Excerpt from A Splendidly Smutty Dictionary of Sex

Greetings sexy book lovers!

A few days ago, I promoted A Splendidly Smutty Dictionary of Sex — our newest release at Deep Desires Press. Today, I want to share an excerpt!

Click here to buy your copy!

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Introduction

There have been countless books on the world’s favorite pastime. Indeed, if you Google sex books, you will find over 150 million results!

These books range from the biology and anatomy of sex, to how-to-do-it books. They range from the scholarly to the irreverent, and some with really rubbish pictures in them and some without.

But, there seems to be a glaring omission. No one has yet compiled a tongue-in-cheek dictionary of the words, thoughts and some of the very strange deeds associated with it.

But where would you start? Well, quite obviously, at the beginning.

Consider the prehistoric man, not only trying to contend with the Ice Age, living in a damp cave with no sports channels, very little food and with big scary animals trying to eat him. You would safely assume the last thing on his mind was sex.

Apparently not.

In between avoiding sabre toothed tigers and other hairy things that bite, he would spend some of his time carving things known as Venus figurines. These were Prehistoric Barbie dolls with huge breasts and with massive Kim Kardashian-like asses. These figurines, of which hundreds have survived, appear to have had no practical use whatsoever, other than be a sort of Stone-Age version of Playboy.

Much, much later, when the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were first being excavated, red-faced Victorian archaeologists with silly beards had to take continuous cold showers on discovering a treasure trove of erotic tableaux and other wonderfully smutty things.

So, despite our view that all previous generations were old-fashioned, prim and inhibited (well some were), the fact is that we as human beings have always been obsessed by sex. Wars won and lost because of it, people made rich by it and reputations ruined by it.

So join me if you will, on an alphabetical journey down the highways and byways of the world’s most popular pastime, discovering along the way such important nuggets as: life changing sexual advice from the Middle Ages, the somewhat disturbing history of the vibrator, the rather strange sex life of a future King of England and, most importantly of all, what on earth have armadillos got to do with the missionary position?

 

for Adultery

The Athenian statesman and lawgiver Solon (640–599 BC) was firmly of the opinion that adultery was a criminal offence and prostitution was certainly not.

He recommended that all prostitutes should be imported from Asia Minor and all Greek brothels were to be publicly funded and taxed. He also rather considerately fixed an early “Retail Price Index” on the prices of prostitutes, so everyone could easily afford one.

This argument against adultery was then taken up later by the first century BC Greek philosopher, Xenarchus, who said that a man had no excuse for having sex with another man’s wife because:

For here there are very pretty lasses at the brothels, whom the boys may see basking in the sun, their breasts uncovered, stripped for action and posted in battle-line; of these one may select the girl that pleases his fancy, thin or fat, tubby or tall or squat, young, old, middle-aged, over-ripe, and not be obliged to set up a ladder and climb in secretly, nor crawl in through the smoke-hole below the roof, nor be trickily carried in under a heap of straw. Not at all! For the girls themselves use force and pull them in, dubbing those who are old, Daddy, and those who are younger, Big Boy. And any one of these may be visited fearlessly, cheaply, by day, at evening, in any manner desired; but the married women you either cannot see, or if seen, you cannot see them plainly, but always in a state of tremor and fright … in fear, and carrying your life in your hands. How then, pray, O mistress Aphrodite of the Sea, can the men press their attentions too far, once they remember the laws of Draco while dandled in the woman’s embraces?

Not all Greek men, however, were enamored of prostitution, sacred or otherwise. The permanently grumpy philosopher Diogenes (412 – 323 BC) thought the habit of paying for love ridiculous, once telling a crowd that he himself “met the goddess Aphrodite everywhere, and at no expense.”

When asked what he meant, Diogenes lifted up his tunic and pretended to play with his willy.

 

for Aphrodisiacs

A candle lit dinner, soft music playing in the background… Your eyes meet, and your hands gently clasp across the table. The waiter with a knowing smile brings you the bill and then … nothing. Forget the ubiquitous blue pills, why not try some of the following?

For the Ladies

Take 20 wasp larvae and place them in one cup of sweet liquor and drink it at midday. The tonic is good for ten bouts of sex.

