Honor student Grant Foster is resigned to following the in footsteps of his father and his older brother until his life is upended by a mysterious stranger with a dragon tattoo. Grant fights the growing attraction he feels for the man he and his friends have dubbed The Punk, but finds himself caught up in his spell. When Grant moves to end the situation, he is swept away by a tide of lustful passion he is powerless to deny.
“Hey, guy! Congratulations!”
“Wow, Grant. Way to go!”
“Thanks for your vote, Geena.”
“Very handsomely done, Mr. Foster.”
“I couldn’t have managed it without your help on my campaign speeches, Mrs. Freeman. I really appreciate all you’ve done for me.”
Christ, wouldn’t they ever go away and leave me alone? I’d run for senior class president because it was expected of me. That’s the way it had always been. As the son of Martin Foster and the younger brother of Clayton, certain things were expected of me—academic excellence, athletic achievement, social skills and becoming president of the senior class at Atherton High. I had always known exactly what was expected of me every step along the way and I had always marched out to meet my fate like a good soldier.
At least that had been the case until very recently. Then something happened that I could neither explain nor ignore. Oh, I could pinpoint the exact moment that my life spun off its axis and I could identify the agent of the disruption, but there was no acceptable, logical reason for my reaction to it all. Now, thoughts of this…this disruption knotted my stomach by day and haunted my dreams by night. I knew on a visceral level that I had to be constantly on guard or I and everything that up until now had given my life structure and meaning could be totally destroyed.
I tried to tell myself that if I hadn’t been there on that particular day at that exact time, then none of this would be happening to me. But could it be that simple? Could the events of one steamy August night encompass the only truth the universe held for me? No! It was impossible! It was a lie! And yet the moment came back to me again and again, haunting me like an unquiet spirit.
The sun had long since set that day, but the approach of night brought no relief from the heat. Sweat soaked my shorts and shirt, squished in my shoes and dripped on the tennis court while I endeavored to perfect my backhand. By the time I finished, students and faculty were long gone. I was alone except for the hard-shelled brown bugs that crashed against the court lights and crunched underfoot like some nightmare cereal.
I sprinted back to the gym through the humid, clover-scented air, unable to stir even the memory of a breeze with my flailing limbs. The locker room was empty, row after row of closed steel boxes secured by padlocks. Fluorescent tubes flickered overhead, punctuating the oppressive heat with their idiot buzz. I quickly shed shirt, shorts, shoes, socks, jockstrap. Every article of clothing hit the concrete floor beside the bench with a sodden, salt-laden splat.
Naked, sweat still streaming, I crossed the empty room. I caught a flash of movement to my left and my heart jerked in my chest. I turned to look and saw only my own image, ghosted on the glass door of the coach’s office. I fit the pattern of the Foster men—long-limbed, lean, muscles taut, defined without excess bulk. I was built for tennis and track, but not for contact sport.2