Lately I’ve been writing so much I’m surprised my fingers haven’t fallen off. I have one contemporary novel and one short story, plus a sort of loosely plotted urban fantasy thing, on my list, and they’re all bringing me so much joy. I hope the following teases are interesting to you!

From “Ryan Ryder/Outside the Box” [working title]

 “Relax,” Craig whispered in his ear. “We’re just dancing.” Easy for him to say. Ryan was no longer in control of anything his body was doing. His hands were gripping tighter, trying to find Craig’s skin, curling under the edge of his shirt where it clung to his shoulders, and God help him he was getting hard, cock straining in his pants just a breath away from where Craig would be able to feel it.

“Just dancing,” he said. “Right.”

Craig didn’t answer. They swayed in silence for another minute. Ryan’s thumb had started stroking Craig’s skin, an idle imitation of the deliberate rub of Craig’s fingers against his neck. It felt good. Craig felt good all over, and Ryan’s breath was starting to come short. “Did you put something in that drink?” he said, only half joking.

He could feel Craig smile against his face. “Not a thing.”

“Damn.” Ryan chuckled. “There goes my excuse.”

Craig pulled away, faced him, his eyes dark as they bored into Ryan’s. “Excuse for what?”

It was a challenge. Ryan could feel it resonate in his chest, the words turning into heat like gasoline for an engine. The energy pushed him forward, and the rest of the club blurred in his peripheral vision. Expectant, welcoming, Craig smiled and guided him in. Ryan hesitated, and in that moment Craig shifted against him. The shock of Craig’s cock, hot and stiff against his hip, jolted him the rest of the way.

Simple, liquid, like sipping water. Craig’s lips tasted clean, and their impression was soft against Ryan’s mouth, even as the prickle of stubble scratched his chin. The kiss lasted only a few seconds, and the sound when they parted drowned out the club’s beat for seconds later.

Then the hammering of Ryan’s heart filled in the missing beats, and his whole body washed through with heat and activity. God, his blood was racing, fast and intense enough that even his toes tingled. Craig was magnetic, damnably patient, and Ryan leaned in to kiss him again, drawn in, more than anything, by Craig’s maddening stillness. Wasn’t he feeling his? How could he be so damn calm?

Craig’s lips parted, and a soft sound found its way from there to Ryan’s ears. So there was some desperation there, some want besides the concentrated heat at Ryan’s pelvis, the cock that was now rubbing wantonly against Ryan’s own. What a relief to know. Ryan’s hands dropped, grabbed his hips, and suddenly they were grinding, a dance that wasn’t just dirty but filthy, hips circling as Ryan licked into Craig’s mouth and shuddered with the taste of them. Craig’s fingers clung to his neck, raked up through his hair. It was obscene and crazy, what they were doing, and maybe it was the alcohol or the late night or maybe it was just Craig but Ryan didn’t give a damn. He was flying, full of heat, and Craig’s lips were wet and open beneath his, and nobody was stopping them.

From “Groomsmen”:

Ray stirred, and Aaron tried to work himself out from underneath him. If Ray was anywhere near as warm as he was, it’d be the right thing to do to give him a little breathing room. Maybe he should get up, search in his suitcase for some painkiller in case Ray was painfully hung over. He wouldn’t be surprised, not after the amount of alcohol they’d put away over the course of last night. The champagne bottle in the sweltering, most-likely-melted ice bucket was their third.

Aaron had to grin remembering their progressively weirder toasts. “To Steve and Ellis” (“No, to Ellis and Steve,” Ray had countered) had become “To Jeter and Papi,” as though the fixtures of the Yanks and Sox, respectively, had somehow been the ones tying the knot. And then there’d been “To hotels that deliver champagne to your room,” and “to whoever invented the wine glass,” and “to the fact that sexy manly-men aren’t afraid to cuddle,” and “to the fact that shirts are removable.” That last one had at least stilled Aaron briefly, until Ray had pulled off his shirt and Aaron had been treated to the finest set of pecs this side of the Hudson River. If he hadn’t been half-asleep with drunkenness, he probably would have copped a feel. As it was, with Ray falling into bed on top of him, he still got a faceful of Ray’s chest and nothing in his life had ever been so satisfying and asphyxiating at the same time.

