Artie is 23 years old, but everyone thinks he’s a teenager due to his slight build and baby face. He really wants a steady man, but the men he meets all want him as a side-piece or bit of fun; none of them want to be serious with a guy who gets carded, hard, at every bar. Right now, Artie lives with Willie, a guy he knew from school. Willie’s mostly a pothead, who does a little light dealing to make his own rent. Artie and Willie aren’t friends, and Artie can’t wait to get his own place; he’s been saving his money for deposits. One night, when Artie comes home from a concert, Willie and his pals are blaring music and toking up. Artie’s upset about the volume and the unexpectedly large mounds of pot in the apartment. He accepts a brownie Willie gives him as a peace offering, not realizing the brownies are laced with pot. Woozy from the drugs, Artie passes out nearly immediately, only to be woken by the police.
Artie is arrested and makes bail with help of his moving fund and August Sterling, a big, strapping bail bondsman. August is the kind of guy who falls hard for a pretty, youthful face, and he senses that Artie, though still clearly stoned from his brownie, is a truthful guy. And, an attractive one. August takes a lot of pity on Artie, helping him get to his apartment to pick up some clothes and back to his own condo, to give Artie a safe place to sleep off his high. And, August is a classy guy, so he makes a fab dinner and shares it with Artie once he awakens.
The sexual tension between these two is ripe, and it unsettles Artie; he’s used to guys using him and tossing him aside quickly. He can’t imagine why August would help him find a lawyer, or anything really, without wanting something in trade. Thing is, both Artie and August were raised by tender mothers and (now deceased) tyrant fathers and developed a love of old movies and classic Hollywood endings. They each have outspoken sisters and deep romantic streaks. They hit it off, talking about common interests and this leads to further attraction. August is sure he’s going to have his heart stomped on, again, but he can’t help his desire to help Artie. He believes Artie’s innocent, and he wants to ensure Artie doesn’t get caught up in the web where he’s currently tangled.
Artie’s feeling pretty good about his chances for getting the charges dropped, until Willie and his buddy show back up with threats and the only rational thing for Artie to do, in his mind at least, is to make a run for it. It takes some dedicated sleuthing from August to find Artie in his remote hideout…and boy howdy does August lets him have it. Yes, I mean that in sexytimes ways, folks. Their sexual tension has reached a fever pitch, and neither man is able to walk away.
This is a fun story, really, with sweet references to Turner Classics type of movies and naïve Artie making an inadvertent mess of his life. He’s absolutely crying out for a gallant hero, and August fills that role nicely. I loved the adorable quips regarding Artie’s pink Honda Fit, and how August loves Artie top to bottom and inside out, exactly as he is. They come together as soul mates, and it’s really satisfying to watch that happen. Oh, and there’s some great side characters that are fleshed out enough that I’m expecting at least one more book where August’s business partner (and former lover) finds his man, too.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.