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Recent Release – How to Bed a Millionaire by Dieter Moitzi

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: How to Bed a Millionaire

Author: Dieter Moitzi

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Dieter Moitzi

Release Date: July 7, 2021

Genre: Light M/M Summer Romance

Tropes: Friends to lovers, millionaire and poor student, summer romance

Themes: romance, love, comedy, summer, French Riviera, ritzy

Heat Rating: 1-2 flames

Length: 70 309 words/ 247 pages

This is book #1 of the Light Hearts Trilogy 

 Goodreads

 

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Kobo

 

A sunny-funny summer romance, first in the Light Hearts Trilogy

 

Blurb

Take a scrawny French student and a hunky housekeeper; put them in a swanky summer villa; add a pink car named Sean and a ruggedly handsome delivery man—and voilà a sunny-funny summer romance.

Twenty-year-old Trevor is overjoyed. An Australian millionaire offers him the summer job of his dreams: to catalog the library of his summer house in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat—one of the ritziest and most exclusive spots on the Côte d’Azur.

What unnerves him, however, is the presence of a young housekeeper who turns out to be as drop-dead gorgeous as he is stilted, obnoxious, and conspicuously straight. Of course, Trevor’s quirky sass and light-hearted banter soon create an atmosphere of crackling tension between the two men.

What if the housekeeper isn’t as straight as Trevor thinks? What if Trevor is just the kind of person that housekeeper has been looking for all his life? And what if things aren’t exactly what they seem?

 

Excerpt 

Here’s the thing: Dirk is a slut. 

No, scratch that. Dirk is the slut. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m saying this fondly. But it’s a fact, and he owns it. He thinks monogamy is the name of a board game.

We hooked up two years ago, you see. That’s when I learned about Dirk being a slut. The hard way. To call ours a brief affair would be an understatement. To say I was crushed when it was over before it had even begun, another. That’s because I’m a hopeless romantic. Meaning that after our first shag—which incidentally turned out to be our last one—I was ready to publish the banns.

Dirk, not so much.

To his defense, he never hides his sluttiness. He’s even very outspoken about it. Gives you the proper warning right from the start. I remember, when we had both climaxed and were mopping up the evidence glistening on our bodies, he told me casually, “Phew—that was great, Tyler!”

“Trevor.”

“Oh. Right. Trevor. By the way—don’t fall in love with me.”

My reaction consisted of… a great blank. I was speechless. Probably because falling in love was exactly what I’d had in mind.

Oblivious to my emotional turmoil, he went on to explain. “I don’t do long-term relationships. Why, I don’t even do short-term relationships. I normally just, you know, fuck. No strings attached, no follow-ups included.”

I nodded like a robot.

“But I think I like you. We should stay friends, shouldn’t we?”

We shook hands that had shaken other body parts some mere minutes ago, and I left with a poker face. Only back in my tiny, tiny flat did I burst into tears.

Eventually, I got over him. It took me a week, to be precise. Not because I have a heart of stone, but because Dirk made sure my suffering wouldn’t last longer. He did so by calling me several times over the next few days, initiating his habit of informing me in crudest detail about his latest conquests.

After a week, I stated, “You’re such a slut, Dirk.”

“Why, how sweet of you!” he replied, sincerely flattered.

He single-handedly cured me of my romantic streak, then and there. I’m still looking for Mr. Darcy, all right. You don’t change so radically overnight, or overfuck as it were. But I’ve stopped fancying myself in love each time I get laid. Although Dirk thinks otherwise, that happens occasionally. Even blind chickens pick up a grain from time to time, as they say.

Dirk is German, by the way. And he has this annoyingly attractive all-German boy thing going. You know, thick blond hair, blue eyes, high cheekbones, mischievous smile. He’s tall and well built, with bulging muscles and no body fat to speak of. He doesn’t even work out, which, I mean, how unjust can life get? Oh, he’s also very well endowed, if memory serves me. 

In other words, he’s a hung hunk. The guy who has it all and enjoys it, as he should.

What about me, you ask? Good question. I’m just your average dude. No one would describe me as hunky. For starters, I’m rather on the slender side. No, make that thin. Zero muscles embellishing my frame, no broad shoulders, just scrawniness wherever you look. I repeat, I do get laid. Some guys out there have a skinny kink, and what can I say? Lucky me.

