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Authors: S.J. Frost

ModelLove

BOOK: ModelLove
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Model Love

S.J.
Frost

 

Struggling to come to terms with
his grief and guilt over his twin brother’s death, Ian feels he’s living in a
world devoid of color. He once rode the highs of success and fame as a model,
but he lost everything when his brother died suddenly. When his former agent
invites him to Bora Bora, Ian accepts with the hope of finding color in his
dark world.

Temaru owns a diving shop in Bora
Bora. As he walks along the beach at sunset, he sees a beautiful man sitting in
the white sand. Deeply attracted to Ian, he wants nothing more than to help him
recover his confidence.

Lust, desire and emotions run high
between them. Ian feels the man he used to be slowly returning, guided by
Temaru’s gentle touch. But Temaru will have his hands full with Ian’s
overwhelming grief.

 

Inside Scoop:
The tropical
heat isn’t the only thing scorching in this male/male love story!

 

A
Romantica®
gay erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave

Model Love
S.J. Frost

 

Chapter One

 

His head bowed, Ian stared at his clasped hands dangling
between his knees. On a shelf across from him, an urn of unadorned bronze sat
in silent vigil over him. A beam of weak winter sunlight shone through the
living room window, but faded across the dusty hardwood floor before reaching
him. He slowly raised his head, his gaze fixed on the brass plaque attached to
the wooden stand the urn rested on, reading,
Aiden Arthur Eldridge, Beloved
Son and Brother.

Three years. Ian hadn’t thought he would make it past the
first day without his twin brother. Now it was a month past three years since
Aiden’s death. How had he survived so long without him? More importantly, why
had he?

Trying to think back on his life over the recent years, no
clear memories came to mind. He’d stopped gathering memories the day Aiden
died. From that day, he’d lost his hope, his faith, his dreams. Aiden took them
with him and left him behind to live in the ugly world alone. In that time, all
he did was sleep, eat, work, survive. Where before, he and Aiden were special.
Or so he thought.

Being identical twins, their lives were intertwined before
birth. Besides sharing the same black hair and gray eyes, they both stood six
foot three, each of them with sturdy medium frames. They also shared the same
dream of becoming models and their striking appearance put that dream within
reach. When they obtained their agent, Mitch Bennett, of the world renowned
Kallos Modeling Agency, their dream was handed to them.

Within a year, the world opened up to them—magazines,
fashion shows, commercials, traveling, parties, money, the most beautiful men
for them to sleep with. Of all of it, what brought it to an end was the one
thing Aiden enjoyed least.

Aiden hadn’t wanted to go partying that night. He never did.
For as alike as they were in physical appearance, they were total opposites on
many things, and hitting the clubs was one. Aiden preferred quiet evenings,
reading or watching TV. Whereas Ian didn’t see the point in being home if he
could be on the dance floor and in someone else’s bed.

Knowing Aiden would cave under a little pushing, he’d
pressed him until Aiden gave in and hit the clubs with him. By the time one
o’clock in the morning rolled around, Aiden was at his limit and wanted to go
home. But their friends were far from ready to call it a night, so once again,
he’d pressed Aiden to stay out.

Ian lowered his head further. He buried the fingers of both
hands in his hair. If he had listened to him, had he allowed Aiden to go home,
it never would have happened. The SUV, speeding and driven by a drunk, never
would have crashed into the side of their limo.

As if the phantom image were in his apartment before him,
Ian could see it all so clearly. Through the haze of smoke and dust, one
headlight and half the front end of the SUV sat near the black leather backseat
of the limo. The sight had confused him. He couldn’t comprehend how it had
gotten inside the limo. Then his mind, working through the shock, realized what
had happened.

Over the ringing in his ears came frantic shouts. He smelled
the bitter, acrid scent of smoke and twisted metal. A heavy weight was on his
side and across his lap. Looking down, he saw Aiden’s limp body. The collision
on Aiden’s side crumpled the limo to where there was hardly enough room for one
person inside.

Even as he stood over Aiden’s body at the hospital, he
didn’t understand. His brother was so strong, his personality so bright, he
couldn’t be gone. How could something like this destroy someone so vibrant?

He still didn’t understand. Maybe he never would.

A booming knock on his apartment door pulled him from his
thoughts. He cleared his throat and called, “It’s open.”

