Saint Unshamed by Kerry Ashton: Exclusive Excerpt (NSFW) & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Saint Unshamed

by Kerry Ashton

Harlan’s 24th birthday arrived in March 1972. To celebrate, our gang went to a movie together and then to Hawkins Drive-In after- ward to celebrate with root beer floats.

“Here’s to Kerry,” Harlan pronounced, “the best young playwright and actor in the whole of Mormon Zion!”

“To Kerry!” Bridget said, raising her float high in the air. “And here’s to Bridget Peters,” Harlan said, “the gifted writer who has dated Kerry all these months without losing her temper or her virginity!” The girls gasped in righteous horror, but Ma and Pa Hawkins laughed.

“Why are you toasting me and Bridget?” I asked. “It’s Harlan’s birthday! Here’s to Harlan on his 24th birthday!”

We all lifted our frosty mugs and drank to Harlan, even as the thought raced across my mind: Harlan was six years older than me; he was a man of 24, and I was still a boy of 18.

Harlan was caught by surprise, as we hoped he would be, when Jack and I ran out to the car, pulling out all of Harlan’s birthday presents from Oscar’s trunk, along with a birthday cake, which we lit outside before bringing in. We had previously asked Ma and Pa Hawkins to put the lights out when we brought the cake inside. So, placing the cake on the table in the dark with all of the candles lit, in front of Harlan, we all sang “Happy Birthday.” And then Harlan made a wish before blowing out the 24 candles on his cake.

As we all applauded, as the overhead lights came back on, it was obvious to all of us that Harlan was quite overwhelmed by the warmth of our celebration and the obvious love he felt within that small dining room. “Wow!” Harlan gasped. “I wasn’t expecting this! Thank you everybody!”

“We love you, Harlan!” I shouted. “Happy Birthday!” Barbra Streisand’s fifth film, the screwball comedy What’s Up, Doc? opened to great reviews that same month. Like all of Streisand’s films up to that point, it was a huge hit at the box office. Since Harlan didn’t care for Streisand, I took Bridget to Salt Lake City to see the film before March ended, standing in a long line outside the theater to get tickets. A comic masterpiece, the film did not disappoint either of us.

During the early part of April, as the weather warmed and the snow melted, I took Bridget for a ride in Provo Canyon. The Provo River was brimming with fresh mountain water; dogwood and cherry trees were in bloom; the smell of evergreen was in the air, and Bridal Veil Falls cascaded from a sheer cliff. “It’s beautiful,” Bridget cooed. “Can we stop?”

“Yea, verily,” I replied, steering Oscar off the road and parking. The waterfall fell from hundreds of feet above to the river flowing less than 20 yards from the car. Fruit trees sported pink blossoms in contrast to the green pines on the mountains. “Isn’t it glorious?” I asked, as Bridget and I walked hand-in-hand across the bridge in front of the falls. I had never loved a girl as much as Bridget, but I had never kissed her. I knew that this was the moment. Yet, I hesitated. I wanted to be normal, but I hadn’t even a vague idea of what to do with my lips. Using the movies as inspiration, I awkwardly pressed my mouth onto hers and prayed for passion.

It felt like I was kissing my mother, but Bridget moaned softly, apparently in heaven. Now that I had her in heaven, what was I supposed to do with her? Maybe I just needed practice, I told myself. As I attempted to kiss Bridget in the same way Ryan O’Neal had kissed Barbra in What’s Up, Doc?, I could feel Bridget’s nipples stiffen, pressing through her clothing to push against my chest, yet I felt only embarrassment. Moaning with her, I feigned desire. And then the Great Epiphany happened!

As soon as I fantasized that I was kissing Harlan, not Bridget, I got an erection. Suddenly I understood. Even though I had long known I felt a sexual attraction to Harlan, I had passed it off as a phase that I would grow out of. Suddenly, I couldn’t deny my true feelings for Harlan any longer. “I’m not going through a phase,” I thought. “I’m in love with Harlan! I’m in love with him!”

