Warren walked in from the cozy cabin’s kitchen, stirring his spiked cocoa, and frowned. Kasey sat on the floor, leaning back against the couch, clacking away on a laptop. The blond walked over and nudged Kasey’s thigh with his sock feet. “Hey, it’s vacation, you. You’re not supposed to be working.” Settling in the corner of the sofa, he pulled his legs up so they lay behind Kasey and attempted to peer at the screen.
Looking up at Warren as he made himself comfortable, Kasey smiled lopsidedly. “It’s not work. At least, not our work,” he said, meaning the international newspaper where they were employed. “It’s sort of a side job.”
Snorting, Warren nudged the back of Kasey’s head with his knee. “Vacation,” he reiterated.
Mitch stuck his head over the loft railing and looked down at them. His hair was stuck up at all angles. “Shit. Damn keyboard. I was dreaming that we were snowed in at the newsroom, and Carroll had announced that we had to write all of next year’s columns before we could go home. Put that thing away,” he ordered, trying to smooth his hair with his fingers as he padded barefoot down the stairs. “I need caffeine.”
Kasey snickered at Mitch’s hair and typed furiously at the keyboard again while Warren lifted a foot and tried to rub Kasey’s ear with it, just to be annoying. Kasey swiped at him. “Get off me!” he said, though he was still grinning. The other two guys were his best pals, having formed a solid working relationship and friendship over the last couple of years. He swiped again at Warren’s foot.
“Vaaaaa-caaaaa-tion...,” Warren drawled. “What’s so important that you’d ruin our lovely relaxation with the sound of that infernal thing?”
“He’s probably writing to his girlfriend. I knew I shouldn’t have gotten the cabin with wireless Internet,” Mitch muttered, wandering in from the kitchen, blowing the steam from the top of an extra large mug.
Kasey sighed. “If you really must know, I’m working on my book.”
“Book?” Warren echoed.
“Book?” Mitch repeated, pushing at Warren with his hip to get the blond to move over so he could look over Kasey’s shoulder too.
Warren shuffled to the left, still reading over Kasey’s shoulder, and then he jerked back. “What kind of book is that?” he asked, his voice full of surprise.
Kasey frowned and looked back at the two men. Both were blond, but personality-wise they were worlds apart. That was part of why Kasey liked them so much. Except when they wouldn’t leave him alone about something. “You know, I could say ‘This is my private business,’ but somehow I think that wouldn’t stop you two from bugging the hell out of me about it.”
“That’s sex!” Warren exclaimed, surprise thickening his British accent. “Like, down and dirty sex, even.”
Mitch had read farther than just discovering it was sex. “And it’s good,” he added. “This isn’t the first book you’ve written, is it?”
Kasey grinned. “Thanks. No, it’s not my first book.” He had a thought and started typing again, then his eyes sort of slid to one side as he stopped short of typing a word, wondering if they were still watching. “Um, so, I can put this away, I guess.”
Warren was now reading more closely. “Boy, she must be buff. Athletes, are they? Muscles, strong arms....” His voice trailed off and his eyes narrowed.
Mitch chuckled, watching Warren’s reaction to the next series of words.
“I think you left a letter off there, ‘she’ instead of ‘he’?” Warren asked, voice unsure.
Kasey swallowed and sighed. “No,” he said quietly.
“No?” Warren echoed, voice edging upward.
“Back off, Warren,” Mitch said more seriously, wanting to head off any problems. “This is the first time you’ve written a gay sex scene, though, isn’t it?” Turning sideways on the couch, he stuck his feet between the cushions for warmth and stared at the dark-headed man sitting on the floor.
Kasey’s chin shot around, his eyes wide. “Wha... How’d you know that?”
“Gay sex,” Warren muttered, and he fell back against the couch, looking put out. “Would read better with a girl.”
“Pretty obvious, actually.” Mitch shrugged. “It doesn’t work quite that way.” He smirked.
Kasey’s eyebrows shot up. “Then how does it work?” he asked before thinking.
Warren frowned and leaned over to read again. “I don’t get it,” he muttered.
