Crash Pad

Crash Pad by Whitley Gray

Book: Crash Pad by Whitley Gray Read Free Book Online
Authors: Whitley Gray
Tags: LGBT Contemporary
Chapter One
    What the hell had he been thinking?
    Jamie tottered along on the rollerblades, arms windmilling, wobbling like a man on a three-day drinking spree. A beautiful morning: sky a serene blue, sunlight dappling the lawns with green and gold, the fresh scent of newly mowed grass. All the things he loved about the park on his daily forays. Now all his attention was focused on surviving this excursion into bad judgment.
    The hot-as-Hades helmet and safety gear looked ridiculous.
    Cute Rollerblade Guy didn’t wear all this crap. On the other hand, Cute Rollerblade Guy could skate. That coppery ponytail and beard… Mmm, mmm . Too bad the guy wasn’t a runner like Jamie. It would have been easier to meet him—safer, for sure. A shirtless runner, in shorts. Yeah…
    A girl yelled, “Look out, Mister,” and whizzed by on his right.
    Jamie stuttered on his skates and then got his equilibrium.
    The broad path stretched before him like a concrete snake, a thousand times as long and just as dangerous. Kids half his size zoomed past on their wheels, perfect balance, full of confidence and laughter. He wiped a hand across his sweaty forehead. God, he felt like an inept giant. Might as well be ten and at the roller rink with his sister. Why did adults think this was fun? And why did he feel the need to risk his neck at age twenty-eight?
    Because you want to meet Cute Rollerblade Guy.
    He coasted forward a few feet— too fast, too fast —and grabbed on to a light pole. Yeah, this would impress the man. Two miles an hour, gyrating like a weathervane in a wind storm. Can anyone say idiot? There had to be a better way.
    His truck was at least half a mile away in the east lot. Okay, he had a choice: take off the blades and walk in his stocking feet to the parking area or suck it up and blade there. Wouldn’t take that long, just a few minutes. Or hours. Or days. He blew out a breath. Cute Rollerblade Guy hadn’t showed yet. Maybe he’d skate past before Jamie either reached the parking lot or sustained a grievous injury. A glance to the right, and he cautiously re-entered the foot, bike, and blade traffic.
    * * * *
    Two miles to go.
    Remy’s running shoes slapped on the asphalt path through the park. As he passed the mile marker, he glanced at his watch. Seven minutes for the last mile. To be competitive in next month’s marathon, he’d need to get it down to six and a half. He hit the Reset button and picked up the pace. A little crowded on the path, but otherwise a perfect day to add a couple of miles onto his usual six. They’d had snow last year at this time. Old Man Winter had blessed them with one last blizzard on Memorial Day before going into hibernation.
    This afternoon, people packed the recreation areas around the lake. Screeches and laughter came from the playground. The fragrance of grilled steak wafted over from the picnic area, and his stomach growled. Remy shook out his hands. On pace for six and a half minutes. Good.
    By the time he got home, he’d need to rush through his shower to get ready for tonight. The guy Brett planned to introduce him to better be worth the trouble. A double date/blind date for dinner wasn’t Remy’s idea of a good time. Of course, alone at home wasn’t any better. If the guy turned out to be a dud, Remy could claim a headache and leave early. As he turned the corner, the sun flashed in his eyes. He ducked his head, squinted at his watch, and kept running.
    Thwack.
    Remy landed on his back in the grass; the impact knocked the wind out of him. For a moment, he stared up at the sky. What’d he hit? His side of the path had been clear a second ago, so where had the roadblock come from? A hand rested on his groin. A strange hand. A man’s hand.
    What the hell? Remy scrambled backward.
    Lying prone on the turf next to him, in a tangle of arms, legs, and rollerblades, was a helmeted man. Remy scowled. One of those damn skater boys, always clogging the path and expecting everyone to

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