Pride Month: FREE Gay Excerpt Meadows Are Not Forever
In celebration of Pride month, here’s another free excerpt from my novel, Meadows Are Not Forever. This excerpt has not been censored for the web site because it’s rated PG and it’s not considered erotic romance. It’s simply gay romance. There are no explicit sex scenes because the story line didn’t call for them. I have several published romances out there with PG content.
Here’s the link, and below is an excerpt from an unsolicited Amazon reader review.
Fun, well written, and well rounded book.
Cade’s journey with his family to a closer relationship was realistic and not some fairy tale of acceptance and rainbows everywhere. It was real and not quite perfect, and it lent sympathy to his parents.
The only goal Cade Johnston ever had in life was to become rich and famous.
This is one reason why he left his small hometown in rural Southern New Jersey and moved out to Los Angeles after high school. He wanted nothing to do with college. Though he’d be the first to admit his talents were limited, he knew he could depend on his body, his thick brown hair, and the adorable dimples in his cheeks.
He had a great butt, too. His witty friends referred to it as “that ass.” Even on his worst days, when his hair was covered with a baseball cap and he hadn’t shaved in three days, he could still make heads turn.
Cade had the kind of look people said couldn’t be compared to any other famous good-looking guys. He had his own way, his own style, and his own brand without even trying too hard. There was nothing outrageous about him, and yet he had something different going on. Though he wasn’t always conscious of his unusual appeal, he did know how to give the right people what they wanted, especially straight people.
Only Cade had been living in Los Angeles for seven years and the most he’d been able to accomplish had been two fairly lucrative part time jobs that kept him in designer knock offs and a small rented room in a Hollywood home he shared with his best friend, Meadow Lockwood. He’d met Meadow on a casting call for a TV commercial the first year he’d moved out to LA, back when she’d been hoping to become rich and famous, too. She’d just lost her mother to cancer and she was looking for someone to rent the guest room in the modest home she’d inherited. At the time, Cade was still living in a low rent hotel in East LA. They started talking, discovered they were both fans of cheesy horror films with dumb, sexy college kids, and she wound up offering him the rental right there in the waiting room.
Cade was now twenty-five years old and still trying to become rich and famous. Meadow still went on the occasional casting call, however, she had taken a full time job as an associate talent agent in the same agency where her mother had once worked as a secretary. And for the past two years Meadow had been dating a guy who worked as a set director. The two of them would often joke that if Cade needed an agent, Meadow would be the first person he’d call.
Cade was determined to change his luck and his life that summer. At this point in his career, he figured his best bet would be to get into reality television on a popular TV show like Big Brother,Survivor Island, or a new show called The Gay Bachelor. In fact, he’d applied to every single reality show on television and he was always waiting to hear from one of them. He was hoping for something on Big Brother, his first choice. He adored Julie Chen and her shoes. But he was open to any offers that came his way.
When he sent Meadow a text on a Monday morning in early August to let her know he might be home later than usual that night, he’d just stepped out of the shower and he was drying his body in front of the sliding glass doors that led to a small concrete patio off the dining room. Meadow’s house was one of those small bungalows in an older Hollywood neighborhood that had been slipping down since the l960’s. The aluminum sliding glass doors had permanent water stains and the concrete patio had cracks and chips with weeds poking through. Anything that had once been alive back there had turned brown and withered with the rest of the neighborhood.
Cade was drying himself off in front of the doors on purpose because the young guy who did yard work in the house that backed up to Meadow’s was outside trimming the hedges for the older woman who lived there. Cade wasn’t interested in meeting anyone for emotional attachments, but he had noticed the guy trimming the hedges had been watching him sunbathe outside for weeks. Cade always sunbathed in the nude, with a white sock over his penis for protection. He liked being tan all over.
The first text to Meadow read, “b home late 2 nite. leaving 4 work. giving cute guy in backyard a little show right now by back doors. hehe.” They rarely followed the rules of grammar while texting.
He knew how much Meadow loved his sexy adventure stories. He made most of them up, but she loved listening to them anyway. She also loved the guy who did yard work for the old woman behind them. Meadow said the guy reminded her of a famous professional baseball player from Philadelphia, Chase Utley. The guy Meadow was dating had a good dependable job, but thinning hair and rounded shoulders. Cade suspected he wasn’t a great lover either, but wouldn’t say something like that aloud to his best friend.
While Cade waited for Meadow to reply, he turned sideways, spread his legs, and arched his back. He’d just shaved his entire body and he was smooth and tan all over. Cade knew this was bold, even for him. He knew the guy trimming the bushes was watching; he could feel the guy’s gaze on his naked butt. He wasn’t actually going to invite the guy over at that moment. He didn’t have time that morning; he was on his way to work. He was just showing off and giving the guy an image he’d remember for the next time he saw him.
