Rising rodeo star Nate O’Neill never expected to be living in a small Nebraska ranching town waiting for his rodeo brother to recover from a vicious ride. His unplanned stop steers him into the arms and bed of local celebrity, Tennessee Reed. Soon he questions what thrills him more—the rodeo or Tenn. Forced to face his reckless past, he’s reminded that relationships can cause damage far worse than any bull ride … and maybe he’s headed for the same suffering again.
Professional football draft-pick Tennessee Reed returns home emotionally shattered by the unexpected passing of his father who left Tenn with a hereditary secret buried in his chest. He might be dying inside, but when Nate walks into his life all Tenn’s troubles seem to disappear into those hazel eyes and he’s never felt more alive. Will Tenn follow the cowboy wherever life leads? Or will he protect his heart and watch those fringed leather chaps ride away?
Be Warned: m/m sex
My gaze slid up from his boots. His chaps elongated his muscular legs and emphasized his compact waist. The leather vest, worn over a black, checkered long sleeved shirt, defined his firm chest, and then I skimmed my eyes up to his face. Our eyes connected, and I absorbed an intensity of attraction I’d never experienced. Disturbing and unyielding, and yet, satisfying. His eyes searched my face, his eyebrows bent in and his eyes landed on my lips, but he didn’t move. He was hurt from both my behavior this morning and his overindulgence at the bar, but he still gave me his strength through his desire-pooled hazel eyes.
“I’m sorry about last night … this morning.” I choked out the words. “If you’re willing to give me a second chance, I’d like to have you over to my place. Tonight for dinner and a movie. No expectations. Just you and me getting to know each other better.” I rambled the short phrases while my heart banged against my chest. My brain tangled with all the words. The hangover affected me, but asking him on a date spun my head like one of those questionable carnival rides that came through town for the Cherry County Fair and Rodeo in August every year.
Tilt-o-Whirl or Octopus or whatever it is called, this is both worse and better.
He lifted our hands and showed me how his fingers had turned a ghostly white. I loosened my grip.
He stretched his pinking fingers. “You’re sure? I’ve never done the boyfriend thing. And I’m getting a pretty clear message that maybe you’re in the same wagon, but unless you’re givin’ this a real go—and not just to get in my Levi’s—I’m not in, Tenn.”
I dropped his hand, and he tried to shuffle back. Sliding my fingers into the fringe of his chaps, I guided him in between my legs. My heart ticked slower, with more purpose. “You’re right. I don’t have a lot of experience with the bona fide relationship thing with a guy. A few have been repeats in my bed, but not one has made a repeat performance across from me at a meal and none have ever gotten inside my head or heart.” I dragged him closer. “But since last night, I can’t get you out of my head. I’m one hundred percent in. Let’s take whatever this is between us for a long ride.”
He dropped his lips to mine. The kiss that I’d been craving since I watched him drive away early this morning. I slipped my tongue into his mouth and dug my nails deep into the pockets of his jeans.
Moments like this existed for a reason, so we felt alive.
“What time tonight?” He breathed fast when we finally broke.
“I’ll pick you up at five.”
Nate swallowed and stared down at my chest. “It’s a real date-date?”
I moved a hand to embrace his jaw and traced his lips with my thumb. “Again, all in from me. I’m not going to propose to you tonight, but you asked for more, and I’m not going to back off, cowboy.”