Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday Briefs

Welcome to the Wednesday Briefers flash group. The short stories have a maximum of a 1000 word count plus links at the bottom to the other flashers. The prompts for this week are:

"... has arisen..."

or use: lamb, soul, redemption

or use ham in an interesting way

or "You have no faith to lose and you know it..."

or use: chocolate or use a church in some way

or "Family values? Your family wouldn't know family values if..."


I’m using a picture prompt: 


All That He Desires #13

Both of Anslee’s eyebrows rose as Jules placed the book on his lap. The chapter heading was clearly marked The Book of Revelations. “You want to show me something from the Bible? Why, Jules?”

Jules chewed his bottom lip. “I… I think you’re a Fallen Angel.”

* * * *

“You can’t be serious.” Anslee pushed the Bible off his lap and stood. He needed room to pace, by damn. Of all the things Jules could’ve come up with, he hadn’t seen this coming, not at all. He snorted silently. A Fallen Angel, indeed. This was almost as good as when Jules wondered if he was his Guardian Angel, at the very beginning.

“It makes the most sense. Just… just hold on a second.” Jules placed the Bible on the coffee table, then reached for his laptop. After a quick search, he turned the computer around so Anslee could see what he’d found.

Anslee brushed his long hair back behind his shoulder, his eyebrows rising nearly to his hairline as the shocks kept coming. Fuck, was this hima dark Lord stumbling along two paces behind a human? He certainly wasn’t expecting Jules to show him that.

“Okay, why are you showing me pictures of what mankind assumes angels look like?”

Jules looked at Anslee. “Why do you say we assume angels look like this? Are we wrong? And if so… how do you know?”

Anslee’s mouth snapped shut. How indeed? He just knew the pictures were close, but not dead on. Moving back to the couch, he sat and stared at the screen. Most drawings had the wings wrong. The base needed to be lower, farther down the back. A hazy sheen covered his vision as everything around him faded… everything but that picture. Torn by something he didn’t understand, he raised his hand, his finger slowly tracing the wings of the creature on the screen.

Longing, an emotion buried so deeply he didn’t recognize it at first, shot through him, followed by the memory of a ripping pain. Anslee jerked his finger back as screams surrounded him. Oh merciful Father, what had he done? He couldn’t kill, killing was wrong. It was clearly written. He shouldn’t have listened to the one that… that what? Led him wrong?

The clang of swords rang around him, but that wasn’t what bothered him. It was the shouts, the words he could hear but couldn’t quite make out. Then a bright, searing light, so pure it hurt to look upon, blasted across the skies… followed by a feeling of falling, crashing down.

Then… the abrupt, painful absence of falling as he was jerked to a stop. Finally… nothing for a while.

“Anslee! Anslee? Dammit, answer me!”

Anslee’s vision cleared and he found a very pale Jules staring at him. Anslee looked down to where Jules clutched at his arms. What the fuck had just happened?

“You looked at the picture of that angel and kinda spaced on me.”

“I spoke out loud?”

“Yeah, you did. And that’s not all. You talked about swords, words you couldn’t hear, how killing is wrong, a pure light and falling down… Come on, dude. Don’t you see? It fits.” Jules let go of Anslee and started tugging at his shirt. “Take this off.”

“You want me to take off my shirt? Really?” Anslee pulled the garment over his head. “Anything else while we’re at it?”

“Would you stop?” Jules manhandled Anslee until he could see his back.

Anslee let his human place him as he wished, slightly amused at Jules. “What do you think to find, Jules? Scars from where my wings were ripped out?”

“You said that, not me. But it’s funny how we’re thinking the same thing.” Jules ran his fingers down Anslee’s perfect back, watching as the muscles bunched and twitched.

Anslee shivered as phantomwhat? Pleasure? Something damn sure raced through him when Jules touched him right under his shoulder blades. That was nothing more than him reacting to Jules’ touch on his body. Right?

Anslee looked over his shoulder at Jules, a slight smirk on his face in an attempt to hide his real thoughts. “See anything?”

“Well… no.” Jules shrugged. “Can you be killed?”

Anslee turned to face Jules. “No.”

“No? That’s it? How do you know? Has someone tried to kill you before? What happened?”

Anslee sighed. “Take my word for it, I can’t be killed. And if you think I’m going to let you slit my throat to find out, you’re wrong—no matter how much you may wish it. I may not be able to die, but I can feel pain. And to how I know I can’t die… well, I just do. I mean, I’ve been here since the start, Jules. Obviously I can’t die.”


