Take two stubborn cowboys, add in one determined little boy, and toss in a snowstorm for good measure. Who knew building a family could be so hard?
If you ask Isaiah Preston, he's pretty lucky. He's happy in his job as a ranch manager, admires his boss, Grady, in more ways than one, and if he doesn't have everything he wants, well, that's life, isn't it?
Enter one little brother, and suddenly Isaiah's comfortable world is turned upside down. Everything becomes complicated and he's seeing people in ways he never has before—good and bad. Near-perfect isn't enough anymore. Isaiah wants it all—home, family and, most importantly, Grady, in both his life and bed.
To get what he wants, though, Isaiah is going to have to fight prejudice, misunderstanding, and even Grady himself.
General Release Date: 15th October 2012
Isaiah flung his arm out, slapping blindly at the table. He gave a satisfied grunt upon finally finding the snooze button. He rolled over, folded the pillow around his head, and buried his nose into the mattress.
The buzzing continued. Isaiah groaned and pulled the pillow tighter around his ears. When that didn’t work, he hit the button a few more times.
After several sluggish moments, realisation crept into his fuzzy brain. Not the alarm clock.
"Hellfire and damnation," he cursed. As usual, the sheets had inexplicably wrapped themselves around his legs. As he struggled to free himself, the blasted phone just kept ringing. He could ignore it, but...
Isaiah squinted at the glowing green numbers of his alarm clock. Oh. It wasn’t that late after all. So, hopefully not an emergency.
Of course, now he was up.
Isaiah managed to escape from the sheets. He staggered across the room, cursing as his thighs protested. Stupid cow, and the mud hole, then the darn fence...
He dug through the pockets of his stiff, grime-encrusted jeans, crowing triumphantly when his fingers closed around the hard plastic case.
"Good evening. I’m trying to reach Isaiah Preston."
Well, hell. Either a sales call or bad news.
It ended up being bad news. Listening numbly, Isaiah would really have rather had someone trying to sell him a useless magazine subscription.
"Sorry," he said, interrupting the secretary mid-stream. "Could you repeat that?"
"Mr Sofina wanted to enquire as to when we could expect you. Elanore Preston’s will was very specific, but there are still formalities that must be covered and permanent arrangements must be made."
The woman stopped talking and Isaiah could hear the discomfort in the silence. "You weren’t informed?"
"No." Isaiah knew he was being blunt to the point of rude, but really, couldn’t she just get to the damn point? Elanore was his stepmother, not his mother. Hell, he’d only met the woman once, when she married his dad, and that was damn near ten years ago.
"You’re next of kin."
Isaiah rolled his eyes. "That makes absolutely no sense," he said. "We weren’t related and she and my father divorced two years ago." A mere six months before his father had died of a heart attack. He had been significantly older than his pretty little trophy wife.
"I’m afraid there’s no one else. We can keep searching, but that will mean putting Josh in the foster care system."
Isaiah dropped the phone. It glanced off his foot and he howled a curse as it smacked a large bruise where Bunny had stepped on him earlier this week.
Only Tommy would name his half-draught monstrosity of a horse Bunny Rabbit. Maybe he should have got that x-ray, after all.
Isaiah scrambled to retrieve the phone, hoping the call hadn’t been disconnected when the device had skittered across the hardwood floor. "Sorry. Could you repeat that? Brother? Since when do I have a brother?"
"Josh is, let’s see..." The sound of rustling papers came over the line. "Ah. He’s ten years old. Parents listed as Elanore and Harold Preston."
A half-brother. Shit. Shit. Shit.
Isaiah rubbed his forehead. "Ten. Christ. Okay, where do I need to be?"
He didn’t even need to think about it. Blood was blood and Isaiah wasn’t about to leave a kid hanging.
"Hang on." Isaiah rummaged up a pad and pencil and started scribbling notes. The woman spoke rapidly and by the time he finished writing, he had an aching hand and three pages covered in his smudged scrawl.
"I’ll be there as soon as I can," Isaiah said. His head was swimming, thoughts spinning so quickly he couldn’t quite grasp any one of them.
Josh. His little brother. His responsibility now. Christ. What was Isaiah going to do with a kid? He lived on a ranch in the middle of Wyoming. Josh would need a school and a house and...shit. Isaiah rubbed at his forehead again. Okay. One issue at a time. Pack a bag. Find a flight out to California. Talk to the lawyer. Work through the problems as they came along before he drowned.
Grady. Shit and damn. What was he going to tell Grady?
Isaiah dug through his dresser, tossing clothes into his battered duffle bag. He stifled a yawn as he zipped it closed. After yanking on his well-worn boots, Isaiah grabbed his jacket and his bag and jogged out to the truck. He tossed the duffle into the back and dragged his jacket on over his long-sleeved T-shirt. Only nine, but the night air was growing chillier by the day.
Now, he just had to talk to Grady. Isaiah turned up the sheepskin collar on his denim jacket and shoved his hands into the pockets, crossing the hard-packed ground with long strides. The lights on the corners of the barn shone dimly, casting large shadows across the yard. He hopped up the steps to the house, boots echoing loudly on the wood.
The porch was dark, the house still and quiet. Dang it all—he hated to wake up Grady. The ranch owner had worked nearly as hard as Isaiah to pull that idiot calf and his mama out of the mud puddle surrounding Wilson Pond. But he didn’t have much choice. The boss deserved to know that his ranch manager was taking off for a few days.
Isaiah reluctantly rapped on the edge of the screen door, then stuffed his hand back in his pocket, hunched his shoulders, and waited. After a few minutes of silence, he knocked again.
Born and raised in the middle of the Midwest, I have always been a dreamer. More often than not I could be found with my nose buried in a book (many of which I had to sneak past my parents). It wasn't long before I started trying my hand at writing more of the stories I loved. After years of penning tales that rarely left the hard drive of my computer, I discovered M/M romance. As with all genres, it wasn't long before my own characters started to take shape.
There is little I love more than wandering new places and, on occasion, entirely new worlds with my characters. They can range from cowboys to Victorian noblemen, accountants to shapeshifters, and everything in between. I write mainly m/m romance, usually with paranormal or fantasy elements. I willingly follow my characters wherever they decide to go, sometimes with unusual results. I have little control over their actions—any naughty behaviour is all their doing!