Double Up (A Lake Lovelace Novella)

Double Up, by Vanessa North
Author: 
eBook ISBN: 
978-1-62649-159-5
eBook release: 
Aug 25, 2014
eBook Formats: 
pdf, mobi, html, epub
Word count: 
37,000
Page count: 
139
Type: 
Cover by: 

This title is part of the Lake Lovelace universe.

This title is part of the The Lake Lovelace Collection collection. Check out the collection discount!

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Knowing he’s loved can make any man fly.

Fifteen years ago, Ben Warren was a wakeboarding champion: king of big air, ballsy tricks, and boned grabs. Until a career-ending injury left him broken in ways he still has no hope of fixing. Now he takes his thrills where he can get them, and tries not to let life hurt too much.

Then Davis Fox arrives in Ben’s sporting goods store with a plan to get in touch with his estranged brother by competing in the annual wakeboarding double-up contest. The catch? He’s never ridden before. It’s crazy, but Ben’s a sucker for the guy’s sob story—and for his dimples, too—so he agrees to coach Davis.

Davis is everything Ben isn’t: successful, confident, and in love with life. And he wants Ben to love life—and him—too. But before Ben can embrace a future with Davis, he needs to remember how to hope.

This title comes with no special warnings.

Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish.

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Chapter One

I know his type the minute he walks through the door.

He’s at least twenty-five, has more money than God, and recently decided his dick is measured by the air he can catch on a board. He’s wearing khakis and a polo shirt, as if he came from a golf course. Or work. Do guys like him work? Or just milk a trust fund?

He’s also cute. Really fucking cute. Dark hair, freckles, dimples, a lean body. I can’t help but take an interest. Or my cock can’t.

But I know better. He’s probably straight, and even if he isn’t, he’s way the fuck out of my league. The guy has eyelashes for days and that mouth? Holy hell. Get it together, Warren.

“Welcome to Legend Wakeboards. Can I help you?”

“Yeah . . . I need to see Ben Warren.” He looks down at a card in his hand—likely from the boat dealership that occupies most of the building—then back at me. “I want to talk about some private lessons.”

Of course you do.

“Well, I’m Ben.” I flash my the-cash-register-made-me-do-it smile. “What can I do for you?” It’s pretty typical: these guys make some money midtwenties, when they aren’t too old to show their asses at extreme sports. Guys like him think it’s going to be easy. Then, you get them on the water, they get frustrated, and somehow it’s your fault they can’t ride. They’re all wallet, no action. I should know: I got into this gig because I had something to prove to guys like him.

Even with sponsors, my wallet wasn’t very big, but I showed my ass all right. We sell the video. For three years running, I was the reigning champion of the Lake Lovelace Tournament and Double-Up Contest. I was no slouch on the pro circuit either; I even won an X Games medal. That was fifteen years ago. Now I teach lessons and summer camp and hardly ride at all—only when I have to demonstrate something during a lesson. I miss it, sure, but mostly I’m content to sit behind the counter at the world’s smallest pro shop, and sell boards to guys with more money than brains. Unless they’re cute. Then I just want them the hell out of my shop before they can remind me that no one wants a washed-up old has-been.

He leans on the counter and flashes me a dimpled smile. The effect ricochets right off my brain and down to parts south.

“So you’re the legend himself?”

Why did I let Eddie name the shop? “Yeah, that’s me.”

“Okay, so my kid brother is practically a fish. Born and raised on the lake. There’s talk of him going pro and he’s only thirteen.”

Oh. A pang of disappointment surprises me. “If he’s that good, I don’t know that I have anything to teach him. What’s his name?”

“Ridley Romeo.”

Oh shit. Yeah, his kid brother is that good. He hits a double-up and he flies. He doesn’t just get big air, he makes his tricks beautiful, not to mention just plain sick. The kid is all balls, no bones.

