Book Spotlight: We Three Kings – AF Henley
Chicago 1982 is a goldmine for the construction industry, and Eric and his two business partners are thriving. Once nothing more than orphans in a Catholic boys’ home, they’ve overcome poverty and abuse to obtain success. Now living the lives they once only dreamed of, they’re sure of one thing: they will never look back.
Then the past returns, by way of a cheap polyester suit and a smile Eric has never forgotten—and all the dark memories come crashing back. Lucky for him, Jimmy has no idea who Eric is, or who Eric used to be…
Genre: Gay, Contemporary Romance
Notes: contains some explicit content and references past abuse. This story also includes brief flashbacks of graphic violence.
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“What’s on your mind, boss?” he asks.
I’ve never asked Meryl why he makes this little corner home instead of finding a shelter or remembering where home is. Nor have I inquired as to the whereabouts of his other eye. I just bring him half a sandwich, a small container of fruit salad, and a hot tea, and hope that’s enough to supplement what he manages to find otherwise. We don’t talk a lot, though I managed to scrounge out his name somewhere along the line. Of the conversations that we do have, the weather usually takes forefront, with the occasional burst of disgusted rant regarding our fine city’s politicians. I will admit, we’ve both had our share of bad things to say about those guys, although his rants tend to get a little more far-fetched
than mine. As far as I know, our mayor is not an actual alien spawn. My point being, I don’t usually expect a heart-to-heart. He’s surprised me.
“Not a thing that isn’t there usually, Meryl. Why do you ask?”
He’s still squinting and tilting even as he makes the sandwich disappear into his multifaceted folds of clothing and struggles to work the lid off the tea. “Cuz’ you got an aura about you today,” he tells me.
“Is it shiny?” I ask, giving him a toothy smile.
“Nah, not at all.” Meryl takes a drink and smacks his lips together. “Kinda stormy, more so. Like something ugly is gathering up.”
I look up at the sky as if that’s what he’s referring to, hoping it is in fact, while at the same time reminding myself that I had made a similar analogy not too long ago with respect to a certain set of eyes. “Well if that isn’t an ominous way to start a conversation, then I don’t know what is.”
“Not much of a conversation guy,” Meryl confirms unnecessarily. “But I can smell when somebody’s got a storm coming. You could too if you’d been out here as long as I have.”
I don’t bother to point out that the metaphysical isn’t the same as the physical.
“So who’s driving the chariot in front of your storm, boss?”
I’ve often wondered if it’s their people skills—be it a lack of tact, poor conversation choices, or how they insist on fantasy being reality—that is the reason why people like him end up shunned by society and pushed into their concrete corners. At first glance, you think he’s crazy. As you talk to him, though, you start realizing that you can’t decide whether he really is bat-shit insane, or unbelievably clairvoyant. I guess it’s hard to tell a prophet from a lunatic. Hell… maybe you need to be a lunatic in order to be a prophet.
“Don’t you worry about me, Meryl,” I tell him. “The only driving force in my life is me. Nobody would dare take up the reins for one of my chariots, in storm or good tidings.”
My words are strong, my tone is confident, and yet out of the blue, the thought of Jimmy pops up and doesn’t want to let go. Since it will not let me push it away, I start to rationalize what I’m doing, yet again: What I’m doing with Jimmy is a good thing; it’s kind and supportive, and I’m trying to make things right; it’s not something to fear.
My conscience instantly jumps in with a rebuke that begs to know why, if what I’m doing is so right and so true, I feel the need to keep it a secret from the people that I trust the most. From Jimmy himself, even.
“Ah,” Meryl says absently, tugging on the lid of the fruit. One side gives before the other and syrup splashes over his left hand. He looks up to catch my gaze with a one-eyed look of concern, licking sweet liquid off filthy fingers. “I see you’ve found it.”
I frown, outwardly confused inwardly circumspect. “Hunh?”
“It’s a sneaky one, boss.” He pauses to take a shaky sip from the container, slurping up something that sounds gooey—peach, pear, grape, weird pink cherry. “But I guess they always are, aren’t they?”
I lift an eyebrow and shake my head at him. “Enjoy your lunch, buddy.”
He snorts and lifts the cup in an awkward salute as I turn away. “You too, boss. You too.”
We Three Kings
Copyright © 2017, A.F. Henley
About the Author
Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica. A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish. Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012.
Connect with Henley
For the month of March, and up until April 10th, there is a Goodreads giveaway taking place for We Three Kings. Check out the link and get in your shot for a signed paperback of We Three Kings! 😃