thatrcooper: (charlie and will)

    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Little Wolf by R. Cooper



          Little Wolf


          by R. Cooper



            Giveaway ends May 12, 2015.


            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.



      Enter to Win

(It's open May 10th to May 12th. Which isn't a lot of time, because I really didn't think it through and I'm an idiot about these things. Sorry.)

Also, Dreamspinner is celebtrating its anniversary, so for this month they are offering discounts on certain writers and making certain collections available for a discount. May 8-14th all my titles will be 35% off. So enjoy that if you were planning on buying anything by moi.
thatrcooper: (Default)
Little Wolf.

That's right. Let's talk Little Wolf.

Or, really, let's talk about talking about Little Wolf. As you may or may not know, the story of a little wolf in a certain familiar small town run by werewolves comes out on Friday the 8th. It's Being(s) in Love number four, which honestly I find so fascinating because I never intended it as a series, or thought I'd end up writing one. I blame Bertie.

Anyway. Friday the 8th. Little Wolf. Which is actually what I wrote first, and then thought maybe it would be nice for people to see Wolf's Paw (and Tim and Nathaniel) from an outside point of view, so I wrote A Beginner's Guide. Because for real the idea of a mate at first sight/sniff is cool and epic and everything and it makes my little heart flutter, but even in that there have to be complications. People in general do not know what they are doing when they are in love, or even in like, and I just wanted to explore that. And I maybe got a little carried away. With all that... and *cough* the sex scenes. Which... well I won't go into that.

Okay so in honor of this, I am going to do another Q&A session on Goodreads, on the page for Little Wolf. (Down where it says 'Ask the Goodreads Community a question about Little Wolf') (Or, as always, you can ask me stuff on my Tumblr. My ask box is open, and I believe I left it open to Anons as well.) Sunday the 10th (which is Mother's Day but I couldn't get the time off to drive up to see my mother so grrrr) is the day of the session. From let's say noon to whenever the questions trickle off or about 3pm, whichever comes first.

Sunday, May 10th, Q&A on Goodreads or Tumblr. 12-3 Pacific Time. Ask me about Beings or Little Wolf or whatever. I can't promise to reveal any spoilers, but you are welcome to ask because I am super excited about The Firebird and Other Stories and thinking of them makes me happy.

ALSO, for the first time, I will have a giveaway.(yeah. I am gonna try this whole giveaway thing. Oh god. Me doing technical things. Watch out, world.) I am about to list it on Goodreads, so check for it there. I will be giving away a signed paperback copy of Little Wolf. What will I sign it? No idea. I am terrible. I tried to sign the other books from the point of view of one of the characters, but I don't know that it worked out well. I think I just confused people.

And uh, yeah. I hope people come hang out and ask me weirdness about my weirdness. There is a discussion on my Tumblr right now about how fairies see shininess compared to werewolves sniffing a mate. I love it. It's so nerdy. And someone will get a book. One of these books,

*although hopefully your copy will not include any Beanie fur. She's claimed those books. She doesn't want to give them up.

Hope to see you there!
thatrcooper: (sleepy holly by holly_ita)
Hey, everyone who hasn't yet seen my nerdy posts on Tumblr or Facebook, guess what? I've got a release date for Little Wolf. It's due out May 8.

Then at the end of this month I started editing Kazimir. Well, the collection of shorts, tentatively titled, The Firebird and Other Stories. (Also, hopefully, starting Tulip shortly before then. Oh Tulip. He has *presence*. Other fairies look out!)

Little Wolf (Nathaniel moons. Tim looks like a pissy, half-starved little thing, which is exactly what he is, really.)

Anyway, just a quick update. (And oh yes. I moved. Now it's the recovery. Sigh.) If you follow me on Tumblr, you got a cute, sort of porny, not really porny, kind of snippet with Will and Charlie the other day. Which is another reason to follow me there, if you needed one. I get why people don't. I mean, Tumblr is... Tumblr. But just putting it out there. Also if anyone ever wants to ask me anything, there are ways. Goodreads has a section (though my notifications only go through sometimes). There's my LJ. My Tumblr askbox. My Facebook. The link on the Dreamspinner author arcade. If you ever feel like contacting me, feel free, just keep in mind I am regular person with no secretary, so responses might take me a while, if I even see them. :):):)

More later. I am tired at the moment. Have an excerpt:

read more )
thatrcooper: (pye pye pyewacket by rani)
A Beginner's Guide to Wooing Your Mate (Beings in Love #3) comes out Friday! Yay! Saturday evening/night I will be answering questions on Goodreads. I have been informed that you can use the Reader Q and A as a forum, so we are going to try that. Now, I am always available for questions on Goodreads, so if you miss this event (if it works out) you can still ask me stuff. You can even ask on Sunday since I will be around. (But, since I am getting ready to move, I am not going to be sitting in front of the computer.)

YAY! Talking to people about precious dorks in love! Yay! Release day!

In honor of A Beginner's Guide to Wooing Your Mate coming out this Friday, here, have a recipe.

For backstory, which won't make sense to anyone until the story is out, I imagine the Sheriff sitting with Zeki because he has no one else to talk to, and he ends up with some magical snickerdoodles. Trust me on this. Magical snickerdoodles. (Read the book, it will make sense.) With chocolate milk. Anyway. So Zeki asks Theo to write the recipe down.

Comforting the Sheriff About His Littlewolf Snickerdoodles

First steps: clear your counter space and set out your ingredients. Take a breath. Try not to think about anything. Then reach for what you need. (Zeki says this is when I center myself. I don't know about that. But when I found the Sheriff talking with Zeki, discussing his Littlewolf, it seemed only right to make him something to ease his pain. A lost mate is no small thing. And I did not wish to sense Zeki's guilt when I thought this, so I went to my kitchen. Snickerdoodles seemed the right thing to make, they are simple and quick and comforting when served warm. Mate is wonderful thing, for me now, for us. I want the Sheriff to feel comfort, even if he cannot have his mate. And now Zeki will read this and smile. He calls my recipes spells. He has notions I don't understand. But he insists I continue.)

You will need:

1 cup butter, unsalted
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 TBS sugar
3 tsp cinnamon

Parchment paper

Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Mix butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl, until it's creamy and fluffy. You will know when it's right, just as you knew then.

But it's not yet ready. Turn to your dry ingredients. Littlewolf is a strange one. An outsider but smart. He blushes hot when he speaks of the Sheriff, something I understand when I think of Zeki. He stays with you, like flour on your finger tips. He seems strong, but he requires delicacy, I think, so sift the flour, cream of tart, baking soda, and salt together. Your touch must be light until it's time to blend the flour mixture into the butter and sugar.

This part makes me warm, which delights Zeki. But I know the Sheriff would think the same. He longs to be with his mate, of course he does. There is nothing simpler, and simple things are the hardest to get right. When he takes a bite of these cookies, he should feel that, but without the sadness of knowing it might not happen.

Chill the dough while you check the oven temperature and lay out parchment paper on the cookie sheets. Mix the cinnamon sugar together in a small bowl. Cinnamon for spice and heat (again, I am blushing, and again, Zeki is smiling at me.) Sugar for the sweetness in how Littlewolf speaks of the Sheriff. The Sheriff might not know, but the town does. I think... I think there is hope to be found.

Take out the dough and use a spoon to scoop out small amounts. Regular cookies would be about an inch, but these are smaller, just a bit, for a little wolf. Shape them into balls and then gently roll them in the cinnamon and sugar before placing them on your cookie sheet.

Bake ten minutes, or until the edges are light brown and firm but the middles are soft. Imagine a little wolf snapping and uncertain and worried and afraid. Imagine him defensive. Then remember his eyes when he spoke of Sheriff Neri, and the care he tries to hide.

Wait a few minutes, then serve warm to a reserved, troubled wolf only Zeki is brave enough to speak to, with a glass of cold chocolate milk if you have one. Chocolate for passion, for taste, for a thirst that cannot be quenched--yet.

(Set aside a handful for your mate to enjoy later. Try to ignore him when he calls you sweet and kind with his mouth full of crumbs. Kiss cinnamon and your own magic from the edge of his lips and wonder how something as basic as a cookie brought that wondering look to your clever, clever mate's dark eyes.)
thatrcooper: (natalie wood natalie wood by teh gandu)
Got an official release date for A Beginner's Guide to Wooing Your Mate! (Actually, I had it a few days ago, but I am distracted by RL stuff and in a weird between moods sort of place, so posting anything meaningful has been beyond me.)

March 13, people can get their hands on a baking werewolf and a very determined wizard with hair issues. A Beginner's Guide to Wooing Your Mate. It's a Being(s) in Love story, and it involves a town filled with werewolves who all insist that Mates find each other a certain way. BUT, f you've been reading the Beings stories, you should know by now that the theme is more how no one really knows anything when it comes it love, not even Beings. Not even fairies, and fairies see the truth. Tsk.

There are wet firemen and tasty sugar cookies and high school crushes gone awry and magic pie. Plus werewolves. And Violet. I can't forget Violet, a pixy drug store clerk, and those goddamn Greenleafs, being all pretty and hot like they are. And orgasmic brownies and sexual frustration cupcakes. And, uh, the Golden Girls. Did I mention wet firemen and werewolves?

Meanwhile, Little Wolf editing continues apace, and Dreamspinner is considering, maybe, the other thing, the weird thing I did, with the Beings shorts.

Anyway. So the thing comes out in March, which is when I will busiest and things will be the most chaotic, so... I was considering doing some sort of chat or something, but... that may or may not be possible. I'll let you know. (Goodreads doesn't seem to do chats anymore? Or something? So maybe not anyway.)

And now, I sleep, or try to. ...wait was I supposed to tell you all something else? I cannot even remember now. Oh when I get a chance (ha) I will put those snippets I did on Tumblr up on the free reads page of my LJ.
thatrcooper: (sleepy holly by holly_ita)
Editing editing editing. This is my life now. (Also prepping to move and staring woefully at apartment listings in my price range, but ah well. Hopefully all that will be settled soon. I like things settled. I am not a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of girl.)

I *think* there might be a galley run through of A Beginner's Guide left, or we might be done, because I saw no errors last time. The cover art is on its way. So... March. Definitely March. Will let you know when I know more. Like the date. :):):) Gentle baker werewolves and insistent, somewhat pushy wizards will be all yours.

Still editing Little Wolf. Round two starts... tonight probably. Or tomorrow after work. Little Wolf is long, so that will take a while.

In other news, to distract myself between edits, I did a short, fluffy bit of silly librarian love story. Well. The working title was "fluffy librarian smut thing" so that should tell you what you need to know.

Here is the actual description:

Jeremy is a grad student with a quick mind and insatiable thirst for knowledge. What he’s currently most curious about is the infamously strict librarian at the small private library attached to his university. He has a weakness for devastatingly clever jerks, so despite his looming thesis, Jeremy decides to pay the famous special collection—and its curator—a visit. But instead of an intimidating beast of a librarian, he finds the librarian’s soft-spoken assistant, Benj.

Quiet, shy, guys with pretty eyes and handmade cardigans are not Jeremy’s type. Jeremy is too smart, and weird, for anyone so sweet. He’d walk all over them, or find them boring after five minutes. Which doesn’t explain why he keeps coming back to the library, despite never once encountering the notoriously protective special collections librarian. Perhaps if he weren’t so distracted by Benj’s surprisingly impressive shoulders and the absolutely charming library he runs, he’d notice there’s more to Benj than knitted sweaters.

