This story contains sexual content, violence, coarse language and consumption of alcohol.
It is rated R and is for readers 18+ only.
The Real Locke Wyvern (Snow Angel)
I came out of Locke’s bathroom showered and ready to see if he’s had enough time to let it sink in a bit more. I was so terrified to see rejection or disgust, and so I took my time. Yes, I know it’s unreasonable to run from me, but it has happened when I tell them who my father was. I don’t even get to the ‘hey I inadvertently murdered people when I was a kid,’ part. I’ve had the questions, ‘are you like him?’ or ‘is murdering genetic?’ Yeah, it could be, but my father was a paid hit-man. He said he learned not to care about who was killed as long as he got paid and the boss was happy. A happy boss meant he got to live and we got to live. My father was all kinds of fucked up.
“I’ll just be a moment,” Locke said and disappeared into the bathroom.
His bedroom was done in black, grey and dark green. It was like downstairs, beautiful, tasteful and uncluttered. The window was a bay and had a ledge meant for sitting, but there was no cushion to sit upon. The dresser matched the bed that matched the bookshelves.
“Wow, that’s a lot of books.” There were hundreds.
I smiled, he’s a writer after all and would be a reader too. I love books and wondered what he would choose to read. The most extensive bookshelf spanned from floor to ceiling on one full wall. It was a hodgepodge of books in all genres. The smaller one above the dresser was all by the same author.
“Kyle V. Crowne.”
He is one of the most fantastic romance novelists of my lifetime, and I had an autographed book of his thanks to Locke. I’ve read every one of his books at least three times over. There are only half a dozen authors that I re-read. Not one of these books looks as if it’s been read let alone cracked open. I looked back at the other shelf of books that have obviously been read. Not one Kyle V. Crowne book was there.
I stared at the name. He never put a picture on the flap or inside the cover. The fan page, webpage, and social media sites have images of the books but not Kyle. I counted off the letters of the name as Locke came back in.
“Oh my God,” I covered my mouth and turned. “You’re Kyle V. Crowne.” I gestured at the shelf. “You?”
I didn’t expect him to lower his eyes and hold his breath. Why would that make him shy? I looked from the books to him and back and forth.
“That explains a lot,” I said mostly to myself.
I touched the spine of The Vipers Sorrow. “Oh wow, this one’s Margo isn’t it.”
It was an endearing story of a woman who loved nothing until Quade patiently showed her love and opened her heart to life. I cried several times and have read it at least three times. I pointed to Shattered Glass.
“Cynthia,” I said, and he nodded.
The story of a young opera singer with a voice beyond reason. She was trapped in a career by her overbearing mother and manager who kept her from living life and finding love until Jarrod stepped in. She had to use her voice to shatter glass and save his life.
Iesha was the easiest.
“Blinding Sun,” I said and turned back to the shelf.
Locke cleared his throat. “She was the brightest person in any room and lived life to its fullest only she was lonely among her empty friends. Parties, outings, anything night related. She was a hyper-social woman with no love for anyone but herself until Walsh showed her how to slow down and see life.”
“But the happily ever after’s…” I frowned and looked at all twenty-three books.
“Fiction. They are what I dreamed and hoped would or could have come to be. They never did.”
The sadness in his voice tugged at my heart. I turned and saw that real unhappiness in his eyes. He was broken, he is afraid and party because of me. We have the same fear of rejection, but with a different flavour. Now I understand, this is the real Locke Wyvern a man with two identities. He’s a romantic at heart even if he has a dark, scary side.
It’s not every day one gets to meet one of their favourite authors let alone fall in love with said author. Locke is very much a man, but he had a severely soft romantic side to him. The strong and suble type of man with a mystery wrapped around him.
Despite his dark and scary stories, Lock is a romantic through and through. I went over to him and gently touched his chest.
“Why didn’t they get happy ever afters for real?”
“Because I’m not good enough to give it to them,” He turned away and went to turn down the sheets and blankets.
I thought about how the stories are a conveyor of passion and emotions that gripped the reader hard, then ended with such open and honest love. Then I thought about the three women I met. He saw himself as a failure even though the standard was set too high because of his most incredibly romantic and tough men ever written.
“Locke,” I sat on the bed next to him, “why do you use a pen name?”
“Nobody would even read my manuscript called Once upon a day. One day I got a response from an agent saying that nobody is going to publish a romance novel written by a man. That I would be lucky if they even read my query letter. It was a load of crap, but there it was in black and white.”
“So what happened?”
He gestured for me to sit between his legs on the bed, so I did. He began brushing my hair, and I smiled.
“I was devastated. Especially when I got rejection after rejection. Tilly had pushed me to try again and again. And I tried. I got three more personalized rejections among a hundred generic ones citing to try a new genre. Again, bullshit since there are male romance authors and damned good ones too. So Tilly and Michael recruited Randal, who was looking for something more interesting to do other than trade stocks, and they decided to open a literary agency and publishing company.”
I didn’t say anything as he looked at the shelf across the room.
“I didn’t want a free ride, Adley. I didn’t want my family name or money to buy me a published book. They begged me, and I said not until they had three New York Times bestsellers under their belts.”
“Yes in under two years too. Tilly has a masters degree in English and literature. She has zero talent for writing to her chagrin, but editing and representing books is her talent. Michael is the businessman and runs the place with Randal who now heads their international departments. I finally agreed to let them publish Once upon a day under my anagram pen name as long as they never tell anyone.”
“Wow, that’s amazing Locke. Do the exes know you wrote about them?”
“They are loosely based on of their personality. A few know and don’t mind. They keep my secret if I bother to tell them. Most of the breakups were mutual and not hostile.”
“Iesha?” I half cringed saying the name. Her hostility and loneliness was apparent. I felt horribly sad for her and I was still ashamed of my behavior toward her. I could have done better.
“She is naturally hostile we actually broke up because she was bored of dating a man who prefers to read or write than go out and drink or party. She actually doesn’t know and has never read one of Kyle’s books. Trashy shit stories she calls them.”
“So, and this is crappy to ask I know, what happened? Why weren’t they worth keeping?”
“I’m an old-fashioned romantic Adley. I like holding doors open and tucking chairs in. I like kissing the back of hands and romantic gestures grand and small. At first, they thought it charming, but all grew to tire of it in one way or another.”
“Ah… why?” I was genuinely puzzled; Who wouldn’t want romance?
“I started hearing things like, ‘I can do that myself’ and ‘I don’t have time for breakfast in bed.’ Some took it for granted and never actually cared that I made them coffee or they hated it from the start.”
“I wished she would grow to like holding hands or walks under the stars. She felt it demeaned her as a woman and made her un-feminist.”
“I’m all for equality Adley in every way but one. I want to be able to help you with your coat or brush your hair just because I can and because I like it.”
As his hands moved my hair back and the brush made its way through my soft brown hair, Locke sighed softly. What a crazy night of confessions and sharing of secrets. Huh, my boyfriend writes romance novels and is afraid I’ll reject him. I won’t belittle his fear because I know what that feels like.
To be continued…
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved CimmerianSentiment