Dustin rides a ton of beef battling to do away with his rider while Shane makes certain the bull doesn’t succeed—and that’s the easiest part of their relationship.
Dustin Lewis is a barely contained twenty-one-year-old bull rider who was disowned by his parents when his father discovered Dustin with another teenage boy. He has spent the time since traveling the rodeo circuit and, after years of honing his skills, he’s in contention to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
Shane Rees is a twenty-six-year-old rodeo bullfighter-rodeo clown. While Shane’s family still love their son, they are not pleased with the sexuality they believe he chose. He knows the potential consequences of being gay among the rodeo crowd. As a result, Shane keeps his sexuality a guarded secret. When combined with the scars he’s earned over the years of bullfighting, Shane has little sense of self-worth.
The two meet when Dustin’s draw for the night is Diablo, the same vicious bull that gave Shane his most notable scar. Dustin’s ride ends with him trapped in the rigging as the bull tries to pound him into the arena dust. With a good bit of bravado and nerves that have earned him a reputation among the bull riders, Shane frees Dustin before he is seriously injured. This chance meeting leads them through heartwarming highs and near-crushing lows as they struggle toward their goal of winning the National Finals and maintaining their personal relationship
Publisher's Note: This book was previously released by another publisher. It has been revised and reedited for release with Pride Publishing.
General Release Date: 24th September 2019
Shane stared at the mirror, trying again to paint a smile onto his almost-perpetual frown. But my job is all about the entertainment. Reality has nothing to do with it. Okay, there is the whole line about saving the cocky bull riders who aren’t as good as they think they are—none of them. He shook himself like a terrier shakes a rat and refocused on finishing the façade he was creating.
He couldn’t keep from glancing around the room the fairgrounds provided for him and the other bullfighters to use as a staging area. It reminded Shane more of a jail cell in some backwoods county, with its smell of stale urine and mildew that filled his senses. Shane had been doing his routine as a bullfighter since his days in the peewee rodeos where his job had consisted of making sure other kids weren’t banged up too bad when the small bulls-in-training tossed them on their asses.
“You drew him again.”
Shane grinned at the echo of himself he saw in the mirror. He jumped from his seat and wrapped his arms around his twin brother. The two embraced tightly before Shane hesitantly released Sam. Shane felt he was under microscopic scrutiny as his brother gazed from one new scar to another, but he was relieved when Sam gave him no more response than a melancholy smile.
“I haven’t seen you in a long time. We thought you’d come home for winter and spend time with us,” Sam said.
Shane’s mood shifted to a darker place at the mention of his family. “Why would that seem like a good idea? Mom doesn’t need more time to have her friends from church pray for me and Dad doesn’t have to be more disappointed with his gay son. It isn’t worth the drama.”
“They aren’t that bad.” Sam glanced at his brother and sighed. “Well, they’re getting better.”
Shane shrugged and sat with a frown. He studied his brother for a long minute before saying anything, but by then, his curiosity had gotten the better of him. “Why are you here? I was shocked to get your text.”
“I haven’t heard from you in six months. Sara has to keep everyone updated. Our sister is fearless and loves you, but you need to give the rest of us a chance.”
Shane turned away from his brother and continued applying his clown face. The quiet became heavy before Shane pointed out the obvious. “I’m thrilled Sara is fighting for me, but you didn’t answer my question. Why did you make a three-hundred-mile road trip from the ranch to show up at this little rodeo?”
Sam scowled but answered this time. “Dad sent me to check out the bulls from a ranch northwest of Lawton. I visited them then high-tailed it up here to see with you while you’re close. I do love you, older brother.”
Shane grinned but kept applying his paint. “Ten minutes’ difference. You’re ten minutes younger. Why don’t you get over here and do something useful, like helping with my makeup?”
Sam chuckled, moved a stool beside Shane and pulled the makeup to him. He took the sponge from Shane and evened out a few spots on the white base before working around Shane’s eyes. The deft strokes of the brush hid a lot of Shane’s scarring, but not all of it by any stretch of the imagination. They sat in silence for several minutes as Sam worked on the application.
“You’re in the arena with him again. You knew it would happen.”
Shane sighed. “Yeah, I’m in the arena with the bull who fucked up my face and almost did me in.”
There was another pause in the conversation while Sam applied the last of the paint to his satisfaction. He leaned back to admire his work. “You know, it was fun when the two of us were bullfighters together.”
Shane chuckled as he peered into the mirror at his brother. “First, your wife would kill both of us because it would somehow be my fault. Then the parental units wouldn’t be happy either. It would be a lose-lose situation.”
“Well, a guy can live vicariously through his brother’s glamorous life.”
Shane snorted. “Help me with the outfit. It should be interesting to see if Diablo finishes what he started.”
Word Count: 53,986
Book Length: NOVEL
COWBOYS AND WESTERN
Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in, he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.
A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.
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