My best features? Let me think. My eyes, maybe. They’re emerald green and come as a surprise because my hair is dark and my complexion, too. Cappuccino-ish. Americans with their fondness for all things binary and clear-cut would call me black. My mom is American, and darker than I, so I should know. Namely because she calls me black, but hey, that’s Mom.

Here in Europe I’d pass as a Mediterranean guy if it weren’t for the thick lips—“Perfect suck-me-off-lips” according to Dirk—and the very distinctive frizzy hair. The lips are okay. Whether they’re particularly suited for blowjobs or Dirk just had one of his racist moments isn’t for me to say. Never had any complaints in the oral department if you want the truth.

And my hair, well, I just love it the way it is. Hardly ever cut it, going for the good, ole Afro style. You can do so many cool things with a nice Afro, especially now guys have discovered that a man-bun is a thing.

Oh, talking about features I like about myself—let’s not forget my bum. The best thing I inherited from my mom’s far-away African ancestors, it’s firm and bouncy. Wet dreams material for gays with a bum fixation. This may come as a surprise to you, but they’re not in short supply.

Back to Dirk if you will. He’s great fun to have around: bitchy, lively, not a care in the world. Plus, he’s fiercely loyal to his friends. In a way. His way. That’s why he suggested me as his replacement for the Kinner job as soon as he had decided he’d prefer to spend his summer months with his aunt in Greece. That freaky woman has just invested her latest inheritance to buy a house somewhere on the Peloponnese coast and invited him to join her. 

“I simply can’t say no,” he told me. “Think of the beautiful landscapes. And the sea. And the food.”

“Think of the beautiful Greek guys,” I muttered.

“Exactly,” he replied. “So, will you go and meet that lady for the interview? Please?”

“All right. I’ll do it.”

I don’t know what shaky lie he told Mademoiselle Destrelle, and I’m not sure I want to know. I’m just glad she didn’t bring it up because there’s a chance Dirk’s mother is supposed to be fatally ill again. So far, she has recovered at least a dozen times from ailments as far-fetched as jugular fever and acute fartinosis. I kid you not. Try to keep a straight face when something like that comes up in a job interview!

 

 

About the Author 

Born in the early 70s, I grew up in a little village in Austria. At the age of 18, I moved to Vienna to get my master’s degree in Political Sciences, French, and Spanish. Today, I’m living in Paris, France, with my boyfriend and work as a graphic designer. 

In my spare time, I write, read, cook fancy recipes, take photos, and as often as I can, I travel (Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Egypt, the UK, and many more places). My literary tastes are eclectic, ranging from fantasy, murder mysteries, gay romances to dystopian novels, but I won’t say no to poetry or a history book either. I’m more a hoodie/jeans/sneakers kind of guy than a suit-and-tie chap. 

So far, I’ve published two short-story collections as well as four poetry collections. My first murder mystery novel “The Stuffed Coffin” has been released on January 6, 2019 and is also available in German and French. The French version has won the prestigious French Gay Murder Mystery Award 2019 (Prix du roman policier – Prix du roman gay 2019). My second novel “Till Death Do Us Part” was released on June 24, 2020. You can also find me on Rainbow Book Reviews, where I write book reviews under the pseudonym of ParisDude (for French reviews, have a look at my review site livresgay.fr). 

 

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook

 

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

New Release – The Good Ship Lollipop by Patrick Benjamin #KindleUnlimited

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Book Title: The Good Ship Lollipop

Author: Patrick Benjamin

Publisher:  KDP Publishing

Cover Artist: Rebecca Covers

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, Comedy

Trope/s: Love triangles, Frenemies

Themes:  Moving on, learning to love again

Heat Rating:  3 flames    

Length:  140 000 words/430 pages

It is a standalone book.

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Kyle must choose between the love of his past and the man he could love in the future

 

Blurb 

For fifteen years, Kyle and Dustin seemed like the perfect couple. That was until Kyle came home to discover Dustin in bed with a yoga instructor half his age and twice his flexibility. Two years and countless therapy hours later, Kyle has almost put the incident behind him. Being nearly forty and single makes a man bitter, but he’s making do.