Annoyance surged through Anslee. “Look, Jules, I’m no angel. They are good and pure and

“I didn’t say you were an angel. What I said was you had to be one of the Fallen Angels. Big difference.”

Anslee stood again, his eyes on that damn picture. The need to pace was a living thing in him. “But, according to your Bible, they were cast down to Hell. They were not cast to Earth. Earth didn’t exist yet.”

“But what if it did? And the Bible was written by Man, Anslee. Mistakes can happen. Things can be left out for whatever reason. Maybe man isn’t supposed to know about” Jules waved his hand at Anslee “about this. The Bible also says not everything that’s taught in it will be clear.”

“And just what do you think this is?”

“I think you and your kind were given a second chanceand opportunity, if you will, to redeem yourselves. Isn’t that what you call your kind? The Lords of Opportunity? Fitting, wouldn’t you say?”


Monday, March 25, 2013

Winner of the Julie Lynn Hayes giveaway

And the winner of Julie's giveaway is:
SM Zeoanne
I'll be sending out the email shortly to the winner! Thanks to everyone that took part. I really enjoyed reading the answers you guys left, lol.
Hope you enjoy the book Zeoanne!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Welcome Julie Lynn Hayes

Hey guys! Julie Lynn Hayes stopped by to talk about her upcoming release and her love of horror films. *grin* While Julie and I have much in common, we don't share that love, lol. I'm the type who watches stuff like that, then gets freaks out at every sound in the house, lol. And it doesn't take much to freak me out!

So, in horror of her release--opps, in honor, lol--she's doing a giveaway! From now until Monday afternoon you have a chance to drip blood... ah sorry, I mean leave a comment for a chance to win. Make sure to leave an email addy so she can... find you.*evil laugh* If you dare. Bruahahahaha!

Answer this question:

What horror movie freaked you out the most?

Best of luck, and remember, we're watching you... right, I mean waiting to see what you guys answer. ;)


Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
release date April 5th
Blurb:  On a dark and rainy night, a group of travelers takes refuge at the Black Raven inn, seeking shelter from the storm: Two knights who are brothers, and who believe in diametrically opposed doctrines. A brother who questions the path his sister has chosen to take. A mysterious doctor whose presence gives the innkeeper’s daughter chills. A handsome dwarf, half owner of a traveling troupe of actors. Will they find more than they bargained for?
What is the mystery of the locked door?
Synopsis:  Sir Kaorin has taken his own brother, Sir Jintaro, into custody for crimes against the queen. But inclement weather forces them to take shelter at the Black Raven inn, owned by Helveticus, and run with the aid of his daughter, Florenza. Nerene travels with her brother Winter, who questions the path she has chosen. Dr. Ulysses keeps to himself, but watches everything, while Florenza tries to give him a wide berth. Damon Wylde is short in stature, but he and his partner have a traveling troupe of actors, although he is the only one that has arrived. Having promised to entertain Helveticus’ guests, he entertains them with his tale of the locked door. Sir Jintaro begs his brother for a last boon – to be allowed to converse with the pretty girl at the next table. Kaorin reluctantly agrees, and as the players take their places, the tale begins. 
~Horror Comes in Many Flavors~

I unabashedly admit to being a horror story aficionado, whether in print or on the small or large screen. I love to be scared, although I have to say I seldom am. Maybe because I don’t find it so realistic that I fear someday I’ll be up against a chainsaw-wielding maniac or a random slasher or a madman intent on creating hybrid creatures for strange intent. I found Blair Witch more realistic than most, because I can totally see myself getting lost in the woods like the hapless victims of that film.

Alfred Hitchcock was the king of horror films, and he did it in a way that was graphic for its time, but would not be considered so now. And yet, who doesn’t remember the shower scene from Psycho? After seeing that, it was years before I’d take a shower while alone in the house. And there are parts of the film that make me jump, not from fear but from being startled, which is not the same thing. Hitchcock could elicit horror from supposedly everyday normal things. Remember North by Northwest? Cary Grant standing on the highway in the literal middle of nowhere, waiting for a bus, when a crop plane innocently appears and quickly changes into a menacing presence that causes him to flee for his life!