Or, as Coffeebuddha says, awkward turtles in like. Yeah there are in some serious like territory. Bordering on smitten. Okay, smitten.

Lots of nerdy, nerdy conversation (mostly one-sided) and longing stares and bending of the rules for the one you just don't want to leave.

Checking Out Love

Now, back to work for me.
thatrcooper: (pye pye pyewacket by rani)
Hello, hello!

I've been frantically working on finishing up the collection of short stories I wrote in the Being(s) In Love universe, and I submitted them today. It's not the usual thing Dreamspinner publishes, so we'll see if they want it. I hope so, if only because I'm kind of in love with some of those characters. (As I generally am when done writing. Sometimes it never goes away either. Chaaaaaaarlie.) It's basically glimpses of different beings (and some humans) during the hundred years since the beings emerged from hiding. Every story is linked and there are all sorts of cameos and references to the books. Like I said, kind of not what DS usually does. But I was compelled, I tell ya!

I have also, in this frenzied rush before I have deal with a bunch of personal stuff in the coming months, been doing that thing where my brain goes all over the place. So if you follow me on Tumblr, by now you have seen trying to match Beyonce songs to all my characters. Just ignore me when I do that. ...although I will now and forever think of Tim singing "Ego" about Nathaniel, and "Green Light" has always been Cal's song to Ray.

Anyway. It's official, A Beginner's Guide to Wooing Your Mate is due out in March, although I don't know the exact date yet. It will be Being(s) In Love #3. Here is the blurb:

Zeki Janowitz has returned to his hometown of Wolf’s Paw to start his wizarding career. Unfortunately, Wolf’s Paw, a werewolf refuge, follows centuries of tradition and shuns human magic and a very human Zeki. He knows he’s in for a struggle, but a part of him has always belonged in the mountain town, or rather belonged to Theo Greenleaf. Years away at school haven’t lessened Zeki’s crush on the quiet werewolf. When town gossip informs him Theo still suffers from his mate’s rejection and does not date, it does little to ease Zeki’s embarrassing feelings. He decides now’s the time to get the man he’s always wanted.

Werewolves usually don’t recover from losing their mates, and Theo barely pulled through by focusing on his love of baking. It’s a daily struggle, and Zeki’s return to Wolf’s Paw shatters his peace. Theo doesn’t know what to think when Zeki attempts to woo him, talking about his wizarding business and settling in town for good. It’s like Zeki doesn’t have a clue how his words years before left Theo a shell of a werewolf.

Beginners in love, Theo and Zeki must seduce each other with a bit of heavenly baking and magic. a werewolf baker. Oh yeah. I'm bringing it. I am definitely bringing... something... to the table.

And then a few months after that, Being(s) in Love #4 should come out. Little Wolf. Prepare yourselves. He is... um. He is.. spiky? Difficult? Scared and so in love he can't see straight but no one ever told him what love felt like? Aw.

That's all I have for updates for the moment, although I might try to do another interview or chat or something in March, or maybe later when Little Wolf comes out. (Yes, I have Tulip in mind still. And also a few other, non-being things if life gives me the time.)
thatrcooper: (charlie and will)
If this doesn't make sense, it's because I wrote it will sick and very tired and avoiding real work, and because Coffeebuddha basically mind-zapped me with the idea of Will and Charlie/fake boyfriends/cheesy Christmas fluff.

So here. An Alternate Universe Will and Charlie, in which maybe Charlie was having a better pain day when he first encountered Will and wasn't as grumpy, and was accidentally charming, and Will is a smitten kitten, so when Charlie asks if he's willing to go to a Christmas party with him to get his sisters off his back, Will jumps at the chance.

Or, the simpler title: Forget the Mistletoe

stupid smitten kitten )

“You don’t have to do this. Really.” Charlie’s voice was low and careful and far too close for Will to prevent a shiver. Will glanced up at him and had to fight a sigh at how serious he was. A grown man, no matter how fine, should not be so earnest while wearing a green sweater with a reindeer on it. The reindeer had a light-up nose; Charlie ought to look ridiculous. But the collared shirt he wore underneath made him a hot professor suffering through an embarrassing Christmas gift, which was exactly what he was. The sweater was a gift from one of his sisters and Charlie Howard, it seemed, would never dream of telling her it was awful.

Charlie would do a lot to keep from hurting the people he cared about. Will should have been alarmed at how warm that made him, but at this point, he was far past flushing when around Charlie and deep into racing heart territory.

He took a breath to steady himself. “Be your fake date to get your sisters to get your sisters off your back? Or be seen with someone in that sweater?” He smiled as he said it, so Charlie would know he was teasing.

A line appeared between Charlie’s eyes, but then it eased away as Charlie gently, but pointedly, poked the Santa hat Will was wearing. Will wrinkled his nose and reached up to return the hat to its jaunty angle. “I look adorable, I’ll have you know,” he huffed, but had to glance away at the unbearably fond look Charlie gave him. His heart felt like it was being squeezed when Charlie did that, and then somehow Will forgot what he was saying or what to do with his hands. He settled for looping one arm around Charlie’s, and blithely ignoring Charlie’s shock. They were fake dating after all. That meant Will got to touch. He had thought about this.

He’d thought about it all week in fact, ever since Charlie had asked, embarrassed and apologetic for inconveniencing Will. He had seemed to think Will had some other plans. Maybe he had. But those plans could be broken for this. Will had been crushing hard on Grayson’s neighbor since the summer when Will had been apartment-sitting and knocked one of Grayson’s plants off his balcony, and an incredibly handsome, if cranky, man with a cane had stopped to yell at him about safety but then helped him clean it up and repot the poor plant.

It had taken an entire summer of languishing on the balcony like Tallulah Bankhead and talking about Charlie nonstop with his friends for Will’s sister to declare Will was smitten. Will had to agree. When Grayson had returned and Will had no reason to stalk, er, see Charlie again, it had been awful. Even friending Charlie on Facebook meant nothing because Charlie didn’t use social media for anything other than liking his sisters’ posts once in a while. Then Grayson had decided to go away around the holidays and Will had jumped at the chance to stay at his place again. And Charlie had smiled to see him and it had been exactly like it had been the first time, except now it was colder on the balcony so Charlie brought him coffee and sugary seasonal lattes, and then… this.

“My sisters--” Charlie kept trying to warn him off. They were on his sister’s porch already. Will was lit beguilingly by a thousand soft Christmas lights and ready to pretend-boyfriend his heart out. Nothing was going to shake him now.

“Pft. Listen, Cinderella, we are doing this, and it’s going to be great, forget your ugly stepsisters.” Will took his chance to snuggle closer and push the doorbell so Charlie couldn’t change his mind. Though the thought made him pause. “Unless, you think they won’t believe it… because we’re so different?” Charlie could make that blank cop face all he wanted, he knew what Will was talking about. He’d thought it too when he’d first met Will. He might still think it. Charlie was a respectable professor after all, and Will was a colorist with no permanent address. Will could pine all he wanted, but someone like Charlie wasn’t normally the kind to bring someone like Will home to the family.

Except here they were. He had no idea what Charlie was thinking.

“They aren’t ugly stepsisters,” Charlie insisted, like the good brother he was. It may have been all the red lights in the strands wrapped around the porch, but it looked like Charlie’s cheeks grew darker. “They’ll believe that I like you.” He cleared his throat. “But they can be difficult,” he added quickly, and straightened when the door opened.

A smaller, curvier version of him opened the door. She was also in a terrible sweater—red, with a drunk-looking felt Santa on it, and she grimaced knowingly when she saw Will glance at it. “Ann,” she explained, apparently to Charlie, because then she began to say something in a stream of Spanish as she took the bottle of wine Charlie offered and pulled Charlie into a hug. The Spanish still caught Will off-guard. He could barely speak the one language so of course Charlie was fluent in two. At least two.

But he missed it when it was gone, because then Charlie’s sister turned to get a better look at him. Every inch of Will suddenly felt like an aging twink in the Santa hat. He shouldn’t have worn it. He wasn’t Eartha Kitt. He should have worn some boring red sweater and flattened his hair. He shouldn’t be touching her brother. Charlie’s last boyfriend—real boyfriend—had probably worn a suit and tie and come off as masculine as the most repressed gay boy in the world.

He focused on the sister, who had indeed noticed how Will was leaning on her brother. She narrowed her eyes.

Charlie said, “Missy,” in a stern voice that went right to Will’s dick and took his arm from Will’s in order to slide it around Will’s back. Will turned to him with an expression he knew was adoring. He couldn’t help himself.

The meaner version of Charlie, or, as Will should probably be thinking of her, Missy, closed her mouth and then smiled. “Will, it’s good to finally meet you.”

The ‘finally” got Will’s attention, but he didn’t get a chance to ask. Charlie put his hand at the small of his back in a show of support that Will didn’t know what to do with, and Will stuttered in thanking her for inviting him.

“Come on in.” Again, Missy directed this at Charlie, but when she glanced at her brother, her face tightened. A moment later she was smiling widely at Will and holding the door for him. Charlie stopped to hug her in the doorway and exchange a few more words in quiet English, something about Ann—the sister Will was learning to fear.

But then Charlie was back at Will’s shoulder and guiding him to a closet by the foyer.

“Okay?” Whispered against Will’s ear as Charlie removed his coat for him, it was like the gentlest, best torture.

Will let Charlie hang their coats in his sister’s closet and then swooned dramatically against him. “My hero!” He almost laughed when Charlie caught him, but then he remembered Charlie hadn’t brought his cane and eased off enough to let Charlie stand. He was completely unprepared for Charlie wrapping his arms around him to steady him.

“Oh.” Will murmured and forgot trying to be decent. He leaned into Charlie even more. “Okay. Yes.” Every breath was full of Charlie’s aftershave, which was probably something simple but expensive and Will loved it. He lifted his head and nearly forgot Missy entirely at Charlie’s questioning look. “What?” Will blinked a few times, mostly to clear his head. He kept his voice down and his tone innocent. “I’m your boyfriend. That means I get to put my hands all over you.”

Yeah, okay, that didn’t sound at all like Will had been dreaming of doing just that or anything. He would have been more embarrassed about it if Charlie hadn’t stared at him in blank surprise. His shock was only there for a moment before it was gone, and then Charlie swallowed. “Because that’s what boyfriends do,” he agreed, but in a funny voice.

“Well, yeah.” Will was about to roll his eyes, because he hadn’t ever had a boyfriend, but he knew that much, until he thought of why Charlie might be so surprised at being touched in public. Charlie hadn’t said much about the pretty jerk on that coffee mug, but Will had gotten the gist. Now he got a little more. So what if the guy had money or manners or a nice suit, he hadn’t been kind to someone who only wanted to take care of people.

Next time Charlie invited him over for coffee—actual coffee, sadly—Will was going to shatter that thing. For now Will was going to be the best boyfriend Charlie had ever had.

