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!
Los Angeles' Ste. Anne's Medical Center has been hacked by a brilliant, malicious cracker. Christopher Bellamere has been hired to find out who is behind the break in. When tampered medical records nearly kill Homicide Detective David Eric Laine, the stakes go up and Chris goes after the cracker with all his skills.
You can see the cover and learn more here: http://www.pabrown.ca/bytes.htm
Buy Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=PBLA0003
Chris wanted to go all out for the parade. But knowing David's
reluctance in going at all, he had toned down his usual off-the-
wall indulgence. Leaving David to be the star of their show, he
had chosen a sidekick costume.
David looked him up and down before they left the house.
"Tonto?" he said. "Isn't that a little... un-pc?"
"Hey, my grandfather was one quarter Cree." Chris smoothed
a hand over his skintight buckskin. "Besides, you know what
kemo-sabe really means?"
"I'm afraid to ask."
Chris smiled. He adjusted his beaded headband and hugged
David's bare arm to his chest. "Come on, husband, let's go wow
It was barely sunset when they parked David's Chevy at the
Pacific Design Center and walked to Santa Monica Boulevard.
The usually teeming boulevard had been closed for the annual
festivities and now thronged with a different crowd. Rainbow-
hued pennants and flags stirred restlessly in the fading light.
David saw one California state flag that had been altered to depict
a bear in leather, sporting shades and a peaked leather cap. Music
pulsed from speakers set up outside clubs and bars; techno, hip-
hop and salsa vied for attention above the roar of the thousands
who filled the street.
David had heard the expression "not for the faint of heart,"
but he'd never experienced it literally. The throb of noise was a
physical assault, thrumming along his nerve endings and vibrating
behind his eyes. He felt light-headed and breathless. His leather
vest swung open and he wished he could have worn something
under it, but Chris had been adamant. Nothing but leather,
though he had conceded that jeans would have to be worn under
the chaps for decency.
Each costume was more outrageous than the last. A pair
of big-busted drag queens teetered down the street on six-inch
spikes, gargantuan boobs thrust out in front of their sequined
gowns. One had at least a foot of fire-red hair piled atop her
head; the other sported a green Afro the size of a beach ball.
A man who must have weighed three hundred pounds wore
nothing but a massive diaper and a pacifier stuffed in his mouth,
carrying a three-foot bottle shaped like a penis which he used to
squirt white foam over anyone who approached him.
Chris and David expected to meet Des at the Coffee Bean &
Tea Leaf. Six leather-clad men watched them approach, their eyes
raking David, studying and dismissing him in one cold sweep.
None of them wore an inch more leather than necessary to
remain legal. "You'd look hot if you took those jeans off," one
hirsute guy said.
"You can ride me anytime, cowboy," said a slender Asian in
a skintight angel suit. He stroked David's hip, ignoring Hirsute's
scowl. He would have done some more sampling, but Chris
pulled David away.
"Tramp," he sniffed, tugging David toward the door. "Come
on, there's a Moroccan Mint Latte with my name on it in there."
They entered the coffee house under the watchful gaze of a
pair of horse cops. The county Sheriff 's office had jurisdiction
over West Hollywood, so it was unlikely anyone would be out
tonight who would recognize David. He still felt as though they
registered him, and he read disapproval in their flat cop eyes.
He shrugged and followed Chris into the cafe.
The coffee house was standing room only. David bulled his
way to the counter, Chris trailing in his wake. Once he caught
the eye of a server, he got Chris's latte and a black coffee for
"Omigod, there's Des," Chris said and waved across the
When Des broke through the crowd David couldn't help it.
Des was always impeccably dressed; as the owner of an
upscale Beverly Hills clothing store it was part of his image.
Tonight he had donned a pair of skin-tight white pants that
rode so low his pubic hair would have shown if he hadn't shaved.
