Rugged and sexy Cord Darringer finds himself leaving Stockton County, Oklahoma, for three days when a business meeting for his belt buckle company sends him to Florida. While there, he meets adorable Bradley Hull, a no-nonsense businessman with a fondness for cowboys. Before Cord returns to Oklahoma, he agrees to have a date with Bradley. Unexpectedly the country boy falls for the city boy, and vice versa.
Cute and charming Bradley always ends up getting burned. Chasing Cord feels safe to him, though. Not only does Bradley’s clothes come off for Cord, but his heart begins to open up to the wealthy cowboy, and he wonders if he has finally met Mr. Right. Is loving Cord a risk worth taking?
Following his visit, Cord returns to Stockton County alone, but Bradley soon chases him to Stockton County. But when Bradley arrives, a raging tornado sweeps through Stockton County, destroying everything in its path. Will the two men survive the storm and live happily ever after? Or will the miles that separate them, and the tornado’s fury, keep them apart forever?
Tyranny was an angel beneath my weight, happy to go bareback for me while I gently rode her at Cord’s side. The horse was an American Pinto (or Paint) with splotches of bright-white and rawhide brown hues. Her temperament was rather mellow and she seemed to like me. The beauty seemed not to mind when I pulled on the reins around her neck. In fact, she whinnied with delight, perhaps excited by our trot through the Alamo Pasture at Cord’s side.
Frankly, I was like a duck to water regarding riding the American Pinto. Perhaps even Cord was surprised by how I had taken to Tyranny, climbing on her back without any problem whatsoever, and gathering the Camelot anti-slip leather reins in my hands. One could have easily established that I acted like a natural concerning the filly. Fear was abandoned as soon as Tyranny and I met. Neither of us was afraid of the other. Instead, we began an instant friendship, which would last a lifetime together.
Cord was also bareback on Blade, which was a contemptuous and feral Mustang the same color as Cord’s thick hair: onyx black that almost looked dark blue in the Oklahoma sun. Blade was not a nice horse, but I didn’t have to worry about it since I wasn’t riding him. He was fourteen hands tall and approximately fifteen hands long. His build was similar to Cord Darringer’s, if the truth be shared: muscular in all the right areas; aggressive by nature; powerful with much endurance.
The Alamo Pasture was a long field of various high grasses beyond the barn and dream stream where the young boys were swimming and kissing an hour before. A few apple trees were scattered over the property and offered the horses extra snacks in the late summer and early fall months. The pasture seemed to run into the horizon, which was starting to cloud up with a fresh Oklahoma storm, which would probably hit within the next two or three hours.
Cord rode at my side and said, “Keep Tyranny a few paces from Blade’s side. Blade prefers the company of Oscar.”
“Who’s Oscar?” I inquired, curious.
“Are they boyfriends?”
“Oscar’s a player. He likes all the horses. Blade is in love with him, though.”
“You think some animals are queer, Cord?”
“I do. A few years ago I had two mares, Cindy and Bella. They loved each other. I couldn’t keep them separated. No matter what I tried to do they wanted to be together.”
“Sort of like gay men,” I added to the conversation, bouncing up and down on Tyranny’s back.
“Just like us,” he responded. “We’re attracted to each other and ... I think we want to be together.”
I smelled the fresh field in my nostrils and almost became hard because of its wholesome aroma of Queen Anne’s lace and wild daises. The scent was strongly potent with a sugary taste about it that collected in my moistened mouth. As I consumed the aromatic flavor in my mouth and nose, I digested Cord’s last comment and replied, “We do like being together.”
“Which brings me to my next question, Bradley Hull.”
“And what is that?” I asked, bopping north and south on Tyranny’s bare back, and enjoying myself and the genteel horse.
“Why did you come to Oklahoma?”
Thunder rolled in the faraway distance, forecasting a late morning and early afternoon rainstorm with high winds. The clouds over Stockman County thickened, swirling into bruised-colored roses. As I visually consumed the distant storm, I answered Cord with: “Because I kept telling myself every day that I missed you, that I liked having you around.”
“I hooked you.”
“I won’t lie, you did.”
“What was it that made you fall for me?”
Lightning flashed in the outlying clouds. Splinters of golden-white bolts flew upward from the earth, into the remote heavens over Tulsa. Both horses started to act up, becoming jittery, knowing that all hell was about to break loose overhead. “Everything about you. Your confidence. Your status. Your charm. There’s very little that I didn’t like about you.”
Another roar of thunder approached our area and Blade panicked a touch, sensing danger. The Mustang bucked upward and Cord almost flew off. The cowboy tightened the reins on the horse and chanted in a soothing tone for the animal to calm down. Once my masculine sidekick found control over Blade, he said to me, “We have to get back to the ranch. Tyranny’s pretty calm during the storm, but Blade isn’t.”
“Lead the way,” I replied, wishing our conversation about our connection hadn’t ended. Unfortunately it had, but only for the time being, I realized, knowing that it would soon come up again.