Walking along the beach one evening, Luca Ferone encounters a body floating in the water. Being told to kiss off after rescuing the man isn't what he expected.
Dennis O'Shea was ready to end it all. Being saved wasn't in his plans.
One look in Dennis' eyes is all Luca needs to be lost. He won't let anything get in the way until Dennis is his. Dennis doesn't go easily but realizes Luca is a man used to getting his own way. Can the two find their way together?
Luca's eyes returned to the sea, where he noticed something washing to and fro in the shallow water, where the waves rushed up the beach. What is that? He unconsciously sped up his steps, and walked into the wake of the retreating wave.
As he approached, he realized with a shock that it was a person, a human being sloshing around like an old plastic bag. He rushed up to the waterline, and grabbed for the arms floating like driftwood. The body was slight, but the wet clothing made him heavier than he looked. Adrenaline gave Luca the strength to drag the kid out of the water.
Once they were on dry sand, he rolled the body on its side, to allow water to run from the kid's mouth and nose, and felt for a pulse in the neck. It was there, but it was faint. When there was no further reaction, he rolled the body to its back. The wet clothes were seeping water onto his knees, and the face, faintly outlined in the weak light, was unresponsive. The kid wasn't breathing.
Luca tried to remember how CPR worked, but had only faint memories of 'breathe in twice, press down five times'. Or was it the other way around? He tilted the head back to open the air passage. Luca grabbed onto the jaw, took a deep breath, fitted his mouth over the cold, slack lips, and breathed the warm air forcefully in. Luca lifted his head to drag his lungs full of air again, and breathed it into the boy's lungs. He was sucking in another breath when he felt the chest under his hands shudder and begin to move. God, what now, what now? He got a hold of one hand, and was startled by how cold it was, freezing. He jumped up and shrugged off his coat, to drape over the kid. As he tucked it in, he felt a lump in the pocket. My flashlight! He took it out. He shone the bright beam onto the face. Bedraggled, hair in strings, eyes closed and with a still face, he saw a slight man, not a boy. Keeping the light pointed at the man's chest, he dug out his cell phone and dialed 911 with the other hand.
While he was waiting for the ambulance, he kept guard. He rubbed the man's hands, kept an eye on his breathing. He looked again and again at the face, so thin and worn, but beautiful. In fact, it was the face of an angel, albeit one with blue lips. Luca wondered how he'd ended up in the water.
The man coughed, and opened his eyes. Luca quickly turned the glare of the flashlight away into the night, and bent over the man.
"Hey!" he said. "Can you hear me?!"
He looked at Luca with a blank expression and coughed again, spitting up water. Slowly his eyes slid away from him, taking in the cloud scudded sky and then the gaze returned to Luca. A slow frown formed and slid away.
"What have you done?" he whispered.
"You were drowning," Luca said, giving the man's hands a vigorous rub.
"That is what I wanted, dumb ass," the guy said, but the words lacked anger, because he was starting to shake.