Liam Grady is the owner of the Feathered Quill, a quirky little bookstore in Asheville, and—though he doesn’t realize it yet—a dream walker. His last relationship failed almost a year ago, and he’s not had the interest or nerve to pursue anyone he’s met since.
Cameron Danu is a tattoo artist from rural Georgia. Cameron is left without a job after his boss, Jose, is forced to close the shop after a heart attack. When Cameron learns Jose has set up an interview for him at a small tattoo parlor in Asheville, he hopes for a fresh start in a new town.
Fate brings Cameron and Liam together, and they realize they’ve met before—in their dreams. A chance encounter and a winged tattoo might lead them to their destiny—if fear doesn’t turn their dreams into a nightmare.
“Me either. Not really, but look, the dreams changed for you recently too, right?”
“Yeah. You were dancing the night I thought I saw you, but disappeared when I tried to find you among all the dancing masses.”
The sudden heat crawling up his cheeks and down his throat was unwelcome, as was the memory of his one and only attempt at sexual release that hadn’t stemmed from Cam in well over half a year. The fact he’d failed only added to his embarrassment, though in a way he was kind of glad for having not gone through with it. He shifted, suddenly uncomfortable with his actions that night. “That night, when I fell asleep, the dreams changed and have been more like, I don’t know, dates or couple time, than how they were before.”
Cam started nodding before he’d gotten past the word dates. “Yeah, they did. But I still don’t get how and”—Cam’s gaze went hard, pinning him in his seat,—“I don’t like the idea that someone’s invading my dreams without my permission.”
“It wasn’t deliberate. At least, not at first. I—”
“Look… it needs to stop,” Cam said. “I can’t keep doing this. Just….” He stood up so fast he knocked the chair over and fled—it was the only way Liam could think to describe the way Cameron hurried away from him.
“Wait! Cam!” Liam yelled as he hopped up and sprinted after the man he knew was a part of him. They had shared things, done things together, that he had never considered with anyone else. Things he didn’t want with anyone else. He caught up with Cam just outside the door. “Please, wait.”
Cam stood with his back to him, trembling, not saying a word, but not moving away, either.
“I wasn’t trying to hurt you, Cam. It wasn’t even something I knew I was doing before a few weeks ago. But come on.” Liam took a deep breath before offering Cam something he knew would hurt to do, if he even could. “I’ll try to stay out of your dreams, if you really want, but please, let me see you again. In the waking world. Please.”
“I’m not convinced I’m not in a padded cell somewhere, imagining all this as it is, because this is nuts. You know that, right? ‘Souls searching through dreams’ is crazy.”
“I thought so too at first, but I’m right here. You can see me, feel me. I’m real and so is this connection between us.”
“I can’t do this, Lee. Not right now.”
“I’ve always loved it when you called me that. No other man has ever called me that,” Liam said, keeping his voice soft.
Cam turned his head but didn’t look at him, either. “Please, don’t visit my dreams again. Please don’t try to visit me in real life, either. I— This isn’t— I can’t…. Just….” Cam shook his head. “I’m sorry.” He walked away, leaving Liam standing on the sidewalk.
He had no idea how long he stood there, staring after Cam. Liam had lost sight of Cam long ago, but he couldn’t make himself move. His phone rang a few times, but he ignored it, not caring who it was. It wouldn’t be Cam, so why bother? Eventually, he moved again, finding his way home, not that he knew how he got there or even cared he’d made it safely. The only thing he could focus on was Cameron’s parting words and how hollow he suddenly felt inside.
About the Author & Links:
Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t—defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since.
Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, they has done many things in their life, yet writing has always drawn them back—no matter what else life has thrown their way. They counts her friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life. They lives in Wisconsin with their children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.
Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, WisRWA, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Tempe’s preferred pronouns are they/them/their/theirs/themselves. To learn more about Tempeste and their writing, visit:
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