Stevie Woods:author of gay romantic fiction

February 6, 2013

Healing, 25% excerpt!

Today’s 25% excerpt is from my latest release, the SF/fantasy novella, HEALING:

Healing_med“A law guardian? God, it’s a wonder he survived.”

“It was. Technically speaking, I should’ve reported it immediately but, well, you know how I view the guardians.”

“Yes, if I remember correctly, you called them fascist thugs!”

Tener laughed. It had been many years since he’d said that to Audin and in an odd way he was touched that Audin remembered. “Yep. So, instead I asked the guy what he was doing to get shot, and he told me.”

“Did you bother to ask him why he sought you out rather than another doctor or a healer?”

“It happened he’d known me from college; he’d read some of my articles in the college paper. The confrontation with the law guardian had happened nearby and he’d tried to make it to the treatment center when he saw me crossing the parking lot. Said he knew then fate was telling him he’d made the right choice.”

“Did I know this man? What was his name?”

“Burdet Napyn.”

“Hmm, I don’t recognize the name. Anyway, you were going to tell me what he’d done wrong.”

“Whether it was wrong depends on your definition, but it happens he worked for the department of military research, same place you do now.”

Tener couldn’t help but feel that capricious fate was interfering in his life again.

“A couple of months earlier,” Tener continued, “he’d found out that he and his colleagues had been lied to about the purpose of the project he was working on. He’d been shocked by what he discovered and he’d wanted to expose what was going on, but he knew he couldn’t prove it. Instead, he kept his mouth shut and carried on working, but at the same time he tried to find a way to contact one of the Partizan groups, which eventually he did.

“That evening he’d stolen some papers from the department that he was to pass to a member of this group, a way to confirm his story and that he wasn’t a government plant, and for them to see exactly what the ministry was up to.

“He was leaving the building on the way to meet his contact when he was challenged by a guard. He panicked and ran, as the guard was blocking the way to the parking lot. The guard called for the guardians and Burdet hadn’t gone far before he was fired at. Still panicked, he kept going, not even realizing he’d been hit at first. He managed to give them the slip and made it into the parking lot of my building, where he saw my name at the bottom of the plaque for the medical practice. Pure luck, he believed, and then he saw me coming out and decided it was fate.”

Tener paused then and looked up at Audin. He shrugged as he added, “And perhaps it was. It certainly changed my life.”

“What was he working on? I mean, what did he want to publicize?”

“I never knew.”

“What? But that… What the hell!”

“I was treating him as he talked, and he was just about to tell me about what he termed the ‘new device’ when the door was kicked open and two law guardians charged in, with weapons drawn and aimed at both of us. They put us in restraints and dragged us out of there.”

“I know your license was revoked and you served a short term in prison,” Audin said quietly.

“Yeah. I managed to convince them I had no links with the Partizans and it had just been chance Burdet had found me in the parking lot, or they would have revoked more than my license. I told them I had no idea until I cleaned the wound that it had been caused by a guardian weapon and I had been about to call them when they broke into the treatment room. Still, the adjudicator wasn’t happy with the fact Burdet had received treatment so that only a dressing was required; he decided I had acted beyond my rights and sentenced me to a year. I suppose it could’ve been worse, but at the time I was devastated.”

“And Burdet?”

Tener took a breath. Even after all this time, it still had the power to upset him. “I didn’t discover what happened to him until almost eighteen months later. He was executed the day after our trial.”

<end excerpt>

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February 3, 2013

Throw Me A Bone, 25% excerpt!

Today’s 25% excerpt is from my contemporary short, Throw Me A Bone:

ThrowMeABone200x300Guy needed someone else; he was loving someone else.

Well, why wouldn’t he? Guy Romer was a fantastic catch. He had great looks, an incredible body, and a wonderful if somewhat twisted sense of humor. Anyone would fall for him and someone else obviously had.

Malcolm couldn’t blame them; after all, it had happened to him. He should have known, perhaps he always had known, that it couldn’t really last. Not for him. Not for Malcolm Henderson, who couldn’t keep anyone.

Chapter Two

 That had been about a month ago, and Malcolm estimated that Guy had been seeing someone else for about two months before that. Malcolm had finally been presented with the proof he needed only a few days ago.

Malcolm was a translator. He’d always been good at languages at school, found he had a natural talent for them and by the time he was twenty-two, he was fluent in six languages. He had considered becoming a teacher, but he had another love in his life too; he loved to write fiction. He decided teaching would be too time consuming, and instead he ended up doing translation work to pay his bills while he wrote his novel. In fact, he had written three novels before he actually managed to get one published, and while it didn’t set the world on fire, he lived quite comfortably from the combined income as a translator and a novelist.

