Horses, a sympathetic ear, or a good night’s sleep. Cole Woodruff, owner of the Lazy W Dude Ranch, supplies whatever his guests need. But when Jack Harmon arrives, Cole’s own desires clamor to be met. Should he risk the ranch to satisfy what might be nothing more than an itch? And even if Jack turns out to be that special man Cole’s yearned for, is it right to move forward when a vulnerable child is involved?
Not long ago, Jack was awarded custody of his son Alex after the sudden death of the boy’s mother. Out on the road for all of his son’s life, what does he know about being a dad? Sleepless nights spent worrying have worn Jack to a raw nerve.
Visiting the dude ranch with Alex, Jack delights in Cole's friendship. And the way Cole’s warm, wonderful voice is so soothing, it cradles Jack to sleep whenever they’re together. Jack aches to spend every night dreaming in the big cowboy's arms.
But can a lullaby last forever? Or will the dream fade when morning comes?
"You should try to get some sleep."
Jack almost laughed. Since that little nap under the tree, he hadn't slept more than a couple hours. Now worrying he'd made the biggest mistake of his life, he wouldn’t be racking up more hours anytime soon. "No, I'll be up the rest of the night."
Cole raised his eyebrows skeptically. "You keep saying that -- right before you fall asleep."
"Yeah, well, normally it's true." A flush was rising up his neck. Embarrassing or not, he had to explain it wasn't rudeness that made him fall asleep every time he was with Cole. "It's just there's something about your voice."
"What's wrong with my voice?"
"Not a thing. It's wonderful. And soothing. It's like, I don't know, hypnotic."
In a deep, sing-song tone, mimicking hypnotists from old movies, Cole chanted, "You're getting sleepy, very sleepy. Your eyelids are getting heavy. You will do my bidding." He cleared his throat and, in his normal voice, asked, "Like that?"
“No, just regular talking." Smiling, he couldn't resist adding, "Although the part about doing your bidding might make for interesting negotiations."
The man suddenly looked much more alert.
"But I'm too wired on coffee and adrenalin for it to work tonight."
"Is that a challenge?" Cole was grinning.
Jack shook his head.
The grin faded. "Or is it a polite way of telling me you'd like me to leave?"
Jack sat on the edge of the bed and looked deep into Cole's warm brown eyes. "Believe me, I don't want you to leave."
Cole flopped onto his back. "Then come to bed, and I'll tell you boring stories guaranteed to put you to sleep. I don't mean to be insulting, but you really look like hell. Another sleepless night is the last thing you need. So, if what you're saying about my dulcet tones is true ...” He gestured to the empty space next to him.
Jack hesitated only a moment. After all, what could it hurt? He slipped between the sheets and lay on his side, facing Cole. Sleep would be lovely, but still he wanted -- no, needed -- so much more. And it wasn't coffee or adrenalin making his blood sing -- it was being in bed with a man who ignited all his strongest desires. The only thing stopping him from jumping his bones was Alex, injured and sleeping in the next room. Alex had to come first. Jack hoped Cole understood that.
Cole propped himself up on one elbow and reached out to stroke a gentle finger along Jack's cheek.
The careful touch from such a powerful man sent a shiver down his spine.
Lowering his voice almost to a whisper, Cole said, "But I have to tell you, I never spend a night in bed with a man without at least claiming a kiss." Moving slowly, probably to give Jack the chance to back away, he leaned over and pressed his lips to Jack's. Just a soft, warm, chaste kiss. A bolt of desire shot straight to Jack's cock -- he couldn't suppress the low moan in his throat.