Special offer inside this Box Set to celebrate the 30th release in the Cattle Valley series
‘The O'Brien Way’
As one of the premier dancers in the hottest all male strip show in Vegas, William 'Moby' Haines had it all, men, money and freedom. When he was called home to Sheridan, Wyoming to care for his ailing mother, Moby's life drastically changed. Gone were the nights of screaming fans and eager to please one night stands. His life became a series of low-paying jobs and escalating medical bills.
Moby's luck turned the day he read an ad in the morning paper for a waiter and barback at O'Brien's Pub. Although a forty-five minute commute to Cattle Valley would mean spending less time with his mother, Moby decided it was his one and only shot at a tolerable life in Wyoming.
Burned once by the love bug, Sean O'Brien had no interest in travelling down that road anytime soon. Although the customers seemed to love his newest hire, Sean was quickly on the verge of firing the sexy stud. The way Moby allowed customers to treat him was disrespectful. If his newest hire wouldn't do anything about it Sean would, even if that meant claiming Moby for himself.
‘Ghost from the Past’
Happily settled in Cattle Valley with the men he loved, Rio Adega wasn't expecting the one call that could bring his world crashing down around him. "Rio, it's Chet. You'd better brace yourself, old friend. Ghost has been recovered, alive. He's asking for you."
In less than a minute, Rio's loyalties are tested. Ghost. The one man Rio owed his entire life to was alive. Not only had he unknowingly left the African jungle thinking his mentor and lover was dead, but he'd managed to move on.
How can Rio make amends to the man who gave him everything, while still holding onto the relationships he's worked so hard to build?
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.
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.
Government contracted mercenary, James 'Priest' Evans, slides back into town after a mission gone very wrong. Haunted by his latest kill, Priest's job is weighing heavily on his mind for the first time in memory. In Cattle Valley to heal and re-evaluate his life, Priest didn't expect love but that's exactly where's he's headed.
After a devastating and very public breakup, Luke Hatcher has given up on love. He's more than happy to enjoy hot and heavy sex, but that's as far as he's willing to go. When he runs into Priest, Luke believes their mutual lack of trust is perfect for a short-term holiday affair.
Their steamy affair takes an unexpected turn when Priest makes a bedroom confession that will forever change the way he views life and love. Will the confession bring them closer together, or will it send Luke packing?
General Release Date: 20th December 2013
Excerpt from The O'Brien Way
William ‘Moby’ Haines pulled on a faded sleeveless Bruce Dickinson T-shirt and his tightest low-rise jeans. It was a work night and there seemed to be a direct correlation between how sexy he dressed and the amount of tips he received. It didn’t surprise him. He’d worked in Vegas for a number of years, dancing and stripping in the hottest strip show in town, right smack in the middle of the famous Vegas strip. It had been a hell of a life, full of money and a different man every night, but one phone call from the Sheridan Wyoming Police Department had changed everything.
Moby adjusted his cock inside his tight jeans and turned off the bedroom light. He found his mother, Virginia, still sitting at the kitchen table. “I’m getting ready to leave.”
He looked at his mom’s dinner plate. “Aren’t you hungry?”
“I don’t like being left alone,” she said with a pout.
Moby bent over and kissed her cheek. “I know, but I have to work. Daddy left you with a lot of bills and it’s up to me to take care of them.”
“Don’t you talk about Bill,” Virginia reprimanded.
Moby bit his tongue and picked up his mom’s plate. It wouldn’t do any good to remind her of the years they’d been forced to be away from each other. The day he’d come out had been the last day he’d seen his mom until he’d been called home to Sheridan to make funeral arrangements.
“Mrs. Baines will be by around seven. She’s looking forward to watching that television show you two enjoy.”
“Glee,” his mom reminded him. “It has a queer boy in it. You’d probably like it.”
Moby rolled his eyes. “Gay.”
“Huh?” Virginia asked, looking up at Moby.
“Gay boy, not queer.” Moby grabbed his winter coat off the back of the kitchen chair and pulled it on.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it,” she said, the pout returning.
“I know you didn’t.” It had been one of the nicer words his dad had used to describe his son. Moby gave his mom one last kiss on the cheek. “I’ll try not to wake you when I get home.”
“I don’t usually sleep well until I know you’re home safely. I don’t like you driving to that town every day. The weather’s getting bad. What if you slide off the road or something?”
“I’m a good driver,” he reminded her, slipping his feet into his snow boots.
“That’s what Bill used to say, too, but do you remember that time he ran into the fire hydrant?”
Moby didn’t bother reminding his mom that his dad was also ticketed and taken to jail for drunk driving. He decided to bring up a subject he’d been thinking about lately. “Have you ever thought of getting a dog or a cat?”
