Valley of the Dudes
A Ravenous Romance™ Original Publication
A Ravenous Romance™ Original Publicationwww.ravenousromance.com
Copyright © 2010 by Ryan Field
Ravenous Romance™ 100 Cummings Center Suite 123A
Beverly, MA 01915
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher, except by reviewers who may quote brief excerpts in connection with a review.
This book is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Rush Goodwin had lived his entire life in a small New England town. He’d been
an only child, living with his widowed mother and her spinster sister, always dreaming of
the day he would begin a new life in New York.
He kept his wavy brown hair at a medium length and wore a thin, well-manicured
layer of facial hair that looked more like five o’clock shadow than an actual beard. He
didn’t have a heavy beard, but he trimmed what he did have daily to achieve an
intentionally scruffy look. In the right light, his brown hair took on a reddish tint that
grew more pronounced in the summertime. When he wasn’t working, he often wore
knitted caps on his head all year long.
He could get away with a lot: he had a handsome face, with a strong square chin,
full lips, and deep brown almond-shaped eyes. Though he wasn’t extremely athletic, he
had the tight, sculpted body of a young baseball player. When he walked into a crowded
room, both men and women looked in his direction.
He didn’t want to move to New York because small town life was bad. Rush had
been very fortunate. His mother and his aunt rarely discussed the fact that he was gay, but
they’d accepted his lifestyle quietly, without any arguments or complaints. They greeted
his boyfriend, Harold, with smiles and invited him to dinner on Sundays. When Rush
went away on long weekend trips with Harold, they didn’t roll their eyes and look in the
other direction. But Rush was eager to experience more in life than what he’d always known. He
craved these new experiences with such fortitude, there were nights he couldn’t sleep.
So one cold snowy day, about eight months after he’d received his law degree and
passed his bar exams, he told his mother and his aunt that he was moving to New York. It
was a Friday evening. They had just finished dinner and Rush was waiting for Harold to
pick him up. Rush sat down on a footstool in front of his mother’s favorite wing chair and
leaned forward. He told her he’d applied for a job with an entertainment law firm, gone
on a series of interviews, and they’d offered him the job in New York. He even knew
where he could sublet a small apartment; all he had to do was sign the lease. Rush said he
hadn’t mentioned his plans earlier because he wasn’t sure whether or not he’d get the job.
He’d just found out it was all definite that morning.
His mother stopped knitting and stared at his aunt. She lowered the knitting
needles to her lap and raised her eyebrows. His aunt stared at him with large blue eyes.
She was sitting in another wing chair beside a blazing fire, reading a novel she’d already
read a dozen times. His mother pressed her lips together and turned her head to look at
Rush. “Are you absolutely certain about this?” she asked. “You already have a stable
position here in Connecticut with an excellent law firm. This sounds awfully impulsive.”
Rush nodded and reached for her hands. “I’m sure. This is something I’ve always
wanted to do. The only thing I’m worried about is leaving you both here alone.”
Rush had always been the man of the family. His father had been killed in an
automobile accident when Rush had been only twelve years old. Since then, Rush had
been the one who’d dealt with the plumbers, the electricians, and the auto mechanics. The
house where he’d grown up was one of those big old brick colonials, with white trim and no shutters. There were white dormers on the third floor and two wide chimneys on either
ends of the house. It had been in his mother’s family for more than two hundred years.
Supposedly, the basement had been used as a shelter during the Underground Railroad
His mother took a deep breath and sighed. “We’ll be fine,” she said, nodding at
her sister. “But moving to a place like New York is a big decision.”
He smiled. “I know it is. This wasn’t an impulsive decision. I promise. I’ve been
thinking about it for a long time.”
“I see,” she said. “When do you leave?”
He squeezed her hands and hesitated for a moment. Her face was still tight and
expressionless. “In a couple of weeks,” he said. “I’m worried about you, though.” He’d
been the one who’d checked the tires on the cars and made sure the lawnmower blades
were sharp. Without him around, he wasn’t sure if they could survive.
“Ah well,” she said, taking a quick breath, allowing her face to soften. “We’ll be
just fine.” Then she tilted her head to the left and asked, “What about Harold?”
Rush knew his mother was wondering about whether or not he and Harold were
moving to New York together, as a couple. Rush had been with Harold since he was a
freshman in college and he’d never dated anyone else. “I haven’t told Harold about this
Part of the reason he wanted to move to New York was Harold. But he didn’t
mention this to his mother or his aunt.
His mother frowned and gave his aunt a look. She said, “I suggest you tell him as
soon as possible.” “We’re going to the movies tonight,” Rush said. “I was planning to tell him
afterwards.” He released his mother’s hands and stood up. He squared his shoulders and
asked, “So you’re okay with this?”
