Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Butterfly’s Child -- a novel about gay parenting

It's Tuesday, and that mean promo day on my blog. Today I'm featuring one of my favorite works, because it has to do with gay parenting, and much of the story is seen through the eyes of Jem, a seven-year-old.

Butterfly’s Child by Alan Chin
Published by Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 274

A few years ago, while there was considerable controversy about gay couples adopting children in some southern states, I decided I needed to write something regarding gay-parented families. I wanted to make a statement that traditional, straight parents did not necessarily provide a better environment for children, and that gay couples could provide a stable, loving atmosphere where kids could flourish. This is a story I slowly, but assuredly fell in love with through the telling – mostly because of the kids.

Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/3kh4s2h

While back in the West to attend his grandmother’s funeral, Cord Bridger uncovers two shocking revelations: his grandmother had a lesbian lover named Juanita, and he has a teenaged son named Kalin. Fate brings all three together, but to preserve his new family, Cord must leave his safe life in New York City behind to carve a living from the harsh ranch lands of Nevada.

To forge a life with Juanita and Kalin, Cord must first discover the dark secret burning a hole in Kalin’s heart. With the help of Tomeo, a handsome Japanese veterinarian, Cord travels a gut-wrenching road of triumphs and tragedies to insure his son will survive the sinister violence of his past. But as Tomeo becomes more than just a helpful friend to Cord, a new set of problems arise between Cord and Kalin that may threaten the happiness of them all.

Cord moseyed back to the porch swing and stayed there long after the rain had stopped and the boys had gone to bed. A lustrous sheen spread over the work yard as the moon peeked through the clouds. The light grew brighter as the clouds parted, revealing a full and lovely silver face and throwing down bushels of light.

The Jeep pulled into the workyard and parked at the stone house. Tomeo went inside, but he left the front door half open. A minute later a yellow light brightened the interior, and Tomeo placed the lamp near the front window.

Cord was thankful Tomeo didn’t restart the generator to have electric lights. The lamplight glow brought a quiet comfort. A figure in the window drew Cord’s attention.

Tomeo stood with the curtains falling against his bare shoulder. He had shed his shirt and leaned against the window frame. Cord studied the column of his neck, the curve of his shoulders. His gaze traveled down the length of slender torso to find a patch of white hugging the man’s waist. Yes, he had stripped down to his briefs. A smile adorned his face, which meant he knew Cord sat in the shadows, watching. His left arm raised and curled above his head, posing.

Cord sucked in his breath and held it. The lamplight turned the slightly muscular frame amber. It was the sexiest thing Cord had ever seen. It felt like a cool river flowing through the middle of his chest.

Tomeo moved away from the window, but Cord kept staring, hoping he would slip back into view.

A minute later the yellow lamplight moved to the bedroom window, spilling across the workyard. The front door still hung open. Cord’s eyes went from the door, to the bedroom window, to the door. His heart was not even thumping; the invitation was clear enough. They had come to a silent understanding by using the ancient language of flirting.

Cord hesitated another moment, listening inside the big house to insure everything was as it should be. He stood, still trying to decide what to do. He heard a window opening upstairs. He cocked his head, listening to the slight stirring from the boys. That was enough to cast a shadow of reservation across Tomeo’s open door. Still, the prospect of making love to that sexy man pulled at him—the intimate comfort, the pleasurable sharing of flesh and feelings. So intimate, so pleasurable, that he knew he would not cross the workyard.

He retreated to his own bedroom, stripped off his clothes, and settled under the top sheet. Was it absurd, he wondered, to throw away a relationship with Tomeo in order not to damage his fragile relationship with the boys? Could Tomeo be some sort of wedge? Possibly—as much progress as he and Kalin had made, their relationship was not wedge-proof.

He felt confident he had made the right decision. However, he was too excited to sleep. He lay awake in the darkness, naked, covered by the sheet. The thought of Tomeo so close, stripped to his cotton briefs, had his mind sizzling. He imagined pressing his cheek to that soft fabric, nuzzling the hardness hidden beneath. He felt his flesh turn electric; hot sensations gathered in his groin. He shook the thoughts from his head before his hand reached for his own erection.

He glanced at the nightstand. There in the moonlight, barely visible, was a book: another of Tomeo’s texts on Buddhism. His scattered readings and occasional attempts at meditation had not made him the least bit mindful. When he read the text, he thought he understood the theory—nothing is permanent, everything is in a constant state of change until it breaks down and dies, and this is why attachment to things causes suffering. But he thought about the boys asleep above him, and he wondered what was so damned wrong with attachments? Why shouldn’t we allow ourselves to love wholly and break our hearts when it changes, fades, and dies? Isn’t the ecstasy worth the pain? Or is there a middle ground? He had so many questions the book failed to answer. He wanted to talk this over with Tomeo because he felt he must be barreling down the wrong path. But he remembered the Buddha’s last remarks: be your own light, work out your own salvation with diligence.

As he stared up at the dark ceiling, he heard the back door creak, footsteps, then a tall figure slipped into his room, still wearing those white cotton briefs. He moved to the bed and knelt beside Cord. His hand slipped under the sheet, touching Cord’s shoulder, then wandering down his flank, running in a smooth arc over nipple and abdomen.

“What are you doing?” Cord whispered.

“Taking the bull by the horn,” Tomeo said as his fingers tightened around Cord’s erection.

Cord tried to protest, but before he could, his mouth was smothered by satiny lips. Surprisingly, Tomeo’s breath tasted sweet; the life rising out of his throat felt as hot as a furnace.

Tomeo slowly, passionately, sucked away Cord’s breath, and with it went his resistance. His fingers reached up, not to push away, but to stroke those sunburnt cheeks and roam across neck and shoulders. He wrapped his arms round Tomeo’s solid torso and drew him into the bed. Tomeo banged his head against the headboard, and they both stifled a laugh.

Tomeo stretched against him as their legs tangled in the sheet. Cord felt the distended fabric of Tomeo’s shorts against his belly, heat waves enfolded him, and their lips pressed into a continuous kiss. Cord was shocked at how good this man felt, as though Tomeo reached deep into Cord’s body with velvet fingers and caressed him from the inside out, setting fire to his nerve endings, making him twist and rise and arch at Tomeo’s will, like a puppet being manipulated by a master puppeteer. Cord had never experienced anything like it. Nothing before this came close.

Tomeo pulled away and whispered, “I love you, Cord Bridger, and I intend to do whatever it takes to make a life with you.”

Cord received those words all the way to his marrow. It felt satisfying and simultaneously not enough. He buried a moan in the soft of Tomeo’s throat while hugging him tightly enough to crack ribs. He needed to fuse with this hot skin and be devoured. Cord kissed the man again, kisses that said yes, yes.

And why not? What Tomeo’s books had taught him was that love is a peach. It’s ripe for the briefest time. If not picked and eaten, it falls to the ground, turns brown, and rots.

Other work by Alan Chin
Novels: Island Song, The Lonely War, Match Maker, Simple Treasures
Screenplays: Daddy’s Money, Simple Treasures

http://tinyurl.com/d54rtd (Examiner.com articles)

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