If only it were that easy.
Even the most compatible of lovers face obstacles, both external and internal. The struggle to surmount those barriers is what animates romance. So many things can come between you and your beloved: ethnic, cultural, societal or age differences, scars from the past, disabilities, geographic distance, prior commitments – not to mention ill-intentioned others, from nasty exes to evil sorcerers, who are determined to keep you apart.
GLBT characters often have it tougher than straight couples. On top of all the personal issues, they may have to deal with society’s condemnation of their love. When a significant percentage of your neighbors believe you’re deviant, diseased or eternally damned because of your sexual preferences, it’s bound to affect your relationship, no matter how comfortable you are with your orientation. You may have to hide your attraction. You may find yourself ostracized by family and friends. Open communication becomes harder because you’re never really sure whom you can trust.
In my M/M paranormal erotic romance Necessary Madness, my poor characters have all sorts of obstacles to overcome. Rob Murphy is a veteran cop. He’s sure suspicions about his sexual orientation have cost him promotions in the past. Worried that an overt gay relationship will get him fired, he satisfies his sexual needs through transient, clandestine encounters.
Kyle is a homeless young man afflicted with debilitating visions of future disasters. He’s been in and out of psychiatric facilities throughout his teens, but he knows he’s not schizophrenic, because the awful events he sees in his fits all too frequently come true. Meanwhile, Rob lost his beloved sister due to her similarly out-of-control psychic powers. The last thing he needs is to get close to someone else with paranormal abilities.
The decade-plus gap between their ages makes Rob distinctly uncomfortable. For his part, Kyle pretends to be more street-wise than he really is, to the point that Rob believes he’s a hustler who trades his body for cash.
Miscommunication and lack of trust threaten to destroy their love before it takes root. Of course, since this is romance, you know Rob and Kyle will have a happy ending – but they have a rocky road getting there.
Here’s an excerpt from early in the book:
“Kitchen’s here, with the door out to the back porch. Only one bathroom, I’m afraid. Here’s the guest room—your room. The closet’s empty; you’re welcome to put your stuff in there.”
Rob led Kyle through his apartment, fussing and clucking like a mother hen. He wondered for the hundredth time whether this was a mistake. The guy was just so damned beautiful. Rob could hardly bear to be close to him. Driving the few miles from St. Vincent’s to his building, Rob had tried to pay attention to the road, but he couldn’t help sneaking sidelong glances at the mysterious, sensual face of his companion. Kyle seemed to be brooding. Maybe he had his doubts, too.
“What stuff?” Kyle spread his arms, a half-smile on his plump lips. “Everything I own is on my back.”
“I’ll take you over to Greendale Mall so you can pick up some new clothes. Loan you some cash until you get on your feet.”
“What makes you think I’ll ever ‘get on my feet’, Sergeant Murphy?”
“Okay, Rob.” Kyle stared at the mostly bare maple outside the guest room window, before turning back to confront him. “Why should anything be different now?” Rob heard the bitterness in his voice. “I have a disease, and I don’t mean the ulcer. I’m cursed. I see terrible things, and I can’t stop them. It’s getting worse all the time. There are only two possibilities. Either I’ll kill myself, or I’ll truly go insane.”
Rob suppressed the urge to take the man in his arms. Instead, he settled for an avuncular pat on the shoulder. “It’s only your imagination, Kyle. Your mind playing tricks on you. Once you understand that, maybe you can suppress the visions. Or control them.”
Kyle sank down onto the bed. His dark eyes burnt under exquisitely arched brows. “My imagination? You know that’s not true.”
Rob lowered himself onto the desk chair. He wished that he were somewhere else. He wanted to help Kyle, but he really didn’t like where the conversation was going.
“What else could it be? These spells—they’re like seizures. Storms of random activity in your brain that make you see things. I was there at the hospital, remember, when it hit you yesterday. You were completely out of touch, yelling about the brake, the gas tank, groaning and crying. You were delusional.”
“It was a crash,” Kyle intoned. “At least five cars. Glass everywhere. The screech of rubber, the stink of leaking gasoline, and then the explosion and the smell of charred flesh… Check the papers, Rob. Call the police station. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will soon.”
“You really believe that your hallucinations foretell the future?” Rob remembered the night he’d picked Kyle up, the narrowly averted catastrophe at the address Kyle had seen.
“I only wish that they didn’t. All I ever see is violence and pain.” Kyle buried his face in his hands.
Rob moved to the bed, next to his guest, and put his arm around the denim-clad shoulders. He couldn’t help himself. “Look, that’s crazy. This isn’t some kind of horror movie. This is real life. There’s a rational explanation for everything.” He was trying to convince himself as much as Kyle. He didn’t want anything more to do with psychic abilities. Never again.
Kyle skewered him with a dark stare, hurt and angry. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. I thought that you wanted to help me.”
Rob tensed. Kyle was so close. The funk of his old sweat rose from the worn jacket, along with a trace of disinfectant. Rob could see the pulse beating in the boy’s pale temple. He felt his own blood rush to his cock.
Kyle trembled. His nostrils flared. His eyes gleamed. Rob felt the pull, a magnet focused on his groin. It would be so easy to gather that taut young body to his chest, to fasten his mouth on Kyle’s ripe lips, to take control. But that wasn’t what the man needed. Kyle needed responsible strength. Logic. Maturity. With a heroic effort, Rob smothered his fantasies.
“I do want to help. If I didn’t, do you think I would have taken you in? I just want you to be realistic. To recognise that even when you think you’re seeing future events, that’s a delusion.”
Kyle wasn’t listening, not really. Rob could see him adjust his face, hiding his emotions, shuttering those bright eyes, donning a false smile. Putting on a mask. “Whatever you say, Rob. Maybe you’re right. After all, most nut cases think their visions are real.”
“You’re not a ‘nut case’, Kyle.”
“Are you sure?” He giggled. “You can’t have it both ways, you know. Either I’m prescient, or I’m insane.” He stood, stretching, then grinned at the sight of Rob’s obvious concern. “Hey, lighten up. Either way, I’m not going to stab you in your bed.”
Rob shuddered, despite himself.
Kyle rested a light hand on Rob’s shoulder. “I’m sorry to give you a hard time. I really do appreciate you giving me a place to crash.”
The casual touch re-ignited Rob’s carefully suppressed desire. Fortunately, the phone rang. “Excuse me,” he muttered, beating a hasty retreat to the hall.
* * * * *
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