Aussie rules football star Shane is having a rough time of it. He split with
his lover, Dale, because of the pressure from his coach and his sponsors,
who don't want a gay player on their hands. He's also sick, desperately so,
and he doesn't know who to go to. Everyone in his life wants something from
him, but no one wants to help.
When he can't take anymore, Shane runs to the one place he knows he's safe;
the old love nest he shared with Dale. When Dale shows up to collect his
stuff, he finds a very ill Shane, and the two of them remember why they were
so attracted to each other. Things won't be easy, between Shane's
commitments and Dale's doubts. Can they find a way to find joy in life
Shane's breath rasped in his throat, his lungs felt like they were about to
burst, and black blotches swum in front of his eyes. One of his team mates
-- he couldn't tell who through the fog in his brain -- slapped him on the
back as they ran past.
"Last lap," the team mate called.
Last lap? Shane was supposed to be fit this early in the footy season,
stripped back and injury free, and the cool-down jog around the oval at the
end of a training session shouldn't hurt.
Which didn't explain why his knees felt like they were on fire.
Lindon, coaching assistant, team-runner and Shane's personal angel, loomed
up out of the blur, grabbed at Shane's arm and hauled him off the track to
a bench. A water bottle was thrust into Shane's hands, and Shane gulped
down the cool, sweet liquid, pouring the contents of the bottle across his
"You pulled up sore?" Lindon asked, his fingers probing through Shane's
lycra, hamstring-warming tights, digging into his quads knowledgeably.
Lindon had fingers of steel from massaging Shane and his team mates.
Lindon tapped Shane's knee and Shane lifted his leg, giving Lindon access to
his hamstrings. There'd been a time when he'd resented the intrusive nature
of being coached, but he knew now that the coaching staff owned him body and
"Feel awful," Shane said.
His vision cleared enough to make out the figure of the head coach of the
Hammers, Jerry Gordon, pounding across the grass toward them.
"Davis!" Gordon called. "Get up and run if you're planning on playing this
"Shane's quads have locked up," Lindon said, standing up."I pulled him out
of the cool down."
Gordon made a disbelieving noise, and Shane just wanted to hug Lindon for
covering for him. "Looks like he's hungover to me," Gordon said. "Get
Shane lifted his head to meet his coach's gaze, then struggled to his feet.
"Thanks, boss," he said.
"You're damned lucky this training session isn't open to the public," Gordon
said. "Last thing we need in the run up to the game against the Devils is
media filming you falling over at training because you were on the piss last
Shane nodded, blinking eyes that stung, not trusting his voice enough to try