Series: Boys of Brighton
Published by Bouroughs Publishing Genres: LGBTQ, Male/Male Romance
Fifth-generation firefighter Gabe Mason saves Johnny from the flames of an office building fire, and Johnny will save Gabe from himself.
The building was coming down, Gabe knew it. After the last explosion, he and his partner, Lee, were able to grab one of the women huddled by the window and carry her down the ladder. There were two more people in that room, and he would be damned if he’d leave them behind. Seeing his cousin Josie hanging from the window had almost paralyzed him with fear, but thanks to his years of training Gabe didn’t miss a beat. He grabbed her out of the air from one of her coworkers who held onto her, saving Josie from a three-story fall headfirst.
Another explosion rocked the back of the building and Gabe raced back up the ladder. He didn’t stop at the top. He jumped through the window instead, desperate to find the trapped people. His turnout gear and oxygen tank protected him from the worst of the heat and the thick black smoke that filled the room, obstructing his vision as he scanned for anyone, hoping he wasn’t too late.
He heard a loud scraping noise from the back corner. Easing his way closer, he was finally able to make out the same shorter man that saved Josie trying to leverage a filing cabinet off a trapped woman.
“Got the last two, Lee. One trapped,” Gabe called into his radio.
“The building’s coming down!” Lee answered. “I’m almost at the top of the ladder. Get them out here now!”
Gabe reached the man just as a loud whoosh sounded through the room and flames waved across the ceiling. Time to go. The man with the pole looked up at the flames…but instead of making a run for the window as Gabe had expected, he began to desperately push on the cabinet.
Maybe I’m jaded after all these years.
Gabe grabbed the man’s shoulder. The guy cried out in pain before he turned to face him. The smoke was so thick that it was difficult to make out his features, but the burn marks on the guy’s shoulder from the steel pole he was using were easy to see.
“You have to get out!” Gabe called. “The ladder is outside the window. GO!”
“No! I won’t leave her! She’s unconscious. I’ll pull her out”—cough, cough—“if you can lift this damn thing.”
Gabe could tell the man was serious about not leaving without the woman. He figured it must be his wife or someone he loved.
To have someone love you that much… You would never be left behind. He longed for just that.
He put both hands under the edge of the cabinet while the other man dropped the pole and grabbed onto the woman’s arms. With one great heave, the cabinet was raised. The man screamed in pain but managed to pull the woman out before falling to the ground himself and coughing violently.
Gabe quickly lifted the woman into his arms and carried her to the window, handing her off to Lee before turning to pick up the last survivor who was still coughing on the floor. Gabe removed his oxygen mask and placed it over the man’s face before stepping onto the ladder and heading down to the waiting EMTs. Now that they were away from the smoke, Gabe looked down at the man in his arms to find stunning moss-green eyes staring up at him.
Desperate for something to clear away the sucker punch that one look had delivered, Gabe could only come up with the other woman in the fire. “Your wife is going to be okay. We got her out thanks to your help.”
Gabe gently placed the man down on the waiting gurney. Within moments, one of the EMTs removed the oxygen mask Gabe had given him and replaced it with one from a tank in their rig. Gabe noticed more burns on the man’s hands and chest as well as bleeding across his abdomen.
The green-eyed man quickly pushed the mask away from his face. “Wife?”
“Building’s clear, Gabe. Now we just need to keep it contained,” Lee stated through Gabe’s headset.
“Copy, on my way.”
“Wife?” the man asked again, looking adorably confused, eyes squinting, leaving a cute little wrinkle between his eyebrows.
“Yes, the lady under the cabinet is already being transported to the hospital,” Gabe replied, doing his best to not look into those beautiful eyes or at the tempting bottom lip that was currently between the other man’s teeth. The man looked confused for a moment, and then his face lit up in happiness. It was like the clouds parted with just that one look.
Where the hell did that cliché come from?
“Janice? She’s safe?”
“Yes, she’s on her way to the hospital. You can meet her there when you’re transported.” Gabe began to back a few feet away; he had to get back to the fire and stop staring at the poor man.
Damn, I’ve been alone too long when I’m lusting after a married, heterosexual man.
