Monday, February 4, 2013

Moths and Men, sweet gay romance by Hollis Shiloh

Now that Dave's tour of duty is over, he just wants to forget about 'Nam--and stop the nightmares. A new friendship and a new job offer him hope. Especially when Dave's growing feelings for his friend just might be mutual....

A sweet gay romance or sweet m/m romance set during the Vietnam War era.

Length: approx. 76 pages or 19,000 words
Heat level: Low


"You can stay with me tonight?" Jesse still stood with his hips tilted just a little. His jeans were tight, showing a nice package in the front, nice as his bottom was in back. 

Dave tried not to look, tried not to ogle. He nodded. "I'd appreciate that."

He felt clumsy and overlarge and as if he didn't know what to do with his hands. He followed Jesse to his red pickup truck. A humming sort of excitement filled his veins, made him feel alive again.

"You think you'll stay here, or you just passing through?" Jesse glanced at Dave hesitantly.

Dave shrugged. "Don't have anywhere to go. Is there work here?"

Jesse grinned. "Yeah. I work for my uncle," he said, getting into his pickup and shutting the door. "He owns a mill. He's got openings, so I'm pretty sure you can get a job there, if you want. The pay's not great, but you can afford a little apartment with it, and you won't starve. My aunt might even invite you round sometimes for Sunday dinner. She likes feeding men who look like they need it." He grinned.

Dave found himself grinning back. "And you always look like you need it, is that it?"

Jesse nodded proudly. "She keeps trying to fatten me up, but it doesn't take." He patted his flat stomach smugly.

"So you get to eat even more. I see how it works."

"Well, it does. Do you think you'd like to work at a mill?"

"I'd be glad to give it a try. Is it dangerous?" It had to be better than the mines, didn't it? For one thing, you couldn't get stuck underground and die, like his father had.

Jesse shook his head. "Not too bad. You've got to be careful around the saws. But a lot of the work is just moving lumber and logs. It's fairly safe if you run a careful shop, and my uncle does. Stay on your toes, and you should be fine. You look solid enough to haul a lot of wood without dropping it on your toes."

"Thanks." Dave found himself grinning. The image of himself as seen through Jesse's eyes made him smile. Solid. Well, he was. He stood just under six foot in his socks, but it was solid muscle, all of it. Sure, he'd lost some weight in 'Nam, but he was still damned sturdy. Jesse had a couple of inches on him but he seemed all lean, sinewy strength, nothing of the brick wall about him.

"Great," said Jesse. "I'll talk to him tomorrow about hiring you." He tapped the wheel as he drove, smiling a little.

They rode on in the pooling night. The truck's headlights cut the darkness. A few moths and other insects showed up in the light, fluttering witlessly to their oncoming destruction. Near the road, a cricket chorus shrieked. The truck's wheels thumped up and down over little dips in the road and swished round turns, guided by secure hands.

"Jesse?" asked Dave. It felt safer, talking in the dark.


"Why you doing this? Helping me out?" He clenched his hands together on his lap in the dark. Now or never: if this beautiful man was leading up to something, it would be good to know now. And if he wasn't.

"Milk of human kindness?" offered Jesse, with a wry, smiling sound in his voice.

"Yeah, okay," said Dave. He guessed the world could use some more of that. He certainly could. But it kind of felt like the whole cow, not just a little milk.

"Well," said Jesse, "you walked into that diner and I thought, 'That could've been me.' You looked like you'd been through hell and just needed a place to rest. I'll be glad if you stay in town and if I can help you get a job. It's the least I can do, when guys like you went over there and fought that goddamned war, in place of guys like me who couldn't."

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