After model and actor Mason Adams nearly died from a drug overdose and served time in rehab, his agent is convinced the quiet life is the perfect way to get his life and career back on track. So Mason rents a beach house for the summer in a seaside town to get away from his fast-paced, partying lifestyle in Los Angeles.
Mason, however, isn't sure the sedate life is for him -- until he meets his neighbor, crime fiction author John Harding. Forced to retire from the fire department after a career-ending injury, John has found a new life in a modest beach house as a best-selling novelist. Life is good, but quiet and not exactly exciting, until Mason comes to stay next door.
Unable to resist, they begin an affair. Once the summer ends, Mason knows he'll return to LA ... and he'll have to leave the man who has stolen his heart.
The sound of the sliding door opening on the deck next door had him looking to his left curiously. Last occupants had been a couple and their four kids.
A tall, well built young man with shoulder length blond hair stepped outside. He wore jeans and a thin T-shirt, exposing his bare arms and very nice biceps. The man rubbed his arms and then disappeared back inside. A moment later he returned to the deck wearing a windbreaker.
John couldn't make out the man's features too well from his deck but what he could see was pretty fine. The young man hesitated by the railing of his own deck, then turned toward the wooden plank stairs that would take him down to the grassy yard.
He knew he shouldn't be staring at the younger man. Hell, he fully expected the guy's girlfriend to come running outside at any minute. But, well, he liked pretty things. He grinned.
The man stopped at the bottom of the stairs and looked back toward the beach house. No doubt waiting for his companion. As if on cue, his own companion trudged outside and came to stand next to him.
John reached down to rub behind the golden retriever's ears. "Hey girl."
Mandy gave him a lick and then, as though curious, turned to peer at the blond man herself. They said dogs could be babe magnets and as far as John was concerned the guy was definitely a babe. Even more so the closer he got to John's house. Pure, creamy peaches and cream complexion. Perfect nose, full, sensual lips. His hardening cock liked the sight, too. Nothing like scaring off the neighbors with a boner.
Mandy gave a good-natured bark in greeting as the young man stopped just next to their deck. He smiled a little.
"Cute dog," the guy said.
Oh yeah, this man was soap opera cute. So not like anyone John had ever been with. Still, his cock seemed to think the guy was his type, so he turned just a bit so the guy wouldn't see his growing arousal.
"Thanks," John said coolly. If he played it unfriendly the guy would move on, he hoped. He wasn't in the closet here, exactly, but he didn't want the renter to think he had to notify the cops he was staying next door to a pervert or anything. John generally kept his distance from the vacationers.
"What's her name?" the blond asked. He had just a touch of a southern accent. Not too twangy, but just a hint, melting like smooth butter on a biscuit, enough to curl your toes. Oh, hell. What was he thinking?
"Can I come up and give her a pet? Does she bite?" he asked doubtfully.
It was on the tip of his tongue to say yes. She bit constantly. Had just bitten three guys yesterday. But, he didn't. "No, she doesn't bite."
The man smiled a little broader and went over to the wooden stairs up to John's deck. The cold from the fog had reddened his pale cheeks, making him even more appealing. His eyes were a deep, emerald green. So intense, John wondered if they might be contacts. The young man knelt next to Mandy, who happily offered her paw to him.
"Ah, you're so cute," the man said, laughing. "I always wanted a dog just like you."
"How come you don't have one?" John asked.
"I'm not really home to take care of one." He rubbed Mandy's tummy, since she had rolled over to show it to him. "I'm Mason."
Mason straightened and stood, his gaze going out to the sea. "I thought I'd go for a walk. I'm renting the house next door."
John nodded. "I figured."
Mason turned his emerald eyes back to John. They sure didn't look like contacts. "You live here?"
"Yes, I own the place."
"I think maybe I saw you at the grocery store earlier. By the milk."
A little startled, John laughed. "Um, yeah, that probably was me. I was there today."
Mason smiled, little dimples appearing on either side of his delectable mouth. "Small world."
John glanced quickly at Mason's hands to see no ring. "Your girlfriend think it's too cold for a walk?"
"I don't have a girlfriend," Mason said.
"No time for one of those either?"
"Yeah, something like that. Well, thanks for letting me say hello to your dog. She's really sweet. I'm sure I'll be seeing you around."
"How long are you staying?"
"The whole summer." Mason went to the stairs and descended. "Thanks again, John. It was nice meeting you."
John watched as Mason headed over to the path that would take him down a short hill that eventually led to Embarcadero Street. Mason was too beautiful for his own good. And definitely too beautiful for John's.