Kyle Swansie loves his hometown of Landry’s Fall. An extrovert who loves talking with people, managing and serving at his family’s diner is the highlight of his day. Even when he has to deal with the occasional cranky patron. When a stranger cops an attitude, Kyle doesn’t hesitate to put the beautiful man in his place. But Xavier Ormsby is so much more than Kyle’s first impression and it doesn’t take long for the two men to find common ground. Neither Kyle nor Xavier expected to find a connection.
Xavier might be in Landry’s Fall on a forced vacation of sorts, their time together quickly moves from friends to more. Xavier is everything Kyle never realized he wanted. Kyle provides a light Xavier didn’t know he needed. Though their worlds are very different, there’s no denying the depth of their attraction. With each day that passes, both Kyle and Xavier start looking to a future.
Things that should be obstacles -- their age gap, Xavier’s diabetes, the financial disparity -- simply aren’t. But it’s still not easy to find a way to fit their lives together. With their love on the line, can they find a way to have their happily ever after?
“Excuse me, kind sir?”
I whipped my head to the street and though I didn’t recognize the sleek, black Lexus, I would know that voice anywhere, even after only two short conversations. With a grin, I leaned down to peer in the open passenger side window to be met with Xavier Ormsby’s smiling face.
“Well hey there, good looking.” I winked and sauntered closer, then leaned against the window frame. A cool blast of air hit me from the air conditioning.
“You need a lift? I see you have groceries.”
“What a sweetheart you are.” I fluttered my eyelashes. “But you don’t have to do that. It’s not far.”
“I don’t mind in the least. I’d be happy to help.” He sounded so earnest, and it just made my insides get melty. I couldn’t help but just stare at him for a long moment, and it must have taken me too long too answer, because his face fell a little and he quickly added, “But no pressure. You can say no with no hard feelings.”
“Pop the trunk.” That quickly, I made up my mind. He was just a sweet baby angel and I didn’t have to worry about getting into a car with him. But that didn’t stop me from -- after putting my grocery in the trunk and slamming it shut -- texting my friend Jay. We had each other’s back, and did what we could to keep each other safe. My text was short and sweet.
Me: Xavier Ormsby. Black Lexus.
And followed it up with a thumbs up emoji to show him I felt good about the interaction. We had a whole system with emojis that would indicate what we needed. Like a green checkmark to let each other know that we’d already looked into the person. Or a computer asking the other to look into things. By the time I was sliding into the front seat, Jay responded.
Jay: Gotcha. Check in later.
The corner of Xavier’s lips quirked up. “Texting someone so they know who you’re with?”
“Yep.” I didn’t hesitate and I wasn’t ashamed. Not only because I wasn’t actually worried about Xavier, but also because it was good for him to know that someone knew.
“Good.” Xavier’s smile turned sweet. “You should keep yourself safe. Even though you have nothing to worry about from me.”
I waved that off. “I know that. But still. Better to be safe than sorry. I’ll wait if you want to let someone know too. It’s Swansie with an I-E at the end.”
Xavier chuckled, and man, did I love the sound of his laugh. One of these days, I would get that belly laugh out of him. The thought made my brain screech to a halt. I was already thinking about someday when I barely knew the man and had no idea how long he was sticking around. There was just something about him that called to me.
With a shake of his head and rueful sort of smile, Xavier said, “No. I’m not worried about you. Besides, my sister forced me to come here so if anything any happens to me, it’ll be on her conscience.”
I sat straighter, turning slightly to face him more full on. “Forced you?”
Xavier shrugged one shoulder. “I’m on a mandatory vacation, of sorts.”
He checked traffic, and seeing it was clear, pulled away from the curb with confidence. I was distracted for a moment at the easy way he handled the car. There was something about a man who drove with ability and responsibility that always did it for me. Giving myself a mental slap, I refocused on the conversation.
“What does that mean?”