Stevie Woods:author of gay romantic fiction

January 31, 2015

Excerpt from gay historical novel, CONFLICT

Filed under: writing — imagine647 @ 10:59 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

conflict200x300Here’s an excerpt from CONFLICT, the sequel to my gay historical novel, CANE, as the story continues into the Civil War:

BLURB:
Two men, one war. Can love survive when each takes a different side?

Leaving his lover behind to support the abolitionist cause, Piet Van Leyden finds himself leading one of the first all-black Union troops into the heart of battle. Reuniting with free slave and former love Joss brings some comfort, but will his presence tempt Piet into
forgetting the love waiting for him at home?

Sebastian Cane wonders how he’s able to go on without Piet by his side. When a series of unfortunate events lands him a prisoner of the Union, Seb knows he must rely on his wits and his love for Piet to survive…and get home to him.

Two men, one war. Can love survive when each takes a different side? While Pieter goes to fight for the abolitionist cause, a series of events lands

Sebastian a prisoner of the Union and Seb must rely on his wits and his love for Piet to survive…and return to him.

EXCERPT:
It was difficult for Pieter to concentrate on Grainger’s words. Of course he had thought on the possibility of running into Joss once it was permitted for blacks to join the army, but he had never really believed it would happen. There were literally thousands of men in the Union army, the numbers rising all the time and the odds must be enormous.

His thoughts faltered again as he heard the lieutenant state the private’s name. Peters? Joss had taken… Pieter didn’t know what he felt about it, that Joss had taken that as his name. Flattered? Appalled? Touched? Oh, Joss!

“Peters?” Pieter queried haltingly, his voice sounding odd even to his own ears.

“Yes, sir,” Joss replied, keeping his voice formal, staring over his commander’s shoulder. Then abruptly he shifted his eyes and looked directly at Pieter. “Named for the only man who ever showed me a kindness, sir.”

Pieter stared at his old friend and ex-lover, emotion running through him to find him looking so well. “I see,” he replied softly. “Thank you, private.”

“Sir!” Joss said smartly, stepping back into line.

Pieter knew he gave orders and passed out praise and criticism in equal measure, but when the day ended the only thing he could clearly remember was the look in Joss’ eyes as they had stared at each other. Pieter just had to talk with him but he couldn’t simply single him out to speak to privately without reason. A company commander would have no cause to communicate with a private soldier without going through junior officers, unless for censure or commendation.

He paced his tent for thirty minutes until he recognized there was a way. Grainger had inadvertently given it to him.

“Grainger!” he called, sticking his head out of his tent, looking round for the lieutenant.

“Here, sir,” a voice floated from nearby in the dark and then the pale face of the lieutenant came into view.

“That private, the one who you introduced?”

“Peters, sir?”

“Yes, that one. Send for him. I want to have a few words and he should be ideal for providing me with background.”

“Yes, sir, immediately.”

Pieter sat in the rickety chair behind the small folding table in his small tent. He was nervous at the prospect of seeing Joss again, and being able to talk to him. Pieter smiled at his own reaction, he knew it wasn’t at all logical.

Presently, the lieutenant brought Private Peters inside the tent and the black man saluted his officer smartly, eyes staring straight ahead, back ramrod straight as he stood to attention.

“At ease, Peters,” Pieter said, a surreptitiously shared look between them at Joss’ choice of surname, and then with a glance at Grainger he added, “Thank you, Lieutenant. I will take it from here.”

Grainger glanced from his captain to the private as if silently asking if he were sure, but he merely nodded, saluted and left.

Pieter just stared at Joss for a long moment and his old friend stared back and slowly smiled. He was suddenly assaulted with images of the two of them together, long years ago when all that mattered were those snatched moments together. Memories of his hands moving slowly as they skimmed over Joss’ ebony skin; Joss kissing him with abandon and each murmuring promises of forever. Those had been naïve times he realized now but they had been good times.

Things were very different now, the love he’d felt for Joss then had been real but he knew it paled into comparison with what he’d learned he was capable of, but he would never regret his feelings for Joss. Suddenly Pieter’s face was split by a grin and he rose and strode around the table, and the two men embraced. They didn’t hold the hug
for long, both being aware of the difficult situation.

“God, it’s good to see you looking so well,” Pieter commented as he retook his seat. “Grab a stool,” he said as an afterthought.

Joss did as he was asked and sat opposite his captain. “Oh yeah, I never expected to see you here.” He hesitated a moment, giving Pieter a long look.

“What?”

“I didn’t know if you were still in Louisiana,” Joss explained, his voice low.

