2.1 Through Her Sunken Dream E-Book Cover

– Proem –

Tara pressed the Play button on her blue iPod before tugging the AKF sweatshirt over her blue-streaked hair. Tears fell from her eyes as she shoved the long sleeves up her arms, her gaze catching on her left forearm as she ignored her phone when it began to vibrate; she knew the caller was almost certainly her boss, just as she also knew his call would be to beg her to change her vacation dates. The loss of another manager weighed heavily on the franchise and they needed her there because he needed to be elsewhere.

Guilt still compelled her to do as they asked, to push her personal life aside and be there for them, but she couldn’t force herself to do it… not again. Not this time. She had to take care of her own house first. Shoving the thoughts aside, she tugged the shirt down over her belly.

It buzzed again, but the trilled purr of the gorgeous feline who shared her bedroom offered a pleasant and momentary distraction from her thoughts. She whirled and bent to lift the calico into her arms, nuzzling her wet face into the cat’s side, and as if her furry companion knew she needed comforting, the purr grew louder.

“Almost time, babe.”

She looked up at the door, finding the comforting visage of her girlfriend leaning against the jamb. Nuzzling the cat’s soft fur, Tara gently set the animal on the bed, giving her a good scratch. She nodded. “I know.”

“You’re worried.”

She nodded again. “Mina, I am. I’m worried… really worried.”

“You shouldn’t be, sweetie. Your mother knows you both so well, and she says to talk to him.” Mina crossed the room. “Tara—” She lifted her hands to push a lock of Tara’s fiery hair over her ears. “She definitely wouldn’t steer you wrong. Not after everything you’ve been through. She thinks he’s ready.”

Tara bowed her head, leaning her cheek into Mina’s touch. “She asked if I had a girlfriend.”

“Right?” Mina smiled, her lips turning up at the corners. “She loves you and she wants you to be happy, baby.”

Tara took a deep breath, reaching back to grab her satchel. Tossing the strap over her head, she murmured, “I can do this, right? I can do this.”

Wrapping her up in strong arms, Mina pressed a kiss to the crook of Tara’s neck. “You can do this.” Another kiss to Tara’s temple. “I promise.”

On to Part I


2.1 Through Her Sunken Dream E-Book CoverI’ve always been depressed. In fact, I think I’ve suffered from depression probably as long as I’ve been a writer. If not, it’s a pretty close contest.

I didn’t have an easy time of it in grade school or junior high. I’ve been overweight most of my life. To be fair, I’m not as overweight as some people. I fit in one airplane seat. I can wear most of the things I want to wear and do most of the things I want to do. The only restrictions I bear are my own, and when I look in the mirror, I don’t cringe… most of the time.

Some days are harder than others.

Those words are often the mantra a depressed person tells themselves. Those words are, sometimes, the only words to get them through the day.

Kids are mean.

Those words ring true, too. Kids are meaner than hell, and I took the brunt for whatever they could find. I have a club thumb and the days they didn’t feel like calling me “fatso,” they zinged me for that. I was a bookworm, a nerd, a fat kid, too quiet, and my parents raised me somewhat sheltered, so I didn’t know any of the popular music or television shows until I was about fourteen. You can only imagine what growing up like this did for me in the 1980’s. My parents didn’t do it to be mean, but it happened. I was bullied and the words… well, they hurt. They did massive damage I still deal with today, and in my younger years, this was killer.

I was fortunate enough, as life dealt a succession of trials and tribulations this past year, to have added cushioning when I fell. That cushioning came in the form of a man I truly admire, Jared Padalecki, and the birth of AKF, or Always Keep Fighting. I didn’t realize a man who always smiled could be just like me, who had to really think about it to see the glass as half-full. As AKF went into full swing, I would save money to get a permanent reminder to do just that on my left forearm. On good days, it reminds me I am strong. On bad days, it pisses me off just enough that I realize the reminder is doing its job: I am good enough. I am worth it. I am strong. My story… it goes on and on. We aren’t done yet and my stories are not all told.


Tara Webster and her girlfriend, Mina Bennington, travel to visit Tara’s parents in Texas, where Tara plans to finally come out to her father. On their first day there, Tara is attacked outside a tattoo parlor in Deep Ellum, and in self defense, she kills her attacker. A life-long sufferer of severe depression, the trauma sends her spiraling into a web of guilt, pain, and despair. Will she be able to muster the courage it takes to always keep fighting, or will she no longer refuse death?

On to the PROEM

Missing You: A Memoriam One Year Later


I was twelve and staying at home with my two little brothers when my aunt arrived to babysit us. She brought a movie and two board games with her. Clue and Monopoly were (and remain) my favorites, and since she and I were only eight years apart in age, we liked many of the same things. She pushed the videocassette into the player and hit the play button before crashing to the floor in front of the coffee table and tugging the lid off of Clue. The first notes of “Underground” came over the television speakers, and the barn owl flew onto the shiny black screen.

This was the night I met David Bowie.

Labyrinth would go on to stay with me for my whole life; to this day, Jareth, King of the Goblins is one of my favorite villains—and to this day, I also think he was more the victim than Sarah… but that’s probably just my bias, haha!—and Bowie’s songs for the film are some of my favorite songs. In fact, “Within You” is up in my top ten very favorite songs, and if I’m completely and utterly honest, it’s probably in my top three. That year, I begged my mother for the soundtrack for the movie and I played it over and over and over… I think I probably played it until it was dead. I started to write what we now know is fan fiction, and it was called Return to Labyrinth. I buried myself in the story, and wrote on it until I was fourteen. During the interim, I helped my aunt move into her new apartment across town. During unpacking, I saw the cover of the Heroes album and I asked her about it. She told me David Bowie was the man who’d portrayed Jareth in Labyrinth, and that he was a musician.

I wanted to know everything about him, and as was often back in those days, I was able to get pretty much everything I wanted while I was at her house, but as soon as I arrived at home, education was cut short. I did manage to convince my mother I needed his Never Let Me Down album, and I saved my money for a proper stereo, complete with a phonograph and a dual cassette player. His words really cut straight through me in the two albums I had of his. I already knew I wanted to be an author when I grew up, and the dreamer in me felt entirely summed up in these lines from “As the World Falls Down”:

There’s such a fooled heart
Beating so fast,
In search of new dreams,
A love that will last
Within your heart.
I’ll place the moon
Within your heart.

As the pain sweeps through,
Makes no sense for you.
Every thrill is gone.
Wasn’t too much fun at all,
But I’ll be there for you
As the world falls down.

