Milo and Jonty have been friends since forever. But while Jonty concentrates on learning his craft as a witch with Milo’s grandfather, Milo himself feels crushed under the expectations of his parents.
He has a job he hates and a boyfriend, Leon, he comes to realize isn’t the man for him. But when his grandfather goes missing, Milo has more important matters than ditching Leon.
Jonty has loved Milo for as long as he can remember, but knows he’s only seen as the brother Milo never had. However, he’s willing to settle for friendship to keep Milo in his life.
When Milo’s grandfather sends a mysterious message for help, and telling Milo to come and claim his treasure, neither he nor Jonty hesitate to answer the call. But both Milo’s father and Leon insist on coming too.
Will Milo manage to claim the greatest treasure of all, or will Leon ensure it’s lost forever?
Now, in his office, Milo sighed and began to pace back and forth. I must find a way to let Leon know it’s over between us. But the sudden interest his parents showed in us, as well as how happy my parents were that we’re a couple, didn’t make it possible over this weekend.
What I need is to get away. Spend some time with Jonty. I always think better with him around. I wish I could speak to Poppa. He always seems to know just what it is I need. Even when I can’t see it for myself.
Perching on the edge of his desk, Milo fished out his phone and sent Jonty a text, asking if he could visit that evening. Just me and Jonty. As it should be. He frowned as the idea popped into his head. Now what made me think that? But the more Milo toyed with the notion, the more he felt it to be right. It’s like something just clicks into place when we’re together.
But instead of a return text, Milo’s phone rang. Poppa!
“Hello, where are you, we --?” Bur before Milo could continue, his grandfather cut in, his voice hushed, yet sharp.
“No time. I’m in trouble and you’re in danger of losing the greatest treasure I always intended would be yours one day.”
“What?” Milo’s mind was spinning. He felt for his amulet. “Your ... your treasure?”
“I’ve protected it, but it’s also in danger. You need to come. Come quickly.”
“Where?” Milo asked, pacing back and forth, his grip on the phone so tight he felt it digging into his palm.
“Go to Jonty, get the boat, and come to the Isle of Snakes.”
“Are you saying that place is real?” Milo breathed the question. He’d always thought of it as an imaginary place his Poppa had spoken of to him when he was a child.
“It’s real. Hurry, Milo. Time’s running out.”
“On my way.” Milo decided against calling his parents. Instead, he sent them a text. They’ll waste time. I don’t have asking a thousand questions. What kind of treasure does Poppa have? And what danger are he, and it, in?
* * * *
Arriving at the house, Milo stared at the building, then the garden. What the fuck ...? House was old, but had always looked in perfect repair, now it looked as though it needed work and the garden was overgrown and weed-ridden. At a run, he dashed up the path, the door opening with a groan to let him in.
“Jonty? Jonty!” Panic rose as Milo looked around inside. The painting showed a sunset, but the colours emphasised the dying sun and Milo’s blood ran cold. What is it? What’s happening? “Jonty! Where are you?”