Title: Saving Faithless Creek
Author: Andrew Grey
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: M/M Contemporary Western
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 2015
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
Blair Montgomery is sent to Newton, Montana, to purchase a ranch and some land for his father. It’s a trip he doesn't want to make. But his father paid for his college education in exchange for Blair working for him in his casinos, so Blair has no choice. When he finds out he’ll be dealing with Royal, the man who bullied him in high school, he is shocked. Then Blair is surprised when he finds that Royal’s time in the Marines has changed him to the point where Blair could be attracted to him… if he’s willing to take that chance.
Royal’s life hasn’t been a bed of roses. He saw combat in the military that left him scarred, and not just on the outside. When he inherits his father’s ranch, he discovers his father wasn't a good manager and the ranch is in trouble. The sale of land would put them back on good footing, but he is suspicious of Blair’s father’s motives and with good reason. The attraction between them is hard for either to ignore, but it could all evaporate once the land deal is sealed.
“That would be nice. This land deserves to be worked and not just let to go to the wind.” Hiram drank some more of his coffee and then set the mug on the table once again. Slowly he used his walker to stand. “Come on, young man. Let me show you the rest of the place.”
“Are you sure? I can take a look around.”
Hiram laughed. “Son, I doubt you’d know what you were looking at. No offense meant, but you came from the city. Besides, I’m not in my grave yet. This thing is to make sure that I don’t fall or something dumb—you know, like in those commercials they have to prey on the fears of old people like me.” Hiram shook his head. “I actually thought about getting one of them alert things, but who they gonna call out here?” He laughed.
“I suppose,” Blair agreed. “If you’re up for it, I’d love for you to show me your ranch.” He walked ahead and opened the front door, holding it for Hiram.
“There’s a jacket hanging in that closet. Would you get it for me? Getting old means you’re cold all the time. Maybe I should go into one of them homes in Florida. Least then I wouldn’t have to worry none about being cold all the damn time.”
Blair got the jacket and waited while Hiram put it on. Then he followed him out of the house and closed the door. Hiram walkered his way across the yard to the barn. “We built this one in ’62. You can see we built it to last, not like these pole buildings they put up today.” Blair pulled the door open, and Hiram stepped inside. Blair had expected an old barn full of stuff and collections of crap, but it was as clean as a whistle. Dust motes floated in the air, but the stalls were completely empty, the concrete floor covered in dust. A few times Blair caught the scent of horse, but it seemed more like an illusion, like Blair was wishing it was there.
“Uncle Hiram!” Someone called from outside.
“I’m in here, boy!” Hiram called back.
Blair turned and saw Royal striding down the center of the barn toward where they stood.
“Is he dragging you all over the place?” Royal snapped as he stared at Blair.
“Goodness, no. I was showing him around,” Hiram said. “You just cool your jets.” Blair almost laughed as Hiram put Royal in his place. The scowl Royal was wearing didn’t dissipate, but he quieted. “I take it you know each other. I’d ask if you were friends, but Royal doesn’t have any of those.”
“Uncle Hiram,” Royal said more gently this time.
“I ain’t his real uncle.” Hiram smiled as he turned toward Royal with a sigh.
“Thank God for that,” Royal said. “If you were, you’d be a complete pile of useless shit like the rest of them.”
“What brings you by with such a sunny attitude?” Hiram asked with a snort.
“I figured he was heading your way, and I wanted to make sure everything was all right.”
“I’m fine. Blair let me run on about how things used to be, and he made me some real coffee. Now I’m just showing him around a bit.” Hiram leaned so he could see out the door. “How’d you get here?”
“On Marvel,” Royal said.
“Good. Now that you’re here, I’m wondering if you’ll do me a favor. Do you think you could take him out and show him some of the grazing land?”
Royal hesitated. Blair could tell Royal was no more thrilled about this request than Blair was. Though why Royal would be uncomfortable was beyond Blair. Royal wasn’t the one who’d been shoved in the lockers and threatened to the point that he’d jumped at every loud noise and lived in mortal fear of gym class each day.
“If you like,” Royal said. “We can go back to the house and get the ATVs.”
Hiram humphed. “You know you can’t see the land on anything but a horse. Those ATV things are a complete menace. I know it’s the way of the future, but they’re terrible and smell something awful. I swear they flavor the beef.” He was on a roll.
“Never mind, then,” Blair said. He wasn’t really interested in getting up on a horse with Royal. He and horses didn’t get along particularly well, and then to be out away from people? Alone? It was nearly terrifying.
“No, I’ll take him.” Royal agreed. Blair could imagine Royal rubbing his hands together with an evil grin, like in the cartoons. “As long as we don’t go too far, Marvel will be fine.”
“Excellent,” Hiram said and turned around, then started walkering himself toward the door to the barn. “I’ll go back in the house. You two take a good look around and then come on back.”
Blair watched until Hiram made it to his door and then turned to Royal. “Let’s get this over with.”
“You don’t have to go if you don’t want to,” Royal said with a challenge in his voice. “I have plenty to do and didn’t plan on this, but since Uncle Hiram asked….”
Blair looked at the huge horse standing near the empty paddock. “Let’s go.” He knew he was probably going to regret this in a big way. But seeing the land would help him justify whatever price he was able to negotiate, because his father would say he overpaid even if he got the land for free.
Royal walked over to the horse. Blair wondered how he was going to get on—Marvel was tall and looked strong as hell. Black as midnight, he was stunning even to Blair’s untrained eye. “I’m going to mount and then you mount behind me. Just watch what I do.”
“Okay,” Blair whispered. This was going to be a disaster, he knew it. Royal approached Marvel and put his foot in the stirrups. The jeans tightened around his legs and ass, and all thought left Blair. Royal mounted and sat on Marvel, then turned to look at him. All Blair could think was how stunning both man and horse looked at that moment. The image was simple and perfect, with the mountains in the background, the impatient fire in Royal’s eyes, the way his lips hung open ever so slightly. God, the man could take Hollywood by storm if he wanted to. Too bad Royal would probably have a fit if Blair took out his phone to snap a picture.
Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
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