And he was. Bowie took me straight through the end of junior high school, where I didn’t really fit in with anyone, and into high school, with his Never Let Me Down album. I’d dance in my room, twisting and spinning to make the only dress I ever loved flare and swirl. “Beat of Your Drum” and “Too Dizzy” spoke to teenage me.

You can go on dreaming every night
But I’m not letting you out of my sight
I’m ten times the man than any guy around
But you’re just itchin’-twitchin’-itchin’ for a break

There’s too much talking for a night drive
Too much mist in front of my eyes
But I’m helpless in love with you
But you’re just looking for a break

I was always and forever daydreaming, and trying to sort out if I was like all the other girls I knew, or if I was as different as I thought I was. As it turns out, some of the signs I was too busy burying, or convincing myself weren’t what they really were (wanting to kiss my best friend, but telling myself it was just wanting to kiss); were the cause of much turmoil for me. It didn’t help that I was continually bullied. My parents told me what most parents told their kids, “If you ignore them, they’ll stop.” The problem was that they didn’t; I just didn’t talk about it as much, and I tried not to draw attention to myself. I buried myself in writing, reading, and music.

My high school years could take me a zillion years to speak about, and while I was still heavily influenced by my aunt for much of my music taste during those years, we had a falling out my senior year that resulted in us not really speaking for a couple of years. During this quite dark time for me, I spent much time listening to The Cure, Depeche Mode, Bowie, George Michael, and Duran Duran. Bowie started the ascent for me, because these men helped me to understand my quirks give me power, give me an identity which solely belongs to me. I have only one choice: to embrace me for all my imperfections, or to be my own worst enemy and not accept what makes me ME.

Please help me!
Who can I be now? You found me.
Who can I be? Fell apart, you found me.
Now can I be now? You found me.
Now can I be real?
Can I be real? Somebody real.

From 1993-1999, I submersed myself in what I call my “goth years”. This means I let myself do all the things I wanted to do, and I made a wild array of choices. Many, many of them were not healthy choices, and for a variety of reasons. Some of them were good and have stuck with me to this day. On Halloween in 1993, the world lost a bright light as River Phoenix left this plane for the next. I’d been quite enamored with him, and I took his name as my pen name, partially to honor him, and partially to symbolize recognition of my changing life. Six months later, I discovered The Crow, and everything changed after I lost myself inside the dark world of James O’Barr’s world. I must have seen the film fifteen to twenty times in theatres, and when I found out it was a comic, I went hunting.

Love out of tune.
Sweet is the night,
Bright light destroys me!

I rekindled two friendships during this period, and both redirected me back to Bowie. In 1994, one of them brought me into the realms of Simon Gallup of The Cure. In 1995, I went to England with my aunt and thoroughly explored the island to which I’d still like to move. 1996-1997 brought me to Depeche Mode, and then 1998 brought me to terms with all that it meant to be me.

I fell in love. I’m talking arse over appetite, all in kind of love, and it was consuming. I’d posted some of my DM fan-fiction up on an Angelfire website, and linked my Depeche Mode email if they wanted to comment. She did, and we started talking on AOL instant messenger. Things I’d felt, things I’d wanted, things I’d been warned against in all my years of church going but found myself yearning for—they exploded in each conversation with Shanne. I even went up to visit her in Utah for a weekend, and the trip was amazing. A slight miscommunication when I returned to Texas split us up, and it wasn’t until 2002, on a chance instant messenger conversation—we were both in relationships at the time—that we were able to sort it out. Shanne was the one that got away, and she set the bar pretty damn high.

You touch me
I hear the sound of mandolins
You kiss me
And with your kiss my life begins
You’re spring to me
All things to me
Don’t you know you’re life itself?

With Shanne, as I said, I started to realize I was gay, and yet, years of programming still caused me to deny it, to call it bicurious, to call it the result of what had happened to me the night before senior prom. I tried so hard to keep from being what I called a glutton for punishment, by Southern Baptist Christian standards. In 1997, I came out of the broomcloset to my father and it went… well, to be blunt? HORRIFICALLY. I didn’t want that chasm to be reopened, so I kept it hidden. My brothers knew I’d experimented, but I don’t think they entertained it could be serious, that I could really be a lesbian.

Femme fatales emerged from the shadows
To watch this creature fair
Boys stood up on their chairs
To make their point of view
I smiled sadly for a love I could not obey

So I used the AOL personals section after her and started to talk to someone who went by the handle SandNSurf, I think. We hit it off quite nicely, until she came to pick me up for our date with her best bud in the car. All three of us went to the place she was going to take me, but they were closed, so we went back to her apartment, and watched a movie. I don’t remember her name, but when we went to dinner at Denny’s afterward, she told me I wasn’t gay enough for her because I wasn’t out yet. This hurt me and made me angry, because no-one has the right to tell anyone else when they should come out nor how they should do it, and they definitely don’t have the right to demand I do it to be with them.

This really confused me, and I was already confused. Was I gay? Was I straight? My earliest crush had been Jenny Barfield, my first real kiss had been Shanne, but I wasn’t gay enough?

So what you wanna know, Calamity’s child?
Where’d you wanna go?
What can I do for you? Looks like you been there, too.
‘Cause you’ve torn your dress
And your face is a mess…

2001 brought me to my twenty-sixth birthday and a job at an airline in July. I loved that job, and I met the man I’d call home for a year and a half afterwards. It ended horribly, and when I couldn’t function at the end, I picked up the pen I’d put down to spend more time with him, and tried very hard to recapture the level I thought I’d been writing at when I stopped. I started with a good fanfiction, one called Who Wants to Live Forever? and it was an alternate universe timeline, because my main character landed the character of Willow Rosenberg on Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead of her good friend Alyson Hannigan. She and a waiter at a local Italian restaurant, curiously named Orlando Bloom, become good friends, and when her relationship with her girlfriend goes south, she runs to him. Yes, eventually they become a couple, but then I wrote another story, one called I Feel You, and it explored me if I was in a same-sex relationship with a woman. I was able to write it, but I wasn’t able to say it. I still don’t understand why.

