Going the Extra Mile – Eric’s Story

In June, 2013 MLR Press released my very first story, 500 Miles. Becky Condit of did a special event for the release and set up donations to the Wounded Warrior Project for every comment received. In total, we donated $117 to the project and thank everyone for their support. That special event included “Going the Extra Mile – Eric’s Story”. Eric was a secondary character in 500 Miles. Mark’s brother and Jase’s best friend, he garnered a few people who really liked him and wanted something from his viewpoint.


I paced the length of the room, anxious to receive any news about Shannon. I scrubbed my fingers through my hair for the umpteenth time, feeling the sweat that was matting it down coating my shaking digits.
“Eric, will you please sit down? You’re making me nervous. And believe me, you do not want me to start pacing.”

I turned to face Jase, my best friend since we were little kids. He gave me a wicked smile. I felt a grin tugging at the corner of my mouth.

“It’s going to be fine, bro. Shannon’s only been in there six hours. They said it could be quite a bit longer. Come over here and sit down.”

My brother, Mark, patted the couch. I trudged over and sat next to him. Jase joined us a few moments later. I was sandwiched between the two men who meant the most to me in my life.

“I don’t think I’m ready for this,” I moaned.

Both of the traitors laughed, but silenced quickly when I shot them a look.

“Maybe you should have thought about that before you went and got her pregnant.”

That made me laugh out loud. I turned to Mark and could see how tired he was. I had woken him up at three in the morning after all. Jase had come after his shift ended, and we all set up camp in the waiting room.

“I’m not sure I can do this. I don’t know anything about being a father,” I told my brother. “I might be okay with one, but twins?”

“You’ll be great. You’re both going to be the most amazing parents any kid ever had. Mom and Dad are so proud of you.”

I felt my face warm. “Mom always said that when I had kids she was going to spoil them rotten, just for a little payback from the trouble we caused her.”

Mark sucked in a breath. “I never caused her problems. You and Jase always seemed to be the ones who got into messes. Remember the time that the two of you went sledding down Peak’s Hill? You said anyone could do it forward and swore you guys could do it backward. She was so pissed when you broke your arm.”

“Yeah, did you ever bother to tell her that you dared us? No, pretty sure that didn’t happen.”

Jase chuckled. “If you remember, I was the one who talked you out of telling her.”

I hugged my brother and then turned to Jase. “Thank you both for being here. I don’t think I could have handled this on my own. Both of you have been lifesavers.”
God knows the therapy was helping, but I still woke up some nights disoriented and crying. Shannon had held me enough times to know what she was getting into, but I still hated her seeing me being so weak. She didn’t want me in the delivery room with her because she was worried I might not be able to handle it. Mom told me she would be there and hold my wife’s hand.

“I’m glad that Mom came in early,” Mark said. “She had to go buy out the toy store before she left. Dad said he rolled his eyes at her, but told me he put a few things in the basket himself. It’s nice having her here. Dad’s going to be along later today.”

My family was amazing. Growing up, I knew people who had parents split up. Most of them were bitter teens, wondering if they were worthy of love. My folks were very tight and loving. They always had our backs, but both of us know never to step out of line.

I faced my brother. “Mark? Do you think Shannon and I will really be as good as Mom and Dad?”

I don’t think I had ever seen such a serious expression on his face before. “You will be. We have great role models. I’ve seen you and Shannon. Jase and I know how badly you wanted the baby. I can say without a doubt that you two will have a baby that knows nothing but love their whole life.”

I don’t think Mark could know how badly I needed to hear those words. “So what about you, Jase? When do you plan on having a baby?”

Jase’s eyes lit up. “Well, I’m not sure how that would work out. I guess there’s always Hasti.” As soon as he said it, his eyes went wide and I knew he regretted it.

Mark growled and pulled away. Hasti was one thing we never talked about. Ever.

“Sorry, Mark. I didn’t mean to hurt—”

Mark cut him off. “It’s fine,” he spat. He stalked to the door and pushed his way through it.

I turned back to Jase. “Yeah, that was bright.”

Jase had the decency to blush. “It slipped out. I didn’t mean to upset him. I’ll go talk with him.”

I put my hand on his shoulder. “It’s fine. I think he needs me more right now.”

