The Cupid Crawl

A Williamsville Inn Story

The Cupid Crawl cover
Part of the Williamsville Inn Stories series:

What happens when a confirmed hook up app user falls for a man who is his polar opposite?

Carter Walsh will be alone on Valentine’s Day, and his plans include a candy sampler of hook ups.

But after learning about the Cupid Crawl—a bar crawl covering a half dozen bars, gay and straight—he changes his plans.

During the crawl, he runs into:

An ex-co-worker nemesis who resurrects—loudly—an unfortunate nickname she bestowed upon him years before.

Several hot men eager for a quick hook up.

And one man absolutely not Carter’s type, but who manages to pique his interest and, possibly, steal his heart.

The Cupid Crawl is a funny, sweet, and steamy opposites attract, slight age gap story that takes place in the Williamsville Inn series world, and features characters from the Christmas stories Snowflakes and Song Lyrics by Hank Edwards and Snowstorms and Second Chances by Brigham Vaughn.

Excerpt:

Vic, the organizer, led the way, squeezing past the men and women standing in the doorway and forging a path for Carter to follow. At first, Carter thought he was way overdressed. The men he slid past were shirtless, some wearing just white loin cloths or even cloth diapers along with feathered wings strapped around their broad chests. These men gave him a brief glance, maybe a quick smile, but were busy talking to each other or women who were also baring a lot of skin. Didn’t these people realize it was February in Boston?

When he reached the bar, Carter was relieved to see people wearing shirts and pants instead of just diapers and short shorts. Vic leaned in over the bar and said to the bartender, “Don, this is my good friend, Carter. Put his first two drinks on my tab.”

“Oh, you don’t have to do that,” Carter insisted. “I have money.”

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“Happy Valentine’s Day, Carter,” Vic said. “The first two drinks are on me to help you relax. I’m going to make a round of the bar, but when I return, I hope to find you talking with someone, and not just leaning on the bar all alone.”

“I know how to socialize,” Carter said.

“Oh, I’m sure you do.”

Vic winked again before threading his way through the crowd, greeting people as he slid past them. Carter ordered a beer from Don, and then fished a couple of singles out of his wallet for a tip. He lifted his bottle to salute Don and had just taken a swig when a piercingly high voice shrieked from just behind him. The sound startled him so much he choked on his beer and started to cough. He turned, coughing and sputtering, and squinted through his tears at the woman standing behind him.

Auburn hair done up tall, bright green eyes that could be nothing other than colored contact lenses, a pert, upturned nose, and a broad mouth filled with teeth laser-whitened to solar flare level.

Carter’s heart stuttered with surprise and dread as he struggled to clear his airway.

“I saw you walk in and had to come over and see if it was really you!” she exclaimed.

With a final clearing of his throat, Carter managed a smile and said, “Lizzie. Hello! What a treat to see you.”

Lizzie’s smile widened even further and she crossed her arms. It was then Carter noticed she wore what looked like a sports bra with a pair of white wings strapped to her shoulders, and a sheer white shift around her waist that showed off a pair of black panties trimmed with lace.

“As I live and breathe,” Lizzie said with a shake of her head. “Carter the Farter.”

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Snowflakes and Song Lyrics

A Williamsville Inn Story

Snowflakes and Song Lyrics Update
Part of the Williamsville Inn Stories series:

Will Johnson is traveling for work the weeks before Christmas and staying in a small hotel in upstate New York. It’s all pretty routine, until he discovers his window overlooks the courtyard patio of one of his favorite up and coming gay singers, Rex Garland. Even further outside of Will’s routine is overhearing Rex’s creative process as the singer struggles to write an original Christmas song.

When Will receives a flash of lyrical inspiration, he decides to share the lyrics with his idol in a secret note left on Rex’s patio table. This sets off a chain of events that include coincidental meetings, more inspired lyrics, and a tiny snowman that just might capture Rex’s heart and make this Christmas one neither of them will ever forget.

Excerpt:

The Williamsville Inn had seen better days. Most likely sometime back in the 1960s. The early 1960s.

Will entered his room after a long first day on the job, and the heat nearly made him pass out in the entryway. It had to be ninety degrees! He desperately pulled off clothing as he searched for a thermostat, but by the time he was down to socks and his boxer briefs, he’d had no luck.

“So I’ve died and gone to Hell, and this is what I have to look forward to for eternity?” Will muttered.

The heating/air conditioning unit under the window—a long metal contraption with a number of vents set at an upward angle—made a thumping noise followed by a quiet hiss. Will sidestepped to the end of the bed and peered down at the thing. A stamp with the brand name Rest Easy was affixed to one corner, and warm air gusting out of the vents blew the sheer curtains away from the windowsill.

