Book Blitz: The Bathhouse by Gale Stanley (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  The Bathhouse

Series: It Should Have Been You 2

Author: Gale Stanley

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: June 30. 2023

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 75 pages

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, 2nd Chance Romance, Gay, Contemporary, Multicultural & Interracial

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Reed Barton is a millionaire who can have anything he wants, except the one thing he desires most. His first love. He’s spent years trying to recreate the night they met in a San Francisco bathhouse. The image of the beautiful Filipino man who took his virginity is never far from his thoughts.

Reed’s life is turned upside down when his long-lost love reappears — and not in a good way. Joseph Castro is not quite what he seems. Time and experience have changed both men, and there’s no going back. But maybe, together, they can go forward.


Reed Barton had last minute jitters about going to the bathhouse. The men might be old and creepy. His visit might get back to his family. The list went on, but they were just excuses, soon cast aside in favor of discovering what he’d been missing.

Nineteen, almost twenty, and still a virgin. He had little experience with sex. Educated at authoritarian male boarding schools, there wasn’t much time for fooling around. Lessons started early and finished late, and afterwards the boys were kept busy with homework, sports, and dinner until bedtime. Still, he’d witnessed a few incidents. He’d seen one boy sucking another’s penis in the bathroom. At the time, Reed had been appalled, but titillated as well. He pictured himself on his knees, forced to suck another boy’s cock, and longed for the reality, but no opportunity presented itself.

In college, Reed felt the inexplicable draw of chemistry, but only toward other men. To his family he presented a picture of heterosexual “normalcy” but in fact, he took to visiting a bar where gay men hung out. He engaged in several hurried blowjobs in the bathroom, but nothing more. One of his nameless encounters told him about the bathhouse. Bathhouses had once been a rite of passage for gay men, but many had closed through the years. Somehow, this one had survived and Reed was determined to take advantage of whatever it had to offer.

The taxi deposited Reed in a downtown Frisco area known for muggings. Many of the buildings were abandoned and there were no signs or addresses. Confused, Reed questioned the driver. The man pointed down an alley and held out his hand for the fare.

A few working streetlights cast eerie shadows as Reed entered the back street. He felt uneasy, but the sense of danger excited him as well. He’d always been tempted by the forbidden.

A sudden downpour pelted Reed with stinging drops. He picked up his pace, ignoring the beer cans and fast food containers underfoot, and spotted a heavy wooden door with a small sign affixed to it that read <em>Rock Hard Gym</em>. Relieved, Reed pushed the door open and entered a small foyer.

A young man sat behind a window. He scrutinized Reed carefully before selling him a membership. “Do you want a locker or a private room?”

“A locker. I don’t know how long I’ll stay.”

“Fifteen for the membership. Five for the locker.”

Reed exchanged a twenty-dollar bill for an ID card, a white towel and a plastic wristband with a locker key.

“There are condoms and lube in the locker room.” The clerk buzzed Reed through another door.

The heady scent of sex intoxicated him. He didn’t care that the floors were old and slippery with water and body fluids. The lockers were rusty and the walls badly in need of paint, but Reed couldn’t see past the naked male bodies.

Men stood, sat, and lingered in stages of undress, manspreading on changing benches, tiny towels intentionally parted. Reed found it hard to look away from the smorgasbord of flesh so openly exposed.

While searching for his locker, he became aware of the lingering looks he attracted, but none of the men appealed to Reed, not even in the dim lighting. He wanted to explore and he made quick work of undressing.

Wrapping the towel around his hips, Reed left the locker room. There was a gym, small and ill equipped, but a gym nonetheless. Reed bypassed it. Straight ahead he encountered an area where men of all ages and sizes, naked except for their towels, stood around and watched gay porn. He watched the film for a few minutes, then he moved on, entering a series of corridors where men prowled the hallways looking for acceptable partners.

He passed door after door, some closed, many open. Grunts echoed from the shadows. Reed caught glimpses of men grinding and thrusting. Moans filled his ears. Hushed words, frightening and thrilling. Blood rushed to Reed’s dick. It was electrifying to be surrounded by so much sex.

Reed stepped around men who didn’t care about getting a room. Heart pounding, he watched them giving blowjobs or having anal sex in the hall. A few invited him to join in, but he wasn’t ready — yet.

Like a kid in a candy shop, he wandered the labyrinth, taking it all in. Everything astounded him — the soundscape of grunts, moans, hissing, gagging, slapping skin on skin… The halls reeked of sweat and semen.

Reed’s palms were damp with nervous energy. Was he really prepared to do what he’d come here for? Yes. He’d come too far to back off now. He wanted to explore his sexual self.

Reed’s path ended at the steam room. Excitement floated on clouds of vapor. A dozen heads lifted to size him up. Feeling suddenly timid and embarrassed, Reed backed up, intending to leave. Just then, a group of boisterous frat boys arrived and carried him along with them. Reed separated himself and took a seat on one of the wooden benches.

The warm, wet air enveloped Reed’s body, and loosened his tense muscles. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the feeling of relaxation, but the atmosphere changed with the new arrivals. Suddenly the steam room became a hotbed of lust. All wet, slithering bodies sliding up against each other. A strange body pressed up against Reed and startled him. He wished he could be as liberated as these men, but he was too new, too green. There were too many horny men. He needed to find a quieter space.

Reed got as far as the door, but was brought up short by a hand on his shoulder. For a moment, he was too shocked to move. Then he turned.

The man in front of him was shorter. His black hair framed dark eyes, a flat nose and a smiling mouth. Reed scanned the length of him, eyes widening at the tent in his towel. Under it had to be a rock-hard erection. Reed dragged his fascinated gaze back to the man’s exotic face, his broad cheekbones and deep-set eyes.

The stranger’s alluring lips curled in a seductive smile as he spoke. “I don’t blame you for wanting to leave. It’s so noisy in here. A man can’t hear himself think.”


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Meet the Author

Gale Stanley grew up in Philadelphia PA. She was the kid who always had her nose in a book, her head in the clouds, and her hands on a pad and pencil.

Some things never change.

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