I, I can remember
Standing by the wall
And the guns shot above our heads
And we kissed
As though nothing could fall
And the shame was on the other side
Oh, we can beat them
Forever and ever

2005 brought about a friendship made with a wonderful woman, made over Yahoo instant messenger. We met through a writing group, where I was a moderator and she was the archivist. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong that year. I lost the job I’d had for two years, and the one I got to replace it wasn’t paying the bills. My car died a year after I got it, and when it died, I called her and told her I didn’t know what I was going to do. She called me back and told me her husband suggested me moving to Nevada. I laughed, and she told me to hold off until morning, because she wanted to be sure it wasn’t just the alcohol talking. In the morning, she called me and told me he was dead serious. We kind of threw things together over the next couple of months and then October 30, 2006 we took to the road.

I’d fallen pretty hard for her over the year of knowing her, and then over the next couple of years, it became worse. In July 2009, I finally took the step to come out. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, and I came out first to my best friend. The second person I came out to was a woman named Cindi, who ran a newsletter of Vegas lesbian/Pride events. I tried hard to make it to events, and I went to their July pool party, and in so doing, met the Hollys. We’re still friends. My job made it hard to get to much past the annual night Pride parade. (As much as I wish that had changed, my job still makes it hard to be active in the Las Vegas LGBT+ community.) I still had not come out to my parents or family in Texas; I was afraid to lose them, and in 2014, I found out my reasons why had merit.

No one can blame you
For walking away
But too much rejection
No love injection

My older younger brother, one I’d been close to for almost the entire time we’d been growing up until I moved to Nevada, decided I’d been the one to put a photo of two men kissing onto my personal Facebook timeline, which meant my entire Southern Baptist family could see it. There’s no way in the world I’d have ever let that happen, and even though my mother knew I wrote gay romance, she didn’t know her daughter was gay. I asked her to go through my whole timeline, and she said she couldn’t find it. I called my brother on the phone, asked him to explain to me where he found such a photo, because I wasn’t finding it. He stated repeatedly that he “wasn’t down with that gay shit,” and he “didn’t want to see two dudes kissing,” and that I “was the only one he could think of that was cool with that.” He told me it wasn’t personal, he just didn’t want to see it, so he was unfriending me on Facebook to avoid it. I told him I had gay friends, and so the only photo I had that was remotely controversial was the pink equal sign overlay on my profile photo that said I was for marriage equality. He stated again that I was the only one, and that he “couldn’t and wouldn’t tolerate that gay shit.”

Because of this incident, I resolved to never tell him I was gay. Also, the influx of his hate created a chasm between us, a chasm that still exists. Sometimes I wonder if it will ever close, other times I’m pretty certain it won’t.

But the film is a saddening bore
Because I wrote it ten times or more
It’s about to be writ again
As I ask you to focus on
Sailors fighting in the dance hall…

I began publishing that year, and this led me to some people who retaught me to write. I learned quite a bit about self-publishing and I learned I am not a good marketer. Another thing I noticed? It was becoming harder and harder not to reveal myself to my mom and dad. Marriage equality and hate crimes against the LGBT+ community, were on the rise. I felt passionately about keeping my brothers and sisters safe, and so many were dying… I talked about it all the time. I got involved when I could, and I broached the subject when I was dating a girl briefly, broached it with my mother.

“What would you do if you found out one of your kids was gay?” I asked, disguising it as research for a book.

“I’d love them,” she replied simply. I think she saw right through me.

You can’t make love with money
You can’t make mistakes with babies

The election campaigning started full blast at the end of 2015 and I finally came to terms with myself. I was going to tell them. I prepared myself for this by writing a short story called “Glittering Soul” in which the events go down, and much of it was premonitory. I wish the love interest part had happened, but I was glad the incident with her brother did not. I looked towards going down for Christmas 2015, and telling them then, but I could not get the time off from the job that paid the bills. I was crushed, and all the tension that had built with knowledge there’d be release, compounded.

I heard David Bowie was coming out with a new album, and it was to coincide with his 69th birthday. Blew my mind he was going to be 69, but I made plans to buy it and I gave the first single a listen. “Blackstar” was (and is) so cool, so addictive, so incredibly Bowie, and I knew I’d love the whole album. After Christmas, things in my life took a swift turn for the worse. At 1:41am on January 11, 2016, I saw a post on Facebook from one of my dear friends, Anna. Simply, it said: “No, no, no, no, no. Not David, not yet.” I answered back, “What’s going on?” Her reply was, “We have lost David Bowie.” It felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. I mean, I’d never thought he was mortal. I never contemplated a life without him. In 1997, when he teamed up with Reznor for the Outside tour and for “I’m Afraid of Americans” I wasn’t certain he even aged, but dead? No… it wasn’t (isn’t) possible! He’s the Starman! He’s Ziggy! He’s the freaking Goblin King!

Live without your sunlight
Love without your heartbeat

How? What part of my life have you not influenced? You taught me it was okay to be me! You taught me it was okay to be different and to revel in it, and you taught me to appreciate life and that its very soundtrack was music. How am I supposed to live without you here? In this world? This world?!

Now. Not tomorrow.
Not tomorrow.

And it happened. It really happened. We lost you. In the coming weeks and months, I’d watch the tributes to you—my favorite was Annie Lennox and Gary Oldman’s intro to Lorde’s “Life on Mars?” I still have it bookmarked in a tab from the day I watched it last February, and I still can’t watch it without tears.

I don’t know how to say it all with the right words. I don’t know how to convey how much my heart still hurts knowing you’ve returned to the stars. I don’t know how to tell you how much I, like many others, miss you. Most of all, I don’t know how to thank you for what all you’ve done in my life. Until the day I figure out my “right words,” I’ll look to the sky and when I see stars, I’ll think of you, resting amongst them, home again.

But man, do I miss your presence among us. I really do.

A city full of flowers
A city full of rain
I’ve got seven days to life my life
Or seven ways to die


Sweet & Scary Flash Fiction Blog Hop:


Here’s mine, called “A Lifetime Away from You,” and it’s a clip from a story which needs an overhaul. It’s always been a favorite scene of mine. Hope you also like it!

“A Lifetime Away from You” by M. LeAnne Phoenix


Kaiyu remembered hearing the shōji slide shut as he sat up in bed, a slow smile stretching across his lips as his nose caught the scent of breakfast and tea. His eyes turned to the disarray of the bed and surrounding room, and he bit his lower lip as he remembered the heat of the night. We made love all night. All night was I inside him… I will teach him how to take me, too! He slipped from underneath the coverlets, reaching for his pyjama bottoms and robe. The bamboo cool beneath his feet, he ran his fingers through his hair and stretched, listening for a much beloved voice.

