First off, thank you Elyzabeth for giving me my own day. ;) **laughs** I appreciate being able to stop by my most recent release with you and everyone else.
Dirty Little Secret is one of six stories in the anthology, Cabin for Two: An anthology, by Toni Griffin, Vicktor Alexander, ME, Mathilde Watson, Silvia Violet and Angel Martinez. (Make sure to see contest details below)
Now, you all may be wondering how the six of us ended up writing an anthology together—it's a cute little story, one I am happy to share…
You see… on the way to the theater…
Cabin for Two – How An Anthology Came To Be
Last September there was a retreat involving many authors, editors and their plus ones. It was during this retreat that the Cabin for Two: An Anthology was hatched. You see, in one particular cabin, ten strangers came together and found kindred spirits with each other.
We all had gone to the retreat to meet people we knew online, emailed with or talked to, and learn a few things, too. Really. There were classes. I swear. What we didn't expect was to find, meet and make some of the best friends of our lives.
After a night drive from Chicago to Tennessee, I walked into a cabin with nine other strangers. Tentative hellos and introductions were made, but the 'who are you?' atmosphere didn't last long. We talked, laughed, and quickly became engrossed with each other. I could talk to Angel, Silvia, Mathilde, Lori, Vicktor, Andi, Chris, Jonathan and Toni for hours about anything, and did. We spent all of our time together, carpooling from the cabin we were staying to where classes and meals were, and we stayed up all hours into the night sharing our lives with one another.
During one break between the classes and eating, someone suggested we write an anthology together—mainly because we were enjoying ourselves so much, how could we not want to write together. At that moment the idea of Cabin for Two was hatched. Stories centered around a cabin—much like the one we were all staying in—and the things that happen when you put two people together in a cabin. :D
When Saturday rolled around, the idea of leaving everyone was truly saddening. We decided we wanted time to ourselves, away from the retreat, and decided to barbequed together instead of going off to the restaurant that provided the meals for us. We spent a night commiserating and relishing our time together before we had to leave the next morning, promising to 'stay' together and write together. Technology is wonderful thing, no?
I miss them, my cabin buddies. I loved their laughter, their hearts and how much we could came to care about each other in such a short period of time.
It is with much love and affection these stories were written and put out there for everyone to read. Each story is centered around a cabin and what transpires there, but each has its own individual flare from its author, allowing readers to enjoy a little bit of everything.
Angel's 'A Matter of Faces' story for the Sci Fi junkies.
My 'Dirty Little Secret' story for the contemporary fans.
Mathilde's 'Three Little Words' story for fans who appreciate period pieces set in the 1950s.
Silvia's 'Their Natural Habitat' story for the men in uniformed lovers.
Toni's 'A Bear in the Woods' story for all the paranormal readers.
And Vicktor's 'The Other Cabin' for lovers of the interracial genre.
Snow, storm, transportation woes, gravity well mishaps - the list of disasters that might strand someone in the wilderness is endless. But what happens when two men are marooned together? Close quarters and intimate situations strike sparks, whether the men are strangers or lovers on the emotional rocks.
A Bear in the Woods by Toni Griffin
A bear shifter tries to convince his mate that he's not crazy while fighting threats against his own life.
The Other Cabin by Vicktor Alexander
When a young graduate finds himself at the wrong cabin facing the muzzle of a shotgun, he had no idea how much his life has just changed.
Dirty Little Secret by Freddy MacKay
A geocaching trip goes horribly wrong, but the hiker's rescuer is the one person who may be able to save him in more ways than he can imagine.
Three Little Words by Mathilde Watson
Lifelong friends have returned from the Korean conflict and now need to fight their way through the feelings they've harbored for each other for so long.
Their Natural Habitat by Silvia Violet
A forest ranger and his lover just want a nice weekend away. The bear baiters have other ideas.
A Matter of Faces by Angel Martinez
A data privateer crash lands on a barely habitable moon where he's found by a research scientist who refuses to show his face.
Excerpt from 'Dirty Little Secret'
Looking down at his phone, Erik Broden's brows drew together in confusion. The coordinates had to be wrong. The geocache should be located here. Well, not this exact spot, but where the green marker indicated it should be. He looked back up. Nope, not so much. He had spent the better part of the morning tracking down a multicache, moving from one location to another, interpreting clues, figuring out coordinates and spending a lot—a lot!—of time walking around this particular location in the Appalachian hills.
Except I must have screwed up the clue at the last cache.
Erik scratched the whiskers on his neck, annoyed and frustrated he would have to hike back down the mountainside to go over the last hint again. It irked him to no end to know he had gotten the clue wrong somehow. The clues were ridiculously difficult, and if he hadn't known some really random facts and had some interesting life experiences in different parts of the world with his friends, Erik wasn't so sure he'd have been able to solve the cache.
