As one of the #CMCon16 featured bloggers, I get to have a little fun with a few of the fabulous authors who will be hitting the beach for Coastal Magic 2016 by showcasing their many stories. Last year I interviewed four of the the CMC15 authors, but this year I’m changing it up. I came up with this really fun idea to have the authors introduce us to their worlds by sending their characters to the beach.
Drew Drummond stood in the hot sand, staring moodily at the water breaking in waves against the shore, horizon stretching for miles. The absolutely worst place for a red-haired guy who could get burnt just by standing too close to a photo of the sun. Didn’t matter that he was hanging out at the beach in his hometown of Sandy Bottom Bay, Florida. Maybe it even made it worse. Ease of access didn’t change the sticky humidity or give the place any exotic flavor.
The heat from the sand quickly warmed up his feet. Without shade, the temperature would be close to unbearable within minutes.
How had he gotten talked into this excursion again?
Cliff Garcia, the town’s sexiest cop and Drew’s boyfriend, bounded up beside him, gorgeous brown skin chock-full of sun-protecting melanin. “Nope. We didn’t forget the umbrella.”
It was all Cliff’s fault. There wasn’t much Drew would deny Cliff, and he’d been bugging Drew for ages to spend the day at the beach. Presumably out of some perverse need to torture Drew.
Drew would bet his entire life savings—meager though they were—Cliff had never experienced the excruciating agony of a vicious sunburn. His boyfriend was brown head to toe and all points in between. While Drew loved the contrast when they were naked in bed, it was practically a law of the universe that Drew did not belong at the beach.
Cliff hummed to himself as he set up the umbrella and squat beach chairs. Drew concentrated on not sweating to death. He had on long shorts, a long-sleeved T-shirt, a completely dorky Gilligan hat, and SPF 4000 applied thickly enough he was more prepared for a lube-wrestling match than sunbathing, and he was having infinitely less fun.
“Sit, sit,” Cliff urged. “Did you want to go for a swim?”
“Are you insane? I’d probably start smoking like a bug under a magnifying glass.” Drew had been partially kidding, but Cliff’s expression fell.
“I’m sorry. Did you just want to go home?”
Thing was, there wasn’t a whole lot to do in their tiny town. Sure, it was the second-most haunted town in Florida and had built up a thriving cottage industry around paranormal activity—Drew himself was a psychic tarot reader—but most activities had tourists in mind, not locals. Cliff had gone to a lot of trouble, including packing a huge cooler with snacks and beverages. He’d even invited some of their friends to come along and grudgingly invited Drew’s brothers too. Telling Cliff this was about the last thing in the world Drew wanted to do today would be like kicking puppies.
“Don’t be silly. Of course I don’t want to go home.” Was he overcompensating with the enthusiasm? A little lie with the best of intentions. “But I don’t think I’ll swim yet. I’ve just gotten myself slathered.”
Cliff leered at him. “You know I’m happy to help with your reapplication.”
Drew smiled. “This is a family beach, mister. You go have a swim if you want. I’ll read for a bit and swim after the others get here.”
Drew plopped down in one of the chairs. Cliff ripped of his shirt and yanked down his shorts to reveal a skimpy yellow bathing suit. Nope. No way would Drew risk letting Cliff apply his sunscreen. He was way too tempting in that tiny suit, and Drew didn’t want to embarrass himself in front of townspeople who already thought he and his family had questionable morals. He’d definitely wait until his friend Kyle or one of his brothers arrived, to eliminate any chance of springing wood.
He pulled out his book but wasn’t quite ready to start reading. Instead he grabbed the tiny plastic spade and bucket Cliff had included in the mammoth bag of beach stuff. Drew had teased him for including it, but now that he was here, a fine, salty mist hitting his face from the crashing waves, he totally wanted to dig in the sand.
He was busy excavating through a thick patch of buried shells, some of them attractive and unbroken, when a mini shower of cold water droplets splashed over him. He shrieked and looked up to see Cliff’s wide smile.
“Scared the crap out of me.”
