My home is my sanctuary. Or is it my prison" Some days it’s hard to tell.
I’ve confined myself behind these walls for protection. I have my reasons, but that doesn’t change the profound loneliness I’ve discovered in the process.
Then one day I find myself drifting toward the window to see him. Corey Marshall, my new neighbor. Quiet, reserved, and cute as can be. He infects my thoughts, becomes the image I fantasize about.
I want to taste his lips, smell his scent…feel what it’s like to be inside him.
And soon, watching becomes exchanging gifts and messages, which becomes so much more.
It’s wrong to want this as badly as I do, but I can’t help myself. I crave him so desperately. It’s hard to tell if what we’re doing is going to make me lose my mind or change my entire world, but it’s too late to turn back now…
I’ve never been quite right. Too high or too low. Pain is my constant companion…at the hands of my abusive ex, and often from myself. The sweet relief is only temporary, but in those moments, it’s like I can finally breathe.
Then I meet him. Silas Rizner calms the chaotic storms inside me. He makes me feel loved, treasured, even when I don’t deserve it. I cherish the moments we share–cooking, cuddling, and when Silas reads to me until I fall asleep. When he’s inside me, it’s the only time in my life I’ve ever felt complete.
Silas becomes the glue that holds me together, that bandages my scars. Inside the walls of his home, we’re almost safe, but our demons are always there, waiting to break free.
We’re a mess. We’re broken, chaotic, beautiful; we’re in love.
But not even love can slay our monsters. No, only we can do that.
Unless our monsters destroy us first.
TRIGGERS: Self-harm, depression, anxiety, mentions of past domestic violence.Books by Author:Riley Hart BooksDevon McCormack Books
Will Morgan looked at me through gorgeous blue eyes. Not the real Will Morgan, just the image of him, pasted in a notebook I had set out on my desk, beside my laptop.
In the picture I"d selected for his page, Will had dark-brown hair. He"d once posted online, saying he liked those pictures a lot more than the ones where he had blond highlights. Among his many admirable features was his jawline"sharp, defined. Will had been a classically hot guy, and at six feet three, I imagined he would have been hard to miss in a bar.
Sometimes I"d look at his picture and imagine what it would have been like if we"d met at a bar one night. From his pictures on his Facebook profile, with his buddies surrounding him and a new drink in hand in every other one, it was clear he"d been a social guy, same as I was"a long time ago.
I could so easily imagine a night playing out" We would have had a nice chat before deciding whose place to go back to. On his Tumblr account, he"d made it clear he preferred to top but could be persuaded to bottom, and I imagined it would have been fun being the one to persuade him.
I chuckled at the morbid thought before perusing the other facts and details I"d collected about Will"s life, from his BA from Boston University to his employment as a waiter at an upscale restaurant in Buckhead. He hated cats, but he"d post funny memes with them on his Facebook page and make it a point to remind everyone just how much he hated them.
I flipped the page to James Profero, or as all his friends called him, Jimmy.
Blue eyes just like Will Morgan"s, and if one wasn"t careful, they might be tempted to find some sort of pattern in that, as sometimes I was tempted to. But Bradley Kruger and Tim Forner had brown eyes. Jasper Fehr and Trevor Zeh had hazel eyes. Ryan Munez had one blue and one brown.
There were plenty of patterns that could be made from their names, their looks, their lives, but those would just be speculation.
Because really, aside from being young gay men, the only similarity worth noting was they were all dead.
They"re dead, but not me.
Obsession is such a cruel thing. It seizes control and doesn"t let go, no matter how much you might resist. And God knows I resisted for so long, too long, until I succumbed to the darkness within me.
I closed the notebook and checked the timer on my laptop screen. Only three hours, seventeen minutes, and twelve seconds of work accomplished, so I knew I had to get some more done, but when I looked at the time, 6:23 p.m., I realized Dyna would be arriving at my place soon.
Three hours was great in terms of finishing work. I"d be up most of the night anyway.
I got up from my desk and headed to the closet, knelt down to my safe, and returned the notebook before heading back to my desk and pulling my phone out of the top drawer. I scrolled through my last exchange with Dyna.
DYNA: Mint-choc or dark-choc protein bars"
ME: They don"t have any peanut butter"
I noticed her replies that followed:
DYNA: Do you want me to go look at another store"
DYNA: OMG. Are you not looking at your messages right now" You are the worst.
DYNA: I got mint. Be there in twenty.
Fucking hate mint-chocolate protein bars.
Her last message was fifteen minutes earlier, so I figured she"d be over soon. I"d have to wrap up my work and call it a day. Pretty easy to do, considering most of my gigs were freelance"whatever I could find online or acquire through referrals.
Setting my phone on the desktop, I pulled up the various exterior security cameras on my laptop. The only intruder was a moth, which aggressively courted my porch light.
Grabbing my binoculars, navy-blue with a scrape across the side from one time when I dropped them against the windowsill, I headed on to my beat"covering the north, south, east, and west sides of the house.
A two-story home in suburbia was way too much space for a single guy without any prospects of creating a family, but I couldn"t live in a small space like a condo, not when I spent all my time indoors. I needed space to walk, to change rooms, to give me some semblance of the world I"d cut myself off from. The closest I ever got to outside was my enclosed back porch, where I"d sometimes go to get a whiff of fresh air and pretend I was freer than I really was.
When I looked out through the empty back guest room, I saw the Greers eating dinner on their back porch, as they did from time to time. They preferred red wine, and from my observations, poultry to any sort of red meat.