Flatland: Where a fortune in mob money, a stone-cold serial killer, and a crooked FBI agent collide with two gay guys looking for love.
Danny and Skip are just getting to know each other when organized crime invades their boring trailer park in rural Kansas. Before long, they've acquired a hit man's dog and uncovered clues to his hidden stash of stolen loot.
A crooked FBI agent and a vicious professional killer pursue them across Kansas as they follow the trail to wealth beyond their dreams. Murder and mayhem weave with intricate double-crosses while the two struggle to untangle the clues.
At the end, they must choose between love and money, for they can't have both.
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-60054-521-4
Print ISBN: 978-1-60054-575-7
lyd Category: His and His Kisses
Length: 328 pdf Pages / 75,000 words
Rating: 3 – Erotic Romance
Formats Available: pdf, prc, lit, zipped html,
lrf, epub, RB, Trade Paperback,
Ebook Cover Price: $7.50
Print Cover Price: $17.99
Skip decided to run one more circuit around the trailer park before calling it a night. He followed the broken asphalt lane as it wound through the darkness. Amber illumination from streetlights puddled in sparse pools at alternate corners, but everywhere else, moonlight dusted the ramshackle mobile homes with ashen shades of gray. Even the vegetation, brown and lifeless during the daytime, turned to charcoal cinders in the night.
Skip’s legs pumped out a steady cadence, and his body, covered with a fine sheen of sweat, floated through the silvery darkness like smoke. The street curved to where a stretch of vacant lots opened onto a fence, crabbed with weeds and trash. Beyond that, wheat fields stretched to infinity, where they merged with the blackness of the sky. The cosmos was flat, supine, and deflated, the horizon an invisible edge where the world met eternity. The road seemed to turn under Skip’s feet like a giant, dusty treadmill while he ran to nowhere. He felt like an ant trapped on a boundless tabletop as he raced on, his body in tune with nothingness.
He halted when he returned to his cul-de-sac. He wiped sweat from his face with his forearm and started as a vehicle rattled down the street. It pulled into the driveway of the mobile home next to his own. Skip stroked his watch and the LCD’s ethereal glow showed the time: three AM. He trotted on toward his trailer and stopped at the foot of his drive, his hands on his hips.
The Toyota’s engine coughed to a stop and a slim young man clambered out of the car. Despite the heat, he wore black denim jeans and a long-sleeve sweatshirt, with the hood pulled up and drooping over his forehead. His bright red, high-top canvas shoes provided the only spark of color. Skip glimpsed his face and wondered why he wore sunglasses in the middle of the night. He thought about approaching him to say hello.
The young man heaved an audible sigh as he opened his trunk. He reached into his car and pulled out four plastic sacks stuffed with groceries. He juggled the bags in one hand while he fumbled with the other for his keys. One of the bags slipped from his fingers and he barked out a cussword as his groceries tumbled to the ground.
A can of dog food clattered down the gentle slope of the drive and rolled to a stop at Skip’s feet. He picked it up and walked to where the guy knelt, stuffing groceries into a sack. Skip squatted and held out the can. “Need some help?”
The young man started and glanced up at him. For an instant, moonlight flared off his opaque sunglasses. “Yeah, thanks.” He handed Skip one of his sacks. “If you’ll hold the damned thing open for me, I think I can stuff my groceries back in it.”
“Sure thing.” Skip held the sack and watched while the other guy gathered up his purchases. He was an inch or two shorter than Skip, and his clothes drooped on his thin, almost wraith-like, body. His black attire and his pallid complexion conspired with the mercurial moonlight to make him seem like an angel. Or maybe like a corpse. It was hard for Skip to know the difference.
A shock of auburn curls, fine as silk and twice as delicate, fell across the young man’s face. His head tossed to one side, and he muttered, “I’ll be just another moment. I appreciate your help.” He rubbed his arm again. “I’ve got a Charley Horse or something. I’m not usually this clumsy.”
“No problem.” The guy’s fingers, lean and bony in the moonlight, scuttled like spiders across ashes as they gathered up his purchases. Skip wished he could see the eyes that hid behind those sunglasses. “My name’s Skip Crow, by the way. I moved in next door a couple of weeks ago.” He nodded to his trailer.
The young man’s attention fluttered up to Skip’s face and then skittered away. “I’m Danny Rajunas.” He looked around and stood. “Thanks. I’ve got it all. I appreciate your help.” He hefted two bags and eyed a third, which he’d left on the roof of his car.
Skip still held the fourth bag. “Hey, you want some help carrying things inside? These damned plastic bags are a bitch.” He bounced upright and reached for the sack on the car. “Two bags each is about right.”
Danny stared at him for a beat. His head moved up and down, scanning him like radar while the bags twitched in his arms.
