A M/M romance novella about trust.
Ricky Castillo was building a new life since getting out of a long-term abusive relationship. After a year of healing, he couldn't help noticing that the cruise ship's good-looking sommelier had noticed him too.
Luis Ramirez was in the middle of a long-term career plan, one that didn't make any kind of relationship easy. But he'd had an eye on Ricky ever since he'd seen those performance videos. He couldn't believe his luck when it turned out Ricky and his partner Anya would be the dance team for the Valentines singles cruise.
Ricky's history had left him with a lot of baggage. Forty years of conditional love - or no love at all - hadn't prepared Ricky for the complete acceptance he found with Luis.
Bit by bit they worked through their issues. Little by little Ricky was able to come to grips, and come to peace, with his past. Then the only question was: who would be brave enough to dive in first?
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Hurt / Comfort, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Queer Wedding
Word Count: 29000
Setting: Los Angeles
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
They drove back down to San Pedro in near-silence, Luis offering course corrections as needed.
When they got to his apartment building, he wanted more than anything to ask Ricky in, but he knew it wasn’t time yet. They both needed to process. Ricky might well decide that he’d shared too much. Luis hoped he wouldn’t. What he’d heard hadn’t made him think any less of the older man; quite the opposite. Before opening the car door, he said, “I want you to know that I’m like Danny. Or Elizabeth Warren. I persist.”
Ricky laughed. “Thank you for tonight. I’ll call you soon.” They got out of the car, he opened the trunk, Luis hauled his rolling bag out. Ricky wanted to kiss him. Leaving it at ‘thank you’ seemed completely inadequate. He leaned closer, not quite halfway, gaze dropping to Luis’ mouth.READ MORE
“Oh thank you Jesus,” Luis said, and closed the distance as Ricky laughed again. It was a soft, sweet kiss, but somehow profoundly intimate. “Mmm.” He touched Ricky’s face. “Drive carefully.”
“I will.” Ricky watched as Luis stepped back, gave a little wave, headed down the pedestrian alley along the side of his building. Then he got back in the car and drove away.
He’d texted Anya after she and Terry left the cruise ship, so she knew that he was going for a drink with Luis. He knew that she would bitch at him the next day if he didn’t let her know what had happened. So, even though he was emotionally exhausted, he fired up the phone after he got home. Hey just got home
Her reply came fast; she and Terry must have been home, probably sitting around watching a movie. Was he nice?
Did you kiss him?
YES did you like it?
Nothing only talking, some of us can keep our pants on
Yeah whatever. Gonna see him again?
He got his dad on the phone to say something sweet to me after I told him all this shit about growing up. Ricky sent that one before he could talk himself out of it.
There was a short pause. Anya knew a lot about his past. Since he left Mike, they’d talked about practically everything. You must have really liked him
Ricky took a minute himself, to wonder why he’d actually said everything he’d said to someone he’d just met. Finally he realized what it was: He’s like Terry
Wow OMG okay. Anya would know what he meant. He’d trusted Terry with his life, and he realized he felt he could do that with Luis too.
Gonna send him a note now. See you tomorrow. Besos
Ricky got ready for the coming week, checking his schedule out of habit. He’d be at the studio teaching the next day, plus he and Anya had to finish the new piece they’d started on the cruise ship, and submit it for the March show at Chrome. His workload was relatively light for the next month since they weren’t traveling anywhere. It seemed like it might be possible to fit in a date here and there. And he certainly wanted to. He settled himself in bed and woke up his phone again. Hi Luis. Wanted to say today was important for me. Thank you
The reply came immediately; Luis must have had his phone in his hand. Ricky smiled when he read it: I was about to say the same thing
Anya’s bf Terry wrote her something like that not too long ago. I’ll tell you about it next time I see you
When will that be?
Here or there?
Ricky looked at his calendar again and made the unusual decision to move some of his clients. You choose. I’m clearing my schedule
Down in San Pedro, Luis had the feeling that was something that did not happen often. He weighed the comfort of home against the certainty that Ricky’s place would be nicer. And the choice of places to get dinner was undoubtedly superior, too. So the only real question was, did he want to pretend this was only another getting-to-know-you thing with possibly some making out … or not. How big is your bed?
Ricky laughed out loud. King size. And really empty right now
If I didn’t have to report in tomorrow at the ass-crack of dawn, it wouldn’t be. Give me the coordinates
Ricky sent the address, adding What time should I expect you?
Is noon too early?
Noon is perfect. Go to sleep now, you have to work tomorrow
You too OX
OX Ricky didn’t wonder about signing off that way. After all, they’d just propositioned each other. Hugging and kissing was the least of what he was looking forward to now.
Luis didn’t go right to sleep. He texted Silvia because he had to tell her and he couldn’t wait till the next day: OMG he’s broken my heart already and I think I’m in love
Maybe she’d already gotten a night’s work out of James and was still up planning something, because an answer came within five minutes. Who? Ricky?
All the luck I had was stolen from this guy Jesus what a horrible story but he’s beautiful and kind and we have a date on Tuesday
Do I want to know?
Fuck no. It was so awful I called up Papa and had him do his thing
You need to revisit Anya because she loves this guy so she can’t be all bad
Eh maybe. James said the same thing
Also she’s in love with this badass black bartender hoo baby
LOL one man at a time
Srsly tho badass with a fine ass
LOL OMG I’m giggling and I’m going to wake up my man. Get off the phone don’t you have work tomorrow??
Yeah but how can I fucking sleep I’ve got a date with Ricky Castillo on Tuesday!!!!COLLAPSE
Contains references to domestic violence and gang violence.