His mother shrugged and lifted the knitting needles. As she poked the tip of one
needle into a loop of red yarn, she smiled and said, “If this is what you want to do, I’m
fine with it. And you’re not moving to the end of the world. You’re only moving to New
York. We’ll be just fine here in Connecticut.”
* * * *
Later that night, while Rush and Harold were leaving the movie theater, Rush told
Harold about his plans to move to New York. The theater had been empty and the few
people that had been there were bundled up and trotting toward their cars to get out of the
cold. Rush’s voice was low and soft and he spoke without a hint of concern. He made his
announcement while they were crossing the snowy parking lot to Harold’s car. Harold
was still talking about the movie.
Harold stopped walking; he faced Rush and furrowed his eyebrows. “You’re
doing what?” he asked. He lifted his head and his strong, patrician chin jutted out.
Rush took a deep breath and stared down at his shoes. In the years they had been
together, Harold had always been the one who took control, in a very passive-aggressive
way. He’d practically planned every moment of their lives, and Rush had let him do it.
“I’m moving to New York in a couple of weeks,” Rush repeated. “I have a new job with
an entertainment law firm that represents celebrities and I’ll probably sublet an apartment
in Chelsea.” “Have I done something wrong?” Harold asked. His hands were still in his
pockets and he looked directly into Rush’s eyes. But he was reacting like a scorned
employer when his best worker quits, not like a jilted lover. He had a tendency to think
everything that happened between them revolved around him.
“It’s not about you, Harold,” Rush said. “It’s me. I’m restless. And you know I’ve
always talked about moving to New York.”
There had been many times he’d mentioned how much he wanted to leave New
England and move to New York. But Harold was a dentist, and he worked in his father’s
established dental practice in New Haven. Whenever Rush suggested that Harold could
start his own practice in New York, Harold acted as if he’d lost his mind. There was no
way Harold was giving up a successful position to start all over again in New York City.
He told Rush they could visit New York any time Rush wanted. But they weren’t moving
there full time.
“I know you’ve mentioned it,” Harold said. “But I never thought you were serious
about it. After all, we can go to New York whenever we want. We’re not living in
This was part of the problem. Harold liked being a small-town boy, and he never
seemed to take Rush’s ambition seriously. But Rush didn’t want to argue. “Don’t be mad,
Harold. This isn’t about you. It’s about me. I need to do this. If I don’t, I think I’ll
suffocate here. There are times I wake up in the morning to face another day and I
honestly don’t think I can breathe.” Harold removed his hands from his pockets and took a step forward. He put his
arm around Rush and said, “Let’s get in the car.” Then he lowered his head and nibbled
on Rush’s earlobe. “I know how to make you feel better.”
This was another part of the problem. Harold was extremely good looking. He
stood over six feet tall, he had the defined, muscular body of a professional athlete from
competing in triathlons, and he had droopy steel-blue eyes. His hair was sandy blond and
his face looked as if it had been chiseled out of stone. Though Rush and Harold were two
very different people who wanted very different things in life, there was a sexual
connection between them that went beyond all sense of reason.
Rush pulled away from Harold and said, “I think we should both just go home and
talk about this tomorrow. My mind is made up. I’m moving to New York. I have to do
He wasn’t officially breaking up with Harold that night. And he wasn’t moving to
New York to meet new men. His restlessness went much deeper than that. But he wasn’t
sure that having sex with Harold that night was a good idea.
Harold raised an eyebrow and smiled, then reached for the back of Rush’s head,
in the middle of the snow-covered parking lot, and kissed him on the mouth. When he
finally removed his tongue from Rush’s mouth, he said, “Let’s get into the car. We
haven’t fooled around inside the car in a long time.”
Rush was ready to take another step back. But when Harold reached down and
placed his strong hand on the small of his back, he leaned into the left side of Harold’s
strong body and followed him to the car. The best part about being with conservative, dependable Harold was that they were both adamantly monogamous, there was no need
for condoms, and it was safe and familiar.
When they reached the car and Harold clicked the locks, Harold opened the back
door instead of the front door and practically shoved Rush into the back seat. Harold
drove a large black Yukon; the back seat was spacious and all the windows were tinted
with dark film. If anyone had been walking around in the empty parking lot, they
wouldn’t have been able to see anything happening in the back seat.
Harold followed him into the back seat and pulled off his coat. He leaned forward
and switched on the engine to get the car warm. When he sat back, he grabbed Rush’s
coat, unzipped it, and pulled it off his body. Rush’s pants were already tight and his
erection pointed up so far it reached the waistband. Even if having sex with Harold that
night was a mistake, things had already gone too far to end it.
While they removed their clothes, they kissed and groped each other. Rush had
trouble catching his breath; he closed his eyes and moaned when Harold squeezed his
chest. Harold was a weightlifter, and there were rough calluses on the palms of his hands