THE LIFEGUARD AND THE GEEK
Read an Excerpt
A virgin and in the closet, graphic novelist Griffin Parks visits California for work and instead find himself face-to-face with sexy ex-pro surfer Drew Lynch. A card carrying geek, Griffin knows he has zero chance with the straight and handsome Drew.
Lifeguard Drew Lynch is between girlfriends and oddly enchanted by sweet, awkward Griffin. Secretly bi-curious, but never enough to act on his same sex interests, Drew seeks Griffin out, drawn to the guy in a way he’s never been to anyone before.
The more time Griffin spends with Drew the more he likes the man behind the outgoing lifeguard persona. And with each day Drew shares with Griffin, his sexual curiosity about men, and Griffin in particular, ignites a little more.
Both men notice each other and like what they see, but each is skittish about rocking the boat. Can this lifeguard and geek let go of their fears enough to reveal their deepest secrets and desires to each other? Do Griffin and Drew dare risk their friendship for a shot at true love?
Excerpt One – Rated PG – This is just a little bit of a scene that shows the growing friendship and attraction between Griff and Drew from Griff’s POV.
… Kicking the front door closed behind him, Griffin kept his arms locked around a box of art supplies and followed Drew through the bungalow to the hall of bedrooms. “Thanks for helping me get my stuff inside, and for coming up with the idea to clear this room for me.”
Griffin’s stomach skittered, but he wasn’t sure if that was due more to his proximity to Drew or making a move into a home that would put him in constant contact with the man. Over the six months since his move to California, Griffin’s crush on Drew had only grown.
Two days ago Griffin’s roommate had sprung the news that Griffin was out and the guy’s girlfriend was in. Griffin needed to be out of the apartment by the end of the weekend. Since Griffin had never signed an official lease, he’d had little course to fight the decision. He’d come over to the bungalow to moan about the situation and Drew had simply stated, “You can move in with us.”
Now, less than forty-eight hours later, Griffin couldn’t decide if Drew’s suggestion had been the single best thing to happen since moving to California or the beginnings of a lot of pain and nightmares that would come from living so close to a man he could never have. It’s too late to change my mind now. Truthfully, even if Griffin did want to back out, he didn’t have anywhere else to go.
Drew pushed open the door at the end of the hall with his backside and beckoned Griffin to enter. “It’s not much,” Drew reminded him for at least the tenth time. “It’s small. Like I mentioned, when we first moved in we started out thinking it would be an office but it spiraled into a junk room really fast.” Putting the box he carried in the corner, Drew added, “When you told us you were getting kicked out it was just a matter of getting everyone in here to decide if they wanted to keep or donate their stuff and then move it.”
“But you came up with the idea and made it happen fast.” The eight-by-twelve room, without a window or a closet, looked like a castle in Griffin’s eyes. And more and more, every day he became better friends with this group of people, Griffin knew that Drew and his brand of easy kindness, was turning into Griffin’s knight in shining armor. “You saved me,” Griffin looked across the small room at the guy and prayed to God his adoration didn’t show too much in his eyes, “and I can’t thank you enough.”
“No problem.” Turning in a circle, Drew raised his brows and strolled closer to Griffin. “You don’t have very many things though. I figured I’d be moving stuff all day, not helping you haul a dozen boxes out of your car.”
Heat burned the tips of Griffin’s ears. “The furniture at the apartment all belonged to Chad,” he explained. “But I went out and bought a bed and a nightstand and a dresser yesterday. It’ll be delivered this week. It took a chunk out of my savings,” the pang that had hit Griffin when handing over such a large chunk of cash still pounded in his belly, “but I’m an adult and it’s past time I have my own stuff, so it needed to be done.”
Arms crossed against his chest, shoulder resting against the doorjamb, Drew chuckled and knocked Griffin’s calf with his foot. “When you started getting your graphic novels published, did you think you’d be independently wealthy by the time you were twenty-two and own your own big sweet-ass mansion by the time you’re thirty?”
Lured in by Drew’s lighthearted teasing, Griffin nodded, loving these little moments with Drew the most out of all the time they spent together. “For about five minutes when I was sixteen I thought if I could just get one of my stories published I’d be able to own the world. Then I did some research and realized if I got lucky enough to have a career getting multiple graphic novels published, I’d still probably be lower middle class for a long time and then maybe middle class if everything went just perfectly.” Griffin lifted his arms toward the grandeur all around him and declared, “I’m luxuriating in all the spoils of my success right now.”
“I know the feeling.” Drew turned out the pockets of his jeans, exposing the nothingness in his coffers too. “My mom and stepfather wanted me to go to college, choose an engineering field, and work toward a degree. I have mad respect for what Melanie does and the work she put into earning her degree but I knew that life would smother me. I needed the water.” Dark skies full of storms suddenly clouded Drew’s stare and he murmured, “I need the beach in order to breathe.”
