Title: In The Spotlight
Author: Shona Husk
Genre: Adult, M/M Romance
Published: October 25, 2016
Published By: Escape Publishing
A diva who lives for the spotlight, a sailor deeply in the closet, a love that will change them both. Ripley Malone is returning to Perth in triumph. A principal ballet dancer in a production that has critics raving, he is an unqualified success, and all the small-minded people that made his life hell can kiss his lycra-covered ass. But behind the makeup and the glitter and the costumes, Ripley is beginning to tire, tire of the competition, the drive, the endless parade of meaningless lovers.
For Pierce Lovell, joining the Navy was a way out of rural Victoria, but becoming a submariner comes with its own set of challenges. The close living quarters and long months away are awkward enough without adding any extra tension around his sexuality. The fear is probably in his head, but he isn’t taking any chances with his career. He gets by on anonymous one-night-stands every time they come to shore and keeps his heart well-shielded. But one night with Ripley opens the tantalising possibility of more.
Through a mistake Ripley is injured. He can’t dance. His wings are clipped and he crashes down and hits the earth hard. Pierce knows their affair can’t possibly end in anything but heartache, but he can’t stay away. As Ripley heals and reassesses his life, he is determined not to make the same mistakes again. That means letting someone see the vulnerable side of him. But vulnerability for Pierce could cost him everything.
They walked in silence along the water’s edge. Pierce finished his cookie and coffee and shoved the paper bag into the empty cup. In another week that was exactly what he’d be doing with this relationship—if that was what it truly was. And no one would ever know that it had happened.
He wanted to be able to talk about it the way Ripley did with his friends. To be that casual and not worry what people would think. It was really none of their business. Most people probably wouldn’t care.
Pierce stopped walking. He pulled out his phone.
‘What you doing?’
‘I want to get a picture.’ He wanted something tangible that this had happened.
‘No cookie crumbs?’ Ripley ran his tongue over his lip in a way that made Pierce want to check more closely—which was probably Ripley’s plan.
Pierce resisted, but only because there were other people on the beach, including an old couple and their dog.
Pierce took a couple of photos, then Ripley stood next to him and leaned in.
‘I suck at taking selfies.’
‘Practise.’ Ripley took control of the phone. ‘Smile, pretend you’re happy to be out with me.’
Pierce rolled his eyes and looked away.
‘Would you like me to take the photo?’ The old woman had walked over.
Ripley glanced at Pierce. He shrugged. He doubted she was going to run away with his phone.
‘Thanks, ma’am.’ Ripley was all smiles now.
‘You boys here on holiday?’
‘A few weeks travelling around.’ His accent had suddenly become more American.
Pierce watched the interaction as Ripley showed her which button to press. She was chatting to him like they were old friends. That was exactly how Ripley had sucked him in. Did he even realise he was doing it?
Ripley put his arm around Pierce. ‘Smile for the nice lady, she thinks we’re here on our honeymoon.’
Pierce looked at Ripley. His mouth opened. Ripley kissed him before ‘why the hell would she think that’ slipped out.
‘Beautiful.’ The lady handed the phone back.
Pierce was left holding his phone filled with a dozen pictures of Ripley and him with the ocean behind them. They both looked happy.
‘Can you send me that one?’ Ripley pointed at the one where their lips had met for a second, maybe two.
‘Yeah. You know you are a compulsive liar.’
‘She assumed, I may have agreed. But she took some nice pictures. Lucky for us because you can’t.’
‘Your attempt wasn’t much better.’
‘You pulled a face and looked away.’ Ripley was still standing very close. His hand was on Pierce’s lower back.
Pierce sent the picture and put his phone back in his pocket. The old couple and their dog were further up the beach. Ripley had kissed him in public. In daylight.
The world hadn’t ended.
No, but the sun would go out soon enough.
He refused to let the shadows start today. He took Ripley’s hand. It was nice to see him startle for a moment. They walked a little further
Ripley eventually spoke. ‘I was thinking it might be nice to keep in touch.’
‘So you can drop in if you are in town and need to get laid?’
‘I didn’t mean it like that ...’ A smile formed on his lips. ‘Maybe a little. I like spending time with you.’
Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively imagination she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered romance novels and hasn’t looked back.
With over forty books published, ranging from sensual to scorching, she writes contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance.