When We Were Strangers

For my One More Thing series, I wrote a free prequel called When We Were Strangers as an introduction to the characters. I don’t think I promoted it much on social media, so I’m finally doing that. Even though it technically takes place during the summer and this is the winter. I’m really selling this, aren’t I? I hope you have enjoyed this summary of everything I did wrong, now here is the book!

Okay, this is a scene from Ryan’s story, and I would explain, but it’s pretty self explanatory.

Ryan

Have you ever found yourself standing buck naked in a wheatfield in broad daylight? Only there wasn’t any wheat. Or if there was, it was in seed form, so you were basically out in the open where anyone could see you. Has this ever happened to anyone else? Of course it has. It probably happened all the time and was so relatable.

Man, if only I could say it wasn’t every day I ended up locked out while wearing no clothes, but it occurred way more than I was comfortable with. Once. It happened once times. This time, in fact. And it was once more time than I ever wanted.

Ha-ha. Just kidding. I wasn’t naked. Nope. Not at all. Who was naked? Me?!?! No way. I wasn’t naked, you were naked! Oh my god, don’t panic. RYAN, STAY CALM. DON’T PANIC. PLEASE SAVE ME BATMAN, SUPERMAN, OR RYAN REYNOLDS. HEY, HE STOLE MY NAME. No, he had it first since he was older than me.

Ahem. Okay. As I wasn’t in the best headspace for narration, I would come back later. Hopefully when I was calmer and wearing pants.

–the rest of the story is available here for free.

Book News, plus dinosaurs! One of these things isn’t true.

Have you ever played the game ‘two truths and a lie?’ Do you want to play now? Whatever you answered, I can’t hear you, so I’m just going to keep going. Okay, the way the game works is I say three things, then you guess which one is the lie. Ready? Again, I can’t hear you. Go!

1. F.N. Manning, me, has a new story available.

2. I actually have four new stories available.

3. The new thing I’m talking about is on sale right now!

Um, maybe I should build the suspense instead of just telling you the answer. I’m going to tell you anyway. Number three is the lie. Because the story is free, so there is no sale, because you never have to pay for it. Free!

When We Were Strangers is a prequel to the first book in the One More Thing Series, One Little Word. No knowledge of the series is required to read this short story. Well, there are actually four stories altogether, which are all included in the prequel.

Here is the beginning of one story. You literally need to know no information to read this, but I’m going to tell you some stuff anyway. Zach (and friends) crash a wedding, where he flirts with an older guy and goes on a quest.

~

Zach

Under no circumstances would I ever base my life choices around Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Yes, they were rich and famous, but at what cost? They were still Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Which meant that my decision to crash a wedding reception occurred for one reason and only one reason: free alcohol.

The party took place in our hotel, and we had a break from our baseball tournament. Me, Luke Chambers, and Joey Wilson made a marginal effort to blend in by splitting the dressier clothing I packed. A formality, as getting caught hadn’t even occurred to me, because who really cared?

Apparently, Samuel cared. The uptight groomsman who seemed unfamiliar with fun and party etiquette, though watching Luke fail to bond with him was amusing.

“We’re no different than everyone else here,” Luke tried with a charming smile. “We just wanna have a good time.”

“Except everyone else was invited,” said the fun police.

Never great at thinking on his feet, Luke smiled harder, counting on his all-American good looks, green eyes earnest and dimples peeking out. “Come on, Sam—”

“It’s Samuel,” he corrected instantly with a glare. “Hardly on nickname basis as we’re strangers.”

“I’m Luke. Nice to meet you, Sam.” Luke held out his hand.

“It’s still Samuel.” Still Samuel stared at the outstretched hand dubiously until it was removed.

Luke sent me a desperate look. I mouthed ‘you got this,’ gave him a thumbs up, and left him to investigate the alcohol situation. Yes, we were best friends, but this way was more fun, and I still wanted to drink.

Sorry not sorry about stealing thunder from the bride I’d never met, but everyone could see Zach Ahmad looked damn fine. With flawless brown skin, expertly styled hair, and a roguish smirk, I… oh wait. There was a reason my amazing good looks were important. I would get to that momentarily.

As Luke took my dinner jacket, I only wore the under layers, a grey vest and a long-sleeved white dress shirt. My impeccably fit body was highlighted in the tailored clothing, and my ass looked incredible in the dark pants. Joey stole my red tie for himself as he was too big for my clothes, and he always wore whatever he wanted regardless of dress code anyway. I half respected that. I would respect it fully if he had better taste.

Anyway, back to Zach.

After discovering only those with wristbands got free, no-questions-asked alcohol, I glanced back towards Luke and caught Samuel’s eyes moving away from me. So… that could work. I interrupted Samuel boring Luke to death and took care of the situation, at least 70% sure Samuel wanted me.

Sometime after being awesome and gaining us admittance and free alcohol, I lost track of my friends. I stood at the edge of the dancefloor with Samuel. A peppy song about everything being great played loudly while people danced and had fun. A good time had by all, except for or including us? Unclear.

“Look Zach,” Samuel began, then faltered. “Do you go by Zach or Zachary? Is Zachariah an option?”

“Never,” I shot down, then sent him a small smile. “It’s Zach. Can I call you Sam?”

“Um, yeah,” he answered, nervous but no hesitation. “Sure, if you want.” He definitely wanted me.

