After being thrown out of home, six years previously for being gay, Kale Stone returns to Australia to inherit his father’s vineyard only to find his father has placed a provision on the will. Kale must marry or sell the winery. He decides to sell, but as he strives to find a buyer, he falls into a highly erotic affair with the winery manager, Tyler Duram.
When an offer arrives for the vineyard, it includes a contract for Tyler to remain on as manager. Unwilling to lose Tyler, Kale searches for another solution — until he catches Tyler kissing another man
PUBLISHER NOTE: Gay Romance, M/M, containing, Forced Seduction, light bondage, and sex games. 16,900 words.
Kale Stone dropped his bags on the glossy tiled floor and stared out the thick glass windows of Brisbane Airport into the shimmering Australian heat. The place had changed in the past six years. Lord, he hardly recognized the landscape. Set apart from the domestic terminal, the new glass-and-chrome international airport rose from the gray bitumen in a feat of modern architectural brilliance. A young couple bustled by. He smiled. Hell, it’s good to hear the Aussie accent again.
Turning away from the window, Kale recognized Tyler Duram’s lean, muscular frame resting casually against the Arrivals doorway. He drew a deep breath. Tyler reminded him of the beach; his blue shirt hung open to display a yard of golden tanned skin, stretched over an impressive six-pack. Tousled, sun-streaked brown hair tumbled past his collar, and those eyes . . . deep and dangerous as the ocean.
Kale lifted his bags and headed toward him. Oh, Lord, the sight of Tyler made him hard. He grinned at him. His hunger for Tyler reignited at his friend’s frank sexual appraisal and slow, sultry smile. The emotions he thought long lost awakened and swirled inside him. Kale swallowed hard.
Tyler pushed away from the wall and sauntered toward him. “Welcome home, Mr. Stone. I’m sorry about your dad.” He tucked his thumbs into the loops on his jeans and wet his bottom lip with the tip of his tongue.
Kale met his gaze with a smile. When Tyler reached for the bags and brushed the knuckles of one suntanned hand against Kale’s thigh, his heart pounded. Settle down.
He sucked in a deep breath. How could Tyler send his libido into overdrive after such a long time? He forced his words to remain casual. “I’m not upset in the least, and it wasn’t ‘Mr. Stone’ when we were kids, Tyler.”
“You weren’t my boss then.” Tyler ran a hand through his hair.
“It’s still Kale, same as always. My father was Mr. Stone.” Kale chuckled. “So, Tyler, do you really work for me? You’ll have to tell me how that happened.” He reached for the suitcases. “Thanks, I can carry my own things.”
“Well, then, welcome home, Kale. It’s good to see you, man.” Tyler released Kale’s bag and slapped him on the back. “I thought maybe things would be different between us now that you’re a big-shot French vintner.”
Everything had changed. Tyler’s body, for one. Kale wanted to push him against the wall and slip straight into his fine ass. He swallowed hard and averted his gaze. One look into those hooded blue eyes and he’d say something stupid.
“I’m older, and I know a lot more about wine, but I’m still the same person my old man threw out. Now, what about you? How did you come to work for the old man?”
“I came with the ranch — part of the deal when he purchased my parents’ property.” Tyler gave him a slow smile. I have no complaints. I’ve always had an interest in winemaking. Hell, I practically grew up at your winery. I went to college, worked my way up to manager, and now I work for you.” He smiled. “Hey, do you remember old Bluey? And the day we filled up his work boots with cement and his hat with horse shit?”
Kale grinned. “Sure, and I remember the whipping I got too. Better still was the day we filled his hubcaps up with prawn shells. The poor old bastard was trying to find out where the smell was coming from for weeks.”
“Yeah, those were the days.” Tyler chuckled and led the way to the exit.
“Sure were, the summers went on forever. Two wild, out-of-control kids raising hell. I’m surprised we didn’t end up in prison. We were lucky. Is old Bluey still alive?”
“Oh, yeah. The old coot is waiting by my rig. He insisted on coming. I guess he thought I might go to the pub or something. He still thinks I’m eighteen.” Tyler laughed.
“Do you spend a lot of time in the pub?”
“Nah, not really. I prefer a nice, intimate meal at a restaurant — and wine. Most of the guys at the pub would tar and feather me if I asked for a glass of Chardonnay.” He flicked a long-lashed glance at Kale.
“That would be my kind of perfect too. It looks like we have a lot of catching up to do.”
“Uh-huh.” Tyler winked. “A good place to start is why you left. Hell, I woke up one morning and you were gone. My best friend had vanished without a word. You didn’t bother to contact me or send an e-mail, in what — six years?” His forehead wrinkled in a frown. “That hurt.”
Kale stopped in midstride and spun to face him. “Left? My father threw me out with nothing but the clothes on my back! I didn’t have your e-mail address or phone number, and with the shock of the old bastard kicking me to the curb, I’m surprised I remembered my own name. I wasn’t allowed to take anything, not a photograph of my mother or even a clean shirt. No phone, nothing, and I lost everyone’s damn contacts. It’s not like you had a Facebook page, is it? I did write to you, though, but it’s hard to keep up a one-sided conversation. If you didn’t receive my letters, I can only assume your parents withheld them. Maybe they discovered the reason my old man chucked me out. I called too, but the number had been disconnected.”
“I’m not sure what happened to the mail. My parents moved out a week after you left, so all the mail went to the big house.” Tyler rubbed his chin. “I guess your dad had a hand in destroying your letters. How did you get to France? It’s a bit far to hitchhike.”
“I had a small legacy from Mom and went to live with my uncle in France.”
“So, tell me why.” Tyler’s eyes narrowed. “Or is it a state secret?”
“My dad found out I’m gay.”