Mitch flung the door open and stepped into the space. He
aimed a scolding look at Ian. “We’ve been waiting for ten minutes. If we’re
going to catch the plane, we’ve got to go. The security at O’Hare waits for no
man. And how many times have I told you not to leave your door unlocked? You’re
not exactly living in a penthouse anymore, sweetheart.”

Ian’s gaze remained on the floor. “I’ve been thinking, maybe
I shouldn’t go.”

Mitch huffed out an impatient breath. “As if I wasn’t
expecting you to try to wiggle out of this. Again. Now what’s your excuse? You
got more important things to do than getting sun-soaked in Bora Bora?”

“My boss wasn’t real thrilled at me for taking this time
off.”

“And because you just love being a waiter, you wouldn’t want
to jeopardize it.” Mitch marched across the living room and snatched Ian’s
light-blue duffel bag off the couch. “Get your ass up and let’s go.”

Ian looked up at him. Mitch seemed barely touched by age in
the nine years he’d known him. His hair was still rich black, though he
suspected a skilled stylist kept the silver at bay for Mitch, and his face only
bore the lightest of lines around his green eyes. But then, Mitch’s career was
beauty. He made his living selling it and at one time, had been one of the
commodities being sold. Mitch gave up modeling before he ever fully broke into
the big time, preferring the business end as an agent, but when it came to
making others look their best, he knew every trick there was. So it made sense
to him that Mitch would seem hardly touched by time, even if he knew Mitch had
turned forty-three the month before, in December.

In the first year after he’d lost Aiden, most of their
friends had abandoned him, realizing he’d never again be the free-spirited
party boy he’d always been. He had expected Mitch to be the first to leave.
Mitch was their agent. A business connection. And with no longer having the
motivation to continue in that business, he thought their relationship would
end.

It didn’t. Instead, it shifted from business to friendship.
Of all the “friends” he’d had in the modeling world, Mitch was now the only one
he had contact with. Sometimes he wondered whether it was because Mitch truly
cared or wanted to get him modeling again. At every chance, Mitch would mention
modeling gigs as casually as if discussing the Cubs game.

Even this trip to French Polynesia had him suspicious of
Mitch’s motivations. One of Mitch’s top models was letting him stay in his
private beach house. At first, it seemed to be nothing more than a kind offer
extended to him to come along too. “Get out of this gray and gloomy city!”
Mitch had said.

Admittedly, the idea of sunshine and soft sand was
appealing, so he agreed to go along. Then he learned also tagging along on this
trip would be, in Mitch’s words, “a super hottie destined to bring in loads of
cash”. In the words of less money-obsessed people, an aspiring young model who
had a very promising future.

They were apparently going to take some shots of the guy
around the islands. What he couldn’t figure out was what his role was supposed
to be. Did Mitch expect him to mentor the guy? Be a part of the shoots? Screw
the guy to keep his nerves calm? Whatever it was, he wasn’t going to do it.
Well, maybe he’d consider screwing him. But his main plan was to do nothing.
Just sit on the beach, drunk off his ass, until someone dragged him back on a
plane to come home.

The final thought gave him just enough motivation to push
off the couch. He glanced a final time at Aiden’s urn and turned for the door.

Mitch swung Ian’s duffel bag as he followed. “This isn’t all
you’re taking, is it? You can’t have two weeks’ worth of clothes in this puny
little bag.”

“I hardly have two weeks’ worth of clothes in my closet
anymore.”

Mitch stepped out the door, waiting while Ian locked it.
“That borders on a tragedy.”

Ian rolled his eyes and turned up the hall. Taking the
elevator down to the ground floor, they stepped out of the apartment building
to a black limousine waiting for them. The driver opened the door. Ian moved to
get in and saw he had two options facing him. He could either sit next to
Rodney Duval, fashion photographer and Mitch’s husband, or he could sit next to
the blond twink, who must be Mitch’s next meal ticket.

Rodney gave him a bright smile and a bubbly wave. Only two
years younger than Mitch, Rodney was a complementary opposite to him. His blond
hair was cropped short, gelled and spiky on top. Rodney had a thin and small
build, whereas Mitch was athletic and more muscular. More eccentric and
artistic in dress, Rodney didn’t shy away from bright colors in his wardrobe,
even his glasses were in pink frames. Mitch tended to fall into the more muted
tones of a professional businessman.

