Heart of a Cowboy

Contributors: Jodi Payne, B.A. Tortuga
Series: Higher Elevation #1
Genre: , , , ,
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Pages: 240

Heart of a Redneck

An East Meets Western M/M Romance

Colby McBride is a blue-collar cowboy trying to make ends meet laying tile in Colorado. A loner by choice, Colby works hard with his hands and finds his peace camping in the mountains outside Boulder. Gordon James is a white-collar restaurateur who owns not one, but two successful establishments in downtown Boulder. He’s a sophisticated urbanite who is devoted to his work and is accustomed to getting what he wants.

The men are friends, but sparks fly when Colby falls in love and decides to show Gordon how much fun a good old boy can be. They’re just beginning to explore their relationship when Gordon’s sister’s suicide leaves him with custody of his five-year-old niece.

Colby comes from a huge family and is eager to help with the girl and to prove his worth to Gordon. But neither of them is ready for the tremendous changes to their already busy lives, or for how this new relationship with Olivia challenges them, complicating the way they interact with each other. They say opposites attract, but can these two very different men work together to join their disparate lives and form a strong, if highly unlikely, family?

Available for purchase or to borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:

 

EXCERPT

Chapter One

IT WAS a beautiful day. The sun was bright, and a light breeze ruffled Gordon’s hair as he got out of his Jeep Wrangler. He opened up the back, pulled out a heavy, square cardboard box and a bag with two bottles of wine, and then headed into the restaurant.

He stopped and set the two bottles of wine on the bar next to a man bent over some paperwork. “Hey, Oscar.”

“Hey, boss.” Oscar was the manager at Delmara. Gordon had hired him many years ago, not long after he opened the place. It had been Oscar’s brilliant idea to add tapas to the menu, and look where they were now. Oscar was constantly proving himself more valuable.

Gordon had asked Oscar if he’d be interested in running his new farm-to-table place, Gaia, when it opened a year ago, but Oscar had turned the job down. He said he knew what he was good at and it wasn’t yuppie tomatoes. Gotta love him.

“Oscar, these two bottles are for Mr. White. He has a reservation tonight and requested them specifically. The first one is on the house because I want him to sponsor part of the spring mentoring fundraiser. Make sure he gets his usual table and Becky as his server.”

“Got it. And is he bringing his… er….”

“Date. Call her his date. Remind Becky.” Becky had a few other choice words for her, he knew. He understood; after all, the woman, drunk at the time, had loudly accused Becky of flirting with White the last time they were in. But Becky would be fine. White liked her and tipped well, and she liked her bread buttered.

Oscar laughed. “I’ll do that. Oh, boss? Don’t forget that the ladies’ room has a….”

“Got the tile.” He pointed to the box under his arm. “But I need to make that call. I’ll go do that right now. Thanks, Oscar.”

Gordon hurried back to his office. The fucking special-order tile in that bathroom was costing him a fortune, but scheduling the work would be easy at least. His tile guy was also a buddy, and always easy to bribe with good beer. He closed his office door and dialed.

“Yo, sugarbutt. How goes it?” Colby answered him with a low drawl that reminded him of incredible whiskey poured over sugar cubes.

He put the box down on his desk and collapsed into his desk chair, grinning. “Hey, Colby. Listen, I need you to come by and install that replacement tile I ordered for the ladies’ room at Delmara. You got time this afternoon? I have a beer with your name on it.”

“For you? I’ll make time.” Colby laughed, utterly unashamed about wanting his beer. “You might have to have me dirty, though. I’ve been loading my truck with tile boxes all morning, and I’m covered in ceramic dust.”

That was Colby, always coming off a hard day’s work somewhere. “Please. Do you ever show up clean? What time will I see you?”

“Is four too late? Then I won’t have to run off.”

“Four it is. The bathroom stall has been taped off for a week. It can go one more day.” He still needed to head upstairs and change. He spent nearly every evening front of house, and he had a VIP coming in tonight, so he needed to be on time. Oh shit, he needed to pick up his suit at the cleaners. Okay, that errand was next.

“You’ll have to let it cure twenty-four hours anyway.” Something crashed, and he heard, “I swear to God, y’all. You break those tiles and I will personally rip off your heads and shit down your neck.”

“Oh, listen to you go all boss. Should I let you go?”

“Yeah, yeah. I got a reputation to uphold and shit. See you at four, man.”

Gordon laughed. Colby’s voice had dropped a whole octave. “Your secret is safe with me. See you at four.”

A raspberry sounded, and then Colby hung up on him. There was something about Colby—this genuine joy when it came to anything from working to shooting pool to watching a movie—it made the guy fun to hang out with. And Gordon needed some fun once in a while. He loved his job, but it could really eat up his personal time.

Still grinning, he put his phone back in his pocket. He cut open the box to check out the tile he’d ordered. It was the right stuff. He’d just leave it on his desk for Colby. He took a second to look through the mail Oscar had left for him. Bills, bills, and more bills as usual, but also the package he’d been expecting—the newest addition to his porn collection. He left that on his desk unopened and headed out to the bar.

“Hey, Oscar, I have to run out and get my suit, and I’m going to stop by Gaia and make sure they’re good for the weekend. I’ll be back by three. Colby McBride will be by around four to see about the tile. Send him to my office when he gets here?”

“Oh, great. Will do.”

“What do the reservations look like?”

“We’re packed, boss. Tonight and tomorrow, both.”

“Nice.”

“He’ll be out by six, right?”

“I’ll make sure he is.” It wasn’t a lot of work; it’d be okay. They could hang out and have that beer after Colby was done. Damn priorities.

“All right, I’m off.” Gordon brushed the wrinkles out of his shirt and headed out the door.

God, this gorgeous day. No wonder they were expecting a packed house. People were out everywhere. Nothing was as good for business as the promise of springtime.

After a long winter, there was nothing quite like coming alive again.

  

Chapter Two

“MCBRIDE? YOU get that utility room floor done?”

“Would I be out here looking for my draw if I didn’t, man? Y’all know I do good work.” Come on, motherfucker. Pay me. I got to tile a bathroom and see my man. He reckoned it didn’t matter a bit whether Gordon knew he was Colby’s. That was just details. Eventually he would make Gordon see him as more than a beer buddy.

If he could start his weekend with a check in one hand and a beer in the other, he would be a happy little cowboy. He’d started one job, picked up supplies for another, and trimmed out the third. He was a busy man.

Thank God for that.

“You’re the best guy out there,” Lou admitted grudgingly, handing over his draw. “And I gotta say, you will work for money.”

“I’m good that way.” He pocketed the check after peeking to make sure all the numbers were there. “Thank you, sir. I will be on the Williams’s job come Monday. Should take me a day and a half, give or take.”

“Then you’ll work that Best Western?”

“Just the lobby fireplace, man. You can get any asshole to slap down twelve-bys on the rooms.” He knew what his happy ass was worth, and it was worth more than mindless tile work. He liked to be pushed some.

“Just the lobby.” Lou rolled his eyes like dice. “The owner’s wife has ideas.”

“Faboo.” Something else he was pretty good at was talking to folks. He liked people, so for the most part, people liked him. “I can talk to her Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday, huh? Let her show me what all she wants.”

Lou snorted. “Oh, I’m sure she’ll love whatever you have to offer. Try for Tuesday, yeah? I want you done over there by Friday. I’ve got a couple of big jobs I’ve bid on for the week after, and there might be some design work on one of them. I could use you.”

“Just call.” Lou paid on time and, so far, didn’t seem to be too much of a dick, so Colby gave the big man priority. “Have a good weekend, sir.”

“You too, cowboy.”

He tipped his gimme cap and headed out to his F-250, then hauled his butt up into the cab. “Okay. Let’s get this show on the road.”

Colby cracked his window, turned Luke Bryan up loud, and put on his sunglasses. Damn, he did love to have him some springtime, even if it came later up here than it did back home. The snow was gone, the trees were budding, and the sun was making promises that it might be time to grill out wearing nothing but his cutoffs.

Between the weather and his music, the forty-minute drive from the worksite just flew on by. Traffic into town was pretty heavy but moving, and it wasn’t long before he was pulling into the lot at Delmara. He saw Gordy’s Wrangler, looking a damn sight cleaner than any Jeep he’d ever seen back home. Figured. That Wrangler probably hadn’t seen a dirt road in its life. He parked right next to the shiny Jeep, tossed his sunglasses on the seat, grabbed his tool belt, and headed inside.

“Ah, Mr. McBride.” Gordy’s manager waved him over to the bar. Hell if he could remember the guy’s name.

“Yes, sir. Mr. James called. Says he got a job for me?”

“Yes, but he wants you to stop by his office first. You remember where you’re going?”

“Think so.”

“I’ll buzz him. You can head on back.”

He headed through the restaurant to the office, thinking that the tile floor in the hall probably ought to be replaced. It was pretty beat-up.

Gordy’s office door opened before he even had a chance to knock. “Hey, man. Come on in.”

“Hey, honey. You wanting me to get to work on that bathroom, huh?” Look at that hot motherfucker. Colby did like him some stud.

Gordy closed the office door. He turned around, and Colby got a good view of his five-o’clock shadow and his crazy green eyes. “I’d really like to take a break now, but we open in two hours, and those ladies aren’t going to like you in their bathroom much.”

“I live to serve, honey, and your fancy-assed customers might be took aback by my Wrangler butt.”

“They’re not that fancy. You’re just that cowboy.” Gordy laughed, blond bangs falling in his eyes. He swept them away the way he did, one hand carding through them and then that little toss of his head. Gordy gave him one of them weird-assed man-hug deals, bicep popping through his shirt like some high-dollar Popeye. “Thanks for coming by. Now get to work.”

“Bossy old man,” he teased and opened the office door real quick before Gordy could react. “You put the tiles in the bathroom?”

“Oh shit. No, they’re on my desk.” Gordy picked up the box and handed it over. “Here. And don’t make me hound you for an invoice like last time.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m on it.” He grabbed the box, nodded, then made his way to the bathroom. He was going to have to set up his wet saw to trim around the toilet….

Before long he was lost in the steadiness of the work, setting the tile, making sure everything was just so, and the time just flew by.

“Hey, looking good in here. Not that I would expect anything less.” Gordy set a cold bottle of beer down on the floor next to Colby. “We open in a half an hour, you close?”

“You know it. I’ll pop in tomorrow afternoon and grout it before y’all open.” He grabbed the bottle and downed half the brew. Oh, hoppy goodness. One thing about hanging with a restaurant guy? You didn’t have to drink so much Coors Light.

“That would be great. Really appreciate it. Come on up when you’re done if you want. I need a shower, and I have to put on a tie for a VIP tonight, but I’ve got some time to hang out. Back elevator’s running again.” Pretty neat that Gordy owned the building and lived two floors above the restaurant.

“Spiffy! Sure.” Man in a suit. Yay. “I got to go load my truck. You got a sign for this stall? Someone steps in here on this thin-set and they’ll slide and hurt themselves and ruin my tile job.”

“Can’t have that.” Gordy winked at him and then looked around. “Oh. I thought there was a rope and… yeah. I’ll get Oscar to set something up in here. Do your thing and then come on up. Door’ll be open.”

“Yessir. I’m on it.” It took him two trips to load up the truck and get his shit locked in his toolbox. He finished his beer on the way and took a second to wipe his face off.

Lord have mercy, he was filthy. Good thing he’d warned Mr. Fancy Tie before he showed.

He headed around to the back of the building and took the stairs instead of the elevator. The stairs were more convenient anyway; the fire door on the third floor opened up right next to Gordy’s front door.

