Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Light Of Day

It's publication date for Light Of Day.

Following on from The Night Porter Max has to cope with life after Robert walks out of the door. Does he follow the same destructive pattern, or does he run home and let the Texas sun and his mom's cooking sooth his soul?

The first time Max laid eyes on Robert Armitage, he knew exactly what he wanted to happen. But Max was just a night porter and Robert a guest at the hotel before his wedding, and Max knew even as they slept together that in the morning he’d have to send the groom on his way. Max’s heart was broken when Robert left, and so he ran home to Texas. When Robert’s marriage failed, Max waited for Robert to come looking for him, and waited….

A year later, Max’s dreams come true and Robert finds him, but there’s a catch, and Max has to decide if he wants Robert enough to be satisfied with hiding their relationship.


MAX saw Chris just before he left London. It took remarkably little time to hand in his notice and sublet his flat to one of the hotel staff. It was strictly against the terms of the lease, but Max’s landlord didn’t care as long as the rent was paid on time. He’d booked his flight to Dallas before he met Chris for coffee at their usual café. 

Chris glanced up at him from reading the newspaper as he slid into the booth they called “theirs.” The cracked and dirty plastic upholstery with the yellow foam exposed seemed almost like home away from home now. 

“Jesus, son, you look like shit.” 

“Why, thanks, Chris. You’re so good for my ego.” Max slumped down on the seat, looking for the waitress to take his order.

“He did a real number on you, didn’t he?” Chris looked angry.

Max was touched by his concern. “It was my own fault…,” he began.

He jumped as Chris slammed his fist down on the Formica table.

“Too fucking right it is! Are you a total fucking moron? What did I tell you? What were my rules? 

“‘Don’t look, don’t touch, and definitely don’t fondle the merchandise,’” Max quoted obediently.

“They were rules two, three, and four. What was rule number one?”

Max pressed his lips together. He wasn’t a fucking child, and he didn’t need to be pulled over Chris’s knee in public for a spanking.

“The first rule, Max. After the last fucking time you got yourself into this state? What was the first rule?”

“If they’ve got a dick, don’t offer them a seat in the cubbyhole.”

Chris tapped the table with his fingernail. “And what did you do?”

“Invited him into the cubbyhole.”

“And what did he have?”

“A big, thick dick. It was just a shame he didn’t get the chance to shove it into my cubbyhole.” Max said crudely, but he was unable to prevent the flush at the memory of exactly where he had shoved it. 

Rolling his eyes, Chris said, “And did you ask him before or after he checked in?”

Max glared at him. “It wasn’t like that. He asked for a drink.”

Chris sighed. “There’s a fucking bar, Max. Most people have a drink in the bar. You don’t have to fuck them all.”

“I didn’t, I don’t,” Max protested. But he had. He fucked Robert ’til the man was a boneless mess beneath him. He shivered.

“No?” Chris gave him the fish-eye. “Do you even bother to say hello? Or do you just go straight for the fucking?” His voice was rising and Max saw the couple in the next booth look over. 

“You wanna say that slightly louder, Chris? I don’t think my mom heard you.”

“Sorry.” But Chris didn’t sound sorry. He sounded pissed.

“Look, I’m sorry, I know I’m stupid to keep doing the same thing.”

Max stopped when his plate of eggs and bacon was put in front of him. Rosie, the elderly waitress, was the same one who had served them since they discovered the café in the railway arches.

She looked at him critically. “You look like death, luv. Been burning the candle at both ends, have we?”

He gave her a wan smile. “Something like that.”

“You need to find a nice boy of your own to settle down with,” Rosie told him.

Choking on his first mouthful of eggs, Max reached for his glass of water. Through the tears streaming from his eyes, he saw Chris cracking up.

“He’s not so good at understanding the part about finding a man of his own… Ow! Fuc….” Swallowing the curse, Chris clutched his bruised shin, newly decorated by the toe of Max’s sneakers.

Rosie patted Max on the shoulder and left them alone. 

Chris glared at Max. “That fucking hurt, dude.”

“Tough.” Max forked more eggs into his mouth. He swallowed and said, “I’m going back home.” When Chris didn’t say anything, Max looked up. “Say something.”

Shrugging, Chris pushed his empty plate away. “What is there to say? I think it’s a good thing.”

“You do?”

“Uh-huh. You’re fucking up here, son. Go home. Screw up over there. Your mom can look after you instead.”

“You’re all heart,” Max said drily.

Chris’s face softened. “Go home, Max. Let your momma look after you and get some perspective. You’re an intelligent guy stuck in a dead-end job. That’s why you keep doing these stupid things. Go back to school and get a real degree. Do something with your life.”

Max grinned at him. “I’m gonna miss you, y’know?”

“Gonna miss you too, fucker.” Chris sat back, letting out a satisfied belch. “I’ve been thinking of going home too. It’s time I went somewhere that can cook a steak without incinerating it.”

“Thought you hated the thought of going back to Hicksville?”

“Yeah, well, America’s a big country. One or two places are even civilized; somewhere there must be a place for me. And at least they understand what I’m saying. I get sick of having to repeat myself to these hoity-toity nonces.” 

Laughing at Chris’s appalling upper-class English accent, Max picked up his empty coffee cup and waved it at Rosie. Today was a day for changes. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing.