Leaving his enormous family behind, native New Yorker, Elijah, decides to move to Brighton Pier for a fresh start. Being part of a large LGBTQ community and landing his dream job at Inkubus, a local tattoo shop, is too big of a draw for him to turn down. But just when he thinks his new life is going perfectly, he finds out his burgeoning relationship is nothing more than a friends-with-benefits arrangement to the man he was swiftly falling for. Suddenly, everything that felt so right to him feels all wrong, and he wonders if New York, with his family, is where he is meant to be after all.
Jake has worked hard for the life he’s made for himself in Brighton Pier. His life as a bachelor is pretty set in stone. Running his own business and spending time with his family and friends is enough for him, or so he’s convinced himself. Though he’s met a man he cares for, he’s adamant about keeping his single life as is. He has his reasons for not wanting to commit to the beautiful man he’s irrevocably drawn to. He just hopes their friends-with-benefits arrangement will be enough to keep Eli in his life.
When tragedy strikes, and Jake’s world is turned upside down, his instincts lead him to lean on the one person who’s become someone special, despite his best efforts to try and push him away. Eli—unable to turn Jake away when a loss so great takes the strong man to his knees—steps selflessly into the void in Jake’s life, regardless of the toll it takes on him. As both men struggle to deal with their own emotional turmoil, their lives veering off course, they grow inevitably closer as the days pass. But even so, they are still left wondering—can two people, drawn together by tragedy, turn a devastating situation into a fresh start? Or is it too late for a new beginning?
“Hey.” Jake shifted from foot to foot in the doorway, but Eli couldn’t find an ounce of fucks to give that the guy was uncomfortable. Jake took a couple steps inside the room, no doubt to avoid nosy eyes on him. “About last night—”
“Don’t.” Eli paused with the cellophane in his hand hovering over the armrest of the chair. He glanced up at Jake then back down and proceeded to wrap the arm in the plastic. “I already know what you’re gonna say. I don’t need to hear it again.”
“I’m not cut out for that shit, Eli. You know that.” The pleading in Jake’s deep voice was too much for Eli to handle.
“What I know is that we were headed for that shit, whether you’d like to admit it or not. I don’t know what the fuck happened.” He moved over to the other arm and wrapped it tightly. “Quite frankly, I no longer give a shit.”
“I’ve always been honest with you about what this was.” Jake’s anger was rising along with his voice. No doubt, Ryder could hear everything going on next door, even over the whir of the machine.
Eli let out a humorless laugh. “Yeah, keep telling yourself that.” Pulling out some rubber bands, he wrapped them around his machines then set the tools down on the covered tray.
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”
Eli looked back up, holding Jake’s gaze, ignoring the intensity that always sparked between them. “You can’t even be honest with yourself,” Eli shook his head, “but it doesn’t matter anymore. I’m done. You can find a fuck buddy someplace else.” Jake’s jaw ticked in anger, and for once, it didn’t get to Eli. “Now, I need you to get the hell out of my room, so I can finish setting up before my first appointment.
“This isn’t over,” Jake declared before turning to leave.
“That’s exactly what it is,” Eli retorted, feeling satisfaction as Jake stopped for a brief moment before leaving the room.
I have been an artist from a very young age. From drawing cartoon characters and evolving into portraits, making jewelry, photography, and now writing. I have an amazing support system in my family and friends and couldn’t be more grateful.
I live in central New Jersey, love summers at the Jersey Shore, rock music, wine, sexy men, and laughing a lot with my amazing friends and family. Sunday dinners at my parents’ house are crazy, hysterical and you can count on a movie quote…or ten…being thrown out. Insults between siblings is how we show our love for each other!
When I’m not creating, you can find me reading books from my favorite authors. I’m a hopeless romantic, starving for passionate characters and always craving that happy ending, whether in reading or in writing my own books.