Join Prism Book Alliance® as JP Barnaby goes Outside the Margins today.
A year ago, if you’d told me I’d have my own gorgeous apartment with hardwood floors, granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances—if you’d told me I’d own a beautiful black Camaro—if you’d told me I’d be going out most nights of the week with friends—I’d have said you were fucking crazy. If you’d told me I’d move halfway across the country away from my family, I’d have wondered about you. If you’d told me I’d be working from home at the same job I’d had for fifteen years, I’d have simply laughed aloud.
What a difference a year can make.
I look at my life now and wonder why I didn’t make this change years ago, while I was still young and nimble. Then, I look at those people responsible for helping me to do it, and I see why I had to wait. I didn’t know Jonathan then, or Shae, or Bran, or all of the beautiful, amazing people who gave me the courage—no, who helped me find the courage—to make these sweeping changes in my life.
When I go out for game night, or Taco Tuesday, or to the Eagle, I am surrounded by people who want me to be there. It’s something so unprecedented for me that sometimes, I cannot believe it. Sometimes, I think I’m going to wake up back in Chicago in my little room in my little house, sheltering myself away from life, the way I’ve always done.
And then, I open my eyes and see the sun sneaking around the blinds through my huge bedroom windows, I see the dresser full of framed pictures of my friends, and I see my computer sitting there waiting for me to come to work.
I’ve taken this year off as JP to get acclimated to living in Atlanta away from my family—to adjust to my new social life. But I am still writing. I’m working on several new projects for Dreamspinner Press including a great new series inspired by the amazing leather family who has brought me into their fold. Their support, and the support of all my other friends, has meant the world to me.
To say thank you – here is the first part of a short story from that series. A moment in time that all of us in the LGBT community remember – that first moment of freedom when you walked into the place where everyone looked just like you.
Unedited excerpt from the sort story — In Otter Darkness: The Black Out Party
Google is a fucking bitch.
All I wanted was a place to test the leather studded waters of gay Atlanta and my phone sent me to some kind of warehouse in the middle of Midtown. This couldn’t be the Eagle I’d heard so much about—no lights, no party—it looked kind of deserted. The blacked out windows gave the building an ominous feel. The sign overhanging the sidewalk had to be lying because I couldn’t fucking believe it. Then, a door opened and club music spilled out over Ponce. I stood across the street, trying to keep my knees from buckling as two guys stalked out of the bar. One lean man in a rubber gleamed under the streetlight as his handsome partner tried to get a hold of him and pull him along. They stopped on the corner, waiting as I did for the light, but with far more enthusiasm. The guy in the bar vest rubbed his boyfriend’s rubber clad crotch as they devoured each other with a drawn out kiss. I wanted to stand there all night in my tented 501s, but the light changed and the guys walked toward me, oblivious to my attention.
Just like most guys.
I paused on the corner in the shadow of the imposing club. A muffled thumping vibrated the block and I couldn’t help the slight movement of my hips in time with the tempo. If only I could force myself those last few feet, maybe I could go in and dance. If only I could make himself walk in alone. If only I had the balls to try. My entire life seemed to consist of those words…if only. I watched another guy, dressed in leather and chain pants pass me and head toward the door. I glanced down at my geeky ensemble and pulled the t-shirt out of the waistband of my jeans. God, I was such a dork. I might as well have worn suspenders or a bowtie. As much as the leather scene intrigued me, I’d never fit in with them. I should just turn around and go the fuck home. Thin frame, slender body, the only thing that kept me from being a twink was the fur across my chest and stomach—more like an otter. Great, a twinky otter—maybe a twotter.
God, I’m never getting laid.
A scruffy little collarless dog trotted past me, probably on its way to a meal as I waffled on the sidewalk. A homeless man shambled past with more purpose than I possessed. I’d nearly decided to call it a night when a voice murmured against my ear.
“We only bite if you want us to.”
The sidewalk disappeared as I leaped nearly a foot off the pavement and stumbled back against the building, a hand clutched around the non-existent pearls at my neck. The speaker, a tall slender shirtless man in jeans and an open leather bar vest, smiled at me as I failed desperately to gather myself.
“I didn’t—I mean… Damnit. This is the Eagle, right?”
“Yep. You coming inside?” The man asked as I traced a slow gaze across the happy trail shadowed by the leather vest. My dick perked up a bit as I daydreamed about dropping to my knees and rubbing my face across the downy hair just to bury myself in the man’s scent.
