Paul Stanton thought he had it all, a great job, a beautiful condo and a stable relationship with his boss, but when his lover dumps him for another man, Paul is forced to rethink his life. Rather than spend the holidays alone in San Francisco he visits his childhood home in rural Pennsylvania. But only a few days with his family is enough to convince Paul that you can’t go home again.
Paul leaves for the airport in the midst of a snowstorm. Stranded in the woods, a chance meeting with a hunter is his only option for survival. Paul knows the type, a backwoods bigot just like the men he grew up with, but what choice does he have? A few days with the hunter convinces Paul there’s more to Andy Reynolds than meets the eye. But is it enough to bind two men who have nothing in common except their sex?
Andy and Paul are totally committed to each other, but when the two-year itch infects their relationship, Paul becomes distant and refuses to talk about it. Andy arranges a much needed vacation, but on the way home they pick up a hitchhiker who’s willing to trade sex for a roof over his head. Andy will do anything to make Paul happy, even if it means bringing another man into their bed. But is a threesome really the answer? Or will it drive them further apart?
By the time Paul walked into the kitchen area, Andy had a fresh pot of coffee ready. He filled two big mugs, added a large measure of whiskey to each and handed one to Paul. “This will warm you up.” Andy pointed to a bottle of aspirin. “Take a few of those. Sounds like you might be getting a cold.”
“Thank you, mother,” Paul said tightly.
Andy grinned. “Not the first time I’ve been called a mother.” He gestured to one of the two ladder-back chairs.
Paul sat at the tiny square table and shook two tablets out of the bottle. He ignored Andy’s scrutiny and concentrated on the hot coffee.
Finally, Andy wiped his mouth with the back of a hand and spoke. “Is there anything you really need in your car? If the storm lets up, I can try and get back there tomorrow.”
“No. I have the important stuff with me.”
“It’s not a big deal. As long as I can walk in it,” Andy added.
Why is he being so helpful? He wants something. “It’s not necessary. I don’t need the bag until I can get to the airport.”
Paul’s stomach growled in the awkward silence that followed.
“Hungry?” Andy asked.
Paul realized he hadn’t eaten all day. “Starved. Can we call out for a pizza?”
Andy grinned. “I wish. The local pizzeria is closed. How about venison steaks?”
Paul couldn’t hide his disgust. He hadn’t eaten deer meat since he left home. “Sorry, I have no interest in eating Bambi.”
“Neither do I. I don’t go after babies. Never mind. I can find something else.” Andy got up, and opened a kitchen cabinet. He pulled out a can and held it up. “Chicken soup. It’s the best medicine for a cold.”
“Don’t go to any trouble for me.”
“Not a problem. I have to eat, too.”
Is anything a problem for this guy?
Andy opened a drawer and pulled out an old-fashioned manual can opener. Paul hadn’t seen one of those in years. Transfixed, he watched Andy press the tool against the lid and rotate the bar.
“Voila.” Andy held up the lid before tossing it. “It doesn’t pay to rely on electrical devices out here.” He emptied the can into a pot and slapped cheese on slices of bread that he grilled in a frying pan. In a few minutes, Andy set two steaming bowls of soup and two buttery, golden grilled cheese sandwiches on the table.
Paul took a bite of melty cheese and licked his lips. “This is great. You’re a regular Suzy Homemaker.”
Andy shrugged. “A man’s gotta eat. Who cooks for you? Wife? Girlfriend?”
If Andy was fishing for information, he’d have to do better than that. “More like restaurants or take out.” A cold knot formed in Paul’s stomach. Up until recently, he’d shared those meals with Craig. He’d be eating alone now. It shouldn’t hurt so much. He’d been aware of Craig’s reputation from the beginning.
Andy gave him a funny look, and Paul picked up his mug to hide his face. Normally he did a better job hiding his emotions, but it had been a rough day.
Andy didn’t say anything, but he went to the cupboard. This time he came back with a bottle of Merlot and filled two water glasses. He handed one to Paul. “It won’t make canned chicken soup taste like chicken cordon bleu, or whatever you’re used to eating, but it’ll help.”
Paul managed a little smile. There was nothing wrong with the food, but yeah, wine would help his mood.
They ate in silence. Paul finished everything. It was a simple meal but it went down easier than anything he’d eaten in his parents’ house. Finally, Paul pushed his empty plate away. “Thanks, that was great.”
Andy offered a skeptical smile. “It was just grilled cheese.”
“Maybe it’s the company.” The words came out before Paul could stop them. Shit. I must be getting tipsy. But it was true. They hadn’t talked much, but that wasn’t a bad thing. Dinner conversation with his father always required a Maalox chaser.
For a limited time, Silent Knight / Sleepless Knight is available at a new release discount at Changeling Press.
Author Bio and Links
Gale Stanley grew up in Philadelphia PA. She was the kid who always had her nose in a book, her head in the clouds, and her hands on a pad and pencil.
Some things never change.