When Gary Islip, a full-time writer for the e-magazine Guns & Target, meets the ex-Marine next door, things become interesting between the two men along Lake Erie in Pennsylvania.
As Islip spies on Keith Rutger, he becomes infatuated with the stud. Truth is, Islip thinks the ex-military man is beyond sexy ... more like Marine Handsome. So how can he mind his own business and ignore Rutger? In short, he can’t.
On hot summer nights, Islip can hear Rutger's fearful screams, obviously from nightmares. Islip soon learns Rutger has PTSD after serving in Afghanistan. Surprisingly, Rutger confides in Islip, explains his condition, and the two become friends. Islips start helping Rutger with the dilapidated Cape Cod, and also assists him during his nightmarish PTSD episodes.
When the summer ends, though, will Rutger head back to Maryland after a season in Lake Erie? Can they remain friends or, better still, move from friends to lovers?
We meet on purpose. I hear noises in the empty Cape Cod next door, which sits approximately two hundred yards beyond the line of narrow woods that separates the two properties. No one has lived in the Cape Cod for the last three years since Helen Rutger died of a heart attack on Christmas Eve at the age of seventy-three. I knew she was childless and willed the house to her sister, Evelyn Rutger. I met the sister once, who wasn’t impressed with my lakeside town of Templeton, which sits next to Lake Erie, hidden in the Pennsylvania woods.
“What the hell?” I say to myself, listening to hammering, a drill, saw, and other tools at work on the Rutger property. I exit my study, rush through the house, and step into the beating sun.
We meet at the end of July in the middle of the afternoon. The temperature feels like one hundred degrees. It’s sticky without a cloud in the sky. Rain isn’t expected for another two days.
I bolt to the property line, step into the woods, and surround myself with tall oaks, lush maples, and slim birch trees. Again, I hear tools at work: more hammering, a circular saw, and a rumbling drill.
I see the Cape Cod through the woods: smallish in size, dilapidated with broken windows and missing shutters, weathered because of abandonment. Beyond the Cape Cod is the green-blue lake: motionless and beautiful, at peace during the hot day, a surreal painting created by a young artist.
We meet ...
I see the stranger working on the three wooden steps that lead up to the Cape Cod’s portico and bleached red front door. He’s massive with suntanned skin, an onyx-colored crew cut, 240 pounds of all muscle, six-four frame, and tapered waist. I estimate he’s thirty-three years old and not a native of Templeton since I’ve never seen him before. He wears khaki green shorts, shin-high socks, and military boots with black laces. He slams nails into freshly cut oak boards, wipes his brow because of the heat, and turns around to fetch a canteen of water.
I view his bare torso and face for the first time, which causes my limp package of beef between my legs to stir with excitement and become somewhat hard. The man is beautiful with onyx-colored eyes, stubble on his rugged cheeks and chin, slightly crooked nose because of a few breaks, and broad shoulders. His torso is ripped with abs and dark hair. The man’s nipples are the size of plates, and his navel is perfectly dented and furred.
I stop in the woods approximately forty feet away from the handsome stranger. Here, I watch him take a drink from his military canteen, one chug after the next. He tilts his head back and pours water onto his chiseled face. The liquid rolls down and over his forehead, cheeks, and the cords that line his neck. Zigzag tracks of the water roll over his sculpted chest, over all of his abs, and into his khakis.
“Jesus,” I whisper, open-mouthed and now completely hard between my legs. I can barely keep my sexual composure together, overheated. I can’t remember the last time I saw a man who was as handsome, masculine, and unbelievably sexy. Without a single thought in mind, excited in the woods, I push the erection down, heavily breathe, and decide to close the gap between our heated bodies.
Keep it together, man. Don’t make an ass out of yourself. There’s no reason to be nervous. You’re tall and handsome. You’ve landed a few lovers. Just introduce yourself and be friendly. Simple as this.
When I step out of the woods that separate the two lakeside properties, the stranger immediately reacts. He quickly drops the canteen to the dusty ground next to the refurbished steps, spins to his right, clasps his right palm against a M9 Beretta and swings it to his left, aiming it at my chest. The stranger yells, “Don’t move and no one gets hurt, buddy! Who are you and what are you doing here?”
The sidearm is just as sexy as its handler, and everything I want to write about for the magazine I work for, Guns & Target. From a distance, I study its sleek beauty: a double-action, semi-automatic that holds 15-NATO standard 9mm rounds. The truth of the matter is simple: I don’t know which I want to hold more, the handsome man or his steel handgun. Undecided, I raise both palms above my head, and yell back, “Don’t shoot! Lower your weapon! I’m unarmed! I’m just your neighbor being friendly.”