Like most writers, Malcolm loved to read and he often visited the library, especially if he was doing research. He did a lot of research online of course, but he also enjoyed the feel of a solid book between his hands. He had been trawling the shelves one day shortly before closing time when he could’ve sworn he’d heard Guy’s voice. He froze for a moment and then smiled. It seemed to be coming from the other side of the shelves, and from the laughter he heard, it seemed Guy was enjoying a good laugh with someone. Curious as to who Guy was with, Malcolm moved to the end of the row to look for his lover. He reached the end of the stack to see Guy with his arm around the shoulders of another man, their heads close together. The laugher had died down and they were murmuring together.

The stranger was tall, well built, with jet black hair that looked like silk. Malcolm felt as if someone had punched him in the gut. By the time he recovered his equilibrium, Guy and the man had moved off. Malcolm stared at the space where they’d been.

Malcolm’s first thought was that he was letting his imagination run away with him. So the two men had been friendly and laughing together, that was all.

But then; twice in three days?

Malcolm had been caught out in a sudden rain shower and popped into a restaurant that he occasionally used. Even though the lunchtime crush was over, it was still pretty full, probably due to the rain. He was surprised when he saw Guy sitting at one of the tables.

<end excerpt>

The full story can be found at the following sources:  Amazon Kindle, ARe Books, and Smashwords

http://steviewoods.com

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January 30, 2013

Choices, 25% excerpt!

The 25% excerpt today is from CHOICES, my contemporary novella released in December 2012 from Amber Quill Press:

Choices_medJames quickly scanned the letter. It contained information about Suzie and Becky, Ben’s two younger sisters, and James was surprised to see Suzie was about to celebrate her seventeenth birthday. Time did, indeed, fly. Ben’s mother was a little concerned about his father…seemed the man wasn’t well, but wouldn’t go to the doctor. James remembered how stubborn Ben’s father could be and hoped Ben’s mother was worrying unnecessarily.

At last, Ben got around to writing about himself. He’d taken the plunge and left his job to start up on his own. Since he’d done a few carpentry jobs on the side and gained a bit of a reputation for himself, he’d decided it was time to become his own boss. Ben proudly added he was really standing on his own two feet now as he’d also just rented his first small apartment, hardly big enough to swing a cat, but all his. James was happy for him, but he doubted Ben would ever be able afford anything as nice as the place James was to move into the next day.

Feeling rather petty, James glanced back at the letter. Ben seemed to have stopped mid-subject; he’d been talking about a baseball game he’d gone to with some friends and then suddenly he’d begun a new paragraph.

Writing this I can’t help but wonder if you really want news from home. You haven’t replied to a letter of mine in about nine months. I had hoped to be kept abreast of how you were doing, if it was all you expected, everything you wanted. I kept hoping to hear you’re about to come home for a few days, but it seems you don’t want that. Am I being a nuisance? Do you want me to stop writing? It’s not what I want, but it has to be up to you. Please write back this time and then I’ll know you want me to continue, even if you don’t always have time to write back. But if you don’t respond this time, then I won’t write again. Please know that whatever you decide, my door and my heart will always be open to you.

God, what had he done! Fuck…of all the letters to misplace! And now what was he supposed to do?

His immediate reaction was to write to Ben right away and he was trying to think in which box he’d packed the stuff from his desk drawer, until the thought occurred that perhaps it was better this way. Six months had passed and Ben must have already assumed James purposely hadn’t replied and he no longer wanted to hear from Ben. His stomach cramped at the hurt Ben must have felt at the realization. But surely he’d be over it by now and if James opened that door again…

Somewhere down the line James knew the odds were Ben would be hurt again, either by his thoughtlessness, or quite possibly by his choice at some future date to discontinue the association. He was honest enough to admit to his own selfish nature, to the likelihood that one day he’d find reminders of his small town beginnings too unpalatable.

James wasn’t too proud to admit he’d never kept to the arrangement he and Ben had made to write to each other. God, Ben must have posted ten letters to every one James had written. Was it really fair to put Ben through that when he already believed it was over? No, it was kinder in the long run to leave things as they were. Let Ben believe James was a callous bastard, for hadn’t he proved it was true?

The decision made, James felt better. Ben would be fine. No one eased through life as simply as Ben did, and James was sure he would be making the best of whatever life threw at him and be as successful as he needed to be. It was probable he’d already put thoughts of James Lilley away into a tidy little box. James hoped he’d take them out on occasion and remember his old friend fondly.

Sighing a little, James placed the letter in the box of items he wanted to keep and carried on packing up the last few things in preparation for his move.

<end excerpt>

To read the full novella, go here

http://steviewoods.com

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January 27, 2013

Treasured Possessions 25% excerpt!

