Release Date: December 2011
All Marlowe wants to do is find his place in the world with someone to love. Someone who sees just who he is.
Thrown out of home for not conforming to his family wishes, Angelo heads to the one place he knows he will be welcome with open arms.
With a little help from their family and friends can Angelo and Marlowe figure out just who is stalking Marlowe before Christmas morning? Can Marlowe win the heart of the boy next door? Can Angelo figure out that even straight boys sometimes fall in love with their best friends?
Marlowe had always hated his name. What normal parents, in their right minds, would name their son Marlowe. For crying out loud, it's a girl's name! Then again he could never claim that his parents were normal. With names like Skye and Astra, he didn't have a hope in hell when it came to the name department. He couldn't even go by his middle name which was just as bad as his first name... Marlowe Shelby Weldon; didn't his parents ever think of the teasing he was going to get as he got older? Obviously not, because here he was on his twenty-first birthday, standing in front of a cake with all three names on display for everyone to see.
"I think it's cute," Hunter said as he wrapped his arm around his cousin's waist from behind and leant his chin on his shoulder in sympathy, or support, he wasn't quite sure which yet.
"Cute?" Marlowe whispered hoarsely. "It has never been cute."
"We all got unusual names, cousin."
"At least your name belongs to a man. You have never had to put up with what I have gone through. None of you have. What the hell were they thinking when they named me?"
"That you were beautiful. Besides, Marlowe is a family name."
"Of our great Grandmother." Marlowe rolled his eyes then smiled; as much as he bitched about his name he did truly have two of the coolest parents to ever grace the earth. They never even batted an eye when he came out to them last year and announced at Aunt Cyn's wedding that he was gay and that his mother should just stop trying to set him up with the bridesmaids. Of course it had and hadn't worked, as his parents had spent the rest of the party introducing him to all the single men; whether they were gay or straight. Aunt Cyn had commented that it had to have been one of the weirdest weddings that Australia had ever witnessed; she had found it hilarious that he had spent the whole night trying to dodge his own parents.
"Come on, cheer up. I am supposed to introduce you to Gene, my neighbour. Uncle Skye has decided that you need to meet new people and since Gene and his nephew are the only ones here that you don't know, I have to introduce you."
"Is he even gay?" Marlowe asked softly as he let Hunter drag him through the crowd.
"So why are you introducing me then, and does he even know that I am gay?"
Hunter grinned. "I promised Gene that if he met you, I would introduce him to Dextra; he thinks Dex is kinda hot."
A giggle burst free from Marlowe. "Hot headed, more like."
"Yup, I may have forgotten to mention that part."
"Not nice, cousin, that is so not nice. I thought this guy was your friend."
Hunter's grin broadened. "Now what kind of friend would I be if I tried to put him off meeting the woman of his dreams?"
"Oh my," Marlowe's hand fluttered to his throat as they came to a halt in front of a gruff looking man, "you have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen." And they were. They were a very pale lavender colour. Marlowe blushed profusely when Hunter and Gene burst out laughing.
"You're right Hunter, he really is a cutie." Gene smiled and it reached all the way to his eyes, which made Marlowe melt like heated butter.
Marlowe cleared his throat. "I hear you want to meet Dex." They all looked to where Dextra was standing talking to a tall, very terrified looking young man. "Who is that?"
Marlowe felt like he couldn't breathe. The guy was absolutely gorgeous. He wished the guy would turn his way so that he could see what colour his eyes were. Marlowe was an eye man; he loved beautiful eyes.
"That's just Angelo, my nephew," Gene said apologetically. "He turned up on my doorstep just as I was leaving to come here. I couldn't leave him at home." Gene shook his head. "His parents threw him out of home because he wouldn't date the girl they had chosen for him. Who in this day and age does that kind of thing to an eighteen-year-old boy?"
"Is he gay?" Marlowe didn't know what compelled him to ask, but once it was out he couldn't take it back.
"Truthfully, I don't know. We haven't really had a chance to talk yet."
"Maybe we should rescue him before Dex tries to eat him." Hunter chuckled as Angelo began slowly backing away from Dex. "He looks like he is ready to tuck tail and run."
Gene chuckled as he stood up. "What kind of uncle would I be if I didn't try to help the guy out?"
"And you actually want to meet Dex?" Marlowe asked in mock amazement.
Gene chuckled again. "Life would be boring without a sense of adventure."
Hunter grinned as he headed over to his sister. "Sis, leave the new kid alone. I have someone much sturdier for you to play with."
Dex turned and growled at her brother, but stopped dead when she spotted Gene standing beside him. Grinning she turned back to Angelo. "See Angel, now you don't have to introduce me; Hunter has done it for you."
Hunter leaned over and stage whispered conspiratorially to Marlowe, "Pssst, cuz? Gene will distract her; you grab the kid and run."
Marlowe laughed as he grabbed Angelo by the wrist and dragged him off through the crowd. They stopped just by the bar. Marlowe couldn't stop staring at him; he had the same beautiful purple eyes as his uncle.
"Thanks for that," Angelo said as they ordered a drink. "My uncle drags me here to some chick's birthday and I get mobbed by a crazy woman." Angelo gestured around them. "Do you even know which chick is the birthday girl?"
Marlowe blushed. "That chick would be me." He held out his hand. "Marlowe Shelby Weldon at your service," he ended with a grin. He had to bite the inside of his cheek from laughing out loud when he saw the deep flush of embarrassment creep up Angelo's neck.
"Oh man, I am soooo sorry."
"What for? You didn't name me." Marlowe grinned.
"I just read the name on the cake and just assumed," Angelo said.
Marlowe shrugged. "Most people assume that I am either a girl, or I am gay; they would only be wrong half the time."
"You're gay!" Angelo blurted out.
Marlowe felt the sting of disappointment as he watched Angelo move a bit further away. "It's not a disease you know. You can't catch being gay from me. As Lady Gaga would say, 'Baby, I was born this way'."
"I didn't mean..." Angelo went to reach for his arm but Marlowe stepped away.
"Whatever! You have a nice time now, bye-bye." Marlowe walked away without looking back. This was his birthday and he didn't need the downer.
NJ needs to write like she needs to breathe. It’s an addiction she never intends to find a cure for. When you don’t find NJ arguing with Vlad, her muse, or writing about the wonderful men in her stories, you’ll find her reading work by other authors she greatly admires. NJ lives on five acres situated in the SE of Qld, Australia with her family who all encourage her writing career (even if she does occasionally call them by her character’s names), and her variety of pets. NJ thinks anyone who takes the time to read her stuff is totally awesome, and wants to thank you all.
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