Release Date: Mar 23, 2009
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
Amazon Kindle: The Best Revenge
Amazon: The Best Revenge
Blurb: Tyler O'Connor, a successful antiques dealer, meets aspiring artist Mark Burke when Mark's mother decides to sell some of her antiques collection. Tyler is enchanted by the quiet, reserved artist and works up the courage to ask Mark to dinner. Despite the date's success and their mutual attraction, Mark's happiness takes a blow when his mother learns that he is gay and throws him out of the house. Unsure of where to go, Mark shows up on Tyler's doorstep and finds shelter. Tyler's encouragement and support help kick-start Mark's career, especially when Mark finds that Tyler inspires him in the bedroom as well as the studio. But they're daunted when bad memories of the past, struggles in the present, and fear for the future strain Mark and Tyler's budding relationship. As the old saying goes, the best revenge is living well—and in this case—loving well, and with that in mind, Mark and Tyler go in search of happily ever after.
As he was taking a shower, the phone rang. Tyler stepped out of the shower and answered the phone.
"Tyler, it's Mark. I'm down at the front door of the store. Could you let me in, please?" From Mark's tone, he could tell that there was something wrong. Tyler turned off the shower, put on a robe, and went down to the front door of the store. Mark was standing in front of the store in the rain, looking like a drowned rat. He opened the door and let him in.
Mark just stood in the front of the store and dripped all over the floor.
He didn't move and he didn't say anything. "Mark, what's wrong?" Mark didn't answer; he just shook his head. Tyler could tell he was trying to keep himself composed, but wasn't having much luck. "Come on, Mark, let's get you upstairs." As Tyler ushered Mark upstairs, he could see that he was walking stiffly. Tyler got Mark some towels from the bathroom and laid out dry clothes. When he came into the kitchen, he could see that Mark was completely soaked and dripping all over the floor. If he wasn't so miserable, it would have been cute.
"Mark, go in the bathroom. I put some towels out for you and a pair of sweatpants and a T-shirt. Get yourself dried off and you can tell me what's wrong." Without saying anything, Mark shuffled off to the bathroom. As he moved, Tyler could see that Mark was definitely walking stiffly, like he was hurt. Tyler quickly went into the bedroom to get dressed as well. A few minutes later, Mark came out wearing the clothes Tyler had put out for him. Mark sat on the sofa. He didn't move and he didn't say anything. Tyler just waited, and finally he started to talk.
"About two hours ago, I was up in my room at home painting, when I heard my brother Roger come into the house. He was really mad about something. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but he was talking loudly to Mom. Then I heard a few words. 'Fucking faggot.' Roger raced up the stairs, burst into my room, and started hitting me. Grabbing me by the neck, he dragged me downstairs and into the kitchen." Mark was sniffling and Tyler gave him some Kleenex. "Mom was in the kitchen. She told me that a friend of Roger's had seen us at the restaurant the other night holding hands. She then asked me if I was gay. When I answered yes, she told me to get out of the house, that I was no son of hers, and that I would burn in hell." He sniffled into a Kleenex.
Hearing this, Tyler's insides started to turn. The pain that he'd felt years earlier and thought he'd buried started to come to the surface.
"They wouldn't even let me get any clothes or my art stuff. I just grabbed my keys and came here." Mark was starting to sob pretty heavily. "I didn't know where else to go."
"I'm glad you came here." Tyler wrapped his arms around Mark, pulled him into a tight hug, and let him cry. Mark just sobbed. Tyler held him until his tears subsided. "Will you show me where Roger hit you? I noticed you were walking like you were in pain." Lifting the T-shirt, Mark showed Tyler a large red mark, which was already starting to turn purple, on his left side.
"It's more sore now than anything. I don't think he broke anything." Shaking his head, he huffed, "Even when we were kids, Roger was always a bully."
"Have you had anything to eat?"
"Yeah, I had lunch before Roger got to the house. I could use something to drink, though." Tyler brought himself and Mark each a diet Coke. They sat on the couch and Tyler just held Mark. Suddenly, he jerked. "Oh shit, we were supposed to go out tonight. I ruined everything!"
"Shhh." Tyler wiped the tears from Mark's cheek with his fingers. "We were going to decide what we were going to do. I vote we order a pizza, watch TV, and talk. I'll get the guest room made up and you can stay here."
"I couldn't put you out. I'll just go h-" Mark was about to say home and then it hit him that he didn't have one and he started to cry again. "I don't have any place to go," he sobbed. Tyler just held him to let him know that he wasn't alone. "You do have a place to go. It's the room right over there." Tyler knew he had to get Mark to do something. "Come on. Help me make up the bed."
Tyler got fresh sheets, pillowcases, and blankets, and made up the room for Mark. He also laid out some clothes for him to sleep in. Stepping into the bathroom, Tyler put Mark's wet clothes in the washing machine. When he was done he rejoined Mark on the sofa. "Look, tomorrow you can call your mom. Tell her you want to get your things. If she gives you a hard time, tell her that you'll bring the police if you have to."
"The police? How will they help?"
Smiling devilishly, Tyler quipped, "I know a particular police officer who will be more than happy to accompany you to your mother's to pick up your things."
"Oh, ye of little faith, this particular police officer, Officer Davis, is gay, cute, and doesn't take crap from anybody. Now that we have that settled, let's order dinner, and after dinner I have a story to tell you."
The pizza Tyler ordered arrived and they sat on the couch watching TV while they ate. After dinner, Tyler turned off the TV, opened a bottle of wine, and poured them each a large glass.
"What's this for?"
"It's medicinal. I promised you I'd tell you a story. After I do, I'll need it."