Come take a chance with us and help support the AIDs Healthcare Foundation in the process.
Seventeen authors were challenged to take a chance to write something new and outside their normal box to help celebrate International Take A Chance Day. These authors went above and beyond by writing sixteen stories that span the gender and sexuality spectrum. They’ll make you laugh, cry, shout with joy as they take you on a journey through their contemporary, paranormal, science fiction, and adventurous stories.
Desert Knight by D.G. Carothers
Taking A Leap by Toshi Drake
When Clyde Met Hay by C.W.Gray
Playing for Keeps by K.L. Hiers
Alien Attraction by Gianni Holmes
In the Twilight Hours by KC Luck
Evan’s Awakening by G.R. Lyons
Always and Only You by Claire Marta and Abrianna Denae
Silhouette by Amanda Meuwissen
A Dark Half by Shane K. Morton
Fated by Faith Ryan
The Sweetest Ache by Bretton Sans
Love’s Heart Print by JP Sayle
Catch Me If You Can by Lynn Van Dorn
Take a Chance on Me by Shannon West
Taking The Leap by Toby Wise
All proceeds will be donated to the AIDs Healthcare Foundation. AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is a global non-profit organization providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to over 1,000,000 people in 43 countries. They are currently the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the U.S.
This anthology will only be available for a limited time.
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win an
Hunger Strike, The Road of Bones drops you two centuries into the future. The moon has been sheared in two, much of the Earth is a wasteland, and the world is ruled over by witches and sorcerers with cruelty and indifference. When the town of Endly is threatened by the tinkerer and his army of animorphs, sixteen-year-old Hunger Strike, alongside his best friend, Winda, and his adopted brother, Denver, devises a plan to move thousands of its residents across the treacherous wilds, in the hopes of finding a new home within the borders of a strange land far to the west, known only as The Weird Wood.
Winda is the adult in the room. Always. She approaches challenges logically. Where I’m a bumbling mess of emotions, Winda has a way of removing emotion from any given situation, and then, with a clear head, she begins to formulate a plan of action.
So, I relate every detail of the past couple of hours to her, ending on a sour note with the impending invasion, and then I sit back, fold my arms across my chest, and I watch the gears spinning behind Winda’s eyes, a flickering candle between us.
A minute passes. Two. Three.
“The beasts!” she shouts suddenly, jumping to her feet and kicking the leg of the table. Next, to my horror, she pulls her machete from its sheath and, in one lightning fast motion, she stabs its tip into the table, plants her hands, locks eyes with me, grits her teeth and she spits; “Well, I’m not going down without a fight, you hear?? We’ll certainly die, but we’re damned well going to take a few of them bastards down with us, and we’ll bathe in their blood together before our glorious deaths!”
I knit my eyebrows together. Clearly, someone has taken my Winda and they’ve replaced her with a person who delights in taking baths in other folks blood. I, however, do not. Where’s the adult in the room? The lack of emotion? The clear-headed plan? We really are screwed if even Winda can’t wrap her head around this thing and spit out a strategy other than bathing in blood and glorious deaths – a duo of rather unappealing options in my less-than-knowledgeable opinion on the subject.
“Um – I don’t like that plan, Winda,” I whisper, painfully aware that Denver is in my bedroom and probably listening to every word we say.
“What else is there??” she spits back at me, once again taking her seat.
I furrow my brow. “Running?”
“Leave – all these people to be slaughtered?” Winda hisses across the table at me. “Is that what you’re suggesting, Hunger?”
“No, Winda, that’s not what I’m suggesting,” I say.
“We take them with us,” I say.
There’s a pause while Winda looks across the table at me like I’ve just grown a hideous extra head or two. “There are – thousands of people living in Endly, Hunger.”
“Two thousand, three hundred and thirty-seven,” a raspy little voice says.
I glance over my shoulder. Denver is peeking into the kitchen from the hall.
Winda sneers at him.
Denver has always been quite anxious around Winda. It might be her machete, or the pistol, or the fact that he overheard us discussing how she had accidentally murdered her pet cat, Mr. Wiggles. Or all three.
