Imago

By: N. R. Walker

BLURB


Nerdy, introverted genius lepidopterist, Lawson Gale, is an expert on butterflies. He finds himself in a small town in Tasmania on a quest from an old professor to find an elusive species that may or may not even exist.

Local Parks and Wildlife officer, Jack Brighton, is an ordinary guy who loves his life in the sleepy town of Scottsdale. Along with his Border collie dog, Rosemary, his job, and good friends, he has enough to keep from being lonely.

But then he meets Lawson, and he knows he’s met someone special. There’s more to catching butterflies, Jack realises. Sometimes the most elusive creatures wear bow ties, and sometimes they can’t be caught at all.

Lawson soon learns there are butterflies he can’t learn about it in books. They exist only in a touch, in a kiss, in a smile. He just has to let go first, so these butterflies can fly.

Imago is the story of finding love, bow ties, and butterflies.






Dedication



To the folks who watch butterflies, and wonder…





CHAPTER ONE


Jack Brighton



The flight from Melbourne to Launceston was usually uneventful. A quick hour across the Tasman Sea, away from the rat race of city life, back to my home state of Tasmania where the air was clean and the people still said hello.

I’d attended a week-long national meeting for regional managers of the Parks and Wildlife Services. I had the best job in the world, and meetings like that―while good to keep up to date on news and trends―reminded me that my place was in wide open spaces and the great outdoors.

I didn’t go much on Melbourne. The nightlife was better for a man such as myself than it was in my hometown, though this trip had been uneventful on that front too. I had to say, being a twenty-eight-year-old gay man in a small country town in the northeast corner of Tasmania, my options were limited. And when I said limited, I meant zero.

I went out every night I was visiting Melbourne, and there were guys interested in one-nighters, but I was done with that. The instant gratification was all good and well, but I would leave with a hollow, detached feeling that never quite went away. I’d hoped to find someone I could connect with, hook up with when we could, talk on the phone, video chat during the week type of thing. But there was not one guy who sparked my interest. I wasn’t too happy to have come up empty handed either.

Empty handed was the only thing my sex life wasn’t.

I snorted at my lame joke, and only then I realised the guy taking his seat across the aisle from me thought I was snorting at him. He gave me a rather dirty look and quickly turned his head and sniffed. I contemplated telling him I wasn’t laughing at him, but then he was busy telling the flight attendant to be careful with his carry-on. He was late boarding the plane and he looked flustered enough without me adding to his troubles.

I was soon enjoying the feeling of taking off and heading home, and the guy across from me quickly had his laptop out and was typing away furiously, so I let my head fall back against the headrest and closed my eyes.

After we’d landed in Launceston, I stood up and went to collect my bag from the overhead cabin and accidentally backed into the person behind me. I’m six foot two and kinda broad shouldered, not exactly built for confined spaces.

“Oh, sorry,” I quickly apologised, and upon turning around, saw it was the flustered guy from before who thought I’d laughed at him. I offered him a smile. “Not much room for guys my size.”

He looked up at me like a rabbit in a spotlight, blinked several times, blushed a deep scarlet from his cheeks right down his neck, and desperately set about shoving his laptop away, all while muttering what sounded like an apology with his head down.

Well, that was an interesting reaction. One that had my attention, that’s for sure.

I took a moment to look him over. He was maybe five ten, thin build, with short brown hair parted on the side and combed to perfection. He had pale skin, the pinkest lips I’d ever seen on a guy, without lip gloss anyway. Which I wasn’t exactly opposed to, just so you know. But this guy was wearing a chambray business-style shirt with a navy bow tie.

A goddamn bow tie.

If I were to look up Hottest Fucking Nerd On The Planet, this guy’s photo would be it.