QSFer A.M. Leibowitz has a new queer short story collection (bi, gay, lesbian, non-binary) out: “Fall Flavors.”
Seven stories, from tricks to treats: A man discovers the benefits of autumn cologne; a haunted Broadway-themed house; a witch in some trouble; Lucifer’s daughter has a surprise for dear old dad; a pair of pre-teens on an autumn treasure hunt; a costume party; and a broken down car, a thunderstorm, and a creepy mansion.
Time for job number two, the coffee shop. Brady supposed it was a good thing he was heading to somewhere a cologne called Autumn Blend wouldn’t be so noticeable among all the other pumpkin spice aromas. Customers would just think he’d been hard at work in the kitchen.
He arrived a few minutes early and was tying his apron when Rustik stepped out of the kitchen. He paused, and his expression went from puzzled to sly.
“Mmm, Brady, you smell amazing. God, I could eat you up.”
Brady rolled his eyes, mostly to cover his pleasure over the compliment. Rustik was a Level-Ten Heat Wave kind of gorgeous, and Brady might’ve entertained a stray thought about him once or twice. Or more.
“It’s this new cologne. I posed for their ad today, and they made us try it.”
“Uh huh.” Rustik took another deep whiff, his eyes half-closed. He opened them and gave Brady a long, smoldering look. “You ever change your mind about going out sometime, let me know.”
“You have a boyfriend!” Brady exclaimed. “Um. I mean, would he be okay with that?” Not that Brady was serious. Mostly.
Rustik winked. “Baby, he’d join us if you wear that scent again.”
Brady chuckled. Rustik was a flirt, but Brady knew perfectly well he and his man really only had eyes for each other. He was probably just having some fun at Brady’s expense over the Autumn Blend thing. Brady chuckled and slapped Rustik on the back before slipping past to start work.
While he was making someone’s latte, Maybry bustled past on the way to the kitchen with some dishes. On her way back out, she paused beside Brady.
“Dude, I think you’ve been working here too long. You’re starting to smell like the muffins. You wanna switch and I’ll do the order?”
Before he could finish his sentence, Maybry took a long sniff. Her eyes went a little crossed, and she looked like she might swoon.
“Holy crap!” she whispered fiercely in Brady’s ear. “You smell amazing. What the hell is that?”
Brady stared at her while she fanned herself. Okay, Maybry was also impossibly pretty. In fact, Brady worked with a whole lot of attractive people. As in, all of them. Most of them, like Brady, worked for the coffee shop and moonlighted as dancers or models. Because, of course, that’s what coffee shop employees do.
He shook his head. Maybry was beautiful, but she’d never so much as glanced Brady’s way. She was in a long-term relationship. He frowned. Was this some kind of payback for having inappropriate thoughts about his coworkers? Maybe he deserved it, but he couldn’t help enjoying the view while they were working. It wasn’t like he’d ever said or done anything; admiring was all right, wasn’t it?
Maybry hadn’t moved from her spot, so Brady waved a hand in front of her face. “You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, sure.” She cleared her throat. “Probably just need…a distraction. Yes, that’s it. Here, you go out there, and I’ll finish up what you were doing.”
“Is that a good idea?” He thought she still looked a bit stunned.
“Just go,” she muttered.
A.M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. Their published fiction includes several novels as well as a number of short works, and their stories have been included in anthologies from Supposed Crimes, Beaten Track, Witty Bard, and Mischief Corner Books. They are an occasional host for the Bi+(plus) podcast as well as doing bi+ advocacy work and curating the best-of bi list on the QueerBooksForTeens website. They are a social media contributor for Supposed Crimes, LLC, and they post about news, reviews, and updates for the website. In between, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, books, chronic illness, and their family.