Archive for January, 2015


PeregrineKimJaeJoong2

Just a tiny taste (totally unedited, of course) of Chapter 19 of Flight of Fantasy (Broken Pattern #2). Blowing Smoke, Broken Pattern #1, will be coming to a Kindle near you on March 5th….

Washington, D.C.
August 12, 2013
3:25 a.m.

Perry leaned against the tiled wall of the shower and fumbled with the shower valve, wincing as the cold spray hit him and turning the valve as far left as it would go. Even when it warmed up all the way, the water in his apartment was barely tepid, which was a pity.

Hauling himself upright, he filled his palms with coconut-scented soap and started to gently clean his shoulders and upper arms. The bruises were nothing to worry about, they’d fade, but he’d need to be careful with the bites. And no strapless gowns for Falcon for a while.

He laughed, surprised by how normal he sounded. He’d show his marks off with pride tomorrow night. Tonight. Whatever. And then, with any luck, they wouldn’t matter any more.

Once he’d taken care of the ragged marks on his shoulders, he grabbed the shampoo and lathered his hair. He hissed, as much in startlement as in pain, as he ran his palm over the back of his head. Probing the lump with his fingertips made him queasy; he backed into the stream of water from overhead, and stared at the red swirling around his feet.

Lochlann’s going to be pissed. The boss was fine if any of his boys wanted to cater to a rougher trade, but it had to be consensual. He’d been adamant, when he’d hired Perry: he wouldn’t let Big Boy get a reputation as the kind of place where a client could get his rocks off with violence.

“Because then I’d have to deal with them, and I hate the paperwork when I kill a client,” Lochlann had explained. Perry was sure he’d been kidding.

Pretty sure.

Yeah, he should have put a stop to it when his last customer decided to “take the fight out of” him by throwing him against the wall. He could have.

But he hadn’t wanted to. He’d needed it.

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PeregrineKimJaeJoong2

Enjoy this (completely unedited) excerpt from Chapter Two of my work-in-progress, tentatively entitled FLIGHT OF FANTASY!

Perry tried to relax back into the plastic chair. It wasn’t really made for relaxing in, though; the only way to sit in it was to slouch, in a posture that showed off a hell of a lot of leg and pretty much screamed fuck me.

A low chuckle came from across the tiny waiting area. A man who looked like Idris Elba’s younger brother was draped across an identical chair, right under the plasma screen that cycled through the price list for all the forms of massage theoretically offered at Big Boy Massage. Perry knew he could handle the shiatsu and could fake Thai, but in the unlikely event a client wanted anything else on the menu, he was screwed.

Which was, of course, the idea.

“You must be the new guy.” Idris Junior’s voice was even sexier than his smile. “Don’t worry, we don’t stay in the chairs long once things get busy.”

Perry nodded. “Boss explained the system to me yesterday when he hired me.” And what a job interview that had been, with Perry still kitted out as Falcon and carrying his stiletto heels because he hadn’t wanted to run up the stairs from Purgatory in them. “Three boys working at once, max, with the fourth out here to keep an eye on the screen.” Big Boy Massage had four small massage rooms opening off the waiting area, one for the boss’ exclusive use when he was around and three for business, two of which were presently occupied. And each of the massage tables had a kick switch built into one leg that would light up a telltale on the plasma screen if the masseur was in trouble with a client. Lochlann Doran wanted his boys to have each other’s backs.

Safety in numbers. That was how it was supposed to work, right?

Except when the one who has your back is a coward.

Long-Dark-and-Chiseled nodded, then treated Perry to the sight of a luxurious stretch, all the way from fingers interlaced overhead to bare toes pointed and curled hard, the mesh muscle shirt and leather shorts in between doing little to deter speculation about what lay beneath. And leaving Perry feeling decidedly underdeveloped by comparison. Though he doubted his companion could rock a mermaid hemline the way he himself could.

“Relax while you can, baby, pace yourself.” God, Perry could listen to that voice all night. “Something tells me it’s gonna be a long night–”

The street door opened, closed.

Sweet six-pound-nine-ounce baby Jesus.

Perry sat straight up in the loathsome plastic chair, ignoring the way his ass complained, and stared. The newly-arrived client had to be at least six-five. The first things he noticed were eyes that reminded him of pictures he’d seen of glacier ice, an uncanny shade of blue. Looking into those eyes felt like grabbing on to a bare electrical wire, and when the guy shifted his gaze to Idris the Younger, Perry wanted nothing more than to grab the wire again.
But at least now he could look at the rest of the guy without anyone noticing him going slack-jawed and stupid. The client–my client, please God, I promise to be good for as long as I can stand it, just let him pick me–had hair so blond it was almost white, just long enough to show a little wave, and wore a denim jacket over a plain faded blue t-shirt and cutoff shorts.

Now the Adonis in denim was studying the menu. Perry caught himself holding his breath.

“Do you do shiatsu?”

He’s looking at me.

“Sure do.”

