Cover art: Les Byerley
In less than a summer, shy and introverted Robbie Myers goes from eighteen and never been kissed to the passionate intensity of first love that could last forever. Literally…
Eighteen-year-old Robbie Myers has difficulty talking to people. Not only is he shy, but he seems to say the wrong thing every time he opens his mouth, especially to the mysterious, handsome stranger who shows up at his supermarket job, defends him from an aggressive colleague and then asks him on a date. He can’t believe a hot, worldly badboy like seventeen-year-old Colt Abernathy is actually interested. Yet he can’t deny that the ardor burning in Colt’s dark eyes is just for him. In the space of one breath, Robbie is launched from his plan to attend community college while living at home with his mom and saving up for a car to the tender yet passionate exploration of intense first love. Little does Robbie know…
Brought across during the height of the Civil War, Colt has remained trapped in the body of a lonely seventeen year old. When he spots the slim, blond-haired, blue eyed young man, pushing a line of shopping carts across a parking lot, Colt knows instantly they’re destined for each other. There’s just one major problem: if he survives the impending battle between vampires and the Matarians – an army of brutal vampire slayers – he’s going to live forever. Robbie isn’t…
As Robbie stepped outside, he decided to wait around a couple minutes to see what happened with Jerry. If he actually were to be fired, Robbie would see him come out. He stood by the entrance where he still had a clear view of the check stands through the window. About three minutes later, he saw Jerry return to his work area. He began scurrying about, replenishing the bag supply at each check lane. Robbie was relieved. Apparently Jerry hadn’t been canned. He probably just got a lecture and a stern warning from Wandrie.
Most of the other kids who worked at the store didn’t like Mr. Wandrie all that much. They all made fun of him behind his back, probably just because he was the boss. As far as Robbie was concerned, Mr. Wandrie was a pretty decent guy. There were days when the man seemed kind of grouchy, but that was true of everyone.
Robbie wondered for a moment if Mr. Wandrie had heard Jerry call him a faggot. Well, he must have heard. It made Robbie embarrassed, and he hoped Mr. Wandrie didn’t get the wrong idea about him. That’s what guys like Jerry called other people, especially when they were mad. It didn’t really mean anything. It was like when people said something was “gay” just because they didn’t like it. It was like a figure of speech or something.
To be honest, it kind of hurt his feelings. He didn’t understand why Jerry would say something like that to him. Was it that obvious that he was…
“You haven’t left yet?”
Robbie jumped, startled by the voice behind him. He turned to face the kid he saw earlier, the one with the leather jacket. “Oh gosh, you scared me.”
“Sorry, dude.” Leather jacket boy laughed. “Didn’t mean to sneak up on ya.”
“I thought Jerry was getting fired,” Robbie said. “He got called into the manager’s office.”
The kid nodded. “Good. It’s about time.”
“Oh. Um, I didn’t want him to get in trouble or anything. I definitely didn’t want him to, ya know, lose his job.”
“Why not? He’s lazy.”
Robbie shrugged. “He said he wasn’t feeling well.”
Leather jacket boy again laughed. “You’re a pretty…how should I say it…trusting person. Aren’t you?”
“Uh, I don’t know. I guess so.”
“Well, Robbie, I think you should be careful. Some people aren’t all that trustworthy.”
Robbie looked at him. His eyes were darker than before, now almost black. Perhaps it was due to the dim lighting. “How’d you know my name?”
“You were wearing a name badge. I read it before, when you were out here pushing the carts.”
“My name’s Colt, by the way.”
“Really?” Robbie smiled, then instantly realized how rude he must’ve sounded. “Sorry, I’ve never heard of anyone with that name.”
“Short for Colton. It’s a family name, and don’t be sorry. It is kinda unusual.”
“Oh, well I like it.” As his new friend looked him in the eye, Robbie felt himself flush.
“Uh, I mean…well, it’s a cool name.”
Colt stepped closer to him, now within Robbie’s personal space. “So you’re done with your shift now?”
Robbie nodded. “Yeah,” he whispered.
“You waitin’ for a ride or something?”
“Nah. I just live a couple blocks from here, over in the trailer park.”
“Cool.” Colton smiled. “I’ll walk you home.”
“You don’t have to!” Robbie blurted out. “Uh, I mean, that’s nice of you, but—”
“I know I don’t have to, but what if I want to?”
Why would he want to walk me home? Robbie wasn’t exactly sure what it was about this guy, but he really liked him. Perhaps it was how sexy he looked in that leather jacket. Maybe it was his eyes, so dark and mysterious, or the deep resonance of his voice.
“Okay. It’s up to you.”
Colt reached down and scooped up the backpack Robbie had placed beside him on the pavement. “Lead the way.”
Robbie laughed. “You don’t have to carry that, ya know. I can manage.”
“I want to carry it,” Colt said, his voice firm with confidence. “I can tell already you’re a really good person, someone I’d like to have as a friend.”
“Thanks.” Robbie couldn’t believe this guy was being so nice, and the attention made him feel a bit overwhelmed. He was sexy and charming, almost too good to be true. “But you really know nothing about me. For all you know, I could be a murderer or something.”
Colt laughed a little more enthusiastically than Robbie expected. “That’s a good one.” He slapped his palm against Robbie’s shoulder, then squeezed it affectionately. Robbie felt his cheeks grow hot.
They walked together a ways, Robbie leading the way. Robbie wasn’t sure what to say to his new friend, how to keep the conversation going. “I guess you’re saying I don’t seem all that dangerous.”
“Well, dude, to be honest, no you don’t. And you seem like the kinda guy who’s so nice that people probably sometimes take advantage of you.”
Colt was beginning to sound like his mom. “Maybe.” He nodded. “But I guess I’d rather people considered me too nice than too mean.”
“True. But you gotta be careful. Being nice ain’t the same as being gullible. You still have to stand up for yourself and not let people use you.”
“Like Jerry.” Robbie knew what Colt was saying to be true, but it just wasn’t in his nature to argue with people.
“Yeah, like that jerk. He obviously wasn’t sick. He was just trying to bully you into working overtime so he could go home.”
Robbie nodded then hung his head. “Hey, how’d you know Jerry said he was sick?”
“You told me when we were back at the store.”
“I did?” Robbie didn’t remember. “Are you new here? Do you live in the park too?”
“Nah, don’t live in the park, but I’m new to Boyne. Just moved here last week.”
“Oh wow. So you’ll be going to school here, or are you in college?”
Colt shook his head. “I don’t go to school or college. I already graduated.”
“Oh, I thought you looked about my age. I just graduated last month.”
“I got home-schooled,” Colt said. “My folks didn’t like the public schools. How old do you think I look?”
“I don’t know.” He didn’t want to answer for fear of guessing wrong. “Seventeen maybe.”
Colt laughed. “You’re way off.”
“Sorry, I’m not good at guessing people’s ages.”
“I’m way older than seventeen,” Colt said, still smiling. “Way older. Would you believe I’m a hundred sixty-seven?”
Robbie cracked up. “Wow, you look great for your age. You must have a fantastic diet and exercise regimen.”
“Oh, I do.” He winked then draped an arm over Robbie’s shoulder. “Mostly a liquid diet.”
Robbie turned to him, inhaling as he did so, and immediately noticed how enticing Colt smelled. He was wearing some sort of sandalwood fragrance. He stopped walking and looked into his friend’s eyes. They seemed much darker than before, but perhaps it was due to the dim lighting of the lampposts around them.
“How old are you really?” Robbie whispered.
“I was seventeen last time I checked.” Colt’s voice was now softer, sultry.