Cade heard a text alert and glanced down at his phone. The reply from Meadow read, “hey, bb. u r so bad…lol. have a good day. c u 2 nite. luv u.”
Cade replied with a final text. “don’t 4 get about Fri. luv u 2.”
With both of them working so much, they didn’t actually see each other for days at a time. Cade was going back to New Jersey on Saturday morning for two whole weeks and they’d planned a quiet dinner at home with just the two of them on Friday night.
There were two reasons for going home: Cade hadn’t seen his family in seven years, and he’d lined up an audition for the new TV show The Gay Bachelor in Philadelphia. He’d missed the auditions in LA for The Gay Bachelor, and he figured it was worth the trip to Philadelphia for a chance to be on that show. Besides, he had a lot of unfinished business back home he’d been ignoring for a long time. There were personal family things weighing on him he wanted to take care of before it was too late.
He set his phone down on the table in the dining area next to his car keys. When he turned to walk back to the bedroom, the guy who’d been trimming the old woman’s bushes out back was now standing in front of the sliding glass doors gaping through the faded glass. Cade hadn’t expected him to walk right up to the doors, not in such a bold way. The guy had never been that aggressive before. Cade jumped back, dropped the towel, and pressed his palm to his chest.
The guy reached for the door and slid it open. He remained outside at a safe distance and said, “Hey, man, I’m Kevin. I was watching you. I couldn’t help it.”
Meadow would have screamed and called the police if a strange man had come to the back door while she was naked and alone. But Cade glanced down between Kevin’s legs and smiled. Evidently, he wasn’t as shy as Cade thought he was.
Kevin flexed his biceps and said, “You have a nice tan, buddy.”
This was the extent of their conversation. Cade walked over to him, grabbed his biceps, and squeezed them a few times. He couldn’t resist the urge.
* * * * *
His encounter with Kevin took longer than he’d expected it would, which meant he had to dress quickly and drive faster than usual so he wouldn’t be late for his job in The Valley. The good thing about his job was he didn’t have to wear anything formal and it didn’t really matter whether or not his hair was a little messy because a big guy trimming shrubs named Kevin had been tugging it that morning. The bad thing was his jaw was already a little sore and he needed his mouth for work.
When Cade pulled up to the security gates of the condo complex where he worked, he waved to the guard and continued without stopping. Though the guard didn’t know exactly what Cade did at this condo complex in The Valley, he knew him well enough to let him slide by with a wave and nod and without asking any questions.
Cade had taken the job a year ago, hoping it was only temporary at the time. It paid very well and he couldn’t afford to be finicky about work, especially with his limited skills and education. The people with whom he worked treated him better than anyone had ever treated him on a job. It beat his other job as a bartender in West Hollywood, where he had to smile and pretend he liked the way the older gay men with a few extra bucks leered at him and groped him.
The only hard part about this job in The Valley was the way he had to perform and the way he had to “fake it” all the time. His co-workers expected him to be the ultimate effeminate gay cliché, with a strong lisp, limp wrists, and submissive gestures. In the beginning, he thought it was a small sacrifice to make for a good job that paid extremely well. Cade had learned a long time ago that when he played the effeminate gay clown and court jester, and gave the straight people what they wanted, he had the last laugh in the end. Lately, though, all this fakery was keeping him up at night.
The way Cade behaved at work in The Valley wasn’t that much different from what his friend Michael did in his line of work. In fact, it was Michael who had turned Cade onto this little secret. Michael was an interior designer at a trendy studio on Melrose. When Michael wasn’t working, no one would ever have guessed he was gay. But when he was on the job at the design studio and the straight women with money came in looking for the right fabric or the right accent pillow, Michael transformed into a pronoun-changing, lip-gloss wearing, finger-snapping queen.
The more Michael worked them with his fakery the more those silly woman loved it…the more money they had the more he worked them. Michael had once told Cade, “The first month I worked there I tried to be myself. You know, just a normal guy like everyone else. But these wealthy straight women wanted nothing to do with me when I acted that way. They wouldn’t even walk up to me. The minute I started referring to myself as “she” and laying on the flamboyant, bitchy queen attitude you see on TV all the time, they flocked to me like fucking bees flock to honey, man. If you’re gay and you want to make a buck, you gotta give’em what they want. So, that’s what I did.”
At first, Cade had frowned on this kind of behavior. He had principles, not to mention pride. He had too much integrity to lower himself that way. He didn’t want to be inauthentic; he didn’t like being insincere. He’d been captain of his high school football team and one of the best wrestlers his small town had ever known. He’d never been bullied or harassed by so-called haters, and he’d never cared much about floral arrangements and cooking. His mother still had his sports trophies lined up on the mantle in the family room back home.
