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by B. A. Tortuga
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: Dean's been around the rodeo circuit long enough to know when a new kid is down on his luck. Giving Will a ride to the next event is just the neighborly thing to do, passing on some of the kindness strangers have shown him over the years. Who could expect that Will could be such good company? So good in fact, that Dean figures he might just keep Will around. Will feels the same way, despite protests from friends and family. They have a lot in common, traveling together from rodeo to rodeo, enjoying all of the fringe benefits they can. These two cowboys are a match made in heaven, but can they convince everyone else to let them live their own lives?
eBook Publisher: Torquere Press/Top Shelf, 2005 http://www.torquerepress.com
eBookwise Release Date: August 2005
154 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [227 KB]
Reading time: 158-222 min.
Dean threw the last bit of tack into the trailer, popping his neck with a sigh. Second all-around wasn't bad. Wouldn't make his retirement, but he'd make Lufkin okay, maybe even put new tires on the Dodge.
The spring air was damp, made him feel creaky, older than he ought to. Well, that tumble off Bess' Last Ride didn't help either, did it? Made him eager to get on the road, head south to bluebonnet country, though, whether it was weather or stud.
Gypsy's soft nose nudged at the trailer bars, his new girl ready to get up and get going. Dean chuckled and nodded. "Yeah, girl. We're fixin' to head out. Let me sweep this old bitch out and we'll load you up."
The pretty little paint nickered, shuffling and pushing at Blueboy's flank, trying to get the stubborn old gelding to scoot over.
"Hey." He looked over to see who else was around so early and saw a tall, skinny kid walking toward him, looking bright eyed and bushy tailed. "Don't suppose you need any help cleaning out that trailer in exchange for a ride to the next town over?"
He gave the kid a once-over, trying to place him and failing. "That depends on which town you're headed for. I'm headed south toward Dallas. You wanting to hit Tulsa?"
"Doesn't matter to me. Wherever I can afford to pay the entry fees." The kid grinned, and it lit up his whole face, changing his whole look. Well, except for the shiner around his left eye.
It was the shiner that did it. The good Lord knew he'd been loaded in the down-and-out chute once or twice. He nodded and pulled out the extra broom. "You got yourself a deal. Name's Haverty. Dean Haverty."
The grin got so wide that the kid winced as it stretched the bruise. "Will Benton. Nice to meet you." Kid looked at him, head tilted. "You did all right this weekend. Just a quick once over?"
"Yeah." He nodded, starting to clear the floor. "Can't be too careful with their hooves. Damned vets will take your winnings in a heartbeat. You the one who pulled Devil's Luck? I heard the cowboy on him took a header."
"You know, that damned gelding lives up to his name. And he has a pretty hard head." Will fell in beside him, working easily, really doing his share, which made Dean feel good about giving the kid a chance. "Smacked right between his ears and went ass over teakettle."
"That's a bitch. Rick Freemont did that two years ago and that nasty son of a bitch broke Rick's hip and shoulder. Hear he's done retired. Shame that. He was a good'un." Sadie limped her way up the ramp, snapping at Gypsy's tail and giving him a long-suffering look. "Hey, darlin. You ready to hit the road?"
"I assume you don't mean me." Will turned. "Well, hey there missy. Aren't you a pretty lady." Kid bent and held out a hand for Sadie to sniff.
Dean chuckled, shook his head. "This here's Miss Sadie. She's the mistress 'round here."
Sadie smelled the kid and then offered her dark ears to be scratched, tail wagging slow and easy.
"Yeah. You're a sweet lady, aren't you?" Looked like Will liked dogs, which would make it easier to ride with him. The kid scratched ears for a few moments before getting back to work, finishing up his side of the trailer with quick, efficient motions.
Together they made short work of the cleaning and he tucked the brooms away, climbing down to unfasten Blueboy and load the stubborn beast. Gypsy'd go easy, after. Will patted Gypsy's nose and stayed out of his way, staying quiet too, which he appreciated.
He got the beast settled, murmuring low and easy, hand stroking the dark flank, before loading Gypsy up, lickety-split and locking the horse trailer. "You 'bout ready to go, Ace? I'll get Miss Sadie settled and we'll hit the road, put some miles under us."
"Sounds like a plan." Will grinned at him. "Ace, huh? Let me just get my pack, okay?"
"Yup. Sounds like a plan." He stretched up, listening to his bones crack, and then whistled up Sadie, throwing her blanket and bones in the little back seat of the truck. She needed help with the jump these days, poor old girl was feeling her age, but Doc Radley looked at her just a month ago and said she was still good to go.
He checked the hitch on the trailer one last time, gave each tire a good kick and popped the hood to check the oil.
A heavy hand fell on his shoulder, a thermos of coffee pressed into his hand. "Hey, old-timer. Heard tales you're headed to the Texas circuit. You're not really leaving us, are you, Haverty?"
Dean nodded. "'fraid so, Mac. I'm needing a bit of what ails me and I got a call from my Aunt Katie the other day. Daddy's getting to that age and if I'm a touch closer, I can help him out."
Mac nodded, red and white curls bobbing, making him look like the clown he was. "You'll be back, Haverty. You'll get to missing us and come crawling back, armadillos hanging from your mustache."
He clapped Mac's arm, laughing hard enough that Sadie barked. "The day I come crawling is the day you can put me in the greased pig competition and retire my saddle."
"Hey, there's a lot to be said for greasy pigs." Will was back, bag over his shoulder, paper bag in his hands. "Hey, Mac. Sorry I didn't know you were here or I would have gotten that pretty barrel racer to get you one, too."
Well, at least the kid knew Mac. But then, everyone knew Mac.
"I was just giving this old fart a hard time. You catching a ride with him?"
"Yeah. Need to get there somehow." That grin was back, purely infectious.
"Sadie didn't bite him, so I figure he's safe." He winked at Mac and then nodded. "Okay, sunlight's burning. Let's go, Ace. Southward ho."
"You bet. See you around, Mac." Will stowed his bag neatly in the back and hopped into the truck.
He shut the hood, the sunlight glinting off the red paint. Okay then. Back to Texas.
Ride 'em cowboy.