A secret ruined one relationship.
Dalton Seals is unattached for the first time in ten years and he dreams of finally being himself. Coming out after meeting the man who completes him will upset family and friends; doing it following years of a childless marriage may destroy chances of Dalton owning his legacy.
Some secrets are too much to bear.
Errol Lake leaves his sleepy suburb every weekend to sing at Club Ruse in the city. He performs in drag as Eyri and patrons adore her. At his day job, his employer grudgingly accepts he’s gay. If they knew he dressed in women's clothing, well--now she's gone too far!
Will what they hide tear them apart before it begins?
#comingout, #dragqueen, #drama, #gay, #hurtcomfort, #mmromance, #shortstory
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Big Character / Little Character, Coming Out Later in Life, Death of Parent, Find Love and Come Out, Hurt / Comfort, Passing as Straight
Word Count: 17000
Setting: USA, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Devon
Languages Available: English
“One day you’ll shave this scruff off, Eyri, and be the most beautiful woman here.”
“Never. And no wigs or padding.” Luckily, Errol possessed a naturally rounded ass. “The beard stays. It’s me. My fans love it, Sharelle.”
“Because you sing your cute little tush off. Reminds me, leave us a few tips tonight.” Sharelle brushed more gold into a closely cropped beard before applying finishing touches on maroon lips. “Are you going to give that bouncer who protects you like a baby chick a shot at knowing you better?”
“No. Don’t fraternize with help. You told me that.”
“One day I’ll paint these damn nails.” Tugging Eyri’s fingertips, she mumbled. “Saw you eyeing a handsome hunk at the bar a couple weeks ago.”
“Mind your business.”
“Two hundred is steep to hold that seat.”READ MORE
Eyri ignored Shar wondering how she knew a hundred bill was slipped to the bartender Friday and Saturday nights for the last two weeks. Too much. This weekend would be the last time. “You know I can’t color my nails.” Intricate work with hands prevented On Board employees from wearing polish or jewelry on fingers. “Can’t worry about removing it for the day job. Sundays I’m drained. I sleep all day.”
“Who’s draining you?” She spun the chair. “Finished. Damn, looking at you gives me a woody.” Sharelle, Charles outside of Ruse, was cut from Errol’s mold. Both were proud gay men who delighted in dressing as stunning women for performances. They enjoyed having a cock and using it.
Eyri’s laughter resonated around the small dressing room. She studied her mirrored image. Each time the beautiful woman appeared, she felt not only empowered, she felt alive. “Think I’ll open with Holding Back the Years.”
“Perfect. Still don’t believe you’re thirty-eight.”
Snapping her fan, Eyri covered the lower half of her face. She adored surprise in patron’s eyes when she closed it and began to sing. Standing, she switched to the door, pirouetted twice in her fitting cinnamon colored dress adorned with a silky orange mermaid flare brushing the floor. “A real shame these heels are hidden.” Kicking the hem out showed off a pair of shiny platform sandals sporting thick, clear acrylic soles finished with six-inch gold stiletto heels. “I could hurt him tonight.”
“If he shows up.” Another performer guffawed as Shar moaned, “Promise to keep them on, I might give you a ride.”
Grinning, Eyri shot back, “More meat on that boney ass, I might let you.” Hand on knob, she faced Shar. “I’d be miserable if I couldn’t be Eyri but living like this is damn lonely.”
“We didn’t get a choice. Cards were dealt—we play our hand. I know what you’re thinking.”
“Will anyone ever love all of us.” She sashayed across the floor. “Please tell me you’ve kept the dress on, at least put it on before...”
Cheeks warmed. “No.”
“Gracious, baby, I’ve learned to imagine a threesome, gurl. Everybody gets a piece of pie, or two.”
“See, that’s why I love you, Shar. Ever the optimist.”
“Better use of tips would be to reserve a room instead of paying to hold a seat.”
“Not happening.” Eyri had yet to find a man capable of handling both personas.
Private rooms held no appeal but she took pleasure in Ruse’s small stage. Seating pattern of cozy tables lit only by candles during shows provided an intimate atmosphere. Drastically different from the cavernous hell hole she last performed in. Heading to the stage, she gave space in her mind to the man she’d spied between songs three weeks ago.
God, he was something to look at. Big with a headful of dark, wavy hair, he could spin her like a top. Stranger had gotten lucky finding a seat at the end of the bar nearer her. It was separated by no more than ten, twelve feet. When he had stood to clap, she recognized the suit he wore didn’t come off a rack. Beneath muted lights there was no disguising its extraordinary fit.
What did he search for at Ruse—one of the back rooms? Would Errol even be his type? Maybe he’d prefer Eyri. Not giving up a single part of myself. Shit, Shar was right. Eyri wasted money. A businessman passing through for a convention, a man curious about drag queens; he’d probably never return.
After a brief introduction by the host, curtain slowly opened and Eyri stepped on stage. The show goes on.COLLAPSE