After serving six years for murdering his abusive father, Tommy Hawks is released from prison. He moves back in with what’s left of his family and tries to negotiate a new life with them and his partner, Brett, who has stood by him through everything. But moving on isn’t so easy.
Resentment simmers just below the surface, but so do gratitude and guilt. Brett and Tommy need to give each other the time and space to discover who they are individually, and Tommy especially needs the opportunity to stand on his own—even if that means another separation.
Does gender really matter? Kel and Toni are two damaged people, both trying to find answers. But, where Kel’s hopes for the future lie mainly with outreach programs and a new life with his lover, Toni’s looking for absolution in a bottle of Mexican hormone pills.
Kel loves Toni obsessively and—though he supports both of them on the money he gleans from tricks and less-than-salubrious clients—he struggles with the reality of Toni’s burgeoning transition, and her motives for doing it.
While Kel grapples with his worries, and the attentions of regular client Michael, otherwise known as The Sherbet Pervert, Toni has different problems to face. Is there really a correct way to read women’s magazines? What about the manifold uses of maxi pads? And just what is this gender thing, anyway?
For all their attempts to build a life together, both Kel and Toni know their survival is precarious. What neither of them realize is just how easily their harsh, isolated little world can be turned upside down and, when chance events push them into unknown territory, both must confront some difficult truths.
Brett Derwent thinks he has life all planned out. With the freedom of college life just months away, Brett’s eagerly awaiting some fun and independence… until he meets Tommy Hawks. Over the course of one northern Montana summer, an intense romance blooms between the young men, but Tommy has a painful secret—one that even first love can’t mitigate. Continually brutalized by his violent father, Tommy is pushed to the edge, torn between the desire to protect his mother and four siblings, and his fear of losing the love he never expected to find.
When the unthinkable happens and Tommy’s father is found dead, Brett is afraid to learn the truth. Appalled to think that his lover may be responsible, Brett must face impossible questions: how much of his life—of his youth—is he willing to sacrifice for Tommy, and will having faith in him be enough?