I knew my life would change when I followed my best friend across state lines and transferred to the Reedsport Police Department. I just wasn’t prepared for how much.
From the moment I meet him, CJ Reyes isn’t what I expect, and neither is our chemistry. The fire with him is like nothing I’ve felt before, both in and out of the bedroom. His sexy sapphire eyes are cracking the walls around my heart, and for the first time in my life, I’m not rushing to repair them. But can I trust him with the heaviest burden of all: the dangers of my career?
After being cut from the national team in Brazil, I’d hoped to get away from it all when I accepted a temporary coaching position in a small town in South Carolina. The reprieve doesn’t come, though, thanks to my family constantly breathing down my neck and the uncertainty of my future looming over me.
Then I meet Jake, whose humor and understanding feel like my only way out of the darkness. Our fiery nights and growing friendship make my loss feel a little less devastating and my future less bleak. But when I’m forced to make a decision that could change my life forever, will Jake see reason? Or will I end up losing something far more valuable than the world championship?
When Saturday night finally came around, I grumbled loudly as I shoved myself into a suit, cursing Beckett the entire time. I couldn’t believe I was going through with this.
When Beckett first told me the plan for the required blind date, I’d laughed in his face, convinced he was pulling my leg. Beckett knew damn well I wasn’t the kind of guy to go for romance. Give me a club with loud music or a great bar any day. None of the sweet, swoony shit for me. But Beckett had only smirked and pointed to the line in the flyer indicating that a suit and tie would be required for the evening. He had signed my blind date and I up for a five-hour dinner cruise. Complete with slow dancing, candle-light dining, and an evening under the stars.
“It’s the only way I know you’ll see it through to the end,” he’d said when I tried to talk him into a different option. “Unless you decide you’d rather go for a swim back to shore.”
“I’ll still fuck him,” I’d snapped, feeling trapped.
Beckett had only rolled his eyes, as if he expected as much. “But only after you’ve been trapped on a boat with him for a few hours and gotten to know him a little.”
I had nothing to say to that because, fuck, he was right. I would be trapped on a boat with a total stranger.
I should’ve known Beckett wouldn’t make this easy on me. Damn him. If ever there was a time I considered backing out of a bet, it was now. I knew Beckett would never let me live it down, though, so I had to suck it up and participate.
I’d chosen the lighter gray suit, hoping it wouldn’t suffocate me in the hot, humid air. Thankfully there was a breeze and the sun was already beginning to set, so I expected it to cool down soon.
I came to a stop by the stairs leading down to the docks, looking out over the marina. Even without the large company banner, it was easy to recognize the one I’d be on tonight. White lights decorated the rails and hung from the awning, creating a romantic ambience that, to anyone else, would have looked inviting. To me, however, the whole set up just made me cringe.
I could see four tables set up on the back deck, each draped in crisp white linens. Two of them were already occupied and I could see a third couple dressed in nice eveningwear walking toward the boat.
My stomach tightened with anticipation as I looked around. The yacht was scheduled to leave port in less than fifteen minutes, yet there was no sign of my date. Had he decided not to show? Would Beck still consider my debt paid if I was stood up? No way was I going through this charade twice.
Just then, I saw someone in a dark suit coming from the opposite end of the docks, working his way along the yachts to the boat we would be taking. He appeared to have arrived early and went to enjoy the view before boarding. I couldn’t see him well in the dim light, but as soon as he stepped under the lamppost, my eyes widened. Just like the agenda for the night, my date was nothing at all what I expected Beckett to have chosen for me.
The man was simply stunning. Tall and lean, with longer, dark hair that fell to his jawline. There was an air of assurance in the way he carried himself; confident, yet cautious at the same time. He tugged at his tie before stepping on board, the only visible clue he was as nervous about this night as I was.
I am an Idaho native who grew up dreaming about traveling the world and writing stories. I would often spend my spare time curled up with my favorite blanket and a notebook, writing another fairy tale. I never would have guessed those fairy tales would one day turn into gay romances, but that is where my heart led me, and I am so glad it did. I write about love because I believes it can happen to anyone, with anyone. I also believe dreams never expire, redemption is possible, and true forgiveness can heal us in ways we never expect. I know firsthand how messy life can get, but as any artist will tell you, a little mess is needed to create something beautiful. That’s why I write, to help others see that anything can be beautiful. You can often find me with a mug of coffee in one hand, and a dog toy in the other. There is never a day that goes by without my sweet boy insisting on a game – or twenty – of fetch.