Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine, and a very happy New Year!
Vance and Adam are a long-established couple who live on their ranch in Texas.
Once a year Adam visits his home town of New York to visit with family and buy his Christmas shopping.
When he returns from his annual pilgrimage, Vance gives him a welcome home that involves a non-conventional use of eggnog.
Adam pressed the remote on the dashboard of his Chevy Silverado and heaved a contented sigh. The iron gates opened slowly inward, splitting the name of the Wolf Creek Ranch straight down the center. Home. The word filled him with a sense of peace the like of which he'd never experienced anywhere else in this godforsaken world. Of course, most of that had to do with the cowboy who was hopefully waiting for him inside the ranch house. More specifically, inside the bedroom, inside the ranch house.
After driving through the gates, he turned in his seat and once again depressed the remote then tossed the piece of plastic into the glove compartment where it belonged. He pressed his foot hard on the gas, loving the sound of the dirt being kicked up by the wheels and the cloud of dust that followed him all the way up to the main house. He stopped the truck and stared up at the house for a moment, just as he always did when he got back from his annual trip to New York, savoring the much needed sight.
Every year around this time, Adam went home to visit with his folks in New York and do his Christmas shopping. Vance was a country boy, born and bred, and he hated the hustle and bustle of crowds jostling each other so everyone could try and get the best bargain. He'd attempted the trip only once very early on in their relationship, and by mutual agreement it was decided that Adam would make the trip alone from then on. It wasn’t that Adam necessarily missed the noise and confusion of city life, but he needed his once a year fix and besides, Vance’s heart grew a little fonder for him every time he was away. Well… maybe not his heart, but definitely his dick. Last year they hadn’t come out of the bedroom for two days except to eat and piss. Adam smiled at the X-rated memory, his shaft hardening against the constricting denim.
Climbing out of the truck, he waved to Walt, one of their hands. “Hey, Walt! Quiet around here. Where is everybody?”
Walt jogged over to the truck and shook Adam’s hand. “Good to see you back, boss. It’s been… um… interesting without ya.”
“When did the withdrawal kick in?” Adam snorted, knowing full well from experience that Vance’s mood would've surely been up and down while he was away.
“First few days were okay, but by Thursday there was a lot of eggshell-walking,” Walt held up his hand in subjugation. “And I ain’t saying one word more ‘cause when he’s mad, his hearing gets better.”
“Is that why it’s so quiet? You the only one not too chicken-shit to be within calling distance?”
“Sumthin’ like that,” Walt joined him in a hearty chuckle. “Rich and Jake are out moving the herd to the winter pasture. Otis is in town getting supplies and it’s Beavis and Butthead’s day off.”
Adam shook his head fondly at the nickname their resident brothers had been given by the rest of the crew. “Well, I guess I’d better go on in and cool him off.” Walt nodded and tipped his hat before dropping him a wink and heading back to the barn.
Taking the porch steps in two bounds, Adam pulled open the screen door and bit down on his lip to stop from laughing out loud when Vance shouted from the inside the house. “I said I didn’t want to see any of you sorry sons ‘a bitches until chow time!” Closing the screen door and then the heavy front door behind him, Adam tossed his keys into the bowl on the hall table and headed for the kitchen.
Adam leaned against the door jamb and surveyed the chaos and devastation that used to be their homely country cottage kitchen. Six feet of solid, muscled, honest-to-God cowboy stood at the kitchen island in the middle of what could only be described as a war zone. Adam’s gaze quickly took in the debris half expecting to see snipers hiding behind the Ficus and blood spattered bodies lying beneath the huge oak table.
Vance's usually copper-streaked; shoulder length hair was liberally coated with white flour. There was what could only be described as something “icky” on his chin and he had splatters of what Adam hoped was whipping cream on his cheeks, nose, lips—okay, pretty much everywhere. The other thing Adam couldn’t fail to notice, because it almost knocked him off his feet, was the heavy scent of alcohol in the air. His gaze fell on the open bottles of brandy and rum on the island among the mess of egg shells, spilled milk and castor sugar.
