Happy Birthday, Paul!

The First Time front coverThe First Time is a (very) short story originally written as a chapter in Tri Me, but ended up being cut for length. I hated for the depiction of this very special “first” to disappear forever, so it’s preserved as a limited edition, print-only booklet. This story will NEVER be available for sale by me via any outlet—your only chance to read the full installment is to win a copy! (more details below)

Here’s a snippet from The First Time, in celebration of Paul Atwater’s birthday on August 30…

Beth’s little apartment felt hot and cramped. Bookended by her boyfriends on her sofa, trying to watch television, she worried her air conditioner couldn’t keep up with the heat pouring off them. Their large frames always made her home feel diminutive in comparison, but the effect was amplified tonight.

I hate August, she grumbled.

But that wasn’t precisely true. She hated the entire monsoon season: the searing heat, the high humidity, the dust storms that rolled through every afternoon like clockwork, wreaking trashy, grimy havoc—miserable inconveniences all. But worse were the violent thunderstorms that tore through town at night, whipping up childhood fears and robbing her of sleep.

Paul’s schedule had become a sort of marathon torture ever since he and John returned from their hiking trip in the canyon. Gone were their romantic dates. Instead, the three of them settled for whatever random, short stretches of time they could string together.

John followed her home from work that afternoon and Paul, who got off his shift at the hospital at the same time, picked up dinner and met them at her place. After a couple hours spent in each other’s company, the guys would soon head back to their apartment so Paul could get some sleep before dragging himself back to the hospital before dawn.

John stared intently at the television, seemingly inured to the stuffy heat of the room. Paul’s head lolled back against the wall, his eyes closed, possibly dozing already.

Worried he might not be awake enough to safely drive home, Beth peeled herself off the couch and cranked the thermostat downward another degree on her way to the kitchen. She lingered in front of the open refrigerator for a few extra seconds, letting the cold air waft over her as she searched for something cold and caffeinated for him to drink.

“So, Paul, how do you want to celebrate your birthday next week?” she asked loudly to wake him, strolling back toward them with sodas in hand.

John winced and groaned, his head dropping onto the back of the sofa in defeat. At the same time, now suddenly wide-awake, Paul pumped his fist in the air, smiling and crowing, “Yes!”

“Why do I get the feeling you just lost a bet, John?” she chuckled, confused by the display as she distributed the cans.

“Yeah, I owe him something now,” John conceded, popping his soda open and taking a long drink.

She got the distinct feeling it wasn’t money.

Beth gave a yelp when Paul pulled her unexpectedly into his lap. He grinned broadly as he guided her arms around his neck and, gazing up at her with diabolically adorable, pleading eyes, said, “For my birthday present, I’d like for us to try something new…”

Want to become one of the select few lucky fans of Desert Ménage Trilogy who have won a copy of The First Time? Sign up for my newsletter, Taboo Times, by completing the short form on the home page (right-hand sidebar near the top) and you’ll be entered to win a copy. It’s just that easy! Folks already subscribed to the newsletter are already entered. I’ll draw the winner on August 31, 2015. Good luck!