Pieter nodded, dropping his eyes as he said, “I didn’t want to leave Sebastian. I remained as long as I could, but I just wasn’t able to stay among those people down there. I was… I couldn’t keep bottling up my real feelings and it was starting to…to. I didn’t want to damage what we had by staying,” his voice barely above a whisper as he spoke.
He looked up at Joss then, attempting to smile at his friend, but it might just as well have been a grimace.

Joss recognized the sorrow in Pieter’s eyes that his friend was trying to hide, the ex-slave knew him too well.

After a moment, Pieter continued, “I tried to persuade Seb to come up north with me, not that I really expected he would. He has too much of a commitment in Louisiana.”

Reaching across the small table, Joss laid his hand over Pieter’s and gave it a small squeeze, attempting to comfort him. “I’m sorry, Piet, but I can’t say I’m surprised. His family have lived there for generations, don’t suppose he feels he can simply walk away from that.” He didn’t add that he also felt that if Cane had loved Pieter as much as he claimed he ought to have had different priorities. It would be no kindness to Pieter to voice that thought.

“I know and also in the few letters I did manage to receive from him before the mail stopped getting through, he admitted to feeling a greater responsibility to his slaves now and that…” Pieter stopped, as if remembering just who he was speaking to. He shrugged an apology.

Joss looked Pieter square in the eyes and commented, “Well, we know who to thank for that change in outlook, don’t we?”

“Enough about me,” Pieter said decidedly. “How about you?”

Joss gave Pieter a quick rundown of his life since they had parted in New Orleans, admitting that after a slow, difficult start the life he now had was good. He explained a little about Nathaniel and how the old Negro had helped shape his new outlook. Joss told him that Nathaniel had even taught him to read, and he reminded himself that he should show Pieter the letter he’d written when he got the opportunity.

He admitted he was glad to be able to accept responsibility for his own life, though it had been hard at first to get work and he had felt so lost and unsure most of the time until Nathaniel had taken him under his wing.

He gave a deprecating laugh. “Strange as it sounds,” Joss confessed, “I have felt happier since I joined up. Even after a year or so of freedom I was used to the,” he sought for the word he wanted and smiled wryly when he remembered it, “constraint of slavery and oddly I missed the…structure it gave my life.” He shook his head at his own confused thinking and Pieter smiled sadly at what had been done to people like Joss.

Joss regarded Pieter, giving his old friend a long assessing look. A little unnerved by the stare, Pieter asked, “What?”

“You’ve changed,” Joss said quietly and as Pieter frowned, he explained. “You’re more…comfortable, more sure of yourself.” Eyes lighting up as if Joss suddenly understood, he smiled broadly and added, “You know who you are.”

<end excerpt>

Available in ebook or print from Phaze Books: http://www.phaze.com/book.php?title=Conflict

Or from Amazon.com

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January 30, 2015

Excerpt from historical novel, CANE

Filed under: writing — Stevie Woods @ 3:08 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

CanePhaze(200x300)CANE, a novel set on a sugar plantation just before the beginning of the American Civil War:

BLURB:

Privileged young Pieter may have grown up on a sugar cane plantation, but that doesn’t mean he agrees with the way his father runs things. He falls in love with Joss, one of his father’s slaves, and their affair sets off a chain of events that is destined to tear them apart.

When Pieter’s father dies, he returns home hoping to find Joss. It’s too late for their love, but maybe it’s not too late for Pieter to find happiness. As he makes his way to America, Pieter realizes old conflicts still rage, and even as he finds a new love, danger stalks his every move. Can Pieter learn to overcome the hate and fear that threaten to tear his world apart?

EXCERPT:

“You can’t sell Tillie and Joss, you just can’t.  They’re like family to me,” Pieter stated fervently.

“They’re our slaves, Pieter, nothing more.  Your poor mother was unwell when you were a baby and Effie helped in your upbringing, but that shouldn’t make her anything more to you than what she is.  I admit I allowed you too much freedom growing up and you made attachments that no well brought up young man should have.  It is wrong and you know it!”

“Who says it is wrong?  They are people, just like you and me…”

“No, they are not!  They are slaves, born of slaves and that is all they will ever be.  They will never be your equals and you do the girl no service treating with her as you do.  I knew she was part of the problem with…”

“No, no, you don’t understand.  I had already thought better of my stubborn attitude about marriage.  I have already decided that you are right and that I should…”

“It makes no difference anyway.  I have to pay the debt.”

“Please, Father.  I’m asking you, if you must sell slaves then so be it, but not Tillie and Joss.  Please, I have agreed to what you want.”

