There are three lines published by Torquere Press that I find endlessly inspirational: the Color Box, Spice it Up and Birthstones lines. God I love a theme like that. So when the opportunity to write a Color Box came up, I jumped at the chance. The colour I chose was rust red, and I did that for a very specific reason.
About a year ago I wrote a little story called Eyes Wide Shut
, that was part of the Healing Hearts Charity sip blitz in 2010. The characters from that story – Royal Flying Doctors Service physician Adam Taylor and his mining engineer boyfriend Chris Barker – stuck with me, as did the red landscape of the WA outback
, and when the call for Color Boxes went out and I saw what had and hadn’t yet been taken, lo, the idea for a sequel to Eyes Wide Shut was born. I’m quite pleased that Adam and Chris’ story gets to continue.
It’s called Rust Red: Galvanized, and it will be out at the end of September. It’s quite a bit longer than Eyes Wide Shut, clocking in at around 17,000 words. Even though I wrote it a while ago, it’s still early days, since there isn’t even a blurb for it yet. However, I’ve gotten my edits back, so I’ve decided to post a little teaser (although obviously since it’s still in edits, this may or may not appear like this in the final version).
The story picks up 6 months after the end of Eyes Wide Shut. In this excerpt, Adam and Chris are in Surfer’s Paradise visiting Adam’s family. It is Schoolie’s Week, a time when about a million teenagers are in Surfer’s celebrating the end of high school by getting roaring drunk and generally making pests of themselves. The boys have just had their morning nookie interrupted by Adam’s mum. Heh.
Chris had recovered enough from his trauma to come out of the bedroom after breakfast, and he even consented to a dip in the pool in full view of both Adam’s parents, who were reclining in the shade of the verandah. He lay on his stomach on an airbed, his wet hair glistening in the sunshine, and ignored Adam, who swam slowly around him, much like a shark stalking its prey. That was what interrupted sex did for Adam, but he was doomed to not get any satisfaction that day.
Adam completed another circuit around Chris’ airbed, and this time Chris cracked open an eyelid. “Go away.”
“What? I’m not doing anything.”
“Yes, you are. You’re lurking. Plotting.”
Adam rolled his eyes. “Plotting what? My parents are just over there.”
“I don’t know. Something.” Chris rested his chin on his arms. “I wouldn’t put anything past you today.”
Adam rolled his eyes. “Talk about paranoid.” He swam around the airbed once more, and when he came up to Chris’ head again, Chris was still watching him. “Let’s go out tonight, just you and me.”
Chris was silent for a minute. “Where do you want to go?”
Adam shrugged, hanging on to the end of the airbed. “I don’t know. Out to dinner. There are some nice restaurants on the main strip.”
Chris made a face. “Won’t there be a lot of kids out there tonight?”
“Yeah, but we don’t have to go to any pubs. We’ll just go to a restaurant and come home.” Adam tugged on the edge of the airbed. “We’ll just have a nice meal, that’s all.”
“Okay. As long as we go somewhere with as few teenagers as possible.”
Adam nodded. “Deal.” He watched Chris for a moment, then smiled, slowly tugging the airbed around so that Chris’ back was to his parents. He glanced over at the verandah; his father was reading the paper, and his mother was on her feet, heading into the house. “Give us a kiss.”
Chris’ eyes narrowed. “Why?”
“Because I want one.” Adam tugged the edge of the airbed a little. “Come on. We were so rudely interrupted this morning…”
Chris looked over his shoulder, then turned back. “All right, but just a quick one.”
Adam grinned and moved in. “I knew you couldn’t resist me for too long.”
“Whatever. Get over here.” Chris grabbed the back of Adam’s head and kissed him firmly, then tried to push him away. Adam resisted, kissing him again, softly, turning it into something to linger over. It was Chris’ turn to resist that, but after a moment he gave in, his fingers on Adam’s head turning gentle as they stroked through the hair at the nape of Adam’s neck.
“Lunch is ready, boys!” his mother called from the doorway of the house.
Chris groaned quietly, and Adam laughed into Chris’ mouth. He broke the kiss and leaned his forehead against Chris’ as Chris’ fingers tightened around his neck. “It’s just that kind of day today. A frustrating one. This is why we have to get out on our own tonight.”
“We’ve got to do something on our own. Like have cold showers,” Chris said, letting him go and tumbling off the airbed and into the water.