Max Davies came to L.A. from New Zealand to take care of her mother. She didn’t expect to find love, or anything like it; she was focused on getting through these years - as many as they managed, as difficult as those years would be - with her sanity intact. To keep her acting skills intact, she recorded audiobooks. Then she met Anton Tsvirko, who recognized her from her voice alone. Before long, they found themselves saying very unexpected things to each other.
Anton approached the two men in the bar at Cicada because they were both his type and they didn't seem to be on a date. Then he realized one of them wasn't a man. She was nothing like the women he usually dated. They had so much in common, starting with being bi. Was it possible this person, after all these years, was the perfect person?
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Death of Parent, Fated Mates / Soul Mates, Most Mindblowing Sex Ever
Word Count: 29900
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Once the check was disposed of, Anton went up to the mezzanine lounge. The music seemed louder here. A few people were dancing, slipping around on the hard stone floor, to loud appreciation from onlookers. He made his way to the bar and ordered a Scotch. Received it, paid for it, sampled it, then looked right and left along the bar. He’d already scanned the room and noted most people there were in groups or couples. No one was obviously alone except himself. Some other night, he thought, disappointed but resigned. He turned away and noticed two men who’d just arrived in the lounge, two bodies away near the dance floor, already holding drinks. They were both close to his own height, and slender. Both had strikingly well-defined features and arresting eyes. One had a thick head of wavy mid-brown hair. The other’s was darker, sleek, worn in a 1930s movie-idol style that suited the venue. Both were noticeably well-dressed.READ MORE
Wavy hair wore an evening jacket in a midnight-blue snake print over a silky electric-blue shirt and black tuxedo pants. Sleek hair was in pinstripes, a perfectly-tailored vintage-styled three-piece suit.
Someone moved away, opening a space. Anton edged closer to the new arrivals. They were talking easily, as if friends, or possibly lovers. Wavy hair had a light, hoarse voice. Sleek hair … what in hell, thought Anton. He knew that voice. A rich, smooth English-accented tenor with deeper timbre. “Pardon me,” he said to the person standing in his way. “Meeting my friends.” He nodded toward the people he’d never met, bestowed a smile of gratitude on the person who made way, and immediately forgot that person. “Max Dartmoor.” Sleek hair turned toward him, surprised, lips parted, in mid-speech. “It’s you, isn’t it?”
Max took a moment, and a breath, before answering. She shot a glance at her friend Richard, half-apology and half-amusement. He knew about her double life, though not many others did; she was almost never recognized. That this man had been able to distinguish her voice in the fog of noise around them was rather remarkable. The man himself was wholly so. “Have we met, sir?” She was in character, after all. She always put on the Oxbridge drawl and the formality with the suit.
Anton had another shock then. All this time he’d assumed Dartmoor was a man. But up close he could tell that clear pale skin had never known a razor. Her eyes were pale too, greenish-gray with a darker rim to the iris. He glanced away for a moment, long enough to compare her face to that of the man with her. Their bone structure was similar, but the man’s eyes were darker, a distinctive tricolor hazel. Most importantly, their expression bore no hint of dismay at the interruption: he wasn’t this woman’s lover. Anton managed a civil nod and half a smile before looking back at Dartmoor. “I’m addicted to your books,” he said, offering a hand. She shook it, with a slightly bemused expression. “Anton Tsvirko. I listen on the train, and in the gym. I’m on the latest from Geoffrey Anand now.”
“Ah, the adventures.” Deliberately lush, her tone now. “Geoffrey’s good at those, isn’t he? He does all the research himself. A pleasure to make your acquaintance. This is my friend Richard Hollister.”
Richard shook his hand and said, “Anton Tsvirko. Any relation to Igor? You resemble him.”
Anton shook his head. “Not that I know of. We might be cousins of some degree. My parents came from Hungary.” He only knew of the man himself because a friend had seen a ballet and caught the name. Anton registered the spark of reciprocal interest from Richard, which he would definitely have encouraged if not for the woman standing between them. If Dartmoor hadn’t been there, the other would have done nicely. He wondered if that was her real name.
“Richard’s a dancer,” Max said, with a smile at her friend’s self-deprecating wave. “Anything with dancing, on stage or screen, he won’t miss it.”
“I miss lots of things.” The protest was half-hearted. “I’m a ballroom dancer,” he told Anton. “Our other friends are downstairs indulging. I think I’ll go down and see if someone’s looking for a partner. Pleased to meet you.”
“You too.” Anton didn’t try to keep him. He watched him go, though, noticing the cowboy boots that added height. He glanced down. Max wore the same. “Not actually five foot ten.” She laughed. He edged closer. “Is Dartmoor your real name?”
“No. It’s Davies, Mackenzie. I prefer Max at all times. The other is a nod to a one-man show I did when I was at university. ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles.’” She watched to see if he understood the allusion. Refreshingly, it appeared he did.
“You’re an … actor.” He’d been about to say ‘actress,’ but whatever else was going on here, Max was obviously in character as a man. It was irresistible. Anton wondered if this was the combination he’d always been looking for. He’d examine that later. Now she was speaking, and he didn’t want to miss a word.
“I was. Now I live with my mother in Santa Monica, work in a tux shop to keep from going mad from cabin fever, and occasionally record an audiobook.”
She shrugged, as if this was an acceptable life, but her sardonic snow-leopard eyes said otherwise. Anton said, “I’d love to know more about you. Are you English?”
“New Zealander. U.S. citizen, though. My mother’s American. She married a Kiwi. I grew up there. Meant to stay there. Was working for the Defense Force, civilian, when I got word she was going blind.” Another shrug. She glanced away for a second, debating whether to give this stupefyingly attractive man more detail. She knew she didn’t need to. She’d never seen such clear signals of intent. He’d thought she and Richard were both men. He’d instantly recognized that Richard was gay, and hadn’t been the least put off by it. But his interest had locked on her. She could have him with a word. Perhaps she would. She was long overdue. He wasn’t saying anything; he was waiting for her to speak. He likes my voice, she thought, and smiled.COLLAPSE
Cross-dressing is key to the H/H connection.