Mwangdui manuscript from the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 9AD)

Obtain the penis of a wild boar, then roast it until it is done. Eat it with galangal (a form of ginger) garlic, seven black pepper corns and sea salt. Then drink aged rice wine until you are drunk (!)

Smarakridalaksana(Enjoyment of Love), Bali (1899)

Find 90 of the little grubs that live on plants that give off milk, such as the thistle. Throw them in a litra (litre) of old olive oil. Leave in the sun for seven days. Rub it on your loins and between your backside.

Medicine Pertinent to the Infirmities of Women,Giovanni Marinello (1563)

A woman wets immediately if she is sprinkled with powder made from two teeth of a King, mixed with the two wings from a bee, powdered, and a petal blown by the wind from a funeral wreath.

Kamaledhiplava(Boat in the Sea of Love), India (c.16thcentury)

For the Gentlemen

A man who would wish to acquire vigour for coition may melt down fat from the hump of a camel, and rub his member with it, just before the act; it will then perform wonders, and the woman will praise it for its work.

Perfumed Garden of Sheik Nefzaoul, Muhammed al-Nafzawi (beginning of the16thcentury)

You will need:

20 chestnuts

4 oz pistachios

Ragwort

Cinnamon

Cubebs (a tailed pepper)

Sugar

Boil them all down to an elixir. Then drink.

La Ciruga,Dr. Leonardo Fioravanti (1570)

There is one drug brought from the East Indies, the Cannabis Indica, which is the most regular in its action and produces the most constant beneficial effects on anything yet tried. It appears to act as a special nervous stimulant, exciting that part of the brain which influences the sexual organs, so that they feel directly an increase of power. I do not hesitate to say that I have seen more restoration to sexual power and more cures of sterility in both senses from the use of this product than from any other means and I do not hesitate to pronounce it, in certain cases, an infallible remedy.

The Male Generative Organs in Health and Disease, Frederick Hollick (1848)

The best aphrodisiacs are rest, boredom, sleep and red meat — followed by wine, prosperity, music and pleasant surroundings

The Cabinet of Venus Unlock’d, Giovanni Sinabaldi (1658)

 

A for Aphrodisiac Users

Advice on starting your engine from the famous and infamous through the ages.

Aristotle (384 – 322 BC), Greek philosopher:

When not sitting still and philosophising, he would recommend the use of oil of peppermint to stimulate sexual desire. To reduce the libido, he also suggested walking long distances through the hills barefoot.

Pliny (23 – 79AD), Roman naturalist and author:

He came up with this rather obvious suggestion that in order to fan the flames of lust: Why not to eat a hyena’s eye with a dash of dill?

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 – 1527), Italian statesman:

Whilst taking a break from plotting, he swore by the aphrodisiac powers of the mandrake plant. He even wrote a not particularly amusing comedy, LaMandragola (1524), in its honor.

Giovanni Casanova (1725 – 1798), Italian libertine:

The patron saint of shagging attributed much of his spectacular sexual energy to the fact that he always ate 50 oysters for breakfast every morning.

Captain James Cook (1728 – 1779), English explorer:

Before being killed by angry Hawaiians, Cook feasted every morning on a special, aphrodisiac dish of fresh shrimp. He often boasted that he could take on ten native girls a day. Perhaps that was the reason for the angry Hawaiians.

Madame Du Barry (1743 – 1793), Mistress of Louis XV:

She tried to keep Louis XV in her thrall by feeding him foods that would make him weak with lust: sweetbreads, venison, pheasant cooked in white wine, truffles, capon in sherry broth, to name just a few.

Mae West (1892 – 1980), Actress:

The legendary sex queen recommended eating almonds to increase one’s sex drive.

 

A for Armadillos

All through the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church, through its priests and bishops, consistently preached that there was only one form of marital sex: husband above and wife below; and it was only for procreation. But, “What about the armadillos?” I hear you ask. Read on, and all will be revealed.