Yet, when Kyle’s best friend asks him to be her Man of Honor, on her ten-day Caribbean wedding cruise, Kyle finds himself in a most uncomfortable situation. He ends up trapped on a seafaring vessel for ten days with the man who practically destroyed him.

Face to face with Dustin for the first time since the breakup, unresolved feelings float to the surface, and Kyle and Dustin both begin to wonder if their story is as over as it seems.

While navigating unchartered waters with Dustin, Kyle also meets Jax, a sexy Australian who likes to cruise in more ways than one. Kyle is more than happy to let Jax distract him for ten days. Still, when Jax suggests that he might want more than just a few days of fun, Kyle must choose between the love of his past or the man he could love in the future.

 

Excerpt 

No, absolutely not!” I nearly choked on a spinach leaf.

“You have to come,” Sapphire insisted. “I want you to be my Man of Honor.”

“A) That’s not a thing. B) The answer is still no.”

“I can’t get married without you.”

“Sure, you can. There’s no law against it. People do it all the time.”

When Sapphire offered to take me to lunch, I should have suspected something treacherous was afoot. Sapphire and I were like sisters. Sisters of different races and one of them with a penis, but sisters, nonetheless. Our relationship was something enormous and incomprehensible to most people. On paper, we had nothing in common. We had completely different backgrounds and cultural experiences that cultivated entirely different perspectives of the world around us. Despite those differences, we had found each other.

As close as we were, the girl had never offered to buy lunch. She seldom volunteered to pay for anything. That should have been warning number one. When she suggested my favorite Italian restaurant, Armando’s, that should have been warning number two. When she volunteered to foot the bill to attend her destination wedding cruise, I should have known to prepare myself for the Armageddon of bad news.

“You spent fifteen years with the man. What are ten more days?” She spoke with her hands. A piece of chicken flung off her fork and onto the table beside us. The senior couple, who were trying to enjoy their eighteen-dollar salads, glared at us like we each had two heads.

“I’m so sorry,” I mouthed to them.

“I can’t believe you would miss your best friend’s wedding over a tiny, little, uncomfortable inconvenience like this.”

“A cockroach infestation is a tiny inconvenience. Gonorrhea is uncomfortable. What you’re asking me to do is far worse.”

“Don’t be dramatic,” Sapphire said, waving her hand. “Dustin is not that bad.”

“Isn’t he?” He was too tall, too fit, too classically pretty, and all too aware of the fact. He was narcissistic and untrustworthy, but he was also charming and exceptionally good at putting on an innocent act. He could flash his white teeth and his dimples and get people to believe anything he wanted. Still, if you looked into his eyes, you could tell he was soulless.

“Why would you want everyone to join you on your honeymoon, anyway?” I shifted focus. “I hate to tell you this, but if you can’t stand to be alone with Justin for ten days, you probably shouldn’t marry him.”

“Very funny,” she said dryly. “I want everyone there because I want my wedding to be an experience. An amazing memory we can all look back on together.” 

 “I am not spending ten days, on a tiny boat, in the middle of the Caribbean, with him.”

“It’s a cruise ship,” she corrected. “Besides, you won’t be with Dustin. You’ll be with me.”

“Lies!” I wasn’t buying any of it. “I know exactly what will happen. You and Justin will be too busy enjoying your Caribbean honeymoon to spend any time with me. Then I’ll be trapped, in the middle of the ocean, with no one to talk to except Beelzebub’s concubine.”

“He’s not going to be the only other person there, you know. Several other people will be in our group. You can make one of them your wingman. My father loves you. You can hang-out with him.”

“Honey, don’t take this the wrong way. If I’m on an exotic vacation, and the only man who wants to spend time with me is your sixty-five-year-old arthritic father, I might drown myself in a bathtub.”

“Don’t be silly,” Sapphire dismissed. “You’ll be surrounded by water. There’d be no need to draw a bath.”

I did not look amused.

“I can’t believe you’re still so angry. It’s been over a year.” It had been eighteen months since the breakup, and yes, I was still harboring, hurting, and hating. 

