Marriage, new names and a fresh start have helped Liam and Jacen Timothy leave their old lives behind. Now safer and deeply in love, Liam persuades Jacen to share part of his past he never has been able to before. Many years earlier and while home on break from college, Jacen, formerly Travis Saxon, was in a car accident which broke both of his legs. Travis thought he had finally escaped the man who preyed upon him since he was a young boy. Recovering at his family’s farm from his injuries, caring for Dennis, his seriously injured younger brother, Travis is unable to run when his predator, a neighbor named Brian Andrews, comes and seeks him out. Blackmail and threats move Travis to cooperate, for the sake of helpless, beloved Dennis. As Travis is consumed by a truly terrible, horribly familiar nightmare, it’s his instincts and knack for survival against all odds that reveals to him, at long last, the way out. (M/M)
Or buy one or more the anthologies that include the story:
“It’s not a pretty story,” Jacen warned. His fingers grasped at Liam’s shoulder and carded through soft blond hair. The natural scent of Liam filled Jacen’s head, so intangible but somehow, wonderfully, more powerful than the old fears. Liam was there with him. The rest—everything he had been afraid of—was gone. It had been gone for years.
“Pretty? Like my story?” Liam asked. There was that eerie echo of Avery in the words, beneath the layers built on top of the child that was, that lost little boy, in search of love and home, grown into the incredible man who had bound himself and his fate to Jacen’s, for better or worse.
A shiver raced up Jacen’s back, part of the old fear, but Liam felt it there, and kissed it away, replacing hurt with hopeful caring with the skill of one who has learned, through trial and effort, the craft of healing. Wrapped up in Liam, Jacen was hidden inside the safety of their home, surrounded by loved ones, in a place of serenity which together they earned through their efforts to break free of old identities, and the chains of prostitution and helplessness. Jacen had earned that, had fought for it with everything that was in him. With blood and sex, pain and lust, terror and faith, he had followed the path he had set for himself, long ago, and, miraculously, had wound up where he was.
He was happy. He was blessed. Most of all, he was lucky.
“You have enough pain in here,” Jacen sighed, laying a hand on Liam’s chest, over his heart, feeling it bump against his palm. “I don’t want to make you carry mine too.”
“I love you,” Liam said to him. “You believe that, right? And you love me even though I was a whore and a liar, and even though I buried Tim. Do you love me less for knowing about Timothy? Look at where we are. Think of what we have now. We’re married. You’re stuck with me. So tell me. Please, baby.”
“It’s terrible,” Jacen warned, hissing the words, needing Liam to realize what he was asking.
“Maybe,” Liam allowed. “But you’re beautiful, and strong, and we already know your story has a happy ending.”
He snuck a glance at Liam’s face, seeing him bite at the edge of his lip, one eyebrow raised.
“God,” Jacen groaned. “I can’t tell if that sounds dirty or arrogant.”
Liam burst into laughter. Infectious, it caught Jacen too.
“Please, baby,” Liam pleaded so gently. “Share this with me. You’ll feel lighter. Promise.”
Thinking that if anyone would understand, it would be this man who loves Jacen so much, he sighed in surrender and murmured, “Okay.”