An Echo of Love

by Nathan Grant

An Echo of Love - Nathan Grant
Editions:Kindle: $ 1.99 USD
ISBN: B085N8Y9RV
Pages: 164

On the day he was born Spencer Duran’s mother sadly gave him up for adoption.  Later, Jillian and Bill Duran brought him into their lives, cared for him, and gave him a good solid start in life.  Despite his good fortune, Spencer always longed to find his birth mother, and to ask her why she abandoned him.  As he grew, he secretly dreamed that she would come for him, but unfortunately that was never to be his destiny.

Before starting college at NAU, he and Jillian stopped at an interesting café in beautiful Sedona.  When they finished eating, Spencer notices a man slightly older than himself and they lock eyes in an emotional lightning strike between them.  Both men unexpectedly shared an instant unspoken, unforgettable bond.

Seconds later when Spencer broke eye contact, he sees a woman standing by the man’s side and stares in shock; she is so similar to him that she could be his older female twin.  At that same moment Jillian sees her too, and recognizes her even though she has never met her.  The fear of losing Spencer grips her, and drives her actions to fake a sudden illness, hurrying him out of the café.

Jillian did not let them meet and her selfish decision would eventually haunt Spencer during the years to come.  Now over a decade later Jillian is dead, and Spencer receives an astonishing Instagram text from a stranger named Tim, who addresses his text with his given name Spencer, not his social media name.

Tim writes that he has an urgent message for Spencer from his mother.

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Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Spence and the Beginning

They sent me to an orphanage in Phoenix, Arizona right after my birth.

I never knew my birth parents and had no idea where or if I had any other related family for if so, I was not wanted enough for anyone else in the family to care.

The only thing I knew is that my mother was young and had no way to support me and she let me go that first day.  Many years later I found out her first name is Laura.  I do not remember much about the orphanage thank God, as I was too young.

I went to a foster home when I was about six months old, and the people there were nice enough to me, but there no real connection.  I just did what I was told and managed to stay out of trouble.  I was only there until after my third birthday when they told me I was going back to the orphanage.

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They explained to me that they were going to have a baby of their own, and there would be no room for me anymore.

Nice of them.  Nice to know you, now get out.

Fortunately, it wasn’t more than a couple of weeks before I found myself in another home and this time it was Jillian who was about forty, and a much older husband named Bill Duran.  From the beginning, they were kind to me and took good care of me.  Even though there was never a lot of money, we were happy.

After living with them for two years, we sat down together at the dining room table one evening and they asked me if I wanted them to adopt me, and then they would be my real parents.

I was thrilled with the news and started to cry so hard I could hardly talk, and they thought I did not want them.  With tears in her eyes, Jillian and Bill looked on, appearing very sad, she asked me what was wrong.  I shook my head meaning nothing, but they took it as ‘no’ for an answer and she started to cry.

I remember feeling horrified to hurt these kind people, and took a deep breath to control myself.

“Nothing is wrong, I want to stay with you please,” was all I could manage before they both grabbed and hugged me and we all laughed together.

When I turned seventeen, Bill died suddenly of a heart attack leaving us alone in our private grief.  Bill was always a frugal, however not cheap man, believing in savings and insurance.  After his death, while not wealthy we could manage to live comfortably without him.  They were not emotional people as a rule, and there was no funeral service, so we just went on with our lives within a few days.

So more years passed by and I knew from the time I was a small boy that I was Gay, but we had never discussed it with anyone.  When it was time for me to go to NAU in Flagstaff, Jillian sat me down and took my hands, surprising me with her unexpected affection.

“You know Spencer that this time in school and away from home is going to change your life.  I want you to know that I am here for you and you can always talk to me about anything,” she began carefully, obviously emotional while struggling with her words, and trying to say the right thing.

“I know that Mom, and I’m only going to be a couple of hours from here.  I’m really going to miss you,” I added sincerely, still feeling a bit awkward as she kept a tight hold on my hands.

She smiled weakly at me and then, took another deep breath.

“Look, I want you to be safe, so I’ll just say it.  Your father and I have always known you are Gay and it has never made the slightest difference to either of us.  Without going into a lot of details, I only want to know that you are being safe if you meet someone, and to know that I care about you no matter what,” she finished, looking a bit more relieved.

However, I was stunned.

“Thank you,” was all I managed to say with her unanticipated words.

“You are welcome and I know this is probably hard for you, but before you left I wanted you to know where I and your late father stood.  You are my son and I care deeply about you, and your personal orientation does not matter to me in the least.  My only hope is that you can find someone to care about you as much as we both have,” she told me with tears.

“I love you Mom, and I’ll be careful, I promise,” I told her.

