By Angel Martinez
M/M Fantasy Romance
RATING: PG-13, mild language
Finn – Coming This Summer from Red Rose Publishing…
A mysterious stranger on the rail of the Brooklyn Bridge…
The heartsick novelist whose life is falling to pieces…
Sanity is relative and the world has room for more than one truth.
Unedited Excerpt (the writer and publisher reserve the right to make changes prior to publication):
The figure crouched on the bridge shocked Diego so thoroughly he drove a hundred yards before he realized what he had seen.
A man squatted on his heels on the rail, one hand on a cable, the other clutching a ragged blanket at his throat. Threadbare cloth flapped around bare ankles. The persistent wind yanked it this way and that to show flashes of naked legs.
“Holy shit,” Diego muttered as he wrestled his ancient Toyota into the nearest side street to park. This was none of his business. Didn’t he have enough problems? Even as he argued with himself he ran, dodging traffic and ignoring angry epithets as he pelted back up the bridge against traffic. The inevitable gaper delay had slowed the flow at least, making his precarious journey easier.
People stared from the safety of their vehicles as they inched along but no one stopped to help.
Diego ignored them. His primary concern was not to startle the man into falling. He slowed his approach, ready to offer soothing words, but the man heard his footsteps. Long black hair whipped and snaked in the wind, hiding his face, though Diego caught a glimpse of bared teeth.
“Did you come after me?” the jumper snarled. “I won’t go back.”
“Go back where?” Diego seized the opportunity to start the man talking.
The jumper shook his head to clear the hair from his eyes and peered at Diego. Black eyes. Not dark brown but black, set in deeply shadowed sockets. “No, I suppose you don’t look like one of those,” he said in a softly accented, weary voice.
“One of who?” Diego edged closer to stand next to him.
“The ones who shut me in the iron cage. I changed. I escaped.” His words seemed to stick in his throat and even above the traffic Diego heard him swallow hard. “But now I’m too tired. I can’t…and the river is so filthy. I think it might kill me.”
At least he doesn’t sound like he wants to die. “Look, if you don’t want the police catching up to you or the hospital staff or whoever it is, this is about the worst thing you could do. You’re upsetting all these people and attracting a lot of attention. They’ll be here any minute.” Diego reached out a hand, palm up. “Please come down. Let’s get you safe and out of the wind. Then we’ll see about straightening all this out.”
The man regarded him through the shifting curtain of hair for a long moment. “What are you called?”
Depends who you talk to. “My name is Diego. Diego Sandoval.” He lurched forward when the man swayed, his stomach plummeting to his feet, but the jumper retained his place on the rail.
The man repeated his name a few times as if trying it out and then nodded. “It’s a good name. Pleasurable to say.”
“I am called Fionnachd.”
Diego tried to repeat it and won a hint of a smile from the man when he mangled the pronunciation. “Could I call you Finn?”
That got a shrug. The blanket fell back from his shoulder to reveal all too prominent bones. “You could. Some have. I don’t mind.”
“Climb down, Finn.” Diego urged again. “I’ll help you. Let’s get you somewhere quiet where you can rest.”
Finn took his fingers in a light grip and Diego caught a whiff of rotten orange rinds as he slid from the rail.
What the hell am I doing? He could have Hepatitis or HIV or tuberculosis or worse. He’s probably crazy. Maybe even dangerous.
The intense plea in those black-on-black eyes silenced his practical objections. Lost and alone, he needed someone. Diego had never been good at walking away.