“Bill doesn’t allow animals in the house,” she reminded him.
“I know, but Dad’s not here anymore, and I think it’d be nice to have a pet.” He hoped it would give his mom the company she seemed to need. “Please, Mom. I’ve always wanted a dog.”
Virginia tapped her fingers on the table for several seconds. “You’ll have to clean up after it.”
“I will,” Moby agreed.
“And I won’t have it on the furniture.”
“Okay.” Moby tried not to smile. He picked his keys up off the counter. “Maybe we can go tomorrow to the local shelter?”
“Tomorrow’s grocery day,” she reminded him.
“I know, but I think we can do both,” he said on his way out of the door. Moby scraped the windshield and side windows as the rusty pickup did its best to heat up. Before pulling out, he grabbed the shovel out of the back of the truck and added a few more pounds of snow to the bed. He wished he’d had the money to get something with four-wheel drive, but the bulk of his savings had gone to his dad’s funeral expenses and a few of the debts he’d left behind. Weight added to the truck, Moby pulled out of the driveway into the near-blinding storm.
He glanced at the watch taped to his dash and cringed. With the current weather conditions, he’d be lucky to make it to work on time. If he wanted to keep his job, Moby would have to adjust his schedule, not an easy task with a mother who needed him.
Excerpt from Ghost from the Past
Ryan doubted he’d ever seen so much joy in one man’s face as at the moment Sean stepped through the door and everyone shouted, “Happy Birthday.” It had served as a good reminder of just how much the little things one partner did for another really meant.
He glanced across the room to where Rio was talking with Sean and Moby. Rio’s posture clued Ryan in on how comfortable Rio was with the two men. How long had it been since he’d seen Rio so at ease? Like Rio had reminded him earlier, it wasn’t always about sex. It had been a big slap-upside-the-head moment for Ryan.
Working his way through the crowd of friends, Ryan found Nate. “Can I steal him for a moment?” he asked Jay.
“Sure. I need to go to the kitchen for more food anyway.” Jay disappeared, leaving Ryan alone to talk to Nate.
“What’re we gonna do about Rio?”
“What do you mean?” Nate asked, comfortably slipping a hand into Ryan’s back pocket.
“Don’t play dumb. We both know he was right earlier. We both get so damn busy with our jobs we don’t spend as much time at home anymore.”
Nate bit his bottom lip and looked towards Rio. “You think he’s really pissed this time?”
“Does it matter? The fact is he’s right. We’re just so used to him blowing off steam and then forgiving us the next day that we never take the time to actually listen to what he’s saying.” Ryan tapped Nate’s nose. “Don’t deny it. We do that and you know it.”
“So, what? Am I supposed to ignore the people that depend on me to run this town just because my partner’s feeling unappreciated?”
Staring down at Nate, Ryan gave an inward groan. Why hadn’t he seen it? The answer jumped up and smacked him in the face. They were both guilty of putting everything and everyone else ahead of each other. It had slowly become the routine after the collapse. At first it had been the process of rebuilding, and then the healing had finally begun.
His thoughts were still rambling when he noticed Rio reaching for his phone. Dark eyebrows drew together as Rio said something to Moby and Sean before walking out of the room, the phone held to his ear.
Ryan guessed it had to be one of Rio’s friends calling to wish him a merry Christmas. Nate gave Ryan a hug and gestured towards the kitchen. “I’ll go see if Jay needs any help.”
“Erico’s in there. You sure it’s safe?” Ryan said around a chuckle.
Nate’s eyes lit up. “Ooh, I hope not.” The words were barely out of his mouth before he took off.
Ryan shook his head. “Pervert,” he mumbled, while at the same time wondering if he could also be of some help in the kitchen. Normally he’d ask Rio to join him in surprising their voyeuristic partner, but with their current predicament, Ryan figured it would be better to find Nate on his own.
As luck would have it, he found Nate actually helping in the kitchen. “Wait. I need a picture of this.”
“Fuck off,” Nate said, transferring hot hors d’oeuvres to a serving platter.
Ryan laughed and winked at Jay. “You’ll have to share your secret with me. I haven’t seen Nate in a kitchen actually working for quite a while.”
The door swung open and Sean dashed in. “I think the two of you need to check on Rio.”
The worry in Sean’s expression scared the shit out of Ryan. “What’s happened?”
Sean shook his head. “Not sure. He got a phone call and disappeared. I just saw him sitting at the bar in some kind of locked stare or something. I tried to talk to him but he didn’t even acknowledge me.”
