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Betweentimes by Jordan Castillo Price

Series: standalone
Length: Short Story - 3380 words - 11 page PDF
Cover artist: Jordan Castillo Price - see larger cover
ISBN: 978-1-935540-13-7

Find Betweentimes at the following places:




When Jon's neighbor Owen invites him to the Jumping Bean Burrito Bar, of course he accepts. True, the restaurant is about as Mexican as Alan Thicke, the margaritas are sugary enough to send you into a diabetic coma, and the salsa tastes like it came out of a can.

But Owen will be there—that's all that matters.

And then the date turns spicier than Jon could have ever anticipated.



"Are you still bummed about that deal-thingie falling through?" Owen wrapped a twinkle light around a thumbtack he'd pushed into his kitchen's drop-ceiling. It seemed like such an Owen thing to do, I didn't bother asking why he'd be hanging Christmas decorations in May. "If you really must be so distraught over it, you should probably save the drama for work."

"Right. I'll shut it off like a faucet when I get on the subway at 5:05."

"I hope you weren't out there on the patio looking for somewhere to hang yourself."

Actually, I'd been relocating a big spider I'd found in my linen closet. "Just getting some air."

"If you say so." He eyed me in such a way that I realized he'd probably seen me dancing away from my expatriated eight-legged intruder. What can I say? It was a really, really big spider. "Think about it like this, Jon—you've only got so much angst in you. Why spend it here, where everything is copacetic? Use it while you're on the clock to fuel the ol' business mill, and maybe the next one'll work out the way you want it."

"Huh. And here I thought you were going to tell me the merger didn't happen because, for some cosmic reason, we weren't meant to be in business with Gearhardt & Co. to begin with."

"I didn't want to sound like a Pollyanna, though I am open to that possibility." He jumped down off his counter and the pots and pans hanging on the wall rattled. Once he surveyed the lights, he turned to face me, hands on hips. He was devastating, in a post-punk badboy kind of way. I didn't think "devastating" was quite the look he'd been aiming for. Maybe "stern."

I could only lock eyes with him for so long. It felt weird. We're neighbors, after all. I looked up at the Christmas lights instead, and wondered if he wondered why I hadn't asked about the lights, or if he even entertained the same sort of thoughts as us mere mortals.

"How about this?" he said. "I'll let you take me out to the Jumping Bean Burrito Bar, and we can celebrate your non-merger."

That sounded suspiciously like a date. Or did Owen just have a thing for watery drinks and burritos smothered in processed cheese? I'd sound like an idiot if I asked. Even jokingly.

"What's the matter, Jonny-Boy? Worried I'll keep you out too late on a work night?"

"At the Jumping Bean Burrito Bar? Don't they close at ten?"

He gave a playful shrug. "I wasn't sure how much beauty rest you corporate types need. Or if you stay all fresh and babyfaced like that by selling pieces of your soul to Satan."

"Okay. Yes. I'll go change and we can—"

"Change? Don't change. You in a suit, me in my favorite jeans…" his favorite jeans were so holey and worn they were more like a collection of horizontal threads held together by the remains of the side seams. "We look great together. You stay put, and I'll call us a cab."


Steamy! Owen and Jon have apparently very little in common, but Owen is one of those unpredictable JCP's characters that look at life in a very interesting way. By the way, how could I resist someone who checks his mailbox in a bath towel and a pair of biker boots?


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