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ANNOUNCEMENT: Raise the Red Flag, by Eric Del Carlo

Raise the Red Flag

QSFer Eric Del Carlo has a new queer sci fi-alternative history book out:

In an 1867 that never was, the American colonies are finally gearing up to revolt against oppressive British rule enforced by advanced technology. British airship captain Hamilton Arkwright is captured by the rebels when his vessel is commandeered. The insurgents are also aided—reluctantly—by young Jonny Callahan, a thief and ne’er-do-well who would rather carouse on the streets of New Orleans than fight for independence. When the two seemingly opposite men are thrown together on a harrowing journey across the war-torn colonies, they must grudgingly rely on each other for survival. Despite their efforts to resist, the attraction between them threatens to throw a wrench in their plans to remain enemies.

They battle their way through American guerillas and a demolition-derby-type highway to reach the decimated streets of Chicago, where British forces are preparing to commit a war crime of enormous magnitude. Though affection has grown between them during their mission, they are still on conflicting sides, and they may have to choose between loyalty to their causes and their love.

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Excerpt

THE FAN twirled like madness against the purple water-stained ceiling. The whisper of those dusty blades touched Jonny Callahan’s bare, taut body. He was sprawled and limp—well, not entirely limp—beneath that soothing artificial breeze. One could only be naked in a New Orleans summer. It was the sole way to survive the experience.

And naked he’d been tonight, and the days and nights preceding. He had lucked in on a tasty retreat here. Someone with some tin and not too shy about spending it. Someone with this nice doss, an apartment right in the frantic heart of the city’s French Quarter. Someone with a talented mouth and cock, who wasn’t repulsively old or fat, who didn’t beat on him, who was generous with the ale and absinthe.

Jonny, at age twenty-one, could scarcely remember when he’d had it so good.

It was a third-story room, connected to other rooms. The building itself possessed a kind of charming squalor but was hardly a tenement such as could be found all over New York City. Jonny had been born in a place like that, choked with decay and disease, crowded with a squabbling humanity. He’d gotten out as soon as he could, but that early life had left him with lessons and memories.

He knew how to survive, knew the smart means to fight back against enemies. Most of all, he knew when to run. Running was good. It was a noble option, and let no one say otherwise. He had run before, and no doubt he would run again. But for the present, he enjoyed a sultry contentment in these rooms, delightfully circumscribed by the ongoing lunacy of the Quarter.

The revelry was audible, even up here, on this brass-framed bed beneath the spinning fan. Voices cried out in drunken elation. Some would turn ugly later when the alcohol and whatever else got the emotions churning in anticlockwise fashion. Not everyone could handle spirits, but virtually every person who came to this decadent city imagined that they could, as though New Orleans cast a spell upon its visitors and inhabitants, bequeathing them all the ability to absorb murderous measures of intoxicants.

Amateurs aside, it remained a splendid city. Yet even here he had found trouble. Or it had found him. Kane. He was on the outs with Kane, the local crime lord. It had probably been a mistake to become the man’s lover, but Jonny had never had much control over his impulses in that area. His cock did a lot of his thinking for him, and Kane was a dashing male specimen, darkly complected, hair coarse and wavy, with piratical features and a big arborvitae….

Jonny’s own staff, still halfway stiff, stirred against his flat, hard lower abdomen. He had jetted just ten minutes ago, Malcolm working his shaft with his hand and setting his tongue busily to Jonny’s swollen crown while Jonny writhed on the disheveled sheet beneath the whirling fan blades. Jonny himself had sportingly swallowed Malcolm’s juice earlier, allowing the older male to straddle his face and thrust himself at will into Jonny’s mouth.

His balls had slapped Jonny’s chin, and he had grunted repeatedly. Jonny had taken the man’s every plunge, no matter how forceful or deep. His throat had opened to the thrusts of that gaying instrument, and when Malcolm gave a final cry and went into his spasms, Jonny drank the salty issue until the last of it spurted from the man’s organ.

It was the least he could do for his room and board.

But it was memories of Kane roiling the spunk in his ballocks now. Jonny had joined the man’s larcenous circle, proving his worth on his first night’s work—which was how such things went. You either made good on the spot, or you could go get prigged, and maybe get the cosh on your way out.

Jonny had aided in a piece of burglary. He’d done what he was told when he was told to do it and hadn’t sassed or panicked, not even when the night watchman had come around. He had frozen with the other two men from Kane’s gang, had waited while the heavy footsteps moved on, and then quietly and efficiently resumed the job.

That had gotten him in with Kane. Provisionally, anyway. He had intended to make the most of the opportunity, for opportunity it was. Kane’s reputation in the city was sound among the underworld. If Jonny stayed with the gang and continued to keep his powder dry, he would have something like a real future amongst that crew of gainful ne’er-do-wells.

But secure futures and intelligent moves weren’t Jonny Callahan’s forte, he thought now with a self-deprecating chuckle. No. He was more for the complete cock-up, for the ill-advised gamble, for the burned bridge. Maybe that was why he was always running.


Author Bio

Eric Del Carlo’s erotic genre fiction has appeared in numerous Circlet Press anthologies. His novels and novellas of science fiction erotica have been published by Loose Id. His more mainstream (but still hot!) fare can be found among collections released by Cleis Press. He has also written scads of nonerotic science fiction and fantasy, appearing in such prestige publications as Asimov’s and Analog and with the publishing houses Ace Books and Baen Books. Every story he writes he gets equal treatment: character, conflict, resolution. He resides in his native California.

Eric;s titles at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Books-Eric-Del-Carlo/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AEric%20Del%20Carlo

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