Cody Madrid wasn’t born into privilege. He grew up in a trailer park and suffered a childhood from hell. The gritty start to life didn’t break him. It honed him. With discipline, hard work and some unexpected luck, he founded Starwest Industries and built it into a multimillion-dollar empire.

Ben Jackson grew up in a loving family, enjoyed a picture-perfect childhood and aspires to become a fine artist. He’s vacationing in Greece when he literally falls at Cody’s feet. Their meeting is electric, but forestalled when Ben receives tragic news from home. As a result, he puts his artistic ambitions on hold, and looks for a full-time job to help support his family.

When Ben is hired by Starwest Industries, he has no idea that Cody Madrid owns the company. Their professional relationship means Ben has to work closely with the most compelling man he’s ever met without falling in love with him. Though Cody is still closeted, he finds himself falling hard and fast for the blond, blue-eyed Ben. But Cody has issues to work on, and someone has a hold on Ben. He’s been trapped into living a lie that could ruin any chance of a future with Cody.


Cody crouched down in front of Ben and opened the first aid kit. “Your grazed knees don’t look as bad as I thought. It’s your ankle I’m worried about.”

“I’m sure it’s just a sprain, but it’s kind of you to go to all this trouble.”

“No problem. Glad to help a fellow American.”

Ben looked down as his Good Samaritan removed his sneaker and sock. A moment later, strong fingers moved slowly and gently over his foot and ankle. Ben felt a zing in his glands. Shit. Who knew first aid could be sexy.

“It’s swollen,” Cody said. “Does it hurt when I touch?”

Ben’s voice ratcheted up several notes, “It hurts a little, but it would even if it’s a sprain.”

“Okay, stay there. I’ve got an icepack in the galley.”

Since his rescuer was barely covered in a pair of khaki shorts, Ben took the opportunity to study his wide shoulders and tapered back, wondering what his ass looked like. He felt movement below, looking down to see a semi tenting his shorts. Damn it. He adjusted his dick along the left side of his shorts and draped his arm over it.

When Cody returned and handed Ben the icepack, Ben thanked him and tried to act casual. Usually he could tell right away if a man was gay, but this guy was hard to get a read on. And if he was straight, better he didn’t get an inkling of the fire he was inadvertently stoking. Ben was careful not to stare at the wide bronzed chest. Or swing his gaze downward in the direction of Hottie’s crotch.

Even though Cody wasn’t looking at Ben as he crouched down again, using disinfectant wipes to clean the grazes on his knees. To Ben, it felt like he was watching, which added to his predicament. He told himself to get a grip, and stop trying to turn this into some farfetched fantasy. The man was merely being kind to a fellow countryman in a foreign country.

Afraid his erotic thoughts were visible in his eyes, Ben looked down at his knees to see they now had neat taped dressings on them. The cool efficiency with which Cody had tended to him, prompted him to ask, “Are you medical?”

Cody laughed. “I took a first aid course in college. It’s come in handy on a few occasions.” He stood. “I’ll get us a drink. I’ve got beer, wine and soft drinks.”

“Beer would be great, thanks.”

Cody returned moments later, carrying two frosted bottles. Handing one to Ben, he pulled out a fold-down seat and sat across from him.

“How does the ankle feel?”

“Better. It’s not hurting at the moment. The ice is helping.”

“Good, we’ll leave for a while, then I’ll wrap it with an elastic bandage.”

Ben nodded and took a swig of beer. Was he imagining the awareness crackling in the air? He still couldn’t tell if Cody was straight or gay.