Tuesday, 3 April 2012
A decade on from their first kiss, Luke Murray is more in love with Simon every day. Running the Lost Cow ranch for Luke’s parents, they keep their heads down and get along with the locals, even if Luke is known for being a hothead. Then one day they discover the local store owners refuse to serve them.
They’re bewildered until Luke’s mom tells them the new pastor has targeted the couple in his sermons. Suddenly Luke and Simon find themselves alienated from people they called friends, and their ranch comes under a series of attacks. As the town’s hatred and homophobia turns on them, Luke and Simon will face a critical choice: give in to the town’s demands and disappear, or stand and fight for themselves and their love.
Excerpt: THE yawn caught him by surprise. Luke stretched his arms and rolled his shoulders, trying to relax back muscles that had tensed up after three hours at the computer. If he was yawning at nine o’clock in the morning, it was time to stop. He squinted at the screen. The spreadsheets were done and the accounts almost up to date. Another half an hour and it would be done.
He looked longingly out the window. It was still early enough in the year that long sleeves were needed first thing in the morning. Somewhere out there his ranch foreman was riding back to the house to make his morning report, enjoying the early morning sunshine before the heat sucked the enjoyment out of the day.
Luke pouted at the computer, despite the fact there was no one to see it. He wanted to be out there on Lulu sucking in lungfuls of the morning air, smelling the sweet grass instead of stuck in front of a computer. He was a cowboy, dammit, not a goddamned paper pusher.
“If you’re not careful, your face will freeze like that forever.”
“I’ll be chained to this chair forever,” he commented sourly, turning around to look at his ranch foreman grinning at him through the open window. As ever, his floppy, dark hair was covering his eyes, and Luke resisted the temptation to go to the window and push the hair back so he could see the large ocean-blue eyes with their mischievous glint.
“Not finished yet?” Simon sounded sympathetic, knowing just how much Luke hated to be stuck inside with the books.
Luke scrubbed the back of his neck. “’Nother half-hour, I think. Just got the accounts left.” He grimaced. “Was the fence still up?”
Simon nodded. “Not for long, though. How ’bout we have our morning meeting, and then I’ll fix breakfast while you finish up. We need to get to town to sort out the feed before Lil arrives with the new stock.”
“Sounds like a plan. Meet you in the office?”
“Five minutes for me to hand over to Chuck, and I’ll be there,” his foreman promised.
Checking the window to see Simon wasn’t still watching, Luke poked his tongue out at the computer. His mood vastly improved, Luke grinned at he made his way up to the “office.” Now it was time for his reward.
HE’D known Simon for ten years, and for over half that time they’d been running the ranch. Technically it was still his daddy who owned it, but they both knew it was only a matter of time before he sold it to them. Luke’s older brother had no interest in ranching, and his sister was at college. Neither of them had an objection to Luke taking over. Luke’s parents lived on the outskirts of the ranch, closer to the town.
Simon had been Luke’s roommate at college. It had taken about five minutes for both of them to realize they’d met a friend for life. It took a little longer for Luke to come clean about his sexuality. It was one thing to be instant buddies with a guy, but he was from deep Bible country, and he wasn’t stupid… except when he was drunk.
Turned out Simon had his secret too. It took a month, too much cheap beer, a homophobic prick, and Luke being stupid to discover what Simon was hiding. Simon had to drag Luke physically out of the bar before he got them both arrested for assault and Simon for underage drinking. Luke was a hothead when he was filled with liquor and so riled up he’d have gone back in there to complete what he’d started. Even then Luke was wiry and strong, a legacy from growing up on the ranch. Simon was like a blade of sweet grass compared to now, but he had the height advantage, and he used it, crowding Luke against the wall and pinning his wrists against the rough brick until he calmed down. Still struggling against him, Luke spat abuse at Simon for not letting him finish beating the crap out of the man who’d called them faggots as they had a quiet drink in the corner.
Simon had stopped the bitter words before Luke said something they’d both regret. He did it the only way he could, pushing Luke even closer into the brickwork and licking, licking, Luke’s lips.
“Shut the hell up,” he’d sighed as he bent down and kissed him.
Luke could still remember the taste of soda and wings as Simon captured his mouth in the sweetest kiss he’d ever experienced. Luke was four years older than Simon. He’d delayed going to college because his daddy had been sick, and by the time he finally got there he felt like an old man compared to the young kids fresh out of school. Simon was different; he seemed older, tempered by life despite the fact he was only eighteen. Luke was no stranger to kissing but nothing had prepared him for the realization that by the end of this kiss he knew this boy was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. The shock silenced him more effectively than the actual kiss.
By the end of the evening, he found out Simon felt the same way, and when Luke went back to the Lost Cow ranch at the end of his college course, it was inevitable Simon would follow him. His momma and daddy dealt with Simon’s arrival the way they dealt with Luke’s announcement that he was gay: they were kissed, hugged, and told to keep their heads down. And for the most part, they did. The hands knew, of course. They knew everything. Those that had a problem quickly left and those that stayed kept their mouths shut.
Ten years on, and Luke still couldn’t believe his luck in finding someone he wanted to spend every waking and sleeping moment sharing his life. Simon had worked his way up to ranch foreman, and they shared the responsibilities for running the ranch.
