Michael lives a life of complicated relationships, content to love while shielded from pain and responsibility, looking forward to every moment with his woman—who is not his woman, savoring intimacy without involvement.
Michael yearns to love and share, to be more than just the outside man. Learning to love and to face responsibility doesn’t come easy—at least not to this wealthy, romantic, but burdened charmer.
Thirty-some years after his brief, perfect marriage ended with a “Dear John”, Michael is in another wrong relationship. He’s happy with Stephanie but something is missing. It had been creeping up on him, threatening the wonderful relationship he enjoyed with his married lover. Maybe it was hormonal. Some crazy thing hit him a few months before in Italy, too much oneness, couples everywhere, holding hands, hugging, kissing. So much sharing was overwhelming, and this was Pisa. It wasn’t Paris and the Eiffel Tower— it was Pisa, the other tower. He wouldn’t survive Venice. He flies home.
He would never have the sharing of a true partner with Stephanie. She was married, she loved her husband, and Michael loved her for that and more. It was complicated. Then he meets the perfect woman—the right wrong woman—perfect down to her name. He’d invented a fantasy partner once in a desperate attempt to protect his illicit affair with Stephanie. She symbolized his ideal mate. Her name, too, was Melanie.
Now he loves two women. Can he have them both? Well, hell no, but it’s a nice warm thought. Regardless, his own peculiar code would not allow him to engage in the personal deceit required. Melanie is married, but separated. The breach she comes to represent in his relationship with Stephanie compels him to tell his long-time lover that he’s met someone.
She’s upset, but happy that he’s found someone, until she realizes he’s involved with a separated woman. She begs him to let Melanie go, begs him to give her a chance to salvage her marriage. In her hurt and fury, she accuses him of using and punishing her, and other vulnerable women for what his wife did to him. A shard of reality pierces old defenses. Was his penchant for safe relationships a means of self-protection? Even as he recognizes the shouted truth, he dismisses it.
Something has to break in this provocative debut novel by author Peter Wyte. It could be Michael.
The Outside Man is available on Kindle. Click here.