Glancing down at the mat next to the door, he saw only his boots. Rasmus’ were conspicuously missing. Lifting his gaze to the landscape, his brow furrowed as he scanned the trees for any sign of his pale lover. “Where did you go?” he asked the wind. “Where would you go?”

A shout from the main house jerked his head around, and he rushed to the edge of the verandah to see Takeshi running hard in the direction of the glade. Kaiyu called out through mindspeak, Captain, what is it?

The answer came immediately. Your tiger is cornered. I go to help him. He is blind, Kaiyu-san!

Slamming his feet into his boots, Kaiyu took off running, following Rasmus’ scent to the glade, returned to its icy beauty… though now, it was stained with crimson, and he could not tell on sight what was blood and what was blossoms. A trail of blood led out of the glade, and he followed it, finding the struggle had moved to the forest just beyond Nakamura clan borders. He heard the sounds of fighting as he neared, Takeshi joining him, his eyes concerned. I smell blood. I smell a lot of blood. Someone is hurt.

Kaiyu’s eyes flashed. You better hope it isn’t Rasmus or there will be hell to pay.

Takeshi nodded. From both of us.

They emerged to find Rasmus standing on shaky legs, his arms up to protect his injured face, opposite a creature from forbidden Nakamura family lore. It stood tall, taller than Kaiyu, bearing undeniable leonine features, hollow eyes, and claws stained red with Rasmus’ blood. Kaiyu noticed Rasmus’ head did not face his opponent, though his body did. He responded to the creature’s vicious attack with deadly force, repeatedly slamming a hidden makeshift weapon down into its eyes, growling, “An eye for an eye, fucking bastard!”

Kaiyu blinked, realizing what his lover used for a weapon: the broken wire frames of his glasses. Ras is blind. He hurried to catch Rasmus when he stumbled back from the body of the Child of the Sun. Rasmus startled, going on the defensive, but Kaiyu shushed him, “Shhhhh… Ras, it’s me, it’s Kaiyu—” His voice died in his throat when his love turned his face to his.

“Kaiyu?” His hands, covered in blood, reached up to feel his face. “It’s dead, isn’t it? I killed it?”

“Oh, Rasmus…” Kaiyu looked over at Takeshi, who nodded at him from the creature’s side. “Yeah, you killed it. We gotta get you looked at—“

“An optometrist is kinda out of the question. Don’t think they have a prescription to fix this—” Rasmus gave a dry laugh, hissing when Kaiyu lifted him into his arms, alerting him to other wounds not so visible. It’s hard to see through all the blood. How the hell did Rasmus—barely three months of training—best a Child of the Sun? I don’t know many samurai able to do what he did, and he did it blind! He glanced over at Takeshi, saying aloud, “You will be all right?”

“I will take care of the body, dispose of it properly so its soul will return to the good King of Cats, then I will follow. Get him to the daimyō, musuko. He will know what to do. Perhaps he can restore him.”

Kaiyu nodded, whirling and fixing his mind on his father. He staggered as his icy surroundings faded and the clean lines of his father’s verandah came into view. Relief flooded Kaiyu when Nakamura Ryuichi wrapped his arms around him, asking, “What is it? What happened to Rasmus-san?”

Kaiyu sank down to the floor. “He defeated a Child of the Sun, Oto-san. It took his eyes and I don’t know where he isn’t bleeding from! Chichi—I-I don’t know what—”

Nakamura Ryuichi pressed a kiss to his son’s temple as he knelt beside them. “I will teach you this. Hold him, he is losing consciousness and you must calm him.”

Kaiyu kissed Rasmus’ forehead, whispering, “Stay with me, Ras. Stay with me, stay with me forever—”

His father placed his hands together over Rasmus’ prone body, intoning a low note, drawing them apart, fingers splayed as energy stretched and grew like glowing gossamer between his hands until he’d created a web large enough to encompass his lover’s head and neck. Dropping it over Rasmus’ face, he started again, making one next large enough for his torso, one for each leg, and one for each arm. The tone changed to a lower note as he clapped his hands together, yanking them apart to slam them onto the web, sending a blast of energy bright enough to cause Kaiyu to squint as he felt it pulsing through Rasmus’ body. He couldn’t see what the light did to his lover, but he knew his father would do nothing to hurt Rasmus. As the light dissipated, so did the web, drawing back into Nakamura Ryuichi’s hands. The blood gone, still the clothing remained destroyed, and when Kaiyu cupped Rasmus’ cheek, it roused him, causing him to blink as he smiled sleepily, covering his hand with his lithe one. “I went back for my glasses—”

“Do you have a spare pair, Rasmus-san?” Nakamura Ryuichi interjected. “If so, you will need to rely on it since you used your others as a weapon. Quite ingenious, I must say, musuko-chan.”

The amber orbs widened as they met Kaiyu’s wet jade. “A weapon? Whaaat?” He rubbed his eyes as he remembered. “Oh, wait… I did. I used them—” Rasmus pushed his face into Kaiyu’s chest, shuddering. “I don’t want to remember that… that creature. It looked like something out of a horror movie.”

“They are extremely rare. There were only seven recorded on the planet,” Nakamura Ryuichi divulged. “It is unlikely you need worry about seeing another. Do you hurt anywhere or did I restore you completely, Rasmus-san?”

Kaiyu helped his lover sit up, watching closely as Rasmus stretched, checking himself over before he answered, “Everything seems okay. I don’t feel any more pain, things are just a little blurry—a lot blurry, actually.”

“Ranma-kun, take him to your chambers. I will send food and tea to you. Takeshi, please accompany them.” Nakamura Ryuichi pressed a tender kiss to Rasmus’ hair. “I will come to check on you shortly. I must report this incident before I come to see you. We must all be alert; it has been long since a Child of the Sun has been sighted.”

FINIS… for now. 🙂

Rainbow Snippets #17

NASA Vela Supernova Remnant


Snippet today comes from my main WIP, the second book in the Covenant series, AETERNUM. It’s from the current chapter, and here’s the set up. Two words: bachelor party. However, the party was not planned by one of David’s and Jonathan’s close friends, but by Autumn Varner, a new friend David’s made through a coffee shop. A good friend he made through her, is Kai Hoedemaeker, a model working in New York.

Without further adieu, here is the snippet, and it’s likely to be a bit longer than 6, since so many of the sentences are short.

“First of all, I’m letting you know you’re going to be bored stiff. The place we’re going does not cater to us.” Kai flipped through both David’s and Jonathan’s side of the closet before finally settling on a black A-shirt and a red flannel shirt. “Where are the trousers?”

