Return To Loveland

Men In Love and at War

by LJ Collins

Love can be a strange and beautiful beast that drives you to do crazy and impulsive things, take risks and overcome your inner fears to battle against the odds.

While Berkeley is waiting at Gatwick airport for his transfer flight from Denver International airport to Tenerife, he convinces himself the dream he’d had on the plane was more than just a dream. Battling against rational thoughts and raw emotions, Berkeley follows his gut instincts in search of the Native American, Nantan. Curious and keen to understand more about Nantan’s life as a wolf, Berkeley gets a lot closer than he expected to finding out what it’s really like. Love conquers all as Berkeley escapes a close encounter with death that cements his future with Nantan.


Berkeley watched the second hand ticking on the large white clock hanging on the wall ten yards in front of him as he sat in a bar at Gatwick airport. He willed the minute hand on so he could board his transfer flight from Denver International airport to Tenerife, but it didn’t move. Berkeley had contemplated spending a few days in London with his friend, Paul, after their holiday in Denver to break up the journey so he wouldn’t be travelling for over twenty hours. But when he’d booked his return flight, he thought he’d be keen to get back home to his comfortable villa and see his friends, Jorge and Aurelio. He’d assumed he would want to tell them all about his exciting adventures and experiences at the thirty-fifth annual Rocky Mountain Gay Rodeo. He’d also suspected if he stayed in London for a few days, Paul would’ve wanted to carry on partying, and Berkeley didn’t think he’d have the energy after spending ten days in Denver with him.


Berkeley was feeling fatigued after the eleven-hour flight from Denver to the United Kingdom, and now he regretted not breaking his journey up by staying in London for a few days. It was too late, though, because his connecting flight to Tenerife was due to leave in an hour. He looked at the clock again, and once again, willed the minute hand to speed up so he could board the plane and get the journey over and done with. He reconciled himself by thinking it was only a four-hour flight, and he was sure after a few gin and tonics he’d sleep during most of the flight.

After what seemed like ten minutes, Berkeley looked at the clock and was disappointed to see only a few minutes had passed. He tapped his fingers rapidly on the table top and contemplated changing his flight so he could stay in London for a few days.

Before they’d said their emotional farewells, Paul had done his best to convince Berkeley to change his transfer flight, but Berkeley had been adamant he just wanted to get home so he could rest and relax. Their ten-day holiday had been very complete and tiring with all the excursions, the two days at the rodeo and almost continuous nights out drinking in gay bars and clubs.

As Berkeley reflected on all the good times they’d had, his mind turned to the dream he’d had on the plane travelling from Denver to the United Kingdom—the dream that had seemed so real and lifelike about meeting Nantan. He was a handsome Native American man whose ancestors and family had been cursed by an evil Shaman, forcing them to live their lives as wolves who had the ability to revert back to their human form, but not on a permanent basis.

The more Berkeley thought about the dream, the more animated he became about the thought of sharing that experience with Nantan. He closed his eyes momentarily and visualised Nantan’s face, his long flowing dark hair and sculptured dark-skinned chest. His heart pounded when he recalled how they’d made sweet and passionate love on the shore of Lake Loveland and he’d been overwhelmed with emotion and joy.

Berkeley opened his eyes and shook his head. What was he thinking? Surely it must have just been a dream? Then Berkeley reminded himself that Paul had told him on the plane he’d disappeared on the last few nights at around nine or ten. Why couldn’t he remember doing that, or what he’d done when he’d disappeared?

After taking a sip of his drink, Berkeley stared down into his glass looking at the transparent liquid that splashed around and the two ice cubes that clanked against the side. Staring, he prayed he’d have a flashback about what he’d got up to the nights he’d left Paul early.

The shaking in Berkeley’s hand started to subside, but the gin and tonic still rocked from side to side, creating tiny ripples. It was then Berkeley had a vague recollection of sitting by the side of a lake and watching tiny ripples lapping against the shoreline. The vision of looking out at a dense forest beyond the lake flashed through Berkeley’s mind. Images of Nantan sat next to him became clearer, and Berkeley quickly placed his drink on the table in front of him.

Berkeley covered his eyes with his hands and blew out air heavily. He couldn’t work out whether he was hallucinating after the long and tiring flight, or if he was getting his memory back. Picking the drink back up, Berkeley took a slug and sat back in his chair.

Confused and uncertain of his state of mind, Berkeley closed his eyes and took himself back to the night when he’d left the rodeo early. He’d gone back to the hotel, got a drink from the bar, and sat outside in the fireside lounge patio. He recalled how he’d sat and gazed up at the night sky that sparkled brightly with thousands of stars. He visualised the flickering flames in the centre of the terrace that swayed and danced with the warm evening breeze. He remembered lying on the sofa so he could gaze up at the sky and how he’d shut his eyes to take a mental snapshot of his surroundings—the sounds, the smells, and the sights.

That was when Berkeley’s memory came back to him. While he’d had his eyes shut, one of his other senses had been brought to life—touch. When he’d felt something wet and warm licking his face, he’d thought Paul had returned to the hotel early and was playing a practical joke on him.


About the Author

Born and raised in London, Lee worked as a successful senior management consultant before moving to Tenerife to pursue a more fulfilling life and to focus on his writing.

For Lee, the writing process is all about when the mind and the fingers connect. He plans stories in his head, but when the fingers take over, something else comes out...but invariably, he is happy that he let his fingers do the talking.

He works with an amazing team at eXtasy/Divine books who inspire and encourage his writing. He calls Jay Austin, the Chief Editor in Charge, Laura McNellis, his editor and Carmen Waters, his artist, THE DREAM TEAM. No further explanation required...

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