Today's guest author, Summer Michaels, wrote her first story in the second grade, about a car-stealing potato. Thankfully, men in love with other men keep her muse busy and satisfied now. With a belief that love should be shared no matter what the form, Summer enjoys telling stories of rowdy cowboys, reunited lovers, and steamy shifters. When Summer is not reading and writing, she enjoys camping, hiking, water rafting, and giving the old woman in a shoe a run for her money.
Me: What winter holiday, if any, do you celebrate?
Summer: Christmas! Every year my in laws and my parents come over early in the morning to watch my kids open their gifts. My mom and I also share a Birthday a few days before Christmas. We usually go out to eat with the family then as well.
Me: What is your favorite family holiday tradition/story/recipe/etc?
Summer: On Christmas morning my mom cooks Monkey Bread. I love it!! I love how it smells up the house! It is also tradition at my house to attend Christmas Eve service at our church. It is my favorite service of the year.
Me: What is your favorite holiday story? You can pick one m/m and one not if necessary. =)
Summer: My favorite non m/m story would be Elf on the Shelf! Such a great story! I just read The Christmas Throwaway by RJ Scott. I think it is my favorite mm Christmas story. I loved the characters and the plot swept me up.
Summer is a great up and coming author. She has released one story as a part of the Hot Summer Days Anthology, Lucky Boy. You can download it for free on goodreads.com!
Summer has given me the first chapter in a project she is working on right now called "Bell Jar Memories." Read on and I am sure you will add Summer to your list of authors to be on look out for! Don't forget to read to the end to find the trivia question!
Bell Jar Memories Chapter 1 by Summer Michaels
"Well, I'll be damned. My eyes must be playing tricks on me. Look honey, that man sitting at our bar looks like our long lost friend Aidan Matthews." I looked up from my iced coke at the two older gentlemen in front of me. Lou Valentine and his partner Hector Garcia had their arms slung around the other's backs. Lou's left eyebrow arched over his Irish green eyes, as if daring to make another excuse as to why I hadn't returned any of their phone calls.
"Hey guys, the place is packed tonight," I said looking around the Squall and trying to ignore their banter.
"He even sounds like our Aidan," Hector gasped. Hector's Mexican decent gave him a beautiful caramel complexion, his eyes were the most beautiful shade of brown I had ever seen. The copper color made it hard not to stare into his eyes when you had a conversation with him.
I threw my hands up in surrender, "Come on guys, I'm here celebrating tonight."
"Hell, if that's your celebration face, then I'm Tupac what's his name. You look like a fucking porcupine ready to harm the next person that comes within ten yards of you. Your scaring away my customers dammit," Lou yelled over the loud music. "Why haven't you returned our phone calls you little shit?" Leave it to Lou to get right down to business.
"Just been busy." I said stirring my drink.
"Bullshit." Lou spat. The truth was, I had been avoiding them, but not because they had done anything wrong. It was hard to be around them without realizing I could never have what the two of them shared together. Lou and Hector had been together longer than I've been alive. The more I saw them, the more I knew just how fucked up I really was.
"Leave him alone darling, look at the poor thing. He looks like shit." Hector said to Lou. Hector turned those piercing eyes to me, "You do honey, you look like shit I mean. Want to tell me what's got you so down?"
I looked away from his prying eyes and back to my ever so exciting coke. "Honestly, I'm here celebrating with the Quad tonight." I said, hoping he would accept my excuses and stop digging.
Trying to avoid the topic, I started to trace the anchor tattoo on my left forearm. It's not the only tattoo that decorates my body, it's the one that brought me here tonight. The anchor is solid black ink with a rainbow colored rope draped around it.
After attending our first Sailor Night at the Squall, Anchor Publishing got its name. Xara Harris, Charles Cunningham, Mara Talbot, and myself or the Quad as Lou refers to us as, started our own publishing company. Six years ago, we officially opened for business taking in submissions for our first anthology. Every year since, the four of us come out together for Sailor's Night.
None of us would have thought that discussing gay romance in our freshman English course at Columbia University would have turned into running and owning our own publishing company. Wanting to read more of the books we enjoyed, we all worked every horrible job a college student can manage, saving every penny we could. That's how I met Lou and Hector.
I met the couple a little over ten years ago as a college student looking for a second part time job. At first, Lou wanted to hire me as security, he always joked that if my six foot eight inch frame didn't scare customers to behave then my natural scrawl would do the trick. I begged and pleaded to be behind the bar. I needed the tip money badly. I lasted one week. I broke more bottles trying to sling beer than a bull in a china stop.
Lou and Hector loved each member of the Quad like family. We were the children they never had. "Everyone is here, somewhere," I said looking around the bar. Sailor's Night was one of the Squall's annual events. Hector, a former Navy man came up with the themed event in honor of his time served. Men everywhere wore their tightest and smallest sailor outfits. The crowd roared with excitement, the winner or should I say wiener of Long Dong Johnson was just crowned, Whack the Plank, a crowd favorite was about to begin.
