Folks say he’s the best river guide in the region, with an uncanny knack for finding the hottest fishing spots.
And he has a good friend again, a guy he likes more than he should.
Everything will be fine, as long as nobody—especially Mac—finds out he used to be Charlie Beauchamp, an elite Coast Guard rescue swimmer who failed to save the one person he loved most.
Then the real Nate Landry shows up and drags Charlie’s grief and shame out of the depths.
McKinley Greer knows how to keep a secret.
Like where a bear shifter might find the best honey trees.
Or why he brews beer but doesn’t drink a drop of it.
Or that most of his favorite porn features guys who look a helluva lot like his best friend.
But suddenly Nate isn’t Nate—he’s a freaking hero named Charlie—and when he begins to share his own secrets…
It’s only a matter of time before all the things Mac’s stashed in the darkest den of his heart get hauled into the light.
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The smell of bacon tickled Mac awake, but he wasn’t prepared for what he found in the kitchen.
It wasn’t on fire, which was a plus. And there seemed to be food for an army cooking on his range, which was also cool. But the person cooking it was Nate—no, Charlie, and Charlie had decided the appropriate ensemble for making breakfast was cargo shorts. No shirt. No socks. And Mac had folded the guy’s clothes and there hadn’t been a single pair of underwear, so…
Just cargo shorts.
He turned, spatula in hand, and caught Mac staring.
“You’re up! Hungry?”
“Good, ’cause we got scrambled eggs, French toast, bacon, sausage, fruit…” He grinned at Mac. “I kinda raided your fridge. And maybe the walk-in next door, too.”
Mac couldn’t remember the last time he’d used his own kitchen. “You could’ve cooked over there.” Crap, he sounded ungrateful.
Charlie seemed unfazed. “Sure, but then you’d eat it standing up, and breakfast should be enjoyed sitting.” He pointed the spatula to one of the chairs at the dining table Mac never used. “Sit.”
He complied without thinking, mesmerized by the sights and smells in his little kitchen. Mostly the sights. As soon as he sat down, Charlie poured him a mug of coffee, gave it a healthy splash of cream, and then tipped a long amber thread of maple syrup into it. He plunked it down in front of Mac and clapped him on the shoulder.
Mac jerked his eyes away from the hair on Charlie’s lower belly. “For what?”
“For putting me up.”
“Putting up with you, more like.”
“More like.” Charlie padded back to the stove. “What do you usually eat for breakfast?”
“Coffee.” But with sugar. This was…something else altogether.
His friend tsked. “That’s no way to start the day.”
Compared to this? No, it wasn’t. Charlie had a swimmer’s back, broad at the shoulders for his size, tapering to a tight waist. There was no extra flesh on him, so that every time he flipped a piece of toast or jogged the skillet or reached for some mysterious seasoning, the muscles under his skin flexed or pinched or bunched. The smooth ridges on either side of his spine dipped at his lower back, creating dimples that Mac could have pressed his thumbs into. Could he blame residual sleepiness for the skeevy way his eyeballs were latched onto Charlie’s ass? He was willing to try it because those fucking shorts—it was like they were hanging on for dear life. Thank God they went to his knees.
The burners fwooped off. “Okay, here we go.”
Mac grabbed his coffee and didn’t look up again until Charlie was seated across from him.
He clunked his mug against Charlie’s juice glass, and then dug in.
Four full slices of French toast, a small mountain of eggs, six slices of bacon—maybe seven or eight?—three sausage rounds, and a bowl of fruit cocktail. He demolished all of it. When he found himself staring at empty dishes, he looked up to discover Charlie leaning back in his chair, smiling at him.
He cleared his throat. “Yeah. Thanks.”
“Did you know you growl when you eat?”
“It’s kinda cute.”
His face grew hot on a blush.
“Well, all right, not as cute as that. Geez, Mac, give a guy a chance to eat first.”
“So eat,” he grumbled, scowling at Charlie’s half-full plate. There was still bacon on it. Just sitting there.
Charlie chuckled. As if he knew what Mac was thinking, he dragged a crispy strip of it through the puddle of maple syrup on his plate and munched on it, humming.