Fresh out of a relationship, Jesse Velasco needs some downtime. He finds himself in an isolated beach town helping out with some family business. While he’s embraced his inner hermit, Jesse is not completely isolated; he’s got a new Twitter friend, a hot neighbor, and a celebrity crush to keep him entertained.
But it turns out all three of them are the same person; Jack Anders, primetime heartthrob who has his own reasons for dodging the spotlight in Jesse’s sleepy town by the sea. After Jesse first runs into Jack (literally) the two men discover that they have a lot in common, and Jack seems keen on taking their relationship further.
Jesse can’t say no to a fling with Jack. There’s no harm in having a little fun, and he can’t imagine that Jack is looking for anything serious ... right?
“Hey.” The careful weight of a hand rested against Jesse’s back. “Can you hear me? Do you need an ambulance? I can call --”
“No,” Jesse managed to croak out. “Nah, I’m good. Just need a minute.”
He tried not to groan too loudly as he pushed himself up to a seated position. A quick evaluation of his wounds showed scraped knees, some pain in his arms and chest, and a scratchy throat thanks to the dust he’d kicked up, but nothing immediately alarming. Brushing his hands on the sides of his shorts, he cleared his throat and offered a weak smile.
“I’m okay,” he assured his rescuer. “Only thing seriously injured is my pride.”
“Your pride shouldn’t be wounded at all. That was an impressive dive.”
The man grinned. Even beneath his thick beard, the sharp curve of his cheekbones and strong jawline were evident. Jesse felt his face heat up and sent a prayer of thanks to his genetics for blessing him with a tawny complexion that would not give away a blush.
“Glad you liked it,” he said, attempting to sound laid back. “Obviously, it was an intentional move, to show off my skills to the neighborhood.”
“Well, it definitely got my attention.”
The teasing note in the man’s voice pinged Jesse’s flirting senses, rusty though they were. He met the man’s gaze and grinned wider. “Good, because I might need help getting up.”
The man’s hand was still on Jesse’s back, warm and steady. He averted his eyes and let out a nervous chuckle, then removed his hand from Jesse’s back and held it out in front of him.
“My pleasure,” he said in a low voice.
Jesse accepted the hand and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet, leaning to grab his headphones on his way up. There was something about this guy that felt familiar. He tried to think of where they might have run into each other before but came up empty. Jesse figured that he’d probably just seen the guy around the neighborhood or at the gas station or something. Typical in a small town.
He noticed the man’s eyes do a subtle once-over down his frame. Jesse wasn’t anywhere near as built as this guy was; he had the lean physique of a runner without having to try very hard. But the man seemed to like what he saw, if the way he ducked his head and ran his thumb over the back of Jesse’s hand was any indication.
Once standing, Jesse didn’t drop the man’s hand right away. “Thanks for the assist.”
“Any time,” the man replied. “I mean,” he added hastily, “please don’t make a habit of tripping. I’d hate to see you get hurt, but if you do wipe out again in front of my house, I’m happy to help.”
“I got it,” Jesse said with a laugh. “And thanks.”
The man chuckled in return, then cleared his throat. “Do you want to come in? I’ve got a first aid kit if you need patching up.”
Jesse hesitated. He wanted to say yes, but he was also starting to feel the pain settling into his banged-up body. Better that he headed home sooner rather than later, while he could still walk.
“I just made a fresh pot of coffee,” the man added. “If that that makes the offer any more tempting.”
Hope shined in the man’s expression. He still hadn’t let go of Jesse’s hand. Being flirted with by a guy this hot who literally didn’t want to let him go was a sign from the universe, Jesse decided. He opened his mouth to accept the invite, but before he could get a word out, his phone began to vibrate.