Chit Chat on Author's Corner forum news: I'll try to keep it brief.
August signups are open through July 31, 2012 for the "It's a Heat Wave Challenge!" Details can be found at the forum.
New thread called, "What We're Reading Right Now!" is up and available for comment. We're asking readers and authors to tell us the first five books listed on their Kindle or e-reader (or, even their bookshelf).
Please check out an additional new thread called "Cover Girls…the New Option for covers on . Read and share helpful tips for creating story covers on the site.
A continued thank you to everyone that has taken the time to read, review, favorite and alert our stories here on this site. We truly enjoy hearing from each one of you. Also, please check out our "M" stories at The Writers Coffee Shop (TWCS) and a Brand New site run by fellow CM authors, Kavi Leighanna, Sienna27 and The Truth Between called Fractured-reality. Com. If anyone needs a link or direction to the new site, please feel free to contact us through either a private message or while leaving a review and we'll make sure to get back to you. Each former "M" story is getting an overhaul as we publish it AND there are new stories being added all the time there as well. Currently we are adding "FREEDOM OF A NEW EXPERIENCE". Again, we'll be happy to answer any questions you have. As always, we own nothing other than our plots and original characters.
Also, for anyone following the story, "That's What She Said", the final chapter is available at both Fractured-Reality. Com and The Writers Coffee Shop.
This story is dedicated to Nebula2!
"You are not finished when you lose. You are finished when you quit," he murmured to himself, standing quietly in the deserted lobby of the building that he knew very well.
They'd been his grandmother's sage words of wisdom, uttered many, many times over the length of his childhood. And while he'd been a lot of things over the years, the one thing he'd never been was a quitter.
That was why he was here, he reminded himself. He didn't quit. Not on things, not on people, and never without one hell of a fight.
Mounting the stairs to Dr. Spencer Reid's apartment, Derek Morgan mentally centered himself as he balanced the bag of pastries and two mocha lattes in one hand. After several years of friendship and less than a year of something…else, he'd learned that he needed every bit of his self control to deal with the younger man when he was pissed.
And after today, Derek Morgan was certain that Spencer Reid was beyond pissed. The man was royally pissed.
Reaching the plain door to the unit where Reid lived, Derek inhaled deeply and lifted his fist to bang loudly against the wood. Waiting several seconds, he sighed when it appeared the man inside was prepared to leave him to take root in the hallway. Knocking again, this time he called, "C'mon, Pretty Boy. Open up. I saw your car down in the parking lot, I know you're here."
"Aren't your assumptions what got you into your current predicament of standing outside my closed, locked door?" Reid called back, his voice muffled through the heavy door.
Leaning his head against the doorframe, Morgan suppressed a groan. "I can't apologize if you don't let me inside, Spencer," he replied, listening for the other man. Finally lifting his head as he heard the deadbolt release, Morgan took a step back when the door opened.
"I'm not interested in hearing your apology," Reid declared irritably, his hair slightly mussed as if he'd been running his fingers through it. "You're an egotistical hypocrite, and I have better things to do than listen to one of your canned apologies." He would have shut the door in Derek's face if not for the foot the older man had managed to slide between the door and the jamb.
"I'm not leaving until we talk," Derek warned. "That can happen inside or with all your neighbors eavesdropping. It's your choice," he said with a shrug. "But, I did stop by that bakery you like so much and crab some of those frou frou pastries you like so much," he mentioned, waving the bag under Spencer's nose.
"Fine," Reid muttered, opening the door wider, "but, only because I'm hungry and I don't like my nosy neighbors," he grumbled, snatching the bag from Derek's fingers as the other man entered his apartment.
Watching Reid snatch one of the lattes from the cardboard container he dropped on the coffee table in front of the sofa, Morgan smiled. Maybe Mama was right. Perhaps the way to a man's heart really was through his stomach.
"Stop grinning like that," Reid complained as he took a bite of the sticky pastry. "I'm hungry. The need to eat is a physical necessity. There's nothing amusing about it."
"Sorry," Morgan said, holding up his hands in what he hoped would pass as a peace sign. "I've just never seen anybody devour those things as fast as you do. You do realize that there isn't anything nutritious about them, right. Pure sugar."
"Did you come here to criticize my dietary choices or to talk?" Reid asked sharply, glaring at him over his second pastry. "Didn't you mention something about apologizing earlier?"
"Yeah, I think it was right before you called me an egotist," Morgan challenged dryly, lifting his eyebrow as he stared at the younger man.
"I called you egotistical," Reid corrected around a mouthful. "There's a subtle difference."
"Yeah, well as I proved to you earlier this afternoon, I don't do subtle real well," Morgan confessed with a rueful grin.
