Hard Water [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Chloe Stowe
eBook Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
eBook Description: Dominick Carlyle is a man kissed by fortune. He is a doctor on a small island in the Florida Keys. His clients are rich and generous. His house hugs the warm Gulf waters. He is handsome and available and can have any woman he wants... For the first time in his life, however, Dominick Carlyle wants a man. Josh Banyan is a man of action. On a daily basis, he has to bribe fortune to keep him alive. Climbing in and out of active volcanoes is the way he makes his living. He is brilliant, a world wanderer, a hard worker and a loner. A tragedy has taken his best friend and nearly stolen his own life. Josh Banyan just wants to heal. As one man ventures out into unknown waters, the other is struggling ashore from the abyss. When their paths cross, it is a spectacular collision. The question quickly becomes whether the men will sink or swim in these hard waters of love?
eBook Publisher: Ravenous Romance/Ravenous Romance, Published: 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: April 2011
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4 Reader Ratings:
Prologue: The Water is Hard and Deep
Three bodies hit the water.
It was dawn in the south Atlantic. The sky was red with volcanic fire. The ocean was black.
Twenty-seven-year-old Josh Banyan felt his bones break as he slipped under the waves. The man and the woman at his side sank unmoving toward the ocean's floor. Josh reached out toward them, scrambling to help. The shattered bones in his hip and leg shifted. His mouth wrenched open in agony and the sea poured into his lungs.
As consciousness was sucked out of him and his friends slipped from his sight, Josh Banyan knew his life had just changed forever.
Chapter One: Fireworks over Warm Waters
One year later...
Fireworks lit the south Florida sky as midnight came to Pepper Key. It was Memorial Day weekend and while the summer was virtually endless in the Keys, the inhabitants celebrated the season's rebirth vicariously for their northern neighbors.
There were barrels of iced drinks, barbecue flames licking the dark, hot sky, and about fifty of Dominick Carlyle's closest friends fully feeling the effects of too much wine, too much sun, and too hot of partygoers wearing too little of clothes. It wasn't sex on the beach, but the general atmosphere was one of sandy, salt-kissed foreplay.
Dominick was getting too old for this shit.
The truth be told, Dominick mused from his bedroom window, was that he'd probably been too old for this shit for five, maybe six years. He had just celebrated his thirty-first birthday, and while there were plenty of similarly "old" codgers gyrating their hormones down on that beach, the fact was that Dominick no longer wanted to be one of them. It wasn't that all his wild oats had been sowed yet. No. It was just that he craved different orifices in which to sow them.
When he had made the mistake and told his old buddy about his wandering thoughts and fairly damn clear needs, the man had tossed his head back and laughed. "The gay bug done struck your ass!" Dominick had winced, plied the older man with another case of beer, and prayed for a liquor-happy blackout. He really needed to get better friends or a hell of a lot more beer.
That whole debacle had been the impetus for the Memorial Day "gangbang" currently being contemplated down on his private beach. Dominick had hoped that if he filled himself with just enough alcohol and pointed his long-neglected cock in the direction of some female beach bunnies, he'd kick his ass back into good, old heterosexual gear.
The plan had backfired. Literally.
While gyrating a few of his own hormones down there on Sodom and Gomorrah Sands, Dominick had quickly realized that his cock was only having ideas of a backside nature, particularly of a male backside flavor. Try as he might, and man, did Dominick try, humping sizzling hot ladies in nothing but g-strings and beer buzzes just wasn't doing it for him. After the third female of the evening had reached down his trunks and come back empty handed, Dominick had fled to the safety of his bedroom.
He needed to think. He needed to think hard, and staring at that sexually heaving mass of humanity down there was like holding out a glass of water to a thirsting man with no hands to take the damned drink. It was torture, and it was cruel, and fuck, Dominick needed a shower.