Meanwhile, back in the Middle Ages, foreplay was frowned upon, oral sex was forbidden, and God help you if you got up to anything else. There were a number of Medieval “how to do it properly in the eyes of the Lord” handbooks which gave priests advice on what penance to give out when a couple strayed from “the missionary position”. Hands to naughty bits was generally the most minor offence, while oral sex was more taboo, and a guaranteed first-class ticket to hell was anal sex — “from behind like beasts” —which, over time, evolved into a capital offence.

On the subject of handbooks, it is generally believed that the first European sex manual was Speculum al foderiknown as The Mirror of Coitus, or popularly known at the time as “a mirror for fuckers”. This was a fifteenth century Catalan text which was discovered with great excitement by sweaty palmed academics in the 1970s.

In Pierre Payer’s 1985 book Sex and the Penitentials, he produces a wonderful chart showing when sex was technically allowed in the Middle Ages. You were not allowed to have intercourse when the wife was menstruating, pregnant, nursing, during holidays, Wednesdays (?), Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays, in daylight, naked or in church. And, most importantly of all, sex was not for fun; if you did indulge it was only to conceive a child and absolutely, definitely, without any kissing.

The missionary position, despite its image of prudery, has been used since time began. The missionary position’s use appears in ancient pottery and in the art of early Greeks, Romans, Indians, Chinese and Japanese. The majority of the positions described in the Kama Sutra involve the woman lying on her back with her legs in a variety of positions.

Apparently the ancient Chinese preferred male-on-top because of their belief that males are born face down and women face up. But the Kagaba natives in Colombia preferred the missionary position because if the woman moved during intercourse, the earth would slip off the shoulders of the four giants who held it.

In Greece, the missionary position was very rarely used. As men tended to marry very young girls, typically only14 or 15 years of age, there tended to be a significant difference in height. Therefore, as illustrations on pottery of the time suggest, the rear-entry standing position was the way to go.

However, during the second century, the Greek philosopher and interpreter of dreams, Artemidos, praised the missionary position declaring it “the only proper and natural” position due to the flow of semen as well as affirming the domination of men over women.

Others who were adamant that the “missionary” way was the only way included Alexander of Hales (1185 – 1245) (a medieval scholastic and theologian, who suggested in his De secretis mulierum that non-missionary positions would result in birth defects) and Nicholas Venette (author of a late eighteenth century sex manual that praised the missionary position as the “common posture … which is most allowable and most voluptuous”.)

And it also appears that the missionary position is the one favored by armadillos.

 

for Arm Pit

A fetish for armpits is known as maschalagnia and, although it is pretty weird, it is not as strange as it sounds. In 2007, The Journal of Neuroscience had an article in which scientists showed that male sweat contains a compound capable of heightening sexual arousal. It went by the rather snappy name of Androstadienone

A century earlier, the acclaimed French physician Charles Fere (1852 – 1907) describes a patient’s peculiar predilection in his book L’instinct Sexuel (1902):

It was twenty years ago, I used to hunt with a man already in his sixties, very healthy, without any apparent defects and whose family didn’t present any grave neuropathic traits. This man had the habit of pestering girls and women, sometimes even quite old women, in a manner that surprised me greatly. He attacked only women who worked in the fields, in short sleeved shirts. He would creep close enough to them so that he could put his hand in their armpit. Once he had achieved his goal, which baffled his victims, he would leave satisfied. But for a long time, he would lift his contaminated hand to his nose with an expression of rapt joy.

On asking him why he did such a thing. He answered me as though it was the most natural thing in the world. “It is a smell that resurrects me and makes Lazurus ready for a long bout”.

He then told me that when he was young, the women whose juices had the ripest scent were capable of inspiring him to perform amazing sexual exploits, and that during recent year they were the only ones who could give him an erection.

Is that why you always see small groups of furtive men in raincoats at the finish line of Women Marathons?

Click here to buy your copy!

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A Splendidly Smutty Dictionary of Sex

Hi book lovers!

Over at Deep Desires Press, we just released A Splendidly Smutty Dictionary of Sex by Simon Leyland — it’s a hilarious and fun-filled romp through the world of sex and all of its seedy history!

Check it out!

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A Splendidly Smutty Dictionary of Sex

Simon Leyland

A humorous, fact-filled romp through the ages which explores the peculiar sex lives of the famous and the not-so famous—not excluding the history of vibrators, Hitler’s sex life, how Columbus discovered the clitoris, and the rather odd relationship between foreskins and perfume.

