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His heart ticked up a few beats as he took his favorite parking spot, and by the time he was climbing out of his truck, Ben was there.
He looked as delicious as ever—kind of soft and very sweet with his smile showing off his dimple. He was leaning against the side of the wall with his arms crossed, the expression on his face almost like a challenge.
“You didn’t chicken out,” he said when Paris shut the truck door and took a few steps closer.
“I didn’t chicken out,” Paris echoed, and left off the bit where he almost did. Deep down he knew he wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but there had been that part of him tempting him to just…run. He ruffled his hair, feeling a little uncertain, then glanced over toward his room. “Should I, uh…change, or…?”
“I’ve got a few things you can borrow—”
“Actually, let me throw something on,” Paris said in a rush, not meaning to cut him off, but he needed a second. He turned after Ben gave him a confused nod and he fumbled with the room key before getting the door open.
The moment it shut, he covered his face with his hands and fought the urge to scream. Ben might be deaf, but with his implants and the thin as fuck walls, he’d probably hear it.
“This isn’t a bad thing. You’re not proposing to the guy. You’re not asking him out. You’re just going for a fucking cruise on the water. Dipshit,” he added for good measure.
With his half-cocked pep talk, Paris walked into his room and dug around in the cheap little dresser for the single pair of board shorts he owned. They were a little bit too big, and one side was completely see-through if they got even slightly damp, but they covered his dick and balls so they would have to be good enough.
He swapped to one of his cleaner t-shirts—a blue one with a faint hibiscus pattern that Max had gotten him one day as a joke—and stared at himself in the mirror. He looked ridiculous without his jacket and jeans. He was pasty and on the thin side from his crappy eating habits and lack of working out. It was hard to imagine a guy like Ben would ever look twice at him, even if Paris wanted him to.
But this wasn’t a date, he reminded himself. This was a sort of apology for being an epic dick. And maybe to make things less awkward when he eventually had to see Ben with his boyfriend.
He took a breath, then rummaged around for his flipflops and finally made his way out the door and back toward the dock where Ben was still waiting.
Paris’ mouth went dry.
Ben had changed into a pair of wetsuit pants—he had no idea what they were called—and an impossibly tight t-shirt that showed off every line and curve of his body. His hair was a little mussed from the slight breeze, and he was smiling again like he was a fucking Greek god who ruled the ocean.
His dick twitched.
Fuck his life.
Paris is pretty sure it doesn’t get worse than being forced to listen to his hot Deaf neighbor having a very good time with his FWB.
And to make matters worse, Ben is one of the nicest guys he’s has ever met. He makes Paris want things he’s never allowed himself to want.
Paris moved across the country to start work at the new Irons and Works shop in Key Largo for a fresh start, but that wasn’t supposed to involve falling for the adorable, shy motel owner.
It wasn’t supposed to involve allowing himself to be vulnerable for the first time in his life. But helpless against Ben’s charms, Paris wants to flay himself open and let himself be overwhelmed.
There’s a fine line between hope and reality, and Paris will give anything for Ben to have the patience to wait as he learns how to cross it.
Fine Line features slumber parties, first kisses, midnight snacks, menacing jellyfish, emotional hurt/comfort, found family, and grumpy soft for sunshine. Each book in the Irons and Works: Key Largo series can be read as a stand-alone.