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!


Uncorked Excerpt

Uncorked by Andrew Grey

This is an excerpt from Andrew Grey's newly released novel Uncorked. I hope you enjoy.
“Come on in,” Bobby Bielecki walked into the familiar office and closed the door behind him. Gregory Hansen sat behind his desk, framed by mounds of papers and books, shelves above him filled with pots, clay models, bronzes, and even glass, the collection from thirty years as a professor of fine art. “What can I help you with today?”
“I need to make sure I have everything set so I can graduate after next term.” Bobby opened his messenger bag, locating the paper he needed. “Here’s my expected schedule.”
The handsome, older man took the paper and studies it carefully before pulling out a drawer and fishing in his files. “Let’s run through the requirements.” Pulling out the degree checklist, he began clicking keys on his computer and adding grades beside the classes. “This is easy. If I ever forget how to write an ‘A’ you’d be in trouble.” Bobby smiled as the man continued working. He wasn’t a straight-A student, mainly because of the general education requirements, but he was a very good student. He smiled to himself as he thought of all those evenings spent with Kenny around the kitchen table, Sean helping them with their homework when they couldn’t help each other.
Professor Hansen finished with the computer and began filling in classes from Bobby’s expected schedule for next semester. “It looks like you’ve got all the classes covered. Have you thought about your senior project?” He handed Bobby the completed check sheet for his reference.
“I’ve tried, but nothing really comes to mind.”
The professor sat back in his chair. “You’ve got a few months before it’s due, but you should start thinking about it.”
“I know. I just haven’t been very inspired lately. Is there such a thing as artist’s block?” Bobby tried to smile, but he’d been feeling this way for a while and he hated it. Everything was a struggle. “I’ve tried wandering the city, experiencing different things.” The professor looked down his nose, a very concerned look on his face. “I haven’t tried anything stupid.” Bobby rolled his eyes, but after some of the things he’d seen the last few years, he understood the professor’s reaction.
“Inspiration can sometimes be fickle and fleeting, and at other times, a bounty of riches so fruitful you can’t work fast enough to capture it all.”
“I know. There was a time when I could pick up my sketch book and my hands would draw on their own. I didn’t need to think; it would just happen. Now, I sit for hours sometimes and nothing comes.”
“Let me ask you a question?” He leaned forward. “When was the last time you felt like that? When things came to you easily and freely.”
“It’s hard to remember.” Bobby sighed. “It’s been awhile.” Quite awhile, if he were being honest. “That seems to fit with what I’ve been hearing from your professors. They all say you’re very talented, bordering on greatness, but there’s something lacking.” He leaned forward again. “As artists, we have to put ourselves into our art, give it everything we have. I think you may be holding back some part of you. What are you afraid of? What is it you’re holding back?”
“I wish I knew. There are times when I can really feel something, but then it fades. I know this has to come from me, and what you’re telling me isn’t a surprise, I just can’t figure it out.”
Professor Hansen smiled, a broad smile that lit his entire face. “I think you’re looking in the wrong place, using the wrong method.” Bobby sat forward, listening intently. “The answer isn’t in your mind, it’s in your emotions. You’re trying to figure your way down a path where you need to feel your way. Let your emotions guide you. Find out what makes you feel strongly and then follow it.”
“Thank you.” He got up to leave, since he could see another student outside the frosted glass door.
“I’ll tell you one thing. When you do find what unlocks the emotional well inside, hold onto it for dear life and don’t let go, no matter what.”
“I won’t, professor. Thank you.” Bobby opened the door and walked into the hallway and down to the elevators, passing a number of students who either said hello or waved. It seemed a number of students were doing the same thing he was. Taking the elevator to the first floor, he walked across the polished tile floor toward the exit, slipping on his coat before stepping outside.
The cold wind right off Lake Michigan easily cut through to his skin and he hurried along to the sidewalk to the residence hall.
He was chilled to the bone in the ten minutes he was outside—thank god it wasn’t snowing yet. He made a quick stop to get his mail and then called for the elevator, riding it to the top floor.
He opened the door to the room. “How’d it go?” Raphael—his real name, poor boy—sat at Bobby’s drafting table, working on an assignment for class. Their room was the epitome of what an art student’s dorm room should look like: a drafting table in one corner, an easel in another. At one time, there had even been a potter’s wheel in the room, and before that, an antique printing press that Tyler had found for Bobby to use on a project.
