by Kevin Klehr

Book Cover: Nate and the New Yorker / Nate's Last Tango
Editions:Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-947139-67-1

Nate and the New Yorker

Nate once had the love of his life, but he’s met Cameron, a New York millionaire with an eccentric cross-dressing butler.

Cameron is keen to share his world of classy restaurants, Broadway shows, and fabulous parties, and while Nate’s friends see the makings of a fantasy romance, it’s Nate who has to learn how to open his heart again.

But is Cameron simply second best?

Nate's Last Tango

Nate’s life couldn’t be better. He’s living with his rich boyfriend, Cameron, in New York while being wined and dined all over the city.

But when Nate decides to visit his friends back in Sydney, Cameron suggests they break it off for a while. Cam’s cross-dressing butler is not impressed, and with the help of his lesbian aunt, they drag Cameron down-under to sort out his relationship and take in the sights of Mardi Gras!

With Nate at a loss to what went wrong, he faces the dim reality that love may have run its course.

Excerpt:

From NATE'S LAST TANGO

“You Australians have such a quaint accent,” said Cam’s mom. “It’s kind of British, but it’s kind of not.”

“Don’t patronize the young boy, dear,” her husband reprimanded.

“I’m not. I’m not patronizing you, am I, Nathan?”

I shook my head.

“See? I know the type of man my Cameron would pick.” She studied my face. “You’re an earth sign, aren’t you?”

“I’m a what?” I asked.

“An earth sign. Let me guess. A Taurean.”

“I’m a Virgo.”

“A Virgo. You can’t be. Not with those ears.”

“Another drink, Mrs. Charlton?” Roger asked. He’d already slipped another cocktail in my hand.

“Yes, dear. Can I have a martini?”

“Right away, madam.”

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So there we were, seated on the modular lounge. Mr. Charlton sat on the edge of the bit that juts out, with a scotch on the rocks in one hand and his smartphone in the other. He kept checking the electronic device as if it beckoned him through mental telepathy.

But what I couldn’t take my eyes off was his comb-over. It was as if somebody had drawn straight lines across his scalp with a permanent marker. Surely, with his money, he could have visited a hair replacement clinic.

Mrs. Charlton was charming. Ditzy, but charming. She finally got my name right after five attempts, mistaking me for Mark, Maverick, Norbert, and Niles, in that order. She had a habit of smoking indoors, saying she didn’t respect all these new rules and regulations. And she had Cam’s smile. Cam’s mesmerizing smile that made me feel at home in her presence.

“You’re leaving Cameron?” she asked me.

“Only for a month,” I replied.

“What have you done to this poor boy?” she asked her son.

“What do you mean?” he replied.

“Oh, there’s no marital problems if that’s what you think,” I said.

“Well, there must be some reason such a gorgeous man like you is leaving my son for such a long time after… How long has it been?”

“Six months,” Cam replied.

“Six months of freeloading in our son’s apartment,” said the father. His eyes were glued to his phone.

“Dad. Dad, look at me when I’m talking to you. You know Nate and I have gone into business.”

“You call that a business?”

“Designer T-shirts are a business.”

“And we’re making good money,” I said. “We’re making several hundred a month after paying the local artists, but we’re going to expand to online after I make my trip back to Sydney.”

“You see, you’re going back to Sydney,” Mrs. Charlton interrupted. “Why, Cameron? What have you done to this poor boy that he has to leave you so soon?”

“My friend, Lucy, is interested in opening a Sydney version of our store. She currently runs a coffee shop, but with her expertise, the new Art-Wear Shop should be up and running by the time I return to New York.”

“The Art-Wear Shop down under. How sweet. Isn’t that sweet, Carl? And a trustworthy Virgo is going down there to make sure our son’s business is a success.”

“It’s not just my business,” Cam said, correcting his mother.

“Shouldn’t you set up the online store first?” Cam’s dad asked. “Before large Sydney rents add to your ongoing budget!”

“Now, Carl. You used to be so kind and supportive to Cameron when he was growing up. You listened to his dreams and encouraged him. You wiped his tears when he was fearful. What happened to the man I married?”

