When Madison “Matty” Ward finds himself out of work and without a place to live, his cousin comes through with a job on the Gates cattle ranch. Despite not knowing anything about herding cattle or taking care of horses, Matty does his best to impress the older hunky foreman, Baxter Hollingsworth. Baxter is drawn to the new young hand, but he’s deeply closeted, and after an openly gay veterinarian shows he’s interested in Matty, Baxter’s repressed feelings lead to an explosive encounter. Baxter then withdraws—leaving Matty feeling angry and used—until an accident forces him to confront his fears.
Matty bent over, retrieving the brush he had dropped.
A sound coming from behind him made him suddenly aware he was no longer alone. When he turned around, he found Baxter watching him intently. The cowboy’s hazel eyes burned with lust, slowly scorching a trail up and down Matty’s body.
Matty’s breathing hitched as his palms began to sweat. Blood began to flow south of the border, leaving Matty practically brain-dead. Knowing he should say something, the only thing he could come up with was “Hi.”
The foreman mumbled something under his breath before he turned and walked out of the barn, leaving Matty in a state of arousal.
It wasn’t the first time this had happened. Maybe he hadn’t noticed it before because he was so damn tired, but over the course of the week, he found Baxter watching him on more than one occasion. But if he tried to talk to the man, he didn’t get much more than a one- or two-word answer or possibly a grunt before the cowboy walked away. He seemed to go out of his way to avoid talking to Matty.
That didn’t stop Matty from wanting him. In fact, the more Baxter played hard to get, the more Matty desired the big cowboy. He had jerked off nearly every night, his mind conjuring up all sorts of lurid fantasies involving the big hunk of man.
Yes, Matty knew he was pathetic, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself.
Needing to get his mind off the foreman, Matty turned back to his work.
To his surprise, Baxter returned not even an hour later. “I’m going into the city for supplies,” he said, not quite meeting Matty’s eyes. “You want to come along?”
“Yes,” Matty replied eagerly.
“We leave in fifteen minutes.” He walked out of the barn without another word.
Matty scrambled to put his grooming supplies away. After he used the restroom and washed his hands, he scrubbed his teeth at the sink with his finger and some water. Combing his fingers through his hair, he was as ready as he was going to be on short notice.
Baxter was already waiting at his truck when Matty got there.
Matty had thought they were just going into their little town, but for the stuff they needed, they would need to drive farther into the city. That was fine with Matty. Two hours alone with Baxter? Hell yes!
“So how long have you been working on the ranch?” Matty asked as the truck bounced over the gravel drive and made the turn onto the main road.
“The Gateses are really wonderful people. How did you meet them?”
Baxter didn’t answer. He picked up the thermos Miss Ethel had provided him and managed to pour coffee into the cap with one hand. He sipped the steaming liquid from the makeshift mug, still ignoring Matty’s question.
The cowboy made it pretty clear he wasn’t interested in any sort of conversation. When Matty opened his mouth to repeat his question, Baxter reached over and turned the radio on.
And apparently he expected Matty to be quiet as well.
About Rob Colton:
Rob Colton is a software developer by day, and avid reader of romance novels at night. A romantic at heart, he loves stories that feature big, burly men who find true love and happy endings.
Rob grew up in northern Michigan and currently lives in the Atlanta area with his very supportive husband and their very spoiled miniature schnauzer.
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