Besides our beloved Daron, there is a lot of free fiction on the internet. Not everything is good. There is a lot of dross, but there are many gems as well. In this contribution to the Thursday posts I am going to share a few of the original (not fanfiction) short stories that I have found worth reading over the last few years, in the hopes that you’ll enjoy them as well. All of these have m/m themes. All of these are fun, (relatatively) short and, best of all, they are free! If you have others to share, I’d love to see your recs in the comments!
1) El Presidio Rides North – Domashita Romero, 19K words
Blurb: In a post-zombie apocalypse world, an almost-madman named Mercury and his newfound companion, Gaga, seek refuge in a RV-turned-mobile-fortress.
Why I rec it: I don’t do zombies. Or werewolves, or vampires or what have you. And yet I loved this story. It is fresh and quirky and poignant. I wouldn’t call it classically romantic, but there is something between Mercury and Gaga that makes you want to cheer. Whether they will end up in the North with other survivors or back at the World’s Largest Adult Bookstore, it doesn’t really matter. The ending is Happy For Now (HFN) but a very positive one. Perfect beach read.
Romero has a large collection of stories with a wild variety of characters. They are listed on ArchiveOfOurOwn.com (AO3) under whitachi. If you’re unfamiliar with AO3 (it’s a fanfiction site), you can download everything you find on there by opening a story, clicking the download button in the upper right corner and choosing your format.
Blurb: Nikhil “Nik” Larson is a snarky, dark-skinned adoptee from India who grew up in the Whitest Town in America. Back to visit his parents Nik meets Trooper Jurgen Dammerung, a blond, butch motorcycle cop who’s so hot he leaves a con trail wherever he goes.
Jurgen is the epitome of everything Nik hated about growing up the lone Indian boy among a town of white people. But Jurgen surprises him rather (ahem) pleasantly, in spite of — or because of — Nik’s attempts to needle him. By the end of his visit, Nik realizes he likes Jurgen. But Jurgen’s so not the relationship type.
Why I rec it: You may know Anne Tenino from books she has published, but this was the story that started it all. It was originally written for the summer story project of the m/m romance group on goodreads. Everything works in this story: the structure, the characters, the conflict, the sex and it has many brilliant one-liners. One of the side characters, Sam, got his own book with Too Stupid To Live, and you can find a short sequel for Nik and Jurgen here or here.
3) Of Sweaters and Heartache – LyingOutLoud, 14K words
Blurb: I had a pretty good life going, but then my ex had to march into my favorite coffee bar and back into my life. I hate him. And his stupid sweater.
Why I rec it: Excellent break up – make up story. Lucas has anger issues for sure. And Matt so obviously still loves him. They are not easy characters to like, but they are perfect in their imperfection. I am not normally a fan of flashbacks but they are used very well in this story. It’s emotional, but you’ll smile through the whole thing. Definite Happily Ever After (HEA).
4) It’s More Like Scifi, Really – Freak Perfume, 34K words
Blurb: Somehow what should have been a typical summer holiday turns into something straight out of a rejected romance novel. His friends are sure he’s heading for happily ever after, or at least some heavy petting. Rhys isn’t entirely convinced.
Why I rec it: Freak Perfume’s stories tend to start a bit rambling and chaotic, but once you hit 20% mark or so you’ll be in love with the characters and completely sucked in. The stars of this story are the 3 friends Rhys, Cerwyn and Gwenliann. They live in a small Welsh town where nothing every happens. When Max and his mother move into town AND the traveling performers, Les Enfants, arrive for their yearly stop, things do happen. In unexpected ways. Which I am not going to spoil for you. The story is light, funny and totally endearing. HEA.
Or you could try In Bad Taste, 41K words
I kept going back and forth about which Freak Perfume story I wanted to list here, so hey, here is your bonus story.
Blurb: It’s not easy being an executive transvestite in a position of power over a bunch of eccentric drama queens. It gets worse when you despise your clients, but thank god for coffee and PA’s.
Why I rec it: Leslie wears women’s clothes but is all man. Add a modeling agency full of queens, an amorous boss, the boss’ cross dressing famous shoe designer twin brother, too much alcohol and cigarettes, and Grigori, Leslie’s shoulder to cry on, and what you get is chaos and something unexpectedly romantic amidst the crises and the cat hair. HEA.
5) Cold Turkey – Zebbie , 59K words
Blurb: If there were groups for this, I know exactly what I’d say. “My name is Thom Oliver, and I’m addicted. It’s been six months, 3 days, 14 hours since my last one night stand. Please keep Evan Llewellyn away from me. I think I’m going to rape him.
Why I rec it: This one is longer and angstier than the other ones, but so worth it. It’s my favorite of the lot, even if it’s not as much of a beach read. Thom is a player, or rather, was a player, because 6 months ago he decided to stop using people. He is going cold turkey off the one night stands. Things are going fine until Evan shows up. What follows is a battle of wills, a battle for control, lots of projection and the struggle to trust again when you’ve been hurt in the past. Evan has his own issues and things are complicated, often not very pretty. As regular Daron readers I know you can handle all this!
Despite what the blurb says there is no rape, but there is some dub-con. The reason I am still listing this as a ‘fun freebie’ is because of Thom’s razor sharp observations, that are funny enough to make you laugh, even while you’re cringing. It’s a love story about a young man who is deathly afraid to fall in love and even more afraid to admit that he is afraid. Barely squeeking by as an HFN, but I am determined that these guys are going to make it!
To download the stories from fictionpress, with all the chapters etc. in one file, your current best bet is a website called ficsave . Just enter the url of the first chapter in the box on the left, select the format you want and click the download button. If you have a kindle you can choose to have them emailed. Some stories (and this is true for AO3 as well) include the author notes at the beginning of each chapter. These are often annoying and break the flow, but hey, the stories are free.
Zebbie, LyingOutLoud and Freak Perfume seem to have disappeared off the face of the internet, unfortunately. In Zebbie’s case this is especially tragic since s/he left so many unfinished stories. I would grab these stories before their owners realize their youthful indiscretions are still online and they remove them!
Next month I will talk about some of the longer free online fiction that I have enjoyed.