FREE Gay Book Excerpt: Pretty Man by Ryan Field
This book was just re-released by Riverdale Avenue Books, and just in time for the Broadway play Pretty Woman. However, this is the gay erotic romance version, with all the parody, and even more erotic romance than usual. At the time I wrote it that way, as a parody, on purpose. I’ve toned down my other books little since this was written, but frankly I think this book works better with more sex than less. And that’s not always the case. If you read my posts regularly you’ll see that most of the story lines I’ve done in the past two years or so have been more PG rated romances. But this one was different for some reason. It was also written in 2008 and we decided not to update certain things. We wanted to keep the time frame authentic.
Here’s the Amazon Link. It’s always been one of those books that people either loved or hated. And that’s fine. There’s a lot of sex in this book (but not in the excerpt below) and not everyone likes sex.
It took Roland more than an hour to get dressed for the dinner. He spent an inordinate amount of time fussing in the bathroom with his short brown hair. It was thick and wiry, and the little turned-up wave above his forehead wasn’t easy to manage. He took time to apply a light bronzer (from his own company) to hide any signs of aging. He sighed when he buttoned the trousers of his black formal: They were about two inches too loose now. He hadn’t worn them in more than a year and forgot about the weight he lost since his break-up with Kenneth. Thankfully, the black jacket still fit perfectly.
Josh lay in bed watching a ballgame on TV until ten minutes before they had to leave. Then he got up, ran his fingers through his hair a few times, and put on the new black Versace Russell had left hanging in the kitchen. Roland’s eyebrows went up as he watched all this from a mirror in the bathroom. The pants went up over Josh’s hairy muscular legs perfectly, and the shirt hugged his V-shaped torso as though it had been sewn to his body. He made it all seem effortless: just button the shirt and zip the pants. He didn’t even use a mirror to knot his black tie. In less than five minutes, Josh stood in the bathroom doorway with his hands in his pants pockets as if he’d just stepped out of a fashion magazine, asking Roland if he was ready.
Roland turned to face him. “Damn,” Josh said. “You look really good.” His blue eyes scanned Roland’s body. “I’m not just saying that. You really look fantastic.”
Roland thought his face looked a little puffy and was worried that the wave above his forehead was too spiky. But his biggest concern was that he might be mistaken for Josh’s father rather than his date. “Thank you,” Roland said. “You look good, too.” In fact, Josh looked so good Roland felt the urge to unzip his pants and suck him off right there on the bathroom floor.
“Where are we going tonight?” Josh asked. He leaned into the doorjamb, kicking the marble tile with the tip of his shoe.
“A place called The Park Side,” Roland said, taking one last look in the mirror to make sure he hadn’t applied too much bronzer. “C’mon. I’ll race you downstairs.”
Russell stood in the street next to the car as Josh and Roland came outside. He had his signature somber expression on his face: that puckered, pinched look that implied he might have been weaned on a sour pickle. His gray eyes sparkled when he saw Roland jogging happily down the front steps and smiled for the first time since Josh had been there. “It’s so good to see you going out, Roland,” Russell said. “It’s good to have you back to normal and home again where you belong.” He shot a quick looked at Josh, who was brushing a small piece of lint from the back of Roland’s jacket.
Roland patted the old man on the back. “It’s good to be home, Russell.”
Josh rushed out on the street, stepped in front of Russell, and opened the car door for Roland. Russell stepped back and rubbed his jaw a few times, seemingly surprised by Josh’s chivalry.
Roland fumbled with the ignition a few times before he started the Bentley’s engine. He looked sheepishly at Josh. “I’m not familiar with this car,” he explained. “I’ve only driven it twice.”
He looked up at Russell. “Where are the lights again?”
Josh’s eyes widened and he checked to be sure his seatbelt was fastened. “Got it,” Roland said, and slipped the Bentley into gear. He hit the gas pedal so hard Josh’s head hit the back of the seat. The tires screeched and a man walking down the street jumped up on someone’s front steps. Roland smiled, but he also leaned forward over the steering wheel. He gripped the wheel so tightly his knuckles turned white. When they came to a stop sign at the end of the street, his foot hit the brake pedal with too much force. Josh reached out and pressed his palms against the dashboard.
