Age is Just a Number – But Let’s be Realistic

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Maybe it’s a gay thing, but I am a bit of an age fascist when I watch films. Not in a sexist way or anything. It just bugs me when I’m watching a film where, for example, the supposed teenage son is about thirty-five years-old. 

It’s made me think about some of the classic films that feature actors playing roles where they are meant to be much younger than they actually are.

Here are few that sprung to mind.


Ahh, how we cried as 17-year-old Rizzo bared her soul about sleeping around and teenage pregnancy, with her angst-ridden rendition of ‘There are worse things I could do’. Perhaps we would have been less sympathetic if actress Stockard Channing had been playing her real age, 33. Come on woman, you’re practically middle-aged, kick Kenickie into touch and grow up! And if you’ve only slept with a boy or two at your age, you’re hardly loose! Channing was not alone in playing way below her real age. Jeff Conaway, who played Kinickie, was more than mature enough to handle the responsibilities of fatherhood, at 28 and sweet, naive Sandy was portrayed by a 30-year-old Olivia Newton John. 

North by Northwest

Yes, Cary Grant was known as the ageless, debonair star of everything from screwball comedies to intense thrillers, but actress Jessie Royce Landis must surely have been slightly put out at being cast as his mother in Hitchcock’s 1959 North by Northwest. Grant was 55 at the time of filming, while his screen mother was just eight years his senior. Jessie was far nearer the star’s real age than Eva Marie Saint, who plays Grant’s love interest – she was 35 at the time of filming.

The Graduate

When his character Benjamin Braddock tells older fame fatale, Mrs Robinson, “I will be 21 next week”; Dustin Hoffman was actually 29, while Anne Bancroft, playing the seductress Mrs. Robinson was just 35 – despite telling the hormonal Benjamin, “I’m twice your age.” Kind of makes the whole scenario seem a lot less scandalous, doesn’t it. Just get on with it guys!

The Railway Children

Who can forget those adorable kids, waving their red bloomers at a steam train to prevent immanent disaster?  In fact, one of those children, cute little 11-year-old Phyllis was played by 20-year-old actress, Sally Thomsett. Sally was actually three years older than Jenny Agutter, who played her big sister. Sally’s real age was a closely guarded secret, even from the crew working on set. The actress nearly let the cat out of the bag, however, when she and Jenny ducked out for a wild night of clubbing during filming. According to IMBD, director Lionel Jeffries was not impressed and grounded both stars until the final scenes had been shot.


Critics had a lot to say about Madonna’s performance in film musical Evita,not all positive. Personally, I thought she was very convincing as a not-that-talented entertainer who slept her way to the top. Slightly harder to swallow is the facts that at the outset of the movie, Eva is meant to be 15 years old – Che, the narrator confirms this in the lyric: ‘There was nowhere she’d been at the age of fifteen’. While Madonna looked great for 38, even she couldn’t carry off 15! No doubt, the diva’s’s closest advisors offered words of wisdom such as ‘Maj, if you’re going to play a girl of 15 you need to take a long holiday first, or get some new material, girl!’ 

The Dressmaker

Consummate professional and English rose, Kate Winslet, could convince us of most things, but maybe not that she was the same age as super-hunk Liam Hemsworth in 2015 movie, The Dressmaker. Winslet, 40 years-old at the time, was actually 15 years the senior of Liam, despite their characters having been in the same school year. Washington Postcritic Ann Hornaday questioned the believability of the pairing in her review, asking: ‘And how are we supposed to believe that an ab-tastic love interest named Teddy (Liam Hemsworth) is remotely believable as her contemporary?’ I’m assuming it’s the age difference Ann is referring too and not Hemsworth’s hotness, because Winslet has a hotness all of her own!

The Opening Scene from The Black Mask

I don’t want to show Hard Lessons all the love, so here’s an exert from my earlier male/male erotic romance The Black Mask.

Chapter One

Sam Bradley is giving me a lecture about the latest installment of The Black Mask, the series I write for his fantasy fiction magazine, Exciting Adventurers. I don’t know why I still make a habit of coming to his office. It’s cluttered and pokey and, lately, Sam always seems to be giving me a stripping down—and not in a good way.