“Having fun, baby?”
“Hey,” Vance muttered, not taking his eyes from the TV on the counter nor stopping in his task of stirring something in a large bowl.
“Can I ask what could possibly be more interesting than my homecoming?” Adam drawled, crossing the kitchen and picking his way through the eggshells and pools of whatever the hell it was on the floor.
“I’m making eggnog.” Vance's hazel eyes briefly flicked from the TV to Adam's face and back again.
“Eggnog?” Adam's eyes widened, his eyebrows almost meeting his hairline. “Dude, you don’t like eggnog. You said it tastes like snot.”
“You like it.”
“So why didn’t you just buy a bottle in town?”
Vance continued to whisk the contents of his bowl as he turned and glared at Adam. “Because I wanted to make it for you. God, did that crazy city suck all the romance outta your soul?”
Adam shook his head in stunned amazement at the look of irritation on Vance's face as he whisked the mixture in the bowl, slopping quite a bit of it over the side in the process. Vance finally dragged his gaze away from the TV and turned his attention to Adam, but didn't stop his whisking. Adam’s lips twitched as he tried to keep a straight face. “Well, see, I was bored,” Vance said, “and I was channel surfing and I ran into my friend Jean-Paul.” He indicated the chef on the miniature TV. “And he started talking about eggnog. And I remembered how much you liked it and I thought it would be, you know, romantic if I made some for you. Then I had this whole elaborate plan about steak and potatoes followed by eggnog in front of a roaring fire. But you’ve gone and ruined it because you’re an hour earlier than you said you’d be.”
Adam's gazed incredulously at floury, streaky, icky Vance standing in front of him, wearing an expression that said ‘you took my best toy away.’ “You made eggnog and destroyed the kitchen because you wanted to surprise me?” His heart melted as he gazed at the mountain of muscle that had the biggest softest, gooiest centre—a soft, gooey centre only he got to see. If it were possible, Adam would have sworn in that moment he fell in love with Vance all over again.
He plucked the bowl out of Vance’s hands and set it down on the kitchen island, a soft, slow smile curving his lips. “After all this time, you still manage to surprise me. I missed you so much,” he murmured, feathering his fingers through the satiny strands of Vance’s long hair, curling it around his hand and pulling the other man down the few inches between them. Vance whined as Adam bypassed his lips then moaned low in his throat when Adam lapped at the splashes of eggnog on his cheek. Adam smiled slowly and nodded his approval, “Mmmm… Tastes good. You should try some.” He reached out and dipped a finger into the mixing bowl, lifting it out covered in the yellow, creamy substance. Holding out his finger to Vance, he waited until his cowboy’s lips had almost touched his digit and then pulled it back, drawing a line in eggnog on his own throat and tipping his head to the side in invitation.
Adam’s breathing quickened as Vance’s hazel gaze darkened and he bent his head. The slide of the other man’s tongue collecting the eggnog sent shivers down Adam’s spine. The heat in his belly stepped up from slow burn to brush fire as Vance bit-kissed along his jaw before bringing their mouths together. Adam groaned into the kiss, lifting his leg and wrapping his ankle around Vance’s calf in an effort to get closer to this man he was certain was put on this earth to be only his. Vance’s kiss became rougher and Adam reveled in the grip of his lover’s fingers in his hair as Vance angled his head to take control of the kiss.
When oxygen became an issue, they drew apart, each of them breathing in the other’s exhalations. “You're one sexy son of a bitch, you know that?” Adam groaned at the friction caused by Vance’s hip against his cock. “Take me to bed.”
“I think I got me a better idea,” Vance growled, ripping at the buttons on Adam’s shirt, grinning as they popped open and pinged off surfaces and floor tiles. Adam could hardly stand his legs were shaking so badly at the intent in Vance’s eyes and the way the other man’s voice had deepened to pure Texas honey. His mouth suddenly dried and his tongue snaked across his lips.