“What happened is that we all got older and wiser, some more than others.” He looked back to his phone. “And in my own way, I am being supportive. I’m just saying that the next logical step is an online store. Their current local shop only makes a few hundred a month, which is nowhere near enough to cover commercial rent in Manhattan. And now they’re thinking Sydney? Yeah, go boys! A second version of a store that is already losing money.”

And so the parents went on. At some stage, Roger oversupplied Cam and me with cocktails, as both of us realized we had a drink in each hand. I downed one and drank half the other. As the parents droned on, we were saved by Roger’s alter ego.

His continuity error to the evening was disruptively noticeable, yet it was a godsend. The butler was now Rowena in a backless cocktail dress, appropriately black in color, and a dark wig that could rival Marge Simpson’s in height. She wheeled in a stylish drinks trolley and continued mixing more concoctions than we could drink in one night.

“Tell me, Nathan,” Cam’s mom said in an obvious effort to change the subject. “Tell me about your past loves.”

I looked to my boyfriend.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “She always asks everyone she meets.”

“Yes, I do. You can learn so much about where a person has been and where they are headed to.”

I looked to Cam again for a way out, but he smiled and gave me an approving nod.

“I’ve had a few that are hardly worth mentioning.”

“But they wrote the story of Nathan. A Virgo’s story.”

“Go on, Nate,” my boyfriend said. “Tell my mom about Elliot.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“I don’t think my wife is sure about anything.” The father was still glued to his phone.

“Nathan, tell me about Elliot,” his mother bade.

“Well, Elliot was different to Cameron. Queenier, if you like. And he had a heart as big as the world. But he knew how to cut through the bullshit. You see, he could console you when you were down, but if you were ready to give up, he’d slap it out of you with his words. That’s why we all loved him. That’s why the sun shone through the clouds just for him. Or why the world would grin back as he smiled. Why that blond curl in the middle of his forehead—”

“Oops!” Rowena spilled scotch on Carl’s skull. Strands of hair were now covering his face like dangling spider legs. It was the most expressionless he looked all night.

“Oh dear,” was all Cam’s mother said.

Like a trooper, our cocktail-dress-wearing butler used his sleeve to wipe Carl dry. Yet Mr. Charlton continued sitting perfectly still, even as the strands found new paths across his face.

“Is something burning?” my boyfriend asked.

“I can’t smell a thing,” I reported.

“The couch is singed,” Rowena replied.

“Oh, sorry. It must have come from my cigarette ash!” Cam’s mom proclaimed.

“What are you talking about?” the father grumbled. “My wife is clumsy but she—”

Our hired help picked up the soda siphon and aimed it at the scorched material. She somehow slipped, missing her target.

Cam and his mom were drenched. Droplets dripped from the bottom of Mrs. Charlton’s dangly earrings, and Cam couldn’t see a thing as the water covered his glasses like spray paint. He stood, untucked his shirt, and wiped them, only smearing the droplets over the lenses.

Mr. Charlton grunted like a moody ape while Mrs. Charlton chuckled like a hyena. I started giggling too, somehow from the floor. Why am I stretched out on the carpet? Cam saw the joke and slowly worked himself into a full belly laugh. As his laughter subsided, he looked to Rowena who simply sighed in relief.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Jaycee on Goodreads wrote:

So, lets just get the bottom line out of the way: this is quite possibly *the* best novella-length story I have ever read. Clinically speaking, it is the textbook presentation of the successful short story and all that should entail, but seldom does. Start to finish, beginning-to-fully fleshed middle, to ending-with-a-slight-but-interesting twist, this is the quintessential big story compacted beautifully into a short.

It would be a disservice to leave the analysis at the clinical level, because there is just heart-for-days in this journey with compelling main characters and full-bodied secondary friends and family. There is a melding of disparate worlds, made possible by a gentle letting-go of pasts best left…past. There is a resolution of souls, in this world and the next, and every last bit of it—heart and soul of it—is exceptionally, beautifully and believably accomplished with *zero* descriptive sex. And it is every bit as visceral a journey as any explicit story I’ve read.

I can’t recommend this 80-something pages of deep and abiding soul highly enough for anyone wanting a great little story, and/or anyone wanting to see how any story -short or long- *should be composed.

