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!


From DIAMOND CHIPS by Vincent Diamond

Marcus handed back the reins and noticed the other man’s strangely mottled hands. Creamy white skin mixed in with normal brown, blotched like a pinto. Odd. When he saw the rider had the reins settled, he moved behind the other man, cupped the rider’s lower left calf, and the man was up and in the saddle in two seconds.

"Thanks." They shook hands.

"Marcus Denton, Leprechaun Farms."

"Philip Massein, errant rider, no farms." They grinned.

"I actually came to see Gabriel. We’re looking for studs."

"You’ll have to talk with Mrs. Reese; I’m just the hired help." Gabriel tossed his head. "Time to get back to it."

"Good luck with your class."

"Thanks!" And they cantered away, kicking up dust, Gabriel tail swishing. Marcus’s throat went tight.

Marcus strolled back to Barn Two but was relieved to find out that Mrs. Reese wouldn’t be onsite until the evening’s awards ceremony. He happily sat on the show ring’s bleachers and watched Philip and Gabriel win their jumping class, flowing over the four and five foot jumps with no faults. There wasn’t even a jump-off; Philip won flat out.

After the class, Philip disappeared. Marcus watched Gabriel getting a scrub down at the wash racks but his gaze flicked around, looking for Philip.

Geez, you’re acting like you’re in junior high again, waiting for the quarterback to show up after the game.

He flipped through the show program and found a four-line bio on Philip. A Philadelphia native, riding since he was a toddler, alternate for the 2000 Olympics, went pro at age twenty, worked the A-circuit grand prix in show jumping, currently thirty-eight years old. The photo showed a man with a warm smile and the crinkled face of an outdoorsman.

Marcus thumbed the photo.

Thirty-eight, older than I thought. And no mention of wife and kids.

Back at the barn, Marcus hung out with the Knockaround Farms grooms and riders. A still-damp Gabrielle was led into his stall, and he promptly rolled in the shavings; the golden sawdust clung to his gray coat so thickly that at first glance, he looked like a palomino. When Marcus saw Philip striding down the walkway towards them, he had to consciously slow down his breathing.

Stop it. You’re a grown-up; act like one.

His heart wasn’t grown-up though, judging by the way it hammered at him as Philip drew closer. He smiled as he saw Marcus and put out a hand. "Good to see you again."

"Nice win! Congratulations on the class," Marcus replied. He held Philips hand just for that extra half-second, looking for the signal in return.

Philip smiled and held Marcus’s gaze. His blue polo shirt set off his blue eyes—the color of bleached denim. The V of his shirt collar revealed more blotched skin, the dark of his tan in contrast to the creamy near-albino shade of the patches. He’d showered, too; Marcus smelled the Irish Spring soap on the other man’s skin and sunscreen.

"Thanks. Did you watch?"

"Sure, in the stands."

"I never look at the crowd when I’m competing; it’s just me and the horse and the jumps when I’m out there."

"It shows. You’ve got good concentration and the wins to prove it."

"Did you see Gabby up close and personal?"

"Not yet."

Philip spoke to one of the grooms. "Bring out Gabby so Mr. Denton can see him, please."

"Yes, sir."

The groom cross-tied the stallion in the aisle. Gabby wafted shavings with every step. Philip smiled. "How about a grooming kit; I’ll brush him out a little and Mr. Denton can get a closer look at the boy."

"Yes, sir." The groom moved away to a storage trunk down the aisle.

"It’s Marcus, not Mr. Denton."

"You’re Mr. Denton to them, for now. Marcus to me." That smile again.

"Sure thing. Tell me what you know about him, would you?" Marcus started picking the shavings out of the stallion’s ribboned mane. He was extra careful; racehorses didn’t get their manes braided and twisted up like this, and he didn’t want to screw up someone else’s hard work.

"I know he’s twelve-years-old—"

"Twelve!? Isn’t that old to be still working?" Marcus asked.