The 25% excerpt today is from the contemporary short, TREASURED POSSESSIONS:

TrPossessions200x300Eric felt guilty as he held his friend tightly in his embrace, his body reacting to the closeness of his heart’s desire even at this most inappropriate moment. Trevor needed him, needed his support, needed his love it was true, but only the love of his friend, his best friend. Eric had worked over the past few months to regain the friendship that had gotten lost along the way over the last year or so. It had been become buried in the stress and emotional tangles of two people working closely together in sometimes difficult situations. Eric was officially Trevor’s boss, but they worked much more as a team. Theirs had always been a volatile relationship, though at its heart it had been solid; somehow that had become eroded.

Eric admitted to himself that his own personal confusion hadn’t helped. When he’d finally taken his head out of his own ass long enough to recognize what he was doing, he’d accepted that his friendship with Trevor was too important to risk losing over his obviously unrequited emotions. He loved Trevor as much as ever but now it was a well-controlled secret, at least most of the time. However, Trevor’s present anguish was difficult to bear because Eric had no way to help him other than to be there for him. And that didn’t seem to be enough.

***

Trevor came back to himself to hear Eric murmuring to him. At first Eric’s words didn’t register, just the calming effect of that dear voice. Trevor was so glad he hadn’t been alone when he’d discovered this… this devastation of his life. Was he making too much of the destruction of the bowl? Did he really need the touch of it to bring his beloved parents to mind? He might have lost them long ago, yet somehow he felt they were always with him.

Eric’s presence reminded him that at least he hadn’t lost everything. His past may have been cruelly ripped from him, but he still had his present, his friends, his life with those who cared for him. He still had his best friend. His Eric. He had to stop thinking like that, it was too painful. Eric was his best friend and that had to be enough. He allowed his friend’s voice to calm him. He was aware of Eric’s hand soothing across his back and then he heard the words.

“It’s all right, Trevor, everything will be okay. Shush, shush, I’m here. You’re not alone, you’ll never be alone. You’re all right, I won’t leave you.” Eric kept muttering the same phrases over and over as he gently rubbed Trevor’s back.

Trevor heard the words, and more, he understood that Eric was there for him, would always be there for him. For a while he’d thought he’d lost that and he’d mourned the loss. Then he’d come to understand it wasn’t lost, just mislaid, just a difficult patch they’d been going through and they would probably have such episodes again, but in the scheme of things it wouldn’t really matter.

<end excerpt>

If you want to read the full story, it is available from these sources:  Amazon Kindle    ARe Books    Smashwords

http://steviewoods.com

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January 23, 2013

Cold Fear, SF/futuristic 25% excerpt!

The 25% excerpt today is from Cold Fear, the final release in my Other Worlds series from Amber Allure.

ColdFear_MedI met his gaze, and he looked steadily back at me.

“Ready?”

“No, but get to it anyway.”

I began to manipulate the break to get it back into the correct alignment. Josh sucked in a breath and his back arched.

“Fuck! I wish I was still unconscious,” he bit out. “And I thought you loved me; this is torture.”

“Sorry, sorry,” I murmured, but kept working. I hated to hear Josh so obviously in pain, especially as I was the one causing it, but there was no help for it.

I sat back with relief and said, “There, I think it’s set.”

“You think it’s set?” Josh said in that snarky way of his.

“I’m sure,” I said, hoping I sounded convincing. “Just need to get it splinted it and you’ll be fine.” I squeezed his shoulder. “I’m going to need to raise your leg, so can you support it?”

“I’ll manage,” he said, angling his body in preparation. I raised the leg carefully and placed his foot on the piece of console I had brought close for just that purpose. Josh took the weight of his thigh. I lifted the large can out of the medic box.

“Just take it easy, Matt,” he said gruffly. “You wouldn’t think jagged bone digging into raw nerves would hurt, but it does.”

God, there are times I could cheerfully throttle him… “Sure. Is this your first broken bone?” I was trying to take his mind off the pain by asking him about other injuries; yeah, that should work.  Now who was being snarky?

“Ah, ah, no, this would be, uh, four.”

I aimed the can at left side of his injured leg. “Okay, this is going to hurt, Josh.” I began to spray, moving around the front and right side of his leg until I covered the lower half, too. Once his leg was completely covered in the foam, I began to spread it evenly over the injury.

“Ah! I know, I know,” he said through gritted teeth.

I hoped he couldn’t see how my hands were shaking. “All four while serving?” I asked.

“All but one.” His voice faded as he sucked in a breath.

“So, what happened?” I wasn’t sure now who I was trying to distract.

“Fell out of a tree when I was eleven and it hurt…just like…that.” He gritted his teeth and threw his head back.