I’d thought at the time I could have mentioned that I was still a virgin, even though I’d had several crushes during my last year in high school, but I’d never acted on it.

During those last years I’d spent a lot of time with magazines and my right hand, my familiar best friend, as I fantasized about all the hunky icons that graced the pages, enormous cocks notwithstanding.

There was an odd thing happened on a trip during the summer that year before I left for college.  Mom and I had been up to Flagstaff to look things over and talk to the admissions and a dozen other things.  On the way back home, we stopped to look around Sedona for a little while, get some lunch, and just play tourist for a change.

We soon tired of looking through several stores crammed with nothing I’d ever buy, and we walked down a side street finding a smaller café that promised with the sign in the window, to have the best hamburgers in town.

We were both worn out from walking around so taking a break for some good food sounded perfect.

True to its word, the café did have wonderful food and some of the best homemade fries I’d ever tasted.  We had just finished the meal, paid the bill, and were gathering out things to leave when Mom looked up, and turned deathly white.  I was sitting with my back to the restaurant while she sat with her back to the outside window.

“Mom, what’s wrong?” I asked, becoming somewhat alarmed by how extremely pale she had become.

“Nothing Spence, but we have to leave.  Something in here is making it hard for me to breathe,” she almost whispered, and then stood up, taking my arm as we rushed out the nearby door.

When we were back outside, she pulled me along past the large picture window and I glanced inside and saw two people standing near the register at the back of the small café.  One was a woman turned away from me, talking to a very hunky looking sexy young man who was facing toward me and staring.

As I stared back at them, he glanced away and then again looked over my way and I could see his mouth drop open.  It was then that he grabbed her arm and spun her around enough that I could see her face, but she was distracted by someone else and didn’t look over at me.

I was stunned.

She looked exactly like me and when I started to slow down, Mom took my arm and said she needed to get back to the car before she fainted.  I was so worried about her that I instantly forgot about the woman in the café.  Before we moved all the way past the window, I glanced back once more and the man, probably a little older than me was still staring looking shocked as he held onto the woman’s arm talking to her.

When we were back in the car, and I could see my Mom was much better, I spoke up about what happened as we left.

“As we were leaving I saw a woman and it was amazing, she looked just like me,” I commented, glancing over at her.

She just half-heartedly laughed it off.

“Spence I saw her too, and at first I thought she resembled you as well, but then after looking at her a couple of times, she didn’t really look like you at all.  She was standing there most of the time while we were eating lunch so I had the time to check her out,” she said, not seeming very sincere for some reason.

“Well she sure looked like it to me,” I said, not keeping the disappointment out of my tone.

“Sometimes the light can play tricks on you.  Now when we get back to town, why don’t we stop by Best Buy and see about getting you that stereo you mentioned?  My treat to welcome you to college life,” she said, abruptly changing the subject, as she looked out the window.

Mom was a rock during my freshman year, and after my first serious boyfriend decided to move on, we spent hours on the phone with her consoling me.  She tried to convince me that I would live, and there was still someone out there for me.

While in college my major changed several times, but I finally settled on literature for a major.  My life up to this point was spending a lot of time writing stories of my ideal world, and fantastical romantic science fiction with a paranormal bent.  If it could shift, bite, or cast a spell I was on it.

It became my life.

At the end of my junior year, I been published through a small house and I then knew my future was set and I had found my calling.  It was about that same time that I remembered the long forgotten café incident and decided to take a drive down to Sedona.

When I arrived, I drove around a bit and finally found the same small café but it looked different and a bit more Western in motif.  I hurried inside and found an Asian couple behind the counter.  I asked them if they knew of someone that used to work there, a lady that looked similar to me, and they told me they had only recently purchased the café from an elderly couple who had also only owned it for just a few years before moving out of town.

The woman apologized for not having any better information for me as she could see I was upset.  Feeling a bit dejected, I walked over to my car and went back to campus, putting the incident out of my mind and in the past where it belonged.

About a month before I graduated, I received a call from my aunt that my mom had been taken to the hospital, and was not expected to live.

My world imploded and even though I left immediately to race back home, she was gone before I could get there.  My aunt was at the hospital when I arrived and told me it was a fast moving cancer and that she withheld the news from everyone.

Mom did not want anyone to see her in her sickness.  The last time I was home, she looked tired and pale, but she just told me that she’d had a bad case of the flu.

When she saw me last, she had known there was not much time, and there was nothing that could be done.  She had been in the hospital for about a week before she finally agreed to let my aunt, who talked to her on the phone daily, call.

Again, for the second time in my life, I was alone with no immediate family other than my mom’s sister who lived across the country and I had never met before.

