One

 

 

“THANKS, EVAN.”

Ian’s pulse was still racing from his climax, and he shifted to his side to watch the guy he’d just fucked pull on clothes that had been strewn about the room in their rush to get to the bed.

“It’s Ian, actually,” he said, bizarrely bothered by the fact the man didn’t know that. It was incredibly hypocritical of him. Ian had been inside him minutes earlier and didn’t know his name, either. At least this guy had tried to remember Ian’s. Ian wasn’t even sure he’d asked for his. Names were an unimportant part of Ian Mackay’s pickup routine.

“Sure,” the guy said easily. He sat on the edge of the bed, his back curving as he bent to put on his shoes. Ian wanted to roll toward him and pull him back in for another round, but he wasn’t sure that would be welcome.

“Are you on the island much longer? I could show you some of the nightlife. There aren’t many bars here on Tortola, but the one we were at is far from the best one.” Ian winced at the earnestness in his voice. What was he doing? He never tried to hook up with a tourist more than once. Usually, he was ushering his conquest out of his bedroom as quickly as possible; what was wrong with him? He didn’t know anything about this guy other than the fact that he had sensitive nipples and liked to be taken from behind. Or maybe he didn’t and he’d just asked for that position because this was a one-off. It would make sense. Ian favored the position himself because it was less personal.

“Uh, no. Sorry. I crew for a regatta team. We’re heading out in the morning,” the guy said. He’d finished with his shoes and was standing now, everything about his posture screaming discomfort. “Actually, the guys are probably looking for me. We were supposed to meet up for drinks.”

At the dive where he had picked him up about forty minutes earlier, Ian surmised. He forced an easy smile and waved lazily, not bothering to get up. The sheets had pooled around his hips, and he saw a brief flare of interest from the other man. Ian knew exactly how sexy he looked in that position; he’d perfected his lazy allure years earlier. It was a carefully crafted pose that screamed casual sex, and he used it to telegraph his intention that he wasn’t the type of guy who’d ask for a phone number or any sort of contact after someone left his bed. Now, apparently, he was trying to use it to lure someone back into bed, and the moment he realized it, Ian straightened and cleared his throat.

“Do you need directions to get back?” he asked briskly.

The man visibly relaxed. He’d obviously just been looking for a quick vacation fuck, something Ian was usually very happy to supply. There were definite bonuses to living on an island swarming with tourists, and that was one he exploited ruthlessly.

“No, it’s just a few blocks.” The guy fiddled with his collar and finally looked up. “Thanks again for a good time, Ian.”

“It was my pleasure,” Ian drawled. He quirked an eyebrow at the man, who got the message after a drawn-out pause.

“Keegan,” the guy supplied, clearly amused.

Huh. Ian would have guessed something more like Jason or Jack. Back on solid ground, Ian grinned and nodded. “Keegan.”

There was a finality in his tone that had Keegan moving toward the bedroom door. Ian’s house was small, and from the open door, he saw Keegan let himself out the sliding glass doors that led to the beach. He didn’t look back.

Ian slumped against the headboard, his sweaty skin sticking uncomfortably the moment he touched it. The sleek white leather had been chic in his air-conditioned LA apartment, but it didn’t work as well in the tropical heat. He’d considered retrofitting the house with central AC, but it wasn’t necessary most of the year. Tortola was fairly temperate, as most Caribbean islands were. The wide plantation shutters were open, letting in a breeze from the beach, and when it got too warm, the large-bladed fans in every room did an adequate job of cooling things off. He’d been meaning to replace his furniture with pieces more suited to island life, but he hadn’t gotten around to it in the four years he’d lived there.

God. Had he really just tried to ask a one-night stand out on a date? Hell, Keegan hadn’t even been a one-night stand. That implied a lot more time spent together than a ten-minute pickup and a twenty-minute fuck. Was there a word for a quick afternoon fuck? Jesus. Ian rubbed a hand over his face, shrugging off his mortification. Maybe it was time for a change of scenery. He was going a bit stir crazy on the island; that must be it. It was nothing a vacation couldn’t fix. He grinned as he threw the sheet aside and stood, uncaring of his nudity as he strode into the living room to grab his laptop. The locals knew well enough to avert their eyes whenever they walked by Ian’s house, since more often than not he was lounging around naked. It had garnered him more than one interested tourist, though.

He grabbed some ice water as he waited for his laptop to boot. The cool glass felt good against his sweaty skin when he pressed it against his cheek. Maybe he’d go somewhere cold. Though he hated bundling up in sweaters and jackets. They hid his best asset, his body. Ian knew he had a nice smile and great hair, but his body was the reason he never had a problem finding someone to warm his bed. So, no cold-weather getaway.

He scrolled through the site aimlessly, looking for something that inspired him. Usually, he enjoyed finding vacation spots, but none of his customary excitement was present at the moment. He definitely needed to do something to pull himself out of his funk.

He bypassed a banner ad for Mexico with a flick of the mouse. Cancún and Cozumel were fun, but not the kind of scene he was looking for. Mexico tended to attract a younger crowd. It had been a good time when he was in his twenties, but Ian wasn’t interested in partying with a bunch of college students who thought Señor Frog was the height of amusement.

