Rising sophomore Beau Watkins gave up everything to be with his boyfriend, Vin. Beau is disowned by his father, tormented by his brother, is rapidly running out of money, and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. On top of that, his boyfriend seems to see Beau as little more than a live-in maid. Troubled by word of his missing father and fighting nightmares of his own, Vin Reyes turns to alcohol to drown his pain. What's worse, a handsome transfer student is a little too interested in Beau. Vin throws away everything that's made him happy with both hands, terrified of his own feelings of inadequacy.
When Vin and Beau's happily-ever-after turns into a train wreck of drinking problems, resentment, insecurity, jealousy, and violence, they both try to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives. Their mutual friends, Hector and Ann-Marie, try to help the two young men as best they can, but neither want to listen. Beau accepts a morally questionable job offer to pad his finances and Vin starts a downward spiral of self-destructive behavior that sends him right for rock bottom. Can Vin and Beau win through doubt and guilt, jealousy and recklessness, to find their place in the world?
Sometimes finding yourself means losing everything else...
Lynn Townsend is a geek, a dreamer and an inveterate punster. When not reading, writing, or editing, she can usually be found drinking coffee or killing video game villains. Lynn's interests include filk music, romance novels, octopuses, and movies with more FX than plot.
"Do I even wanna know why you're practicing your evil laugh?" Beau skated in. He threw his pack on the floor under a chair in the front row, his impressive biceps flexing smoothly. His sweet, southern accent polished all his words until they were warm, fluffy, polite versions of their intended selves. Vin wasn't sure Beau would ever master the sarcastic comment; his normal speaking tone was so adorable that it was hard as hell to tell when he was actually angry.
"She's plotting to assassinate me and take over the club," Vin lied.
"Well, then," Beau said, pulling Vin into a swift embrace, "I should get my kisses in while I can." Vin quivered under Beau's powerful hands. Vin's fingers tangled in Beau's blond curls and he pulled his lover in for a kiss. Beau sneaked his tongue out, licked at the ticklish corner of Vin's mouth and took full advantage when Vin gasped to plunder Vin's mouth more fully.
"Oh, for God's sake," Jody exclaimed. She inserted her hip between the two of them and twisted, pushing them apart. "I know you two got a fuckin' room, so go --"
"Fuck there?" An unfamiliar voice piped up into the conversation. Vin focused, still befuddled by Beau's kisses. A new man had entered the room, Beau's age, but not at all shy or nervous, and grinned at them.
"Something like that. Knock it off with the public displays." Jody shook her finger at Vin.
"Not on my account, I hope," the stranger said. He was watching Beau's face with interest. "I was enjoying the show. Charles Allen. Transferred from University of Michigan." He offered his hand to Beau first, which Beau shook. The newcomer was dark-skinned, with a crop of shiny black braids poking out from under his cap. He had a wide, eager smile, and those honey amber colored eyes that only black men seemed to have.
"Beau Watkins," he said. "And my boyfriend, Vin Reyes, the club prez."
"Gathered that," Charles said. He hadn't released Beau's hand, the strong, dark fingers lingering. Vin raised an eyebrow. Beau went around the room, pointing and naming those he knew, gracefully removing his hand from Charles's grasp without giving offense, as if he hadn't even noticed the lingering caress. For all Vin knew, Beau hadn't noticed, and it was only with jealous lover's eyes that Vin was seeing an interest in his boyfriend.
The churn in his belly was familiar. He'd spent most of the last year watching Beau date other men up until Vin got stupid enough--or maybe just desperate enough--to blurt out the truth in a moment of weakness. Not that the results were bad, Vin chided himself, but his self-esteem had taken a knock by how ridiculously immature and uncool he'd acted.
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