“Dude,” Josh said, “When was the last time you drove a car?”
“Don’t worry,” Roland said, “I’m a great driver. I learned everything I know from Russell.”
“I was afraid of that,” Josh said, remembering their shopping trip.
Roland stepped on the gas and pulled out onto the avenue with another loud screech. “This place is on the Upper West Side. I think we’ll go through the park instead of taking the Henry Hudson. It’s more scenic.”
The men traveled through the city at top speed. Josh held the seat and pressed his feet to the floor. Unlike Russell, who tended to keep a constant pace when he drove, Roland had a habit of repeatedly stepping on the gas pedal and then releasing it so it felt like the car was jerking forward all the time. He also had a tendency to lean to the left side of the road, which made approaching cars swerve to the right. When people walking saw him approach, they jumped back and hid behind parked cars. Roland weaved in and out of lanes, came close to side-swiping buses, and hit every pothole and manhole cover between the West Village and the Upper West Side. When they crossed through the park and rounded a curve, he drove so fast the back end of the car fishtailed. By the time they reached Central Park West, Josh’s eyes were closed and he was holding the door handle with both hands.
Park Side did not have a park-side setting at all. There were no trees or benches or duck ponds, and there wasn’t a blade of grass to be found. The entire place was a tribute to concrete. It was actually just an old parking garage that had been converted into a large, upscale restaurant. When Roland pulled up to the valet, Josh asked, “Are you sure this is the right place?” He took a deep breath and smoothed out his slacks.
“I’m sure,” Roland said. It’s not The Plaza, but I think you’ll like it.”
Though Roland had traveled the world for many internationally known charities, his true passion remained with the Ashley Foundation. It didn’t have the celebrity appeal that made headlines all the time, and it didn’t attract heavy publicity-seekers; but Roland helped start the organization more than 20 years earlier, back in the days when very few people were willing to acknowledge or help men and women with HIV/AIDS. Over the years, Roland had prepared food in hot kitchens, organized free counseling, devoted his time to fundraisers and donated a great deal of his own money.
The most recent project, one that almost consumed him, was to make sure men and women with HIV/AIDS had access to anti retro-viral drugs. Without insurance, the cost of these drugs could run well over $3,000 a month. Back in the early days, the Foundation provided assistance and improved the quality of life for those dying AIDS victims. But the organization had evolved, and now also focused on helping people stay alive with the proper medications.
The interior of Park Side was as stark as the exterior. Concrete walls were layered into sections, dividing bar areas from eating areas and banquet rooms from dancing rooms. The floors were solid concrete. Roland led Josh through the dimly lit main space and up two flights of concrete stairs, where a sign outside a double door read, “The Ashley Foundation.”
People flocked to Roland the moment he stepped inside the room. He took a deep breath and smiled, feeling shaky. He hadn’t been to any events since he and Kenneth broke up. Josh stepped aside while the men shook Roland’s hand and patted him on the back. Women in designer dresses kissed him on the cheek and told him how wonderful it was to see him again. Roland smiled awkwardly, repeatedly looking at Josh and shrugging his shoulders. Josh smiled and waved, and Roland reached out for his hand and pulled him closer. He didn’t want to be alone. Roland was about to introduce Josh to the new treasurer of the foundation when a deep, loud voice shouted from behind: “Doll, there you are.”
Kenneth grabbed Roland from behind and hugged him. He turned his back to Josh and said, “I was worried you wouldn’t show up tonight, Doll.” He was chewing gum because he wasn’t allowed to smoke at the gala. His black hair was puffier than usual, and he’d had his eyebrows tweezed and shaped into thin, high arches. His new lover stood silently off to the side, sipping a martini. His tuxedo had that rented look— wrinkled and too long in the sleeves—and his hair was long and shaggy.
“I wouldn’t miss anything for this foundation,” Roland said, nodding to Kenneth’s lover. The lover didn’t look very intelligent up close. He had a scruffy, sexy appeal (probably a big dick, too), but it was the kind of appeal you might settle for at the end of the night when there was no one better in the bar. Roland clenched his teeth, wondering yet again what Kenneth saw in him.