Reeling from my epiphany, I tore away from Bridget. I knew I had to do something dramatic to alter the path I was on emotionally.

“Sweetie,” I said tenderly, “we don’t want to do anything we’ll regret later. I want us to wait until later, when and if we get married.” “Are you asking me to marry you?” she asked, as tears welled up in her beautiful hazel eyes.

“No,” I said, perhaps too abruptly, and then I rushed to explain. “I mean, not yet. I mean, you deserve to have a formal proposal, and I don’t think either one of us are ready yet for such a big step. Besides, I don’t want to get married until I’ve served my mission.” I paused and took a deep breath. “If we do decide to get married, would you be willing to wait for me for two years while I serve my mission?”

“Of course I would! I love you, Kerry, with all my heart.” I took her in my arms and kissed her as passionately as I could. Harlan asked me again in April if I wanted to go with him to the gym. Given my recent epiphany, this time I found no excuses.

When we left for the gym at dusk, a purple glow was on the snow-capped mountains, a scent of spring in the air.

When we walked into the locker room, the sight of naked men made me shiver. Harlan threw his gym bag on the bench, opened a locker, and began stripping out of his clothes. I stood frozen in place. “Aren’t you going to get changed?” he asked, his voice sounding husky and every bit as steamy as the room itself.

“Yeah,” I said quickly, opening a locker. “I’ll hurry.” I added, removing my shirt and hanging it in the locker. But feeling self- conscious about my body, I left my undershirt on. Unable to remove my eyes from Harlan’s muscular back or broad shoulders that tapered to his slender waist, I felt an erection rising inside my shorts. Then, when he carefully lowered his garments—since they were considered holy and should never touch the ground—my face flushed red.

“How you coming, Kerry?” Harlan asked, trying to sound nonchalant.

“Fine,” I replied hoarsely. Though I had seen him in only a quick and furtive glance, the sight of Harlan naked burned a permanent image in my brain that would stay with me forever. His body was hard, compact, and well-defined, but not overly muscular, with broad shoulders and a well-developed chest that tapered to a defined six- pack and tiny waist. Then, the brief glimpse of his naked buttocks, firm and smooth like molded sculpture, left me shaking and unsteady. Catching a similar glimpse of his genitals, I thought I saw evidence of a budding erection, even more prominent than my own, or had I imagined it? Scanning past his crotch to his muscular thighs and spread legs, I averted my eyes to the floor.

“You better hurry, Babe,” he said, interrupting my thoughts. “Yeah, okay,” I muttered, stealing another glance as Harlan bent over to pull on his jock strap. Seeing how the white straps curved tightly around his ass, and how the white pouch stretched around the sack between his legs, made me feel as though I might orgasm involuntarily. As I folded my socks and stuffed them in my locker, my brain sizzled with erotic images that I did not want to accept.

As Harlan pulled on his trunks, he prodded, “Come on, Babe. We haven’t got all night!”

“I feel sick,” I uttered. “I need to go to the bathroom.” “You want me to help you in there?” “No, you go ahead, start your workout. I’ll meet you in a few minutes in the gym.”

“Sure thing, Babe,” he said, pulling on his sweatshirt. As soon as he headed for the gym, I ran to the bathroom and locked myself in a toilet stall, pulling down my pants and underwear before sitting down. My erection ached for release, yet I knew if I succumbed to masturbation that I would soon commit more heinous sins, staining my sacred oaths as a priesthood holder. Fifteen minutes passed, as I stared at my erection with disdain.

Kneeling in the stall, I prayed fervently for my very soul. “Please, Heavenly Father, help me and give me the strength to resist temptation. I ask for these blessings in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

It took another 15 minutes of math and silent tears before my erection subsided. “Thank you, Heavenly Father,” I whispered gratefully, finally getting off my knees and running back to the locker room to finish changing.