He let himself in, as he had done many times before, and was overwhelmed as usual by the size of the damn TV in the front room. He kept telling Gordy to move it to the back wall, but the guy was as stubborn as a hog on ice. Otherwise, though, the apartment was comfortable and not nearly as showy as Gordy could probably afford to be if he wanted. Everything was new and shiny, but the couches were comfy, and the decor was basically gay bachelor pad. Framed Stonewall poster on one wall, rack of DVDs, mostly porn, under the TV, the usual. Broadway soundtracks lined up next to the stereo.

“That you?”

“No, sir!”

Some ancient rock band was on the radio. Gordy always had music going. Colby just shook his head.

Gordy came out of the kitchen still in his jeans but nothing else except the two bottles of beer he was carrying.

“You get mugged on your way up?”

“What?”

“You lost your shirt.”

Gordy laughed, holding out one of the bottles. “Have another beer, cowboy. Your jokes aren’t funny yet.”

“Now, now. Ain’t it you that ought to be having another one so I start getting funnier?” Lord have mercy, he did love to look at that man. He could watch Gordon James wander around his so-fancy condo for days.

Well, maybe not days. That would lead to long-term blue balls.

“Yeah, that’s never worked. There’s no hope for you.” Gordy took a swig of his beer. “Oh!” He pointed to the coffee table. “New porn in the mail.”

“Lord, honey. Don’t you know that’s all on the computer now?”

Gordy shook his head. “That’s vintage, my friend. The early bareback stuff. Low edit, tons of fucking. That’s not your cheap internet thrill. You should borrow it.”

“Low edit—what the fuck does that even mean, man? Seriously.” Tons of fucking he got.

“No cuts? No kissing and then cut to the money shots?” Gordon sounded a little snooty about it. Like this was something everybody knew but Colby. “You know, the whole scene—foreplay to finale.”

“Not all of us are conness… connoisseurs and shit. Me? I like a nice long bout of on-screen fucking. That way if your mind wanders….” He did love to tease.

“Your mind or your hand?” Gordon snorted. “I’m with you, the longer the better.” He drew his words out, and they had a little heat and a little growl in them. “Mm.”

“Listen to you.” He’d like for Gordon to listen to his happy ass, just for a second, just long enough to prove that he was man enough to rock Gordon’s world.

Gordon laughed. “One of these days we should hit the clubs in Denver. You get over there much?”

“Once a month or so. Depends on whether I have to run over for a specialty tile in the afternoon. That makes it easier.” And he got to dance. Damn, he did love to two-step.

“I think it’s been—God, I don’t know—maybe five or six weeks since I’ve been there. I used to go every Sunday. Last few weeks I’ve been watching a game or bad movies with this tile guy on Sundays. Or losing at pool. I’m still waiting for that chance to redeem myself, by the way.”

Few weeks? It had been three months. “Oh, now. I’ll play you any time, but you ain’t got redemption coming.”

“I might if you’d drink anything stronger than beer.”

“Country don’t mean dumb, Gordy.” He winked over. Some things were real important—knowing when to drink and when to make a bet were two of them.

“Nope. And apparently a college degree doesn’t make a man wise either.” Gordy winked right back at him. “Oh, speaking of wise. Have you got a couple of work days open in the next week or two? I’m having a new shower installed in the master bath, and I want to do something kind of modern and flashy in there with the tile after. I told them I knew a guy.”

“Yeah? Sure. We got lots of options. I’ll bring a few things over—wood-grain tile is huge right now. I did a bath the other day with glass pieces in the grout line. It looked like diamonds or some shit. Too fucking cool.”

“Glass? How cool is that? Must take forever to do, though, huh?”

He shrugged, took a long swig of beer. “Depends on what you want. They have some strips you can lay in. You do know a guy, after all.”

“Yep. A very reliable guy that does top-notch work. Thanks. Just let me know when you can show me the samples.” Gordy finished off his beer. “Drinking before work. Good thing it’s not full-on summer yet.” He set his bottle on the coffee table. “I need a shower. You want to hang out and watch the cable or whatever, go ahead. I might even have some food in the fridge.”

“You mean you’re not worried about your virtue?”

Gordon snorted and tossed Colby the remote. “Don’t drink all my beer, cowboy.” He headed down the hall toward his bedroom.

One day, man. One day I will have my shit together enough and I will make my move. Colby watched that tight little ass as Gordon disappeared into his bedroom.

He could be patient. In theory. Really he could.

He hoped.

Title: Heart of a Redneck
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B09Y649SB5
ISBN13: 978-1951011758

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!

Be sure to visit BA Tortuga online at batortuga.com

Land of Enchantment

Contributors: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Series: Higher Elevation #2
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Pages: 330

Land of Enchantment

An East Meets Western M/M Romance

East meets west. City meets country. Though there’s no denying opposites attract, can a college kid from New Jersey and a New Mexican cowboy learn to speak the same language, let alone trust each other?

When Mason Wild heads west to escape his past, he doesn’t have a plan or a penny to his name. Luckily he finds a job with a roofing company run by a rodeo cowboy who’s kind, easy to work for, and even with his jaw wired shut, hotter than July in the high desert.

Bull rider Levi Yost knows what it’s like to be down on his luck. He’s not much older than Mason, but he’s been around the block a few times, or at least around the rodeo arena. He takes a chance on the kid, giving him a job and a place to live on his ranch. The two of them discover a surprising amount of common ground, but trouble has a way of finding each of them. Mason has to learn to be fully honest with Levi, who in turn has to realize he’s not just riding out for himself anymore. 

Available to purchase, or to borrow with Kindle Unlimited.

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:

Chapter One

MASON WILD’S first stop after leaving New Jersey was a rest area west of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he met a truck driver in the men’s room who was headed down Interstate 81 toward Roanoke. It was the farthest away from home he’d ever been.

He had a little money on him but not much, and he had to stretch it pretty far because it was slow going finding rides after that until he’d passed through Knoxville and Nashville and landed in Jackson, Tennessee. By then he was a kind of hungry he’d never been in his whole life. He asked around, found some day work, and stayed there two days, keeping his head down and moving rocks around. It was shit money, but it was better than nothing, and nobody cared what his name was.

From Jackson he hitched a ride to Memphis. He was doing his best to be a good passenger, be polite like his mom taught him and just keep his stupid mouth shut. That was hard. He usually liked people and could talk about whatever when he wanted to, but right now he didn’t want to be too memorable.

Outside Memphis, he finally found a truck driver who was on a long haul. The guy was headed all the way to El Paso, and Mason figured what the hell, that was pretty damn far away, right? On the way, while the driver talked on and on for hours, he looked out the window as everything he understood disappeared in the rearview mirror and the world around him got flatter and drier. It felt like he spent weeks in that truck.

When he got to El Paso, he lucked into a stretch of work gutting some houses in town, but man, that was a long week. It was hot out and not only did the guys he was working with all seem to know each other, but they all knew what they were doing too. He knew some Spanish—you didn’t grow up in North Jersey and not know some Spanish—but apparently only enough local slang to figure out when he was being made fun of. Still, he was pretty much the biggest guy on the job, and he managed to hold his own even if they didn’t like his sneakers.

Mason hated them lately too. Everybody he knew wore sneakers at home, but out here, not only did he stand out as a city kid, but they were totally useless. He demolished a kitchen with a couple of guys one morning and stepped on a screw sticking up out of a cabinet door. It went right through his sole but luckily not into his foot. After that he spent half his time making sure he didn’t step on anything else or drop anything on his toes either. He couldn’t afford to do the hospital thing.

He was pretty sure he had enough money for some decent boots now, though, and he decided he’d buy some at his next stop—not that he knew where that was yet. But he was running out of real estate and he’d better figure something out soon. He couldn’t travel much farther away than he already had.

From El Paso the interstate only went north. He found a guy headed up 25 through Albuquerque, and hitched a ride, hoping he could bail somewhere near civilization.

It was an amazing drive—the grays and the tans and pinks seemed to be everywhere, the mountains and mesas like a whole foreign landscape.

“You know where you’re headed, kid?” The old cowboy didn’t look the slightest bit worried about picking him up. In fact, “Almon Ryder from right outside Dallas, pleased to meetcha, I do have my conceal carry permit,” looked like he might enjoy a bit of a fight.

“No.” Mason glanced over at him, wondering how polite the old guy expected him to be. He wasn’t planning on fighting anyone again. Ever. “Uh… no, sir. I’m just looking for work. You know.” Not too friendly, keep it to small talk. He’d gotten pretty good at riding in the passenger side of a semi and mostly pretending he wasn’t there, but a pickup was closer quarters.

“I do. There’s always work for guys that are willing. I’m going to see my son at UNM. He plays baseball there.”

Mason had no idea where that was. Baseball was awesome, though. “Yeah? That’s cool. Is he on a scholarship?”

“Yeah. He’s a good kid. My youngest. I have eight.”

“Sons?”

“Children. Seven of them are girls.”

“Holy crap!” He winced. “Uh. I mean, wow. That’s great. You’re totally outnumbered. And lucky. You’re very lucky.” He rolled his eyes. He should be keeping his stupid mouth shut. “Sorry.”

“I am totally outnumbered, kid. I lost my wife to breast cancer five years ago, with three still in school. Thank God for the oldest girls or the youngest might have starved.” The huge laugh boomed out, filling the cab.

Whoa. Small world. “I’m sorry, man. I lost my mom two years ago, same thing.” What a horrible time that had been. His whole senior year. “What was your wife’s name?”

“Sueann. She was a good woman. I’m sorry about your momma. It ain’t right.”

“Sueann. That’s a pretty name.” Nope. It wasn’t right. He used to think there was a bigger plan, but he wasn’t so sure anymore. He was just glad he didn’t have to break Mom’s heart when he left home. “So your youngest is in college. Where’s your oldest?”

“Married with four babies in Dallas. She’s an ER nurse. Her husband does something on the computer for work. He’s good to her and loves those babies, so I suppose I won’t have to kill him.”

“Uh. Well, that’s good, I guess?” Jesus. Everything he’d ever heard about Texans was true. Other things were true too, like this guy was super friendly and kind, but the whole gun-toting, bigger-than-life, major-accent thing? Totally true. And awesome. He’d never met anyone from Texas before now. Or wait, one of the truck drivers? The guy who’d driven him from Harrisburg to Roanoke… no wait, he was from Georgia.

His stomach growled. Loud. He looked out the window and pretended like he didn’t notice.

Almon grinned over at him. “You too, huh? There’s a McD’s up here. I’ll buy you a burger. You ain’t a vegetabletarian, right?”

He cheeks got hot. He hated handouts, but he wasn’t exactly flush at the moment. “Not me. If it’s food, I’ll eat it. That’s really nice of you. Thanks.” Vegetabletarian. Awesome.

“I hate eating alone, and I been down on my luck once or twice.”

“I’ll figure it out. I can work. I don’t know how to do much, but I’m big enough and I learn fast.” He had no choice, right? Thank God he didn’t have eight kids to feed. Whoa.

“Then you’ll be fine.” Almon pulled off and parked. “Let’s go in. Christ, my ass is too old to make this drive for a ball game.”

He got out of the truck. Almon was paying; he’d eat wherever the guy wanted to. He stretched, still a little sore from the last day of work and all the heavy lifting the smaller, older guys seemed happy to let him do. “Did you drive all the way from Dallas?”

“No, sir. I had been in Austin, seeing my four girls there; then I headed this direction.” He loved the way Almon said, “die-rection.”

“That’s a long drive. Geez. For a baseball game? He must be really good.” He followed Almon inside, getting blasted by the cool air as he held the door. The smell of the burgers and fries made his stomach growl again and his mouth water.

“Well, I haven’t seen my boy in a few months. What’s your poison?”

