Love and the Floppy Musketeer Hat

Romance can blossom in any genre: contemporary, suspense, fantasy, or paranormal. Hank Edwards has dusted off eleven of his favorite Story Orgy tales and gathered them into a brand new collection. For those new to Hank's work, the Story Orgy was a group of authors who crafted stories based on writing prompts. Some of Hank's stories from that time period are already available, such as With This Ring, Mistletoe at Midnight, or Cross Country Foreplay. The stories in this collection have only appeared once on Hank's blog, so if you've been following his work for a while, hopefully you'll enjoy revisiting these freshly edited gems. But if you weren't a Story Orgy follower, kick back and read about love showing up in a wide variety of places.

Excerpt:

From the story Pressure:

A fine autumn sunrise greeted me, and I cracked the kitchen window to let in the crisp air. I set up the coffeepot and then glanced at the wall calendar to see what I had planned for the day. My smile came from nowhere, surprising as it arrived before any caffeine. Written on the day's square was this lovely note: Winslow's Sprinklers.

I had used the same sprinkler service for the last five years, and every year I looked forward to one visit. It wasn't the young, cocky kid who came out to set up the sprinkler system and inspect the heads and make sure everything was aimed right. He was cute, but he wasn't my type. Too young, too brash, just home from college and eager to show off his "guns" and start on his summer tan. Oh, he was fine to look at, and I’d probably giggle like a schoolgirl if he ever gave me a second glance, but I wasn’t into the young hotshots of spring and summer.

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I liked the autumn visit the most. Hal Winslow himself would come to blow the water out of the lines. All the young guys he employed for the summer would have fled our area for college once again, leaving him to close up shop with his customers.

And Hal Winslow was a fine, furry hunk of man beef, just the way I liked 'em.

He was at least six foot four, usually sporting two or three days of red-gold whiskers on his square jaw. Clad in a blue flannel barn coat, faded jeans, and scuffed work boots, he would stomp through the yard, all business, his bright blue eyes noting every nicked mower and misaligned sprinkler head.

And for forty five minutes every autumn, he was all mine.

I showered and dressed butch-casual, hoping to attract Hal's attention. The year before we had talked about how badly the Emerald Ash borer was decimating the trees in our area, Hal looking at the barren branches stretching toward the sky. Then there had been a moment, a quick, quiet pause in the conversation in which our eyes had locked. A flutter had started low in my belly, and I had just opened my mouth to invite him inside for a cup of coffee when his cell phone had rung with an emergency call.

Dammit.

This year, I was determined not to miss my opportunity. I was going to invite Hal in for coffee before we started talking. And maybe I'd offer to blow out his line.

COLLAPSE

By the Book

A Story Orgy Single

Lucas Pritchard knows every word in a book the moment he lays a hand on it. He knows every plot twist, surprise ending, and the conclusion of any quantum physics theorem. What he'd really like to do, however, is lay his hands on Kieran Brooker, the graduate assistant in his physics lab, and read what's inside his heart. When Lucas stumbles upon a written threat concerning the school, he and Kieran team up to track down the terrorist, and along the way uncover their shared feelings.

The Cheapskate

A Story Orgy Single

On a rainy night in New York City, Bryce meets up with a group of friends for dinner and is introduced to Colin. Sparks ignite between them and soon the two are dating. But Bryce quickly discovers that what he had at first thought of as responsible frugality on Colin's part is, in actuality, just Colin being a cheapskate. Bryce tries to overlook the reused water bottles, Colin's failure to pick up a check, and his penchant for Dumpster diving, hoping for a shot at true love. But before too long it becomes clear that Colin can't seem to grasp the fact that he only pays for what he has to. Bryce confronts Colin and puts his heart, and their relationship, on the line, hoping that, in the end, they can find a happy medium and continue to see each other. But it's going to take a lot of effort on both of their parts to get his bad boyfriend to change his ways.

Cross Country Foreplay

A Story Orgy Single

Sparks fly when Preston, seasoned technical lead, and Brady, a young software coder, head out on a cross country corporate road trip. After a flash flood pushes their professional relationship into personal territory, the revelation of an unfortunate office nick name threatens to tear them apart.

A Gift for Greg

A Story Orgy Single

Light your yuletide log and spike your eggnog, Hank Edwards has three Holiday themed flash fiction stories that will put some Christmas in your carols this season. Take a seat by the fire and read about unexpected reunions, cowboys getting back in the saddle... with each other, and a hot--and flexible--mall Santa!

Mistletoe at Midnight

A Story Orgy Single

Dustin isn’t looking forward to the city’s Christmas Ball since his ex broke up with him just before last year’s Ball. But when he meets a handsome piano player, a glimmer of hope sparks within Dustin. Maybe this Christmas Eve will turn out much better than the last.

With This Ring

A Story Orgy Single

The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Central Park, is one of the most elegant and romantic hotels in the world, even for its employees. When Carl, a seasoned member of the maintenance team, meets Dylan, a younger bellboy, their attraction is undeniable. Carl and Dylan meet in rooms recently vacated by guests and slowly forge a relationship. Dylan tells Carl he has always dreamed of spending a night in the hotel as a guest, and Carl is determined to find some way to make Dylan's dream come true.