I've spent the day formatting my newly edited version of Painting in the Rain, an Amber Allure title which I hope to rerelease next month. It's set on the glorious Oregon Coast (which is where I took this picture). I thought you might enjoy this scene.
Mike held open the garden gate so Trevor could trudge through. They were halfway up the walk when the front door opened and a pirate stepped out. Okay, not a real pirate—a hot guy with dark untamed hair, big, gorgeous brown eyes, weathered skin and an earring.
He stared at Trevor. “Why are you home early? You’re not hurt, are you?”
Holy shit, this was Trevor’s dad? “Hello.” It came out in the wrong octave. Mike cleared his throat and started again. “Mr. Thompson? I’m Mike Malone, Trevor’s supervisor.”
His focus shifted to Mike. Was it Mike’s imagination or did that gaze linger a little longer than necessary? Get a grip on yourself, Malone. This is your charge’s dad.
The pirate looked back at Trevor. “What have you done now?” His tone was filled with resignation.
“Nothing.” Trevor’s voice rose. He gestured toward Mike with his thumb. “Can I help it that Mr. Puritan here has a thing against me kissing girls?”
Mike frowned. “It was a little more than kissing, wasn’t it, Trevor? And besides, that’s not appropriate behavior for the work day.”
Trevor’s father sighed and opened the door wider. “You’d better come in, Mr. Malone.”
“Please, call me Mike.” Mike held out his hand.
“Gabe.” God he loved a firm handshake. Mike looked into Gabe’s eyes. Oh please, if there’s a God in heaven, let Trevor’s use of “faggot” be a description rather than a random insult.
“Fuck, Dad, do you have to come on to every guy you meet?”
Their hands flew apart like they were on fire. Trevor stormed past his father and into the house. Within moments a heavy rap beat split the air.
“Turn it down,” Gabe yelled. The decibels decreased enough so Mike could hear him when he said, “You’ll have to excuse my son. His mother and I divorced two years ago and he hasn’t taken it well.”
Mike followed Gabe into a living room alive with art. “Wow, this is amazing. Is this all your work?”
Gabe glanced around as if seeing it for the first time. “Some is mine. The rest was given to me by friends. Or traded for. Would you like a cup of coffee? It’s fresh.”
“Sure.” Mike followed him into a sunny yellow kitchen. Gabe closed the door and the noise level dropped. He gestured for Mike to sit down.
Strange, brightly colored sea creatures were painted on the kitchen table and chairs. Mike sat on an orange and yellow octopus.
Gabe poured two cups and passed one to Mike. “Do you take anything in it?”
Mike shook his head. “Black. Thanks.”
Gabe sat across from him and rested his cup on the table. “Tell me why you’re here.”
A thousand inappropriate responses flooded Mike’s mind, but he pulled himself together. “I’m worried about Trevor. Actually, to tell the truth I’m more worried about the young women he’s with.”
“Young women plural?”
“Four in as many weeks.” Mike sipped the coffee. Rich and strong. He wondered what Gabe’s skin would taste like. Shit. He had to stop thinking like that. He concentrated on Trevor, which was enough to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. “He’s a heartbreaker. But what I’m most worried about is that he’ll get one of these girls pregnant or they’ll share a disease.”
Gabe’s eyebrows rose. “He’s going that far?”
“I don’t know. But each time I catch him the girl has on fewer clothes.”
Gabe’s shoulders slumped.
Mike continued quickly, “Of course, this is a program for troubled kids. I doubt there’s a virgin in the bunch. But all that means is that the girls don’t think they have anything to lose by getting pregnant. I’m hoping you can talk to him about the dangers of not using protection.”
Gabe snorted. “My son is unlikely to take advice about sexuality from me.”
“You don’t get along?”
He shook his head. “I’m afraid I’m the reason Trevor’s becoming a womanizer. He’s been trying to prove his manhood ever since I”—he paused and met Mike’s gaze—“ever since I came out.”
The fucking Hallelujah Chorus went off in Mike’s head. He must have smiled because Gabe’s expression changed and suddenly neither of them were thinking about his son.