“Uh. The Buttermilk Crispy Chicken thing. Sandwich. Please.” And a ton of fries and a vanilla milkshake, but he wasn’t going to get greedy. Son in college in New Mexico, daughter in Dallas, four girls in Austin… he was missing one.

“Where’s your other daughter?” he asked as they headed over to a table with their food. He knew he probably shouldn’t be so chatty, but it felt good to have a real conversation with someone after almost a month of mostly keeping to himself. No one back home would believe he managed to keep quiet for this long.

“Two others.” Almon laughed happily. “Missy is in nursing school in Arlington, and Bessa’s in a band on the road. Last time I talked to her, she was in Oklahoma City, but I think she’s heading to Kansas City next. She’s hard to keep track of, that girl.”

“Two! Geez, that’s right. I’m glad you can keep track of them all.” He laughed. He’d have left one somewhere by mistake.

They sat, and the table got quiet as Mason sucked down his chicken. God, he could eat four of these things, easy. His sister had just… well, before he left, Izzy had told him she thought maybe he was still growing. He figured he just had a big appetite.

“They gave me an extra set of fries by mistake, kid. You want?”

“You don’t want ’em? Sure. Thanks.” Almon slid them over his direction, and he snarfed those down too. He had a feeling they weren’t there by mistake. He’d lucked out big-time on his ride. Back East he’d be wondering what the guy wanted from him, but Almon seemed like the legit dad type. Mason liked him.

“No problem. Doc doesn’t want me having too many, you know? I ain’t getting any younger.”

He nodded and grinned at Almon. “Better listen to the doc. If you need help with the rest of those, just ask.”

“Fair enough. I tell you what, this getting old shit is for the birds.”

“You’re not old, man. You just did a ton of driving today. Gotta be eight or nine hours to Austin maybe?”

“Thirteen by the time we get to the Duke City. We’re right outside of T or C right now.”

What? “I have no idea what you just said.” He laughed pretty hard. “I don’t know if it was the words or the accent. Sometimes I feel like I’m on another planet out here.”

“Albuquerque is the Duke City. T or C? That’s the town out here. Good camping.” Almon winked. “You’ll figure it out. New Mexico is a lot like Texas light.”

Like that was helpful. The only thing he knew about Texas was that it was huge, took forever and ever to drive across, and he didn’t really want to go back to El Paso.

“So you know where to find work in the city? If not, you might try starting down near the farms in Corrales. My son and his roommates do some odd jobs for beer money, and they always talk about driving up the hill to Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Corrales. That direction. I will holler at him and ask, if you want.”

“Yeah? That would be awesome. I figured I was going to have to ask around, you know? But if they could maybe hook me up with a place to start, that would rock so hard.” He repeated the names in his head. Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Corrales. He didn’t need beer money, and he wasn’t old enough to buy it yet anyway. But beer money could buy him some real food instead. He had enough in his pocket from El Paso for a couple of nights in a cheap place and a pair of decent boots. That was a start. If he could find work fast, he’d be golden.

“Can’t hurt to ask. Troy knows a shit-ton of folks.” Obviously Troy got that from his father.

“I really appreciate it, man. Thanks.” He hopped up. “Not rushing you, I just need to stretch my legs.” They were long—they got tired of being folded up under a dashboard after a while.

“Stretch away.” Almon pulled out his phone and started typing.

Mason looked at Almon’s phone, feeling kind of jealous. He missed his phone. He missed texting his crew and his sister, and Snapchat and iTunes. He even missed that stupid foulmouthed weather app. Not that he needed a weather app out here. The weather was the same every day. Hot.

He shook his legs out and scanned the other booths. People even looked different out here. More relaxed maybe. Tan too. There was an awful lot of good-looking skin out here.

The wind was blowing when he went outside, the black clouds covering the mountains like a blanket. Did black clouds mean rain? Down here or just up there? He knew he’d have a lot to learn out here, but he hadn’t expected understanding the weather to be on that list.

Mason stuck his hands in his pockets and breathed in the air. It did seem a little cooler. Sticky. And it was definitely cleaner than the city. He didn’t recognize the scent on the breeze at first, but it finally hit him about a half second before the wall of water started moving across the parking lot.

Jesus. Jesus, look at that.

He stepped back under the awning by the door and watched it march toward him. Where the hell had that come from? He got a little spray as the rain hit the sidewalk and drenched the building, but not enough to drive him back inside. This was way too cool.

The rain came down in waves, the parking lot turning to standing water in seconds. This was a deluge, and it had hit so fast.

If he were home, he’d be snapping pictures. Instead he just tried to memorize the way the water dumped from the sky and how he could just barely make out Almon’s truck at the end of the parking lot, so maybe he could tell Izzy about it one day.

“Look at that, huh? I ain’t never seen rain come down so fast and hard like here.” Almon grinned from the open door. “It won’t last.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this at all. I looked up and it was just coming at me. Like this crazy wall just cruising across the parking lot.” He shook his head. “Insane.”

“Rain in the desert. Talked to Troy, and he says he’ll make up a list of places that have steady work.”

“No way, really? That’s… wow. Thank you so much. Tell Troy I owe him a solid.” Steady work. Maybe this could be his last stop for a while. He could handle that. It was beautiful out here even if was hot and poured buckets sometimes.

“He’s a good kid. I think I’ll….” Just like that, the rain stopped like someone turning off a faucet.

He stuck a hand out from under the awning, then stepped out as well and looked up at the sky. “Huh. That’s it?” The clouds just rolled away the way they’d rolled in.

“That’s it. You ready to go?”

“Yeah. Sure.” He stared at the sky as he headed over to the truck, though, like maybe it might change its mind and start pouring again. He hopped up into the passenger side and stretched his neck as he pulled on his seat belt, feeling a little stiff and headachey. Probably that storm rolling through so fast. His mom used to get weather headaches. Or maybe like a blood sugar thing. “Thanks again for the food, man.” He was going to have to buy some Advil or something wherever Almon dropped him off.

“No problem. Thanks for the company.”

He leaned his head back on the headrest and stretched his legs out as far as he could manage, which wasn’t really far enough. “What do you do for work?”

“I own a cattle ranch, raise cuttin’ horses, and I run futurity bulls. Little bit of everything, I guess.”

Language barrier again. Some days he felt dumber and dumber by the minute out here. “You lost me again. What’s a futurity bull?”

“It’s a baby bucking bull, for all intents and purposes. You know, for the rodeo?”

“Oh yeah, I’ve heard of a rodeo. Guys have to ride crazy bulls and they win all kinds of money if they stay on long enough.” Why anybody would do that, he had no idea. He’d never seen anyone ride, but he kind of thought the guys were crazier than the bulls.

“If they’re on the big show, yeah. The steadier money is in the ropers.”

As they drove on, Mason had a bunch of questions, and Almon answered them patiently and told him about all the different rodeo events. It passed the time for one thing, but he kind of thought Almon enjoyed teaching him.

The mountains just kept getting bigger and closer. There weren’t any trees, really, just these huge rocky things. He wasn’t sure he’d ever get used to so much open space.

Things got quiet, and Almon turned on the radio. He closed his eyes after a while, not feeling all that great. Carsick maybe. It didn’t feel like a lot of time had passed, but when he opened his eyes again, it was almost dark out. He must have fallen asleep.

“Grab you some water, kid. You look green.” Almon pulled into the city, the trails of light flashing madly.

“Huh? I’m good.” He wasn’t good. The streetlights made him squint, and his brain was trying to escape out the top of his head. He’d sell his soul for some Advil. He reached over the seat and grabbed a bottle of water. “Is this Albuquerque? You can let me off anywhere, man. I really appreciate everything. I know you have people to see.”

“This is Albuquerque. Do you have somewhere to go?”

He shrugged. “I’ll find something.” All he needed was that list. He could find somewhere to crash for tonight, head right out in the morning to get work, and then—oh, shit. “You’re gonna want to pull over, man.” Seriously? He was gonna hurl.

Almon didn’t say a thing. The truck just swerved right off to the curb and Mason jumped out and brought up his lunch. After that, his head really started to pound. He rinsed his mouth and spat, then leaned back against the side of the truck with a groan. “Fuckin’ A.”

“Water, kid. Pound water. You got altitude sickness.” Almon handed him another bottle.

He took the bottle and swallowed back a huge gulp, but it didn’t sit right in his stomach. “I’ve got what?” He wasn’t sure that water wasn’t going to come back up too, but he kept drinking. Almon seemed to know what he was talking about. “There’s a little alien in my head, and the bastard is going to town with a jackhammer, I swear to God.”

“Water will fix it. Keep it down, and then we’ll try Tylenol. Do you have somewhere to go?”

“Not yet. I’ll find some… something. Shit.” He turned around and braced a hand on the truck, sure he was going to puke again, but he didn’t quite. His guts just felt punky.

“No. I’ll get you a room at the Motel 6. Just for a night until Troy can get you some information. Drink your water.”

He leaned on the truck again and finished off the bottle in his hand. “Thanks. It would be great if you could drop me at the Motel 6. I can get myself a room.” He felt like he was dying. He needed a room tonight; he’d figure it out. He could let his boots wait another week.

“I’ve got a room too. No stress.” Almon grinned, the look a little wry. “Troy’s got five roommates. Male ones. I’m not staying there.”

He snorted. He tried for some sort of grin but wasn’t sure he managed it. “Oh. Gross. I hear that. Can I get another water?”

“Absolutely. Keep drinking, have a nap and a shower. You’ll be okay.”

He climbed back into the truck and pulled out another bottle of water. “I guess you’re used to this altitude thing?” He sipped the water and sank back into the seat.

“Not everyone has a problem. I have a daughter that just has to fight it with all she is.” Almon gave him a half grin. “You ready for me to move again?”

“I guess I can relate to her, huh? Yeah, I’m good. Just gonna keep my eyes closed.” He’d like to look around, get his bearings, but that was going to have to wait for tomorrow.

“We ain’t got far.”

Almon was telling the truth—they pulled into a Motel 6 a minute later, and then Almon handed him a key card for a room, just like that. “I got to go grab my boy and take him to supper. You get some rest, and if you want, I’ll introduce y’all in the morning over breakfast.”

He looked at the key card and then back at Almon, trying hard to just accept help gracefully. It wasn’t easy. “Thanks. I owe you. Have a good dinner. I’d love to meet Troy tomorrow.” Hopefully he’d feel better by morning. Right now, he was going to fight back the frustration he was feeling and try to be grateful, crawl into bed, and die for a while.

“Drink your water. It will help, huh? Even if it makes you feel like your back teeth are floating.”

“Totally, man. I’m on it.” He stuck out his hand to shake, looking Almon right in the eye like Mom taught him to. She said nobody trusted a man that couldn’t look them in the eye. “Thanks again.

“You’re welcome. Get some good rest, and I’ll knock in the morning, okay?”

“Will do. Night.” He gave Almon a nod, backed up a few steps, and then set off to find his room.

He sucked down the rest of his water as soon as he got inside. He wanted to shower. He knew he should. He probably smelled like a… huh. Like a homeless guy, which he pretty much was right now. But that bed was calling his name, and that’s as far as he got. He’d clean up in the morning.

Title: Land of Enchantment
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B07XJHS2VW
ISBN13: 978-1-7330076-8-9

 

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!

Making a Mark, Triskelion Book #2

Contributors: Jodi Payne, BA Tortuga
Series: Triskelion Series #2
Genre: , , , , , ,
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Pages: 332

When Troy and Saul became lovers, they worried about a lot of things. There was their age gap, their younger Dom-older sub relationship, and Troy’s health, which was made worse by job stress. They managed all that and more with a deep commitment, and with a lot of help from Troy’s longtime best friends, fellow Dom and sub couple Carter and Geoff.

