Let's celebrate the Supreme Court's decision today! Equality in marriage for all!
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Release date for Freshman Blues is on the 3rd! I'll be hosting an event on the Dreamspinner blog on the 3rd, and then on the Dreamspinner FB page on the 7th, so stop by for a chance to win one of these free print copies!
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
It had been a frantic hour since leaving the slums. He had run into Saul at the stables, and been told that Thorn had gone looking for him.
Gone looking for him. The words had warmed the last bits of worried ice in Kenneth’s heart. Thorn wanted him too.
And when he saw him on the road, he felt the familiar flare of magic, warming his body and making Jade’s pounding hooves feel like he was gliding on air.
He stopped when he got close, staring at his lover. It had only been a few hours, but it felt longer. His magic thrummed beneath his skin, as though it too was glad to see his lifemate again. Thorn was beautiful in the evening air, his head cocked as though waiting for something, his eyes sparkling with what Kenneth hoped was happiness.
“You didn’t get very far, did you?” he said with a small smile.
“I…you said you needed time to think.” Kenneth chose his words carefully. “I wanted to give you time, but I did some thinking of my own. I know you don’t need me. You’re an independent, wonderful man, and I know that me being a mage might create problems. But its your independence that makes me love you.” His cheeks warmed. “You’re my equal, Thorn. You’re any mage’s equal. Don’t let anyone else make you think differently. Your choices should be made yourself, just as mine are.”
Thorn twisted the reins in his hand, his gaze distant for a moment. “It’s good to hear that,” he said. He patted his horse’s neck, then dismounted, hopping down on the ground. Kenneth followed suit, very aware of Thorn’s nearness.
“I know you’re right,” Thorn continued. “I’ve always made my own choices. But I always think…what would my parents think?” his smile slipped for a moment. “I know its foolish. So many people who’s parents are alive rebel against them and their wishes for their children. But I do want to honor the memory of those who’ve gone before. We talentless don’t get to do that with surnames, so we cling to memories, I suppose.” He shrugged, Kenneth’s heart going out to him.
“Your parents, I’m sure, would want you to be happy,” Kenneth said. “I know mine wish that for me, no matter what. Things will work out.”
“I know,” Thorn said. He turned to Kenneth. “It’s just that fool George put concerns in my head, about my parents and other talentless and…everything, really. But it was a moment of weakness, that’s all.”
“Not weakness,” Kenneth said. “You could never be weak.” Thorn was stronger than any mage Kenneth had every known. Most talentless, Kenneth had to admit, probably were too. All he had learned in this short week proved that several times over.
“I do love you, Kenneth,” Thorn said. “And I’m glad I get to make that choice.”
Kenneth’s heart swelled, and he moved forward, going to envelop Thorn into a hug. Thorn hugged him instead, the inventor’s arms crushingly strong and his body strong and firm against Kenneth’s.
“I know things won’t always be easy, but love never is,” Thorn whispered. “Is it?”
Kenneth didn’t answer right away, letting himself be folded into Thorn’s arms. He knew things would get tougher in the future. He had no idea what sort of challenges would face them, both as men and then as Enforcers. But he was sure they could handle it.
“If it were easy, it wouldn’t be as rewarding,” he finally said, and Thorn laughed before pulling him into a slow, languid kiss, his lips soft, and then his tongue warm and slick against Kenneth’s.
"C'mon," Thorn said, his voice husky. "Let's go back to my place."
Friday, June 19, 2015
***Available Now from Dreamspinner Press***
Phillip Jorgensen tried to live the straight life and ended up divorced. But he wouldn’t trade his two kids, Jacob and Samantha, for the world. His ex-wife has kidnapped them and he's been searching for them for six long years. But he’s not giving up—never, not for anything. His twin brother has encouraged him to start living again, but how is he going to find romance with all his baggage?
When he meets Vance Pierce at the new gym, Phillip sees a chance to find some happiness.
Phillip has to explain the whole sordid mess to Vance and pray that he understands that he’ll never stop looking for his children. That’s easier said than done. Telling Vance might be risky. Is their connection strong enough to convince Vance to stay? Or will he think that Phillip is too damaged to love? This is Phillip's chance at the life he never thought he could have. But is it possible?
Bree was pulled away from him, and he was doused from head to toe in ice-cold water. He wiped his face and turned, only to be met by his brother’s laughing face.
“Hey there, little brother.” Robert smirked and pointed the hose at him.
“You’re so going to pay for that.” Phillip advanced. He was already drenched. It wasn’t like Robert could get him any wetter. “And you’re how much older? That’s right, ten minutes.”
“I’m still older.” Robert grinned evilly. He covered the tip of the hose with his thumb, and the ensuing spray engulfed Phillip. “Do you really think you can best me?”