Liz Gavin on Liz Gavin Author Site wrote:

I enjoy stories that tap into different genres and mixed them up because they’ll surprise you. In Nate and the New Yorker, Mr. Klehr skillfully blends comedy, magical realism, paranormal, and romance. With emphasis on sweet romance. And the author sprinkles his great sense of humor throughout the short-story; but one of my favorites is when Nathan compares his situation to a bad romance novel. That’s no way near true about this book. It’s an enjoyable, short read. Ideal for lounging pool side or at the beach.

However, some inconsistencies prevented my total immersion in Cam and Nate’s story and that’s how I personally rate books. Five stars are reserved for those that whisk me away completely. I was sad it didn’t happen with this story and that’s why I knocked off one star.

I know some people who have successfully maintained long-distance relationships but I’m a bit skeptical about falling head-over-heels in love after one chance encounter. Mainly because I’m yet to know of a successful love-at-first-sight story in real life. Granted, romance genre is full of stories where couples fall madly in love after a brief encounter. That had nothing to do with me subtracting a star from my rating. Conversely, things like the church scene in Prague didn’t sit well with me. (avoiding spoilers here so won’t get into details). I can say without spoiling it that the exchange, in my opinion, was an inch shy of disrespectful. I’m no prude – being an erotica writer I CANNOT afford to be one. In fact, I’ve first-hand experience with couples going at it on a public park in Milan and a hotel staircase in Rome. And nope, I wasn’t part of any of the couples just an innocent, unintentional bystander LOL But that scene was a bit off.

On the other hand, I loved the sweet paranormal (or magical realism: it depends on one’s belief) element. Again, no spoilers here. But if you check the author’s previous books, as I did before reading Nate and the New Yorker, you won’t be surprised when it pops up in the story. As a believer in that possibility, – yes I’m being vague on purpose LOL – it made total sense to me and I congratulate Mr. Klehr on his sensibility at portraying it the way he did. Hats off, sir!

Overall, I had a good time reading about Nate and Cam’s romance. I mean, the author will take literally on a journey through the planet. I LOVE traveling. He skillfully fleshed-out both main and secondary characters. Rowena was a delight, btw. I wish we had seen more of her. Plus, he packed a lot of feelings, excitement, and big ideas in a concise text. It is not easy to do that.

I recommend Nate and the New Yorker for everyone looking for a sweet, romantic story about two men struggling against physical distance, cultural differences, and social status so that they can find their way to one another.

Mollien on Amazon wrote:

This is the second book in this series. Where the first book, Nate and the New Yorker was a fun fast romance showcasing how Nate and Cameron met and fell in love. The second book Nate’s Last Tango shows us just how fragile love can be. Cameron has wined and dined Nate all over New York, but Nate misses his home and his friends back in Sydney, Australia. After a long flight home, Nate finds out that Cameron is having second thoughts about their relationship. What happened? Everything was perfect, or was it? Knowing that Cameron and Nate belong together, Cameron’s wacky, cross-dressing butler and Cameron’s colorful, lesbian aunt drag Cameron back to the other side of the world to bring the insecure couple back together. The chemistry between Nate and Cameron is just as strong and hot as it was in the first book, but Nate’s departed love keeps getting in the way of things, figuratively and literally.

The pacing is fast and is laugh out loud strangely funny. It is a short story that can easily be read in one sitting making it an excellent choice for your flight to somewhere or your commute to work. Since these two obviously belong together, I can assure you a happy ever after ending to bring a smile to your face. In this second book, we get a better glimpse into the characters making them all the more enjoyable.


About the Author

Kevin lives with his husband, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

His tall tales explore unrequited love in the theatre district of the Afterlife, romance between a dreamer and a realist, and a dystopian city addicted to social media.

His first novel, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, spawned a secondary character named Guy. Many readers argue that Guy, the insecure gay angel, is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. His popularity surprised the author. The third in this series, Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes, scored a Rainbow Award (judged by fans of queer fiction) for Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality novel.

His novel, The Midnight Man, won the Fantasy category in the 2021 Gay Scribe Awards and won in the LGBT category of the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer's Choice Award. It also was Runner Up at the Rainbow Awards in the same year his novella, Winter Masquerade, scored an Honourable Mention.

So, with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.



Other Books By Kevin Klehr