“You’re Ridley Romeo’s brother?” They don’t look alike. Granted, there’s at least ten years between them, and I’ve never seen the Romeo kid up close, but Ridley is blond haired.

“Yeah. I’m Davis Fox. You can call me Dave.” He glances down at the card again, tucks it into his pocket, and extends his hand for a shake. “Riddles is my half brother. We’re not close—I just moved here from Charleston. But the lessons aren’t for him. They’re for me. I figure if I can do this double-up contest thing, maybe he and I could spend some time together and get to know each other a bit.”

“Hold on. You want to enter the double-up contest?”

He nods, flashing that smile again.

“Have you ever ridden before?”

He shakes his head.

“You’re fucking nuts.” Yeah, it’s not polite to cuss at the customers, but seriously? “Look, I know you want to impress your kid brother, and you think it’s just water, how bad can the crash hurt? But it fucking hurts. People are fragile.” I’m fragile. I point to him. “You’re fragile.”

“I’m tougher than I look.” Dimples. Is he flirting?

“Not that tough. There’s got to be a better way to bond with your brother than entering a contest in an extreme sport you’ve never tried before.”

The dimples disappear. “I’m not allowed to see him.” He looks down at his feet. “My stepfather doesn’t want a ‘dumb fucking faggot’ around his kid.”

Ouch.

“I’m sorry. That’s a raw deal.” My sympathy is tempered by my dick throwing an “oh yes, he’s gay!” party in my pants. I shouldn’t encourage him—or my dick—but what the hell. “That name—Romeo—your stepfather is in politics or something, right? I think I saw the signs last November.”

“Yeah. That’s him. Those signs were probably paid for by some antigay, antiwoman, anti-everybody-who-isn’t-them hate group.” He takes a deep breath, shaking his head. “Look, my own mom won’t return my calls, and Ridley . . . I just want to get to know him. If I can talk to him for a few minutes . . .”

Ah, fuck. “Okay, I still think entering the contest is a bad idea, but I can get you started. Do you have access to a wake boat or will we be using the shop’s?”

“I bought a Super Air Nautique last weekend.”

Nice boat. Who throws that kind of money at making nice with family?

“Okay. You have a board? Vest? Helmet?”

“Helmet?” He raises an eyebrow. “For real?”

“Yeah, a helmet. No helmet, no lessons.” I stare him down, but he doesn’t pick a fight.

“Okay, just tell me what I need and I’ll get it. I have a boat. Nothing else.”

“How much do you weigh?” I ask, coming out from behind the counter. I’d put him at about one seventy, he’s taller than me, maybe six feet, six foot one, kinda slender but muscley.

“One sixty-five. Why?”

I gesture to the boards. “You need one in an appropriate size for your height and weight, otherwise it won’t hold you up or get good air. You ought to be learning on something like this—” I gesture to one of the beginner boards “—but it won’t get the pop you’re looking for off the wake, so against my better judgment—” I pull out a pro model board “—I’d recommend this one.”

He looks it over. It’s not pretty. I carry some pretty gear. The artwork on this one looks like it was done by a stunningly untalented toddler. But it’s got a great ride and plenty of pop.

“It’s . . .”

“I know; it’s fugly. No one will be looking at the board. Shoe size?”

He actually looks down at his feet and blushes.

“Twelve.”

“Really?” I glance at his feet too. Really. I bite back against the temptation to ask if it’s true what they say about big feet. Why do I want to flirt with him so damn bad?

I find some large bindings and hand them to him. “Try these on. They should be snug, but not so snug your feet can’t slip out of them in a bad crash. Don’t worry; it’s easier to put them on in the water. We use lube.” I set a bottle of it on the board.

“Lube?” He blushes again, tries them on, nods, and sets them aside. While he tries them on, I walk through the shop collecting all the stuff he’s going to need—like the helmet with ear flaps. The only thing worse than popping an eardrum when your head hits the lake is the ensuing infection from getting lake water in your inner ear.