Did you know that women never wore knickers until the late 18th century? That Cleopatra reputedly invented the first vibrator? The rather odd history of the condom? What it means to give someone a green gown—and who was the first person to join the mile-high club?

Within this paean to the world’s favourite pastime, you will discover:

  • The “perils of self-pollution”
  • Why Popes had to have their scrotums felt
  • What Buckinger’s boot and Omar the tent maker are
  • The whereabouts of John Dillinger’s dong and Rasputin’s rump splitter
  • What does “to arrive at the end of a sentimental journey” mean?
  • How do you restore your virginity?

You’ll find the answers to these questions, as well as handy Medieval sex tips—and let’s not forget the woman who had 130 orgasms in an hour.

And while we’re at it, what on earth does the armadillo got to do with the missionary position?

A Splendidly Smutty Dictionary of Sex covers an array of historical characters and their sex lives—from Chaucer to Wallis Simpson, from Rockefeller to a future king of England. Together with the definitive histories of vibrators, the merkin and the word “f–k” amongst others, this is the must have book of the year!

A Splendidly Smutty Dictionary of Sex releases in ebook and paperback on Tuesday, January 8, 2019!

Purchase your ebook copy now:

Purchase your paperback copy now:

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The Lazy Day (300 Writing Prompts, #1)

Hi blog-followers!

I’m starting something new.

Rather than endless promo for my books and other people’s books, you’re going to get to know a little bit more about me as a person.

For Christmas, my sister got me a book called “300 Writing Prompts”, which I feel is perfect for getting back into blogging with some regularity. I’ll categorize all of these posts as “300 Writing Prompts” so they’re easy to find if you find you like them.

On with post #1!

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What is your favourite way to spend a lazy day?

This might be the workaholic in me, but if I have the day to myself and I have no pressing matters, I inevitably end up working on propping up or fleshing out either my writing platform or my publishing company’s online presence.

Sometimes this includes writing books… though at this point with 100-ish publications under various pen names, I’ve come to view the act of writing as being more along the lines of work and I tend to not do it on a lazy day.

So, yeah, I might do some long-neglected website updates, some social media posts to get things active again, and perhaps follow-up on some fleeting ideas I had weeks ago and filed away for a rainy day. To me, this is relaxing and perfect for a lazy day.

I wonder if it’s because it gives me a sense of accomplishment for the day. It makes me feel that I haven’t wasted my day. It’s hard for me to just relax and do nothing — I mean, I can, but by the end of the day, I feel like all the time has gone past and I’ve done nothing. I seem to lack the deep understanding of what it means to have a lazy day.

One day I’ll be able to relax, but today is not that day.

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2019: The Year Ahead

It seems that around the new year, everyone’s got a blog post about the year behind and the year ahead. I swear I’m not doing this post to just jump on the bandwagon!

That being said, let’s talk about the year behind and the year ahead!

2018 was an interesting year. It saw me write New York Heat, my most ambitious project. It saw me launch my young adult pen name, Dylan James, with my debut young adult novel, Gay Love and Other Fairy Tales, which instantly became my bestselling book of all time. It saw me continue and grow with the Deep Desires Podcast, start up and grow with the Sex For Money Podcast, and continue to grow with my publishing company, Deep Desires Press.

2019 is going to see me refocusing quite a bit.

Namely:

