Berengaria Brown’s “The Bath House Boys.
Remember the Paint Store Boys? And Pinky’s Gay Bar?
Well now The Bath House Boys are here! Each story is a complete MM romance in itself, but the various characters reappear throughout the series, giving the reader glimpses of whose story is coming later and of previous heroes living their happy ever after.
Frank Ashman’s lover left him seven months, three weeks, four days, two hours and twenty-eight minutes ago. At Pinky’s gay bar the server shows him a brochure featuring the facilities of a new gay bath house that’s just opened in town. There he meets Ralph Sellars. They explore the delights of the bath house together. There are the rainforest showers, the hot tubs, the sauna, the swimming pool, and the restaurant, not to mention the freedom brought by the lack of clothing on the members there. Oh yes, and the bedrooms upstairs, each one complete with a drawer full of toys.
But both Ralph and Frank are burdened with baggage from the past. Can they move on and make a new future together? Or is their relationship doomed to be just sex in the bath house instead of a genuine future together outside in the world?
Not being used to saunas, Ralph stayed on the lowest step, working on the idea that hot air rises, so it’d be coolest lower down. The redhead, however, was sitting on the top row, leaning his back against the wooden wall.
“Wasn’t the pool warm enough for you?” he asked, wanting to get to know this interesting man.
“Hell, no. I mean, it’s heated. It’s warm, but I think I’ll like it better after a sauna when I want to cool down. Now this heat, this is delicious. This I like.”
“I do, too. Of course, in another five minutes I might have changed my mind.”
The other man laughed. “Yeah, me, too. I’m Francis, Frank.”
“Ralph. What do you do for a living, Frank?”
“I’m a town planner. What about you?”
For the first time ever he told a stranger what he really did, not the politically correct, politely spun version of his job. “I’m the bogeyman. I expose insurance frauds.”
“I don’t see that makes you the bogeyman. If people weren’t lying and cheating already they wouldn’t have any reason to fear you.”
Ralph laughed. “I think you’re the first person ever to see it that way. Most people think the rules are there to be broken. They see the extremely rich finding ways to avoid paying tax and think insurance premiums mean the money belongs to them and that the comparatively small amounts they steal are fair game. But I don’t chase people for ten cents. I chase them for thousands of dollars. And that includes the wealthy as well.”
Ralph stretched out on the step so he could see Frank’s face better. They began talking about their likes and dislikes, and when the buzzer rang to say their fifteen minutes in the sauna was up, Ralph was really surprised. He didn’t feel too hot, and he sure as hell wasn’t ready to stop talking to Frank.
“I suppose we’d better have a swim to cool down,” he said reluctantly.
Frank joined him on the floor of the sauna. “After that, let’s come back here. I was enjoying our time together.”
Ralph gripped the smaller man’s arms and pressed a kiss to his lips. “I was, too.” He stepped back and opened the door. Damn, the man had tasted nice. His lips were soft and sweet and just the tiniest bit sweaty and salty. I want more of him. Tonight.
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Blurb: In the small town where he grew up, Jethro Wraight was persecuted, harassed, and traumatized because of his sexual orientation. Now living far away from where he grew up, Jethro’s only just starting to learn that it’s okay to be gay. Jethro goes to the gay bath house and meets Bart Moreton there. Bart still lives at home with his parents, even though his dad keeps telling him to get a real job, because he’s determined to become an artist. His work is good, and sells well at craft markets, but he doesn’t make enough money to survive on alone as yet.
Jethro’s never had a boyfriend before, but the two men instantly form a bond. Jethro is taking his very first steps in displaying affection openly. Bart’s focused on becoming an artist. The immediate friendship between them surprises them both.
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