It’s scheduled for a May 6th release, and I wanted to post an excerpt here first.
When Bradley Klinger moved to the little town
of Mt. Saint Hope in upstate New York, he never
imagined that a twenty-one-year-old in a hooded
sweatshirt would follow him home one night on a
skateboard. He was forty-five years old by then
but said he was in his mid-thirties and no one
ever questioned him. His brown hair was still
thick and wavy. His voice still soft and smooth.
He worked out daily and watched what he ate,
holding onto whatever youth he had left.
Before he moved, he donated all of his loosefitting
polo shirts and his “dad” jeans to charity.
He stopped using words like “dungarees” and
“underpants” when he went shopping for new
low-rise jeans and tighter T-shirts. He wasn’t
denying his age. And he wasn’t planning to buy
a skateboard and get a tattoo. But he wasn’t
ready to look and sound like an old man yet
Mt. Saint Hope was a quirky town, stippled
with art galleries and trendy boutiques. And it
was at the foot of the Berkshires, within driving
distance from Manhattan. Some people moved
there because of the scenery, some moved there
because of the artistic surroundings. But Bradley
decided to move there mainly because Mt. Saint
Hope was that rare mix of quiet small-town living
with a large gay community.
On his first Sunday morning in town, he went
for a proper brunch at a local gay restaurant
called Marlow’s. As he waited for his food, he
noticed the young owner of Marlow’s, Jared
Branford, standing near the kitchen door.
His head went up and his eyes opened wide.
Jared reminded him of the young man he’d
always wanted to be (or could have been). If you
stood them both side by side in a dark corner and
dressed them in the same baggy clothes, they
could have been brothers.
Jared’s head went up, too. He kept looking
over his shoulder in Bradley’s direction, smiling
and nodding. Eventually, he walked over, patted
Bradley’s shoulder with his wide palm and said,
“Hey, buddy, you’re new here, aren’t you? I’m
Jared. My partner and I own this place.”
Bradley’s lips turned down. He hadn’t
planned on the fact that Jared might have a lover.
Bradley lifted his head and forced a smile then he
cleared his throat and said, “Ah well, yes. I’m
Bradley. I just moved into town.” He had trouble
finding his voice; it sounded shaky. And when he
lifted his hand to shake Jared’s, he almost
knocked over his water glass.
“Where are you from?” Jared asked, looking
him up and down. His eyes were dark brown and
his lashes long. But there was nothing feminine