“On the shelf above the tees.” David pointed them out. “We both wear the same size, so mine and his are all mixed up.”

Kai looked through until he found a ragtag pair. “These. Put them on. I do your makeup when you are dressed.”

David grinned, cocking his head to one side. “Will you do my makeup on Saturday?”

Kai smiled wickedly. “I think you never ask! Of course, I will be happy to oblige.”

In no time, David sat backwards in the desk chair, eyes closed as Kai deftly applied eyeliner and shadow, mascara and lip liner. A hint of color and David’s shiny glitter gloss, Kai’s hands went to David’s hair, using a bit of gel and pomade to give life to his curls. When he finished, he grabbed his camera from his bag and took a couple of photos. “For posterity’s sake… and for Jonathan. Little preview for what I do for Saturday.” Kai blushed. “And because I think you are beautiful always, but here, little nervous… little aggravated… positively stunning.”

Hope you like!

COVER REVEAL: A Summer’s Day–Shakespearean Anthology with a Twist!


The Details:

Release Date… August 12th

(Amazing!) Cover Art… Jay Aheer, Simply Defined Art

Genre… M/M Mixed

Charity Anthology to benefit the It Gets Better Project


The Works:

~ Coriolanus ~ The Tempest ~ Two Gentleman of Verona ~

~ Othello ~ Macbeth ~ Romeo & Juliet ~

~ The Taming of the Shrew ~ Twelfth Night ~ Much Ado About Nothing ~

~ Sonnet 130 ~ The Merchant of Venice ~


The Authors:

Asta Idonea ~ Rory Ni Coilean ~ Dianne Hartsock ~

~ Rian Durant ~ M. LeAnne Phoenix ~ Louise Lyons ~

~ Nephy Hart ~ Rebecca Cohen ~ J.L. Merrow ~

~ Charlie Cochrane ~ Kathy Griffith ~ Phetra H. Novak ~


The Lines:

From A Fine Line Between by Louise Lyons–

“Just like that? Suddenly you want to be friends?” His expression was wary.
“Hardly.” My lips twitched. “But since I saved your life, I suppose I can’t hate you that much.”

From A Hero’s Last Battle by Phetra H. Novak–

“I won’t deny that I find you very attractive, because I do. But I just wanted to talk to you and maybe get to know you a little bit better.” He tried with a smile. That worked, right?
“But you were not trying to get me into bed, is that what you are saying? I can’t be very attractive then, can I?” He could see Hero was teasing by the small smile on his lips and the twinkle in his eyes.
“How about later, we can have a try at the conversation first and then maybe, if that fails, we have no option but to take this to bed. You made me lose my breath the second I saw you.” Claudio admitted honestly…

From Deeper Than Did Ever Plummet Sound by Rory Ni Coilean–

“What did you just call him?”
Ah, the smile was back. Not quite at full wattage, but enough for Clarence to warm himself at. “One of my favorite non-Shakespearean epithets.”
“Worthy of inclusion in the canon.”
Clarence laughed, trying to make it sound like less of a bark than his laughter usually did. “Perhaps I’ll slip it into a rehearsal sometime.”
“I double dog dare you.”
And if I take your dare, what will you forfeit?

From If Music Be… by Charlie Cochrane–

“And I can’t arse you about any longer. You deserve the truth.”
The sound of the caretaker locking up nudged them into action. “Not here. Fancy a coffee at mine or is it too late?”
“Too late tonight or too late for us?”

From Kiss Me Kade by Nephy Hart–

“Let me go.” Raw panic thickened his tone and he pressed harder against the wall, prompting an involuntary yip.
“You’re not a prisoner,” Pete crooned, slowly drawing closer. “I don’t want to hurt you. I’ll never hurt you; not unless you want me to, and never more than you can bear. I want to take care of you, Kade.”

From Much Ado About Lady Macbeth by Rebecca Cohen–

David had never been shy about what he wanted. If it had been in his character, he’d still be a guttersnipe running through the dirty back streets. He’d taken his pleasure where it had been offered and now, as Jacob sat opposite, it was something other than his thirst that needed sating. He was sure he’d heard Jacob was not one to turn away a male suitor, but David had not seen the evidence with his own eyes. “I am sure there are ways I could lessen the pain.”
“Lessen my pain?” Jacob’s eyes went wide as he suddenly realised what David was implying. “What make you think I would accept such an offer?”

From Nothing Like The Sun by J. L. Merrow–

Sam paused, breathing hard, but didn’t let go of my hand. “That’s not what I see when I look at you. I don’t see you as you used to be—perfect skin, model features. I see you, scars and all. And I’m not going to give you all that shit about how your scars are beautiful because they’re yours, or they represent suffering overcome or any of that crap. I could never think your scars are beautiful. They hurt you. But what I see… What I see when I look at you is the man underneath. The man with the drive, the ambition to make it in a cut-throat world. The man who can shock me and make me laugh all in one bitchy sentence. I see you, Jerome. The man I love.”
I blinked hard. “That’s what I see when I look at you.” My voice cracked. It did that a lot, right after the fire. Smoke inhalation. I’d thought I was over it months ago. “The one who cheers me up when I’m down. The one who laughs at my jokes like he actually thinks they’re funny, and trust me, that’s a much rarer quality than mere good looks. That’s what I’ve always seen. But you—you deserve someone better than me. Someone whole.”

From The Devil and The Lion by Asta Idonea–

The question might have been ambiguous, but Aufidius knew what Martius was asking. “I lied not before when I told thee my rapt heart danced when I did see thee, for in my breast has raged a dual desire since first we met in combat. Ever have I longed both to slay thee and possess thee.”
Martius closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath. “Good Aufidius, I could as easily speak in like manner of thee. I raised my blade against thee untold times in battle, yet never was it in pure enmity—save that owed by duty, in service of my country—but in the hope of conquering one I had godded.”

From The Merchant Of Venice Beach by Kathy Griffith–

Looking over at Bartholomew, he could see he was as nervous as an ice cube salesman in Phoenix. After walking toward him, Porsche held his hand out.
“I—tried to think of something that was, well, appropriate, Mr. Keller,” He said, almost stammering. Smiling, Porsche looked at his mothers’ last message.
“A man who thinks of others before himself is someone to be treasured.”

