Saturday, May 20, 2017

Coming soon: a new book by Gerald Lopez

Crackpots, Crooks, and Cowboys
Book Two of a Stratham Town Father Andrew Trilogy
Copyright © 2017 by Gerald LopezCrackpots, Crooks, and Cowboys

This book will pick up the story of Father Andrew immediately after the ending of A Shared Darkness.

Chapter 1

VINCENT’S HEART RACED when Father Andrew’s lips touched his. He could barely believe it when their tongues met. The feel of Father Andrew’s body on top of his was more than he could take.
“Stop,” Vincent said.
Father Andrew sat up on his elbows and looked down at Vincent with a confused expression on his face. “Am I doing something wrong, Vince?”
“No—yes!” Vincent said. “This is wrong… so wrong—all of it.”
Father Andrew kissed Vincent’s neck but Vincent pushed him back and got up.
“What’s the matter?” Father Andrew said.
“Tate was right,” Vincent said, as he paced around the living room of monastery house. “I should’ve listened to him because the dumb ass was right.”
“About what?” Father Andrew said as he sat up on the sofa. “Exactly what was your ex bully turned good buddy right about?”
“We can’t do this, Andrew,” Vincent said.
“Why not… or rather, what makes Tate think that we shouldn’t be doing what we were just doing?
“I can’t be your first,” Vincent said, running a hand through the straight, longish front part of his strawberry blond hair. “If things go wrong you’ll hate me.”
“Didn’t I make it clear to you that I could never hate you,” Father Andrew said, then took a bite of Vincent’s birthday cupcake.
“Hey, don’t I get the first bite since I’m the birthday boy,” Vincent said.
Father Andrew held the cupcake in front of his crotch, looked at Vincent and smiled. “Go for it, birthday boy.”
“Oh my God,” Vincent said and put his hands to his face exasperated. “What are we doing here, Andrew? How far were you planning to go?”
“You did wish for a birthday kiss, did you not?” Father Andrew said, then removed the tank top he wore.
“Did you at least get me a present?” Vincent said, trying not to look at Father Andrew who’d begun lowering the waistband of his shorts.
“I’m your present, Vince. All of me. You just need to unwrap—”
“This isn’t fair,” Vincent said.
“What?” Father Andrew said. “I’m being serious here… I’m yours, Vince.”
“How?” Vincent said. “After everything that’s happened at the school, the explosions—Brent’s split personality—the murders and acid… and Morgan—how is it you’re sitting on the sofa almost naked!”
“I learned something through all that happened,” Father Andrew said. “Life is too short and precious not to take the risks one needs to in order to be happy.”
“This isn’t you,” Vincent said. “This is the Andrew of my erotic fantasies, not the analytical, deep thinker—”
“This is Andrew Madera, a humble man presenting himself to the person he cares about most in the world. And I’m apparently being refused.”
“Andrew, did you forget you’re not just a man but also a priest?” Vincent said.
“No, I didn’t forget. I want to do this tonight… on your special day.”
“For me,” Vincent said.
“No,” Father Andrew said. “For us.”
“And for us, I must refuse,” Vincent said. He picked the cupcake up from the table and took a bite from it. “Mmm.” He swallowed the sweet bite of cupcake, then spoke. “Good cupcake. I can’t and won’t be your first, Andrew. Tate said that if I was your first and you didn’t like it or freaked out afterward, for lack of a better word, then we’d never be able to be friends anymore.”
“Bullshit!” Father Andrew said.
“Whoa,” Vincent said. “The language, Father.”
“Andrew—it’s Andrew the man you claim to love,” Father Andrew said. “I’m sorry about the language. This is new to me. I got a sudden pang of what I could only describe as jealousy toward Tate right now.”
“We didn’t do anything,” Vincent said.
“You could talk to him, Vince. The same way you were able to confide in Hélène about your father hitting you, but you never told me a word about your situation. Not until the others and I walked in on it happening.”
“I do love you, Andrew. And you’re right I should’ve told you about the situation with Daddy, but I thought I could handle it.”
“And now,” Father Andrew said. “You can talk to Tate about us, but not me. And suddenly you can’t handle this—can’t deal with the idea of our being together physically.”
“That’s it in a nutshell,” Vincent said, then sat down next to Father Andrew. “If this didn’t work out between us I couldn’t go back to being friends. I thought I’d be happy just being next to you even if there was nothing physical, but I wouldn’t be. Especially not after this. If you freaked out and rejected me it would break me right now.”
