And don't you just adore the cover? OMG, beautiful!
Mario Dagosta has just broken up with his high school sweetheart and hasn’t dated since. Downtrodden and not able to cope, he spends many of his days at home. A very eclectic young man who prefers Tom Clancy to gay or m/m romances.
Cooper Delaney is a retired general who watched his forty something lover walk out on him. Always upbeat and confident, he knows he will find someone suitable to be his man.
Mario has it bad for the mature man and wants more but will he be deterred by the mocking from his best friends about his choice for a mate?
After grabbing the quick bite, they headed to the bookstore. Immediately, he took the quick turn to go to the military fiction section while Lonny went to the magazines.
He took a quick look at his cell phone and perused the titles from left to right. Mario loved books the old school way; print books instead of the digital versions. He liked the feel of a novel in his hand but he did own a device to read other things like gay fiction and or erotica on public transportation. People stares weren’t something he wanted to endure.
“Oh, there it is.” Finally, he found the book he’d been searching for and picked it up to read the back cover. Mario took a glance to the right before shifting back to ogle the book when he noticed a handsome gentleman standing at the end of the aisle.
“Hmm.” He smiled and licked his lips. His target: a middle aged guy with nicely toned arms and a tight blue polo atop loose fitting jeans. His hair salt and pepper color was definitely a draw and from the side view he looked to have a well defined face.
Mario always preferred older men who were mature and experienced. Because he and Jaz were together for so long, he never got the chance to date one. Maybe he’d try it out now. He wondered what this man’s story was.
Could he be married? Single? They were too far away from each other to tell if he had a ring on his hand. More importantly, is he gay?
Mario decided to get a closer look.
Casually, he strolled over and pretended to notice another book. He stole another glance and peered at his facial features.
Blue eyes from what he could tell, a narrow nose, barely a wrinkle on his face and no ring.
Again, Mario grinned and stared while he thought about what to say to him. He decided to give it a shot. “Hey, um, is that the new Clancy in your hand?”
The man looked up and smiled. “Yes, it is. You read Tom?”
“Yeah, I do. I loved Dead or Alive. Actually, I’ve read all his books.”
“Really?” The gentleman nodded and turned completely around to face him. “Forgive me but you don’t look like one who’d be interested in Clancy.”
“Oh? What do I look like, then?” Mario folded his arms.
“Not sure but.” He laughed and flashed a smile that could light up a small community. “Here I go again putting my foot in my mouth. I’m Cooper.” The gentleman extended his hand.
Mario didn’t really take offense his statement only raised an eyebrow. At least the guy admitted he might’ve made a quick assumption. “I’m Mario. I do read other things too but I enjoy books like this more than others.”
“As you should,” he replied sheepishly. “I’ve been looking forward to reading this new one for a while. The man writes great stories. They’re so real it seems like he actually took part in the situations he creates. I can appreciate that being a former military officer.”
The young man perked up when he heard Cooper’s last words. “You served in the armed forces?”
“Yep, Major General Cooper Delaney. I’ve been retired since 1996. I fought in Kuwait during Desert Storm.”
“Wow, seriously?” Mario’s eyes bulged. He gripped onto the small book a little tighter. A real life war hero right in front of him. A good looking one too, but is he? “That’s great. I can’t believe I’m actually standing with a war vet. I’ve always been interested in the military just never had the balls to join.”
“Eh, you didn’t really miss anything. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything but the way the armed forces has treated gays and lesbians over the years it hasn’t been fair.”
Oh thank God!
Mario licked his lips and said a silent prayer, thanking the entities above that the man brought up sexual orientation. “Very true, so you are…”
“Oh yeah. I got out right before they could kick me out,” he laughed. “It’s funny, overseas a lot of soldiers had no issues with us, you know? In fact, a lot of the straight ones wanted to join in just to say they’d done it but once we got back on American soil they turned on us. Thank goodness a lot of them still had enough respect to keep their mouths shut or I could’ve lost everything under DADT.”
“So true. Hey um, could we talk sometime, maybe go out for dinner?” Mario wanted to know more about this man. Surely Cooper would have plenty of stories to tell. “I don’t mean to rush but I gotta get back to work.”
“Sure, let’s exchange phone numbers.” Cooper handed Mario his cell.
Mario punched in his digits. “So, how about we chat tonight then go out tomorrow evening. Is that cool?”
“I’d love that.” The grey haired man smiled. “Easy enough number to remember.” He pressed the green button.
Mario’s phone rang. “Perfect. Say around seven?”
Cooper nodded and shook his free hand. “Yes, that’s fine. I look forward to talkingg with you.”
“Same here. Well, lemme get outta here.” Mario looked around and noticed Lonny giving him the strange eye.
“Okay, talk with you later.” Cooper walked away.
Mario studied the man’s features from behind and loved what he saw. Seconds later, he jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
He turned to look at his friend. “Whatd’ya mean? He’s gorgeous, a former vet.”
“Vietnam,” he laughed.
“No, Desert Storm and he’s hot. You know I’ve always liked older men.”
“Dude, you were surrounded by pretty young thangs around your age last night. They weren’t old enough to be your dad.”
“Shaddup!” He smacked Lonnie on the back. “Let’s get outta here. I gotta get back so Martha can take lunch.”
Lonny turned around and they headed for the counter.
Mario grinned to himself as he thought of his new friend. Cooper was such a handsome man and damn, a person he could talk to about his fascination with the military first hand. Someone who had lived it and that in itself was quite a turn on.