LGBT, romance, transgender, intersex, M/M, F/F
Wayward Ink Publishing
After having known each other online for some time, writers, Benji and Ari meet at a convention.
Their attraction is both immediate and mutual.
But all is not straightforward—Ari is intersex and Benji transgender.
Together they embark on a journey.
A journey that unites families, and heals old wounds.
But not everyone is happy with the blossoming love between these two unique and special individuals.
Will an act of aggression crush the flower before it can bloom?
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Ari sighed and rolled his eyes; then he sobered. “So... it’s not a problem, is it?”
“That I’m not experienced.”
“Of course not.” I gently stroked Ari’s cheek until he relaxed. “I don’t care how many or few men, women or sex toys you’ve been with before me, because all that’s in the past. It’s just you and me now.”
Ari sighed and touched my cheek. “You’re lovely,” he said. “I wish I’d met you a long time ago.”
“Why? It’s not as if we’re ancient and only have a short time left. We’ve got the whole of the rest of our lives to get to know each other.”
“Really? You’re looking that far ahead? You think we’ll be together forever?”
My stomach lurched. Was I? Was I looking forward that far? Forever was a heck of a long time. And yet... Ari was already so much part of my life I couldn’t imagine it without him. Sure, we’d have to part to go home, to get back to our lives after the weekend, but would that be the end? Like hell it would.
“I don’t know about forever, but I’ve no plans of letting you go anytime soon.”
“You’re not lying to me, are you? You won’t forget about me when you go back home?”
“How could I possibly forget you? Besides, I’d never be able to show my face on social media again. Oh my God. Arthur would hunt me into the ground, and I’d never sell another book for sure.”
“Is that all you’re worried about?”
I worried for a moment, until Ari laughed. “I won’t ever forget you, Benji, no matter what happens. You don’t have to love me back.”
“Ari, I can’t promise I love you. It’s too soon. You know that, right?”
“You already said you love me. After the... um... seizure. You did say it.”
“I know, and I meant it... then. But it was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I was all over the place. I’m not saying I won’t. I guess I’m not even saying I don’t. I’m just not ready to.... I’m not ready to say it yet.”
Ari shrugged, a sly little smile on his face. “You can say what you want. I know you love me.”
I couldn’t help but touch him. I ran my hands over his body—all over it. He was glorious. So sweet. So lovely. So fragile and strong, and sweet and feisty, and... so many other things all rolled into one.
“Benji... can I ask you something and you not get cross?”
“You can ask me anything, but I can’t promise not to be cross.”
“Do you think I’m pretty... down there?”
“Pretty? No, you’re not pretty. You’re beautiful. Every cute, adorable, tiny inch of you is so beautiful I can hardly believe you’re real.”
Ari giggled. “I’m real.” Then he sobered. “You don’t think I’m an ugly freak?”
That hit me hard. That was when I realized Ari wasn’t just fishing for compliments but had a real issue.
I propped myself up on one hand and nudged the duvet aside to gaze down at Ari in his full glory. Ari squirmed and tried to cover himself with the bedclothes.
“Don’t do that,” I said, batting his hand out of the way. “Let me look at you.”
“Because I’m trying very, very hard to find something ugly about you, and I can’t. There is nothing about you, inside or out, that could possibly be considered ugly.”
About the Author
CHERYL HEADFORD was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.
Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.
Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re-enactment group who traveled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.
It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.
In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and her two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. The part of her that needs to earn money is a lawyer, but the deepest, and most important part of her is a storyteller and artist, and always will be.
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