Excerpt from All Play & No Work
Nate Gills looked out the passenger window at the Rocky Mountains. It was beautiful country, but he was ready to get the hell out of this truck. It seemed like he hadn’t really had a home since he left Chicago to help his friends, the Good brothers in Nebraska.
He looked over at the hunk of a man driving. Rio was like a wet dream, the best bits from all his fantasy men rolled into one. At least he now had a family. Rio and their other partner Ryan meant the world to Nate. They may have only been together for a month, but damn, what a month.
Thinking of Ryan had him depressed again. He sighed and crossed his arms, putting his expensive Italian loafers on the dash. Feeling Rio’s hand cup his cheek he turned his head.
“What’s wrong, baby?” Rio asked, trying to keep one eye on the winding mountain road.
“I’m tired of this damn truck and I miss Ryan.” Nate automatically nuzzled against Rio’s hand.
“About two more hours and we’ll take care of both of those problems. We’ll kidnap Ryan away from the Sheriff’s office if we have to.”
Nate turned his head and kissed Rio’s palm. “I think that sounds like a good plan.” Ryan had left the small Texas town they’d been living in nearly two weeks earlier to take a job in Cattle Valley, Wyoming. Seemed the town needed a new Sheriff and they were looking for a bad ass with law enforcement training. Ryan fit their description to a T. Nate didn’t think he’d ever seen a man who looked more like a rebel than Ryan.
With the shining, long black hair of his Native American ancestors, Ryan exuded confidence and sexuality. The town of Cattle Valley had been experiencing a few problems with protestors coming in and threatening its residents. The mayor wanted somaeone tough. Since Ryan looked more like a heavily tattooed biker than a Sheriff, he was perfect. Nate was just worried about what he would find. He and Rio hadn’t yet seen Cattle Valley and Nate was born and raised in Chicago. It wasn’t like he was snooty or anything, heck he’d loved Sommerville, the small Nebraska town where’d he’d met Rio and Ryan.
Nate and Rio had been hired to investigate a scumbag in Sommerville who’d shot a good friend’s partner. If you booted out the few assholes in that town, it would have been kick ass fun. But Cattle Valley...
At least from what he and Rio had been told, there were more gays that lived there than straight people. What would that be like? The town had been founded by a man whose son was murdered for being gay. Having no other heirs, the man had donated one of the biggest parcels of privately owned land in Wyoming. His entire financial portfolio had founded the town of Cattle Valley. Seemed the guy wanted a place where gay people could live without fear or prejudice. It was all fine and dandy with Nate as long as the town had a decent coffee shop and a good restaurant.
Rio started humming along to the radio, bringing Nate’s attention back to that fine face. As he studied Rio’s profile, he thought back to the night Rio and Ryan had saved him in a club in Lincoln. He’d gone with his friends Rawley and Jeb to the upscale gay club. Nate remembered trying his best to get over his attraction for Rio and Ryan that night. They were already a long stannedding couple, and it didn’t appear they had a need for a third.
Since Nate had planned to make a weekend out of the trip to Lincoln, he’d rented a hotel room right down the street from the bar. When Rawley and Jeb said they wanted to take off, Nate happily waved them on their way. That was when the real fun began...
Excerpt from 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.
Excerpt from Sweet Topping
From his chair, Kyle watched as Gill walked into the party at the new church reception hall. He felt his heart rate increase as he studied the six-foot-five athlete. Never before had a man turned him inside out like Gill.
Finally coming to grips with his disability had been a hard fought battle, but he thought he’d licked it. That was until Gill walked into his bakery for the first time. Suddenly he wanted something more than to walk again. He wanted to be touched and kissed. Hell, who was he kidding, he wanted to be fucked.
Before his Jeep accident, he’d been quite the player in and around his hometown of Irvine, California. Now, Kyle sighed, he couldn’t even sustain an erection for more than a couple of seconds at a time. To say nothing about the oh-so-not-sexy external catheter he had to wear to bed at night.
Kyle couldn’t believe his eyes when Gill started walking straight towards him. Gill had come into the bakery quite a bit lately. They both seemed to enjoy flirting, but he knew that was as far as a relationship between the two could go.
“Merry Christmas,” Gill greeted him, his deep voice vibrating the walls of Kyle’s chest.
“Merry Christmas,” Kyle grinned.
