When Ezra and Titus come across an old sign indicating the Dupree estate was once an inn, they consider reopening it as The Heart-Shaped Gate Bed and Breakfast. Not long afterwards, they discover someone has already been lodging there, down in the dark, spooky basement.
Ezra wants to turn the trespasser in to authorities, but Titus, still struggling with the past, has a soft spot for the guy who seems lost. Even he has to admit, however, that something about the man’s story and odd behavior just doesn’t add up. Tales of a past love have a familiar ring, a fictional one, and the man’s timeline of events simply doesn’t add up barring some sort of paranormal explanation.
Can Titus and Ezra get over the bumps in their relationship? Will the new guy steal Titus away? And if he succeeds, what nefarious fate might he have in mind?
“No, Titus!” Henry threw him to the ground. The hard ground. It hurt beneath Titus’s back, and Henry on top of him crushed the air from his lungs.
“Henry!” Titus’s voice was muffled, too, with a large hand over his mouth. “What the fuck?” He wriggled and shoved at Henry’s flesh. “Let me up!”
“I’m sorry.” Henry released his hold. He rolled away, and Titus scrambled to his feet. “The words you were about to speak ...”
“Hey!” Ezra’s voice, “What the fuck is going on?” Twigs snapped and leaves crunched under his huge feet as he rushed through the underbrush.
“It’s okay.” Titus hadn’t even noticed how far into the woods they’d gotten. “I’m alright.”
“What did he do to you?” Ezra raised Henry from the forest floor with an angry, strong tug on his sweater. “Talk, Henry!” He forced him against a large tree.
“Don’t hurt him.” Titus took hold of Ezra’s forearm. “It was just a ...” Titus didn’t really know what it was. “I thought you left.”
“A short ride to clear my head. The scenery’s good for that.”
“You came back.”
“Yes, Titus,” Ezra said. “Of course I came back. And good thing. I saw you two going into the woods and ... I’m not sure Henry deserves your trust or your empathy.”
“I never meant him any harm.” Henry looked away. “Or is that untrue?”
“You tell me.” Ezra growled filling what little space there was between his sizable body and Henry’s. “And if you get it wrong, you’ll be in a world of pain.”
“Ezra, stop,” Titus begged.
“He ransacked the house.”
“A couple of rooms are torn apart, and he’s been in the attic. I found a bunch of pottery type deals up there. Old. Not necessarily pretty, but they’d maybe look nice with plants in them. I was cleaning them all up, and wanted to surprise you. There are a couple dozen. I thought you’d like the idea of bringing life to something old and inanimate.”
“I would like that. You get me.”
“I love you.” Ezra brushed Titus’s cheek. “They were all neatly arranged on one side of the room. Now, a couple are broken, and they’re all out of order. You avoid the attic.”
“There’s no floor!” This was always Titus’s argument, and it was factual. Rafters and the occasional sheet of plywood. “Getting around up there’s like slow motion life or death hopscotch.”
“Henry knows that.” Ezra turned back to him. “Don’t you?”
“What’s in the bundle, there?” His eyes narrowed. “Something you stole, I’ll bet.”
Henry offered no denial. “Yes.”
“Why Henry?” Titus kept his tone soft.
“Something I’ve been looking for,” Henry said simply. “Looking for all my life, I suppose. All my lives, one might say.”
“Why did you have Titus on the ground?” While Henry tightened his grip on his bundle, Ezra tightened his grip on knitted argyle.
“Would you believe I was saving him?” Henry asked.
“I’m not sure I believe anything you say.”