The Pet Rescue Guy by Ryan Field: FREE Excerpt
Here’s an excerpt from a soon to be pubbed book that’s tentatively titled, The Pet Rescue Guy. I don’t even have a cover yet. It’s a gay erotic romance that’s focused on a young guy who is the director of an unusual SPCA that caters to all kinds of animals. This guy, Keith, loves his work so much he can’t wait to get up in the morning and head to the SPCA.
But there’s a problem in Keith’s life, and it’s one that causes him great internal conflict. He wants to marry a guy named Chet, but Chet thinks that working at an SPCA is a degrading line of work, and Chet doesn’t like animals…especially dogs. So Keith is torn between his love for Chet, and his love for working at the SPCA. However, there’s a twist and a few surprises in store for Keith that even he doesn’t see coming.
Here’s chapter one, and please keep in mind this is still a rough version that will be subject to edits.
Photo Attribution Wiki Commons.
Keith Richardson would have done anything possible to keep his boyfriend, Chet Charles, happy. In the 6 months they’d been together, he’d already proven himself in more ways than one.
There was that time in the dead of winter during one of those arctic blast spells when Chet texted him at 3 in the morning because his smoke alarm battery was going bad and the alarm kept going off every 15 minutes. Keith climbed out of his warm bed in the middle of the night, drove to the other side of town in frigid 10 degree weather to Chet’s apartment, and replaced the battery so Chet could go back to sleep. Then Keith drove all the way back home because Chet said he had to get up early and didn’t want any distractions.
Whenever it snowed Keith drove to Chet’s apartment to shovel his walk and clean the snow off his car. Keith did Chet’s grocery shopping, all of his laundry, he changed the oil in his car, and he cleaned Chet’s entire apartment once a week. Recently, Keith started paying Chet’s cable and electric bills. Chet was an attorney and had a very demanding job that required a great deal of energy and concentration. Keith did all these things for Chet, plus more, because he loved him and his only goal in life was to make Chet happy.
When they reached the 6 month anniversary of the first night they’d met, Keith planned something wonderfully special for Chet, the surprise of a lifetime that Chet would never have guessed. He’d spent a good deal of time and money preparing for this event. After all, they’d been together for a half a year and Keith considered Chet the love of his life.
On a Friday afternoon in the early spring, Keith picked Chet up at his apartment and they drove up to the tip of Cape Cod where Keith had reserved a suite for them at one of the finest guest houses in Provincetown, MA. He knew Chet wouldn’t settle for anything less and he wanted to make him as comfortable as possible.
After they checked in, Chet decided to take a nap and Keith went out for a long walk down Commercial Street alone. He would have preferred to remain in the room and nap with Chet. He’d been driving for hours and could barely keep his own eyes open. However, Chet would only nap alone, and if Keith stayed there he would have distracted Chet and ruined the entire nap. Chet was very serious about his naps. His naps were a huge part of his life. If someone ruined his nap it could ruin his entire weekend. So Keith took off to walk alone up and down Commercial Street, with his head bowed and his hands buried in his pockets, for the next 2 and a half hours.
He didn’t mind passing time alone, especially for Chet’s sake. Keith had always considered himself average looking. He stood 6 feet tall, he had dark wavy hair that he kept short, and he wore glasses. He’d never had to worry about gaining weight, but he’d never spent much time at the gym either. Although he’d always been a perfect 30 inch waist, and had a good solid frame, the entire concept of working out had passed him by. He considered himself charmed to have a handsome blond boyfriend like Chet, with perfect abs, large round chest muscles, and sculpted thighs. Even though Chet’s blond hair wasn’t real, and his body was the result of steroids and spending 3 hours every day at the gym, he could have been a male model instead of an attorney. As far as Keith was concerned, Chet was absolutely flawless.
Later that evening, Keith took Chet to one of the most popular restaurants in Provincetown. At first, Chet couldn’t make up his mind about what to order, so that took over a half hour. The waiter kept returning and rolling his eyes in Keith’s direction. When Chet finally ordered his gluten free meal, and the food finally did arrive at their table, Chet claimed his steak was over-cooked, his vegetables soggy, and his crème brulee had the bitter under taste of lemon. Of course he’d already eaten the entire meal by then and there was nothing Keith could do other than pay the bill and leave an extra nice tip for the waiter who’d been so patient with them. Keith also apologized to the waiter on the way out for Chet’s rude condescending comments.
After dinner Keith suggested they take a stroll on the beach together. It was unusually warm for that time of year and Keith smiled and said he wanted to be closer to the ocean.
