Bas stood inside the lounge doorway, overcome with a tsunami of too old for this shit. A giant room packed full of overhyped athletes, speakers pumping out dubstep that rattled his bones, and condoms being pocketed left and right. He was generally easygoing, never taking himself too seriously, but he was here to work, to backup Alex, and to make sure they won relay gold. Not babysit a rave. After a day of travel, pageantry, and avoiding Jacob, he just wanted to crash. Close his eyes, forget the day, and rewind to the night before in his mind, the only place where he’d let those memories live. He did not want to spend his evening here, reminded instead of a prior opening night gone wrong. As it was, he’d already glared off a pair of French swimmers and an Aussie pole vaulter he’d slept with four years ago.
“Ah, the hormones,” Alex said, sidling up beside him.
On Alex’s other side, Dane wrapped an arm around his boyfriend’s waist. “I can talk to you about hormones,” he teased.
“Nope, we’re the adults here,” Bas said.
Dane stuck out his bottom lip. “Well, that sucks. It’s my first Olympics too. I don’t get to have fun?” Big Red could act, Bas would give him that.
“Stop pouting,” Alex said, failing miserably to sound stern. “Your boyfriend is captain. You signed on for this.” Laughter bubbled beneath the surface of his words, belying the scolding.
Grinning, Dane leaned in and stole a kiss. “Okay, boyfriend.”
Yeah, they liked that word, and Bas liked it for them, chuckling as he scanned the crowd for their teammates. No one in particular, he told himself, while searching for a shaved blond head. He spotted Kevin’s glossy black pompadour first, standing in a circle chatting with Sean, Natalie, Leah, and a blonde he also vaguely remembered. Jacob, however, wasn’t with them. Had they left him in the room? He’d thought he’d made it clear that he wanted Kevin and Sean to include Jacob. Had they offered, and Jacob declined, opting out of the opening-night party? Bas didn’t want that either. As much as this scene rankled him, Jacob should still get the full experience.
Or maybe . . . Bas checked his watch. It was past the time for Jacob’s nightly call with Davis. Was his dad all right? Had he had another flashback? By putting Jacob in a room with Sean and Kevin, Bas wouldn’t know, wouldn’t be there to help, if Jacob had another panic attack about his dad. Fuck, he needed to find out what was going on.
He turned to go, then froze as a familiar laugh pinged his ears, and on its heels, the owner of that same laugh, in a flirtatious tone Bas knew all too well, teasing, “I thought everything was bigger in Texas?”
Oh. Fuck. No.
Sebastian Stewart was never Mr. Dependable; he was more the good-time guy who only wanted to swim, party, and ink tattoos. Until he cost his team the Olympic gold four years ago. Bas is determined to do right this time around—by his medley relay team and his rookie mentee.
Jacob Burrows is in over his head. The Olympic experience—from the hazing, to the endless practices, to the unrelenting media—makes the shy nineteen-year-old’s head spin. He’s trying to be everything to everyone while trying not to fall for his gorgeous tattooed teammate who just gets him—gets his need to fix things, his dorky pirate quips, and his bisexuality.
When Jacob falters under the stress, threatening his individual races and the medley relay gold, he needs Bas’s help to escape from drowning. Bas, however, fearing a repeat of his mistakes four years ago, pushes Jacob away, sure he’ll only let Jacob down. But the only path to salvaging gold is for Jacob to finally ask for what he needs—the heart of the man he loves—and for Bas to become the dependable one.
“How can you be your best when you’re not sure if your best will measure up? That’s the dilemma facing Bas and Jacob, as they deal with the immense pressure of swimming for Olympic gold while also trying to sort out their tangled hearts.” –Layla Reyne
About Layla Reyne:
Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs. Layla is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. She was a 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.