Kimberly's Phoenix Rising, published by MLR Press, made the top ten for AllRomanceEBook's The Best of 2008 Awards and we are very much impressed because out of all the thousands of titles released in 2008, both M/M and F/M, making the top ten is a major accomplishment.
If you're wondering why, here's a little excerpt from the book:
The rain had stopped and a thumbnail sliver of moon cast silvery light over the yard. From the rear of the garage the ground sloped down. About ten yards down the slope, the manicured grass gave way to a line of trees and wild growth where the shadows grew thick and heavy.
"That's Fairmount Park," Jimmy said from the bathroom doorway. "It backs up to this property so there aren't any neighbors, not unless you count the deer."
"How far does it go?"
"The park? Miles and miles. Fairmount is the largest municipal park in the country. When we were kids we weren't allowed back there. My mother was sure we'd wander off and she'd never see us again."
"But you went anyway."
"Of course we did." Jimmy laughed. "Tell a kid not to go somewhere and that's the first place he wants to go. I remember when Laton was in high school, he used to take his girlfriends back there and make out."
"How do you know?"
"I followed him a couple times. You know, the kind of stuff little brothers do."
He didn't because he didn't have any brothers, but he liked listening to Jimmy talk. Knowing these little details made him feel closer to Jimmy, like they could actually be friends. "Did he ever find out that you followed him?"
Jimmy shook his head. "Are you kidding? He would have kicked my ass if he knew."
They both laughed.
Adam let the curtain drop and stepped away from the window. "How about you. Who did you take back there when you were in high school?"
Jimmy's cheeks flushed. "I went to boarding school in New Hampshire."
"So you never snuck into the woods with anyone to make out?"
Jimmy's hesitation was just enough to tell Adam there was something here. A little thrill raced through him.
"Who was he, Jim?"
Jimmy shook his head. "I don't remember. That was a long time ago."
Adam stepped up close. Jimmy could easily have moved away but he didn't.
Adam slipped his hand inside Jimmy's open collar and stroked the warm skin. Jimmy's pulse jumped under his fingertips as Adam leaned in. "Tell me."
There was a pause. Jimmy's lips parted. He swallowed. "His name was Christopher," Jimmy whispered. "Chris Daley. He was the first boy I ever kissed."
Adam leaned closer, stopping with their lips no more than a breath apart. "You took him into the woods and kissed him?"
"He kissed me." Jimmy's lashes fluttered down.
"Show me how." He didn't know where this little game had come from or where it was going, but he liked it.
Jimmy's hands slid around Adam's waist. The man drew him close. He pressed against the hard length of Jimmy's body. Jimmy's mouth claimed his, the kiss starting slow, the contact soft and just a little tentative, the way a teenage boy might kiss.
Adam's fingers caressed the back of Jimmy's neck before sliding into the close-cropped hair. He sighed as his eyes drifted closed. But when his lips parted, Jimmy broke the kiss.
Adam opened his eyes. "What-"
"He asked me if I liked it," Jimmy said, his words slow, his tone dreamy and far away. "And I said I did. Then he put his hand on my cock."
Adam's breath caught. He could imagine it, Jimmy so young and unsure, never even kissed let alone had another boy's hand on his cock. God.
"How old were you?"
"Fifteen. We were both fifteen."
Adam slipped his hand between their bodies. With a fingertip he traced the hard length of Jimmy's cock through his pants.
"So hard," Adam murmured. "Were you hard for him, Jim?"
"Yes," Jimmy breathed, "so hard ... from the kiss, you know? And it was nothing really, just a kiss. But, God ..." Jimmy's hips pressed forward, silently asking for more contact.
Adam squeezed Jimmy's prick before sweeping his thumb over the head where a damp spot on the fabric of his pants let Adam know just how much Jimmy liked this game.
"Did he fuck you and make you come?"
"I came," Jimmy said, hips rocking against the press of Adam's hand. "He kissed me and I came in his hand."
God, it was too much. Adam laid his head on Jimmy's shoulder. They were supposed to be talking. He should be telling Jimmy why he couldn't live here, why he couldn't be Jimmy's fuckboy.
Jimmy squeezed Adam's ass, angling their bodies so their cocks bumped. "God, Adam, I want to fuck you so bad."
Adam moaned. He wanted it too. "Let's do it. I want your cock in my ass."
"Can't," Jimmy said, "no condoms or lube out here."
Adam didn't have anything on him either. Shit. Suddenly, inspiration struck.
"We'll just kiss and use our hands. Like you did with that boy all those years ago." He rubbed against Jimmy, begging with his body, cock against cock.
"Adam, I don't-"
"You going to make me beg?" Adam flicked his tongue inside Jimmy's ear. "Please, Jim, I want to hold your cock in my hand, make you come." He nipped at the pulse in Jimmy's neck. "Please, let me kiss you and come for you."
Now you stop right there, Ms. Kimberly Gardner. We know good and well Adam's little bondage fantasy will be played out, and since you obviously are a talented wordsmith we now have more than enough reason to buy the book. Apparently, many others agree, proven by the fact your Phoenix Rising rose above countless others to make the list.
On that note (the note of me being a man rising just thinking about this), Jardonn and Jasper extend to you a sincere CONGRATULATIONS and wish you much future success in your writing adventures.