Saturday, July 3, 2010

Safe in His Arms - A Most Unusual Excerpt

Nearly done with the rough draft.  Some fine tuning left to do. 
Here is an excerpt in which we see Russell the sex worker plying his trade. He doesn't view his work as just "turning tricks". He sees it almost as a calling - reaching out to men who are lonely and in need of affection. This is not your typical m/m erotic sex scene, but I thought you might enjoy a peek...

The house was small and located in a modest neighborhood, not at all the sort of place the Garden’s usual clientele resided. Briefly Russell wondered how the frail old man who opened the door could afford to pay the escort service’s steep fees for an hour’s pleasure.

“Hi,” he said, “I’m Russell. From the Garden. Are you Mr. James Smith?” The man squinted at him, pulled the screen door open and stepped back. “Come in,” he said in a quavering voice. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

Russell stepped into the small foyer and was assailed by the strong though not unpleasant scent of the man’s cologne. His sparse hair was white and neatly combed over a pink scalp. Bright blue eyes shone from a face heavily lined with wrinkles. Even so, but the fine bone structure beneath was still evident, with high cheekbones and a square jaw.

He wore a crisp white shirt with a blue tie and gray trousers with a military-sharp crease down each leg. He was smiling shyly at Russell, his hands twisting nervously at chest level. “I’ve made some coffee. Would you like a cup?”

Russell smiled. “No thanks, Mr. Smith. I’m good. But if you’d care to—”

“No, no,” the old man said. “None for me. Too late in the day. To tell you the truth, I’m a little nervous,” he added unnecessarily. “I’ve never done this before.” He produced an odd smile that looked more like a grimace.

“Never called an escort service?”

“Never been with a man.”

Russell kept his expression neutral and nodded, waiting for more of an explanation, though if none was forthcoming, he wouldn’t pry. James Smith wouldn’t be the first client he’d been with who had waited most of their life before getting up the nerve to explore homosexual feelings. 

“Well, I hope the experience measures up to your expectations, Mr. Smith. I’m honored to be your first.”

Mr. Smith chuckled, though he continued to wring his hands. “Please, call me James. I feel old enough without the mister business.”

“James it is.” Russell reached for the man’s hands, covering them both briefly with his own much larger hand. “This is your hour. I want to make you comfortable and happy. There’s no written script or agenda. Whatever works for you is what we’ll do, okay?”

James’ smile was genuine this time. “Okay, that sounds good to me. I like you.” He glanced at his watch, adding, “Time’s a wasting. I guess if you don’t want coffee…” he trailed off uncertainly.

“Would you like to show me your bedroom?” Russell asked, glancing toward the stairs.

“Excellent idea,” James said with a small, nervous laugh. He led the way up narrow stairs to the first door at the top. “After you.” James waved Russell into a small but immaculate bedroom. It was clear the rug had just been vacuumed, and the scent of lemon oil hung in the air.

“I, uh, I don’t know what comes next,” James said. Anxiety was radiating off him in waves, and Russell’s heart went out to him, thinking what courage it must have taken to even make the call to the escort service.

“How about let’s get to know each other a little? Would you like a massage? It might help you relax.”

“Okay, yes. That sounds good to me,” James said, but he stood stock still, making no move to undress.

Russell waited a few beats and then suggested, “Maybe you want to take off your pants and shirt so they don’t get wrinkled?”

“Oh! I, uh, okay. Yes, okay.”

Russell knelt in front of James, who flushed slightly and said with a small laugh, “Oh, the royal treatment, huh?”

“Absolutely.” Russell untied the laces of James’ spit shiny black shoes and pulled them off, one by one, along with the black dress socks. Carefully he unbuckled his belt and opened the fly, drawing the zipper down. James shut his eyes tight as Russell drew his trousers down, but didn’t protest. He didn’t try to remove the man’s boxer shorts, not yet, but couldn’t quite suppress the smile when he noticed the price tag still affixed to the waistband.

James unbuttoned his shirt himself and removed it, revealing pale, hairless skin. “Lie down and relax,” Russell urged. “I’ll just sit here beside you.” James obeyed, draping himself face down on the bed.

Gently, Russell began to smooth and lightly knead what little muscle remained on the man’s bony back. After a few minutes, Russell could feel James begin to relax. “So,” Russell said, “tell me a little bit about yourself. Why did you wait so long to be with a man? If you don’t mind my asking, that is.”

“Oh, I don’t mind,” James replied, settling more comfortably into the mattress. “I was married for fifty-four years to a wonderful woman. Back when I was coming up, homosexuality wasn’t an option, it was a perversion.”

He twisted toward Russell. “I remember the priest at my Sunday school, warning us that those kind of sick feelings were an aspersion against God, a crime against nature. He took us boys into a room one day, while a nun was no doubt doing a similar number on the girls, and told us that, not only was masturbation, or self abuse, as he’d called it, a sin that would send us straight to hell, but if we even thought about another boy in sexual terms, just the thought would be sufficient reason for God to cast us forever into the fires of hell.”

Russell shook his head, thinking how many lives had been ruined by the misguided censoring and condemnation of natural feelings and desires. Wasn’t life hard enough without that kind of bullshit being thrown at you?

“I bought it, the whole kit and caboodle,” James said with a deep sigh. “Married the first girl that’d have me and spent my life keeping those impure thoughts at bay. Luckily she was a good woman—my best friend. She died a year ago last May, rest her soul.” He was quiet a moment, before adding, “I got to thinking I don’t have a whole helluva lot of time left myself. I decided if I’m going to burn in the hell fires of eternity, I might as well do it right.” He barked a laugh.

“Now you,” he continued, “you’re just what the doctor ordered. I picked you out of that catalog they sent me. You remind me of Timothy Dylan, the redhead I bunked with in boot camp before being shipped off to Korea in nineteen hundred and fifty. He was big and tall like you, and built like a tank. I’ve never admitted this to a soul, and I’ll deny it if you say it outside this bedroom, but he’s the one who’s always come to mind, right in the moment of passion, if you know what I mean.”

“I do,” Russell replied, grinning at the man’s quaint turn of phrase. They were quiet for a while, as Russell continued the massage.

James rolled over suddenly, fixing Russell with an intense gaze. “You’re my birthday present, did you know that?” he announced with a grin. “I decided to treat myself.”

“Well then, Mr. Smith,” Russell said with an answering grin. “We must unwrap your present.”


  1. Hi Claire,

    What a sweet excerpt! You have a rare talent for putting such depth, history and emotion into so few words. Once again I find I am anxiously awaiting another of your books.
    Thank you for the reading treat today!


  2. Thank YOU, Donna, for your very kind words! I am excited about this one. Rough draft is done, it's now in the hands of my fine beta readers and then on to the fine line editors! Hoping for mid to late July release.