Lee still lives at home with his domineering mother, who makes it quite clear she’s anti-gay. Since Lee’s father left the marital home, Lee’s mother has punished him physically and mentally, ensuring he keeps his love for Ryan secret. One night, when Lee’s mother goes out, the two young men explore one another in Lee’s room.
After an explosive revelation, Lee leaves home, the need to sift through his past and come to terms with who he is paramount. Someone makes it clear Lee must never come back to town, frightening Lee into agreement. The only problem is, he’ll be leaving Ryan behind…
Excerpt (readers 18 years and above only):
The house stands as though abandoned when we get back, the lights out, the curtains shut tight. I slide my key into the lock and motion for Ryan to stay outside for a minute. It wouldn’t surprise me if she sat inside in the dark, waiting to see if I brought Ryan indoors. She’s done it before, but luckily Ryan heard her voice and retreated out the door, closing it quietly so she wouldn’t realise we’d been about to sneak up to my room. Only to shoot the shit, play on my Play Station, nothing untoward, but still, Mum would have suspected otherwise.
Seeing the house is clear, I call Ryan inside and, as he closes the front door, I go into the kitchen and put the washing-up liquid in the cupboard beneath the sink. I take a bottle of Coke out of the fridge—bought it earlier this morning when I got Mum’s paper from the shop—and collect two glasses from the cupboard over the cooker. Back in the hallway, I smile at Ryan, even though he can’t see it in the dark, and walk upstairs, pleased to hear his footsteps as he follows.
Wary, I push the door to my room open, expecting to find Mum sitting on my bed. I flick the light switch and blush at the state of my room, shown in all its cluttered, untidy glory under the harsh illumination of the bare ceiling bulb.
“Uh, excuse the mess,” I mutter, stepping forward to scoop up a pile of dirty clothes and shoving them into the laundry bin. I hadn’t anticipated Ryan coming in tonight; otherwise I’d have cleaned up a bit. He’s only ever seen it presentable.
“No probs,” he says, flinging himself on the bed, unfazed. He grabs the Play Station control and nods at the TV. “Boot it up, then.”
I do then take off my jacket and flop on the bed beside him, reaching to my bookshelf to get the other control. The game starts, and we spend the next hour or so battling it out, Ryan winning every time, as usual. After the best out of five, I drop the control down the side of the bed, and it clonks as it hits the floor. I lie on my back, head against the pillow, and stare at the ceiling. Ryan is close, too close, yet not close enough. His body heat warms my bare arm, and I wonder what it would be like to press my skin to his, feeling it fully, properly.
“You ever thought about leaving here?” he asks, leaning over me to put the controller on the bookshelf.
His belly touches my side, and my stomach flips over. My cock twitches, and I will it not to harden, exposing how I feel for him when he might not appreciate my erection. If he isn’t gay, if I’ve misinterpreted…shit, I’d hate to lose our friendship.
“Um, many times.” I casually lay my hands over my crotch and hope he hasn’t spotted my burgeoning cock. Shit!
“So what’s stopping you?” He moves away, settling next to me, resting on his side, face propped in his hand, elbow digging into the mattress.
“Money. Guts.” I swallow, pushing away images of what could have happened just then if I’d lifted my hand and twined my fingers in his hair. If I’d trailed my hand down his cheek, his chest, and to his groin…
“You could get a bedsit and afford it on your wages. If you did extra shifts at the pizza place you’d manage. As for having guts…one day she’ll piss you right off, and you’ll walk, no problem.”
“I s’pose. I want to get out. Get out of this town, too, if I’m honest.”
Ryan sits up, his fingers curling around my wrist. “Really?”
I stare at his hand, the contact searing, fucking great, and he releases his grip, retaking his former position. I will him to put his hand back so I can feel that rush again, but he doesn’t.
Rob is settled in a great relationship with Stuart, but his past catches up with him in a startling way. Photographs of Stuart engaged in sexual acts arrive in the post, sending Rob into turmoil. Stuart denies cheating, so who is the man in the pictures? Rob aims to find out, discovering someone from his past has a side to him even Rob finds hard to swallow.
The two men turn into amateur detectives and soon realise they have stumbled into something far more sinister than they could have imagined.
Lee and the policeman meet up for their much-needed night out. On the way home, they walk past the scrubland, where one of the murders took place. Scuffling noises sound, and the policeman leaves Lee on the sidewalk to investigate. The killer’s ire is up, and his desperation at having Lee all to himself surges to the fore. When will this madness end? And will Lee come out of the ordeal with his mind intact?
The murders take on a new twist, and Lee continues to cope with being the recipient of macabre gifts…
Lee and Nathan’s relationship reaches a new level, but the killings continue. This time it isn’t anyone Lee knows, but news of the murder still hits him hard. He braces himself for another of the killer’s ‘gifts’. The policeman leans on Lee again, the case a difficult one for him to cope with, and they arrange an evening out to de-stress. However, the inevitable gift arrives, shaking up the small town’s residents once again.