arrive with our food. As she placed pancakes and bacon in front of all of us, I stared at him. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“It’s a site for gay people.”

I crossed my arms over my chest. “It’s for everyone within the LGBTQ+ spectrum,” I said, unable to keep an annoyed edge from my voice.

“Yeah, yeah.” Matt stuffed his face full of pancakes. “But you’re not…that.”

That? I rolled my eyes. Matt could be such an idiot sometimes. “No, but I am bi.”

“But I thought…” He shoved a piece of bacon into his mouth, luckily stopping himself from saying anything even more stupid.

“You thought that because my last partner was a girl, I’m straight. Is that about it?” I was so fucking tired of this topic. If it wasn’t Matt, it was someone else. Like Mom.

“Yeah,” Matt muttered with his gaze downcast. His reply earned him a sharp elbow in the side from Levi. “Hey, don’t you start, too,” he said to his brother.

“Get off your brother’s case, Matt. Don’t be an ass.”

He looked at me as if to say ‘what’?

“We’ve had this conversation a million times. Don’t be a bigot. Your own brother is gay, for fuck’s sake. And when your mom found out, what did she do?”

“Switched churches.” Matt’s reply was barely audible.

“That’s right. Your very religious parents accepted Levi’s identity and moved heaven and earth to make him comfortable. But you…” I threw my hands up in the air. “Stop. Just stop, okay?”

Matt rubbed his ears again. “Yeah, okay. Sorry.” He nudged his shoulder against his brother’s. Levi nudged back and then gave me a wide, grateful smile, making the tip of his nose turn down slightly. Swoon.

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Beckett is my first bisexual character, but he won’t be the last. March is Bisexual Health Awareness Month, and I’m sad that bi erasure is still a thing in 2018. We, the B, is right there in the acronym. Click the image to learn how to be an ally.

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