Gabe Granger gathers intelligence for George Washington, even after he’s bitten by a vampyre in the service of the British. Remember Littlebury, his longtime friend, stays with him as his black swan, keeping him safe from sunlight and getting messages to General Washington.
After the war ends, they continue working for the fledgling government through one conflict after another. When Gabe loses Remember at the Battle of Gettysburg, he’s ready to give up, but his country still needs his services. And there are many black swans for him to choose from. None are any more fortunate than Remember, and one by one they’re killed in various wars.
All Noah Poynter wants is to be a black swan, and he’s devastated when his pop tells him he’s just a normal. In spite of everything, Gabe and Noah become friends. Is there any hope for the two of them?
The day had started out beautiful. The sun was shining, the air was soft with the hint of spring, and it was just too nice a day to work the fields. He hobbled Mule so he could graze but not wander far and raced to the adjoining farm.
“Gabriel? What are you doing here?”
“Let’s go fishing.” If he brought home some fish, Uncle Zeke wouldn’t whale the tar out of him for not walking behind Mule all day, plowing the rows between the potato plants.
Remember’s eyes lit up. His pa was as dirt poor as Uncle Zeke, so Remember had chores to do as well, but the Littleburys had so many children, Remember wouldn’t be punished for not doing them.
They ran to the stream that separated the two farms, cut some branches to make fishing poles and a couple of vines to fashion into lines. Thorns were their hooks, and Gabe had a bit of bacon Uncle Zeke had given him for his lunch; they’d use that for bait.
Gabe caught the first fish. “That’s ’cause the bait’s mine!” he crowed.
“Ha.” Remember pulled up the next fish.
By the time the sun hid behind the clouds, the air chilled, and they knew the skies were about to open up, they’d caught a dozen black crappy and a couple of catfish.
“We’ll never make it home in time,” Remember said. “Let’s leave the fish in the stream.” He took off at a run, and Gabe knew immediately where he was heading—to a pine whose low-hanging branches made a nice shelter.
“That was close.” Gabe stared out between the branches and watched as the rain sheeted down.
Remember sat back against the trunk and patted the dirt beside him. “Tell me again about when you lived with the Indians.”
So Gabe did. “They were good to me.”
“They saved you after your folks had been killed.”
“Aye.” Gabe had told the story so many times before, Remember could probably recite it by rote.
“Did they kill the men who had done it?”
“They never talked much about it, but I think so.”
Gabe leaned his head against Remember’s shoulder and stared into his friend’s blue eyes. “You always ask me that, and you always say, ‘Good’.”
“Well, it was good. I’m just sorry that missionary took you away from them.”
“I’m not,” Gabe murmured. “I met you.” He watched, fascinated, as a tide of red ran from Remember’s chin up to this forehead.
And he found himself pressing a kiss to the corner of Remember’s mouth.
Remember went very still.
Oh, no. What had he done? Sometimes Gabe forgot white men frowned on men kissing other men. He didn’t understand it, since a couple of warriors of the tribe that had raised him lived with male spouses. No one thought anything of it other than that it brought good fortune to the tribe.
But Gabe lived in Virginia now, and he didn’t want to lose his friend. He opened his mouth to say he was sorry. Remember turned his head at the same time.
Remember’s lips were soft and warm, and Gabe couldn’t stop the moan that whispered from his mouth into his friend’s.
“I’ve waited so long for this, Gabriel.” Remember wrapped his arms around Gabe and pulled him hard against his body. It felt good, better than anything Gabe could recall.
“Well, why didn’t you tell me?”
“I thought it would ruin our friendship. Is it going to?”
“No. No, it isn’t.” Gabe had never kissed anyone like this before. When Remember parted his lips on a slight gasp, Gabe nipped his lower lip and then touched the small hurt with his tongue.
Remember mumbled something Gabe couldn’t understand, and he started to ask what his friend had said, but then Remember slipped his tongue into Gabe’s mouth. Beyond another moan, that effectively shut him up.