In high school, he’d taken after school jobs as a part time construction worker and even changed his own oil in the car. The last thing Cade had ever been interested in was lipstick, earrings, or anything associated with drag. He didn’t know a fabric swatch from a paint chip. He knew nothing about dresses and fashion and women’s shoes. He wasn’t even fond of the gay pride events some of his friends loved so much. All he’d ever wanted was to be a man without any labels at all.
He parked his older navy blue Mercedes sedan next to a large white van. He knew the van belonged to technical crews. This was one of those condo complexes where the condos all resemble two story townhouses. He climbed out of the car and walked to the last white stucco unit on the left. It always made him smile when he heard of people living in units. He didn’t have to knock. He had his own key. He knew he was a few minutes late, so he slipped into the condo and quietly walked to the back of the unit where the all the guys were usually hanging out. He was hoping that if the producer didn’t see him, he might not notice he was late.
As he rounded a corner near the kitchen entrance, a balding, overweight man in his mid-forties put his hand on his hip and said, “There you are, Miss Thang. We were all wondering when you were going to grace us with an appearance.” This was Martin, Cade’s boss and the producer. He was the real deal and he faked nothing: he was every gay stereotype ever invented. He spoke with a raspy lisp and he had both hands fastened to his wide hips most of the time. His stomach tumbled over his belt. That morning his left leg was extended and he was tapping his small chubby foot.
Cade stopped near the center island in the kitchen. He set his car keys in a bowl on the dark granite counter and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, honey,” he said, switching to his fluffy, fake girly voice. He waved his hands back and forth. “I had a hair appointment this morning, and then I had to get my legs waxed.” He turned to a group of fifteen handsome young straight guys with hard bodies and said, “I hope I didn’t hold any of you boys up too long. You know how much I hate to disappoint you guys.”
One of the straight condo guys walked over and put his arm around Cade. He was wearing jeans, but no shirt. He held a can of beer in one hand and spoke with a deep, throaty voice. “Don’t pick on him, Martin. He’s not that late. And we aren’t ready yet anyway.” Then he pulled Cade into his side and the other guys started banging their fists on the tables and shouting at Martin to leave Cade alone.
Cade smiled at the rowdy group of straight men and placed his palm gently on the guy’s naked abdomen. Cade didn’t know this guy’s real name; just his stage name: Dirk. Cade sent Martin an innocent glance and said, “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again, sweetie. I’ll stay extra late tonight if that helps.”
Cade looked up at Dirk and smiled. He liked the way Dirk was always around to stick up for him. But all the guys treated him well, and he had no complaints in this department. Although this was the most unusual job he’d ever had, it was also the friendliest. There wasn’t an attitude or a nasty personality in the entire condo. Even prissy old Martin, though he could be snippy and bitchy at times, treated everyone with respect.
Martin frowned at Cade. He was still tapping his foot and his hands were still on his hips. “Well let’s get this show on the road, girl. We’re going live in a few minutes and we have devoted fans depending on us.”
Cade smiled and sent Martin an exaggerated double snap. “This girl is ready to work, sweetie.” He turned and kissed Dirk’s bare chest.
The other guys started bumping fists and making rowdy comments about the way Cade had kissed Dirk. Some were wearing jeans and no shirt like Dirk; others were already in their underwear scratching their crotches. But Cade had a feeling it was going to be one of those difficult days where he’d go home at the end of the day aching all over. In order to perform, the straight guys usually had to have a few beers first. Beer made them rowdier, which created an atmosphere the viewers wanted. And from what Cade could see, most of them had had a few more beers than usual that day.
Dirk put his other arm around Cade and said, “You want to start with me first?” He’d always been the most protective with Cade, which had always left Cade wondering just how straight he was.
Cade looked up at him and smiled again. His voice softened and his eyelids even fluttered a little. He slid his palm slowly up and down Dirk’s rugged torso. “I’d love to start with you first. Don’t tell the other guys. But you’re my favorite boy in the house. You’re so big and strong.”
A 1992 Local News Report On Drag Queens
There’s really not that much out there with regard to drag culture or its history, so this 27 year old piece of footage from a local news station is interesting from a cultural POV.
The four-minute segment, hosted by reporter Tom Corvin, took viewers backstage at Charlie Brown’s Cabaret inside Atlanta’s famed Backstreet Club, giving the general public a rare glimpse at queer culture in the early ’90s.
Here’s the rest. You can view the 4 minute clip as well. It reminds me of a time when we had so much more drag culture here in New Hope. But those days seem to be over.