Actually, I do know why I keep coming back. It’s because Sam is hot—not in a fantasy boyfriend kind of way, but in a ‘real man, needs a shave, could do with a haircut but is still so sexy’ way. It started out that I just fancied him. I’ve always been a sucker for unobtainable men. But over the months that I’ve been making excuses to pop up to his office, I’ve developed a real thing for the guy. There’s another side to him, apart from the whiskey-drinking hard man he projects. He doesn’t show it often, but the softer Sam is caring. When his last girlfriend ended their relationship for another guy, he was devastated and we ended up talking for hours as he opened up. I think that’s the point where my feelings went from pure lust to actually caring. But what can I do? Sam is one hundred percent straight.

The other reason Sam is not boyfriend material, besides the being-straight part, is that he sometimes seems a bit homophobic. Unlike most fantasy fiction magazines, Exciting Adventures is yet to embrace the gay community. Sam likes to keep things very heterosexual, and he’s not happy that the character I invented, Alex Dark, aka The Black Mask, has started flirting too obviously with other guys.

“I don’t mind him flirting in a blokey way with gay guys,” says Sam, resting his elbows on his desk. “You know, like he’s being friendly but has no interest in them, but in this latest installment when he tells that guy he has a cute butt? That’s going too far.”

“Well, what if I see The Black Mask as bisexual?” I ask.

“Well then, I’d say take him to another magazine,” says Sam.

I wish I could tell Sam how I know for sure that The Black Mask is bisexual, but even I don’t quite understand. When I wrote the first story about The Black Mask, it was as if someone was dictating it to me—or actually, more like I was seeing a film in my head of how the story should pan out. And it had been like that ever since. I’d sit down at my computer with barely an idea in my head and images would just float into my brain. Two hours later I’d have the next installment. I decide not to raise this bizarre element of my writing process and instead come back at Sam with another approach.

“Your readers love him. He’s the main reason Exciting Adventures still sells while other fantasy mags have disappeared or gone digital-only. He has a cult following.”

Sam leans forward across his desk. He really is bloody sexy. He has striking green eyes and full, slightly dry lips that he licks frequently. He’s too macho to use lip balm. It’s hard to tell how old Sam is, because his face is always masked by about four days of stubble, but I’d guess he’s in his late thirties, about fifteen years older than me. He took over Exciting Adventures from his old boss, a guy called Frank, who launched the magazine about forty years ago, when fantasy and sci-fi mags sold by the truckload. These days, it only sells a few thousand copies a month and pays a pittance to contributors like me, but Exciting Adventures is fun to write for, apart from Sam’s apparent homophobia.

“I’m not anti-gay,” he says, his gruff voice faltering slightly over the word ‘gay’, as if he finds it hard to say, “but I need to think of the readers and what they want. A lot of them have been reading Exciting Adventures for four decades. They’re not ready for their superheroes to start boning other guys.”

I briefly imagine leaning across the desk and kissing those lips—a long, slow kiss that will silence him for a shocked moment. Then I’m angry with myself for liking this man so much and I challenge him instead.

“Are you sure it’s not just you that isn’t ready?” I ask, shifting in the hard-backed chair I’m sitting in. The jeans I’m wearing are skinny fit and very tight across the crotch, and I’m getting turned on. Hearing the words ‘guys boning each other’ come out of Sam’s mouth has that effect on me. I’m pretty sure Sam can’t see my lap from where he’s sitting, but at some stage I will have to stand up and these jeans won’t hide a raging hard-on.

When Did You First Realise You Were Gay? (Part 3)

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I ended the last part of this tale by saying that the 12 year-old me didn’t want to think about being gay or straight. And that is partly of the problem with giving anything close to a clear-cut answer to the question I still get asked “When did you first realise you were gay?” When I was 12, the last thing I wanted was to be gay. I wanted to be that boy running across the park, not the one furtively poring through the men’s underwear section of my mum’s catalogue.  I spent years pretending I wasn’t attracted to boys, which makes pin-pointing the age at which I fully realised my sexuality almost impossible. Because even when I did know for sure, I was trying to convince myself I’d got it wrong and that one day I would wake up wanting nothing more than to make love to Debbie Harry. 

