"Every once in a while a book comes along that completely bowls me over. It shakes me out of any reading ennui I may be experiencing and reminds me once again of the reasons for my love of the written word.” —The Indie Reviewer, (praise for Fool for Love)Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction by Timothy J. Lambert and R.D. Cochrane
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press (January 7, 2014)
Amazon: Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction
Amazon Kindle: Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction
In the age of online dating, one night hook-ups, and getting dumped via text, it seems like romance has left the building. Best-selling authors and die-hard romantics, Timothy Lambert and R.D. Cochrane are back with a follow-up to their critically acclaimed Fool for Love, one of Insight Out Bookclub's bestselling titles ever, with a collection of gay romance that incites love (and lust) in readers everywhere.
About the Editors: Timothy J. Lambert is an accomplished gay erotica writer. His stories have been appeared in Best Gay Love Stories and The Mammoth Book of New Gay Erotica.
R. D. Cochrane has published short stories and two novels, Coventry Christmas and Coventry Wedding. Together they have co-published several written works, including The Deal; Three Fortunes in One Cookie; and Someone Like You. Both writers reside in Houston, TX, and can be found online at timothyjlambert.com and beckycochrane.com.
Excerpt from “Nude Beach” by Paul Lisicky, from Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction
Matthias wasn’t the kind of guy who was usually taken with asses, but when he saw the man lay facedown on the striped towel beside him, he couldn’t finish his sandwich. The ass was a confident ass, not an ostentatious ass. It didn’t come about from squats and lunges in some health club. It was an ass that knew itself, that moved through the world seen and appreciated, and as Matthias dreamt of resting his face upon its dark divide, the man rolled over onto Matthias’s towel as if they’d been sharing the same bed since college.
The dryness of the lips, the silly eyebrow tics, the looking downward and away… Where were the reactions Matthias usually felt around men, especially beautiful men? He’d always said that desire depended on one partner feeling more than the other. Desire insisted on discrepancy, he’d say. It fed on a lack, but maybe that perspective was just one more way he’d been protecting himself these last thirteen years.
They brushed sand from each other’s shoulders. They got off their towels. Matthias glanced down the empty beach, grabbed the man’s hand with a grin that pretended to be devilish, and pulled that hand into the woods.
“Hey, you,” said the man after they’d been at it for an hour.
“Hey, you,” Matthias said, still trembling.
They looked into each other’s eyes as it is said lovers do.
They came back into their bones, their muscles, their separateness. They laughed with—was it wonder? Nerves? It hardly mattered that there were sand burrs on their feet or mosquito bites on their heads. In a little bit, their skin would burn with the serum of poison plants, but that pain would only help them remember their hour.
They walked side by side up the nude beach, voiceless, listening. The frondage crackled behind the dune line. On the other side of the trees someone was charcoaling meat. Matthias’s eyes teared, smarted. The face of his ex flashed in the sky ahead of him. Breakup: he still couldn’t even say the word aloud. Breakup! Say it. Sometimes he pictured himself as a house, his wiring, plumbing, plaster, siding and roof sold for crack. In the wake of the breakup, his ex had moved in with a new man on the other side of the bay. They’d set up one life together within days of the split, with no struggle apparent. They were seen at the local markets, talking about furniture and produce, hand in hand, faces serious. Meanwhile just the shell of Matthias remained, leaning to one side as the storms passed through the spaces where the windows used to be.
When the men reached the parking lot, the sky reddened above the tree line. They were back in the world. They’d stepped out of one kind of time into another, and this kind of time wanted something of them. Or they wanted something of time, which is always a scary thing, as time has its own plans for humans.
Still, none of that stopped Matthias from asking for the man’s number.
“My phone’s not with me,” the man said. “But I have a business card.” He slid off his backpack, dug around at the bottom with his hand. “Here. Text me later? Or you can call.”
Matthias pocketed the card and with a kiss sent the man off into the night. The car crawled down the winding drive, brake lights pulsing before each speed bump as if the man inside had second thoughts about moving on.
He was the one. The man. He was the one he’d spend the rest of his life with. Because Matthias was certain of this, because he never felt this shudder of knowledge with the man he’d broken up with, Matthias decided to wait before thumbing the number into his phone. Once he got home, he walked into his kitchen and heated up a plate of lotus roots from the Chinese restaurant. He sat on the webbed chair, on his back deck, the soles of his feet burning with a rash. He looked up at the water tower. Was the man thinking about Matthias? Of course he was. He was thinking everything Matthias was thinking, which was why he wouldn’t hurry up to send that text.
It didn’t completely shock Matthias when the card wasn’t in his pocket two days later. Clumsy Matthias! Surely, the card would turn up where he didn’t expect it. He checked the pockets of his windbreaker, checked the inside of a novel and then another. He looked and looked in the same twenty places. He couldn’t be that stupid—Come on! He thought more of himself than that. Just before he turned the lights off for the night, he turned an old suitcase upside down and shook it with a violence that startled a part of him. On the floor lay a picture of his ex, running up the street toward him, years back, eyes bright, face still ruddy with health.
Perhaps if he stopped trying so hard…
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