Over A Decade Later

I glanced out at the once beautiful yard and just shook my head in disgust and turned away.  I’d had such high hopes for the backyard this spring and had worked my ass off, but now that the summer blast furnace had arrived, only the heartiest of desert plants had survived the assault.

Each year it was the same story, hope in the new spring, and everything almost dead by July, and I had fucking had it.

Don’t jump to conclusions and get me wrong, I still love the desert in my modest, comfortable, and paid for home.  It has a huge yard surrounded by the typical cement block walls, and I was going stir crazy since I also worked from home.

My now incinerated plants and the convection oven winds outside were reminding me that I needed a break from this unrelenting heat.  I live alone, and have had a couple of near-miss relationships over the long years, but they both ended the same way and died due to lack of interest, much like the plants in my yard.

Yes, I realize that sounds dismal but there is no other way to say it.  I truly am at a point in my life, my early thirties, where my writing career consumes me most of the time.

If I’m going to be honest here, I would like to have someone with me to share my life with, but from past experience I wasn’t that good at finding the right man that would do it for me.

I fully understand that I am not a strikingly handsome Gay icon, but so far, no one ran away screaming.  I like my home life, enjoy my garden when it is not being burned to death, and I have quite a few friends.

I do have one very close friend, Bella, and the others not so much, but all good people nonetheless.  Most of them are in relationships and have their own busy lives to live with each other.

All the heat this year, this giant noisy crowded city, and my routine life in this place is really getting on my nerves on so many levels.

But then again, I always get bitchy mid-summer when I get writer’s block and have just run out of my favorite Merlot.

Chapter 2

Spence

It had been another long hot stifling day without any relief from the summer Monsoon storms in sight.  I was debating about going out for takeout but just the idea of getting into the hot car in the garage was too much.  I picked up my cell and ordered in my favorite Chinese for delivery.

A while later, my food had just arrived when I noticed I had a new message on my Instagram writing account, and I smiled since it probably was another review or someone requesting to follow me.

Loading up my plate, I took my tablet to the table with me, but stopped the fork mid-stream when I looked at the message subject.

‘I know your mother and she has an important message for you.  I am Timothy Shand.’

I got the chills and wondered whom Jillian would have given a message to so long ago, instead of just giving it to me herself.  I debated for a few moments on whether or not to reply considering all the stalker and weird stories out there, but my curiosity got the better of me, and I answered it.

‘Okay I’ll bite, what message did Jillian give to you.’

I hit Send, and just as I was finishing the last of my suddenly tasteless Chow Mein, I heard the tablet chime an incoming notification.

It was from Instagram, and another message from Timothy.

‘Not Jillian, I should have been clearer, it is from Laura Dennis, your birth mother.  Please call me.’

I sat on my stool frozen in place with goosebumps racing across my skin as I stared at the phone number, with an Arizona number.

He listed a 928 area code number from the north part of the state.  I decided I needed a glass of wine for this call and poured a nearly full glass of Cabernet for some extra bracing.  I took a deep breath, punched in his number, and waited for him to answer.

He picked up after the first ring; my number was blocked of course.

“Hello?  Is this Spencer?” A deep masculine sultry voice asked.

“Yes, this is Spencer.  I’m not using my pen name that you can see on the social media so how do you know my real name?  Is this Timothy?”

“It sure is and before we talk I have to apologize for the way I contacted you but in spite of the detective service we used, we just found you by chance.  When I saw your Instagram picture, I love sci-fi by the way, I then Googled you.  I needed to be sure it was you, the man that we’ve been searching for a very long time.  Laura had showed me a picture of you years ago but you were only a young boy then.  You are a couple of years younger than I am.  She located you when she was finally able to find out about your adoption.  A close friend that worked in the records department discreetly helped her out.  It wasn’t exactly legal but the person only gave her scant information other than telling her your new first name was Spencer, nothing else.  I know it was probably not the right thing to do but she has spent her entire adult life hating her choice and worrying about you.  By chance one day she was shopping at a mall down in Scottsdale and saw a boy that looked so much like her that she knew it was you.  You were walking with a very nice looking woman.  Once she saw that you were okay, she decided to let things be.  She got up the courage and followed both of you out of the mall and then quickly pulled out her pocket camera to snap a picture of you walking near her,” Timothy explained obviously trying not to make Laura sound like a stalker.

I was pretty taken back by his crazy story, and a little on edge as it sounded an awful lot like stalking to me but instead of just hanging up, I took another hit of the wine and answered him as best I could.

“Um, okay then I guess I can accept that and I’m sorry for her distress and all but that is ancient history.  Things worked out well for me.  I found a great family that took care of me and brought me into their home after she just gave me away on my first day of life, like I didn’t matter to her,” I replied, realizing that maybe I sounded a bit too cold or bitchy but after all, it was Laura that threw me away.

