Damon grew up in Brooklyn with his father whose business dealings weren’t quite legitimate. When his father went to prison, Damon went to Arizona to live with his uncle. He doesn’t fit in there or with his cousin, Chollie, and his motorcycle club and now that Damon has graduated high school, he is just biding his time until he heads back east for his first year of college.
When Chollie thinks it’s time for Damon to join his MC, Damon isn’t interested. He is, however, interested in Steele, another club member with the most amazing eyes and Damon can’t even look at him for fear of giving away how he feels. Besides knowing the club is not for him, they have this initiation where Damon would need to be bitten by a scorpion and he is definitely not into that. In a twist of events, Damon is bitten by a rogue, radioactive scorpion and when he awakes in the hospital, he can read minds.
Steele never thought a guy like Damon could ever be interested in him, but Damon most certainly is. With Damon knowing Steele’s most intimate thoughts, he can give Steele exactly what he needs. But Steele is committed to the MC and trouble is not far away.
The above synopsis sounds like it could be fun, right? Well, not so much. There was very little about this short story that worked for me. Damon and Steele were both initially interesting characters with a story to tell, but that story went off in too many directions.
Damon’s uncle is shown as merely tolerating him and Damon can’t wait to head out to his first year of college, which had already been paid for by his father. Arizona is a long way from Brooklyn and he’s so out of place. Chollie hasn’t made it any easier, yet one day he just decides it’s time for Damon to be bitten by a scorpion so he can be initiated into the MC. Chollie and the club members range in age from 18-20, they all have dropped out of high school, and besides trying to race scorpions in the yard, it is unclear exactly what they do with themselves.
So Damon is bitten and he can then hear people’s thoughts when they touch him, but, he can only hear their thoughts if they are sexual in nature. This is how he becomes aware that Steele is into him. Prior to that, neither Steele nor Damon knew the other was interested and there was zero sexual tension and zero build up to a relationship. A major component to this plot was Damon’s ability to read minds and this wasn’t handled in any way to hold my attention. So much could have been done with a storyline like this but at best it read as him getting just basic thoughts and at worst it read as creepy and intrusive due to the execution. Throughout the story, no one ever becomes aware of this new development with Damon.
So to just cut right to it, after Damon and Steele get together, the story basically went off the rails for me. The uncle is involved with an illegal endangered species buying ring, or something to that effect, and then there is a side story with Steele thinking he is the only one who knows there is exactly one pair of this endangered bird species left in the wild. The plot then moves to Damon and Steele trying to outrun the uncle’s group to save the birds and really the whole story became a mess for me.
This story is not really complete as Damon and Steele are in the wind and possibly heading to their next adventure of panning for gold in the Yukon Territory. Don’t be misled by that bit of info as this story is still contemporary. The story was told in first person, which was a small bonus here for me and there were no typos, though I’m just grasping onto something good with that one. As for following along on any other adventures with Damon and Steele, I’m thinking no, and I would suggest a pass on this particular short story.