In honor of Gay Day (at Ethan Day's yahoogroup) I am giving away a copy of my book "Love on the East End" To enter please leave a comment with your name and e mail addy. I'll be awarding the winner probably this evening or Mon at the latest
Love On the East End
Gabriel Meyers looked at the empty dining room of his brand new restaurant. He'd
just opened the doors two weeks ago and already the place was packed every
While he loved the hustle and bustle of the lunch and dinnertime crowd, he
appreciated the quiet the morning hours afforded him. He used the time to do all
the paperwork and phone calls, which were a part of running a place like Maven.
"Gabriel, we have a problem with the wine order." Pierre came running into the
room to inform him. He was the restaurant's sommelier, and Gabriel met him at
the culinary school in Paris. He was studying to be a chef and when he decided
to open his own place Pierre was one of the first friends he told.
"Oh what now?" It always seemed to be something, you'd think having your own
place on the north fork of the east end of Long Island in the middle of wine
country would mean having an endless supply of wine. Sadly, it wasn't the case.
Sometimes they had special clients that wanted certain things the restaurant
didn't always have on hand. Like now they were looking for a special vintage of
Riesling to go with the duck being served at a fiftieth wedding anniversary
celebration, which was happening this weekend.
"The Pindar Winery won't have any ready for about three weeks."
"Have you tried the other wineries?"
"I tried the Rolling Hills winery, they said they'd give us a call back."
"We can't sit on our hands on this, we need that wine. I'll call them again to
see if I can make any headway. Thanks Pierre."
Gabriel heard the phone ringing and ran back to the office to pick it up. He
wished he'd looked at the caller ID before he answered.
His stomach tied up in knots when he heard the dulcet tones of his ex-wife on
the other end.
"Willow," he said through clenched teeth. "What can I do for you?" He wished
more times then he could count that he and the blonde with the blue eyes and
movie star body had never crossed paths.
"Gabe, you don't sound very happy to hear from me."
Truth be told he wasn't. Their marriage was the biggest mistake of his life.
They'd met in New York City, she was acting at a theater club and he was waiting
tables. They started off as friends, hanging out with friends and family. Then
ended up getting married.
Gabriel knew they had rushed into something that was never meant to be. He did
love Willow, but he was never in love with her. He was gay; it took him a long
time for him to admit it to himself, let alone to Willow. He finally told her
two years after they'd said `I do.' She was stunned at first, then she told him
she had a feeling something was different about him, but she hadn't been able to
put her finger on it.
They got a divorce, their story made the rounds with the tabloids. Fortunately
he was able to hide his secret of being gay, he was only too glad they left him
alone and glommed onto her.
When one reporter intimated they'd split because Gabriel was gay, he asked an
old friend from school if he could hang out with her to make it look like they
were dating. She was only too happy to help him throw them off the scent, even
going so far as to make sure they were seen in public, holding hands and walking
the streets of Brooklyn having brunch at a restaurant one Sunday morning.
"Willow, I'm kinda busy, what can I do for you?"
"Is that any way to talk to your ex-wife?"
He cringed when she said ex-wife, their divorce hadn't been as clean a break as
he would have liked. She got nasty when he asked for the house on Long Island.
She had several properties; she barely spent any time there. Her favorite spot
was a condo on the upper east side of Manhattan.
"Well, I'm having a party to honor Chuck Scarborough, you remember my agent?
He's celebrating thirty years in the business and I wanted to do something
special. He has a home not far from your restaurant and I want to rent out the
back deck and hire a DJ and just do it up big."
"How big?" Despite how their marriage ended, Gabriel knew Willow could bring him
a lot of big business with all the big wigs in the music and entertainment
industry she could connect him with.
"About one hundred."
"When?" Maven could easily handle that many people.
"Weekend after next."
It was spring and the weather was getting nice enough so they could start using
the deck outside. The restaurant faced Long Island Sound and on a clear day you
could see Connecticut.
"How about I put you in touch with Annie, our party planner? She can iron out
all the details. I don't see any problem having the party here."
"Thanks, Gabe, I knew you wouldn't let me down."
"Sure thing. Thanks for thinking of Maven for your party." They hung up. He'd
let Annie know about the party later, right now he had some Riesling to wrangle
William Thomas loved wine; there wasn't anything he didn't know about it. His
interest started when he took a trip to France and toured the wine country and
it was like he finally found what he wanted to do with his life there in the
middle of vineyard. When he got back home he did everything necessary to begin
his journey from a beginner everyone in the industry scoffed at to a
well-respected wine maker. Even his family, who were not thrilled with his
decision to go into the winemaking business, became his biggest supporters.
Rolling Hills winery was the result of all the blood, sweat and tears.
William loved opening up the winery to tourists and often joined them in the
wine tasting room.