  • I will strive to write more. I’ve spoken before about my ambitious writing plans — now to follow through with them! I’ve also got other pen names that need books written for them. I wrote about a quarter of a million words last year (which is down by about 100,000 from the year before) — maybe 2019 will be the year I break the 400,000 word level?
  • I’m investing more time and energy into gay young adult novels to see if my success was a one-off or if there is more to be done there. I’m partway through Ashton’s Fabulous Gay Agenda, about a gay teen who has an after-school radio show. After that, I’ve got a modern western featuring two gay teens on opposing ranches. Fingers crossed I’ll get them both done this year.
  • I’m discontinuing the Sex For Money Podcast. It really just wasn’t working out. It was often the last thing on my mind in the month, which led to missing a few months. And I just wasn’t getting the listens I needed to make it worth my while. Thinking about it, though, I realized that writers looking for publishing advice would hit up Google, not Apple Podcasts. So with discontinuing the podcast, I will subsequently return to the occasional SFM blog post.
  • The Deep Desires Podcast will get it’s own spin off! I will be hosting Deep Desires After Dark, a podcast featuring explicit excerpts from Deep Desires books, read by the authors.
  • I’m going to start blogging a little more regularly! My sister got me the 300 Writing Prompts journal for Christmas. Instead of writing in the journal, I’ll turn it into semi-regular blog posts. And, as a reminder, I blog twice a month over at Oh Get a Grip, which has recently undergone a refit and is now more erotica focussed.
  • And my big goal for 2019 is to focus more on marketing and promotion. For so long my goal has been to write books and publish them, then move on to the next one. As I get better at delegating tasks over at Deep Desires Press and start to free up more and more of my time, I plan to use that time to promote my writing and see if I can boost sales a bit.

So, there you have it. 2018 in a nutshell and all of my 2019 goals.

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BOXING WEEK SALE

Get all the smut you could possibly want!

I’ve teamed up with Dominic, Sandra, and Ethan to offer you a crap-ton of books on steep discount, and even some for FREE!

Check ’em out!

(All sale prices are for Smashwords ONLY and are good until January 1, 2019.)


Gay Erotica — FREE

Gay Erotica — 50% Off

Straight Erotica — 50% Off

Non-Erotic Young Adult Romance — 50% Off

Non-Fiction — 75% Off

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NEW YORK HEAT IS OUT TODAY!

Now that you’ve unwrapped all your gifts, why not put that Amazon, B&N, iTunes, or Kobo gift card to use and get what you really want.

New York Heat is out today! Click here to read the blurb and chapter one!

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New York Heat — Chapter One

Hi all!

I’ve done, like, no promo because I’ve been so insanely busy… so, surprise! I have a major new release tomorrow!

New York Heat is a continuation of two of my previous books, Go-Go Boys of Club 21 and Men In The Hot Room, but New York Heat can be read with absolutely zero knowledge of the previous books.

Below is the blurb and the cover and then chapter one!


Blurb:

Club 21 is New York City’s hottest gay nightclub. The drinks are cheap, the music is infectious, and the go-go boys are the stuff of dreams.

For Dan, it’s where his life will forever change. With his signature on the dotted line, he goes from bartender to owner. And with that change, he realizes that both his responsibilities and his stress have skyrocketed.

Club 21 is home. The staff are family. Like a mama bear, Dan is fiercely protective of his clients and his staff, especially his go-go boys, whose carefree dancing inspires Dan to make Club 21 the best it can be.

Especially Ken, once a fling, now the love of his life. There’s so much that needs to get done at Club 21, but Dan is terrified that all the long evenings will drive his young go-go boy lover away. Dan doesn’t want to lose him, but if anything ever happened to his staff—his family—Dan would never forgive himself…

Content warning: New York Heat contains a scene of mass violence and the death of a main character.

Find ebook and paperback buy links here.

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Chapter One

Dan leaned against the metal newspaper box and stared at the brick building in front of him. This was either the best decision he’d ever made … or the worst. There could be no in between. He’d be happy and financially well off … or this would lead to utter ruin.

He fumbled in his back pocket for the pack of smokes he’d bought earlier that day. Haven’t smoked in twenty years, he reminded himself again. The stress of today, though, made it impossible to resist the decades-old siren song of tobacco. He tapped a cigarette out of the pack, along with the lighter, and lit up. He inhaled deep, letting the searing smoke fill his lungs, the burning taste fill his mouth — it was comfortable. It brought him an instant relief to the tension that had been building for the last two weeks, culminating in today.

Through all of this, he never took his eyes off the brick building.

“Since when have you started smoking again?” Brad asked.

“Today,” Dan said, the answer coming out as little more than a grunt. It was enough, he knew, to signal to Brad to not ask further questions.

Brad let out a hmm sound, then folded his arms over his chest and leaned against the second newspaper box. He stared up at the building. Brad had come down from Canada to help Dan with what the next few weeks would bring.

