The tiny Sierra Nevada community of Stone Acres looks benign on the outside, but it’s been a hive of activity since gay men from Silicon Valley began moving in. The Old Town establishment is up in arms as newcomers challenge the conservative community to move into the new millennium. Along the way, gay couples find true love and a new home.
Contains the stories:
What’s in a Name?: When barista Jimmy is dumped and gets drunk on his 30th birthday, a handsome, hunky bartender takes care of him, but is mum about his real name. When Jimmy presses him, the bartender makes the quest a game, giving him seven guesses and promising romance each night. For every wrong guess, Jimmy has to forfeit a hot, sexy kiss. Sounds good, but what’s the catch?
Redesigning Max: Out and proud award-winning designer Fredi Zimmer takes on straight outdoorsman Max Greene’s cabin renovation. When he finds out Max is closeted and wants to come out, Fredi helps Max remodel not only his cabin but his life. Angered that Fredi has turned him, Max’s former friends intervene. Will Fredi and Max win the fight for their happiness?
Behr Facts: After CEO Abe Behr discovers discrepancies in his construction company accounts, he hires CPA Jeff Mason to help him find the embezzler. Searching for the culprit, they become closer, and Abe realizes he’s gay. However, coming out to a hostile family and community may break up the couple before they cement their happiness. With so much strife, will love prevail?
When Adam Fell: Jason’s drug addiction ripped them apart. Does Adam want to get back together now that his former lover says he’s clean?
Relative Best: When hotel owner Zeke Bandy meets Vic Longbow, he sees stars. But Vic is in town to attend a wedding and to open an office, not to fall in love. Are they doomed as lovers because they’re both too busy for happily ever after?
Frank at Heart: What will it take to make hardware store owner Frank update himself and his store? Could the new man in town be the key to unlock Frank’s life and future happiness?
Waking the Behr: Ladies’ man and small town contractor Ben Behr is blindsided by his lustful feelings for San Francisco entrepreneur Mitch O’Shea. Can a country mouse and a city mouse bridge the gap in their upbringing and expectations to find love?
Short Order: Amid the happiness of the Christmas season, horticulturist Fen Miller and his landlord sous chef John Barton have some serious decisions to make. Fen must decide on a career and John on eluding his grim past. Together can they support each other enough to discover their happily ever after?
EXCERPT FROM "What's in a Name?"
Is there anything worse than waking up with a really bad hangover? The answer, I found out that morning, was a solid yes. My particular hell was waking up in a strange bed with someone lying next to me, who's snoring away so loud I was surprised the neighbors weren't complaining. What made it all worse was I had to pee really, really bad, and I didn't have a clue where the bathroom was.
I lay on my back taking stock. I was naked, covered with a beige sheet and navy blue comforter in a huge bed, my head taking up most of the California king space.
Where the heck was I? I had no clue. I really didn't care because I was hurting so badly it'd probably be better if whoever lived here would just shoot me and put me out of my misery.
Still, I had to pee, so I slowly swam to the edge of the bed, trying not to move any body parts. Which was a complete failure. I ached all over. Had someone beaten me up?
As I reached the side of the bed and peered over the edge at the floor a few stories below, I groaned. Where was the ladder to climb down to the carpeting? I clutched the edge of the bed with one hand and rolled to my side.
"Hey, where you going, Jimmy?"
I hadn't noticed the snoring had stopped until the voice boomed in my ear.
Carefully, I turned my head.
The Stonewall Saloon bartender with the nametag of Alex last night was peering at me over his chest of hair. His eyes were squinted. A slender beam of light from a gap in the curtains was aimed at his face.
"Bathroom. Pee." I sighed. "Gotta pee."
"Right." He groaned and caused a tidal wave on the mattress even though it wasn't a water bed.
My body reacted with the seismic quake and my stomach protested. I swallowed back the rising pain even though I knew my gut had nothing left in it to come up.
I felt large hands under my arms.
"Right this way."
His voice clanged from one of my ears to the other.
He turned me, and we marched to a doorway and into the bathroom. Carefully, he lowered my nude body down onto the toilet.
"No spilling." He turned away and walked into the hallway.
I pushed my limp dick between my legs and did my thing, not spilling a drop on the bathroom floor or the toilet seat. Then I rested my arm on the sink counter next to the toilet and put my head on my arm.
"Nope, no snoozing here." His voice boomed. "C'mon. It's way too early for this shit."
Again arms lifted me. After I balanced myself, one hand left. The toilet roiled. The hand returned.
"We'd usually wash our hands," the voice murmured through me, "but I think we'll skip it this time."
Back in bed, covered, dry mouthed, I decided it was again nap time.
* * * *
The next time I woke, I was awake. Awake awake. Oh my God, where in the hell am I awake. Shit, I'm in big trouble awake. Where are my clothes awake.
I took inventory. No pain in the ass. That was a relief. No smell of semen. Check, and another sigh. No aches and pains that weren't directly related to way, way too many shots and beers, check. No clothes. No clothes?
I was okay, pretty much, other than naked, hungover, and in a stranger's house.
Damn it, I was thirty years old, naked in a stranger's bed, with only a hazy recollection of what happened after my now former boyfriend Alex stranded me at the Stone Acres' historic saloon.
I had a hazy memory of the bartender helping me to the bar bathroom the night before and this morning. So was I at his house? If so, how'd I get here?
"Um," I tried to say, but my mouth was glued shut.
I reached over to feel the side of the bed. Still there. Then I reached over to the other side. Nothing. No one.
Okay, I was alone in a strange bed as my memory filtered back online. I had been an ass, and the bartender with the faux name of Alex had taken care of me anyway. I owed him my firstborn child, should such a thing happen to me now in my boyfriendless state. I owed Alex the bartender everything, including my pride and gratitude.
What I really needed to do was apologize for causing him so much trouble.
Slowly I sat up and then stood. My knees protested, so I sat back down and then tried again. This time my knees cooperated.