The Reverend Casey Sharp loves his church, his congregation and his community. He just wishes they loved him in return. Paying for the sins of his predecessor has left him feeling like an outcast.
Contractor Halden Kuckleman, loves his quiet life. After a childhood trauma, Hal gave up on love and God. When hired by the church to finish work on a new meeting room, he tells himself it's just a job like any other. He's fine working on the addition as long as Reverend Sharp doesn't try to save him.
With a tight deadline for getting the room finished, Hal begins to wonder how he's going to get the work done before the annual Christmas Eve party. When Casey offers to lend a hand however, he begins to wonder if the willowy minister will help or lead him straight into temptation.
Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series
See the book trailer for this story here
General Release Date: 31st December 2007
Cattle Valley Mistletoe
“Kuckleman Construction,” a deep gravely voice answered.
“Um, yes, hi, I’d like to speak with Halden Kuckleman.”
“You got him. How can I help you?”
“Hi, Mr. Kuckleman, this is Reverend Casey Sharp from the Cattle Valley Community Church. I was wondering if you would be willing to come out and give me a bid on completing the church expansion.” Casey adjusted his reading glasses, a nervous habit of his from grade school. He was starting to worry he’d never find anyone to finish the reception hall and at this late date, he was desperate enough to call on Halden Kuckleman.
“Sorry, I don’t do churches,” Halden said.
“Yes, well, I heard that, but I’m kinda desperate. The contractor we hired to do the work, quit in the middle of the project, and we’ve promised to have the building ready for the annual Christmas Eve party. I know you’re not a religious man, Mr. Kuckleman, and if you’d be willing to come take a look at the building, I promise not to try and save you.” Casey bit his lip. Shoot, maybe he shouldn’t have said that. Even though it was common knowledge around town that Halden was a tried and true atheist, maybe Casey should have just kept his mouth shut. He was the new guy in town, and making enemies wasn’t his idea of fitting in.
There was a loud sigh on the other end of the phone. “How much still needs doing?”
“Well, the basic shell is there, but nothing has been done on the inside. I’m sorry to say, there isn’t any heat yet, but at least you’ll be out of the snow and wind.” Casey looked out his office window at the snow on the ground. It was only mid-November and already, the city had been blanketed with almost two feet of snow. He sure as heck wouldn’t want to work in an unheated building, but then, if a person was used to working outside in weather like this...
“The heating issue won’t bother me, just the location.” Casey didn’t say a word. Halden seemed to be considering it, and at least he hadn’t hung up on him.
After a few seconds, Halden continued. “Will you be around this afternoon?”
Casey pumped his arm in the air in triumph. “Yes, I’ll be here all day.”
“I could probably swing by after lunch and take a look, no promises, though.”
“Yes, of course. My house is next door, which is probably where I’ll be. If you could just honk when you pull into the parking lot, I’ll be right out.” Casey closed the phonebook, and put it back on the shelf.
“See ya then,” Halden said and hung up.
Casey put the phone back into its cradle and looked around his office. He still had boxes to sort through, and a sermon to practice for Sunday. Scratching his head, he got up and wandered into the kitchen. Maybe a cup of strong coffee would get him going.
The house still didn’t quite feel like home, but what did he expect? He’d only been in Cattle Valley for two weeks, two very lonely weeks. Despite his chosen vocation, Casey was a man who enjoyed sex, lots of sex. It was the only reason he’d chosen to go to college to get his Master’s degree in religious studies instead of entering a seminary.
Now with his dream job finally in place, his social life seemed to be paying the price. It wasn’t that folks in town weren’t friendly. They just tended to keep Casey at arms length. He knew it was further fall-out from his predecessor, Reverend Brian Doles, but Casey needed them to understand he wasn’t like that man. He’d never even considered beating up lover. Maybe the town just needed a chance to heal.
Pouring a cup of java, Casey idly walked through the living room to his bedroom. Although the front room and kitchen had been unpacked, most of his personal belongings still lined the walls in boxes. Casey just didn’t have the heart to dig through memories yet. Leaving his family and moving to Wyoming had been a big step for him. His mom still didn’t understand why he’d needed to go.
Maybe he’d get back to Kansas City after Easter for a short visit. He already missed his nieces and nephews and he’d just gotten here. Pictures of his close-knit family should have comforted him, but Casey knew they’d only make him more homesick.
Bypassing the boxes, Casey headed for the small bathroom off the living room. If he was going to meet Halden Kuckleman it was best he didn’t smell like his own cum. Casey and his hand had become best friends since moving to town. Even though he relieved himself several times a day, it never seemed to scratch that itch he just couldn’t reach.
Setting his cup on the sink, Casey undressed and looked at himself in the mirror. He knew he was a good-looking man. The line of men vying for his attention back home testified to that, but how did the people of Cattle Valley see him? Yeah, he wore small wire-framed glasses most of the time, but he didn’t think they made him look dorky. Maybe the haircut his mother had insisted on was too short. Casey ran his hand over his blond head. He guessed it wasn’t too short, just right actually, given his new vocation. There had to be something about him that didn’t attract men in this town.
The ringing phone brought his gaze away from the mirror. Looking down, he debated whether or not to answer it. He was as naked as the day he was born, and the house tended to be a bit drafty. Suddenly worrying it might be Halden calling to cancel, Casey sprinted toward the phone, bare cock swinging.
An avid reader for years, one day Carol Lynne decided to write her own brand of erotic romance. While writing her first novel, Branded by Gold, Carol fell in love with the M/M genre. Carol juggles between being a full-time mother and a full-time writer. With well over one hundred releases, one thing is certain, Carol loves to keep busy writing sexy cowboys, shifters, bodyguards, vampires and everything in between. Although series books are her passion, Carol enjoys penning the occasional stand-alone title.
As founder and President of GRL Retreat, Inc., Carol helps organize the annual GayRomLit Retreat. Now in its sixth year, GayRomLit is an annual retreat that brings together the people who create and celebrate LGBT romance for a one-of-a-kind, must-attend gathering of dynamic, informal, and diverse fun.
Carol loves to hear from her readers. You can take a look at her Website and follow her on Facebook. She also has a Website dedicated to her Cattle Valley Series.