In fact, Saul seems to be what all three of the other men need to see what’s been there all along, and to provide the balance they need to deepen their relationship in a very meaningful way. They’ve already made their marks on each other’s hearts. Now it’s time to start living the life they’ve all been dreaming of.

Nothing is ever perfect or easy, though, and they all have to shift their perceptions. Geoff has to come to terms with his need for submission and desire to dominate Troy, and Carter must redefine the two most important relationships in his life. Troy struggles to understand why Geoff and Carter want this with him now, after years of watching from the outside. And Saul has to create a whole new definition of family. Can they all break the rules again and become something more special than they can even imagine?

Buy the Book: Amazon~~Universal eBook Links

Also in this series:
Title: Making a Mark
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B09GX963VV
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-64-2

Hide Bound, A Les’s Bar Novel

Contributors: Jodi Payne, BA Tortuga
Series: Les's Bar #2
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: January 18, 2022
Pages: 276

Peter Marshall has had enough of working for Parks and Rec when he comes across an opening for a real carpentry job and decides to give it a go. Building things is his passion, so even though the shop seems a little out there, and the owner seems pretty grumpy, Peter decides to go for it.

Brandon McPhail wishes he didn’t have to hire a new carpenter, but his current one is going out on maternity leave. He’s especially wary of this kid who can’t possibly be old enough to spell BDSM, let alone know what the lifestyle means. But Peter impresses Brandon with both his talent and his tenacity, so Brandon hires him on, reminding himself that he’s in a wheelchair due to his MS, he had a terrible experience in his last relationship, and despite how clueless Peter is about the lifestyle, he’s not interested in taking on another sub.

The chemistry between them is undeniable, though, and it’s not long before they’re exploring what they can learn from each other. Peter is a natural at fulfilling Brandon’s needs, and Brandon thinks he’s teaching Peter everything he’s eager to learn, but when danger threatens, they have to help their friends through it while trying to navigate their new relationship. Can they forge bonds strong enough to bind them together for life?

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:
Title: Hide Bound
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B09PGKXTSK
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-68-0

Deviations: Domination

Contributors: Jodi Payne and Chris Owen
Series: Deviations #2
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: December 30, 2019 (Third Edition)
Pages: 324

In this sequel to Deviations: Submission, Dom Tobias and Sub Noah are back, learning more about each other and their relationship, and testing the boundaries of what they can and can’t handle, both together and apart.

Tobias works at becoming more comfortable and finding his balance as a full-time Master again. His work brings out the true submissive in Noah, who faces some of his greatest fears, and his greatest secrets, finally confessing to Tobias about a terrible time in his past.

But Noah is not the only one who has a rough time. Tobias breaks down and shows Noah he's not all Dominance, too, which sends shockwaves through their romance, leaving them to wonder if they can hold onto their balance together.

Dominations is a deep exploration of the BDSM scene, with secondary characters who enhance the story and a central romance that has the reader rooting for Tobias and Noah to work through their obstacles and come out stronger.

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:

 

EXCERPT FROM DOMINATION

Wednesday. It had been a long, drawn-out week, and Tobias couldn't believe it was still only Wednesday.

He'd had a full day, out of town as usual in the morning, helping a mare to foal. She threw a beautiful dark bay colt that presented very much like his particularly handsome sire, and Tobias had considered making a bid for him right then and there but restrained himself. He was already training Noah; he didn't need another colt to complicate their weekends. Things were busy enough in his life without adding a new horse to his stables, a new responsibility to his already full plate.

In the few weeks since he'd met Noah at his club, Tobias had swung from one rush of feeling to another. Sexually, they were more than compatible, Noah's natural submissive tendencies meshing well with Tobias' own need to dominate. It went deeper than just mere sex, however, and in very short order Tobias and Noah had signed a six-month contract binding them together in a more tangible power exchange.

It was serious, it was important, and it was very heady. Tobias found almost all of his time taken up with thinking about his new submissive, lost in plans and a fair number of daydreams. It made his hours working as a large animal veterinarian seem almost relaxing by comparison. He only hoped that Noah's daydreams were confined to when he wasn't in his patrol car -- a police officer with his mind on his relationship wasn't good for anyone.

When Tobias walked in the door of his uptown condo, he set his keys down on the hall table and hit the play button on the answering machine as he pulled off his boots. After a long beep a rich male voice began to speak. ''Hello, Tobias, it's Bradford. I haven't seen you or your boy around the club in nearly a month. I trust this is a good sign? I'd like to get together and hear about how things are going. Yes, as a matter of fact, I am checking up on you; don't get your knickers in a twist, friend, it's just that... well, I worry. Oh, thank you for sending me a copy of your contract, I've put that in your files. Give me a call, Tobias, and let's have dinner. I'd like to catch up.''

Tobias sighed ruefully and nodded to himself. On some level he'd expected the call, though he hadn't really thought about it in terms of Bradford checking up on them. Still, it wouldn't be a trial to talk about Noah and where things stood at the moment; in fact, he'd welcome another perspective. He had a plan for the weekend and it might be a good idea to talk it over with someone who knew them both.

After stopping in the kitchen long enough to determine that he needed to order out for dinner, Tobias picked up the phone and called Bradford's direct line at the club. If the man didn't pick up, he'd at least be able to leave a message.

''Hello?'' Bradford was a man who'd done very, very well for himself. Part of his success was due to the fact that he could always be relied upon to respect the anonymity and privacy of his members and guests. Case in point, he never answered the phone with his own name or the name of the club, just a simple, discreet greeting, giving away nothing until he knew who was on the other end of the line.

''Good evening, Bradford,'' Tobias said with a smile. ''I got your message, Mother.''

''Ah, sonny-boy, so good to hear from you.'' Bradford snorted. ''Don't give me that crap, Tobias. I set the two of you up, you're both important members, and I want to know how it's going for you. That's called integrity, hmm? Trust me, I haven't a maternal bone in my body.''

Tobias grinned, not buying it for a moment. ''Sure. Whatever you say. You can stop worrying, though; things are fine.'' He crossed to the big window in his living room and looked out at the city lights, counting blocks until he found Noah's.

'''Fine' is such a drab, generic word, Tobias. Tell me what you really mean,'' Bradford encouraged.

''I mean... fine. Good. Great. He's coming along nicely; we've established a base level trust, I think.'' He turned and leaned on the window sill, facing the room. ''He had dinner with Phantom last week.'' Tobias resisted the urge to cringe at the thought of the two men, his new lover and his past lover, chatting happily over dinner. They both tended toward the unpredictable, and that worried him.

''Oh, yes, I know he did. That's part of the reason for my call. I gather it went well? Phan thought he was 'hot.''' Bradford loved gossip and made himself privy to all the rumors around the club. At first glance one might call it catty, but Tobias knew better -- he was simply protecting his own.

''It seemed to go well. Noah was fine when I saw him later. Calm, steady... he seemed to think Phan was -- look, how deep do you want to go here? I'd rather do this in person if you're looking for a long debrief. If you're just needing quiet assurances, both Noah and I are fine. The weekends are going well, and we're in touch through the week as well.''

Tobias knew as soon as he spoke that he'd sounded snappish and protective and that Bradford wouldn't miss it. The trouble was, he wasn't sure why he suddenly felt like pulling back -- and that meant he needed to talk it out. He sighed. ''Damn circular logic,'' he muttered.

''Tobias,'' Bradford sighed and made a clicking sound with his tongue. ''Be my guest tomorrow night for dinner. Here. What would you like to eat? I'll make sure it's prepared for you.''

Tobias rolled his eyes, safely several miles out of Bradford's view. ''Something gentle. Linguini in clam sauce?'' He hoped the tacit acceptance would be enough.

''Done. I look forward to seeing you, Tobias, it's been long enough,'' Bradford said softly, and Tobias could practically hear the man's very genuine smile.

He found himself smiling in reply. ''I'll see you tomorrow night, old friend. Around seven, I think.'' He hung up and turned once more to look out over the city, watching the cars cruise along Lincoln, toward downtown and Noah.

Title: Domination
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B0839M66Z6
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-19-2

 

Domination is available in AUDIO!
Purchase it at Audible, iTunes & Amazon!

 

 

Domination is available in FRENCH!
Purchase it from Juno Publishing directly,
or on Amazon7switch, or Kobo!

 

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!

Razor’s Edge

Contributors: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Series: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy #2
Genre: , , , ,
Release Date: January 21, 2020

Razor's Edge, The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy, Book Two

Razor blades left by a murderer continue to remind Sam and Thomas of James, the man they lost to violence, whose killer is still out there and seems to be watching them constantly, biding his time.

Their carefully built relationship also teeters on the edge of a knife. Sam tries to be the full-time sub he thinks Thomas wants, but fails miserably, while Thomas tries to understand that Sam is unique and his cowboy’s needs don’t lend themselves to a formal BDSM lifestyle. They work through confusion, arguments, and stress, but when communication starts to break down, they struggle to reconcile their differences to learn what it means to be a “them”.

An emotional misunderstanding might be the last straw, or it might be the opportunity the killer has been waiting for to take Sam out of Thomas’s life once and for all.

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:

Excerpt 

Chapter One

“You want a ride home, little Sammy?” Angel looked tired, a little grumpy.

Sam got it. It was four in the morning and no one liked that time—just getting up or getting off work.

“You going that way? Toward Thomas’s, I mean.”

The big man looked over at him slowly, fingers combing his beard. “Thomas’s? At this hour?”

“Yessir. We cleaned out James’s place. It was time.” His late brother’s apartment had been hanging over the two of them for too long. They’d cleaned it out, then he’d moved in with Thomas. Crawling into bed with his lover was amazing. A lot of things he was learning these days were pretty fucking amazing. Hell, he could feel Thomas with him, feel the sweet sting of his Dom’s stripes right across his shoulders. It was proof they weren’t alone, either of them.

“What, really? Thomas was really ready to do that? You need a place to stay, I got an extra room.”

“That’s kind as all get-out. Seriously. But I’m okay.” Oh, maybe it was supposed to be a secret. Thomas had said it was important to him, to keep things where they belonged. God, he needed to keep his fucking mouth shut. “I-I think I’m going to go take myself to breakfast, man, get some reading done, but thanks.”

“Shut up, Sammy. It’s not like I don’t know he’s your Master. Are you and Thomas a romantic thing now? Is this supposed to be some big secret because he’s coming off a relationship with James? Don’t be stupid. I’ll give you a ride.”

“Thanks. I appreciate it.” He didn’t know if it was a secret, if he was a secret. He hadn’t even considered it. He’d been so caught up in everything, so proud to be with Thomas, that he hadn’t been thinking.

In some ways he was always going to be a giant redneck.

“I’ll tell you, it’s a good thing you told me, because I was about to make a move myself. No lie. Leave it to Thomas to get two O’Reilly brothers. The little shit.”

Angel led him out to that big Harley.

“There seems to be something about him, yessir.”

About to make a move on him? Sleeping with Angel would be like sleeping with his big brother, Bowie. They were just alike, the two of them—huge. Sam trusted Angel with his life, but the idea of… Whoa. No.

He would let Thomas take him in every possible way. The idea of doing that with someone else made his butthole pucker.

“Hardly seems fair.” Angel climbed on and offered him a hand, grinning wide. “Well, at least I can still get you to ride bitch.”

“Absolutely. And you’re on the top of my list for fixing me when I’m broke.”

“If Thomas breaks you, I will break his head.” Angel looked back at him. “Not joking.” They took off down city streets that were much too bright for the darkest hour of the morning, and eerily deserted too. Angel didn’t seem to care much for stoplights or speed limits or really anything that might be considered obeying traffic laws.