Nicolaas looked at his son, saw the pleading in his eyes.  Pieter said he had already decided before he knew of the gambling debt and Nicolaas knew his son would not lie about this.  It would only be fair to relent a little.  “Very well, I will keep the girl; sell someone in her place but…”

“And Joss?”

“No, Joss is one of the best field hands.  A good strong lad, he’ll fetch a good price.”

“Please, not Joss.  One of the others.”

“Enough!  I have given you the girl, what more do you want!”

“Joss, I want Joss!” Pieter’s voice was shrill, his eyes wide and Nicolaas stared, unable to understand.

“Don’t be a fool!  I told you he must…”

“No, no!  God, don’t you understand?  It’s not Tillie I need, it’s Joss!”

His voice was no longer shrill.  Pieter spoke quietly but with such intensity that Nicolaas finally understood what he was trying to say.  His mouth dropped open with shock and Nicolaas stared at the son he thought he knew.  Now Nicolaas realized he didn’t know him at all.  His Pieter, his pride and joy, the boy whose intelligence had been a source of delight, he…?  He… instead of women?  Oh God!

“You…you have…relations with that slave? With that man?  How could you?” Suddenly overwhelmed with disgust, Van Leyden declared, “You…you’re depraved, you godless sodomite!”

Looking remarkably calm in the circumstances, Pieter said, “Yes, I have relations with Joss, because I love him.  And I don’t believe I am godless, after all, God gave me the heart to love a man.  I hardly think my being a…a,” Pieter stumbled over the word his father had called him, “a sodomite is any worse than you being a slaver.  At least I show him kindness not cruelty.”

Nicolaas couldn’t believe what his son, his son, was saying, and comparing him to such depravity.  Fury added bitterness to his tone.  “If it’s the last thing I do, I will ensure that both he and his sister are removed from this property immediately and sold as soon as I can arrange it.  If I can sell them off the island I will do so.  I will do everything possible to ensure you never see him again!  Now, get out of my sight!”

<end excerpt>

Available in ebook or print from Phaze Books: http://www.phaze.com/book.php?title=Cane

Or from Amazon.com

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July 15, 2013

New excerpt from historical novel, CONFLICT!

conflict200x300Here’s a new excerpt from my historical novel, CONFLICT, sequel to CANE, which takes the story into the Civil War.

BLURB:

Two men, one war. Can love survive when each takes a different side?

Leaving his lover behind to support the abolitionist cause, Piet Van Leyden finds himself leading one of the first all-black Union troops into the heart of battle. Reuniting with free slave and former love Joss brings some comfort, but will his presence tempt Piet into forgetting the love waiting for him at home?

Sebastian Cane wonders how he’s able to go on without Piet by his side. When a series of unfortunate events lands him a prisoner of the Union, Seb knows he must rely on his wits and his love for Piet to survive…and get home to him.

EXCERPT:

It was cold in the tent; damn it, was cold nearly all the time. It seemed forever since Pieter had actually been inside a brick building. He pulled the blanket off his cot and wrapped it around him. Pieter could hardly remember the last time he had felt really comfortable and cozy. Then he suddenly remembered one warm day, sitting on a veranda eating a picnic lunch. It had only been a couple of days after he’d arrived at Morning Star. Sebastian had been showing him around the vast plantation when they took a rest and ate. They’d sat comfortably on the wooden veranda of the old Blue Bayou plantation house, sharing a basket of food, while his new employer had told him of the history of his family and the plantation. Even then, Pieter had known he was in love with the man.

Smiling, Pieter knew it was the emotion inside that had made him feel warm that day as much as the sun beating down on them. That feeling was still there, deep inside, and as he allowed the sense memory to flow over him, Pieter’s heart beat faster. His cock filled as he imagined Sebastian’s lips on his, and his hands caressing his body. It had been so long and he missed his lover terribly.

Sighing, Pieter couldn’t deny that he regretted leaving his lover back in Louisiana, but he was honest enough to admit that he could never have stayed there in the circumstances. He wished every day that Seb could have come with him, but as much as he wished it could be otherwise, he couldn’t blame Sebastian for clinging to the only life he knew.

Belatedly, he realized that yet again his hand was in his pocket and he was running the small silver button between his fingers. He stopped the movement, grasping the button tightly and pulling it free. It rested in the palm of his hand, glinting slightly in the flickering candlelight. It was all he had of Sebastian with him and it had long been a kind of talisman. A constant reminder of the man he loved, the man he missed so very much.

Pieter could still see the look in Sebastian’s eyes as he dropped the button into his hand when he left to travel north. He had never forgotten the trust Sebastian placed in him, knowing that he would come home some day. To Pieter, wherever Sebastian was, that was home.

