NEW RELEASE BLITZ: A City of Abundant Opportunity by Howard Leonard (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title: A City of Abundant Opportunity

Series: Seattle City Limits, Book Two

Author: Howard Leonard

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 12/12/2023

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67400

Genre: Contemporary, Diverse relationship structures, age disparity, interracial, over 40, therapist, gay, cisgender, gender queer

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Becoming single in middle age was difficult for Alan, until a seemingly ordinary day turns extraordinary, when it presents him two very different but promising paths forward. On that day, Alan unexpectedly runs into a prior lover, moments after a new acquaintance offers him an unusual proposition.

One man provides youthful comfort and enthusiasm, and the other, the task of forming intimacy with a person who was raised from a lineage quite removed from his own. Either man might lead to a fortunate future, yet each inevitably requires tender navigation. Knowing he must make a decision, Alan eventually chooses and is then faced with new challenges, insights, and a struggle to obtain and hold onto what he hopes his future will become.

In this follow-up novel to A City of Hopes Unrealized, familiar characters re-emerge with the maturity of time, and new characters add a depth of diversity, creating a need to explore potential challenges and rewards, often accompanied by intergenerational, cultural, and racially diverse relationships.


A City of Abundant Opportunity
Howard Leonard © 2023
All Rights Reserved

On an unusual summerlike weekend in early June, which brought crowds of underdressed men to the normally empty outdoor cafes on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, I was enjoying a rare and refreshing sidewalk brunch with my best friend, Mica, and Mica’s husband, Lyle. Time had passed since Mica and Lyle had nearly ended their long-term relationship, a relationship I had a part in fucking up. Time had also passed since I had begun my own frantic search for a new partner, a quest which followed the breakup of the relationship I had created in my twenties. Having dated, slept with, or at least had coffee or a drink with an embarrassing number of prospects, I was finally beginning to believe my worth was not dependent on meeting Mr. Right. That may suggest my transition into being unexpectedly single was a natural one, but my move into singledom had been anything but smooth.

It took three years, but life was finally getting easier. I was now able to go out, not driven by compulsion, but instead only when I genuinely wanted to get out, and my mood walking home was no longer determined by a chance meeting, or the lack thereof. I was neither running toward, nor away from therapy with Dr. Goldberg, nor was I obsessed with Marley, the man who most stood out in the crowd of men I’d tried to couple with since Teddy ended our long relationship. With only a few exceptions, most of the people I’d dated, other than Marley, were seemingly erased from my memory. I was finally becoming more confident about my work as a primary care doctor, and for some reason, my practice was also easier to manage.

In recent years, the Off, a smallish bar and restaurant on Capitol Hill, had become both my home away from home and my habit. At times I fit right in, while at other times I felt unseen there. I always worried my age created a creeping invisibility, as I and my peers in the over-fifty afterwork crowd cleared out in time each day to be replaced by younger and objectively cuter arrivals as the sun set and the evening’s darkness approached. Although today, yard work was calling, and after finishing brunch, I wanted to enjoy the weather and walk by the Off before heading home. In Seattle, one was never certain if or when there would be another warm Sunday.

Being the middle of the afternoon, the Off was busier than I would have expected. The mix of age, look, and dress was also diverse compared to the familiar men I’d see during the work week. Of course, it was the men in tanks and shorts, or just shorts or onesies, who were having the best time, while those of us standing off at a respectable distance, looked ill at ease as we fixated on the young bare-skinned among us. I didn’t immediately see anyone familiar, but recent months had made it more okay than ever to stand by myself on the periphery with my rum and cola, and simply enjoy the view. Practice also lowered my self-consciousness, allowing me to notice that I was not the only man who was alone in the crowd.

Lost in my own head and unfocused ruminations, it took a moment to become aware that someone was trying to engage me. I think the man introduced himself as DeVon. Not wanting to be taken as rejecting, my first words were of apology for being obtuse, and I extended my hand. “Hi. Sorry. I’m Alan. I guess I was lost in my own head.”

“DeVon here,” which confirmed his name and helped me continue the conversation.

“Actually, you are Noah. At least you look exactly like the Noah I’ve been telling my coworkers I’m seeing. I know all this might sound crazy, but have you ever had the experience of being the only one at work, or anywhere, I guess, who’s single?”

“Oh, God, yeah,” I nearly yelled, while scrunching my face into a well-practiced, disgusted frown, which I’d recently perfected to replace the look of apology I used to carry for being single.

“Well, a few months ago, I made up a new boyfriend to get my coworkers off my back. I told them I was seeing this guy, Noah, and we were getting pretty serious. I know this is weird, but you look like the personification of this imaginary man I’ve been describing to them. Handsome, smart, friendly, Semitic. So, that’s my story,” DeVon explained with the cute, embarrassed expression of someone admitting how contrived this all might sound.

Only random murmurs escaped my lips, as I really didn’t know how to respond.

DeVon, following up seemingly with intention to recapture control, or perhaps fearing coming across like someone who was trying to pull something over on me, turned to fully face me, and he gently touched my arm. “I know this is strange and maybe it’s the beer talking, but I’ve got this major work event in a couple of weeks, and my coworkers have been unrelenting in telling me that I have to bring Noah. But there is no Noah, so might I bring you, Alan, as Noah?”

I stammered, not knowing exactly what I was thinking, let alone how to respond. Fortunately, DeVon rescued me. “Like I was saying, I know this is strange, but if you’d let me take you to dinner tonight, I’ll explain it all. My treat. Will you meet me for dinner?”

Once I said “Yes,” the awkwardness between us began to dissipate. I nursed my drink as a subtle sign meant to convey my desire to extend the conversation, even if we were going to meet up again for dinner in only a few hours. We talked about what it was like to be middle-aged and single in a coupled world, or at least a world that made those who were single work harder to feel okay about ourselves. But beyond sharing the commonality of being single, I had no idea who DeVon was, nor did we ask anything substantive about the other. I made a conscious decision to save the details about my life for the evening’s dinner. He might have figured the same, though I wondered if he even wanted to know me, or if I was just a potential prop to get him through some undefined work event. We did discuss the unusual June weather and the gifted view of male skin the warmth had unleashed. And as gay men do, we bantered through sexual innuendos that bring that pseudo-intimacy which our straight friends envy, given they’re denied the liberty of sexual banter, especially upon first meeting. The comfort that was forming between us had me looking forward to the night’s dinner, and I became a bit aroused by the unknowns of this man.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Howard Leonard earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology in 1981. Dr. Leonard and his partner moved to Seattle, Washington, in 1983, where he began a private practice which he maintained for thirty-five years. He chose Seattle in part due to his belief the region would allow two men to legally create a family through the use of surrogacy, something largely unchallenged by gay men in the eighties. He has two daughters, now adults, and one grandchild. Howard and his husband, Robert, live in Palm Springs, California. Writing has become an important part of his life since retiring from clinical practice. A City of Hopes Unrealized is the first novel in the “Seattle City Limits” series. You can find Howard on Facebook.


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