Fuck—now I was hard.
It took a moment of rushing traffic and sweat rolling down the back of my neck to realize I hadn’t answered, hadn’t moved, hadn’t so much as taken a breath. The man, undeterred by my indecision moved closer, rough lips near my ear.
“It’s a black out party tonight. Trust me, you want to go in,” he whispered, a slow tickle of breath across my ear. My dick responded, nudging at the inside of my fly, sniffing the air with a desperate kind of hope. It had been six months since I’d gotten laid, and even that turned out to be a quick fuck behind the garage. My mother had bristled at the thought of me bringing strange men home, especially in front of the help. Of course, I’d tried to explain to her more than once that hospice nurses weren’t “the help”, but she’d been too far gone by then to understand much of anything. Waiting for death was a horrible sort of anticipation.
But this form of anticipation, with a hot guy whispering against my skin, all promise and need. That kind of anticipation I’d take every single day and twice on Sundays, no matter what the preacher man said about sin.
“Lead the way.” It sounded more confident than I felt, but I backed up a step to let the man head into the bar. I followed, somewhat slower, past a twist and a turn to a large open room. The bar stood sentinel on one side, and an elevated DJ booth overlooked the small graffiti’d dance floor. The place was old and gritty, raw, not like the trendy places in the Gayborhood. The Atlanta Eagle was an institution where decades of men had left their marks upon the bars, the walls, and the floors and the wood bore those marks with pride. I’d known about this place since I’d been old enough to understand what the stirring in my dick meant when I saw other boys. Now that mother was with her precious Jesus, I could push the shame away and figure out what kind of man I really was.
“You want a drink?”
“You got a name?”
We asked it at the same time, and I answered first, after kicking back a shot of awkwardness.
“Dirk, and yeah, let’s have a drink.”
Later, I would learn in spectacular fashion that there were bars all over the Eagle, but this time Dirk led me to the front bar that we’d passed when we came in. Late on a Thursday night at the beginning cusp of summer, the bar stood relatively quiet. Only a low hum of conversation just above the house music broke through my awareness.
“Diego, hey baby,” Dirk said over the throng to a hot bear of a Latino man behind the bar. His tatts shone even in the subtle colored lighting, and sweat glistened against the hair on his chest. I wanted to touch it, to feel the hair, the wet heat of the man’s body, but put I hands on the bar instead.
“Dirk, what, you babysitting tonight?” Diego asked with a raised eyebrow at me.
“Nah, we met outside and I invited him in to ride my cock.”
I nearly choked at the blatant way they spoke to each other, like no one else could hear though there were plenty of people at the bar. None of them even glanced up at the conversation. They simply lived their lives.
So, I decided to finally live mine.
“I don’t remember that kind of invitation,” I said, and then turned to Diego. “Can I get a Jack and Coke, and whatever he wants, please?”
“A boy after my own heart, even if he’s not after my cock,” Dirk said with a half grin. “I’ll take the same, D.”
“Who says I’m not after your c-cock?” The last word came out a little a little stutter, but I covered it by pulling out a stool and sitting down.
“Well, okay then.” Dirk took the drinks from Diego and handed one to me even as he waived off my cash and started a tab. “One question though…” he continued with a sideways glance at me.
“How many times have you stood out front of this place and not come in?”
I took a long drink, the Jack doing nothing yet to settle my nerves as I stared into its cool brown depths instead of letting my shame show.
“I always drove, so I could tell myself that I could turn in whenever I wanted. It’s not uncommon, man. Stepping outside of your head is fucking hard.”
Want more? Leave a comment and let me know.
About JP Barnaby
Award winning romance novelist, J. P. Barnaby has penned over a dozen books including the Working Boys series, the Little Boy Lost series, In the Absence of Monsters, and Aaron. As a bisexual woman, J.P. is a proud member of the GLBT community both online and in her small town on the outskirts of Chicago. A member of Mensa, she is described as brilliant but troubled, sweet but introverted, and talented but deviant. She spends her days writing software and her nights writing erotica, which is, of course, far more interesting. The spare time that she carves out between her career and her novels is spent reading about the concept of love, which, like some of her characters, she has never quite figured out for herself.
Web site: http://www.JPBarnaby.com
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|