“Sorry, Josh, sorry. I’m trying not to hurt you,” I apologized, knowing it didn’t matter what I said.

“I know you are, Matt, but can you just be done?”

“Nearly done, nearly done.” I had to make sure the foam was correctly layered before it hardened.

Grimacing, Josh ground out, “No, you’re done, Matt, you’re done. That’s a great splint. Stop! Stop…ah…”

I ignored his pleas. I needed to finish. “How’s that feel?” I asked him a minute later.

“Agony,” he groused. He raised his head to look at me. I saw the pain in his expression, yet he still managed to smile. “I think I could use the pain meds now.”

I leaned in and kissed his lips. I’d wanted to do that since the moment he came to. “Just to make you feel better while I get the medications.”

“It worked,” Josh said with a grin.

I pulled the medic box closer and it took only a moment to give Josh a dose of the drugs. “That should help in a minute or two.”

“A kiss might help in the meantime,” Josh whispered, leaning close. I obliged with pleasure.

I sighed as I pulled away. “I should go and check on Dennis again.”

“Before you do that, help me up.”

“Josh, no. I don’t think you should move.”

“Probably not, but I need to get back to work on that comm.” He reached up to put an arm around my shoulder. “Come on. Ah!” he said as I helped him stand. “Should’ve kissed me for longer,” he mumbled.

I wasn’t really happy moving him, but the trouble was I knew he was right. We had little time and we had to find a way out of this mess. He leaned against me as I helped him back to the chair by the console.

<end excerpt>

If you’d like to read the whole story, it’s available here

http://steviewoods.com

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January 20, 2013

Revenge Is A Dish 25% excerpt!

The recently re-released mystery/suspense novella, REVENGE IS A DISH, is the subject of today’s 25% excerpt.

RevengeIsADish_200x300Neil frowned. “To ensure I would be seen as guilty?” he asked puzzled. “But they don’t have a body.”

Kent just stared at him.

“Do you know who is behind this? Who would go to such extremes?”

“Not really. I have one or two ideas, but to be honest I can’t think of anyone who hates us this much.”

“You’re not going to share?” Neil asked.

“Not yet, I’m still working through possibilities.”

“Uh-uh.” Neil pursed his lips.

“I’ve been thinking about what’s happened,” Kent said, “and I think that besides wanting to punish you and me for whatever reason, he wants to hurt Winton Enterprises too.” Kent kept the gnawing anger from his voice; it wouldn’t help either of them. He had to keep calm, especially for Neil’s sake. He didn’t know what the next few hours might bring; he had to be ready for anything.

“Why?” Neil queried.

“The press has too much detailed information. It’s as if someone is feeding them stuff with the intent of dragging Winton Enterprises into this mess. That is intentional.”

“Damn it, Kent, we can’t let them get away with this,” Neil said.

“Neil, concentrate. The only way they can get away with this is for both of us to disappear, permanently.” Kent hesitated. Taking hold of Neil’s hands, he added, “Or, at least for me to disappear and you to get arrested for my murder.”

“But you’re not dead.” Neil sounded incredulous and Kent recognized that he found the whole situation hard to cope with.

“I will be,” Kent said quietly, looking Neil directly in the eye. Kent didn’t believe that Neil hadn’t allowed himself to consider that possibility.

“No! Oh God, Kent, no. We have to find a way out of here.” Neil grabbed a hold of Kent’s hands squeezing them tightly.

“I know.”

Chapter Four

 Terence Winton arrived at his desk earlier than usual. He rarely got into work before his secretary but two missing employees – no two missing friends – wasn’t a normal situation. Kent and Neil had worked for his company for a number of years and he couldn’t countenance the reports and rumors flying about the city about the two of them. One of the first things on his agenda for that morning was a telephone call with the Chief of Police.

He moved over to the windows and was opening the blinds, not too much, the sun was always strong in the mornings and it could be a delicate balance to get them just right.

“Good morning, sir,” a voice said from behind him.

“Ah, morning, Sally. A busy day looms.”

“Yes, sir. Coffee?”

“Don’t suppose there’s a shot of whisky you could slide in there?

She smiled, “Sorry, sir.”

The morning dragged more than he would like but Chief Henson wasn’t available until nine, so he called Payton Sharp, his Chief of Security, for an update.

“Can I get back to you later, Mr. Winton?” Payton asked, “I have a call in to a friend and would like the line clear for an hour or so.”

“Of course. I’ll let you know if I learn anything from Henson.”

