Farewell from the Bookshelf!

Please note that GLBT Bookshelf -- the community wiki which was the parent to this fiction blog -- went offline on May 31, 2016, after seven years' service to members.

All Gay Romance will remain online till the end of 2016 in order to give contributors every opportunity to recover materials uploaded here.

Many thanks to all who contributed over the years, and good luck to everyone in your future works!


Crazy: A free read by Dakota Flint

"If I could turn back ti-ime.”

I rolled over and pulled my pillow over my head. If there was any mercy in this world, that caterwauling would stop.

“If I could find a wa-ay.”

Clearly, mercy had been scared away by the musical abuse too.

“I’d take back those words that hu-uurt you.”

“Okay, that’s it. That. Is. It.” I hopped up and pulled on a pair of cargo pants, not even bothering to button them as I stormed out of my bedroom, out the door, and over to Ben’s backyard.

“And you’d sa-a-ay.”

“You’re not going to say anything in a minute, Ben, because I’m going to shut you up. If you’re lucky it won’t be permanently.” I growled, just to show I meant business.

Ben jumped and whirled around to face me, the paint brush obviously forgotten in his hand.

I saw the glob of blue paint fly off the end of the brush, but I wasn’t quick enough to avoid it landing to the left of my nose. I closed my eyes and counted to ten before opening them again.

“Oh, shit. You scared the bejesus out of me, Nick. Give a little warning next time, why don’t ya.” Ben squinted at me. “Um, here, you got a little something on your…” He motioned to my face.

“Yeah, I know.” I gritted my teeth, but accepted the paint stained rag he offered me. I wiped my face, the smell of turpentine strong. After handing the rag back to him, he just looked at me expectantly, blue paint streaking his shoulder-length sun-bleached hair and his bare, sweaty chest.

“Ben, what time is it?”

“Uuum, six?”

“Right. In the morning.”


“And you’re singing.”

“Yep.” The dolt really looked puzzled at this.

“Hello? Anyone home? I’m trying to sleep. And you’re singing at the top of your lungs as if you’re not waking all the animals, pissing off the fishermen in the bay who can probably hear you, and waking me up.”

“Well, I…you’re not very chipper in the mornings, are you?”

“I’m not very…” I trailed off. “Of course I’m not chipper when someone wakes me from a sound sleep by SINGING CHER. What’s wrong with you?”

“Dude, you don’t have to have a conniption. It was on the radio earlier and I got it stuck in my head. I’ll pick something else next time.”

I knew my mouth was hanging open, but I just couldn’t help it. Exchanges with Ben always left me feeling like I should find the nearest wall to bang my head against. I looked for words but couldn’t find any, so I shook my head instead.

After a month of living next door to one loony Benjamin Sparks, I should just be used to this. Turning to go, I glanced at the picnic table he had been hunched over when I stormed outside. Red and white-striped, he was obviously in the middle of painting the blue in the upper left-hand corner. Curious, I said, “That’s…quite the table.”

He didn’t answer and I looked back at him, surprising an odd look on his face as he looked at my chest. I glanced down to check for paint. Nope, I was good.

For some reason, Ben was blushing and looked out towards the choppy water in the bay. “Uh, yeah. It’s for the Legion’s barbecue this Sunday. Told my dad I’d build and paint something. He said to "make it patriotic."”

I nodded, thinking that sounded like Ben’s father, the town sheriff. Sounded like Ben too, volunteering his time. “Right. Well. Very patriotic.” I smiled.

Ben smiled back. He really was very good looking, with the long blonde hair, tanned skin, bright green eyes and a perpetual smile firmly in place. He was just about my height, had the right amount of muscles on his solid frame. In fact, he would have been perfect if he wasn’t crazy.

Certifiable even.

Every exchange I had with him always went the same way, and when he smiled like he was doing now, I knew the doozy was coming.

“You want to help me paint?” Ben looked earnest. And adorable.

“Uh, sure.”

Now, see that was why he was crazy. Or this was crazy. Or maybe it’s that he made me crazy. Because I came out here to tell him to shut the hell up so I could sleep and somehow I managed to sign myself up to help paint a giant flag.

I mean. Seriously.

Ben looked like I had just agreed to give him a million dollars. “Okay, awesome. I’m okay with painting large stripes and stuff, but somehow I think you’ll be better at painting little white stars. Lemme go grab another paintbrush.”

I watched him lope across the grass, up the deck stairs, and into the house, the muscles in his legs flexing as he moved and the navy blue running shorts outlining what had to be the most stellar ass I’d seen in years--something I’d noticed right away, along with how off-beat everything felt up here.

The day I moved in there had been a rowdy party going on next door, and this cute guy had walked over wearing a t-shirt that read, “What if the hokey pokey is what it’s all about?” He introduced himself as “Ben,” offered me a beer, and asked if I wanted in on the game of horseshoes. Ben had taken me around, introducing me to the drunk and the drunker.

Wondering who this “Poor Jimmy” was that everyone kept referring to, I finally asked Ben what the occasion was and he had replied, “Oh. One of the locals ran into a tree last week. He was like a fixture at the local watering holes, and we’re just giving him a good send off. That’s why it’s so insane here right now.”

I had looked at him, looking for the joke and not seeing it. Some guy had died and they were sending him off with horseshoes and Budweiser?

And the insanity had never stopped.

Different way of life up here. Every day was a party. And time was measured by the distance to or from Friday and Saturday nights.

I watched Ben walk towards me, another paintbrush in hand and the easy smile on his face. Our hands brushed as he handed it to me. Was it just me or did his touch linger?