He loved it, loved the adrenaline rush, the way Angel drove. It made him want to learn to drive a motorcycle.

Thomas lived on a more residential street, and Angel did back off the throttle a little so the Harley rumbled rather than roared, but Sam was still pretty sure they could be heard three blocks away. “You okay? You want me to walk you in?”

“Thomas will be sound asleep, I bet. I’d hate to wake him. Thank you, though.” Angel had been a dream, driving him home, making sure everything was good.

“We won’t. I won’t come in. I just want to make sure you get in all the way.”

He nodded. “Thank you. Y’all are all good to me.”

They got into the building, and the elevator crawled up. He blinked slowly, now that he was close to home, he wanted a shower and a bowl of cereal and to curl up with Thomas. Possibly on his belly. Get the fabric off his sore shoulders.

When the elevator doors opened, he chuckled as Angel walked him to the apartment door. Sam fumbled his key out, dropped it, and picked it up, sighing at himself. “Ready for a long nap and a day off.”

He put the key in the lock, grabbed the door handle, and bit out a “Fuck!” as a razor blade sliced into his palm.

“You okay? What the—shit, you’re bleeding.” Angel took the blade in one hand and opened the door with the other. “What the actual fuck?”

Sam stood there, staring at the razor, just stunned. No. No way. No fucking way.

He’d thought it was a prankster in James’s building.

“Sammy? You okay, man? Go inside.” Angel made him move, closed and locked the door behind them. “Hey. Sam.”

“I don’t understand.” God. This wasn’t a dipshit at the apartment. This wasn’t a trickster. No. This was about him.

It was about him, and now he’d brought it to Thomas. The asshole followed him to Thomas’s building.

Fuck. This was fucking about him.

His mind spun, and his heart pounded. “I need to see if Thomas is okay.”

“If…” Angel started to question him, but must have seen how serious he was. “Go. I’ll be right behind you.”

But before they made it halfway down the hall, Thomas called out for him. “Sam? Is that you? Everything okay?”

“We need you out here, Tommy.”

“Angel?”

“Now, Tommy.”

Sam just kept walking, his hand closed against his chest. He needed to see Thomas, to make sure he was…intact.

They met in the bedroom doorway, practically colliding in Thomas’s hurry to join them. “Sam? Angel? What’s going on? Sweetheart?”

Sam searched Thomas’s eyes, which were sleepy and worried, but his lover was whole.

Angel held up the razor blade. “On your door. He wouldn’t let me clean him up before he saw you.”

Sam had brought this to Thomas’s home. Him. Goddammit.

Thomas stared at it and sighed. “Fuck.” Thomas looked back at him. “I’m fine. You need to let Angel look at that, boy. I’m calling Colletti.”

“I’m sorry.” He headed to the kitchen and stuck his hand under the water, staring at nothing. He needed to…he ought to…he was…

Angel followed him, and he heard Thomas on his cell phone in the bedroom. “Who’s Colletti? Sam. Hey.” The water suddenly went ice cold.

His eyes flew open, his entire body jerking with the cold. “I have to take a walk. I’ll be back. I’ll bring back coffee.”

What the fuck was wrong with him?

“Like hell you will. You’re in shock, Sammy. You need to sit down.” Angel took him by the arm. “Come on. You’re going to sit and let me see that cut.”

Angel sat him down, staring right in his eyes. This wasn’t Angel his buddy talking now; this was Angel the EMT. Angel the retired Army combat medic. “Breathe, Sammy. In and out. Just relax. You’re okay.”

He wasn’t okay. He wasn’t okay at all.

“Hang on.” Angel wrapped his hand up in a kitchen towel. “Sam? Do you know where you are?” He thought he felt fingers, pressure on his wrist.

“I need to get out of here. Somebody followed me.” Poor Thomas. God.

“Detective Colletti is going to call me back in the morning.”

Thomas.

“Is he okay?” Thomas knelt by his chair. “Sam, are you okay?”

“He’s tachy, pulse is high. Not really focusing. I’m gonna guess he’s altered. Special K probably, maybe on the blade. A little goes a long way.”

“What? Are you kidding?”

“He keeps saying he has to go.”

“Oh, Sam.” A warm hand pressed into his cheek. “Sam, look here.”

“I’m sorry.” He forced himself to stay perfectly still, because this was going to hurt. “I brought this here somehow.”

He was going to have to leave.

“Stop, Sam. He might just as easily have followed me. Or us. It was probably both of us when we were moving James’s things and your things. This isn’t on you. But we’re going to catch him now. Colletti’s on it. He’ll call us in the morning.”

“Shit, this is a thing? Like it’s happened before?”

“Sam cut his hand a bunch of times in the other building. Even I did once. And whoever mugged him took James’s coat and nothing else. This is real, Angel. Really fucking real.”

“Oh, fuck.” Angel looked like thunderclouds were forming in his mind. “I can’t fucking believe it. Let me see your hand, Sammy.”

Sam looked to Thomas, frozen where he was. He’d known Thomas would agree that he should leave. That Thomas would say it wasn’t worth it.

“Yeah. He’s out of it.” Angel just took his hand.

“Sweetheart, I’m right here. I’ve got you; you’re safe, okay? Angel says there was something on that blade that’s got you a little…stoned.”

“I don’t suppose you know when his last tetanus shot was?”

He heard Thomas snort.

“I’m going to call Gina. She’s on tonight. He needs a tetanus shot and some stitches. Take some blood. It’ll take a few. You keep him here and calm.”

“I need to—I’m sorry.” And scared. What if this was punishment for falling in love with Thomas? What if this was all his fault?

“I’ve got him. I’m just going to take him to the couch. Hope Gina doesn’t mind my boxer briefs. Come on, sweetheart. Come with me.” Thomas pulled him out of the chair, but walking was hard, so he floated a little and landed on the couch in Thomas’s arms. “You need to relax and stop saying you’re sorry. There’s nothing to be sorry for.”

Sam took a couple of deep breaths, trying to clear his head, trying to focus.

Okay. Come on, Sam. Get with the program. Wake up. Focus. “I was going to take a shower.”

A shower, a bowl of cereal, snuggling.

“I thought he’d gotten in, gotten to you.”

“You were scared, huh? I’m okay, sweetheart. I’m fine. And you’ll be fine once this…shit…wears off. Colletti thinks this is good. He thinks we’ll catch him now.”

Thomas just held him still and close. It wasn’t snuggling, but it didn’t suck.

“I vote we electrify the doorknob.”

His words drew a harsh laugh from Angel.

“I like it, Sammy. Fry the motherfucker.”

“Security camera. There are some outside the building, a couple inside too. Maybe Colletti can get the recordings. We’ll put one on the door.” Thomas stroked his head, his back.

He felt the hint of ache, the buzz from where Thomas had marked him, and his body relaxed, his panicked thoughts slowing.

“Gina is on her way.”

***

His day with Thomas, work, the panic, the drugs—nobody was happier than he was when the EMTs quit poking at him and headed back out the door. Angel saw the paramedics out safe and promised to stop by the next day to check in.

Thomas locked the door, including securing a chain that he’d seen hanging but hadn’t seen Thomas use before. “You want that shower, babe?”

“I do. I smell like beer.” He stood up, telling himself he needed to act like a normal, functional human being, not a stoned, stitched-up, freaked-out asshole.

Thomas caught him under one arm with a smile. “You look a little like you’ve been drinking it.” They headed down the hall together, that arm through his sturdy and warm. “You need help? Or can you manage with that hand? Oh—or is that a dumb question because you’ve broken every bone in your body and somehow have managed to shower on your own for twenty-five years?”

“Almost twenty-six.” Did he need help? No. Did he want help? God, yes. There were terrors and guilt waiting in the back of his brain, and he didn’t want to be alone with them.

“God, you’re getting old. I better come help.” He got a kiss and a smile, and Thomas started helping him undress. “You do smell like beer. Wow.”

“It’s Saturday night. I had four thrown at me. It was great.”

Thomas just gave him a shake of the head.

He knew why his lover didn’t say anything, never did about the bar. It wasn’t disapproval, or a judgment on him. Thomas just didn’t like it. He hadn’t liked it from the start—since his initiation. But his lover seemed to understand that he needed the work and never asked him not to stay, never made a stink about his choices.

Thomas got the water hot and muscled him into the shower, then set his hand up on the tile to keep it dry.

He was already feeling less fuzzy—more tired and drained from the adrenaline rush, but those sensations he knew at least—and he just…well, he didn’t understand. Why him? Why James? Why them? Was it someone at the building? Someone he worked with at Mike’s? How could it be? James didn’t go to Mike’s, hadn’t ever. Someone at Thomas’s men’s club? Why him, then? No one knew about them, and Angel had just found out tonight.

Oh. Angel knew. He needed to apologize to Thomas about telling their secret. He also needed to remind Thomas that he wasn’t completely clear on all the rules and what was a secret and what wasn’t and, shit, Angel was a friend. A real friend. But still, he needed to figure out what was between them and the bedpost and what wasn’t.

Maybe he just needed a shot or twelve and a nap.

Was six thirty in the morning too late to start drinking?

“Earth to Sam. Give me your head. Where’d you go?” Thomas started scrubbing shampoo into his hair and massaging his scalp. Oh. Thomas was actually in the shower. Like, in it with him.

“I was caught in my brain.” He hummed at the touch and leaned. He’d never done this—been with a lover in the shower. He didn’t want to miss a second of it.

“Mm-hm. I’ve made it my personal mission to get you out of your brain. Or at least into the fun part.” Thomas tipped his head back into the spray and scrubbed the soap out. “Like this. This is the fun part.”

“Yes, Sir.” He closed his eyes and let the world tighten to right here with Thomas. He should be worrying, but he was just wearing down.

“We are going to finish getting you cleaned up, and you’re going to go to bed. And you’re going to stay there until this darkness under your eyes goes away and you have color back in your face. So tell me who I talk to at the bar, because you’re not going in tonight.”

“Daddy Mike.” He answered without thought, without argument, because the idea of bed and Thomas and rest captured him.

“Good boy.” Thomas spent some time with him, running gentle, soapy hands over his skin just because he needed it, not asking or expecting anything from him but that he stay present. They toweled off, and they both had a laugh as Thomas combed his hair. “This is a new one for me. Fun, but new.”

“Me too. My first shower with a lover.” He was living in a world of firsts.

“Really?” A kiss caught him by surprise, and Thomas winked. “You got ripped off. I’ll make it much more fun next time.”

“Sounds like a plan. I’m not feeling like Super Fun Boy right now.” He tried for a smile. “Angel offered me a ride home; he does most nights. I told him I was staying here. He was shocked, and I didn’t realize I maybe shouldn’t have said anything. If I wasn’t supposed to, I’m sorry.”

“I appreciate that he gets you home safely, especially tonight. Why shouldn’t you say anything? Are you worried about your job or something?”

“No. No, he just seemed like…” He closed his eyes as he tried to remember. “Like he was surprised. He offered me his spare room.”

“Hey.” Thomas took his hands, leading him back into the bedroom. “I’m proud of you as my sub, and I’m happy to show you off as my lover to anyone who is looking my way. Will some people be put off by it? Maybe, but it’s really none of their affair. Angel probably seemed shocked because the last he knew we were still essentially negotiating. You and I have grown together very quickly, and I just haven’t spoken to him since you moved in. That’s all. He didn’t know because I hadn’t had a chance to say anything, not because I don’t want the whole world to know you’re mine.”

“Good.” He leaned in, filling his senses with Thomas, letting it soothe the sore spots, let Thomas in to the tender bits that needed loving on. “I felt you with me, all night.”

Oh, Thomas liked that. That little growl, deep in his chest said it all. “Come to bed, sweetheart.”

