Woodrow “Woody” Anker is an urban legend -- the boy who lived. Orphaned at the age of three due to a car accident that killed his parents, Woody is taken in by the Zumpano family. He becomes best friends with Serge, the youngest boy, and looks up to Rafe, the oldest. As the years go by, Woody’s feelings for Rafe change into something else entirely. Except, Rafe is straight. And in denial about his alcohol abuse.
Rafe Zumpano, now the town Sherriff and Lothario-extraordinaire has been a heavy drinker since his teens, and it’s getting worse. He’s got a secret that he drinks away every night, but when the truth finally comes out, it ruins everything.
It will take a lot for both men to move beyond alcohol-fueled vitriol, self-doubt, and internalized homophobia to get to the part where they stop throwing punches and have their happy ending.
Rafe looked up and his eyes widened. “Woody. I’ve been trying to reach you. What --?” He rose out of his seat but I waved him back down.
As I closed the door behind me, I said, “I’m only here to talk about Serge.”
He frowned and started to speak again, but I cut him off. “Rafe, I don’t care that you’re a closeted, hypocritical homophobe who has the nerve to try to make others feel guilty and ashamed for being themselves. I should care, but that’s your issue and act of cowardice. You caused me more pain than you’ll ever know, but your own flesh and blood brother is hurting because of your careless words and your goddamn drinking.
“This shit needs to stop. Get help, or risk alienating Serge. What kind of example are you setting for this town, for its citizens, for your precinct? You don’t think they laugh at you behind their backs? You think it’s funny for me to come pick you up at a bar on the weekends because you drank one too many and became a jerk?”
I took a breath. “Bottom line. Clean up your act and apologize to your brother and get a grip. You’re all each other has now, with your parents and sister so far away. He’s blood, man. Figure out a way to do this, because you’ve already lost his respect. You don’t want to lose his love, too.”
“Who the fuck are you to talk to me like that?” he roared.
“Someone who’s brave enough to stand up to your bullshit and tell you the fucking truth,” I shouted back.
Rafe shot out his chair, causing it to clatter against the wall as he rounded his desk, an angry bull charging toward me. He pinned me against the door, his breath reeking of booze. I shoved him and he shoved me back. And then the weirdest thing happened.
I saw it coming but was too surprised to stop it. Rafe slammed his mouth on mine so hard, my bottom lip split under the pressure. He pushed me into the door, and I felt his cock -- his frickin’ hard as steel cock -- press against mine. I tasted blood and his tongue and my senses were overwhelmed. The shock of it all lasted five long seconds, until I pushed him back and punched him in the face. He fell against his desk and moved it about an inch. Stuff fell all around him and he appeared dazed.
I wiped my mouth on a sleeve. “Fuck you, Rafe. You don’t have the right to do that. Jesus.” I took a second to calm down as I watched him. “Look at you. You’re pathetic. You stink of alcohol, you haven’t shaved in days, and your hair’s a mess. Do you want to lose your job, along with your self-respect? See the bigger picture, would you? You will lose Serge forever if you don’t make this right.”
Rafe stumbled to his chair and sat. “You think it’s that bad?”
“He’s really angry. You need to fix this. And while you’re at it, use some mouthwash. Your breath stinks of stale beer.”