They quickly worked out Luke was a lot less cranky when he got the paperwork out of the way early in the morning, leaving the rest of the day free to be a cowboy, out with the hands. Which was why they did the morning meeting after the paperwork as a reward for being a good boy. No paperwork, no report, and damn, wasn’t Luke an asshole for the rest of the day if that happened.
Luke went into the office and got the shower running. He shucked off his clothes and stepped into the hot water with a sigh of relief. He let the water run over his face and down his body as he relaxed, a low moan of bliss escaping him.
“Hmmm, looks like you’ve been getting ahead of me, bossman.”
Luke smiled. “I’m not getting anything at the moment. Thinking it’s about time my foreman gave me his morning report.”
A warm, solid body slid in behind him, pressing up close against him. “Reporting for duty, sir.”
This was Luke’s favorite time of the day: his cowboy giving him the important news as his hand slid down Luke’s flat abs to enclose his already hard cock. Simon bit down on the tender skin at the base of Luke’s neck and jacked him firmly.
He leaned into the bite and shuddered as Simon sucked a bruise into the tender skin. “Anything need, fuck, mentioning?” Luke gasped as the pad of Simon’s thumb dipped into the slit on the head of his cock.
“Good, do that again.”
“What? This?” Simon bit down hard on Luke’s shoulder blade. At Luke’s frantic nod, he bit him again. And again, marking him possessively over his back. Luke writhed against him, ignoring the spray of water in his face as he pushed back against Simon’s teeth.
“Fence still up on the far side?” Luke gasped as Simon bit down particularly hard on the sensitive skin on his hip bone.
“Yeah, but it needs replacing. It ain’t gonna last another winter.”
“We’ll order the posts ’n’ stuff in town. Touch me,” he begged. The bastard was on his knees but ignoring the hardasfuck cock almost leaping out for his attention.
Simon looked up at him, the water plastering his hair all over his face. His eyes were dark and blown, he looked wild, and Luke wanted him now. “It’d be cheaper to order it on the net. Beg!”
“I just did,” Luke pointed out. “You know I prefer supporting the locals.” He caught the determined look in Simon’s eyes. Oh fuck. Simon would walk out if he didn’t. “Please suck me now, sir, before I lose my fucking mind.”
“So damn bossy for a bottom.” Simon leaned forward and licked the head, chasing the taste as it was washed away.
“’M your bottom, and don’t you forget it.” He was clutching onto Simon’s head, trying to direct him where he wanted that mouth, but Simon wasn’t having any of it.
Simon got to his feet, ignoring Luke’s moan of protest. “You’re wasting your money.”
Luke was spun round again and shoved up against the tiles. They were still cold, despite the hot water pounding against them. He squirmed, trying to get some comfort for his dick.
“Still!” Simon ordered.
He stayed perfectly still, knowing better than to move. Simon was just as likely to walk out and leave him like this if he didn’t obey. He felt Simon’s hand slide between his ass cheeks, and then he was being probed, fucking tormented, as he was prepared, Simon making sure he brushed Luke’s prostate every third stroke or so.
“Hate you,” he hissed.
“Nah, you don’t,” Simon murmured, his voice lazy and amused in Luke’s ear.
“Yeah, I do. Are you gonna fuck me or just use me for finger exercises?” He looked over his shoulder and caught Simon’s expression. “Fuck!”
“As you wish.”
The next second he shrieked as his face was pressed into the tiles, and he was impaled on the hard shaft of Simon’s cock.
“You shriek like a girl,” Simon grunted as he thrust hard. Luke grunted back. The cold tiles were digging into Luke’s bones as he was shoved and pounded into next week.
“How many girls you been with?” Luke tried to ask, although forming coherent sentences when his brains were being fucked out wasn’t easy. Considering the length of time they’d been together, he should know the answer to that question.
“A few, long time ago.” Simon sounded somewhat breathless.
“I catch you with a woman, I’ll tear your balls off,” Luke threatened. It was no idle threat, as Simon knew. His partner had the temper of the devil, and he’d given Simon shit more than once for eyeing up another man. Their relationship was totally exclusive: no question, no room for anyone else.
“You talk too much.”
“Then fuck, don’t tease.”
“Shut up.” Simon pulled back until he was almost out, just the head of his cock caught at the rim. Luke whined at the loss. “Not another sound.”
Luke opened his mouth to retort and then shut it quickly.
“Good boy.” The soft purr made Luke shiver.
Simon took Luke’s hands and placed them flat against the tiles, covering them with his own larger hands. He pushed Luke further into the side of the shower. Luke’s cheek was flat against the tiles, feeling every ridge, every imperfection. Simon bent his head so his lips brushed Luke’s ear.
“Don’t you dare come until I tell you, y’understand?”
Luke nodded, still not being given permission to speak, but the anticipation was almost killing him.
“I love you,” Simon whispered as he did every morning when Luke was silenced. It drove Luke mad not being able to respond, which was, of course, why the bastard did it.
All he was allowed to do was try to keep standing as Simon pounded him toward an explosive orgasm, unable to hang onto anything, unable to make a sound, unable to come until he was given permission.
Because, yeah, Luke might be the boss of the Lost Cow ranch, but in the “office,” in here, Simon was most definitely in charge. Luke fucking loved morning report.