 Certainly, once I moved up to secondary school – a pretty rough all-boys comprehensive – the feelings I had for other boys became less platonic. Although, I was so naive, any sexual fantasies I had were pretty tame. And the romantic feelings never rose to the levels they had with William. They were transient yearnings, with one subject replaced with another within weeks. They were often intense though, and the effort of hiding my feelings from the boys concerned must have taken a constant effort. I obviously succeeded, as I don’t remember ever being called out for a lascivious glance. 

But can I even say with absolute certainty that my sexuality had fully formed during this time. There was another major crush to come before my school life finished, and just to confuse the issue, it was on a girl.

After the fifth year at my secondary school, I progressed into the sixth-form college, which combined pupils from my school and the neighbouring girls school. It was exciting to be in mixed company again. I hadn’t always been the outsider I’d become in secondary school.  In junior school I’d been popular, partly because it was mixed and maybe I found it easier to form friendships with girls, which in turn led to friendships with larger groups, including boys. In an all-boys school, this process hadn’t been possible.

My sixth-form crush was called Laura. She was full of energy and humour, and a bundle of insecurities, combined with an apparent boundless confidence. I loved her, I’m sure of that. When I found out she was dating another boy in the sixth-form, I was devastated. If I tried to talk to Laura about him, I couldn’t even bring myself to say his name, my jealousy was so acute.  I wasn’t sexually attracted to Laura, but if she’d been romantically interested in me, I would have been delighted and I definitely would have dated her, maybe ended up in a sexual relationship, who knows, I may have ended up married to her. How often must that happen, that someone who knows they are gay forms a crush on a girl at an impressionable age, enters into a serious relationship, only to devastate her years later with the revelation that its other guys they actually fancy?

Perhaps that’s my answer. I genuinely knew I was gay at the point when I stopped separating romantic love and sexual love. Once I started having sexual relationships with other guys (later than most, at around 20), I stopped having crushes on girls. Once I allowed those lustful floodgates to open, my crushes were for guys only, and always a combination of romantic pining and lustful longing. 

So, next time I get asked the question, “When did you realise you were gay?”, maybe I’ll give a truncated version of this essay. Watch their eyes glaze over as I recall each crush, each early lustful dream, and analyse them before judging if they marked a genuine sexual awakening, or just another step towards one.

Or perhaps I’ll just ask them ‘When did you realise you were straight,’ and let them do the hard work while I eat my dinner and sip red wine.

12 Signs You are a Middle-aged Gay

You may once have been the twink that turned heads on the gay scene, but if any of these ring true, you could have become a middle-aged gay like me.

1.    You’ve become a fetish. At first, that attention from twenty-something guys is flattering, until you realise, you are the older man. You’ve joined the ranks of bears and fat blokes – you’ve become a fetish!

2.    You miss going out on the pull. Yes, it’s easier these days to meet likeminded guys looking for fun – it’s just a quick snap of your genitals away. But you kind of miss the excitement of actually going out to find some action – the eye contact, the flirting, the tension in the taxi back to theirs. The realisation that you slept together two months ago and they have really grotesque feet…Maybe you don’t miss that part.

3.    You really need a grooming regime. Back when you were a twink, you took pride in your appearance, sure, but there was far less to worry about. One day you wake up and discover eyebrow hairs that are two inches long, nasal hair that Prince Charming couldn’t hack his way through and those bags under your eyes that used to disappear by mid-morning, they’re not just overnight bags anymore. 

4.    You dance like a dad. How did this happen? You have no children, you don’t even particularly like kids, but still, you dance like your father at a wedding. 

5.    Just saying no isn’t hard any more. Gurning your way through an evening and talking shite was never attractive, now it’s positively unseemly.

6.    You can’t pass a pet rescue centre without thinking what a great companion a cat would be. Hey, it’s not like you’re out all the time.

