Love on the Horizon
Release Date: 05.04.21
Two years after losing his husband, the last thing widower Rob Asher wants to do is go on a cruise-for-two by himself. But after some practical advice from his best friend, Rob realizes that his husband wouldn’t have wanted him to hide away from the world with only his grief for company. So despite some lingering doubts, Rob packs his bags for his cruise adventure and flies to Barcelona to board the Ocean Wanderer.
Actor Ben Rockingham has just finished a whirlwind promotional tour around Europe and is looking forward to a week long cruise so he can relax and unwind. He’s felt alone for far too long and doesn’t foresee that changing anytime soon. But a chance encounter in a hotel bar has Ben feeling things he hasn’t contemplated for a very long time.
He and Rob hit it off right away and Ben is both intrigued by and attracted to this conflicted man. Is it possible that Rob is the one who’s been missing from Ben’s life all these years, and can Ben help Rob move past his grief so they have a chance at a future together? They have one week aboard the Ocean Wanderer to find out and the stakes are high on the high seas.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/LoveOnTheHorizon
When they got to Rob’s cabin, he pointed toward the guest bathroom and said, “Make yourself at home.”
Rob headed for the master bathroom, stopping to pull his bathing suit out of a drawer on the way.
He freshened up and changed, then grabbed his Kindle, phone, and sunglasses and went out onto the balcony. There was a small cabinet on the side containing some large beach towels; he pulled out two, placing them on the lounge chairs with a table between them.
Ben appeared at the sliding doors and Rob looked at him, admiring Ben’s hairy chest and the fur trail that disappeared below the waistband of his swimsuit. Ben’s suit was form-fitting trunks similar to his own. But his was a gray-to-black stripe in an ombre effect while Ben’s was a bright bottle-green that bulged nicely in the front. Clearing his now dry throat, he asked, “Can you grab a couple of bottles of water out of the fridge, please?”
“Sure, I’ll be right back.”
Rob couldn’t help but notice how the suit snugly cupped Ben’s ass when he turned to get the water. Give me strength!
They sat quietly reading and listening to the music coming from the Pool Deck. It was warm, but not overly so; a gentle breeze kept them both comfortable. Before they knew it, a couple of hours had passed in companionable silence.
Rob stretched and checked the time on his phone. “I was thinking of ordering something for lunch. Are you hungry?”
Ben’s stomach chose that moment to growl.
Rob laughed and Ben joined in. “I guess that’s your answer!”
Rob fetched the room service menu. Handing it to Ben he said, “I’ll be right back. Nature calls.”
When he returned, Ben got up and said, “My turn.” Before he left for the bathroom he added, “I’ll have the mixed green salad with grilled salmon, please.”
Rob quickly perused the menu and decided on the salad with spicy grilled shrimp. He called room service, adding a bottle of Pinot Grigio to the order.
When the food arrived, Rob asked the server to set it up on the balcony table. They ate alfresco and people-watched, admiring a few good-looking guys at the pool.
When they finished eating, Ben picked up the plates and went inside, placing the dishes on the bar in the dining area. The cabin attendant would remove them when they checked the suite later to replace towels and turn down the bed.
Rob picked up the wine bottle and glasses and followed, settling on the sofa.
“There’s something I wanted to ask you, Ben,” he said seriously.
“Hmm, that sounds a bit ominous,” Ben replied, narrowing his eyes. “But sure, what do you want to ask?”
“Well, do you remember the night we first kissed at the hotel in Barcelona, and you told me you thought you might be demi?” Rob paused, thinking about how to phrase this next part.
“I do,” Ben said, encouraging Rob to continue.
“You said you wanted to go out with me again. In fact, we both said that we wanted to see each other again. But what about your career? I don’t remember ever seeing anything about your personal life in the news. I’m not really comfortable hiding who I am but I also don’t want to put you in a weird position. I mean, it’s not my place to tell you that you have to come out for me or anything. Argh! I think I’m getting all this wrong. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”
Ben’s smile was sweet when he gazed at Rob. “I know exactly what you mean. And it’s not as bad or weird or whatever as what you have spinning around in your head.
