Fortune Cookie #3: “As far as New York is concerned, you my friend, are toxic waste, and this place is a dump.”

Can You Identify These Quotes?


In celebration of my attendance at this year’s Gay Romance Literary Retreat outside of Chicago, IL -I’ve brought swag for everyone in the form of fortune cookies. Inside each cookie is a quote from one of my books. The trick is to identify which book of mine the quote belongs to. Once you have the answer you can come by my swag table, see me at the supporting author signing, or the Thursday edition of the author lounge and fill out your raffle ticket for a chance at walking away with an amazon gift card and some cool swag. 

If you’d like to play along at home comment below and tell me what your favorite fortune cookie moment is. I’ll randomly select one person from all the entries left here. 8 Quotes, 8 chances to win from the comfort of your bunny slippers.




The man that held open the door to apartment 506-B looked more vampire than executive chef. It didn’t take much imagination to count the days since Chris’s world had imploded. Ignoring the lack of welcome and Chris’s fugue as evidenced by the dark beard crusting his usually fair cheeks, dark purple circles under red-rimmed eyes and unwashed clothes, Zack pushed by the man still leaning in the doorway and assessed the damage.

If his friend’s physical deterioration wasn’t enough of a tell, the reek of stale Chinese food from half-empty to-go containers abandoned within eye line of the front door would do it for anyone who knew him. Chris was fastidious when it came to the food he’d eat. To him, “fast food” was a meal that took less than an hour to prepare.

“You need a keeper.” Zack couldn’t help the disapproval flattening his tone. He’d told himself a thousand times on the redeye from Oregon that he wasn’t going to overreact and judge. Fuck it. Judging was exactly what Chris needed.

“I’m fine.”

Zack could feel his eyebrow trying to scrabble further into his hairline. A quick glance around told a different story. The living room was a minefield of wadded up newspapers and cardboard pizza boxes, but it was Chris’s kitchen, usually his pride and joy, that was the last straw.

The sink overflowed with unwashed dishes. Even worse there was a pot encrusted with what looked to be week-old mac and cheese from a box, sitting in the middle of the floor, a spoon cemented upright in the hardened noodles, and empty beer bottles lolling next to the neon orange mess. Zack could only guess that Chris had sat leaning against the refrigerator to eat but instead finished off what looked like a six-pack of porter, understandable given a choice between the two.

It took him just a minute to finish the tour. Chris’s apartment was typical of Manhattan where space was at a premium. What was billed as a one bedroom here would be laughed out of Portland. Maybe you’d call it a studio plus. The “bedroom” was just big enough for Chris’s double bed with about a foot of clearance to move around it. The closet doors had been removed by necessity, freeing up space for the small dresser inside and leaving just enough room to hang a few suits and a handful of shirts. It was such a tight squeeze that Zack imagined Chris could get dressed without actually getting out of bed first.

“At least it won’t take long to pack you.”


Zack could hear the fatigue heavy in Chris’s voice as it floated in from the front of the apartment.

As far as New York is concerned, you, my friend, are toxic waste, and this place is a dump. One more week and you’d be living on Red Bull and Slim Jims and ordering cable which you can no longer afford. You have a job waiting in Portland.”

“I don’t wanna go to Portland. I live here.” Chris leaned into the bedroom.

“This isn’t living. Where’s the rest of your stuff?” Most of the dirty laundry piled on the mattress was jeans and T-shirts, unwashed socks and boxers, not the wardrobe of a successful executive chef.

“Jordan’s.” All the weariness was instantly gone from Chris’s voice, replaced by hard, flat pain. Zack moved then, grabbing Chris and folding him into an embrace.

“Leave Jordan to me. You have things to do—I made a list on the plane.”

“Oh, you did, did you?” Chris muttered into Zack’s neck.

“Yup. You always were such a drama queen. I knew you’d be a wreck. You need me.”

“Yeah, I do.”

“Yup. You do. You also need constant supervision. You’ll get both those things on the West coast.”

“Portland? Really? Couldn’t you find me a job in L.A. or San Francisco? Someplace where they don’t make you wear plaid flannel and know the difference between steak tartar and hamburger?”

“Seriously, Chris, people outside of Manhattan do eat and Portland is one of the hot spots for culinary genius and innovation.”

“Since when?” “Since I moved back. Now hop to, if you plan on playing the food diva you’re going to have to smell a whole hellava lot better than you do now and I’ve only got two days before I have to fly home. It may take that long to scrape all the crud off you.”

LE Franks. Can This Be Real (Kindle Locations 102-120). MLR Press LLC.

Buy it At Amazon

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