This novella is being released next month. BLURB: Pro baseball player Devin Carter is set to break a home run record until a knee injury puts him on the bench. With nothing to do but wait for recovery, Devin impulsively treats himself and his dog to a vacation in the Florida Keys. He checks in at a family-run hotel called The Blue Paradise—and that’s where things get interesting.
Sparks fly when Devin meets Jim Dellwood, the resort owner’s grandson, on the beach. Though Devin’s time in Islamorada is limited—and he’s still in the closet to his teammates and the media—they decide to give the budding relationship a shot. Once he returns to Sarasota, Devin and Jim find ways to make their long-distance love affair work, but the team’s new outfielder has other plans for Devin. Can Devin make his way back to The Blue Paradise—and Jim?
Jorge is the outfielder. He’s just joined the team.
Four -Bagger was packed, music blaring. It was always a popular place but after the Suns won, it overflowed with exuberance. Devin fought his way through the celebratory crowd to the bar and ordered a beer. Someone clapped him on the back and congratulated him before moving on.
He sipped straight from the bottle and looked around, seeing some of his teammates nearby, drinks in hand. He spotted Jorge the same time Jorge saw him.
Devin watched him excuse himself and walk over, noticing the loose easy grace in his movements. Jorge was a good-looking guy, no doubt about that, and he’d always been a sucker for dark hair and eyes.
Devin noticed one of the baseball groupies looking Jorge up and down and laughed. Shelly had hooked up with maybe half the team already, at one time or another. She was a sweetheart, but he steered clear of her, and not just because he was gay. Her lack of self-esteem put him off.
Jorge slid into a space beside Devin. “Clete’s telling everyone how he saved your ass in the Michigan game.”
Devin laughed. “He tells a good story, no doubt about it.” He gestured with his head. “Shel has her eye on you.”
“She can look, but no touching.” He sipped from his drink, eyeing Shelly with a raised eyebrow.
“Got a girl already, huh?”
Jorge turned and looked him straight in the eye. “No.”
Devin heard the heavy emphasis he gave the word and fought against making an assumption. “Sometimes single is best,” he said cautiously.
“I’d rather be with someone. I’m stronger when I am.”
“Let’s not forget what Stephen Stills said, about loving the one you’re with,” Devin said lightly. “Sometimes, you only want to scratch an itch.”
What Jorge said was true, though; who wouldn’t be stronger with someone at their side, urging them on, cheering when they did well and comforting them when they didn’t? Didn’t he feel more centered since meeting Jim?
He had the strong sense that Jorge was trying to tell him something, but Devin was hesitant to go there. What if he was wrong?
Devin finished his beer and signaled the bartender for another. Jorge leaned back against the bar, watching the room. Someone dropped money in the jukebox and the Rolling Stones started to play: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
Grinning, Devin grabbed his beer and swallowed deeply. In Islamorada, Jim was waiting for his call. Maybe he’d finish this drink and go home and call him for some hot phone sex.
“What are you thinking?” Jorge asked, eyes alight.
Devin shook his head, keeping his thoughts to himself. He changed the subject. “You did well today. Because of your incredible save in the seventh inning, we won the game.”
Jorge looked pleased. “I was lucky.”
“No, you were skilled. That’s what makes an excellent player.” Devin couldn’t stop thinking about Jim. He chugged the beer, feeling it hit his stomach like a fizzing bomb. His head swam just a bit as he placed the empty bottle on the bar. “I think I’ll head home.” The overloud music was giving him a headache.
“I’ll go with you,” Jorge offered.
“No need. See you tomorrow.”
Devin waved goodbye to several people on his way out, pushing through the heavy door and exiting into the moist warm air of the evening. As he walked toward his car, ears ringing from the sudden cessation of bar noise, he was surprised to hear footsteps dogging his. He turned to see Jorge right behind him.
“I told you, I’m fine.”
“I wanted to finish our conversation.” Jorge leaned forward and touched Devin’s arm. “Shelly doesn’t interest me… but you do.”
Oh, so he’s decided to make it clear. No one was near them at the moment, but he lowered his voice anyway, cautious as always of listening ears. “Finish our conversation… or something else?”
Jorge’s eyes dropped to Devin’s crotch. “Something else sounds pretty good right now.”
He’d been in major league baseball for almost two years, and this was the first time he’d been approached by another player. It sent a little thrill through him. Jorge was pretty, his black eyes liquid with heat, and those lips…. In an instant, he imagined them sucking his cock and grew hard. Jorge noticed and smiled.
But he hesitated. First, he’d be coming out to another player, someone he didn’t know and might be untrustworthy. Second, he’d just met Jim, and while it was far too soon to know whether or not their still-tenuous connection could survive the next couple of months, he was engaged enough to want to try.
“Not tonight, Jorge.”
The disappointment on his face was clear. “I’m right, though? You wouldn’t be interested in a Shelly, either?”
He hesitated. Admit it. Stop hiding. If he blabs to everyone, well, okay then. I’ll deal with it.
“I wouldn’t be interested in a Shelly,” he said softly before walking away.