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July 14, 2013

CANE, a new excerpt from my historical romance

CanePhaze(200x300)I thought it was past time I posted a new excerpt from my popular historical novel, CANE:

BLURB:
Privileged young Pieter may have grown up on a sugar cane plantation, but that doesn’t mean he agrees with the way his father runs things. He falls in love with Joss, one of his father’s slaves, and their affair sets off a chain of events that is destined to tear them apart.
When Pieter’s father dies, he returns home hoping to find Joss. It’s too late for their love, but maybe it’s not too late for Pieter to find happiness. As he makes his way to America, Pieter realizes old conflicts still rage, and even as he finds a new love, danger stalks his every move. Can Pieter learn to overcome the hate and fear that threaten to tear his world apart?

Joss was working hard with the other field hands, trimming the young cane plants. He had just straightened up, stretching to ease the ache in his back, when he heard Pieter call to him.

EXCERPT:

“Joss, I need some help.”

“Yes, sir,” he replied, hurrying to do his master’s bidding.

Not that Joss really thought of Pieter as his master, though he had to behave as if he did. Joss never called him master, the way some of the other slaves did. Pieter did not ask it, but the slaves were used to giving the title to the older Van Leyden and automatically used it with Pieter. To Joss, Pieter was his boyhood friend, his mentor…his lover. Joss knew he was living in a kind of limbo, knowing that his time with Pieter was temporary. Joss hated that because he really loved Pieter. He had thought at first the feelings had just been the love of a surrogate brother, but when Pieter had embraced him on his return from abroad, it wasn’t brotherly feelings that stirred deep within him.

It had been a surprise to find that Pieter had such feelings toward him, too. Joss could still remember that first time Pieter touched him. Even though he had wanted his friend’s touch, Joss had been afraid that Pieter would only be using him. The prospect of the Master exercising what many slave owners considered to be their right was a fear his sister, and the other pretty young slaves lived with constantly. Boys and men were less susceptible, and though such couplings were rare and shrouded in secrecy, they did happen.

So, when Pieter touched him with such tender reverence, Joss had been shocked. He learned then that he hadn’t been mistaken about the friend from his youth; Pieter was showing that he cared, that it wasn’t just the use of a convenient body he wanted from Joss. Pieter was seeking an emotional connection and Joss was more than happy to give it to him.

They had enjoyed each other many times since that first night almost two years ago, but Joss never forgot that first time, when he had learned that not all slave owners were the same.

He knew Pieter cared for him, loved him in a way, but also that it was not with the soul deep emotion Joss felt himself when Pieter took him, driving deep into his body. Joss didn’t know how he could sense the difference in their emotional attachment but he knew he was right. Pieter said things to him when they were having sex and Joss was sure when he spoke them aloud, Pieter believed his own words, but Joss knew that what his lover promised could never be. There was no way that he, a black slave, could ever be with a white master as anything but property to be used, a catamite. Joss had heard the word for the first time a few months back, read to him from a biblical story. He couldn’t remember which story it was, but the word he would never forget—catamite, a boy or young man kept by a sodomite. That was the reality of what Joss was, not that Pieter would ever accept it, but it was better for Joss to do so. As odd it as might sound, it was better for his peace of mind. Dreams of anything more would only destroy him. 

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November 7, 2012

Conflict – 25% excerpt!

Filed under: writing — Stevie Woods @ 9:26 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Today’s excerpt, starting at the quarter point in the story, is from CONFLICT, my Civil War historical novel and sequel to the popular, Cane. CONFLICT garnered some excellent reviews, including a Recommended Read from Fallen Angels, Top Pick from Night Owl Reviews and 5 Stars from Literary Nymphs!

Bitterly, James remembered how he’d called to see Sebastian, to sympathize with him over his manager’s betrayal, to offer what help he could, but Cane would hear nothing said against the man. Sebastian had even refused to join the Confederate army when it was raised, wouldn’t fight for his home, his people. James had gone to ask him to come with him so they could serve together, renew the friendship that went back so many years. But no, Sebastian’s priority was Morning Star. He had a responsibility to his slaves he said. To his slaves!  Good God, what about his responsibility to his own people, to his State!

Van Leyden tossed and turned on the bed, muttering in his sleep. Farrand stared at him, this man who had so much to answer for. The prisoner’s sleep became even more disturbed and he shifted on the bed, his right arm flung to the side where his hand fell open.

Something caught the light from a flickering oil lamp nearby and, curious, James investigated. Van Leyden held a small silver button in his hand, one that James recognized immediately. He’d seen that set of buttons many times before, even unfastened them when he and Sebastian had been lovers.