I found Mark standing by a soda machine, kicking it when it wouldn’t give him the bottle of water he wanted.

“He didn’t mean it, you know.”

He gave a slight shrug. “I know. I just don’t like hearing about her. He knows what she did to my life.”

“Mark, you need to let it go. Seriously.”

“You don’t think I haven’t tried? When Jase came home I thought things would go back to normal, but she’s always there. Every time I look at him she’s there.”

I shook my head. “Mark, you know she—”

“I know!” he shouted. “That’s what makes it all the worse. In my head I know it’s not right to be angry about it, but it hurts.”

I pulled him into a hug. “Let it out, Mark. Tell him that you’re angry. Stop holding it in. It’s not going to get any better if he doesn’t know why you’re upset.”
He pulled back and wiped his sleeve across his runny nose.

“Yeah, this. See? This is why you’re going to make a great dad. You’ve got a great head on your shoulders and you care.”

I pulled him to my chest again. “I love you. You and Jase mean everything to me. I may not always say it, but it’s true.”

I heard the soft, uneven footsteps coming from behind me. I turned to find Jase standing behind us.

“I’m sorry, Mark. That was stupid of me. I really didn’t mean to hurt you.”

Mark smiled. “I know. We’ll talk about it later, okay?”

Jase shook his head. “No, I need to say this. What I said? It was wrong. I never should have brought up a painful memory. I was a dick and I hope you can forgive me.”

Mark’s eyes brightened a bit. I gave him a shove in Jase’s direction.

“Hug it out, guys,” I told them. I got a warm feeling throughout my body when they did. I knew that no matter what else, we would all move beyond that difficult period in our lives.

We went back to the waiting room and …well… waited. And waited. Dad came in, gifts in hand, asking if we’d gotten any news. Mark shook his head and he took Dad for some coffee. Finally, after eighteen hours a slender, way too perky nurse came in. “Mr. James? Your wife is asking for you. You can bring your family if you’d like.”

The four of us went to Shannon’s room. She looked exhausted, weak, and oh my God, she had never looked lovelier than when she was holding our baby. She gave us a watery smile when we circled the bed. Mom was holding my other son, looking so proud of her new grandchildren. Dad walked over to Mom’s side and pulled her in close.

“Hey babe,” I said quietly, rubbing my fingers over her cheek, “how you doing?”

She crooked her finger, beckoning me closer. “Hi,” she said weakly. “I just wanted to let you know, after this? Yeah, you’re never getting sex again.”

Mark and Jase started laughing so hard that the nurse had to tell them to be quiet. They were sheepish and offered their apologies several times. Shannon handed me the baby.

“It’s twin boys,” she told me sleepily.

I looked into the sweet, red faces of my newborn sons and I knew peace. Even when they started squalling in unison.

“Have you guys decided on names yet?” Jase asked.

I looked to Shannon who gave a sleepy nod.

I turned back to my brother and my best friend and happily announced, “I’d like to introduce you to Mark Fletcher and Jason Daniel James.”

Both of them looked at me, their eyes watering.

“Why?” Mark finally asked.

“Because my family saved me,” I told them. “Without having the two of you in my life, this little guy might never have been born. The babies will have your first names and Dad and Shannon’s father’s names as their middle names.”

“It was my idea,” Shannon said, stifling a yawn. “You gave me a gift I can never repay. This is my way of saying thank you.”

I placed the baby back in Shannon’s arms before Mark and Jase drew me into a group hug. Looking at the faces of my family, the most important people in my life, I was grateful for the chance at life that Jase had given me and the lease on life Mark renewed.

“I love you all,” I said. “I’m glad you could be here for this.”

Shannon reached out and put her hand on my arm. “We have an awesome family,” she informed me.

I gazed around the room and smiled. My past was here, as was my present, and my wife held our future in her hands. If I could go back and talk to myself when I was a kid, gung-ho about joining the Army, seeing the world, keeping it safe, I realized that despite what happened to Jase, how it affected my family? I would tell myself not to change a thing.

Because our lives were going to be perfect.

Why do I write romance?

Whether I’m writing young adult as Will Parkinson or scribing something a tad racier as Parker Williams, the reason I write what I do doesn’t change: People need to see others like themselves.