Being a gay firefighter, it wasn’t easy for Gabe to find the right partner. Sure, easy sex was always available, but he wanted a commitment. Men might think it was hot to date a fireman, but they soon found the hours he worked and the dangers he faced to be too much, and they would eventually leave.
“Wait, wife? Janice? No…I’m gay. She’s my friend—” The man began coughing so violently he was gagging over the side of the gurney.
“We’re outta here, Gabe,” said Royce, his friend and one of the EMTs, before replacing the oxygen mask.
Gabe ran back over, catching the gurney before it went into the rear of the ambulance.
“Wait, what’s your name?”
Gabe and Royce shared a look before Royce gave a slight nod and smiled. Then the doors closed and the ambulance sped away, leaving Gabe and the rest of the firefighters to battle the blaze into the late afternoon. Royce would keep an eye on the guy for Gabe as best he could. After all, the man had saved his young cousin’s life, and he couldn’t just ignore these intense feelings of attraction, could he?
Boys of Brighton Book Two
Emergency room nurse Samuel Mason is offered a ménage a trois with two ex-miltary men and discovers a love more dangerous—and more exquisite—than he anticipated.
Excerpt Sam’s Soldiers:
As soon as Spider heard the water running in the shower, he turned to Dante. “We shouldn’t do this. We can’t leave him.”
Dante came forward and wrapped his arms around Spider. “It was part of the deal we made, Jack. We can’t back out now.”
“It just doesn’t feel right to me, it’s Sam.” Spider knew it was part of their initial arrangement with Sam, but things had changed, hadn’t they?
“We’ve got another mission. We have to head a security detail in two days. Besides, Sam hasn’t asked us to stay. We can’t make that decision for him.” Dante backed away and returned to preparing their final meal together. Spider’s heart raced, knowing this was the wrong decision.
“But I know he cares about us. I can feel it. He was meant to be a part of our team,” Spider said, trying to explain what he felt to his core, he knew Sam loved them on some level. They’d spent the last five weeks living together, acting every bit like a family, and it had been plain to see how each of them felt, or maybe he was simply seeing what he wanted. The two went on to work silently on supper for several minutes until they both heard the water turn off in the shower.
“Sweetheart, look at me,” Dante said, and Spider finally met Dante’s eyes. Spider knew he was the one more likely to show emotions out of the two of them, but the pain he saw in Dante’s eyes confirmed he felt the same way about Sam. “We have to carry on with our lives and let Sam carry on with his. It’s selfish to force ourselves on him.”
“But, Major, I don’t believe we are. Do we really have to leave like this?” Spider still fell back on his military training when stressed.
“Leave?” Sam spoke softly from the doorway, a towel hanging low on his hips. His beautiful tattoos stood in vibrant contrast against his creamy white skin and lean muscle. His red hair was wet and standing up in odd angles and his beautiful brown eyes shone slightly.
“Leave?” Sam repeated, his face becoming a mask, showing nothing. “Is it time for the two of you to go back already?”
Dante released Spider, who stepped forward and held out his hand. Sam immediately took it, and Spider pulled him in close so both he and Dante could surround him. “Yes, Sam, we have another assignment.” Spider thought the words seemed like a physical blow to Sam even as he tried to hide his response from them.
“When?” Sam asked in a strangled voice.
“So this is my farewell supper?” Sam stepped back out of their reach and took a deep breath. “I should have guessed with all my favorites on the menu.”
Sam was smiling now, but it didn’t reach his eyes. Spider was desperate to touch him again, but didn’t know if Sam would allow it. “We wanted to make the night special.”
Sam looked around at the table set with wineglasses and his grandmother’s good china. “It looks beautiful, thank you. I’ll go finish getting dressed and we can start our last evening together.” Sam stepped forward, gave both Spider and Dante a quick kiss on their cheeks, and went back to their master bedroom.
Dante stood straighter and squared his shoulders, the same stance he always took when the hard decisions needed to be made. “We have to go, Jack. We both knew this couldn’t last forever, and all three of us went into this knowing it would eventually have to end. Now is that time.”