Since Charlie wasn’t complaining, Will let Charlie hold him up and looped his arms around Charlie’s neck. Charlie had said his sisters didn’t have a problem with him being gay, so this had better be okay. “Hmm, you are the best way to warm up from the cold,” he told Charlie, loud enough for nosy Miss Missy to hear. Then, when Charlie’s mouth went startled and soft, Will twisted to look at her. “I can’t help myself where Charlie is concerned. Sorry.”

He wasn’t sorry. Well, he was sorry if Charlie was uncomfortable, but to be honest, Charlie didn’t seem uncomfortable as much as confused. Will wished his fingers weren’t so cold, because when he stroked Charlie’s hair—too long and in need of another trim Will would be happy to provide—Charlie shivered.

Missy studied Will with her eyebrows drawn, then her brother for another second before she put a hand to her face. “I’ll just--” she waved in another direction. “Everyone else is in the living room.” Then she left.

“So we’re doing this.” How Charlie could still sound surprised that Will was down for pretend boyfriend time with him was beyond Will, although for the first time he was starting to get his suspicions.

Will hadn’t moved out of his arms. He really ought to feel guilty about that. Really. He was going to try, at least. Charlie dropped his arms, but kept one hand at Will’s back. “Let me know if you’re uncomfortable.”

“Yes, sir,” Will purred, because that was the kind of order he liked getting, and because Charlie definitely blushed for it. His chiding glance at Will was even better. Will petted his hair one last time and sighed. This was going to be hard to give up. “Anything else, Charlie? Should I ease up on the PDAs or act a little less twinky?”

He wasn’t going to lie; he about melted when Charlie pushed the fluffy white brim of his hat up in a gesture Bogart couldn’t have done better. Charlie smiled at him, a happy smile that made no sense with his eyes so dark and sad. “You’re perfect,” Charlie told him, then took a deep breath and squared his shoulders.

Will took that as his cue to turn with him and head into the lion’s den—living room. He stepped away only to nearly trip when Charlie stayed at his shoulder, one hand light but steady at his back. Will’s heart was a trip hammer in his ears.

“Oh,” Will said out loud again, and wondered if having a real boyfriend was as dangerous as having a fake one.

The thing about adult Christmas parties—real adults, not Will’s friends—was that while they served alcohol, they also served other things besides drinks. After making the rounds with Charlie at his back introducing Will in a voice that made Will burn, Will had ended up against the wall, next to a table full of Christmas goodies.

Will had eaten dinner, honestly, a whole half of a pack of grocery store California rolls leftover from lunch, but he had never seen so many frosted sugar cookies in his entire life. Snowmen and trees and stars like something out of a magazine, glossy bright frosting that was calling to him. He sipped his spiked eggnog, low calorie, according to the third sister, Katia, and stared longingly at gingerbread men. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a gingerbread man, and that said nothing for the trays of nuts and candies and the actual, honest-to-god gingerbread house in the middle of the table.

Charlie wasn’t far away. Someone whose name Will didn’t remember had called him over, so after a questioning look at Will and Will’s nod, Charlie had gone. He was still and not quite tense in the middle of the room. These were his sister’s friends from what Will understood. Or Missy’s husband’s friends. It was a little unclear. Katia, the youngest sister, had left her newest boyfriend in order to disappear into the kitchen with the other two. Somehow, Will didn’t think it was paranoid to assume they were discussing him. Charlie had said his sisters could be difficult, but Will wondered if he’d expected this level of reaction to the simple idea of Charlie dating someone.

Or maybe it was the idea of Charlie dating Will, with his silly hat and silly hair and tight black shirt threaded with sparkles.

It couldn’t be the hat anyway; he wasn’t the only person wearing a Santa hat, and a joker had brought in a sprig of mistletoe earlier as well. Not to mention that the people not drinking the spiked eggnog were drinking some kind of rum punch. Charlie was the sole person Will knew of who hadn’t taken a single sip of alcohol. He was drinking soda.

Will glanced at the cookies again, then across the room at the table filled with more nutritious and less fattening fare; meatballs and rolls and little taco things and some kind of dip. If he was going to eat, he should stick to that. Real food. Like the adult he could pretend to be. Like Charlie’s last boyfriend, the one who had obviously been very different from Will, the one who hadn’t held Charlie enough or fawned over him or confessed to his wide-eyed sisters that he’d fallen hard for Charlie from the instant Charlie had first frowned at him.

Charlie had gone so very still to hear that, though that had been nothing to how tense he’d gotten when Katia had added, “I can see that. You light up just talking about him.”

She had seemed surprised by that. Which, what kind of bitch couldn’t see how awesome her brother was? Charlie answered her calls no matter what he was doing, and she had the nerve to doubt someone would want him?

It was no good. Will picked up a sweetly decorated snowman and snuck a nibble.

“You can just eat them, you know,” Charlie’s voice in his ear made him choke. Everyone turned for a moment to stare at him and Will glared up to let Charlie know that was his fault. Charlie immediately took the cookie from him. “Sorry. Here.” He put down his cup of soda in order to hand Will his eggnog.

Like that, Will was done being annoyed with him. He obediently sipped then licked a drop from his lip when Charlie took the cup away. For a moment, Charlie seemed arrested. Then he let out a breath and lowered his head.

“Are you bored?” Charlie spoke just above a whisper. “Parties aren’t really my thing, but you must… you go to a lot.”

“Bored?” Will coughed and leaned in to indicate he’d like more eggnog please. He didn’t think Charlie even noticed how he lifted Will’s cup so Will could have another drink, not until Will licked his mouth again. Then Charlie was suddenly very still. “No, I’m not bored,” Will told him truthfully. “Although I’m not sure what your sisters make of me.”

“If they say anything to you, tell me,” Charlie rumbled.

Will made a happy sound and darted out his tongue once more, although he couldn’t have cared less about the taste of nutmeg.

“My big, strong boyfriend gonna do something about it?” Will teased, and momentarily could not breathe for the hungry expression on Charlie’s face. Then Charlie turned to look at the others in the room.

“Your boyfriend,” Charlie said after a long pause, a strain in the words, “was wondering why you’ve been staring at the table of cookies for an hour. Did you eat dinner?”

“I…” Will considered his answer carefully. He knew from experience that Charlie wasn’t great about lies, in that he tended to see right through them, but also disapproved of them. He hadn’t even lied to his sisters yet, Will had noticed. Charlie hadn’t actually said Will was his boyfriend. Instead he’d kept up with the light touches at Will’s back, and one at his shoulder. In addition to lies, Charlie was also not good about the times Will forgot to take care of himself. Will hummed and equivocated. “I ate a small dinner,” he explained at last.

Charlie immediately held out the snowman cookie. He probably meant for Will to take it. Will knew that. The eggnog in Will’s system, however, decided to push Will forward and to have him duck his head to take a bite from the offered snowman. A small sound from the other side of the table made him think that one or all of the sisters had seen that. Charlie’s cheeks were darkening with color. Will couldn’t make himself feel bad about it, although he didn’t think this was kind of thing boyfriends did. At least, not in front of family.

But he chewed and swallowed, and felt a tremor run through him when Charlie used his thumb to wipe a crumb from the corner of his mouth. Then Charlie offered the rest of the cookie.

Will had a figure to think of, but he took a nibble, like a good boy. Like the best boy. Like the kind of boy Charlie could take home and keep, if he wanted.

“Will.” Charlie’s voice made his chest tight, but when Charlie tipped his cup for him, Will took another drink. He thought distantly that this was obviously not pretend, not for him, and Charlie knew that and was probably curious about all the things Will had hinted at before, what he was into in bed. But a distant worry didn’t compare to Charlie gently dusting crumbs from his mouth or breaking off a piece of gingerbread for him when the snowman was gone.

“Your sisters are going to think I’m using you for sex,” Will confessed breathlessly, but whined softly until Charlie fed him another piece of gingerbread.

“They aren’t the only ones watching,” Charlie answered. Will had no idea what to make of Charlie’s frown for that, but finally pulled back and wiped at his mouth. His lips were buzzing too much for the small amount of booze he’d had.

“Good.” Will was one more cookie from giving no fucks. Charlie shot him a curious look and Will tried a shrug. “They don’t like it when you touch me. Your sisters, I mean. Have they never seen anyone want you, or is it because… is it because it’s me?”

Charlie’s eyebrows went up, then down. “I spoiled them when they were little. They’re used to having my undivided attention. Instead I’ve spent all evening with you.”

Will barely, barely bit back a comment about how Charlie wasn’t their father, but considering that two minutes ago he’d been about half a second from calling Charlie ‘daddy’, he thought it best to say nothing. He bobbed his head to the quiet Christmas music in the background, Mariah Carey of course, and finished his drink in an effort to make him forget Charlie touching his mouth.

The world seemed to tilt. Will put one hand on the table and the other on Charlie. Charlie turned back to him. “Oh,” Will announced for the third time at least that night, and curled against Charlie’s side in what was becoming a habit. “Your sisters got me a little tipsy.”

“Very probably.” Charlie seemed to curl around him too, and speak every word into Will’s ear, like he was telling very warm secrets. He put down Will’s empty cup for him. “I should have warned you. Their drinks only look innocent.”

“It’s cool.” Will buried his face in Charlie’s shoulder, almost at his neck, and took a deep breath. “I forgive you, because we’re boyfriends.”

“You say that like you like it,” Charlie observed, almost stopping Will’s heart. “But you said before that you’d never had a boyf…” Charlie trailed off. “That idiot is back and his mistletoe is missing.”

Will didn’t understand why that information was important, but raised his head anyway. Oh yeah, the sisters were giving him polite stares that were also glares if you happened to know they hated you. Well, except for the other one. Ann, she of the tacky sweaters and horrid pillow making. She was outright glaring. Will blinked at her, aware he was now flushed and probably looked as tipsy as he was. He pulled down his Santa hat, although it was starting to get hot.

“Are they onto us?” he asked in total confusion, even more lost when Charlie’s unhappy frown disappeared. Charlie curved his lips in a slow smile and tipped Will’s hat back up.

“Stop doing that,” Charlie instructed gently.

Will nodded. “Yes, Charlie,” he agreed, though then he scowled. “I can wear my hat however I want. But it’s hot now. But if I take it off, I’ll have hat hair.” Charlie’s smile got even better, or worse. He was so fucking charming when he wasn’t trying to be. Will waved at him. “This is because you’re sober. I’m going to have to get you drunk later.”

“When we’re home, Will.” Charlie did not seem to object to the idea.

“Are you going to take me home, Charlie?” Will wondered in the faintest whisper. Playing Charlie’s boyfriend must have gone to his head. Charlie had had plenty of chances to fuck Will and hadn’t yet, to Will’s regret. He sighed before Charlie could answer. “Well,” he said after a while, “should I fawn over you some more to get them used to idea of a boyfriend who adores your everything, or do you think that is really what’s upsetting them?”

“I…” Charlie took a heavy breath. “What do you mean?”

Will squinted at him. “Don’t be dense. They aren’t used to someone who’s actually competition for your attention, but they’ve met your last boyfriend. That guy,” Mark, but Will wasn’t going to say his name, “wasn’t like this with you. They don’t know what this means.”

Charlie had gone impassive and thoughtful again. He was thinking something over, or worrying. Will would never have guessed when he met Charlie that Charlie hid so much behind his blank expressions.