I felt relieved until I walked into the gym and saw Harlan bench- pressing, and my unwanted erection returned. No amount of prayer would ever change how I felt about Harlan or about the sight of naked men. When Harlan finished his routine and got up from the workout bench, I quickly explained, “Harlan, I’m still sick. I’m going to head home. But you stay and finish.”

“You sure?” Harlan asked, wiping his hand on his sweatshirt. “Yea, verily!” I retorted. I dressed and ran from the locker room, remembering the two questions Harlan had once asked me as we stood facing each other in a snowy field one morning, almost in accusation: “You don’t know yet, do you, Kerry?” he had questioned. “Know what?” I had asked in return. “What you are?” he had answered.

I ran into the bushes and vomited.

 

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About Shame Untamed

The first paragraph of Kerry Ashton’s new memoir explains a lot: “I told this story once as fiction in the 1980s, but this time I tell the truth. I even tell the truth, in #MeToo fashion, about being violently raped by another man when I was 18, with a knife held to my throat—a secret I kept from everyone, including myself, for over 40 years. The rape, like other experiences I endured while a student at Brigham Young University, where I came out in the early 1970s, had a profound impact on my later life. But this story is not so much about my rape or my coming of age at BYU, as it is about the lifelong effects of shame itself, not only about how I internalized and inherited a wounding shame from my Mormon upbringing, but also how I eventually unshamed myself. It is about the journey of a lifetime, finding spiritual growth, self-discovery and healing along the way, while encountering many miraculous events that pushed me forward through darkness toward the light.”

Telling about his experiences during his four years at BYU—the rape, falling in love for the first time, police surveillance, harassment and arrest, while enduring three years of conversion therapy and electric shock treatments—provide the structure of Kerry’s memoir. But intermittently, the author shares memories from his childhood, growing up Mormon in Pocatello, Idaho, and later from his adulthood, as well as from his professional career as an actor and writer, both in L.A. and NYC, describing encounters with Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis and Julie Harris, while detailing his experiences with Tennessee Williams and his brief affair with Stephen Sondheim. Lastly, he talks about the 12 years he spent in therapy, about his 16-year battle with cancer, how he eventually rid himself of the shame internalized from his Mormon youth, sharing glimpses into his sexual journey from his innocent youth through S&M and the gay leather scene in mid-life to the loving monogamous relationship he now enjoys.

Available at: Amazon

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About Kerry Ashton

Raised in Pocatello, Idaho as a Mormon in the heart of Mormon Zion, Kerry attended BYU in the early 70s, where some of the most dramatic events recounted in his memoir took place.

Always interested in pursuing a career as both an actor and writer, Kerry wrote his first play, BUFFALO HEAD NICKELS at the age of 17, and published it at 18. Since then, he has published several works, among them most prominently THE WILDE SPIRIT, a one-man play with music, in which Ashton starred as Oscar Wilde, and also wrote the play’s book, music and lyrics. The play won Kerry critical acclaim for both his writing and performance, and three 1977 L.A. Civic Star Awards for Best Actor, Play and Direction. The play ran for three consecutive seasons in Provincetown, MA from 1990-1992, and was produced Off-Broadway in 1996, winning Kerry a National Award of Merit from ASCAP. The author now makes his home with his partner Victor Ramirez in South Florida. For more info, visit www.KerryAshton.com.

Website & Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram | Goodreads | LinkedIn

Blog_Tour_Giveaway

As part of this blog tour, Kerry is giving away two ebook copies of Shame Untamed!! To enter, just click the link below!

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Please be aware that the only way to enter the giveaway is to click the Rafflecopter link above. Any comments on this post will not count towards entering the giveaway unless otherwise stated but are still welcome anyway.

Good luck!

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Saint Unshamed by Kerry Ashton: Exclusive Excerpt (NSFW) & Giveaway!

  1. Thank you for the excerpt! Congrats on the book release!

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