Nowadays, the sky is the limit on what you might find in a horror film. I’ve seen all seven Saw films, and I would hate to find myself caught up in any of John Kramer’s horrific scenarios, but hopefully I’ve never done anything bad enough to qualify as one of his victims. Prepare to see the grossest of the gross, ditto with the Hostel series, of which I’ve seen all three. For something slightly different, there’s the Human Centipede. I haven’t seen the second one yet, but I hear it’s better than the first. In the first film, a doctor performs a strange experiment on three unwilling subjects, surgically connecting them to form his “human centipede”, mouth to ass, and connecting their digestive systems as well. What a macabre experiment, but the film was not badly made at all, surprisingly, subject matter aside.

The latest trend in horror films seems to be zombies. They’re popping up everywhere, and even beginning to show up in young romance films, like Warm Bodies. Whodathunkit?

When it comes to horror stories, the undisputed master is Stephen King, who’s been entertaining us with his gruesomely delicious tales for years. I have a number of his hardbacks on my shelves, although I’ve fallen behind in recent years, not having the time to read, or money to purchase. One of my favorites is It, which has a very creepy feel to it. Someone who can make you feel horror from the printed word is a master indeed.

What about the horror villain? Or should I say the hero? For often times in a horror story, the villain is actually the hero. Well, the main protagonist, anyway. And often times, the most interesting character. Can you blame Clarice Starling for being fascinated by Dr. Lecter? And Dexter Morgan—who doesn’t love Dexter? Sweeney Todd, too. Gretchen Lowell. If you haven’t guessed, I have a thing for serial killers. Michael Myers. Leatherface. Jason Voorhees. Fascinating character studies, even if their manners leave a little to be desired.

While I’ve primarily written books and stories in the m/m romance field, I don’t consider myself limited to that genre by any means. And so I decided to branch out when I learned that one of my publishers, MuseitUp, was going to run a locked door series of horror stories. I thought I’d try my hand, although I wasn’t sure how good I’d be at it, or if I could even do it. I surprised myself by not only finishing a story and subbing it, but having it accepted. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night releases April 5th, and is my first foray into horror, but hopefully not my last. While it is not necessarily horror in the splatterpunk, gory tradition of some modern writers and filmmakers, I think you might say that it is more psychological.

It follows the not uncommon trope of strangers drawn together by the hands of Fate. In this case, travelers who have taken refuge at an inn because of inclement weather. And what happens to them there as their stories converge.

I believe that it would be really hard to write for a genre that you do not enjoy, although some people might argue with that. Sure, you can get things technically correct, but there is a certain feel that I believe only someone who reads it can impart. I’ll let the readers be the judge of whether I have succeeded or not, for I am a true horror fan. In fact, I love serial killers so much that I’m developing one of my own, and look forward to presenting him in time.

Thanks for having me today, M.A.! A pleasure, as always!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Briefs

Welcome to the Wednesday Briefers flash group. The short stories have a maximum of a 1000 word count plus links at the bottom to the other flashers. The prompts for this week are:

"When you wish upon a star"

 or use: champagne, icon, boulevard

or use spring in some way (doesn't have to be the season)

or use a nonsense song - such as Mairzy Doats

or "Are you crazy? You could have..."

or use a photograph in some way

or "tripping the light fantastic."


All That He Desires #12

Anslee snorted. Jules was nothing if not blunt. “Facts are facts. Let’s return to the living area and I’ll try to tell you what I remember.” Anslee settled himself on the couch, flipping his long, dark hair out of the way. “This is… Now, I have no idea how accurate any of my memories are, you must understand that.”

Jules followed Anslee back to the living area, making a point of sitting on the other couch. “What do you mean?”

“I’ve existed for a very, very long time, Jules. As time has passed, my memory has—shall we say—lessened. There are holes in what I remember too.” Anslee shook his head. “As if there are lapses or gaps. I have no idea why, though.”

Jules blew out a breath. Of course there was. Why did he think this was going to be easy? Nothing else had been, so far. “Has your kind ever thought to write down your history? I mean, isn’t that what intelligent beings do? You’ve certainly made a point to tell me how superior you guys are.”

Anslee snorted. “Very funny. The √°imear doesn’t exactly mingle, Jules. We tend to go our separate ways.”

“Probably can’t stand each other’s arrogance.” Jules waved a hand as Anslee started to speak. “Never mind. So, you avoid each other like the plague. Got it. Tell me what you remember.”

Anslee frowned as his thoughts turned inward. “There was a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet. Upon her head was a crown of twelve stars. Also, there was a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of the sky. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.”

