Read an Excerpt
Shane stared out into the auditoriumâ€”his gaze kept landing on the scrawny punk slumped in the second to last row.
The kid didnâ€™t look up.
He was a shade or two darker than Shane, with a scruff of kinky brown hair and a broad nose. His bone structure was amazingâ€”high cheekbones, sharp, strong jaw. Shane couldnâ€™t tell for sure, since he was sitting down, but he seemed short. Maybe five foot eight. He wore a white wife beater and a heavy gold chain. Black track pants and a tat on his shoulder? He was trying way too hard to look tough.
"Thatâ€™s all for today." Professor Boehner flicked off the overhead and wrapped up the Intro to Film class. "Make sure you have those papers in by Monday. Weâ€™ll move onto archetypes next week."
The class burst into a round of applause, the over-excited freshmen falling all over themselves to get to the front of the room and swoon over the professor.
Shane cleared his stuff off the desk. He hadnâ€™t taken any notes. As one of Boehnerâ€™s teaching assistants, heâ€™d sat through Intro to Film three times already.
"Mr Roberts?" Boehner called over the heads of his adoring throng. "A moment?"
"Sure thing," Shane called back.
Boehner jerked his head at the back of the room, his eyes on the punk trying to make a quick getaway out the door. "Could you grab Mr Cruz? Iâ€™d like to speak with him."
Cruz. So that was the kidâ€™s last name. "Iâ€™ll grab him."
Shane fought his way through the kids trying to get out of the auditorium. The brats would have parted like the Red Sea if it were Boehner walking up the aisle. Next class, Shane would make sure Boehner introduced him to the students and made it clear Shane would be grading a lot of their papers.
The punk was out the door by the time Shane reached him. He had his backpack hitched on one shoulder and a black PUMA track jacket draped over the other. The kids around him were giving him a wide berth. Stupid freshmen probably bought his gang-member act.
The kid turned at the sound of his voice. "Angel," he said, jutting his chin forward.
"Okay, Angel." Shane was too used to freshmen to be bugged by his impudent tone. "Boehner wants to talk to you."
The attitude drained from Angelâ€™s face, making him look younger. He paled a little, and Shane saw a pattern of freckles across his nose and cheeks. Angelâ€™s eyes were brown, but his right eye was grey in the lower right corner. Shane didnâ€™t remember what it was called when a personâ€™s eye was more than one colour. But whatever trick of genetics had given him that grey-blue slice, it added a layer of intrigue to his appearance that made Shane want to look for a lot longer than was appropriate. Damn, the kid was cute.
"I didnâ€™t do nothinâ€™ wrong." Angel leaned on his heels. The swagger crept back into his posture, and he lifted his chin and stuck out his chest. Something about how he did that made Shane think it wasnâ€™t entirely an act. Angel had probably had to stand up for himself, and most likely to guys bigger than Shane.
"I didnâ€™t say you did. He just wants to talk to you."
Angel glanced Shane over, rolling his gaze to Shaneâ€™s toes and back up to his face.
Shane was used to being cruised, but he couldnâ€™t tell if thatâ€™s what Angel was doing. The kid didnâ€™t look interested as much as scared.
"Iâ€™m the TA." Shane shoved out his hand.
"Yeah. Hi." Angel didnâ€™t shake.
Shane crossed his arms, tossing every bit of Angelâ€™s attitude back at him in the form of a cold, hard sneer. "You know, if you want to work in the film industry someday, youâ€™re going to have to learn to deal with a few fags."
He watched his words sink in. Angelâ€™s expression shifted from surprise to a blush of embarrassment. "Hey, man, I didnâ€™t ask if you were." His defiant attitude was back, but he wouldnâ€™t meet Shaneâ€™s eyes.
"No. You didnâ€™t." Shane wasnâ€™t letting Angel off so easy. "But Iâ€™m telling you now. Iâ€™m gay, and you may as well get over it."
Angelâ€™s eyes widened. "Oh. Well, no disrespect, man. What, you got a boyfriend or something?"
That one came out of left field, but Shane chose to ignore it. "We better get in there before Boehner has an aneurism." Shane headed for the door.