Blog Tour: M4M by Rick R. Reed

Rick R. Reed is here today promoting M4M and he brought an exclusive excerpt too!

Getting Bad News: An Exclusive Excerpt from the trilogy of romance, M4M

A Guest Post by Rick R. Reed

In the excerpt below, which is from part two of the trilogy that makes up M4M, our underdog hero, Ethan Schwartz receives the unsettling news that he’s HIV+. It’s particularly shocking because the only man Ethan’s been intimate with for a very long time is the man he thought was his Prince Charming, his Mr. Right, his man-of-his-dreams. Could the guy he thought was his own true love…infected him? You’ll need to read the book to find out. Read the excerpt below for a glimpse into Ethan’s worst day ever….

Finding and keeping love can be a challenge in the modern world of blogging, social media, and online dating, as one man will learn in this trilogy.

VGL Male Seeks Same
Poor Ethan Schwartz. At forty-two, he’s alone, his bed is empty, and his HDTV is overworked. He’s tried bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find each other, but it never works out. Maybe he should get a cat?

But his life is about to change…

Poor Ethan. He’s received the most shocking news a gay man can get—he’s HIV positive. Until today his life was perfect, with a job he loves and Brian, who could be “the one.” The one to complete him and fill his lonely life with laughter, hot sex, and romance.

But Ethan’s in for another shock. Could Brian have infected him?

Alone again, Ethan wonders if life is worth living, even with a cat. When an old nemesis sends a Facebook friend request, Ethan is suspicious but intrigued. It seems this old acquaintance has turned his life around, and the changes might hold the key to Ethan getting a new lease on life… and love.


Ethan sat in his Halsted Street studio as the wan light of an afternoon sunset filtered in. He recalled the nausea and near hysteria he felt as he charged through the revolving doors of his doctor’s office in the Loop, out into the sickeningly warm Indian summer day. Wabash Avenue was all bustle and excitement: crowds, traffic, “L” trains rumbling by overhead. Again, Ethan felt surrounded by rosy-cheeked, hearty, robust specimens of human health and fitness. A young mother licked an ice cream cone while pushing a double baby stroller with adorable twins inside. Nearby, a young college lad bit into an apple and read a book as he sat on a bench. Two joggers rushed by, vigorous and full of vim.
It was a world from which Ethan suddenly felt excluded. Worse, it was a world that didn’t know about and didn’t care about the horrible news he had just been given. How could he blame these pictures of health for being so oblivious, so blatantly disregarding their perfectly functioning systems? He even paused to examine some of the faces rushing by him, hoping to catch a sympathetic eye or an understanding smile, but they all hurried past, getting on with the heady business of life.
It’s not like they know, Ethan. What do you expect? You don’t look like you’re HIV positive, and even if you did, why should these masses of strangers care about your diagnosis? If they knew, they’d probably only feel gratitude that this time it wasn’t them chosen to ride the bad news carousel.
He remembered standing there on the corner, under the “L” tracks, like some kind of bizarro opening-credits Mary Tyler Moore, full of pessimism instead of optimism like the spunky Mary Richards. Instead of flinging his hat—a sporty fedora Brian had bought him just last week—into the air, he felt more like flinging himself in front of a CTA train.
Like a drunk, Ethan collapsed onto the curb, his khaki-clad legs splayed out before him. He just didn’t feel, for that moment, strong enough to support his own weight. He tried to breathe deeply but could only gasp. He wondered if he was about to hyperventilate… if he would die without a paper bag close at hand in which to breathe. He worried only briefly about how he must look, but the Loop was filled with crazies. Again, no one paid him any mind. They simply skirted him, on their way to normal jobs and appointments.
They had lives.
He was still sweating and knew his blood pressure must be going through the roof. He took off his fedora—“It gives you a little private dick flair!” Brian had quipped when he had set the gift upon Ethan’s head, turning Ethan’s face this way and that, admiring, and then planting a kiss on his cheek—and set it on the ground beside him. Someone paused to drop a dollar into the hat.
That made him laugh, if only bitterly. And like the whack to the back of his head his mother used to dispense, it made him feel silly for sitting on the ground in the middle of Wabash Avenue, at the heart of Chicago’s downtown.
Oh, grow up, Ethan! You’ve had some bad news, but you don’t need to act like an imbecile… at least not in public.
So he got up, dusted off the seat of his pants, and thought he needed to pull himself together, if only for the immediate future. That future included calling his employer, LA Nicholes, and letting them know he was taking a very, very sick day and then going home to wallow in self-pity… preferably with whole-fat milk, Double Stuf Oreos, and a bill of 1940s melodramas on his HDTV.
A nagging voice inside him, not unlike his mother’s, told him he needed to call his doctor.
He knew—and the prospect made him start to feel sick, start to shake all over again—he needed to call Brian.
But except for the call into work, the other calls could wait.
Ethan had Ethan to take care of right now.
He headed up the stairs to the “L” platform.
And now he sat on his love seat with all the accoutrements of comfort around him: the Oreos, The Big Sleep in the DVD player, and a stiff Grey Goose and tonic—the whole milk could go to hell. And he had touched none of them.


Amazon Paperback: to come


Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at or Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their Boston terrier.


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