Hi peeps, we have Sean Michael popping in today with her upcoming release The Closet Boy, we have a fantastic guest post where Sean chats about titles and we have a great excerpt, so guys check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~
The Closet Boy
Way’ra Bernard is only twenty years old when his parents kick him out of the house. He has been brought up to believe being gay is wrong and he is going to go to hell for it. He tried very hard not to be gay but couldn’t change the way he felt. Now he’s living furtively in a closet on the third floor of the place he’s working as a janitor—the Iron Eagle Gym.
Neal McPherson is an unattached Dom in his midtwenties and a member of the gym. One evening after working out, he notices Way’ra on the stairs and he’s immediately attracted and intrigued, so he asks Way’ra out. Unable to come up with a reason to refuse and also interested in Neal, Way’ra accepts.
There are a lot of obstacles to the relationship they attempt to build after their date, not least of which is Way’ra’s upbringing and his lingering doubts about the kinky sex Neal enjoys. But with patience and persistence, Neal might convince Way’ra not only to accept himself, but to loosen his inhibitions enough to explore and find a happy ending together.
My Kingdom for a Title
Titles are always hard work. I think I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating – the title is often one of the hardest things about writing a book for me. Every once in a blue moon, I will get a title that I know I need to turn into a book. It doesn’t happen very often at all. Most of the time I agonize over the title after I’ve finished the book, I’ve written the blurb and the synopsis and I’m ready to send the book in, aside from needing a title, of course.
Throw in the book being a part of a series where the titles all have something in common and suddenly there’s constraints and that usually makes the whole coming up with a title thing even harder. With the Iron Eagle Gym series, all the titles start with ‘the’ and then have an adjective and a noun – The New Boy, The Perfect Sub, The Luckiest Master…
Now, I knew going in that I would have to repeat the noun – there are only so many different types of people who partake in a BDSM relationship – doms, subs, masters, boys, slaves, tops, bottoms, and so on. So I even had a fairly narrow choice for the noun going into this. Still, I was wracking my brains, trying to come up with something and having, as usual, very little luck. Then it hit me. One of the main characters in this book literally lives in a closet in the beginning. I knew I needed to play on that. And then it came to me – The Closet Boy! Because not only did he live in the closet, but he had only recently come out to his family as well.
And so, finally, I had a title for this one. I’m so glad the stories themselves are easier than the naming of them!
Smut fixes everything
GOD, HE was tired.
Way’ra finished his shift with the broom and waved to Dalton, the nice night manager sitting at the counter at the front of the Iron Eagle Gym. “Bye, man. I’m going to check the bathrooms, and then I’ll be out of your hair.”
“Have a good night, Way. Don’t party too hard.”
Right. Because he remembered parties. The last four months had been the longest of his young life. He’d been outed, thrown out of his conservative religious college and out of his house without anything more than the clothes on his back and his wallet.
No phone. No laptop. No cash. No shoes. He’d managed to pull two hundred dollars from the ATM before his dad froze the account.
Still, he’d done it, hadn’t he? He had a job cleaning here at the Eagle, and in a month he’d have enough saved to rent a room. All he had to do was wait it out.
Well, wait it out and pray that no one noticed that someone was sleeping in one of the third-floor broom closets. So far he’d been doing it for a few months and no one was the wiser. He’d tried staying in the park, but between the snow and the cold, it had been so nasty. He’d been hoping spring would be different, but there’d been so much rain. He only had the one pair of jeans; he couldn’t show up to work with them wet.
When he’d discovered the tiny broom closet with a layer of dust on the floor, it had felt like magic, like it was meant to be. He wasn’t hurting anything. No one was staying there, and he was super careful to sneak out before one of the day managers saw him in the morning, grab his one meal of coffee and a doughnut, and hang out for a couple of hours before he showed back up to work.
He was headed up the back stairs, quiet as a mouse, when a gorgeous stud suddenly appeared at his side. The guy was tall, close to a foot bigger than him, and with the best muscles. He was wearing a pair of sweats and a T-shirt, gym bag slung over one shoulder.
“Headed up too?” Even the guy’s voice was studly—deep and growly.
“Uh. Uh-huh. Just checking supplies.” He kept his head down, his gaze forward. This man was twice his size, easily, and he wasn’t interested in a confrontation.
“Oh right, you work here. I thought I recognized you. Do you like it?” The guy was taking the stairs two at a time, but doing it slowly enough that they stayed level.
“Yes, sir. It’s a good job.” No one asked questions. No one bothered him. No one noticed him. He didn’t exist, and that was just like he wanted it.
“Good, good. This is a good place. It’s nice to know everyone is family.” It looked like this guy was going all the way up, just like he was.
“Yes, sir.” Dammit. He needed to slip into his closet. He had a dog-eared paperback he’d found in the lost-and-found and a cold Coke.
“Do you work out here too?”
God, this guy was Chatty McChatterson.
“No, sir.” Did he look like he worked out? Ever?
“You look like you could use a few sessions. Oh fuck, that was rude, I’m sorry.”
“No worries. I’ll mop harder tomorrow. Have a good evening.” Go away.
The guy gave him a sharp look. “I didn’t say I thought you were doing a bad job.”
“Yes, sir. I’m sorry. I left my… cleanser. I mean, my pad downstairs. Excuse me.”
The guy stopped and put a hand on his arm. “I’ve upset you now. I didn’t mean to. How about I buy you a cup of coffee by way of an apology?”
“Me? I’m the janitor. You don’t have to apologize.”
“I don’t believe in classes. In fact, without you, my enjoyment here at the gym would be so much less.”
The words were dear and made his cheeks heat. “Thank you. I appreciate it. Honestly.”
“Then let me buy you a coffee. There’s a shop around the corner that’s still open. You’ll be saving me from a lonely evening too.” The guy took his bag off his shoulder. “I’m stuck here for the night. They found asbestos in our building, and we’ve all been kicked out.”
“Oh no. I’m so sorry. Someone’s letting you spend the night here? That’s very cool.”
“That’s what the bunks upstairs are for. Anyone who needs the space.” The guy shouldered his bag again. “You wanna meet down at the main doors in, say, a half hour? Does that work for you?”
“I suppose so. Yes. Thank you.” He could use a cup of coffee, one with lots of sugar and cream.
The guy looked pleased. “Perfect.” Then he held out his hand. “I’m Neal.”
“Yes. It’s tribal. Just call me Way.”
Neal shouldered open the door from the hall and leaned against it. “I like it. What does it mean?”
“A gust of wind.”
Neal looked him over and grinned. “You look like a good gust of wind would knock you right over.”
“You’re not the first person to say that to me.”
“And here I thought I was being all original and suave.” Neal chuckled. “I look forward to our coffee and doing a better job of it.”
“Yes, sir. Thanks for the invitation.” He headed back downstairs, not sure whether to hide out in one of the bathrooms for a little while or what.
He couldn’t believe he was seriously considering this, having coffee with a perfect stranger. More than that—a stranger from the gym.
Neal had been kind, though. Nice. With warm eyes. Plus the guy was hot.
Stop it, Way. You’re a skinny homeless idiot with absolutely no future. You don’t get to date hot guys.
He was going to get the coffee, though. Because it would be stupid to turn down anything free. He would have to keep reminding himself that it wasn’t a date.
It was a free cup of coffee with a whole lot of sugar.
Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.
Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.
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