“Remember when we bought fake IDs and snuck in?” Brad asked.

Dan laughed — expressing far more humor than he really felt — but the laugh was good. It was cleansing. It was what he needed to break the tension that had settled over him, tightening up his whole body.

He flicked ash off the end of the cigarette. “We were such twinks back then.”

Dan remembered the night well. It was more than thirty years ago, but he recalled it like it was last week. They were nineteen, but desperate to get into Club 21, the hottest gay bar in New York City. They’d spent weeks asking around the college campus for a black market ID seller. They’d practiced acting older — even though twenty-one, the age to get in, was barely any different from nineteen. Dan had even gone out and bought a dress shirt, hoping it made him look like a banker or something.

“All that work,” Brad said, “and they didn’t even give us a second glance or check our ID.”

“If I remember right, you ended up with some hot daddy in the men’s room.”

Brad laughed, then reached over and took the cigarette from Dan’s hand, taking in a drag before handing it back. “I wasn’t even that attracted to him. I think I was just in awe that a man wanted me. But I seem to remember you grinding on some jock on the dance floor.”

They both broke into a roar of laughter. When it died down, Dan inhaled another lungful of smoke. He hated the habit, hated the taste too, but it helped him get through days like this.

He finally tore his gaze from the brick building to glance at his friend of almost forty years. “I’ve missed you, Brad. It’s good to have you back.” Shortly after college, Brad had taken odd jobs around the country before getting certified in various types of yoga and moving to Canada to teach in studios there. Dan had taken a much different path, heading into a career in accounting, where he stayed with one company his entire career. Until now.

Brad took another drag of Dan’s cigarette. “It’s good to be back. I’ve been away from New York for too long.” He put his arm over Dan’s shoulders, pulling him closer, sharing his warmth on this chilly May afternoon. “But I wouldn’t miss this for the world, Dan.”

Dan looked up at the building again. Even in this drab May day, the brick was a deep red, nice and clean, and the neon sign, not yet lit up, proudly pronounced this building as Club 21. As of two o’clock this afternoon, just a couple hours ago, this club was now his.

Though he’d been an accountant by day, he’d done some evening work as a bartender here. He’d been happy with his life. But when Rachel, the previous owner, moved to L.A. to follow her son and support him in his newfound career, he saw an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up. He wanted to own Club 21.

I’m still scared shitless, he admitted to himself. He couldn’t tell anyone else that — not even Ken, his boyfriend — because he needed to appear confident and sure. He suspected that Brad saw right through his façade, though. Being best friends with a guy for something like four decades allowed for that kind of closeness.

Brad’s arm was still around his shoulders and it felt comforting. It reminded Dan of when they were much closer, when they were almost boyfriends. They’d hooked up a few times in college, before getting into Club 21, but they’d never progressed beyond a few blowjobs and the occasional fuck. He leaned into Brad’s warm, solid body, letting out a sigh and, with it, letting out some of the tension that had built up in him over the day.

“I still can’t believe you bought the place,” Brad said. “I remember back in college, we were chatting one night about our dreams when we were in bed together, and you said something about wanting to own the place. I had thought it was a cool idea, but I never thought it would happen.”

Dan had forgotten about that. Even though he’d spent hundreds of nights over his lifetime at Club 21, he remembered nothing of a desire to own the place. He said as much to Brad, then added, “I guess it was just meant to be.”

“Speaking of meant to be — tell me about Ken.”

Dan felt a blush warm his cheeks, like he was that nineteen-year-old twink again. “He’s a bit of a bad boy, but with a good heart. He’s one of the dancers here. He’s, uh, he’s inside,” Dan said. Brad and his partner, Simon, had flown in two nights ago, but with all of the busyness of signing contracts and legal documents, they hadn’t had a chance to get reacquainted or to meet — or even see — each other’s boyfriends. “And he’s … he’s considerably younger than me.”

Brad laughed, but it wasn’t the friendly-teasing laugh that Dan had expected. It seemed almost a laugh of recognition. “Simon is quite a bit younger than me too. He’s twenty-two.”

