QSFer G.R. Lyons has a new MM bi-gay paranormal romance out: Surviving Death.
How can you find purpose when you’re already dead?
Cam Lucius has always felt useless and helpless, but never so much as the day his father pulled the plug, ending Cam’s life. As a ghost, there are only a handful of people who can see Cam, leaving him lonelier than ever.
Until he meets Taylor.
Taylor Ainsley can’t touch anything without suffering, leaving him isolated from family and abandoned by friends. As for ever having a boyfriend? Not a chance.
Until he meets Cam.
Taylor can touch Cam without pain, and Cam may not be as straight as he thought he was.
Now Cam is determined to help Taylor find a reason to live.
Until that plan puts Taylor right in harm’s way.
Note: This story is a spin-off of Illumined Shadows (Treble and the Lost Boys, 3) and thus should not be read as a standalone.
WARNING: Contains references to past trauma and discussions of topics that may be upsetting to some readers. Caution is advised.
TAYLOR AINSLEY was alone, like always. Not that he had much choice. He walked by the soccer field, gazing longingly at the boys out there having an informal game after school.
He didn’t even like soccer, but he would have given anything to be able to be out there with them.
To be normal.
Taylor let out a sigh and continued on his way, wincing as he adjusted his backpack on his shoulders. He flinched away from other pedestrians as he headed down the street toward his favorite café, Vanilla Dreams. The rich smell of coffee and freshly baked breads, cakes, and scones enveloped him—nearly gagging him—as he opened the door to let himself inside, carefully slipping off his sunglasses and hanging them from the front of his shirt as he joined the line.
He looked up at the menu board even though he had the whole thing memorized by now. The line quickly moved, and he soon found himself at the register, greeted by Megan’s smiling face.
“Hey, Tay-bear,” the barista said. “Getting your usual?”
Taylor smiled back at her and shook his head. “I think I’d like a mocha and a blueberry scone today.”
“You got it, hon.” Megan rapidly tapped a few keys on the register and gave him his total.
Taylor held out his wrist and waved his watch over the pay terminal. The watch wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but it beat digging a wallet out of his bag, and considering the tiny device contained his bank card information, a mobile phone, and his medical alert all in one, it saved him a lot of hassle.
Megan leaned to one side and glanced through the front windows. “Looks like your table is open. I’ll bring your order out when it’s ready.”
“Thanks, Megan.” Taylor flashed her a grateful smile and turned to head back outside, carefully slipping his sunglasses back on. The fresh air was a welcome relief, the cloying scents of the café no longer choking him.
He squeezed between the other tables on the patio and made his way over to his usual spot. The little table was one of the few comfortable places he’d found where he could spend more than a few minutes at a time. It was situated under the shade of an enormous oak tree, so he wouldn’t get direct sunlight beating down on his back, and there was no chance of anyone bumping into him as they passed by since there was nowhere to pass by to, being the back corner of the space. The thick cushion on the chair only made it better, since some of the other chairs on the patio were just plain metal.
Taylor eased off his backpack, wincing as he did so, then gingerly lowered himself into the chair. He heaved a sigh of relief once he got settled, taking a moment to enjoy the sensation before he pulled out his books so he could get his homework done.
He wasn’t even sure why he bothered to keep going to school, to be honest. It wasn’t like he’d ever be able to have any kind of job. At least, from what he’d read and seen so far, he had yet to find a profession that wouldn’t be totally unbearable for him. Even going to school was more trouble than it was worth most days.
But his parents insisted, and he wanted to set a good example for his younger brothers. At sixteen, he was older than the others by at least four years, so he had to be the mature, responsible one, showing Jesse, Max, and Kris good habits since they tended to be abnormally rambunctious.
If he were honest with himself, he did like learning, but he still couldn’t see the point of it beyond that. He doubted he’d live long enough to put any of it to use, so why bother?
“Here you go, hon.” Megan stopped at the other side of the table and set down his coffee and scone. She pointed at the latter. “I warmed it up just a touch, so it shouldn’t be too hot for you.”
Taylor smiled at her. “Thanks, Megan.”
“You betcha.” She flashed him a smile and whirled away.
Taylor reached out and gingerly tapped the side of the mug. After so many months of coming here, he trusted Megan to handle his order properly, but he’d also learned the hard way all through his life that he could never be too careful. Once he was sure the cup wasn’t too hot to hold, he lifted it with both hands and took an experimental sip, moaning softly at the flavor. He set the cup back down and tested the scone next. It was warm, but not painfully so. He broke off a chunk and popped it into his mouth, sighing with contentment as he chewed.
He turned his focus to his homework and got through it all while he enjoyed his mocha and scone, only looking up when someone got a little too close to his table. Taylor was just about to put away his calculus homework and get started on a reading for his literature class when he caught a good look at the people sitting at the table next to his.
Two men. Holding hands. Each one looking at the other like he was the beginning and end of his entire world.
Taylor sighed, watching from behind his sunglasses as the men leaned toward one another and kissed. That was something he’d never get to experience.
He tore his eyes away and tried to get lost in his homework, but he kept glancing back at the pair. It was hard enough watching straight couples kiss and hold hands as they walked down the street, but watching gay couples was even worse. He envied them their freedom, their ability to touch without consequences.
While daylighting as office manager for the family auto repair business, G.R. Lyons can often be found working on one of multiple manuscripts or desperately trying to keep up with the TBR pile.Anarcho-capitalist, quietly ‘out’ trans guy, former belly dancer, coffee guzzler, highly-sensitive introvert, CrossFit enthusiast, and lover of m/m romantic fiction.