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Rave review already for Refugees….from Ryan Field!

Ryan Field

Home again. Getting ready to write a blurb for one of my favorite authors, S.L. Danielson for the work, “The Refugees.” Loved reading this to the point where I hated to see it end.

I’ve come to enjoy certain aspects of S.L Danielson’s work, which includes the way she treats family situations in her fiction, the way she freely refers to long term gay relationships as marriages, and the way she makes gay life look so effortless and yet complicated at certain times. It’s the kind of positive, well written escapism I love when I’m reading a romance. And “Refugees” didn’t disappoint me. It’s is a structured inter-mingling of gay men and their relationships, with details about their careers, their lives, and their inner-most thoughts. It’s life. And I think it’s the kind of lgbt fiction that not only offers positive role models without working too hard to get the point across, but is also making it’s mark as an overall social statement in an ever-changing world. I read The Refugees in one sitting but I have a feeling the characters, especially David, are going to remain with me for a very long time.

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Bernard…excerpt 2

On the night of their date, Jack sent a bouquet of gerbera daisies and dressed up in black pants, a crisp white shirt, and a navy blazer. Bernard saw him and smiled wide.

“You look terrific!”

Jack kissed him in thanks. “So do you, all in gray. Love that tie.”

Bernard straightened his jet black tie and smoothed his silver-gray suit. “Well, you said this was a nice place. Thought I’d dress the part. I had to buy some new pants after losing over 30 pounds so far.”

Jack grinned at him. “That’s wonderful! I’m so proud of you. See, that diet is working and you’re exercising too.”

“Every chance I get.”

Jack kissed him softly. “Maybe we could add something to that routine.”

Bernard’s smile disappeared and he flattened his lips to a thin line. “I wish I could do what you want to. I’m so afraid of that–”

Jack tilted his head and started a sentence when his stomach rumbled loudly. “Come on, we’ll talk about this later. I’m starved.”

“You can’t change my mind on this one.”

“All in good time, my dear.” Jack said confidently.

They dined at a nicer restaurant than usual. Bernard eyed the less expensive appetizer section.

“Don’t want to order something too expensive.” He explained.

“Why not?” Jack inquired.

“Uh, well ya know. Just in case…” Bernard started.

Jack cocked his head thoughtfully and took his hand. “In case of what? Getting sick off something new?”

Bernard shot a quick glance up at his boyfriend. “Uh, just in case this is our last date.”

Jack let out a long sigh. “Bern—how can you even think that? I have no intention of ever letting you go. I know how you feel about that, but I promise you, I can help you with it–”

The older man pulled his hands away, gripped his hair and sighed loudly. “Dammit, I thought I told you I can’t do that.”

Jack reached for his hand again, but he pulled it away. “Bern—”

“No, please don’t make a scene, Jack. I told you I’m not comfortable with being seen like that or doing that. Look, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable or turn you off or do anything to jeopardize us and this wonderful relationship we have right now. I don’t want to hurt you, but I don’t think I can do what you want to do. Sex just is something that I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with. Not ever…” Unshed tears glinted behind the blue eyes and Jack leaned towards him.


The waiter walked up to interrupt and take their orders. Jack handled it. “We need a few more minutes, please.”

“Very good, sir.” The waiter left.

Jack reached for his companion’s hands again, but was denied. The man wouldn’t even look at him. Jack cocked his head and tried to look into his boyfriend’s face. “Bernard? Please just look at me?”

Bernard looked up with a sudden glare. “You know I can’t do that!” He snapped. “You take me out for an expensive dinner and expect me to just loosen up? Forget this! I told you, I’m not capable of that! Not even with the man I want more than anything– His lower lip quivered and he jettisoned himself from his chair with a jolt as he ran out to the parking lot.

“Bernard! Wait a minute! Wait up!” Jack looked over his shoulder at the waiter and caught his attention. “We’ll be right back.”

“Yes sir.”

Jack ran out to the parking lot and found Bernard sitting on the bumper of his boyfriend’s car, bawling. He approached the man cautiously.

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Bernard…excerpt 1

Jack returned early the next morning. He saw Bernard on his side, grabbing large amounts of tissues. He ran into the room and sat down at his side.

“Bernard? What’s wrong?”

“Just thinking of what a shitty life I have! I’m single, I’m lonely, hell I don’t even have a cat! My job is an absolute dead end. I was just trying to tally up the bills I’m racking up and the tears started flowing! My lousy insurance probably won’t even pay for a third of this stuff. I did it to myself! It’s all my fault!”

“Hey, calm down, shhh.” Jack leaned forward and put his hand on his shoulder. Poor guy! Such a handsome fellow just needs some work. I think he needs a strong dose of love and attention. There’s something about this guy; can’t quite pinpoint it.

Bernard covered his face with his hands and sobbed deeply.

Jack tried not to let his emotions run away from him. It was always toughest to deal with the suicide watch patients. He bit his lip and attempted to paint on his professional demeanor. “Shhh, hey. Can I call the nurse or get you anything?”

Bernard’s red face finally surfaced. “No. They can’t do anything for me.”

Jack started to stand up. “Want me to leave?”

Bernard panicked and pulled him back down. “No! Please don’t go. You’re a big help to me. I just… I dunno. I’m so sad and miserable and thinking about everything that’s happened. I’ll miss you and Nancy when I leave. You two saved my life!”

Jack smiled at him and wiped off his face with a couple of tissues. “That’s better, clear those blue eyes. Bernard, it’s what we do. Every life is worth saving.”

Bernard cleared his throat and touched Jack’s hand. “I-I was wondering, if I could write you sometimes? Let you know how I am?”

“I’ll do one better than that. Why don’t we exchange phone numbers and when our schedules are good, we can meet up sometime?” He offered cheerfully.

Bernard’s eyes lit up. “Y-You’d do that?”

“Of course! You’re a very special patient, Bernard. I’d like to keep in touch with you and know how you are doing. Four times is an awful lot for one person; you need someone to keep regular tabs on your progress.” He and Bernard shared a glance together. Jack looked into the ice blue eyes which were sparked with tears and were bloodshot red. He shut his own eyes for a moment and cleared his throat. “That reminds me, Dr. Rasmus is coming by today to talk with you. This is really in his realm now; I’m just the physician who happened to be on duty that night.”

Bernard wiped off his face and managed a smile. “Okay, sounds good. I could use the help. Doc, be honest, am I the only patient who’s ever made this request?”

Jack cast a studious look. “Hmm, to be honest, no. But usually they stop first. They forget all about us here at the hospital.”

Bernard sat forward and looked thoughtfully into Jack’s eyes. “I promise you, I won’t stop. I owe you my life!”

Jack picked up the large hand and held it for a moment. “You don’t owe me anything. You just get better, okay? You’re going home tomorrow.”

Bernard wet his lips. “To be honest, I’d look forward to it if I had more of a life to go home to.”

A new voice entered the room. It was deep and masculine, laced with a medium accent. “Bernard Covington?”


The short man extended his dark hand to shake his. “Hello. I’m Dr. Rasmus. Pleasure to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too.”

Jack glanced at the clock. “I’ve got to get going. I’ll see you later, Bernard.”

“Later, Doc.”