Entry Nickname: Lavender Marriage
Title: The Well-Adjusted Household
Word Count: 87,000
Genre: Adult Upmarket Fiction
Ben has been called a lot of things: doctor, husband, father, deviant, liar. His wife Alena calls him friend and her brother Iain calls him lover.
They live in Prohibition-era Pittsburgh and booze isn't the only thing that's illegal. Homosexuality is a felony and Ben and Iain don't care to spend the next ten years behind bars. Luckily, their sham marriages to Alena and her paramour Margaux are the perfect cover.
In public, they are the wealthy and powerful Blackburn family, heirs to a steel fortune. But behind closed doors, they are an improvised household of artificially conceived children and secret passageways between bedrooms. Everything is orchestrated. Nothing is as it seems.
When a conniving maid discovers their secret, Iain and Ben are arrested on charges of sodomy and homosexual behavior. The men and their constructed family are put on trial and it is up to their wives to convince the world of their “innocence.”
With an unjust law and an unsympathetic jury, they are well-aware that the truth will not set them free.
First 250 Words:
“On your right!”
The bicycle appeared from around the corner while Ben was lost in thoughts of covalent bonds and chemical reactions. There was no time to avoid impact. His chemistry beakers hit the pavement first, followed by his face.
“Jesus Christ, I've killed him. Hello? Can you hear me?”
As Ben regained consciousness, he assessed his injuries. Pain, but no broken bones. He rolled to his back. “Left. You were on my left.”
“Pardon?” The offending cyclist hovered over him, surveying the damage. “Goodness. You're bleeding.”
Ben sat up slowly, his ears ringing and his vision blurry. He poked at his cheek where a shard of beaker glass had lodged. “Blast.”
“Here, let me help you.” The young man grabbed Ben's arm and pulled him to his feet. “I do apologize. I've never run over anyone before.”
Ben wobbled slightly, adjusting the spectacles still somehow perched on his nose. “I find that hard to believe.”
“My apartment is just there,” he offered, disregarding Ben's comment and pointing to a building across the street. “Would you care to come up? Use the washroom? That gash is quite a sight.” The young man leaned in closer, inspecting the wound.
“I, um, don't think–” Ben suddenly noticed that his assailant was beautiful and smelled like Eau de Quinine.
“Please. It's the least I can do,” he laughed, gesturing to the mess of papers and glass at their feet.
“I insist.” He offered his hand. “I'm Iain, by the way.”