Charlie Ryder has a colorful past, painful memories, and an embarrassing secret. After three years working for Leo Foster’s construction company, Charlie’s worst fears are realized, and Leo finds out what Charlie has worked so hard to hide. When Leo meets the revelation with absolute love and acceptance, Leo has to trust that Charlie’s love isn’t just gratitude, and Charlie has to learn to trust again, period. It’s going to take a lot of work for these two men to get any closer.
“SO BRIAN says you used to be a porn star.”
In retrospect, it was a hell of a way to start a conversation.
After I realized he wasn’t answering, I looked up and saw that my friend, Charlie Ryder, was not breathing.
“Breathe,” I suggested, smiling at him.
As soon as he did, he sucked hot coffee down the wrong hole, burned his throat, and started coughing. Maybe air was overrated.
I got up to get him some water, gave him a pat on the back as I walked by, and when I returned, placed a tall glass down in front of him. “Sorry.”
His eyes were huge, and as I took my seat back down across from him at the table in the crowded diner, I noticed, like I didn’t usually, that his lime-green eyes were just the prettiest color I had ever seen in my life. I was also a fan of his short, closely cropped curls and his thick, perfectly curved brows. Normally, I didn’t really see the individual parts of the man, but instead, the whole that was my friend.
I saw Charlie’s face when he smiled, heard his voice when he yelled at me, and noticed the space he took up when he was sitting beside me in my truck. I was aware of him peripherally, but I didn’t focus on him. Today I was really looking at him. Today I noticed the fluid way he moved, the delicate cut of his features, and how fine-boned his hands were. The scrutiny had been brought on by something Brian had said.
My old high school friend was back in town to see his family and had looked me up just to have drinks and dinner. Or so he had said initially. I didn’t know…