Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hiding the Moon Part 8

First of all, Bobby Green is out on February 6th, but in case you haven't read the Johnnies books, I should point out that the whole series is on sale until February 14th--yay!

Here's the link for Amazon, but they're also available at DSP and most other outlets for the same prices.

So, other than that, all work and no play makes Amy a very dull writer...

Heh heh...

Let's play...

Hiding the Moon: Part 8

Burton got back to the room in time to see Ernie pull back the covers, revealing the slightly rumpled sheets before he grabbed something from the back pocket of his jeans and laid down.

"What's that?" Burton asked, his suspicion hitting him hard. No drugs. No X. None of that crap in his bed-- "Oh."

His entire body washed hot. A condom and lubricant.

"You just kept that in your pocket?" he asked. Ernie was stretching out luxuriously on the high thread-count cotton sheets, his soft pink body almost too delicate to be real.

"Sex keeps my brain safe," Ernie said, a sad little smile on his face. "I don't often get to have it with somebody I actually like."

"You don't even know me," Burton mumbled, embarrassed. Like he was a reward or something. "And we're not having--"

"Sh." Ernie stood and placed two fingers over Burton's lips. "Don't lie," he whispered. "Not now. You promised."

Oh. It really had been a promise. Burton closed his eyes and licked Ernie's fingers. Ernie moaned and shivered, tilting his head back like Burton's mouth was a luxury, and Burton's skin cried out for more. He sucked those fingers into his mouth all the way, and Ernie sagged against him, their skin soft from the shower, bare, clean, and warm.

He opened his eyes when Ernie pulled his fingers out with a pop and darted a wicked glance up from under thick black lashes.

"See?" Ernie said, voice as wicked as his eyes. "That wasn't hard. Better things to do with your mouth than lie." He punctuated this with a kiss along Burton's shoulder, the glide of his lips down Burton's collarbone, and little fingertip pucker-kisses down Burton's other side. Burton slid his arms up Ernie's biceps, feeling the hard little muscles under that soft, moon-pale skin. Ernie kept teasing him, his shoulders, his collarbones, his chest, until his lips accidentally on purpose brushed Burton's nipples.

All the air left his body, and he whimpered. Oh God, so close... his nipples were tingling, and he wanted... he wanted...

Ernie paused, breath brushing the sensitive nerve bundle, and stuck out a teasing tongue. Burton, naked and needy, blurted out his biggest fear.

"I don't know how to make love to a man."

Ernie's low breathy chuckle sent ripples of reaction across his skin. "Touch my face," he whispered, lapping his nipple once.

Burton looked down at him and moved a tentative hand from his arm to his cheek. Ernie smiled shyly and stuck his tongue out again. He licked harder and Burton slid his fingers to that glossy dark hair and tightened them.

Ernie clamped his lips over the nipple and sucked hard.

Burton let out a moan and tried to keep his knees from buckling.

"Mm..." More sucking, and then Ernie traced a line to the other nipple, his hand flattening on Burton's abdomen as he went. He suckled on the other side while the air teased the the first nipple and Burton cupped his skull through his hair.

"But you're... ah... ah God... You're... oh Jesus, Ernie... you're doing all the work!"

Ernie popped off the second nipple and grinned again. "You're letting me touch you."

He was so beautiful.

Burton cupped his cheek again as he stood up straight, then bent his head and touched Ernie's lips with his own.

Ernie's mouth fell open and he melted into Burton's arms, that sinuous, boneless kind of melt that Burton had felt girls do. The kind that said Ernie trusted Burton to take care of him, to touch him kindly, to not hurt him.

With a growl, Burton took over the kiss, ravished his mouth, backed him up to the bed where he went willingly.

He hit the mattress and scooted back, spreading his thighs wantonly, inviting Burton into the glow of him. Burton paused for a moment and took him in, and Ernie returned his stare.

"You're beautiful."

They both covered their mouths, and Burton stared at him with wide eyes. They'd both said it. Whispered holy words at the same time.

Like a prayer.

Burton had to touch him. Had to run his fingers over his neck, his ribs.

He clamped his mouth over a pink nipple and sucked, gratified when Ernie arched his back and gasped. "Good," he urged. "So good."

The other one was just as delicious.

Ernie's body underneath his responded with abandon, undulating against him. His cock wobbled, a wild thing, streaking a damp trail against Burton's hip, his stomach, his inner thigh. As Burton plied his tongue Ernie gave a little cry and ground up against Burton's groin. A hot spurt of precome spread between them.

"What do you want to do?" Ernie whispered, grinding again.

Burton collapsed against him, burying his face against Ernie's throat and tried hard to pull himself together. With a girl, this would be the part where they fucked--mother nature's lock and key--but this was a man, and the lock and key fit differently, and Burton needed the rules.

"Everything," he said, half laughing into the haven of Ernie's hair and his shoulder. "Kid, I want to eat you alive."

"Then let's start there." Ernie kissed his forehead, a benediction of desire. "Go ahead, Lee. Touch it. Taste it. Do what you want done. No teeth, that's all I ask."

He smelled so good! Burton sucked on his neck then, licked to his earlobe, sucked that into his mouth and nibbled.

"That's right," Ernie hissed. "Just, you know, lower."

Down. Every inch of skin a salty, smooth, sweet and naughty temptation. Burton paused at his happy trail, running his fingers through the surprisingly silky hair, then following it down, down, down...


It was all the encouragement he needed to wrap his fingers around it, surprised at the width, the length.

"Big," he murmured, watching a shiny bit of fluid gather in the slit.

It fascinated him.

"Not as big as yours," Ernie told him breathlessly, and Burton bucked against the bed, reminded that he needed release too.

"But I'm a bulkier guy." It was almost purple now, as Burton stroked, and dripping, hot and... he stuck his tongue out and tasted.

Good. So good.

He shuddered and licked it some more.


In the back of his mind, Burton thought about teasing him, playing with his harp string, flirting his tongue along the edge of the bell. But not now. Not with Ernie bucking against his hand, and his precome filling his senses with the bitter salt of desire.

Not when he wanted so bad to feel it in the back of his throat.

"Go ahead," Ernie begged. "God, Lee, please, I'm dying--ahhhhhh!"

It felt huge, filling his mouth, and he kept his lips over his teeth and let his mouth fill with spit, making himself a hot wet cave for Ernie to thrust in.

Ernie bucked, crying out, and Burton kept sucking, squeezing his base with every stroke.

"My balls," Ernie begged. "Just... tug... a little harder... God yes! I'm coming--God, you need to--"

Taste. Burton needed to taste him.

He sucked harder, tugged harder, flirted his tongue when he pulled back, and Ernie kicked his feet into the mattress and came.

Wet and thick, it filled his throat and he swallowed.

It wasn't oysters like the porn said, but it wasn't bitter and he didn't gag.

He swallowed again, cock aching, as Ernie continued to spasm at the ministrations of his hand and his mouth.

Finally Ernie went limp, his hands searching for purchase in the tiny shaved curls of Burton's head. Burton let himself be urged up to Ernie's shoulder, where he rested his cheek for a moment and arched his own hips, desperate fore release.

"You shouldn't swallow unless you know my history," Ernie said weakly, sounding guilty.

"We take PREP," Burton said without self-consciousness. "It's part of our hygiene protocol." He didn't add because there was often blood loss on both sides, but Ernie's little chuff of air told him he got it. "What is your history?" He propped himself up on his elbow and looked soberly at Ernie.

"My history," Ernie told him softly, skating his thumb over Burton's cheekbone, "is that I've sucked a lot of dicks, and bent over for a lot of guys, but I've never looked into eyes like yours and thought I've wanted more."

Burton closed his eyes and Ernie invaded his mouth with his thumb. A brief suck, a pop, and Ernie rubbed his lower lip.

"You still hard?" Ernie asked.

"God yes."

"Good. Because I...I would really like you to fuck me. Not fair, I know. You just spent all that time making me come and I just want more."

Burton smiled, eyes still closed. "I want all of you."


Something about Ernie's voice, a break, a catch, something, made Burton open his eyes again. Ernie's eyes were red-rimmed, like he was close to tears.


"I won't be able to go back to strangers," Ernie said, sounding helpless. "Not after this."

A surge of possessiveness shook Burton to his toes. He pushed himself up and took Ernie's mouth, hard, angry, needy. He pulled back and pinned Ernie with a glare.

"Good," he said, voice hoarse. It wasn't fair of him--he knew that. He had to leave this boy and go back into the surf of undercover, and claiming him wasn't kind.  But Burton had held Ernie's cock in his mouth, had tasted his spend, and was going to bury himself in the heaven of his body, and Burton didn't want him to belong to strangers.

Burton wanted Ernie to belong to him.

"You're going," Ernie murmured.

"But not yet."

Burton kissed down his chin, down his neck, knowing where he was going this time.

Here, in this bed, their bodies bare and speaking the same language, he knew exactly what to do.

(I know, I know, it's unfair to leave it here, but at least you know what the next part's going to be, right?)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Geoffie in a TuTu

So, three things.