“What’s on your mind, Sam?” I asked.

“Okay, one thing.” He seemed to psych himself up mentally before managing to speak. “Crashing a party for free booze when you’re obviously underage, uh.” Samuel shook his head. “I may not condone this, but I won’t stop you.”

“You did give us the wristbands.” I held up my wrist with the neon green band attached.

“Alright, I condone it a little.” He frowned, thinking. “Enabling, that might be the better term. I wanted to make clear, I’m not judging, but I am, well.” He shrugged helplessly. “I see through what you’re doing.”

“Okay?” I arched one eyebrow, the gesture and single word slightly dismissive out of habit. Some people had ‘resting bitch face.’ ‘Resting bitch everything’ was my default setting.

“Apparently I’m alright with corrupting a minor, but I’m not an idiot,” he explained, potentially flushing. Hard to tell with his beard. “I saw through the plan, that’s all. I want to be clear.” He crossed his arms. No jacket, sleeves rolled up, lots of hair there. “I sound silly, don’t I?”

“A little, yeah.” I smiled. “Though I do understand where you’re coming from. Going along with it is different than being duped. I’d be bothered at the impression of being outsmarted by a bunch of high school jocks too.”

His blue eyes widened with panic. “You’re in high school?”

Shit. “You didn’t know? You said—”

“21 is the legal drinking age! Which by the way, I am also younger than. Not that I’ve imbibed.”

“Gonna start?” Rhetorical, because my invitations weren’t turned down. The only thing I did better than resting bitch everything was becoming inviting.

His head bobbed up and down in a nervous nod. “Lead the way, I guess.”

I led the way.

-Read the rest here.

FREE BOOK

I’m terribly bad at multitasking for someone who has ADHD (apparently we’re supposed to be good at it?) but I have no fancy intro because I’m watching s2 of the Scream TV show while doing this.

And on that note, I don’t love scary stuff but I like Scream and it’s really weird that so far I want the season to have more deaths. Like come on show, start killing people already.

Also, I’m lowkey liking Audrey and Brooke, but I’m prepared to be crazy about them if they actually get together.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know What Love Means will be free on Amazon from Oct. 5-9.

A young guy in sunglasses posing in front of camera

Get your copy here!

Entirely Too Gay

I am the worst at figuring out intros for blog posts, so normally I just ramble about something and then get to the topic later. I don’t know if that’s a particularly good strategy, but it is my strategy.

Okay first, the rambling. Currently, I’m reading and loving Riding With Brighton by Haven Francis. I need a new show to watch because I just got done watching Insatiable, which apparently everyone hates. I love me a dark comedy and think it has potential.

Now the topic at hand. I have a free book available on Amazon, but I should probably talk about that  on my blog to so, um, I have a free book available on Amazon. Here’s the link.

Young fitness model is posing in studioWrestling: A school-sanctioned way to roll around on the floor with sweaty guys. Why didn’t more gay kids join the wrestling team? The other wrestlers.

The days of being picked on and beat up were over for Alfonso Flores. Instead of being the scrawny nerd everyone remembered, he returned to high school bigger and buffer. He just wants to be left alone in peace. How does he end up joining the wrestling team?
A guy, of course.

To get closer to Dallas, he’ll go where no gay boy has gone before: the wrestling team. Even if he doesn’t receive a warm welcoming. For big macho men, wrestlers were pretty self-conscious. Maybe it was a gay guy joining the team. Maybe they understood just how insane their sport was. It was pretty gay.

What’s the saying? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Alfonso’s going to do both. He’ll try not to get killed in the testosterone filled, macho world of groping other guys for sport all while getting closer to Dallas and dealing with his overprotective father. If he doesn’t survive, at least he got to feel Dallas Archer’s muscles. Definitely worth it.

This is a humorous, light hearted story about getting out of your comfort zone and getting the guy.

 

Freebies

The weather is grey and gloomy today, perfect for curling up with a good book. However, I’m still on the clock right now. I didn’t let the dreary atmosphere stop me though, I’ve been busy. I put two books up on Instafreebie, which means, as the site’s title implies, the books are free. So if it’s cold and dark where you live too, here are two reading options while you keep warm inside.

1covlove
One is L-O-V-E, a teen romance featuring a bad boy and his preppy opposite who hate each other but can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. There’s feuding, spelling bees and sexual tension, unresolved and otherwise. The sample on Instafreebie is four chapters from the beginning.

Young fitness model is posing in studio

The other story, Entirely Too Gay, is a fun, silly book about a guy joining the wrestling team to get closer to his crush. The whole book is free as a thank you to people who sign up for my mailing list. The first half of the story is also available without signing up so that you can sample it first and see if you like it.

At the moment, you don’t even have to enter your email to get L-O-V-E, but of course you can if you like it so that you’ll know when the full version is released and you can get a copy for free. I might change it soon so that an email is required, for science, just to see if there’s a difference. This self-publishing thing means that I get to experiment. I heard a fellow author say that’s one of the perks of being an indie author, and he’s probably right.  I’d thought the perks were getting to work in your pajamas and taking breaks to play with your dog, but the freedom to try different things is a pretty good perk too.

One of the things I’m going to be fiddling with is covers for L-O-V-E, and this is the first version. So if you like it, hate it or have any feelings about it at all, let me know.