Terence decided to read the newspapers and then wished he hadn’t. He glanced at the calendar on his computer, he had a meeting lined up for later in the morning and he opened the file on his desk to read up on the proposed contract. He should have checked it over yesterday but he hadn’t been able to concentrate on it. He looked at the newspapers again, wished he could do something positive to help but knew it was out of his hands. He couldn’t let his life fall apart because of this, and that meant doing his job, running his company. He had people who relied on him for their livelihoods. With a sigh, he concentrated on the printed words in the file.

Nine o’clock came round at last and he telephoned police headquarters again, hoping he could learn something new from Henson. He had been speaking to the man for ten minutes, and it hadn’t taken him long to realize just how interested Henson was in a political career. He certainly knew how to avoid giving a straight answer.

“Sorry to interrupt, Mr. Winton,” Sally had popped her head around his door, “but your next appointment is here.”

Terence frowned, but said into the telephone, “I’m sorry, Chief Henson, but I must cut this short. We will speak again. Thank you.”

“My next appointment?”

“You asked to see Henry Makita as soon as he reported for duty.”

“Of course, send him in.”

Henry Makita had worked for Payton Sharp in Security for some time and Payton considered him trustworthy. Terence had never had cause to doubt Sharp’s judgment.

“You wanted to see me, sir?” Makita asked as he stepped inside.

“Yes, take a seat. I just wish to check certain facts with you, Henry. I know you answered a couple of questions for the police. I need confirmation of exactly what you said.”

Henry frowned a little but quickly responded. “Yes, sir. I identified Mr. Carson’s glasses. I was surprised to see them broken and splattered with blood like that. They asked about the relationship between the two men and I mentioned that they were not as close as they used to be.”

“That was all? You said nothing else at all, not the reason for the… estrangement?”

“No, sir. I realized I had probably already said too much and clammed up. Told them I didn’t know anything more.”

“I see. Have you read the article in this morning’s paper?”

“Yes sir. I was surprised at some of the… information in the article.”

“What exactly were you surprised about, Henry?”

“The accuracy of some of the comments, Mr. Winton. It was… I…” He stopped speaking and looked at Mr. Winton, a question in his eyes.

“Speak freely, Henry.”

“Yes, sir. It seemed to me that someone had been talking to that reporter, sir. There’s no other way the paper could have had such detail about Mr. Tyler and Mr. Carson and the problem with their friendship.”

<end excerpt>

If you want to read the full story, the book can be obtained here:  Amazon Kindle     ARe Books     Smashwords

http://steviewoods.com

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January 16, 2013

Tutelary 25% excerpt

The 25% excerpt today is from my contemporary fantasy short story, Tutelary.

tutelary_200x300“I told you I lived in the middle of nowhere, and I didn’t correct your assumption that I lived just outside of the city. My home is a long, long way away from here. I told you I’d had an accident and needed to recover. That was almost true; I did need to recover, but I hadn’t had an accident. You asked me what I did for work, and I said I had left my previous employment with a good stipend and didn’t need to work for a while and I wanted to attempt to paint instead.” As he spoke, Matthias’ gaze flicked to the portrait of Daniel on the wall opposite the bed. Painted from memory of the wonderful day they had shared at the beach; the sun glinting in Daniel’s rich brown hair and sparkling in his expressive eyes. Daniel had been overwhelmed at the way Matthias saw him when Matthias had presented that to him. “It is true I had no need of money, but I was well aware of my… talents as a painter, it is something I have enjoyed doing for many years.”

Daniel frowned, obviously he wanted to ask questions but he was trying to wait as he had been requested, but Matthias knew it was a struggle. Holding Daniel’s gaze, he took a deep breath.

“I am a Tutelar, Daniel and I have been called home to take up my duties again.”

“A what?” Daniel queried, frowning.

“A Tutelar. Perhaps you will know it better as Guardian Angel? I am a Guardian Angel.

Daniel’s mouth dropped open but it appeared he couldn’t put his reaction into words.

“I had taken on too many subjects. Michael always said I chose the ones who required the most help, but those were precisely the ones I felt needed me.” He laughed gently, “Too soft, Michael said I was. He was right, of course. I allowed myself to get too close, too involved until I could no longer handle any more emotional pain and I… what it is you say here on Earth? Oh yes, I burned out and then I was of no use to anyone.”

Daniel was by his side, kneeling next to the chair. In a very soft voice, he said, “Matt, you can’t really believe what you’re telling me. I can understand that whatever work you were doing was so stressful that your mind couldn’t accept it and so you have created this… this fantasy to help you cope. Oh Matt, you need help. I never had any idea you were ill. But it doesn’t mean you have to leave. You know I love you too, don’t you? Were you afraid I wouldn’t understand, that I would turn from you because of this? Oh, Matt.”