When I wrote Pitch, I did it because when I was a teen, there were no books about growing up gay. Yeah, there were some adult books, but even they were ‘safe’ reads, nothing too racy or challenging. As a young adult, though, the pickings were extremely thin. Books like “Reflections of a Rock Lobster” by Aaron Fricke were like gold, as far as I was concerned.

As a kid, I enjoyed writing. Even if they weren’t stories I’d ever share with anyone, I had Grant and Rusty, and scores of others to keep me company.

Now that I’m an adult (cough), I write some YA stuff (as Will Parkinson) to give back to my younger self. To show other kids that they’re not alone in the world. Pitch was my first effort. I didn’t know the ‘rules’ of YA stories then, and I’d like to think that my writing has gotten better thanks to the friends that I’ve made (KC Wells, Sjd Peterson, Tom Webb, Laura Harner, Becky Condit, Max Vos, and so many others).

I think Wet Paint (my current work in progress) is going to be better than Pitch. At least that’s my fervent hope. It will be a tougher read than Pitch, that’s for sure. Issues that were raised in the first book are resurrected in this one. Addy, one of the characters in Pitch, will have to deal with some emotional baggage he’s been carrying around forever.

On the other hand, Parker Williams is teaming up with K.C. Wells and revisiting her Collars & Cuffs world with new characters Scott and Ben.  Favorites in Alex, Leo, Thomas, and Peter will show up and another character gets a mention. Working with Kc was a very heady experience.

So now you know (at least a little better) why I write what I do. It’s important for kids today to have access to YA literature of all shapes and sizes, but it’s vitally important for them to know that there are characters like them in the worlds that we create.

First Round of Edits for Someone to Keep Me: DONE!

Ben Winters

Ben Winters

Scott Keating - American

Scott Keating – American

Someone to Keep Me, the collaboration between Kc Wells, author of the Collars and Cuffs series, has just completed the first round of edits.

God, what a journey this has been. When Kc first asked me about writing with her, I turned her down flat. Her being from England and me being from the US, I honestly thought we could not make it work. But when I read An Unlocked Heart and helped her to plan Trusting Thomas, I had an idea for a story that we could try. I approached Kc with it and she said hell yes. (But in a nicer way because she’s British and you know how sweet and proper they are.)

Scott Keating is an embarrassment to his family. He’s small, non-athletic, doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps. He’s kept hidden away, home schooled, and lonely. His parents give him a Nook, filled with information about the career that’s been chosen for him, but Scott finds out that it’s also a window to the outside world when he connects to the Internet via the browser. What he finds is unlike anything he’s ever known. Who he meets is the catalyst for the start of his journey.

Jeff is smooth as glass. He says all the right things, worming his way into Scott’s heart. When Jeff utters those three little words, Scott is over the moon. When Jeff offers to fly Scott to England to live with him, Scott doesn’t even hesitate.

When he arrives, Jeff isn’t there. Scott is afraid. He’s in a strange country (I mean it’s England after all), has no money, nothing but the clothes on his back. What can he do but sit and cry.

Enter Ben Winters, who has just seen his sister off at the airport. He finds Scott and immediately offers assistance. Ben takes Scott to Collars and Cuffs, the place he tends bar, to meet with the owners Thomas Williams and Leo Hart. Thus begins Scott & Ben’s tale.

It was a thrill writing with Kc. Even though our styles were different (she’s more of a planner, I prefer seeing where the story takes me), we melded our styles, each being able to write the characters with little difficulty. The only thing we had to do was read what the other wrote to make sure differences in language were accounted for. From that the story evolved.

Kc and I would like to thank Max Vos and Becky Condit for reading the story for us and helping us move it along. We’d also like to thank those who beta read the story for their valuable input and their time.

Look for Someone to Keep Me coming in January from Dreamspinner Press.


Trusting Thomas by KC Wells

TrustingThomasTrusting Thomas is coming to Dreamspinner Press on October 7th, 2013. You can click the picture to pre-order the book!

Many mornings about 2:00 am I sat on the couch in Wisconsin talking with Kc who was at her computer in England. We discussed the nuances, the characters, the plot, the feels.

Kc has a system of doing things. She plots out the entire timeline of the story, and adjusts it as necessary. We worked so many hours on Trusting Thomas, bouncing ideas off each other, talking about bits and bobs, fleshing out each person, their reactions, and their lives.

