Two years after finishing his tour of duty in the Occupational Forces in Japan, Damson O'Reilly arrives in Siena, Italy. Sight-unseen at a local auction, he buys an abandoned Tuscan farmhouse in which he aims to write, paint, and start a new life.
The house, passed over at auction, becomes an impulse buy when it's put up for a final time. He's prepared for a semi-ruin, happy to turn his hand to renovating the house - however, what he's totally unprepared for are three dead bodies, one of which he stumbles over when he arrives at La Mensola, the name of his isolated farmhouse on the road between Siena and Montepulciano.
Against the backdrop of a series of grisly murders, The Road to Montepulciano is the story of a young man, still suffering the scars of war, who, despite betrayal of trust and surrounded by a complex web of lies, finds friendship, love and the warmth of community.
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Moshpit Publications
Pairings: M-M, M-M-M, 4+ or Other
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 3 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Criminals & Outlaws, Fated Mates / Soul Mates, Friends to Lovers, In Uniform, Love Triangle, Sex Buddies Become Lovers, Slow Burning Love
Word Count: 140000
Setting: Tuscany, Italy.
Languages Available: English
I was lying in bed listening to Donati potter around in the kitchen for a few minutes, trying to make up my mind whether or not to get out of bed. I checked my watch: half past five. It was still dark outside—it wouldn’t start getting light for another three-quarters of an hour.
He had to know, I thought, reflecting on the whole of last evening. He must have guessed that I was queer, otherwise what had happened wouldn’t have taken place. We’d have washed separately, each waiting in our rooms until the other had finished, then continued to drink, play cards and behave like kids, but with our clothes on … or at least our underwear.READ MORE
Some people just seemed to know it about me, although I wasn’t aware that I’d ever telegraphed where my preferences lay. A few times during the war I’d found myself on the receiving end of some very not-so-subtle advances quite out of the blue, far more forthright than the almost imperceptible, ever-so-slightly charged evening I’d enjoyed last night. And as for him? Well, I wasn’t sure just yet. There was something though that made me wonder: a frequent holding of eye contact, as if he was trying to discover what I was thinking, always breaking away abruptly with a soft smile on his face.
I’d never been able to recognise who was one of the tribe like some of my bedfellows, although at the same time I’d never been shy to leap at an opportunity when it offered itself up. But I found it hard to initiate things. Usually I’d wait until the other person either made a move or gave me a sign that he was interested in more than passing the time of day.
I’d heard Italian men were basically open to anything—whether that was true or not, I had no idea. Maybe Donati was just a regular man who liked a bit of variety every so often—I’d met a few of those—or maybe he was just like me: lonely and looking for a friend.
Deciding to finally get up, I’d barely thrown back the sheet and sat up, my feet drawn up and knees splayed while I leaned over, searching for my cigarettes—which for some strange reason I’d thrown into my haversack last night—when Renzo walked into the room with a demitasse in each hand. The smell of the coffee made my stomach grumble.
He was naked too. It seemed that clothing was to be an optional extra during my stay … I returned his smile.
“Buongiorno, Damson,” he said, handing one of the cups to me, then sat in the middle of the bed, one of his legs at an angle, the knee resting on my foot.
“Buongiorno, Renzo. You. Sleep. Good?”
“Hai dormito bene?” he corrected my Italian, saying the words slowly, twirling his finger in the air to encourage me to repeat the correct version.
“In English?” Renzo asked after I’d got it right.
“Did you sleep well?”
When he repeated the words, he made a pretty good fist of it, so I held out my hand. The shake happened directly over my crotch, mainly because having finished his coffee he’d stretched out over the bed. It was obvious that my genitals were right in front of his face, but his eyes hadn’t flicked away from my own, despite his Cheshire cat grin. This time I was the first to break eye contact, playfully nudging his shoulder with my foot, then reaching for my cigarettes once more.
We chatted for a while, trying out words with each other while smoking, Renzo idly playing with the hair trail below his navel while we traded vocabulary for items in the room. Then, after we’d given each other a lesson on conjugating the present tense of the verb “to be” in our own languages, I checked my watch. “Is that the time?” I said in English. I jumped out of bed, pulling on my only pair of slacks and grabbing a white American T-shirt from my haversack. It was wrinkled, but there was nothing I could do about it.
“No …?” he asked, making a plucking gesture at his waist with his thumb.
Damn, I’d been so distracted that I’d forgotten. Pulling off my trousers, I rummaged in my backpack again and found a pair of Y-fronts—they were a French brand and fairly new on the market. I usually washed my smalls every night, but there’d been too much going on and it had slipped my mind
Renzo whistled as I pulled them on, watching as I put my hand down inside the front of the waistband and adjusted myself in the pouch before pulling on my trousers once more.
“You. Like?” I asked.
He nodded, so I found another pair, still in its packet, and threw them to him. “Go ahead,” I said, while pulling on my socks, then lacing my canvas shoes.
He undid the packet, swung his legs off the bed, put both feet in the underpants, then, as he stood up, pulled them up, turning to look at his arse in the mirror of the wardrobe. “Che bel culo,” he said, winking over his shoulder at me.
I laughed. That phrase I did understand, and he did have a very nice arse.COLLAPSE