Blurb: Lenny Stevens was the lead guitarist of the up-and-coming grunge band Firefly until he crossed the line with the band’s lead singer. Now he’s faced with the impossible task of rebuilding his life without the music that had kept him together. Struggling with his fear and rage, he creates the same damaging patterns in his relationship with his lover, Vance Ashcroft.
Vance knows that Lenny is the submissive meant for him. He is convinced he can save Lenny from his demons and puts faith in his ability. But when Len’s temper leads to him physically hurting Vance and destroying property, both men realize Len’s issues are too big for them to work through alone.
Seeking the help of the people who know Len best, Vance invites his former bandmates to the ranch for Len’s belated birthday party. Together, they try to create a safe haven for Len to come apart and, hopefully, rearrange himself into a man who can live with his past and create a future worth having.
Drawing in a deep breath, Len focused on his hands and rubbed one thumb over the calluses on the tips of his left-hand fingers. “He’s strong,” he said, hoping that would be enough.
“Strong.” She smirked, a feminine sort of expression that wasn’t quite mocking, but conveyed something more like amusement. “I would imagine. He’s what? Six foot four?”
“But that isn’t what you mean, is it?”
Again, Len shrugged.
Lenore leaned forward. “Ace was strong too, wasn’t he? He was a big man?”
Len squirmed deeper into his chair, as if he could weasel out from under her gaze. “Bigger than me, yeah. So?” So wasn’t everyone bigger than him? Hell, Lenore, with her safe little flats and prim, comforting office wear, was bigger than he was.
“So you go for big guys.”
“Sure. I guess.” Trev wasn’t that big. Tall, but hella skinny.
“Why?” Her question knocked thoughts of Trevor away.
“What the fuck does it matter? You’re supposed to be trying to help me figure shit out with Vance. What has that got to do with Ace? He’s dead anyway.”
“I’m here for you, Len. If Vance is good for you, fine. But I’m here to help you figure out you.”
Len stared at her. He could feel the tearing inside again, imagine his rib cage splitting in two, blood and guts spilling out onto her nice, geometric-pattered rug.
Vance kept him together.
“Tell me what you’re thinking,” she said.
Len looked out the window at the skyline. Which part? The macabre belief his entire being was slowly ripping apart? Or the certain knowledge only Vance could hold him tight enough to keep him in one piece?
“No is not an option, Mr. Stevens.”
“You’d think I’m crazy.”
She smiled, and it was a kind, understanding expression. One that said, That’s why you’re here, without making it an insult or a judgment.
“You ever hear that Adam Lambert song? ‘Underneath’?”
“I quite like Adam.” She wrote a brief note on her pad. “Do you think that song applies to you?”
He shrugged, caught himself even as she pursed her lips in disapproval, and let out a snarl. “Only the bloody, screaming bits.”
True to form, she didn’t flinch. “Not the part about inviting someone to see that in you?”
Len clamped his lips shut.
“Do you think you’re the only one to feel this way, Mr. Stevens?”
“Well, I didn’t write the song, so probably not, no.”
“Whoever did write the song found a healthy outlet.”
“Goody for them.”
“So it’s not impossible.”
I have an outlet.
He wanted to say it.
I have Vance, only he doesn’t want….
In the Wings 5
The wet, ripping sound that came next proved to be a groan from Len’s lips. It wasn’t his heart separating from his body. It only felt that way.