Edmond Cato has dreamed his whole life of becoming an engineer. But it is the dawn of WWII, and his domineering father, the affluent Admiral Guy Cato and patriarch of the Cato family, demands his son honor family tradition and become an officer in the U.S. Navy. Edmond reluctantly agrees to follow in his father’s footsteps, but when he arrives to the train station, he meets and soon falls in love with Richard Walters, a fellow student of engineering who inspires him to follow his heart. Life is perfect until the admiral discovers his son hasn’t reported to the Naval Academy and even worse, that he loves another man. The stony-hearted patriarch not only disinherits Edmond but goes after Richard and his family. Together, Edmond, Richard and his older brother, Morgan, will risk everything when they threaten to expose the admiral’s darkest secret.
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Class Differences, Coming of Age, Fated Mates / Soul Mates
Word Count: 43220
Setting: Portsmith, VA and Princeton, NJ
Languages Available: English
Excerpt from Wayward Sons:
From the sidewalk, the Walters’ home appeared a modest cottage, a single gabled roof with two dormers, which Edmond assumed were Richard and Lizzie’s bedrooms. He approached the first step, then retreated. It went on this way for ten minutes, while his mind played what if ?
Done communing with himself, he decided Richard must be told of how the tables had turned. Winning back his trust and love was virtually assured. At least he hoped. He stepped onto the covered front porch, his attention drawn to the peaceful surroundings of a porch swing and two Adirondack chairs. He rang the doorbell.
Someone approached. Edmond tried to think calming thoughts. This was no time for another one of his embarrassing nosebleeds. A middle-aged woman with wiry graying hair and deep laugh lines answered the door. “Hello, may I help you?”
“Hello, ma’am, I’m Edmond Cato.”READ MORE
“Oh, yes, Richard’s roommate from Princeton. My son seemed upset after he spoke with you on the phone this afternoon. “Yes, ma’am, I’m aware. That’s why I’m here, actually. I was hoping to clear the air between us.”
“He’s out on a trawler with his Uncle Bob and Uncle Tim, but I’m expecting them back anytime now.” Maggie unfastened the hook and pushed open the squeaky screen door. “C’mon in. Care for some sweet ice tea, hun? Sun brewed earlier today.”
“Yes, ma’am, thank you, that would be lovely.” Edmond smiled, recalling Richard’s diatribe on the proper way to make tea.
“Please, call me Maggie. “Lizzie,” she yelled upstairs, “get down here and say hello to our guest.”
“Hope you can stay for supper, I’m having pork chops, a delicacy these days. The parlor is right this way.” Edmond nodded, smiling politely.
Lizzie came bounding downstairs, her long hair done up in pigtails and tied at the ends with pink bows. “Hello.”
“Hi, Lizzie, nice to meet you; I’m Edmond Cato, your brother’s roommate at Princeton.” There was no denying she was Richard’s sister; the resemblance was uncanny.
“Sweetheart, take Mr. Cato’s suitcase to your brother’s room and then fetch him a nice glass of ice tea.”
“Won’t you have a seat, Mr. Cato?”
“Maggie, I’d love it if you called me Edmond.” She smiled and nodded. He found extraordinarily comfortable a well-worn blue velvet sofa, richly carved with channel tufting on the back. Maggie sat across from him in a matching club chair. Glancing around the room, Edmond noticed family portraits of Richard and Lizzie with their mother and father at the beach and fishing on the ocean, appearing very much the contented family. He was curious why Richard seemed reluctant to broach the subject of his father when they were on the train. “You have an amazing family.”
“My pride and joy. Makes the hardships of life bearable and more than worth it.”
Lizzie returned with tea, the ice cubes tinkling against the glass. “Thank you, Miss Walters.”
The young girl bobbed a curtsy and giggled. “You’re most welcome, Mr. Cato. Mama, may I go outside and play?”
“For a few minutes, hon. But don’t get dirty, supper’s almost ready.” The screen door slammed. Through the living room windows, Edmond watched Lizzie run into the backyard and climb into a tire swing suspended from a broad limb of an immense oak tree. He imagined how it must have been for Richard to grow up in this picturesque environment near the ocean, no tutors of dead languages, forced cello lessons or priggish governesses.
“You have a way with children.”
“Thank you. I can see myself as a father . . . one day.”
“This old world could sure use more good ones. Well, if you’ll excuse me, I best get back to making supper.”
“Can I give you a hand with anything?”
“That’s kind of you, shug, but there’s not much left to do.” Maggie gestured to the radio sitting on the mantle of the fireplace. “Feel free to find sumpin’ to listen to while you wait for my son.”
The front door burst open. Richard and his uncles were laughing and boasting over the day’s big haul. Lizzie ran in from the backyard. “Which boat got the biggest haul, mama’s or mine?”
Richard stooped over and planted a big kiss on his little sister’s forehead. “Yours did, pumpkin. Don’t know how that little boat always manages to outdo the bigger one.”
“I get a second helpin’ of pie, right, Mama?”
“That depends on whether you eat all your vegetables. Now go wash up for supper.”
“I hate vegetables,” Lizzie complained bitterly, her nose wrinkling as she stomped off to the upstairs bathroom.
“Hands.” Maggie inspected her son and her late husband’s brothers for cleanliness, especially their fingernails. Richard sighed exhaustively. “Mama, we showered and changed clothes at Uncle Bob’s place, like always.”
“All right, wouldn’t pass for church, but good enough for supper, I reckon. Off you go.” Bob and Tim shook their heads, smiling as they headed for the dining room. Maggie grabbed her son by the forearm, squeezing it tight. “You have a visitor in the parlor. That boy’s got a good heart. Hear him out,” she said in a forceful whisper. And there better not be any fightin’ or yellin’ matches in my house.” She pointed to the umbrella stand, the thick hickory limb from his childhood prominent among her collection of parasols. Her son winced.
“Yes, ma’am. We’re going out, don’t expect us for supper.” Maggie glared her disappointment.
Storming into the parlor, Richard shut off the radio. Edmond sprang from the sofa. “Listen, I know you’re upset, but—”
“Shut up,” Richard uttered under his breath through clinched teeth, twisting on the leather wristband he was still wearing around his left wrist. We’re gonna take a little walk, you and me.”COLLAPSE