Every conversation Griffin had ever had with Drew in the last six months tracked with pictures and words like comic panels in Griffin’s mind, and his brow furrowed in knots. “I thought you said you spent almost all of your childhood on the beach. How could your mother have thought you’d want anything else as an adult?”
More shadows drifted through Drew’s stare. “When my dad was alive he and my mom were both always outdoors with me, mostly on the water. But when he died and Mom eventually remarried her new husband was more conservative and her perspective changed.” Stuffing his pockets back into his jeans, Drew shrugged and finished, “Mine didn’t.”
Griffin’s chest seized with awful tightness, and he had to curl his hands at his sides and school himself not to fling his arms around the bigger man. “How did I not know you’ve lost your father?” Without a doubt Griffin knew if Drew had mentioned this information, even as part of another conversation, Griffin would remember it. “When did he pass?”
Drew’s shoulders tensed visibly under his T-shirt but his voice held almost steady. “When I was ten. He got caught in the middle of a big pileup on the freeway and didn’t survive. My mother remarried when I was fourteen.” Drew suddenly jerked upright and he lifted his hand at Griffin. “But I don’t want you to think I hate my stepfather or anything. I don’t. My life didn’t go to shit or anything when my mom remarried. Richard is fine. We’re just different. But I think he was hoping he’d be able to mold me a little bit, but I’m still pretty much completely my father’s son.”
Dragged even closer into this man’s sphere, Griffin reached out and slipped his hand into Drew’s. “I’m so sorry you lost your father.”
Drew’s jaw ticked and his Adam’s apple bobbed convulsively. “Me too. But I had Hayden and Mel and Charlie, and honest to God they made everything okay.” His fingers still closed around Griffin’s, Drew rubbed his thumb across Griffin’s knuckles, back and forth, back and forth, and the gentle, almost noncontact twisted with the most achingly good pain straight up into Griffin’s heart. “I wish I’d known you back then.” Drew took half a step closer, and less than a foot separated their bodies. “You have a sweet way about you that I think would have helped me deal with everything too.”
His pulse slamming wildly out of control, Griffin looked up into Drew’s eyes, drowning in the wet silver. “I wish I could have been there too,” he admitted, wistful longing escaping into his tone. He grinned as something innocent and silly filled his brain. “I might be younger but I would have hooked us up with a pair of badass walkie-talkies. I would have slept with mine next to my ear so you could reach me whenever you were sad or scared.”
“I would have liked that.” An equally gentle smile tugged the edges of Drew’s lips. “A whole hell of a lot.”
Breathless, Griffin lifted up on his toes and leaned into Drew, so, so very close. “Me too.” Drew’s jaw clenched wildly just then, and his nostrils flared—oh fuck. Griffin yanked away from Drew hard and fast.
Griffin spun away—damn it, damn it, damn it—his heart bleeding out of him everywhere, he was sure of it. With his head tucked down, he focused on the two piddly boxes they’d brought inside so far, and found salvation. “Maybe we should get the rest of my stuff?” Without waiting for Drew’s answer, Griffin pushed past him to the doorway. “I’ve already pulled you away from your day. I don’t want to steal all of your time.”
“Yeah. Right.” Drew cleared his throat, and to Griffin the noise thundered through the room. “Of course. I’m right behind you.”
Griffin strode through the house and outside to the car, but with every step he took, his cowardly behavior dug into his flesh sharper than a knife. When he reached the open trunk, rather than grab another box, he put some steel in his spine and forced his gaze up to meet Drew’s. “Thank you again.” His throat tightened terribly, but he didn’t blink or look away. “For everything. You’ve helped make my transition to California a happy one, and your help with this move into your home means the world to me.” Griffin nodded to back up his declaration. “I just wanted to make sure you know that.”
Drew waved Griffin’s concerns aside. “No worries. We’re friends, and you’ve helped me more than once too.” Abruptly he wrapped his arm around Griffin’s neck, tucked him against his side, and gave him a noogie. “It’s always even stevens between us, yeah?”
Locked in a wrestler move, Griffin clutched Drew’s arm for dear life and laughed. “Yeah, okay.” His spirits once again soaring up above the ocean with the birds, Griffin hit Drew’s leg as if tapping out of a round of wrestling and pleaded, “Now Uncle. Uncle. Please.”
Just as fast as Drew had dragged Griffin in, he swung him loose, straightened Griffin’s mussed hair, and declared, “Let’s get the rest of these boxes inside so I can take you on a tour of the bungalow’s problem spots and quirks.”
Carrying one box to Drew’s two, Griffin followed the bigger man back into the house. He tried to avert his eyes so as not to admire how Drew’s wide, strong back pulled at his T-shirt, or how incredible his tight ass and long legs looked in dark blue jeans.
Griffin failed miserably.