From Two Guys from Vancouver by Dianne Hartsock–

Silver looked startled, then gave him a genuine smile. “Are you asking me on a date, Valentine?”
Heat flushed through Val. “No!” he sputtered, then looked aside, knowing he’d reddened at Silver’s amused expression. “I mean, I know better. I’m sure you have lots of attractive men—”
Silver put fingers against Val’s lips to silence him. “I find you very attractive. Who’s been talking to you? I’ve wanted to run my fingers through your silky brown hair since we met, and I could drown in those deep chocolate eyes of yours.” He leaned forward and brushed his lips over Val’s, soft, smoky. His warm breath washed over Val’s cheeks, making him tremble. “Yes, I’ll go out with you, my sweet Valentine.”

From When I Love Thee Not by Rian Durant–

“He thinks I’m cheating on him.”
The shocked expression on Emilienne’s face made him laugh nervously. He nodded, wishing his lover knew him well enough to be shocked at the very thought of such a thing.
“What the… Jesus, Des, how did he… Pff, I can’t, seriously! You’re the only person I know who’d never do that and he—”

And because I can’t not use something Jay Aheer made for us to use… 🙂 Here’s my clip:



Where to Shop for A Summer’s Day: ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon AUS ~ Smashwords ~

Rainbow Snippets #16



Snippet today is a littttttle late (apologies!), but it comes from a WIP called Without Your Sunlight, and again features Salazar Moone. Here goes!

Salazar blinked, realizing why this Mar looked so like Sirius, “Are you… Wings of Zephyros, you are—”

“So he didn’t embellish it when he said you knew my name.” She smirked, confirming her identity, “Yes, I am Sothis, daughter of Sirius, and Heir of the Bearer.”

“Sothis… stars, you were none but an infant—now you must be—”

“Past my first millennia?” She snorted, clipping, “And you are the one Mar in the universe that can make my father lose his mind.”

Bescreen’d in Night: A Covenant Short

Promo 2 with Quote SMALL

(Takes place from 18-December 1992-21 December 1992)



20 December 1992

Jonathan’s eyes were sore, but he kept them on Claire as she spoke to the Fort Worth police officer. When the clock had finally hit the forty-eight-hour mark, David’s mother had reported him missing. Almost two hours later, a car had arrived at their home, bringing two detectives to ask questions of all of them. Jonathan found it strange the police spoke very little to him, since he’d been the last one to see David. Stranger still, they spoke the longest with his own parents, who’d not seen David in forty-three days, while the person who knew him the best—no, the people who knew him the best—stood by, information completely untapped.

Growling, Jonathan whirled on his heel and stomped back to his bedroom. Trailed by Amy, Chad, Travis, and Bailey, he flung himself onto the edge of the bed, rubbing his face harshly. Amy was first to speak. “I can’t believe they won’t even really look at you—”

“I swear it’s like they think I did it or something. Every minute they let tick by is a minute he won’t get back. Should we start calling hospitals?” Jonathan glanced over at the bare nightstand, his eyes burning.

“I can do that with Mama Claire and Mama Abby, you boys and Bill need to be the boots on the ground, okay?” Amy slanted a glance in the direction of the police officers. “It’s kind of obvious they’re not talking to us because who wants to help the gay boy?”

“It’s true about their views on us homos,” Bailey commented. “I mean, this is Texas, not someplace like San Francisco where gay people are far more commonplace.” He lowered his voice to finish, “They’d be more likely to help anyone but a homo.”


His friends parted like the Red Sea when Claire peered around the hallway and called his name. Jonathan sniffled, answered, “Momma Claire?”

“I told the detectives they needed to speak with you since you were the last person to be with David, other than his “alleged” attacker.” She sniffled. “They also confirmed Jonah was on base at Fort Hood when the “attack” happened, so it couldn’t have been him.”

Jonathan shook his head. “Nothing else makes sense, and I’m not trying to—”

“I know.” She nodded in the direction of the living room. “They want to speak to you.”

Almost an hour later and they’d spoken with all five of them, making it clear they were not to return to the crime scene nor disturb it again, and they confiscated the flannel shirt for evidence. When the detectives left, Amy looked over at Jonathan, saying, “Fuck what they said. They won’t look for him, we will. You boys go out and look for him. Mamas and I will start a freaking telephone tree. Papa Bill, can we get Jonny’s phone hooked back up before you leave with the fellas?”

They searched for hours.

It was almost ten o’clock when Bill pulled the Suburban into the drive, Chad and Travis behind him. Bailey squeezed Jonathan’s shoulder, murmuring, “We’ll find him. I promise, Shea. We will find him.”

Jonathan nodded miserably. “I know, Bay.”

“He’s right, Jonathan. We will find David. You have my word,” Bill vowed. “We will find him and bring him home.”


The boys had dog-piled in the living room, surrounding Jonathan in effort to keep the nightmares back, and the search resumed immediately the next morning, dragging in the parents of Jonathan’s friends. Amy’s mom, and Chad’s and Travis’ parents, and Bailey’s dad all joined in the search for David Blackthorn. A little past five o’clock, they hit a stroke of luck with calls again to the hospitals in the area. Abby was told a patient had been brought in late Friday night, that he’d not woken, and that he bore tattoos all up and down his arms. When Abby asked his age and color of his hair, all the nurse would tell her was that the police had installed two guards around the clock outside his door and that until he woke, they would let no-one in the room.

For over an hour, they tried to devise a feasible way to get into the room to see if it was David. They attempted to talk to the police to see if the detectives had even looked at the patient in the hospital, and ended up leaving a message on their answering machine. Abby cooked dinner as the group of them continued to try to get onto the floor with the possible David, and as they were eating, one of the detectives called back and reprimanded them for trying to glean confidential information from a charge nurse. He told them to let them handle it, that if they wanted to put his photo on milk cartons and fliers, they could, but to stay away from that hospital room. They would be notified as soon as the patient awoke.

As Bill hung up the phone, Jonathan left the table, not waiting for anyone as he threw his bedroom door shut behind him. Stripping out of his clothes, he crawled under the sheets and pulled his pillow over his head, willingly succumbing to sleep in hopes he’d hear David’s voice. Torment with David present was better than torment without him, because at least Jonathan would get a chance to save him. In reality, every avenue was thwarted by the people tasked with finding David.

But I will find you. I promise… and come what may, I will make a way for us to be together, side by side, forever.

Sleep swept over him in heavy waves, dreamless when he needed to see David’s face, and the shadows holding him under were faceless, a terrific undertow holding him under when he tried so hard to surface. Jonathan’s hand caught on something, jolting him up from sleep, but not rousing fully until his mother swatted his rear. Her words reached him—“Jonny, scoot over and sit up! I need your help getting David into bed.”—and he snapped to full awareness in a split second.