Gill pointed towards the folding chair next to him. “Mind if I have a seat?”
“No, not at all.” Kyle felt his hands begin to sweat where they rested naturally on the chrome wheels of his chair.
He watched in awe as the big man sat in the chair. Although full-sized, the chair looked way too small to hold its occupant.
“You look good,” Gill commented.
Kyle looked down at his khaki pants and navy button-up shirt. “Naw, you’re just used to seeing me in an apron.”
“Well, you look good in the apron, too, but I was referring more to your smile. You seem happier this evening.”
Kyle blushed. How could he tell Gill the smile was because of him? “Thanks.”
Gill reached over and ran his big hand over Kyle’s thigh. “Although the pants look nice, I prefer you in jeans.”
Kyle wasn’t sure whether to be touched or appalled? No one ever laid a hand on his useless limbs. His question must have shown on his face.
“Sorry, don’t you like to be touched?”
“It’s not that,” Kyle mumbled. “I don’t know if anyone’s done it since I left home. Most people try and pretend the bottom-half of my body isn’t there. They never look lower than my face.” Kyle shrugged. It was hard to explain to someone not in his position.
Gill touched his thigh again. “That’s a shame. Everyone needs to be touched occasionally.” Gill gave Kyle’s leg a slight squeeze. “Do you mind if I ask you something?”
“No, not as long as you don’t mind if I refuse to answer.”
“Can you feel my hand on you?”
“Some.” Kyle nodded. “I feel the pressure but its more like you’re touching through a thick comforter or something. Does that make sense?”
Gill grinned. “Yeah. So the more pressure I apply, the more stimulus for you?”
A tighter grip on his leg had the desired effect. “Now?” Gill asked. “I don’t want to hurt you, but I want you to understand that I’m not afraid of touching you.”
Kyle felt his face heat as his cock actually twitched behind his fly. Gill would never understand the power that one sentence had over him.
“I felt it more that time,” Kyle whispered.
He looked up from his leg to find Gill staring at his lap. Shit, had he seen that twitch?
“So, have you got plans for Christmas day?” Gill finally asked.
Kyle swallowed. Was Gill asking him out of curiosity or was their flirting about to take the next step? He wasn’t sure which scenario scared him more. On one hand, he longed to feel the press of a man’s chest against his once again, but on the other hand, he wasn’t the same man he once was.
“Yeah, sorry. I’m supposed to spend the holidays with my family.”
“It’s Christmas Eve? Just when did you plan on going?” Gill asked with a chuckle.
His family had been hounding him for the past nine months about getting re-evaluated. The doctors seem to think he had promise as far as walking again. Until now, he’d pushed the idea to the back burner, but for the chance at a normal life with Gill? “I’ll drive to Sheridan in the morning and get a flight out from there. It’s cheaper than flying before Christmas. Most people are already at their destinations by then.”
Gill smiled and nodded. “Where’s home for you?”
“Here in Cattle Valley, but my parents live in Irvine. What about you? Big plans?”
“Naw, I went home for Thanksgiving. I’ll probably spend the day watching television.”
“Hey, Gill, can you come over here for a minute?” Hal shouted from across the room.
Gill looked from Kyle to Hal and back to Kyle. “Sorry, I won’t be long. You staying for awhile?”
“Yeah,” Kyle answered as his leg was squeezed again. He watched Gill walk across the room. The small alarm on his watch chirped and Kyle sighed, time to visit the bathroom. He wheeled his way towards the restrooms, nodding to people as he passed.
Excerpt from Rough Ride
Cradling his sore jaw, Wyn picked up the phone and called his best friend, Nate.
“Hi, it’s Wyn. I hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time.”
“Nope, just getting ready for bed. How’re you doing?”
“Not good. Dad’s funeral was tough.” Wyn knew if Nate was getting ready for bed, it was indeed a bad time to call. Still, he needed help. “I got jumped when I went into town for supper.”
“Jumped? By who? I thought you said Pamona was a sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere?”
“It is, but there’s a group of guys that don’t think much of the town queer coming home.”
“Yeah. Anyway, I was wondering if I could get you to come down until I can get things wrapped up around here. I hate to sound like a wuss, but I’m no match for a group of rednecks.”
“I’ll come if Ezra won’t.”
“Ezra? Who said anything about him?” Wyn had tried his best to not think about that man, or the tender kiss they’d shared on Christmas Eve.
