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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Family Obligations by Vivien Dean & Rick R. Reed

Tate D’Angelo always believed he knew who his father was. Beloved doctor, devoted husband and father, a kind soul...these were the words shared by everyone who came to his funeral. So when his father’s old college buddy, Randy, approaches him after the service, Tate expects to hear echoes of the same.

What he gets, instead, is almost a lifetime’s worth of letters that tell him so much more and cause him to view his father—and his family—in a whole new light.

The truth, about a secret love kept buried for decades, astonishes him. Overwhelmed by grief and confusion, Tate’s unsure if he can bear hearing how the lives of these two men entwined over the years, but he reads on anyway, discovering more to value, more to respect, and most importantly, more to love about the man who raised him. 

Genres: Gay/Contemporary
Heat Level: 1
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (14k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...The stars had just begun to come out, the scent of hibiscus hanging in the air. For a moment, Tate wished he still smoked, so he had something to do with his hands, something to take his mind off the loss of his dad, who had meant so much.

He made his way to a low wall that fronted the Spanish-style building and took a seat, just breathing in and out—slowly, letting his mind go blank.

“Mr. D’Angelo? Tate?” A man’s voice, soft, reached him from behind.

Tate stood and turned, surprised. He hadn’t heard anyone follow him out, but there he was, one of the people he had seen during the course of the viewing hours, but to whom he had not spoken. The man looked to be about his father’s age. There was solidity to him, an almost military bearing. His gray hair was shorn close to his head, making his pale blue eyes with their dark lashes stand out even more in contrast. He was neatly shaven and wore a simple black suit, cut perfectly to accentuate his broad shoulders and narrow hips.

Tate smiled. “That’s me.” He extended a hand and the two men shook. “Did you know my dad?”

The man’s eyes took on a faraway aspect and he didn’t say anything for long moments. Tate wondered if the man was going to cry. Finally, he sucked in a quivering breath and smiled. “Yeah. Your dad and me went way back—all the way to our undergraduate years.”

“At UDub?” Tate employed the affectionate nickname his father used for his alma mater—the University of Washington, all the way on the other side of the country, in Seattle.

“That’s the place.”

“I’m sorry—did I miss your name?”

“No, my apologies. I’m Randall Frank. But your dad called me Randy.”

Tate stared at him, waiting for more. When Randy didn’t offer anything else, Tate asked, “So are you in the area now?”

“Oh, no. I stayed in Seattle. I have a little family practice in Woodinville, just outside the city. It’s pretty there. Quiet.”

“And you came all this way for my father’s funeral?” Tate thought it was strange, flying something like more than three thousand miles to pay final respects to a college classmate from thirty years ago.

“Ah, your father and I had a really close friendship when we were undergrads and we stayed in touch—sporadically—through the years. You may not have known about me, Tate, but I knew all about you. I’m late, but congrats on your child, by the way. A little girl?”

Tate grinned. “Claire.” He pictured the little red-haired girl in his mind and couldn’t wait to get home to her.

Randy said, “Listen, I didn’t mean to intrude. I saw you heading out here and I’ve been hoping to get you alone.”


“Yeah. I have something for you.”

Tate cocked his head, brows furrowed in confusion. “I’m not sure I understand.”

Randy groped in the breast pocket of his suit coat and brought out a thumb drive. He held it out. Tate took it from him, turning the little rectangle of black plastic over as if it was an object he’d never laid eyes on.

“I’m sorry,” Randy said. “I don’t mean to be mysterious. That drive has the sum total of mine and your father’s correspondence over the years.” He smiled and shrugged. “When your dad got sick, he sent me all the letters he had saved from me.” Even in the dark, Tate could see Randy blush. “I thought I was the only one who hung onto them, but it made me happy that they meant enough for your dad to keep. Anyway, I guess when he knew he might not beat the cancer, he wanted me to have my letters, rather than just having your mom find them in his office.” He took a breath, staring off into the violet night. “I scanned it all into my computer and put everything on this thumb drive for you.”

Randy’s eyes at last welled with tears, leaving Tate just as befuddled... 

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