"Sadly, I concur with that assessment of your character," Reid agreed as he sucked the powdered sugar off his thumb. Wiping his lips with a napkin, he crumpled it in his hand before discarding it in the now empty paper bag.
Silent a few seconds, Morgan finally grumbled, "You aren't gonna make this easy on me, are you, Pretty Boy?"
"Is there some reason why I should?" Reid asked tersely, his eyes narrowing as he stared at the other man. "You had that poor mail clerk in a head lock, Derek! Do you realize what would happen if I had reacted like that?"
"He was asking you out!" Derek retorted reflexively, his hackles rising as the memory of the events of this afternoon flashed in his mind.
"So what?" Reid retorted, his cheeks flushing with aggravation. "Did you hear me accept his invitation? Oh, wait," he said, snapping his fingers, "That's right! I didn't get the chance."
"I'm sorry," Morgan mumbled, his own cheeks burning with embarrassment. Maybe he had been a little hasty with his enthusiastic response, but he'd felt threatened, damn it. He was new to relationships that lasted longer than breakfast, especially the same-sex variety of relationship that had snuck up on him. Could he be blamed for being a little aggressive? Had Reid ever even looked in the mirror and noticed how handsome he was?
"You're sorry?" Reid gaped. "That poor guy is going to need physical therapy, Derek. Not to mention, you're very lucky I was able to keep him from reporting you to human resources for harassment. He thought you hated all gay people. Not just him, specifically. I had to explain to him that we were in a relationship before he was convinced that it wasn't just another case of gay bashing in the workplace."
Closing his eyes, Morgan pressed the heels of his hands to his eye sockets, wishing like hell he'd exercised better control. "I'll find him tomorrow and apologize in person."
"I wouldn't. He told me if you ever got within ten paces of him again, he was getting a restraining order," Reid returned with a snort.
Sighing, Morgan lifted his head to face the man staring at him. "I guess I got carried away," he admitted softly.
"You guess? You had a man half your size in a choke hold, Derek. I'm amazed he didn't lose consciousness. And for what? To assert your alpha male dominance? Should I expect you to urinate on my leg next?"
"Of course not," Derek replied with a grimace. "It wasn't like that," he denied, shaking his head as he searched for the words to describe how he felt without sounding like a mushy teen.
"Then explain it to me," Reid demanded, crossing his arms over his chest, unwilling to give an inch.
"I was jealous," Derek stated flatly.
"Tell me something that isn't obvious, Derek," Reid returned impatiently.
Scratching his bald head, Derek groaned. "Maybe it is obvious, but it also happens to be true. Don't you get it, Spencer? I don't get jealous." Seeing the doubtful look on his lover's face, he stiffened. "Ask Baby Girl if you don't believe me, Genius. I don't get jealous. Or, at least I never have before now."
Relaxing slightly, Spencer tilted his head. "Why?"
"Huh?" Morgan grunted, wondering exactly where the younger man wanted him to take the conversation.
"Tell me why you've never gotten jealous before," Reid elaborated.
Shrugging, Morgan flushed. "I dunno, man. It just never mattered much. When I was dating chicks…there was always another one to call. I mean, I never went out of my way to make the ladies like me, you know?"
"Oh, I know," Reid muttered. "Our dates get interrupted by one of those chicks every single time we go out. I'm very familiar with jealousy, Derek. I feel it every day….every time a woman or man's eyes linger on you a second too long. I simply don't act on my impulses. It's called self control. You might try it sometime," he suggested, moving to sit beside Morgan on the couch as warmth began to fill him.
"I know," Derek said softly. "I mean, not about the other chicks checkin' me out…but the thing about needing more self control. It's just…."
"Just, what?" Spencer prompted gently.
"…just that this is the first relationship that I've ever had that really matters, you know?" Derek tried to explain. "I mean, yeah, we're co-workers…and lovers…but, we're friends, too. You're my best friend. Disappointing you isn't something I get off on, ya know?"
"I know," Spencer agreed, reaching for Derek's hand and squeezing it reassuringly. "And I guess in the interest of complete honesty, I should admit that it was a little hot, watching you two and knowing you were willing to fight over me. Even if it wouldn't have been much of a fight," he admitted with a shy half-smile.
"I don't know about that," Derek said, turning his head to grin at Reid. "He was a scrappy little fella."
"I don't necessarily think wriggling for your life counts as 'scrappy'?" Reid chuckled.
Wrapping an arm around the man beside him, Morgan sobered as he looked at Spencer. "Does this mean that I'm forgiven?"
"I suppose, but may I offer a word of advice?" Reid asked gravely.
Almost afraid to hear it, Morgan nodded slowly, bracing himself for the worst.
"Next time, get me the caramel latte when you want to make up with me."
A slow smile spread across his lips as he heard his young genius' directive. "That I can do, Pretty Boy. That I can definitely do."