'Cowboy' Charlie Mosby worked on a horse ranch in Heber, Utah. He loved his work, the owners of the ranch, and his co-workers; wranglers who helped tourists with guided horse tours and trail riding all year round. But after a chance meeting with a handsome gay man who had helped Charlie change a flat tire on Interstate 80 a month ago, Charlie was beginning to wonder about his sexuality. And if that wasn't confusing enough, strange things were happening on the ranch. Satanic worship? A strange cult ritual? Whatever it was, it wasn't good for the owners or the horses on it. One night Charlie stumbles upon Roman Burk in the woods, naked, bleeding and shivering in the cold. What Charlie never imagined was who -or what- Roman was. Even though the handsome stranger seemed to vanish at times and reappear as if by magic, Charlie was infatuated by this man. Roman was fearful of revealing his secret. Most of all to a cowboy who was spending more time hunting him, than loving him. In this shape-shifting story of sexual bonding and discovery, can both Charlie and Roman find what they're looking for? It's a question of honor; one that has been up for debate since the first time man set his eyes on this formidable predator. It's about the mutual respect of Wolves and Men.
It was crisp and clear. The dark sky was covered in stars, far more than anyone near a city could see. As he made his way, his horse the only sound for miles, Charlie realized his buddy 'Goat' was right. Nothing seemed alive around him. Usually the songs of night birds or movements of nocturnal hunters were audible. Not tonight.
A chill rose to his skin, but it was under his jacket and not from the cold. He had never believed in supernatural mumbo-jumbo. Didn't pay attention to local Indian legends, and certainly never believed in ghosts.
He drew near the area where he and Butch had repaired the fence. It was intact just as he had left it.
The ground was freezing up, and Spirit's hooves snapped brittle twigs and made heavy clomps on the solid soil.
A whimper caught his attention. He stopped Spirit and listened.
A sensation stronger than chills hit him. It was borderline terror. He jumped off Spirit's back and held the rein. After a few yards, Spirit refused to keep walking with him, rearing up but not in a violent way, just being stubborn. Charlie trusted his horse's instinct. He stopped too.
Another whimper, a very human voice, shocked him. Spirit would not approach with him, so he dropped the rein and hurried towards the sound.
In the dimmest of the sliver of moonlight, Charlie found a man, naked, in the fetal position, shivering.
"Son of a bitch!" He rushed to his side and found blood spattering him. "Talk to me! Where're you hurt?" Charlie touched the man's arm.
Immediately the man's brilliant green eyes met his.
"Hang on! Hang on!" Charlie rushed back to Spirit who was looking nervous, the whites of his eyes showing. "Calm down, buddy. Don't you go crazy on me now." Charlie took a blanket off the saddle and hurried back. He wrapped it around the shivering man.
"What the hell you doin out here in this cold? You will get hypothermia." Charlie tried to warm him.
"No wonder!" Charlie tucked the blanket closer around him. "I need to get you out of here."
"Look. I just want to get you warm, all right?"
The man nodded.
"Where's that blood comin from?" Charlie began to check the man over. Though he was thinking only of the man's wellbeing, this man was at least six feet tall, and built like he had weight lifted at a gym all his life. His hair was jet black and his jaw had dark designer stubble covering it. He looked like a city boy, out of his element.
Charlie tucked the blanket high on the man's chest and inspected his legs for some kind of wound. His thighs were wide and muscular, his pubic hair as black as his head hair, and the glance Charlie got of his crotch was enough to know this man was big everywhere. "Come on, partner. I got to get you warm. Can you stand?"
The man nodded, struggling to sit upright.
"You got a name?" Charlie hauled the man to his feet, feeling his weight leaning heavily on him.
"Roman. Roman Burk." The man's teeth chattered.
"How on earth did you get here and why?" Charlie walked Roman to Spirit.
The horse backed up, snorting as if in fear.
"Hang on. He's all spooked." Charlie grabbed Spirit's rein and had to drag him closer. "What's with you, boy! Calm down."
The horse shifted like a nervous colt, not staying still for a second. "Spirit! Hold on. Hold on, boy." Charlie dragged Spirit closer to Roman by the chin strap, angry the horse was making a bad situation worse. "Come on, Roman. You climb on. Just step into my hand."
Roman and Spirit seemed to lock gazes. It was the oddest thing Charlie had ever seen. "Come on, Roman, he's all right."
Clinging to the blanket, Roman seemed as reluctant to get on Spirit as Spirit was for him to ride him. "Will you both calm down?" Charlie had no idea this would be an issue. He yelled at the horse, "You gonna make me call and wake someone up? Now behave." He reached out to Roman. "Come on."
Roman moved closer.
"Climb up. I got you." Charlie cupped his hands for Roman to step into it and get on the saddle.
Spirit was about to protest, but Charlie jerked his bridle to prevent it. He swung up behind Roman and put his feet into the stirrups. It took some persuading but finally Spirit began heading back down the trail.
Charlie felt Roman leaning back on him, so he held him close with one arm. "Why are you up here? You know, you picked a bad time to be getting lost naked in the woods, Roman. There's some mighty odd things going on lately. You're lucky I found you when I did."
It was so softly spoken, Charlie just caught it. Roman's hair brushed his lips as they rode back.
"Thank you, Charlie."
"I'll take care of you..." Charlie blinked. "I don't remember telling you my name." Did he? He must have.
"I know. I know you will, Charlie. You'll take good care of me."
"Have we met?" Charlie felt a strange sensation in his body.
"I'm so cold."
Charlie held him tighter. It was the best he could do with one arm. He didn't know where he was going. The hospital? Vernon's house?
"Your cabin. Please."
"Are you reading my mind?" Charlie laughed but he was slightly rattled.
"You don't fret. I'll take care of you."
"Thank you, Charlie. I know you will. That's why I chose you."
Charlie imagined the cold was making Roman slightly delusional. He heard hypothermia did that. Made you hallucinate.
He rode to the barn, dismounting and helping Roman do the same. He tightened the blanket around Roman and quickly got the saddle off Spirit. Spirit was still acting like a mass of nerves, staring at Roman like Charlie had never seen him look at another human before.
He shut the lights in the barn and held Roman around the waist as he hurried with him to his cabin. "Almost there."
Charlie opened his door and locked it behind them. "I'll get the fire going, you go take a hot shower, ya hear me?"
Roman dropped the blanket, standing naked before him.
Charlie gulped audibly. "You...you need me to show you were everything is?"
Roman stalked him.
Charlie backed up near the fireplace. The blood spatter was in a strange pattern. Light, as if Roman was standing beside something else that was shot, or cut. But Charlie kept being drawn to Roman's eyes. The intensity of the color, the power of the stare was hypnotic.
Roman put one hand against the cabin's exposed wooden beams, over Charlie's head. He brushed his lips against Charlie's lightly.
"Sweet mother of god, I got me another gay boy." Charlie gulped and his cock went thick in his jeans.