Hollis Shiloh Design by the Sea (sweet gay romance)

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Inhaltsangabe zu „Design by the Sea (sweet gay romance)“ von Hollis Shiloh

Rudy is excited to be working for his old friend, the shy, bewildered, terminally handsome Wes, who's inherited a bunch of antiques and a mandate to turn a mansion overlooking the sea into a museum housing them. As an interior designer, Rudy is confident he can help. But he doesn't expect the trouble that comes from a possibly-cursed crown, a jealous Roman antiquities expert... or the possibility of falling in love. Length: 14,700 words Heat level: Sweet EXCERPT: We walked along the wet sand. The waves kept us company with their noise. The sun was starting to go down now, setting the sky alight like a carnival or a big party. We had the beach mostly to ourselves. A few joggers headed by at a steady, measured pace, their already-perfect bodies moving in time to music only they could hear. Wes and I walked in step, keeping pace with one another easily, even though he had a good five inches on my height. I stuffed my hands in my pockets; they were getting cold. (My hands, not the pockets.) "What's this about a curse, then?" I asked, turning to look at him. His face showed half in shadow, half in light, and he grimaced, looking more careworn than he had in the restaurant. I saw his expression tighten with anxiety again, the way it had looked back at the mansion when he'd practically begged me not to leave. "My uncle bought an ancient circlet with a blue gem set in it," he said. "This was shortly before he died. It was very old, supposed to be from some minor aristocrat or something, maybe someone the tenth in line for a throne in Romania, or somewhere like that. To be honest, it was all a bit steeped in mystery, and I only half listened when he told me. I'm not even sure which country it was supposed to be from. And apparently it was one of his shadier purchases. There was definitely no provenance. At the time, the details didn't seem important, and I was busy with clients. I just sort of agreed with him and got off the phone as quickly as I could." He took a deep breath, and hunched his shoulders lower. "But I do remember him telling me about the curse. He seemed quite excited about it, like it was a feather in his cap, having an item with a curse legend attached to it--almost like that made it better. He didn't have a superstitious bone in his body, my uncle." He shrugged. "How could he, with so many things stolen from graves surrounding him? He even had him bedroom jammed with them." He shook his head slowly. "I could never understand anyone falling asleep with an African mask glowering at him from one side, an Inuit carving from the other. But he did, every night. "Anyway, about the curse. He wasn't afraid of it; he just liked the story, and the idea of owning a legend. He said the circlet was cursed, that anyone who wore it would be dead within a year from unnatural causes. Unexplained plague, or violent death, or great tragedy. I don't think he ever wore it--and I know he didn't believe the curse--but less than a month after his phone call, I got a call from his lawyer, informing me of his death and that I inherited all his worldly goods--with certain provisos." He kicked at a little glob of sand. "He never told me. He never said, 'Wes, you're going to inherit, oh, and by the way, I want you to take care of everything, too. For the rest of your life.'" He shook his head. "You should check with a lawyer, see if there's any way to lessen the burden--and maybe give some of it to other museums," I offered. He was silent a moment, then nodded, heaving a deep sigh. "Yeah. I totally need to do some more research into it. To be honest, it's really blindsided me. On the one hand, I'm glad he trusted me, and it's so nice not to have to worry about making rent this month. But the scope of the chore he left me with is really overwhelming." He turned to me and smiled then, making an effort to lighten his expression. His smile still did things to me. I curled my toes inside my sneakers....
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