One--When Geoffie rolled around in the deer poop we had to throw away her sweater with the hood for green poopie reasons.

Two--I spent today in the car with my friend Karen, showing her the wonder that is my hometown. She's scouted here before so she knows some of it better than I do, but we had fun, went from Roseville to Folsom to Downtown and back again--and I even showed her some nifty things that she hadn't been aware of, and that may come in handy when she's writing her next fabulous mystery/suspense novel.

Three--I got home a little tired, and I'm up against a deadline, so I'm afraid no Hiding the Moon tonight, BUT, I promise some tomorrow, AND, in the meantime, I came home to
Geoffie in a tutu.

I mean, look at those pictures.

They get their own blogpost, right?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Hiding the Moon--Part 7

So, not much doin' today--my friend Berry Jello is still sick, and I visited her. I want her to feel better--she's usually got so much life! And then Chicken visited us and we watched X-Files when her father got home. We were dying by the end--God, the reboot is wonderful.

And mostly we just caught up on TV. Mate and I are the biggest emotional babies though-- we were watching 9-1-1, and it's such a good show. But the part came when the fire chief (Charlie?) had his coworkers on either side of him, and they said, "Okay. Don't be afraid to ask for help."

There was silence. Then he said, "I won't." Beat. Then, "Help me?" And he burst into tears.

And Mate and I were toast--we sobbed in stereo. Ah, a little harmless entertainment.

Good times.

So, that being the state of things--how about some Hiding the Moon. *Note-- for those new, Hiding the Moon is a crossover story between Racing for the Sun and the Fish Out of Water series. 

Hiding the Moon--Part 7

Burton woke up on a sudden inhale, panic flooding his body.

The boy in his arms (there was a boy in his arms?) mumbled, "Go back to sleep. An SUV passed by. Bad guys, but not your bad guys. Sleep some more."

Burton thought, It is time to wake up, and then his eyes closed and he slept for another two hours.

This time when he woke up, Ernie had rolled away and was facing him. His skin was pale--almost pasty, given the kid's hours--but his eyes, luminous, brown under the fall of hair held an appeal Burton couldn't explain.

"What?" Burton asked grumpily. He could feel the lateness of the afternoon in his bones, and he was still sluggish with sleep. A part of him knew he could leap up and commence giving orders at any time but...

But the kid was just looking at him, almost in wonder.

"What?" Burton demanded again. "Was I snoring?"

"Yes, but who cares." Slowly, the boy reached out to brush Burton's lips with his fingertips. "They're like cut from stone. You must press them together a lot."

Burton blinked and tried to remember if he did that a lot. "My job is sort of tense," he said, feeling silly.

"You think?" Ernie rolled his eyes, and then pressed his hand to the side of Burton's neck. Burton didn't flinch from a man touching him--it was something he'd dreamed about enough that it felt... natural. "Warm. Just... body heat. Lots of it. You must be very fit." Ernie's mouth twisted wickedly and he squeezed Burton's hard bicep with impish delight. "Very fit."

Burton licked his lips and hated himself a little for it. "I work out," he said with dignity.

Ernie nodded, a slight smile pulling at his full mouth. "You do. And nobody ever gets to appreciate it. I mean, there's girls sometimes. One nights, because you gotta keep moving, but..."  Ernie ran his hand appreciatively over the contours of Burton's arm--bicep, tricep, shoulder--coming to a stop with his hand splayed over Burton's collarbone, close to his neck. "No chance for someone to feel every hard inch."

Burton almost told the lie then-- it was on his lips. Son, you're barking up the wrong tree. Sorry, Ernie, but I'm not bi. Please stop touching me, it feels invasive.

But Ernie arched a sardonic eyebrow, and Burton's heart rate sped up, all his blood rushing to the surface of his skin.

Ernie's touch didn't feel invasive at all. It felt amazing.

"We shouldn't be doing this," Burton managed, and Ernie scooted a little closer.

"I need a shower," he whispered, and Burton could feel his breath dusting along Burton's throat. "And I need to brush my teeth."

Burton swallowed and nodded. "Me too."

"You go first," Ernie told him gravely. "Brush your teeth before you get in the shower."

Burton's brows snapped together and he scowled. "Who does that? People brush their teeth while their nuts are drying--everybody knows that! Why are you giving me--"

Ernie brushed those lush, playboy lips against his, and Burton opened his mouth on a gasp. Ernie sucked his lower lip into his mouth and nibbled before letting it go.

"Yes, Lee Xavier Burton, I'm giving you orders. You can blow me off if you want, but you'll regret worrying about bad breath for the next few hours, so maybe just don't fight me here."

Oh Lord, Burton's blood was pounding in his ears. A kiss. A man's kiss. It trembled along the edge of his skin and Burton could suddenly taste the acidic paste of morning breath.

"How'd you know my--"

Ernie's grin was a force to be reckoned with. "I can't always tell if the bad guys are after me," he said honestly. "If I'm stoned I can't always read the scumbag who wants to feel me up. But I'm cold sober right now, and I know who's in my bed." His voice was low and mesmerizing and Burton couldn't look away from his wide brown eyes.

"Who do you think I am?" he asked, curious. For all Ernie's dreamy oddness, Burton couldn't fault his accuracy.

"You kill the bugs," Ernie said, cupping his neck again. "You're good. Dangerous, but good. And you... you look at me like I'm nectar. I've never been nectar before. I really want you to drink me."

Burton shuddered, thinking about "drinking" him, and rolled out of bed jerkily, shocked and aroused by the mental picture. "You're right," he said, pretending that terrible suspended moment of intimacy had never happened. "I should shower first."

Ernie chuckled and propped his head up on his hand. "Sure."  But he didn't sound put out, and he sounded like he knew something Burton didn't, which made Burton just a little bit nuts. He stomped to his duffel bag, pulled out his shaving kid and a fresh pair of boxers and a Tee, then stomped to the bathroom.

He was in the shower, letting the water pound his neck and chest before felt the cool of mint at the inhale and realized he'd done exactly what the kid had asked and brushed his teeth first.  He groaned softly to himself and rested his head against the wall while the water pounded his back. The hotel wasn't bad--and the shower was amazing. A big space with enough water pressure to power hose all his crevices. He was still there, leaning his head, when Ernie came into the bathroom and started going through his shaving kit.

"What're you doing?" Burton asked, staring through the clear glass of the cubicle.

"You got an extra brush," Ernie said happily, pulling it out and using the toothpaste. "That's nice."  He started brushing his teeth and Burton felt embarrassment crawl up his spine.

"The, uh, glass is clear," he muttered. He'd been in the military. He'd showered in the barracks with his entire unit. You didn't worry about some other guy seeing your pits and he didn't worry about you scoping him out. That was the rule.

"I don't mind," Ernie said guilelessly, looking at him through the glass.

"I'm sure you don't," Burton muttered, grabbing the washcloth and squirting some soap on it. He'd managed his face, neck, and chest before Ernie spit and started to strip down. "Hey, what're you--"

The door slid open and Ernie stepped in, naked, pale body glowing like the moon.

Burton swallowed hard. He was lean--almost skinny--but his chest and arms had some definition, probably from working at the bakery. His thighs and calves were wiry--he walked lots and danced all night, so of course they were--and his stomach was flat, almost concave.

His little pink nipples were fascinating, and for a moment, Burton stared at them, the only bit of color in that lean body besides that thatch of dark pubic hair at the end of the happy trail below.

Ernie held out is hand for the washrag, and Burton passed it to him in a daze. Ernie took a step forward, then another one, close enough to catch the shower spray, close enough for their bodies to touch if either one of them took so much as a deep breath.

"Did you finish?" Ernie asked, the water spiking his dark lashes around his eyes like points in a star.

"No," Burton said, voice dry. "Uh... pits, crevices--"

"Mm... lift your arms."

Burton did. The washrag was wielded firmly--it didn't tickle under each arm, but it did scrub, and Ernie turned him, so his back was to Ernie's front.

"I'm going to get real personal," Ernie said softly in his ear. He was taller than he seemed, only an inch or two shorter than Burton himself, who was over six feet. "You are built like a tank, but all you gotta do to stop me is tell me no."

No. I don't do this. I don't do this with strangers. I've never done this with a man before. You and me need to talk--

"I'll tell you everything when we're done," Ernie murmured, lips skimming Burton's shoulders. "But Lee, I think you need this now. I mean, it's practically the only skill I have."

The washrag moved low over Burton's stomach, and Burton took a breath to tell him that wasn't true.

Then it drifted to his cock, and Burton lost the wind to tell him anything at all.

"Spread your legs a little," Ernie whispered. "I'm going to get your... ah, yeah."

Personal wasn't even the word for it. The washrag moved between his legs, spending a lavish, soapy moment on each ball, and then... oh Lord, the crease of Burton's ass. Burton made a whimpering sound.

"You want me to stop?"

Yes because I like this and I shouldn't and--

Burton put his hands flat against the wall and leaned forward, spreading his legs. It was like his brain  was saying all the things it should be but his body was on a whole other mission.