Both Mitch’s friends knew that he slept with both men and women, but since they’d never asked, Mitch had never gone into details. “Well, the way you’ve got him touching Brock... it’s more the way a man would touch a woman. You can’t just drop the ‘s’ from your pronouns and have gay sex. Would you want to be touched that way?”
Warren tilted his head as he read more, still frowning. Kasey frowned and re-read what he had written, and then he sighed. “It’s crap. My publisher wanted me to write a subplot with a gay couple to see if it would go over, and I’ve got no clue.” He made to delete the whole section.
“Wait.” Mitch grabbed Kasey’s wrist. “It’s not a bad set up, and I think your publisher’s right. With the success of ‘QAF’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ it is an up-and-coming market.” Mitch grinned at his unintentional pun, drawing an echoing one from Kasey.
“‘QAF?’” Warren asked, glancing at Mitch, who patted his leg with an indulgent smile.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Kasey said reluctantly. Then his eyes lit up. “Think you could give me a few pointers, Mitch? Just for reference, you know?” Warren’s head was turning back and forth between his two friends like a table-tennis ball.
“That’s a request I never thought I’d hear from you.” Mitch laughed. “Sure. Hand me the laptop so I can get a feel for the characters. You two go fix us some dinner. I’m hungry after my nap.”
Kasey chuckled and passed the computer up to Mitch. “C’mon, Warren. Surely the concept is not so totally alien that you’re speechless,” he said, taking his friend’s hand and pulling him up from the couch.
Warren flushed a little as he stood up right against Kasey’s chest. “Just... hadn’t really thought about it, I suppose,” he mumbled.
Slinging an arm over his shoulders, Kasey started them walking to the kitchen. “Well, I hadn’t either, not really. I’ve been writing erotic romance for a while now, so it doesn’t shock me too much. After a while, it’s just parts, yeah?”
As they walked through the door into the kitchen, Warren answered. “But man parts and man parts. Not man parts and woman parts.” The swinging door closed them off from the living room.
Mitch chuckled again, sinking down into the overstuffed couch and reaching for his coffee. Since they were snowed in, he’d liberally laced it with brandy. It didn’t take long to lose himself in Kasey’s characters. The man was a damned fine writer with a knack for infusing his story with romance and humor, not just sex. He jolted, slightly disoriented when Warren and Kasey returned. “That was quick.”
“Sandwiches,” Warren said, still looking a little oddly at Kasey.
“And soup,” Kasey added, glancing to Warren, knowing he was still a little off-kilter. He handed a mug of soup to his friend with the laptop. “So, Warren is okay with my writing hot sex, apparently, just thrown by the whole guy-on-guy idea.”
“Hey!” Warren objected. “I’m not thrown. I’m just….” He wrinkled his nose. “I don’t want to say ignorant, but I guess I am,” he muttered to himself.
Mitch laid the computer aside and sipped his soup. “You’ve got a good set of characters, and your main hetero pairing is strong. The problem is the way the secondary two are reacting to each other. You’ve got a bisexual man attracted to his long-term straight friend. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but....” Mitch paused, reaching out suddenly and grabbing Warren’s thigh, high up so that his fingers brushed his cock.
Warren jumped, spilling hot soup all over his lap. “What the hell, Mitch?!” he exclaimed.
Mitch looked at Kasey. “He just wouldn’t react with unbridled passion. You’re going to have to work him into the idea.”
Glaring at Mitch, Warren tried to mop up the soup on his sweater. “I don’t want anyone grabbing at me like that with no warning, woman or man.”
Kasey narrowed his eyes and looked between the two. “Okay, so what would you do?” He looked expectantly at Warren.
Warren looked up from his sweater to see both of his friends looking at him. “What?”
“Well, you saw what his initial reaction was, so first you’d need to tone down the approach. Instead of having him grab for his crotch, have him move closer on the couch while they’re watching the movie. How would you react to that, Warren?” Mitch asked, reiterating Kasey’s question.
“React to what? You guys are talking about fucking characters in a book, not me. Make something up!” Warren had stripped off his soaked sweater and was working on the buttons of his jeans when he realized that he was practically discussing gay sex with his best friends in his underwear. Flushing, he held his sweater to his chest and stood up from the couch. “I’ll be right back.”