Story Ballads Standalone Coming of Age Romance
- Dead Sea
Kyle is a swaggering bully; Lenny strives to be invisible.
Kyle has been left alone in the world; Lenny is the world’s biggest loner.
When Kyle saves Lenny from drowning, their lives will never be the same.
After a brutal encounter with school bullies, Lenny swims out into the ocean, determined to let the current whisk him away. Next thing he knows the meanest kid in town is pulling him from the waves, promising to be his Dead Sea, and to never let him sink.
All Kyle wants is to get out of beach cleanup, is that too much to ask? So he goes for a swim, only to come upon the most epic “nobody” in the senior class drowning in a riptide. Lenny’s haunted gaze grips him, and Kyle makes the impulsive decision to save his life or die trying. And through this ordeal, Kyle and Lenny are transformed.
Kyle’s heroic act sets him on the straight and narrow, and he opens his heart to the young man he dragged from the ocean. Lenny changes too but is still unable to reveal the truth of his pain. While drowning in a sea of secrets, the reformed bully and wary victim fall in love. But staying afloat in the Dead Sea is not as simple as it seems.
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Kindle Worlds
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Badass Hero, Big Character / Little Character, Coming of Age, Enemies to Lovers, Find Love and Come Out, First Time, Geek and Jock, Hurt / Comfort, Lone Wolf, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Opposites Attract, Rescue, True Love, Wide-Eyed Innocence
Word Count: 78,000
Setting: New England
Languages Available: English
“Is that you, Zip-lip?” he yells. Heads turn.
My first thought: I’m so not prepared for this. Followed closely by: Holy effing shit.
Our gazes meet across the crowded barroom. And how I wish his stare could strip me bare, as teenagers’ stares so effectively do. I’d be better off naked and afraid than dressed as I am. The unforgivingly peculiar details of my attire won’t be easily overlooked.
Gil tilts his head, and his bushy unibrow lifts quizzically in an effort to make sense of what he’s seeing. I can’t fault him for his WTF moment. I certainly don’t resemble the nondescript boy he knows from geography elective. Pre-calc too.
Where’s Waldo has been spotted.
And this completely unnerves me.READ MORE
Shouldn’t I have learned my lesson—don’t let anybody see you in anything except your “normal boy” uniform—in my very own bedroom in the early fall of freshman year? I didn’t, though. Some of us are slow learners in critical matters.
For much needed steadiness, I grasp the edge of the bar. My other hand—trembling, as it is—clasps my golden hoop clip-on earring and holds on for dear life. Pirates of old believed earrings offered powerful protection from such disasters as seasickness and drowning. At the moment, I need a more garden variety of protection—from utter humiliation and getting my ass kicked.
Before I’ve wrapped my brain around the confounding notion of Gil Sisti in my bar, his confusion morphs into motion. Gil is heading my way with tonight’s accomplice, Damon Zane, trotting at his heels like he does in the halls at school. Isn’t there usually a third bully in this gang—a louder, meaner one? But Kyle Larson is nowhere to be seen.
I draw in a breath and hang onto it like it’s the last one I’ll ever take. Who knows? Maybe it is. Maybe Gil will try to knock some fashion sense into me, and I’ll fall off my high stool, crack my head on the edge of the bar, and bleed out on the sticky floor.