Genre: Contemporary, Humour, Paranormal, m/m non-traditional Romance, Novella, (R-18)

Calling Lane a fairy isn’t the slight Adam thinks it is.

When Adam overreacts to his mother’s matchmaking owing to stress, and insults an old friend, little does he know he’s closer to the truth than he thinks. Calling Lane a fairy isn’t the slight he thinks it is. Adam has very clear ideas concerning the type of man he’s attracted to, and Lane isn’t it.

Little does he know he’s also goaded the other man into acting on feelings long suppressed. For both of them what they feel during sex and afterwards, brings more than a little magic into their lives. If they can survive their own mistaken beliefs and prejudices, and outside threats, they might just find something lasting together, and Adam might have to change his mind over the importance of physical attraction and what it means.

While Adam’s shop burns around him, can he salvage more than the precious items for sale?

Purchase from Changeling Press.

Read an excerpt:

“Alas, some things in life happen, or don’t. You meet someone, or you don’t. It’s fate.”

“Doesn’t mean you can’t push fate along a little, dear.” His mother glanced around, performing an exaggerated twist of her neck to gaze over her shoulder to the kitchen. Sounds of laughter and male conversation filtered through — one voice deep, the other far lighter, almost asexual. “What about Lane?”

A moment passed before Adam’s brain kicked into gear. “What about him?”

“Well, you’ve been friends for years. I thought…” She rolled her shoulders.

Adam sat blinking. The first idea to cross his mind was to say he and Lane weren’t friends. Fine — they weren’t enemies, but they didn’t know each other in the sense his mother meant. He never met up with Lane, except over Sunday dinner, here, at his parents’ house. And oh, why, Mother, do you keep inviting him? The answer to the question was now abundantly clear. Surely, she hadn’t been hoping all this time…

His jaw clenched. A red heat haze slowly rose up his face. “He’s an acquaintance, not a love-interest. He’s… He’s…”

What was Lane? One of those men who sailed through life because everybody liked him? Even homophobic men tolerated him. He was successful in everything he put his mind to — had been for as long as Adam had known him, and what was he doing exactly these days? Damned if Adam knew. He had even less interest in what Lane was doing to whom, or who was doing anything to Lane.

“He’s not my type.”

“He’s everyone’s type.” To hear his mother say that disturbed him. The dismissive ring to her voice enraged him.

“Well, he’s not mine! He’s a… a… twink.” He hadn’t intended the word to come out of his mouth — it just did. He didn’t think she would even understand what he meant, and he was right.

“I don’t know what that is, dear, but it doesn’t sound very nice.”

“Depends on your viewpoint,” Ally quipped and Adam glared at her.

The image stuck. Lane had a lean body and mop of sun-yellow hair marred only by a green stripe on the left side. He had amazing green eyes. Adam swallowed; he had to admit he liked Lane’s eyes, but… No! Lane was so not his type. Too effeminate for one thing.

“I really think if you gave him a chance…”

Adam stood up, throwing his napkin down. He was shaking, hoped the others wouldn’t notice. “I am not going to date Lane. I like men. Not… fairies!” With that statement, he strode out.

* * *

Having eavesdropped on most of the conversation from an excellent position, leaning against the wall next to the door, Lane had time to choose to be invisible. Not in reality, but he had a knack for standing silent and immobile, unnoticed. Considering Adam’s apparent fury, Lane wouldn’t have been surprised had he required a brass band playing to garner Adam’s attention. Walking past with his back straight, his shoulders tense, and his head dipped, Adam appeared afraid to catch anyone’s gaze.

He waited a few moments longer. Lane’s excellent hearing caught Ally politely correcting their mother, and the resulting protest of, “What did I do?” Then he went after Adam.

The garden rose on an embankment via several levels of reinforcement, and here, on a step, Adam sat hunched, elbows on knees, head in his hands. Lane took a moment to admire the way the sunlight highlighted the bronze tones in Adam’s brown hair. Was the man even aware those glints of copper existed? If one looked closely enough, similarly coloured flecks danced in Adam’s eyes. Unfortunately, Lane had never had the opportunity to stare into them for long.

“Are you all right?” Lane asked, surprised by the seriousness of the enquiry, wondering if he genuinely cared. Adam had insulted him. Why should he care? Adam started, looking up. His hands jerked away from his face, and now stuck up straight into the air. Immobile, the limbs took on a sculptured appearance, the bars of his fingers framing Adam’s shocked expression. Possibly realising how ridiculous he looked, Adam folded his arms across his chest. Great improvement. Now he came across as surly.

“It’s nothing… family.”

“Hey, love, I wouldn’t be too happy if my mother tried to match me with someone who wasn’t my type either.”

Again, Adam jolted. “You overheard? Ah, shit. I didn’t mean…” The words ran out. Adam went back to holding his head in his hands, only this time with fingers on each side, covering his temples, appearing to hold his skull together, prevent the bone from fracturing. Lane could spot pain — emotional and physical — on most anyone’s face. Adam suffered both. Lane’s annoyance eased a little.

“Sweets, who’s to say you’re my type?” Adam was, but he wasn’t going to tell him so yet… if at all.

“Then you’d better explain things to my mother.” It took Adam a moment, before he looked up. “Why aren’t I your type? What’s so wrong with me?” Lane almost laughed. Something in Adam’s gaze stopped him. He’d been about to chide him for many things — being egotistical and hypocritical among them — but Adam never tended to be particularly narcissistic. Why did Adam need reassurance?

“Nothing, sweets.” Leaning forward, Lane went to his knees a couple of steps down. He closed the distance steadily, not giving Adam enough time to react, and swiftly placed his lips on Adam’s in a closed-mouth kiss. Lane put sufficient pressure into the connection to make sure the contact wasn’t quite chaste. The smooch would leave Adam off-guard.

“What the fuck was that for?” Adam asked when Lane pulled back.

“Hush.” Placing a thumb over each of Adam’s temples, Lane rubbed in firm circular motions.

”Don’t…” Adam began, and then shut up. He let out a small sound, not loud or long enough to be a groan — the utterance of someone trying not to make a noise, particularly one of pain, but not quite managing to hold it in. Almost as though he had no control over his reactions, Adam closed his eyes, his brow furrowing as Lane worked with his fingers. A minute later, Lane pulled back.

“How’s that?”

Adam blinked at him. “Better. Almost…” He laughed. “My headache’s eased. How did you do that? Almost like magic?”

“Fairy magic?”

© Sharon Maria Bidwell, all rights reserved.

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