Title: Blood Lines
Author: A.L. Bates
Genre: Gay Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
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Mark Thomas owns his own “New York”-themed bar on an off-world colony.
Nate Fox is an ex-con gone straight.
He’s also Mark’s best friend and brother-in-law.
Mark has feelings for Nate. Nate has feelings for Mark.
But neither man is prepared to compromise their friendship or Mark’s relationship with Danny.
Blood Lines is a story about fidelity, trust, and respect. It’s a story about honesty and learning from mistakes.
And it’s a story about second chances.
“Do you fancy him?” Danny asked.
“I told you, I’m not playing this game.” Mark was tired. It had been a long shift and Danny was in one of those infuriating moods—part playful, part vindictive. He was lying low, and this marked his third week of being at home. He was starting to drive Mark crazy.
“Come on. It’s just a bit of fun. Play and I’ll help you close up.”
Mark sighed. “Fine. Who were you talking about?”
“Larry. You’re asking me if I fancy Larry? Well, I suppose he’s very good with his hands.”
Danny pursed his lips. “But he’s like a bear.”
Mark hated this game, and he never understood why Danny insisted on playing it. Reeling off the names of his customers and assessing their sex appeal was a dull way to spend a Monday night. At first Mark thought it was because Danny was insecure, and Mark would tailor his answers to boost his boyfriend’s ego. Then he realized Danny just liked bitching about Mark’s friends, so Mark changed his tact. He’d make sure he answered yes every time. Everyone had at least one good quality after all.
“I bet he sweats buckets. Could you imagine that? Like a wet flannel being left on your back. Yuk.”
“Keep you warm in winter though.”
Danny scowled. He glanced around the empty bar, clearly trying to picture other punters in their seats. He was desperate to find someone Mark would object to. As though that would prove that Mark couldn’t see the good in everyone. “Ha! Okay, what about Nate?”
Mark’s grip tightened on the glass he was cleaning. He knew he had to stay natural. Any sudden movement and his body would betray him. But he also knew he couldn’t say yes. “Eh, no.”
It was too late. He’d answered too quickly. Danny eyed him curiously and Mark knew he had to think fast.
“He’s too much like you,” he snapped, hoping it was enough.
Danny grinned like a hungry reptile eying up a prize. “So you are seriously claiming you never fancied him? Not even before you met me?”
“I told you, I don’t like straight guys.”
“Yeah, but Larry is straight, and you said you fancied him. Besides, Nate was inside, you can’t get through prison without sucking off one or two cons.”
Mark glared at him. “Really? This is how you want to talk about your own brother?”
Danny shrugged. “Just thought you two might have hooked up if I hadn’t swept you off your feet. You’re always talking together. Sometimes you’re like a married couple. Nate’s fancied guys before. Even if he doesn’t talk about it, he’s bi and always has been.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t and never have fancied him. And if you don’t do some work I’m gonna stop fancying you.”
About the author
A.L. BATES has a keen interest in Sci-fi and adventure novels and enjoys writing stories with strong characters in imaginative backgrounds. Although an avid writer, Deep is the first published novella by A.L. Bates.
A.L. Bates can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralbates