Together for the first time, this box set gathers the best of Vincent Diamond's horse-themed gay erotic stories. From the racetracks of Tampa to horse farms of Ocala, from the grasp of raw lust to the soft hold of love, these stories are about gay men with real-life problems, desires, and loves -- for each other, and for the horses that dapple their days. With seven stories pulsing with heat, color, and passion, Saddle Up is all about knowing when to tighten a grip -- or when to let go.
Contains the stories: Holding the Reins, Bruised, Back in the Saddle, Horsing Around, Tropical Daze, Horse Sense, and Irish Cream, as well as an exclusive interview with the author.
EXCERPT FROM "Holding the Reins"
When he got up to the stallion barn, Lowell O’Connor, his farm manager was there. Lowell was a former jockey, all of five-feet-two-inches tall, and even in middle-age, no more than a hundred forty pounds. But his heart was huge. He had run the operation since last March, run it all without imposing on Marcus’s pain. All he’d ever asked was for Marcus to sign the checks.
“A hearty good mornin’ to ya, Marcus Paul.” His soft Irish brogue washed over Marcus like a balm. There was something so right and soothing about that voice in his barn.
“And to you. Coffee on?”
“Aye. In the office.” His bright blue eyes looked Marcus over. “What brings you here so early?"
“What’s going on today?”
“The Glenview Farm mares are due in at two. Donegan wants them to settle in before the early breeding.”
“Who’s the stud?” I should know this; I’m too out of touch with the barn’s business.
“Darth Vader.” A true black stallion, not a wisp of bay or chestnut in his coat. And just as irascible as his namesake. Even Philip had never ridden Vader, and the exercise riders had flipped coins over who would breeze him for his daily work-out while he was racing. The stallion’s fighting spirit had won them over three million dollars during his race days. Now, Vader earned his keep by servicing mares from all over the world. “Want to help?” There was kindness in Lowell’s tone.
“No, you can handle it.” Marcus looked away from Lowell’s piercing gaze. “Pasture Fourteen needs manure pickup today. Please tell the crew.”
“Yes, sir. Shall I tack up Mr. Smartypants for ye?”
“No, thanks. I’m not riding.” Two grooms walked by with frisky stallions on each lead. Their shoes clopped on the cement walkway, the comforting sound of home. “I’m gonna clean out Phil -- the tack room today.”
Lowell looked down the walkway towards the room at the far end of the barn. Since the stallion barn always had less horses, there had been space for Philip’s sizable collection of saddles, bridles, pads and riding clothes. He and Marcus had converted an end stall. They spent a day installing windows, nailing up drywall, and gluing down a cheap vinyl floor. When they were done, Philip lay Marcus out on the cold vinyl and heated them both to a passionate fire.
The door was closed, as always. No one had been inside since March.
“Aye.” Lowell’s voice was soft. “Time to let go, eh?”
“Something like that.”
“I’ll have the lads muck these stalls last.”
“Thanks. I appreciate it.”
Marcus helped the grooms get the last five horses out to pasture, haltering them in their stalls, then leading them out of the barn for handoff. He stood for a minute with Mr. Smartypants, resting his forehead against his horse’s solid neck. Nothing more sure and stable than a horse -- or at least he used to think so. He kissed the horse’s jaw and gazed into its soft brown eyes. “What do you think, Smartypants? Is this the right thing to do?” Smartypants pressed his soft nose against Marcus’s hip for a second, then pricked his ears when the groom came to collect him.
No wonder he likes the grooms more now; I haven’t spent enough time out here.
Marcus saw Lowell give the stableboys their orders and then he was left alone. The barn’s ceiling tall over him, hay dust flaked to the ground and over him. He hated that the barn felt like this to him now. A wretched burst of anger, like a balloon popping.
Goddammit, Philip, why did you leave me?
Stupid. Irrational. As if Philip had a choice.
He sighed and opened the tack room's door.