The pile on the seat next to him grows steadily, but I save the best for last. When I hand him the rope, he bites his lip. Damn.

“You can’t ride wake without a rope.” I pitch my voice a little low just to see if I can bring his blush back.

Dayum.

Those pretty pink cheeks make me wonder how far down his body that flush goes. Focus, Ben. I ring up his purchases and try not to flinch when I tell him the total. You’d think after all these years I’d get used to telling guys they need to pay to play. Wakeboarding is definitely not a poor man’s sport. But he doesn’t say anything, just hands over his credit card.

“Okay, Davis Fox. You’re ready to ride. What do your mornings look like this week?”

“My mornings?”

“Yeah, for the lessons. We head out first thing, when the water is like glass. That’s the best time for learning.”

“Oh. Well, I have meetings Monday and Thursday, and I’ll be out of town Friday. You can have me Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Is that right?

“Have you? Like with tea? On toast?”

He ignores my flirting. “Tuesday then? I live on the lake, I can write down my address for you.”

I hand him my phone. “Add yourself to my contacts. I’ll be there at seven.”

He enters his information, and then surprises me by snapping a photo of himself. He’s still a little pink faced, and I have a feeling I’ll be jerking off to that picture later. What is it about a guy who blushes?

I help him carry his purchases out to his car—a Range Rover? Maybe what they say about big feet isn’t true after all.

He smiles at me. It’s a nice smile. The kind that makes you want to do something nice back. “Thanks. I know you think I’m crazy to learn how to wakeboard just so I can spend a weekend hanging out with my own brother. But it’s all I’ve got.”

“Yeah. Crazy is a good word for it. Lucky you, I have a weakness for guys who blush.”

Yeah, that gets another blush out of him.


Chapter Two

There are three types of houses on Lake Lovelace.

First, you have the eyesores. Built in the fifties and sixties just after the lake was made, most of them are only used on weekends. Some are little more than camping cabins with a dock. The land was sold cheap back then, but it’s worth a fortune now. The eyesores are goldmines.

Next, you have the McMansion monstrosities. Probably eighty-five percent of lakefront lots sport one of these houses. Nearly identical to each other, all ubiquitous gray stucco and columns, metastasizing across the landscape like the tacky cancers they are.

Last, you have the objets d’art. Designed by real architects, not picked out of a catalog, sometimes they spring up from the lakefront like a jewel in an exotic setting. Sometimes they nestle quietly into the landscape—a tribute to nature, all glass and stone and wood and gorgeous. Before my career imploded, I fantasized about owning one of those houses; waking up at dawn and slipping out my back door, down the dock, and into the lake for a swim or a ride or a lusty fuck in the morning fog.

Standing in front of Dave’s house, a house right out of my sweatiest, dirtiest, most hope-infused fantasies, I shiver. The building is elegant, not flashy—a simple stone façade shows off large wood-framed windows, a gently sloping roof, and a shaded walkway offering a glimpse of the lake. The whole thing is set off by a carefully groomed yard and tiered flower beds. Even the palm trees manage to avoid looking kitschy. Dave’s house looks like it was crafted with love and pride—it looks like home. Seeing it makes my stomach do a sad little roll. I don’t know if I’m just jealous—cause I’m sure as fuck jealous—or nostalgic too.

He opens the front door while I’m still gawking on the front lawn and flashes his dimples.

“Well, hey. You’re fifteen minutes early. I was going to sneak out for Starbucks but you’ve blocked me in.” He gestures to my truck, parked behind the Rover. “Now you’ll have to give me a ride.”

“Don’t worry, I brought caffeine.” I smile back at him. And yep, he’s still really fucking cute. He’s wearing board shorts—simple black, knee length—and a white T-shirt. No fuss. His legs are toned and more tanned than I would have expected from a guy with freckles. His hair is still messy from bed, and little creases line his face. Cute isn’t a strong enough word. He’s fucking adorable.