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Will approached the unit and discovered a small metal flap on a hinge at one end. Underneath was a small knob with a faded line painted on it. The knob was turned all the way over to COOL, and Will sighed. No more cool setting to try, apparently.

“So much for resting easy, I guess.”

He pulled the flimsy white curtains aside and inspected the window. Happiness filled him when he discovered the age of the hotel at last worked in his favor, and one side of the window was a slider he could open for some fresh air. The locking mechanism was old, however, and took some struggle before it finally released and allowed him to shove the window open with a squeal of the metal frames scraping together.

Will closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath of the fresh, cool air. He released it slowly and opened his eyes to look down into the courtyard. His room was on the top floor of the three-story building, and the first-floor rooms across from his all had small patios outside a sliding door. Metal café tables and chairs were provided for each room, and all of it was covered in snow. A quartet of lights in the style of old streetlamps, complete with large round frosted glass shades, provided gentle illumination to the area.

Just as he was wondering if the first-floor rooms cost more because of the tiny patios, one of the sliding doors almost directly across from his window opened, and a man stepped out.

He was tall, with dark hair and a matching full beard. A flannel shirt covered a white tee that hugged his broad chest and flat stomach. The cuffs of tight black jeans had been tucked into black Doc Martens. Something about the man seemed familiar, and Will guessed he’d seen him around the hotel. Someone like that would have definitely caught Will’s eye.

But then the man turned to call to someone still inside the room, and the sound of his voice tripped recognition in Will’s brain.

Rex Garland.

Will sucked in a breath and stared down into the courtyard, watching Rex pace around the cafe table, leaving a path in the snow. His hands were stuffed into the front pockets of his jeans, and he seemed to be muttering to himself.

A burning in his chest reminded Will to let out his breath and pull another one in.

Rex Garland was staying at his hotel. Would he be here for the entire run of his appearances at the Side-Eye? Will’s heart pounded, and a fresh sheen of sweat covered his body. Even the bottoms of his feet were damp!

A man joined Rex out on the patio, and the two of them spoke in low tones. Will watched, lips slightly parted as he absently rubbed a hand through the fine hair covering his chest. He couldn’t make out any words of their conversation until Rex threw his hands in the air and said, “I know I need to get it done, okay? Back the fuck off.”

The other man held his hands up in a sign of surrender and went back inside the room.

Rex’s paces around the small café table picked up speed, and Will could hear him talking to himself. He hated to see his favorite singer in such a state.

Suddenly, Rex stopped and stared across the courtyard. Will pressed his forehead to the glass in an effort to see straight down, but he wasn’t able to. When he looked back, he discovered Rex looking right up at his window. Realizing he must look pretty fucking creepy standing in front of his window in his underwear, Will dropped to the floor and lay there for a moment listening to the heating unit rattle and hiss.

Shit. Now what?

Will rolled onto his belly and did an Army crawl away from the window until he’d reached the far side of the bed. He got up and hurried into the bathroom where he sat on the lid of the toilet with his head in his hands.

Rex Garland was staying at his hotel.

Rex Garland was having a hard time with something and had shouted at one of his team.

Rex Garland had more than likely seen Will standing in his boxer briefs at the window and watching him.

His best friend Carter was going to love this story.

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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.

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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.

Hotel Dick

A Salacious Single

Harry works as a hotel detective -- a hotel dick -- at The Bradford. During one late night shift, he is called on to quiet down a suite rented by Jester Maddox, a well-known rock star. Jester Maddox is nothing like Harry expected, and even through his hangover, he can see that Jester likes what he sees in Harry. Can this hotel dick and hairy chested rock star come to some terms of agreement to keep the peace?

Exchange Rate

A Salacious Single

Bill treats himself to a trip to Ireland in an attempt to get over his cheating ex-boyfriend. When he meets Sean at the exchange rate window, something clicks between them. Can this butch Irish lad be the very thing Bill needs to help him move on?

Double Down

A Salacious Single

After a winning streak at a casino blackjack table, Rick gets lucky in a posh hotel suite with his new friend, Steve, and their card dealer, Doug, who brings a whole new meaning to the term "double down."

Bear Market

A Salacious Single

Bill is a stock broker, and he has just endured a really bad week. What he wants is a thick slab of meat to take home and grill up. However, when he meets Trent, the hunky butcher, he winds up taking home more than one hot cut of meat. Trent knows just how to help Bill forget about the bear market he's just endured, and appreciate the bear market where he shopped.

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Convoy

A Salacious Single

A long haul trucker pulls off into a rest area for the night. Looking for some action, he finds three other like-minded men in the rest room, and together they bring a whole new meaning to the term “convoy.”