In the end, Kc put it all together. She continued the world that she started in An Unlocked Heart and I got to watch it unfold. I really wanted to review this story, but figured I was biased so I had to let one of my fellow reviewers have it.

This story was incredible to watch unfold and in introduces a character who becomes the focal point of the story that Kc and I wrote together, Someone to Keep Me, which is coming in January from Dreamspinner Press.

I do reviews and would have LOVED to review this book, but seeing as how I’m intimately aware with the subject does give me an unfair advantage, so it was decided that someone else should do the review for Mrs. Condit’s site. That doesn’t mean I can’t do one on my own. It does begin with a disclaimer so I can avoid any impropriety.



My Review For Trusting Thomas by K.C. Wells

Before I get to the review of this wonderful story, I do want to preface this with an admission. I was involved in the planning of the story. Many hours I spent with KC talking about different scenarios, scenes, people, and situations.  That said, I am just amazed by this second installment of the Collars and Cuffs world.


The thing about K.C. Wells is that she writes people beautifully. If you’re expecting this story to be a hardcore BDSM tale, please look elsewhere. This is a love story with BDSM elements woven in, something that Ms. Wells excels at. She touches your heart by portraying people who need each other to feel complete. This is where she’s an expert. Her people are real and caring. Doms come in many varieties, as do submissives. At Collars and Cuffs, all are treated with respect. This is important to remember as we turn our attention to this book.


At the end of book one, Thomas is in a hurry to get out of the club that he runs with his partner Leo Hart. In this book we find out why. There is a man, Curtis Rogers, who plays a pivotal role in this story and the repercussions are felt throughout several other books. He claims to be a Dom and has a submissive named Peter. The young man has suffered horribly under the tutelage of Curtis Rogers and when someone at the club finds out, he makes it a goal to try to help the beleaguered Peter. To do this, he has to enlist the aid of Thomas.


A daring rescue of the terrified young submissive brings him to Thomas’s house where he will be safe. Peter, however, has no idea what’s happening to him. A call by Thomas to Leo and Alex brings some much needed support, but also shows the depths that Peter has sunk to.


Slowly and with the help of Dr. Laura Herne, Thomas attempts to pull Peter out of his shell. To show him the joy in submission and to prove to him he’s worthy of love. The problem?  Peter’s issues run very deeply and Thomas is in a fight to save the young man so that he can be placed with another Dom. Unfortunately Thomas’s heart doesn’t agree with his brain and it wants to claim Peter as his own.


Darkness is still out there, however. And soon Peter must step up to decide for himself the life he wants. Will he be able to find the inner strength to save not only himself, but his friends as well? Or will his past abuses leave him incapable when they are all depending on him?


He has a long way to go, but ever so slowly he begins to realize that the first step on his journey will be Trusting Thomas.


What’s on tap for Kc Wells & Parker Williams?

Scott Keating - AmericanBen WintersKC Wells and I were lucky enough to get a contract for Someone to Keep Me from Dreamspinner Press. It’s the story of Ben & Scott and also features characters from An Unlocked Heart and her upcoming book, “Trusting Thomas”.

Scott Keating is American. He’s stifled at home. His parents have his life mapped out and won’t accept any deviation from their plans. Scott wants more from life. He wants to be loved and belong. He meets ‘Jeff’ online. Jeff is everything Scott is looking for. He’s attentive. He’s friendly. He knows all the right things to say. Scott thinks he’s too good to be true. When Jeff invites Scott to come live in the United Kingdom, Scott jumps at the chance. The problem? Jeff isn’t there when Scott shows up. He’s alone in a foreign country. No phone. No friends. No Jeff. He’s afraid and doesn’t know what to do.

Enter Benjamin Winters. He finds Scott on a bench and is drawn to help the young man. He takes Scott to see his bosses, Leo and Thomas, who offer to help Scott find a way to stay in the UK. The thing is? When Leo’s submissive, Alex, talks to Scott, he believes the lad needs more than someone to help him. He needs someone to keep him.


