Poisoned Ivy

Poisoned Ivy

Scot D. Ryersson

Vintage

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 Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, Autumn 1916. Crale, the ambitious Senator’s son, Wynter, the talented artist and Marrok, the football prodigy. Their paths cross in strange and unexpected ways in Poisoned Ivy, the first book in the Vintage series published by Bristlecone Pine Press. Inspired by antique pictures and photographs, Vintage books celebrate historic same-sex male love stories told in unique and creative ways. Poisoned Ivy by Scot D. Ryersson is full of haunting shadows and mysterious goings-on, set against the background of the hallowed halls of the Ivy League, its arcane secret societies, the college gridiron, and the artist’s canvas. Green-eyed jealousy, blue-eyed ice, and amber-eyed fire all combine to create a delicious and mischievous tale that will leave you wanting more.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Bristlecone Pine Press
ISBN: 978-1-60722-020-6
PUBLICATION DATE: 2010
WORD COUNT: 23768
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 3 3 3
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Historical, ManLove, Mystery/Suspense, Romantic Fiction
KEYWORDS: gay, historical fiction, Yale, photographs, love story, US, Connecticut
 

EBOOKS BY Bristlecone Pine Press

EBOOKS BY Scot D. Ryersson

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Scot D. Ryersson/2010

Crale stretched himself out of his pose, his recalcitrant muscles in disagreement with his every move. With the last kink loosened up, he inclined and blew out the church candle, then strode over to where his beloved sat.

“I was asking what kind of name Marrok is,” Crale reiterated.

Wynter shrugged. “Never heard it before…why?”

Crale sighed. “Wyn, you really have to get out more often…Marrok, Clay Marrok? I’ve been discussing him all night…”

Wynter shot him an ingenuous smile, one that distinctly read “sorry-haven’t-been-paying-the-slightest-bit-of-attention,” one that would have driven Crale into a fury if it had been directed at him by anyone else except…

…his beloved.

Still, Crale couldn’t help giving his companion a chastising glower. “Clay Marrok, the new quarterback of the Bulldogs? Coach Camp must have taken the team name literally in recruiting him. Have you seen him?”

Wynter shook his head while he sat, replacing the caps on the abundance of paint tubes scattered about, wiping each one clean.

“He looks just like one,” Crale enlightened. “A great, big blond bulldog of a man, like something out of Edward Lear. It’s so ridiculous. I swear his mother must have been a bitch.” The young man pondered a moment. “I wonder what his littermates look like…”

It was Wynter’s turn to glower. “I’m sure you exaggerate…”

Crale’s brows arched. “That’s just it,” he defended, “I’m not! Ask Beckford or Levritt, they’ve seen him, too. Camp must have recruited him from the pound, unless he was running feral in the woods. He’s got eyes just like a wolf. Lombard said he’s got fangs and claws…I bet you he has a tail.”

Wynter’s face and disposition soured. “I’m finding this topic increasingly offensive. I don’t need any reminding of how poorly I was treated my first few months here. Ragged on continually—snowman, snowball, icicle—I’ve heard them all. I still get jibes every time there’s a flake in the air…”

Crale’s temper blazed. “Who?! Tell me!”

Wynter gave a dismissive toss of his head. “And Lombard should talk…the man’s an ostrich. I half expect him to bury his head in the sand the minute one of the professors call on him. His feathers get ruffled at least thirty times a day…and then he’s as broody as a wet hen.”

“Ah, who’s making personal remarks now?” Crale winked, hoping to mollify his beloved’s ire.

Wynter turned back to face his canvas, muttering, “At least I have the civility not to say it to his face.”

Silence.

Both young men’s attention was focused on the painting in front of them. As Wynter gave his efforts a concentrated critical scrutiny, searching for flaws, in Crale’s eyes the picture had none, neither in its execution nor its model. Without the slightest acknowledgment or embarrassment of his conceit, Crale basked in the glory that was captured in pigments, his two-dimensional doppelgänger staring right back at him. Excluding the difference in size, of course, Crale might as well have been looking in a mirror.

Handsome was an inadequate adjective, even his enemies—of which he had many—would have to concur on that. No matter his faults—of which he also had many—no one, friend or foe, could deny that Crale was the epitome of masculine beauty. Even Wynter, who met the world head on with a nit-picking, condemnatory gimlet eye had to admit that his companion was physically picture perfect, pun intended. In fact, he couldn’t have imagined, could not have created, not in pencil, pen, or paint, a more superlative example of the ideal male.

Tall, well-muscled, broad-shouldered, a sculpted chest descending to a trim waist, sturdy legs, corded sinews rippling beneath sun-bronzed skin; a chiseled nose, a high forehead, his auburn hair curling boyishly at his temples. His mouth: beautiful lips, full, but not effeminate, lips that glided over his white teeth and into his easy, ready, and confident smile. Last, opaline eyes that were an exquisite shade of emerald green. Crale put the Apollo Belvedere to shame. And if it had been he who had lived in those ancient times, it would be Crale who would now be considered the paradigm of aesthetic perfection, surpassing even Michelangelo’s David.

And much akin to those also-rans of art history, at that very moment, Crale was just as unclothed. Standing stark naked right behind Wynter, he had trouble suppressing an arrogant curl of his lips when surveying the sublime nudity his beloved had rendered. He noted that his beloved had missed nothing, not the undulating plane of his pectorals, nipples slightly erect, not the hollow of the navel, not the projection of the firm buttocks with its shadowy indent, his sex discreetly hidden, not the curve of a thigh, not the turn of a calf, not the flow of a toe—no, his beloved had missed nothing, and all of it afire, gilded in the light of that candle flame. And to think how he had first balked at his beloved’s demand that he pose when stripped, how he had argued with the insistence that he oil his body before posing, protesting at the length of the showers required to remove the clinging slickness; how he had opposed the lack of light, how he had griped against the request of immobility—all this for a magazine advertisement!

Oh, how stupid he had been.

The master knew better, and he conceded.

After all, what better way could there be to wile away an evening than to be alone—naked and alone—with his beloved, being worshipped, if far afar.

“Well?” Wynter spun in his seat, facing the young man in back of him with expectant eyes. “I mean, it’s only a study, of course, and it’s not finished yet…and then there will be the matter of the clothes…later…”

“It’s magnificent…” Crale found it hard to talk. A sudden and surprising self-consciousness flooded him and he coughed before setting a grin on his face. “Not sure if that’s what Kuppenheimer had in mind for their advert, Wyn. You’re supposed to be selling their suits, not my birthday one.”

Oh, yes, how stupid he had been.

Stupid about the rules set.

Stupid about the time wasted.

Stupid about worrying whether or not his unspoken feelings were reciprocated.

Of course they were…those feelings were right there to see, blatant in the brushstrokes, the soft hairs that caressed his likeness onto canvas would soon be his beloved’s fingers caressing the true flesh, and together…

Soon.

Yes, soon.
 

 
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