About the Author
T.J. Pike has been writing since splashing down on this tiny blue marble in late 1986, when a native of the planet observed what a brilliant liar he was. “You should either write a book or go into politics,” the woman was heard to say. Having been a VIP guest at the White House several thousand times over the past hundred years, he chose the former. Hand cramps, cold feet and early mornings soon inspired him to invent the computer, wool socks and coffee, though not in that order. Pike is currently number one on the Epsilon Delta Bestsellers list, and if you visit the Planet Arkon, you can find a bronze statue of him in the alleyway behind Smirk’s Liquor Mart, just to the left of the dumpster. Dubbed the most prolific story-teller of his time by Deckon-the-deceiver, Pike currently resides in New England, where he spends his days in the clouds, atop his dragon, Dinky, only stopping to allow her to feed on the occasional villager or two.
A novel about life in a United States gone mad, where the government falls apart, California secedes from the union, and Liberals and Conservatives finally battle each other in the streets. It’s the Culture War, and it’s coming. Find out what to do when men and women start to get caged up just for being gay; when climate disasters unfold and wreck the economy; when the world falls apart once and for all. It’s ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ but in reverse.
Stephe Stafford, embroiled in this conflict, hopes to preserve his sanity—and even finds love along the way. In 2037 we watch Stephe, orphaned in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 2022, grow up and even blossom into his own.
New technologies and old politics weave together to form amazing possibilities and hopes—and certain dangers, too. Read about the fate of America as we move into a chilling new future. Find out what can we do when the world goes awry.
Republican President Mitch Kellum, elected in 2028, urged calm, but the damage was done. Calls for the election to be overturned sprang from all parts of the country. Kellum denied any wrongdoing. It was the Russians and the Chinese, he claimed, determined to destabilize the U.S.
Democrats had lost all remaining political power and the conservative U.S. Supreme Court upheld the election in predictable fashion, six to three.
It was like a bomb had gone off. Protests turned to riots. Far-right fundamentalists took to the streets in support of the election, and faced off with teeming hordes of furious liberals. A nation that had been savagely divided, blue against red, liberal against conservative for the past thirteen years, would eventually fall into violence. It finally happened in Philadelphia on November 9, 2030. Rioting liberals clashed with Freedom Fighters, neo-Nazis, and Proud Boys on Market Street at the beautiful Philadelphia City Hall building. Fisticuffs, brawls, burning cars. Shots rang out. The police, caught in the middle, fell apart; each officer defected to his or her side of the political divide and joined the fight.
The Culture War had begun.
Battlements were hastily built in the streets of Washington, DC, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. It was bedlam. The streets became littered with bodies as street fights broke out: Red versus Blue, Conservative versus Liberal.
People fled the cities only to find skirmishes in the suburbs. Ikea parking lots were battle zones. A Home Depot in Enid, Oklahoma, was burnt to the ground. Fires started everywhere.
The country spasmed in violence, hand to hand, block by block. After thirteen years of political loggerheads, the center could no longer hold. Any attempt at civil discourse fell on deaf ears. It was us against them, everywhere.
A typical confrontation would be as follows: Unarmed Liberals vastly outnumbered armed Freedom Fighters. They’d go toe-to-toe in the streets, yelling and waving signs in confrontation. Fist fights would break out. But then someone would get mad, grab their gun, and start shooting. Others would join in and the unarmed protesters would flee back behind barricades of cars, buses, dumpsters and buildings, leaving the dead and wounded in the street. It was like a form of trench warfare—and this was played out in cities and towns across the country. Attack and retreat. Attack and retreat. And anger—people were incredibly angry. They fought tooth and nail, neighbor against neighbor, family member against family member.
In San Francisco the tens of thousands of liberals lining Market Street day after day eventually found themselves being bludgeoned by Freedom Fighters. Skirmish lines fell into place along the main street and shots were fired. Freedom Fighters were hopelessly outnumbered though and, despite having guns, were quickly overpowered by the throngs of San Franciscans. They fled.
Stephe was there with Nicole. They’d come up from Harrison Street to take part in the demonstration that day. Nicole wound up hitting a neo-Nazi with her shoe, bloodying his face while Stephe—feeling nothing but cold rage—just took his rifle and hit him with it.
The National Guard had to be mobilized to quell the riots, and still it wasn’t enough. The U.S. Army and the Marines were added and took to the streets with water cannons and tear gas.
Finally the main fights in the bigger cities were quelled by force. After six bloody days the spasm ended. Thousands were dead. Many more thousands were arrested by the military and taken to separate camps, red and blue, for disturbing the peace and inciting violence.
Thus began a new Cold War as Americans could no longer speak to one another.