“Look, Wyn, you gotta call him. Not only is he the right man to help you get the ranch in order, but he’s been walking around like a bear with a sore paw since you left. Besides, do you know anyone more intimidating than him? He’ll keep the rednecks at bay.”
“He won’t come. I imagine he’s still mad about that little prank you pulled with the cookie bouquet.”
“Naw, I finally got that all worked out. Cost me a couple bottles of single malt scotch, but it was worth it to get the dragon off my back.”
“Ezra giving you a hard time was he?”
“No, Ryan. He said it was my mess to clean up and nagged for days on the subject.”
Wyn chuckled. God he missed Nate. No matter what, Nate could always make him laugh. “So you really think I should call Ezra?”
“You don’t think he’ll see it as me chasing him?” That was the whole reason he hadn’t called Ezra after Christmas Eve. The kiss had been phenomenal, but as soon as they parted, Ezra gave him a funny look and walked out of the hall. He’d waited for several weeks for a phone call or visit from the big man, but nothing.
“Just do it, Wyn. You and I both know he’s the best person for the job. If you two can’t get your shit together, give me a call back.”
“Don’t mention it. Ever. Especially to Ryan,” Nate added.
“My lips are sealed.”
Wyn hung up and looked at the clock. Deciding it was too late to call Ezra, he turned out the lights and headed upstairs.
The ringing phone woke Ezra from a sound sleep. With a growl, he reached over and fumbled with the cordless handset. “Hello,” he grunted.
Ezra sat straight up, wide awake. “Wyn? Is that you?”
“Yes. Sorry to call so early. I forgot about the two hour time difference.”
“No matter, I’m due up anyway. Where are you?”
“I’m in Oklahoma, north of Tulsa at my father’s ranch. Oh crap, Ezra, I hate to ask, but I need you...uh, your help.”
“Huh?” Ezra scratched his bushy beard.
There was a moment of silence on the other end of the phone. “My dad died. I came down to make burial arrangements and see about the ranch. But things keep going wrong, and there’s a group of guys in town that keep threatening me. I’m sorry, Ezra. I know you have your hands full with the EZ Does It, but I don’t know who else to call for help.”
Ezra felt his blood begin to heat. “What’s going on with the guys from town?”
He heard Wyn breathing heavy like he was getting worked up again. “I grew up here. They didn’t like me then and they sure as hell don’t like me now.”
“Because you’re gay?”
“That’s part of it, but I never fit in here. It’s the reason I left home as soon as I was old enough.”
“Have they hurt you?” Ezra asked around the lump in his throat. If there was one thing he couldn’t tolerate, it was big folks pickin’ on littler folks. It was worse this time, because it was Wyn these town fellas were harassing.
“Nothing permanent. I know we haven’t exactly been friends, but I really would feel safer if you could come down and help me get the ranch ready to sell.”
Nothing permanent? “I’ll be down as soon as I can get a flight.”
“Thanks. Hopefully it’ll only take a week or so. Will that put you into a real bind with your place?”
“No. I’ve got people to look after the ranch. Can you pick me up at the airport, or should I rent something?”
“No, no, I’ll be there. Just let me know what time.”
“I will. Hang on and I’ll find a piece of paper to write your number down.” Ezra swung back the covers and climbed out of bed. Digging through his top dresser drawer, he came back with paper and a pen. “Okay,” he said.
Wyn rattled off his cell and the ranch numbers.
“Got ‘em. Let me get showered and make a few calls. I’ll let you know when I have a time.”
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this,” Wyn said.
The tone of the man’s voice almost broke his heart. Usually Wyn seemed so confident, but just now, he sounded like a lost little boy. Right or wrong, Ezra couldn’t wait to wrap him in a protective embrace. Just let one of those fuckers try to touch his Wyn with him around. It had been years since he’d had a good fight
Excerpt from Physical Therapy
Opening his eyes, Matt sat straight up, a scream still resonating through the room. He rubbed his eyes as he tried to even out his breathing. It was always the same dream, different soldiers, same outcome.
Matt flung back the sweat drenched sheet and swung his legs over the side of the bed. He knew from experience there wouldn’t be any more sleep for him. After slipping on a pair of sweats and a T-shirt, he opened the door to his garage apartment, and stepped out onto the small landing.