“Coffee?” He walks toward me, his expression so hopeful I want to kiss him. But how he can even think about drinking hot coffee on a summer morning in Florida is beyond me.

“Monster.” I hold up my cooler.

He shudders. Honest to God shudders. “But . . .”

“But nothing. You spill hot coffee on your lap when you hit a wake, it sucks. Trust me. You do not want to burn the wedding tackle in front of all your friends.” I wince theatrically. “No dignity, dude.”

“So, is that a prerequisite to wakeboarding?” He takes the cooler as I heft my gear bag onto my other shoulder and follow him toward the house.

“Energy drinks?”

“No.” He looks over his shoulder and grins mischievously. “Calling people dude and using words like ‘wedding tackle.’”

“Oh, now you’re making fun of the way I talk? See if I bring the energy drinks tomorrow.”

He opens the door and gestures me through. I set my board down and take a look around.

Wow.

I’ve never been in a house like this one. I mean, he’s got clutter—don’t we all—but it’s classy clutter. It’s a few architectural magazines collecting on the counter. It’s a jacket that probably costs what I make in a month’s commission, slung haphazardly over a chair. It’s a pair of coffee-brown wing tips kicked off next to the recliner—and that ain’t no ugly carpet-covered thing like mine; it’s some high-end leather deal.

It’s like I stepped out of my regularly scheduled life and into one of his architectural magazines. The whole space is open. The wall facing the lake is solid windows, and the opposite wall is floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, complete with library ladder. His slate floors should seem cold, but instead they’re rustic and inviting, especially with that ginormous fireplace and the—

“Is that a bearskin?

He glances at the rug and then back at me. “Yeah. My decorator picked it. You aren’t some vegan hippie guy, are you?”

“No.” I stare at the bearskin, a rush of fantasies rolling over me. Him spread out on that rug before me, completely debauched, groaning as he thrusts into my mouth, my hands. I can imagine the fur’s softness on my knees, my back. I can almost feel the weight of him on my tongue, pressing back into my throat. Damn. “It’s gorgeous.”

It is. The whole house is.

“Thank you.” He shuffles from one foot to another. “So . . .”

“How does a guy your age afford a place like this? This house is amazing.”

The blush that spreads across his face isn’t bashfulness like back at the shop. It’s different. It’s pleasure—no, pride.

“Thank you. I designed it.”

Record scratch.

“You designed this place? Gawd, I’ve never . . .” I can’t find the words. “You’re really talented.”

Talented. The word seems inadequate as I stand here gaping.

“Thank you. I specialize in single-family homes in rustic locations. I originally built this one as a showpiece, but when it came time to put it up for sale, I couldn’t.” He runs a hand through the hair on the back of his head. “So, this is how I find myself living across the lake from my estranged family.”

“You’re an architect then?”

He nods, but he’s not making eye contact. I get the feeling we’ve trodden onto unsafe ground—because of his job? Maybe my questions bypassed “interested” and went straight to “nosy.”

“Let’s go ride, man.” I reach into the cooler and pull out one of the energy drinks and hand it to him. “Trust me, you’re going to have a good time.”

He scowls at the can, opens it, and takes a cautious sip.

“It tastes like candy,” he wails, but he takes another sip. I bite back a laugh at his mock outrage.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” I pop open my own can and take a long pull, letting the sweetness settle on my tongue and the bubbles rush into my belly. Happy sigh. Yep, just like candy.

“God, what are you, eight years old?” He snickers.

“Forty. But who’s counting?”

“Really?” He stops and stares at me.

I heft my board under one arm and grin. “Really.”

He pushes open the glass door and waves me through, then follows. I can see the dock through the trees, so I take the path past a gorgeous swimming pool down toward the lake. He’s got a boathouse at the end of the dock, but he’s already lowered the boat into the water and pulled it out so we can get in easily. The Nautique, like his house, is more elegant than flashy in blue and gray. The bars of the wake tower are painted a simple black, with chrome racks for the boards on either side. A serious boat. I turn my attention back to Dave in time to hear him say, “You look way younger.”