Skip flexed his abs and a trickle of pleasure oozed through him at the other’s inspection of his torso. He gestured with the bags toward the trailer next to Danny’s car. “Lead on. No reason to make two trips or risk spilling things again with these blasted plastic bags. It’s no problem, and I won’t bite.” Unless you give me a chance. He fixed a friendly grin on his features.
Danny blinked. “Uh, sure. I’d be grateful for the help.” He walked up the gravel path toward the stoop for his trailer. “Watch the stairs. The middle riser’s missing. I’ve been meaning to replace it.” He fished his keys from his pocket and opened the door. “It’s kind of a mess. Hope you don’t mind.”
Skip followed him inside. His exposed skin prickled at the chilled, air-conditioned interior. He paused and let his eyes adjust to the light. A tattered sofa huddled against one wall under a window. Duct tape held together the brown-and-green fabric of one of the cushions. The faux wood Formica on the end table next to it was chipped and the braided throw rug was ragged, but everything was clean and nothing was out of place. Two slats of the blinds over the sofa dangled in a dented ruin, but their surface gleamed in the fluorescent light from the kitchen.
Danny dumped his bags on the counter. “If you’ll just leave yours here, too, that’d be great.”
Skip did as told and then glanced at his host. “I like your place, man.” He nodded at the living room. Someone had taped an Escher print of ants crawling on a Moebius strip on the wall next to the tiny black-and-white television. “I love that poster.”
“Thanks. That’s the one thing that’s mine.” He removed his sunglasses and revealed deep, cobalt eyes. He crossed the room while pulling off his sweatshirt, which he hung on a coat rack.
Skip caught a brief glimpse of a pale, angular torso as the sweatshirt lifted his t-shirt to his chest. It flopped back into place and hid the tawny mat of hair that covered his body. His arms protruded from the loose sleeves, exposing lean muscle that reminded Skip of a greyhound. Auburn hair, gleaming like fine copper thread, floated in a limp halo about his head and hung to his shoulders. Red suspenders held up the black denim pants that made a loose loop about his narrow hips.
Skip’s heart fluttered, but he controlled his longing. “Do you have a roommate?” Disappointment flared for an instant at the thought of someone popping out of a back room.
Danny shook his head. “Nah.” Danny’s eyes roved over Skip’s body before he returned to the task of storing his groceries.
Skip’s grin swelled when Danny’s gaze lingered on his crotch. He decided to play hard to get. “Well, it was nice meeting you. Maybe I’ll catch you later.” He edged toward the door, his eyes never leaving the other’s fey form.
Danny pinned him with a smile and his voice stopped Skip’s retreat. “Hey, I really appreciate your help. Would you maybe like a beer or something? Seems like we should get to know each other, since we’re neighbors and all.” His face turned the same color as his shoes, and he dropped his gaze.
A grin tugged at Skip’s lips. Danny’s tenor sounded like a song from Pan’s pipes to his ears. “A beer sounds great. Help me cool down from my run.” He wiped his palm across his chest. Delight flared like lightning as his hand pressed against the muscles that coiled under his taut flesh. He flinched for a moment before his attention returned to Danny. “Hey, could I use your bathroom?”
“Sure. It’s the first door on the right.” He nodded to the darkened hallway that led beyond the kitchen alcove.
Skip was careful to let his torso brush against Danny’s for the barest instant as he passed through the narrow kitchen to the hall. He flipped on the light in the tiny bath, closed the door, and toweled his sweaty hair dry. His blonde locks fell in tousled perfection after one swipe with his fingers. After he relieved himself, he washed his hands and knocked an amber pill bottle from the sink to the floor. He picked it up and read the label: Daniel Rajunas. Clozapine, 12.5 mg. Take twice daily. He put everything back as he’d found it and flushed the toilet. Geeze, I wonder what’s wrong with the poor guy.
Max Griffin writes suspense, horror and science fiction stories, often with a dark twist. Authors as diverse as Michael Nava, Dean Koontz, Richard Matheson, and Lawrence Block inspire and inform his literary style.
Max Griffin is the pen name of a professional mathematician and academic. Under his professional name, he is the author of a graduate textbook in real analysis and numerous research articles. When he is not writing fiction, his days are filled with teaching mathematics and statistics, research, and administrative work at a major comprehensive university in the southwest. He is a proud parent and grandparent. He is blessed to be in a long-term relationship with his life partner, Mr. Gene, who is an expert knitter.
The two humans in Max's household are the pets of an Abyssinian cat named Mr. Dinger, short for Erwin Schrodinger the Cat. Mr. Dinger graciously lets them live in his home in return for food and occasional petting. Oh, and there's that litter box thing they do for him too.