Jules’ eyes widened, his face paling. Oh damn, that sounded familiar. Chill bumps broke out over his body. Surely… surely it wasn’t what he was thinking? “Ah, Anslee

“Wait, let me finish before you ask questions. A war swept across the skies. There was a warrior, one so magnificent it hurt to look at him. I can’t remember his name now. He and others of his kind fought against the dragon. And the dragon and his warriors fought back.”

“Dear God.”

“I remember the sounds of battlethe screams all around me, the smell of betrayal, the clash of metal against metal. Somehow I knew I made a mistake, but it was too late. Blood turned the skies red. I believed the dragon was defeated, and there was no longer any place for their kind. From what I can remember, the great dragon was thrown down, and his warriors were thrown down with him.”

“Jesus Christ.”

“Everything turned black; there was no sound, only silence. There was nothingI was nothing. I have no idea how much time passed. Then there was a ripping pain, unlike anything I have ever felt since. The next thing I remember was the sun on my face and the soft grass under me. That was the beginning, I think, of my kindof the √°imear.

“Holy shit.” Jules stood, his hands trembling. “I’ll be right back.”

“Wait, where are you going?” Anslee shifted on the couch, one hand raised.

“I’m not—” Jules shook his head, eyes still bulging as he stared at Anslee. “I’m not going to run, if that’s what you’re worried about. Oh no, if what I think is correct, there really isn’t point in my running from you anymore.”

Jules raised an eyebrow. “There never has been, but you refused to see that. It would’ve been much easier if you’d just submitted to me from the beginning. I’ve done nothing but try to give you what you desired.”

Jules stopped and turned back to Anslee, a shocked look covering his face. “What I desired? You think I desired for my life to be turned upside down? Control taken from me? Are you crazy? You… you could… you have been—oh, never mind. If you thought I wanted any of this, then you really don’t know humans. At the very least, you don’t know me.”

Anslee scrubbed his hands over his face. “Jules…”

Jules bit his lip. It was the first sign of—annoyance, maybe?—he’d seen from Anslee. Interesting. Maybe the trip down memory lane had affected Anslee more than he showed. “Look, we’ll deal with your treatment of me later. Right now there’s something I want to show you, so sit tight.”

“Sit tight,” Anslee muttered as Jules rushed from the room. “Like I’m going anywhere.”

“Ha! Found it,” Jules shouted from the back of the apartment. “Wasn’t sure where I’d left this thing.” Jules hurried back to the living area and sat down next to Anslee. “I want to show you something, and I want you to just give me a chance to say this, okay?”

“What are you doing that with tired old tripe? I must admit I’m surprised, Jules, considering the teachings in that book. Doesn’t it preach against homosexuality?”

“Depends on who’s doing the interpreting of what’s written in here. And that subject isn’t one I want to get off on right now.” Jules flipped to the back of the book he held. “This… this is what I wanted to show you.”

Both Anslee’s eyebrows rose as Jules placed the book on his lap. The chapter heading was clearly marked The Book of Revelation. “You want to show me something from the Bible? Why, Jules?”

Jules chewed his bottom lip. “I… I think you’re a Fallen Angel.”


~Before anyone quotes scripture to me, lol, I know the fallen angles fell to hell, not earth. I’ll show my twist on that next week. J Yes, I’m twisting things again, lol.

Make sure to check out the other briefers:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A little luck of the Irish anyone, lol?



The Shamrock

Many folk ask the question 'Why is the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland?' The reason is that St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.


Snakes in Ireland?

Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been - the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice.


Why Saint Patrick's Day?

Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. St Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works; the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians. Saint Patrick described himself as a "most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God." 
Saint Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick's Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide. So, why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations.


The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17th. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.


In American cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick's Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, "wearing of the green," music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Welcome Amylea Lyn

Today I have Amylea Lyn visiting with me! She's here to talk about her release Melting the Ice Prince. Now, I read some of this on her blog, and I have to tell y'all this is something I can't wait to read. :)
Hey all! Amylea Lyn here and boy am I excited to be hanging out with everyone today. Let’s give a big thank you to M.A Church for letting my pop by and share a bit of info about my coming release with you guys! I have to admit I’m very excited about this book, because it means something very special to me and the inspiration behind it plays a big roll in my daily life.


This Saturday, March 16th, my book Melting the Ice Prince will finally be available. What started out as a weekly blog story is now a fully published book and I can’t wait to introduce my readers to Nick, David, and David’s big brother, Sammy.