“I’m—I’m okay—”

Jonathan’s voice, muffled by the pillow, formed a hallowed name. “David…?” His eyes flew wide as he turned to see a silhouette he’d know anywhere… and then as Abby helped David to perch carefully on the edge of Jonathan’s bed, he finished, “Oh, David… oh, God… oh, babe!

All the air seemed to go out of him and those incredible eyes looked past Jonathan for a long moment before David gasped, and tears spilled down his cheeks. Bruises seemed to be everywhere, he wore a cast on his left arm, and when he stumbled as he tried to stand, his stiff movements spoke volumes to Jonathan of the marks he couldn’t see. Jonathan and Abby caught David and steadied him before he could fall, and as Jonathan helped David into the bed, propping pillows up behind himself and tentatively curling his arm low around David’s belly, his love reached for Abby’s hand, whispering, “Can you call my mom? I don’t want her to worry… and… and thank you.”

Abby smiled, shaking her head. “Oh, honey, you are like a third son to us. I’m just sorry we got hung up on silly details. What should matter is you.” Pressing a kiss to his golden hair, she glanced up at Jonathan before smiling gently at David. “Now relax. I’ll call your momma and get her and your brothers over here. For once, Christmas will fill the house.”

As she disappeared out the door, Jonathan could not stop the silent tears, and he nuzzled David’s hair, breathing him in as his boyfriend hissed, “My apologies for leaving you—”

“No, no…” Jonathan shook his head vehemently, “Baby, you don’t need to apologize. We all looked for you when you didn’t come back. The guy at the popcorn stand said he saw you arguing with an older guy in a green army jacket and that he dragged you away by the wrist. It was all he had to say for me to know what happened, but I still wasn’t able to find you afterwards and then your phone rang off the hook. Momma Claire called me the next day asking after you and that’s when I got worried. I told her you’d left during the movie and that I’d tried calling that morning. She said she’d not heard your phone ring, but that you’d never come home. I called up Travis and Chad and we all went looking for you, but we couldn’t find you.”

David gently pressed his cheek to Jonathan’s when Jonathan leaned in to kiss David’s shoulder, his voice again a whisper when he spoke. “According to the lady that brought me here, some guy called 911 after finding me. I was taken to a hospital and apparently had hypothermia enough they needed to put one of those Quantum Leap-looking blankets on me to get me warm enough to take blood. Also this—” David held up his broken arm. “—broke the skin in two places and three ribs are fractured.”

“Oh, babe—”

“Are you going to be okay, David?”

Jonathan smiled gently at his little brother, Cody, poking his head through the door. His eyes were so wide and shiny, Jonathan knew he was as worried about David as Jonathan. David patted the bed in front of him. “You can come in, Cod.”

In seconds, Cody was carefully crawling across the mattress and then inching backwards to curl into the line of David’s body, ever-so-slowly laying his head on David’s belly so as not to hurt him. Sound asleep moments later, David’s lithe fingers threaded through the wispy gold locks as he lifted his face up, meeting Jonathan’s gaze as he said aloud, “I know I look a mess—”

Jonathan blinked, exclaiming, “Don’t use your voice! I know it hurts!” One hand tenderly cupped David’s jaw, tears slipping down Jonathan’s face.

“I want you to hear me. I want you to know that I love you, that I’d never leave you, that you’re my world, Jonathan Shea.” David pressed a kiss to Jonathan’s lips, allowing his voice to drop back down to a hiss. “I didn’t think… I didn’t think his anger at me would last so long! Why can’t he be like your dad? Why does he think I’m bad? Am I bad? Jonny, am I?”

“Oh, babe… no, we’re not bad! We’re not doing anything wrong! We’re not… we’re just being who God made us to be! He made us this way!” Jonathan kissed David thoroughly, deepening the kiss this time. “God made us to love one another and He does not make mistakes!”

I am so glad he’s here. I’m so glad he’s in my arms and I’m not letting him go. I’m not ever letting him go. Jonathan kissed David’s mouth again, saying against his lips, “I will never ever let this happen to you again, love of my heart. Never ever again. I’m going to ask my parents if you, Momma Claire, Josh and Lij can stay with us after the holidays.”

“You think they’ll—”

Jonathan nodded. “Oh, I’m pretty certain Mama will make Dad agree.”

David sighed, the corners of his lips lifting. “Told you.”

“Yeah, you did.” Jonathan chuckled. “Sleep, babe. I will make certain no-one touches you while you rest.”

As David succumbed to his fatigue, Jonathan watched over him, making a mental vow to the one he loved. I will never let any unkind hand touch you again. You will only know joy and love so long as I’m around, beautiful man. Tears slid down his cheeks. If we taste salt when we kiss, like Mama’s cross-stitch says, it will be because you are so happy, you can’t contain it. I promise.

Pressing a kiss to David’s golden hair, Jonathan closed his eyes and breathed. “Oh, you’re home!”



Bescreen’d in Night: A Covenant Short

Promo 2 with Quote SMALL

(Takes place from 18 December 1992-21 December 1992)



19 December 1992

Jonathan stalked through the house, his eyes open wide to keep the emotion swelling in his throat and sending tremors through his body, from raining down his cheeks. Crawling up the ladder and into the treehouse he and his father had built when he was eight, Jonathan flopped backwards.

The last time I was up in here, David, you were with me and we made out. We nearly got caught, but we managed to convince my mom we were just playing around. That was before forty-two days of hell.

Pulling the moleskin journal out of his back pocket, Jonathan hiccupped and grabbed the pen from the inside pocket of his coat. Bending over the journal as he opened it, he scribed the song exploding in his head. He knew the Bowie influences would be obvious, but he made a mental note to put it only in his journal.

Night bleeds into day
I am spun out of orbit
Day blazes into night
It’s been so long
Well, it’s been so long

My eyes scan the stars
Cold on earth and broken too
The stars blaze bright for me
It’s been so long
Well, it’s been so long

Forty-two days I waited
Forty-two nights I died
Forty-two days I froze
Forty-two nights I lied

And it’s been so long
You’ve been gone so long
I’m so afraid of losing you

Stuffing the pen in the journal, Jonathan shoved it back into the pocket as he heard someone on the ladder. Scooting over into the corner, he wrapped his arms around his shins and pushed his face into his knees. The tears were so close he wasn’t certain he could keep them back much longer, but the time ticked by relentlessly and still they had no lead on David. They were still under the forty-eight-hour mark, which meant the police could do nothing.