Ernie reached over him and grabbed the shower head then hosed off all of Burton's vulnerable bits. For a moment, Burton watched as the soap went down the drain and wondered if his inhibitions went with it.

"Your turn," Ernie said, sounding happy. Well of course. Ernie was just fine with sex, just fine with being gay. Ernie went to clubs and trusted that only the nice people would feel him up, put their hands on him, take him home to those tangles of bodies where the sex protected his fragile mind.

Burton felt a moment of hostility as he took the washrag, thinking it wasn't fair that Ernie should know all these things about showers and bodies and how what they  were doing was going to end. But when he turned around, Ernie had assumed the same position Burton had, and his bitterness washed away too.

He was totally and completely vulnerable.

And Burton had just made himself that way for Ernie, and Ernie had done nothing but washed him, gently and firmly.

Burton took a deep breath and began to soap his back. Ernie let out a happy sigh and wiggled his shoulders, helping Burton out as it were. Then Burton worked his way to Ernie's pits, and took his cues from Ernie's own ministration, being firm so he didn't tickle. Flanks, hips, backside--but not too personal--and the back of the thighs followed, and then he paused.

"Chickening out?" Ernie taunted softly.

Burton moved closer so he could wrap his arms around the boy's (man's!) chest and soap that. His front to Ernie's back, his groin pressed against Ernie's bottom.

His cock swelled and he pretended it wasn't happening.

Instead kept his movements to the washrag, but he could tell by the way Ernie shivered that he liked the roughness over his nipples.

Just keep going... and then what? You're going to wash each other and this is going to end?

His hand stalled out below Ernie's navel, and for a moment he couldn't breathe. Then Ernie grabbed his wrist and guided him, slowly, over his groin, between his thighs. He let go of Burton's hand for a moment and propped his foot on the side of shower, and spoke into the sudden silence.

"Everything, Lee. You can do it."

Burton closed his eyes against the wave of arousal that swept him, and his cock--already thick and hard, grew to the point of aching. More than anything he wanted to wash this guy's crease, his asshole, the taint below his balls.

His hands shook and he tried not to be rough, but Ernie grunted, not sounding put off at all.

"My God you want me," he moaned breathily. "Now rinse."

Burton didn't even ask why. Ernie leaned forward, legs spread, and Burton could see his hole, clean and pink, and fought the urge to lick absolutely everything he'd just dragged the washrag over.


He used the shower head to rinse away the sides and thought longingly of clean skin and not too much soap.

He turned around and shut off the shower, almost disappointed when he realized Ernie had reached outside for a towel for each of them. Burton took the towel and wiped his face first, then started drying everything off, when Ernie stopped him.

"What?" Burton whispered, cock aching, body confused and aroused, heart crying out for a thing it had never defined.

"Now's when you're glad you brushed your teeth," Ernie whispered back, and after touching each other privately, intimately, his mouth on Burton's felt overdue, like they should have kissed the moment they met.

Burton groaned, pushed harder, devouring him...

Drinking him in like nectar.

Ernie pulled his hips forward, until their bodies were grinding together, only the towels between them. Burton dropped his towel and cupped Ernie's lean behind, kneading and pulling, until Ernie broke away and moaned.

"Are you ready?" he asked.

"For what?" Obvious question. Obvious answer. But Burton had never felt less like the obvious was true.

"To taste all the parts of me," Ernie asked. "To know my body inside."

Weak. Burton's knees went weak, as he imagined thrusting inside Ernie's pink and winking hole.

"All of it," he begged, no longer surprised when his mouth or his hands or his cock took over and ran the operation. "I want to know all of you."

Ernie bit his lip again, sucking it into his mouth.

 "I've been waiting my whole life for you to ask."

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Hiding the Moon--Part 6

So--it was Wednesday, which normally is sort of a big day for me, but it was raining and I was crampy and I sort of skipped aqua. I mean, still kids after school activities, but I have to admit, the extra time was put to good use!

So, got some writing done, and since the most exciting thing to happen to us was Squish getting a soccer ball shaped bruise on her thigh from playing goalie again, I think it's safe to say it's time to escape into fiction.

Everyone, enjoy Part 6!

Hiding the Moon--Part 6

Burton set up security measures at the windows and the doorway, including mirrors in the high corners of the windows to see if anybody was approaching their front facing hotel who shouldn't, and setting up his laptop so he could tap into the lobby camera footage and see if anybody was crossing the front who looked suspicious. Then he checked access to the ventilation system through the ceiling vent in the bathroom, and set tiny charges in a hole configuration in the closet--if the doors and the window were both blocked, Ernie could hide in the ventilation while Burton escaped through the closet.

Three exits and a contingency plan--Burton had been an A student in special ops, and he didn't let shit hang.

Finally he was done securing their locale, and time to make a decision.

Digging through his duffel he pulled out his emergency phone and set it up to charge, then sat for a second, staring from one to the other.

Both of them were smartphones, but one had been outfitted for him by his op commander and given to him by his handler and he'd trusted both of them to have his back.

The other one he'd outfitted all on his lonesome, and it was set to bounce off a number of satellites and receiving stations with every call.

One of these was untraceable except by friends.

The other assumed he had no friends in the one place he was supposed to have brothers.

He looked at both phones and then looked at Ernie, asleep and as trusting as a child.

Ernie needed him to give up any illusions to safety and to trust a murderer and a thief with his well being.

God, Burton hated ambiguity.

With a sigh he picked up the untraceable phone and called Jason's number.

"Who in the fuck has this numb--"

"Jason!" Burton hissed. "Stop talking and call me Snider." Their code name, over the years. Don't contact me unless Snider calls, was code for, I'm out unless there's a death in the family or a military coup of our nation. If Burton wanted Jason to call him Snider, then shit had hit the fan.

"Snider," Jason said, voice cooling to glacial. "So good to hear your voice. We thought everything was proceeding normally."

"The target was... unviable," Burton told him, which was a little bit of a lie, but not too much if it kept Ernie off his radar. "I walked away. He was wearing uncomfortable pants, if you know what I mean."

C'mon, Jason... remember all the people their unit considered enemies.

"Not denim?" Jason asked carefully. "Something heavier?"

"Yup--but still making head lines, right?"  A child's joke-- corduroy pillows making headlines, but Burton was pretty sure Jason would get it.

"Fuck," Jason rasped. "Seriously? Those kinds of pants? Not, like, linen?"

"No, Jason, not linen pants. Jesus. Who gave you that fucking contract?"

Burton could hear Jason's caught breath. "A naval commander from San Diego," he said softly. "But I've done some digging of my own, and I seriously think he's pulling a Bob's-in-the-bathroom here."

"I'm sorry?"

They'd joked about it. When a target had been too hard to find, when too many people had claimed to have seen somebody who eluded surveillance again and again, they'd told the story about the high school student who'd never gone to class and had all his friends tell people that Bob was in the bathroom. 98% of the time the target was just lucky. The other 2% he was already dead. Bob was never, ever in the bathroom--he was just damned hard to find.

"Seriously--he's stationed in San Diego, but he's having all his calls routed to a number in Nevada. He used to be in charge of a unit called Behavior Modification--but there was some sort of... I don't know. Scandal. Nobody's talking and everybody looks fucking uncomfortable when it's mentioned. And this guy is everywhere except in his office doing his fucking job. "

Burton chuffed out a breath. "Well he tried to use the Marines like a sledgehammer on a baby seal's head, and I want blood."

Jason grunted. "You..." He took another deep breath. "I can grant you leave," he said after a moment. "Six month's leave. In six months, come back looking rested and able, or turn in your papers. And don't tell me about your tip to Tahiti and there'd better not be any fucking pictures, understand?"

Burton understood completely. HIs job was to take care of domestic terrorists under the radar. If someone in the U.S. Military was working as a terrorist--or just as a cog in a mercenary assassins guild--the military didn't want to acknowledge a fucking thing.

But they wouldn't mind if Burton took care of the problem, either.

Burton looked over to where Ernie was sleeping again, except Ernie was regarding him soberly with big brown eyes. He didn't say a word, just blinked slowly, like he was trusting Burton to take care of the scary things so he could focus on the tiny little rituals that Burton was starting to suspect kept him sane.

"I'll turn this phone on again in six months," Burton said coldly.

"Take care," Jason told him. "And out."

The line went dead and Burton shut off both the phones. He made a mental note to buy a couple of burners, including a set that went from him to Ernie and Ace without stopping to pass go.

"You chose me," Ernie said softly.  

"Kid, you'd better have a good story to tell." Seriously--Burton hadn't even heard all of it.

Ernie closed his eyes and nodded. "When I wake up," he said distantly. Then, "No bad men, Cruller. Nobody but us. Can you hold me? I'm frightened."

Burton blinked in surprise. He was built like a tank and he cultivated his silence. He didn't like to be messed with, so he worked to make sure nobody messed with him--worked hard at a preemptive shutdown of any friendly overtures, but Ernie didn't seem to notice that.

"It'll be okay," he said softly, but Ernie shook his head.

"Touch," he said simply. "Let me touch 'okay'."

