If at the end of the treasure hunt there will be still unmatched excerpts the giveaway will go to the one who matched more books.
The books are:
A Hunted Man by Jaime Reese
A Kingdom Lost by Barbara Ann Wright
A Place for Cliff by Talon ps
A Special Kind of Folk by Barry Brennessel
About Face by VK Powell
Ancient House of Cards by Bryan T. Clark
Another Healing by M. Raiya
Antidote by Jack L. Pyke
Because of Jade by Lou Sylvre
Beloved Pilgrim by Christopher Hawthorne Moss
Better Than Friends by Lane Hayes
Bird of Paradise by G.J. Paterson
Bite of the Recluse by Azalea Moone & Anais Morgan
Bonds of Denial by Lynda Aicher
Brokenhearted by Cate Ashwood
Camellia by Caitlin Ricci & Cari Z.
Carnal Sacraments by Perry Brass
Caught! By JL Merrow
Chasing the Dragon by Kate Sherwood
Chip off the Ice Block Murder by Jessie Chandler
Clean Slate by Andrea Bramhall
Corruption by Eden Winters
Desire at Dawn by Fiona Zedde
Dirty Beautiful Words by Brooklyn Brayl
Dissonance by Shira Anthony
Dudek by Taylor James
Educating Simon by Robin Reardon
Fight by Kelly Wyre
Filthy Acquisitions by Edmond Manning
Firestorm by Rory Ni Coileain
Forever Hold His Peace by Rebecca Cohen
Forgive Us by Lynn Kelling
Fractured by Mickie B. Ashling
Freak Camp: Posts From a Previously Normal Girl by Jessica V. Barnett
FutureDyke by Lea Daley
Games Boys Play by Zoe X. Rider
Gathering Storm by Alexa Land
Gin & Jazz 1- 4 (4 novellas: Hollywood Bound, Razzle Dazzle, Tarnished Glitter and Starring Role) by Morticia Knight
Girls Don't Hit by Geonn Cannon
Great Pleasures by Edward Southgate
Greg Honey by Russ Gregory
Happy Independence Day by Michael Rupured
Hard Pressed by Sharon Maria Bidwell
Hell & High Water (THIRDS, Book #1) by Charlie Cochet
Highfell Grimoires by Langley Hyde
His Fair Lady by Kimberly Gardner
Hoaley Inexplicable by Declan Sands
How Still My Love by Diane Marina
Hungry for Love by Rick R. Reed
If I Die Before I Wake by Liz McMullen
If We Shadows by D.E. Atwood
Ink & Flowers by J.K. Pendragon
It's Like This by Anne O'Gleadra
Lab Rat's Love by Ana J. Phoenix
Lesbian Crushes at School: A Diary on Growing Up Gay in the Eighties by Natasha Holme
Let the Lover Be by Sheree L. Greer
Like Jazz by Heather Blackmore
Love and Salvage: Loving Emmett by Mathew Ortiz
Love Is A Stranger by John Wiltshire
Love You Forever by Amelia Bishop
Lovers and Liars by Paul Alan Fahey
Mark of Cain by Kate Sherwood
Masquerade by Joy Lynn Fielding
Measure of Peace by Caethes Faron
Mirage by Tia Fielding
More Than Everything by Cardeno C.
Motel. Pool. By Kim Fielding
Murder and the Hurdy Gurdy Girl by Kate McLachlan
Murder on the Mountain by Jamie Fessenden
My Brother's Lover by Lynn Kelling
Nightingale by Andrea Bramhall
No Angel by Clare London
Omorphi by C. Kennedy
On Archimedes Street by Jefferson Parrish
Paradise at Main and Elm by Barry Brennessel
Paris Connection by J.P. Bowie
Passage by Evey Brett
Pick Up the Pieces by Tinnean
Piper by Leona Carver
Rapture, Sins of the Sinners by Fran Heckrotte & A.C. Henley
Rarely Pure and Never Simple by Angel Martinez
Rasputin's Kiss by L.M. Somerton
Rest Home Runaways by Clifford Henderson
Resurrection Man by K.Z. Snow
Return of an Impetuous Pilot by Kate McLachlan
Rocky Mountain Freedom by Vivian Arend
Running Through A Dark Place by Michael J. Bowler
Saving Liam by DP Denman
Serpentine Walls by CJane Elliott
Shades of Sepia by Anne Barwell
Shameful Desires 3: Unbound by P.J. Proud
Shirewode by J Tullos Hennig
Silent by Sara Alva
Slide by Garrett Leigh
Something Like Spring by Jay Bell
Splinters by Thorny Sterling
Stitch by Eli Easton, Sue Brown, Jamie Fessenden & Kim Fielding
Summerville by H.L. Sudler
The 42nd Street Jerking-off Club by Mykola Dementiuk
The Calm Before by Neena Jaydon
The Dead Past by Kate Aaron
The Empath by Jody Klaire
The Engineered Throne by Megan Derr
The Family We Make by Kaje Harper
The Genealogy of Understanding by Daniel M. Jaffe
The House on Hancock Hill by Indra Vaughn
The Last Conception by Gabriel Constans
The Line by J.D. Horn
The Mating of Michael by Eli Easton
The Memory of Blood & Lotuses by E.E. Ottoman
The Opera House by Hans M. Hirschi
The River Within by Baxter Clare Trautman
The Seventh Pleiade by Andrew J. Peters
The Thief Taker by William Holden
This Is Not a Love Story by Suki Fleet
Tournament of Shadows by S.A. Meade
True Stories Too: People and Places From My Past by Felice Picano
Turnbull House by Jess Faraday
You're Always in the Last Place You Look by T.N. Gates
Zenith by Arshad Ahsanuddin
Previous Post - Next Post
Today excerpts are:
“I’ve got tickets for the symphony tomorrow,” is what he tells me when he calls.
