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He’s a walking contradiction…
Cam Strickland, one of the four owners of Pier 70 Marina, has earned the nickname his friends gave him years ago. Reckless. Sure. By definition. When it comes to fun, Cam hasn’t yet met a challenge he wouldn’t accept. In other areas, he’s likely far too cautious for his own good.
He’s his complete opposite…
Gannon Burgess, CEO of Burgess Entertainment, one of the top video game producers in the world, finds himself smack in the middle of the last place he would ever expect to be. But Gannon only thinks he is out of his element standing in the small marina office. Then… he meets Cam.
Rumor is opposites attract.
Sparks fly when this sexy, tattooed bad boy comes face to face with this buttoned-up gamer in glasses.
Can Cam and Gannon push one another out of their comfort zones? Or — thanks to the events that have shaped their lives — will the time they spend together prove to be just another reckless adventure? This one involving their hearts.
✔️ Tattooed bad boy
✔️ Buttoned-up Gamer
✔️ Opposites Attract
✔️ Gay Romance
“Damn it, Dare! Is it too fucking difficult to do what we ask?”
Cam Strickland choked out a laugh when he walked into the dark office of Pier 70 Marina shortly after six in the morning to find Roan grumbling to himself. Cam didn’t even need to look around because he already knew no one else was there.
Just Roan. And his pissy attitude. Happy Friday, y’all!
Smiling, Cam spared Roan a look. “Good mornin’ to you, too, sunshine. Talkin’ to yourself again?”
As though sensing he was overlooking her, Lulu—the two-year-old golden retriever who lived at the marina—came from behind the counter, tail wagging. “Mornin’ to you, too, Lu.” Cam dropped to his haunches to pet her while watching Roan.
Roan Gregory, Cam’s longtime friend and business partner, cast a sideways glance at Cam, one dark eyebrow cocking beneath the dark, shaggy bangs that covered his forehead before Roan returned his attention to the printer/copier (or office genius as Dare liked to refer to it) in front of him.
Looked like it was definitely going to be one of those days.
Cam gave Lulu one last pat, then got to his feet. Flipping on the lights and turning the sign around to show they were open, Cam watched while Roan took out his frustration on the fancy new machine that one of their other partners, Dare Davis—the man Roan was clearly irritated with—had insisted on purchasing last month.
“Dare’s not even here, so why’re you yellin’?”
“He should be here,” Roan muttered as he slammed the lid down and stabbed at one of the buttons repeatedly.
Well, the fancy machine had been new. At least until Roan had gotten hold of it.
Lulu barked once, clearly not happy with the loud noise. He felt her pain.
Cam didn’t try to hide his amusement with the situation, even pretended not to notice when Roan glowered at him, evidently not as entertained as Cam.
“So is it Dare or the printer you have a problem with?” Cam offered a smile, flashing all his teeth.
Roan faked a laugh, then rolled his eyes, eyebrows shooting downward. Too soon for jokes apparently. Still, Cam couldn’t help but laugh. He had to find entertainment somewhere. Might as well be here.
“Stupid printer,” Roan grumbled.
Cam was beginning to feel bad for that stupid printer, taking the brunt of Roan’s frustration and all.
Dare—always helpful, or so he claimed—had come up with the crazy suggestion for the ridiculously expensive machine after a huge falling-out with Roan on why they couldn’t just get rid of paper altogether.
“Who even uses paper anymore?” Dare had asked, dead serious.
Roan’s reply … well… “We do, dumb ass.”
Dare had even tossed out one of his statistics during his argument. Admittedly, Cam had been sort of impressed.
“Seriously, bro,” Dare had argued, “I saw a report. Somethin’ like eighty-four percent of businesses prefer Apple products. We don’t need paper and shit. Just get a coupla iPads like the rest of the technologically advanced civilization. Make people sign with their fingers… Easy peasy.”
Convincing Roan wasn’t easy peasy.
Dare wanted to save trees; Roan wanted simplicity. Cam, well, he didn’t give a fuck one way or the other.
Still, they’d ended up with the printer. Knowing Dare, he’d probably hoped Roan wouldn’t have wanted to spend that much money, but Roan had shown him.
Roan was nothing if not stubborn.
As was Dare.
When Roan stabbed the button again, Cam stopped walking, coming to a halt on the customer side of the long counter that split the marina office. While his flip-flops froze on the rough slate floor, his full attention was focused on his friend.
Just ask what his problem is.
Don’t have a death wish, Cam told the crazy voice in his head. Seriously. Cam saw what Roan was doing to that poor, unsuspecting printer.
It wasn’t like Roan to get quite so pissy first thing in the morning. By the end of the day, sure, Roan was known to be a little frazzled from time to time. Not this early, though.
Unlike the rest of them, Roan was a morning person. Usually. Cam, on the other hand, didn’t understand that concept whatsoever. Bright and chipper didn’t make an appearance this early in the day for Cam. Blurry-eyed, yes. Cheerful, no. Then again, no one else at the marina—other than possibly Dare—was a bowl of fucking sunshine, either, until they’d had a little caffeine in whatever form they opted to take it. Cam’s preference was coffee, and he could see the fresh pot sitting right there on the counter waiting for him.
Just. Out. Of. Reach.
With a heavy sigh, he accepted his fate. He had no choice but to confront his friend.
“What’d he do now?” Cam peered over at Roan, then back to the black liquid gold now calling his name. He was eager to answer, only he was mentally weighing the risks of getting too close to Roan at the moment.
Roan snorted. “We’ve got a huge group comin’ in today. A freaking daycare, man. And he was supposed to do one simple thing. Get the waivers signed.” Roan yanked the paper out of the machine. “I can’t find ’em anywhere.”