“I think so,” Phillip answered with a mischievous grin as his gaze settled on movement behind Robert. Bree and Corey had gotten their hands on the other hose and were sneaking up on their dad. “You are going to get so wet,” Phillip warned. Seconds later the kids turned the hose on Robert, causing him to drop his own hose as he yelled in surprise. Phillip dove for it and proceeded to help them drench their dad. “You give yet?”
“Never.” Robert roared playfully. He launched himself at his brother, sending them both sprawling in the mud and struggling to gain control of the hose. Childish laughter reached their ears and water showered down on them, courtesy of Bree and Corey.
“On the count of three, you get Bree,” Robert whispered to his brother as they wrestled in the mud.
“Sounds good.” Phillip kept his own voice low enough that he couldn’t be overheard. They maneuvered until they were in a position where they could get to their feet quickly.
“One… two… three,” Robert yelled, and Phillip lunged to his feet next to Robert.
Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of admin and Anthology Coordinator.
Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works. When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts.
When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.
* * *
Friday, June 5, 2015
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Thorn’s feet thudded against the floor of the hallway, and the thuds turned to a steady rap as his path took him outside on the gravel of the entranceway, and finally to the stone path that led to the stables.
The fresh scent of hay and horses met his nose, and one of the animals whickered at him as he headed toward the far stalls.
His heart sank. He should have known. Jade's stall was empty. Kenneth was gone.
He whirled at the voice. Saul stood at the entrance, and his friend beckoned him out of the back of the stables. The day had wound on toward evening, the sun sending the sky into the red of a furnace with the promise of the purples of late dusk coming soon. By now Kenneth was probably back at the collegium already.
“Are you alright, Thorn?” Saul asked.
“I…yes. I’m alright.” He couldn’t help but look back at the empty stall where Jade had once stood.
“Kenneth left.” Saul’s words stung, even if they were obvious. Thorn looked down at the ground, at the dust on the floor of the stables that Kenneth must have walked through a short time ago. He hoped Kenneth wasn’t too angry. Or too sad.
“What happened, exactly, Thorn?” Saul asked.
The words brought back the confusion and uncertainty, but only for a moment. Thorn sighed, leaning back against the wooden wall of the stable. “George,” he said after a few moments. “It was a stupid…a stupid thing he did, and a stupid choice on my part. He broke some stuff in my room.” Saul’s eyes widened. “A gift Kenneth had gotten me. I got…scared, I guess, or angry. I told Kenneth to go.” He regretted it even more all of a sudden, the pain a twist in his shoulders.
“He did leave,” Saul said, and Thorn frowned. “I talked to him, though.” Thorn looked up. “He didn’t tell me much. But…” Saul rolled his shoulders, his artificial leg thudding against the floor as he shifted his weight. “Well, I know you’re hurting, or upset about George. But Kenneth…he only left because you asked him to, for what that’s worth.” Saul met Thorn’s eyes. “He’s not afraid of George. He just wants you to be happy. He loves you, you know. He told me.”
The words both warmed and stabbed Thorn’s heart. He had sent him away, stupidly, in shock at something someone else who didn’t even matter had done. “I know,” he said. And he did love Kenneth. He was certain of it now. Mages, talentless...it didn't matter. It never should have mattered.
He had to go after him. He moved away from his spot against the wall.
“What will you do?” Saul asked. “He’s a mage. Your life is going to change, a lot, if you live with him.”
“I know that too,” Thorn said. But now, it seemed somehow less important. “But who’s life doesn’t change after they find the person they love?”
Saul smiled. “You’d better go find him, then.”
Thorn nodded. It would be dark soon enough, but he knew the way to the collegium. Kenneth had wanted to stay with Thorn for a week, and that wouldn’t change.
He turned back, unlatching a familiar stall. Behind him, Saul called “Good luck.”
Soon enough, he was mounted up on Chocolate and heading away from the college, toward the road that would take him back to the magi collegium. The air had grown unseasonably cool, and beneath the shade of the buildings that made up the slums of his hometown, he shivered.
Saul supported their relationship, in his own way. Saul, a man who had every reason to fear mages. The thought made Thorn smile. George may not be able to see Kenneth’s kindness, his understanding, but Saul could.
If enough talentless could see the good in it, or at least more than those like George who couldn’t see past the war, then it would be fine. For a time, he wondered what his parents would have thought of Kenneth, had they survived.
But that didn’t matter. The past didn’t matter, or at least it shouldn’t.
Hoofbeats clattered on the road behind him, and he pulled Chocolate to a stop, craning to look.
The first thing he made out was Jade’s sleek, shiny green halter in the fading light of the dusk, and then the sight of his lover galloping towards him filled him with joy.