7.    You need to learn to cook. How did all your 40-something friends suddenly become domestic goddesses, when they spent their 20 and 30s off their heads in Heaven? Dinner parties are the new house party, so invest in Delia’s How to Cook.

8.    You can’t shop at Topman anymore. It was the affordable go-to alternative to catwalk fashion, but one day you find yourself standing in Topman staring at the t-shirts and realising you don’t understand the cool slogans anymore. Maybe it’s time head to Zara, or if you really want to embrace your middle-age, Burtons.

9.    You start to resent having to be funny. Why do straight men get to be grumpy and speak in sentences that don’t end in punchlines? 

10.  You talk about the scene in your day, as if you’d fought in WW 2. No-one cares how hard it was for you in the 70s/80s/90s – they gay youth of today are out, proud and loud and want you to shut up!

11.  You miss when Pride was more political. We all love a boy band, and of course it’s great that straight people enjoy Pride too, but there was something exhilarating about marching through the streets in ridiculously tight shorts and giving the finger to all the haters gearing at you as you passed by.

12.  You start to notice how many gay people are on TV now. It’s wonderful that gay people are represented so much more on the small screen, but sometimes it can take you by surprise when two guys get it on before the watershed. Mr Humphries never did that! Even Colin and Barry in EastEnders only ever shared a quick peck, and that made headlines!

I love Horror Films

While I may be making a name for myself as a romance writer, my other great love is horror. It’s hard to pin down the exact moment I became a horror lover, just as it’s hard to say the precise point at which I realised my sexuality. It was a love that developed gradually. 

Before I was ever allowed to watch a horror film, I pined for them. They were a forbidden fruit that I was desperate to taste.

I remember dying to stay up late on Saturday nights to watch the horror double bill on BBC2, but my parents were strict about bed times. I managed to catch the odd glimpse on the black and white portable in my bedroom, but my clandestine viewing was usually discovered before I had a chance to enjoy more than a few minutes.

Then, on Saturday 28 June 1980, I was allowed to stay up and watch the first of that evening’s double bill (I had to look up the precise date on Wikipedia). The movie was Night of the Demon (1957) and it remains a firm favourite to this day. It was followed by The Ghoul from 1975, but I was under strict instructions to go to bed before this more modern offering started. I think I managed to watch about half an hour of it on the portable before my older brother came to bed and switched it off. I’ve seen it several times since, and love it.

My horror hungry heart was finally set ponding by Hammer House of Horror. This 13-part anthology series was screened on ITV between 13 September and 6 December 1980, and it was on early enough in the evening for me to see it. It terrified me (I was a sensitive soul) but I loved it! I’ve seen it since and it doesn’t terrify me anymore, but it’s a wonderful piece of nostalgia. At the time though, certain episodes and scenes had me lying awake for hours, reliving them in a state of genuine fear – the doppelganger hitchhiker with the long black finger nail; the werewolves being looked after by a human nanny, played by the wonderful Diana Dors; and blood pouring from a water pipe all over a party of little kids in the episode called The House that Bled to Death.

But my real horror awakening came at the age of 15 when I went with my mother to visit my aunt in California for three weeks, during which time my older cousin rented every horror film available from the video store. I was introduced to The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror, The Entityand so many more during those sun-drenched weeks. And after that, there was no looking back. My parents finally invested in a VHS recorder and started renting videos from our local newsagents, and as long as I didn’t stay up past my bed time (and yes, I still had a bed time even at the age of 15/16) they seemed happy for me to watch all manner of horror.

My next golden age of horror exposure came a few years later when my friend Heather introduced me to the sordid wonders of the Scala Cinema in Kings Cross, but I’ll save that for another blog. The Scala deserves a blog of its own.

When Did You First Realise You Were Gay? (Part 2)

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In my earlier blog I talked about the first time I remembered being aroused by a sexual explicit image of a naked guy. But was this claustrophobic encounter with an erotic image the exact point when I realised I was gay? 

