Title: Lying Eyes
Author: Robert Winter
Publisher: Robert Winter Books (self-published)
Release Date: July 7, 2017
Genre: Romance, Mystery, BDSM
This bartender’s art lies in more than mixing drinks …
Randy Vaughan is a six-foot-three mass of mysteries to his customers and his friends. Why does a former Secret Service agent now own Mata Hari, a successful piano bar? Where did a muscle daddy get his passion for collecting fine art? If he’s as much a loner as his friends believe, why does he crave weekly sessions at an exclusive leather club?
Randy’s carefully private life unravels when Jack Fraser, a handsome art historian from England, walks into his bar, anxious to get his hands on a painting Randy owns. The desperation Randy glimpses in whiskey-colored eyes draws him in, as does the desire to submit that he senses beneath Jack’s elegant, driven exterior.
While wrestling with his attraction to Jack, Randy has to deal with a homeless teenager, a break-in at Mata Hari, and Jack’s relentless pursuit of the painting called Sunrise. It becomes clear someone’s lying to Randy. Unless he can figure out who and why, he may miss his chance at the love he’s dreamed about in the hidden places of his heart.
Note: Lying Eyes is a standalone gay romance novel with consensual bondage and a strong happy ending. It contains potential spoilers for Robert Winter’s prior novel, Every Breath You Take.
On Sunday Randy puttered around his house in the Maywood section of Arlington, Virginia, handling the chores he tended to ignore during the week. He stuffed too much laundry in the washer and had to stop what he was doing to mop up suds that spilled over. Clothes left in the dryer the previous week were wrinkled, and even when he cycled them through again with a wet washcloth, everything still ended up looking like shit. Disgusted, he abandoned housework and took himself off to the gym.
As Randy hefted the barbell for his bench presses, he wondered if he’d see Fraser again. The man obviously had something going on in connection with Randy’s painting that was deeply important to him. Not that Randy would give in, but he didn’t mind the prospect of admiring those expressive brown eyes again.
He breathed rhythmically as he pressed the bar—loaded to two hundred and forty-five pounds—through his warm-up set and wondered what it would be like to paint Fraser. He racked the bar and added another twenty pounds as he thought about the portrait he might attempt.
It would have to be a nude, he realized. Fraser reclining on a sofa, maybe, with one knee raised to hide his genitals and leave some mystery. Holding something back. A secret known only to him. In the imagined canvas, Fraser would probably be peering over the artist’s shoulder so those remarkable eyes would be in clear view.
By the time Randy finished his chest presses, he had a fairly clear image in mind of the painting he’d like to attempt. Only when he was putting away the metal plates did he remember that Jack Fraser was an asshole and Randy certainly wouldn’t be sitting down to sketch him in any case, let alone nude. A small pang of regret made him wince.
When Randy returned to his bungalow after his workout, though, he decided to do some digging for himself. Maybe see if he could understand Fraser’s angle, or his interest in the unsigned painting. He’d take the letter to the bar, and if there was any time before opening, he’d noodle around a bit on the internet. Instead of going right into the house he veered toward the garage at the end of his driveway that he’d converted into a studio; his pickup wouldn’t fit in it anyway.
The door was unlocked, which wasn’t that surprising since he sometimes crawled out of his studio exhausted and forgetful. He recalled tossing the letter on his workbench the Tuesday night he’d read it in the bar and then ended up sketching in his studio until early in the morning. It wasn’t there now, though. He moved some things around, lifted a few sketch pads and a stray art book on post-impressionists, but he couldn’t find the letter.
Oh well, he’d probably thrown it away. The bitch of turning fifty-one was that his memory wasn’t what it used to be. That and all the extra work he had to do in order to keep his belly flat.
Robert Winter lives and writes in Provincetown. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.
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