“Hey,” Will called softly, and nudged him until those brown eyes were focused solely on him. “Sooner or later they were going to have to accept that you would settle down. I mean, you’re you. No way is anyone with sense going to let you get away. Let them deal with it. If, uh, if you think they can.”

“It’s… not that.” Charlie worked his jaw, then leaned down so speak the words at the shell of Will’s ear. “Katia took the mistletoe. I think they’re going to try to get us under it.”

“God, I hope so,” Will exhaled without thinking, aching and warm in the moments before Charlie inched back to stare at him. “I mean….” Will ended that there, because he had no idea what he meant except that he didn’t care if it was a test from the sisters to see if he loved Charlie, he’d kiss Charlie right now if Charlie wanted. He wondered if that was on his face, if he was lit up for Charlie the way they had said. “Eggnog,” he tried to explain it away in case he was and Charlie’s silence meant he was uncomfortable.

Charlie angled his head up to glance around the room then returned his focus to Will. He slid his palm along Will’s jaw. Will made a low sound of surprise that turned to a small, heady moan when Charlie brushed his mouth over his.

Charlie immediately pulled back. “I’m sorry.” He apologized as though Will wasn’t blinking at him in shocked need and wetting his lips. “Eggnog,” Charlie echoed Will’s earlier excuse, then cleared his throat. “Missy is signaling that she needs help in the kitchen. I won’t be long.” He looked flushed and uncomfortable and took off before Will could think of a damn thing to say.

Like how Charlie hadn’t had any eggnog, or how Will had been all but asking him for a kiss, how that one had been too short.

Will wasn’t drunk, but he was confused, and getting more so by the minute. He didn’t doubt Missy needed her brother’s help for something—those women always seemed to need their brother’s help—he wasn’t sure it was a good idea to be separated from Charlie’s side right now.

Will took a step, then jumped without any grace at all when Ann appeared in front of him.

Ann crossed her arms and swept a look from Will’s shoes to the top of his Santa hat. Will switched on the smile he used on unpleasant brides. “Ann. We didn’t really get to talk before.”

Charlie had prevented it, in fact, now that Will thought about it.

“So you’re what my brother has been hiding from us.” Ann made a grumbling sound, not unlike the one Sam made when he wanted Charlie to scratch behind his ears.

“Hiding me?” Will raised his eyebrows. “I’m not his dirty little secret. Not that I’d mind.” That was a lie. He’d sleep with Charlie this very second if he asked, but the right to be with him in front of his family was something Will was going to miss after tonight. No one had ever brought Will home.

Ann did not seem amused, or to care very much that Will had been doing his best to make a good impression. “Did you not want to meet us?”

“Well, I’ve never met a guy’s family before. And Charlie was really worried you all wouldn’t like me. Which apparently was a good instinct since you hate me.” He snorted when Ann opened her mouth. “Girl, please. You guys have gone out of your way to question everything or make me feel so uncomfortable that Charlie hasn’t felt safe leaving my side for a second.”

“You think that’s why he’s--” Ann closed her mouth with a snap.

“Someday he’s going to bring someone he really cares about to meet you, and I hope you guys are kinder to him than you’ve been to me, because let me tell you something about your brother,” Will stepped into Ann’s space to hiss the words, “he’s the sweetest, softest marshmallow under that hot, grouchy exterior, and he’s practically dying of loneliness. If he meets someone good for him, really good for him, not like me,” Will wasn’t choking, nope, not at all, “if he meets that guy, that guy he gets to care for and protect and be crazy about….” Will cleared his throat. “If he finds someone like that and you and your sisters scare him off just because you want Charlie to spend all his time on you, well, I will… I will do something drastic. Okay, I have no idea what because violence isn’t really my area, but something!”

He was breathing hard when he finished.

Ann let her arms fall, then crossed them again. She bit her lip. “You look back at him,” she said, then narrowed her eyes. “You’re in love with my brother and you don’t care that anyone can see it.”

Will bumped the table with his hip. Love was different from smitten, so very different. Nonetheless he put his hands to his cheeks and glanced away. “You act like that’s weird,” he answered at last. “Anyway, he doesn’t seem to see it, so it doesn’t matter if I have… If I have feelings. Like that.”

“My brother isn’t stupid.” If Ann was offended again, Will wasn’t in the mood to handle it. He rolled his eyes before looking at her, but then stopped because she was shaking her head. “He’s been hovering over you like he thought we were going to eat you. But it’s not that.”

Will disagreed but didn’t get to say so. Ann took Charlie’s abandoned soda and took a drink, then made a face, probably when she realized it was non-alcoholic. “I have no idea what you mean,” Will admitted, and Ann slammed the cup of soda on the table.

“When that son of a bitch was with him, you wouldn’t even have known they were dating. He wouldn’t go near him, wouldn’t even take his hand. I thought my brother liked it that way, but now I see him with you.” Ann waved at Will, her posture and expression both incredibly uncomfortable. “How he is with other people is how he should be all the time. And he never was. Never got to be, I think now. Then you let him. You encourage him.” Her frown wasn’t happy but somehow Will didn’t feel like it was aimed at him this time.

Will lowered his hands then slowly turned from her to Charlie, who was by the kitchen. Charlie was looking sternly down at Katia, who had the sprig of bagged mistletoe in one hand and wasn’t concealing it very well.

He was going to be a gentleman and insist Katia not force Will to kiss him. Charlie was going to be a gentleman if it killed him, because he was an idiot, and assumed no one would want to kiss him, least of all in public. It’s like he didn’t know Will at all.

Tipsy off eggnog or not, Will pushed past Ann and the straight couple blocking his path. He stopped in front of Charlie and grabbed hold of handfuls of reindeer sweater before Charlie had finished turning to look at him. “Forget the mistletoe,” Will panted, and pulled Charlie down to press their mouths together.

Will’s lips were parted, his breathing heavy before the first incredible second of contact and the puff of Charlie’s startled exclamation. He wanted to beg, murmur, “Charlie, please,” as shivers shot down his spine and electricity burned through him wherever they touched, but he couldn’t pull away. He pressed forward softly, mouth open, inviting, and clutched at Charlie’s stupid, sexy sweater when Charlie finally slid a hand to the side of his face to hold him still and kiss him back.

Gently. Charlie kissed gently and Will should not been so surprised, so charmed by it that he groaned and tilted his chin up for more, only to feel Charlie’s teeth nipping at his lower lip and the firm pressure of Charlie’s hand at his back, keeping him against Charlie’s body. Will pushed his hands up to tangle them in Charlie’s hair and cling to his shoulders. He thought he was begging after all, hiccoughing nearly silent, hitching sounds into Charlie’s mouth, words he couldn’t form.

Then someone coughed roughly, a few times, and someone who wasn’t Will called Charlie’s name.

Charlie raised his head, not far, too far. Will was so hot and confused. He didn’t look at the rest of the room, not with Charlie staring at him with stunned heat. “Oh,” Will whispered. His knees were weak. If he hadn’t been holding onto Charlie, he had a feeling his hands would have been trembling.

Charlie ran the backs of his fingers across Will’s cheek and someone, possibly Katia, gasped.

“Forget the mistletoe?” Charlie repeated, very serious for a man who couldn’t catch his breath.

“Take me home, Charlie,” Will returned, just as serious.

Charlie didn’t take his eyes off Will, but he gave a small twitch. “Everyone can hear you.”

“Duh.” Will had never gone to college, and was no kind of boyfriend, even pretend, for a professor. The smile his reply brought out of Charlie though, was the kind of beautiful sight that people wrote songs about.

Yeah, Will could admit it, to himself anyway. He was all kinds of in love with Charlie Howard. Charlie smiled at him and Will had probably lit up like the tree in the corner. He was going to be the boyfriend Charlie’s sisters never forgot, even if the boyfriend part wasn’t real.

Charlie raised an eyebrow at him. Will could tell he wasn’t sure how much of this was acting. Will wrapped his hand around Charlie’s and pulled it down between them. He kept their fingers twined together. Holding hands, of all things, made him so hot he could have burst out of his skin.

All at once, Charlie’s sisters began talking. Some of it was English, some of it wasn’t. Will found he didn’t care about that anymore either. They were upset, and Charlie stared at Will for another second anyway. “I have to say our goodbyes,” Charlie said finally, rough-voiced and quiet.

“So say them.” Will was as bad as Ann said. He did encourage this. And instead of ignoring him, Charlie wiped the smile from his face and turned to his sisters to say goodnight to each of them.

Will nodded along, tightening his grip on Charlie’s hand through each startled stare and pleading protest. The other guests probably didn’t know what to make of them, but what were the odds Will would see those people again? The three that mattered were fluttering around their brother for another few minutes, and then growing silent and hugging him with expressions that could only be described as pouts.

Ann followed them back down to the foyer and stood watching as Charlie helped Will into his coat. When they were done, before her brother could say another word, she announced, “I’ll package up some of the cookies and bring them for you tomorrow.” She spoke to Charlie, but her gaze was steady on Will.

He couldn’t decide if it was friendly or not, and didn’t think he cared until he was outside and Ann was closing the door behind them.

“They aren’t that bad.” Will surprised himself with the pronouncement. “I mean, all together they are a little much, and talk about not afraid to speak their minds… But you know, one on one, they weren’t….” Okay, he couldn’t quite lie. “Ann was all right, in the end.”

“Yeah?” Charlie didn’t move. A line came and went between his eyes. He didn’t reach out to take Will’s hand and now that they were out in the cold, away from their audience, Will didn’t have the balls to try to take his again. He shoved his hands in his pockets instead. He regretted it when the line returned between Charlie’s eyes. Charlie was going to get wrinkles and it was going to be Will’s fault.

“They love you a lot.” Will added diplomatically, then looked around at the dark street, the bare trees, all those Christmas lights that almost made him wish he lived in a proper suburban neighborhood. Almost. This was as close to playing house as he was ever going to get anyway.

“Thank you for doing this.” Charlie kept his attention on Will. “You didn’t have to.”

He’d already said that at least a dozen times. Will gave him a little eye roll, only to end up glancing out into the street again when staring at Charlie made it hard to breathe. His heart thundered against his ribcage.

“I wanted to do it.” Will wrinkled his nose, because he didn’t regret it, but he hadn’t expected to feel this strongly when it was over. “I’m glad I did it. I wish….” His face was getting cold and yet he was making no move to head toward Charlie’s car. “In old movies this would have been hilarious. Well, if it was a sixties sex comedy we would have been an ongoing gay joke that Middle America wasn’t supposed to get. But, you know, if this was Christmas in Connecticut or something you would have realized by now that the pretense was just that.” He sighed wistfully. “Are you still taking me home?”

“You want to?” Charlie didn’t keep the surprise out of his tone.

Will exhaled roughly, then threw his hands into the air. “Damn it, Charlie. Don’t pretend you can’t see it when your sisters saw it plain as day!”

He shook his head in frustration, then stilled when Charlie reached out to tug Will’s hat down over the tips of his ears. Charlie seemed focused on his hand as he tipped the brim up off Will’s forehead and swept a few stray hairs out of his eyes.

Charlie was killing him. Will whimpered and closed his eyes when Charlie touched his cheek. “Please keep touching me.” Will had no shame and no dignity. “Nobody touches me like that, except you, Charlie.” Will licked his mouth, the lips that had gone cold because Charlie hadn’t kissed him again the second they were alone.