“Yes, Sir.” He let Thomas settle him, propping him up and around with pillows and Thomas’s body until he could melt into the comfort. A deep sigh escaped him.

“You sleep and trust that I’ve got this. I’ve got you.” Thomas kissed him lightly. “Rest.”

“Got me.” He was gone before he could kiss Thomas back.

 

Title: Razor's Edge
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B083F4VR98

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!

Cowboy Protection

Contributors: Jodi Payne & BA Tortuga
Series: Merry Everything Series #2
Genre: , , , , , ,
Release Date: 11/22/22
Pages: 256

Maverick “Mackey” Keyes keeps the rodeo cowboys safe on his watch and he knows how to make his bullfighting team walk the line. He might be starting to feel his years, but he’s a pro, and he’s not afraid of anything that might happen on the arena floor.

Sidney Scott knows how to go with the flow, so when his dream job passes him by, he grabs the chance to work the bull riding circuit as a TV producer. He’s going to do the job right, traveling with the show, even if he hears some rumbling from the riders.

Mackey and Sid butt heads more than once, but when it really counts, they manage to get on the same page. When Mackey is injured, Sid steps up to help, and things take a far more personal turn. They might have been able to ignore the growing attraction between them at work, but a long road trip over the Christmas holiday and time away from the other cowboys lets them find something together that neither of them expect, but both of them need.

Cowboy Protection is an opposites attract, rodeo romance featuring a bullfighter and a corporate suit, with a side of holiday magic.

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:
Title: Cowboy Protection
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B0BG3DZCHC

Special Delivery — A Wrecked Holiday Novel

Contributors: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Series: East Meets Western #2
Genre: , , , ,
Release Date: November 24, 2020
Pages: 192

And baby makes three?
It’s fall in Vermont. The holidays are coming, the leaves are turning brilliant colors, and Skyler and Beckett are expecting a baby! They’re picking out furniture and paint colors for the nursery. They’re looking at ultrasounds and choosing names.
But nothing is ever simple for these two, and something they’re not expecting throws a wrench--or a great big crowbar--into Beck’s carefully planned paternity leave and Sky’s nursery decorations. But is it a disaster, a blessing, or both?
As with all deliveries, they’re at the mercy of fate and mother nature. They’ll be adding to their family—but they’ll be doing it in the most chaotic way possible.

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:

 

Chapter One

 

“Thank you, ma’am. Yes, ma’am. No, sir, I’m retired. Nice to meet you, sir. Hey, kiddo, I like your hat.”

Skyler had spent ten days doing publicity to support his annual Vermont invitational bull riding event that happened every spring. It was a big hit with the locals, and it drew folks from all over the country too, which made him popular in Burlington. He’d been shaking hands and signing shit like hats and programs, nodding, making goofy faces at babies, and pretending he was jealous that all the young guys were still riding.

Thank goodness for Danny, last spring’s champ, and one of those younger riders. Danny was great at pulling people in, had three times his energy, and was eager to please.

With Danny’s help, he’d secured sponsors and spread around a lot of good energy. But now he was sore, tired, and grumpy and ready to get home to his man and his critters. Flying, even in first class, was less than fun, and he had a husband waiting for him.

He finished his tomato juice and watched the orange and yellow trees. Pretty pretty.

The seat next to him was empty, which he appreciated, and he just wanted to rest until they landed. He knew Beckett was ready for him to get home too. They had to start doing the dance of his next exhibition.

This one would be number three, for chrissake. Number three in the spring, and Lord willing and the creek didn’t rise, there’d be three of them too.

Lord help him. Miss Angie had caught pregnant straightaway; one time with the turkey baster, and she was ready to go. Beckett had done good homework. Whatever service he’d found hooked them right up—he’d just made a donation in a cup, and now their little one was cooking. They would be busy as all get out come the event.

“Sir, can you put your seat back up, please?” The stewardess was a pretty girl, all big black eyes and warm smile.

“Surely.” He put the deal up, and then they were landing in short order. Lord have mercy, he was ready for this. As soon as they hit the ground, he turned his phone on.

It led to a bunch of texts.

Miss you.

Did you make your flight?

Are you home yet? I want to get my arms around you. That one was followed by a string of eggplants.

Please. Home btw. Yay.

Hey, husband. Where are you?

Pulling up to the gate. Be heading your way soon. Sky leaned a little hard on his cane when he stood, but he got his bag down without toppling over, or losing his hat, which was a win.

Beck caught sight of him before he made it off the escalator, and hurried his way. “Oh, my God! It’s Skyler Paulson! Can I get an autograph?”

“You got a buck?” He winked at Beck, one arm sliding around his lover’s back as he stepped off. It still felt bold as all get out to touch in public.

“I’m fresh out of bucks.” Beck caught him up, taking some of his weight off his hip and hugged him tight. “You good? Welcome home.”

“Thanks. Glad to be here.” They headed for baggage claim to wait. “How’s your week been?”

“Busy. I hated not coming with you, but…you know.”

“Yeah, I know. Important man.”

Beck let him lean a little bit more, handing off his phone. “Hey, did you see this yet? Angelica sent it a couple of hours ago. She had some weird cramping, and they sent her for an ultrasound.” Beckett’s hand tucked tighter around his waist. “She’s fine. The baby is fine. She had…Braxton Hicks…or something. Fakey contractions. No big deal. But isn’t our little Sky-ling perfect? The baby looks more like a baby and less like a blob this time.”

His husband sounded so damn proud.

“Is she okay? Does she need anything?” Sky’s heart raced at the thought of anything happening to either Angie or their wee one.

“She said she’s fine. She was a little worried, but she’s not anymore. I have a brief to get out, but maybe you could stop by with some of that ice cream she likes tomorrow and check in on her?”

“Sure.” God, no. He wanted to sleep. Still, no rest for the wicked.

Beck grinned at him, eyes twinkling. “And so it begins, huh? Pretty soon I’ll be on paternity leave.”

“You’ll be a man of leisure,” he teased back. He’d never even heard of paternity leave, but it worked for them, yessir.

“Leisurely not sleeping, you mean?” Beck kept both hands on the wheel but cut his eyes over to Sky. “I think it’s time to put the nursery together. Order some furniture and all that. Paint. Pick some names.”

“Okay. I’m good at putting shit together.” He liked the whole idea of painting that little room, making it all fun and somewhere a baby belonged.

“So for boys I’m thinking Ozzy, or Axl…or maybe Mick,” Beck grinned over at him. “Jimi? Elvis?”

“I will hurt you. No weird-assed names for my baby. Tanner, Dalton, Sterling, Stetson?”

“Stetson? Reel it in, cowboy.” Beck laughed. “I like Dalton, though.”

“Cheyenne if she’s a girl?” He liked Cheyenne. “Or Dallas. Denver is unisex…”

Beck raised an eyebrow. “What’s with the map names? You’re not even from any of those places.”

“What are your ideas, then? Lita? Madonna? Scary?”

“Ooh, Madonna.” For a horrifying second, he thought maybe Beck was serious. “Scarlett. Violet. Hazel…or if you’re not into colors maybe ice cream flavors. Vanilla, Raspberry…” Beckett was having way too much fun.

“Uh-huh. Brittany? Oakley? Shenandoah?”

“Shenandoah is kind of a mouthful, huh?” Beck snorted. “I’ll play along. Charlotte? Elizabeth? Sierra?”

“I like Elizabeth and Sierra both.” Actually, he thought they were beautiful. “Sierra Elizabeth. I like that.”

“Oh. Sierra Elizabeth Paulson-Adler. That’s nice.” Beck reached over and squeezed his hand.

“It is!” Oh, one down, one to go. “Dalton MacKenzie after Mackey?”

Beck nodded. “Yes. After Mackey. Perfect.”

“Wow.” He looked over at his Beck. “That was easy. I missed you all week, bad.”

Beck nodded as he pulled into the driveway. “Yeah. I was waiting on that until we got home.” Even in the dark, he could see all the bushes in front had been trimmed and the garden beds were mulched for winter. Someone had been keeping himself busy this week. “And now we’re home, so…” Beck parked the Jeep and shut it off, then pulled him closer by his shirt and kissed him hard.

The world stopped for a second, and his eyes rolled back in his head. Oh, thank fuck, that was perfect. He reached up and cupped Beckett’s jaw, giving in to the pressure of those hungry lips.

Beckett kissed him until he could only gulp air, before letting him go. “Okay. You’re home.” Beck took a deep, heavy breath, jumped out of the Jeep, and came around to his side. “Now I can breathe. It’s hard without you here.”

“I’m home. I’m tired, but so fucking happy.” Oh, the dog was losing his mind. Sky could hear him. He thought maybe he heard Walter too, meowing under the barking and howling.

“I’m not the only one who missed you. Bruiser’s had his nose to that window for days, and Walter’s been sulking.” Beck scooped Sky right out of his seat and into his arms. “Hey, you.”

“Hey, lover. Tell me I don’t have to leave again forever.” He rubbed their noses together, laughing at his weird codependence. Still, since they’d decided to have a baby, he found himself ready to nail his shoes to the floor.

“Never, ever.” That was a lie and they both knew it, but it felt good to believe it right now. Beck carried him to the front door and set him down. “I’ll get your suitcase. Don’t let the furballs knock you over.”

He braced himself and opened the door, Bruiser hitting him like a ton of bricks. “Oh, my puppy. Has Walter been mean to you, you giant beast?”

Bruiser howled and moaned, telling him all about it, and all the while Walter was staring at him, tail twitching. Uh-oh.

“Bruiser! Down, boy. Inside, go on.” Beck stepped around him and shooed the dog inside, then dropped his suitcase in the foyer. “Hey, Walt. Look who’s home.” Beck ran a hand over Walter’s back and up the length of the cat’s furry tail. “You want a beer? Should I order pizza?”

“Yes, and God, yes.” He toed his boots off, putting them beside the door. “I brought you a present from Vegas.”

“A present?” Beck pulled out his phone and Sky knew the pizza would be on its way shortly. His husband loved the whole ordering by app thing. “You mean other than the gift of finally having you here where I can touch you?”

“Yep, although that’s pretty cool.” He dug out the two bags. The first was a crazy mobile from one of the Cirque stores for the baby—the whole thing made from goofy little polka-dotted monsters. The second was another Venetian mask for the dining room. He’d been buying them for Beck for ages.

Beck’s eyes lit up as he turned the mask over in his hands. “Oh, look at this one! A devil. Those horns…I love it, Sky.” Beck kissed him and ducked into the dining room. “Where should we put it? I’ll hang it tomorrow.”

“Yeah? I’m glad you like it. I thought it went well with the winged one from last year.”

“Yes. That’s where we’ll put it.” Beck held it up on the wall near the winged mask. “Here.”

Walter howled at them from the doorway like he was possessed.

“Uh-oh.”

“Do you not want it there, Walt?” He needed the kitty treats. Stat.

Walter glowered at him, still as stone except for a jerky twitch of his tail.

“There’s a can of tuna on the counter,” Beck whispered, angling his head toward the kitchen.

“You are a gentleman and a scholar.” He went and popped the can open. “Come here, sexy one.”

Walter hesitated, but only for a second before waltzing into the kitchen with his head held high and his tail flagging. Bruiser followed, but Sky knew all he wanted was kisses. Walter required bribery.

He hand-fed his best bud with tuna, whispering to him about how he’d missed him most of all. Christ, he was owned.

Walter purred and devoured the offering, stopping every so often to trill at him and rub against his fingers. Beck distracted Bruiser with love and a chew toy, keeping the big fluff-ball out of their way.

