Acing the Game
Publication date: February 10th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
Is food really the way into a person’s heart?
Shep Lee thought he had it all. A successful restaurant, a loving husband who understood his asexuality, and most of all, the ability to be himself, a popular chef in the small town of Cloverleaf, Montana. That is, until his husband, Elmer Eshler, began pushing Shep more on sex.
Elmer doesn’t understand why he can’t turn his partner on—aren’t they perfect for each other? And Shep loves him, right? Shep, meanwhile, while confident with his body, is and forever will be sex indifferent. Why has Elmer suddenly changed his tune? But he doesn’t want to lose the man he loves so much. What can they do?
Shep convinces Elmer to try a polyamorous relationship. Elmer gets to have Shep and the sex life he’s always wanted. Shep gets a cooking buddy and a chance to experience a relationship and even try sex with a woman as his authentic gender. At first, Shep isn’t sure, but finds himself coming around—this feels safer than opening up the relationship. All three of them will be romantically involved, so that should ease any jealousy, right?
But when Willow Saint, a free-spirited, boisterous, and saucy young woman, comes into their lives, neither are prepared for the emotional and sexual rollercoaster that follows. Enthralled by Willow’s charm and kindness, Elmer and Shep struggle to understand what this means for their own bond. Can they become one happy family? Or will this ruin everything?
“Can I tell you something? Please don’t tell anyone else?”
“I don’t like—well, sex is complicated for me,” I informed him. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t want to have sex with other people. I’ve done it, and everything works fine, but I don’t get urges to do it with others.” I cringed at how strange it all sounded.
At that time, I’d no concept of asexuality. I knew that I didn’t experience sexual attraction, and I didn’t enjoy sex with people. Orgasms felt great. Yet, it was more natural to masturbate or maybe have someone give me a hand job. The kissing, the touching, and the intercourse part sometimes made me grimace. It wasn’t my thing.
I scoured his face, seeing his brows bent in deep thought—or confusion. I held my breath as I waited for him to say something.
“Are you not attracted to men?” he inquired.
I smirked a little. I got this same question every time I tried to talk to anyone about my sexuality. “I’m not gay. I mean, I’m bisexual in the sense that I’m willing to have sex with men or women. But this isn’t about me not being attracted to men. I prefer not to do it with another person.” I started cracking my knuckles. After Tank shared that he had a physical impairment, I figured he’d accept it and move on.
“So are you not into relationships?” he asked. His eyes darted all over as he gazed at me.
“Yes!” I exclaimed. “I very much want a relationship. Sex is part of that for many people. It isn’t the whole thing. I’d be extremely interested in having a relationship with you.” I smiled, offering him my hand.
He wrapped his fingers around mine and pulled his body closer to me.
“Does that mean that we can’t have sex in other ways? Like other than intercourse?” he asked, slowly caressing my palm.
I placed my head on his shoulder. “I think we can work out anything we want to. Something that works for both of us.”
He glanced away. “You’re not attracted to me then,” he stated somberly.
I pulled his face up and kissed him. His body shivered against mine. He slid his arm around me, squeezing me tight.
“I’m very much attracted to you as a person,” I whispered in his ear. “That’s what’s important. I find you pleasing to look at. It’s just not sexual.”
“I guess you won’t be cheating on me, then,” he joked and gave a little chuckle.
His face still looked confused, but we changed the subject and passed out on my couch, snuggling under a blanket. There would be many conversations, but from that moment on, Tank accepted me. About a year later, we got married.
Carey PW (he/they) is an author, college instructor, and mental health counselor.
Carey currently lives in Montana, and identifies as nonbinary, transmasculine (AFAB) and panromantic asexual. Carey has discovered that writing about his lived experiences is a therapeutic outlet for him and hopes that his readers relate to his own personal struggles and triumphs shared through his characters’ narratives. He has also worked as a high school and college writing instructor, earning a B.A. in English Literature, a M.Ed. in English Education, and Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education all from the University of Georgia. In 2020, Carey earned his second M.Ed. in Counselor Education and works as a licensed clinical professional counselor, LCPC.
Readers can learn more about Carey from his blog, www.careypw.com. When he is not writing, Carey is busy training for marathons, parenting his six cats, sharing his culinary talents on social media, and serving on the board for the nonprofit Center for Studies of the Person (CSP).
Carey PW loves to hear from readers. You can find his contact information, website and author biography at www.extasybooks.com.
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