Simon Phillips always hated Thomas.
Ever since his black nail polish high school days, Thomas Schultz has seemed like a carefree, uninhibited wild child, in stark contrast to Simon’s shy, cautious nature. Now, from behind the safety of his hotel bar, Simon must watch, distracted, as Thomas becomes a shirtless rock star for every wedding reception they work. But when Thomas slips him the key to his hotel room, Simon enters a world where the fine line between hate and attraction becomes blurred, and finds more than he ever knew he wanted.
In the social upheaval of the 1980s, love is no picnic. The AIDS epidemic has reshaped the way people think about sex, and the discontent of Generation X drowns out any love songs. Despite the uncertain times, Simon finds himself falling in love. But when Thomas’s band makes it big, the simple act of keeping in touch across the silent miles becomes an obstacle all its own.
81,000 words, 240 pages
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When I finished “Oh Sherry,” I set the mic in the stand and slipped back behind the bar. My tips increased for the next thirty or forty minutes, which wasn’t unusual after I sang and was possibly another reason why I enjoyed karaoke. Business had picked up as well. What had been a decent crowd before I stepped on stage ended up being a full house by the time I took over pouring from Lisa, again. I was running like a madman trying to get everyone served when I asked a woman if she knew why it got busy so suddenly.
“Office Christmas party. Came here because the boss man loves singing Sinatra and Elvis tunes at work, and we wanted to see him try karaoke.”READ MORE
I gave her a smile before she winked and joined her coworkers. I watched as she slid into the booth that lined the back wall and was quickly surrounded by many tough-looking men, nearly all of them sporting identical, hellacious mustaches. My attention was pulled back to the bar by a warm hand on my arm. When I looked up, I saw Thomas’s green eyes and his genuine smile.
“I didn’t know you sang,” he flirted, only keeping our skin in contact for a split second.
“From time to time. Long time, no see. Where have you been?” I played it cool, keeping a lid on how happy I was to see him.
“Working, actually. I was forced to take a more traditional job,” he said, as if “traditional” was a dirty word.
“The band didn’t break up, did it?”
“Oh no! Nothing nearly as catastrophic as that. No, I really had to get some cash flowing in rather than out of the ol’ bank account.” He gesticulated, and my eyes followed his elegant hands as he spoke.
“Are you… are you with the Christmas work party?” I asked as I tilted my head toward the back table. He nodded and I continued. “Where do you work?”
“The Department of Corrections, actually. I’m a cook. I make breakfast, lunch, and supper every weekday. It’s a lot of hours, but at least I’m making money, and it’s a steady job.”
I gave him an exaggerated nod, totally unable to see him working in a jail as anything, let alone a cook. At least in the kitchen he had knives to defend himself against any sort of a rumble. Suddenly I was picturing The Outsiders, and Thomas would have been the perfect Ponyboy Curtis. Thank God he had knives.
I shook my head, clearing my mind of my first on-screen crush, and focused instead on Thomas. “No wonder I haven’t seen you. We used to have similar schedules. No more.”
“You’ve been looking?” He winked.
I felt myself smile as the only reply to his question.COLLAPSE