Or did my gay awakening start with a kiss – at the age of ten, on the seam where the hard playground of my junior school met the sports fields? I was running, William was chasing. Breathless, I had fallen and William, yellow-blonde hair hanging across his jubilant face – a face I can barely picture now – had fallen on top of me. And then came the kiss – just a rapid peck on the cheek. 

‘Why did you do that?’ I screeched – because that was what you did when another boy kissed you.

William responded with a shrug. And then we were surrounded by other boys, clamouring for the game to continue, oblivious to the fact that my world had been set spinning.

When you try and recall every memory of someone, it’s surprising how few you actually have. Someone you think of as so significant has been filed away as a handful of snapshots, adding up to a few minutes or even seconds.

This is how I remember William.

I told him I was gay – although I used the world homosexual – and that he was the cause. So, maybe I’m right to give the answer to that inevitable question as ‘when I was 10.’ This was definitely the first time I told anyone I was gay. It was also the last time I told anyone for a very long time.

I remember clearly the moment I made the confession. We were on the path that led to one of the side entrances to the school. I had run after him, wanting to confess. He seemed to take the revelation in his stride. He was 10 – he probably didn’t understand. I only knew the word because I’d watched an episode of Penmaric, a TV costume drama where the term had been used to describe two men. My older sister had filled me in on the meaning and I had related it to my feelings for William.

But William just wanted to be a 10-year-old boy– kick a tennis ball around the playground with his mates; play kiss chase – with girls; talk about how much he fancied our teacher, Mrs Waterlake. If he fancied Mrs Waterlake, why had he kissed me? I don’t think Mrs Waterlake even liked William that much. I’m sure I saw her sigh once when his hand shot up for the tenth time in one lesson.

But one lunch-break I told him I loved him in the playground and he said he loved me too. I thought this was it, that William was finally admitting his feelings for me.

‘Don’t send me a Valentines card though!’ William laughed. I laughed too, although I didn’t see why not. The next day when I mentioned our joint declaration, William said he’d been joking.

I had a girlfriend at the time called Jane-Anne. Poor Jane-Anne was so earnest about our relationship. We would take her dog – an old mongrel called Joe – for walks over the park and talk about when we were married, how many children we would have, what we would name them.

I went along with it all, although I felt nothing – no pre-pubescent butterflies, or yearnings. Jane-Anne had dark, straight hair down to her waist, large hazel eyes and a mouth that seemed permanently pursed with indignation. 

She sensed, I realise now, that my heart wasn’t really in our relationship. I failed every test. When she asked if I thought she was beautiful, I’d reply, honestly, that I thought the new Charlie’s Angel was beautiful, but that Jane-Anne was very pretty. I did like looking at beautiful women. I loved the idea of a woman who was both beautiful and tough. Wonder Woman took my breath away. But it wasn’t a lustful admiration. 

But then neither were my feelings for William based on anything carnal; I was a genuine innocent, with a regular early bedtime that protected me from anything post-watershed TV might have had to offer – I’m not sure how Penmaricand its homosexual heroes slipped into my awareness, but even they were just two men who loved each other – I never really thought about them having sex. So, perhaps this wasn’t the beginnings of my sexuality taking form. Wasn’t it just a platonic crush, like millions of other boys have, who go on to be totally heterosexual?

It was an intense crush though. A lot for my 10-year-old brain and heart to take.  I thought constantly about when I could return William’s kiss. 

We were walking home in the dark from school when the opportunity arose. William’s younger brother, Andrew, was with us, but other than him the road was deserted – we’d stayed late to rehearse for the school play. I kept whispering that I was going to do it – and I don’t remember him objecting – not to the idea of the kiss itself, just the presence of his brother.

William lived on the corner of Brompton Road, less than two-minute walk from my house. As he and Andrew stopped opposite the entrance to his road, looking left and right as they prepared to cross, I planted the kiss on his cold, smooth cheek.

I turned and walked away the second my lips left his skin. My legs weighed nothing and I thought I was going to fall. I made it to the driveway of my house and glanced back. William was laughing and rubbing his cheek.

William had a birthday party a week later. I wasn’t invited.            