Fury raged through him and jealousy. He had, of course, wondered at the kind of influence Van Leyden had over Sebastian. If it could be seated in more than just friendship, but he hoped he was wrong. But for Van Leyden to have this button — Sebastian had always been proud and possessive of the set of monogrammed buttons his mother had given him. There was only one way Van Leyden would have one. It was a keepsake from his lover.

James realized now he’d still held to the hope that sometime in the future he and Sebastian could have rekindled their relationship, but Sebastian already had a lover — Pieter Van Leyden. Angrily, James reached for the silver keepsake but as his hand brushed Van Leyden’s the other man stirred, reflexively closing his fist over the button.

James took his gaze from the man’s hand and looked into his face instead, to find Van Leyden staring back at him. Puzzlement swiftly gave way to resentment when it dawned on him what James had attempted.

Eyes blazing with anger, the Dutchman clutched his talisman protectively against his chest. “You have no right…”

Interrupting sharply, James snapped, “I have no right!  You betrayed him. How dare you?”

Mouth tight, eyes hard, yet his voice calm, Van Leyden stated, “Not that it’s any of your concern, but I did not betray him. This,” he glanced down at his still tightly closed fist, “was his parting gift to me.”

Fuming with frustrated anger, Farrand backed away and turning sharply stalked out of the hospital tent.

***

As James walked away from the cause of his distress, his anger deepened with each step. How come the scoundrel hadn’t been more badly hurt? Why hadn’t the fucking bastard been killed! Fucking bastard! Hah! That was too damned close to home! James couldn’t stand to think of that…that bastard with Sebastian.

Then he spotted Wyatt walking past in the distance and James suddenly recalled that Van Leyden was a prisoner and that if he survived — God damn the man! — he would be sent to a prison. Notorious places they were. Prisoners died like flies, he’d heard. With a brittle smile, James made for his tent, his smile widening as he ducked inside. He had a letter to write.

***

Pieter watched in shock as Farrand stalked away from him and out of the hospital tent. Relief flooded through him that he’d woken when he did. He’d been dreaming, he couldn’t remember what about, but he knew there was danger. Was it only a coincidence that he awakened just then? Or had his subconscious mind somehow been warning him?

He opened his hand again and stared at the precious keepsake; remembering only a short time ago wondering if he was silly to carry it around with him. Now, he knew just how much it meant to him; he would have hated to lose his only link to Sebastian.

***

In a frustrated rage, James wrote to Sebastian, knowing that he was still at Morning Star. The words flowing swiftly from his pen, he told of fighting a battle against a group of Union soldiers during which the enemy captain had been captured. He’d heard of course, he wrote, that white officers led nigger soldiers in the Union army but to actually see it! Then he admitted his shock when visiting the hospital to discover he recognized the wounded Yankee captain in charge of one such company. James wrote that he shouldn’t really have been surprised to see Pieter Van Leyden in such a position after the way he’d betrayed his own kind. Then, with a vicious smile, heartlessly, he had added: The man is better off dead!

He read the words again, nodding to himself. Then like a dash of cold water he realized he could never send the message to Sebastian. He couldn’t appear so cold and unfeeling to Sebastian, who, for whatever unfathomable reason, still cared about his ex-manager. James wanted to ‘comfort’ Sebastian; he needed to be supportive, not condemning of ‘poor’ Van Leyden. He carefully re-wrote the letter, first reminding Sebastian of their long and also intimate friendship before writing about Van Leyden. He described the scene in much the way he had before, but instead adding at the end: Still, I know how fond of the misguided young man you were, and I’m sorry to have to tell you that he died of wounds sustained in the battle.

Feeling much more comfortable with the wording, he added another paragraph telling Sebastian that he would call to see him whenever the opportunity next arose, though it could be some time before it would be possible. He signed and sealed it, making plans to get it mailed as soon as he could.

Chapter Four

The following morning, as Wyatt had stated, the Confederates broke camp. The half-dozen wounded were loaded into two wagons and moved out among the first group to leave, a half-company in attendance. Wyatt was at the front of the formation.

Pieter slumped in the second wagon, his back against the rear of the driver’s seat, his head almost touching the back of the soldier driving the wagon. Doctor Mayer sat alongside the driver, half turned toward the bed of the wagon where two of the more seriously injured men lay. The shortage of room in the wagon necessitated Pieter’s half sitting position.