Dominick locked his bedroom door. Hell, he barricaded it with a chair. The last thing he needed was for some overly zealous pussies and dicks busting in there and crashing his pity party. Dominick hadn't thrown himself one of those since he was fourteen years old, and he had ended up in the emergency room with chicken pox three hours before the much heralded and much filled-out Rebecca Lynn Howard's swimming party. That night he had drowned his sorrows in kool-aid, two smokes and a girlie magazine. Man, how simple had life been then. A night of puking up his guts and spreading pox where no pox should go on any young man, and all was relatively well with the world the next day.
Dominick suddenly dropped his chin to his chest and sighed. Nobody had told him his thirties were going to be worse than puberty. As he angrily stripped off his clothes, he vowed to the world and its cosmic jokesters, "So help me, if you change my voice again, I'm kicking somebody's ass."
Surprising just about everyone who met him, Dominick Carlyle was a doctor. He was a damn good doctor, too, although he would be the first to admit he hadn't given the world a chance to know it yet. His grandmother would have said he was hiding his light under a bushel, the bushel in this case being sparsely populated Pepper Key and its seasonal though extremely high-paying snowbird population.
As the winter came and gone, so did Dr. Carlyle's patients. The so-called snowbirds would sweep down from their northern haunts to the warm Gulf waters just about the time the first snowflake flew up north. Snowbirds came in all kinds of feathers. Those who migrated to Pepper Key were well-off retirees that could afford to rent one of the dozen very nice beachside homes that circled the islet.
Dominick was the only doctor on the picture perfect spit of land. He was the only one who could treat their jellyfish stings or their headaches from too much sun. For the Pepper Key migrants, it was either a trip to Doc Carlyle's or a jaunt to the emergency room an hour down the road. Dominick made out like a bandit.
His life was good here. It was easy. He held exactly forty office hours per week and in peak season averaged ten patients every five days. Yep, it was good, it was easy--and it was boring. Dominick, however, hadn't quite admitted out loud to that last part just yet.
Stepping into the cloud of steam and pounding water that was his shower, Dominick threw his head back and sighed. This was exactly what his body needed: pinpricks of scalding heat bleeding his skin and its pores free from the stress of being untouched, the wet massage of thousands of nameless fingers as they clawed their way into his willing body, the cocoon of rushing sound as the shower encapsulated his naked body, his mind, his senses within its roaring folds.
It was heaven. Dominick Carlyle wanted to see the stars. Slapping his hand across the fogged pane of the shower's half-length window, a streak of glass was freed from the steam's thrall. His gaze fell through it immediately.
Colored fire still lit the night sky. The stars were obscured, the heavens lost. Dominick's eyes tumbled back to earth, back to the turn-of-the-century house that was his neighbor.
The old place had survived dozens of hurricanes, scores of scorching summers, and five years of sheer and total abandonment. Dominick had believed nature would have taken the house's possession long before another tenant chose it as home. He had been wrong.
Two days ago, a moving van had pulled up into its overgrown driveway and had gifted to the house a mattress, a couch, and about ten healthy boxes. The van had also left behind a man, or so his housekeeper had told him. She had given him no details beyond that. The pout on her motherly face had been the only sign of disappointment she had apparently allowed herself as to the new neighbor's gender. She had always held out hope that "her doctor" would one day find his good woman. Dominick snickered into the manmade rain. "Scarlett, you and my dick sure are facing a heap of disappointment."
Before that road of future regret could be ventured down too far, a light flicked on in a second-floor window next door. Dominick immediately leaned a little closer into the glass.
For the five years Dominick had called this Key home, he had never once seen a light on in his neighbor's house. Most of the time, he forgot the old structure was even there. He never thought twice of walking around his bathroom nude, even though all of the windows faced the empty thing. The house had always been a nonentity to Dominick--until tonight.
Tonight, light and dusty windows skewed everything inside. The room was a library. Bookcases lined the walls but they all appeared squiggly, like some kind of weird earthquake had twisted the laws of physics and left the shelves warped but still sturdy. The books were in the same shape. Their multicolored spines dotted the would-be walls in muted colors.. Oddly, the room had no furniture in it. Not even a chair or a stepstool was present. With nothing to climb upon to extend reach, the highest of the shelves were essentially abandoned to the spiders and their dust--or so any sane man would surely attest. Surely.