 ‘My mum says I can’t be your friend anymore,’ William told me when I protested, ‘Andrew told her about you kissing me.’

‘You kissed me first,’ I hissed. Or maybe I didn’t. Maybe I just sloped back to my desk, already carrying the weight of loss, and hurt – and the taint of guilt and self- hatred that would mark me as an outsider throughout the remainder of my school life.

If my love for William was platonic, then maybe it wasthat porn magazine that ignited my early realisation that I was gay. I remember that we hid it under some leaves near to the Hollow Tree, planning to come back for another furtive flick through its charged pages. 

And then we’d raced each other back to the road. And for a while, feet thumping on the hard, dry ground, wind whipping my face, heart pounding, I wasn’t queer or straight, I was just a 12-year-old boy running across a park.

When Jake Met Nathan – the Start of My Latest Male/Male Romance

As promised, here’s the opening few pages of my latest gay erotic romance, Hard Lessons. No sex in this bit, I’m afraid but you do get to see the first meeting between the two hot guys who end up falling for each other.

If you want to read more, you can pre-order your copy now and it will be a sexy surprise come 1 October when it’s officially released. Enjoy!

Chapter One

During the taxi ride from the train station to the interview location, Jake began to wonder if his decision to escape London—and his ex, Matt—had been such a good idea. He wanted a change of scene, some time away from familiar places that held painful memories of himself and Matt together, but maybe he’d gone too far. He’d been in the cab for twenty minutes and, apart from one collection of cottages and a general store, he’d seen nothing but fields. He tried to relax and enjoy the scenery. If the job didn’t feel right or the location was just too remote, he didn’t have to take it. It might not even be offered to him.

On paper, it looked perfect—a two-month, live-in position at a large house in Somerset, teaching basic reading to a student. Jake assumed the pupil was a young child, maybe about to start school, whose parents wanted to give them a head start. The agency hadn’t given much away, which would normally have annoyed Jake, but the trip to Somerset had been paid for, including overnight accommodation if he wanted it. Any time away from the flat that he still shared with Matt until he was able to raise the deposit for his own place, was welcome.

Breaking up with Matt wasn’t the only challenge he’d had to face this year, and it was only March. He’d also lost his job as a copywriter at a small advertising agency. It had been his first job since university and he’d loved it, but the company had been forced to make cutbacks and he was the most junior person there and the last one employed. It was a case of last one in, first one out, and there was no redundancy as he’d not been there long enough to qualify. Three days after he’d received that bombshell, Matt had delivered the news that he was in love with someone else and felt their relationship had run its course.

So, here he was heading to an address in the middle of nowhere, hoping for two months of escapism while he worked out what to do next with his life.

“Nearly there,” said the driver, making Jake jump.

“Oh, great,” he replied.

“He’s a nice bloke, Mr. Foley,” said the driver, eyeing Jake in his rearview mirror. He was a gruff older guy, who had barely spoken since meeting Jake at the station. Five minutes later, he steered the car off the road onto a dirt track, which ended at two tall iron gates. The driver opened a window and leaned out, pushing an intercom button set in one of the brick gateposts.

“Hello,” said a female voice.

“Got a visitor for Mr. Foley.”

There followed an electronic buzz and the gates swung inward. This was all much grander than Jake had been expecting. The mud track turned into a driveway, bordered on either side by trees and dense shrubbery. The drive wound around to the right on a steep uphill gradient and, as the taxi reached the top of the slope, Jake saw the house. It wasn’t quite a stately home, but it was impressive. The central section looked old. Jake was no expert on architecture, but judging by the red brickwork, arched windows and intricate decorative details around the main porch. He guessed it dated back at least one hundred and fifty years. Neo-Gothic, he thought it was called. In contrast, on either side of the original house, two modern wings had been built—three floors of glass and metal with huge arched windows dominating the top floors of both. It was a bold statement, risky even, but Jake liked it. He was looking forward to meeting the Foleys, whom he assumed had helped devise the design concept.

