Wendell “Wen” Darling lives in a world of shoulds and musts. Left to care for his brother and sister by his dull drudge of a father and wacko irresponsible mother, he suppresses his creativity, slaving in an ad agency seventy hours a week, letting his no-talent supervisor take the credit.
Then his bosses blow the campaign for their biggest client and Wen gets a chance to shine—but only if he can find the artist who painted a wild, glorious wall of graffiti in the subway. Hiding behind a pillar at 2:00 a.m., Wen comes face-to-face with the scarlet-haired, elven-faced embodiment of his divergent opposite—Peter Panachek, the flighty, live-for-today painter, singer, and leader of the rock group the Lost Boys. Everything Wen takes seriously, Peter laughs off, but opposites attract, even if their kisses always lead to battles. Peter’s devil-may-care persona hides a world of secrets, self-protection, and hidden fears, until the day a drug dealer, Vadon Hooker, threatens everything Wen holds dear. Guided by the mysterious Mr. Pennymaker, Peter has to choose between facing responsibility or burrowing even deeper into Neverland.
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Descending the stairs like a flaming Baryshnikov came a guy as big as a sumo wrestler, wearing tight black jeans and a T-shirt that strained over the vast expanse of his chest and belly. Amazing, yes, but who could see him, because above his head, in a position like some flying ballerina, he held —a guy. What a guy. The boy—he looked to be in his teens, but then so did Wen, so who knew?—stretched out in the air with his legs raised and arms in Superman position. He wore black jeans, just as tight as Sumo Guy’s, and a brilliant green T-shirt that made Wen look at his shock of hair, so red it could have been painted, and his startling, captivating face. This had to be a leprechaun or an elf come to life. His wide eyes turned up at the corners like a cat laughing eternally, and they were so heavily lashed they looked enhanced with guyliner. His nose turned up, his cheekbones stuck out, there might be a cleft in his chin, and his mouth curved in a bow. Nothing on that face should go together—but it came out a frigging masterpiece.
Trouping down behind this Flying Wallenda act came three more guys, all dressed in black and managing to represent the ethnic mix of the entire world in their small group. One guy’s skin was black, and he was so handsome he barely looked real. One of them appeared to be a mix of African and Asian and something Middle-Eastern mysterious. One shorter dude must be a variety of Hispanic. Plus Parasol Girl seemed to be a member of the club.
Sumo Guy carried the elf in a wide circle as the boy flapped his arms. Then Sumo gave him a little toss, which made Wen catch his breath. The elf flew up and landed gracefully in Sumo Guy’s massive arms. He threw back his head, scarlet hair flying, and yelled, “Ta-da!”
Back on his feet, the elf proved to be maybe five foot eight or nine of compact perfection—wide shoulders for his small size, slim hips, and long legs. He bowed low to the applause of his band of merry weirdos and turned in a circle. Wen sucked a small breath. Look at that butt. High, round, and hard—definitely supernatural.