When Chet heard this he lifted his plucked and sculpted eyebrows and said, “Let’s take a rain check on that, sweetie. I’m wearing new shoes and I don’t want to get sand in them. Besides, I’m tired. Let’s just go back to the guest house and watch TV in bed. There’s a fascinating special on PBS tonight about the invention of the toothpick I’ve been dying to see.”
“It’s received very good reviews. One shouldn’t underestimate the toothpick.”
“Can we just walk out to the beach for a minute or two?” Keith asked, with a soft, pleasing voice. “It won’t take long, sweetheart. I’d like to get a quick glimpse of the ocean. We can go back right after that and you can watch the toothpick show.”
“I guess it can’t hurt,” Chet said. “But you’re going to carry my shoes so they don’t get ruined.”
Keith smiled. “Sure thing, sweetheart.”
“And if you’re really good, and I don’t have a headache, I’ll let you give me a blowie before I go to sleep,” Chet said.
“Anything you want, sweetheart,” Keith said. He wanted this to be the most wonderful weekend of Chet’s life, and he wanted to please him in bed, too. Besides, he was used to unreciprocated sex with Chet. Their sex was more about pleasing Chet than Keith, which actually brought Keith pleasure. Chet was a spur-of-the-moment kind of lover and Keith never knew when they were going to have sex. They could go a full week without sex, and then Chet would tell Keith to bend over the furniture so he could fuck him. Or sometimes Chet just wanted Keith to blow him. As long as he knew he was pleasing Chet, it didn’t bother Keith in the least.
When they reached the beach at the end of a dark public boat ramp on Commercial Street, Chet made Keith bend over so he could lean on him while he removed his shoes. He wasn’t wearing socks that night. He’d seen Ryan Seacrest on TV not wearing socks and he’d decided to mimic Seacrest’s look. Chet was very conscious of his appearance and he tended to mimic famous people all the time, especially if something was very trendy. At the moment, his idol was Ryan Seacrest, and before that it had been someone famous from reality TV that Keith had never even heard of. Keith never paid much attention to famous people and he never mimicked anyone’s look. But he told Chet how wonderful he looked every chance he could get.
“Okay,” Chet said. “You carry my shoes and let’s get this over with so I can go back and watch my PBS special.” He gestured to the ocean. “There it is: the ocean. Knock yourself out.”
Keith smiled and gazed out at the soft gentle waves. It was a clear night and the stars were shining. He took a deep breath and inhaled the scent of salt water and said, “Isn’t it magnificent. Don’t you feel wonderful to be alive?” This would be the most wonderful night of his life, too, and he wanted to savor every last moment.
“Yeah. It’s just magical. I’m getting a big thrill. Let’s get this show on the road, now. We don’t have all night.”
Then Chet started walking, as though every step were a struggle, and Keith followed him onto the sand. They only walked about 30 feet from the ramp when Keith stopped and pointed to a wooden sign next to a large rock. “Look at that sign, sweetheart. You’d better read what it says. Maybe we don’t have permission to be here.” Of course he already knew what it said. He’d placed the sign there himself earlier while Chet had been napping and he’d been wandering aimlessly.
Chet shrugged and said, “I don’t care what it says. I’m bored. For one thing, we’re not going to be here that long, and for another, if I feel like walking on the beach I’m going to walk on the beach and I don’t care what any signs say.”
This wasn’t going as planned. So Keith smiled and lifted his voice a little higher. “Oh, c’mon, sweetheart. Just check out the sign and see what it says. I’m kind of curious.”
Chet sent him a backward glance and tilted his head a little, as if he thought Keith had lost all his senses. “Okay, if you insist on being so mediocre. I’ll read the sign but I honestly don’t care what it says. I’m so over it.”
While Chet moved a few steps forward to read the sign, Keith started smiling. He pulled a small box out of his pocket and he couldn’t stop smiling. He smiled all the way up to the point where Chet turned around, gaped at him, and read the sign aloud: “I love you so much, my darling. You’re the love of my life. Will you marry me, be my husband, and spend the rest of eternity with me?”
“I put the sign there while you were napping, darling,” Keith said.
“I’m not even sure I want to spend the rest of the night with you,” Chet said, with a deadpan tone.
Keith ignored his reply, because he was down on one knee by then, with his arms extended and an open ring box in the palms of his hands. “I love you more than life itself, my darling,” Keith said. “You’re my rock.” He’d heard that line on a melodramatic TV show.
“Well, you’re getting on my last gay nerve.”
Keith was still smiling. “Be my husband, sweetheart.”
Chet pointed to the ring box in Keith’s hands and asked, “Is that what I think it is?”