Pieter was the only Union prisoner and Wyatt had insisted on tying his hands and fastening the rope to the wagon. Mayer protested, but the only concession Wyatt allowed was that the doctor placed Pieter’s injured arm carefully before Pieter was secured. However, Pieter considered Wyatt was being over-cautious because he didn’t believe he had enough strength to escape anyway. Not yet at least. He had to trust that his vigor would return to allow him to make the attempt before too long. Pieter had no intention of being sent to a Confederate prison. He’d heard enough rumors not to want to discover if they were true.

From his position in the bed of wagon, Pieter could see where they had come from, and until the cart made a sweeping turn to rejoin a wide dirt road, he watched as the rest of the Confederate troops gathered their belongings together. He knew they would soon form up, throwing out a screen to protect the main column as they retreated to their own lines. Pieter didn’t know exactly where that was, but he knew it wouldn’t be too far from the Union forces.

Both sides kept an uneasy, wary eye out as they each tried to outwit the other. Each commanding general wished to pick the battle ground, while at the same time, not allowing his opposite number to choose where he wished to fight. The front lines were constantly changing. Pieter assumed they were moving toward Louisiana.

It took longer than he expected to reach the Confederate camp. It was big, and looked to be at least semi-permanent. The wagons were driven to the left flank where it appeared there was a hospital complex, judging from all the activity going on around the two tents. Pieter gave an involuntary shudder at the haphazard pile of amputated limbs he glimpsed, grateful indeed that he had been spared that. However, he had been wondering for a while if his wound had begun to bleed again. He could feel something warm and wet on his arm and he’d been feeling sleepier and sleepier as the journey progressed.

As the doctor alighted and moved to the rear of the wagon, Pieter commented, “Doctor, I believe I could be bleeding again.”

<end excerpt>

If you’d like to read the full story, the novel can be purchased here

http://steviewoods.com

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October 16, 2012

Cane: today’s 25% excerpt!

Today I am posting an excerpt from the quarter point in my gay historical novel, Cane, a story set on sugar cane plantations shortly before the American Civil War looking at the institution of slavery and one young man’s struggle to cope with the situation.

Turning back, something glinting on the seat next to him caught Pieter’s eye.  He picked it up to find a small silver button and as he looked at it closely he saw the tiny monogram letters: SC – Sebastian Cane.  It must have fallen from the man’s jacket or his waistcoat when Cane took out his pocket watch.  Pieter rolled it around in his palm and closed his hand over it, a slight smile on his lips.  Perhaps Cane had inadvertently left him a ‘calling card’ if fate ever allowed them to meet again.

***

Barend seemed more at peace with his new wife than Pieter had expected.  A few of their other friends were present, too and the evening passed very pleasantly for all concerned, though Pieter’s thoughts kept drifting back to his meeting with the American, Sebastian Cane.  Occasionally, during the evening he would slip his hand into his pocket to check that the button was still there.

Pieter didn’t tell anyone about his encounter with the enigmatic American.  It was something he kept hidden inside. Pieter couldn’t have explained his fascination with a stranger he had only met for a few minutes anyway.  He wasn’t even sure he understood it himself.

Pieter continued to see Josef occasionally, but it was nothing more than scratching an itch.  He liked the young man, enjoying his company along with others of the group of young men he considered friends, but none of them moved him the way Joss had – or as Sebastian Cane apparently did.

During his first months in Amsterdam, Pieter’s dreams had been full of Joss.  Memories of his hands sliding over Pieter’s skin as his hard cock slid inside him, or images of Pieter taking him against the wall of the ruined church, his lover’s dark hands scrabbling at the crumbling bricks as the force of passion overtook their bodies.

More recently though, his dreams had been invaded by a pair of startling brown eyes, suddenly lit by a bright smile; a pair of long legs in tight evening pants; a triangle of pale skin, edged by a white cravat; a pair of full mobile lips, the taste of which Pieter awoke desperately wanting to know.  The first time it happened he snapped awake, gasping for breath.

His dream last night had been the most telling of all.  It began with him pressing Joss against the wall as Pieter leaned into him, his mouth plundering his lover’s.  He knew his lover’s taste so well, even well after a year since he’d last been with Joss, Pieter recognized his flavor.  Then the familiar taste faded and puzzled, Pieter released his lover and found he was staring into a pair of warm brown eyes.  Pieter gasped and Sebastian Cane took the opportunity to thrust his tongue deep inside Pieter’s mouth. Pieter moaned –  and opened his eyes, groaning to find himself alone in his bed.

***

“Piet,” Josef said one evening as Pieter stood with his back with him, staring out of the window at the failing rain.  Josef had invited Pieter over for one of their regular nights together but Pieter was distracted.  “Do you really want to be here with me?  You haven’t even started to undress; it’s as if just being here with me is a habit with you now.  Look, while I don’t want any…complications, but, I do at least want you to be here with me.”