“I did get ’em signed, you asshole.”
Speak of the devil.
Cam smirked at the sound of Dare’s voice coming from behind him, followed by the annoying ding of the electronic door notification system that, no matter how much they fucked with it, still sounded on a delay.
“If you’d just open your eyes and look,” Dare tacked on.
Dare Davis, the third owner of Pier 70 Marina, and another one of Cam’s closest friends, stepped into the office looking as casual as ever with his white T-shirt that sported the marina logo, knee-length swim shorts, Dallas Cowboys ball cap on backwards, and as usual, was bare-footed. Oh, and carrying a Red Bull. Of course.
“Then where the hell are they?” Roan barked, pinning Dare in place with his heated gaze.
Cam took a step back and watched the exchange, as did Lulu, who appeared a little concerned. Cam patted her head reassuringly.
“Where y’all told me to put ’em,” Dare countered, head cocked forward, as though pointing with his eyebrows. “That stupid rack you hung on the wall, remember?”
“Fine time for you to start listenin’ to what we ask you to do,” Roan groused.
Cam huffed a laugh, trying to cover it with a cough. With these two, he was always entertained.
“If I recall correctly,” Dare said, flashing a mischievous grin at Cam before looking back at Roan, “I tried to get y’all to nix the paper and move to iPads, but no.”
Roan shot a ball-shriveling scowl at Dare.
“No worries,” Dare said, still smirking and holding his hands up in an I surrender gesture. “I’m cool. Just happy to chill in the Stone Age, rubbin’ sticks together to make fire. Later, I’ll take a break and go spear us a buffalo for dinner.”
Rolling his eyes because he knew Dare was just looking to push Roan’s buttons, which wasn’t unusual, Cam made his way to the coffeepot, desperate to get his hands on a cup while Roan was distracted.
“You are such an ass—”
“Who’s handlin’ this party today?” Cam interrupted Roan’s tirade, hoping to change the subject and keep the two of them from going head to head so early in the day.
As entertaining as this ongoing squabble might be, they had shit to do.
Pier 70 Marina was a full-service marina and boat storage that Cam, Roan, and Dare had opened nearly a decade ago with the financial backing from Cam’s father. It’d grown to be one of the most exclusive, highly coveted marinas on Lake Buchanan. To the point that they’d acquired a staff of nearly twenty over the years, most of those people family or friends. Or family friends.
“Holly’s handlin’ the corporate event, and Teague’s gonna run point on the water,” Dare advised, tossing back what was left of his energy drink.
“Is she here yet?” Cam asked, referring to his younger sister, who’d recently taken over the position of party host.
Holly and her husband, Keith, had offered their services to Cam when the marina had been shorthanded a couple of summers back, and they’d stuck around ever since. They’d both adapted quickly to the prestigious party host role and now alternated between handling the off-water activities and taking care of their three kids. Holly was responsible for getting things set up for the large events—usually corporate or family reunion type—that took place in the fifteen-acre park adjacent to the marina, while the rest of them handled the watercraft.
“On her way. She just called before you came down,” Roan said.
“Good. Where’s Teague?” Cam asked.
Teague Carter was the recently added fourth and final partner in the marina. They’d brought him on board to help out with light mechanic work and some of the chores when Teague had still been in high school, and through the years, thanks to his hard work and dedication, they’d opted to give him stock in the place.
“Haven’t seen him yet,” Dare said. “He had a late night. Some party carried on until the early hours, and he didn’t get outta here until around one.”
That wasn’t surprising.
Several years younger than the rest of them, Teague was the life of the party on a good day, always volunteering to go out on the party barges when a client requested. Sometimes Cam admired the kid’s energy level, but Cam chalked it up to Teague still being young. Not that Cam was all that old at thirty-two, but he did have about seven years on Teague.
“What else’s goin’ on today?” Cam glanced back at Dare and Roan over his shoulder.
“You mean besides the heavyweight match between Roan and the printer?” Dare smirked, looking back and forth between Cam and Roan.
Roan shot Dare the finger. “Not a helluva lot,” Roan griped, clearly still in a foul mood.
“So why so pissy?” Dare asked Roan directly.
Roan glowered at Dare but didn’t respond.
Thank God for small miracles. These two … stubborn as mules.
Taking a sip of coffee and letting it burn all the way down, Cam turned around and leaned against the counter, watching the two of them carefully. Roan was frowning, Dare grinning like a fool.
Cam shook his head.
Sometimes, especially during the summer months when they spent so much time entertaining people for extensive periods of time, things started to heat up inside the office. Sometimes hot enough to rival the blistering three-digit temps. However, it was only the first week of June, the season was just now kicking off, so he hoped this wasn’t indicative of what they had to look forward to for the next three months.
But it was that tension that had Cam seeking solitude—or trying to, anyway—in his own office whenever possible. It didn’t help that he lived in one of the two private apartments above the marina office, either. Hiding out was nearly impossible in his line of work. And with Roan now occupying the other apartment, Cam never seemed to find a moment’s peace.
Unfortunately, this morning he’d hit the snooze button on his alarm a few too many times and hadn’t made it in before the others as he normally did, which meant he hadn’t been able to sneak away.
But he fully intended to rectify that now.
Sparing them both one more look, Cam pushed off the counter and glanced out at the parking lot.
Yep. Time to jet.
“You’ve got incoming,” Cam noted as he took his coffee cup and headed down the narrow hallway toward his office, smiling as Roan greeted the customer with a chipper note in his deep voice that hadn’t been there a minute ago.