Matthias turned to look at him, smiling sadly. “If only I was ill, that would be so much easier. I am not crazy, Daniel. Every word I just told you is the truth. I have to go; I have no choice. I see now the only way you will believe, the only way you will have any peace, is to see for yourself.”

<end excerpt>

The full story can be obtained from the following sources:  Amazon Kindle    ARe Books     Smashwords

http://steviewoods.com

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January 13, 2013

And This Man Is My Lover? (OW #5) 25% Excerpt!

Today’s 25% excerpt is from the SF/futuristic novella, And This Man Is My Lover?, book 5 in the Other World series from Amber Allure

AndThisManIsMyLover_Med

“Crap! What do we do? Pick one at random?” Jake groused. “Okay, okay, using the temple as a base we’ll set up a grid search pattern. We’ll split into pairs and take a square each and check every building as we get to. Be thorough. He might be hurt and out of it. Remember, these ruins are dangerous and take all necessary precautions. We keep our comm-units on and keep trying to raise him. Anything looks promising, shout, and the others will come running. Clear?”

“It’s possible, sir, there’s something in the stone disrupting the signal,” Delia reported.

Raising an eyebrow, Jake stared hard at her and she dropped her eyes. “I know it was working fine before, but we can’t be certain it’s the same in every structure,” she qualified.

Jake nodded. “Okay, let’s not waste any more time.”

* * *

Knowing he couldn’t reach the steps in time, Bart did the only thing he could think of. He dove for the meager cover of the side wall of the tunnel, hoping against hope any falling stonework would hit the middle of the passageway. Even as he moved, Bart heard an ominous groan and, as he hit the wall hard and slid down, he heard an explosive crack, the sound drawing his eyes upward. In dawning horror, he saw one of the tunnel arches split and fall toward him. He threw his arms up in a futile attempt to protect his head, as he was sure the falling masonry would crush him.

Eventually, the noise ceased and he was almost shocked to find he was still alive. His right wrist was painful, but he didn’t think it was broken. All light had disappeared and he tried to feel around for his flashlight. He knew it had been attached to his belt when he left the cavern room, but it wasn’t there now. As he leaned over to his right, a sharp pain shot through his side and he realized he must have cracked or even broken a rib or two.

Gritting his teeth against the pain, he kept searching; he couldn’t bear the thought of being stuck down here in the dark. He needed to see what his situation really was. Great relief flooded him when his fingers finally touched the bulbous end of the flashlight and he managed to drag it toward him. He had to sit back and gasp for breath, fighting the pain. After a moment, he tried to take a deep breath, but ended up gasping in pain.

God, please don’t say that means a rib has damaged one of my lungs. He concentrated on taking slow, shallow breaths.

When he could move again, Bart gripped his flashlight, gratified it still worked, and played the beam all around. He was shocked by what he saw. He was almost completely surrounded by the remnants of the strange material which had lined the tunnel; it had cracked into huge chunks and fallen over him, one piece supporting another and another. His first impression was of huge house of cards, but a more accurate description would be of a flat-topped igloo, leaving quite a large pocket of space surrounding him. It had saved his life, protecting him.

With a shudder, Bart imagined the tons of stone and earth, which would have crushed him as it came tumbling down, if not for his inadvertent protection. It brought back all too familiar—and painful memories—of the explosion which had trapped him in the remains of Jake’s office in the underground base. God, surely being buried alive once in a lifetime was enough!

* * *

Looking at his watch for the third time in as many minutes, Jake’s desperation intensified. They’d been searching for almost seven hours and were being forced to stop as darkness descended. Jake wanted to carry on, but Carl had convinced him of the dangers inherent in trying to search such hazardous ruins at night. There had been no sign of Bart at all. If Jake didn’t know better, he could almost believe Bart had never been on the planet with them.

“Sergeant Eisley, go back to the ship, contact base and ask if there’s any team within useful distance that might help? Tell Banks exactly what’s happened.”

“Exactly, sir?” Ron interrupted. “Do you wish me to tell the general that Bart… Well, that Captain Hilton disobeyed a direct order?”

Jake flinched at the words; he’d tried to ignore that considering he had pushed Bart with his intractable attitude. They would have a long talk, a hard talk, but it would be between the two of them.

<end excerpt>

To read the full story, in eBook or Print, go here

http://steviewoods.com

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January 9, 2013

More Than Sex 25% excerpt!

Filed under: writing — Stevie Woods @ 12:16 am
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Today’s 25% excerpt is from my popular short story, MORE THAN SEX.

MoreThanSexCover“You said you had something to say to me,” Philip encouraged. “It’s been a while since you came to see me. I guess it must be important.”

