Crusher – A Texas Beach Town Romance Read Online Daryl Banner

Categories Genre: M-M Romance, Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 74
Estimated words: 71044 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 355(@200wpm)___ 284(@250wpm)___ 237(@300wpm)

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Crusher - A Texas Beach Town Romance

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Daryl Banner

Book Information:

From USA Today Bestselling Author Daryl Banner comes a steamy beach town opposites-attract romance with a surprise ending that will steal your heart.
When Quintin Ruiz’s classmate invites him down to Dreamwood Isle for the weekend, the last thing he wanted was to capture the attention of the beach town’s infamous “Heart Crusher” Adrian Tyler.
Pretty boys with eight-pack abs aren’t Quintin’s type. Meanwhile, Adrian Tyler is tired of only being seen as a “pretty muscle boy” with a bad reputation for having new arm candy every weekend.
Besides, what’s he supposed to do when every young and willing guy in sight throws themselves at him?
So when Adrian crashes into the sensitive art student named Quintin, who instantly puts him in the “friend zone” and wants nothing romantic to do with him, Adrian is left feeling relieved. And also very, very confused.
What starts as a totally platonic friendship turns into something more as the young men get to know one another, share each other’s dreams ... And ultimately give in to their suppressed desires.
✔️ Opposites attract ✔️ Beach town vacation vibes ✔️ Major steam
Books by Author:

Daryl Banner

Chapter 1 - Quintin

“Are you an artist, or a fraud?”

I stare at Professor Lawrence with two big, blank eyes. My lips hang open with words I can’t form. My tired hands dangle at my sides, still stained with crisscrossing streaks of cadmium yellow and phthalo blue.

His question couldn’t have come at a worse time. My dad has been breathing down my neck lately about how I should have gone to law school instead of “doodles and finger painting” as he so lovingly calls my passion. And to make matters worse, my rent is due in a week and I still haven’t found a decent enough job to replace the one I just lost to some teenager willing to work for minimum wage.

Also, I really need to pee.

The sweet relief of emptying my bladder should be the last thing on my mind when I’m being handed my ass by my professor. But I’ve been holding it in for quite a while, and after working for weeks perfecting my painting of a sunset I saw the evening my brother died, I’d figured this chat would have been a more quick and rewarding one.

He doesn’t know about my needing to pee.

Or my brother.

“I used to know exactly who you were the instant I saw your work,” he says, lifting his bearded chin and making him look ten feet tall. “Your voice. Your eye. Your fury. I felt the fire inside of you then, Mr. Ruiz. Who put it out?”

It’s a complicated question, because I never thought it went out. Now I’m wondering if I know myself as well as I think I do. Has my “fire” really been extinguished? When did it happen? How have I not noticed?

My professor’s dark, curly beard hangs prominently off of his otherwise pallid face, and it’s in those tight curls of hair that my eyes become lost as he speaks. “This is a mystery you’ll have to solve yourself.”

“Sir, I thought—”

“—that you’d captured the perfect sunset?” he finishes for me, then gazes at my painting, which still sits on the easel like a scolded child sent to timeout. He has no idea what I painted that sunset for. He has no context. He only has his two gray eyes and that semi-permanent smirk set in his furry beard. A soft breath hisses from his lips. “Vibrant colors … clean, intentional strokes … really pulls in the eyes. It’s quite beautiful.”

“Thank you.”

“And soulless.” He turns back to me. “Is this the kind of artist you want to be? You could paint a dozen sunsets. They would each be as pretty as this one. And those dozen sunsets can be sold like stock off the shelf of a retail store, prettying up the bedrooms of a dozen suburban houses, or waiting rooms, or even the tired puke-green wall of my therapist’s office, hanging right above the couch next to a framed inspirational quote uttered by some dead poet.”

I avert my eyes, both from him and my painting.

“That’s not you. You’re better than that. You’re better than this. You are better than … pretty sunsets.”

If my brother was here, I bet he’d like my sunset.

He’d also probably punch my professor in the face for daring to criticize my painting, which he’d insist is perfect just the way it is, of course.

Still, what if Professor Lawrence is right?

What if my painting is soulless?

His words follow me out of the building after class is dismissed for the day. I hurry across campus, as if trying to outrun them. The Texas heat seems to chase me, too. Even when I stop under the shade of a tree, I can’t get away from the torture of the midday sun—or my doubts.

My brother was going to be a lawyer.

Maybe that’s why my dad is so hard on me—because I’m not him.

I watch the branches sway in the wind and listen to their leaves whisper softly, as if trying to discern actual words. My portfolio case hangs heavily from a sore shoulder. I’ve clutched it to my side since leaving the stuffy studio, like a newborn I can’t let the nurses take away from me just yet.

You are better than … pretty sunsets.

Am I, though?

Those weren’t the last of his words, but they’re the ones that keep circling my skull. And what am I supposed to do with his sage advice, exactly? Not paint pretty things anymore? Not pain myself over color choices to achieve that gorgeous, rainbow-shattered sunset in my memories? Maybe I should be in law school after all, studying at some library until the wee hours of morning to be ruthless with my words and logic rather than a paintbrush and canvas.

Art is all I’ve ever known. It’s all I’ve ever loved.

And my love for it apparently isn’t enough.

Ugh, what will my dad say?