Click on image to enlarge.
by Jade Buchanan
Category: Erotica/Gay Fiction
Description: Rich is terrified of breaking his silence, but he'll need to decide if loving Matthew is worth the risk. Rich Matheson has spent his entire life in Northern Ontario, and he has no intention of leaving even if it means living a lie. But, after he meets the new nurse in town Rich gets a taste of what he's been missing. When Matthew Clark came north to care for his ailing Great-Aunt he figured he could kiss his love life goodbye. Life suddenly becomes a lot more interesting when he meets Rich, but can he have a long-term relationship with a man buried in the closet? Rich is terrified of breaking his silence, but he'll need to decide if loving Matthew is worth the risk.
eBook Publisher: MLR Press, LLC/MLR Press, LLC,
eBookwise Release Date: September 2012
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [282 KB]
Reading time: 184-258 min.
"When's my baby coming home?"
Matthew sighed, holding the phone away from his mouth so his mom didn't hear it. They'd been over this before. He was low man on the totem pole, so he was going to be working the holiday. "I'm not coming home, Mom."
"You're coming home for Christmas and don't argue with me. Don't sigh like that, either, I can hear you."
"You hear everything."
"Yes, because I'm your mother, and it's my job to hear everything. Now, they treating you right at the hospital?"
"Yes, Mom." Matthew couldn't help his grin.
"Your Aunt Adeline is okay?"
"Are you getting enough to eat?"
"Have you found a nice boy to bring home?"
"Not yet." He fiddled with the phone, angling his body so his aunt couldn't hear him. You never knew with her. You could be sitting in the same room, and the woman wouldn't hear a thing you said, but whisper three rooms over and suddenly she could hear perfectly.
He definitely wasn't three rooms over, so he wanted to be careful about what he said. Matthew glanced around the kitchen. It looked like a flock of geese had exploded in the room. The damned things were on everything -- the tablecloth, the dishtowels, the wallpaper border, the rug, the stovetop. They'd even been stenciled on the cupboard doors. They all had the same blue hats and yellow ribbons around their necks, too.
He tuned back into the conversation. "It's not exactly that type of place."
His mom sighed gustily. "Nonsense, gay people don't only live in big cities, Matthew. There's no reason you can't find a nice man there. You deserve to be happy, be with someone who cares for you."
"You promise you'll tell me the minute you meet someone?"
"Yeah, I promise."
"Okay, then. Pass me over to Aunt Addy and you can go off to dinner."
"'Kay. Love you."
"Love you too, Matthew."
Matthew moved into the living room and handed the phone to his aunt. Great-aunt, actually. She was the reason he'd moved up here. Aunt Adeline was eighty-five years old and refused to move out of her house. Only, an incident last year had made all the family panic and Matthew had been voted most able to move to Temiskaming Shores and take care of her. He guessed it didn't hurt that he was a nurse.
He didn't mind. He'd needed the break anyway, but it was quite different from what he was used to. Starting with the name of the place... Temiskaming Shores, Tri-Towns, New Liskeard? All of the above, apparently, depending on who you asked. Temiskaming Shores was the official name, of only a few years, and it was made up of New Liskeard, Haileybury and North Cobalt. He'd only been up here a few times in the past with his parents, but his aunt had no wish to move out of the place she'd lived in nearly all her life.
If he didn't stop woolgathering he'd miss his Friday night get together with the other nurses.
Wandering into the living room and waving his hand, he got his aunt's attention and mouthed "goodbye" to her. She waved imperiously, causing him to grin. Aunt Addy sure was something.
It took him longer than he'd like to bundle up at the backdoor. They were in a bit of a cold snap at the moment and he hated it. He slid into his boots before putting on all the requisite winter paraphernalia. Finally geared up in a jacket, scarf, gloves and tuque, he barreled down the steps and around the house to where his car sat in the gravel driveway. Minutes later, he was passing through downtown New Liskeard, on his way along the lakeshore to Haileybury and Matheson's Bar and Grill.
He was the first to arrive, which wasn't a shocker. Some of the folks in this town moved a little slower than he was used to. He spied a couple getting up from a table at the back of the room and quickly rushed over before it could be snapped up by anyone else. He grinned up at the waitress who came by to clean up the table before removing all his shit and looking around to see who else was here.
The place was packed like it always seemed to be. No surprise, since there weren't that many restaurants you could actually go here. And that wasn't very nice, but hell, he grew up in Toronto. This had been quite the culture shock the first time he'd driven around to find a spot to eat.
The long bar along one side of the large room was nearly hidden by the sea of men packed in like sardines. The sound of rock music battled it out with the hockey game in progress. The Leafs were fighting it out with the Canadiens on the big screen TVs and a quick peek of the score had Matthew cringing. His boys needed to pick it up if they wanted to do something this year.
"Hey, Big Dick! I'm about to eat the table I'm so hungry. Where's my nachos?"
Matthew turned at the loud bellow from the table beside him. He recognized the men, but hadn't met them personally. Jeff Dube was the one who had yelled and the other two were Marcus Blunt and Etienne Marcel. The only reason Matthew knew who they were was because of who they were friends with.
Swiveling around to look at the recipient of the bellow, Matthew sighed in longing.
Right there at the bar was the reason he loved coming here. Rich Matheson was sure nice to look at, with a combination of thick black hair, chiseled cheekbones and eyes that looked black at first until you got close enough to see the hint of blue. It was obvious his nose had been broken a time or two but it just served to take him from merely pretty to downright sinful.
He cursed himself every time he mooned over the man, but he couldn't seem to help it. Hell, even the way Rich moved was poetry. He sauntered around the bar now, carrying a plate of nachos piled high. Matthew wanted to yell at him to rest since he knew for a fact Rich had been in the hospital not that long ago.
Stupid idiot. Rich had walked out into traffic two months ago while completely drunk and only the fact that the driver hadn't been going that fast had allowed Rich to twist out of the way enough that he wasn't hit directly. Unfortunately for him, he'd fractured his fibula and gotten one hell of a concussion. Luckily, he'd been in excellent shape, and as much as Matthew would like to say differently, Rich'd actually followed doctor's orders exactly and progressed through his healing with flying colours.
Matthew had been on shift the night Rich had come in and it hadn't been a pretty sight. The quick lurch in his stomach when he'd realized who it was had stunned him. Where the hell had it come from? Even now, he was still trying to figure it out. His moment of panic hadn't made a lick of sense. Rich wasn't anything to him. And he definitely wasn't anything to Rich.
It didn't stop him from fantasizing, though.
What would it feel like to come in here after a hard day at the hospital and have Rich aim that quicksilver grin at him? To be welcomed with a hug and a heated kiss, regardless of anyone else in the room? He wished he had the right to brush back the lock of wavy hair that seemed to perpetually fall forward over Rich's forehead. Or caress that ripped body, feeling up muscles developed over years of playing sports and keeping in shape. Matthew didn't have to stretch his imagination much to come up with that picture, since Rich had spent most of the summer wearing tight tees and cargo shorts that showed off his powerhouse calves.
Oh, he had such a weakness for toned, muscular legs.
"Here's your fucking nachos. Now, stop yelling at me, asshole." Rich dropped the plate on the table before bracing one hip against the edge.
"Hey, that's not what you called Doobie when he gave you a reach-around last night."
"Jackass." Rich reached out and swatted Marcus on the back of the head. "You know how I know you're gay? Cause your face smells like ball sweat."
And that, right there, was why Matthew hated coming here.