The last place Brent Sawyer expected to see beautiful shirtless boys was near his mother’s house. Brent now lived down in New York -- and you did not see the city’s clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, chic little storefronts crammed with modern design in rural Holmstead County where Brent had grown up. You did not see hot, trashy Gucci boys and Banana Republicans. And you certainly never saw a man like that
The sudden glimpse of a mountain of rock-hard man-flesh by the side of the highway nearly caused Brent to drive his sporty blue Miata rental into an oak tree.
The guy was a massive stud. A walking pornographic fantasy -- shirtless, lean, his chest carved from stone. He wore a pair of baggy carpenter jeans belted by a loose knot of rope slung low on his waist. He straddled one end of a stone wall at the edge of an open meadow, one boot on either side.
His shoulders bulged as he hefted a massive boulder, each muscle defined like an amateur anatomy lesson. The pants hung low enough that Brent could see that even his butt muscles bulged with the effort.
His face was streaming sweat and deliciously filthy. He had full lips, a square face and defined jaw, and a butt-chin. His hair was neatly cropped close to his head, but full and dark.
Brent could almost smell the musty crotch of the man, the fingernails crusted with grease. He was filthy. An animal. A gorgeous animal.
In the split second Brent zoomed by, the man looked up. Their eyes met. There was nothing in the world except that instant, powerful moment of mutual recognition and desire that gay men can share across a room, a street, a continent. It was magnetic. Electric. Hell, it was downright nuclear.
Only when Brent’s tires left the pavement did he remember that he was speeding along at fifty miles an hour. The steering wheel jerked in his hands. The tires spun. The Miata shuddered. Its bumper passed within inches of a tree stump. Then his tires again found pavement. The back end fishtailed sickeningly and then fell into line.
When Brent checked the rearview, the man was gone. Lost around the bend in the road.
Brent slammed the brakes. His heart pounded. He was thinking that he should whip the car around. He should go back, engage this guy somehow. Chat him up. For the first time in his life, Brent could seriously imagine dragging this guy off the side of the highway and having sex in the open field, as if he were a stranger in a rest stop.
, he thought ruefully, I had met more strangers like
that when I was a horny kid in Holmstead County!
A loud horn broke into the train of his fantasy. Brent had stopped in the middle of the road, and another car had come whipping around the corner. It swerved to avoid him.
Startled, Brent pulled to the side of the road.
Two near-death experiences in forty-five seconds
, he thought. That was a world record. And all on account of a little bare flesh.
You’re pathetic, Brent
, he told his reflection in the rearview mirror. He had to get a hold of himself. This teenaged eagerness to find a man -- any man -- was exactly why he needed to go to his mother’s place in the country and hang out for a week or two. He was just too hot and horny for his own good. If he stayed in the city all weekend, he would get himself into all kinds of trouble, so it was just as well his sister Heidi had scheduled her wedding for the very same weekend Brent was fresh off breaking up with his boyfriend of six months. Nevertheless, on the phone earlier that week, Brent had teased Heidi mercilessly about her timing. He had insisted that she ought to have foreseen his breakup and not hogged the whole weekend for herself. After all, she had been begging him to break up with Cory for months.
“Maybe you could rebook your wedding for a Wednesday, Heidi?” he had suggested.
“You’d better get your hot little buns up to Holmstead County as soon as you can, Brent,” Heidi had responded, “or I’ll chase you down in the city and drag you up by your boxer shorts.”
Brent had surrendered to Heidi’s vaunted skills of persuasion and headed home. Weddings
, he thought irreverently, are hazardous to my health
The calming influence of a few more miles of highway made Brent reflect that perhaps it was not such a bad idea for him to be away from all the available boys in New York City this weekend. He had been known in the past to bring the fine art of flirting to a nearly dangerous conclusion.
And this incident on the road -- involving some random blue-collar dimwit who was probably not half so beautiful as the wishful glimpse had suggested, and married and closeted with two kids besides -- this incident only proved that it might not be such a bad decision to stay in the country a while until the flush of freedom wore off. Cold showers and long walks in the woods and boiled dinners and lots of straight people -- this was a recipe for curing what ailed Brent. Which was good old-fashioned horniness.
But where had the stone man come from? Straight or gay, Holmstead County wasn’t exactly a hotbed of Men’s Fitness
or Armani models. No one knows better than me that fabulously hunky gay men are simply not bred here
. With the exception -- apparently -- of this stone-tossing unicorn on the side of the road.
Brent passed the Welcome to Sanbornton sign that marked his hometown. The traffic was leisurely, and Brent fell in behind a pickup towing a half dozen all-terrain vehicles on a flatbed truck. The pickup could not seem to decide whether it would park or turn or drive on. It made infuriating brakes and stops and false turns. Brent was seething, jacked on city energy. It was all he could do to keep from leaning on the horn. When the pickup pulled over, Brent flashed the old man in the driver’s seat a murderous glance. The old man gave him a friendly wave.
Brent took a pack of Camels from the glove compartment and shook one out. He indulged the smoking impulse only when driving long-distance. Oh, well. Just one more bad habit that needed to change. He had already got rid of one bad habit -- this last boyfriend, Cory. Soon, he would work on the others. It was all part of a process.
Brent glanced at himself in the rearview. His hair was brownish. The summer’s bleach was fading away. It was cut short, but tousled and tufted by being in the open convertible. His face had a good bronze from the afternoon sun. It was thin, with a strong jaw and cheekbones, but the bones were light, graceful, almost delicate. He had been blessed with a bright, impish smile. Brent had never had trouble getting and holding the attention of men.
Still, he dismissed the stone man as a possible Mr. Right. He could admit to a thing for blue-collar boys, but he was sensitive to the economics of Mr. Right -- and he was thinking that builders of stone walls in Holmstead County probably had not made the latest list of the Fortune 500. Besides, even if the stone man had all the money in the world, the last thing Brent ever wanted to do was end up in his mother’s hometown.
Scott & Scott