“Walter won’t admit it, but while you were gone…he slept with the dog again.” Beck whispered the last bit. “On your side of the bed. Just like last time.”

“Oh, he’s my good buddy, you know. I don’t know what I’d do without him.” Walter had been there from the time he’d separated off from Beck, hopping right into his truck like he belonged there.

“Come get off that hip.” Beck waited for him to wash the tuna off his fingers, handed him a beer, and led him to the sofa. “Now that all the animals have said hello, you think we can make out until the pizza gets here?”

Someone had missed him bad. “This is a marvelous fucking idea.”

He took a drag of his beer, then pulled Beckett in for a hard kiss.

Beckett set his beer down with a loud thud on the table and held him with both hands. One of them caught him by the nape and the other gripped his shoulder as if making sure he were real. His husband’s kiss was reassuring, but he could feel the rough need around the edges, the heat barely under control. He smiled against Beckett’s lips, and found the heavy, denim-covered cock, rubbing nice and hard.

Damn, it was good to be wanted, to be desired. Craved, even.

“Sky.” Beck had never been shy about what he wanted. Beck groaned and shifted, spreading to give Sky more access. Sky nodded, working open Beck’s fly so he could fish out that sweet cock.

“I’ve been thinking about you all day.” Beck dropped a hand low, trying to reach his fly but couldn’t quite, so those hot fingers teased along his waistband instead.

“All day?” He stroked, base to tip, fingertip working the head. “I couldn’t wait to get back to you.”

Beck nodded, eyes starting to glaze over. “All week. But today, once I knew you were on that plane…” Beck pulled him into another kiss and rocked up into his fingers.

Someone wasn’t going to have to sleep alone tonight, and he was getting laid too.

He dove into the kiss, humming into Beckett’s mouth.

Beck shifted again stretching out and pulling Sky down on top of him, panting softly. Both hands worked his fly open. They’d never quite outgrown the appeal of rubbing off together. “This okay…on the hip?”

“Uh-huh. ’S okay. Want you.” He got them lined up, just right. “Good?”

“So good.” Beck’s hands landed on his ass as he bucked up off the couch. “You…missed me, huh?”

“Every friggin’ second.” That was clear, right? “Every breath.”

“Yeah.” Beck nodded, breathing hard and hauling on his ass. The couch was creaking ominously, which would have been funny if they hadn’t been so fucking focused.

They didn’t have time to linger, either. That pizza was coming, and they didn’t need to answer the door covered in spunk.

Beck shoved one hand between them and tightened it around both of their cocks, sweetening the friction. “Ready, baby?” Beck squeezed, giving him something to work against.

“Fuck!” He arched hard, driving them harder, pre-come slicking the way. “Beck. Beck, right there.”

“Good, yeah? I’ve got you.” Beck looked up at him, deep brown eyes holding his. “Close.”

“Yes. Love you.” More than anything on earth. He dove back into the kiss, both of them working together to get off.

“Mm. Mmm!” Most of Beck’s shout was muffled by his lips, and Beck broke the kiss long enough to get a breath as wet heat spread between them. He followed right behind, only needing a stroke or two more.

He blinked at his lover, swaying a little, heart pounding hard. “Wow.”

Beck chuckled and gave him a drunk-looking smile. “Always wow with you.”

“No shit on that.” He nibbled Beckett’s bottom lip, as lazy as he could be.

“Love you, Stud.” Beck kissed him, then rolled him suddenly, dropping him gently on the couch. “Let me clean up for the pizza guy. You relax.” Beck had his shirt off before he’d even left the room.

Damn, he loved how Beck moved, like it was still easy. He envied that a little, but he liked watching it more. It was good to be home.

 

Title: Special Delivery
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B08MZ7GMFW

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!

Deviations: Discipline

Contributors: Jodi Payne and Chris Owen
Series: Deviations #3
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: December 30, 2019 (Third Edition)
Pages: 312

Tobias and Noah explore their relationships more deeply than ever, not just through their own Dominance and submission, but by engaging with their friends. As Noah helps Tobias through the loss of someone dear, he finds Tobias helping him too, leading Noah through some intense sexual games, breaking down the last of his fears, and helping Noah face the biggest one of all: the cage.

Meanwhile, Tobias's ex-lover, Phantom, becomes close friends with Noah and they discover and try to resist the simmering sexual tension between them. Their playful teasing turns to real support when Phantom reaches the breaking point due to a lack of consistent Master in his life; something Phan desperately needs.

While Bradford decided he has to stand in as that Master for a while, Tobias and Noah go to Paris, where they see the sights, go to a sexy club, and re-negotiate their contract. Returning from Paris to their own lives brings them all sorts of new difficulties, from deciding whether they should live together, to trying to figure out just where Phantom belongs in their ever-changing relationship.

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:

EXCERPT FROM DISCIPLINE

Tobias cursed as he came across yet another torn up intersection. Traffic was a mess all through the downtown core, and his frustration level was rising with every one-way street he had to navigate. He was going in a circle, he just knew it, and Lincoln Avenue was always just out of reach.

The trouble, he decided, wasn't so much the damn construction as the sheer idiocy of the drivers who simply wouldn't get out of his way and let him get home. "It's not even close to rush hour," he muttered, talking out loud in uncharacteristic frustration and trying to ease around yet another truck offloading dirt or equipment or something. He hit the gas and then the brakes as a woman in a PT Cruiser cut him off and gave him the finger.

"And you would think," he added, "that with all this crap going on... I could at least lose this fucking erection." An incredibly persistent one at that, one that had been with him to varying degrees since he'd woken up from a morning dream about Noah and new leather wrist cuffs that had complex and intriguing chains dangling from them. He'd been hard off and on since then, and his body was definitely settling on full hardness at the moment.

He took another breath and looked around at the traffic as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat, his irritation growing. "But no. Not today. Today, I'm cursed with an iron dick, a schedule that's opened up, a submissive at work, and endless traffic. God damn it!" He slammed his hand down on the steering wheel and a miracle happened: the road in front of his car emptied.

So he hit the gas and took off, heading for home. The sudden siren and flashing lights in his rearview mirror made him glance down at the speedometer in dismay. "Ah, shit." With a sigh he pulled over and undid his seatbelt.

A chest in uniform appeared at the driver's side window. A knuckle tapped on the glass, and Tobias rolled down the window, stifling another sigh. The cop had one hand on his gun. As if Tobias could make a bid for freedom in this traffic.

"License and registration, please," a voice requested in an official tone, and Tobias dutifully reached for the glove compartment. "Wait a minute." The cop rested an arm on the door and ducked to see better into the car. "Do you have any idea how fast you were going, sir?"

"Jesus Christ," Tobias groaned, his head falling back on the seat. "Yes. Too fast. Would you like to know why, Noah?"

"That's 'Officer Dolan,' sir, and, yes. Yes, I would." Noah grinned widely.

Tobias rolled his eyes. "Well, you see, Officer Dolan, I have a smart-mouthed lover whom I can't get out of my head." He pointed to his lap. "I was in rather a rush to call him. Or at least think about him in private."

Title: Discipline
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B0839N7PBF
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-19-2

 

Discipline is available in AUDIO!
Purchase it at Audible, iTunes & Amazon!

 

Submission est disponible en FRANÇAIS !
Achetez-le directement auprès de  Juno Publishing,
ou sur Amazon, 7switch, ou Kobo!

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!

No Ghosts

Contributors: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Series: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy #3
Genre: , , , , , ,
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Pages: 297

 

Razor's Edge: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy, Book Three

Months after James’s brutal murder, Sam gets an opportunity to help Thomas find closure. That means leaving New York City to travel to the O’Reilly’s Texas home, to meet Sam’s parents and get a taste of how and where the O’Reilly brothers grew up.

Their vacation is also an opportunity for Thomas and Sam to move beyond the past, drop their remaining baggage, and finally solidify their tumultuous relationship.

But that may be easier said than done given that Thomas has a secret he’s been keeping from Sam, and Sam is sick and tired of everyone in his life knowing what’s going on but him. It’s the worst time for their trust to break down, because their final confrontation with James’s killer looms, and if they’re going to walk away, they’ll have to do it together.

Note to our readers: Each of the three books in The Cowboy and the Dom Series has a fully realized, romantic ending. However, the overarching suspense element will leave readers on a cliffhanger after books one and two, to be fully resolved in book three (this book). Readers should begin the series with book one, First Rodeo.

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:

EXCERPT

Chapter One

“No, Sam can’t be alone yet. Can you set up a conference call?” Thomas stared at the Scrabble board. “After three.”

“Three thirty?” Thomas’s assistant, Ally, was on the phone, being her usual organized self and covering for him while he was out of the office, looking after his lover.

“Yes, that’ll work. Put it on my calendar and email me the slide deck?”

“Sure thing, I’m doing that right now.” He could hear Ally typing. “Doctor Kinessey called about continuing his sponsorship for next year.”

While they were talking, Thomas pulled a handful of Scrabble tiles off his rack and placed them on the board, spelling out C-A-N-D-Y. Not great, but not terrible. He gave Sam a shrug and a smile and paced away from the board, one eye still on his lover, his sub.

“When did he call? Did Kathy call him—”

“Yesterday. She’s on it.”

“Oh, good. That’s promising.”

Sam tilted his head, playing Y-O-D-E-L-I-N-G. “You can go in, Mister. I swear.”

He shook his head and mouthed the word No to Sam.

“So how’s the cowboy?”

He stared at the board and sighed. “Jesus.”

“That bad?”

“What? No. No that wasn’t for you. He’s much better. I’m just getting my ass handed to me in Scrabble. Sorry.”

“Okay…that’s not sexy at all. So…ah. Amanda wants to know if you’re planning on making an appeal at the donor gala next month.”

“Yes. Tell her I’m interested, and I’ll try to get in to see her early next week.”

“She goes on vacation Wednesday.”

“Oh. Okay, well Monday, then.”

“You’re sure?”

He had to return to work someday. Sam would be coping by then. “Yes, Monday.”

“Okay, Boss. That’s all I got. Check in with me later?”

“All right. I’ll call you around four.” Thomas looked at his watch. He was pretty proud of himself. He was up, showered, shaved, he’d made breakfast, and even gotten dressed today. It was as if he were real.

“Kiss your cowboy!”

He snorted. “Thanks, Ally.” He hung up the phone. “You cheated.”

“I did not. I’m just brilliant.” Sam stuck his tongue out at him and rolled those pretty eyes. Once Sam’s stitches had come out, the boy shaved his head, and with the knit caps he wore constantly these days, Sam’s eyes seemed huge.

“I liked it better when you still had the concussion and you thought the Hs were Ls and the Vs were Ws.” He picked five tiles and stared at his new letters thoughtfully. “Ah.” He grinned. Maybe he could keep up after all. He played D-E-V-I-C-E off Sam’s D in “yodeling” and replaced the tiles in his rack. “Looks like I’m going back in on Monday.”

“I’m more than capable of managing. I’ve got this. I’ll even make you chili.” A-X-E-S and D-E-V-I-C-E-S? Thomas was about to pinch Sam.

“We’ll have to talk about some ground rules while I’m not home.” He turned Sam’s “axes” into T-A-X-E-S and also put down A-B-L-E off his T.

“Nicely done. What kind of ground rules? I’m just going to work, mostly. I’m still five hundred emails behind.” Sam played V-O-L-E.

“Well, for starters, no working out.” God, he had impossible tiles. He sighed and used the C in “candy” to make R-I-C-E. Pathetic.

“I’ll get soft in the middle, you know.”

“You can do some crunches when I get home. But no running at all.”

“No. Not yet. Maybe in a little while, but…no. Not yet.” Sam reached out for him.