Burton stood from his crouch on the floor, by the outlet where he'd charged his phones, and stretched. "For a minute." He tried and failed to hold back a yawn.

"Take off your pants,"Ernie said mutinously.

"I beg your--"

"They're full of metal and deadly things and they have edges and buttons," Ernie told him and Burton could not help but stare at him in surprise. He was armed--heavily--but not many people guessed that.

"But what about--"

"Ankle holsters, knives, and the gun in the small of your back." Ernie was scowling now like Burton was being obtuse. "A knife under the pillow I can live with. I want you to hold me, dammit. You took me away from my city and my cats and my donuts and you owe me."

Burton wanted to argue that he'd already saved the kids life, but he swallowed the retort with another yawn.

No bad guys.

Burton had done everything he could--and this could be the last good sleep he got in the next six months. With a sigh he stripped down, setting all his weapons on his desk and taking the hunting knife--as ordered-- and shoving it under the pillow. He crawled in under the covers and pulled the scant sheet and blanket up over his shoulder, reaching out tentatively to put a hand on Ernie's arm.

Ernie scooted back until his bottom was nestled up agains Burton's groin, and Burton's sleepiness disappeared as his eyes popped open.

"Uh, kid--"

"Not now," Ernie yawned. "Later. Hold me."

Unbidden, Burton remembered the last time he'd been in bed with Ariana, his childhood sweetheart. How her skin had been so soft and she'd smelled so sweet. Ernie smelled like sweat and like donuts, oddly enough, and like cats--not like Ariana at all. But still, his warmth was appealing, and the thought of holding a human being so close--male or female--that his heart felt warm--soothed a cold spot that he hated to admit he had.

But it was there.

And Ernie was warming it now, body flush with Burton's, and Burton sighed and relaxed against him, resisting the urge to run his lips over the back of Ernie's neck.

"This is good," Ernie murmured. "I can sleep now. You should too."

Burton's eyes closed of their own volition, and he double checked his computer screen before he could doze off completely.

Well, he'd already thrown his career to the four winds--he was going to have to trust in Ernie for the next few hours.

He found himself falling into the comfort of the young man's body, and realized that wasn't going to be as hard as it should have been.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Brief Geoffie Story...

There will be Hiding the Moon tomorrow, I promise, but in the meantime, I have a brief Geoffie story...

So, every night when I sit and watch TV I tuck a pillow up behind my neck for comfort. Tonight, I was at my desk and Mate was still flipping through the channels and suddenly he said, "I saw that."

"Saw what?"

"You see that? You see her sitting on the cushion?"

And sure enough, she was sitting on the chair, on my pillow.


"She hopped up on the back of the chair, nudged the cushion until it fell onto the seat and then made herself comfortable."

"The little shit!"


"I had no idea that's how the pillow got there. She's smarter than she lets on!"

And Geoffie looked at us, big brown eyes limpid and clueless...

The little shit. She's probably plotting world domination.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hiding the Moon--Part 5

So, my day was very quiet and very very non-eventful!

Good day to blog just a little bit of SunFish (as a reader is calling it!)


Hiding the Moon--Part 5

"It's not as good as yours," Burton blurted after his first cruller.

Ernie looked up from his cream filled and grinned. "I'm good at the bakery," he admitted proudly, and then his shoulders slumped, and he looked tired and dispirited. "Good to be good at something."

Don't ask don't ask don't ask "Your high school grades were so good," Burton said, because this had been bothering him. "And the first two years of college. What happened?"

Ernie frowned at him. "That's all my file says? My grades were good and then they slipped?"

"Says your folks died in a car wreck," Burton told him cautiously, and was unprepared for Ernie to stand up, face crumpling as he fought tears.

"That's what it says?" he demanded. "A car wreck? Jesus--that's all you know about me? There's so much truth missing, it's like you only know me as the lie." He turned toward the exit, entire posture screaming about storming out into the strange city of Cletus, and Burton couldn't let him.

He stood and put a quiet hand on his elbow. "Ernie," he said softly, "I didn't pull the trigger. I wanted more info. If my intel isn't good, you're the only source I've got for better."

Ernie slumped against the glass door of the donut shop. "Get a box," he said, voice breaking. "And some iced coffee. I'll stay here. I promise. I need to go to bed anyway."


Five minutes later they were headed for the Holiday Inn.

"Not the Motel 6?" Ernie asked, only a little curious.

"All fleeing hit men stop at the Motel 6," Burton answered semi-factiously. "It's just too damned obvious." The truth was, he wanted something... better, for Ernie. The slump of his shoulders, the obvious pain of speaking of his family--Burton had disrupted the life, the peace he'd forged for himself already. He was going to have to do it some more. If there'd been a 5* place, Burton would have taken his disposable credit cards and gotten a room there, but the Holiday in would have to do.

Ernie's smile lightened up a fraction. "You're being kind.  Thank you."

"So what happened to your folks?" Burton asked softly.

"I'll never have any proof," Ernie answered back, just as softly. "But I think they were forced off the road."

"By who?"

"Same military motherfuckers who pulled me out of bed that night." Ernie sighed--and yawned. "No offense, Cruller--"


"I might not remember that. But I need to sleep soon. I..." He let out an unhappy breath. "I know you probably think I'm just all moonbeams and sunshine and shit. But one of the reason 'my grades fell', as you so nicely put it is that it's hard. IT's hard for me to... to focus... when the world comes at me like it does. Knowing who's good and who's bad, if there's donuts around the corner, of someone's going to want me and listen to no, and trying to figure out how to say no if they won't--it's hard. I get lost. I forget what street I'm on or what day it is. So I need to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time and do the same things every day. And there's none of that now.  So I need my sleep." And again, he was perilously close to tears. "You understand?" he begged. "I need my sleep when i need it."

"Understood," Burton told him. "If you can hang on while I"m checking in, I can bend to your schedule a bit. Do we have a deal?"

"Yeah," Ernie said, sighing into his chest. "Thanks."

He didn't say much more as they got to the hotel, but even when Burton went inside and made the hotel arrangements--under the name of Smythe.

He parked the car and proceeded to lead Ernie up to their room, his sniper rifle over one shoulder, his packed duffle of clean clothes over the other. When he got to the room he put both bags under the desk.

Then he watched in bemusement as Ernie stripped down to nakedness, dropping his clothes on the floor, before sliding under the covers and falling fast asleep.

Well, damn. Burton wouldn't mind some shuteye himself, but not now.

Something about the way Ernie's face relaxed told him that Ernie was going to sleep for the full seven hours here just like he did at home.

Well, just as well.

Burton was going to have to place a whole lot of booby traps before he got so much as a cat nap.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

BUSY weekend!

So, yesterday we...

Went to Squish's soccer game, where they got blown away. She got to play goalie for the second half--and she made some pretty awesome saves.

"Hey, Squish! How do you feel about the game?"

"Bruised. I feel... bruised.

Went out to lunch, where Chicken got us an employee discount and she could play Pokemon on her break with her brother and father.

Went out to get a family portrait done together where we laughed way too much. Now, we'd debated getting everybody to match for this, or trying to get the boys in their funeral clothes and the girls in their sober formal wear, but in the end, we just let everybody wear something nice they were comfortable in, and the result was... well, we had fun. The best moment was when the photographer asked Squish to lay down on the floor with the intention of having her put her chin in her hands, and she went all the way down on her face with her arms out behind her.

"Squish, what do you think everybody else is going to do, poke you with their toes?"

Afterwards, we went to a party and the original plan was to take ZoomBoy and Squish, but the kids had so much fun taking portraits they all wanted to go to ice cream together. Mate and I went to the party instead.  (We took the picture as they left in the escalator-- that's them on the way down--it's probably a more accurate representation of the brood than the professional ones, but I still get a new portrait for my living room and I am happy.)

The party was for my friend Thelma, whose son used to play soccer with ZoomBoy. Her husband's family is Kenyan, and they do the birthday party thing right. When the birthday girl comes out to blow the candles on the cake, she is sung to by everybody gathered. They had a recording to lead the singing, but it was a group chant and next time we meet I'm going to ask her what the words mean because its a really uplifting tradition. She was dressed in a formal and she came out and danced while she and her husband held their younger children and you know, not all parties feel like they really CELEBRATE the next year, but this one did. We had the best time, and although we had to leave early (Chicken had to work the next day so we had to come home for the younger kids), the party promised to go on all night long.

As we were leaving, we met some more relatives coming up the drive.

"Have fun you guys," I said, pleasantly toasted. (When I asked for a screwdriver, Thelma's husband, Charles, gave me a giant power screwdriver that was mostly screw!) "It's a rockin' party and it's still going."

"You guys had fun?"

"Oh yeah--Thelma's a wonderful hostess."

"Were you the only white people in the house?"

"Nope! There was another white guy in the backyard!"

"Heh heh-- just messing with you. We're glad you had a good time."

We really did.