“Thanks.” A flush heats my face now—and the compliment ain’t even true. I’ve got all the crinkles around my eyes to show for my years in the sun. “And you’re what, twenty-five?”

He snorts. “I’ll be thirty in September.”

Ten years. Not so much age difference. He’s closer to my age than to his brother’s.

“You’re a lot older than your brother.”

He nods abruptly. “Half. Riddles is my half brother. Same mother.”

“Right. Sorry. Ridley seems like a good kid. I’ve seen him ride.”

“Yeah.” His face softens. “He was the cutest baby on the planet. I loved coming home after school and playing with him. I would wear him around in one of those backpack things while I worked on my homework. He was just the coolest little guy. When I was younger, I hated being an only child. He was . . . the nicest thing my mom ever did.”

“How long ago . . .” I swallow. Definitely unsafe territory. “How long has it been since you’ve seen him?” I step off the dock and onto the boat, setting the cooler next to the driver’s seat and hanging my board on the tower.

“I came out during my freshman year in college. I was eighteen. Riddles was two. I went to live with my dad at the end of the semester.” He pulls his new board out of the boathouse storage and hands it over. I hang it on the other side as he continues. “I’ve not been welcome in my mother’s house since then. I kind of follow him on Facebook through mutual family friends, but I haven’t actually seen him since he was a toddler.”

“I’m sorry, man.” More than sorry, pissed. How could they kick their son out? I’m not close to my family, they moved back to South Georgia while I was riding pro, but we still talk.

“Yeah, whatever. Mom has her new family. At least Dad wasn’t a homophobe.”

“What’s he like?”

“He died five years ago. Cancer. C’mon, everything else is under the seats.” He unties the boat and hops in, pushing us gently away from the dock.

Well, shit. Way to stick my foot in my mouth. He’s not looking at me, and his body language is all closed off. Eager to get us back to solid ground, I roll with the abrupt change of subject.

“Okay. Head out toward the main channel; we need to go pick up a third.”

“A third?”

“A third rider. Someone to drive the boat while I’m in the water teaching you how to get up.”

“Oh.” He looks, what is that, disappointed? “I didn’t think about that.”

“Don’t worry, I figured you hadn’t so I asked my buddy Eddie. He lives a couple of coves down on the main channel. He’s in. We just need to pick him up.”

I don’t mention that Eddie and I have a history with riding that has nothing to do with wakeboarding. It’s not like he won’t figure it out the moment Eddie prances onto the boat. I’m looking forward to the show.

And Eddie does not disappoint. When we pull up to his dock, we’re greeted by the man himself in a red velour bathrobe and oversized sunglasses. I hope to hell he remembered to put on a bathing suit.

“Darling,” he purrs as I reach out a hand to help him—sure, Eddie can board a boat himself, but he likes the attention. He hops inside and gives me an effusive air kiss—yeah, that was definitely for show. Eddie’s as much of a redneck as I am, though he hides it pretty well.

“What a delicious ride. And is this my host?” He turns to Dave, who has stiffened up. “Good morning, sunshine. I’m Edward Russell, but this guy calls me Eddie. You can call me anything you like, but endearments are preferable to homophobic slurs. Unless you’re family.” He lowers his sunglasses and raises his eyebrows.

I snort. “Leave the poor boy alone, you ancient queen.”

“I’m forty-three.” Eddie sniffs. “That’s not ancient.”

“Davis Fox. Dave.” Dave holds out his hand for a shake. His eyes widen in surprise when Eddie throws his arms around his waist and snuggles him. Eddie has that effect on people. And yeah, I’m fuckin’ jealous that Eddie’s big flamboyant act has gotten him into Dave’s arms within minutes, but I tamp that down pretty quick. Dave is not Eddie’s type. Too young, too cute, too blushy. My oldest friend isn’t putting the moves on Dave; he’s just being Eddie.

