Michael has discovered that his lost love Blake Lewis and his father are running a camp that claims it can turn gay men straight again. Michael, a liberal press photographer and proud gay man is appalled to learn what's going on in these camps. After a young man commits suicide soon after he returns home from one, Michael allows one of his old friends from college to talk him into a daring plan to rescue the young men. But when Blake interrupts the mission, the group has no choice but to take him as well. Once Michael has the beautiful Blake to himself, all the old feelings for him begin to resurface, and Michael discovers he's not as over Blake as he thought he was. Even worse, Blake is hiding some terrible secret--one that threatens to destroy him and their newly rekindled love.
The stream sparkled in the sunlight and made a clean, babbling sound as it spilled over the rocks. Blake had been complaining of the heat all the way up the mountain, and when we arrived he plopped to the ground, panting heavily. He looked back over his shoulder at me, coming up behind him.
“It’s beautiful here, Michael. So private and cool and green.”
“What are you doing there on the bank? Get your clothes off. ”
Blake glanced back over at me and narrowed his eyes. A mutinous expression came over his face, and he crossed his arms over his chest. “I’ll get them off when I rest a minute. Give me a chance.”
I took a deep breath. Okay, what the hell was that about? I was only teasing really, but I wondered about the attitude. I had an idea Blake might be testing me to see if I was strong enough to be in control. On the other hand, it kind of thrilled me to hear Blake talking back and being feisty.
I reached down and grabbed him by the straps of his backpack, yanking him to his feet. Blake turned a shocked face toward me and tried ineffectually to jerk away.
“Stop! What are you doing?”
I turned him around abruptly and held him by the shirt front. I leaned down into his face. “Getting ready to throw you in. Want a chance to take your clothes off first?”
Blake turned his face away and pressed his lips tightly together, not resisting, but keeping the sulky, annoyed expression on his face.
Blake took a couple of heavy breaths, his chest heaving with emotion. I shook him again.
“Yes, all right!”
“Well, get to it, babe.”
I kept my hold on Blake by the shirt front and made him try to take off his clothes while I held to him tightly. It meant he had to use his feet to push his pants legs down and then step out of them, and when he got to his shirt, he hesitated, looking up into my face. “Uh…I…you have to let me go before I can take off the shirt.”
“Ask me properly.”
“Michael, please take your hands off me so I can take off my shirt.”
“Mmm. No, not good enough. Maybe if you give me a kiss first?”
Blake blushed, but smiled shyly and reached up on tiptoe to brush his lips against mine.
I let him go, and he quickly skimmed the shirt over his head.
“In you go!”
Blake turned and stepped gingerly into the icy water. He looked back up at me in mute appeal. I hid a smile and pointed a finger firmly. “Go.”
Blake lowered himself in the icy water and immediately began to wince and whine. “It’s cold!” He jumped to his feet and started to climb out.
I put a hand on his chest and pushed him back. “You bitched all the way up the mountain about how hot it is. Now get in and cool off.”
“Michael, please, I want to get out. Please give me your hand!”
I relented and held out a hand to him, but instead of climbing out, he grabbed my hand tightly and pulled me in with him, laughing at the look on my face as I came up for air sputtering and spitting out water. I laughed too, happy to see Blake enjoying himself without the constant worried expression on his face.
Blake and I helped each other to climb out, still laughing and Blake fell down on the bank to dry in the sun. Taking off my shirt and pants and spreading them to dry on a nearby rock, I stood over Blake looking down.
“You’re gorgeous, you know.”
“No,” Blake said, shaking his head. “I’m too skinny. My father said…”
“Are you saying my judgment is not as good as your father’s?”
“Then don’t dispute my word. You’re beautiful. Get used to it.”
Blake ducked his head and smiled.
“I promised to give you lessons on how to please me. Are you ready for your first lesson?”
Blake nodded nervously.
“Get up and come over here.”