Richard looked at Philip sitting across from him, calm and relaxed, and in that moment he saw someone different from the man at the office who, in recent months, had always walked away from confrontation with him. This was a different man from the one who accepted his bullshit and took the hurt inside. This man was so sure of himself that, for a moment, Richard felt as if he had slipped back in time to the man he had first met five years earlier.

Blinking to clear the disassociation, Richard sighed and began his confession. He’d come this far — no way was he going to chicken out now.

“I suppose I should begin with an apology for all I have put you through. I’ve been.” He paused. “I suppose you could say out of control. I… I never meant to hurt you. I know I have and for that I am truly sorry, but I was… afraid and it was easier to push you away than to admit.” Richard hesitated, took a sip of his wine, needing that momentary false courage. Then he looked Philip in the eye and continued, “To admit to you that I had fallen in love with you.”

“To admit to me? Perhaps you mean to admit to yourself?” Philip asked calmly.

Too calmly. In a flash of understanding, Richard realized that Philip had known. He had probably always known. And, God, he had been waiting for Richard to come to terms with it. That was why he had taken all Richard’s shit.

Richard felt a little hysterical. He took a deep breath, feeling Philip’s eyes on him all the while.

“I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that you understood. You know me so well. Too well.” Richard took another gulp of his wine. “Yes, it’s true it was hard to admit it to myself, that I was drawn to another man. To learn I was not the man I’d always believed myself to be. Had never been that man. That was hard. And when I did finally see it, I ran. From myself, and especially from you.” Richard looked down at his hands and saw they were shaking slightly. “Can you forgive me for what I put you through?”

“Perhaps. If you tell me what you want from me now.”

Richard held the wine glass between his fingers, twirling it around and watching the colors flash through the liquid. For a moment, he was afraid to look into Philip’s eyes, afraid they would be hard and unforgiving. If they were, how could he ask for what he wanted? He squared his shoulders, looking up to meet Philip’s eyes. He was almost shocked to see only quiet composure. He took a breath and tried to speak as calmly as he could. “I want to know if you can forgive me. I want to know if you have any feelings for me. If we have a chance.”

Philip pursed his lips and Richard couldn’t take his eyes off the luscious swell of them. He wondered what they might feel like to kiss. What the hell was he doing? Fantasizing about a man who might just be about to kiss him off!

<end excerpt>

The full story is available from these sources:  Amazon Kindle   All Romance eBooks    Smashwords

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January 6, 2013

Sacrifices (Tomcat Line #5) 25% excerpt!

Today I’m posting an excerpt from the fifth and final book in contemporary adventure series,  The Tomcat Line, the novel SACRIFICES:

SacrificesCover200x300Leaving Grayson’s office, Brian walked along the corridor in the wing that housed the Archaeology department. He knew exactly where he wanted to go, having scoped out the building before arriving for his appointment. He knew there were two corridors intersecting at the other end of this long corridor, with stairs at both ends and a set of elevators at the intersection.

The area needed to be clear before Brian could slip into the hiding place he had chosen, but at the moment there were two students talking outside an office door and a young woman heading for the stairs at the end of the corridor. Brian slowed his pace as he approached the storeroom adjacent to the stairs and he knelt down on one knee as if tying a loose shoelace, twisting in such a way that he could see the only other occupants of the corridor standing a short distance from him. As he watched, one of the students glanced at his wrist, presumably checking the time, said something quickly to his friend and then hurried away, almost running by the time he reached the stairs. The remaining person opened the door and entered the office.

Brian took his opportunity and quickly stepped inside the storeroom, the lock of which he had picked earlier. As he expected, the room contained all the equipment required for cleaning the premises, or at least this floor. He had done a little checking and discovered that the cleaning staff didn’t start their night shift until eight.

Checking the time, Brian found it was a little before four-thirty; he guessed he would have to wait until six or maybe six-thirty to be sure that Grayson had left the office. Brian was certain Grayson would be gone by then; he was supposed to attend that charity function thing tonight if the news was anything to go on. He would have plenty of time to break into Grayson’s office and take the statue, as well as search his desk and files for the papers.

He glanced around for a way to make himself at least a little more comfortable during the couple of hours he had to kill. He found a sturdy bucket and turned it upside down, at least he would have somewhere to sit while he waited.

****

At six-fifteen, Mac pulled into the parking lot of the university. For once he wasn’t at the wheel of his SUV; he was driving his new black Cadillac XLR-V convertible, which he hoped Ian would appreciate when he actually saw it. It would be a lovely surprise. He pressed the switch that put the top up, locked it in position and he stretched his body, enjoying the feel of the comfortable seat and the more than ample leg room. Especially in the back, where there was plenty of space. Mac smiled as he let his imagination drift.