“So since I’m helping you paint before I’ve even had a cup of coffee to fortify myself, will you promise I’ll never have to wake up to hearing Cher at this hour of the morning again?”

Ben laughed and picked up his paintbrush. “You’re awful persnickety, ya know that?”

I snorted and applied myself to painting fifty little white stars as neatly as I could. Mrs. Johnson, my kindergarten teacher, would have been so proud.

After a while I could feel Ben’s gaze on me, but I didn’t look over at him. I heard him sigh.

“Ya know, they don’t have to be perfect. If you mess up a little, it won’t really matter.”

At first I wasn’t sure what he meant, and then I wasn’t sure what to say. It was second-nature to strive for perfection, no matter how small the job.

I guess some things don’t change no matter how far you move.

I sighed.

A few months ago, at the age of 31, I had been well on my way to making partner in a prestigious Boston law firm. But one day I looked at my office, devoid of any personal items or anything that said I had a life outside of work, and decided I couldn’t hack it one more day. Couldn’t stand more of the frequent bouts of hyperventilation and a diet of antacids. I had seen into the future, and chucked my stylish condo, suffocating suits, and choking ties for a rundown cottage, sandals, and cutoffs.

The major perk of never spending the money you worked fourteen hours a day to earn was you built up quite a nest egg. Thanks to my little egg—which looked more like a pebble these days—I was the proud owner of a little place on the water that had seen better days, in a town I’d picked off a map. It came with a dock and a town full of wacky inhabitants. How bohemian.

But it was enough to cure my panic attacks.

Realizing Ben was still staring at me, I shook off my thoughts and looked back at him. “What?”

He started to say something and then bit his lip, obviously changing his mind.

Surprised, I returned to my painting.


Late that night I was parked in front of the TV and mindlessly flipping through channels when I heard a car pull up outside. A door slammed and voices floated in through my open windows, the words indistinct.

Probably Ben’s buddies dropping him off after a night on the town. Not this town though. Ben had shown up at my door earlier this evening, looking good enough to eat, and asked if I was up for a pool tournament over at The Jezebel, a bar in the next town over. Feeling like a night in, I waved him off.

The evening had started out with a nap, moved onto the political thriller that had been sitting by my bed for the last three weeks, and then finally moved to present circumstances. I was bored out of my skull.

I got up to look out the window, see if Ben had turned on any lights. Maybe he’d want to chat. Right. At two in the morning. Though honestly, that was probably something that Ben wouldn’t think anything of.

No lights were on that I could see, which meant he probably stumbled straight into bed. Sighing, I started to turn, but stopped when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.

There was a full moon tonight, and I could clearly see someone making their way across Ben’s backyard and down his dock. Then the figure stood at the end of the dock, unmoving. Puzzled, I walked out my back door to get a closer look.

What the hell was Ben doing?

I was halfway across his yard when I saw him suddenly pull his shirt over his head. A second later he shucked his shorts. I stopped moving, immobilized by the sight of the moonlight caressing his skin.

His completely naked skin.

Then I watched, speechless, as he executed a perfect dive straight into the water.

I laughed. Not only was he crazy, he had a death wish.

I ran down the dock and was debating whether to jump in after him, when he surfaced barely a foot from the edge of the dock. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Well, I would have thought that was obvious, Nick. I’m swimming. What are you doing?” Ben grabbed onto the edge of the dock, treading water.

I ignored his question. “Are you insane?”

“No?” He sounded doubtful. Not a good sign. I couldn’t hold back a groan.

“I think the correct answer would be ‘yes.’ You’re swimming alone, in the dark after a night of drinking. Can’t you see how dangerous that is?”

“Well, no. I didn’t drink tonight. See? Not crazy.”

I paused, thinking. “I don’t think swimming by yourself in the dark is particularly safe while sober either.”

Ben laughed, a husky sound that traveled right up my spine. “You know what your problem is, Nick? You think too much.”

And with that, he grabbed my hand and yanked me into the water, clothes and all.

Not expecting it, l swallowed a mouthful of lake water and came up sputtering. “You are fucking insane. What’d you do that for?”

Despite my words, I decided to enjoy the moonlight and the warm lap of water against my skin. Managing to yank off my t-shirt while treading water, I lobbed it up onto the dock with a plop. Then I turned to look at Ben, watching him swim a couple of lazy laps, the curve of his naked ass just visible through the water as he moved.

“The water feels too good to miss out.”

“Hmmm?” He looked really, really good wearing only water, and my mouth watered as I imagined running my tongue down along his spine.

“The water feels great and I didn’t want you to miss out.”

“What?” I had no clue what he was even talking about. I was too busy thinking of all the places on his body I wanted to lick and nibble. And suck. Oh yeah.

Suddenly Ben was right in my face. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Twitterpated.” I felt his thigh brush lightly along mine. “I’m twitterpated.” Seeing Ben’s eyes widen, I realized what I’d said. How dumb did that sound?

“I don’t know, Nick. Maybe I should ask you if you’ve been drinking. ‘Cause I gotta tell you, you’re sounding a little crazy.” Ben was still giving me that wide-eyed look.

I laughed, thinking how nice it was to hear that tone of voice from someone besides myself these days. I grabbed the edge of the dock with one hand to anchor myself and grabbed the back of Ben’s neck with the other hand. Pulling him until his body was pressed against mine, our legs tangled and our lips almost touching, I said, “Well, then I’m finally speaking your language.”

Then I kissed him.

Check out Dakota's page on the GLBT Bookshelf!


  1. Nice! Thank you for sharing. This really made me smile.

  2. You're welcome, Darla! I'm glad it gave you a smile. :)


Gay Boys - Abstract by Jade