Liam’s life could be better. He’s recovering from a divorce and a bitter custody battle, which he loses. He dearly loves his six-year-old son, Lucas, but seeing him every second weekend is never enough. His one salvation is the sea. When he’s sitting on the sand, watching the waves rolling in, he feels at peace, calmed and restored.
One day, the waves are particularly high, and the sea particularly rough. He’s surprised to see someone swimming in such choppy seas. When Liam calls out to the man, asking if he needs help, the man simply waves back. Liam thinks he must be an idiot. Little does he know the person he sees is no man, which he discovers two days later.
When they meet, Liam is both horrified and fascinated. His curiosity produces a strange attraction that changes their lives irreversibly forever.
The value of watching Lucas laughing, and hearing it, was immeasurable. It was a pity he wasn't able to hear it more often, but he had to be thankful for whatever time he could spend with his son.
"Hey, mister. All that tickling has made me hot. Do you want to come in for a dip?"
Lucas shook his head.
"No, Daddy," he said, busily patting down a handful of sand. "I want to finish building my castle. I'm going to build the biggest castle ever."
"Rightio, Buster. You stay and finish the castle, but remember to stay here where I can see you, please."
"Oh-kay," Lucas replied.
Liam ran into the water and dived into a small wave. He swam a short way underwater then surfaced, turning immediately to check if Lucas was okay. Of course, he was. The sand castle would keep him busy for at least another thirty minutes. There were shells to add and a moat to fill with water.
He fell back into the water, spreading his arms out to the sides so that he floated like driftwood on the surface. Closing his eyes, he let his other senses take over. The salt water and sun felt good on his skin. Revitalising. He imagined how wonderful it would be to float like this for hours, relaxed and buoyant, gently rocked by the motion of the sea as it gradually carried him away. All the tension, all the stress, of the working week was slowly being leeched out of his body, as his mind sank deeper into a meditative state.
It therefore came as quite a shock to hear another male voice so close to him.
Liam was immediately upright and treading water.
"Hello," said the man again.
He was handsome. That was the first thing Liam noticed. The whites of his teeth looked dazzling against his deeply tanned skin. His black hair was slicked back over his scalp, and rivulets of sea water traced silvery lines down his face. His nose was the only feature that wasn't perfect. In fact, the man's nose was too small for his face. It was barely a nose at all. Yet what was such a small thing when the rest of the package was such a knock out?
His arms were strong and powerful. His large pectoral muscles and chest were smooth. His nipples, chocolate brown.
"It is you," said the man.
Liam, his inspection interrupted, checked that Lucas was alright on the beach and then replied. "You're right. I am me."
The man laughed, his teeth so perfect and white. His tongue so pink.
"Forgive me. What I meant is, you're the man from two days ago. You were at the beach."
Liam stared at the man, trying frantically to remember if he'd met anyone, or even said hello to them. He usually kept himself to himself.
He looked at Lucas again and then shook his head.
"I'm afraid, I don't ..."
"We waved to each other. I was in the water, and you…"
Liam started nodding. "I remember. That was you?"
The man nodded.
"You're braver than I am," said Liam. "Those waves were pretty big."
"Those waves were nothing. They're ten times that size out in the ocean."
Liam furrowed his brow. "Yes, I suppose they are."
The man, noticing the change of expression on Liam's face, offered his hand.
"My name's Ezra."
It was then Liam was distracted by something large and dark grey moving in the water beneath them.
"Shit! What's that?" he gasped.