“Yes, my darling,” Keith said. “Will you marry me and spend eternity with me?”
Chet took a deep breath and said, “Oh, well. I didn’t expect this. You’re serious.”
“Of course I’m serious, my darling. We can spend the rest of our lives together.”
Chet just stood there gaping at him without saying a word. At first, Keith thought Chet was so thrilled and overcome with joy he couldn’t find the right words to reply. Keith didn’t want to rush him so he just remained on one knee, in the rough, rocky sand, waiting for him to say something.
A few seconds later, Chet cleared his throat and said, “Well, this certainly is unexpected. I never even saw this one coming.”
“I wanted to surprise you,” Keith said. “I wanted this to be the most wonderful night of your life, dearest.”
Chet blinked. “Well, it’s definitely a surprise that’s for sure.”
Keith raised his arms a little higher and nodded at the ring in his hands. “Put it on. I hope it fits.”
“Hold on,” Chet said. “You see, it’s kind of like this. I can’t marry you.”
Chet shook his head. “I was actually going to break up with you next week, but you insisted on coming up here for the weekend and I figured it could wait a few days. This relationship hasn’t been working out for me.”
Keith stood up and put the ring back into his pocket. “I thought what we have is special. I thought we were in love and that we could build our lives together. You’re my rock.”
“Oh stop saying that rock thing it’s getting on my nerves. You sound like you’re reading a script from a bad network TV show. That’s the whole problem, Keith. You think too much. You’re always thinking, and when you’re not thinking you’re overthinking.”
“Well.” Keith felt as though his heart was stuck in his gut. He wasn’t sure what to say next.
“And don’t take that tone with me.”
Keith blinked this time. “What tone?” He didn’t say anything.
“Don’t make me feel guilty about this. It wasn’t my idea. This is all on you.”
Keith didn’t want to see him get upset. “Okay, sweetheart. I’ll stop thinking so much. I won’t overthink either. If you marry me, I promise you’ll never see me think again.”
Chet lowered his eyes and looked at the sand. “It’s not just that.”
“Then what is it?”
Chet sent him a half smile and spoke with a softer voice. “It’s your job. It’s what you do for a living. I can’t live with that for the rest of my life.”
Keith had always thought of himself as one of those lucky people in life who love their job so much they can’t wait to get up on the morning and head to work. He never understood people who complained about Mondays. He couldn’t wait for Monday. He was in charge of one of the largest SPCAs in the state. He spent his half of his time surrounded by the most wonderful dogs and cats and other animals that people had discarded, and the other half trying to find good homes for them.
“My job?” Keith asked.
Chet nodded. “I’m afraid so. It’s been nice dating you, but I’m an attorney and I couldn’t spend the rest of my life with a guy who works at the SPCA cleaning out cat litter boxes. People call you the rescue guy. Besides, I don’t really like animals that much, especially dogs because they’re so needy and dirty. It just wouldn’t work.”
“I make a decent living,” Keith said. “I love what I do. And I don’t clean the cat litter boxes myself. I’m the director of the SPCA.” He had a college degree in English, and at one time he’d planned to either teach or work in publishing. But after college he’d taken a temporary part time job working at an SPCA that his family was heavily involved with, and he’d worked his way up to being the one in charge. He loved what he did so much at the SPCA he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“Yes, you do make a decent living,” Chet said. “But I want more than a decent living. I have bigger plans for myself. And I can’t marry a man who has no ambition or gumption.”
As Chet turned to head back toward the ramp, Keith followed him and asked, “You really don’t like dogs? Who doesn’t like dogs?” He should have known this.
“Me,” Chet said, without glancing back. “I can’t stand dogs. Now hurry up. I don’t want to miss my PBS special. Toothpicks are very interesting. Maybe this night won’t be a complete waste of time.”
All at once Keith’s face grew warm. How could he have missed something like this? He wanted to throw the shoes he was carrying right over Chet’s head. But he decided not to make matters worse. He had to get through the weekend with him, and there were still a few more surprises Chet didn’t know about. In the morning he could cancel the private boat ride, but that night there was no way to cancel the guy who played the violin. So he trudged along behind Chet, wishing there were some way he could avoid walking up to the guest house where the violist would be waiting to serenade them.
When they reached Commercial Street and Chet took his shoes back from Keith, Chet asked, “I have one question that I’ve always been curious about. Just how do you afford weekends like this, restaurants, and even an engagement ring on your salary? You only work at the SPCA.”
Keith handed him the shoes and shrugged. “I make do.” There was one important thing that he’d never told Chet about himself, and he had no intention of telling him that now.