Women came on to him all the time, he enjoyed the flirting. But that was all it
was ever going to be. He wondered what these same women would think if they
could see him dancing on the dance floors at one the gay bars on Fire Island.
He'd never had a serious relationship, content for years to play the field until
he hit the big three-O six months ago. Now he was looking for that special
person, but it sure wasn't easy to find him. He decided if it was meant to
happen it would happen.
Gabriel turned down the long linden-lined drive. He parked in front of the
quaint, Tudor style house at the end. He got out of the car, walked over to the
fencing and looked at the rows of grape vines that went on towards the Sound.
There was just something about being out in the open air that made him feel so
"Like what you see?" A deep, sexy voice startled him out of his reverie.
"Oh geeze, you startled me." Gabriel put his hand over his beating heart, which
beat even faster when he got a good look at the curly blond haired man that had
snuck up behind him.
"Sorry," the blond stuck out his hand. "I'm William Thomas, owner of Rolling
Gabriel grasped the proffered hand and gave it a squeeze. "I'm Gabriel Meyers. I
own Maven. I called about getting four cases of Riesling."
"Ah yes my partner Steve told me you'd called."
Gabriel didn't know why hearing the word `partner' bothered him, he'd just met
William a moment ago and yet it felt like Cupid's arrow had pierced him in the
"I had them set aside for you. They're in the barrel room. How about I give you
a tour of the place? I mean if you have the time." William flashed his pearly
whites at him and Gabriel couldn't resist the opportunity to spend more time
with the tall blond.
William must have been about six-one or six-two. He didn't tower over Gabriel's
own height of six feet, but he still had to crane his head just a little to meet
the chocolate brown gaze.
"I have plenty of time, the restaurant doesn't open until noon."
"Well, then, let me give you the grand tour." William led him to one of the
pickup trucks parked next to the house. They took a drive around the vineyard.
William explained the different varieties of grapes they grew and what kinds of
wine were produced from them. He even got a chance to watch one of the grape
picking machines at work, carefully picking the fruit off the vine and
separating out the stems.
"I can tell you, Gabriel, that is one expensive piece of machinery. Had to get
it imported from Italy."
"Really? Wow!" Gabriel was very impressed. He knew about wines, after all you
can't live in Paris like he had and study culinary arts and not learn about
them. He wasn't an expert like Pierre, but he knew enough to know how to pair
them with food and not embarrass himself.
As far as the growing end, he knew little but he sure was getting an education
"Has this winery been in your family for long?" The wineries on Long Island had
started up about thirty-six years ago. No comparison to the centuries old
vineyards in Europe but they still had made their mark in the wine making
William laughed. "No I'm the only one in my family interested in wine. My father
is a lawyer and my mom is a fashion designer. My older brother is a
screenwriter. He `s worked on a few movies, and he lives out in LA."
"What made you decide to go into the wine industry?"
"I was going to school in northern California and my friends wanted to spend
spring break in Napa Valley. I just fell in love with wines and wanted to learn
the business. I came back to Long Island and started my own winery. Rolling
Hills is the result. We're celebrating our tenth year."
"Congratulations! Your family must be proud."
"Thank. Well I can't say they were thrilled, but they saw the passion I have and
they've been very supportive."
They parked next to the house and William took him to the barrel room. One of
the workers took the cases of Riesling and put the in Gabriel's car.
"Do you want to stick around for lunch?" William offered his new friend.
Just then Gabriel's cell phone went off.
"Hello?" Gabriel walked a few feet away from the other man. "What! No I know I
placed that order a week ago, what do you mean they don't have a record of the
order?' He paused. "Shit, I'll be there in a few minutes." He shut the flip
phone closed. "Damn."
"Yeah, I had a champagne order that was supposed to be delivered this morning
and they have no record of it. I need it for an engagement party tonight."
"I think I can help you out there, just hang out here for a bit." After Gabriel
told him he needed some Dom Perignon, William went inside the house. He returned
a few minutes later with a smile on his face. "It's done, I got you the
champagne you needed. It should be delivered to the restaurant in about an
"How did you manage that?" Gabriel was surprised.
"I know plenty of people around here. There's a place on the south fork that
carries some wonderful champagne. I got you a case. Unless you wanted more?"
"No, a case is fine. I can't thank you enough for helping me."
"Forget it, I was glad to help."
Gabriel slid into the driver's seat of his car and started the engine. "Hey how
about coming to our wine tasting event? We're having it on Friday night at seven
"Sure, sounds like fun. I'll bring a good vintage from our special collection."
"You can bring your partner if you want too." Gabriel took off without waiting
for an answer from William. Truth be told he didn't want him to bring anyone
else, let alone his partner. But it wouldn't have been polite to invite him
without his lover.
`Why are the good ones always straight or taken?' He asked himself as he drove,
with a heavy heart, back to Maven.