He abandoned his letters, moved around the coffee table to sit closer to his boy, and took Sam’s hand in his. “Yes. That’s right. Not yet.”

“Mmm…hey.” Sam twined their fingers together, holding on to him.

“Hi.” Thomas gave his boy a smile. “It’ll be good, won’t it? Getting back to our routine.” If they could even call it that. Sam had only just moved in when he was attacked and hospitalized, so they hadn’t had a routine in place for more than a couple of weeks. But Sam had been happy before all this insanity, working on his book and making progress on his research projects. The focus had been good for his boy.

“You know it. I’m aching for a little normal. Just a little. Maybe a lot.”

“Aching, yes.” He’d been fine all week. His body had been just as focused on Sam’s recovery as his mind. But talking about normal suddenly made him want his lover back.

He reached for Sam and pulled his boy in for a kiss.

Sam’s hand was warm on Thomas’s cheek, his thumb moving lazily, stroking under his eye.

His boy smelled like Old Spice and tasted a little wild, just like his cowboy should. He slid a hand over Sam’s hip and tucked it under one firm ass cheek, giving it a squeeze. The grin he got was pure happiness, Sam leaning hard into his touch.

His boy’s energy lit him up and he grinned, catching those hazel eyes, loving the little extra green he saw there this time. “Hey, don’t I know you from somewhere, cowboy?”

“That’s the rumor. You found me wandering, I hear. All aimless and shit.” Sam licked the corner of his lips, the sensation featherlight, intriguing.

“Right, aimless. I remember now.” He huffed out a soft laugh. “Well, we can’t have that. I’m sure I’ve got something you can focus on.” He nudged Sam’s chin up with his own and inhaled against smooth skin, breathing his boy in.

“Mmm…” That satisfied sound settled deep in his balls. “Oh, that’s just right.”

“Mhm.” He licked and kissed his way past Sam’s throat, humming as he felt the boy swallow against his lips, and tested the bend near the boy’s shoulder with his teeth.

Sam moaned for him, moving sweet and slow against him, almost like he was dancing. It didn’t take anything at all to encourage Sam into his lap; then he had that perfect ass rocking into him.

“Yes.” That was what he was after. Heat spread up his spine, making him suck in a quick, deep breath. “That’s good, sweetheart.” He slipped his hands up under Sam’s T-shirt and explored the hot skin and hard muscles with knowing fingers.

Sam stared at him, letting him see all the hunger, the love. It could get addictive fast, that open desire.

A piece of him was so ready for a throwdown, but he took a breath and made that wait because his hands needed to feel Sam whole; to feel his lover’s strength, make sure it was real, make sure Sam could handle what was building in him.

He reached up and traced the edge of Sam’s cap. “Are you sure?”

“I am. I got this.” Sam kissed him hard enough that he forgot to breathe. “I need to feel us together, you know?”

He found a breath, thin though it was. “I do. I want you. God, so much.” He urged Sam off his lap and stood. “I have to have all of you.”

“Yes. Every bit.” Sam nodded and led him to the bedroom, hands sweating just a little. Thomas followed eagerly, captivated, recognizing the gesture for what it was. As they moved into the room, he tugged off his T-shirt and tossed it, going for another kiss, chasing down Sam’s lips.

Sam opened up, hands sliding down into his sweats, easing them over his ass.

Thomas kicked his jeans off, stepping past them and reaching for Sam’s T-shirt. He got hold of the fabric but stopped himself, eyes glancing up at the knit cap on Sam’s shaved head. He lifted the shirt off, careful not to bump anything that might still be sore, and dropped it.

“May I?” he asked, catching Sam’s eyes, fingers reaching for the hat, the only garment his lover was still wearing.

“I don’t want to turn you off, Mister.” There was a question in Sam’s expression, a test.

Thomas tilted his head, wondering why his lover couldn’t see how entirely unnecessary that was, but he gave Sam the only answer he had…and his heart with it. “I want all of you, sweetheart. I love all of you. Every bit. Always.”

“All right, then. Yeah.” Sam took the hat off, no more hesitation, trusting in his word.

He was continually in awe of the depth of Sam’s trust in him. He smiled, gave his boy a nod, and ran his fingers lightly from front to back, across Sam’s skull, examining the scars and what was left of the bruises, learning them a little and accepting them as part of who the boy was to him. “Thank you.”

He planned to reward that trust tonight for as long as they could stand it. He took a kiss, bumping against Sam as they shuffled toward the bed.

Sam snuggled in, pressing into him, shoulders to hips, holding nothing back.

“Mmm.” He got his arms around Sam. “You feel so good. I was missing you like this. I’m so ready to get lost in you, sweetheart. Inside you.” He shifted, trapping Sam’s cock against his hip and rocking them together.

Sam made the best sound—half moan and half happy yelp—and his eyelids went heavy. Thomas tugged Sam in tighter, giving him more friction, making his boy feel the pressure.

“Good, yes?” He could feel Sam moving…always moving, his boy. One more thing he’d missed. He was aching in earnest now, wanting Sam’s attention, his boy’s touch. He was patient, though. He’d get what he desired most. For now, he was enjoying watching Sam feel, watching his boy begin to dissolve.

“Oh, Mister. Good don’t begin to…” Sam’s words trailed off, a low moan taking their place as a deep flush climbed his chest.

Not even close, he knew. “My boy,” he said with a growl that started down deep. He moved to the bed, pulling Sam with him by the hand. “Come on, sweetheart, off your feet.”

Sam crawled up onto the bed, arms open to him, begging for him. His boy did need so well. It was a beautiful sight. It made him breathless, eroded what was left of his patience. He moved over Sam and into those arms, gliding his stiff prick along hot skin and kissing his boy until they were equally unable to breathe.

He made sure that tender, bruised head was cradled in the pillows, but that was where he let his worry stop. Sam’s body would tell him everything he should know.

With his eyes on his boy, he curled his fingers firmly around Sam’s cock and stroked, thumb dragging up the back and circling around the head, just to see it in Sam’s face. Just to see what he was doing reflected in his boy’s eyes.

Sam’s lips dropped open and one leg drew up, his knee bending to give him more access.

The knowledge that two weeks ago Thomas might have lost this, that he might not have had his boy in his bed again was present with him as he touched Sam, watched the boy move. It wasn’t distracting or even painful, not with the reality of Sam right in front of him, but it made him appreciate this first time together since the incident, made him more acutely aware of what they had, what they were together.

It made some of his other worries feel less significant, less pressing. That was their work. This was their world, and he was more than content in it.

He reached for his nightstand, craving his lover beyond words.

“Damn, you’re pretty.” Sam reached up, fingers stroking his nipple to hardness, pinching the barest bit, teasing him.

He hissed at the quick little jolt that sent across his chest, raising goose bumps and making him shiver. “Thank you.” He was going to accept those words, the same way his lover had accepted his own earlier. Simply. He was trying to be better about that.

He smoothed the rubber over his cock and offered his boy two slippery fingers and a little pressure. “Soon, boy. Need you soon.”

Sam pinched again before bearing down, taking his fingers in. Sam was silk inside, tight and heated, and Thomas groaned at the promise Sam’s body made.

He twisted his fingers as Sam took them in, slicking and teasing, stretching and making sure his boy relaxed. The last was hardly necessary, as Sam felt loose and ready. That made the corner of his mouth twitch in a knowing grin. His boy wanted everything he did.

He’d never known a man that had so little sexual experience and so much natural instinct, such deep desires. It suited him to be Sam’s first and only. It made him just that much more proud, and it was hot as hell. He groaned as that thought settled right into his groin, making his balls tight and his cock stretch. Fuck. “Sweetheart…”

“Mister. Please, love me, huh?” Sam spread wide, knees bent in a clear offer.

Damn, it didn’t get any hotter than that. “Love you.” He lined up, one fist around his cock to guide himself, and sank into his boy to the root with a long sigh. Sam rippled around him, the sensation driving another spike of heat up along his spine.

He stretched over Sam, instinct already driving him. Sam’s need was making him high, making it hard to think but easy just to let his body have what it wanted. Sam met his thrusts, gaze dragging over his body like his boy wanted to devour him.

“Fuck, Sam.” He leaned down and kissed his boy, hard and deep, thrusting in with his tongue even as his hips went wild. “Feel so good. Perfect.”

“Yes.” Sam nodded, biting his bottom lip, white teeth just digging in.

Sam’s prick pressed into his belly and he reached for it again, giving the boy just enough of a grip to feel it. That soft cast slapped against the sheets, Sam’s right hand fisting tight. “Oh, damn. Fuck. Want you so bad.”

He ducked his head and shifted his hips a bit, the steeper angle giving him a little more rub. “Fuck!”

Sam wrapped those strong legs around him, adding all that core strength to his, and shit, he was going to lose it. Sam rode him like no one else, frantic, hungry, pushing them both. He grunted and gave in, breathing hard, single-minded, taking everything Sam offered and returning it. He loved the way they worked together, no shame, no boundaries, just giving and getting everything they needed.

“Sam!” He had to let go of Sam’s cock to brace himself before he fell over; his boy was so strong, and he had to balance.

Sam bore down, squeezed hard around his cock, and Thomas barked out a sharp cry. Thomas trembled and gulped in air, thrusting uselessly, his cock choked by Sam’s body. To his own ears, his shout sounded hoarse as his climax roared through him, just a breath before he was ready, one second before he’d have lost control himself, his own pleasure summoned by his beautifully impatient boy.

“So-so fucking fine,” Sam breathed, right hand pulling at his needy cock, clumsy, harsh, awkward.

“I’ve got you, sweetheart.” Jesus, his voice felt blown. He pushed Sam’s hand away and took over, strokes solid and steady, Sam’s cock gliding through his fist as he watched the pleasure roll over his boy’s face in waves.

“Mister!” Sam shuddered and shot for him, ass still clamped tight around his cock.

Thomas groaned as another jolt ran through him, making the blood roar in his ears and his vision blur. He blinked it clear, wanting to see his boy, wanting to watch. “You’re stunning, love.”

Sam panted for him, blinking up with a purely dazed expression.

Oh, that was adorable.

He leaned down, took a slightly breathless kiss, and smiled at Sam. “That was…you’re…fuck, I love you.” He had so much to say, but he didn’t seem to have words yet, so he hoped that summed it up well enough.

“Love.” Sam moaned for him, licking Thomas’s lips. “Wow, huh?”

He nodded. That about covered it. “Yes. Wow. Incredible.” He kissed Sam again. “The way you drive me out of my mind.”

Sam grinned at him. “Good. I’m so glad. I want to make you feel as good as you make me.”

“Oh, sweetheart. Without even trying.” He put a hand on Sam’s hip and shifted, dropped the rubber in the bin by the bed, and stretched out alongside his boy.

“Mmm…that is one of my favorite feelings on Earth.” Sam sounded utterly tickled.

He laughed in agreement. It felt good to have this back, the warmth, his boy so relaxed, nothing between them but skin.

“It feels much better than being crushed at Scrabble.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Sam patted his leg, fingers trailing over his skin. “I missed making love with you, Mister.”

His chest tightened at Sam’s words. “Yes, so much. We needed this, sweetheart. I was craving you.” Mindful of the boy’s injuries, he pulled Sam to him, helping his lover settle in his arms. Sam didn’t hesitate for a second; he snuggled in with a satisfied sigh, resting hard against Thomas’s chest.

He held his boy close, grateful to have felt Sam’s strength, to know for sure that every bit of Sam was solid and whole. They still had other pieces of their relationship to visit, other aspects of their lives to bring back around to normal, but as far as new beginnings went, this was the perfect start.

 

Title: No Ghosts, The Cowboy and the Dom Book Three
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B0851V13ZS
ISBN13: 978-1951011291

 

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!