“Just as I expected. I have all the classes I need and my advisor urged me to start thinking about my senior project.” Bobby flopped down on the small sofa, picking up his sketch pad, doodling a drawing of Raphael before dropping the pad on the table.
“Still feeling blocked?”
“I guess. He suggested I’m looking in the wrong place.”
Raphael put down his pencils and stepped from behind the table, sitting next to him on the sofa.
“Maybe he’s right and maybe you’re just feeling unsettled and nervous for some reason. I know a good cure for that.” Raphael smirked as he ran his hand up Bobby’s leg, then quickly dashed across the room as a pillow came flying at his head.
“Tease!” Bobby began laughing as his roommate picked up the pillow and heaved it back at him.
“Slut!” The pillow flew back across the room, hitting Raphael’s hip.
“Ballgazer!” Bobby called, as Raphael’s throw caught him square in the chest.
“Cum-dumpster!” Bobby was laughing too hard to throw the pillow back and Raphael lifted his arms in triumph. “I won. It took three years, but I won!” Bobby thought he was going to do a Snoopy dance right there in the middle of the room.
He and Raphael had met when Sean and Sam first dropped him off. When they walked in the room, Raphael’s eyes had bugged when Bobby introduced himself and his two dads. As soon as Sam and Sean left, the questioning began. “Are you gay? Was it way cool to have two dads?” Bobby had answered the questions, firing back some of his own, and they were immediately friends. They’d shared a room for over three years, and a bed for about six months during sophomore year. Most people would think the affair, or “affair-ette,” as Raphael referred to it, would have ended their friendship, but it didn’t. They both realized at about the same time that it wouldn’t work. Bobby went back to sleeping in his own bed and that was that. It did have one side effect that neither of them talked about: they never brought other guys to their room. It was just one of those unwritten, unspoken rules they both understood.
Not that there’d been a parade of men for either of them. They’d both had brief flings, but no one captured their attention. That is, until lately. Raphael had been seeing a man a few years older than he was and they really seemed to be hitting it off. Bobby wasn’t sure if he liked this guy, but Raph seemed to be happy, so he didn’t say anything. “Did Simon invite you to spend the term break with him?”
Raphael beamed. “He did. But my folks would have a fit, so I’m spending a few days with them and the rest of the time with Simon. He said he’d take me to New York for a few days.”
“Sounds like fun.” He tried to keep his expression happy, but he couldn’t help being suspicious. Simon always made these grandiose plans that either got canceled or changed to something else.
The phone ringing interrupted their conversation. Raph answered it and then handed it to Bobby. “It’s your dad.”
“Hey, dad, what’s up?”
“Are you coming home during the term break?” His dad sounded so excited.
“Absolutely. I’m looking forward to spending some time with you and Sam. Why?” His inquiry was met by silence, which meant that something was definitely up and Sean was feeling guilty for some reason.
Well, Sam got one of those weeks off and I was hoping you’d agree to work in he store for me.” Shit, he hated it when he sounded guilty for asking something simple. Sean had always put Bobby and Kenny first.
“Of course. Are you guys going away?” he replied hopefully. He couldn’t remember them ever going on a real vacation together.
“Sam’s been looking into booking a week in the Caribbean and I was hoping …”
Bobby felt his smile deep down. “Tell Sam to book it. I’ll work in the store while you’re gone. No sweat.” Then a thought occurred to him. “When’s Kenny’s break?”
“I think it’s the same week. I’ll call and see if he can help too.” Sean sounded so happy. Manning the store for a week was the least he could do. Part of him really wanted to see Kenny—the secret part that still hoped—and part of him was nervous about the reception he’d get. Over the last few years, their relationship had grown cooler and more distant. They saw each other only occasionally and Bobby knew that it was as much his fault as Kenny’s. Even during the summer, Bobby had internships and Kenny often stayed in school or went to summer programs with police departments. Bobby focused his attention back to his dad and they talked a little longer before hanging up.
“Going home?” Raphael asked, sitting back behind the drafting table, hard at work again.“Yup.” This time he had a huge smile on his face. Maybe going home would give him the inspiration he needed. The part of him that still hoped he’d win the struggle for Kenny’s heart.
This title can be purchased at Dreamspinner Press or at Amazon.com

1 comment:

  1. *sigh* I haven't had a chance to read this yet. RL has been getting in the way of my reading the last several days. BUT! I love Bottled Up and as soon as I finished reading it, I went and bought this, lol. I'm hoping that I'll be able to at least start it tomorrow, but it's not looking so good. *kicks RL, hard!* Maybe Sunday...


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