Vegas was a possibility, he thought as he scrolled past offers for the Venetian. After a moment’s consideration, he kept going down the site. Ian enjoyed gambling and all the opportunities for unapologetic debauchery in Las Vegas, but he didn’t think the itch he was feeling could be satisfied by bright lights and raunchy sex alone. He was feeling uncomfortable in his own skin, which usually happened when he’d gone too long without some sort of physically taxing outdoor activity. Besides, if he ended up in Vegas, he’d catch hell from Niall for not coming up to Seattle to see him.

Niall’s partner, Ethan, was a dedicated outdoor sports enthusiast and had a bunch of great toys, so maybe a visit to Seattle was in order. He’d been to see Niall several times since Niall left Tortola to move in with Ethan almost a year ago, and he always enjoyed himself. Niall had surrounded himself with an eclectic group of friends there, and Ian liked all of them.

He was tempted to call Niall and take him up on the open offer to visit. There were great clubs and bars in Seattle to keep him occupied at night, and the chance to go rock climbing and rowing with Ethan was a big tick in the plus column. Ian had always preferred rowing to sailing because it was so much more physical. He loved the way a good hard row made his muscles scream. Just thinking about it made the itchiness simmering under his skin flare, and suddenly he was desperate to get out in a scull. Seattle would be good for that, too.

But there were definite drawbacks to Seattle. Now that Niall was in a relationship with Ethan, he seemed to be succumbing to whatever horrible matchmaker disease infected people in monogamous relationships. Ian’s last trip to Seattle had been a bore, featuring a string of blind dates Niall had surreptitiously arranged for him. Niall and Ethan’s group of friends also gossiped like hens and were too observant for their own good, and Ian had no doubt it wouldn’t take long for them to suss out his malaise and descend on him like locusts.

So not Seattle. Maybe Boston? It was August so it was plenty warm there, and his mother would love a visit from him. She’d be busy with the academic term starting at Boston University, where she was a mathematics professor. He could cruise for pickups during the day and be back at her place to have dinner with her and his stepfather before going out to the bars in the evening. She and Paul had come to see him in Tortola for Christmas during her winter break since they knew there was little to no chance of getting Ian to brave snow and ice in Boston, but it would be nice to see them before that.

His mother, Elisabete, had been born and raised there, and she always teased him that his Scottish blood should have inured him to the cold, since it was only a little warmer than Boston on average. Then again, it wasn’t like Ian came from sturdy Scottish farming stock—his father, Alban, was a banker in the same bank Ian’s grandfather had managed until his death. The Mackays were decidedly unathletic and partial to indoor activities. If anything, Ian had inherited his athleticism and spirit of outdoor adventure from his mother, along with the Morais family traits of olive skin and hazel eyes. The Mackay genes hadn’t given him much aside from his curls—his dark sandy hair color came from a ridiculously expensive stylist at one of the posh resorts on the island. He’d started lightening his normally dark brown locks with sunkissed highlights and a lighter overall color because it furthered his image as a beach bum. Dark hair made him look too serious. It was a pain in the ass to maintain, though. Lately he’d been thinking about going back to his natural color, even if it did make him more likely to be mistaken as Spanish or Greek.

Neither was correct. His grandparents had settled in Boston when they’d emigrated from Portugal a few years before his mother was born. There was a huge Portuguese community there, and Ian had always loved visiting his grandparents as a kid and being among people who looked like him. He stuck out a fair bit in Edinburgh, and he’d always been self-conscious as a child. He and his mother had moved to Boston when Ian was fifteen, but he still stuck out because of his obvious Scottish accent.

Now, though, Ian loved the momentary confusion when he first spoke with someone who was sizing him up. No one expected the Scottish accent. He’d gotten the side-eye from more than one bouncer when he hit the bars around New Haven while an undergrad at Yale since, to most Americans, the name Ian Mackay generally conjured images of red hair and pasty skin. If you ignored the fact that his middle name was Mateus, that was. Not that most people knew it was a Portuguese name. Often people assumed he was Spanish before he spoke.

Most people’s idea of a stereotypical Scot didn’t actually exist. Even though he’d been born there and lived in Edinburgh until he was fifteen, Ian didn’t own a kilt, and he’d never had haggis. If his father’s family had a tartan, Ian had certainly never seen it. He also found Fair Isle sweaters to be both scratchy and unflattering on his broad shoulders. His grandmother had dutifully sent him care packages full of them until she’d died six years ago. The hefty inheritance had allowed him to quit his job and move to Tortola to live a life of leisure.

Ian blew out a breath and refocused on the laptop. Going to Boston was probably a bad idea. His mother didn’t approve of Ian’s playboy lifestyle, so staying there while he was trying to rack up some meaningless sex would only spark arguments. He’d see them at Christmas at any rate.

The travel site had an ad for St. Lucia on the front page, and Ian glanced up at the picturesque view out his front window and wrinkled his nose. No islands. But beaches were good. Ian looked great in a pair of board shorts, and he knew it. Mainland beach vacation it was.

He scanned the colorful photos until his eyes stopped on one that had been taken in a busy club. Miami. Ian took another drink of his water and scratched at his stubble, absently making a mental note to shave before he headed to the bar after dinner. Scruff was useful when going out for an afternoon hookup because it gave him a friendly beach bum look. Nighttime was for clean shaves and designer clothes, even if they were mostly wasted in the small bars the island had to offer.

Miami had potential. He’d been there once before, and all he remembered from his weekend was a lot of drinking, dancing, and some very hot hookups. It might be just what he needed.