Four pairs of lovers get their Happily Ever After.
THE DAY OF THE CLIFFORDS Can a teenage crush ever develop into the ‘real thing’? When the teenage Clifford brothers, Jerry and Matt, spend their summer holidays next door, fellow teen, Sam Dempsey, develops a romantic crush on Jerry, although the guilty secret they share will eventually tear their friendship apart. When Sam and the Cliffords meet up again ten years later, can anything be salvaged?
CHRISTMAS IN JULY Kauko Sallinen has fled his native Finland for the warmer climes of Australia, where he hopes to find himself a bronzed Aussie to complete the picture. But he slips during a bush walk, injuring his foot and confining his movements. But things aren’t all bad when the doctor who calls to attend his injury is exactly what Kauko ordered, except the doc has a secret that could bring their budding relationship to its knees.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE CUDDLY Sheriff Haskell keeps the itinerant cowboys and the girls of Miss Kitty’s cathouse away from the god-fearing families of Headstone, but the fragile peace is threatened with the arrival of a handsome, young Italian by the name of Benedetto, who the cowboys take to calling Bernadette.
HE WON’T SEND ROSES Christopher runs a florist shop on the dangerous side of town, so he knows he's about to die when a loud motorbike pulls up outside and a behemoth of man, heavily tattooed and muscled like a steroid freak, strides through the front door.
Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any worse, the door to my florist shop opened and I knew I was going to die: stabbed, strangled, knifed, or shot. At that precise moment I wasn’t sure which method he’d use, I only knew I was taking the last few breaths of my short and miserable life.
Why, oh why, hadn’t I taken those self-protection courses the Gay Center ran on five consecutive Friday nights? Why? Because I’m too chicken shit, that’s why. I was afraid of being laughed at by the gay men who attended the courses. That’s what I told my friends when they encouraged me to be more pro-active. Pro-active? That sounded more like an ingredient you’d find in yoghurt to me. In private, I admitted to myself that the reason I wouldn’t go to classes was a fear of failure, but also a fear that I’d be so turned on by the instructors and the other macho men in attendance I’d be crippled with desire.
But even now, confronted with my own grisly demise, I wasn’t about to break out into a chorus of that Edith Piaf classic, “Je ne regrette rien” because, in fact, I regretted just about everything in my fucking life. If I was one of the Seven Dwarfs, my name would be Timid.
Thirty years old and afraid of my own shadow. Qualified for nothing, although I’d taken my uncle’s florist shop, Petals to the Metal, from near bankruptcy to a thriving business. I don’t have a head for big business; my life comes in smaller portions. I don’t really have a body for small business either. Those long hours on your feet, fighting with pushy sales people, screaming about missing deliveries, trying to keep an eye on the shady shop assistants – mainly drunks and drug addicts – the sort of people who respected my uncle but who see me as an easy mark.
I knew he was trouble the moment he entered the shop. I was preparing the Valentine’s Day floral tributes, cursing that the delivery man or woman was running late, totally alone as it was still too early in the morning even for my caffeine regulars. I was too trusting; I should have locked the door, not that the glass panels in the entrance would keep out a determined thief – or killer.
The door had one of those old-fashioned bells that jangled to let me know when someone came in. Looking up I was confronted with my worst nightmare. A giant of a man, a bandana wrapped around his forehead, otherwise dressed only in tight leather pants and biker boots. He was pierced and inked. He was a formidable fucker and my knees buckled. He glanced around the shop as if to scope out the enemy. I stood up from where I had been sorting dozens of red roses as I consulted my order list, and backed up against the counter keeping my hands where he could see them.
He eyed me up and down, his lips curling in a smirk that said he knew I was no threat. My life may be a little on the dull and uneventful side, but there was no way I wanted to die for the miserable few bucks in the till at the hands of some junkie who just wanted enough for his next fix. Shit, to save my neck I was prepared to go to the nearest ATM and take out as much as he needed. “Just take the cash and go,” I squeaked in a voice so terrified it barely carried. “There’s not much but it’s all yours. Don’t hurt me, just take it and go.”