Charlie pressed his thumb to Will’s bottom lip and Will opened his eyes. Charlie was sad and dark-eyed. “Will, you had a lot of eggnog.”

“If I’m dizzy, it’s not from eggnog.” Will took hold of Charlie’s wrist to keep his hand where it was. “I’ve been dizzy since you rescued Grayson’s plant for me. How can everybody see that but you, you big dope?”

“But you’re….” Charlie left that unfinished and stared at Will. He was all warm surprise again. “You aren’t drunk?”

“Tipsy, Charlie, is not drunk. I’ve had more to drink on a slow Wednesday.” Which wasn’t an argument that strengthened his case. Will drew in a long breath. “Is that so hard to imagine? You… like that… with me?”

“It’s hard to believe you’d want me,” Charlie responded without hesitation, and swept his thumb across Will’s lip like he couldn’t help himself.

Charlie’s honesty knocked the wind out of him.

Will was going to find that ex and tear him a new one. “That’s… are you joking?” Will wheezed. “Is that why you never--?” This wasn’t the time to remember how desperately he’d been flirting with Charlie and whatever Charlie had convinced himself Will meant by it. “But you invited me here.”

“And you accepted.” Charlie regarded Will with a puzzled air. “You didn’t even think about it. You said yes, even though I was asking you to--” Charlie stopped and the soft Christmas lights didn’t the hide the realization taking over his expression. “You were excited.”

“Merry Christmas to me,” Will told him fiercely, so Charlie could finally grasp what a stupid smitten kitten Will really was.

“I didn’t want to read into it.” For a professor, Charlie was pretty dumb. Will had waited for him on that balcony in the rain. Which, admittedly, had led to Charlie taking Will instead and drying him off and making him soup, and Will curled up on Charlie’s couch.

Then he’d fallen asleep there and Charlie had gone to sleep in his own bed. Will was going to scream. But later, much later.

He tugged Charlie’s hand closer, bringing Charlie closer in the process, and met Charlie’s gaze as he flicked his tongue against the tip of Charlie’s thumb. Charlie brought his other hand up to cup Will’s cheek.

“Will,” he rasped when Will licked his thumb again before taking it into his mouth. “Will.” His voice was the stuff of Will’s fantasies. “Will, we are on my sister’s porch.”

Honestly, Will couldn’t tell if that was a warning or a dare. He was absolutely willing to blow Charlie underneath a canopy of Christmas lights. This was something Charlie needed to realize. Will wanted him exactly that fucking much.

He pulled his mouth away long enough for Charlie to slide his hand under his chin and urge his head up. Will met his stare. “If you want me to stop, Charlie, tell me to stop.” He wasn’t sure what he wanted more, to keep going or for Charlie to give him an order.

Charlie stroked his cheek, then his jaw, his fingers slipping back toward Will’s mouth. But when Will darted out his tongue for another taste, Charlie made a rough noise.

“Will, stop,” he growled, and appeared startled when Will did. He opened his mouth, as if he wanted to argue something, then closed it again. He skated his fingers over Will’s mouth and blinked in astonishment when Will whined. He took a cautious step forward, almost tense. “At least,” Charlie swallowed, “at least until we’re home.”

Will lifted his head. He couldn’t stop his smile. “Oh right.” He’d almost forgotten the best part. “You’re taking me home with you.”

“Yes.” Charlie’s growly, confident voice warmed Will up even faster than the hand he snuck underneath the reindeer sweater. But Charlie wasn’t moving.

Will peeked up at him, and spoke loudly to be heard over his pounding heart. “Because that’s what boyfriends do?” he asked, hopeful and pathetic, and felt like the real Santa Claus at the way Charlie smiled for him, brighter than any of the lights around them.

The End
thatrcooper: (stephen by aixsponsa)
So I was killing time yesterday in between cleaning and food prep, and asked if anyone on Tumblr would donate to a foodbank in exchange for a snippet with a prompt of their choosing, and Starrla89 kindly donated. She then requested Wicklow/Rhoades, with Wicklow initiating a kiss.

(It might be a little strange. I am sick and was sick when I wrote it. Ah well.)

Spoilers for Wicklow's Odyssey. (duh)

i can breathe again )

Love, if that was the word for it, was a terrible thing.

Wicklow wasn’t overly fond of the word itself, love. It didn’t say nearly everything it should. It was too small to contain the vast, ocean-like ache that he was only now beginning to be fully conscious of, and it was too simple to explain his need to sometimes come and see Rhoades when he had no reason and no plans to.

He supposed that was why the Greeks, the ancient, dead ones Rhoades was so fond of, had different words for it. Words Rhoades whispered to him in his bed and out of it. Words that tickled the back of Wicklow’s neck in the morning and that echoed unsaid over the radio. Names for the warmth in him when Rhoades remained safe in his library and the strange heat that had Wicklow shivering in Rhoades’ arms.

But none of those words felt right when Wicklow looked at Rhoades and saw him as he was, the way others saw him, and had seen him. Rhoades was a light, a dark, wicked, dancing fire, there to illuminate the way or burn Washington itself to the ground. That was a fool’s way to describe him, but that was how Wicklow felt, at times, when Rhoades was working and seemed to have forgotten him.

Alexander Rhoades did not forget, not anything, not a slight, and certainly not Wicklow. Wicklow felt Rhoades’ regard for him in his bones—another sensation he had grown so used to he had not even realized it was there until Rhoades himself had drawn his attention to it.

“You come back to me, and I can breathe again,” Rhoades had told him, voice and hands shaking. He’d been panting despite his words. The smashed radio at the side of Rhoades’ desk had distracted Wicklow when he’d first entered the library. The dozens of pieces had spoken of anger, and a loss of control that had left Wicklow puzzled and silent.

“You came back, beloved,” Rhoades had breathed against Wicklow’s neck and rested his hands on Wicklow’s sides without pulling him closer, as though Wicklow were not ready to drop into his arms. Wicklow had approached him, making a sound to bring Rhoades’ gaze up, and then Rhoades had said those first words and Wicklow had pushed himself into Rhoades’ lap.

Rhoades had been surprised. Wicklow would not forget that, whatever the length of his life. Rhoades had been surprised that Wicklow had returned to him, and devastated to think he might not have. Wicklow had thought only that Alexander Rhoades should not tremble because one thief and spy had left him.

Wicklow had yet to ask why Rhoades would have thought Wicklow would leave him. Then, he had whispered, “Alexander,” and Rhoades had kissed him, placing hot, pleading kisses to his mouth and his cheek, before pressing Wicklow to his desk there with the door wide open and sucking his cock. And when Wicklow was empty and weak, Rhoades had kissed him again and called him, “Beloved,” and led him up to bed. He’d pressed his fingers inside Wicklow in the way that was making Wicklow burn to ask for more, although he’d again bitten back the urge and cried out instead when Alexander had drawn seed from him with little more than his fingers.

The release had felt as though it had been drawn from the depths of his soul, strong and blinding as good drink. Wicklow had been shaking too, by the end.

“I won’t push you,” Rhoades had murmured, kissing at Wicklow’s hip as though his own cock wasn’t hard and no doubt aching. “I forgot myself. I’m sorry.” He seemed to think Wicklow angry with him, and Wicklow had been too close to sleep to argue.

In the light of day, with Wicklow the kind of fool in love who would visit Rhoades’ office while he was working and better left alone, the things Rhoades had worried over made Wicklow hurt.

They brought him low, like a punch to the belly. But that pain was nothing to seeing Rhoades with his own kind. Washington had stupid men aplenty, but it was a town of clever, ambitious, ruthless men too. Men like Rhoades, as much as any man could be said to be like Alexander Rhoades, well-bred and moneyed and full of knowledge. Some of them were even the sort to enjoy other men, and, in the past, many of them had certainly known Rhoades’ bedroom as thoroughly as Wicklow did.

Wicklow stopped in Rhoades’ doorway and watched him in conversation with a nicely dressed gentleman, not as dandyish as Rhoades, this fellow, but with eyes nearly as sharp. His eyes saw Wicklow before Rhoades did. The man pulled his hand down from where it had hovered near Rhoades’ back as Rhoades reached for something on his shelf, and then he stepped away.

Rhoades was smiling faintly as he turned around. He had soft smiles when with people he liked. He was a soft man in certain respects, fine clothes, delicate foods, silk in his bed, gentle words.

Wicklow was none of those things. Wicklow had not known or wanted softness, before. When Rhoades whispered, “Beloved,” at him, the best Wicklow could offer in return was, “Alexander.”

What was that but the man’s name? Nothing. Rhoades needed softness and he’d foregone it for Wicklow, as though Wicklow’s wellbeing were paramount when the man himself was starving.

When he noticed Wicklow in his doorway, his smiled changed, widening and flaring bright. He turned the rest of the way to greet him and Wicklow clenched his fists to stay where he was. He looked away from Rhoades to study the stranger, the man of Rhoades’ kind. He wore velvet, and a waistcoat of ivory. He had no pomade in his hair and his eyes were light. Blue, Wicklow thought they were, though nowhere as dark as his own.

Rhoades liked Wicklow’s eyes, liked to look into them as he caressed Wicklow’s body. Wicklow had thought that had been enough. Rhoades had said so, with all his deeds and distractions and late suppers by the fire. But Rhoades was a liar.

A liar in love.

Wicklow barely noticed the other fellow excusing himself, though he did not think any of his displeasure showed in his face. Wicklow was not jealous; he was no outraged husband. But he swallowed and lowered his head to study his hands. Fists were about the same size as the heart. The heart was naught but blood and toughened flesh. It made no sense for love to be contained there, any more than it made sense for love to be a small, harmless word.

“Private?” Rhoades spoke carefully. He had to take care, since he had chosen Wicklow for his beloved, the madman. “You needed to see me?” Rhoades tread lightly but despite that Wicklow could hear the vein of hope in his voice. “You forgot something when you left this morning?”

“Please.” That was what Rhoades had said, his voice breaking for one small touch of Wicklow’s mouth to his shoulder. “Beloved, please.” Like a dying man in need of water.

Wicklow would give Rhoades anything, and he had not known the truth of that until he realized what one thing Rhoades had not asked for. He would die for Rhoades in an instant, which they both knew full well. Perhaps that was why Rhoades held back from requesting this small thing that was not small at all; he wanted Wicklow to give it. Although, knowing Rhoades, he had made plans to never receive it. Knowing Rhoades, he’d thought himself safe from admitting to the need.

Then Wicklow had kissed his shoulder, and Rhoades had begged for more.

“You thought I would leave you for that?” Wicklow could not seem to feel any rage over the matter. He raised his head. “Alexander,” he began again when Rhoades opened his mouth to debate or talk something Greek. Wicklow’s face was hot but he repeated himself. He would rather have emptied his heart. “Alexander, I--”

“Private.” Rhoades would not stop speaking. Every word in existence would cross his lips before he would give in again. But Wicklow knew how to make him weak. He stormed forward and slid his hands over soft, soft lapels, inky blue silk, and one large, smooth pearl, in order to draw Rhoades down. He placed a kiss on Rhoades’ parted, pink mouth before he pulled away. Then he ducked his head and exhaled against Rhoades’ shoulder.