His slender, muscular--and equally hairless--chest was barely
covered with a tiny, white sleeveless vest. A mask covered the
top half of his dark face, but didn't conceal the crimson cat-eyed
contacts he wore. David stared hardest at the fine silver chain
that connected Des's pierced nipples to his belly button ring.
White and silver feathers dripped off Des's mask and two
cat ears perched atop his shaved head. Silver whiskers twitched
whenever he moved his mouth. He had draped a white cattail
over his left arm. He touched David's arm with diamond-strewn
nails that were nearly as long as his fingers.
"You look fabulous, David," Des said. He glanced at Chris.
"If we weren't such good friends, I'd give Chrissy a run for his
David laughed. "You look pretty good yourself--" He froze
when a second figure came up behind Des, possessively putting a
fur-covered arm around his bare shoulders.
Trevor had kept to the cat motif. Only he had chosen a tiger
outfit that did nothing to conceal a body that clearly saw a lot
of gym time. He was covered head to tail with black and orange
stripes that should have looked ridiculous instead of sexy and
dangerous. David was all too aware that a lot of appreciative eyes
followed Trevor as he embraced Chris and kissed him full on the
David and Des exchanged glances. Des looked amused. David
"You're still in town," David said when Trevor held out his
hand. "Business must be good."
"Couldn't be better," Trevor said. He glanced affectionately at
Des. "I think I'll stay a while this time."
A trio of silked and sequined queens who had bathed in
uncomplimentary perfumes pressed against them as they tried to
get to the counter. David stopped breathing.
"Come on." He tugged Chris's arm. "Let's get out of here
before we get stomped to death."
Outside the streets were even more crowded. David was
surprised to see a number of families, complete with kids in tow,
moving through the sea of costumes. Tiny ghouls and cloaked
superheroes clung to their parents, goggle-eyed at the passing
parade of color and high camp. Uncostumed tourists captured it
all in digital memory; David could imagine the video shows they
would play when they went back home.
At least out here the air was breathable. He ignored the sweet
smell of marijuana that rode the breeze and the chemical reek
of poppers still used by some of the old habitues who hadn't
migrated to the more modern roofies or crystal meth. Atop the
smell of drugs the air was heavy with testosterone and adrenaline;
the crowd grew edgy with just a hint of suppressed violence
underlying the raucous laughter. On the fringes of the already
volatile crowd a few placard carrying protesters tried to ferment
dissension with God Hates Fags and Burn in Hell that were largely
The horse cops were still there, and he spotted a couple
further down the street, keeping an eye on the protesters. They
were smart to use mounted units; a cop on foot wouldn't have
a hope in hell if the crowd turned. No doubt a few plainclothes
were working the scene, alert for anything out of the ordinary.
Tonight they would ignore the pot smokers and the drunks, their
job was to watch for signs things were turning ugly.
The four of them moved with the flow of the crowd.
Music boomed and shuddered around them. Some enterprising
bar owner had mounted several strobes, and they washed the
crowded streets with pulsating light. Crimson and green and
blinding white, they turned everything into a jittery kaleidoscope
of painted shadows and light.
The crowd carried them toward La Cienega. David found it
almost as interesting to watch Chris as it was to observe everyone
else around them. Chris flirted with everyone he met, running
from one costumed character to another like a kid experiencing
his first visit to Disneyland. He'd break out into a dance and haul
someone off the sidelines to join him. As long as he'd known
him, David had envied Chris his ability to grab life with both
hands. He never cared what other people thought or said.
David couldn't be that carefree. He still hated it when people
looked at him and muttered "faggot" under their breath.
Chris tucked his hand into David's back pocket. After a brief
hesitation, David responded by draping his arm over Chris's
shoulder. They passed a stage that had been set up by a local
radio station where a costume-judging contest drew a raucous
Beyond the stage an alley posted with prominent "No
Parking" signs cut between two dark businesses. Over the hip-
hop beat from the stage, David heard the deep roar of a large
motorcycle engine. The restless crowd pushed them along; they
passed the mouth of the alley.