Love is greater than hope or faith, but can Reverend Leander Norris convince a jury that the love he shares with another man is natural?
In 1910, the United Kingdom was in turmoil. King Edward died after only nine years on the throne. The social class system that upheld British society for centuries was being chipped away by social, political, and economic unrest across the Commonwealth. Amidst this backdrop, Reverend Leander Norris is accused of sodomy. After discovering his own self-worth and unconditional love, Leander finds the courage to stand up for what he believes is right and pleads not guilty to the charges. Throughout the trial, Leander’s past is revealed, including the temptations that bring the accusations against him. By the end of the trail, Leander is once again reunited with a romantic interest from the past, but it may be too late to rekindle any love that might remain, given the circumstances of the era and Leander’s likely sentence.
“Are you not a scholar?” Weeks asked. “Do you not know the Bible that you preach from each Sunday?”
“I know it very well,” Leander answered. “But the Bible has many interpretations. I think you can guess that mine might be a little less than conventional.”
Weeks reclined back in his chair. He made a steeple with his fingers and rested them on his pursed lips.
“You're actually sitting here telling me that, as a man of God, you're all right with buggery and feel you've done nothing wrong?”
“Mr. Weeks, do you realize you keep asking me the same question over again, using different words?”
“As your counsel, I need to be sure that I understand your position, the one you expect me to defend.”
“You sound shocked that I would suggest such a thing. I can't have you defending me if you don't believe it yourself.”
“Reverend, my beliefs about the situation are irrelevant; it doesn't matter what I believe. I need to be able to defend our position in court and hope our defense can refute what the prosecution will present.”
“I have to have conviction in my sermons each Sunday morning. I think you also know you need to have a conviction when defending your clients.”
“And I can assure you that I have that same conviction to make sure that you receive a fair trial. I will do my best—”
“Do your best to what? Go through the motions and make sure that the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed so it looks like I've been given a good defense?”
Weeks didn't answer and that was all the answer that Leander needed. After a moment, Weeks tried to start again. “Look, Revered, I am your assigned counsel for this trial. I am on your side. I want to see you get a fair trial, but you must understand what we're up against is quite overwhelming.”
“I know; I've never done anything the simple way.”
“Sir, you must understand that we are going up against laws that are rooted in two thousand years of Christian tradition and about as many years of British attitude.”
“Mr. Weeks, do you love your wife?”
Weeks let out an impatient sigh. “Of course, but here you go asking intimate questions about me that have no bearing on my defending your case.”
“Humor me, sir. Do you love your wife?”
“Yes, I very much love my wife and family.”
“What if you woke up tomorrow and a constable showed up on your doorstep and arrested you because they said the love you share with your wife was illegal?”
Weeks didn't answer him. Instead, in a quiet voice, he said, “You know you and I are just two people. We're not going to change these laws overnight.”
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About the Author:
With inspiration from historical tourism sites, the love of reading, and a desire to write a novel, L. Dean Pace-Frech started crafting his debut novel, A Place to Call Their Own, in 2008. After four years of writing and polishing the manuscript, he submitted it for publication and Musa Publishing offered him a contract in early 2013. Disappear With Me is his second novel.
Dean lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his partner, Thomas, and their two cats. They are involved in their church and enjoy watching movies, outdoor activities in the warmer weather and spending time together with friends and family. In addition to writing, Dean enjoys reading and patio gardening.
Prior to novels, Dean did some technical writing in his career. He plans to write a sequel to both A Place to Call Their Own and Disappear with Me, but is taking some time away from those characters and worlds to work on a third novel, The Higher Law.
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