They’d been together since before he met Mitch and still
when they looked at each other, he could see the love in both their eyes. He
used to wonder what it would be like to love someone so much, others could see
it. He didn’t waste his time thinking about it anymore. It was something he’d
never have.

Ian nodded to Rodney and glanced at his other option. The
young blond guy looked at him with curious blue eyes. His preference was to sit
by Rodney, but knowing that was Mitch’s unspoken-for spot, he slid in next to
the blond.

Rodney stretched across the limo and patted Ian’s knee.
“How’ve you been, sweetie? It’s been forever since I’ve seen you. You look like
you’ve gotten thinner and you were too thin before.”

Mitch climbed into the limo beside Rodney. “He’s fine. He
doesn’t need you to mother him.”

“He’s not fine. He has no color in his face.”

“It’s January in Chicago. No one’s got any color in their
face unless it’s red from getting pelted by snow and freezing wind.” Mitch
looked to Ian. “Ian, this is Jared Tate, twenty-one-year-old model
extraordinaire. Or soon to be at any rate. Jared, this is Ian Eldridge, former
model extraordinaire.”

For a split second, Ian considered slapping Mitch for his
ending comment rather than accepting Jared’s offered hand. He took Jared’s
hand, but not without shooting Mitch a dirty look.

He focused his attention on Jared. He could see why Mitch
had high hopes for this one. The guy looked like he’d have a nice build beneath
his puffy black winter coat. Jared’s facial features were strong and sharp
though, a little too cookie-cutter for his tastes, which was probably why he’d
be successful. His generic hot-blond look could be adapted to just about any
job.

But maybe it was bitterness making him be hard on the guy.
He could almost see himself through Jared’s youthful eyes. His black hair
hanging down the back of his neck, shaggy from not having been cut in four
months, and that was a ten-dollar hack job. He had two days of stubble
shadowing his jaw. His tired gray eyes were accessorized by gray circles
beneath that never seemed to go away no matter how much sleep he got. His rough
hands not only no longer remembered the feel of a manicurist’s tools, they
hadn’t seen a nail clipper in ages since he’d developed the habit of chewing
his fingernails down. No, his name and “model” didn’t belong in the same
sentence anymore.

“Mitch showed me some shots of you when you were younger,”
Jared said, looking at Ian as though he doubted he was the same person. “You
were really awesome.”

“Awesome isn’t quite the right word,” Mitch interjected.
“Captivating, enchanting, charismatic, now those are better words.”

Ian shook his head and looked out the side window.

Jared leaned toward Ian. “What do you do now?”

Without looking at him, Ian replied, “I’m a waiter.”

Jared sat back again. “Oh.”

“That’s life after modeling, kid,” Ian said. “Save your
pennies now and go to college while you can afford it, so you got something
better to look forward to.”

“That’s not life after modeling,” Mitch snapped. “And your
life of modeling isn’t over.”

Ian slowly turned his gaze on Mitch in a sharp glare.

Mitch cleared his throat, his voice turning tentative. “All
I’m saying is just because you’ve been out of it for a couple of years—”

“Three.”

“Regardless, there are still plenty of opportunities out
there for a mature model.”

“I’m going to be thirty this year. That translates from
model to human years to about fifty. So unless
Has-Been Monthly
is
looking for a new cover boy, it’s a little late for me to get back into the
game. If I wanted to, which I don’t.”

Jared snickered beside him. “
Has-Been Monthly
. That’s
funny.”

Still looking at Mitch, Ian pointed at Jared with his thumb.
“And I don’t know why you’re pushing on me when you’ve got the future sitting
right here.”

Mitch frowned at him.

Rodney clapped his hands together. “Things are getting a
little too snippy in here for my tastes. I don’t know how anyone can be in a
bad mood when we’re going to paradise.”

Ian summoned a smile for Rodney. “You’re right. I’m sorry
for being shitty.”

He looked out the window again, deciding it was better the
let the tension dissipate as the others made small talk. If he tried to enter
the conversation again, he’d only bring it down. The trip hadn’t even started
and he was already spoiling things for everyone. It made him wonder again why
he was bothering to go, especially now that he knew it would be endless
hounding from Mitch about getting back into modeling.

Ian sighed, watching the city slip by. Everything was so
dull, so gray. He wanted to say it was because of winter, but he couldn’t
remember the last time he’d noticed color in the world. Maybe if nothing else,
he could find a little bit of that in Bora Bora.

BOOK: ModelLove
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