I could hear the clear exasperation in Timothy’s sigh.

“Look Spencer, she didn’t want to give you up but she was only fifteen and her parents had thrown her out of their house without anywhere to go.  She wanted to keep you more than anything in her life.  She honestly did.  She has spent so many years before I ever knew her looking for you and has been crying herself to sleep with deep regret for years now.  Look, I can see I’ve made a big mistake contacting you like this, but at least I kept my promise to your mother.  I sure didn’t expect this kind of a response from her son, estranged or not,” he snapped back at me.

I sat stunned for a few seconds from both his angry retort, but more by suddenly finding out that my birth mother was looking for me.  Both of these things were a terrible shock and deeply shocked me.

“So why didn’t she call me herself?  I appreciate you calling me yourself and all of that, but shouldn’t it have been her to break the news to me?” I asked, still feeling like I was in some kind of alternate reality.

Again, I waited for a few beats as I assumed Timothy was trying to gather his thoughts about what next nasty thing to say to me.

“She’s out right now and left about an hour before I contacted you.  She had a meeting, I only just figured this out about you right before I texted you.  Frankly, I wanted to surprise her with good news and make her extremely happy after so many years of desperately searching for you.  Like I said Spencer, I didn’t expect this kind of a reception from you either,” he replied, sounding very put off.

“Hey Timothy,” I began, trying to stop this banter but he cut me off.

“I’m Tim, and I overreacted and I apologize.  I realize how this must have hit you hard.  I adore and love Laura and only want to see her happy, reunited with her son,” he said quickly.

My anger instantly faded away with his heartfelt words.

“And I sounded like a jerk to a stranger who was doing a good deed for someone else. I’m sorry too,” I told him, unexpectedly feeling glad that I had the sense to smooth over this very tense call.

I couldn’t help but hear another long and deep breath, and the kindness in his deep sexy voice.

“Let’s start over if we can.  Your mom is a wonderful, kind, and caring woman and like I said, she regretted her decision until this day and she needs some good news here.  It has taken me the better part of a very long year to find you for her.  I wanted you to know that first and foremost.”

“Are you her husband?” I asked, then was surprised when I heard him softly chuckle in response.

“What’s so funny about that, it is a reasonable question,” I asked, feeling awkward and somewhat offended that he would openly laugh at me.

“Sorry just the thought of me being Laura’s husband was amusing.  Nevertheless, to get back to your question, no I am not her husband.  Business partner, best friend yes, husband no.  We are as close as any couple could be, but not married.  She is as some would put it unlucky in love and preferred keeping busy with the resort.  She has lately been going through a hard time ending a relationship that wasn’t working out.  If that bothers you for some reason, then we should probably end this call except for a small detail,” he said throwing out the bait, and knowing that he had me.

I just rolled my eyes at his clever hook, and took a deep breath to try and not offend him again.

“I’m sorry she hasn’t found someone that made her contented but I’m glad she has you, someone who obviously cares about her.  To answer your question Tim, if the thought of that bothered me, then I’d be offending myself since I believe there are all types of couples.  Love is love.  If you read my Instagram account, you would know I write Gay mysteries, romances, and Sci-fi.  It consumes most of my time, so I guess you can say I too have my mother’s work ethic.  Are we now clear on that?  We both have been upfront here so tell me about this small secret detail that I should be considering here,” I questioned him, smiling as I imagined the look on his face.

“Well this does add another dimension to this now doesn’t it?  In addition, you are correct in assuming I did not pay much attention to your site, as Minnie and I were so excited to think we had found you for her.  I’m sure that Laura, if she knew what was going on right now, would be holding her sides giggling at this dicey turn of events.  So to get on with the subject at hand here Spencer,” he began but it was my turn to cut him off.

“Spence to my friends, and I hope we are heading in that direction considering the way this conversation is progressing,” I interrupted.

“Friends then Spence and I’m actually glad of it.  Well it seems that you are now our new business partner, and one-quarter owner of an out of the way, yet very successful medium sized resort on the Verde River near Cottonwood, Arizona.  Close enough to Sedona to attract guests, but remote enough to avoid the tourist crowds.  And before you ask, yes, we do have a liquor license to smooth over those rough edges,” he kidded.

COLLAPSE

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About the Author

I’m Nathan Grant and I write Gay Romantic and Mystery novels.  I am a Gay man living in Arizona in the United States Southwest.  I have published multiple erotic M/M Romances and Mysteries. Much of my inspiration for my books comes from personal experience and places I have visited. When I'm not writing I enjoy gardening, cooking, and traveling.  Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I love hearing from my readers.


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