“And what… mmm… would that be?” Adam gasped when Vance’s fingers fumbled with the belt holding up Adam’s jeans and yanked them and his underwear down his legs. Before he could utter a word, Vance gripped him around the waist and lifted him onto the kitchen island. “Fuck, Vance,” he groaned when the big man swept the debris to the floor with one arm, grabbing the rum and brandy bottles with his other hand, making sure they survived the assault.
Adam’s cock twitched against his stomach, leaving a spot of pre-come on his skin as Vance dipped a finger into the eggnog and sucked the mixture of his own digit with a wet smack. Desire, hot and heavy, sparked along his nerve endings, lighting him up when Vance's tongue poked out between his lips to make sure he 'd gathered up all traces of the creamy substance from his flesh. Adam swallowed past the thickness in this throat and when he spoke; his voice was almost a growl. “Fuck, Vance.”
Vance smiled softly, obviously enjoying the sensuous torture he was putting Adam through, dipping his finger and lifting it again, this time to Adam's mouth, pushing it inside his parted lips. Adam moaned as the taste of the cream and alcohol burst on his tongue, satisfaction spiking through him at the way Vance’s pupils blew wide when he flicked the wet muscle across the pad of Vance’s finger. Vance’s voice dropped an octave and he drawled slowly. “I was planning on drinking this with you in front of a roaring fire, but now…” his gaze trailed over Adam’s nakedness, “… now I’m thinking it might taste a whole lot better if I licked it off that beautiful body.”
Adam would deny the very unmanly whimper he couldn't have stopped escaping his lips if he’d wanted to, to his dying day. His cheeks flushed at the look in Vance’s eyes as his lover slowly removed his finger from Adam's mouth, pulling down the full bottom lip as he did so. Adam gasped when Vance scooped up more eggnog from the bowl and drew a line across Adam’s cheekbone. His breathing quickened, falling from between parted lips and Vance raised his eyebrow suggestively at Adam before dipping his head and using the flat of his tongue to lick Adam clean.
Vance drew back and frowned, his expression quizzical, as though he'd forgotten something. “Hmmm…,” he murmured.
“What?” Adam managed, barely enough blood left in his head to form anything more meaningful.
“Too much brandy?” Vance said aloud then shook his head, obviously dismissing the suggestion. “Too much rum? No, that ain’t it either,” another dismissal. Then he smiled that lazy, sexy smile that made Adam want to bury himself inside the big man right the fuck now. “I got it. Too much clothing.”
“Asshole,” Adam hissed, grabbing the bowl from Vance’s hands and shoving it to one side of him on the island. He grabbed Vance’s T-shirt and all but ripped it over the man’s head, tossing it to the floor. Quickly unbuckling the belt on Vance’s jeans, he pushed them down as far as he could before leaving Vance to take them off, kicking his own boots off and toeing at the jeans around his ankles to let them fall onto the tile.
Vance bent his head and licked his way into Adam's mouth, their tongues clashing, fighting for dominance as they breathed into each other – hands pulling on each other, their need driving them on, lust-blown hazel eyes locking onto moss green. God, how he’d missed this man, his man. The moment he’d laid eyes on Adam, he’d had to have him. Had it really been nine years ago? It seemed as though little more than a heartbeat had passed between then and now, although nothing had changed in all those years. The fire was still instantaneous and burned through them every time they looked in each other’s eyes. Vance would never know what made him decide to hold his first Cowboy Camp at the ranch that year, but he was grateful to whatever fates had been at play because they’d brought him Adam. The beautiful businessman came to Texas on a weekend retreat with four others from his office and never left. Except for one long week a year. And this year it had felt even longer.