About the Author
Luke Mauerman is a former columnist for Bear and 100% Beef Magazines, and is well into his trilogy of books on time travel. He majored in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and currently resides in Palm Springs.
While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell’s Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long. Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.
Hemingway’s particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.
When NYC’s most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway’s best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper’s latest victim. But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer’s identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too.
I work without speaking because that’s the way I prefer it. The vibration of my machine, the softer buzz of the fluorescent lights overhead, the tap of my foot on the pedal—it’s the best music in the world.
When I hit a ticklish spot, the girl I’m working on gasps, jolting in my chair.
“Don’t move,” I say. And then, with a salesman’s false cheer: “Almost done!”
The girl is sweating down the crook of her neck. She’s got silver glitter paint on her eyelids and cheeks, a new fashion trend I just can’t quite get behind. Under my lights the mix of perspiration and makeup looks like a blurry constellation.
She wanted a bee inked onto her collarbone, one of those tiny honeybees you find on good tequila bottles. Easily done, and she met the cash requirement. She’s eager, nervous, and breathing in and out in little puffs.
I can’t remember her name, but that’s fine. Customer relations is Eric’s job.
There’s another kid leaning over my glass counter, watching eagerly as I work. “Does it hurt?” he asks. “When the magic happens?”
The bee’s fat yellow thorax wriggles from side to side as it begins to wake, fighting the pressure of my needle, hungry for life.
“It looks like it hurts,” the kid says. I ignore him.
One minute more and—thanks to my peculiar magic—this bee will fly free.
I’m perched on a swivel stool, a wet paper towel in my hand to wipe away ink. It’s too hot in my studio, even with the industrial fans whirling overhead and the door propped wide open. Evening light slants in through the door and the north-facing, floor-to-ceiling window panes that look out onto West Forty-Sixth. It’s muggy, too warm for New York in October, and all of Hell’s Kitchen is wilting, including my client.
“What does it feel like?” the kid demands. He’s leaving greasy fingerprints on the surface of the glass as he strains to get a better look at what I’m doing. I study him out the corner of my eye, wiping sweat off my nose with the back of my wrist before it drips on my customer. He looks like one of the street punks who have taken to running in packs near the cruise terminals, sleeping in old, abandoned cargo containers and panhandling up and down the marina.
He’s skinny and tall, hair dyed an unsettling violet and styled into spikes all over his head. He’s got a silver ring in his septum and more hoops in his ears; his eyelashes are coated with purple mascara to match his hair. Green glitter paint sparkles on his lids. His T-shirt and jeans are torn and dirty, and he’s got a pack of black-market cigarettes rolled into one sleeve against his upper arm.
About the Author
Sarah Remy/Alex Hall is a nonbinary, animal-loving, proud gamer Geek.
Their work can be found in a variety of cool places, including HarperVoyager, EDGE and NineStar Press.
The story can be read as a standalone. It is the first book in the Pelethus Series. The next book involves different main characters that are connected to those in Hathonatum.
Buy Links – Coming Soon
Publisher: MLR Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Hathonatum is a love story that spans time, dimension, universe and death.
Have you ever wondered if that little voice inside you is actually your voice?
Egypt captivates Benjamin. As an adult, he immerses himself in his chosen profession, as an archaeologist in the ancient city of Abydos. For Ben, the hieroglyphs, and paintings unlock dreams of a time long lost.
The dig Ben works on is financed by Ashari Hathonatum. For many years, the man has been looking for the one who completes him. He initially saw his heart’s match from a distance. But that was a long time ago and from an alternate universe. When Ashari encounters Ben, he wonders if he is the reincarnation of the man he saw, through another’s eyes, all those years ago. Will the secrets Ashari hides about his heritage stop their love blooming, or will others from his dimension, determined to keep Ashari from his heart’s match, rule the day?
**The story is written with British spelling/grammar. **
Though Ben loved the thought of studying Seti, he was part of a small crew concentrating on Narmer (3180-3120 BC), whose tomb was located to the west of the dig, almost as far away from Seti as a tomb could get. Not much was known about the first pharaoh of the combined kingdoms, and Ben wanted to help discover something new. He wanted to shed light on a life that no one knew about—a new phenomenon to capture the imagination.
Ben had been on-site for a little over a week when he saw an intriguing man talking to Terry, his dig leader. Judging by his skin, Ben suspected the man to be local, but it was difficult to tell. Other than his face, the only other exposed part of him was his hands. The rest of him was covered with clothing designed to keep out the worst of the sand—layered, lightweight, loose, and black.
