Beat

by Alexandra Y. Caluen

Mateo de la Cruz regrets going to that West Hollywood club the next morning. Except for the fact that he wakes up in a strange apartment, looking at Sam Lee - the tall, dark, and handsome salsa dancer with the scar, the man who brought Mateo home so he wouldn’t get in trouble. The man Mateo spends the night with and then doesn’t see again for a year. Sam and Mateo have a lot of talking to do. Dancing together helps them communicate, helps them bond, and leads them to some great adventures - as well as to love.

Published:
Publisher: Independently Published
Genres:
Tags:
Pairings: M-M
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Interracial Relationship, One Night Stand, Second Chances
Word Count: 65400
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Excerpt:

Sam sighed. “I met someone this summer.”

Vince gave that a few seconds. When no more was forthcoming, he said, “And? Did he turn out to be an asshole?”

“No. Nothing like that.”

Another pause. Vince made a ‘keep talking’ gesture that produced nothing. He was starting to get concerned. “Sam?”

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“He was perfect. Young, fun, smart. Beautiful. We met at that club I told you about. It was his birthday.” Now that he was talking, he couldn’t seem to stop. “Guys were buying him shots. He got really fucked up, and I took him home so he’d be safe.” Vince’s face betrayed surprise at ‘took him home.’ Sam shrugged, a little embarrassed. He knew most people didn’t understand how hard it was for him to connect. They only knew that he didn’t. “When he woke up, we talked. We both had the day off. We just hung out. He took me out to dinner. We ate here.” He looked around as if to verify it was the same place. “And then he, he asked if he could come back home with me.”

“Uh-huh.” Another long pause as Vince deduced what happened next. “And he was perfect?” Sam nodded. Vince was trying to figure this out. He’d found his perfect partner only months ago, and hadn’t stopped talking to her since. But clearly Sam was not talking to this guy. “Did he not take your calls or something?” That would have been ‘asshole,’ and Sam said he wasn’t, but otherwise Vince didn’t know what the hell could have happened.

Sam was staring across the room. “I didn’t take his calls.”

“What the fuck, Sam.” Vince couldn’t figure this out at all. Sam was obviously miserable, maybe heartbroken, but it sounded as though he’d done it to himself. “I’m assuming you had some reason. Did you catch him kicking your cat?” Again, ‘asshole,’ but Vince was trying to elicit some response. His friend didn’t react. I do not know enough about this guy, he realized. They’d known each other for quite a while but apparently not very well.

Sam was gazing at him now. “I’m too old for him. I have a lot of baggage. I’m kind of a mess.”

“Sam, for fuck’s sake.” Vince had heard from his new love Kelli on the subject of Sam. ‘Old’ and ‘mess’ were not included in the description. Not to mention Sam was actually younger than Vince. He frowned a little. The mystery guy had to be at least twenty-one. “How old is he?”

“Twenty-three.”

“Sam! For fuck’s sake!” That almost got a laugh. Vince was exasperated. “Tell me you’re having second thoughts.”

“Second, third … twentieth.”

“Do you still have his number?”

“No.” Sam planted his elbows on the table and dropped his head into his hands.

“God damn it.” Sam nodded. Vince thought for a second. “You know his name, though.” No sound, no movement. “He lives in L.A.” Silence again implied assent. “Are you going to try to find him? It couldn’t be that hard.” The number would be on his call records, even it if wasn’t in his phone any more. This guy was really conflicted. Vince didn’t understand it.

Sam took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and raised his head. “By now he’s probably decided it’s not worth the trouble. I wouldn’t blame him. He knows where I work.” That escaped him. Mateo knew where he lived, too. Sam was acknowledging, to himself, that by not answering the phone he’d put the younger man in an impossible position. “I should have talked to him.”

COLLAPSE

About the Author

A long time ago and three thousand miles away, I wrote my first novel - a historical romance - during graduate school. Twenty years later I finally dusted it off and published it. Since then I have written and published eleven more novels and twenty-nine novellas. My day job is in a law office, I've been married for eighteen years, and I'm inspired by authors like KJ Charles, Laurie R. King, Dick Francis, and Jennifer Crusie.


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