I hadn’t seen or spoken to Dustin since the incident. As instructed, he had been gone when I returned to the apartment. With Sapphire’s help and some very strategic planning, I had avoided him throughout the entire decoupling process.

I left yellow Post-it Notes on everything he could take and was extremely vindictive about it. He could have the Blu-ray player, but not the discs or the TV. He could take the kitchen table, but not the chairs. I even kept the Keurig, though I permitted him to take his pods. What kind of monster drank decaf anyway? I also instructed Sapphire to guard the jazz record collection with her life. I detested jazz music, and we both knew it. I planned to pawn or destroy the albums later.

The first few weeks after the breakup, Dustin tried tirelessly to communicate with me. He sent me text messages that I didn’t answer and left voice mails that I refused to listen to. Dustin tried everything short of smoke signals. He even sent me an old-fashioned letter, which I didn’t open and burned immediately. I had nothing to say to him and had no desire to hear what he had to say to me. I had never been an incredibly trusting person, and his betrayal had reinforced all those walls that I had been trying, for years, to dismantle.

Being the forgiving person she was, Sapphire tried to convince me to give Dustin a second chance. Still, I refused, steadfast in my determination that he’d had his chance. Since then, she had been careful not to mention him. Even though I knew full well that she saw him regularly. He was her fiancé’s twin brother. She had to remain cordial. I did not and had no intention of ever being so.

“You simply have to come. We’re going to so many beautiful islands: Turks and Caicos, Bonaire, St. Thomas, and Aruba. You’ve always wanted to go to Aruba.”

That was true, but still, “If you put us on a ship together, I promise you, I will throw him overboard.”

She smiled wide, her teeth gleaming white against the contrast of her chocolate skin. “That’s fine! Just promise you’ll make it look like an accident.”

“Duh,” was the most mature response I could muster. “I don’t want to end up someone’s bitch in a Caribbean prison.” 

“Don’t you, though?”

Dirty, prison sex would have been the most action I’d seen in a while. Thirty-nine may have been young by hetero standards, but in the queer world, I was practically a spinster. Being classified as an elder gay meant that my dating pool had been reduced to a few categories. First, those men who were so weird or creepy that nobody wanted them, or second, those who were so bitter and jaded by relationships past that dating them was like trying to build a house out of straw. I was a card-carrying member of category two.

Of course, there was always a third group. Younger men. They were excellent in theory, with their zero percent body fat and their permanent erections. However, too often, their perfect bodies and sexual appetites only camouflaged the fact that they lacked any real substance. If brains were dynamite, most of them couldn’t blow their nose. There were always exceptions. Old souls that knew how to converse about more than just Rhi-Rhi’s new album or T-Swizzle’s latest boyfriend. Those younger men wanted more than sugar daddies. Though, I still couldn’t imagine having enough in common with someone who hadn’t even been alive during the original run of Friends.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t get a date. Even close to forty, I was still cute. Not as attractive as I was at twenty, but I wasn’t a hunchback or anything. My deep green eyes matched my red hair, which I kept cropped short to avoid the bozo-clown-realness it would become if left to grow-out. I was tall and still decently shaped, a little thicker in some places than I’d prefer, but that came with age. At least, that’s what I told myself. I had a good understanding of where that put me in the queer hierarchy. Guys would still bang me; they just wouldn’t brag about it anymore. 

Admittedly, the realization that I was no longer prime real estate took some getting used to. Before Dustin, I had been a penthouse in Manhattan, but after fifteen years in couple-town, I was shocked to discover I was now a brownstone in Queens. Next stop? Condemned building in Jersey!

That being said, I was optimistic about my life, even if it meant spending it alone.

“The ship is huge,” Sapphire was still talking. “You won’t even really have to see each other. There are also excursions at every port: zip-lining, snorkeling, hikes, surfing. Come on. You can orbit around each other for ten days without committing a violent felony.”

“Great, so I can spend the entire time by myself?”

“There’s going to be thousands of people on this ship. It’s a floating city. If you’re so worried about being by yourself, you could always try making friends.”

“You’ve known me for twenty years. Am I the type of person who makes friends?”

I was about to find out.

