“Well, fuck a duck.” Nicolas Callon glanced down to see what had tripped him.
Not a damn thing.
Rolling his eyes, Nicky turned and continued walking around the outdoor tables of the seaside café. This wouldn’t be the first time he had tripped, and it most certainly wouldn’t be the last. If there was something for Nicky to trip over, or nothing at all, he tripped. He was a certified klutz.
He was just glad the bottled waters he carried hadn't been opened. More times than he cared to remember, he had ended up tossing his drinks all over whoever was around him when he stumbled.
Nicky's gaze darted to where his best friend sat as the jazz music played softly in the background. They were sitting outdoors of the café, but Nicky had had to go inside for the water. It wasn't quiet summer yet and a gentle breeze blew off the mountains to stir strands of his hair. He tucked them behind his ear as he stopped at their table.
“Here you go, Coop.” He held one of the bottles out to his best friend—and the man he secretly dreamed of every second of every day. Cooper smiled up at him as he took the bottle, the deep dimples on either side of his face surfacing.
And that right there would be why Nicky lived and breathed for Cooper Walsh.
He was the most gorgeous creature ever created. Taller than the average man by more than a few inches, Cooper was the epitome of masculinity. From his wide shoulders and broad chest to his thick thighs and long legs, Cooper was every gay man’s wet dream in one big bear of a package.
His raven black hair curled around his face as if trying to caress his golden skin. His copper eyes twinkled when he laughed. And his lips…oh, Nicky had fantasies about those plush lips, and all of them involved the two of them being buck ass naked.
Unfortunately they would never be more than fantasies.
Nicky sighed as he took a seat next to his friend and he unscrewed the cap on his water. He took a long sip, never taking his eyes off of Coop as the guy talked to a few of their friends.
Cooper Walsh was the greatest friend anyone could ever ask for. He had taken Nicky under his wing after defending him in the sandbox when they were five years old, and had been defending Nicky ever since. Cooper was also a compassionate friend who never batted an eye when Nicky cascaded through his turbulent and sometimes erratic emotions.
But friendship only went so far and the buxom blond on the other side of Cooper was proof enough that the man was most decidedly not gay. One fateful kiss when they’d both had way too much to drink—a kiss that Cooper quickly put an end to—did not make the man gay. And that meant that Nicky could dream until his balls turned blue and shriveled up but it wouldn’t get him any closer to living out a single one of his fantasies.
Cooper waved a hand in front of Nicky's face. “So, what do you think?”
“Huh?” Nicky blinked rapidly, his eyes darting around to find all eyes on him. Heat suffused his face as he crossed his arms over his chest. “What?”
Cooper chuckled as he playfully bumped their shoulders together. “We thought we’d head on down to the lake and go swimming. You game?”
Nicky glanced at the blond bimbo hanging onto Cooper as if he’d escape if she let go. The calculating gleam he could see in the woman’s blue eyes unnerved him. She might seem bubbly and clueless but there was something about her that set Nicky on edge.
He didn’t like her.
“No, you go on ahead. I’ve got some painting to do.” Sort of. It was true he had painting to do but he always had painting to do. That was what he did. But he could have taken the afternoon off if he really wanted to. He really did, but not with an entourage of other people.
“Ah, come on, Nicky,” Coop wheedled as his smile spread wider, “get out and smell the fresh air. I’ll bet it gives you some inspiration.”
“Oh, let him go, honey,” little miss Barbie boobs said as she pressed said boobs into Cooper’s arm until they threatened to pop right out of the top of her pink-and-white striped string bikini. How she stuffed those voluptuous breasts into a top that small was beyond Nicky, and probably most of the scientific community.
Nicky’s eyes narrowed when she trailed a finger up Cooper’s neck to the bottom of his ear before leaning in to whisper—rather loudly—“We could have a good time, just the two of us.”
The smile slid from Cooper’s face faster than Nicky could blink. “I told you when you showed up that it was Nicky’s birthday and I'd be spending the day with him. You said you understood.”
Judie took a step back, obviously feeling the heat of Cooper’s anger. It was never good when the big man became heated. “Well, I…” Judie smiled sweetly, her voice lowering to what she probably thought was a sultry tone. It wasn’t. For Nicky, it was more like fingernails down a chalkboard. “I just thought since he wanted to go paint that we could…”
Nicky tuned her out and stood, heading toward the street when Judie began trailing her hot pink nails over the edges of Cooper’s gray tank top. There were some things a love-struck man shouldn’t have to deal with. Watching Barbie boobs fawn all over Cooper wasn’t one of the things he could stomach.
He’d rather have his balls snipped with rusty sheers.
After walking two blocks, a black truck pulled up beside him and slowed. Nicky’s lips twitched when the truck kept pace with him, which was a slow stroll. Cooper didn’t say a word as he pushed the passenger door open.
Nicky kept walking.
Cooper kept driving.
Nicky sighed as he stopped and turned, his hands landing on his hips. He waved one back behind Cooper’s truck. “You’re holding up traffic, you know.”
“No.” Copper eyes twinkled with amusement. “You are holding up traffic.”
Nicky crossed his arms. He shot a quick glance to the two cars idling behind Cooper before looking back at the gorgeous man. He eyed the empty seat then lifted an eyebrow in query. “Where’s Barbie boobs?”
Cooper's shoulders lifted and then fell. “Having cotton stuffed in her ears to stop the rapid loss of air.”
Nicky sucked in his bottom lip and bit down on it to keep from laughing. It took him a moment to regain his composure enough to talk. “Are you supposed to say something like that about your girlfriend?”
Cooper’s expression turned to a suspicious grimace as he rested both hands on the steering wheel and looked out the front window. “Judie is not my girlfriend.”
“Does she know that?”
Cooper looked Nicky right in the eyes. “She does now.”