Book Title: Treading Water
Author: Alex Winters
Cover Artist: Reece Notley
Release Date: October 03, 2023
Genres: Contemporary M/M Sports Romance, Gay Romance, Gay Fiction
Tropes: Hollywood A-Lister Versus Small Town Stud, Actor Versus Athlete, Coming Out, Forced Proximity
Themes: (Almost) first time gay, summer love, Hollywood scandal, coach falling for his student, student falling for his coach, deserted summer camp
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 310 pages
It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.
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What happens when love is sink or swim?
Actor Tucker Crawford is having the worst summer ever. Thanks to a viral video of him trying to swim, he’s the laughingstock of Hollywood and his role in a hit TV series is in jeopardy. The only bright spot is Tucker’s sexy new swim coach, Reed Oliver, but even that has its problems—because Tucker is deep in the closet and has never been with a guy.
Reed Oliver is having the best summer ever. He’s just scored a high-paying freelance gig teaching a Hollywood actor how to swim. The two of them have the run of a deserted summer camp, complete with an Olympic-size swimming pool. But when cocky playboy Reed meets shy, virgin Tucker, sparks fly and Reed’s walk-in-the-park coaching job becomes a minefield of temptation. Once they kiss for the first time, there’s no way to overcome their mutual passion and no looking back. But after two weeks of secluded intimacy, can they keep their romance alive in the real world?
“Are you awake?”
Tucker’s voice was hoarse in the dark, barely above a whisper to match the surreal nature of the moment. All the same, Reed responded in kind, his voice as husky and hoarse as the deep, dark night that surrounded the rustic cabin, filling it with quiet mystery and the by-now-familiar thrum of humid temptation. “Of course.”
Tucker snorted, just shy of a chuckle and mixed with a quiet gurgle of relief. He wasn’t sure what he would have done if Reed had answered with a snort or a snore and then rolled over and gone back to sleep. He’d been waiting for over an hour to make his move, so he shifted over on his mattress and lifted himself up on one elbow to peer over the bottom bunk to the floor directly by his bed.
He smirked and rolled his eyes, trying his best to be alluring. “What are you doing down there, anyway?”
“You were so drunk last night.” Reed glanced up from the fuzzy striped comforter splayed out beneath him, “I didn’t want you to roll out of bed and bust your head open.”
Tucker struggled to retain his composure at Reed’s half-naked form, sprawled out on the floor literally at his feet. Moonlight caressed his quietly grinning face in a most flattering way. “What were you gonna do, catch me in your sleep?”
“If I had to, yeah.”
He slid his hands beneath his chin and gazed down at Reed the way teenage girls stared at the posters of rock stars and screen idols from old black-and-white movies on their walls. “Besides, I wasn’t that drunk.”
Reed made a face. “Okay, bud.”
Tucker was hungry. And thirsty. And hard as a rail beneath his boxer briefs, pressed thick and tight against the mattress beneath him. “Well, I’m not now.”
Reed lay flat on his back, looking up, as if he’d been waiting for Tucker to open his eyes and look down at him. He lifted his hands and gave a little golf clap, the soft sound vaguely startling in the middle of the night. Outside the screen door, only a stray cricket chirped in the deep stillness of the forest. “Congrats. I guess I can get into an actual bed now?”
Reed made no move to leave, and Tucker was glad. He was enjoying the view—every smooth, savory, moonlit inch of it. Before Reed could stand, to make good on his promise, Tucker slid one hand away from beneath his chin and pressed it flat against Reed’s chest. It was warm and hard and lean and softly humid in the cabin’s almost stifling heat. It was also beating like a jackrabbit. The feel—the pulse—of Reed’s pounding, frantic heart was vaguely encouraging.
“Let’s not be too hasty, now.”
Reed’s playful smile froze into something less than amused, if not quite startled. He didn’t say anything, not right away, but it was clear he wanted Tucker to move his hand. So he did. Moved it just a smidge lower down Reed’s chest and drifted it lazily toward his suddenly stiff nipples.
“Tucker, stop.” Reed’s voice was a groan, his words a lie. Every fiber of his being, every slick sheen of sweat and rat-a-tat of his pounding heart, every thrum of vibration throughout his taut, pale skin said, “Go,” not “Stop.”
About the Author
Alex Winters is the pseudonym of a busy restaurant manager whose curious young staff would love nothing more than to follow him around the dining room reading his steamiest, most romantic passages aloud! When not writing romantic holiday stories of various heat levels, he enjoys long walks with his wife, scary movies and smooth jazz. Visit him at www.awintersromance.com to see what stories are brewing up next!
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