Hairstylist Aaron Turner doesn’t consider himself overweight; just under height. As stylish as he is outgoing, he brings a Carrie Bradshaw like wardrobe in extra large and a fierce attitude to this adventure on the high seas, not knowing that a killer has come along for the week long cruise as well.
Friends Aaron Turner and Phillip Baxter have not yet settled in when the bodies begin piling up. The best pals begin to think the passengers of the Titanic booked better tickets when they find themselves linked to the dead bodies. Becoming suspects, they must clear their names before the ship returns to Fort Lauderdale. Without a weapon, Aaron is left with only his wit to try and capture a killer before he becomes part of the body count.
Luckily, his tongue is as sharp as his styling razor, so he is up to the task with flair and bravado!
“Southern Dawn. Sounds like a drag queen from Memphis,” Aaron Turner said while looking up at the huge ship. His friend Phillip Baxter did not reply. “Swimming pools, luxury spa, two dining rooms, three bars all spread over twelve decks,” the stout man adjusted a pair of vintage Chanel sunglasses perched on the end of his round nose. The cruise they were embarking on had been planned by Phillip as a holiday surprise for him and his now ex, a muscular young beauty who in the course of their relationship had done more tricks than Criss Angel. Phillip was going to cancel the cruise but Aaron, his best friend and one of Seattle’s leading hairstylists, begged, threatened, whined and cajoled until they found themselves on the gangway that bright February morning.
“You haven’t been on a vacation in six years and have already paid, so take me! It’ll be fun. If you don’t go now, when? Are you gonna wait until Streisand goes back to Broadway or the Pope begins performing gay weddings?”
With friends like Aaron, you did not need enemies. Aggression worked well for him. Like Tallulah Bankhead, he was the kind of guy who had “slept with men, women and the odd piece of furniture.” The hairstylist was on vacation and nothing short of a Lusitania style tragedy was going to stop him from cramming fun into every second. Men equaled fun so he wanted to get the lay of the land as soon as possible.
Humming, Aaron left the spacious cabin, moving down the long narrow corridor smiling and saying, “Hello darling!” to everyone he met, one of his standard greetings. His smile widened with each step as he ogled his fellow passengers.
This time out the great ship was not going to be filled with honeymooners, retirees or fish belly white business people looking for midwinter fun and sun. Southern Dawn had been chartered by a gay cruise company and was packed stem to stern with gay men of all vanilla, leather, twink, drag, bear and gymbot persuasion. The voyage would also include a sprinkling of female friends and lesbians who liked to party with their boys.
Going down a wide set of stairs Aaron turned down another long corridor, happily pushing his way through the crowds of men going in and out of cabin doorways. Near the end of the long hallway, Aaron could not help but stop next to the partially open door of a balcony view cabin. A young shirtless blond was sprawled in one of the club chairs, head back, rosebud shaped lips slightly parted. His radiant beauty caught Aaron’s breath. Stepping closer to the doorway, the hairstylist looked in for a moment before clearing his throat.
Aaron broke men into three categories: those who were convinced they would always be in long term relationships; those who thought Mr. Right was never to be found; and those in his favorite category who knew how to flirt and enjoyed the buffet of men that life offered. Aaron could have sex, a date and be engaged with a series of different guys all in the space of one evening out. The popular stylist felt that, like soda and abs, boys should be six packed. Getting no response from the young man in the chair, Aaron stretched out a hand and tapped on the open door.
“Helllooo,” he called a bit louder and getting no reply, he stepped into the sunlit cabin. While he and Phillip had flown all night from Seattle, this kid must have come in on a high from Maui Wowie from the way he was zonked out. Reaching over to stroke a hand onto the bare, tan skin of the young man’s muscular shoulder, Aaron smiled, then recoiled his fingers.
The sun bronzed flesh was cold to his touch. Stepping in between the wide spread legs of the young blonde, Aaron chanced a further peek over into his face to find a pair of bright blue eyes open and staring back at him blankly.