Paul believes that homosexuality is an illness. But when he tries to cure himself, and others, he learns just how stubborn desire can be.
Paul Drucker has made a name for himself telling young gay men that he can cure them of their ‘sinful desires’. Trouble is, he’s all too familiar with those desires himself, which leads him to Julian Evans, a male ‘escort’ he finds online. Paul tells himself, and Julian, that he simply needs an assistant, someone to help him on an upcoming lecture tour. The reality, of course, is quite different, and when the media discovers them together, Paul tries to straighten up his image by starting an ex-gay group at his church.
Which is where Julian’s roommate, Aaron, comes in. Eager to expose the ex-gay movement for the sham that it is, Aaron goes undercover in Paul’s conversion group, posing as a gay man hoping to be ‘cured’. However, things get complicated, and more than a little strange, when Aaron meets the other members of the group—a motley assortment of queers struggling to reconcile their desires with their faith, and with their families. Will Paul’s techniques, which include group showers, lessons in manly walking, and something called ‘holding therapy’, lead to newly created heterosexuals? To tragedy? Maybe even to love?
|Publisher:||Totally Entwined Group Ltd|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
At the age of twelve, Mason Stokes thought he was a New York Jewish intellectual. Turns out he was just a gay southerner with a fondness for early-period Woody Allen. But since both options would have gotten him beaten up, he made other choices, devoting himself to quiet study, courtly manners, and non-threatening outfits.
This led naturally to an English major (the last refuge of scoundrels), where he found himself obsessed with Russian literature, an obsession he abandoned after failing, on repeated tries, to make it more than halfway through The Brothers Karamazov.
In college, his homosexuality was solidified by his experience playing drums in cover bands at frat parties, where he watched drunk boys whisper the chorus of “Feel Like Making Love” into their girlfriends’ ears during slow dances. From this he never fully recovered.
Despite his failure with Dostoevsky, novels were the only things that made any sense to him, so he enrolled in a graduate program, where this sense was slowly beaten out of him. He enjoyed this experience, and hoped to inflict it on others, which he was finally able to do when he became an English professor.
Along the way he dated scores of men, to whom he sincerely apologizes.
Mason teaches at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. Saving Julian is his first novel.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Mason Stokes 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.
The ﬁrst time I saw him, I felt like little birds were pecking at my scalp. My feet started to sweat. My tear ducts jiggled a bit.
And as he looked at me, just stared without saying anything, I became acutely aware of what I must look like to someone like him. The ears that seem more inclined to hang-gliding than hearing. The whole ET head-neck problem. The glasses, oh, the glasses. The chest that wasn’t. The legs that no skinny jeans could redeem. And those ridiculous feet, miles and miles of them, unfurling in boat-sized Converse.
In my experience, it’s rare for people like me to come into contact with people like him, and this was probably for the best, given the foot-sweating and the bird-pecking. Sure, I’d seen people like him in movies and on television, but I’d never really been up close to this kind of beauty—the kind that changes the air in the room, that seems to make things vibrate. I ﬁrst noticed his eyes, an unreal sky blue. I could have sworn I heard some sort of offstage ping as one of them sparkled like in a cartoon. His lips looked painted, but they weren’t, adding a feminine touch to a face that was all twentysomething Hollywood homage—Efron, that middle Jonas, the Twilight boys, with some Bette Midler thrown in as an aesthetic complication. He was wearing a low-cut T-shirt, and I immediately wanted to put my tongue in the hollow of his neck—if I were the type of person who would do a thing like that, which I wasn’t. But still.
His name was Julian, Julian Evans, and he had answered an ad I’d placed seeking a roommate. I was twenty-seven at the time, working on a PhD in American Studies at Emory, and budget cuts had cost me my funding, which meant I was no longer able to swing full rent on my two-bedroom apartment. I’d placed an ad in the local alternative weekly, ﬁguring I’d get either a post-college slacker or a grad student nerd, neither of which would threaten the rhythms of my quiet academic life. Instead, I got Julian, whose email said that he owned his own business. What kind of twenty-one year old owns his own business? I wondered. But not for long.
“I’m what they call an escort,” he said in our ﬁrst getting-to-know-you chat. We were sitting on the couch, and I was trying to pay attention to what he was saying. I found this difﬁcult because of the way his knee poked through a rip in his jeans. Once I got ﬁnished with the knee, I was going to start thinking about his ankle bone, which protruded adorably above some sort of hipper-than-thou sneaker. I must have muttered something in response, because he kept talking.
“Yeah,” he said. “Basically, guys call me up and we pretend that we’re gonna go to the movies or something, but mostly we go right to the fucking. As near as I can tell, escort’s just a fancy word for hooker. It’s a pretty good gig, though. The money’s decent and I get to sleep late.”
This was enough to wake me from my knee reverie.
“What kind of guys hire you?” I asked, trying to sound like I talked to male prostitutes all the time, that this was a typical Tuesday night for a grad student.
“It’s mostly sad married guys,” he said. “They all say they’ve never done anything like this before, that they’re just curious, but you can tell that’s bullshit once they get started in on the peen. These are not ﬁrst-timers, if you know what I’m sayin’.”
“The peen?” I asked.
“Yeah, the peen. Dick. Cock. I’ve got a beaut. I call it Walter.”
“You’ve named your, um, your, um…” I asked, pointing in the vicinity of his ‘um’. If I had tried to say cock, I would have passed out.
“Yep,” he said, “after my Uncle Walter. He’s a big, tall guy, with a big head and wide hips. Seen from the right angle, there’s deﬁnitely a resemblance.”
“That’s nice,” I said. “Your uncle must be very proud.”
“Anyway, most of these guys are pretty gross, but I’m hoping to break into the next level, where it’s mostly gay businessmen who need some eye candy for their charity dinners. The money’s better and so is the food, and I imagine they smell nicer than some of this current crowd. Kinda stinky, if you wanna know the truth. You don’t have to worry, though. I never bring guys home. Anyway, what’s your deal? You’re a ’mo, right?”
“Mo?” I asked, hoping he had some sort of kinky Three Stooges roleplaying in mind.
“Yeah, ’mo. As in homo. You’re gay, right?”