Born a man, Kit always felt cheated out of the life he was meant to live. Growing up in Arkansas, Kit was forced to hide behind the masculine clothes and haircuts favoured by the other boys in the small community. The minute Kit graduated high school, he pushed away the male way of life then reached for her dream of living as a woman. With newly augmented breasts, Kit arrives in Cattle Valley in hopes of gaining acceptance.
Gabe 'Hawk' Hawkins is in search of more than a place to lay his head when he too comes to Cattle Valley. He's on the hunt for his son. When he meets Kit at the local gym, he's knocked sideways by her incredible body and big smile.
It soon becomes clear that there's more to Kit than meets the eye. Luckily for Hawk, he's an equal opportunity lover and won't let the sassy blonde push him away no matter what others say about him. People may not trust Hawk's motives for being in town, but he hopes Kit will look past his mistakes to see the man he longs to be.
Reader Advisory: This book contains a transgender storyline.
Fleeing Hollywood from damaging and false tabloid reports, Brac Riesling hides out with his friends Kit and Hawk in Cattle Valley. Although he believes he's simply evading intrusive paparazzi, danger lurks just around the corner.
After years spent as a secret soldier for the United States government, new Cattle Valley deputy, Al Jessup believes shielding the television heartthrob from nosy reporters will be an easy assignment. Becoming infatuated with Brac isn't part of the plan, and Jessup struggles to remain professional despite the temptation Brac provides.
When Jessup gives in to his desire and Brac nearly pays for the moment of passion with his life, Jessup vows not to make the same mistake twice. He calls in a favour from the only man he trusts with Brac's life, James 'Priest' Evans. Priest agrees to guard Brac at a secret location while Jessup searches for the unknown gunman. Jessup's resolve to put a halt to the budding relationship with Brac is tested when he witnesses the easy-going relationship Brac and Priest have formed after only a few days.
General Release Date: 26th September 2011
Stretching the morning kinks out of his back, Gabe Hawkins stared out of the second-floor window of the Apple Valley Inn Bed and Breakfast. He groaned at the falling snow. What the hell had convinced him to ride his Harley from Malibu?
He’d arrived late the previous night nearly frozen to death. Thankfully, he’d already made arrangements at the B&B or else he would’ve been screwed. According to Addie, the sweet little proprietor of the Inn, the only other place to stay in Cattle Valley was the ski lodge.
Hawk put his hands on his hips and twisted his upper torso from side to side. Whether it was the long ride or the nerves crawling up his spine at the thought of meeting his son, he wasn’t sure, but his muscles were as tight as hell. After pulling on his last pair of clean jeans, Hawk grabbed a T-shirt and shoved his feet into his boots.
Before leaving the room he gave himself a quick once-over in the mirror. He’d taken a nice hot shower before he’d bedded down for the night, but he’d gone to bed with his hair still wet. Grabbing his brush out of his dop kit, Hawk tried to tame his shoulder-length hair. Giving up, he reached for the small black elastic band he’d worn the night before and pulled his hair into a low ponytail.
Walking down the steps, he heard singing coming from the kitchen. “Hello?” he called to announce his presence as he walked down the hall towards the back of the Inn.
“Mr. Hawkins?” Addie appeared in the doorway, drying her hands on a faded red dishtowel. “Good morning.”
“Can I make you something for breakfast?” Addie asked, her hand rubbing the side of her very pregnant stomach.
It was a simple gesture but one that reminded Hawk why he’d come to town. “No thanks. I was wondering if this town had somewhere I could work out?”
“Sure. There’s The Gym. It’s only about six blocks north of here. The first building when you get to the industrial park.”
“Thanks. That was easy enough. How about a laundromat?”
“No need. We’ve got two washers and dryers right through those doors. Feel free to use them.”
Hawk wasn’t used to such honest hospitality. He’d stayed in the most expensive hotels in the world and had still had to pay for laundry service. “I can pay,” he said out of guilt.
Addie laughed. “I do loads every day. I doubt another one is going to break the bank. As a matter-of-fact, if you bring your dirty clothes down I’ll get them done while you’re out.”
“Thank you, but that’s not necessary. I’ll do them later if that’s okay?” As pregnant as Addie appeared, Hawk hated the thought of her doing extra chores when he was perfectly capable of doing them himself.
Addie smiled. “I’ve seen underwear before, you know. Why are men so sensitive about that?”
It was Hawk’s turn to chuckle. “Didn’t bring any with me, so that’s not the problem. I could be here a while if things work out, and overstaying my welcome isn’t on the agenda.”
The blush that began to work up Addie’s face caught Hawk’s attention. “Forgive me if I embarrassed you. I guess that’s probably too much information, huh?”
Addie waved away Hawk’s apology. “You didn’t. It’s these damn hormones. It’s nice to talk to a straight-shooter. I think we’ll get along fine.”
“Well, I’d better find that gym before my muscles start seizing up on me again. Thanks again.” He’d started out of the kitchen when Addie called after him.
