Sometimes the problem is the answer.
Liam Newman escaped his abusive past to start a new life with the man who saved him. Unfortunately, the old life refuses to stay buried. When a fan of his porn star persona appears, he’s forced to reinvent himself in a surprising new career. Will it give him the rebirth he craves or lead him deeper into the life he’s trying to leave behind?
Someone was watching him. The sensation crawled across Liam’s shoulders like a spider, making him twitch. He didn’t bother turning around. Every time it happened, he always found the same eyes and glaring back hadn’t done any good so far. He hung his overcoat in his narrow locker in the employee lounge and pretended not to notice.
He didn’t know what to make of the restaurant’s newest server but Eric got on his nerves. The guy was average in build, height, and looks but there was something troubling in the way he stared. The expression that came close to a leer was altogether annoying. He’d seen that look before in other equally annoying men and tried not to think about it, pushing the irritation and the memory away. He had a job to do and he wasn’t going to let Eric get to him.
Liam checked his hair in the small mirror tacked to the inside of the locker door as the other employees trickled out of the room to start their shifts. He pushed the locker closed to join them and spun the combination lock determined to pretend Eric was nothing but a piece of furniture. He didn’t intend to stick around for a conversation.
“Your name’s Liam, right?” Eric asked from the opposite side of the room as the last co-worker disappeared into the hall.
Apparently, he was too late. “Yes.”
“Should I call you that or do you prefer ‘Angel’?”
The name slapped his heart into a gallop and he jerked his gaze to Eric. No one had called him Angel for over six months. He hadn’t missed it.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He swallowed, his voice an almost breathless quiver that didn’t sound convincing even to him.
“Sure you do.” Eric smiled and opened his locker. “You’re that hot kid on the porn site. I’ve been a fan for a long time. It’s nice to finally meet you.”
His palms were slick with sweat as he tried to pretend he really didn’t have any idea what Eric was talking about, stuffing them in the pockets of his pants to hide the trembling.
“That’s not me.”
“I have to admit, you look smaller on the screen but I guess they wanted it that way.” Eric ignored the denial.
“What do you want?” He glared at him fed up with the conversation.
“Nothing at the moment, though I wouldn’t mind hooking up later if you have the time.”
“I’m seeing someone.”
“So?” Eric shrugged and hung up his coat. “I’m not talking about a date, just a hook up. Nobody has to know. Consider me a dress rehearsal for the next video. You’re still doing those, right? I’d hate to think you gave that up to work here.”
“I’m not interested.” He ignored the comment.
He wasn’t going to get into a discussion about his non-existent porn career with a guy who only liked him for his ass. He knew the type. They never listened.
“What?” Eric glanced his direction. “You don’t do it for free?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about and even if I did I’m not interested.” He said again with enough conviction to sound believable.
Eric raked him with a lustful stare that made him shiver.
“Yes, you do. I’d know those pretty eyes anywhere…and that fuckable mouth. It’s you so why don’t you drop the act, Angel.”
“Don’t call me that.”
“Fine…Liam.” Eric pushed his locker closed and stepped closer to stuff a piece of paper between two of the buttons on Liam’s dress shirt before striding toward the door. “That’s my number. Call me.”
He pulled the paper right back out, crumpled it in his fist, and dropped it in the trash, anger and terror whipping through him hard enough to make him shudder. He dragged in a couple of breaths trying to calm the fearful thundering of his heart.
He wasn’t that person anymore. He’d left that nightmare behind in an empty apartment across town. It was supposed to be over and he wasn’t sure which was more terrifying: that Eric was going to keep propositioning him or that he’d tell the rest of the staff his secret. He didn’t think he could take working with people who’d seen what he’d done or what all those men had done to him.
It took him three tries to get his locker back open, his hands trembling too much to be precise with the dial. He fumbled his cell phone out of the pocket of his coat and called Justin. He wasn’t going to tell him the whole sordid story over the phone, not when he had to be out on the restaurant floor in two minutes but he could at least hear his voice.
DP Denman writes character-driven m/m romance about survivors. Her stories are real and intense but always resolve in the type of ending that makes readers want to start the book all over again. She is from the Pacific Northwest and bases all of her stories in Vancouver, British Columbia, a city that is dear to her heart.
In her spare time she is a dedicated gay rights activist fighting for those who have been marginalized and abused. To that end, 25% of the royalties from every book go to support LGBT charities.
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