Not your average peck on the cheek ...
Mild mannered Derek is a perfectly ordinary bloke living a perfectly ordinary life. He works at the library, supports Stoke City football team, and cares for the twelve beautiful racing pigeons he inherited from his father in his spare time. He isn’t into kink. He definitely isn’t into feathers, in spite of the birds. So when a mysterious young man appears in his home claiming to be a pigeon, it’s all a bit much.
Avery is eccentric, perching on the furniture, refusing to eat eggs and stealing Derek’s chocolate digestive biscuits when his back is turned. He’s also attractive, kind, mischievous, and a dab hand with a feather, and Derek finds himself falling madly in love. But when he discovers the truth about Avery, it causes him to question everything he thought he knew about himself. And when those doubts take him to a very dark place, it’s up to a library book, his own innate decency, and Avery himself, to make things right again.
This sweet, angsty romance is a contemporary, tongue-in-cheek take on the old northern European Swan Maiden fairy tale.
The opportunity came faster than he expected and almost caught him unawares. It was a long hard sweaty day at work. They’d had a delivery of new books for the reference section and he and Jenny had spent hours lugging the things out of boxes and stacking them on the shelves. When five o’clock came he was aching in places he’d forgotten he had and desperate for a shower. But the minute he got into the bedroom and started to peel off his clothes, he was attacked by a small, if very human whirlwind that wrapped its arms around him and refused to let go.
At first it felt wrong, and he wriggled and squirmed, trying to break the other man’s hold. ‟I’m not really ... long day at work ... bit of a headache, you know ...”
‟You don’t want to be with me?”
Avery’s face was so close to his own, and the eyes so forlorn. It was an effort not to just kiss him anyway. ‟No, it’s not ... I just ...” To hell with it. He gave up on the half-formed sentences, locked his conscience at the back of his mind, and snogged Avery on the mouth. A tiny part of him still felt uncomfortable but the rest of him said this was oh-so-right. The other man felt warm and soft in his arms, his chin on Derek’s shoulder, his arms round his waist, his hands moving down to cup Derek’s bum. ‟Come in the shower with me,” he said, breaking for air. ‟I’ve been carting books all day. I probably stink.”
‟I don’t care,” said Avery, laughing now he was getting his own way. But he let Derek take his hand and lead him into the bathroom, and he didn’t protest when Derek tore off his clothes, along with what remained of his own.
In the shower, under the scalding cascade, he felt the last of his inhibitions fade. He pushed Avery against the chill tiled wall, then held him in place with the weight of his own body and his hands braced on the wall either side of Avery’s face. And then he kissed him, mouth against mouth, lips against lips, and when Avery opened his mouth, tongue against tongue. Avery was clinging to him, running one finger up and down his spine while the other hand squeezed his arse. The water got everywhere. In his hair, down the sides of his face, down his chest, between his legs. If he wasn’t careful, he’d be so aroused he might just flip the other man round, grabbed some shower gel and take him where they stood. In fact, the thought was so appealing he’d do it right now. He moved one hand to Avery’s shoulder and stepped back to give himself room. Without the water drumming on his head he could hear again. And the first thing he heard was the strident ringtone of his phone, which he’d left on the edge of the bed.
‟Bugger it,” he muttered, and tried to get back into the flow. After a few more rings the phone stopped, but then almost immediately it started up again. ‟Uh. Shit. Could be important. Sorry. Don’t go anywhere.” Clambering out of the shower cubicle he snatched a towel, wiping the water that streamed down his face, before wrapping it round his waist.
‟Don’t worry, I’ll be waiting for you.” Avery stuck his head round the shower curtain and smiled at him through the steam, water beaded on his eyelashes and his hair slicked down.
He looked so adorable Derek almost came straight back, but the phone was insistent. It could be Jenny; it could be the organisers of the pigeon race at the weekend with some extra information, or even calling it off. Whoever it was, it simply wasn’t fair. Gritting his teeth he scurried to the bedroom but the call ended before he could grab the phone and the caller hadn’t left a voicemail, or even a number. ‟For God’s sake,” he snarled, and hurled the thing back on the bed. Then something caught his eye. A feather. A single, long grey feather, half-hidden under the bedside cabinet. He held his breath. Was that what he thought it was? Could it be as simple as that?