“On what level would you think I was about to reject you, Vince?”
“I’d know, that’s the problem,” Vincent said. “You may think we don’t talk about things enough, but I still know you. Let me be blunt. If you were sucking on my dick I’d know whether you really liked it or were pretending to for my sake. So, if you didn’t like it—”
“Then maybe I could fuck you instead,” Father Andrew said, getting the reaction he’d hoped for when he saw the look Vincent gave him. “Or you could do me. Do you like everything sexually? Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you like everything, does it?”
“No it doesn’t mean that,” Vincent said. “Okay, so you have a point.” He sat exasperated by Father Andrew who pulled him close.
“There’s got to be a starting point for us physically,” Father Andrew said. “Maybe we are taking a big chance, but isn’t it one worth taking?”
“What happened to your saying that you needed time because the town needs Father Andrew right now?”
“Something’s changed in me, Vince. Tonight when I thought of you on that date with Tate I got jealous.”
“That’s not a great reason to start a physical relationship,” Vincent said. “Jealousy is never a good reason for that.”
“I know,” Father Andrew said. “You didn’t let me get to the point of what I was saying.”
“Sorry,” Vincent said sadly, then smiled when Father Andrew kissed his cheek. “If when we did it, you liked it would you leave the priesthood?”
“Yes,” Father Andrew said. “Only I have a feeling I’ll more than like it.”
“But so far it’s only a feeling you have. Andrew, you just turned forty-eight and you’re a virgin. You probably haven’t even kissed before.”
“A girl kissed me when I was in high school,” Father Andrew said and smiled. “I didn’t think much of it. My first real kiss was with you, tonight.”
Vincent felt tears form in his eyes and wiped them away with his hand.
“Let me finish what I was trying to say a couple seconds ago,” Father Andrew said. “First, I was jealous of Tate, but then I picked out something to wear for when you came over. My mind wandered as I thought about what you would like to see me wearing. Then I thought of your hands on my clothes while I was wearing them. Even of your lips on my feet while I wore my flip-flops. Like before, only my feet were clean and I wasn’t worried because it was you and me—and that wasn’t something for me to be concerned about.”
“Wow,” Vincent said. “What did you feel when you thought about all of that?’
“I felt good—really good. And my body reacted. To be honest, I got harder than I ever have in my life.”
Vincent gulped loudly and Father Andrew smiled and gave him a quick kiss. When Father Andrew tried to pull away, Vincent pulled him in close and kissed him harder. After he ran his tongue across Father Andrew’s lips, Vincent pulled away again and laid his head on Father Andrew’s shoulder.
“Are you scared at all about this, Andrew?”
“Terrified,” Father Andrew said, “but also excited, and horny. What’s really going on in your head, Vince? Please tell me.”
“I saw Daddy today, before I met Tate,” Vincent said and began to cry. “He’s been through so much in his life and I couldn’t help him, Andrew. I’m there for him and he knows it, but I’ve never felt so apart from him. Mom can help him much more with even just a look.”
“She’s the love of Brian’s life, you know that. Your parents are still madly in love—that’s great.”
“It is, but I—oh forget it!” Vincent said.
Father Andrew responded by wrapping his arms around Vincent and softly kissing the side of his neck.
“That feels so good, Andrew. You have no idea. But I can’t do this if it’s not forever going in.”
“What do you need from me, Vince? I’ll do whatever you need to give you peace of mind and security.” Suddenly everything made sense in Father Andrew’s mind and he felt like a fool for not understanding earlier. Vincent’s sense of security had taken a beating because of his having been tied up and whipped with a leather belt by his father. “Oh, Vince, baby, forgive me for not understanding sooner. I wanted to make you happy and I’ve done the opposite. If you tell me what I can do to make it better I promise you I’ll do it.”
“You shouldn’t make promises so easily,” Vincent said. “What if you can’t keep them?”
“You’d help me keep them.”
“Okay then, I’ll tell you something,” Vincent said. “I only hope you can handle it.”

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