The sequel to Amber Allure's Best-Seller VGL Male Seeks Same...
Poor Ethan Schwartz. He's just had the most shocking news a gay man can get--he's been diagnosed HIV positive. Up until today, he thought his life was on a perfect course. He had a job he loved and something else he thought he'd never have: Brian, a new man, one whom Ethan thought of as "the one." The one who would complete him, who would take his life from a lonely existence to a place filled with laughter, hot sex, and romance.
But along with the fateful diagnosis comes another shock--who is this new love? Had Ethan ever really known Brian? And did Brian infect him? As Ethan says, his love history had been more of a haiku than an epic and Brian seems the likely culprit in his newfound diagnosis.
The course of true love never runs smoothly, right? And for Ethan and Brian, their new love, once so bright and shining, now appears tinged with darkness and deceit. Can they face this hurdle together with honesty and forgiveness? Or will this revelation tear them apart?
Ethan turns to creating a blog, Off to See the Wizard of Poz, to help him deal with his diagnosis and love troubles, and what he finds there just may be more hope and support in the world than he once believed. And one of his blog readers just might have the key to Ethan's happily ever after...
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Amber Quill Press, LLC
September 19, 2010
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Excerpt from Neg Ub2 by Rick R. Reed
...A few words, bald and to the point, could start things. Ethan propelled himself forward, in both senses: he walked so he was standing closer to Brian, and willed himself to say the words gathered on the tip of his tongue.
"I forgot your birthday yesterday because I had bad news."
Brian's brow furrowed in concern and he began to reach out for Ethan. "What? What was it?" He was about to wrap his arms around Ethan, but Ethan stepped back just out of his grasp.
Ethan almost relented, seriously considering the prospect of procrastinating, just putting the whole mess off for another day when he saw the hurt expression darkening Brian's feature as he stepped away from him, obviously not wanting to be touched. It was a first for the couple.
But Ethan knew what he must say next and almost without thinking, let the words trip off his tongue. "I went to the doctor yesterday."
Brian's face, if possible, became even more touched by pity and concern. It was breaking Ethan's heart. "Are you okay?"
Ethan looked over Brian's shoulder, toward the kitchen, steeling himself for the words that would come next. "It was a follow-up to my last check-up and--" Ethan bit his lower lip. Say it. Just say it. He let out a rush of air, on the tail end of which was the sentence: "And I found out, much to my surprise, I am HIV positive." He returned his gaze to Brian, who stood stunned, mouth open and staring at him. Now that the words were out, it was a little easier and he continued. "My T-cells are at 380 and my viral load is around 12,000, whatever the hell those numbers mean. I just know they're not good."
Brian shook his head. "Babe, I'm so sorry."
Ethan's anger and hurt kicked in, suddenly, and with the force of a fire bursting into a conflagration. He had never experienced going from confusion and despair to rage so quickly. It was all he could do not to strike Brian, to punch the silly expression of concern stamping his features right off his face. How could you? How could you?
"Yeah," Ethan said, a smile born of ire pulling up the corners of his mouth. "Yeah. You should be sorry. Did you just not tell me for a reason? Did you think maybe those few times we dispensed with a condom we'd just be lucky? Did you just get infected too? Maybe while you were with me?" Ethan spat the last words out, glaring at Brian, his breath quickened.
Brian shook his head. "Ethan, I don't know what you're talking about."
"Oh, please. Don't."
"Can we just sit down and discuss this? Sweetheart, I'm so sorry you've had this news, but it'll be okay. There are treatments--"
"Oh, don't patronize me. Don't try to placate me. And no, I don't want to sit down. I don't want to discuss this." As rapidly as the rage had come, so did the tears. Ethan angrily batted them away, not wanting Brian to see. "I was hoping you'd at least be enough of a human being to tell me the truth. I was hoping you'd at least be a man and own up to the truth."
"Oh, come on, Brian. There's no one else who could have infected me. As the song goes: it had to be you." Ethan almost laughed as he imagined doing his best Harry Connick, Jr. impersonation and singing a few lines from the old standard. But he was afraid if he started laughing, it would turn giddy and breathless, hysterical, and would never end.
Brian shook his head and Ethan noticed his ruddy complexion had faded to ash. "I don't think I am."
"What? What don't you think you are?"
"Positive. If I didn't believe that, I never would have made love to you without protection."
Ethan didn't know what to say. A new, and even more sickening possibility dawned on him: maybe Brian was telling the truth. Maybe he was just as newly infected as Ethan...and that would mean there was someone else. That the fidelity he had counted on and prized was nothing more than a sham, another self-deluding lie he had told himself in his pathetic quest for connection...