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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Indefinite Stay by Heidi Champa

Rory Driskell had never seen the inside of a prison until his boyfriend Joel started serving a seven-year sentence for dealing drugs. Now, Rory spends his weekends visiting Joel at the state prison nearly four hours away from home. To make matters worse, Rory and Joel can’t even touch during their visits for fear of what might happen if the other inmates learn Joel is gay. While Joel maintains his innocence, that doesn’t stop Rory from preparing himself for the worst and for a long stretch of time alone.

During the weekends, Rory resides at the Broken Feather Motel, the only cheap place within thirty miles of the prison, wondering how he got into this mess. Then one weekend, the motel owner’s son, Stuart, is behind the counter when Rory checks in. Stuart, with his gorgeous smile and piecing blue eyes, offers Rory something he hasn’t had in a long time: a shoulder to cry on and a hand to hold. But Stuart is in town only for a short time and isn’t looking for a real relationship.

Will Rory stick with the life he’s chosen, no matter how troubled, or will his feelings for Stuart push him to take a chance and finally unlock his heart?

Genres: Gay/Contemporary
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Novella (31k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...I woke up to a knock at the door. The red numbers on the clock by the bed said it was six-thirty. Stumbling across the room, I peeped out and saw Stuart standing there. I thought of not answering but then I heard his voice.

“I know you’re in there, Rory. Please open the door.”

I leaned my forehead against the cool metal and undid the lock. I squinted at the light as I pulled the door open. Stuart was smiling and holding a bag.

“Can I come in?”


He walked past me and set his bag down on the tiny table in the corner. When he turned around, he looked tense, his hands slipping into his pockets.

“I thought you might be hungry. I brought some dinner.”

I hadn’t felt hungry, but the instant he mentioned food, my stomach started to churn.

“Thanks. You didn’t have to do that.”

“I know. I wanted to. I thought we could clear the air. Talk about what I said earlier.”

“We don’t have to do that. It’s cool.” I shook my head and retreated another step farther away from him.

“I think we do.”

He closed the distance between us, and I was out of room to move. My back was against the door, and I was practically panting when I looked into his eyes.

“I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable before, Rory.”

“I know.”

“And I know you’re sorry you kissed me. But I’m not. It was nice.”

I closed my eyes for a long moment, trying to kick the image of the kiss out of my head.

“It doesn’t matter. I’m with Joel.”

“I know. But, seriously, when was the last time you had a proper kiss? I mean, before last Sunday.”

I thought back to the day they took Joel to jail. We’d had a few minutes in a little room at the courthouse before they’d hauled him away. We’d kissed, knowing it would be the last time for a long while. There was no joy in it. It was a moment filled with pain and even remembering it made the hurt come back again.

“Too long. But that’s no excuse for what I did.”

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting some affection. You don’t have to beat yourself up. It’s not the end of the world. I’m sure Joel would understand, considering the circumstances.”

I moved away from him, trying to get a little distance between us again.

“I know he would. He told me that he’d understand if I needed to…if I ended up having…uh, being with someone else. But that’s not the point.”

“The point is you’re human. Nothing wrong with that.”

I looked at him and out of nowhere I felt angry.

“You don’t get it. As much as things suck, this is my life. I chose it, and I have to live with the consequences. Now, take your food and go.”

“You don’t want me to go.”

This time I got into his space and before I could stop myself, I was yelling.

“Stop telling me what I want. You don’t know me.”


I reached out to shove him, but instead I found myself in his arms, his embrace smothering my desire to lash out. I let him embrace me and held my breath to keep the tears from flowing. I tried to pull away, but he held me tighter, his hand running up and down my back.

“It’s okay, Rory. You can let it out if you want to.”

I struggled for another moment, but in the end, I didn’t have the strength to fight him. His words made me break, and I started to cry, sobs wracking through my body. I hadn’t cried at all since Joel first got arrested. I’d spent so much time pretending to be okay, I’d managed to convince myself that I actually was fine. All through the hearings, the motions, the time he spent in jail before his family posted bail, the trial and the sentencing, I held it together. For over two years, I stayed strong, never letting anyone know the hell I was going through inside, too worried about how Joel was feeling. But in that room with Stuart, everything started to unravel. For the first time, I let it all fall apart... 

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