‘Boys aren’t pretty and boys don’t like boys.’
These words have followed Eike Nylund his whole life, they are the resonating reminder of an older brother lost in a tragic fire which claimed his entire family and nearly claimed him.
‘Boys who like boys get into trouble.’
Once a competitive swimmer accepted into college on the sole merits of his ability, Eike has quit the pool and is struggling to begin a new life, in a new State and a new college, all while hiding a very personal secret.
Until, that is, he meets Damon King: Captain of the swim team and Eike’s link back to the water. Damon, son of a wealthy businessman, popular and spectacular, has an electrifying effect on Eike he has difficulty in hiding, and Damon appears not only to like him but to trust him as a confidante and friend.
Is it possible to wash away the scars of the past and trust in a new future? Does Damon know his secret? And if not, what happens if he finds out?
While fiction is rapidly finding its liberal spotlight, the LGBT community has few heroic, championing novels to call their own. It’s something New Zealand-based writer Tai Le Grice is answering with ‘Smoke and Water’, which isn’t so much LGBT fiction – but a reminder that everyone has the right to happiness.