And today, we went nowhere, although my friend Ambrosia came by and brought her baby, and together we worked on the newsletter and on contacting people to get prizes for the last membership drive.  I got to hold a baby (and so did Squish!) and for once I got a picture of Ambrosia and not just the baby or Idris, so I told her it had to be posted, because her smile could light up a city.

And about the newsletter-- she's been looking up the e-mail for the people who've said it hasn't shown up, and the provider says the emails are getting there. I'm wondering if Constant Contact just doesn't trigger the uber spam filter that kills stuff and deletes it before it even shows up.  Our plan is to send out the February letter and put January's in an archive on my website, so folks who can't get the letter can at least read the "Ask Amy's Guys" part, because Kane's response to this month's question was pretty epic.

Don't forget-- you can ask for a newsletter --or talk to Ambrosia about the newsletter or submit a question to Ask Amy's Guys at  -- where all things newsletter related occur!

And for tomorrow, I'll probably be posting more Hiding the Moon-- because I love Burton and Ernie too :-)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hiding the Moon--Part 4

So, today I was supposed to meet with Ambrosia AND conference with my publisher, but both meetings fell through.

I'll be honest--I felt sort of at loose ends, especially because I was editing all day, and, well, boring!

The funniest part of my day was when ZoomBoy discovered Green Day-- and an album called Dookie. Given that Green Day is like the ADHD anthem, this was a big deal for him, and, honestly, the most useful thing the Google speaker as ever given us. Woohoo!

So, boring day for me equals more free fic for you! (Also, I need to have the first part of this done before I write the meeting in Fish, because, well, reasons.)

So enjoy! And have a happy weekend afterward!

Hiding the Moon--Part 4

Burton yawned and looked at the clock on the dash. Seven o'clock.

It was true, he could drive straight through to Victoriana and be there in another three hours--but, maddeningly enough, Ernie was right.

Burton wanted to talk to his boss first, and it would be nice of him to offer a heads up to the people in Victoriana.  Yeah, Ace owed him a few, but Burton had been raised to be polite.

Besides, Ace would be fine with it, but Sonny always needed a little warning, and Burton didn't want to piss Sonny off. Idly, he thought bad to his interactions with the laconic Ace and the highly unstable Sonny Daye and wondered if Ernie would think they were "good" or "full of bugs."

"Good," Ernie mumbled, turning sideways in the seat and curling up like a little kid.  The Tahoe came fully loaded, and Burton hit the passenger seat adjustments to tilt the thing back and make Ernie more comfortable. "Like you," he said happily. "I'm hungry. I usually eat at the bakery by now. Stop, get some food, find a room. Your friends will be there tomorrow morning."

Burton snorted. Yeah, sure, a hotel room was probably a good idea--there was a Motel 6 at the next turnoff and he had cash--but he wasn't planning to spend more than a few hours there.

The thought had no sooner crossed his mind than Ernie chuckled, like he knew something Burton didn't.

"Goddammit!" The fine hairs on the back of Burton's neck stood up. "Why are you laughing like that?"

He knew when the kid's eyes opened.

"I'm a pretty good lay," Ernie murmured. "You're going to want to take more time than that."

"So help me, I will wreck the car."  The idea was preposterous. Burton had urges--he knew them for what they were. But he'd never taken a man to his bed, and he certainly wasn't going to do so now, in the middle of a failed op and the... the frickin' mystery that was Ernie Caulfield.

"That'd be a shame," Ernie said, sitting up and readjusting the seat. "I think I wouldn't mind you touching me."

Burton growled. "You're stoned. It's not happening."

Ernie gurgled happily. "Nope. Wore off before..." His voice dropped. "Before the Corduroy guys thing." He sighed. "I... I wish it lasted longer. That would... it would have been nice to be stoned when that happened."

"Why?" Burton wanted his wits as sharp as possible when shit was going down.

"Don't feel so much. The X or the pot takes over and it... it muffles shit. All the bad shit--hell, even the good shit's bad when there's too much of it. I... I really wish it had all been muffled when all that bad shit happened." He whimpered. "The club guy grabbed my dick. That... that wasn't pleasant."

"Not the first time it happened," Burton wagered.

"It's better when I want it," Ernie said dispiritedly. "I mean, got lots I didn't want, but some of it I wanted. I didn't want that."

"Why do you take it when you don't want it?" He asked, curious. So many pictures of Ernie naked with other people. Always with the same dreamy expression like he wasn't really there.

"Cause you can ride it," Ernie said, eyes closed. "Like ride their endorphins like you ride the drugs. Both ways suck, but one way you're not alone. Until I found the club. That was perfect."

A week ago, and Burton would have dismissed what Ernie was talking about out of hand. But Ernie had unnerved him, pretty much from the beginning, and he found himself flirting with the possibility, the outright probability of the impossible thing that Ernie was in his head.

"Maybe be somewhere without so many people?" Burton suggested. Hell, even if the kid was simply agoraphobic, the self-medication he was talking about wasn't good for him.

"They can find me in the empty." Ernie pulled his knees up and wrapped his arms around his shins, which spoke well of his flexibility since he was using the seatbelt. "But now they found me in the city and I don't know what to do."

And then Lee Burton, once in Marine Special Ops, now in special devision covert ops, soldier, assassin, all around logical guy, found himself making the rashest of promises.

"I'm taking you someplace safe," he said. "Someplace not even my boss knows about. You tell me why people are after you and I'll find a way to make it stop. I swear."

Ernie looked at him sideways from his big brown eyes. "Why would you do that? We haven't even rented the hotel room yet." He stared back out into the desert moodily. "Everybody wants sex first."

"Kid, I'm not in it for sex--"

Ernie snorted derisively.

"I was supposed to kill you, you understand? I am a finely trained killing machine--I'm great at it. But I don't kill club bunnies or witchy little bakers or kids who feed all the stray cats in downtown Phoenix. I kill bad men--and somebody put you on my list, and on Corduroy's list, and for all I know on the CIA's list and Jesus, you probably have a fucking SEAL team hunting down your scrawny ass, and I want to know why! My boss didn't like this op and I don't like it, and I'm going to find out who tried to make me a murderer."

"But aren't you--"

"Like you said, kid. It matters if I want it. I kill bad men who like to kill innocent people. I don't kill innocent people who are hunted by bad men."

Ernie "hmmd", appearing to be thinking very carefully. "You still want me," he breathed. "This is your exit. There's a donut shop down past the Motel. Let's go there first."

Burton hesitated to ask, because like this kid would know, right?

"They have Crullers," Ernie murmured, looking sublimely happy.

"How do you do that?" Burton asked bluntly. He'd been already to go for the donut question, but seriously, how did this kid keep reading his mind?

"I'm not usually so good at it," Ernie said, looking down at his tennis shoes on Burton's upholstery and picking at the upholstery. "But your mind is very clear. I think it's because of that assassin thing. You need to be totally focused. So It's like reading something etched in stone. But most people aren't like that. I just get fuzzy sort of auras. I...I wish I'd learned how to damp down on it when I had the chance."

"You had the chance to learn how to use this... this thing in your head?" Burton wasn't sure how he was going to tell Jason Constance that their target was psychic, and that was probably why he was the target--but he was really interested in why that made someone want him dead.

"Yeah." Ernie sighed again, like this was the heaviest concept on the planet. "But they didn't want me to make it stop or quiet it down. They just wanted me to tell them who was good and who was bad."

This was interesting.

"What did they do then?"

Ernie's face fell. "They hurt the good people to see if it would make them bad. And sometimes they would."

Burton sucked in air. It sounded like something illegal. It sounded like behavior modification--of the most monstrous type.

It sounded like a reason to kill a dreamy kid who just wanted to get stoned enough to stay in his own head. "Donuts," he said grimly. "You and me need some sugar before I call my boss, and then we need to talk about what's next."

"Okay, Cruller." The kid closed his eyes happily. "You  can ask me anything you want after donuts. But maybe make sure we get a kingsized bed for that other thing--"

"Ain't happening."

Ernie's voice tinkled, low and charming, and Burton wondered exactly what sort of pictures he was painting on the kid's mind.

It would be nice if Burton knew himself, wouldn't it!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hiding the Moon--Part 3

Thanks to Kim Tripp who (gently) reminded me that Burton had been in the Marines and not a SEAL Team (d'oh! Even I know the difference!) so that I could go back and fix that!

Also-- brief family story here: The kids and I watched Frequency tonight--it's an old movie, made in 1999, and a little slow in parts but they loved it. I felt like a hero. Gonna bask.

So, this may be short, because, uh, WEDNESDAY which is always busy (in this case Chicken came by and appropriately distracted me from my mission for much of the day) but hopefully we'll get to hear Ernie speak.

Looking forward to it!


Hiding the Moon--Part 3

By the time Burton got down the stairs, the sounds coming from the shadows were both intimate and non-consensual--and the three gorillas with guns were nowhere to be seen.

"Mm... no. No. Not you. You're not good--"

"C'mon, club boy--you put out for everybody. You're legendary--"

"Who're you? You're not good. Don't touch me. It feels like bugs when you touch me!"

The scream came from the pit of the boy's stomach, but the next sound made Burton sick to his.