He had no grace, and the blood remained in his pounding heart. Rhoades’ thundered equally as strong beneath his ear. Wicklow frowned. “I repaired your radio.”

Rhoades, as great a fool as Wicklow himself, ran his thumb along Wicklow’s jaw and seemed both amused and frustrated. “And I love you too, Private. You don’t need…” There, Rhoades trailed off, startling Wicklow for one hushed moment until he used his thumb to tilt Wicklow’s head up. He traced Wicklow’s mouth. “You don’t need to be soft for me in the way I am to you. It is only….” Again, Rhoades fell silent, as if considering how best to temper his response.

He had forgotten Wicklow was not a scared boy. Wicklow let Rhoades’ thumb between his lips, then pulled back in order to place another kiss on the tip, a kiss like velvet. “Show me,” he ordered, as serious as he had ever been. “Show me, and I’ll be soft in my way, for you.”

From the sound Rhoades made, he also thought love was a terrible thing, too large for his ribs to hold and too fierce to be denied. But his kiss was gentle, and for all that his hands grasped at Wicklow there with the doors open for anyone to see them, it stayed so, until Wicklow was brave enough to push upward, and give him his own gentle kiss in return.

thatrcooper: (Default)
For various reasons, I have changed tumblrs. I am phasing out the old one, and my new one is now

(Firebird for Kazimir!! Which... would make sense if you all had read Kazimir's stories yet. Sorry.)

I tried to let people know in secret but I think Tumblr thought all those emails were spam. Hopefully everyone who is interested finds this notice. I will try to remember to post it again later.

Kazimir! Golden bird!
thatrcooper: (Default)
Ah! Back! Where have I been? Exhausted. I work retail as a day job. This means this is my busy time of year.

However, I did manage to do a little something. A wee little Thanksgiving story, for those interested. It's up on Amazon.

Vincent's Thanksgiving Date

Socially anxious Vincent has resigned himself to spending Thanksgiving alone this year, just him, the parade, and some pie. The last thing he expects is Cory, the handsome neighbor he's been daydreaming about, to knock on his door with a holiday crisis of his own. Vincent would love to help him, but he's afraid that the more time Cory spends with him, the sooner Vincent's anxiety will drive him away.

What he doesn't realize is that Cory finds Vincent's gentle ways adorable and has been waiting for a chance to talk with him. Cory also firmly believes that a day like Thanksgiving should be spent with the people you want to be around--and he wants to be around Vincent. If that means pretending to need help in order to coax Vincent from his apartment, then Cory is willing to do it. The only potential hitch in the plan is Vincent himself. Can Vincent gather the courage to go after what he wants? Or will he spend his Thanksgiving exactly as he planned, with only a pumpkin pie for company?

(Ugh. The cheese in that description! Shameless cheese!)

For those who don't follow me on Tumblr, you might not know that Dreamspinner has accepted both A Beginner's Guide to Wooing Your Mate *and* Little Wolf. Those are both Beings stories and they will be out next year. A Beginner's Guide first, for reasons that will be obvious when you read it.

This is yaaaay! news, I hope. Although it means I will basically be spending December editing two books. WOE. I have also been trying to finish a collection of Beings short stories... why I don't know but I wrote a few and then kept going. One more (I think) should finish the set. Then... idk. Something.

I still fully intend to do something for charity, but between the lifting at work and the typing, I am also trying to avoid carpal tunnel. (No word yet on the renewed date for the auction, but Carly Rose is still having health issues, so I'm hardly going to pressure her.)

Aaaaand, now I am going to reward myself for posting that story with some wine and pie.

That story is so self-indulgent and I don't even care. lalalalala

(But who wouldn't marathon Shelley Long movies?)
thatrcooper: (charlie and will)
Look! I remembered to post a reminder!

I still haven't heard back from the auction people (??) but I'm going to assume it's all going as planned.

October 11, there will be a silent auction with all sorts of things from various authors, with all benefits going to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

Here is a link to the auction's Facebook page. Authors, Bloggers, and Readers Raise Awareness

I am will be offering to either a) write a series of letters or emails (at least two) between any two of my characters (your choice) OR you can get another short story set in the alternate universe version of Play It Again, Charlie in which Charlie is the reluctant host of an online cooking show and Will is a fan. (You can find that here). (and um, okay so a friend and I have a whole thing about the first time Charlie mentions Will on the show... and also a show Will hosts with Jeanine, in which he imbibes a bit and maaaybe says things he shouldn't, and then worries about what Charlie will think when he sees it. Ahem.)

Hopefully it all goes well and everything gets bid on and donations are huge.

In the meantime, here is the last prompt fill I promised to post. The *other* Will/Charlie AU, in which the prompt was "meet at a masquerade ball"

tale as old as time )
thatrcooper: (charlie and will)
Well, maybe.

There is going to be a silent auction for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance on October 11. The event (which once again will be happening on October 11 from 11am to 11pm CDT) will feature many donations from m/m authors for everyone to bid on.

Totally for a good cause, and you get stuff out of it too. Yay!

I, maybe, perhaps, will be auctioning off something as well. Though it's kind of a weird thing (because hey, I would just sign a book and donate that to auction, but who would bid on that and also international shipping is ouch to my budget). I just signed up so I don't know if my auction offer will be okay.

But if you're interested, I offered to either a) write a series of letters or emails (at least two) between any two of my characters (your choice) OR you can get another short story set in the alternate universe version of Play It Again, Charlie in which Charlie is the reluctant host of an online cooking show and Will is a fan.

Ah, but Rispa, you say, frowning in confusion, what universe is this? We've never seen this universe.

To which, I say, right. Well, here it is. Part of a Tumblr prompt I did a while ago in an attempt to wake up my brain. So read, enjoy, and hopefully, maybe, give a little to a good cause to get more of it.


Less with Bread )

Will juggled the six pricey chocolate bars in his hands and the bottle of wine he was still debating, and stared down at the barrels of cheese in dismay. He’d promised Dani he’d bring something good to the surprise birthday party-slash-potluck tonight, but between work and life he’d forgotten to even try to plan until today. The expensive grocery store probably wasn’t the best place to get ideas either. He had no idea what half this stuff was for, or best paired with, or what nutritional yeast even was.

He was going to end up bringing a pizza, like always. It felt especially wrong since he had genuinely tried this time. He had scoured through episodes of Less with Bread, searching for something that wouldn’t be too difficult, and hadn’t come up with anything that he thought he could make with confidence.

There was nothing he could make, period. He knew that. Yet something about Charlie Howard’s measured, calm voice tricked Will into thinking he would succeed, just this once. And then Will wound up with burnt cakes and separated sauces and undercooked potatoes. Will’s inability to cook even the most basic food was almost legendary. Why his sister had ever thought an internet cooking show would help him was a mystery, unless of course, she’d sent Will the link to the first episode because of the host.

Charlie Howard had certainly set Will’s bells to ringing. Handsome didn’t begin to describe him, with his square jaw and dark eyes and serious expression. He was handsome, with strong shoulders and height and strands of gray in his black hair, but his appeal went deeper than that. Will wouldn’t have sat through a cooking show just for a good-looking host; he knew that for a fact because he’d tried. Charlie was different. For one thing, he shot the smaller videos in a tiny apartment and the longer ones in this huge, gleaming kitchen in his grandmother’s house. For another, his family was often in the videos with him, and when he cooked for them his whole demeanor changed. He was never rude, or angry, or loud, like some other chefs Will had seen, but the line of concentration between his eyes vanished when his family was near. And though he never let them help him, keeping them always at a safe distance from the knives and flames and boiling water, he asked what they preferred and smiled when they answered, and his smile… his smile was, well, there were entire chats on his website devoted to that warm, careful smile.

Will had been sprung after episode one and by the second video—because of course he’d watched them all, his stomach growling and his heart pounding—he’d been cruising the show’s website for information on the host. He wanted to know why Charlie limped, bad enough sometimes to require a cane or for Charlie to sit down for the entire show. He wanted to know why Charlie had a last name like Howard and spoke English, but then fell into fluent Spanish whenever he cooked with certain members of his family. And, yes, okay he’d wanted to know if Charlie was queer, if he was single, if he wouldn’t freak out if Will messaged him through the website, or if he would think Will was going to stalk him like Kathy Bates.

All Sorrows Are Less With Bread, which was the inspiration for the show’s title, was also the name of the website, where they explained that Charlie had started out making the videos at a friend’s request, to give him something to do when he’d been recovering from an injury. That’s why the show tended to focus on simple, filling meals that could be reheated or frozen, but also on the kind of guilty pleasure, fattening foods designed to tempt someone with no interest in food into eating. The show, and Charlie, were pretty honest on that subject, although Charlie never referred to his own injury beyond the blurb on the site.

This being the SF Bay Area, the show also tended to blur all sorts of cuisines together. Will thought that was called fusion, in foodie circles. Occasionally a local chef came on to make something new. Once, notably, a therapist had come on with Charlie and talked about self-care while Charlie had made quiche and kept his gaze on his hands as he worked. Other than that, only members of the Howard family had guest-starred. Never a boyfriend, or a girlfriend, or anyone else. Not even for Valentine’s Day, which was when Charlie had talked about cheese and let his sister talk about wine.

Will tried to recall the names of any of those cheeses and then gave a dejected sigh and took a step toward the next display. He bumped into something that he realized was a person a second too late and turned quickly, which made his basket swing around and hit the person again. This time of day the place was packed with stressed soccer moms, all yoga pants and loud cell phone conversations, giving Will side-eyes for his hair and tight shirt, the hint of glitter. But he spun around to apologize anyway since it was his fault, then stopped dead.

He blinked.

Very slowly, he tilted his head back and then licked his lips. Not to be sexy, but because his mouth legitimately went dry at one glimpse of the man in front of him. His stomach seemed to tighten and then flip, all while going cool, which he didn’t understand, because his everything else was burning up.

“I was just thinking about you,” he exhaled in amazement and then immediately froze to stare up in embarrassment. Charlie Howard stared back, mouth open before that familiar line began to form between his eyes.

His eyes, which were a deep brown in person and close up, were focused on Will as if he was as surprised to see Will in this store at the moment as all the moms were. He was wearing a white, button down shirt, with the sleeves rolled up and the top few buttons open, just like he wore on the show. His skin was darker than it seemed on the videos, like he’d gotten some sun, and Will could see the chest hair he’d only glimpsed before.

He took a long, deep breath, inhaling cheese and cologne and garlic.

“Oh my god,” Will said after countless seconds of internal squirming and getting lost in Charlie Howard’s eyes. He recalled what he had just said. “Oh my god. I meant, I watch your shows. And I was wondering what you would do in my situation. Not that I don’t also think about you in the way you are probably thinking.”

Will closed his mouth, very deliberately, when Charlie Howard’s stunning brown eyes went wide.

“I really never intended to be that kind of fan,” Will explained himself, hoping his soft tone would keep things calm. Instead, Charlie blinked and then his expression went as stern as it did on the show when his little niece had started to reach for a hot pan. Will’s palms went damp. It was the first time in his life his palms had ever gone damp for someone. He didn’t think Charlie would be interested in hearing that, however, even if Will was kind of fascinated. “It’s just, in person you are even hotter than you are in the videos.”

