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First Rodeo

Contributors: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Series: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy #1
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Pages: 303

First Rodeo: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy, Book One

When a killer strikes, Texan and former rodeo cowboy, Sam O’Reilly, loses his older brother. Unbeknownst to Sam, James was also the lover and sub of a sophisticated New York City Dom named Thomas Ward. Sam comes to the city determined to stay until he can bring the murderer to his own brand of justice, while Thomas’ more ordered mind is hoping for a legal solution. Neither man expects their connection to the other, but having each lost someone irreplaceable, their hearts are crying out for comfort almost as loudly as their bodies are screaming for each other.

Some yearnings refuse to be ignored, but transcending their differences to explore the fragile connection between them will prove to be a steep a hill to climb--the first of many. As Sam and Thomas take the first tentative steps on the rocky path that might lead to a relationship, the killer steps out of the shadows...

And this time, his sights are set on Sam.

*Note: Each of the books in The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy have fully realized romantic HEAs. However, the overarching suspense element leaves readers on a cliffhanger after books one and two, to be resolved in book three.

Available to purchase, or to borrow with Kindle Unlimited.

 

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:

Chapter One

“What the fuck are you going to do, baby brother?” Bowie stood at the gravesite, staring down at him like Bowie always had. Gigantic prick. “Do you think you’re going to fucking fix this? James is dead.”

Like Sam didn’t know that.

Fury flashed inside him, hot and fueled by an agony he’d never expected, and he turned, his fist shooting out and catching Bowie right in the uniformed gut.

Rule number two: never monologue.

That surprised Bowie enough that it doubled him over, and Sam got an uppercut in. He had to get his shots in while he could. His big brother outweighed him by sixty pounds and towered over him by damn near a foot and, he had to be honest, had ten years of being a Ranger behind him.

“Motherfucker!” Bowie reached for him, and he danced out of range.

“You kiss my momma with that mouth, grunt?” He went for Bowie’s trick knee, thankful he had his shitkickers on. That pointed toe was useful, and he had a chance to fell the giant.

Rule number three: once you get them down, keep them down.

Used to be that him and James would work together to take Bowie down. That was never going to happen again.

Never.

The thought of that closed casket, that slashed-up face he’d had the misfortune to identify hidden under the oiled wood, made him gag and stumble, and Bowie took advantage, the fists on the back of his neck enough to face-plant him in grave dirt.

“Rule number one, baby brother. Don’t start shit you don’t have the strength to finish.” The hands around his throat were strong, the tremble in them only noticeable because they were so tight.

The sound of a pistol cocking was sharp and clear, and the fuzzy image of Aunt Linda wavered in his sight. “Boys, if you upset your momma and daddy, I will be put out. Get your skanky asses off the ground. Y’all are in your Sunday clothes.”

“Seriously, Aunt Linda?” Bowie muttered. “Even I didn’t come to the gravesite armed.”

“I know you boys. Can’t trust you as far as I can throw you. Get your asses up. Now.”

Bowie stood up and hauled him alongside, just as easy as pie.

“Now apologize,” she demanded.

“He started it.” Bowie was still a suck-up.

“Jim Bowie O’Reilly! You apologize to your baby brother for putting your hands on him right now!” God, she was a harpy—broad as a barn and fierce as any woman who had raised her own siblings had to have been.

“Sorry, asshole.”

“Yeah. Me too. I just…” Sam waved one hand toward the grave. This wasn’t right. James was supposed to be in New York, living this amazing life with lights and a zillion friends. Bowie had the adventure, James had the city, and he was supposed to stay home here and…hold down the fort or something. He was the baby, and… “It should have been you, Bowie.”

Everyone expected that awful phone call. Every time Bowie was deployed, they lived with that quiet fear.

James was a motherfucking school teacher. An elementary school teacher who didn’t get tattoos or take drugs or—

“Sam!” Aunt Linda sounded horrified.

“What? It’s true!”

“Yeah. Yeah, I know.” Suddenly Bowie looked…diminished. Gray and tired and older than the seven years that separated them. “Fuck you, Sammy. I know. So what the fuck are you going to do about James? I have to report back to work.”

“I’m going to go clean out his place.” He was between jobs. Hell, he was between lives—college was pretty much done with him, he’d educated himself into obscurity in ranching, and God knew, no one needed a broke-dick cowboy with a master’s in art history, a shattered leg from bronc riding, and a temper that tended to flare at inappropriate-at-best times. He would go clean things out and see if he could encourage the detectives to find out…anything.

“You sure you’re not going to short out, Sammy?”

“Fuck you. I’ve been to Dallas, Austin. Hell, I went with James to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I ain’t a kid!”

“You’re my kid brother, Sammy, and I only have one left now.” An expression of pure agony crossed Bowie’s face, and Sam turned his back so he didn’t have to see it.

