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 PAINTING STEPHEN (again) by Jayne DeMarco

Painting Stephen is due in the first quarter, 2010, from DreamCraft.

“I met your neighbour on the way out.” Stephen nodded toward the lift. “She saw me coming down from your level. Nobody else lives up here, with the renovators in, in the other apartment.” He tilted his head at John, studying him almost rudely. “I guess your neighbour, Mrs. Landry, thought I was your boyfriend, because she was all over me, making me welcome. ‘How great to see John’s found someone!’ And, ‘Something should be done about that little bitch, Vonnie.’ And … like that.” He shrugged the wide, sleek shoulders. “I had to piece it together, but I didn’t have to ask. Mrs. Landry’s better than The Young and the Restless.” His brows rose. “So I know you’re bi, and I know your ex walked out and took just about everything that wasn’t nailed down.” He smiled. “And I know you like me.” His eyes strayed downward, past John’s belly, and flickered to the bulge which had filled right back out as soon as he came close.

Heat flushed John’s face. “You know a hell of a lot.” And yes, the kid was right. Lately he had been feeling his age, seeing a few gray threads in the mirror and tweaking them out before anyone else noticed them – mocking himself for the vanity of it, because if he kept that up he would be bald. “I’m too old for you.”

“Bullshit,” Stephen said calmly.

The remark seemed somehow funny. John felt a thrill of almost hysterical humor and swallowed it fast. “Old enough to be your father, and legally, too.”

“So?” Stephen was within arm’s reach, almost close enough to kiss. “I’d say it’s up to me to decide if you’re too old, because I’m the only one it ought to matter to. And it doesn’t. Matter, that is.” He gave John an odd, lopsided grin. “You have no idea how attractive you are, do you?”

The question stole the wind right out of John’s sails. “I … Jesus Christ, kid, if you’re setting me up to take a fall, I’ll –” He stopped sort there. What exactly would he do? Show Stephen the fiery side of an Irish temper inherited from his grandmother, and then show him the door and tell Barry to hire his models more carefully in future?

Stephen had sighed deeply, and now looked away. His eyes were shadowed. “Okay. If you want to spend the rest of your life feeling like shit because your ex ran off with some old boyfriend, fine. Sit in the apartment here and turn into a cranky old fart if you want – and you seem to want that more than anything I’ve got to offer.”

A moment later he was snatching up his clothes, and in two minutes he would be gone, probably to walk off the disappointment and frustration, and no doubt the embarrassment of having made the classic proposition only to be comprehensively snubbed.

When he returned – as he must; he needed the work – the magic would be broken. To John, he would be a job, just another model who stripped naked for an artist without any emotional element. No desire, no feeling. Certainly no love. Just three or four hours of lying on a couch, bare-ass and bored out of his gourd, to put a few bucks into his pocket.

The magic was tangible, it crackled between them, still, though the luster had begun to tarnish. Only John Templeton’s forty-year-old cynicism, and the bitterness left over from yet another broken relationship, spoiled it. Cynicism did battle with the part of him which still longed to be ten years younger, free to choose who he would be and reinvent himself every second Tuesday if he wanted to.

In the past, always, cynicism had won. Yvonne used to call him that too: the cynical old fart. And he had begun to feel it lately. He closed his eyes, desperate to let go the fetters. He almost felt himself groping around in search of the pink-tinted eyeglasses he must have worn when he was twenty-five, thirty-five, for the world had looked a much rosier place in those days.


The kid paused, back still turned to him, shirt hanging loosely from his shoulders, jeans in both hands. He turned only his head, and his face was a cautious blank. The invitation was not withdrawn, not yet. But neither was it engraved on a card and served up on a silver platter any longer. He was simply waiting, and John knew a ‘now or never’ moment when he saw one.

“Don’t go,” he said quietly.

Posted by Jade, on behalf of Jayne DeMarco

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