A crunch, a scuffle, and a low moan of mortal pain, and Burton could not run fast enough. His heart started beating in two more breath's when Ernie's voice--a low, dreamy tenor--echoed out of the alleyway.

"Stop touching me with bugs!

Jesus, kid, what did you take?

Burton crashed into the alleyway, pistol drawn and laser sight active, while his eyes adjusted quickly to the darkness.

Club kid was down in a crumpled pile in the corner of the alley. His body was twitching but Burton thought maybe that wouldn't last long. Ernie stood panting in the center of the three operatives, panting, pants sliding down his hips and his hands out in front of him in classic martial arts pose. Burton would have found it laughable, like a little kid faking karate, but two of the assailants were bleeding and one was cradling his arm.

The kid had bought himself some time with the element of surprise, but there were two laser lights dotting him, one in center mass and one on his head.

Burton took out the headshot first and the center mass guy next, through the head both of them, and had the gun aimed on the guy who couldn't draw before the bodies hit the floor.

"Corduroy Company," the man barked. "I'm doing for my ID."

"So I'm not supposed to shoot you because you're a merc?" Burton asked, undeterred. "That club bunny with the mushed brain didn't get to pull his stupidity card. What are you doing here?"

"Man, you should know! We got hired by the US Military--this here's a high priority target!"

"When'd the contract come through?" Burton asked.

"Two days ago--apparently the guy assigned to the kid didn't follow through."

"The guy assigned to the target thought the job was hinky and wasn't taking a life without asking any goddamned questions," Burton snapped, feeling grumpy. Two kills defending this kid? Three if you counted the club-bunny with his nose through his brain, but Burton had no way of knowing if that had been the Corduroy mercenaries or the kid himself. "And look what you made me do."

Mr. Corduroy company rolled his eyes. "We take orders, soldier--I don't know how you get to have a conscience."

Burton felt his brain and his chest go cold. He was going to have to kill this guy method like, without any more talk, because there was no reasoning with him.

"Wait," Ernie said, holding up his hand. He practically wafted to where the mercenary stood.

"You broke my fucking wrist," Merc snarled.

"You're a bad man," the boy told him, eyes wide. Gently, he laid his hand on the merc's wrist through his jacket, then shuddered and dropped his hand. "Bad through and through," he told Burton with a shrug. His shoulders drooped dejectedly and he moved to Burton's other side.

He was well out of the line of fire when Burton dropped the final Corduroy mercenary, his silencer loud in the late night air.

* * *

"Where are we going, Cruller?" the boy asked five minutes later.

Burton wasn't taking the easy route--he'd left his sniper rifle bolted to the top of the building, prints and all. First things first, and the first thing was to force the kid up the fire escape in front of him in a minute and a half so Burton could disassemble the rifle and they could beat a hasty retreat through the inside of the building.

"What'd you call me? And move your ass before I kick you up there myself!"

"It's five stories," the kid said mildly. "Nobody heard. That's why the dance club is out here in the warehouse district."

Burton growled and glared balefully at the kid's back, wondering if sheer irritation would make him move any faster. "So noted. Now what did you call me?"

"Cruller. It's your donut. The kind with the glaze but not the flavor," he recited dutifully.

"You didn't even see me that day," Burton muttered, breathing a sigh of relief when they finally broke through to the roof.

"Yes, but you're very definitely good. It radiates. That is a big gun. What are you going to do with that big gun? Why didn't you just pick off the bug-touching guys with that? I was scared, you know. They were going to kill me."

"They disappeared," Burton muttered, getting on his knees and using the air drill to unbolt the base of the gun. "I couldn't see them to shoot. And they were going to kill you--you're lucky to still be alive."

"Mm." The kid nodded, and then sat down bonelessly, like  cat flopping on a carpet, and closed his eyes while Burton worked.

"Did you take out Mr. Date-raping Octopus Hands?" Burton asked into the silence, because the question was making him crazy.

"No," Ernie said sadly. "He would have left after I yelled. He was bad but... there's bad that can be fixed and there's those guys you killed. He could have been fixed. Those other guys are just bugs."

Burton shuddered and clamped the case shut. "Fair enough. C'mon, Ernie, you and me need to get out of this bug-ridden town before those fuckers get you."

"Who's going to feed my cats?" Ernie asked--but he was following Burton without question, which was nice.

"How about half of Pheonix?" Burton was taking the steps two at a time and he wished fervently that Ernie could keep up with him.  "That was every stray cat in the residential district!"

Ernie let out a laugh that should have been on a playground. "But I know all their names!" he said plaintively.

"I'll make arrangements," Burton told him, mind already going to the phone calls he'd have to make to take care of the matter.

"Really? Okay, Cruller--you are a good guy!"

"Burton." Cruller could haunt a guy through four branches of the military. Burton had seen it happen.

"Cruller," the boy said, the stubbornness a surprise when the tone was so amiable.

"Get a move on," Burton snapped. "I got transport three blocks down, but we don't know how many more Corduroys we've got on our tail."

"Mm..."  Ernie seemed to shut down then, his eyes going to half-mast, his body doing what Burton asked but not at triple time. Finally they were in Burton's white Tahoe, heading west.

"Ernie!" Burton snapped, and Ernie's eyes popped open.


"Keep awake!"

"I was. You said you didn't know how many Corduroys were there. Two. There were two more in one of the apartments we passed. They were getting upset." He sighed, sadly. "Do you think they'll miss their friends?"

"Yes," Burton said, thinking about the four bodies on the alleyway. "I think all of them are going to be missed, which is why we need to be in California in less than six hours."

"What's in California?" Ernie asked.

"Haven, I hope."

"Mm.. that's nice. We need to stay in a hotel first though."

Burton did a double take before gluing his eyes back on the road.

"I'm sorry?"

"You need to call your boss, and then you need to call your friends, and you need to get to know me."

"Why in the world would I want to do that?" Burton snarled.

"I don't know--you're the one who's screaming with need."

"I"m screaming with frustration is what I'm doing--"

"Well, that too. It's okay, Cruller. A crappy hotel will be fine. But at ten o'clock I need to sleep, so maybe find something soon."

Burton could see the sun flirting with the horizon in his rearview mirror. "Damn-- where did that time go? It's almost six in the morning!"

"It was five when the killing started," Ernie said sadly. "I don't want to think about it. Tell me when you find the hotel."

And then he closed his eyes and checked out. Just... checked out. No amount of calling his name mad him open his eyes and no attempts at conversation stirred him.

Burton screamed, long and satisfyingly after five minutes of trying to get his attention, and still the kid didn't even interrupt his breathing.

"God," Burton muttered to himself. "My God. What am I going to tell my boss?"

And that got the kid's attention. "You're going to tell him you walked away, Cruller. Because if you didn't, the Corduroy people will be after you too."

Burton blinked and checked on him again.

He hadn't even opened his eyes.


Fucking Jesus.

Who was this kid?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hiding the Moon--Part 2

So, to catch folks up, I'm writing the third Fish Out of Water, and like the second, there is a crossover with Racing for the Sun. This is part 2--and I hope you enjoy!  (For those who usually enjoy my family stories, I'll be posting them on FB and Twitter on the days I'm doing this. Otherwise, suffice it to say dogs/kids/taxi service oh my!)

Oh! We're putting together Volume 3 of the newsletter--be sure you've signed up, and if you've already signed up and didn't get Volume 2, we're working on that!

Oh! And I'd like to add something here--

Blogging is and has always been a seat of my pants endeavor. There's no editor to catch me, no fact checker. When I put these things together for instafreebie or, in this case, probably put the whole series in the back of Fish 3, I'll be able to clean it up a little. But this is writing dirty--please forgive me for typos and errors on the whole. If you say something nice about a fact I got wrong, I'll fix it during the cleanup, but... *lip quivers* Please be nice, okay? Like, seriously, me and Wikipedia are good friends at this point, but I've been keeping the pages on military dress and chain of command open for the last week and I am no closer to knowing those mysteries. I don't know how the military guys memorize that stuff--it BOGGLES me.

Hiding the Moon--Part 2

Gah! Phoenix sucked in July! The day's temperature had been 113 fucking degrees, and in the city, all that heat just sat and baked into the juicy asphalt and the stoic brick and adobe. Yeah, sure, most places had air conditioning on the inside, but Burton was on a rooftop, covered with a tarp and trying not to hallucinate about Fallujah.

Fallujah had been bad. He'd been with his first Marine unit then, and the guys were the best. Well trained, smart as hell, they goddamned had your back if they had their next breath. But bad intel was bad intel, and when you find yourself facing a preschool through the scope of your gun, that intel was as bad as it got.

One spooked kid, a new recruit, hadn't held his wad. They'd been told the place was full of chemical weapons and everybody had their fucking phobias.

Burton would have taken any assignment after that--any goddamned one--to not have to look at another dead four-year-old and know that he'd been part of the team responsible.

His CO knew that. So his next assignment had been the guy leaking them the bad intel.

It had been a shot much like this one--covert, from a building top, down into a crowd. Burton hadn't hesitated. One kill shot, no collateral damage.