“The symphony. Really.”
“People in this community care about the Arts,” he says, adopting a pretentious telemarketer tone.
“And I realize that that is something my formerly redneck Albertan ass can’t possibly comprehend...but still, the symphony?”
“You like music.”
“Excellent. Meet me downtown noonish? In front of the Douglas Centre.”
“Fine. How much are the tickets?”
“I’ll take care of it. See you in a bit?”
I show up in a suit. It’s getting a little warm for a jacket and it turns out a suit just makes me feel like an asshole in front of the homeless people hanging around my bus stop. I give the guy closest to me all my change to attempt to assuage my conscience.
“The reason you’re always broke, Nigh,” Rylan says, appearing from the entrance of the mall and linking his arm with mine, “is that you choose to throw your money away. They’re just going to spend it on drugs and alcohol.” His tone is facetious and mockWASPy. He casually drops a twenty into the basket of a rundown woman with a mangy German shepherd before leading me deftly to the crosswalk.
“Are you wearing a tux underneath that jacket?” he demands. “Because I could swear those are your grad shoes...”
“It’s just a suit. I thought it was appropriate, considering this is one of your socalled cultural society events.”
“It sure is. Hence why I feel the need to add some clothing of the nonconformist variety.”
He’s wearing about six layers of different, tightfitting Tshirts and sweaters, all topped off with a zipup hoodie, none of which seem to increase his bulk (or lack thereof) even slightly.
“You look plain old hipster to me,” I bite back.
“Better than being a sellout to the previous generation.”
“Spoken like the true child of a broken home.”
“Says the offspring of the bourgeoisie.”
I don’t exactly have a comeback for that one.
Tiger Sushi, one of the north side’s exquisite pleasures, was not terribly far, just three stops north on the El’s brown line. Aamir loved sushi and back when he still loved Keldon, Aamir had introduced the two. For a split second, Keldon had hesitated in making the reservation, wondering if he could possibly run into Aamir, but decided he simply didn’t care. He did not hate Aamir for dumping him at the O’Hare airport, communicating him via text the trip was cancelled as was their relationship. Well, maybe he hated Aamir a little. But he wanted nothing to do with the man, not to see him, not to experience him. Keldon would not create a scene in a restaurant if Aamir happened to prefer sushi tonight. He would do his best to remain unnoticed.
Keldon arrived with a half-hour to spare, and after confirming the reservation with the Tiger Sushi maître d’, he called the limo driver to confirm Joshua’s arrival time. Keldon waited outside, wishing he hadn’t given up smoking, another expensive habit he found himself unable to maintain after rich boyfriends left him. He passed the time wandering down Clark Street to nearby restaurants, studying their menus posted on the front windows.
A black stretch limo pulled in front of the restaurant within fifteen minutes of the appointed hour, and Keldon self-consciously brushed himself off, not sure if it accomplished anything but desperate to be doing something other than staring, waiting for his guest to emerge. When the driver opened the door, Keldon fixed a pleasant smile on his face, somewhat plastic but also somewhat sincere, a smile he hoped hid his anxiousness.
Joshua stepped out, and the smile faded.
Joshua had gotten a haircut, styling the shaggy mop of brown locks into something short and bristly, something you might want to run your fingers through. The sides of his head almost looked shaved. The four-day stubble that had made him appear dopey and unkempt had also disappeared, replaced with a masculine dark shadow around his jawline. He smiled at Keldon, and although Keldon knew it was his job to smile back, he could only stare. Joshua wore a green silk shirt hanging over black jeans, a dark seaman’s coat unbuttoned, and black gym shoes. The shimmering green drew Keldon’s attention. He couldn’t stop staring at the expansive chest, the ripples made by Joshua’s strolling closer.
“A bit much,” Joshua said, indicating the limo with an incline of his head.
Keldon didn’t remember Joshua looking this way: impressive, hot. Keldon remembered he liked the shape of the man, and he remembered the intelligence in his eyes that had fooled him, but Joshua was an obstacle to his success, not a real person until this moment. He realized if he had met Joshua dressed like this, he would have never invited him on a date. Not someone this handsome.
