When a vacation yields an unexpected surprise, choices must be made and love hangs in the balance.
When Colton Greenleaf returns to his parents buffalo ranch after college, he doesn't count on long-buried feelings resurfacing or the pull of the Wyoming mountains luring him home to stay. He tells himself its only for two weeks, that he can put up with anything for two weeks. But, when he comes face to face with the man of his dreams his first night home, he isn't so sure. Now, he must figure out whether to take the chance on love or follow his life plan and face losing out on love all together.
Emmanuel Keegan, known only as Hawk, knows that he is ready to settle down. The only problem is that the man he wants is twelve years younger and the boss' only son. Not only that, Colt doesn't plan on sticking around any longer than he has to. Hawk knows following his heart's desire could make him the happiest man on earth or it could shatter his heart for all time.
Publisher's Note: This story has been previously released as part of the Saddle Up N' Ride anthology by Totally Bound Publishing.
General Release Date: 1st August 2011
Colton Greenleaf pulled his Jeep Wrangler Safari to a stop in front of the sprawling two-story ranch house butted up against the setting sun and inhaled deeply. Rest and relaxation in the cool mountain air was just what the doctor ordered—or in this case, the Physician’s Assistant, Colton thought, smiling to himself. He planned to do just that for the next few weeks while he waited to hear if he got the job as a P.A. in the trauma centre at the Medical Centre of Louisiana at New Orleans on the outskirts of the French Quarter. Graduating with a four-point-oh from Duke University’s Physician’s Assistant programme and high scores on the PANCE, the Physician’s Assistant National Certification Exam, in addition to his volunteer work, would hopefully help him secure the job.
For now, though, he had at least two full weeks of carefree idleness—something he hadn’t enjoyed since he started college almost seven years ago. The only thing that would make the next few weeks better would be getting laid, but that wasn’t about to happen when he was three hours from Casper, forty-five minutes to Cody and fifteen minutes to the small town of Buffalo Heart Springs, which boasted a human population of eighteen hundred and seventy-six, and a livestock population of easily five times that.
“Evening, Colt,” a low male voice said. The sound was familiar and sent shivers through his body, straight to his cock. “Welcome home.”
Damn. Of all the people he had to meet now. He should have realised that the man would be still here and wandering around. He willed his erection away and failed.
“Hiya, Hawk. And it’s Colton.” He prayed he sounded calmer than he felt. The older man had been the source of most of Colton’s fantasies since Hawk had shown up on the ranch two weeks after his sixteenth birthday, slipping into Colton’s thoughts during classes and late night study sessions even when he was on the other side of the country. Colton had a feeling that he could be on the other side of Pluto and still be affected by the gorgeous man. “Thanks, it’s good to be here. Missed it.” Missed you.
“Long drive?” Hawk asked, smiling though concern laced the older man’s voice.
“Yes. Stayed at a hotel about an hour this side of Lincoln last night. Drove the last eleven or so hours today,” Colton replied, trying to replay the lectures, scenery, the women in his cohort, anything to soften his erection. It was a losing battle. Hawk’s voice thundered through his body and enveloped his cock, hardening it. Colt could only hope his parents weren’t home. He’d forgotten to call when he’d stopped in Shoshoni for gas and food to let them know he would be home tonight.
Hawk raised an eyebrow. “You look beat, Colt, let me give you a hand.”
“I was going to leave it until morning, but thanks.”
“Go see your folks, I’ll start bringing it to your room,” Hawk suggested.
“But—you—you don’t have to. I can get it. I just wanted to wait until morning when I could unpack and put things away,” Colton stammered. He hated it when the ranch hands tried to help him out, it made him feel weak and inferior. He was pretty sure they didn’t mean to, but it didn’t change anything.
“If you don’t want your mom’s help in the morning, I suggest starting tonight,” Hawk replied, giving him a knowing smile. “I won’t even peek.”
Damn. Hawk was right. There were some things he didn’t want his mom to see. His box of toys, books, and magazines for starters. He hadn’t quite worked out how to tell his folks he was gay. Staying away made it easy to ignore the topic, so did keeping his grades up. He’d barely been home in the last three years. Colton ran a hand through his hair, blew out a breath, shrugged into his backpack before lifting the large box out of the front seat, keeping it firmly out in front of him. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Hawk’s muscles flex as he grabbed a couple more boxes from the back seat.
“Thanks, Hawk, I appreciate it,” he said, leading the way up to the house.
The front door flew open. The porch lights came on, flooding the area.
“Colton Tyler Greenleaf! How dare you not call and tell us you were going to be home tonight!” his mother shouted, pulling him down into an awkward hug. Colton leaned in to her, before standing and being slapped on the back by his father.
“Hi Mom! I’m sorry, I meant to call from Shoshoni, but I forgot, and cell signal is really bad in the mountains.”
“Good to see you, son!” his father smiled. “Didn’t realise you were moving back in.”
Colton sighed and studied his dad. Jared Greenleaf was a couple of inches taller than his own six-two, but unlike him, was built like a linebacker. Once solid-black hair was now salt and pepper. Lines creased his features, but still he looked slightly younger than his sixty-two years. “Hi Dad. I’m not, just between homes right now. I’m waiting to hear on a couple of jobs, coming home seemed like a better idea than staying in Durham, pacing and waiting. Besides, I’m pretty sure I’ll be busy for the first year or so, and being low man on the totem pole, I won’t get the good vacation times.”
“How are the animals, Hawk?” his father asked, turning to Hawk.
“Fine. Was on my way back from checking on them when Colt pulled in. Just giving him a hand with his boxes before I turn in for the night,” Hawk replied. “I’ll put these in your room, Colt, there is a suitcase and another box left in the front. Two boxes in the rear.”
“Thanks, Hawk. The rest of boxes can stay there, they’re just books. I’ll grab my suitcase in a bit,” Colton answered. He didn’t want his parents to get the impression he was staying for more than a couple of weeks. He’d grown up here at the ranch, but he didn’t want to stay here. He loved the city, and the twenty-four hour, faster-paced life. Where he could be himself and not worry about what the neighbours were going to say. Where it would be infinitely easier to find a man to love who would love him in return.
Simone currently lives in west Michigan with her family and two cats. She has lived in and traveled to dozens of states and countries, including spending four years in Japan. She has been writing all of her life, seriously only after returning to Michigan.
A lifelong learner, she still takes classes in a variety of subjects and wants her very own library. When not writing she can be found sewing, quilting, taking photographs, and reading.