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Starting Over (Castaways #2)
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Colt Matthews is trying to find his way in the world.
His friends are getting married, finding rewarding careers, and moving forward with their lives. Meanwhile, twenty-one-year-old Colt is still trying to figure out who he is and what he wants out of life. About the only thing he knows for sure is that he’s undeniably drawn to his friend Ren, despite their age difference. But what are the chances Ren feels the same way?
Renaldo Medina is trying to get his life back on track.
Ren had everything for a while: a wildly successful company, a famous boyfriend, a life most people would envy. Then it all fell apart and left him reeling, and he’s been stalled out ever since. But when he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a beautiful younger man, Ren starts to feel something he thought he’d lost forever: hope.
Can two lost men find the courage to start over, despite a 20-year age gap and an uncertain future?
Starting Over is a May-December and friends to lovers romance. It is book two in Alexa Land’s Castaways Series. All books in the series may be read as a stand-alone or enjoyed in order. It contains mature content and is intended for adult readers.
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Avalon disappeared in increments as a blanket of fog rolled in off the Pacific. I stood at the railing just a few feet from the abrupt drop-off that normally gave way to a million-dollar view and watched its progression. After a while there was nothing left to see, but I remained rooted in place anyway, shivering as the breeze sliced through my hoodie.
The bleak landscape was a sharp contrast to the festivities going on directly behind me, in the courtyard of Seahorse Ranch. The boisterous celebration was equal parts a Christmas party and a reception for the two weddings that had taken place at the ranch that day. One of the grooms was Elijah, my best friend and ex-boyfriend. I still needed to figure out how I felt about that.
But first, I needed to get through this evening. Although it had been going on for at least eight hours by that point, the party showed no signs of slowing down. I was over it and just wanted to go home, but that was problematic because I both lived and worked at the ranch.
A few moments later, Ren Medina appeared at my side and handed me one of the two cups of coffee he was carrying. Then he took a look at the void formerly known as Avalon and yelled over the dance music, “Well, I can certainly see why you’ve been standing here for nearly half an hour. That’s a breathtaking view.”
“The fog only rolled in a few minutes ago.” I took a sip of coffee, which was doctored up just how I liked it, and said, “Thanks for this. How did you know it was exactly what I needed?”
“I saw you shiver, so I figured you could use some warming up. No wonder. It’s freezing once you step away from the patio heaters.”
I grinned a little and pointed out, “It’s cold, but hardly freezing. Unless you grew up in southern California, I suppose.”
“Which I did. So I guess you shouldn’t be shivering since you’re from…where was it, Montana?”
“Are they different?”
“Hell if I know.” I took another sip of coffee and felt it warm me all the way down.
Ren leaned against the railing as he gazed out at the former view. While he did that, I snuck a look at him. He was an absolutely beautiful man with a strong profile, short beard, and slightly overgrown salt-and-pepper hair that reached his collar. When he glanced at me, I quickly looked away.
After we finished our coffee and tossed the cups into a nearby trash can, he said, “I’ve reached my peopling limit for the day. Since it looks like you have too, want to come with me and watch a movie? I think my house might be the only quiet place on the property.” I eagerly agreed.
Becoming friends with Ren was one of the most unexpected things that had happened during the ten months I’d worked at the ranch. I didn’t quite get why someone as smart and successful as him would enjoy spending time with someone like me. He’d designed and built Seahorse Ranch (with his then-boyfriend), which was already a huge accomplishment. Even more impressive was the fact that Ren had funded it with the millions he’d made from the sale of his successful tech company.
But he never made me feel less than. Just the opposite. He treated me like I was interesting and intelligent and made me feel good about myself.
I couldn’t help but watch him move through the crowd as we both went to say good night to our friends and family. Ren was six-one like I was, with a runner’s build, and I liked the way he carried himself. He seemed to say: this is who I am. Take it or leave it.
My brother Chance and his husband Finn were on the dance floor, and when I reached them I yelled over the music, “I’m partied out, so I’m going to go watch a movie with Ren. Have you seen Elijah? I wanted to say good night to him, too.”
“The newlyweds snuck off for a little alone time about an hour ago,” Chance told me. “I doubt they’ll be back tonight.”
That figured. I wished them a Merry Christmas and told them I’d see them in the morning. Then I searched the crowd and actually had to squint a little. The ranch consisted of two long, Spanish-style buildings that framed the courtyard in an ‘L’ shape, and a dozen little casitas up on the hillside behind the main building. Every inch of it was decorated for the holidays, Christmas and Hanukkah and Diwali and some things I couldn’t actually identify. It was also lit up to an astonishing degree with about a million strands of mismatched lights, and the courtyard was as bright as day. Where was the Grinch when you needed him?