It had all felt so neat and simple then.

This was not neat and simple.

Tracking Ernie Caulfield hadn't been a cakewalk so much as it it had been a walk through cake. The kid was working at a bakery at the moment, and he'd get home at ten in the morning, sleep through the hottest part of the day, get up at eight, eat sunbeams and rainbows for all Burton could see, and go dance at his favorite club--appropriately called The Flower Child.

He'd dance his heart out for hours. Fucking hours. Yeah, he'd take a tab of X--Burton could see that--but he wasn't an addict. Burton had camped out in opium dens--he knew what addicts looked like getting their fixes.

That was not the look on his face by a longshot.

Ernie took that tab--always handed to him by a sweet little girl wearing a tie-dye dress who worked at The Flower Child-- with the expression of someone who suffered from chronic headaches downing their first Motrin of the day. Like the X was soothing him, keeping the pain from making him crazy.

So Burton had sat watch from the building top for three days, watching Ernie through a sniper's scope, trying to figure out what this kid's deal was.

He seemed to do okay at the baker's. Burton had gone in for a donut on the first day, and Ernie had been happily involved in the back, probably mixing up dough for all Burton could tell. The bell had tinkled, he'd called up, "Don't worry, Max--he's good."

"Thanks Ernie. Gets tetchy at four a.m.."

"Yeah--don't worry about this one. And tell him the crullers are about twenty minutes from done, so if he can have a cup of coffee, it'll be fine."

Burton had blinked but Max--paunchy, grizzled, fifty-ish--didn't even look up. "How many crullers would you like, sir?"

"Are they good?" he asked, because that had been a really specific guess and he was a little but unnerved.

"Donuts fresh out of the frier. How bad could they be?"

Well, yeah. "Three," he answered promptly. Sugar and water--it was all a growing boy needed in this temperature. "And cream for the coffee."

He hadn't seen Ernie that morning-- the kid had stayed back and baked or whatever. But the crullers had been delicious and the coffee beat Starbucks by a mile.

But he'd scoped him out that night across from his apartment, when he'd gotten up, opened the window and let in stray cats from all over the neighborhood and fed them. He'd shooed them out on his way out the front door as he'd headed for the club, and Burton had trailed him in the shadows. The kid didn't... move like other people moved.

He swayed, he wandered.

Burton had watched him disappear into alleyways and then pull himself back, looking surprised to find himself in that part of town. The block was four blocks, and it took him half-an-hour. Burton was a breath away from grabbing the kid by the back of the neck and steering him toward the club.

And now, Burton was up on the roof across from the club, watching as Ernie windmilled his arms harmlessly in a mash of bodies bopping to a song Burton had never heard.

Just watching them made him feel old, but watching Ernie-- that made Burton feel whole other things as well.

"Okay, little hamster boy," Burton murmured, watching the boy's gyrations. "Why do you do this every night? I am highly curious."

But Burton wasn't the only one.

From his vantage point, Burton saw two distinctly disturbing things.

One was God's gift to all gay and bi boys, who had latched on to Ernie's back and was dancing with him with way too much familiarity.  Burton couldn't look at the guy without growling, because even if Ernie returned his interest, it was damned hard to tell when the boy was as wasted as he appeared to be.

No, smarmy dance kid shoving his hand down the front of Ernie's pants was not even acknowledged, and Burton was a heartbeat away from going down there, grabbing the kid by the ear, and hauling him away from the fucking club, just because somebody should, dammit!

The other thing was potentially much more dangerous than smarmy dance kid.

"Who are those guys?" he asked himself. They were trained. That was the first thing he could tell. One had point, the other had follow up and the one in the middle was scoping out all the angles. They also moved their lips, indicating ear pieces and military-esque technology. Burton could spot their weapons--the obvious ones--tucked into shoulder holsters and hidden by sport coats, and he got a lot of bitter satisfaction about how easy they were to make and how much they must have been suffering in all that gear.

They ranged themselves throughout the club, moving from the bar to the corners and back again, but generally forming a net around Burton's very own sweet-eyed stoner boy.

It made Burton twitchy.

A part of him very dryly noted that how dare they stalk the guy he was supposed to kill--but most of him had given it up from the moment he'd scoped out Max's Pastries and Coffee.

If this kid was a threat to national security, Lee Burton was President of the United States and a Russian traitor to boot.

"Seriously," he mumbled. "Who are those fuckin' guys!"

He studied them again, but when he went to check on their position relative to Ernie, he'd disappeared.


The logical thing to do was to remain up top. The club didn't have a back entrance, but it did have a side entrance which led to an alleyway and the outdoor access restrooms. Logic--Burton's friend since his first A in math--dictated that he stay up top on that building and scope out the goings-on with the full weight of his very expensive government issue personally modified sniper's rifle at his beck and call.

99% of the time, Burton relied on that part of his brain. It functioned very well, thank you, and he credited it for keeping him alive in some very hairy shit.

But the 1% of his brain that stayed friends with guys who knew him in the military that nobody knew he knew--that part of his brain was the part that was running the show.

Burton found himself charging down the fire escape of the old brick warehouse at full-speed, the heat forgotten in his need to be on the ground, in that alleyway before smarmy dance guy got Ernie into the dark and shadows where military ops guys could do worse things.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hiding the Moon

So, when Racing for the Sun came out, I always planned to do a sequel and/or a spin-off. The spin-off would include Lee Burton, Ace's friend, the special ops guy who helped Ace plan the rather, uh, grim ending that you can read about in Racing for the Sun. 

Lee's story might have stayed untold permanently, but Sonny and Ace figure big in the next Fish book, so I think that maybe, with a little diligence, I can give you the story behind Marine Officer Lee Burton, who now works black ops, and has just been given an assignment that might be more trouble than it's worth.

* * *

Burton didn't like the meet.

He didn't like the timing, he didn't like the place, and he didn't like the way Jason Constance, his handler, was fidgeting with the manilla envelope in his hands.

None of it spoke of good things to come.

"I hate fuckin' Denny's," Burton snapped, scowling. He had a degree in computer science and had graduated from Officer Candidate School fifth in a class of two-hundred. But the only person he talked to that he liked and knew as a friend had been fighting in alleyways when he should have been taking his SAT's, and Burton sounded more like Ace Atchison and his boyfriend, Sonny, every goddamned day.

"Well, they're disappearing for a reason," Constance muttered, toying with the envelope again. "Look--"

"What in the hell is wrong?"  Burton didn't believe in fiddlefucking around.

Constance sighed and ran his hand through tightly curled hair that pulled back from a widow's peak. "I don't like this," he muttered. "I don't like this assignment. I don't like that they specifically asked for you. I don't like the asshole this request came from. I'm putting it out there. I don't fucking like this. You have the right to say no here. And if you say yes, and this doesn't look kosher in any fucking way. You have the right to bug out and leave the target pristine, you understand?"

Burton blinked.

He was a military assassin. 

He worked primarily on American soil, although he'd been overseas enough to get pulled for some gigs in the middle east. Mostly, he took care of people who couldn't be legally identified as terrorists--but who had the stacks of guns and the agenda and the covert acts of violence that actually made them terrorists.

A surprising number of his targets had blond hair and blue eyes and had done some heinous fucking shit.

Burton didn't see innocent a lot. And he certainly hadn't seen a target that had tempted him to neglect his duty.

Burton palmed the back of his shaved head with a hand the color of burnished dark oak and reached out for the folder.

"At least let me see the op," he muttered.

Constance handed him the envelope and darted his eyes back and forth like a fucking spy, when the first thing you learned in black ops training was how not to act like a fucking spy. Burton's curiosity--a thing he thought had been yanked out of his chest along with his conscience--surfaced unexpectedly.

What had him spooked?

He opened the folder and blinked.

"This kid?" he asked, staring at the photos.

The kid had an unshorn abundance of curly black hair, for one. It hung around his ears, was being constantly pushed out of his eyes--a full three-quarters of the pictures showed the kid fucking with his hair. It didn't look like a fashion statement--it just looked like the kid forgot it was there.

The rest of his face was sort of pretty--narrow chin, narrow cheekbones, tiny blade of a nose. He had eyes a man could drown in.

Burton blinked and tried to slow-breathe that thought away. He hadn't had a feeling like that since he told his girlfriend back home he was breaking up with her.

The breakup had hurt--they'd been friends since grade school--but not as much as becoming the man he'd known he'd become while he was bedding his pretty high school sweetheart and lying his ass off.

But this kid's eyes--big, brown, luminous in a pale face--Burton had to swallow. He usually took care of those urges with a girl for a night, but he'd known they were in there for men as well.

He just kept those to himself.

"There is..." Constance made a frustrated sound and took a long swig of his dank coffee. "There is nothing in that kid's jacket that looks like he should be in that fucking jacket."

Burton scanned the details and had to agree.

He saw a lot of half-finished classes and trips to the dance floors. A lot of pretty bedmates, but no man in particular. And a lot of jobs he'd lost for being late or for forgetting something important or for general flakiness. He's a nice kid, one employer had stated, but he's as reliable as a rabbit. 

