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The Once and Future Love
by Ari McKay

Category: Gay Fiction/Romance
Description: Anthony Davis, A-list Hollywood star, is adored by millions for his talent and striking good looks. Approaching fifty and feeling the pressure of competing with younger stars, he realizes that despite all he's achieved, he's alone and lonely. Then Anthony encounters Rob Harrison, who tutored him in college, at a fundraiser. Despite the chemistry between them back then, Anthony chose his career over love, and he recognizes the mistake he made at last. As he leaves the fundraiser, he glimpses a shooting star and makes a hopeless wish? asking for another chance with Rob. A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2012 Daily Dose package ""Time Is Eternity"".
eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, 2012 2012
eBookwise Release Date: July 2012


4 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [70 KB]
Words: 15101
Reading time: 43-60 min.

Chapter One

The ringing of the phone pulled Anthony out of a deep sleep, and he fumbled around for a moment, slapping at the top of the bedside table until he managed to find his cell phone. He answered more by instinct than anything else, and without opening his eyes, he held the phone against his ear. "What?"

"Are you still asleep?" The voice of Janice, his personal assistant, sounded both exasperated and unsurprised. "Damn it, Anthony, you have to catch a flight to San Francisco in less than three hours. Or did you forget that fundraiser at Berkeley tonight?"

"No, I didn't forget." With a groan, he hauled himself into a sitting position, and then he stared blearily at the bedside clock. "God, it's noon. Why didn't you call me earlier?"

Janice sighed with long-suffering patience. "Because I thought you'd be up by now. Or perhaps still up, I should say. Just make that flight, okay? I sent your boarding pass to your phone, and your suit bag and carry-on are hanging in the entry closet. All you have to do is catch the plane."

"Thanks, Janice. What would I do without you?"

"You'd probably end up dead with the gruesome details covered by tabloid TV for weeks," she replied tartly. "Now are you going to get in the shower, or do I have to come over there and bathe you myself?"

That made Anthony chuckle. Janice was in her forties and incredibly efficient, and she often treated him like a child without any sense. But he knew he'd never manage his schedule without her help, and moreover, she was happily married and completely uninterested in him--which was fortunate on several different levels.

"Yes, ma'am," he replied, his brain finally starting to function. "Anything else before I go? Dragons to slay? Damsels to rescue?"

"Yeah, one more thing: happy birthday, boss. And here's to many more."

Anthony froze. "Thanks," he said stiffly, and then he ended the call. He'd managed to ignore the approaching milestone for the most part, although whenever he did think about it, he felt nothing but dread. For a man in an industry where youth and looks were worshipped with fanatical devotion, the approach of his fiftieth birthday had seemed almost like the end of the world.

Obviously the world hadn't ended, but Anthony definitely didn't feel like celebrating. He hauled himself out of bed and made his way to the bathroom, deciding to focus on doing what he needed to do instead. Shower, shave, dress, catch his flight. Maybe if he ignored the date, he could pretend it wasn't really happening.

Staring at his reflection in the mirror, however, he couldn't help but look at himself with a critical eye. His bronzed skin was still firm, even without any surgical assistance. His jaw was still square, and his eyes were still the intense blue that had been one of the keys to him getting some of his earliest roles. He had the kind of strong, masculine face that held a universal appeal, and casting directors hadn't hesitated to select him for characters who needed to appear striking on screen. Fortunately, he could also act, and so he progressed quickly from secondary parts to leading roles. He'd gotten a huge break when he was cast as the lead in an teen comedy-drama that had been an unexpected box-office smash, which had in turn led to him being offered the role of a hero in a blockbuster action-adventure film. That movie had spawned three sequels in ten years and put him firmly on Hollywood's "A" list. Anthony Davis had become a star.

A star whose dark hair now had noticeable gray at the temples, he thought sourly. Who had to work out for at least two hours every day to keep the physique he needed to make sure directors wouldn't pass him over for a younger star. Who didn't have nearly as glamorous a lifestyle as most people probably thought, since he was well aware of what late nights and heavy drinking could do to a man's looks. Anthony wasn't stupid, and he'd worked far too hard and sacrificed too much to get where he was now.

Rich, famous, admired, and completely alone, a little voice in his head whispered to him, and Anthony turned away from the mirror with a snarl. He'd been having that particular thought more frequently in the past year, but he refused to allow himself to dwell on it. He was exactly where he'd always wanted to be. He had done everything he'd set out to do, hadn't he? And if he had ended up without anyone to share it with, well, that was just the price he had to pay.

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