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Friday, 18 January 2013

Storyville by Lynn Lorenz

When policeman Max O’Rouke first patrolled the Storyville red-light district in New Orleans, he fell for piano player Tommy LeBarre and Tommy fell for Max. During those two years, however, they never acted on their desires. After all, how could a cop and a piano player in a whorehouse ever be together?

But now, when Tommy’s bordello is raided and he is left homeless and on the run from danger, Max is the only person who can protect him.

Someone wants Tommy dead, and Max will do anything, even kill, to protect his boy...

Genres: Gay/Nostalgic Contemporary (1910s-Era)/Mystery/Detective/Suspense/Thriller/BDSM (Light)
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (29k words)

Read a short excerpt...

...I’d been a cop walking a beat since I was nineteen. Nothing I ever wanted to do but be a cop. I’m Irish. It was cop, fireman, or bartender, but my dad was a cop, so, there you have it.

I’d been assigned to Storyville since I was twenty-seven, almost three years ago. In all that time, I’d gone with the flow, like the flotsam and jetsam in the muddy waters of the river running past this city headed to the gulf. If my captain said no busts in Storyville, I’d lay off. If he said go break some heads, I’d swing my baton.

Like a good cop. It’s all I’d ever wanted.

Until I stepped through the doors of The Pleasure Palace and caught sight of Tommy LeBarre playing that beat-up upright piano. I’d never wanted anyone so much. And I knew wanting him was so far out of line, so far over the edge of fucked up, that if I ever crossed that line, there’d be no turning back. Not for me.

Not for a good cop.

So I stuffed my want down deep. Kept listening to Tommy play that piano—jazz they called it—through the open windows of the Palace. Kept pushing him outta my head, and outta my cock and my balls, where the want for him was so bad it hurt.

And kept walking my beat.

“I heard there’s talk about shutting Storyville down,” I told James Stoli, my wop patrol partner, as we strolled down Basin Street.

That’s right—an Italian and an Irishman. We made quite a pair. Both of us were second generation. His parents could barely speak English, and if you count the thick Irish accent, neither did mine. New Orleans was changing; it was no longer just French and Spanish. Immigrants were moving in, changing neighborhoods, like the Irish Channel down around Magazine Street, where my parents lived.

His family lived off Esplanade behind the Vieux Carre. Lots of Italians there.

So, you see, James and I had more in common than you might think, us two cops on this beat.

All around us, Storyville came to life, rising out of the dusk. We passed old Joe at the top of his ladder lighting the streetlamp and raised our batons to him. He nodded as he swung the glass door shut.

“Never. Too many of the hoi-poloi have Blue Books.” James tapped his chest pocket where he kept his own copy of that little book describing Storyville’s most talented ladies of the night. Used to call them soiled doves, but here in Storyville, these doves were more like peacocks and their houses no cheap saloons, but well decorated salons where New Orleans’ rich and famous played.

The door to the Brown Pelican opened, and a woman stepped outside. She pulled a dark red flowered dressing gown around her, lit a cigarette, and inhaled deeply. “Hi, boys,” she drawled. Her whiskey-roughened voice and southern accent could excite even the most straight-laced men.

James answered, “’Evening, Miss Lavidia.” He doffed his hat to her. It worked on him, not me, but I gave her a polite nod.

“Coming ’round later?”

He gave me a quick look, then said, “Sure. Tell Miss Victoria I’ll be by after my shift.” Not for the first time I wondered if I should say something about James’ fancy for Miss Victoria, a mulatto whore he’d fallen for hard.

We all knew nothing could come of it, but that didn’t stop James from giving it to her every chance he got. For a fee. Miss Victoria might have liked James, but she was still a whore and still charged him, just like all the others.

Another thing James and I had in common. We were both in love with the wrong person.

Miss Lavidia winked, finished her cigarette, and then stubbed it out on the cement steps of the large house. Ever since the Chicago fire, people were more careful.

James puffed up and twirled his baton on its leather strap. I hated when he did that—made him look like pompous ass. Not that he wasn’t, but I had to walk next to him.

Old Joe had carried his ladder on to the next lamp on the street.

Across the street, at The Pleasure Palace, music floated out of the open windows. My mouth went dry and my cock took notice. Tommy had started playing early...

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