The blond’s smile, and his trace of an Irish accent, combined to make Perry’s shorts feel much too tight. “Anything else?”

“We can talk about that once we get started.” The standard answer. Letting a john comparison shop in the lobby used up valuable time. Besides, Perry wanted to whisper the specials into this guy’s ear.

“Sounds good to me.”

Perry unfolded himself from the torture chair, and grinned as his co-worker gave him a surreptitious thumbs-up. Don’t wait up, he wanted to say.

He turned to oh my GOD he’s tall. His own five-eight was just right for Falcon’s five-inch stilettos, but looking up at six-five without them was going to give him a pain in the neck.

Good thing he wouldn’t be looking up much longer. Unless it was while he was lying on his back. That he could handle.

 

A New Year’s question was posed in a discussion group on Facebook which I greatly enjoy – namely, how will the fight for marriage equality change things here in the States, and where will all that energy go once we’ve achieved that goal? Well, that question immediately made my lawyer hat fly out of the closet and land on my head, and rather than subject my friends in that group to a legal brief plopped down in the Comments section, I thought I’d do a blog post. *winks*

Basically, I think the next level of the fight has to move away from challenging or passing individual laws, and concentrate on driving a sea change in the way courts look at laws which discriminate against LGBT people under the Equal Protection Clause.

All discrimination isn’t unconstitutional. Laws discriminate against classes of persons all the time – for example, a 12-year-old can’t get a driver’s license, while an 18-year-old can. This is a law that classifies on the basis of age. And when a law that allegedly discriminates is challenged in court, the court applies one of three frameworks to analyze it, depending on the group that’s being discriminated against and the interest served by the law in question.

First, there’s STRICT SCRUTINY; if this standard applies, then in order for the law to be found constitutional, the government is required to show that the challenged classification serves a compelling state interest and that the classification is necessary to serve that interest. In order for strict scrutiny to be applied, the law at issue has to either create a “suspect classification” (remember that one, it’s important and I’ll get back to it eventually) or place a burden on the exercise of a “fundamental right” (also important). The term “suspect classification” is carefully defined in law, and presently includes race, national origin, religion, and alienage; “fundamental rights” include the right to vote, interstate migration, access to the courts, and various other rights. Part of the struggle of the marriage cases that have come before the Supreme Court has been to get a judicial acknowledgement that marriage is one of these “fundamental rights”, such that any law purporting to restrict the right to marry has to pass the strict scrutiny test (serving a COMPELLING state interest, and being NECESSARY to serve that interest).

Second, there’s MIDDLE-TIER SCRUTINY, under which the government is required to show that the challenged classification serves an IMPORTANT state interest (an easier thing to show than a “compelling” interest) and that the classification is at least substantially related to (as opposed to “necessary” to – again, easier for the government to prove) serving that interest. Classifications that fall into this category are referred to as “quasi-suspect classifications”, and presently include gender and illegitimacy. In the marriage cases, specifically in Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court indicated a willingness to include sexual orientation as a quasi-suspect classification, but most analysis has proceeded under the lowest tier of constitutional review, namely:

MINIMUM (OR RATIONAL BASIS) SCRUTINY. In this tier, all the government is required to show in order to defend a discriminatory law is that the challenged classification is rationally related to serving a legitimate state interest. This is where you get all the arguments about the necessity of restricting marriage to heterosexual couples because of the state’s interest in ensuring that accidentally conceived children will be raised by both parents. And when a court uses the rational basis test, it doesn’t even need to care whether the particular justification advanced by the state makes any sense – if there’s ANY rational basis for the law, even one the court comes up with itself, then under rational basis scrutiny, it’s okay.

Now, finally, to my point… there are plenty of arenas in which LGBT people have a long way to go to achieve equality. Taking as just one example, the right to work. In 29 states, you can still be fired for being gay. If you want to challenge the law which allows that in your state, right now all the state has to prove is that the law that lets your employer get away with it is rationally related, somehow, to a state interest the court is prepared to recognize as legitimate. In other words, good luck to you. If you live in a state that includes sexual orientation or gender identity/expression in its list of quasi-suspect classifications, at least the state has to prove that its interest in discriminating against you is important, and that the law is substantially related to that interest. But in order to hold the state to that highest standard, strict scrutiny, you have to either prove that the right burdened by the law is “fundamental” – which was the argument in the marriage cases – or that sexual orientation and gender identity/expression are suspect classifications. The right to work has not been, and is highly unlikely ever to be, classified as a fundamental right. Ditto the right to housing, medical care, or the vast majority of the other rights we’re fighting for. At the very least, we have to get LGBT status included on that list of quasi-suspect classifications; ideally, though, we need to push for the judicial recognition of LGT status as a suspect classification. Once that’s accomplished, once all the discriminatory laws can be held up to strict scrutiny, they’re going to start falling. That won’t be the end of the fight by any means (it certainly wasn’t for African-Americans), but it takes one of the biggest guns out of the fight against us.