"Not for a show jumper. We’ve got fifteen-year-olds on the circuit. It’s not like racing where the horses wear out after four years. And then what the hell happens to them?"

"Well, the ones I get my hands on go to After the Track. I’m actually vice president of the Southeast region. Have you heard of us? It’s a non-profit that re-trains thoroughbred off the track. Quite a few of them end up becoming jumpers and steeplechasers, sometimes saddle horses."

"I’m glad to hear that. I hate to think of these animals going to slaughter."

They went quiet for a moment, sad.

"I save the ones that I can," Marcus offered.

"That’s good," Philip smiled. "Well, about Gabby. He’s out of Bressler’s Pariah and Corinthian Leather bloodlines, and he’s very even-tempered. Other than that, I can only tell you how to ride him. Do you ride?"

"Just hacking. I let the exercise team and the jockeys do the hard work on the racetrack."

"Ah. Which farm did you say?"

"Leprechaun. We’re up in Ocala."

"Any big horses?"

"We’ve got Little Missy; she won the Jockey Gold Cup two years ago. And Darth Vader, standing stud."

"Darth Vader! Even I’ve heard of him. Won the Belmont, didn’t he?"

"Yeah, in ’01. We’re proud of him. How about you? Had any big rides?"

They started grooming the horse, using the curry combs first, Marcus on the horse’s right side, Philip on the left. "They’re all big rides on the A circuit. No more ponies." Philip grinned.

Their hands brushed against each other as they worked on Gabby’s back. Marcus warmed from the inside, that buzzing thrill of attraction gurgled in his stomach.

Oh, this looks promising.

"… and after high school, I just went straight into the circuits. When Dad died, the money was gone, so Mom couldn’t exactly bitch about me not going to college. It’s worked out," Philip said. They had chatted amiably as they worked—about horses and growing up around them, about Philip’s memorable rides.

Marcus took a deep breath. "No wife and kids?"

"Not on my agenda." Philip’s gaze again, direct over Gabby’s broad haunches. "Is it on yours?"

"No, absolutely not."

Marcus felt up and down Gabby’s long legs, and pressed one hand to his broad chest. The horse was solid, no doubt. He also noticed how light Philip’s touch was on the animal, his blotchy hands moving smoothly over the horse. By the time they finished brushing off Gabby, the horse was nearly asleep, utterly relaxed.

"He’s really calm," Marcus commented. At that moment, Gabby dropped from his sheath and his penis dangled inches from the ground.

Philip grinned. "And now he’s showing you the goods. What do you think?"

"I think he’s hung like a horse."

They laughed. Gabby raised his head a little, then dropped it back down.

"Well, I’ve guess you’ve seen everything you need to," Philip said and wiggled his eyebrows. "Let’s put him away."

Marcus moved back to the horse’s left side. Not just to be closer to Philip, just to be on the correct side for horse handling.

They were almost back to his stall when some idiot in the parking lot let a tailgate slam down onto the ground. The metallic crash woke up every horse in the barn area; there were snorts and the sounds of quick movement up and down the walkway. Gabby yanked his head back and jerked to the left. He slammed Philip and Marcus into the concrete wall; Marcus felt the rough wall scrape on his left arm. Gabby kept them pinned for a few seconds, his nostrils blowing, his big brown eyes lurching from side to side. Philip was pressed against Marcus’s side for a few pleasant seconds, his body heat warming Marcus.

"Hey, hey, Gabby boy, it’s all right, everything’s okay." Philip put one splotched hand on Gabby’s neck and spoke quietly. "Easy, easy, big boy, step away, now, step away." With Philip’s light pressure on his shoulder, Gabby relaxed and stepped back.

Philip looked over at Marcus. "Sorry ‘bout that."

Marcus only grinned. "I’m not."

And that was how it started.

Excerpted from DIAMOND CHIPS by Vincent Diamond

1 comment:

  1. Nice start, too! What an interesting read. Thank you for sharing.


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