“Davis Fox of the Carolina Foxes—Charleston, am I right?” He steps back and gives Dave an appraising look. If there’s a family with old money in the southeast US, Eddie knows them, so I’m not surprised when Dave nods. Eddie drops the affectation instantly. “Your daddy was an investor in one of my business ventures. He was a good man, and I was lucky to know him. It’s nice to meet his son.”

“Um, thank you.” Dave peers down at his feet.

I take pity on him. “All right, y’all have met, can we ride now?”

Eddie laughs and reaches for his sash. “Of course, let me just get comfortable.” He pulls off his robe with a dramatic flourish and thank fuck, he’s wearing a bathing suit. Sort of. It’s a barely there Speedo, but at least it covers his junk. And yeah, I look—I’m only fucking human after all. Eddie’s three years older than me, but he’s got a real boyish figure. He swims and runs several times a week, so he’s still as toned as the last time I saw him naked. And waxed everywhere from the looks of it. I peek at Dave to see if he’s checking out Eddie’s proudly displayed assets. Nothing. No hint of interest. Not even a blush.

Good.

Eddie drops into the driver’s seat and glances over at me. “Well, darling. Who’s first, you or baby Bedhead over there?”

“Him.” We both speak at the same time. Dave blushes and looks down, running a hand through his rumpled hair.

“It’s your boat, Dave. Your lesson.”

“I want to watch you first. Just for one pull?”

I’m all ready to make an innuendo-laden quip, but then I see the hint of fear in his eyes, and honestly, it’s about damn time. I nod, kick off my flip-flops, and pull off my shirt, ignoring Eddie’s sharp whistle.

Dave digs my riding vest out from where I stashed it under the seat and I shrug into it. I look up from zipping to find two pairs of eyes fixed on me. I’m used to Eddie’s blatant admiration, but the warmth in Dave’s gaze is new. And welcome.

“Isn’t he something, Bedhead?” Eddie stage whispers. Then, to me, “Darling, you look good. I haven’t seen you riding lately, what are you doing to keep in that kind of shape?”

I really don’t want to talk about physical therapy in front of Dave.

“I run three times a week and work out at the gym.” I shoot Eddie a warning glare and he nods, glancing back at Dave.

It’s as good as a promise that he’ll keep his mouth shut. At least in front of Dave. Fuck my life if he gets me alone though. It will be all, Darling, are you sure you’re taking care of yourself? You should talk to Dr. Thompson for a consult on that surgery. You know we just want to take care of you. You aren’t without friends, love.

I grab my helmet. “Okay, Dave, here’s what I want you to watch: How I hold the rope—low to my lead hip. How I approach the wake to jump—on the edges of my board. And when Eddie circles around, how I approach the double-up. You’re not going to jump today, but I want you to pay attention to my posture. Get in good habits now and you’ll be in good shape when you’re ready to start jumping.” It’s the same speech I give to every beginner before a demonstration. I don’t ride to show them how good I am. I ride to show them how to hold the rope and approach the wake.

But I still love the ride.

Eddie’s attached the rope to the tower and hands the end to me. Settling onto the platform, I grab the lube and push my feet into my bindings. Then I take the handle and jump in the lake.

The early morning air is warm, and the water is even warmer. I settle into the lake, let my board buoy me up. I’ve missed this. Eddie idles the boat forward, taking up the slack in the rope. When it draws taut, I signal that I’m ready.

The drag of board against water, the way my muscles bunch and strain, are old friends. Deep water starts are second nature by now, but I can still remember the sense of victory I felt the first time I went from horizontal to vertical behind a boat.

And the rush. Oh God, this is the best. There’s really nothing like hurtling along the lake’s surface at twenty-four miles per hour. I stop watching the boat—I’m watching the water. Between the wakes it’s a glorious mess, white and green churning together, like some fancy green-veined marble under my feet. But out there on the other side, it’s glass, just waiting for me to etch its surface with my board. Pushing the rope low to my lead hip, I turn my body and ride across the wake to the outside.