He had no idea what was wrong with him. Will was a talker, but his talking was usually a lot smoother than this. In fact, most of the time it didn’t matter what he said. Men took one look at him and wanted him. They never listened to what he was saying. But Charlie Howard wasn’t saying a word and maybe that was why Will was suddenly panicking. His online crush wasn’t only in front of him; he was listening.

“You know that scene in Singing in the Rain where Debbie Reynolds is totally cool with Gene Kelly until she recognizes him as her screen idol, and then she doesn’t really know what to do at first? Yeah. I kind of feel like that right now.” Will made himself breathe again. While he did, Charlie’s frown didn’t lesson, although he did skip a glance down to Will’s sleeveless t-shirt with the faded Debbie Harry picture on it. “I wasn’t expecting it would be this bad. Not that I was expecting to meet you ever. I’m not a stalker—except in the normal way that everyone follows everyone on Facebook. But I’ve seen all your videos. I’m… well, clearly, I’m a big fan.”

“But you don’t know what to buy?” Charlie spoke at last. His voice was gravely and hesitant, not like what it was on the videos. But then, on the videos he knew what he was doing, and he didn’t have Will acting like a psycho. Still, of all the things he could have said, or done, like tell Will to get lost, or flee in the opposite direction, he’d asked a question.

Will shrugged, although his shame was completely obvious. “I can’t actually cook. Like, at all. It’s the one part of adulting that continues to escape me.” He saw Charlie mouth the word, “Adulting?” but he didn’t interrupt. Will felt a fraction calmer. “My sister sent me links to your videos in the vain hope I could learn to make toast. I’ve watched them all, some of them more than once, and well, those chocolate pancakes you made for your niece? Those almost came out okay, except for how they didn’t look like yours and the first five were crisp at the edges. I ended up just licking the batter and eating the bananas later.”

Charlie’s scowl grew more intense. “There’s raw egg in that batter.” The gravel left his voice but it was no less serious. Will swallowed, although his mouth and throat were still dry. Charlie studied him and then continued in the same stern daddy tone that had earned him a legion of gay fans. “You shouldn’t eat raw egg. You could get sick.”

He appeared to be genuinely concerned that Will had once eaten raw batter. Will wanted to blow him more than he’d ever wanted to blow anyone in his life. He made a noise, a frustrated little squeak that would have had his friends laughing at him, and then shook his head. “The risk of salmonella is slight. I looked it up.” He nearly lost his voice in the face of that unwavering disapproval. “But, uh, it tasted good, anyway. So thanks.”

No one, not one of the men who had ever pursued Will, would have even noticed that Will had eaten raw egg. Of course, Will would never have cooked for any of them. None of them had been worth it.

Charlie Howard inclined his head as though there were no more serious topic to discuss than Will’s cooking habits and safety. “Tell me you haven’t been doing the same with uncooked chicken.”

“Gross.” Will wrinkled his nose. “I haven’t gotten brave enough yet to attempt anything with meat. But, yes, of course I wash my hands. I am pretty strict about disinfectant in general, you have no idea. Should see my work kit—I do hair—and my tools are disinfected on the regular, trust me.”

He didn’t think he imagined Charlie’s relieved sigh, and though he waited, Charlie didn’t have anything to say about Will doing hair for a living. Will perked up. It occurred to him that this was hardly the usual conversation Charlie probably had with his fans, but whatever. Will was going to think about these few minutes for months. He was going to make the most of them.

“All right, no more eating the batter,” he promised, although Charlie hadn’t asked him to. A strange look crossed Charlie’s face. Will watched the flush darken the skin of his face and his neck.

Charlie cleared his throat. “Are you using fresh herbs or dried?” The moment the question was out of his mouth, he froze, then coughed and stared down at the cheese as if the cheese had misplaced his potato peeler.

Will angled his head to the side. “You said dried herbs were perfectly acceptable for someone on a budget, or for someone too emotionally or physically exhausted to seek out the fresh version. You just have to adjust the amounts because the flavor is different.”

Charlie’s gaze met his. His frown slowly eased away. “Yes, I did,” he agreed, so low and approving that a shiver went down Will’s spine, as if Will had been a very good boy.

But that couldn’t have been how Charlie meant it, before he tossed his head and asked a different question. “If your friends know you can’t cook, why ask you to?”

“I volunteered.” Will sighed for what couldn’t be, but explained further. “Sometimes watching you makes me ambitious.” He offered Charlie a playful grin, then realized they were blocking this part of the cheese section. He shifted to the side but Charlie stayed where he was. He was leaning against one of the cheese barrels and Will wondered guiltily if Charlie was in pain.

“No cane today?” he blurted. Charlie usually had the cane on the bad days, but maybe he’d only run into the store to get a few things and Will was making everything worse. Then he thought he probably wasn’t supposed to mention the cane, because Charlie stopped moving and glanced away. “I hope I’m not making things worse, if you are having a bad day. I wouldn’t want that,” Will added quickly.

“You really have watched every episode.” Charlie looked back at him after what felt like far too long.
Will smiled in relief. “Of course. Don’t all your fans?”

“Yes. But.” Charlie took a hand from his own shopping basket, and Will belatedly noticed that he had a white-knuckled grip on the handle, and that there was nothing inside but bread and two apples. “I don’t know.” Charlie waved a hand in a confused gesture. “My friend handles all the comments and things, unless it’s a chat. I don’t… I wasn’t meant to do all this, so I don’t understand a lot of things.”

That was likely true enough. Charlie had never attended any cooking school or worked in a restaurant. He’d been a cop of all things, and then suffered the injury that had forced him to retire. According to the site, he’d always cooked for and with his family, and his friend had recorded him cooking and posted it as a way to distract him during a low point.

“What don’t you understand? Having fans?” It was Will’s turn to frown. “Of course you do. You’re hot, and you make good food, and the way you teach is…” Will blushed like he hadn’t in years. Charlie probably wasn’t interested in being anyone’s daddy, but even if he was, it wasn’t something to discuss in the cheese aisle.

“Hot?” Charlie stared at him with an adorably surprised expression. Then he scowled and shook his head. “Having fans at all takes me by surprise. And you don’t… seem like you would find my show interesting.”

“Oh.” That hurt. It hurt a lot more than it should have. Will ran a hand through his artfully messy hair and lowered his head.

“I don’t meet most of the followers face to face, and I’ve never pictured them like you,” Charlie went on.

Just what Will needed, someone else refusing to take him seriously because he dressed like this, or talked old movies like some clichéd queen, or was unashamedly proud of being the bottom that he was. He made himself look up. “What’s wrong with me?” he demanded, still more hurt than furious, though the anger would come later.

“Nothing.” Charlie regarded Will without blinking, as utterly serious as he was about homemade tortillas and mole and stirring the melted butter and sugar for fudge so it wouldn’t burn. He seemed confused that Will would even ask that question. “There’s nothing wrong with you.”

Will bumped into a display then spun around to fix it, all the while on fire with a blush. His hands were shaking. This was also new. He didn’t think it was nerves and it was clearly stronger than a mere crush. “Oh,” he repeated himself, although in a much warmer, softer tone than before. In any other situation he would have been looking up coyly, but he couldn’t manage it now. “Well,” he mumbled in the direction of Charlie’s shoulder. “Well, you have quite the gay following, just so you know. Lots of guys I know have crushes on you. If ever want to get to know your fans, they would eat you up, and your dishes too.” He risked a glance up in time to catch the blank shock on Charlie’s face. The smile just took over Will’s face. This man was real. “Your friend didn’t pass on those messages?”

“She did.” Charlie spoke faintly. “I thought she was kidding.”

“Don’t worry.” Will almost patted him. “I don’t think any of them have any immediate plans to make you their daddy.” Well, aside from Will, but there was no need to say that at the moment. Anyway, at the word ‘daddy’, Charlie looked right at Will, and Will was aware that his feelings were probably all over his face.

“You aren’t kidding,” Charlie declared, with certainty. Because right, he used to be a cop and was probably good at spotting lies.

Will gave him a helpless shrug. Charlie went even more still, except for his gaze, which traveled slowly over Will from head to toe. Then, unbelievably, Charlie looked down at himself with an expression of deep confusion, as if he could not comprehend this development. His free hand passed over his hip, on his bad side, and then Will understood.

“I am absolutely not kidding,” Will told him, voice unaccountably husky. Even if he didn’t have a chance here, there was no way he could leave without letting Charlie know exactly how attractive he was. “It isn’t just that you’re hot. It’s how you are with the food, with your family. God, you care for them and you feed them and you barely remember to feed yourself, and they don’t even notice. I just want to make you sit down. I’d feed you myself.” Will wanted to press himself to Charlie Howard’s every stunned inch. “And then how you praise people. The way you gently walk us through everything. Who wouldn’t--” Will abruptly recalled the way Charlie had frozen when one of his sisters mentioned his ex during a video. “Trust me,” he said instead. “There’s a legion of men out there ready to bring you home.”

A soccer mom gave Will the most arch look he had ever received in his life as she passed them, as if she didn’t care about if they rubbed their dicks together, but could they do it somewhere else out of her way? He heard her complaining to someone on her phone about people standing in front of the Pecorino.

He focused on Charlie, thinking that he’d probably said too much. He was going to blame it on being starstruck, even if that wasn’t the case. “I am one of them. Clearly,” Will added after too long of a pause. “This is probably time for a graceful exit.”

“You haven’t picked out anything,” Charlie observed, then cleared his throat again. “You should make something easy. Something you can take there with minimal fuss, and then prep in someone’s home. What kind of gathering is it? I could… I could shop with you.”

Will put a chocolate-filled hand to his chest. “Be still my beating heart,” he murmured in disbelief. “You want to help me? Even after I went all crazy fan on you?”

“You didn’t--” Charlie shut his mouth and took a breath before he met Will’s amazed stare. “Just because you promise to avoid batter doesn’t mean you’re safe with anything else. Have you sharpened your knives recently? Dull knives are how accidents happen.”

It was a lot to take in, until it wasn’t, and Will got it. He bit his bottom lip to keep from purring out an appreciative, “Oh, daddy.” He let himself grin, his forgotten flirting skills returning with a vengeance. He leaned in closer and smiled even wider when Charlie let him do it. “You’ll take care of me?”

Even embarrassed, Charlie managed to give Will’s wine and chocolates a significant look. “Someone should.”

Will nearly dropped everything to the floor. “Will.” He blanked on everything else for a moment. Charlie’s gaze was hot, hotter than it had ever seemed in the videos, before he hid it all away again. But it was too late now. Will had seen it in that one shy, careful glance. He finished introducing himself. “My name is Will. Will Stewart.”

Charlie raised a hand, as though for half a moment he’d thought about touching Will’s face. Then he blinked and frowned and appeared as stern as a blushing man could. “Charlie Howard,” he said gruffly, as if Will didn’t already know. He was wonderful. “How about enchiladas?” Charlie asked seriously. Of course he was serious. Will had forgotten about food, and Dani, and the rest of the world, and still, Charlie was serious about helping him. Will was going to marry him. “Would enchiladas be okay?” Charlie continued, oblivious to this for the moment. “We could make vegetarian, if you prefer that?”