 Ray had peeled off his shirt, then, and they’d stared at each other, clasping skin to skin, for what seemed like an hour.

 “This is some quality cuddling,” Ray had said, finally, his grin sliding from side to side like liquid in a jostled glass.

 Aaron fought to find his voice. “Is that all we’re doing?” he said, trying to disguise his disappointment. “Just cuddling?”

 Ray laughed and whispered in his ear, “Bit of whiskey dick going on here.”

 “No, me too, that’s okay,” Aaron replied. “Point is, you can kiss me if you want.”

 “Oh.” Ray’s eyes widened, as though he hadn’t even considered the possibility. “Oh, right.”

 Aaron took a deep breath in, trying to recall the perfect feeling of Ray’s lips sliding against his, the way he’d been tucked into the crook of Ray’s arm and the way the bed had embraced the two of them as they slid down to lie side by side. The memory was waking him up good now, dick first, and he sighed. Ray was stirring, and any moment would be the moment of truth, crushing Aaron’s hopes of anything more happening between them in the cold (but still sweltering) light of reality. It was a longer-standing hope than Ray knew, and Aaron wasn’t sure he was ready for it to be over yet.

And finally, from “The Dark Ones” (working title):

 At first blush, Ben was sure he’d seen a vampire.

 They were just getting out of the movie, and even though Ben had wanted to stay for the credits, inexplicably it felt like a good idea to his buddies to try and rush out with the crush of people, leading them into the claustrophobic hallway and through the double doors into the cold of the night. Danny and Evan were talking at the top of their lungs about the leading lady’s rack, and it was OK by now for Ben to just beg out of such conversations, but when the topic changed to the kind of sci-fi weaponry used, he was back in at the top of his lungs, trying to explain why, despite Danny’s engineerish ramblings, it was perfectly possible for a gun to shoot out green light and effectively trap the scary aliens in a pool of light. Danny’s skeptical eye fell on him harshly at those times, but Ben wouldn’t be cowed. Everyone knew there were two things that couldn’t be tamed about Ben Wilde: his crazy curls of hair, and his imagination.

 Ben had the morning shift the next day, and he had intended to beat a quick path home once the movie was done. But it was hard for him to break away from the conversation and the thrill of the movie’s excitement, and he lingered with his friends, chatting in a small circle on the street corner, a few paces away from a narrow alleyway. It was the kind of feature that faded into the background after a few years in the city. There were real corners and then there were crappy, dirty little alleys that led nowhere and seemed to have no purpose other than the architect’s lack of desire to build a building right there. When Ben had first moved into town he’d thought they were wonderfully romantic. Sometimes steam would rise from a manhole far within. Sometimes rats would scurry in and out. But they’d stopped grabbing his attention. New York had far more to offer than a few narrow alleys.

 This, though – this grabbed his attention.

 At first it was just the man’s lips. They lifted into sharp corners, his whole mouth creating the V of a cobra’s smile an instant before it bared its fangs. But Ben’s vision widened quickly, taking in dark hair and piercing eyes, and the long black sweep of the man’s coat. It almost didn’t seem like a coat at all — more like robes, flowing, without any easily seen seams or buttons. And then Ben’s eyes fell on the man’s fingers, and he was sure he wasn’t looking at a human being.

 The stranger’s fingers were skating along the edge of the brick wall where it came to a corner at the end of the alleyway. Were they claws? It couldn’t be. Ben’s eyes narrowed. He had to be imagining it. No, they were just long fingers, tapering but not into points. But the brick beneath them — the brick’s corners sharpened beneath the man’s touch, until it was gleaming like a razor blade. And that, Ben was sure, he didn’t imagine.