Author and Publisher: Stephen G Hardy
Cover Artist: Ryan Mulford
Release Date: June 4, 2023
Genres: LGBTQ+ fiction, Not a romance per se
Tropes: Speculative fiction inspired by a Greek Myth
Themes: Interpersonal relationships, sexuality, and gender norms
Heat Rating: 1 flame
Length: 81 320 words/350 pages
It is the first in a series of at least 3 books and does not end on a cliffhanger.
“Why do I get the feeling that Christopher is the type of man that would make the perfect husband for any woman and, at the same time, the perfect wife for any man?” Laura says shortly after Christopher begins his new job at the TV station. Laura’s statement would turn out to hold more truth than she could imagine. No one who meets Christopher, especially not Laura, as well as David, a gay man he meets at a party, understands what it is about him that draws them to him. They also don’t realize that Christopher is searching for something, a search complicated by their desires for him.
I began to question accepting Laura’s invitation when I heard the noise coming from the backyard as we approached the house. I disliked crowds, and it sounded like an immense crowd was on the other side of the gate.
People were everywhere—seated on lounge chairs scattered around the patio or at the rectangular dining table or milling about in various groups—talking loudly over the blaring music. Laura’s voice broke through the noise.
“I don’t see Peter anywhere. He might be inside. Shall we find him?”
“By all means. I would feel uncomfortable attending his party without meeting him.”
I followed Laura into the house. As we passed through the living room, my eyes fell on a few framed photos of a handsome couple on the wall.
In the kitchen, a solitary male figure was removing a tray of croissants from the oven.
As he turned around, I recognized Peter as one of the men in the photos. Tall and slender, with dark hair and a mustache waxed into handlebars, there was a dapperness to him that I found pleasing.
“Hey, Laura. Lovely to see you!”
After setting the hot tray down, Peter hugged her.
“Peter, I want you to meet Christopher. He just moved here from Seattle and works with me at the station.”
“How do you do, Peter?“
Having grown used to the reaction my presence caused, I smiled patiently as Peter, unable to speak right away, shook my offered hand.
“I hope you do not mind my crashing your party. Laura assured me that you would not object to her bringing me.”
“No, of course, I don’t mind.”
The words tumbled out one on top of the other.
“Is there anything we can do to assist you?”
“No, I have it all under control, thanks. Please help yourself to the food and drinks out on the patio.”
“We will. Thanks,” Laura said, taking my arm and steering me back through the living room.
“Peter is very nice,” I commented as we stepped through the doors and headed towards the drinks table. “Can I make you something?”
“A mimosa, thanks. Yes, Peter’s a sweetie.”
We stood sipping our drinks as I scanned the crowd of mostly men, a mix of young and old, before Laura took me around, introducing me to the people she knew.
I instinctively searched their eyes for the essence of another while ignoring Laura’s scrutinizing gaze.
Laura needed to use the bathroom, so she left me standing under the large Ficus tree where we had sought shade from the sun. Within minutes of her departure, I was surrounded by a large group of people vying for my attention. Carrying on multiple conversations was challenging, but I did my best to make each person feel they had my full attention.
He caught my attention on the periphery of my vision: tall and well-built, resembling the small statue of the god Mars that sat on the table in Joseph’s shop. Our eyes met, and I felt my heart skip a beat, seeing something flash in his eyes. Smiling hopefully, I extended my hand to him.
“Hello, my name is Christopher Dunn.”
As he shook my hand, I took the opportunity to search his golden-brown eyes. My initial hope turned to disappointment, for while something was there, it was not another’s essence. Though disappointed, I was intrigued.
He slurred the two names into one in his haste to get the words out.
As I gazed into his eyes, the feeling of a purpose to our meeting appeared—first Laura and now David.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, David Martelli,” I said, saying his name distinctly.
David blushed attractively, causing a twinge in my heart.
“Can I get you a drink?”
He looked so crestfallen when I held up my cup that I was tempted to down my drink and ask him for another.
“Oh, you have one.”
“I do, but I appreciate you asking.”
I gave him a smile to back up my words. It was apparent that David was struggling to find something to say, the frustration evident in his handsome features. I wanted to get him away from the people surrounding us and talk to him alone, but I did not see how I could do so without offending everyone else.
Conscious of the eyes watching us, David blushed again and backed away.
For some reason, I knew that this behavior was out of character for him. Watching him walk away, I hoped we would meet again as I wanted to discover what I saw in his eyes.
About the Author . . .
Stephen Hardy was born in the San Francisco Bay Area but grew up in the Pacific Northwest. His career as a fashion designer took him back to San Francisco before he headed to New York City, where he met his husband of twenty years. Tiring of the hectic pace of the fashion industry, Stephen gave up his career to become a stay-at-home dad for his and his husband’s two adopted sons and a quiet life in Connecticut. Now residing in Phoenix, Arizona, and with the kids grown, Stephen returned to university, where he rediscovered his love for writing. His focus is on contemporary fiction, examining social issues regarding gender, sexuality, and relationships. Search for Complete is his first novel, and a sequel is expected in early 2024.