Writing this book with KC was simply incredible. I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure we’d mesh well when we were writing, but that wasn’t a problem at all. She’s an amazing partner in crime. So much so, in fact, that we decided that we were going to write a new book together. Damian’s Discipline is also part of the Collars and Cuffs world. Not directly, but more like an offshoot of it.  We’re still working on the plot and details, so I won’t say too much about it. It’s going to be something different than either of us has tried before. Damian is mentioned in Someone to Keep Me, as is the person he’s going to need to deal with. (Won’t say who just yet. You’ll need to read STKM to find out.)

Then while we were putting everything together, I got the idea for a THIRD book. This one is hush-hush so I won’t say anything other than the characters are Eli and Jarod and this one will be something we haven’t really seen before in M/M BDSM stories.

Finally, there’s another story that I asked KC if she’d like to write with me. It’s not BDSM and it doesn’t have a title yet, but it’s going to be a ghost story. We’re trying to create a world different from anyone else.

I think that’s what I like best about working with KC. Things go in many different directions when we put our minds to it. In Someone to Keep Me we had the whole story plotted out, beginning to end. Then while I was at work one night I had an idea for a different direction for the characters. I thought for sure KC would say ‘no, we have it already planned out’, but when I got home I was so excited I had to write it out. I showed it to her and she loved it and we added it into the story.

I hope you’ll join us on our adventure. It’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun. In fact, here’s a bit from Someone to Keep Me just to tantalize you. (Remember this book is unedited as yet so this may change.)


KC Wells & Parker Williams
Copyright 2013
Dreamspinner Press

“Excuse me, but are you all right?”

The voice was low and firm. I lifted my head and saw a man, possibly in his late twenties, looking at me anxiously, deep brown eyes filled with concern. Swiftly I straightened, wiping my face.

“I’m fine, thank you,” I reassured him, pasting on a fake bright smile. No way was I about to discuss my personal affairs with a complete stranger. I met his gaze, hoping I could bluff him.

No such luck.

Those brown eyes narrowed. “Sorry, mate, but I’m not buying it.” It was difficult to follow what he was saying. His accent was kind of flat and the words sounded funny. Well, funny peculiar to my ears. “I think you’re in trouble.” His expression softened. “Want to talk about it? Maybe I can help.”

I shook my head vigorously. What I wanted was for Jeff to turn up like he’d promised and take me home. The thought of Jeff brought fresh tears to my eyes. I couldn’t hold them back any more. I couldn’t help but think that maybe even being back home would be better than this.

“Where are your parents?” he asked.

I huffed a quick breath before almost looking him in the eyes. “I’m eighteen.” I sighed.

He put his hands up. “Sorry. You just look so much younger. I thought you might be lost.”

I tried to give a smile, but I don’t think it came out very well. “I get that a lot.” I was really fighting the urge not to cry. The guy would think I was a real basket case. I swallowed hard.

“Okay, that’s enough.” His voice dropped even lower. “You can’t stay here. Come with me.”

I dragged my sleeve across my eyes and nose, and stood up. For some inexplicable reason, I found myself doing what he said. I couldn’t help myself. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.

“What have you done to be sorry for?” he asked me, looking perplexed.

“You don’t even know me.” I snuffled. “I’m a mess, but you’re still being so nice about it.”

“That’s enough of that,” he said, hand stretched out toward me. “Come on, let’s go.”

“W-where are we going?” I stammered. He looked around and his eyes lit up.

“There’s a café just over there. Why don’t we go sit inside, I’ll get you something to eat and drink, and you can tell me everything.” Something in the tone of his voice made me think he wasn’t about to take no for an answer. And to be honest? I didn’t want to say no. My stomach grumbled loudly and he laughed. Yeah, that sounded like a good idea. I sneaked a peek at the café. It was public, so he’d be less likely to try anything funny, not that I thought he would. And he was definitely growing on me. I didn’t have a clue why he affected me the way he did, but I somehow knew I could trust him. I nodded tearfully and he grasped my arm. He glanced around. “Where’s your luggage?”

I gestured to my body. “No luggage—just me.” I tried to smile, but the situation was still too raw. A flicker of surprise flashed across his face, and then it was gone. He gave me a lopsided grin.

“I can’t wait to hear this.” He held out his hand. “The name’s Ben Winters, by the way.”

I took it, his fingers folding around mine in a warm but firm clasp. “Scott Keating.”