 

About the Author  

This is Patrick Benjamin’s second novel. He was excited to try his hand at something lighter and more humorous than his debut novel (The Road Between). Patrick can most often be found spending quiet evenings at home with his husband, Jarrett and his puppy, Dax. When he’s not writing, Patrick can often be seen performing on stage as his glamorous drag persona Tequila Mockingbird. He also volunteers on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization that has proudly served the LGBTQ2S+ community for 45 years.

 

Author Link

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New Release – Sort of Dead by Rob Rosen #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Sort of Dead

Author: Rob Rosen

Publisher: JMS Books

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs 

Release Date: October 31, 2020

Genre/s:  Contemporary M/M Romance, Paranormal M/M Romance,

M/M Romantic Comedy, M/M Mystery

Trope/s: Ghost story

Themes: Redemption, unfinished business

Heat Rating:  3 flames  

Length: 65 200 words/ 182 pages

It is a standalone story.

Goodreads 

 

Buy Links

JMS Books  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

Because sometimes it takes dying to have the time of your life.

 

Blurb

Nord wakes up to find himself sort of dead. Well, that is to say, he’s dead, alright—murdered, in fact—but not in heaven, at least not yet. In this limbo-like state, he meets Max and learns that everyone there is waiting for the final poof, hopefully to a better place. Only, with unfinished business back in the real world, like bringing his murderer to justice, Nord’s poof is nowhere in sight. And so, he and Max set out to find the killer and make things right again. Of course, that’s easier said than done when you’re nothing more than a couple of randy spirits.

With the help of Voltan, a diminutive mystic with a predilection for turbans, and Clark, a nerdy computer geek eager to shed his loner past, plus a ghost accountant, Bruce, Bruce’s drag queen brother, Eve O’Destruction, and Nord’s kick-ass mom, the newly enamored pair set out to hunt for the murderer, and are quick to discover how much they’d taken for granted when they were alive. 

In this hysterically funny and often poignant mystery about fate and love and family, it ultimately takes dying for our heroes to have the times of their lives.

 

Excerpt 

I woke with a start and stared up at the ceiling. “That’s weird,” I said. “Where’s my ceiling fan?” I blinked. I blinked again. I thought to make it a trio, but then realized I hadn’t blinked the first two times—which is to say, I blinked but there wasn’t that whole ceiling, no ceiling, ceiling, no ceiling thing, which is what happens when I blink and I’m staring up at my ceiling. Not that what I was staring at was a ceiling to begin with, but still.

I continued staring up. I supposed what I was staring at was white, given that it looked white, and I supposed that what I was staring up at was a ceiling because, give or take, most ceilings are white, mine included, but the white I was staring at sort of shifted around a bit. FYI, my ceiling didn’t do that, except perhaps when I was drunk.

“Did I get drunk last night?” I asked myself. Only, I couldn’t remember last night. I couldn’t remember going to sleep, even. I remembered waking, but that was it. And I didn’t feel drunk. In fact, I felt great. Better than great, actually. Blissful would’ve been a good word for it. Light, too. As if I’d been weighed down and now I wasn’t. “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty—”

“You can try, but He doesn’t seem to listen,” I heard, then jumped in place.

My head whipped right. Nothing. My head whipped left. “Um, how did you get in my…” My what? This wasn’t my room. This wasn’t my ceiling. Was what was above me a ceiling anyway? “Wait, who doesn’t seem to listen?”

The man to my left grinned. He looked about my age, early thirties, give or take, nice looking guy, too. Very Bradley Cooper like, stunning blue eyes and all. He was prone. He was lying next to me. He was naked. I stared down at my body. I, too, was naked. I continued staring down. There was no bed. There was my body, there was his body, there was that shifting white. “Don’t freak out,” he said.

My heart wasn’t madly pumping in my chest and I wasn’t sweating, but I felt like I was freaking out, nonetheless. Especially because my heart should’ve been madly pumping and I generally start to sweat when I’m freaking the fuck out. All that is to say, I was FREAKING THE FUCK OUT!

“I’m freaking the fuck out!” I shouted his way. “Who are you? Where are we? Why is the wall and ceiling and floor shifting?” I blinked. It felt like I blinked, but I didn’t get the right effect again. “And where are my fucking eyelids?”