“Don’t you feel it? The pull to him, the need to keep him with us?” Spider couldn’t understand why Dante was fighting so hard to not allow himself to fall in love with Sam.
“Of course I do. But again, soldier, that’s not our decision to make.”
Boys of Brighton Book Three
Two reclusive gay men—Brighton’s local librarian and its grumpy bear, former motorcycle gang member turned diner owner—find each other and love.
Excerpt Rick’s Bear:
Rick just knew he was going to ruin this evening somehow. Heck, he’d already started by causing those three men to notice him. He’d planned to stand behind them, hopefully going unseen, until Bear had called his name and he had to walk through the group. Now his anxiety level was rising like a toxic tide.
“Easy. Look at me. Breathe…” When Rick looked up, everything looked fuzzy, and he noticed they were in Bear’s office instead of at the table. “Breathe in and out. That’s it.”
After several minutes, Bear’s handsome face came into focus, and Rick could finally speak. “S-s-sorry” was all he could manage to say.
“No, that was my fault. I should have never called their attention to you or made you walk through them with your anxiety. I’m the one who’s sorry,” Bear replied with a guilty look on his handsome face. “I won’t ever do that again unless it’s an emergency. I’ll come to you instead, I swear.”
Rick realized a while ago that Bear was aware of Rick’s “little quirks” but had never brought them up so openly before. He felt a bit embarrassed and found himself unable to meet Bear’s eyes. “It’s okay, and it’s not your fault that I’m this way.” That responsibility belonged to someone else entirely, a man so vicious it had taken four officers to take him down.
“This way?” Bear gently cupped both of Rick’s cheeks so he couldn’t look away again. “The way you are is perfect to me, never doubt that.”
He looked so serious that Rick had no other choice but to nod his head in agreement.
“Okay, now are we ready to have dinner and apple pie?” Bear’s smile brought out that one dimple he had on his left cheek.
“Oh yeah,” Rick replied. “Did you know an average nine-inch pie holds roughly six medium apples?” He hung his head so quickly that Rick was surprised he hadn’t given himself whiplash. Damn nervous useless information, he’ll think I’m a freak.
“Yeah, we use around five or six depending on the size of the apple,” Bear answered and carried on toward the front without one word of censure or even a strange look for Rick’s “info drop” as he liked to call his freaky behavior. It wasn’t like he could namedrop, but boy he could spit out useless information like a pro. Maybe for a little while, Rick would be able to act as if his idiosyncrasies didn’t matter and not have to worry about how he appeared to others.
Bear led Rick to their table by keeping a possessive hand on the small of Rick’s back, and Rick had no idea why it felt so good there. How can I be attracted to another giant of a man? Didn’t I learn my lesson the last time? Rick honestly didn’t quite understand why Bear wanted to spend time with him, but Rick wasn’t going to complain. He felt safe when he was with Bear, which was an odd feeling for him to begin with.
Over the next hour, Rick learned more about the man that occupied every dream he’d had over the past year. He knew Bear had been in a motorcycle club back in Chicago but had left it to “find a new life,” as Bear put it, but he wouldn’t elaborate further. What he did know still amazed Rick, who’d never left Brighton. All the places Bear had seen were a world away from Rick’s reality.
“Here you go, sweetie, your apple pie.” Rick looked up and smiled at Sarah. The older woman was an absolute angel to everyone.
“Thank you, Sarah. I absolutely love your apple pie,” Rick stated as his mouth watered for a bite.
“We know, honey,” Sarah responded.
“Hey! What the hell? You told me you didn’t have any more apple pie, you old crone,” yelled one of the three men who’d made Rick feel nervous when he’d come in. “What do I have to do, go in the back and give the boss a blowjob like little Mr. Bookworm here did?”
Rick immediately pulled his messenger bag off the table and placed it safely on the bench seat—Bear’s gift was in that bag after all. He slid across the bench, putting some distance between himself and the irate man. The man’s two friends were desperately clawing at the third man’s jacket, trying to pull him back.
Rick’s anxiety began to rise, and of course, he knew what was coming next. “In a recent survey, it was found that four out of ten people have dated someone from work. But in this case, you are completely mistaken. We’re friends.”