Cliff didn’t look particularly chastened as he grabbed a towel, wrapped it around his waist, and sat in the other beach chair.
“Find anything interesting?” At least he was kind enough not to comment on Drew’s disparaging remarks about the pail and shovel.
“Some nice shells. There’s sort of a cache down here.” Drew dug his fingers through the assortment of shells, chasing an enticing roundish cylindrical piece with a knobby end.
Suddenly the sunny beach scene disappeared, and all Drew could see was a flash of metal, gleaming under a moonlit night, as it came down with a sickening thunk. When it rose up again, blood dripped from the blade, and a chill swept through Drew.
Drew blinked, Cliff’s words reaching his ears midsentence, like he’d just tuned in to a different radio station. Cliff knelt in front of him, hands gripping Drew’s biceps.
“—kay? Drew. Are you okay?”
Just a few moments ago, Drew had been so heated he’d been worried about melting into a puddle. Now he couldn’t stop the violent shiver from racking his frame.
“Just breath slowly.” Cliff wrapped a spare towel around Drew’s shoulders. “I have to find my phone. Call this in.”
The chill faded quickly as Cliff burrowed frantically through their beach bag.
“I’m okay. You can relax.” The psychic episodes that had begun after a recent head injury hadn’t been that plentiful, but there had been enough of them that Cliff probably shouldn’t still be this freaked out. Even if they almost always entailed death and destruction.
“Relax? Are you kidding? You’re holding a human bone—a metacarpal, I think—and were talking about blades and blood. Someone’s dead, murdered. Did you see who?” Cliff pulled the phone out from the bottom of the bag with a grunt of satisfaction.
“Hold on; hold on.” Drew realized he was gripping the bone in his other hand and dropped it, then swiped his palm across his towel. “It’s okay. No murder.”
Cliff raised an eyebrow in clear disbelief. “No murder?”
Drew shrugged. “Well, okay, yes, it was a murder, but the murderer is long dead. The blade was, I think, a cutlass. A pirate cutlass. This bone must have been washed ashore or something after the last hurricane, gotten buried under the sand.”
Cliff flopped heavily onto his back, heedless of the sand in his hair. “A pirate murder.”
“Probably hundreds of years ago.”
“Don’t suppose your psychicness happened to note the location of any loot, did it?”
Drew laughed. “No. Sorry.”
Cliff sighed. “What a shame. Be nice to get something fun out of this talent of yours.”
“I have other talents, you know.” Drew made sure his tone was laden with innuendo. Heavy-handed, perhaps, but he didn’t like seeing murders, even if they were hundreds of years old, and Cliff was a much more attractive distraction.
“You do, do you?” Cliff pushed himself up and grinned at Drew. “Since we’re the only ones here, we could just go home now.”
They’d been at the beach for less than an hour and were going to go home to get naked in bed for the rest of the afternoon. Best beach trip ever.
Drew grabbed the sunscreen and sunglasses, ready to pop them back in the bag, when he heard a little squeal.
“Here we are!”
Drew glanced over his shoulder. Kyle waved and headed straight for them, flanked by Drew’s two much larger brothers.
Cliff groaned. “Rain check, baby?”
Drew patted Cliff’s hand. “I see some rain on the horizon. Maybe in an hour or so?”
“An hour?” Cliff pressed a quick kiss on his temple. “That’s the best psychic vision you’ve ever had.”
Meet KC Burn!
I’ve been writing for what feels like my whole life. I’m a sucker for a happy ending (get your mind out of the gutters!) so it’s been romance almost all the way. After moving from Toronto to Florida for my hubby to take a dream job, I discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled my own dream — getting published. After a few years of editing web content by day and at night, neglecting my supportive hubby and needy cat to write about men loving men, I was uprooted yet again, and now reside in California.
Writing is always fun, despite the hard work, but writing about my guys is more fun than I’ve had in a long time. Love between consenting adults is a beautiful thing, and should be celebrated, regardless of sexual orientation. I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I love writing them.
MIA Case Files
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