“You get used to that,” he replied.

I sat up. That is to say, I tried to sit up. Only, I didn’t think I was actually lying down, and you can’t sit up if you’re not lying down to begin with. “Stop the ride,” I squeaked out, “I want to get off.”

I was still staring at him. He was still grinning. “Give it a minute,” he said. “Takes about five minutes for all of it to right itself.”

“All? What all?” I continued staring. It seemed like a minute went by. I was no longer lying there. I was standing. He was standing next to me. The not-a-ceiling was now not-a-wall, and it was still shifting, and I was, duh, still freaking out, fuck and all.

“You were lying down before you got here, so it seemed like you were lying down when you arrived. Get it?” He said it very comfortingly. I felt less than comforted. Very. 

“Dude—”

“Max.” He held out his hand. I shook it. I felt his hand in mine. There was indeed comfort in that.

“Nordstrom,” I said.

He laughed. He had a nice laugh. He had a nice grin. Max seemed nice. “Did your mom have a penchant for upscale shopping?”

I shook my head. “I was born in one. And my mom had a penchant for making sure I was teased well into adulthood.” I let go of his hand. “Nord. My friends call me Nord. Otherwise, they don’t get a Christmas present.”

 

About the Author 

Rob Rosen is the a author of the award-winning novels Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love, Divas Las Vegas, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, Queerwolf, Vamp, Queens of the Apocalypse, Creature Comfort, Fate, Midlife Crisis, Fierce, And God Belched, Mary, Queen of Scotch, Ted of the d’Urbervilles, and Sort of Dead, and editor of the anthologies Lust in Time, Men of the Manor, Best Gay Erotica 2015, and Best Gay Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4.

 

 

Social Media Links

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New Release – Atonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes by Evan J. Corbin #KindleUnlimited

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Atonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes

Author: Evan J. Corbin

Publisher: Atonement Book, LLC

Cover Artist: The Book Cover Whisperer

Release Date: September 3, 2020 for the print book and September 17, 2020 for the eBook.

Genre/s: Contemporary LGBTQ Fiction; Speculative Fiction; Humour

Trope/s: Fish-out of water comedy

Themes: Coming out, cultural assimilation

Heat Rating:  2 flames     

Length:  70 600 words/ 283 pages

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited and Paperback

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Atonement Camp.

Pastor Harris is only going to save his career.

But while he doesn’t want to be there, a change of heart may be just what he needs…

 

Blurb

The oldest translation of a Gospel is returned to the world by a secret society long dedicated to its preservation.  In it, Jesus explicitly condemns bigotry and homophobia. In a new world in which LGBTQ passengers receive preferential boarding for flights and the United States has elected its first lesbian President, Pastor Rick Harris is stalwart, closeted preacher who doggedly holds onto his increasingly unpopular convictions.

When an incendiary sermon goes too far and offends an influential family, Rick makes a painful choice to keep his job:  He attends an atonement camp run by drag queens for society’s most unrepentant and terminally incurable homophobes.

Atonement Camp is immersion therapy for Pastor Harris, and it might be working. An open bar with pedicures, a devastatingly attractive roommate and an endless supply of glitter help him manage to make new friends. Soon, Rick and his cohorts learn the camp may hold its own secrets.  Amid the smiling faces and scantily clad pool boys who staff the camp, a clandestine group plots to discredit the New Revelation and everything it stands for.

If Rick has the conviction to confront his own hypocrisy, he might be able to uncover the conspirators with help from his adopted flock—and find new truths within himself.

 

Excerpt 

Chapter 1

Northern Syria

It was just after sunrise. The call to prayer from the nearby city’s rooftop loudspeakers receded as Dr. Michael Donahue’s driver left a familiar road for the makeshift trails that led deep into the desert. One faith bridged to the next, he thought. Before long, he wouldn’t need the light jacket, but he wore it anyway. It was a mysterious quest, and he tugged the jacket tight around his chest.