When the man locked gazes with him, Ben found himself staring into a vibrant blue sea of lapis lazuli, framed with black lashes and dark eyebrows. It wasn’t until a fellow worker walked between them that the connection was broken. When Ben sought to re-establish contact, the other had his back to him. Ben returned to his work, clearing out a trench of sand. The heat and excitement over what his group might find overshadowed any musings concerning the stranger.
At the end of the day, Ben was so tired he clambered onto the city-bound truck with as much grace as a stumbling mummy.
That night, while lounging on his bed, images of dark blue assaulted him. The event was rare for him, considering Egypt was his prime…prime everything.
Every day, the journey to the ruins was like being transported back in time. Ben could close his eyes and almost feel like he was there, in ancient Egypt. Often, he imagined he could see a partial image of the hustle and bustle of the ancient civilization continuing around him. At other times, he was in the quiet solitude of a temple. The images were odd, considering ancient Abydos was a graveyard.
From the drop-off point the next day, Ben made his way to tombs B17 and B18—the tombs attributed to Narmer. He worked there all morning with his small, square trowel and brush, slowly moving away the sands of eons.
As lunchtime approached, he relocated to the edge of the main dig and took his break. From there, he would imagine life in ancient Egypt.
Daydreaming, he chose to walk back to his station.
Suddenly, an alarm sounded. It was the warning for a sandstorm. It was similar to what his grandparents had described as the air raid warning from the war.
There was a flurry of activity while people efficiently covered artefacts and other areas of importance. Ben glanced around, noticing the storm was a lot closer than he’d originally thought. It had come out of nowhere. What crept toward the dig seemed like a moving wall of cloud, dense enough to shield the view and engulf anything below it. If it wasn’t for the cottonlike plumes of wheat colours, Ben could have believed a curtain of rain was heading his way. The screen of rapid shadow was making quick progress toward the dig, swallowing all in its path. Briefly, Ben went rigid, unable to move. When the sound of hissing reached his consciousness, and sand stung his feet and face, he dashed toward shelter. He was running a losing race.
Abruptly, he was grabbed and pulled to the floor behind a shallow wall. In a spell of activity as sleek as the sandstorm, a mask was put over his face, and his body along with that of his saviour rolled together. Over and over, they turned. Coming to a halt, and dizzy, Ben found himself cocooned, head to toe in a thick blanket. From the outside, the two of them probably resembled a fat, discarded mummy.
As Ben regained his senses, he could feel a wall to his back and secure arms around him. The only thing between them was his messenger bag containing the bottles of water he was required to keep on him to prevent dehydration in the desert sun.
Panting, he opened his eyes to a familiar sea of lazuli.
About the Author
I am proud to be British and proud to be an author of gay romance stories from varying genres. I write under the pseudonym Taylin Clavelli, not because I don’t want my real name out there, but because I think my real name is unmemorable for an author. The name came about from a night of Skype and a lot of wine.
My first published work – a comedy called Boys Toys and Carpet Fitters – came out in 2012. It was part of a Dreamspinners anthology called Don’t Do This At Home. Since then, I have produced a further two novels and five short stories, not including Hathonatum.
As well as being married for close to thirty years, and have a grown-up family, who I adore – I work part-time at a Manor Hotel, where I am also the resident historian. I am a book reviewer, too for a well-known site.
Not being a spring chicken anymore, I have a few hobbies that over the years have come, gone and resurfaced again. I am an experienced horse rider, and 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. I help my husband with DIY projects, upcycle as much as possible and love my garden. As for those simple things that make me stop in my tracks. The dawn chorus, baking bread, lasagne, and the scene where Shadowfax makes his screen entrance.
Trix is one of many felines who sells his body on the Pleasure Station, a space station devoted to entertainment, gambling, and the pleasures of the flesh. He’d never intended to spend his life there, but the place offers him security, regular cream, and over time it has become his home.
As a dual-gendered feline, Trix knows the risk of pregnancy is high, and sets his prices equally high to discourage customers. Trix never imagines that Delta, a canine with credits to spare will call his bluff.
When Delta pays for himself and Farron, a naïve avian from the swan clan, to spend the night with Trix, the three of them forge an unexpected bond, one that leaves Trix pregnant.
As a swan avian, Farron is incapable of being unfaithful to his mate, even when the bond is only partially formed. To complete the mating ritual, Farron must find Trix before the babies are born, or the bond will break forever, and Farron will be forced to live a life of celibacy.
