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Hat Trick (Fake Boyfriend #5)
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You know what’s not fun? Going on a Fiji vacation with four other couples. Especially when recently single.
You know what’s not fun? Escaping one guy who broke my heart only to run into another.
*Hat Trick is a full-length M/M romance with a guaranteed HEA. This is the final book in the Fake Boyfriend series and as such is not recommended to be read as a standalone. All main characters of the series feature heavily.*
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Whoever’s idea it was to get away and recharge in Fiji is a dumbass. Oh, right. That dumbass is me.
Nothing emphasizes your loneliness quite like a beach vacation with four couples.
Laughter echoes through the night, coming from the open-air hut behind me where the rest of the guys are still having dinner.
The winter wind is cool and smells like salt water, but I still don’t need a jacket. The water I’m wading through up to my ankles isn’t even cold. Apparently, Fiji doesn’t know how to do real winters.
It’s only our first dinner since arriving here, and I had to sneak out under the excuse that I’d had too much to drink, which is true, and I needed air, which is also true. But I needed to get out of there because of the stark reminder everyone back there has their life together. I’m older than all of them, and I’m the one who’s lost.
It’s been months since Bryce and I finally called it quits for good, but it still feels a lot like failure hanging over my head.
Just like my contract negotiations. They aren’t going well either. Damon has been in talks with the team since before last season even ended. What they’ve been offering is good moneywise, but what I want is a no-trade clause. Getting that at thirty-three is like asking for a pet unicorn as part of the contract deal.
There’s a very real chance I could lose my boyfriend and my career in the same year.
I kick the water at my feet.
When Bryce took me back after I came out publicly, I thought all our problems were solved.
Turns out we had more than closet problems.
We had relationship problems.
They were even worse.
Yet, I stayed with him because I came out for him. I changed my life for him. And, apart from one sweaty night with a twinkish rock star three years ago, I’d never thought of having anyone else but him.
I knew the minute we all stepped onto our chartered flight here that I’d made a mistake in accepting Matt and Noah’s offer to come with them to Fiji. They do this trip yearly, but this time, they invited all of us to join them.
I’m not in the right headspace to be on and sociable, especially when we’re supposed to be here for a celebration.
Matt’s youngest brother, Wade, is coming to live with Matt and Noah in the fall to attend private school in Chicago. They’re calling this vacation their final play before they become guardians of a teenager, so they wanted to make it huge.
Everyone is all coupled up, and for the whole flight, they stared at each other lovingly, silently promising two weeks of sun, surf, and sex.
And I’m disgustingly jealous.
I sink my feet into the coarse sand, and the water laps at my shins as I move deeper.
The owners of this private island, Joni and his wife, Ema, were gracious enough to rent the whole place to us, so at least while all the guys are distracted with mocking each other and arguing who are the better athletes—baseball players, football players, or hockey players—no one should interrupt my little pity party for one.
And please, like that’s an argument anyway. Hockey players, hands down. The end. No need for more discussion.
There’s one thing I should remember about this particular group of guys though. Most of them are egotistical athletes with frat-bro syndrome, but they’re also perceptive fuckers.
I sense someone’s presence and turn to find Ollie ditching his flip-flops at the edge of the water to join me.
“Go back to all the fun,” I say.
Of course, he can’t.
Out of everyone here, I’m closest to Ollie. He also plays hockey, and when he found out I’d announced my orientation at a press conference, he stepped up and came out to support me so I didn’t have to do it alone. It cemented our friendship.
“How are you doing?” he asks, holding out a bottle of water for me with his tatted-up arm.
I take a sip. I probably need it after how much I’ve had to drink in the last hour. “Fan-fucking-tastic.” Does that sound bitter? Eh. Oh well.
“Was it all the jokes about hiring you a very illegal rent boy?”
I snort. “No. It also wasn’t the Canada bashing, offers of threesomes, or… I dunno, whatever you guys moved on to after that. I tuned out after a while.”
“It’s our poor way of trying to take your mind off everything.”
Because it’s no secret my life’s a mess right now. That makes me feel a whole lot better.
“I’m thankful for it,” I say because I really am. It’s just not what I need right now. “But maybe I shouldn’t have come here.”
“Bryce wasn’t the right guy for you.” Ollie says this as if I didn’t already know that. He’s not the reason I’m upset.