*Dust is soil with the life sucked out of it.*
My Great-grandpa Cyrus, born in southwestern Kansas in 1921, spent the early years of his life discovering this truth. He whittled away at the huge, shapeless horror that was the High Plains in the 1930s until he got down to something he could recognize, something that made sense to him.
When he was in the middle of his growing-up years, Cy didn’t see anything as pure as what he thought Truth should be. He only saw mountainous dark goblins of grit fill the sky, over and over again. They lumbered in from whatever direction the wind determined, bearing down on homesteads and wheat fields, shedding scales of thick misery.
One typically parched afternoon beneath a typically brown-veiled sky, the local men gathered in town to consider hiring a rainmaker. Cy was at the meeting with his pa, although he wasn’t old enough to have too many opinions about too much of anything or to open his mouth and expect anyone to listen. By then they were three years into the invasion. The goblins kept coming with dismal regularity, kept dropping their deadly freight. A roller had just passed through a few days earlier. Each building looked gray and beaten. Even cavorting tumbleweeds were scarce. Farmers had been hoarding them to feed their withered cattle. And even to feed their families, when worse came to worst.
But trying to bust water out of the sky with dynamite? Cy’s pa was dead set against making so risky an investment. The Depression had settled in along with the dust. Money was tight. Besides, “The drouth ain’t the real problem,” he said to his neighbors. “We kilt the land. Dust is soil with the life sucked out of it. Dust is the earth’s haint.”
Bonanza Bill Lawton spoke up. “So what we s’posed to do? Persuade Jesus Christ to breathe life back into it?”
“We’ve all tried contacting him a thousand times,” a wag named Pokey Stiles drawled. “Seems he ain’t takin’ our calls.”
After their meeting, while the farmers continued to jawbone outside the feed store, Cy squatted and scooped up a handful of the powder that covered everything in sight. He let it sift through his perpetually dirty fingers as he thought of his father’s words. Finally, Truth appeared, right there in his palm.
The stretches of prairie his ma described so wistfully, the waving buffalo grass and rustling bluestem and nodding flowers, had lain belly-up for years. This dust was its ghost, relentless and punishing.
“’Spect you got every right to dog us,” he whispered.
So what form does the haint of a ruined life take? Maybe this form, blotchy-ink and smeared-pencil scrawls on mismatched pieces of paper. But they’re better than nothing. They’re better than the hole in my soul, and better than oblivion.
I reached the tea house at sunset as the call to prayer sang out from a nearby minaret. The bazaar was deserted and only a few customers sat on the low, flat benches in the evening shade. Yakolev was not among them.
The proprietor brought tea. I poured myself a cup and settled onto the bench. There wasn’t much to observe, apart from the lazy, erratic sway of leaves on the spindly tree in the sullen breeze. A bird sang from a rooftop while people talked in low murmurs all around me. The tea did nothing to calm my racing pulse, or quell the tremor in my hand when I raised the cup to my lips. I watched the narrow street, staring in the direction that we’d headed in the day before.
I drank another cup of tea and watched the light fade from the courtyard. A host of scenarios played themselves out in my mind. Perhaps he had changed his mind and decided not to ask Emir. Perhaps he had asked and had been thrown in the dungeon for his cheek. Maybe the Emir had decided to hold a feast in his honour. I just had no way of knowing. I decided to wait until I’d emptied the tea pot before leaving. I had to give him a chance.
“Ah, there you are.” He’d crept out of nowhere and sank onto the bench beside me, looking completely at ease in his native clothes. “I suppose you were wondering whether I would make it or not.”
“It had crossed my mind.” Desire swept through me like the tide.
Yakolev leaned close and whispered, “I would’ve crawled out of the Pit to collect this reward.”
I inhaled deeply and gave up wrestling with my longing. I wanted to grab him by the hand and hurry him to bed. “I’m flattered.”
“You should be.” He withdrew, leaving his warm breath on my skin as a promise. “The Emir was not pleased. I thought for one horrible moment that I’d be imprisoned.”
“So he refused.”
“He did. I’m sorry. He told me that he is no longer afraid that your countrymen will march on Bukhara, since they were so soundly thrashed at Kabul. I’m afraid your compatriots’ days may be numbered.”
My stomach turned to lead and sank. “I suppose it was all too much to hope for.”
“You cannot be held to blame. You were never going to win against a madman such as Nasrullah.” He released a sigh. He edged his hand towards mine and brushed his fingers over my skin. “I don’t think any foreigner is safe here. As soon as my business is done, I intend to get away as quickly as I can. I suggest you cut your losses and do the same. The British are most definitely not in favour with the Emir right now.”
“Thank you for that comforting advice.”
“Come, finish your tea. I think we can find a much better way to pass the night, don’t you?”
This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4470404.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.