“Here you are,” said the driver, pulling the car up a few feet from the stone steps that led to the front door. “The fare is all paid for on Mr. Foley’s account.”

Jake momentarily struggled with the dilemma of whether to offer the driver a tip. Deciding that the driver was earning far more than him right now, he made a hasty exit from the vehicle. He didn’t look to see if the driver was showing his disapproval at the lack of a gratuity but hastened up the steps, pausing at the towering front door.

He half expected to see a bell rope, like out of some old horror film, but instead, set in the wall to the right-hand side of the door, was another intercom. Jake took a deep breath, wondering why he felt so nervous over an interview for a temporary job, and pressed the buzzer.

He waited a few seconds, but no voice responded. Should I press again? While he was deciding, the door was flung open and a woman, wearing a fitted woolen dress and adorned with chunky but expensive-looking jewelry, stood smiling at him.

“Jake?” she asked, pushing some of her thick blonde hair away from her face, perhaps to get a better look at him or maybe to offer a better view of herself. Jake guessed she was around thirty-five—or possibly older but ageing well.

“Mrs. Foley?” he asked, stretching out his hand.

Miss Foley,” she replied, gripping his hand in both of hers and pulling him into the hallway. “I’m Nathan Foley’s sister. But please call me Alice.”

“It’s good to meet you,” said Jake, taking in the expansive space.

The hallway retained numerous original features, including a stone floor and a dark-wood staircase set against a bare brick wall to the left. A huge chandelier hung from the center of the ceiling, like something from The Phantom of the Opera.

“Don’t judge,” said Alice, following Jake’s gaze. “It came with the house and we didn’t have the heart to get rid of it. It’s also worth a fortune.”

“Oh no,” said Jake hastily, “I like it.”

“I prefer the modern parts of the house,” said Alice, gesturing him to follow her across the hallway and up the stairs. “Nathan’s in his office. He said to bring you straight up.”

Nathan’s office was on the first floor in the modern west wing of the house. The door was made from a light wood set with several frosted-glass panels down the center. Alice gave three sharp knocks and a deep voice called, “Come in.”

Alice pushed the door open.

“Don’t let him bully you,” she whispered. “He’s very sweet really.”

How to totally unsettle someone, thought Jake, but he offered Alice a smile and stepped into the room.

Nathan Foley sat on a two-seater couch, not behind a desk as Jake had expected. He was in his early thirties, Jake guessed, dressed in jeans and a white shirt, sleeves rolled neatly up to reveal muscular lower arms. As Jake approached, Nathan remained sitting, legs wide apart, one arm draped across the back of the sofa, as if cozying up to an invisible date.

“Hi,” said Jake, holding out a hand. “I’m Jake Holden.”

Nathan finally leaned forward and grasped Jake’s hand, before gesturing to a chair opposite the couch. He smelled of expensive cologne and his handshake was firm.

Hard Lessons is Available to Pre-order

My latest male/male erotic romance is available to pre-order now over at the Pride Publishing website and on most online retailers. Here’s the official blurb to whet your appetite. I will post some exerts over the next few weeks to really get you going!

When recently single Jake heads off to rural Somerset for a job interview as a reading teacher, he’s expecting his pupil to be a child, but it’s the handsome and charismatic property dealer Nathan Foley who needs his help. Their relationship quickly becomes sexual, and Jake worries he is rushing into another relationship too fast. And, as the heat between them intensifies, Jake begins to question Nathan’s motives.

Adding to the confusion is Nathan’s bitter older sister, Alice, who seems to have taken an instant dislike to Jake, as well as a strange man who Jake spots wandering around the grounds of the house.

What is Alice’s problem? Who is the handsome stranger? And are Nathan Foley’s feelings entirely genuine? Perhaps Jake is the one who is about to learn a hard lesson.

General Release Date: 1st October 2019

When Did You First Realise You Were Gay? (Part 1)

“When did you first realise you were gay?”

It’s the inevitable question that really shouldn’t be inevitable anymore, but it still gets asked. The woman asking this time is sincere, however, genuinely interested. It’s just her way of getting to know me, the man she’s been sat next to at a dinner party, and the three white wines she’s consumed in the past hour and a half have given her the confidence to put the question.