Sighing Pieter turned around, his eyes dipped, “I’m sorry, Josef, it’s not you, I promise.”

Josef stared at him, “No, what you mean is it’s not him, whoever it is you wish you were with.”

Pieter’s head snapped up then, shocked that he was so obvious.  Josef gave him a wan smile.  “I’ve been…sensing the difference in you, you have been…preoccupied more and more the last few weeks.”

Pieter sighed, “I didn’t know I was that obvious.  I’m sorry, didn’t mean to…”

“Forget it; I know how these things happen.  Are you and he?”

“No, it’s not possible,” said Pieter softly.

Josef looked at Pieter and he appeared confused. “I see,” Josef said.  “Do you want to end our…arrangement?”  Josef hesitated, regarding Pieter carefully, before adding, “I understand, you know.  I wanted someone once and it wasn’t to be, and for a while no one else was good enough.  We both knew from the beginning that this was casual, for both of us.  I have liked being with you very much but I feel we are drifting apart.  Don’t feel you have to…be with me if you no longer wish to.”

Pieter met the young man’s gaze squarely.  “I’m sorry, Josef, I don’t really know what is wrong with me.  I want someone I can’t have, someone I don’t even know.  I wish I could love you; I like you and we are good together,”

“But it is not enough,” Josef interrupted.  “I understand.”  He chewed his lip for a moment, before continuing.  “Let’s not force this; it’s not fair for either of us.”  Josef smiled and reached out to squeeze Pieter’s shoulder.  “Shall we call it a day?  You know where to find me if you want to see me again.”

“Sorry, I don’t feel good about this, but…” Pieter sighed and then smiled ruefully.  “You’re very understanding.  God knows why you haven’t found someone better than me!”

Josef laughed, “I live in hope.”

***

As he walked away from Josef, Pieter felt a mixture of relief and sorrow. He really did like Josef and enjoyed what they did together, but the young man realized he had done the right thing, for both of them.  For all Pieter knew, he was keeping Josef from meeting that certain someone.

Over the next few weeks his social life slowed down dramatically. His surrogate family seemed somewhat puzzled by this, but they didn’t push him for an explanation when Pieter made it clear that he did not wish to discuss the matter.

He hadn’t been seeing quite as much of his group of friends anyway, spending more of his time with Barend and Femke, and on occasion Barend tried to weed out what was wrong with him, but for once, Pieter kept his own counsel.  Most of the time now, he only socialized with the Van Leydens, or spent more and more time on his own. Willem tried harder to get him involved with the family’s round of invitations but Pieter refused more frequently than he accepted.

So it wasn’t a surprise when early one evening he arrived home from the office to be informed by Closson that his cousin wished to see him immediately in the salon.  With a sigh at having to face yet another unwelcome request, Pieter went in.

“Evening, Willem, what can I do for you this time?  Please don’t expect me to go with you tonight.  You know I can’t abide the so-called musical evenings of the der Falk’s.”

“Sit down please, Pieter.” Willem’s voice had a very serious tone, which was unusual for him and Pieter was confused and curious.  Pieter sat down carefully on the edge of the seat of one of the armchairs.  “We have received some news from Spinnaker.”

Pieter knew without being told anything further that the news was bad; just the look on his cousin’s face, the hesitation with which he spoke, was enough.  “What’s wrong?” Pieter asked directly.

“I’m sorry, Piet, there’s no easy way to say this.”  Willem took a breath, “Your father is dead.”

Somehow Pieter had expected that, but to actually hear the words was more shocking than he could have suspected.

“Dead?” Pieter breathed.  “How?  He wasn’t that old.”

“No, he wasn’t,” agreed Willem thoughtfully.  “He was two years younger than me.”  Willem swallowed and continued, “This explains it all,” he handed a folded sheet of paper to Pieter who held it arms length, as if it might burn him.  Recognizing Pieter’s distress, Willem carefully explained what was in the letter.

“It seems your father was out riding, he’d been visiting a neighbor and on his way back home a sudden storm blew up.  It is suspected that his horse shied from something and Nicolaas was thrown; he broke his neck and died immediately.  He didn’t suffer, Pieter.  I’m so sorry.”

Feeling numb, Pieter nodded and stood up, clutching the paper against his chest he left the room.  He never heard Willem calling to him, saying he needed to talk to him, ending softly with, “anything I can help with”.