Dominick bumped his nose on the glass of the window. There was a man climbing up the bookshelves. He was actually scaling up the books like some kind of Tarzan. Yes, Tarzan. The man was shirtless and Dominick didn't know of any other comic book heroes who toiled topless. Although if more were built like this guy, he'd bet the dress code in comic book land would become a lot less restrictive and a lot more X-rated.
Even through the warped windows, the mottled dust, and the steam of the shower, Dominick could honestly say he'd never witnessed such male beauty in motion.
Stretching up and to the side, searching for some kind of hand hold, Dominick's neighbor, wearing just jeans and sneakers, slowly crawled up the library's old shelves. The muscle play behind the taut skin, the sinuous curves of the spine, the cleft of ass cheeks peeking out from the waistband of jeans determined to ride low were all too much. Dominick's own frustrated dick wasn't going to survive.
Without a grain of decorum left in its suddenly giddy head, Dominick's cock leapt skyward, pre-come leaking out of it with every pulse of his suddenly thundering heart. The arousal hit him so fast that for a second his world swam. He clung to the rim of the window. He closed his eyes and fought for real breaths instead of harried gasps.
Finally, the Earth righted itself. Dominick's focus returned like a slap in the face. He snapped his eyes open and looked back through the window.
The man was gone. The books on that forbidden top shelf were missing too, a clue that Dominick's Tarzan had indeed accomplished his mission. While his mind applauded the neighbor's fortitude, his strength of conviction, his never-say-die attitude, Dominick's cock really, really just wished the man's success had been a little bit longer in the coming.
Speaking of coming.
With his trusty right hand clamping down on the base of his trigger and his left hand cradling balls he refused to allow to turn blue, Dominick turned back into the rush of hot water and steam. He was going to let the shower and his hands take him to where Tarzan in his low-cut jeans had only teased.
Abandoning the idea of a slow work-up as more torturous than pleasurable in this situation, Dominick jumped into the masturbatory proceedings at full pumping speed. Up and down his palm rode his shaft with a vigor deserving of the term manic. Lids at half mast, he kept the world at a distance as his eyes purposefully lost focus. The shower, its tiled walls, the window, even the water blurred out of his consciousness, becoming only a fuzzy background to the most primal of sensations.
The friction of the rough lines of an eager hand burning its fingerprints, its palm prints, its ridges and rises into the tender, reddened flesh of a penis bursting at its silently waling pores--
The play of feverishly churning muscles under his skin. His abs, his pecs, his glutes all clenching and releasing, clenching and releasing--
The head rush of blood deserting brain for cock--
The first pinpricks of pleasure as they gently blossomed and teased in regions both nether and maddening--
The loss of steady breath as lungs deserted the life's cause for the siren call of a nearing orgasm--
The scratching and soul-tearing clawing of cream as it burned itself free from the body's meager restraints--
The eruption of hot seed into hotter, steaming air--
The wracking pleasure--
The ragged gasping--
The spots of fire exploding across eyes and mind--
The sucking of strength out of bones, out of joints, out of all resolve to stand and take the fucking like a man--
The sudden meeting of hard tile to wet ass as Dominick Carlyle sank to the shower's floor and quaked.
* * * *
The earth had quaked beneath him. That, Josh Banyan did remember clearly. The rest of the shit was just a blurry mess of blood, bone, and pain. A fair level of stupidity had also been thrown in there, but he chose to ignore that.
Josh ignored a lot of things. In fact, he chose to ignore anything that made him wince in remembrance or itch in concern. It wasn't so much a matter of machismo as it was a matter of survival. When you're about to dump your ass into a volcano for the sake of scientific query, the last thing you could do was think about it. You just did it. If you happened to survive it, well, hooray for you. If you didn't, somebody damned well better have saved your notes. Yeah, Josh might go down, but he was going to leave a hell of a lot of footnotes in his wake.