The drunk man stopped and just stared at Rick like he’d grown a second head. “What do I care? Are you some kind of idiot?”
Rick witnessed the change in Bear and sat fascinated as he went from attentive, charming dinner date to a hulking man who, with one look, could make most people shake. But the truly bizarre thing was that, instead of feeling fear, Rick felt excited.
What’s wrong with me?
Boys of Brighton Book Four
A widower and a man who fled his past find love in Brighton, TX, despite the violence of one’s homophobic family.
Royce heard the deep rumbling and knew his hopes that they could work this out had disappeared. The roar of Jesse’s bike as it pulled out of the driveway and away from their house felt like a stab to his chest. Was it still “their” house? Was he coming back? Was he safe? Royce didn’t have the answers and a sick feeling began to spread through his body. Jesse had left him. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so hard on him. But Jesse was keeping things from him and Royce was frustrated. He’d spent the last few weeks afraid Jesse would be hurt or leave. Well, he left.
The pain was starting to set in. Jesse left. The realization hit home like a sledgehammer. He left me. Royce couldn’t understand why Jesse hadn’t taken his things with him. Maybe he’s coming back? Royce didn’t know what to think. He never thought Jesse would just take off like this because they’d always found it easy to talk things out up until now.
Royce wandered through his empty house room by room…rooms he’d hoped and prayed would be filled with children someday. He’d always dreamt of giving children with special needs a good home and viewed adoption as the option for him. But when Daniel had died, so had that dream, until Jesse came along. Now Royce’s pain was becoming intense, and he knew unless you’d suffered through the loss of the person you love, there was no way of properly describing it. But the closest he could imagine was paralyzing, painful emptiness creeping into his heart and soul.
Should he go look for Jesse or wait here? What would Royce do if Jesse didn’t come back? That one thought alone kept Royce pacing the floors. He stopped by the kitchen and grabbed himself a beer before continuing with his silent vigil. The more he thought about everything that had happened, the more worked up he got. Hell, he’d already lost one man he’d loved. Royce couldn’t help but wonder how he’d pissed off fate so badly that this was happening to him again.
Hours crawled by and Royce sat waiting. At two in the morning he surrendered to the fact that Jesse wasn’t likely to be coming back. He’d been gone over twelve hours. Royce had already called Dante, one of the leaders of the Sentinels, to let him know Jesse had left. That had been hours ago, and Royce wondered if the Sentinels were still out looking for Jesse. Royce would still pay to have Jesse safe even if it was without Royce at his side.
He walked slowly to their bedroom, taking his shirt off and dropping it on the floor in the hallway, not caring where it landed. He continued on, leaving his pants at the bedroom door, boxers at the foot of the bed. By the time he crawled up onto the mattress, he couldn’t hold back his sorrow and loss any longer. The last time he’d cried was at Daniel’s graveside. Royce had thought he’d be impervious to that kind of pain again, but he’d been sorely mistaken.
Royce laid his head down, praying sleep would take him away into blissful nothingness. He hoped against all odds that this had all just been some sort of cruel nightmare and he would wake up at any moment with Jesse in his arms. But all the while knowing full well his reality had changed yet again and his future was uncertain.
Royce awoke hours later. He hadn’t even realized he’d fallen asleep and had no idea what woke him, but something was different. Slowly, he opened his eyes; the room was dark but he could make out the outline of a large figure standing in the doorway. There was just enough light coming down the hallway to confirm that it was indeed Jesse. Royce sat up in bed, conflicting emotions running through his mind and heart. He was overjoyed that Jesse came back but Royce felt betrayed at being left in the first place. Those two emotions kept him on the bed, silent. If Jesse came back for his things, Royce wasn’t about to beg. No matter how much he wanted Jesse to stay, the man had to want to stay first.
About the Author:
M. Tasia is a paralegal and author who lives in Ontario, Canada. A member of the RWA and its chapter RRW, she is a dedicated people watcher, and a lover of romance, 80’s rock, and happy endings. Mother of two wonderful girls, she is also a servant to two spoiled furry children.
Connect With M. Tasia Here:
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