Malcolm Holmes and Charlie Stone have been together for fifteen years. Despite Charlie's willingness to accept Malcolm's unspoken domination in bed,something is missing from their relationship. Early one morning, they rescue a passed out Kerry from being washed away by the tide and Charlie immediately senses a kindred spirit in the lost younger man. When Kerry’s roommate kicks him out, Malcolm and Charlie invite him into their home. As Charlie and Kerry bond over Charlie’s garden, Malcolm sees Kerry may be just who they have been looking for to complete their lives. All they have to do is show Kerry, and each other, that Kerry's submissive tendencies will fit their dynamic.
But someone is sabotaging Kerry at every turn. As he struggles to discover the culprit, he fears for the safety of his new friends. If Malcolm and Charlie cannot help, their lifelong search for their perfect third may not end with the happily ever after they imagined.
Excerpt FUCKING HELL, it was freaking cold. Matthew had been in my room again. He must have, the bastard. He liked coming in and opening all the fucking windows to “air the place out.” He’d even open the one right over my bed when he figured I was hungover or aching from a nighttime visit from Andrew. It must have rained all night this time, because I was soaked. “Worst. Fucking. Roommate. Ever. Goddamn hotshot grad student can fucking well buy me a new fucking mattress now.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone swear that much.”
“You think we should wake him?”
“What the fuck!” I jolted upright. Grit scraped against my palms. Light speared my eyeballs, and I shuffled back toward the cold wall. Only there was nothing there, and I tumbled onto my back again. Chill seeped up around my shoulders to swallow me.
“Careful, now.” A hand reached for me, inserting itself into my narrow view of the too-bright world. “You’re going to hurt yourself.”
“I fucking well am not! Who?” I finally pried my eyelids open and glared around. “Where the fuck am I?”
Two blurry men in shorts and sneakers and a lot of bare skin stood over me. They both had the right outline against the clear, torturous blue of the sky to be buff. Shirts trailed from the waistbands of their shorts. They both reached down big, tanned hands to within my nearsighted circle to steady me.
“These yours?” one of them asked, holding up a dark, squiggling blur.
“Gimme my fucking glasses.”
White split across both fuzzy faces.
“You have a special pair just for fucking?” One man tilted his head slightly. “That’s kind of kinky, isn’t it?”
“Charlie.” The other of the men glanced in the speaker’s direction. His voice was slightly admonishing, but not without humor. I just wasn’t sure if the amusement was being directed at me or not.
“Give me my fuc—” I let out a huff. “Can I please have my glasses?” I held up a hand, fully expecting it to get slapped aside and laughter to follow.
I knew how these things went. As soon as they realized I could see fuck all without the lenses, they’d keep them just out of reach to see how desperate I’d get to have them back. It was a common tactic, and a lot of experience with being on the wrong end of it reminded me that just sitting there being polite was the quickest way to get them too bored to continue the torment. Eventually they’d toss the glasses off somewhere and leave me alone.
Instead, a warm, strong hand gripped mine, and an even stronger tug encouraged me to scramble to my feet before I got my arm yanked out of my socket. As it was, my foot slipped again and I landed, face-first against a broad, sweaty, slightly hairy chest. I was not handed my glasses. They were gently set in place on my face, and once I had blinked the world back into focus, I found myself confronted by two very good-looking men, probably close to ten years older than me, arms crossed, faces almost stern as they studied me in turn.
“Missed the bus to the hotel, did you?” the one not named Charles asked.
I blinked at him again.
“The party last night, kid,” he said, indicating with a wave the golf course clubhouse down the beach. “You miss your ride home? Because I gotta tell you, sleeping on the beach, not such a stellar plan. Your suit’s toast, for one thing.” He gently straightened one of my lapels and pulled the drooping flower I’d stolen from a bouquet free of the pocket. He tossed it with a flick into the waves.
I looked down at myself and the three inches of water lapping around my feet.
“Tide’s coming in,” he went on. “I mean seriously. We’ve caught couples still necking on the boardwalk this early in the morning, but waiting to get washed out to sea? It was just a dance. Even if your girl left you on the dance floor, it can’t be that bad.”
“What the hell would you know about it?” I muttered.
They glanced at each other, then back at me as I patted my pockets for my keys and phone.
“You okay, kid?”
“I’m fine,” I muttered, going a little frantic when I found nothing but empty pockets. “Sorry I slept on your precious beach. Later.” I turned to go back the way I’d come the night before, hoping I’d find my missing life somewhere in the sand, but the way was impassable. The tide had devoured the beach right up to the stony cliff face that jutted out toward the sea about fifty feet off. It had claimed another inch of my pants as I stood there. My back was caked in saltwater and sand from lying on the ground, and my feet felt like ice inside my shoes.
“You’ll have to come up through the garden,” not-Charles said. “You can’t get back to the club along the beach now, and in another fifteen minutes, this section will be about six feet under water.” He turned to slosh through the ankle-deep water to a set of steps leading up through a carved-out section of the cliff. “Coming? Because you can stand there all day, but”—he tilted his head—“I don’t like your chances. You’ll be under the waterline.” He pointed to the evidence on the cliff face.
“I’m not short,” I protested.
They both smirked, but facts were facts. Six feet of water was about eight inches more water than I could comfortably stand flat-footed in and still be able to breathe, and since swimming in a suit was beyond stupid, I followed them up the steps.