In middle school, they had called him a nerd.
In high school, they had called him a scholar with latent jock tendencies, i.e. a hot nerd.
In college, they had called him valedictorian twice before finally calling him doctor. The "hot" was ratcheted up to "mysterious" as his thesis had taken him to some of the farthest flung places in the world. Yeah, and that was what had led to the volcano, the quaking earth and the blood, bone, and pain blur of shit.
Josh Banyan was a volcanologist. While it was a vocation that elicited a lot of "ooh's" and "ah's," it was a damn hard one to master. It usually took a lifetime of study just to be considered good in the field. Josh was already considered great. His peers called his supposed excellence fact. Josh scoffed and called it drunken rumor.
Josh had been born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was one of four kids. His parents were hard-working, middle-class people who had loved their kids enough to let them fly in their own unique direction. Meanwhile, mom and dad had busied themselves with soup suppers and church politics. His parents always showed up for graduations and award ceremonies, though. If they occasionally forgot for which child the event was for, it wasn't due to a lack of caring, only a lack of proper scheduling.
After graduating a year early from high school and celebrating that with a couple of years of senseless partying at the University of Wisconsin, Josh had gotten his shit together and graduated at the top of his class. Brown University in Rhode Island had been his next stop. He had excelled in graduate school and had his choice of fine career opportunities come graduation. This, however, was where Josh veered off the proverbial beaten path.
Shield volcanoes were his specialty, the long, low kinds that seeped slow-moving lava over miles and miles of land. Hawaii was famous for them. The state had even made them into a tourist enterprise. It would have been easy to study Kilauea or any of its four Hawaiian siblings. Great weather, no passport required, planes from all over the world departing and arriving on strikes of every quarter hour.
Josh Banyan, however, didn't do easy. Never had, never would.
As most of his colleagues were mulling over accommodations in the Aloha State, Josh and his backpack were tucked away in a far corner of an old and very slow fishing boat chugging its way from Cape Town, South Africa, to the tiny, volcanic island of Tristan da Cunha.
With two hundred and sixty-four inhabitants, no airports, and no neighbors for one thousand, seven hundred and fifty miles, volcanologists rarely picked the volcano dubbed Queen Mary's Peak as the ideal place to set up scientific shop. In fact, the island's main claim to fame was its title as the most isolated inhabited place in the whole world.
No, Josh Banyan did nothing easily. It was this mindset of always traveling the hard road that had marked his body permanently and bruised his heart terribly.
That was in the past, however--or at least he had been successfully putting it back there until his less-than-stellar dismount from the bookcase only moments before.
After flinging down all the books off the top shelf down to the floor, he had started the descent himself. While the days when he would have just leapt from his eight- or nine foot-mount were long gone, he still considered himself lithe in most aspects of physical activity. If he could climb up a bookcase he sure as hell could climb back down. No problem.
Yeah, well, we all know what follows the infamous "no problem" statement.
Left foot stepped down on a corner of a magazine which sent right foot and its damn troublemaking hip straight down to the hardwood floor.
Josh didn't scream. It was more of a primal roar. Picture a sabre-tooth tiger leaping off of a snowy embankment onto the back of a wooly mammoth. Yep, it was that kind of yell. The little rat bastard of a mouse that shared his new abode, however, thought differently. Josh could have sworn he saw a snicker on the beady little face as he sauntered by Josh's writhing body. Oh, yeah. Josh was getting a gun.
As if on cue, the sky lit up with the newest batch of controlled explosives. It was a pretty sight, lying here on the hard floor, flat on his back, his hip aching down to its bone marrow. "Damn it!" He pounded his fist against the floor. Dust rose up from the wood planks. Josh coughed, then sneezed. Twice. "One more fucking thing goes wrong and I'll--"
Yeah, well, we all know what follows that kind of bull-headed statement.
Josh Banyan suddenly smelled smoke.