It’s the middle of July, and Rico Davin is about to faint -- not from the heat, though. For the whole summer, he gets to watch his best friend, Chance Raynor, shirtless and wet on the beach playing volleyball with his buddies. The perspiration on Chance’s skin is driving Rico nuts. It doesn’t help that he’s lusted after Chance since they met freshman year in college. What’s not to like in a tall, muscular, and just plain hot jock of a roommate? Unfortunately, Chance doesn’t see Rico the same way. Or does he?
When Rico is hit by a car while riding home on his bicycle, Chance shows him a side of his personality Rico never expected. Maybe it’s the heat or his concussion, but when they argue, Rico’s hidden feelings and insecurities come out in the open, for good or bad. Maybe getting sweaty could make it all better.
“How long was I out?” I asked, rubbing my face and wishing I had something to drink.
“Half an hour, maybe more. They said you have a mild concussion, and I need to keep an eye on you for the a few hours.”
I sighed. “Where’s my backpack? I need to check to see if my laptop survived. And I want to find my bike, too.”
“Everything’s in my jeep, Rico, including your mangled, useless bicycle. Stop worrying and let yourself relax for a change, would you?” Chance groused, and raised a hesitant hand to brush my hair to the side. “You must have hit something when you flipped over that car, ‘cause you have a nice-sized bruise on your forehead. Still cute, though.”
I thought I was hearing things, so I didn’t respond to that statement. “Can we go home? I need to lie down, and I’m thirsty.”
“Sure.” The paramedics came over and made one last check of my vitals, gave Chance some instructions, then let him drive me home.
I wasn’t interested in food, but I needed to eat something before taking the pain pills. After that, Chance settled me on the couch with a blanket and turned the TV on low so we could watch something, but I fell asleep seconds later.
Chance woke me up when the sun set. “How are you feeling?” he asked. He was sitting in front of me on the low table by the couch.
I moved my head a little. It didn’t throb as much and I wasn’t as exhausted as before. “Better. Sore, though,” I rasped, reaching for the water bottle he’d placed on the floor near my head. Thank you.
“Don’t ever do that to me again, okay?” he said, and I was surprised at the slight tremor to his voice.
“I’m okay, Chance. Just some asshole driver not paying attention.” I reached out a hand to touch his leg briefly. “Stop worrying.”
“Well, if you had just admitted your feelings in the first place, maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess.”
Did he just ... “Are you saying this is my fault?”
“Maybe,” he replied, though he wouldn’t look at me.
“How is it fair that you’re bringing this up when I’m recovering from an accident?”
“It’s the only way I know to get your undivided attention,” he retorted, scowling at the floor.
Maybe it was the painkillers or the state of my head, but I murmured, “You’ve always had it.”
His eyes snapped up to me. “Are you kidding me? You’re admitting to that now, when I can’t take you to bed and fuck you the way I’ve been wanting to since the day we met?”
Some devil made me say, “It’s not like that’s stopped you from fucking everything else within a two-hour radius of here.” Chance’s eyes narrowed, and I knew I was in trouble.
“Please. You’ve known how you felt for three damn years and never said a word. How does that make me the bad guy?” Okay, point, but did he have to say it like that?
“Why would I think you’d even want to be with me at all? I’m nothing like the guys you fuck. They’re all beautiful and fit and have something to offer. No broken backgrounds, no need to pretend to the world that everything’s okay when inside, I always feel like a leper, like I don’t belong and should be ostracized. You have it so easy. You don’t even get it, do you?”
I turned over carefully and pulled the blanket over my head. “Go away. I’m tired.”
“We’re not done,” he growled.