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Beauty in the Breakdown
by E. L. Esch

Category: Gay Fiction/Erotica
Description: Genre: LGBT Contemporary

Luke Martin Cleary isn't out of the closet to his brother, and that's always been okay since he isn't involved. Then he meets Rowan, a fragile man with a dark past and one hot body. But Rowan's heart and body are broken and guarded, and it's going to take a lot of love to touch someone so completely untouchable. Literally.

Rowan Wilheim Nails is a man in pain. Ever since an abusive falling out with his ex-boyfriend, he's developed a phobia of being touched by another person--a phobia of being hurt again. So when Luke and Rowan meet at a bar and end up at Luke's apartment later on, Rowan is skeptical of spending the night in Luke's bed. There's only one thing he can do to make touching Luke's skin bearable--get drunk.

Luke hates Rowan's coping method, but how can he help change it when he doesn't understand Rowan's situation? By getting involved, he decides, even if that means divulging his secret to his brother. And so Luke begins breaking Rowan and his walls down, slowly and tenderly and maybe a little more roughly in the bedroom, but definitely without hurting him again. No matter how long it takes or how untouchable Rowan claims to be, Luke is determined to heal Rowan so that one day there'll be nothing between their hearts but each other's skin.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.

eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2012
eBookwise Release Date: October 2012


Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [373 KB]
Words: 84491
Reading time: 241-337 min.

I often wonder things. I often wonder things that, once upon a time, people would have been sent to asylums for thinking. Now people can think whatever they like, and the worst they'll get is a cross look. That's a good thing, though, for someone like me.

Now let me say this first--I'm dying. "We both are. You'll understand someday." At least that's what I've been told. That's why I suppose I'm wondering things now. I'm wondering things that, once upon a time, people would have been sent to asylums for thinking.

For instance, if I muse over what the flesh of another human being tastes like, does that make me a cannibal? If I think the world needs to change no matter the cost, does that make me a terrorist? If for some reason I know we, he and I, are both dying but refuse to elaborate on how, does that make me a criminal?

These are just thoughts, though. No harm, right? Not anymore. Not today. However, everything evolves from thought: danger, peace, love, hate, change, everything.

Maybe I'm just getting dramatic because I'm dying. "We both are. You'll understand someday." Or maybe it's just that I'm confused by the fact that I'm dying when I feel fine.

Why would I be confused? Simply, it's because of him. He's the reason for all of these thoughts.

He is a slim, nimble young man, maybe in his midtwenties. He's a pretty normal character, except that he makes me think things that, once upon a time, people would have been sent to asylums for thinking. He's beautiful and fair-skinned and gentle and shy. He has a problem with people touching his body, and he gets harassed for it. Around his eyes sit horn-rimmed glasses, just the right fit over his elegant nose and cheeks, protecting the greenest eyes I've ever seen. Capping his head is wispy, soft, and naturally untamable hair of a color I likened to that of a dingy fire. His hands aren't large, but they aren't small either, with slender fingers that match the knobbiness of his hips and shoulders perfectly. He is him, and God did he make me think.

When I asked him his name, his thin, pale lips curved into a smile, and I suppose what he said in response started all these thoughts. "I'm dying. We both are. You'll understand someday."

If at that moment I wondered what his skin tasted like, did that make me a creep? Did that make me wrong or a sinner or a breaker of taboo? If at that moment I wanted to change myself, did it make me a terrorist to my own conscience? Or did it just make me a fool?

"Wait!" I remember myself calling out to him, to that majestic creature who made me think. I was confused then too. Maybe he really was dying. Maybe we all were somehow, but I didn't care.

He stopped and turned halfway. "Yes?"

He was a contortionist, I'd thought then. He had to be.

"I want to know your name," I'd repeated. I think I'd smiled too, but recalling it makes me feel rather stupid so I can't say I'm sure I did.


"Ah, an olden name." I did smile then.



"Also olden." And then he shook his head and stared at me up through his eyelashes. "I told you, I'm dying."

"I heard."

"But you asked my name."


He paused. "Get a drink with me, stranger?"




It was the only instance since I'd met Rowan that I didn't think. I just took him by the arm and let him lead me down the street like we were a happy couple.

I think I realized then--I was a terrorist, a sinner, a criminal, a fool, and even a bit of a creep. The only thing I wasn't was a cannibal, but that still didn't stop me from thinking thoughts that, once upon a time, people would have been sent to asylums for thinking.

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