“I’ll be fine. I’ve got the time, and Momma’s got to take care of Daddy.”

Things hadn’t been good, but the news of James’s murder had made the little baby strokes turn into a real one, and while Daddy wasn’t crippled or nothing, no one was going to let him fly. Not yet.

“Come on. They’re waiting for y’all down to the big house. You know there’s food and all the Ladies Auxiliary waiting to make a fuss.” Aunt Linda didn’t so much as let a tear go, but she did slip her Saturday Night Special into her pocketbook. “Brother Martin will want to bless you both and lay hands.”

“That son of a bitch touches me and I’ll rip out his spleen,” Bowie growled, and Sam had to smile. That was his big brother.

He could hear James, right now, echoing in his head.

Be good, Jim, honey. You’re teaching Sammy bad habits.

God, it was never going to be right. Never.

“Come on. Let’s go.”

He turned and headed for his truck. James wasn’t here. That was a grave, a body, a stone. He was going to go find James where he’d lived.

 

Chapter Two

Thank God this was New York City, the only town he knew of, except maybe LA, where yellow police tape didn’t slow anyone down. Aside from the cops, he was the only one there, the only one who cared. Thomas had about as much privacy as he was going to get.

He leaned against the side of the building as the NYPD took the tape down, balled it up, and stuffed it into a nearby garbage can. The evidence markers had been gone for a couple of days, the chalk lines were gone now too, and even the bloodstains in the concrete were already fading. Another day or two and there wouldn’t be any evidence left that James had died here.

But Thomas wouldn’t forget. He couldn’t get away from it. He lived here, worked here, walked the same goddamn streets as whoever was responsible. He still carried around memories of his time with James that he’d never share with anyone. He carried around the plans they’d made and a future that could never happen now.

He hadn’t received an invitation to James’s funeral. This would have to be his closure, watching the investigation into his lover’s murder become routine, move on to the next “phase.” Watching all the evidence disappear.

That was perhaps the most awful addition to his grief. He understood that James couldn’t be wholly out to his family back home in…well, somewhere in East Texas, but understanding it while James was alive and in his arms was one thing. Coming to grips with his exile now was something else entirely. He was bitter; he was angry. Not at James, not at anyone in particular, just at a world that made them hide. He felt humiliated, and that wasn’t a pill he could swallow without choking on it.

Everything about his life was deliberate, yet at the moment, he was experiencing a lack of control he’d never imagined possible.

One of the cops walked over and offered him a smoke. Colletti was his name. “Wouldn’t you rather be home?”

“This is as close as I want to get right now.” God, listen to him. He refused the cigarette, but just barely. Vices sounded like such a good idea.

“Dobson is going to call you, routine stuff. Did they ask you not to leave town?”

“Yeah. It wasn’t an imperative, but it was strongly suggested.” Insult to injury.

Officer Colletti gave him a nod. “We’re done here. Take care, Mister Ward.”

“Thanks.”

The squad car drove off, and New York seemed impossibly quiet all of a sudden.

A man with a duffel and a cowboy hat walked up to the stoop, and for a second, Thomas’s heart stopped. He closed his eyes until he could breathe again.

Fuck, tourists were everywhere in this city. He just hadn’t been prepared for one in a cowboy hat. He took a breath and headed down the steps. He needed a coffee.

They passed each other, the man meeting his eyes and nodding. “Afternoon.”

“Where are you going?” He knew those eyes intimately. He reached out and grabbed the man by the arm, that hazel making his heart pound. “Who are you?”

“Who the fuck is asking, motherfucker?” The little guy just popped right up into his face, those eyes flashing.

Christ, the cowboy sounded just like James too. Only James would have known better than to meet his eyes.

He stood his ground, inches away, instinct and training helping him stare the kid down. “You’re an O’Reilly. Which one? Sam, right? The bronc rider? You’re too small to be Jim.”

“Bowie,” the kid corrected immediately, even as he nodded. “Who are you?”

Nobody you’d know.

“Right. Bowie.” He let go of Sam’s arm. He knew he should back down, but it took real effort. “I’m Thomas Ward. I…knew your brother.”

Fuck. I loved him.

“Knew him? Y’all worked together?”

What was he going to do? He wasn’t going to out James now. What would be the point? It hurt, though, denying James and jumping back into a closet he’d slammed the door on as soon as he’d stepped foot in this city years ago. “No. We are…were really good friends. He told me all about you guys.”

“Oh. I’m here to…clean up, I guess. Stuff.” Sam tilted his head. “Is this your building too?”

“Uh.” Well, fuck. James had always said Sam was bright. “No.” He’d asked about moving in together. James had been thinking about it. “I was just missing him.”

“Oh. I—come on up, huh?”

 

Title: First Rodeo: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy, Book One
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B07YM1QNK4
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-02-4

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

No Ghosts

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

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