Retreating to his room, Pieter collapsed on his bed.  It was almost a shock to realize how much he had still loved his father and now he was gone.  Pieter couldn’t even attend his funeral. It would have taken place long since.  It would have taken weeks for the message to cross the vast Atlantic Ocean to reach him in Holland.  It seemed unreal that his father had been dead for weeks and Pieter hadn’t known.

He regretted now that he and his father had parted on such bad terms.  Pieter had only communicated with Nicolaas Van Leyden once since he had arrived in Amsterdam, a few days after he’d arrived.  It had been obvious that Willem expected him to write to inform his father of his safe arrival and when, on the third day, his cousin pointedly asked him if his letter was ready yet, Pieter had retired to his room to write a short note.  He wrote simply and directly of his safe arrival and how welcoming the Amsterdam Van Leydens had been.

Almost as an afterthought, he’d added a sentence asking after the whereabouts of Effie and her children, hoping they were being looked after.  He’d hesitated before even writing that but Pieter was desperate for news of his ex-lover and the people he still thought of as his surrogate family.

His father replied eventually, all but ignoring the news about his own safe arrival and acceptance in Holland, but instead answering his query about Joss and the others by stating quite plainly that Effie and her family had been sold off the island, and that he would never mention them again.  Of their whereabouts Nicolaas was conspicuously silent.

That cold missive hardened Pieter’s heart against his father and he had never written to him again, trying, in fact, to put the intractable man out of his thoughts.

Now Pieter felt a measure of guilt because, until that fateful night when Nicolaas had discovered the truth, he had been a good and loving father.  True, they had disagreed volubly on the subject of Pieter’s attitude to slavery and, of course on a more personal level, his proposed marriage but the young man was honest enough to admit that the elder Van Leyden didn’t know all the facts, didn’t understand why he’d been so vehement against taking a wife.

That night his father had finally understood and Nicolaas had never forgiven his son for what he saw as a sin. Pieter wondered if his father would ever have reconsidered his opinion, if he even regretted banishing his only son.  Now Pieter would never know.

Pieter sat up as realization set in that he could go home, he could do what he wanted.  Spinnaker belonged to him now.  God, he could have freed them, if only Effie, Tillie and Joss still belonged to the plantation.  Oh God!  Pieter had no idea who owned them, how they were being treated.  Effie and Tillie had never been field slaves and yet it was common practice on many plantations for women to work alongside the men.  The odds were they were suffering and there wasn’t a damned thing he could do about it!

<end excerpt>

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt and if you want to know the rest of the story, you can purchase the book in ebook or print here

http://steviewoods.com

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April 10, 2012

Read some of my First Chapters!

Filed under: writing — Stevie Woods @ 11:37 am
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I am the guest author today on the D Renee Bagby First Chapters Blog! If you visit there today you can read the first chapters of four of my novels: CANE, its sequel CONFLICT, BEYOND THE VEIL and its prequel DRAWING THE VEIL.


 

February 14, 2011

Valentines’ Love Letters on The Macaronis Blog

Filed under: writing — Stevie Woods @ 7:56 pm
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Taking part in the Valentine’s Day celebration on The Macaronis Blog, I have posted two love letters from characters in my historical releases, Cane, Conflict and Smoke Screen. Pop over and have a look, and take the time to read the other entries from my fellow Macaronis, they are wonderful!

Stevie

http://steviewoods.com

Gay erotic romance – love knows no boundaries

April 20, 2010

Finally got my hands on print version of CANE!

Filed under: writing — Stevie Woods @ 3:21 pm
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There’s nothing like it – holding a copy of your own book in your hands!

CANE may have been out for some time now, originally as an eBook and then a short time ago the Print version came out, but then today a parcel arrived in the post containing my author copies of CANE.  It was almost as exciting as the day I got confirmation that my book had been accepted by the publisher!

I turned a copy over and over in my hands, studying the cover art, looking at the blurb on the back. I opened it and read the first few words – it seems ages now since I actually wrote those words down for the first time but seeing them again on the printed page… well there are no words to describe the feeling. And it is an excitement I never want to become inured to.

I have print copies of four of my books on my shelf now (Cane, Conflict, Beyond the Veil and Past Shadows) and each time I look at my bookshelf and see my name on the spines of those books I have to pinch myself 🙂

Stevie

http://steviewoods.com

March 18, 2010

Cane Print – latest!

Filed under: writing — Stevie Woods @ 8:26 pm
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It really is out in Print now – promise!

It was finally posted for sale on the Phaze site yesterday, later than expected and I’m not sure of the reason for the delay but it is definitely available from the publisher now. It should be available from other booksellers in due course.

Stevie

http://steviewoods.com

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