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Fair Winds - Excerpt #1

Fair Winds - available in eBook August 2009

Summary: Rudy Haas dreams of becoming an "old goat," a sailor who's completed twenty-five races from Port Huron to Mackinac.

But when his crew throws him off the team for being gay, Rudy has to find another boat and crew to have any chance of making his dream come true. Blind luck leads him to the men of Devlin's Due and a test run where Rudy's toughest battle isn't winning his place on the team—it's fighting his attraction to team captain Ike Ujarka.



“What the fuck are you talking about?” Rudy asked in disbelief.

Justin Meeks shifted uneasily as he ran a hand through his close-cropped, dark hair. He was close to Rudy’s height, leaner and less muscular, but he had held the starring role in Rudy’s nighttime fantasies for the last year. Rudy enjoyed spending time in Justin’s calm and unruffled company, and often wondered what would happen between the two of them if he were ever brave enough to make a move.

“Look, we’re sorry.” Justin’s sideways glance included the other three guys standing near him and blocking Rudy’s way onto the deck. “But we’ve already replaced you. You’re off the boat.”

“You can’t do that.” Rudy protested. “I paid my part of the fees.”

“Are you stupid? You heard him.” Of course it was Richard Proctor who spoke next, replacing Justin as the small group’s spokesperson. Rudy thought the short and chunky blond an obnoxious know-it-all, his main contribution being his father’s ownership of the sailboat. In return Richard viewed Rudy as a threat to his friendship with Justin. “We don’t want your kind on board.”

“My kind?” This was beginning to feel like a really bad dream. “What do you mean—my kind?”

“My sister told me all about it.” Richard looked at Rudy, the expression of disgust visible even through the straggling wisps of new beard. “She thought we should know seeing how little privacy there is on the boat. Frankly, I resent like hell you never told us before.”

“Never told you what, Richard?” Rudy said softly. He was beginning to get the picture, and he didn’t like it. Not one bit. “Never told you that I’m a good sailor, and for the last four years I’ve pulled my weight on this crew?”

“You should have said something, Rudy.” Justin said quietly. He refused to meet Rudy’s eyes as he stood there, just kept looking down at his feet, his arms crossed across his chest.

“Why?” Rudy demanded as he looked away from Richard. “How does the fact that I wouldn’t put out for Richard’s drunken slut of a sister have anything to do with my being a part of this crew?”

Maybe he should curb his anger but Rudy couldn’t believe this. He knew he shouldn’t have let himself get talked into taking Traci to the bar. But she had just moved to Grand Rapids, and Rudy could remember how that felt. When she had called it hadn’t seemed like such a bad idea. At least, not until he realized exactly what she had been looking for.


“You really hurt her feelings but it’s not just that.” Justin shook his head. “To be honest in these close quarters it makes the guys uncomfortable having you on board, knowing what we know now.”

“You’re kidding me, right?” This sudden coldness between them felt unreal. It was so different from the almost flirtatious vibes he usually received from Justin. Rudy reached out to Justin and felt sick as his friend stepped back to avoid his touch. “How does who I do or do not sleep with change anything? You guys know me.”

“I need to know I can trust the man beside me out on the water. “ Richard blustered as he stepped between the two of them. “Right now, I don’t trust you behind me.”

“Is that what you’re worried about?” Rudy grimaced. He struggled to keep a better handle on his temper. No matter how good it would feel to give in to his desire to haul off and finally slug Richard the bastard would probably press charges. “Well, let me assure you Richard, I haven’t been tempted to touch your little pin-dick once in all this time.”

Jamie and Todd Stinson had been standing further back on the deck letting the other two talk for them, and Rudy swung around to face them. “Do you guys agree with this bullshit?” He asked.

The two of them wouldn’t look at him either. They just stared at the deck, brown hair falling over their foreheads, and hiding the misery evident on their faces. Rudy could almost find it in him to feel sorry for the twins; he did after all know what it was like to have to go along with Richard just for the opportunity to race. But his sympathy vanished with Justin’s next words.

“You know we’ll refund your fees after the race and Rudy, listen—if you don’t make a fuss we won’t either.”

Rudy could only stare at the men he thought were his friends, and the man he hoped might have become something more. His mouth opened and closed on words he knew were better left unsaid in reply to Justin’s implied threat before his lips tightened into a thin line, and he turned and simply walked away.