One, recovering from near deadly injuries; the other, unaware of what he’s been missing in his life. What one man can do, may heal them both.
Charlie Baker is recovering, slowly. Nearly dying tends to make a man reflect on each day. Take into account that his injuries were caused by a premeditated murder attempt, and he certainly isn’t looking for a lover. He is barely welcoming to a friend unable to trust anyone, preferring to hide from the world hours and miles away from the memories.
Gregory Anders hadn’t intended to disturb the man in silent contemplation on the beach, but when his pup, Samson, takes matters out of his hands, he’s forced to at least apologize for his pet’s behavior. There’s no doubt for Gregory that Charlie could use a friend. Clearing the air up front that he isn’t gay helps Charlie to relax, allowing for the cautious beginning of a friendship.
Two men, both alone, for different reasons. What happens when friendship bears more? When support and affection turns into attraction?
Do you take the chance of a lifetime, for the love a lifetime?
Gregory had the oddest urge to soothe him, to hold Charlie, ease the torment he suffered. He got the door unlocked to push it in. “Come on. Let’s get inside.” Once in, he found a light switch. He held Charlie close, his head on Gregory’s shoulder. The scent of warm skin and clean male engulfed Gregory’s senses. There was no doubt his heart was reacting to it, because his heart wasn’t alone. His skin felt flushed everywhere Charlie touched, even the harsh pants of his breathing through his shirt. Gregory pushed it away. He couldn’t think about it now. Not when Charlie was barely standing, and gritting his teeth in frustration and pain. “How are you feeling now?”
“Like I want to shoot myself,” came the flat snarl.
“Shut up.” Gregory wasn’t sure there wasn’t a level of truth to that statement, as despondent as he sounded. “You don’t have a gun, do you?”
Charlie barked a sour laugh. “No. I’m pissed, not suicidal.”
His groused reply calmed the rising fear in Gregory. “Okay. Can you stand yet?” Gregory had been embracing Charlie for a few minutes, one of Charlie’s arms clutched around Gregory’s waist for support with his own arms around Charlie’s frame. Gradually, the tremors and heaves that had rocked his body ceased.
Whether it was accidental or not, a shift of weight brought their bodies closer. Gregory froze as their lengths came together.
Charlie was sporting a hell of a boner behind his jeans. It stole Gregory’s breath away.
Charlie cleared his throat. “Yeah, I think I can now.” The raw depth of those words shook him.
They straightened, but when they should have let their arms release each other, neither did. Gregory stared into his smoldering green eyes. Daring green eyes that whispered promises and hungry desires. Things that Gregory didn’t understand and couldn’t imagine, but felt safe with Charlie. A current that kept him frozen as surges of desire swept over him.
Charlie leaned forward, just a fraction, and Gregory felt panting breath on his lips. His heart pounded. Blood raced. Skin burned. There was no doubt his cock was paying attention, because it was growing painfully hard inside his jeans.
The epiphany was startling, shocking, and confusing as hell.
He was attracted to Charlie.
But he couldn’t be. Gregory wasn’t gay.
Gregory blinked and unwound his hold. The urge to flee screamed at him. “You okay?”
Charlie’s gaze sank, gold lashes hiding him. “Yes. Thank you.” With a purposeful effort, Charlie steadied his weight on his cane, releasing Gregory’s waist completely. “Seems you’re always picking me up off the ground.”
“That’s what friends do,” he managed, trying for flippant and coming out way too tender. He sent the order to his brain to make his legs take a step away. They finally obeyed. “I better get home. Samson probably has to pee a river.”
Charlie chuckled, though it sounded forced. Slipping out the door, Gregory escaped to his still-running Jeep with long, ground-eating strides. He slammed the door closed and released a shuddering breath. The man had been turned on, and unless he needed to take Chemistry 101 again, Charlie had almost kissed him, came damned close to kissing him.
What shook Gregory’s world was that Charlie wasn’t the only one who had been feeling the attraction. The sheer want had been electric. Gregory couldn’t recall feeling the need to close the gap between his lips and Charlie’s like he had just now. Not between himself and a woman, and never with another man. A shudder rocked him as he maneuvered the Jeep onto the road.