Jacob Baumgardner is struggling to get his nonprofit shelter for gay teens off the ground because the building needs a lot of help before it can pass inspection. Raised by his grandparents for part of his life, Jacob feels that the shelter is his chance to honor them, but someone is making things difficult. An anonymous extortionist seems determined to ruin Jacob’s late grandfather’s good name and keep the shelter from opening.
Luka Smith is struggling to find his place in the world after a traumatic event in his teen years pushed him to run. When Jacob hires him to help with repairs at the shelter, Luka falls for his new boss hard. Luka wants nothing more than to help Jacob realize his dream.
As they work together to ensure The Promise of Hope Shelter gets off the ground, their feelings for each other only grow. But will a calculating blackmailer close the shelter before it even has a chance?
Jacob was torn between being embarrassment of being caught in the middle of a panic attack and the safety he felt while wrapped in Luka’s arms. Technically this was the second time this man had rescued him in less than ... two ... maybe three hours. Okay, the first time was not really rescuing, but he’d still helped him during a bad situation.
He squirmed a little and tried to pull away, but Luka’s strong arms tightened around his waist.
“Give it a few more minutes.”
Jacob nodded and slumped back against the wall of muscle behind him. His heartbeat sped up and he realized he could feel Luka’s beating hard into his back. Had Luka been worried about him?
It felt so natural to be in the man’s arms. Jacob hadn’t dated in quite some time, mainly due to his grandparents’ death and trying to start this new shelter, but he also hadn’t met anyone that had piqued his interest. And Luka definitely piqued his interest. Unfortunately, he was pretty sure he hadn’t made the best impression on Luka, although he was just as confident that Luka wouldn’t soon forget meeting him.
“I’m okay,” he whispered.
“Okay,” Luka replied, pulling back. “No quick moves.”
Jacob nodded and waited for Luka to stand before he tried to push himself from the floor. His legs felt like jelly, so he was glad when Luka reached down like a lifeline. He grabbed onto the hand and let Luka pull him to a standing position.
They faced each other, Jacob eye level with Luka’s chin. He was too embarrassed to say anything and too wobbly to move, so he concentrated on the cleft in Luka’s chin.
Luka’s voice washed over him and brought him warmth. He caught himself before he leaned his forehead into Luka’s perfect golden skin. “Mmm?”
Luka’s thumb gently nudged up his chin until Jacob looked into his eyes. Dark chocolate eyes full of concern. “Are you okay?” Luka whispered, his hot breath caressing Jacob’s flesh. He shivered and nodded.
“Want to tell me what that was about?”
Jacob made a half-hearted attempt to look away, but Luka cupped his chin and held him in place. “It was a panic attack. I get them occasionally. I haven’t had one in years.” Since the day his grandparents had been killed in a car accident, to be exact, but he kept that information to himself.