Similar to Rain:Suncoast Society

By: Tymber Dalton

First a gruesome, traumatic injury ends Lee’s NFL kicking career. On the heels of that, his cheating wife files for divorce. He’s officially hit rock-bottom. Stuck in a hotel room and barely able to care for himself, he reconnects on Facebook with his best friend from high school…who’s also the guy he secretly crushed on.

Arlin has been out of the closet for years, but only a few people know about his kinky side. When Lee contacts him, he rushes in to help his old friend. What Arlin thinks he can’t reveal to Lee is that he’s held a torch for him for years.

Getting out of their own way is the first step. Once the men confess their feelings to each other, the best second chance of their lives is now within their grasp. But as Lee’s recovery progresses and a lucrative network TV career presents itself, will their happiness endure, or slip through their fingers like rain?



Chapter One




Trying to plaster a smile on his face grew more difficult every day. At least today was Friday.

If he could only get through it.

As his elderly client, Mrs. Beatrice Campbell, droned on from where she sat on the other side of his desk, Arlin did his best not to fall asleep or envision one of those super-villain trap doors beneath her chair.

One push of a button to send her tumbling into a pit of sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads or…something.

The octogenarian was a sweetheart, but he was convinced that Leanna, his executive assistant, was a not-so-secret sadist at heart. Instead of stacking a few appointments immediately following Mrs. Campbell, as he always asked she do, she left him an hour of free time after her.

The knowing smirk Leanna tossed him before siccing the old woman on him was further proof, as far as he was concerned.

He slipped his cell phone into his lap and frantically called up his contact list, hitting the button to dial his desk extension. As it rang, he glanced at it.

“Sorry, Mrs. Campbell, let me get that.”

“Oh, of course, dear.”

“Arlin Odom … Yes? … Oh, thank you for calling me back. I need to put you on hold for just a moment and we can go over that. Hold on, please.” He hit the hold button as he stood, slipping the cell phone into his pocket. “I’m really sorry, Mrs. Campbell, but I need to take this call.”

“That’s quite all right. Seems I’ve gone on again, haven’t I?” He rounded the desk and she laughed as he held an arm out for her to grab hold of to get her standing. “I’ll make another appointment with Leanna.”

“Thanks. You have a good day, now.”

“You, too, Arlin.”

As she toddled out of his office, he closed the door behind her, pulled the cell from his pocket, and ended the call with a relieved sigh.

Fuckballs.

Five minutes later, Leanna tapped on his office door and opened it without waiting, knowing he was alone in there. She slipped inside, a playful smirk on her face.

“That was record time for you, sensei, calling your landline.”

“Are you like Cato to my Clouseau or something?”

“Who? Moi?”

“Yeah, you, Miss Innocent. Trying to keep me from getting bored. Which—FYI—I don’t need help with, thank you very much.”

She batted her brown eyes at him. “I can’t deny that the look of sheer terror on your face when she arrives always fills my heart with a warm glow.”

“That’s not a warm glow, you know. It’s the fires of evil.”

“Potato, tomato. And I’m not evil.” She grinned.

With ebony skin and her brown, naturally bouncy curls that bobbed when she talked, today she kept her hair pulled back from her face with a brightly colored scarf twisted and tied like a hair band. Leanna was the life and soul of their office. As the senior executive assistant, she was basically the office manager, taking care of everything other than managing investment and financial planning and retirement funds. She helped hire—and fire—the other staff, made sure the office ran like clockwork…

And kept Arlin on his toes. At thirty-three, she was only five years younger than him but wiser than her years, and brilliant. He’d tried to get her to go back to school on the company dime to get her broker’s training, but she’d had no interest in that part of things.

She kept the office running smoothly, the coffee brewing, and the clients happy.

As long as she was happy and kept the office in order, everyone else was happy to have her there.

“Yeah, you are,” he playfully countered. “If you’re not evil, why do you torture me like that with her?”

She grinned. “Because it amuses the hell out of me. I’m a sadist, duh. Lunch? Your turn to buy.”

“Yeah.”

“Stop pouting. I would have called your desk phone in another five minutes anyway. I never leave you twisting too terribly long with her. You know that.” She gave him another playful smirk.

“Onward, Mistress. Lunch awaits.”

“Oooh, you keep calling me that, I’m going to buy you a collar and leash, honey.”

They could joke like that with each other because they’d accidentally run into each other one year at a fetish convention in Tampa. Leanna had been there with her girlfriend Sharon—now her wife—and the three of them had dinner together that night to make sure all was copacetic.