Standoffish Aiden is content keeping people at a distance and ensuring his boundaries are impenetrable. There’s safety in not opening up, but there’s also a loneliness he doesn’t realise exists until he meets Riley, a new member of the LGBTQIA+ adventure group Outback Boys.
Fascinated by the new guy, Aiden is quick to discover his flirtation skills are rusty and his sweet-talking is cringeworthy. But sweet and clumsy Riley doesn’t seem to mind so much.
Even though Riley doesn’t quite know how to handle Aiden’s intensity, he’s willing to step out of his comfort zone and see how their tentative friendship unravels.
Between a surf lesson that resembles a kangaroo on acid and paddle boarding that is trickier than walking a tightrope, Aiden and Riley discover love may be a possibility after all.
Happiness relies on honesty and openness, though. And with both men holding on tightly to past struggles, their future together is at risk. Can the two Aussies bounce back and heal themselves and each other, or are some wounds too raw to recover from?
Outback Boys is a sweet and sexy M/M romance series complete with bruised butts, rope burn, and overworked muscles… all in the pursuit of adventure, of course!
Trigger Warning: Contains themes (discussions) of mental illness and suicide.
- 1 Read list
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Hurt / Comfort, Opposites Attract, Slow Burning Love
Word Count: 60000
Setting: Queensland, Australia
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
I risked a glance in his direction just as he pulled up his own shorts. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. He was going commando. With that visual bobbing around in my head, I jerked my gaze away quickly.
“Then you have a fire or something, right?” Riley asked. In my peripheral vision, I saw him angle towards me, so I safely did the same. A light pink covered his cheeks, but his eye contact was strong.
“Yeah,” I answered with a smile. “The recent lifting of the fire ban has been a relief.” The dry winter had been difficult and dangerous for far too many Aussies impacted by a harrowing number of bushfires. The last six weeks of steady rain rolling in had made life so much easier. “I have my guitar,” I continued. “I can’t sing for shit, but I can play. We usually have marshmallows and a few drinks.”
“I don’t drink. Alcohol, that is.”READ MORE
My heart stuttered at that. “Me neither.” My lips lifted slightly as I wondered what other discoveries there were to make about this man. Yeah, a lot, obviously. A few hours of conversation weren’t enough to honestly know someone, but the desire to get to know him better remained. If anything, it burned even brighter.
“Oh.” The pink turned to red on his skin as he smiled. He looked away and picked up his T-shirt. “That’s good.”
As he tugged his tee over his head, I took my fill as quickly as possible. A dark smattering of hair covered his chest. A smooth, softer stomach led to his shorts that hung low on his hips. The expanse of skin caught my attention for too long, making me consider what it would taste like, feel like under my touch. Wide-eyed at the direction of my thoughts, I grabbed my own T-shirt and tugged it on, using the process to get myself together.
Lust, it seemed, was what was driving me towards getting to know Riley better. Unexpectedly, a bubble of excitement at the prospect grew inside me.
“So I’ll catch you later then?”
His voice had me looking his way as I pushed my arms through the sleeves. “Yeah, sure.” I smiled and gave him a chin lift as he collected his shower stuff and hightailed it out of there.
As soon as he was gone, I exhaled, turned, and sat down, head dipping low and falling on my hands.
“Don’t worry, it wasn’t that bad,” Frank said quietly, causing me to both jump and groan. I finally looked in his direction and was met by a wide smile. “Honestly, your flirting is a little rusty.” He paused a moment, brows lifting. “That was what you were attempting, right?”
I snorted. “I think so, yeah, maybe.”COLLAPSE