He swallowed Adam's deep-throated moan, sucking the other man’s tongue into his mouth, his hands kneading the firm muscles of Adam's back before traveling down over the swell of that perfect ass. His ass. Pulling back, he moaned loudly when Adam's fingers curled around his weeping dick. God, he was so hard what he really wanted to do was bury himself inside Adam until he couldn't tell where he ended and his lover began. But he wanted Adam a writhing incoherent mess beneath him first. He slapped Adam's hand away and grinned, reaching out for the bowl of eggnog. “Stop it or I'm not gonna last and I wanna taste every inch of you first,” he growled. “It took me all morning to make this shit and I'm gonna use it.”
Adam grinned at Vance’s command. “You're such a bossy bitch when you're cooking.” His smile soon turned into a gasp when Vance drew lines of eggnog down over Adam's pecs, around his nipples and down his abs. Vance groaned his appreciation when Adam’s gasp soon turned into a moan and holy fucking shit as he licked each creamy stripe from Adam’s sun-kissed skin, using his teeth and lips to suck and bite, marking where each strip had been. Flattening his tongue, Vance teased Adam’s nipples, his teeth nipping at the tiny discs. He loved how sensitive Adam’s nipples were and the way Adam always thrust his chest forward, searching for more.
Vance leaned up to capture Adam’s lips once again and then slowly lowered his lover until Adam was lying half on, half off the kitchen island. He lifted Adam’s legs onto his shoulders and moved lower to press kisses across Adam's hip, smiling against Adam’s skin at the gasp that echoed around the kitchen. Painting the cool eggnog down the path he had taken with his lips, his tongue removed it as quickly as he painted it on.
Locking his gaze with Adam’s, he lifted his eggnog covered finger from the bowl and hovered it over Adam's hard shaft. With a teasing stroke, he drew a “V” on the head of Adam’s cock, his own shaft hardening impossibly more as the thick, mushroom-ridged crown twitched at his touch.
Adam raised his eyebrows as he moaned. “Did you just sign my dick?”
“Well, it's mine. Only right it should have my name on it,” Vance drawled before swirling the tip of his tongue around the head, removing his brand from Adam’s throbbing flesh. Adam's back arched and his fingers gripped Vance’s hair as he parted his lips and took his lover into his mouth, relaxing his throat and burying his nose in the trim hairs at the base, inhaling the sweet musky scent that was uniquely Adam.
As Adam writhed beneath him, moans and cries of, “fuck—oh God—please,” falling from his lips, Vance worked Adam’s cock, alternately between torturous, teasing licks and hollowing his cheeks and sucking hard, leaving Adam whimpering beneath him. Testing the weight of Adam’s balls, he caressed them with his work-roughened fingers then circled Adam’s hole, feeling it flutter against his skin.
“Vance!” Adam gasped, crying out when Vance removed his finger. Vance grinned around the heavy shaft in his mouth as he returned his fingers, covered in the thick, creamy eggnog and circled Adam's hole once before pushing inside. He moved his fingers slowly in and out of Adam’s ass, using the eggnog as lubrication to work Adam open. Vance had to press the heel of his hand against his own cock at the sounds coming from the other man. He didn’t think he’d even heard some of the curses Adam was uttering and it was making him hard enough to cut right through the granite top of the island.
Adam could barely breathe from the onslaught to his senses, his brain not knowing whether to concentrate on the hot, wet heat of Vance's mouth or the cool slip and slide of his fingers as he worked in a third alongside the two thrusting in and out of his ass. He felt Vance moan around his dick, the vibrations almost his undoing, and then Vance crooked his finger and found that wonderful soft bundle of nerves, sending a white hot spark of pleasure through Adam's body. Adam arched off the kitchen island when Vance hit his prostate again. He could hear the broken raggedness in his own voice, but he didn’t care as he almost sobbed with need. “Vance... please... I need you... now.”
Vance released Adam’s cock with a wet smack and moved back to grip Adam’s legs behind his knees and push them towards his chest. “Vance… what’re you… Oh. My. God!” Vance bent his dark head and licked a stripe up Adam’s shaft once more before ghosting a kiss across the weeping head. Adam tried to chase those sinful lips, his hips lifting off the counter in the attempt. Then Vance’s head disappeared between his legs and Adam couldn’t have prevented the animalistic cry that flew up his throat if he’d been handed a million dollars. The feel of Vance sucking the eggnog from his loosened hole had Adam writhing on the counter.