While the story revolves around David and Nick’s love affair, Sammy plays an important roll as a secondary character; he’s funny, sweet, and in the end helps the other two men to realize their love for each other. But Sammy isn’t exactly like you and me. You see, Sammy has Aspergers syndrom. For those of you out there who don’t know what this is, Aspergers is considered by many to be a form of Autism. In the book, Sammy has more extreme symptoms than most adult living with this disorder, along with some mild retardation, and I did this for a specific reason.


You see, when I’m not sitting at my laptop, creating wonderful stories to entertain my readers, I work with adults with special needs every day. I help care for them, and provide the aid necessary for them to be able to accomplish all the little day-to-day tasks most of us take advantage of. Sammy’s character and his little quirks was inspired by many on the clients I see in my “day job”… I really wanted to highlight the many trials and joys of living and working with adults with disabilities in this book. I did quite a bit of research on Aspergers in particular, but mostly I just spent time with those special individuals I work with, and it was through them I was able to make Sammy into the wonderful character he turned out to be.


It’s just one of the many reasons I dedicated this latest book to them, and I hope when my readers read it, they remember that although someone may look different, talk different, or even function differently than we do, they are still amazing people and deserve all the respect and care everyone else does.





Two men with walls of ice surrounding their hearts must learn to look past the masks each other wears in order to discover the love of a lifetime that waits hidden inside.


David Talhoone's whole life revolves around taking care of his special needs older brother, Sammy. Untrusting, he protects his heart with an icy and cool demeanor, earning him the nickname Ice Prince at work. It's a description David's proud of, until the day his boss's son walks through the door.


Nick Masterson takes one look at the cool beauty with fire in his eyes and has to have him. But after being brutally rejected, he makes a bet that he'll be able to melt David's shell and win his heart without managing to give away his own in the process. But Nick didn't count on the man beneath the icy mask being everything he'd ever wanted in a partner.


Can a relationship based on lies last once the truth finally comes out? 



"Look, Davey! Look at that dog!" Sammy cried, his excitement evident as he bounced along the path through Central Park, pointing just ahead of them.


David Talhoone smiled at his older brother's antics. "I see it, Sam. Should we ask the lady if we can pet him?"


Sammy's dark eyes lit up. "Can we, Davey? Can we really?"


David took his brother's hand, pulling him along gently. "Sure, it never hurts to ask, right? But you can't get upset if she says no, okay?"


"Okay, Davey!" Sammy chirped, practically vibrating with eager excitement. David laughed.


"Come on silly, standing here isn't going to get us to meet him." He chuckled, leading the way over to the older woman sitting on the nearby bench. The woman readily agreed to let Sammy pet her small dog and smiled indulgently as Sammy sat down on the sidewalk to cuddle the happy little Shih Tzu in his lap. Sammy's excited laugh echoed out into the surrounding park, garnering some quizzical looks, but David had long learned to ignore them.


David let his brother lavish attention on the dog for a few moments more, before reaching down to ruffle Sammy's dark brown hair.


"Time to go, buddy. Say thank you to the lady," David said gently, helping his brother up.


"Okay, Davey," Sammy said, before turning to the older woman. "Thanks for letting me pet your dog. I love him!"


The older woman smiled. "Would you like to give him a treat?" she asked. "Button just loves a nice, chewy treat."


Sammy nodded and eagerly held out his hand. Button did indeed love treats, hopping up on his back legs and dancing excitedly. Sammy thought it was hilarious and spent many long moments laughing in the deep belly laugh that reminded David so much of their father. Thank God Sammy's laugh never had the evil undertones that the bastard who raised them always had.


David smiled at the woman. "Thanks," he said softly.


The older woman just nodded. "I taught Special Education for twenty years," she confided. She nodded toward Sammy, who was once again sitting on the sidewalk and petting the dog. "Is he autistic?"


David nodded. "Yeah," he said, ignoring the pitying look the woman gave him. "Asperger's. But he's high functioning so, you know, it's not always so bad. He's just mostly a bit simple."


Looking at Sammy, one would never guess that the almost six-foot tall, handsome twenty-eight-year-old man was autistic. It wasn't until you heard him speak and looked into eyes that were usually wide in childlike joy that you actually noticed something wasn't quite right. Still, that didn't stop women from gawking and hitting on David's older brother... like the two female joggers that were going by and obviously checking Sammy out. Why they always did that, David didn't understand. But he just did what he usually did and glared at the women until they went by.


Just because Sammy looked normal didn't mean he was. David had been protecting and caring for his older brother since he was nine years old and Sammy was twelve. He wasn't going to stop any time soon.


