The Mediterranean evokes visions of sensuality, crystal blue water, beaches, lush vegetation, “whatever you like” lifestyles, and hot-blooded Latin men. It evokes that for the author habu, at least, who lived several years on the island of Cyprus and enjoyed life to its fullest there.
In this thirty-story anthology, several of the stories having never been published before, habu invites you into the Mediterranean gay male lifestyle as played out in the countries swirling around this inland sea. The stories start in Portugal, which isn’t in the Mediterranean but is Mediterranean in feel and lifestyle, and, from there, moves to Spain, Monte Carlo, Italy, Corsica, Malta, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, and Libya in a whirlwind journey of hot all-men action.
From the short story “The Apyko”:
The evening at the Monte Carlo Casino wasn’t going well for Tyler. He had won some and lost some during the early part of the evening, winning enough to entice the overconfident gambler he was to remain and losing enough to discourage him from cutting his loses. At this point he would have enough for a few more days on the continent, an airplane ticket home, and enough to carry him for a couple of months while he looked for a dream-ending job in the States—but without the Lucky Card.
He gravitated toward a European roulette table more, he probably didn’t realize, because of the croupier at the table he eventually landed at. The young man, perhaps not much older than Tyler’s own twenty-five, spoke French but had the dusky skin of a North African. Tyler thought that he perhaps was from Morocco or Algeria. Wherever he was from, he was naturally sexy and sultry. Deep bronze skin, black curly hair, and fluttery eyelashes. His big brown eyes had a well-practiced aspect of knowing he had strong powers of seduction—and that he turned his attention to men. Indeed, it was apparent to Tyler that the croupier, who was identified on his name badge as Harun, had caught—and held—Tyler’s attention from across the gaming floor and that the young man’s mystery and charisma had been enough to pull Tyler to his table.
Harun was controlling the wheel. Another croupier was operating the paddle that either pulled the losing chips off the felt-top table into the house pot or delivered the winnings. A chef de partie—game supervisor—hovered over the table, making sure all was in order. The latter was dressed in a tuxedo but there was little camouflaging that he was a glorified bouncer, here to keep the players under control. . . .
Tyler had sat too late to enter the game yet, which gave him time to look around the table. He had drifted here completely absorbed in Harun, the croupier. . . . Three of the chairs across the table from him were occupied, or more accurately, two and a half of them were. A young punk-looking man, probably a rock star and nearly recognizable to Tyler, was in one chair, and a gorgeous, but model-thin and vapid-looking blonde, half on his chair and half on the one next to him, her arms draped around him and her face nuzzled into the hollow of his neck, occupied the one-and-a-half chairs. One chair away from them sat a hulking Greek. He looked every inch the shipping magnate who had acquired his empire by hard work from the deck of his first ship and who now covered what was still a rough, no-nonsense, peasant in the trappings of great wealth.
Although the rock star was as engrossed in the game as the old biddy was, and the blonde was totally focused on the rock star, the Greek seemed to be almost off-hand in his placing of his bets. His eyes, hooded and knowing—almost undressing Tyler where he sat and speculating and assessing what the young man was doing there and what his desires and vulnerabilities were—kept moving from his chip pile to the betting numbers on the felt table top and then to Tyler.
The man was what one politely would say was mature—probably in his mid fifties—and ugly when each aspect of him was considered separately. He also was hairy, although this didn’t tot up against him in Tyler’s mind. But the package was commanding, mysterious, and intriguing in its own way, and the man exuded power and domination. Tyler felt like the man’s eyes were stripping him in every way. But that was precisely the sort of man who aroused Tyler. If he commanded Tyler to strip and took him right here on the top of the roulette table, no one in the casino would intervene, and Tyler knew he would let him do it.