He didn’t think he’d felt anything so wonderfully erotic in his entire life. The sensations flowing through him had his entire body shaking and he was sure he was going to shatter into a thousand pieces. It was as though his body was hovering between too much and not enough and all he could think of was Vance filling him, completing him. Adam grabbed desperately at Vance’s hair, trying to haul the other man up.
Vance complied with the tugs of Adam's hands and lifted his head, smiling down at Adam, his hazel eyes adoring as he gazed at him. “Is this what you want, baby?” he rasped, rubbing his cock against Adam’s sensitized hole. “You want my hot cock inside that tight little ass?”
The mere sound of the words falling from Vance’s lips had Adam teetering on the edge as he gripped the sides of the counter. “Yes, come on… Fuck me… Need it… Need you.” Vance soothed him with murmured reassurances, dripping more eggnog onto Adam’s ass. Adam’s gaze widened as he watched Vance dip his whole hand in the mixture and coat his own cock generously. Who knew eggnog could be so hot?
“Okay, baby,” Vance drawled as he pressed the blunt tip of his cock to the Adam’s hole and pushed maddeningly slowly.
Adam cried out as Vance breached him, stretching him wide with his thick girth, sliding in inch by glorious inch, until Adam felt and heard the slap of Vance’s balls against his ass. Adam arched his back, his heels against the firm muscles of Vance’s shoulders, “Feel so good, baby… Move… God… Need you to… Move.”
“Adam,” Vance breathed into Adam's collarbone, his lips biting the flesh. “You feel so good. So tight.”
“Say it,” Vance ground out, his fingers biting into Adam’s hips. “Open your eyes and tell me what you want, baby.”
“Harder… Want more… Missed you… Harder, come on… Take it, Vance.”
Vance pulled back slowly then slammed back in hard, almost pushing Adam off the island, and all Adam could do was hang on for the rodeo ride of a lifetime. Vance pounded into him, all romance gone; only the physical need to be connected to each other remained. Adam reached down and grabbed his aching, blood red cock and fisted the head frantically, taking more in on the upstroke each time. Vance filled him completely. The line where Vance ended and Adam began became hazy and uncertain. He loved this man so fucking much. There’d never been anyone else who touched his heart so deeply and took his body to such euphoric heights that he thought he’d never come down.
The tell tale tingle started in Adam’s spine and came rushing through him like a freight train. His hand moved even faster on his own cock and his hips rolled in time with Vance’s. “Vance—I’m gonna come… Come on, cowboy… Make me come!” Vance’s growl in response was feral and it was all Adam needed to tip him over the edge, the sound of Vance’s need rumbling in his chest. Hot streams of white peppered his stomach and flowed over his fingers. He came so hard; he thought it wasn’t going to stop as he pulsed time and time again.
Vance thrust a few more times then stilled with a harsh cry and Adam’s name on his lips, followed by the warm, wetness of his release pulsing into Adam’s channel. Adam whimpered at the feel of his man’s seed emptying into him as Vance collapsed on top of him. Adam wrapped his arms around Vance's shoulders, his head buried in his neck as they both came down, his lips pressing soothing and calming kisses into Vance's honey-colored skin as their breathing slowed.
Adam hissed in disappointment when Vance left him, but it didn’t last long as he was hauled into Vance’s arms and the big man lowered them both to the floor in a tangled heap of sweat-dampened skin, eggnog and come.
When he trusted himself to speak, Adam sighed contentedly. “Fuck, cowboy that was some homecoming. Maybe I should go away more often.”
“No way, New York,” Vance shook his head then bent to lick a stray drop of eggnog from Adam’s chin before kissing him slowly. “The city can have you for one week but the rest of the year is mine. Well,” he grinned and Adam chuckled at the wicked glint in his cowboy’s eyes, “how was the eggnog?”