I have several stock answers. The easiest is just to give an approximate age. I usually say ‘when I was about 10’, which invariably elicits a surprised, ‘Really? That’s young.’ If I’m feeling a little more confrontational, I’ll reply with a question of my own, ‘I’m not sure, when did you realise you were straight?’ This inevitably causes so much confusion, the conversation briskly moves on. Or ends.

On this occasion, I go for option number two, not to be confrontational, but because I actually like this woman and I’m curious to know what her answer will be – plus I’ve had three glasses of red wine, so I’m up for a discussion. As I hoped, she takes time to consider my come-back, but then just agrees that it’s very difficult to give an exact time and date.

When I get home, I wonder what my answer would be if I were to really try and give a complex, honest response. The fact is, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint the exact time that you realised your sexuality – whatever the sexuality might be. I have a series of mentally recorded moments that I assume are relevant to my personal growing awareness that I was gay.

I remember one of the first times I was aroused by a sexual image of a man. It was when I was 12 and I found my first porn magazine in the Hollow Tree over the local park. I was with Gary Donaldson as I usually was back then. I don’t know why – he made it quite clear that if I dropped dead he wouldn’t really care. His gaze was generally void of expression and if the subject of friendship ever came up, he’d dismiss it with a curled top lip as if admitting to actually liking someone repelled him. 

Even Gary showed some excitement at the find, however. He tried to grab the magazine from me, grunting like a pig with the exertion, but I was stronger than he was – not something I could have said about many people – and I held it tight until we were sitting in the belly of the tree.

The Hollow Tree was a stalwart feature of the park. It stood at the edge of a small copse – a thirty-second run from the play area in one direction and the tennis courts in the other. 

That’s all it was, a dead tree with a hollowed-out belly, about head height to a 12-year-old, easy to climb into with a well-placed foot and a gentle heave upwards. Two small people could just about fit into the hollow, as long as they were happy to share each other’s breath.  

Normally this wouldn’t have been such a pleasant experience – Gary’s breath stank of pickled onion flavoured Space Invaders. But with the magazine between us, intimacy was not an issue. And as we flicked through the sexually explicit images, neither was breathing much anyway.

‘Cor! ’ growled Gary, his usually dull eyes blazing through tortoiseshell rimmed glasses. ‘I’d shag her!’

The woman in question, spread across the page like a dissected biology experiment, looked like she might oblige. 

Although I made the right noises and lewd comments, I found nothing attractive about any of the women featured in the grimy treasure. It didn’t stop me looking – I was 12 years old, and curious. But it wasn’t until a picture sent in by a reader, showing herself and her boyfriend posing boldly for an invisible photographer, both naked and aroused, that I felt a genuine surge of pleasure.

I tried not to stare too hard or for too long.

To be continued…

Getting My Kit Off Age 21

When I was 21 I met the editor of a gay porn mag in The Black Cap in Camden Town and told him one of my fantasies was to pose naked for a photographer. Well, a few weeks after meeting him, he turned up on my doorstep with his camera equipment and said: “Get your clothes off then.”

It was a horny experience to be sure, although by this time I’d had sex with the photographer several times, so there wasn’t that thrill of being naked in front of a stranger and the cold eye of a camera lens.

Interesting fact: Back then, around 1989, UK porn mags couldn’t show erect cocks. There was a rule that they couldn’t be standing at more than 90 degrees, or something. So, when I became aroused, I had to push my boner down the side of my thigh.

The images look so amateur now, but I’m happy I did it. In the late 80s magazines like this one were the only contact many people had to the gay world so I was glad to do my bit to bring some pleasure to some isolated gay men.

I’m not sure I’d bring them quite as much pleasure if I repeated some of these poses now. Maybe that’s something for a future blog.

If you enjoy reading sexy stuff, please check out my male/male erotic romance novellas The Black Mask and Hard Lessons. They are available direct from the publisher’s website or from Amazon UK and Amazon USA, and other online sellers.

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