Shadow of Self
Daniel Self, former hero of his college football team, is handsome, smart, compassionate, and loved by many, but for very different reasons. The former head cheerleader, beautiful Jenna Samms, wants Daniel as a temporary charm on her bracelet of life, but she has no idea he has a secret desire that she can never satisfy. He leaves one night, giving little information about his destination. Dunnelly Knight hides his feelings for Daniel, becoming a popular newscaster and partnering with a powerful and wealthy businessman in Dallas. A shy and tortured soul, Jamie Barnes is a night club performer with gender identity issues, making his twisted journey forward and giving himself to wealthy clients for money. He thinks of Daniel often, as he was the man who awakened him to what he wanted most.
When one of them is murdered, questions and accusations are raised, but few answers surface.
And then, Daniel returns.
The MASQUERADE was the hottest show bar in Texas, and it was there that Jamie Barnes from Willow, Texas found his true calling. The drag shows were always followed by male strippers, and on weekends lines waited at the door for entry. Jamie headed to the makeshift mirror and makeup table of the cramped dressing room behind the stage. “I thought it went well. I was feeling the love for that drag from New Orleans. She should come back again.”
“Yeah, the audience loved her, but what was with that arch of the back on her last song. I thought she might be trying to limbo under the rainbow,” Lauren, formerly Larry, cattily laughed.
“Don’t be bitter because the audience loved her,” Jamie snickered.
“Okay, I’m not trying to get into your business, but you’ve had the picture of that hunk in the football uniform stuck on your mirror since we’ve been with this club. Who is he? Is he some mystery man from your past?”
Jamie’s expression darkened. “Don’t go there, okay, his name is Daniel, and that’s all you need to know.”
Jamie looked into the mirror as he wiped off the makeup. He watched his gender change and the reflection of one Jamie became another looking back at him. He looked up at Daniel’s picture and set the hairbrush on the table.
Denton was a bit of a spoiled narcissist who went for what he wanted and felt entitled to have it. Dunnelly knew from the beginning that he and Denton had very different values. Dunnelly thrived on work and career as Denton went through the motions of working at an oil company downtown, a job snagged through connections of his father. It was a clash of values they both tried to work through, but the sex and passion was the glue that held them together.
“Okay Denton,” Dunnelly shouted into the open door of the den. “Do you think you could at least pick up after yourself?”
Denton looked up from the computer with the same glazed look in his eyes that was the giveaway that he had already had a few too many beers. “Whoa… go easy on me, handsome. I’ve had a long day myself,” he smiled with his usual sarcasm.
“Denton, you know the cleaning service only comes in once a week, and they don’t seem to be doing a very good job. It was your idea to hire a cleaning service with handsome guys that clean in the nude, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that they do the job they’re hired to do, with or without clothes! Could it be you who is getting all the service rather than the house?”
Denton followed behind Dunnelly as he turned to leave the room. “Hey, maybe you just need a little loving to get you out of that bad mood,” he said softly as he kissed Dunnelly’s neck.
The howling north wind outside the bedroom window woke him from a deep sleep the following morning. He could hear the gentle rise and fall of Denton’s breathing as he lay asleep beside him. He switched on the downstairs TV as he headed into the kitchen to make coffee. He poured his first cup of the day and headed for the computer in the den. He took out his laptop and set it on the edge of the desk, but he noticed the desktop was flashing signals of unopened mail. Denton must have failed to sign out of his mail account. Dunnelly prompted the sleeping screen to sign him out, but couldn’t help but notice that he had six new mails. He noticed that all them were from the same she-male site sent to the in box of BIG TEX.
BIG TEX may have been a tongue in cheek clichéd euphemism but it was all too familiar to Dunnelly. That was how Denton had signed off on all his e-mails to him when they first got together. Hmmm…let me see what has been keeping you busy in your off hours, Dunnelly thought as he went to the first e-mail and clicked open. ‘D… you’re still feeling it, I see,’ the first line of the message read. ‘You lasted longer this time, was it because it had been a while or were you just taking your time? Don’t make me wait to see you so long between visits. You know how I want to make you feel. I’m waiting to hear from you. You know where to find me. Yours alone, J/ME!’
Dunnelly logged out of the computer knowing all he needed to know. He didn’t know who J was, and he wasn’t certain he wanted to. Big Tex indeed, he thought, as he shook his head in disbelief. It came as no real surprise, but only validated what he already suspected. He was more disappointed than angry, and the loss of trust hurt more than the infidelity.
“You requested your usual room, 503…is this still acceptable for you?”
“Yes, and it’s always a pleasure to see you at the desk again,” Denton replied as he presented his American Express card.
“The pleasure is indeed mine, sir. “Enjoy your stay, and please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your stay more comfortable.”
Denton picked up his briefcase and headed across the lobby to the bank of elevators.
Jamie Barnes never had to deal with the stigmas that other transgender had to deal with. Her female was nothing contrived and nothing she had to work on. She was small in stature, with no visible Adam’s apple. She didn’t need makeup or an exaggerated gait to be female. The feminine part of her nature was a natural manifestation, and this butterfly was spreading her wings. She was making fast money, and many of the wealthiest men in Dallas waited in line for her services. Some of the men found her on stage and would slip her a fifty or hundred dollar bill, but she never took chances with new clients. She used only the best hotels and she was well known enough that most of her clients were repeat high paying customers. Some played rough, but they all knew her limits and would honor her boundaries. She was good at what she did and there was no better pro in Dallas.
The doorman opened the massive glass door when he saw her approach. “Good evening, ma’am,” he said as she walked through and greeted him with a sly smile.
She tapped on the door of 503 as Denton opened the door. Jamie stepped inside quickly as Denton put the security lock in place.
“Big Tex, you look like you’re ready for me. Well, let’s see if the third eye of Big Tex is ready to see me,” Jamie said as she slid down on her knees.
“Shadow of Self,” a romantic suspense/murder mystery by David Edmondson, is available from B&N, Amazon, All Romance ebooks, Kobo, Google Books, Apple, and Coffeetime Romance. Also available in print from Amazon. Our website is http://www.beautobeau.com.strong>
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