The jeep bounced over the rough terrain as Dr. Donahue carefully poured hot water from his thermos over his yerba mate leaves. His second mate would be less bitter than the first. Each time he made a fresh tea, the leaves lost more of their bitterness to the boiling water. The same leaves could be used again and again any given morning. It reminded him of his profession. Archeology was the sober study of the forgotten—people who lived, laughed, suffered, and died, their history diluted by each passing year. Dr. Donahue was determined to learn as much as he needed to reanimate their past with subtle detail, adding context to what would otherwise be merely more than a list of dates and details for his undergraduates to memorize before a test.

As promised, a man stood by the still-empty dig site. He was dressed in a Western style—no keffiyeh or other head dressing. With short sleeves and rugged boots, his attire was more practical than fashionable. Dr. Donahue always appreciated utility and function above much else. He acknowledged that his estimation of the man’s credibility was thus-far unearned, but he nonetheless felt more comfortable in the company of the familiar. 

The site had been Dr. Donahue’s home for most of the past year. His team would return after Ramadan. Dr. Donahue’s research specialization centered almost primarily around the early Christian era. He took a certain guilty pleasure in casually admitting his atheism each semester to the newest crop of freshman at his university in Washington, D.C. Like all things, he saw it as a learning opportunity. One is not excused from understanding something just because they don’t agree with it, he’d remind them. The site itself was an early Christian refuge under the Roman Empire. Forgotten by time, but now rediscovered. Painstakingly, he and his team would uncover artifacts and consider what stories they told about the people who made them. Dust from the jeep’s tires made a gritty fog that enveloped the air. Dr. Donahue squinted, his eyes already dry. He coughed and plodded through the sand to the man silently awaiting his arrival.

“Dr. Donahue.” The professor extended his hand to the stranger.

The man took his hand and smiled. “Thank you for coming. Your research associate mentioned your name last year when he worked with us, and we immediately knew we needed to meet with you.”

Dr. Donahue fanned the remaining traces of the sand from his face. “We?”

The man flashed a half smile. “Consider us like yourself, Professor. Archeologists.”

“I would assume, but that doesn’t answer my question.”

The man chuckled. “By the end of the day, I expect that to change. Come. Follow me,” he beckoned.

Still confused, the professor followed the man down the makeshift stairs to the dig site.

“We’re not certain where it was found,” the man said, waving his arm over the site, “but this is likely close and as good a spot as any.”

“What, exactly, was found?”

The man frowned. “Technically, it was never lost. Let me be more precise. This is where it will be rediscovered.”

The professor felt his frustration growing. “What, and by whom?”

The man turned to face the professor, still smiling. “The oldest copy of the Gospel of Mark ever discovered. I’m what we refer to as a Custodiana group of people committed to protecting this draft as we have done for more generations than our history may account for.”

The professor’s jaw dropped. He looked for answers in the man’s eyes to questions he could not manage to formulate.

“Every truth has its season, professor,” the man said, lowering himself to sit next on an empty crate near an assortment of digging tools. “This region has been plagued with war. We fear that if the artifact is not returned to the world now, it may never be.”

If his research associate hadn’t already vouched so strongly for the meeting, the professor was certain he would have already left the madman in another cloud of obscuring sand. Instead he asked: “Why have you kept it in the first place?”

“It contains a passage not found in any modern text. What’s the American expression? ‘One man’s waste is another man’s treasure’? That’s how our forefathers saw it. They saw something worthy of protection until the world was ready for the message. That time is now.”

Dr. Donahue smiled. His birthday was the following week, and the realization that his research associate might have set this up as an elaborate practical joke began to seem like the most likely explanation. It wouldn’t be out of character for him, he thought.

“So, where is it?” he asked, playing along.

The man pointed to a black chest. Taking the bait, Dr. Donahue carefully lifted the lid, expecting some puppet to pop out and exclaim “Happy Birthday!” Instead, the heavy lid creaked open to reveal a scroll bound in plastic and wound over on itself. His smile faded. Even without the aid of his radiocarbon dating equipment, he could tell the document was old. Very, very old.

 

About the Author 

Evan is a member of the LGBTQ community who fancies himself as a playboy socialite, living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Between work and lucid moments of sobriety, he writes a little.  His debut novel is a light-hearted work that still manages to confront religious hypocrisy and contemporary LGBTQ struggles to balance their loss of culture with new-found civil rights.  His friends say the book is great!  Hopefully, you will as well.

 

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