In the summer of 1944, Leslie Atwater -- feeling abandoned by his lover Edward -- rushes to London to enlist in the armed services. After failing the physical, he retreats to the sanctuary of St. Michael’s rectory and to the love and support of his brother Robert.
When a bomb explodes near St. Andrew’s Home for Boys, it unearths a skeleton of an adolescent. As Leslie, Edward, and Robert set about identifying the remains, the shocking discovery stirs up an old antagonism between the two brothers and brings to light a string of repressed memories for Leslie.
With the truth obscured by the passage of years, can Leslie and Edward sift through the lies and subterfuge to track down the coldhearted killer of a kindred spirit?
As they drove, Leslie slid over on the seat closer to Edward and again understood why he loved this man so much. “As usual, you’re right.”
“I don’t want to be right, sweetheart.” He took Leslie’s hand and squeezed it.
“What if a passing motorist --”
“Sod that. I should be able to hold my husband’s goddamn hand if I want to.”
“Yes, you should. But we still have to be careful. People --”
“We’re civilized, but not quite.” Before letting go of Leslie’s hand, he rubbed his thumb against Leslie’s palm. “That’ll bring you good luck in the bedroom. Lots of illegal sex coming our way.”
“Now you stop. Don’t you see where this could lead?”
Edward glanced down and raised an eyebrow at the bulge in his lover’s trousers. “I’m seeing it right now. Looks like you’re in the mood again. Doesn’t take much, if memory serves.”
“All right. All right.” They were stopped at a signal and Leslie took the opportunity to slide over to the passenger side. “There. Happy?”
“I’m not the one who wanted you to move clear over there.”
“No, me neither.”
“Listen, being serious again,” Edward said. “I don’t like to see you at odds with Robert, the one person who --”
“Doesn’t in the least deserve it. I need to make amends and I will. I promise.”
“Good. He’s such a decent chap. Salt of the earth. A saint.”
“I wouldn’t go that far.” Leslie laughed.
“I love seeing you happy.”
“Course I do, and you bloody well should know it by now. It’s part of my job keeping you smiling and chipper.”
“You make me smile a lot.”
“I’ve noticed,” Edward said. “Seems you did quite a lot of that smiling, chipper thing last night, not to mention this morning while we locked ourselves away in the guest room.” He paused and took his gaze briefly from the road to look at his lover. “But then, I could be mistaken.”
“You’re not. I’ve missed you the past weeks.”
“And I you.”
“Just know this very second, even though I’m sitting way over here, I’m holding your hand, metaphorically speaking, and I’m not letting go. Ever.”
“I’ve been in a rotten mood for days. Maybe this little outing will help brighten my mood, get my mind off other things,” Leslie said.
“That’s just what I’m hoping.”
“It’s not a secret is it, where we’re going? I thought maybe it was a surprise.”
“Not in the least. We had other matters to discuss first. Glad we did.”
“Didn’t mean to make this trip sound secretive. We’re off on a little adventure of our own to St. Andrew’s. Just to see what we can dig up.”
Leslie winced at Edward’s choice of words.
A cold mist wafted through the slightly open window and Leslie felt a sudden chill on his face. “I suppose if we have to revisit my past, we’ve the perfect weather for it.”