GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 17,967 words
When Nolan Baxter opens up his house to tenants over the summer for cash, he falls for the sexy and alluring Zeb Thursday.
Zeb is quiet, subdued, and spends a severe amount of time in his bedroom alone. Nolan begins to wonder about him. Why does he wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and a baseball cap during the hot and humid summer days? Why is he hiding his physical appearance? And why does he rarely come out during daylight?
Nolan makes it a point to find out Zeb’s history, and along the way learns of the man’s secrets and sins. But as he pries into Zeb’s business, Nolan invades his tenant’s privacy. As a sexual longing builds between them, they devise strength in each other. Nolan inevitably falls for Zeb and vice versa.
But will their individual scars, deep and dark, prevent the pair from loving each other?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
Zeb shook his head. “Stop looking at me that way.”
“Like you want me.”
Nolan smirked and thought, We’re not playing anymore. All of this is very real. He even knows it’s real. “Maybe I do want you. Maybe I have always wanted you. Perhaps now it’s just more difficult to hide. I’m not really sure, but think so.”
Zeb cleared his throat. He blinked his eyes a few times, perhaps taken aback by Nolan’s admission. Changing the topic, retreating from another scene of possible kissing with the older man, Zeb removed the gloves from his hands, one by one, held his appendages out for Nolan’s review, palms-up, on display, and rattled off, “Look at my difference.”
Nolan studied the young man’s hands: both were a discolored and auburn hue with the same Picasso-like tic-tac-toe design that Zeb sported on his right side. Some of the tissue was a bold pink hue in areas and swirled in a cloudy white. His appendages looked like fork prongs instead of fingers. Tips were not visible. Instead, the fingers looked cut off, only partially there.
Nolan did not find the sight ghastly. Instead, he showed no fear and reached for Zeb’s hands with his own. The limbs were scratchy and rough, layers of dried scales as opposed to tender and soft flesh. Both hands had suffered nerve damage, but still seemed to function just fine. There were no fingernails or finger pads. The hands were mutilated and felt like rawhide. Skin did not come to mind as Nolan touched them. Sandpaper-like seemed to under define the scaly limbs. Nolan slowly swirled his thumbs over Zeb’s scarred palms as if he were a soothsayer foreseeing prophecies.
“There’s more,” Zeb whispered. “My back and side were also burned pretty badly. Are you brave enough to look at them?”
“Yes, of course I am, and will.”
“You know that some guys wouldn’t dare.”
“I’m different than those guys. You can’t judge me like them. Remember that. Now, show me more.”
The tenant did. He spun around and said, “Beware of the most horrendous.”
The young man’s back and right side were not hideous, though. They were the complete opposite of a horrifying sight. Rather, Nolan found the man’s scars very similar to that of an articulate painting: puffy with red, white, and almost-blue splotches. Cut tissue that resembled a hacked piece of beef was exposed and emaciated muscle rippled down and along his right side, which drooped a little against the net-like construction that covered part of his body, was visible. The scarring looked quite painful, but he guessed it wasn’t. He didn’t witness Zeb popping pain pills or listen to him bitch about constantly aching. Zeb was handsomely butchered in his opinion; an art piece with emotions and the product of survival following a horrendous accident in his life. He perceived the young man as brazen, bold, and brave because of everything he had been through. His scars became the tattoos of his past, which consisted of confronting death and surviving. How could Zeb Thursday not be perceived as such when he outwitted his own demise?
The scarring to the man’s body became irrelevant when he spun around and sported his muscular chest. “This view is not too shabby,” he explained, and rolled a palm over his dented navel and treasure trail. “What do you think?”
Nolan studied the man’s chest and discovered it as edible: cut pecs with stone-hard nipples, narrow hips, dented navel brushed with blond hair. He is handsome with or without his scars. Zeb is beyond attractive. An angel. A god. I really do like him, Nolan thought. And he admitted such details to the man. “I want you, Zeb. More than you know. More than anything. Just you. Here and now -- us.”