by Cass Lennox
About Blank Spaces:
Absence is as crucial as presence.
The decision to stop dating has made Vaughn Hargrave’s life infinitely simpler: he has friends, an excellent wardrobe, and a job in the industry he loves. That’s all he really needs, especially since sex isn’t his forte anyway and no one else seems interested in a purely romantic connection. But when a piece is stolen from his art gallery and insurance investigator Jonah Sondern shows up, Vaughn finds himself struggling with that decision.
Jonah wants his men like his coffee: hot, intense, and daily. But Vaughn seems to be the one gay guy in Toronto who doesn’t do hookups, which is all Jonah can offer. No way can Jonah give Vaughn what he really wants, not when Jonah barely understands what love is.
When another painting goes missing, tension ramps up both on and off the clock. Vaughn and Jonah find themselves grappling not just with stolen art, but with their own differences. Because a guy who wants nothing but romance and a guy who wants nothing but sex will never work—right? Not unless they find a way to fill in the spaces between them.
Because a very obvious blank space sat on the wall in front of him instead of a showcase work of art. A delicate arrangement of threads sewn from a canvas onto clear plastic piping to resemble a dark, fragmented wormhole reaching towards the viewer, to be precise. It was visually arresting in a kind of nightmarish way, and it was also one of the main pieces of this exhibit.
Despite all his deep breathing, it remained missing.
“Shit.” He looked around, but every other piece still rested safely on plinths or on the wall or in the wall, in some cases. “Shit.”
He dug his phone out of his pocket and dialled his manager, Maurice. While he waited for Maurice to pick up, Vaughn walked swiftly around the gallery, keeping a desperate eye out for black threads attached to canvas. Maybe the cleaner had lost his mind and moved it. Maybe one of the owners or the artist, Jai Yoon, had sold it but hadn’t logged the sale. Maybe, just maybe, there was a nice explanation for the disappearance.
But no, everything else was in its place, except for an empty bag of chips some cretin of a visitor had left in one corner. He dumped it in a nearby bin.
Maurice wasn’t picking up.
Vaughn tried again. And again. But by the time he’d checked the front desk, the stationery closet at the front desk, the manager’s office, and the storage closet at the back of the gallery, Maurice still hadn’t answered. He gave up. “Shiiit.”
This was the third piece this year. Not good.
He went back upstairs to the office, tapping in the entry code on the way. He was the only person there, because Vaughn Hargrave was the lowly gallery assistant (read: office grunt) responsible for opening the gallery on time. This being the art world and today being a normal working day, no one else would show up until just before lunchtime.
Not today. He had to get his manager here. Failing Maurice, the owners. The police. Somebody. He turned on his laptop and ran to the filing cabinet that contained the physical copies of sales made through their gallery. While he thumbed through last month’s receipts, he dialled Maurice again. He’d found nothing for the piece by the time the voice mail kicked in.
About Cass Lennox:
Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.
Connect with Cass:
- Blog: casslennox.wordpress.com/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Cass-Lennox-1704635609768647/
- Twitter: twitter.com/CassLennox
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