Please say hello to Suki Fleet and
When Dashiel’s body is found dumped on an East London wasteland, his best friend Danny sets out to find the killer. But Danny finds interaction difficult and must keep his world small in order to survive. By day he lives in an abandoned swimming pool and fixes electrical devices to trade for supplies, but by night, alone, he hunts sharks—a reckless search for dangerous men who prey on the vulnerable.
A chance meeting with an American boy selling himself on the streets throws this lonely existence into disarray. Micky is troubled, fragile, and Danny feels a desperate need to protect him—from what, he doesn't know. As Danny discovers more about Micky, he realizes that what Micky needs saving from is the one thing Danny can't help him fight against.
To save Micky, Danny must risk expanding his world and face something that scares him more than any shark ever could: trusting he will be accepted for who he is. If a freezing winter on the streets, a sadistic doctor, and three thousand miles don’t tear them apart first, that is.
“What’s a shark hunter?” he asks.
His question makes me panic. I have to look up, and when I do I realize I’ve left my stupid notepad on the table. I grab it with shaking hands and shove it in my pocket, next to Micky’s phone.
“I’m a shark hunter,” I mumble.
I say it so he doesn’t think I’m weird, carrying a pad around with “Shark Hunter” written on it in big blocky letters and a few badly drawn sharks circling the page, like I’m a kid writing a story. Then I realize it makes me sound even weirder.
Micky leans forward, smiling like we’re playing some sort of game, and asks conspiratorially, “What sort of sharks are you hunting?”
I don’t know what to say.
He sits back and folds his arms across his chest. “Like, uh, loan sharks or something?”
I snort out a laugh. I can’t help it. The loan shark hunter—here to save helpless old ladies from burly men with clipboards.
The laughter inside me fades as quickly as it comes, because I’ve no idea if the truth is any less ridiculous.
Outside, the snow is melting into dirty great puddles. I touch my fingers against the pad in my pocket. So far, what difference have I made with my pad and my notes?
I’m not much of a shark hunter. I’m not much of anything.
I stare at the checkered tablecloth and wait for Micky to leave. But again, he doesn’t.
This is not how these exchanges usually go. People usually can’t wait to leave.
I keep my head down and shake it. “I should go now.”
I get up. My chair scrapes noisily across the floor as I try to shove it back up against the table. I sense people turning to stare, and my skin heats even more.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, then.” Micky sticks his arm out so I can’t pass, and he waggles my phone under my nose until I look at him. “I don’t bite, just so you know. Well, not unless you ask me to.”
He smiles at me, incisors glinting, and I notice one corner of his mouth turns up slightly more than the other, making him about a thousand times more perfect for having this single stupid flaw. My heart thumps wildly. I can’t meet his eyes. I nod tightly and march quickly out of the café.
Two streets later I stop in the doorway of a long-empty shop. I crouch down and pull out my pad to write out the whole conversation I had withMicky, needing to remember it as well as I can, not wanting to forget a single
the page I’ve just written so hard that the paper rips.
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About the author:
Suki Fleet grew up on a boat and as a small child spent a lot of time travelling at sea with her family. She has always wanted to be a writer. As a kid she told ghost stories to scare people, but stories about romance were the ones that inspired her to sit down and write. She doesn’t think she’ll ever stop writing them.
Her novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards and was a finalist in the 2015 Lambda Awards.
Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.