For a year, Bo Lawson has tried to get closer to his boss, Backbreaker Ranch foreman Rance Benning, but the stubborn ex-rodeo champion refuses to be swayed. Bo can't understand Rance's aversion to being alone with him. Could it be Bo's HIV status?
Rance noticed Bo the first day he laid eyes on him at Brynn's Bakery. Since that time, he's done anything and everything to stay away from the dangerous-looking gardener with the chiseled six-pack and tight-fitting jeans. Rance has seen what pity in a lover's eyes looks like, and he doesn't plan on ever putting himself in that position again.
When one of the ranch's prize bucking bulls breaks through the fence and disappears, Rance and Bo are thrust together to help find the one ton money-maker. Although Bo sees their forced time alone as an opportunity, Rance sees it as torture. Every minute with Bo threatens the secret Rance won't tell anyone, least of all this dangerously sexy man.
Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series
General Release Date: 1st June 2009
“Watch out!” a familiar voice screamed.
Working on the hay rake, Bo barely had time to turn around before the bull was on him. In a split second decision, he tried to wedge himself between the tines of the rake before the bull had a chance to plough into him and impale him on the steel rods.
Bo screamed as one of the yellow tines plunged into his side, preventing him from hiding further. He covered his head and braced himself for impact. The charging bull didn’t stop until he slammed into the machine, mere inches from where Bo stood. The resulting impact not only drove the tine further into Bo’s body, but impaled the bull’s face as well. The one ton bull pulled back, releasing the tine from his face and tossed his head from side to side, splattering blood all over Bo.
Rance and two of the cowboys finally managed to get lassos around Zero Tolerance’s head, but even with three men, they were no match for the strength of the bull.
Trying to remove himself from the rake, Bo felt his flesh begin to rip. “Fuck!” he screamed, his hand immediately going to his side.
Knowing he couldn’t go anywhere without injuring himself further, he had no choice but to stand by and watch the three cowboys try to get the prize rodeo bull under control. One thing he could do was call for backup. Moving as little as possible, Bo extracted his cell phone from its holster on his belt and called the main house. Even the slightest movement seemed to drive the tine in deeper. By the time Shep came on the line, Bo was panting through the pain.
“It’s Bo. We’re gonna need some help out in the east pasture. Zero Tolerance is injured and going nuts. Rance, Buddy and Steve are trying to control him, but they seem to be losing the fight. And call Jeb. If he’s in the area, we may be able to save the damned bull.”
“We’ll be right there.”
“Oh, and you might want to bring some rubber gloves from the box in the barn. I’m bleeding like a stuck pig, and I’m gonna need some help getting loose from the hay rake.”
“Shit. Should I call an ambulance?”
Bo took a deep breath. His lungs seemed to be fine, but no telling what other internal injuries he may have sustained. Being HIV positive, infections of any kind were always a worry. The blood he could feel running down his side couldn’t be good either. “Yeah, I think you’d better. Make sure you give ’em the heads-up on my condition though.”
“Will do, hang in there, buddy.”
Bo let the phone fall from his bloody hand onto the pasture below. Goddammit. He’d been doing so well, not even a single sniffle in the fifteen months he’d been employed.
Reaching down, Bo ripped his T-shirt down the side to get a better look at his injury. Trying to bend down enough to look at the wound, he nearly lost an eye on another of the tines. Sighing, he came to the conclusion he’d be better off just standing as still as possible. He took the tail of the ruined T-shirt and held it against the wound.
Shep, Jeremy and Jim pulled up in the pickup. Shep was the first to jump out, tranquilizer gun in his hand. “Stand back,” he ordered.
“Wait,” Rance yelled. “He’s lost a lot of blood. You could kill him.”
Shep looked from Rance to Bo. “Better him than Bo and from the looks of it, if we don’t get Bo some help that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”
As soon as Shep fired the tranquilizer dart into the bull, Rance passed his rope off to Jimmy and rushed over to Bo.
“Don’t touch me,” Bo warned. “I think Shep brought gloves.”
Before Rance could turn around, Shep was there, handing out latex gloves to everyone. Gloves on, Shep and Rance approached. Bo knew he looked worse than he was.
“A lot of this belongs to the bull,” he explained, gesturing to his blood-splattered face. “My problem’s down here on my side. One of the tines seems to be caught on something.”
Rance moved to the back of the hay rake and tried to get a better view of what they were dealing with. “I think we’re gonna have to disconnect the tine from the machine, then let the doctors remove it from you.”
Bo gulped in air, trying his best to overcome the sudden wave of nausea. With his blood continuing to flow at a steady pace from the wound, he knew he wasn’t going to remain conscious for much longer. If he were to pass out before Rance worked the tine loose, there was no telling what kind of damage his internal organs would suffer. “Hurry, I don’t think I’m gonna last.”
“That’s enough of that,” Rance yelled as he grabbed the tool box and dug around until he found what he needed.
Motioning Shep over, Bo leaned against him. Whispering so Rance wouldn’t hear, he spoke in Shep’s ear. “I hate to ask you this, but I need you to make sure I stay up on my feet. My vision’s starting to get pretty spotty.”
Shep wrapped both arms around Bo’s chest as Rance worked furiously to free the tine while trying not to move it. Bo laid his head on Shep’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, boss.”
“Not your fault. But you owe it to Rance to make it out of this alive, so fight like hell.”
“If I don’t, tell him…”
“Got it!” Rance yelled. “Get him the hell out of there.”
Shep carefully helped Bo move far enough away from the rake to lay him in the soft grass. As Bo struggled to hold onto consciousness, he heard the ambulance’s siren. Realising the paramedics would know what to do, Bo allowed himself to close his eyes.
An avid reader for years, one day Carol Lynne decided to write her own brand of erotic romance. While writing her first novel, Branded by Gold, Carol fell in love with the M/M genre. Carol juggles between being a full-time mother and a full-time writer. With well over one hundred releases, one thing is certain, Carol loves to keep busy writing sexy cowboys, shifters, bodyguards, vampires and everything in between. Although series books are her passion, Carol enjoys penning the occasional stand-alone title.
As founder and President of GRL Retreat, Inc., Carol helps organize the annual GayRomLit Retreat. Now in its sixth year, GayRomLit is an annual retreat that brings together the people who create and celebrate LGBT romance for a one-of-a-kind, must-attend gathering of dynamic, informal, and diverse fun.
Carol loves to hear from her readers. You can take a look at her Website and follow her on Facebook. She also has a Website dedicated to her Cattle Valley Series.