Complicating Roy by Megan Slayer
General Release Date: 22nd March 2022
Word Count: 40,573
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Duke Charles needs a break. He’s tired of life on the road and never having a place to settle down. He decides to head to Norville for a rest in his childhood home. Once there, he realizes his life isn’t quite so relaxed—he’s not only inherited the house, but a cat to go with it. When his friend from high school sends him on a date, he finds out how complicated life can be…in a good way.
Roy Mars likes his life as an artist. He paints, sells work and takes his cat, Raphael, for walks through Norville. He channels his emotions into his art…until he goes on a date and meets Duke. His uncomplicated life gets thrown into chaos, not least because Duke has rabid fans who insist on knowing every detail of his life.
Can Roy handle a little complication in the form of Duke, or will he quit before he finds his forever?
“Art is for everyone,” Roy murmured. He added a few more strokes to his painting, then stepped back to admire the piece. He loved creating art, but hated special commissions. As far as he was concerned, art should be creative and allowed to flow, not dictated according to a special plan—especially without his input. He’d been given the project and told what to do. Don’t deviate, just paint what the mayor wants.
This piece would drive him to drinking. He’d been commissioned to paint a bold, abstract piece that still featured faces for the wall behind the mayor of Norville’s desk. It should be a snapshot of the town.
Roy groaned. He didn’t think the painting, under the direction of the mayor, looked anything like a cross-section of Norville. It was too clean and orderly…and boring. He’d added all the elements desired and none of his personality.
He glanced back at the mayor. If Floyd Gatlin liked the work, he could be done with it. If not, he’d have to keep working until Floyd was happy. His own paintings, his Depressions series, could wait.
“Well?” Roy asked. “What do you think?”
Floyd tapped his chin. “It’s colorful.” He stepped back. “It’s got action, too.”
“I tried to follow your directions exactly.” Roy folded his arms. “It’s quite vibrant, like you wanted.”
“Vibrant, but not gay.” Floyd nodded. “I’m tired of seeing so much gayness in town. We needed to get the movie theater razed or turned back into a theater.”
Roy didn’t see the issue with the hairdressing salon that the former cinema how housed, or the amount of gayness in Norville. The people of the town liked color and to be unique. That wasn’t bad. “You don’t like Dye Hard Style?” Roy frowned. “James is a great stylist. He cuts my hair and I’ve never been done wrong.”
“Uh-huh.” Floyd made a sound that reminded Roy of a grunt mixed with a groan. “Why don’t you try Cutting Up? They’re better.”
He’d seen the new salon in the strip mall at the edge of town. Where James was flamboyant and fun, Cutting Up was much more conservative. He’d bet every Cutting Up across the state looked exactly the same. “James is a friend of mine, too. I support my friends.”
“Well, to each their own, but I’d like for him to move outside of the Norville limits.” Floyd waved his hand. “I’ll take it. Send it over for framing. We have a plan for displaying it.”
“Sure.” He didn’t frame his works and preferred the edge of the canvas. “I’ll have it over in a day or two.”
“Perfect.” Floyd faced him. “You know, I like working with you. You don’t act gay, don’t shove it in my face, and don’t expect me to be understanding. You accept me and I can be myself.”
Roy seethed. How rotten! He couldn’t keep his tongue. “Mayor Gatlin, may I speak freely?” He had no idea how this man had gotten elected, but he didn’t deserve the role.
“Sure.” Floyd clapped him on the shoulder. “We’re friends here.”
Jesus. “I create work for you, that’s for sure. The thing is, I’m gay. I might not be as flamboyant as James, but it doesn’t make me any less homosexual. I am gay. Also, I don’t appreciate you talking about James like he’s a scourge. I might not throw my being gay in your face, but I don’t appreciate your saying I don’t expect you to be understanding. You should be a representative of the entire town, not just one section and not just those who voted for you. You can be voted out of office, you know.”
“Did you vote for me?” Floyd narrowed his eyes. “You didn’t, did you?”
“My vote is private, but suffice it to say I don’t agree with your principles. Never have.” He chucked his paintbrush into the water cup. “Take the painting if you want. I don’t care. You can decide not to, as well. But know this, I will continue to be myself, which is gay. I’ll champion gay causes and will not take your bullshit. Please leave.”
“You’re throwing me out?” Floyd snapped.
“Yes, my non-understanding gay ass is throwing you out. I can’t listen to you insult me because I’m gay.”
“You’ve changed,” Floyd said. “You got famous and you think you can snap at people. See if anyone wants to buy your terrible art now.”
“At least you’re telling me the truth.” He opened his studio door. “Goodbye.”
Floyd stomped out of the building.
Roy slammed the door behind him. How dare Floyd talk to him that way? He’d prided himself on keeping his moodiness to his studio, but he’d been insulted. His friend had been slandered. Jesus. He’d been treated like a lesser person. He moved the painting off the easel and onto a side table. He couldn’t look at the work any longer, especially knowing he’d expended energy to create it, and now for nothing.
He didn’t act gay enough. What a crock of shit. What did he need to do to act more gay?
About the Author
Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.
When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice.
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