After finding his lover in the arms of another man, Dallas Crosby moves off campus to a Victorian-style apartment building to begin a new life. A chance encounter with the mysterious and sexy Dr. Samuel Levi has Dallas in a tailspin. But the man comes and goes unexpectedly and Dallas doesn’t know what to make of him. Just when he thinks he’s getting somewhere with the unusual man, he finds himself in an unbelievable situation, and he has to struggle both to find the man he’s fallen for and to get back to where he belongs.
Can Dallas find a way to leave Wonderland or will he be lost forever?
The building was old, a converted Victorian mansion whose owner had fallen on hard times. She’d had to divide it into six units, two per floor. Dallas lived on the third floor, just beneath the attic. Sometimes he swore he heard rats scrabbling about, and he’d offered to place traps there for the landlady, but Mrs. Persepolis laughed off his concerns. He was hearing things, she said. There was nothing there, she insisted. Hadn’t been rats in the building for many years.
Although Dallas wanted to believe her, one time he decided to see for himself that the attic was indeed rat-free, as she claimed. When he dropped the stairs leading to the attic and then mounted them, broom in hand, he’d found the door at the top locked. He gave it up as a lost cause, all the while thinking that rats didn’t use keys, so who was she locking out?
The basement contained limited amounts of storage space, as well as laundry facilities for the use of the tenants. Only two washers and two dryers, but that was enough to cover the needs of those that lived there. With their disparate schedules, there never seemed to be a conflict among the residents over the use of the facilities, for which Dallas was grateful. He juggled culinary classes during the day with working in the restaurant of a four star hotel at night. Usually the only time he had to do his laundry was in the wee hours, when the house was still, and there was no competition for the few machines.
Dallas would bring down either whatever Stephen King novel he was currently reading, or one of his cooking textbooks. While the washing machine agitated and rinsed he’d prop his feet against it, his chair tilted back on two legs, the back of his head scraping the wall, the rhythm of life vibrating through his soles. It was a comforting feeling, and more than a little sensual. He sometimes daydreamed about what it would feel like to be fucked there, while the machine was going, either leaning against it or lying on top of it while a big strong hotter-than-hell guy rammed into him.
With an imagination like that he could have chosen to write porn for a living.
One of his favorite Stephen King novels was The Shining. He didn’t even care that they’d fucked up the movie, he loved them both. Jack Nicholson was sure hot. In a totally crazy kind of way. Maybe that was Dallas’ problem. He had an irresistible attraction to psychopaths. Or was that sociopaths? To paraphrase Doctor McCoy, I’m a chef, Jim, not a psychiatrist.
Dallas was also a big Star Trek fan.
What was that? He cocked his head, listening. Although, to be fair, with the washing machine thrumming the way it was, hearing anything outside of this room was rather difficult. Plus he had his iPod blasting in his ear. Bach. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Phantom of the Opera music. The movie, not the musical.
He turned the page, losing himself in Jack Torrance’s troubles. All work and no play…
He heard it again. This time he was sure. Footsteps. Coming his way. He hastily brought the chair back onto all four legs, placed his bookmark inside and closed the book. The hairs on the back of his neck began to bristle, in the way that they sometimes did just before a storm, when the air’s full of static electricity and mischief.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
If he didn’t get his mind off men with axes, he’d never be able to go to sleep tonight and then he sure as shit wouldn’t be able to function tomorrow. Probably one of the other tenants coming home. Maybe wanting something out of storage. The storage area was separate. Each tenant had a key to the room. Dallas didn’t keep very much there himself. He didn’t have very much.
Slipping back into his book, he was very much surprised to hear a cultured voice ask, “Pardon me, but is that seat taken?”
A slender figure stood in the doorway. At first glance, Dallas made his age to be somewhere in the forty-five to fifty range, not from his appearance, which was completely toned and fit, but something in his eyes seemed to hold the wisdom of the ages. Startling eyes they were. He wasn’t aware that copper existed in the palette of the human eye. But here it was. Copper with hints of green. Hair of a muted red, pulled back from his forehead and tied into a long plait which fell over his shoulder.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
“Um…um…no, you didn’t.” Too late, Dallas realized he’d inadvertently dropped his book onto the floor. Guess he was more rattled than he let on. With a deft movement, the newcomer bent to retrieve it, his movements sure and graceful. He presented the volume to Dallas with a smile.
“Allow me to introduce myself. Dr. Samuel Levi, at your service.” He made a slight obeisance with his hand, rolling it from his forehead to his chin, in a graceful gesture.
“Oh, a medical doctor?”
“Alas, nothing quite so useful.” His laughter was soft, cultured. “An honorary title given to those whom the world cannot decide what it wants to do with.”
Dallas thought this man looked more than useful. The back of his neck was tingling again.
“I’ll bid you good night, Dallas, I hope we meet again.”
Only after he’d gone did Dallas wonder how he knew his name.