“Charlie Howard, I am almost swooning at the thought of you in my apartment,” Will told him, using the same earnest, matter-of-fact tone that Charlie had. “But I don’t think I can make those.”

“I can.” Charlie seemed to surprise himself with the speed of the offer. “I mean, I can show you. If you’d like.”

This time, Will did purr. “Yes, Charlie. I’d like that a lot.”

And I will let you know if my auction offer is accepted. :)
thatrcooper: (sleepy holly by holly_ita)
Back to that official news I promised.

Dreamspinner accepted "A Beginner's Guide to Wooing Your Mate" --shocking me more than anyone. Now, of course, I have even more doubt about it. Should I have made it longer? (It's only about a hundred pages.) Should I have given it an epilogue?


This is good news though. It also means that I had to submit the story that follows it, the story that wouldn't go away, "Little Wolf." (Which is over 300 pages somehow). I made myself submit it this evening. Now I have even more doubt, and eight weeks in which to feel it.

But that's okay. Feelings are good.

Speaking of which. I want all of you awesome people to know I'm okay. A little slow, at the moment. Some anxiety issues and some crying but okay. Good even. Better than I was. As I was just telling a kind anon, my mood swings usually aren't so sudden or dramatic and there was a lot of personal drama that made it worse. (It's still happening, in fact, but I finally remembered the ways I've learned to deal with things, and I feel better about starting to face all of it. Someday. For today it was enough to submit "Little Wolf" and make myself work out a little.) Anyway, I wanted to say again that you all have been amazing. To show my love, I thought I'd post this.

So on Tumblr last week, I tried to kick start my brain into active/writing mode again (it didn't really work. Everything was painstaking and slow and focusing sucked) but I did manage to answer three of the writing prompts people gave me.

Here is one. I will edit the other two and post them at a later date. (They were Will/Charlie prompts.)

The prompt was amnesia, and I chose Ray and Cal from "Some Kind of Magic" because lately, the Beings stories I've done have involved werewolves dealing with their instincts, and how they might trust their instincts, but they don't really understand them. Also there is a very, very vague "Little Wolf" reference in there, but it isn't a spoiler or anything.


Read more... )
thatrcooper: (charlie and will)
So... you guys are pretty great. Just so you know. :) Depression sucks, and sometimes it hits with no warning and drains you, and it makes trying to fight your way out of the hole so much more difficult. Then, you know, everything in the news. (My Tumblr right now is sadness and outrage, and I understand if people unfollow me or avoid me for a while. You have to do what's right for you.) I didn't intend to talk about any of that, by the way, or my life at the moment, but not acknowledging it felt weird. You can't be struggling not to fall deeper into depression and despair, and then learn that someone lost that fight, and not be upset about it, even if you didn't know that person.

I'm not going to go into details. I am just going to repost something I've posted around before.

7 Cups of Tea for online support and help, or just someone to listen

Most countries have their own suicide prevention groups. Look them up, bookmark their websites, program their numbers into your cell phone. Maybe you don't need them now, but you might someday, and I want to know people have them available. Okay?

Anyway. I'm making myself cry now, so I'll stop. (Believe it or not, it's a good thing I'm crying.)

Uh, I originally started this to share "official" things with you all. It seems kind of stupid to talk about right now though. Maybe I will do another post over the weekend. I did some shorts in an effort to claw my way back to the surface. I'll probably share those too. :) Thank you all again for your kindness, and I hope you're all well.

thatrcooper: (pye pye pyewacket by rani)
Sometimes I wonder how much I ought to talk about, what sort of writer-blogger should I be? Share everything personal? Share nothing personal? Something in the middle? Only positive things? Then I think, meh, girl, focus on the stories. But that does leave weirdness that still has to be addressed.

Like right now I'm in a weird in between place with my stories. Normally I am down for in between and undefined, but other times a definition is useful. Am I a writer? (Or at least, a paid one?) Am I better off as someone with a real life, outside of my head, job who only writes when she can, as a hobby? I know some people like my stories, but most people hate or are indifferent to them, from what I can tell. I am, and always have been, a weirdo outsider. So really not being hugely successful or popular isn't a new thing for me. (Always the weird bridesmaid, never the weird bride). But I've reached a point where I have to do the math (ugh) and figure out what's best for me, financially and mentally. So I'm kind of in a strange headspace right now. It doesn't mean I'm not writing or doing anything, just that my mood has once again swung down and I'm not in condition for a lot of things at the moment. Real life can wear a person down, sometimes.

For something less melancholy to talk about, we could discuss buttsex in m/m romance fiction. The expectations for it and the ways it's used and written. But uuuggghhhh that sounds like a deep discussion (no pun intended) and I don't think I can handle it yet. I only mention it at all because of Wicklow and his touch/trust issues.

Speaking of Wicklow. Did I ever tell you guys how Lucy and I like to discuss an event that happened before the book, when all of D.C. was convinced Rhoades was already sleeping with Wicklow (even if they didn't know their exact relationship or what Wicklow does for a living)? And some political rival of Rhoades' attempts to go after Wicklow to get at Rhoades, and Rhoades finds out and slowly, thoroughly, ruthlessly, destroys that person to make it clear to everyone the consequences of trying to go after his people/his Wicklow? And he never mentions a thing to Wicklow? He simply continues to invite him over in the evenings, and feed him and care for him and watch him when he thinks Wicklow won't see?

Only Wicklow always sees more than he lets on, and he hears the rumors. He doesn't think Rhoades did it for him, exactly. He thinks Rhoades was protecting the team, but this is Wicklow and he doesn't like debt. And secretly he is pleased Rhoades did this merciless thing for them. He's proud of him, fond in a way Wicklow doesn't have words for. So he decides to reward Rhoades, in his way, and holds still when Rhoades watches him and lets him look. Until he's shivering and unduly warm and confused because he thought he was doing Rhoades a favor but he is the one who feels better with this unspoken thing shimmering between them. Rhoades is looking and for the first time, although Wicklow doesn't say it or even think it directly, Wicklow is considering what Rhoades wants from him. And he is warm, and he is not scared. Perhaps he ought to be. He knows what Rhoades is capable of. But he is safe there in Rhoades' library. Rhoades will never hurt him.

And by the way, thank you, anyone who reads my stuff, and especially those who send me comments. It's honestly one of the greatest feelings to hear about how someone stayed up late to finish your story, or how it made them cry. Sure, I respond awkwardly and probably always will. But it's genuinely moving to know somebody liked something I did that much. You guys are great. :)
thatrcooper: (paris by cunningcroft)
A Very Rhoades Christmas

In which I was going to write a snippet after the events of Wicklow's Odyssey with all kinds of smut in it, and wound up distracted by a jealous Rhoades. But he's so adorable when he's pouting.

(Some slight spoilers for the novel, but nothing too bad I don't think. Also, unedited because this was for Tumblr)

Thank you to everyone who turned up to my Meet The Author chat. You were wonderful! *mwah*

A Very Rhoades Christmas )
thatrcooper: (natalie wood natalie wood by teh gandu)
For anyone with a Goodreads account (I think. I'm not sure. Maybe anyone can go?) I am doing a Meet The Author chat thing this Saturday.

Here's the link Meet R. Cooper which is kind of a weird thing since anyone here has technically "met" me already. But you know. That's what it's called.

It will be at the GR Dreamspinner group, for three hours. 1:30-4:30 July 12. Pacific Time. (For those in other countries, this means go by San Francisco time on the world clock on your phone. Not that I am in San Francisco, but I can see the Pacific Ocean from here... okay. I can see the bay from here, not that actual ocean ocean. Not gonna lie. I wish I could see it though.)

You can ask me questions about Wicklow and Rhoades (or, say, Amelia, Louis, or Pilar) or any other character you want. I will be posting excerpts from current things and hopefully soon to be published things, maybe talking about my love of random alternate universe versions of my own stories, and oh hey, there will be a coupon offer. I might do a giveaway, although I have no idea how to do that, so.

(Such a clueless dork, you have no idea. My third grade teacher actually told my mother I would never get far in life without a secretary to handle basic things for me. This has proven to be true. But how does one get a secretary before one is a success, I ask you?)

If no one feels like asking me questions, I might just ramble on about steampunk or fairies for three hours. Or werewolves. Or imps. Or dragons. Or lonely ex-cops who are afraid to reach out for the love being offered them.

To recap, got questions about upcoming or current stories of mine? Then come over to Goodreads on Saturday and take pity on me. There's a coupon! Excerpts! Nervous babbling! It'll be fun. (Hopefully).
thatrcooper: (sleepy holly by holly_ita)
Hey! I said I would pass on the release date when I found it out, aaaaand then I forgot. I am such fail. I can't even tell you. Tsk.

JULY 7. IT'S JULY 7. THE RELEASE DATE IS JULY 7. (Oh right the poison. The poison for Kuzco. The poison chosen especially to kill Kuzco. Kuzco's poison.)

Sorry about that. However, I've been informed that pre-ordering is possible. Which is good, because Dreamspinner sent me about twenty sheets to sign to put in the paperback copies. Now I just have to actually sign them. IDK. If I were Rhoades, and I were signing a book, I would sign with something smart and classical and Greek. If I were Wicklow, I'd probably just slash an "X" and be done with it. (Yes, I make things too complicated. I should just sign my name. But where is the fun in that?) I signed A Boy and His Dragon as if I were Bertie autographing books. Why can't Rhoades sign some books?

Still with me? Sorry. Scattered thinking today. But um, yes, July 7 for the release date. July 12 for my Meet the Author thing on Goodreads (not nervous about that at all oh wait I am actually incredibly nervous and trying not to think about it.)

In other news, Dreamspinner has a new Author Arcade feature going up, in which you can access information about the author more easily, including links to social media and all that. I haven't filled out my profile yet (shocker) but I will. :)

I also submitted a novella-ish Being(s) in Love story a few weeks ago. So hopefully they will want that and soon you will get to read about the baking werewolf in love. Then I am finishing up getting Little Wolf ready for submission (which, okay I just want it done). This exciting!! Even if, somehow, it ended up at about 360 pages. (!!!) This is too many pages. I know this. It's a nightmare and yet they are so cute and precious to me. We will see.

To recap: July 7. July 12. Arcade thing. A Beginner's Guide to Wooing Your Mate. Little Wolf.

And um, sorry about my crazy. Here:

Tim watched Nathaniel take another steadying breath, then quickly glanced away when Nathaniel opened his eyes again. Tim wondered if he knew how Tim had been studying him, because his voice was as warm as his scent. “May I touch you?”

Tim had to be hearing things wrong. He tugged at his ears. “What? You’re asking to touch me?” He recognized that Nathaniel was trying to respect his feelings but that wasn’t a request Tim could be expected to answer calmly. He licked his mouth. “Yeah okay, sure, why not?” He could do breezy, really. Breathless-breezy, tense with anticipation-breezy. “Knock yourself out, you beautiful weirdo.”

Nathaniel crossed the rest of the space and stopped in front of him. Then he reached out and let his palm rest on Tim’s neck. “Beautiful weirdo?” he echoed, almost tenderly, and Tim pulled in a quiet breath. Nathaniel brushed his hand up over Tim’s throat, his fingertips trailing over Tim’s skin before he took his hand away.


thatrcooper: (Default)


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