Even if he’s been hurt before and it’s likely he’s been hurt again. It doesn’t matter, right? Not at all!

“Dammit!” Jonathan shouted, slamming his fist into the wall. “Dammit! Dammit!”

“Hey, man! Hey, hey, Shea, chill out! This ain’t gonna help shit!” Travis wound around Jonathan, pulling his head down to his chest and rubbing Jonathan’s side. “We’ll find him. Promise. We’ll find him. Just calm down.”

“He’s been gone, Cap, he’s been gone for—” The image of his watch flashed through his brain. “9:32. That was when he left for the bathroom last night. He left at 9:32.” His mind worked the calculations and he lifted his face to look up into Travis’ eyes. “He’s been gone sixteen hours and forty-three minutes, Cap. It only took eight minutes for him to be taken. I didn’t even know he was gone because I thought it was just a really long line for freakin’ popcorn!”

“Jonathan! Stop torturing yourself!” Travis hissed. “Just stop. This won’t help you to focus. There is nothing on this earth could keep the two of you apart. He will come home.” Tears shone in his friend’s eyes, and Jonathan knew they reflected the pain he felt at trying to empathize with him. “He will.”

Jonathan nodded, allowing himself a moment of weakness, and he broke down for a moment. Travis held him, rubbing his back in long slow strokes.

As they descended the ladder a few minutes later, Amy and Chad walked across the patio, the former asking, “Why don’t we go back to the drive-in?”

“For what?” Jonathan answered, sniffling as he tugged his toboggan onto his head. “You don’t think he’d go back there, do you?”

“Maybe there’s something there that could tell us something about where he went?” she suggested. “Retrace our steps, and without people there, we can see more of what is there. Maybe see what he could see?”

Jonathan nodded. “I have to do something. I can’t just sit here and wait. Let’s go.”

The ride over to the drive-in passed in sporadic conversation, and they picked up Bailey on the way. Jonathan loved his friends, all of which made a point to hold onto him on the drive, and he knew he was not alone.

But you are, babe. I don’t know how or why, but I know that somewhere out there, you are alone. I pray you aren’t—

The truck came to a stop, rousing Jonathan from thought and he looked up to see the empty drive-in in the daytime, stripped of the magic it bathed in at night, standing forlorn before the truck.

—but I know you are, and I’m coming for you. I will find you, love of my heart.

They unloaded from the truck, and Jonathan followed his friends at a dead run through the ticket booth’s arch and down the dirt road to the field. Orienting himself a little, he ran over to the stall they’d parked in, faced the screen, then slowly turned his eyes to the closed concession stand. Squinting at the bright sunlight, Jonathan murmured to himself, “Watched you turn and look at me as you were heading over to the bathrooms. You smiled, told me you loved me.”

“Came from there, Opie said,” Travis said, coming to stand on his right, pointing one gloved hand toward the bathrooms at the rear of the concession stand. “Over there.”

Jonathan nodded. “So many people were here last night. Between here and there, and if Jonah showed up, no-one would’ve noticed.”

“It’s a family-oriented place. There were a lot of kids here last night, so between the movie and the kids—”


Jonathan and Travis looked over at where Bailey and Amy stood by the bathrooms. They ran over to their friends, Amy leading them around the back of the building to the dumpster just beyond the propane tank. “Check it out, Shea. I’m pretty damn sure that’s your shirt.”

Jonathan knelt down, reaching for the flannel sleeve poking out from behind the dumpster. “It is. It’s my shirt. David—” His hands shook as he tugged on the fabric and the rest of it pulled free. As he took in a stiff brown stain discoloring some of the side and much of the left arm, his eyes widened to keep the tears from falling. All the air went out of him as he took his gaze to each of their faces. “He’s hurt. He’s not here, and he’s hurt.”

Amy knelt to wrap him up in a tight embrace. “Shea, we’re gonna find him. I give you my word.”


He was running.

He was always running, but this time, it was night, and the shadows were thick… deep. They enveloped any light Jonathan drew near, consuming it entirely until he ran by touch and by need. His breath came in heavy puffs, the chill freezing the back of his throat to an almost painful state, and the stitch in his side nearly felled him.


Jonathan tripped and sprawled on his belly, skidding for a good four feet before he came to a stop. Spitting out dirt, he rose to all fours, a stinging in his elbows and knees telling of the scrapes he’d taken in the fall.

Another scream, but this one was his name. His heart pounded hard in his chest, and he vaulted into a run once more.

David… David, I’m coming! I’m so close! Hold on, babe!

Jonathan careened around a corner, light blinding him temporarily even as he threw one arm up to shield his eyes, sending him to the ground again. He heard the bone snap as pain lanced through his right arm. Jonathan bit back a shout as he cradled it to his chest, launching himself forward on unsteady legs, and every single movement sent his jaw tensing to get through the pain.

David… have to get to you. I’m coming, baby. I’m coming to save you!

Jonathan blinked as black spots appeared in the edges of his vision, still he pushed forward, finally catching sight of that golden hair. Crimson seemed to be everywhere, and he slipped, curling up to protect his injured arm. He tasted copper, but on the air, the faint scent of David’s soap touched his nose. Jonathan’s eyes flew open, and for a moment, he forgot about his own pain and pushed up onto his hands. Fire shot through his ruined arm, sending a shriek tearing from his throat, the noise rousing the broken butterfly beneath him to lucidity.


Jonathan sat back on his haunches, gathering David close to him, but blood seemed to be coming from everywhere, and as precious words tumbled from his lips—“David, I love you! Please…!”—those beautiful blue eyes lost their sight—


Jonathan jerked awake so quickly, he tumbled from the couch, banging his elbow on the corner of the coffee table. Gentle hands lit on his shoulders, a calming voice murmuring, “Baby boy! Hey, hey, hey! It’s Mama. Jonathan! Wake up, honey!”

He jolted upright, rubbing his elbow as his face creased with pain, but then strong arms caught him up, a large hand threading fingers through his hair as his father’s scratchy chin brushed his own, Bill whispering, “I gotcha, son. I got ya… and I’m sorry I made you feel—”

Jonathan didn’t wait to hear the whole apology, he lost the tenuous hold he had on his fear and crumbled in his father’s arms, allowing the man who’d always protected him to be the stronger.

Those beautiful blue eyes lost their sight—


 On to Bescreen’d in Night: THREE