When Mac told Ian he’d ordered a new car, his lover had rolled his eyes and commented snidely, “Not another one. Don’t tell me? It’s black.” He’d grinned. Smiling at the memory, Mac wondered what his partner would say when he saw the all black interior too.

Mac got out of the vehicle but then opened the rear door and leaned inside, pulling out a zip-up suit carrier containing Ian’s tuxedo. He hadn’t been surprised to find a message waiting for him at his office when he pulled his rig back in around lunchtime. Neil had handed him the slip of paper with a grin after telling him it was from Ian. It was actually from Graham, informing him that even though he had reminded Ian the day before, he had still come into work that morning without the tux.

“Not changed much, has he?” Neil commented as Mac read the note. “Still in a world of his own when he’s stuck into his research.”

“Yep, but you’d think after all the trouble he’s gone to in arranging this shindig he would at least remember it!” Mac grumbled.

“You wouldn’t have him any other way.” Neil laughed, and Mac didn’t deny it.

Ian had come up with the idea about three months earlier, after grumbling about the lack of anywhere suitable in the Institute Museum to display all the pieces they had available to show the remarkable cultures of Mesoamerica. His area of expertise was rather out of the normal range of interests in the museum. He usually had to make special arrangements with Dean Tyler for a space to be provided for his displays, which occasionally included items sent to him by colleagues from around the world. The Dean was as accommodating as possible, but Mesoamerican studies was a very minor subject of study for the Institute. It could be very frustrating for Ian when he sometimes had to wait months rather than weeks for a room, or more often than not, a portion of a room to be available to house his displays. The last straw had been when he’d watched himself on the documentary he had filmed in the InstituteMuseum, strolling from one room to another to show one piece here and one layout there. It had all seemed so very scattered and very unsatisfying for Ian.

That was what had sparked the whole idea for a specific home for all the Mesoamerican artifacts that he had recovered and brought back to the university, together with other pieces donated to the museum because of Ian’s tenure there. After much thought and discussion, or perhaps it was better described as using Mac as a sounding board, Ian presented the idea of a permanent display of Mesoamerican artifacts and art, incorporating a lecture hall where he and any visiting guests could speak. Dean Tyler was in favor of the premise but had no funds for such a project and no way to gain any. There was too much demand on the Institute’s resources as it was, and therefore it was impossible to consider something so radical.

So Ian decided to set about getting the funding himself. Of course, Mac offered to help any way he could, which Ian accepted—providing he didn’t simply intend to dip into his rather deep pockets.

“But I want to help, Ian,” Mac said, frowning a little, hurt by Ian’s apparent instant dismissal of his offer.

“I know, and of course I will happily accept a contribution, a small one, Mac. This is not your responsibility, this is my wish, my…need. I want to do this, Mac. The idea may have finally coalesced but the desire has always been there. Of course, I would also be very happy if you could get some of your contacts to perhaps support the project?” Ian had grinned at Mac but for once Mac didn’t respond with one of his quick comebacks, looking very thoughtful instead.

“You could set up a foundation,” Mac suggested. “Try to raise funds to build an annex specifically to house your stuff.”

“Build an annex!” Ian exclaimed. That was so much more ambitious than he’d considered.

“Why not?” Mac smiled. “If you really want this, let’s go all out. I’ve got plenty of contacts in the business world, you’ve got plenty in academia and hell, even with the media. Come on, Ian let’s go for it.”

Ian grinned at his partner, suddenly excited at the prospect. “You’re right, Mac. I do want this. I’ll need help though, haven’t got the slightest idea how to go about setting up a foundation or raising funds.”

“I’ll help. What I don’t know I can find out.”

“I’ll accept all the help you can give me, Mac, except—”

“Except my money, I know, Ian. I’ll talk to Neil, he’ll know all the legal angles or know someone who does. I’ll spread the word among my contacts. You need to get your proposal publicized, that’s your first step.”

“I need to learn about fundraising too. Something that will grab the public’s interest.”

And Mac mused now, Ian had certainly done that. The archaeologist had given more interviews and more lectures in the last three months than he had in the last year, and the donations had started coming in. Mac had raised a lot of interest and a lot of promises from his contacts. Tonight’s concert would be the culmination of the effort, the first big public fundraiser. All the proceeds from the evening’s performance would go to the Grayson Foundation. Ian hadn’t been keen on naming the foundation after himself, but Mac had pointed out his name would be a draw in its own right and he would be a fool not to make use of his fame.

It occurred to Mac later that it might have been the publicity campaign for the annex that had spurred Guerrero to leave his bequest to Ian, as he also left a small sum of money to the Foundation, on the condition that when Ian felt the time was right at some point in the future, the statue should be put on display in pride of place.

<end excerpt>

If readers want to read the full story the novel can be purchased here

http:/steviewoods.com

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