Josh smiled and tapped Kenneth on the back. “It’s nice to see you again.” He wasn’t going to be ignored completely.
Kenneth turned his head and looked into Josh’s eyes. “Do I know you?” It was a bitchy thing to say: When you met a guy like Josh, you didn’t forget him.
Roland sighed. “This is Josh,” he said. “You met him the other night while we were walking down Bleecker Street.” He knew Kenneth well enough to know when he was faking. His voice took on a sing-song tone, and he became more outrageously affected than usual.
“That’s right. How could I forget?” No sooner had the words left his lips than Kenneth turned his back on Josh again and put his arm through Roland’s. “Come with me,” he said. “There is someone who is dying to see you on the other side of the room.”
Roland looked quickly at Josh. “Go on,” Josh said, smiling. “I’m fine. I’ll get a drink and wait here near the table. Can I get you anything?”
“A very large martini,” Roland said over his shoulder as Kenneth dragged him across the room.
The two couples were seated at the same table. Whenever Josh opened his mouth to speak, Kenneth interrupted. If Josh came within an inch of Roland, Kenneth was there to sweep Roland away to another corner of the room. Marty, Kenneth’s new lover, just sat at the table looking at his watch and downing one martini after another. Josh tried to be friendly and get to know him better, but the guy only answered with shrugs and grunts.
The food was bland, the room too noisy, and the chairs too small for a man as large as Josh. The only person Josh knew besides Roland was an older man who had hired Josh for a massage with a happy ending a year earlier. He followed Josh to the bathroom and handed him a business card. “My back has been acting up lately,” he said. Josh smiled and put the card in his pocket.
The highlight of the night was when Roland stood and gave a small speech. He was the last one left from the original group that had started the Foundation. He was the only one who hadn’t been HIV positive; the others were all gone now. He took a deep breath and sighed, remembering all the people he had lost over the years. The entire room went silent. People sat up straight and stared at him with shimmering eyes. A man sitting across from Josh turned to his wife and whispered, “He could run for President. He reminds me of John F. Kennedy.” The wife responded, “But much better-looking.”
Josh stared at the way Roland moved his hands and the way his eyes looked out over the crowd so effortlessly. He spoke with passion about his goals for the Ashley Foundation, and thanked everyone who supported it over the years. Just before the end of the speech, Roland looked over and winked in Josh’s direction. He may have been smiling at the crowd when they stood to give him a standing ovation, but the only thing he was thinking about was Josh’s dick.
After the final speaker of the night, a little before midnight, Roland leaned into Josh.
“Let’s go,” he hissed.
Kenneth saw them stand and got up from his chair. “You’re not leaving now, are you, Doll?” His throaty voice was slurred; he’d been sucking down martinis all night. He tried to come around to the other side of the table, but his big feet got tangled in the chair. Kenneth fell into Marty’s shoulder.
Josh laughed. “What’s wrong, Doll. Too many olives?” It came out too fast, as if he’d been waiting for Kenneth to stumble all night.
Roland’s eyes popped. “It’s been a long day,” he said.
“But I thought we could all go out somewhere afterward, Doll,” Kenneth said. Josh put his arm around Roland’s waist and pulled him closer. Roland leaned into Josh’s side, placed his palm on his chest, and said, “We really have to go. We’ll see you later in the week, at the black tie bingo event in Brooklyn Heights.”
They left without hugging Kenneth; but Josh blew him a kiss. Roland waved good-bye to a few people he knew and moved quickly through the building. He’d donated a great deal of money, given his speech, and smiled all night; now it was time to get Josh into bed.
Josh and Roland waited for the car in front of the building. “You must be tired from all this,” Josh said. “I don’t mind driving.” His hands were in his pockets and he bounced on the balls of his feet while looking at the ground.
“I’m okay,” Roland said. “I don’t mind driving.”
Josh smiled and took Roland’s hand. “Man, please let me drive. I don’t know if I can survive another trip downtown with you behind the wheel.”
When the valet brought the car around and gave Roland the key, he handed it over to Josh. “Let’s go back through the park,” he said. “And I think you’d better put the top up and turn on the air conditioning.” The formal suit made his body itch, and small beads of perspiration dotted his hairline. But that wasn’t the only reason he wanted the top up.