Criminals who ended up on the wrong end of Burton's scope were often very reliable. "Oh, he killed people on a regular basis? But he punched the clock every day and ate lunch with my wife!" That was who Burton was assigned to.

X-blowing disco bunnies?

Not so much.

"Hinky," Burton muttered, looking Constance in the eyes.

"I won't say this more than once," Jason Constance told him, the lines around his mouth seeming particularly deep and bitter today. "If this kid doesn't smell right, walk away."

"Who asked you to off this kid?" Burton asked.

"Some fucking commander from a naval base in Las Vegas--"

"Las Vegas?"

"Man, that place is so far off the grid it makes us look like a billboard in Burbank. I'm not sure which favor he pulled to get access to our division but--"

"This was the kid he pulled the favor for." Burton's chest turned icy.


"I hate being used as a tool."

"So do I."

"I'll scope out the sitch. If this kid's bad--"

"Do what you have to."

"If not--"

"Walk away."

Burton studied the pictures again-- this one a long distance shot of the kid waking up in a pile of happy naked limbs, looking around him like he was surprised to be there.

"Ernie James Caulfield," Burton murmured, reading from the jacket. "Boy, who did you screw?"

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Dear Deceased Garage Cat--

Otherwise known as Shula-monster, the small brown shadow:

Bye sweetheart. You had a good long life out here.

I'm sorry that you had to live in the garage--it's what happens when cats can't use the cat box in the house though. You were really sweet, just not indoor cat material.

I hope that was okay with you.

I hope it was okay that you lived with us for seventeen years, mostly in the garage. I hope it was okay that you got to sleep on all the old blankets, and that we'd pet you on those rare occasions that we saw you and you didn't run.

I hope it was okay that the kids dragged you inside sometimes just to cuddle--I hope that wasn't cruel. You always waited an hour or two before asking to be let back into the garage.

I hope you forgive us for the dogs. They're assholes to all cats, not just you.

I hope you forgive ZoomBoy for that one time he tried to stick a dog diaper on you so you could come inside. He forgave you for the bite to his thumb.

I hope you knew that we loved you in a distant way--you were the Great Aunt of cats. You didn't visit often, but you were appreciated when you were here.

I hope it's okay that ZoomBoy forgot his right from his left and dug your little grave so close to the garage. On the one hand, you're probably comfy there. On the other hand, the other side was more often in sunlight, and you didn't get a lot of that.

I hope it's okay your graveyard is getting a little crowded. We put the Altoids box/fish sarcophagus back with you when we covered you up. At this point the more the merrier, right?

I hope you enjoy Halloween--it's going to be a riot there. Guard us well, protective spirit, okay? And don't worry, the dog's got the backyard. You've got the easy job.

I hope it's okay that I cried a little for you. You were such a delicate, quiet thing, but you did love the occasional show of affection. It's hard to fault a creature that poops outside and asks for little more than food, fresh water, and occasionally getting her whiskers smoothed back. In a house of fuzzy attention whores, your retiring nature was much appreciated.

I hope you know ZoomBoy and Squish and Chicken and Big T all miss you now. You were never as invisible as you tried to be.

And I really hope your spirit can give the useless furry meat sacks around here some anti-vermin lessons. I have the feeling you were carrying a whole lot of that burden on your own. These floofy assclowns just don't seem that bright, I swear to Goddess they don't.

Mostly I hope your life was content here. Not every cat is made to be box-trained, but I hope being queen of the garage made up for that. I know even though it's filled with teetering columns of crap, the garage us a lot emptier without your skittish little presence. Thanks for hanging with us. I hope you know you were loved.

Sincerely, Amy Lane and company--

Also known as the wonderful bringers of food and the terrible distributors of small-dog retribution.

May you get to sleep in all the sunspots now.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Worm Gamucking

So, uh, took the dogs for a walk today.

Yes, it had rained a lot the day before, but still.

I mean, what on earth could go wrong?

I mean, I knew one part of the path would be flooded--but I've got that mastered, right? I walk on the side of the path for part of the flooding, and then I move into the residential area so I can swing around the second part of the path and then, Bob's-Your-Uncle, I can take one of the residential paths back to the loop. Yeah, sure, it's an extra quarter mile onto my walk--I can use the exercise, right?

Of course, when I get down the path and realize that it's twenty feet of standing water, my can-do attitude sort of dissolves.

And as much fun adding a quarter of a mile to my walk has been, in order to go back and avoid all puddles altogether, I'd be adding another mile to my walk, and, well, I've got things to do!

So I suck it up, roll my pants up to my knees, take my shoes off, and walk across the pond, ignoring the little air bubbles coming up from the seams in the concrete, stepping over the piles of oak leaves and God knows what's in them, and apologizing profusely to Geoffie who is actually swimming during the last bit because the water was that deep, and she is that short.

Oh--and trying not to completely bite it by slipping on the mud which is way slippery without the traction of my shoes.

I make it.

I walk to my car, let the dogs jump in and get on a towel, and then I sit in the heat until my feet dry and I can put my shoes back on.

And the whole time, I'm pretending that there wasn't a chance... not even a teeniest hint of a chance... that I stepped on any worm carcasses during the entire trip.

Don't tell me, folks.

I just don't want to know.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Kermit Flail--A Quiet but Hopeful January


So, welcome to the first Kermit Flail of the year!

It's a little bit small, and that's my fault--I was thin on social media over the last few weeks for family reasons, but I'm SO pleased about the people who submitted!

Alix Bekins and Connie Bailey are some of my oldest and best friends in the writing business. They write because they love it, and they teamed up together because they're great friends and they wrote sci-fi because it's their passion and they're both funny, witty, awesome people and I'm so happy to see them writing for the helluva it again, and SO proud to have them on my blog!

And Mercy Celeste! Who hasn't heard of Mercy Celeste! She breaks your heart every time! This book looks like no exception and I'm proud to host it on my blog :-)

And as for me? I've got a book that folks have been waiting for--for a long time at that! Can you guess? I bet you can--and if you haven't read the rest of the series watch this space, and follow me on social media for some sales going on so you can read the whole whack of them without going broke!

So exciting stuff--and some much needed good news.

Let's have a better year, everyone!!!

Song and Key
by Alix Bekins and Connie Bailey

The Men from GLEN

Dreamspun Beyond | #11

So-called monsters won’t hold these spies back!

For two secret agents on a mission to a secluded Romanian village, the toughest fight they face may not be against the folktale monsters lurking in the foggy mountains and old ruins, but against their unlikely attraction to each other.

Keller Key is the top operative at the covert Global Law Enforcement Network—and boy, does he know it. Sexy half-Ukrainian, half-Korean Sevastyan Song is a close second. When the agents go undercover to investigate an old friend’s suspicious death, it soon becomes clear something sinister is afoot in the ancient forest and decrepit abbey. If an evil organization doesn’t spell the end of them, the angry locals might. But if they’re going to conquer their enemies, they need to keep their hands off each other and their minds on the case, in a rivals-to-lovers paranormal mash-up that gives new meaning to spy-on-spy action.

Buy at Dreamspinner

Buy at Amazon:

Long Way
by Mercy Celeste

Death Waits for No One

Former Marine Chad Mayes planned to honor his father’s last wishes and lay him to rest in California.

Estranged from his family for so long he wasn’t prepared to return to the life he left or the people he barely remembered. He planned to do his duty and drift away to figure out his place in life.

That was the plan, right up until he laid eyes on his first crush.
Skip Simpson didn’t have time to worry about his son’s life.

An emergency call from his best friend requesting a get together sent him packing north. He went, never expecting his world to be flipped upside down when the Marine, half his age, walked in the door.

The plan was to scatter his best friend’s ashes. Not end up on a trek through the woods, with his friend’s son.

But what exactly does a free spirit and a lost soul do in the woods? Alone. For days. In one tent… when one is one’s best friend’s son and should be off limits.

Chad and Skip are about to find out.

Book 2 in the Adventures INK series. Should be read in order.

Buy at Amazon

Bobby Green

by Amy Lane

Vern Roberts couldn’t wait to turn eighteen and get the hell out of Dogpatch, California. But city living is expensive, and he’s damned desperate when Dex from Johnnies spots him bussing tables.

As “Bobby,” he's a natural at gay porn. Soon he’s surrounded by hot guys and sex for the taking, but it’s not just his girlfriend back in Dogpatch—or her blackmailing brother—that keeps him from taking it. It's the sweet guy who held the lights for his first solo scene, who showed him decency, kindness, and a smile.

Reg Williams likes to think he's too stupid to realize what a shitty hand life dealt him, but Bobby knows better. What Reg lacks in family, opportunity, education, and money, he makes up for in heart. One fumbling step at a time, they connect, not just in their hearts but in their bodies, where sex that’s not on camera, casual, or meaningless, becomes the most important thing in the world.

But Reg is hampered by an inescapable family burden, and he and Bobby will never fly unless he can find a way to manage it. Can he break the painful link to his unrealized childhood and grow into the love Bobby wants to give?