Chucking, I said, "If I know Xara and Mara, they have front row seats for the games. They swear it's all for research. I'm going to go find everyone. It was great seeing you guys again." I said getting up from my perch.
Lou tossed down the rag and came around the bar. The man looked like a pissed off mama bear. He started to give me a hug, but when he saw me flinch, he must have remembered the first rule in the Aidan handbook. No touching. "Look," he whispered. "We both know something's going on with you. If you need anything, call. We love you, kid." The pleading tone almost had me ready to spill my guts. Almost.
"Our restaurant opens in a few months," Hector said coming up behind Lou. "Come by, tell us what you think of the menu. It wasn't easy trying to combine Irish and Mexican food on one menu, especially since Lou keeps firing every chef we hire after two days." Lou began to open his mouth to defend himself, but quickly shut his trap with the side glance Hector shot his way. "We need an honest opinion. Please, mijo. We don't have to talk about what's bothering you if you don't want. Just stop by."
"Fine." I said. My tone sharper than intended. "I'll stop by tomorrow, will that be okay?" I asked in a lighter voice.
"We will hold you to it Mijo. If not, we know where you live." Hector may have been joking, but I could tell by the look on Lou's face that there was no way I was going to squirm my way out of this.
I made my way to the second floor balcony and stood, arms resting on the cool rail overlooking the crowd. I scanned the club looking for the other members of the Quad. I easily spotted Xara and Mara on the dance floor. Their fingers were laced together as they danced. While they were both straight, they enjoyed spending their evening at a gay bar. Mara once said that she felt more relaxed here, than any other bar in New York.
Loud whistling and catcalls pulled everyone's attention to the stage. I looked to where the commotion was coming from to easily spotted Charles. I could tell by the way Charles was moving he'd already had several drinks. He was unbuttoning his green dress shirt slowly and seductively. His pelvis thrust with the beat of the song. Everyone in the club was mesmerized by him. Only in his early thirties, his salt and pepper hair made him look older, distinguished. He could easily give George Clooney a run for his money. Charles may have had the entire club staring at him, but there was only one man that held his gaze…Trenton Carter Cunningham.
Charles was the only Quad member married. He and Trenton wed in San Francisco a few years ago. Trenton watched as Charles slid his tie back and forth over his large bulge in the front of his pants. I could clearly make out the bulge even from where I was standing. Damn! He crawled to Trenton like a tiger about to pounce on his prey. When he reached him, Charles kissed the man like his last breath depended upon it. More whistles and catcalls rang out louder this time.
I couldn't help but feel jealous. I've always been so closed off to everyone in my life. Hell, I'm here celebrating in a packed bar, but I still feel alone. I could never bring myself to hug a member of the Quad no matter how much I wanted to. I cut myself off from everyone.
I watched the happy couple a little longer. Charles and Trenton were so open with their love. You could tell by the way they looked at one another, that they didn't just say affectionate words, but brought those words to life. Cheers turned into loud boos when Trenton picked Charles up in a fireman hold and carried him out the door. No illusions what the sexy couple would be up to later.
I needed to get out of here. I was starting to grow restless. Whenever I start to have a real emotion, I shut it down. But tonight I needed a release. My skin was itching for the only contact I allowed myself.
I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket, flipping it open to reveal a text message from Fracture.
Fights start at ten, you show…you fight.
My lifeline. Fracture is more my style of club, a secret fight club down by the warehouse district. Just like in the movie Fight Club, there are rules: No gloves, no mouthpiece, and no spectators. If you showed, you fought. The fight was only finished by knockout or the pussy way out, more known as a tap out.
A retired UFC fighter owned Fracture and held unsanctioned fights a few times a month. You only got a text if you had fought there before. There was no betting or screaming fans. Just raw fighting.
Lately, I felt I was living my life in a daze. I could easily see myself standing alone as thick fog surrounded me. I couldn't make out where I was or where I was going, I was simply lost. I could hear my friends and family all around me calling out, trying to reach me, but the fog was too dense. I knew no matter what they tried, they would never reach me. It had to be me to find a way back to them. I just didn't know how, but I could tell time was running out.
If you want to keep reading, Summer has posted Chapter 2 on her blog!! Go and check it out. =)
And today's trivia question: What super hero award did Summer receive from Project Smile?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your answers for one entry to win a mystery prize on Christmas Eve! It will be an additional copy of one of the books I am already giving away, so if you miss your chance the first time around this is your opportunity to get back in the game! Don't worry, if you won the mystery book the second time around, I will get you a different prize. =)
Also, don't forget that I am doing a drawing for a $10 giftcard on Christmas Day only if I reach 50 followers before then! So sign up to follow me; tell your friends to sign up to follow me; tell strangers to sign up to follow me!!!! ;)