The night was cool, cold actually, but it was just what he needed. He walked down the stairs to the little courtyard at the back of Isaac’s and Sam’s house and took a seat on the comfortable chaise.
Trying to push the dream from his mind, Matt focused his attention on his schedule for the coming day. Kyle was making great progress in his therapy, pushing himself harder in each session.
Who could blame the guy? Kyle’s desire was to walk down the aisle with his husband-to-be on his wedding day.
A sound from the open window above him drew Matt’s attention. There, silhouetted in the moonlight, stood Isaac. Damn. He’d been busted. It wasn’t the first time Isaac had caught him up and about in the middle of the night. At least this time he was wearing clothes.
A week after he’d started working for the Doctors Browning and Singer, he’d awakened after yet another nightmare. Seeking refuge in the garden, he hadn’t bothered putting on anything but a robe.
It had been a Saturday night, and his bosses had gone to Sheridan earlier in the evening to some kind of dinner party. They’d asked him to go, but he felt uncomfortable spending too much time with the couple. It wasn’t that he didn’t like them, it was just the opposite. His daydreams were filled with visions of the two of them in various states of undress.
Stretched out on the chaise, Matt tried to think of something, anything, to get his mind off the dream. That night, like now, he’d heard a noise coming from the perpetually open window above him.
What started as voices, talking too softly to be understood, quickly turned into moans of pleasure.
Closing his eyes, Matt had pretended he was in the room with them. His hand reaching down to untie his robe, he fisted his erection as the noises grew louder.
“Fuck me, goddammit!” He heard Sam yell.
Matt’s available hand went automatically to his long neglected hole. He rimmed the tightly puckered skin with the pads of his fingers as the sounds of flesh meeting flesh echoed in the cool night.
Bringing his hands to his mouth, he spat on both of them. One returned to its place wrapped around his cock, the other smoothed the moisture onto his ass.
As he worked in two fingers, Matt jerked his cock faster, trying to keep up with the sounds coming from above. He was on the edge of bliss when he heard two voices cry out in ecstasy.
The howls of pleasure from the men upstairs, had his hands working at lightning speed. His fingers seeking out the void in himself that so desperately needed to be filled. His mind drifted and he could see himself sandwiched between the two doctors. His climax roared through him, painted his chest with his own seed. He hadn’t realised he’d cried out, but when his breathing returned to normal, he saw something that put a hitch in his breathing. Isaac stood above him at the window completely nude. Their eyes locked for what seemed like hours but was actually only a matter of seconds.
Suddenly embarrassed, Matt quickly closed the robe over his sticky chest and retreated back to his apartment above the garage. They’d never spoken of that night and Matt was eternally grateful. It was one thing to have fantasies about ones bosses, but it was completely different to beat off while listening to them fuck.
Shaking off the memory, Matt looked back up at the window. He heard Isaac say something over his shoulder before disappearing back into the darkness.
Turning his attention to the spring flowers visible in the moonlight, Matt tried to figure out what to do. He’d already put out feelers for another place to live. Kyle said he could rent the apartment above the bakery since he’d moved in with Gill, but Matt was holding out for a house. Of course, if things got much worse between himself and his present landlords, he might have to make the sacrifice.
Leaning his head back on the chaise, he couldn’t keep his eyes from glancing up once more. To his surprise, it was Sam who now stood looking down on him.
A noise from directly behind him had Matt out of the chair and dropping to the ground. He closed his eyes as he fought the images trying to swallow him whole. Visions of sniper fire and Danny’s death. Danny.
A cry rent the air around him. It wasn’t until comforting hands began rubbing his back, that Matt realised the cry had come from him. He looked up into Isaac’s concerned face.
“You okay?” Isaac asked, as Sam burst through the open French doors.
Matt closed his eyes and nodded. “I’m fine. You startled me.”
Isaac helped him sit back up on the chaise and took a seat beside him. “Need to talk about it?” Isaac asked.
“No,” Matt answered. “Just one of the many presents I brought home from the war.”
God help him, but it took every ounce of self preservation not to lean into Isaac and accept the comfort the man was obviously willing to provide.
He couldn’t help but notice the look the two doctors exchanged. Matt hadn’t officially been diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), but that was only because he’d refused to see a doctor. Funny, he was now faced with two. Two doctors who were both looking at him with pity in their eyes.