No wonder no one else had. He could see the average geocachers throwing their hands up in defeat after the first two hours of the find. Erik chuckled. He wasn't the average cacher though. He lived for cracking the challenging ones. He glanced back up.
A small cabin stood where his prize should have been. The geocache hadn't been found yet and the caretaker promised a 'rewarding prize' for the first find. But he couldn't claim the prize because he was in the wrong fucking spot, a spot that took him a better part of an hour to hike to.
He huffed, crossed his arms, and glared at the obtrusive house. For some reason it felt familiar but Erik shook off the déjà vu and resigned himself to the climb back down the mountain. Erik especially loved the problem-solving caches like this one. They were a challenge tailored made for him and he was particularly good at them. To have been stumped riled him.
I'm not going to be beaten. He narrowed his gaze at the house.
The structure wasn't huge, just a small log cabin with a front porch, a door in its center, and two windows on either side. But the green indicator clearly lay within the walls of the building, and not the area surrounding.
Some people had travel bug hotels in their front yards. They were a place for geocacher's travel bugs—a trackable tag a person could attach to any item with a particular wish or goal other geocachers collected, logged and then moved to a new cache—to rest and get repaired. Most geocachers didn't hide caches on private property other than the hotels though. Too many problems were involved… and trampled flowerbeds. Most people stuck to trails, parks, lampposts, and trees; basically they hid the caches in public places. In one case, a geocacher made a to-scale group of caches of the solar system starting at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. You could find the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and the other planets exploring Chicago as you went. In another instance, a geocacher hid his caches in unique ways, like having the log sheet hidden in a hollowed out screw.
Yeah, try and find a cache on a highway sign and not look nuts.
All in all, geocachers were an inventive and fun group of people. The thrill was in the find and in going to places you may not have thought of going to before, at least for Erik. That and solving other people's riddles and puzzles. He also liked how he could go by himself or geocache with a group of people.
When he tackled the larger puzzle caches like the one he had gone after today, Erik preferred to go it alone. He was in the mood to just enjoy the weather and spend some quality time with himself, decompressing from his life and the people in it.
Erik snorted, shaking his head.
There were too many people involved in his life lately. He seriously needed to consider deleting some of them. Literally. Maybe he should just delete his Facebook profile altogether? It might be less painful at this point.
A gust of wind caused Erik's wavy, wheat-colored hair to blow in front of his face. He reached up automatically, trying to pull it back, scowling. He was too lazy to cut his hair but hated when it got in the way, one of his oddities.
The temperature had dropped. Even with the sun out the breeze made him shiver. Erik hunkered down, glad he thought of grabbing his hoodie before leaving. Since the summer had been so warm, the sun being out was now deceptive. Actually… Erik glanced up, it wasn't so sunny anymore. A gray sea of clouds covered the once-clear sky.
That was quick.
Erik trembled again and stuck his phone back in his pocket. He stiffened his arms against his sides, pressing in. As if hugging himself would help him feel any warmer.
Another gust of wind whipped around Erik. The branches and leaves around him rustled from the force of air passing through them. Some of the trees still had their fall colors—reds, oranges, yellows, and browns—but many of the branches were bare. It had gotten cold so fast; fall had happened in the blink of an eye.
Or maybe the surrounding chaos in Erik's life just made it seem that way.
Thanksgiving would be coming up soon, less than a month anyway. November snuck up on Erik like a bad crap. One minute everything was fine and dandy, the next, everything exploded. The damn holiday would only aggravate his problems, too. His family would want an explanation for his cancelation. Erik did not look forward to lying to his mom. He adored her and she had been so excited when he told her he was coming home. She would be heartbroken over him ducking out of the family holiday yet again. He had promised her that this time he would be there. Not only would he be celebrating at the house, he said he had a surprise for her.
He knew she hoped he would be bringing somebody home with him. Someone significant. He had thought so, too.
Then his sky came falling down.
Erik chuckled ruefully. What a day that had been. He had no desire to repeat it. Ever.
It had hurt. That day was pain personified… and so was Erik. One hand moved to his chest, rubbing at the ache in residence there. He wondered how long it would hurt. Did he have the right to feel betrayed? Erik wasn't sure anymore.
Pain blossomed in his toe, making Erik yelp. He managed to look down before he flew forward. His foot hit a high root. Stumbling, his hands went out in front of him immediately. But they weren't what hit the ground first. His knees struck the ground with such ferocity the sharp jarring sensation following the impact sucked the air from his lungs, leaving him gasping.
Thank you stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed yourself. I am giving away one free copy of Cabin for Two. If you'd like a chance to win one, follow the directions below.
What was your favorite experience involving a cabin (or traveling)? Leave your answer and email address in the comments.