There has been a Wolf at Wolf Creek Ranch since Benjamin Wolf co-founded their little town and it has always been a going concern. But now Vance's cattle are disappearing and although he and the entire town know who is responsible, Andrew Blackwell greases enough palms to ensure that nothing is done about the situation.
When his mother, Audrey, suggest they turn Wolf Creek into a 'Cowboy Camp', Vance is less than enthusiastic. But his mother is right, the law isn't doing anything about returning their cattle and they can't afford to replace them. They need money fast and this is a quick and easy way to do it.
Adam Prentiss is not exactly excited about spending a so-called 'team-building' weekend on a cattle ranch in the ass-end of nowhere and 100 degrees in the shade. Until he found himself gazing into the cool green eyes of Vance Wolf and decided that pretending to be a cowboy wasn't such a bad idea.
Vance surveyed the ranch from his vantage point on the hill overlooking the valley. His stallion, Goliath, took full advantage of Vance’s pensive mood and dipped his head to nibble at the grass. Some of the cattle had been spooked during last night’s storm and had broken through one of the fences in the south pasture. He’d spent most of the morning herding them back onto his property. Thankfully he’d known the Carters who owned the neighboring ranch since he was a kid, so there had been no trouble rounding up the wanderers.
He sighed heavily, wishing the same could be said for his neighbor on the other side of Wolf Creek. If his cattle had put one hoof on the Blackwell spread, they’d have been re-branded and hidden amongst Blackwell’s cows before Vance could have got to them. He knew it, Blackwell knew it and so did the sheriff. Not that that mattered. Blackwell lined a lot of pockets in Wolf Creek and the sheriff's more often than most.
Gazing down at the ranch the familiar flash of pride washed through him. Wolf Creek was a little Texan town sixty miles from the hustle and bustle of Austin and the bright lights of city life. Founded by Vance's great-great grandfather, Benjamin Wolf, there had been a Wolf in residence at Wolf Creek Ranch for three generations, and as far as Vance was concerned, that's how it was going to stay. Although Andrew Blackwell had other ideas.
Vance clicked his tongue against his teeth and patted Goliath's neck as the majestic beast shifted beneath him. If Blackwell thought he was going to drive Vance off his own land by stealing his cows one at a time, he was sorely mistaken. Did he think Vance didn't know the fences were being sabotaged by Blackwell's men faster than Vance and his crew could repair them? Did he honestly think that by killing Vance's business slowly but surely would force Vance to sell the ranch to him for a fraction of its true worth? That Vance wasn't more than aware that it had been Blackwell's harassment that had pushed Vance's father into an early grave six months ago? If Blackwell thought Vance would just hand him the deeds and slink off with his tail between his legs, he was in for a surprise. Vance Wolf had no intention of allowing any Blackwell to ever get their thieving hands on his land.
The real problem Vance had was that he couldn't replace the herd as quickly as it was being thinned and the ranch had to make money, fast. He scratched at the back of his neck where the sun was making a valiant attempt to burn a hole through his skin. When the idea of opening the ranch to businesses as a team-building experience had been pitched to him by his mother, he'd reacted as she must have known he would—with a disbelieving stare followed by a colorful refusal. Of course, after the air had changed back from blue to its natural color, she had gone on to make several good points. Firstly, they were losing cattle they didn't have the money to replace. Secondly, upper-class morons in the city would pay a buck load for a genuine cowboy experience. And, thirdly… she had the controlling interest in the ranch, not him.
Vance's cell vibrated in his back pocket and he sighed heavily. The first of many he was sure he would be heaving over the next few days. Reaching behind him, he fished the sliver of metal from the confines of his jeans and cursed softly at the "momma" flashing on the screen. He pressed the button to accept the call and put the phone to his ear. "Mornin' mom."
"Don't you 'mornin' mom, me," Audrey Wolf said frostily. "Where the hell are you? Gabby is gonna be back from the airport with the guests any minute and if you're not here to greet them we'll be getting off on the wrong foot straight off."
