acks, why did you not tell anyone what was going on when you were a kid?
The one time I told someone, they didn’t believe me, so best to keep my mouth shut. A word of a ten year old doesn’t hold as much weight as a man of Phelps stature.
What’s different now?
Jared and Irus. They need me to stand up to the bogeyman of my past. It’s time for me to stop being afraid of what people will say or what will happen to my career. The kids of my charity deserve someone strong to care for them. It’s gotta be me. Irus made me see that and I’ll never be able to adequately thank the man for the strength he gives me.
Do you feel you missed out on childhood?
Hell, I missed out on life. I cut myself off from all meaningful relationships. My life was sex and football. Sometimes in that order. A year ago, I would’ve never imagined there could be more.
Irus, how are you fitting into the new role as an out and proud gay football player?
First, I’m not a poster boy or anything. I’m a man, a husband, and a football player. I want to be recognized for my talents. Yes, I’m gay. Always have been—I just don’t want to hide anymore. I don’t think its healthy. I want to hold Jacks hand in public. I want to tell him how addicted I am to him. My job is to shut down wide receivers and I’m good at it, so I think that’s all people need to know. To me, a long career in football, a family that cares about me is important. I want to do right by Jared and Jacks. I’ve lead a blessed life and it keeps getting better.
There are people in the league opposed to gay players, how do you deal with them?
Jacks: Beat there ass on the field.
Irus: Or in a bar.
Jacks: That was one time.
Irus: Yeah, but everyone figured it’d be me doing the punching. Shocked the shit out of everyone when you nailed that asshat in the grill. Man, that guy was spewing the worst kind of hate—racist and sexist. Dude was big too. Thought he had you beat.
Jacks: There’ll always be someone who thinks they have a right to pound their opinion into you. I can’t fix what’s wrong with that, except to teach my children different. To show the world that two men can raise a good son or daughter. The league will learn by our example. So will other players, but I don’t expect them to make it easy. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing.
Since you brought up race, does the fact that you’re black and Jacks is white cause more grief than being gay?
Irus: Well, a few of my boys were surprised. Tay was a little hurt by it for some reason.
Jacks: That boy’s in the closet.
Irus: Taylor? No.
Jacks: My gaydar isn’t fucked like yours. Now, to answer the question of racism: I think when folks bring race into things, they’re already showing how ignorant they are—adding sexual slurs on to their brand of stupid makes them very ugly people. Good people will see that a mile away.
Title: Fourth and Long
Author: Michele M. Rakes
Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs
Irus Beaumont, cornerback for the Highlanders, has an issue with his nemesis: wideout for the Pirates, Jackson McCoy. Partly jealous over Jackson’s skill and ability to scrub coverage, Irus also struggles against an unbearable attraction to the receiver. Firmly ensconced in the closet, Irus also has a no football player rule, leaving his desires for Jackson unfulfilled. Anti-gay sentiment in the league keeps Irus closeted, even though he’d rather be out and proud. When Jackson McCoy suffers a gay bashing at the hands of his team mates after winning the national championship, he finds himself traded to the Highlanders. Spring training brings out Jackson’s competitive nature, eliciting the aggression of his new team’s cornerback, Irus Beaumont. In practice, Irus hurts Jackson badly. The injury places Jackson on the reserve roster. Jacks has plenty of time to contemplate his life, career, and his attraction to the sexy cornerback. Off to Orlando for the best rehab where guilt inspires Irus to call him every evening, Jackson can’t stop thinking about Irus, or what the season holds for his team.
Michele Micheal Rakes lives in a small town in the shadow of a big mountain. She works as a surgical technologist assisting in the removal of tonsils and testicles. She has three grown children, two psychotic Egyptian Mau’s, a husband with hair down to his ass, two Harley’s, and a ferret named Teeny Tiny Ferret Feet (husband insists her name Little Feet, we all know he’s wrong).
Links to reach Michele Rakes:
4/24/2015 Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
4/24/2015 Cia’s Stories
4/25/2015 Love Bytes
4/25/2015 The Purple Rose Tea House
4/26/2015 Gay Media Reviews
4/26/2015 Divine Magazine
4/26/2015 Because Two Men Are Better Than One
4/27/2015 Gay.Guy.Reading and Friends
4/27/2015 The Novel Approach
4/28/2015 Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews
4/28/2015 Two Chicks Obsessed with Books
4/28/2015 Elisa -My reviews and Ramblings
4/29/2015 Bike Book Reviews
4/29/2015 Drops of Ink
4/30/2015 Jill Prand
4/30/2015 MM Good Book Reviews
5/1/2015 Bayou Book Junkie
5/1/2015 BFD Book Blog
5/1/2015 Sid Love