He came to Los Angeles with a guitar, a dream, and not a lot of common sense.
Escaping his abusive, ultra-religious upbringing, Leonidas Gunderson follows his musical dreams to California. But those dreams are quickly shattered by those taking advantage of his naiveté. Homeless and desperate, he roams the streets of Los Angeles trying to survive, until new dreams lure him to Malibu. There Leo finds himself the object of desire for bored, rich housewives looking for a little fun.
And then a two-year-old boy changes everything.
A chance encounter with Melanie Vega, wife of Johnnie Vega, drummer for the band, Lush, sets Leo on a new path. Melanie is stunned when she meets Leo. His uncanny resemblance to Johnnie's best friend and Lush's lead singer, Caesar Blue, has her wondering if there is a connection between Leo and the late singer. And has Johnnie more than a little jealous of her interest in the gorgeous young man.
After all, Caesar is her former lover.
For Leo, meeting Melanie is a game changer. He is thrilled to have a roof over his head, and for the first time, a home filled with love. With Lush being asked to tour again, Leo also has an opportunity to become the band’s new singer. But Melanie’s insistence to dig into Leo’s past brings family secrets to light. Secrets that devastate the young man and leave him questioning everything he knows about himself.
And what’s all this nonsense about a ghost?
When Melanie and Johnnie explain that Caesar has previously returned from the dead, Leo is skeptical, but the more he thinks about it, the more he wonders. Is it just a coincidence that he’s musically talented? That he came to California and met Melanie? Or is there a higher power at work? And if Caesar has returned before, would he do so again to meet a son he never knew existed?
“If you want to kick my ass, I’ll understand.”
Johnnie turned to him, a storm brewing in his greyish blue eyes. “Is there a reason you need your ass kicked?”
“Not really.” Leo stepped back anyway. “I mean, I tried to kiss her, but she wouldn’t have anything to do with that. In fact, I thought she might kick my ass.”
“You did what?” Johnnie roared as his fists turned to balls at his sides.
Did Melanie not tell him?
“I’m sorry.” Leo lifted his hands in front of him, cowering, waiting for an attack. “It shouldn’t have happened. She was being so nice to me, and I assumed she was like the other women. But she’s not.”
“What other women?”
Leo grimaced. “She told you about the other women, right?”
Johnnie glared at him.
His voice came out as barely a whisper. “The ones who paid me to have sex with them.”
“What!” Johnnie paced back and forth. “My wife brought home a gigolo to be our son’s nanny?”
“I can explain. The same way I did with her.”
“Unbelievable.” Johnnie walked toward the rocks. He threw his hands out to his side. “And to think for a minute I thought this might work.”
“Please, Mr. Vega.” Leo chased after him, pleading. “Give me a chance. I never asked the women to pay me, they just did. I did it because I enjoyed having sex with beautiful women. Surely you can understand. Melanie’s beautiful and you like having sex with her.”
Johnnie turned around and yanked Leo by the collar. “You will not say my wife’s name and sex in the same sentence.”
“I’m sorry. But she told the cop you guys have a great sex life and . . .”
“Cop? What cop?”
Leo smacked his hand against his forehead. “She didn’t tell you about the cop either?”
Johnnie shoved him away. “All she talked about was how great you are with Michael. How terrible your childhood was. How much you look like my best friend.”
“That’s all true.”
Leo stared at the ground. “He thought Melanie was picking me up for sex.”
“Holy fucking shit!” Johnnie grabbed his head in his hands. “My wife almost got arrested for soliciting a prostitute?”
“She straightened it out.” Leo looked up and smiled. “She’s amazing that way.”
Johnnie pointed at him. “Don’t smile like that when you talk about her.”
“ Like what?”