Two years after his father's death, Brandon is still grieving, running his father's store, watching his sister grow more depressed. Until Ramon saunters into his life bringing sunshine, blue skies, and an injured hawk. But Ramon has issues of his own to deal with, an abusive lover who won't take no for an answer.
If Ramon can wriggle free of the ex, can Brandon take a chance on loving again?
“No, let’s keep riding. There’s a hill on the east side of this grove with a great view; I’ll show you.”
“You still want to?”
“Sure. It’s a nice afternoon; let’s enjoy it. Fucking or no.”
Brandon felt Ramon relax against him. Brandon had to concentrate on not getting worked up again, difficult with Ramon’s ass rubbing against his thighs and cock. Wit snorted as she started up the hill and Brandon felt her working hard. When he rode her alone, she sometimes ran up the hill -- wanting to gallop was hardwired into her Thoroughbred lines -- but today, she trotted it slowly. Bluejays screeched ahead of them, warning the groves that intruders were nearby. A breeze fluttered Ramon’s soft hair and Brandon had to stop himself from nuzzling Ramon’s neck.
At the top of the hill, they sat quietly. Wit put her head down to graze. Brandon took a deep breath, enjoying the fresh air with its scent of citrus blossoms and the smell of the horse beneath him.
“Wow!” Ramon said. “This doesn’t even look like Florida. The hills ... They’re amazing.”
“Amazing for Florida, that’s for sure.”
“I mean, I drive this neighborhood every day in the truck and I know the hilly areas of the streets but this! This is incredible.”
“I come up here sometimes and just sit. It’s nice.”
“Is this your property?”
“No. I wish it was. The grove owners are someplace in New York and don’t care if we ride up here.”
“Cool.” Ramon sighed and leaned back against Brandon -- just a little.
Brandon was content to sit quietly. He didn’t expect Ramon to pass the test, didn’t even think all that much about it. After Paul, it seemed there was no point in getting his hopes up. Besides, Ramon was so young, boyish almost, he was still in school, he had more growing up to do and ...
“Hey, look at that!” Ramon arched forward and pointed to a dead pine in the trees to their left. “Do you see that?”
Oh my God, he passed the test.
“See what?” Brandon knew what it was and prodded Ramon just to make sure.
“There’s an eagle in that tree over there! Wow! A bald eagle!” Ramon turned back to Brandon, a happy grin on his face, cheeks flushed. “Do you see it?”
“Yeah, I see it.”
“Is that a nest?”
“They’ve been sitting on it for two weeks. There’s probably eggs in there. I think that’s Momma Bird.” As if she had heard them, the eagle spread her massive wings and glided across the hills below them. She looked enormous, her wings moving in seeming slow motion, her white head gleaming in the sunlight. Her bright yellow talons folded neatly under her belly as she gained altitude.
“The whole time I was at the rehab, we never had an eagle come in. Not that I wanted one to come in hurt, you know, but to see them up close. This is just so ... wow!” The eagle left their sight. Ramon bounced up and down and Wit raised her head, disturbed from grazing.
“I’m glad you got to see her.”
“Next time we come up, can we bring binoculars? Or would that bother them?”
Next time? This guy’s not backing down.
“Sure. As long as we don’t move any closer, they’ll let us watch. I’d guess by April, the chicks will be hatched and maybe we can spot them, too.”
“That would be great.”
Brandon turned Ramon’s chin toward him. He looked into Ramon’s happy eyes and felt his heart lift. Something beyond lust and fire and rutting, something like shaking off snow, brushing the cold from his chest and stepping into warmth. “We can come up here anytime you want. Just ask.”
Ramon pressed a kiss on Brandon’s mouth. Gentle, soft. “Thanks. Really.”