Dan felt a wave of relief. Though older-younger relationships weren’t uncommon, especially among gay men, he had always felt that they were based more on lust and carnal desires, rather than genuine love. Even when he had started with Ken, it was a relationship based on hooking up and frequent sex. Love had been an unexpected consequence.

“Ken is twenty-two, as well,” Dan said.

“Well, look at us being man-cougars.” He hugged Dan’s shoulders a little tighter for a moment. “Do you love him?”

“I do,” Dan said. It had taken Dan and Ken a while to recognize these feelings, and even longer to admit them. But, once they did, everything felt right. “And you and Simon?”

“Me too.” He took another drag of Dan’s cigarette, then handed it back. “It’s odd, isn’t it? Being in love.”

Dan took the final drag of the cigarette, then flicked it across the sidewalk. “It is. Sometimes, well…”

“Sometimes what?”

“Do you ever wonder if these young twinks will grow tired of us? You know, realize there’s more fun to be had with someone closer to their own age?” It was a fear that he had never voiced before, a fear he had trouble admitting even to himself. Brad was the one person in this world who he felt comfortable saying such a thing to.

“All the fucking time,” Brad said. “I’m in my fifties, my body is sagging, even though I’m fit. I’m slowing down every year as much as I hate to admit it. And every day brings a new gray hair. And Simon is supposed to love me as this keeps happening?”

Dan sighed. “Maybe we’re getting lust and love mixed up. I know it took me a long time to sort them out. I didn’t even realize they meant different things until recently.”

“That could be it. Lust is all physical, all animal. Love is … love is something deeper, more permanent, slow-growing. I don’t think it’s as easily lost as lust can be.”

Dan didn’t know how to respond, so he let the comfortable silence settle over the two of them. They continued staring at the brick building, even as pedestrians passed in front of them and cars passed behind them. New York City was a busy place with rarely a moment of pure peace — but this was pretty damn close.

After a very long time of just leaning against the newspaper boxes, Brad broke the silence. “I see the leather bar is closed.”

Dan glanced toward the brick building across the narrow alley. The leather bar had gone under just a couple weeks ago and, as far as Dan knew, no one had made an offer on the place yet. While commercial real estate in New York City was hot, it seemed no one wanted the old bar.

“It’s been there as long as Club 21,” Dan said. “Changed names many times, but it’s always been there. But the world moves on.” Dan remembered well when they’d gone to the leather bar together. If nights at Club 21 were slow or if they were in particular need of sucking daddy dick, they’d sometimes head across the alley and scope out the meat there. There were as many memories in that building as there were in Club 21.

“Hmm,” Brad said. Dan looked at his friend and saw a look of serious contemplation on his face.

“What?”

Brad stared at the building a little longer, seeming to size it up, then glanced at Dan. “Just a … just a flight of fancy, I guess. I’ve been thinking of starting up my own yoga studio. That place is large enough.” He shook his head. “But this can’t b a spur-of-the-moment decision. I can’t just say I’m going buy a building and start a studio.”

Dan let out a laugh that came out as a snort. “That’s basically what I did with Club 21.” He looked again at Brad and saw just how seriously his friend was considering this. He elbowed him in the side. “You should do it. Take risks. I bet the price is a steal — seems no one wants to move in.”

“Hmm,” Brad said again.

Dan let Brad ruminate on the building and his dream of a studio while he instead looked at Club 21 again — his apparent dream come true. Hopefully it’s a good dream, not a nightmare.

An urge for another cigarette settled into Dan. He didn’t want to get too deep into smoking again — the further in he was, the harder it would be to quit. And he’d have to quit. Ken didn’t like that he smoked. Dan didn’t like it himself, either, but he could put up with his bad habits easier than Ken could.

“Come on,” Dan said, “let’s go inside.”

Brad released his hold on Dan’s shoulders and the two men stood up and walked toward the front door. Though he’d gone in and out a few times today and he’d been running the place for Rachel until the paperwork legally signed the place over to him, this was the first time he’d entered with the building belonging to him. It was somehow fundamentally different.

He put his key in the lock and turned, the tumblers clicking and causing his heart to pound against his ribs. He felt almost lightheaded for a moment. He gave the door a tug and it opened.

Pulling the door open wide, he turned to Brad and said, “Welcome … to Club 21.”

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