And got hard. So very hard.
Excerpt Two – Rated PG-13 – Another little moment with Griff and Drew’s attraction intensifying, taking place after they’ve watched a Game of Thrones marathon, this time from Drew’s POV.
… Hours later Drew blinked through the darkness surrounding him and tried to get his bearings. Yawning long and loud, he stretched his arms and legs, and sideswiped the lump lying next to him on the couch.
“Shit.” Drew muttered an apology, and Griffin mumbled and curled up into a tighter ball.
Last thing Drew remembered, he’d started episode six of their marathon, and both he and Griffin had still been wide awake. That sugar drop-off must have come hard and fast. Running his tongue over his teeth, Drew winced at the cottony, stale taste in his mouth, and his head pounded as if he’d spent the night kicking back shots. It was all that damned sugar.
Drew had to get up for work in three hours, and Griffin had mentioned something about being told to expect a personal call from the owner of the publishing company he worked with within the next twenty-four hours.
Let me get him into bed. Drew pushed himself off the couch and worked his arm around Griffin’s shoulders. And then I need some serous shut-eye too.
“Come on.” With a grunt, Drew hoisted Griffin to his feet. “Let’s get you to your room.”
Mumbling more protests, Griffin clung to Drew’s shoulders and waist. “Don’t wanna get up.” Digging into Drew like an anchor, he dragged his feet. “More sleep.”
With a shift to grip Griffin around the waist, Drew locked the guy solidly to his side. “That’s what I’m trying to give you. More, better sleep.” For each step Drew took, he had to stop to nudge Griffin’s legs to move, and he growled, “Work with me, Griff. You’re more solid than you look.”
Griffin looked up at Drew, and a drowsy smile appeared. He finally started shuffling his feet, but he ran his hand up Drew’s arm and shoulder, tunneled his fingers up into Drew’s hair, all the way through the thick strands, and poked at Drew’s head. “You have nice hair,” Griffin declared and then leaned in and sniffed Drew’s shoulder. “You smell so good too.” Blinking so heavily he hardly kept his eyes open, he put his chin on Drew’s upper arm and slurred, “You smell manly.”
“Thank you,” Drew muttered. He bit back a stupid smile, but kept his eye on the prize at the end of the hall. “We’re almost there. Don’t quit on me now.”
A little more wrangling of a noodle-like Griffin and Drew finally guided the guy into his room and to the bed. As Drew eased Griffin onto the twin-size mattress—a bigger bed would have swallowed the tiny room—Griffin took over and settled his head on a crisp, white pillow. His auburn tresses flopped against the snowy material, making him look barely seventeen, let alone twenty-two and poised to become a star in his field.
Right then Griffin, eyes closed, grumbled, pushed at his sweat pants, and kicked them off his body. His T-shirt rode halfway up his back, and in his fight to tear off his pants, he’d pushed his boxer briefs partially down his ass. Holy mother of God. Drew stared; he absorbed; he couldn’t help himself. The small of Griffin’s back dipped in the sexiest damned slope down to the flared curve of his buttocks. More freckles dotted Griffin’s pale skin, and Drew sucked in a tight breath as he took everything in.
Where Drew stood, he flashed back to the morning after he and Griffin had met, and how Drew had fleetingly wondered what Griffin’s ass would feel like in his hands. In the shadows, the hint of freckled globes and a peek of cleft were exposed, and the sight had Drew struggling for his next breath. He reached out, his fingers unsteady, and curled his hand around the left cheek. Warmth instantly sank into Drew’s palm, but at the same time Griffin clenched his buttocks and rolled onto his side, and Drew jerked his hand away.
Oh Jesus. What am I doing? Drew had only touched Griffin for the barest of seconds but he swore the shape and feel of Griffin’s ass had seared itself into his palm. So softly rounded, yet at the same time high and firm, Griffin’s backside was the stuff of wet dreams. If Griffin’s ass were perched on a woman every straight man in the world would drool. And if he’s gay, then maybe...
Right then Griffin pulled a pillow against his chest, and light from the hallway showed his sleepy jade stare. “You make everything perfect, Drew.” His words still slurred, and he attempted to lift his arm but it flopped back down onto the bed. “I’m happy I have you.”
Drew’s chest banded with the most beautiful pain. The caretaker in him took over and he pulled the bedding up to Griffin’s waist. “Okay, man. Go to sleep.” He double-checked that the guy’s alarm clock was set and then said, “Good-night. I’ll see you in the morning.”
When Drew reached the doorway, Griffin murmured so very softly, “Thanks for being happy for me.”
Holy mother, man. Those words snaked right into Drew, tagged his heart, and then raced south, straight for his cock. Too much rust suddenly filling his throat, he got out, “My pleasure,” doused the hall light, and got the hell away…
Copyright Protect Work
Jamie Urban, author / LS Books, publisher
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