I want Dave to see my posture, so I cut out away from the wake and make a sharp turn back. It’s like a switch flips in my brain: now I’m performing for him, letting him see what I do best. I load tension on the line as I ride toward the wake, edging with progressively harder effort until I’m almost perpendicular to the big swell of water. Then, I straighten my legs.

Jumping wake is that simple, and it’s that hard. Even after all these years, the tension releasing on the rope and launching me into the air is still terrifying—it’s part of the thrill. Exhilaration rips a shout from my lungs as I lift my feet and use my rear hand to grab the board between my toes. I hold on as long as I can and then let go just in time to land on the far side of the wake. I look up to see Dave’s mouth hanging open. A rush of pride fills me. It was a simple grab, but his expression tells me I’ve still got it.

And I have nothing on his kid brother these days. He’s in for a treat when he sees Ridley ride.

I jump a few more times before Eddie signals he’s going to turn. Here comes the double-up—the point where two wakes converge and make one big-ass monster wake. I give myself room to cut toward it on my heelside edge.

A twinge of panic. I haven’t hit a double-up in years. Not since . . . no. But I’m coaching the guy for a double-up contest. This is part of the package, and let no one say they don’t get what they paid for from Legend Wakeboards.

I take a deep breath and I launch into the air. What could it hurt to give him a real show? I toss my hips back and my arms forward, and I’m soaring like Superman, parallel to the water, with my legs stretched out behind me. An Air Raley is a pretty simple trick, but damn does it look impressive. I fly for a long moment, and then I drop my feet, pulling the handle back toward my lead hip. I force myself not to stiffen in anticipation of the impact as I land on the far side of the wake.

The water’s smooth like glass; I slide down the far side of the wake and edge away.

I wave to Dave and Eddie and drop the rope. Adrenaline’s pumping through my system and I’m breathing hard as I sink into the water. Part of me, that angry, hungry part of me that fell in love with riding wake all those years ago, wants to keep going, keep riding, show everyone what I can do. Show them, show himDave—I matter. That ugly little attention whore can shut up though. I don’t matter. The job is him. Not me.

Several deep breaths later, I take off the board and wait for Eddie to circle around to pick me up. I lie back in the water with my hands behind my head and my feet propped on the board, letting the rush of warmth flood my veins. It’s been a while since I’ve spent a morning in the water, and God, I’ve missed this.

Maybe Eddie has a point about the surgery. It definitely wouldn’t put me back in competition shape, but fuck, I’m forty, it’s not like I’m going up against Ridley Romeo anyway.

Then I remember what recovering from back surgery actually feels like. No. I don’t need that in my life again. I know better than to even think about it.

Physical therapy is going fine. And if the only riding I do is giving lessons, that’s okay. ’Cause if I start thinking I still matter to this sport, I might start wanting things that hurt. Ain’t nothing good ever came from that.

from My Fiction Nook (by Dani)

...a breath of fresh air. Slightly angsty and tightly plotted, this book packs a punch.

 

from Cryselle's Bookshelf

This story really blew me away.... Wakeboarding is a good metaphor for Ben and Dave’s relationship, thrills and crashes and all. Terrific story.

from Prism Book Alliance

The writing is crisp, smooth and earthy.... We have humor and blushing and swearing in copious amounts. All of this is tightly written, nary a wasted word to be found.... I’m sort of blown away.... This is one of my top reads for 2014.

from Smut Book Club (by Solange)

Oh now this was a treat. Literally not a single thing in this book I didn't love...everything was literally perfect. I loved the setting, the narration, the sparks that flew off my kindle when Ben and Davis collide.... Highly recommended! 

from Pure Jonel

[A] brilliant novel that I couldn’t put down for a second.

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