“Supper’s on the table at six if you’re interested. Right now you’re our only guest so it’ll be something simple. Mel asked for meatloaf if that’s okay with you?”
Hawk stopped in the doorway and glanced over his shoulder. “Meatloaf sounds good. I appreciate the invitation.”
He stopped just inside the front door and put on his heavy, black leather coat before picking up his helmet from the nearby table. He really could kick himself for riding the bike instead of driving one of his cars. Maybe he could find something used in Sheridan that would get him around while he was in Cattle Valley.
As he opened the door, a blast of wind hit Hawk in the face. Yeah, he definitely needed something else to drive.
With Ezra James’ birthday barbecue in full swing, Brac Riesling tried to stick to the shadows. Everyone he’d met since arriving in Cattle Valley had been incredibly nice, but Brac was starting to tire of always being on his best behaviour. Not that he wanted to fart or burp, but if the occasion arose, it would be nice to know it could pass without ending up in the gossip rags.
He took another sip of his beer and stared out at the grazing cattle in the pasture. The tableau in front of him reminded him of home. Although he rarely got home to Iowa, he thought of it daily.
At first his parents had been thrilled that Brac had managed to make a name for himself in Hollywood. Landing a coveted role on the top rated soap opera of all time had pushed him into the public eye, but it wasn’t until he’d been named one of the sexiest actors in Hollywood that the reporters began digging into his personal life. When news of his homosexuality broke, Brac had tried to lay low. Unfortunately the reports refused to let the story die without wanting every detail. They’d shown up at his family farm, and taped his parents without them even knowing it, all in an effort to get an exclusive story. Brac had paid a lot of money to have a tall fence constructed around the majority of the property, but it had done little to ease his parents’ peace of mind. He would have loved to go home more often, but reporters tended to follow him. In an effort to save what was left of his relationship with his folks, Bob and Carol Hostetler, he’d been relegated to a once-a-year visit in January.
Brac walked closer to the heavy decorative wooden fence that separated the ranch and yard from the pasture. After setting his empty plastic cup on the ground, he climbed up and sat on the top of a thin, two-by-four-inch board. It took a few moments to get comfortable, but with his feet resting on the next board down, Brac finally managed it.
After inhaling, Brac grinned. “Smells like home,” he whispered to the clear evening sky.
“Better watch yourself. There’s a bull in that pasture that would love nothing more than to knock you off that fence and stomp you to the ground.”
Brac glanced over his shoulder. “What’s his name?” he asked the stranger.
“Midnight,” the handsome man said. He stuck out his hand. “I’m Jax Brolin, foreman of the EZ Does It.”
Brac climbed down from the fence and shook Jax’s hand. “Brac.” He stared back out towards the field. “Midnight’s a pretty name.”
“Sure is, but his full name is Midnight Massacre.” Jax chuckled. “Just kidding. He’s not like the bulls at the Back Breaker. Midnight’s more of a lover if you know what I mean?”
“So if he were to actually knock me off the fence and stomp me to the ground, he’d at least lick me afterwards?” Brac smiled. “It might be worth it. I’ve had a bit of a dry spell lately.” As soon as he’d said it, Brac winced. Talking too much was how he always managed to get himself into trouble. “You know I was just kidding, right?”
Jax slapped Brac’s shoulder. “Relax. You don’t have to be on guard here. We’re a laid-back bunch. No one’s going to run to the press. Hell, most of us hate those fuckers.”
“Because of what happened two years ago?” Brac hated to get nosey, but he doubted there were many gay men in the country who hadn’t been glued to the unfolding story of the grandstand collapse. Out in the real world the town of Cattle Valley was whispered about in gay circles, almost like an imaginary place.
“Yep.” Jax glanced up at Brac from underneath his black Stetson. “We’re a pretty private group of people. The accident hit us hard, but it was the reporters traipsing around town, trying to dig up dirt, that brought us together.”
Brac had a feeling he’d just been warned not to pry. “I understand.”
Jax stared at him for several moments before nodding. “Good.” He gestured towards the partiers behind him. “We lost one of our own in the accident. If you need a place to hide from reporters, you’re welcome here. Last time some nosey sonofabitch came around trying to dig up a story on Jim Becker, Ezra ran him off before he could make it up the drive.” Jax laughed. “Believe me, when someone as big as Ezra runs you off, you don’t come back.”
“Thanks.” Brac was surprised by the offer, but appreciative. “It’s Kit I worry about. I’ve spent the last nine years being photographed and lied about, but it’s all new to her.” He wanted to make sure Jax knew the truth of the situation. If the man had offered him refuge, it was the least he could do. “There’s nothing going on between us. Kit’s my best friend, and I’ll do anything to make sure it stays that way.”
Jax shook his head. “No need to explain. Just thought I’d put the offer on the table.”
“I appreciate that.”
Jax gave a tip of his cowboy hat before walking off. Brac watched the retreating man until he disappeared in the crowd. He turned back to the pasture and leaned his forearms against the top rail, thinking over Jax’s offer.
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.