British soap star Marius Treadway’s week has gone to hell. Still reeling from a failed romance, he quit his TV show only to learn that his sizable business investments are nothing but scams. Depressed and needing time to rethink his future, he travels to the island of Capri to visit his long-lost Uncle Toppy and twin cousins, Zeca and Alex.
At first, life seems relaxing and enjoyable on the sun-drenched, lemon-scented island, but it soon becomes clear that Alex’s private hotel is being targeted for crime, possibly because it’s gay-owned. Then, one of the oldest gay business owners in Capri Town finds his store trashed.
Determined to help his family, Marius soon meets dazzling Brazilian soccer player Crisanto Alvarez, who makes a play for him. Can it really be that, underneath it all, the Isle of Capri is a healer of hearts?
CONTENT ADVISORY: This is a re-release title. It was originally released under the title ISLE OF CAPRI.
“It’s not new behavior though,” he said. “Fans love hard. Very hard. You know, in six-hundred and twenty BC, Draco, a Greek law-maker, showed up at a theater one night and was smothered to death by gifts of cloaks showered upon him by his appreciative citizens.”
That made me laugh. “Cloaked to death.”
“Yes.” His face clouded for a moment. “I think that’s what I’m afraid of. Being cloaked to death. People have so much…like you said...expectation. I focus so hard on staying in shape, giving soccer my best. Genoa spent a lot of money on me, as the newspapers and the stupid bloggers never fail to remind me.” There was more than a trace of bitterness in his tone.
“So is that why you…stay single? Is it just your career?”
He reached a hand out to me. “No. I think you figured it out. Like you, I guard my heart.”
When he pulled me to my feet and put his arms around me, I was aware of two things. We were both hard, and our hearts were pounding. The third thing I noticed was that he was an amazing kisser, damn him. He made me sweat. The hair at the base of my neck grew damp.
“I would like to invite you to lie down on the bed with me,” he said. “I would like to say we don’t have to do anything, but it would be a lie.” He kissed me again. “I want to show you my whole bag of tricks.”
That just hit me all wrong. I knew I should step back. I should turn and walk away. There is a moment in every budding relationship where a person has to stop and decide if they move forward. Do you feel scared and bolt, or feel scared and still do it? He’d already told me he didn’t do ‘serious.’ Now he was telling me it was tricks. Razzle, dazzle. Smoke and mirrors.
I’d had enough of all that. Twelve years on a TV show. I’d made a career of pretense. I’d given it up in pursuit of truth. I didn’t want to try to win over another man who was emotionally unavailable.
Walk away, Marius.
It was so damned hard. The devil on my shoulder wanted this man’s tongue on my skin. Show me your tricks! All of them!
I had enough wherewithal to actually smile and make a joke of it.
“Tricks?” I shook my head. “Here’s one for you. Watch me do my disappearing act.” I stood on tiptoe and kissed his cheekbone, the right one that had a tiny scar I’d noticed earlier. I’d already developed a little crush on it.
“Thank you for a magical evening and don’t let the cloaks crush you.” I walked away. I thought I was brilliant, clever, funny, and yet my vulnerability was right there. He didn’t respond and didn’t follow me.