Will the demons of the past ruin any hope for the future?
If there’s anyone who knows how to have a good time—be it with a man or a woman—it’s Ryder Pearce. Master of the nail-it-and-bail-it theory, he lives his life for one person and one person only: himself. When a man enters Ryder’s life who challenges him on every flirtation, every sexual innuendo he can come up with, Ryder’s thrown off his game in a big way. Because there’s one thing the man has made perfectly clear—they’ve played this game before, and Ryder doesn’t remember the outcome.
Avery Hamilton has seen all of Ryder’s moves and has witnessed his sex appeal. He knows all too well about his cocky sense of humor and his penchant for one-night stands. There was a time in his life when he’d taken the bait, but this time around, he wants more. He’s seen Ryder’s act; what he hasn’t seen is Ryder—the real Ryder he hides from the world.
When both men come together to help a young boy, Ryder’s forced to face things from his past he’s blocked out. Things he never wanted anyone to know. Now, Ryder has one fear… Will revealing that side of himself be real enough for Avery? Or will it be the reason Avery walks away?
*Warning: This book contains off-page references to sexual/physical abuse of a minor. This book is the third book in a series. Reading the books out of order may result in spoilers.
“Listen, about earlier…” Avery began, hoping to get some kind of conversation going. “I really am sorry. I have this knee-jerk reaction to jump to conclusions with you.” Avery nudged Ryder playfully with his arm until he looked over at him. “You’re too damn quiet, and it’s making me nervous.”
Ryder laughed. “Never thought you’d say that, huh?” He shrugged his shoulders, looking forward again. “Forget about it, man. Trust me”—he glanced back over at Avery—“I’m nowhere near perfect. I fuck up every damn day.” His gaze shifted forward again as they separated, letting an older couple walk between them. When they met up again, Ryder added, “Most of the time, though, even if it doesn’t seem like it, it’s with good intentions.” His eyes flicked again to Avery’s, but it was as if he didn’t want to hold eye contact and nervously looked ahead once more.
“It hasn’t gone unnoticed. Not by me.” Avery owed him at least that much. Ryder’s surprised smile from Avery’s admission made him laugh. “Don’t look so shocked. I’m a very perceptive man. Not much gets past me.”
All at once, the smile faded, and Ryder looked straight ahead again. “Is that so?”
Avery stopped short in the middle of the boardwalk, crossing his arms over his chest. Ryder looked back at him as he also came to a stop and turned around. “Yeah, it is. Like the fact that you’re acting weird. What the hell is up with you today?”
“Why does something have to be up?”
“Are you only going to answer me with questions?”
“Do you want me to only answer you with questions?”
Avery hung his head back and groaned. “Jesus Christ, sometimes I just want to strangle you.”
Ryder closed the distance between them with two slow steps. “I’ll try anything once. Didn’t take you for a breath play kind of guy, though. Do you make that groaning sound you just made while you do it? Because yes, please.”
Avery straightened his back then leaned his face only a few inches away from Ryder. “You really don’t take anything seriously, do you?” His tone came out huskier than he’d meant it to, but this man kept him in a perpetual state of frustration—including sexual.
“Sex. I take sex very seriously,” Ryder retorted, but his face didn’t show the conviction of his words. Damn, Avery was so tired of staring at the same fucking wall Ryder had built around himself. Ryder was, surprisingly, the first to break eye contact, moving his gaze to the ocean.
This wasn’t accomplishing anything, and they sure as hell weren’t going to find Chris by standing here.
Yet, Avery refused to let the man get the last word. He lifted a finger to Ryder’s cheek, turning his head so he was looking at him again. “You’re acting weird, and it has nothing to do with sex.” Avery stepped around Ryder to continue walking, pissed that Ryder always had a way of pushing his buttons. So, push back. He turned abruptly, making Ryder bump into him. He stared down into gray eyes and couldn’t help himself when he said, “Although, if we were talking sex… Breath play? No. But I can make you come so hard, you’ll be gasping for air when I’m done with you.”
“Hot damn,” Ryder whispered right before Avery forced himself to turn around again, holding back a smug smile as he began to walk and scan the area.
I have been an artist from a very young age. From drawing cartoon characters and evolving into portraits, making jewelry, photography, and now writing. I have an amazing support system in my family and friends and couldn’t be more grateful.
I live in central New Jersey, love summers at the Jersey Shore, rock music, wine, sexy men, and laughing a lot with my amazing friends and family. Sunday dinners at my parents’ house are crazy, hysterical and you can count on a movie quote…or ten…being thrown out. Insults between siblings is how we show our love for each other! When I’m not creating, you can find me reading books from my favorite authors. I’m a hopeless romantic, starving for passionate characters and always craving that happy ending, whether in reading or in writing my own books.