When the Pleasure Station falls under new ownership, and the humans ban prostitution, Trix is left homeless. Upon hearing about this, Delta too races back to find Trix.
Both Farron and Delta arrive too late. Trix has vanished and the race is on to find him before he gives birth. Only then will they know if the bond they formed on their first night is strong enough to last a lifetime.
Two games in and Trix heard the voice of one of the more annoying felines working at the Pleasure Station. Like Trix, Brak was a working whore with a preference for male cocks. He was also a bigot, and for some reason had issues with dual-gendered felines. Which meant he had issues with Trix.
“What are you doing working the tables Trixi?” Brak asked.
Trix hissed at him, ignoring the question. He’d give his right testicle to know who had told Brak his parents had named him Trixi. He hadn’t told anyone that since he’d left Furyne. He supposed someone must have recognised him while passing through.
“Trixi?” the swan avian asked. “Isn’t that a female name?”
Trix sighed. Because the avian was a customer, Trix was obliged to answer his question. “Yes, it is.”
“Why do you have a feminine name?”
“My father thought my name should reflect what I am.”
“What do you mean?”
Brak laughed as he leaned on the table. “Trixi isn’t a male,” he stage-whispered.
Trix dealt the next round of cards as his face heated, more with fury than embarrassment.
“He looks male,” the avian replied. “Are you sure?”
The canine snorted. “He is male. He’s also sitting right there and getting more pissed off by the minute.”
Trix hadn’t realised his annoyance was so obvious. He’d thought he was hiding it quite well.
“I’m sorry,” the avian offered. “I’m not from around here.”
“That’s obvious,” the canine replied. “What our uninvited guest here is hinting, is that Trix is dual-gendered.”
From the confusion on the avian’s face, that didn’t help explain matters for him.
Thankfully for Trix, Brak was there to open his big mouth and clarify things in his own special way. “Trixi has a cock and a pussy, which means he can literally fuck himself.”
“Actually, no, we can’t do that,” Trix pointed out with a hiss of anger. He usually didn’t bother to correct Brak, but this avian was hanging on his every word and looked naive enough to believe him. “It just means I have both male and female sex organs.”
The canine smirked at him. “That’s not quite all it means, is it?”
Trix noticed the falcons collecting their credits and leaving the table. Damn. Valerie was going to be annoyed with him for driving away her players.
“What else does it mean?” the avian asked.
Trix sighed. “It means I can carry a litter of babies.”
Brak laughed. “During which time, Trixi becomes a female.”
“I do not!” Damn it, why couldn’t Brak go annoy someone else? And why was he even bothering to explain all this to some ignorant avian? “I’m dual-gendered whether I’m pregnant or not. It’s just a little more obvious when someone like me is pregnant.”
“How obvious?” the avian asked.
The canine snorted and shook his head. “Are you really that stupid?”
“He’ll get a nice big pregnant belly and grow breasts so he can feed the babies. There are probably other signs too, but those are the obvious ones.”
“Not that real males want to have anything to do with his kind,” Brak added. “You have to feel sorry for them, really.”
“I don’t need your false sympathy,” Trix snarled, at the same time the avian asked why.
Brak ignored Trix to focus on the question. “It’s like this, you see. For those who prefer the female form, hard chests and cocks aren’t what they’re looking for. Yet for those who desire males, they run the risk of accidentally shoving their cocks into the wrong hole.” He gave an exaggerated shudder as though the very thought of a vagina was repulsive to him. “Imagine, you’ve got to know him, you’re just getting intimate, then you slip your fingers between his legs only to find he’s really a mutant.”
Trix hissed across the table. “Did you really just call me a mutant?”
Brak shrugged. “Are you telling me that you’ve never had a customer recoil from you after discovering what you are?”
The sad truth was that he couldn’t. It had happened all too often, as Brak was well aware. While those who preferred females gave him a wide berth, the ones who preferred males could be particularly cruel with their rejections. Brak wasn’t the only one who believed Trix wasn’t a real male and refused to accept his gender identity because of his bigoted beliefs.
About the Author
L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances. She believes mermen live in the undiscovered areas of the ocean. She believes life exists on other planets. She believes in fairy tales, magic, and dreams. Most of all, she believes in love.
When L.M. Brown isn’t bribing her fur babies for control of the laptop, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.