gay, historical atmosphere (generic), non-explicit, non-traditional romance, longer length short story/novella (R-18) Excerpt PG.
When one incautious word could betray him, who can Marvis trust?
The life Marvis has led makes him feel older than his years. He is many things, but foremost he’s a teacher, and cannot bear to see the brightest of minds going to waste.
In the rural England of the mid-1800s, life is Dickensian in its savagery. Rote education is driven by the birch, hospitals are ‘gateways to death’ and men are executed for loving each other. So when Marvis finds himself falling for one of his students he refuses to contemplate anything happening between them. Even if Marvis is willing to risk his life, he will not risk his beloved.
Despite his innocence, even pure intentions are tested when others question his motives and look to his past for answers. Marvis must flee, unsuspecting that trouble will follow.
Read an Excerpt:
The young man’s rage silenced him. Marvis stared at Justin, the two facing each other down. Good in some ways that Justin had spoken up for himself, his friends, but Marvis could not let such audaciousness go unchallenged.
“If you speak to me like that in my house again, you will not be welcome. If you lie to me again, you will not be welcome.”
“And you will lose your brightest intellect.”
The tone was a provocation, a contest, and a battle of wills. Marvis felt his eyes widen. For a moment, he towered over the younger man, stunned.
Then he caught sight of his reflection in the only mirror hung upon the wall, the one he used for shaving. His black suit swathed him, the tailcoat open revealing the white lace of his cravat, the flared sleeves of his shirt draping his hands. His fingers clenched his black walking stick. With his black-silver hair flowing, he looked half like a city gent, half a madman.
All this he saw in an instant, as he drew back his right hand, crossing it to his left shoulder, turning the palm inwards, intending to strike Justin with the back of his hand. Justin only lifted his chin, defiant.
Marvis wavered. He didn’t want to hit Justin. That was the last thing he wanted to do.
“If you so strongly desire a night of freedom, you have only to ask.” He lowered his hand, turned away. “For otherwise I can only take it that you viewed coming here last night would be a chore, tantamount to encapsulation, deemed it preferable to caper with your friends.”
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself.” Justin followed, laid the pages of his last assignment upon the table. “To be cooped up all day, then have chores, then come here when I get a chance to escape…then have more chores when I leave, it’s hard, difficult.”
“Then imagine how I feel, equally entrapped. Having to try to drum sense into…” Marvis allowed the words to trail away. He had ranted often.
“Am I really your brightest scholar?”
So, he’d retained that! Marvis looked into the blue eyes that gazed down upon him; where Marvis now sat one side of the table, Justin stood on the other.
“The brightest light.”
The words slipped out before he could stop them, yet they did not seem to disturb Justin, only cause him to smile.
© Sharon Maria Bidwell. All Rights Reserved.
Available from Musa Publishing.