“Look, I haven’t really done a big Hollywood blockbuster in about five years. And much of that was my choice. I’m getting older and I want to slow down. The last two films I did were indies and that’s what I want to focus on more. I made enough money early on in my career and I think I invested pretty wisely, so while I’m not a multibillionaire or anything, I’m very comfortable.”
“But you don’t want to stop acting, do you?” Rob asked.
“No, but I want to work on other projects. I’ve had a couple of offers to do something on Broadway and that’s definitely an avenue I want to pursue. When I get back to LA, I have a meeting with my agent during which I fully intend to talk about what’s next for me. And if it’s okay with you, I’d like to tell her about you and how I hope to have you in my life a lot more.”
“Really?” Rob looked at him, surprised. “You really want me in your life? You’re sure?”
“Oh yeah, I’m sure. These last few days have been amazing. But what about you, how do you feel about having me in your life?” Ben asked shyly. “Is this too soon for you? The last thing I want to do is make you feel uncomfortable.”
Rob shook his head. “First of all, yesterday was more of a shit-show than anything else and I’m sorry about that. But it also made me realize—well, after I had my meltdown moment and cried on Sam’s virtual shoulder for a while—that I am ready to move on. And that dream, or whatever it was when Alan and I talked, well that really hit home, too. You made me realize that there’s something here between us and I’d be an idiot to ignore it. So yes, I would love to have you in my life more.”
He paused and then a thought occurred that made his eyes widen, “Oh, my God, if you do get something on Broadway, that means New York, right? You’d only be a few hours away!”
“Exactly!” Ben replied, clearly excited about the prospect. “That’s one of the things I thought about yesterday when you were having your crisis. And I’m happy to hear that you admit that even though yesterday was a tough day, something good did come out of it.”
“I am too,” Rob agreed.
“I was also thinking about doing a bit more research into demisexuality,” Ben continued. “In the past, my relationships developed over time. What you and I have all happened pretty quickly, so I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t know what I am—bi, demi, something else entirely maybe.”
“I don’t really think it matters, Ben. I’m not a big fan of labels, anyway. You’re ‘you’ and I like you. Isn’t that the important thing?”
Ben reached out and took Rob’s hand. “Yes, you’re right. Labels be damned. They’re not as important as what you and I are feeling.” Ben admitted. “And I like you too. A lot. As much as I want to walk around the ship holding hands with you, I’m gonna wait until I talk to Amanda, my agent, so that she doesn’t have to find out I have a boyfriend from the tabloids. Is that okay?”
“Boyfriend, huh?” Rob grinned widely. “I like the sound of that. And yes, we can wait until you talk to Amanda. But after you tell her, I plan on holding the hell outta your hand in public, okay?”
“Absolutely.” They leaned into each other and kissed. It started slow, Ben kissing him gently on his mouth, his jaw, his neck. Then it grew hot, their tongues dueling. Rob sucked on Ben’s tongue, moaning.
“As much as I want more of you Ben,” Rob said, breathless, “can we just take this a little slowly? I really do want you, please believe that Ben. I just need to pace myself a bit. Is that okay?” Because I’d feel like a fifteen-year-old if I came in my shorts right now.
Ben panted. “Yeah, I understand. I really do want you too, but I’ll wait until you’re ready. I don’t wanna do anything to fuck this up.”
They kissed a few more times, keeping it soft and gentle. When they finally separated, they both tried to inconspicuously adjust themselves. Catching each other, they both giggled.
“When we do finally go for more, it’s gonna be an inferno, isn’t it?” Rob asked.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
R.J. Peterson is a retired graphic designer.
He is an avid reader, preferably while sipping a vodka martini or some bourbon on the rocks. RJ’s had a long and varied career, including library page, car wash attendant, customer service representative, interpreter for the deaf, travel agent, and graphic designer in the marijuana industry. He also worked in banking for twenty-five years. In addition to starting up a writing career, he still works as a freelance designer, creating book covers and other items for several authors.
RJ loves to travel and has been on 40+ cruises. When not on a cruise, he and his husband live in New England.
Love On The Horizon is his first book.
Where to find RJ
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