"Well, thanks again," he said, holding out a hand for Sammy to take. He waited for the woman and Sammy to exchange good-byes before leading them both farther into Central Park. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and they still had a way to go in their weekly walk through the large park.


He listened with half an ear to Sammy's excited chatter, paying more attention to the group of teenage kids hanging out by the entrance of the small bridge they were about to cross. David had long ago learned how to identify the type of people who might cause problems with Sammy and was always prepared to defend him. He'd had years of practice, thanks to Sammy and his parental units, and he never hesitated when a fight arose.


The baggy pants and colored bandanas, not to mention the malicious gleam in the teenagers' eyes told David they were going to be trouble. He and Sammy had just stepped up onto the bridge when the taunting started.


"Hey guys, look at those fags holding hands," one kid taunted.


"Candy asses think they can come into our park and spread around their gayness. I say we beat it out of them," another boy replied.


"Come 'ere, fag," a dark-skinned young man said, stepping forward and grabbing his crotch obscenely while the other boys laughed. "I gots a nice juicy cock for ya ta suck right 'ere. Come an' get it!"


David could feel the anger building inside him, the comments hitting a bit too close to home. The only outward sign of his irritation was the slight flush that crawled across the back of his neck, mostly hidden by his shaggy fall of dark hair and slightly tanned skin tone he had inherited from his Italian mother. His face remained icy calm, another thing he had perfected from the pain of dealing with his childhood.


"Davey?" Sammy asked, sounding much smaller and younger than he looked, fear and worry in his eyes. Despite his disabilities, he too remembered similar taunts from their shared childhood, and also remembered the beatings that came with them.


Normally, David could ignore the comments aimed at him and his sexuality. In truth he really was gay, but he certainly wasn't going to be sharing that information with these hooligans. He never knew how some people could just tell that he was gay, since he'd never acted on his feeling for fear someone might use it against him and try to take away Sammy, but he was sure that with these boys that wasn't the case. They were just looking for an easy target to have fun with, and David had the unfortunate privilege of being chosen. Normally, he didn't care and would just walk away; but the moment someone threatened his brother, all bets were off.


"It's okay, Sammy," David soothed. "Just stay right here."


He left Sammy standing at the entrance to the bridge and walked over to the small group of kids, noticing as he got closer that they couldn't be over fifteen years old at the most. Damn, what was wrong with the way parents were raising their kids these days? What make these punks think this kind of activity was okay?


"Hey," he said, the moment he got close enough to be heard without shouting. The boys turned to look at him; all of them looked a bit surprised at his approach. No doubt they were used to people just walking away and ignoring them when they got to acting like jackasses.


"What da fuck you wan', fag?" the dark-skinned boy asked, obviously re-gathering his earlier bluster. "Gonna take me up on my offer?" he asked amid snickers.


David grinned, but there was nothing pleasant about it and the snickers were abruptly cut off. "Hardly. I just wanted to let you know that you are making fun of an autistic man, and since you're acting like an ignorant little pissant, you probably don't know what that means. It means he has disabilities and is actually my brother. Of course, if you had stopped and used your small brain for a minute, you probably would have noticed the family resemblance. But you were too busy being a cavorting idiot to do so. I just wanted to let you, your friends, and all the people paying attention to us now, how much of a scum-sucking loser you really are, making fun of a special needs person. I'm sure your mama is proud of the asshole you are growing up to be. Give her my regards."


With that, he turned on his heel and returned to the bridge, ignoring the smattering of applause from some of the crowed that had gathered to watch. Taking Sammy's hand, he pulled him away from the red-faced boys and led him toward a nearby ice cream truck.


"They were being really mean, Davey." Sammy frowned, seemingly puzzled by the teenagers' behavior. "Why?"


God, sometimes Sammy's innocence just kills me. This is why I have to take care of him.


This is why I always will.


"I don't know, buddy. Some people are just mean," David replied, tugging his brother along.


"Like Daddy?" Sammy asked. David couldn't have stopped the wince the thought of their father brought to him, even if he had tried.


"Yeah, buddy, just like him. Hey, how 'bout some ice cream?" he asked quickly, changing the subject before the memories of that darker time could overwhelm him. Just like he knew it would, the idea of getting his favorite treat instantly made the worry disappear off Sammy's face.


"Two scoops?" Sammy asked, starting to swing their clasped hands.


"Absolutely," David replied with a smile, all the while trying to ignore the headache building behind his right eye.




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