Excerpt: Lilacs

“You’ve always said you prefer honesty, no matter how painful the truth is, so I’m going to be honest. Mother, I hate you.”

“Yes, dear, that’s nice,” his mother said absently. She looked up from the glossy guide book that had become her bible from the moment she’d decided upon Operation Get to Know Each Other.

Personally, he wanted to know why he couldn’t have gotten to know his new stepfather and stepbrother at the beach. At least there, if he wound up hating the stepbrother, he could have consoled himself by molesting a well-tanned surfer boy.

But, no. High school history teacher mother decided to drag them – kicking and screaming, he had definitely kicked and screamed the entire way – to the historical spot she’d always loved but never been able to visit.

He glared at her. “You are so totally the reason I’m gay, mother.”

“Oh, now I know that isn’t true. I’ve had six gay men tell me I almost turned them straight.” She sighed. “Those were the days.”

“Mom! What have I told you about telling me things like that?” Gene shuddered. “I so wish I’d taken summer classes after all.”

Rolling her eyes, his mom closed her guide book and tucked it into her tote bag. “Honestly, Gene. This grouchiness needs to go away. David is used to you, but I don’t want you making a bad impression on Teddy. Just because you can be an ass doesn’t mean you should be one all the time.”

Gene shrugged. “Best to begin as I mean to go on?”

“You are so much like your father,” she replied, rolling her eyes again. “Sadly, the methods that worked on him won’t work on you.”

“I’d ask, but I totally don’t want to know,” Gene said. His mother smirked, and he held up his hands to ward her off. “Seriously, mom, shut up. I really don’t want to know. Parents aren’t allowed to admit they have sex. That’s just gross.”

“Men,” his mother said. “Come on, Mr. Prude. David sent me a text while you were trying and failing to flirt with the straight boy at the counter. He’s meeting us at the little coffee shop we passed on the way here.”

“I really do hate you,” Gene said, glaring at her. Mothers were totally not supposed to notice their sons flirting, and they definitely weren’t supposed to point out when they failed. At least he’d never have to deal with a girlfriend; from what he’d seen, those were even worse than mothers.

Obediently taking the bags of stuff she’d already managed to purchase – he could hear the Visa crying already – he trailed along behind her as they hiked back to the coffee shop. “Let me go put this stuff in the car, mom.”

“That’s fine, dear,” his mother said, her tone distracted, and Gene didn’t even have to look to know she must have spotted David inside. Hiding a smile, he took the car keys from her hand and went to put all her purchases in their car, whistling as he made his way back to the coffee shop.

He supposed there were worse things in life than putting up with Ye Olde Tourist Spot if it made his mom so happy, and she could do a hell of a lot worse than David.

Even if, between the two of them, he spent an awful lot of time feeling like he was stuck in the never ending high school history class from hell.

Not that he had much room to talk – being an English major didn’t really do much to get him out of the dork department. Still.

Double checking the car was locked, he stuffed the keys into a pocket of his cargo shorts and high-tailed it back to the coffee shop. He saw his mother and David – and stopped short as he drew close enough to see his new stepbrother.

“What in the hell are you doing here?” he demanded.

Theodore North, a rattlesnake in human guise. Pretty as fuck, but venomous and snotty. He bared his teeth in a mockery of a smile. “Eugene, what an unpleasant surprise.”

“Please do not tell me I’m related to you now. And if you call me that again, asshole, we’re going to repeat Theta Chi all over again and this time the cops won’t put a stop to it.”

“Oh, dear,” he heard his mother said.