“Fuck!” Ryan spat, taking a shortcut through another door to the bar, with Nate right on his heels.
Rio’s naturally bronzed skin had gone as white as a sheet.
“What’s happened?” Ryan asked, sliding onto the barstool next to Rio.
Rio’s mouth opened and closed several times before he spoke. “Chet called.”
Chet? How did Chet get Rio’s number? He works for the CIA, dipshit. “What did he want?”
When Rio didn’t answer right away, Ryan’s stomach began to cramp. He knew no good could’ve come from the conversation between Chet and Rio. Chet had been with them in Africa almost ten years earlier, and to his knowledge hadn’t contacted either him or Rio since their failed mission.
Ryan put a hand on Rio’s back, trying to comfort his partner. “What did Chet want?” he asked again.
“To tell me Ghost is alive and wants to see me.”
Excerpt from Hawk's Landing
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.
Excerpt from Shooting Star
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.
Excerpt from Confessions
Luke Hatcher’s hands shook as he tightened the laces on his running shoes. When he tied the bow, his gaze went to the bloody uniform shirt wadded into a ball beside the front door. He’d worked hundreds of car accidents but none of them had been as horrific as the one hours earlier.
He rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands in the hope that he could erase the images. When that didn’t work, Luke did what he’d always done when thoughts of spilled blood filled his mind.
Throwing open the front door, Luke took off at a brisk pace. Despite the predawn hour and having gone without sleep after a long shift, he yearned for the mental release only running provided. His normal stretching routine didn’t seem as important as the heart-pounding adrenaline he’d learned to use to replace the memories.
Clad only in a thin pair of jogging shorts, the cold October night felt good against Luke’s bare skin as his feet hit the pavement. As he started his usual circuit around the streets of Cattle Valley, the mutilated body of the teenage girl resurfaced in the forefront of his mind.
It didn’t take a psychiatrist to tell him why the girl’s death had affected him more than all the others he’d witnessed in his line of work. Suddenly the girl’s face morphed into the image of his mother. Luke shook his head, trying to rid himself of the disturbing memory before he lost what little food he’d eaten in the last twenty-four hours.
Although the temperature was below freezing, sweat poured from Luke’s head and chest as he continued his five-point-six mile circuit around the older part of Cattle Valley. He preferred to bypass the new subdivisions that had begun to pop up on the outskirts. Although the homes were each unique and well-constructed, they just didn’t hold the appeal the matured-treed neighbourhoods of the older section of town.
There was one house in particular that always welcomed him. As he neared the home at the end of the dark lane, Luke slowed to a stop like he did most days. He bent over and rested his hands on his knees as he tried to control his laboured breathing.
Luke stared at the structure, which was in a state of disrepair. The pillars on the front corners of the porch made the sagging roof appear to frown. If it was possible for a house to have a soul, he had no doubt the home at 226 Cherry Street would have been crying.
Luke had gone to City Hall to enquire as to who now owned the house, but received little information in return. The abandoned home belonged to no one Luke had ever heard of. The only information he got out of Carol was that the original owner was in a nursing home in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the taxes were paid yearly in cash by her estate. It was a pity the home had been allowed to fall into such disrepair.
It was hard for Luke to imagine he was looking at the same house that his mom had kept spotless with a profusion of colourful flowers decorating the front porch and walk. Of course he could have an idealised version of what it had once been, since before he’d been forced to move after the death of his mother.
When the porch light next door turned on, Luke knew it was time to go. He stretched his arms over his head before heading back down the street the way he’d come. The daily period of rest in front of the abandoned house always served to settle Luke’s demons.
“Better than therapy,” Luke said as he continued down the street at a brisk pace.
By the time he reached the alley behind the shops downtown, the fall sky was starting to brighten. Luke tilted his head back to smell the aromatic scent of cinnamon rolls that always permeated the morning air. God bless Kyle and his need to bake before the sun rose.
Lost in the smells wafting from the bakery, Luke wasn’t paying attention to the road in front of him. When his right foot landed in an unexpected hole in the gravel path, Luke’s knee hyper-extended, pitching him forward. He fell to the ground with a howl of pain as the sharp rocks dug into his hands and forearms. “Fuck!”
Luke rolled onto his back for a few moments before sitting up. One look at his knee had Luke shaking his head. The swelling had already begun. He supported the underside of his knee and slowly attempted to straighten his leg. It was painful, but he doubted he’d done serious damage.
After a quick scan of the surrounding area, Luke realised he was going to have to stand without anyone’s help unless he wanted to half-crawl, half-drag himself across the gravel to the back of one of the buildings.
A noise from the shadowed dumpsters caught his attention. “Hello?” he called, hoping for help.