"I'm just checking the rest of the fencing along the creek side," Vance winced at his mother's scoff. Of course she knew he was lying. She was his mother for God's sake. "I'll be in soon. I'm sure you'll be able to meet and greet a few businessman just fine by yourself."
"Vance Benjamin Elvis Wolf," Audrey used his full name, even the embarrassing one, so he knew he was pretty much in deep shit. "Unless you want it handed to you on a platter, I suggest you get that stubborn ass of yours back to the house as if it were on fire. You hearing me, boy?"
Recognizing the no nonsense tone of his mother's voice that usually came just before a threatened trip to the woodshed during his youth, Vance emitted yet another sigh and replied through gritted teeth. "Yes, momma." What else was he going to say? No? To Audrey Wolf? They both knew that, even at thirty-two years old, the chances of him being brave enough to defy her were a million to one.
After he'd pressed the button to end the call, Vance cursed loudly into the still air, letting the wind carry his displeasure across the valley. Ten minutes was all he needed… just ten minutes alone with Andrew Blackwell to stop this foolishness. Who're you kidding? Ten minutes alone with Blackwell would end with twenty-five years to life for you up at Huntsville. His inner voice had a point.
Vance wound the reins around his leather-gloved hands and Goliath reluctantly ceased his contemplative chewing of the sweet blades of grass at his feet. A gentle tap of his heels against the majestic beasts sides were all the instructions from Vance that Goliath needed, and the horse trotted down the hill in the direction of the house.
Goliath reached the barn just in time for Vance to see Gabby's gun-metal gray Silverado pull up in front of the long single story homestead his grandfather had built in the forties after tearing down the original house built by Benjamin Wolf all those years ago. Vance slid off Goliath's back and onto the ground, gritting his teeth so hard his jaw ached.
The sight of five suited men clambering out of the truck and up the porch steps sent acid into his gullet and he swallowed it down with a grimace. He would sure as shit bet that when Benjamin Wolf laid the foundations to the original homestead he hadn't ever imagined city folk crossing it's threshold. Worse still… city folk pretending to be cowboys.
"You gonna be nice?"
Vance gave Walt, one of the ranch hands who'd worked at Wolf Creek for more than ten years, his best butter wouldn't melt look. "Me? I'm gonna be so nice they'll think I'm just a sweet ole pussycat."
"More like a rabid tiger," Walt muttered, leading Goliath towards the barn.
Vance strode purposefully toward the house where his mother's sternest glare and morons with more money than sense waited for him. They wanted to be cowboys, huh? His grin was predatory as he stomped up the porch steps. He was going to show them a weekend they'd never forget.
Adam gazed around the large typically farmhouse kitchen the lady of the house had guided them to. He was hot. Hot and pissed, an unpleasant combination. Graham, the head of his department, gave him a thumbs up from across the kitchen. Adam resisted giving him the finger in return—not sure the gesture would create the best first impression for Audrey Wolf, who had so warmly welcomed them into her home.
As nice a home as it clearly was, Adam did not want to be in it. When Graham had called the four members of his team into the round table meeting room, Adam had wondered if the reason had been called because Herb, his inexperienced colleague, had dropped the ball—again. Adam had, of course, caught the mistake before the client had noticed and rectified the situation—again. No such luck as it turned out.
They'd been informed they were headed to Cowboy Camp for a long weekend in an attempt to bring the team closer together. Adam, who'd been sitting at the table next to Carl from training and his dubious body odour, didn't think he wanted to be any closer to his team members, thank you very much. He'd already been busily thinking of excuses as to why he couldn't attend… having his colon flushed… waxing his testicles… a pre-booked castration he simply couldn't get out of… anything that would be less painful than spending time 'on the range', when Graham indicated the word from on high was that it wasn't optional.
So here he was. In a room full of self-important assholes he couldn't wait to get away from at the end of each week, with a weekend of hog-tying and cow-tipping stretching ahead of him like a black hole. Adam ran a frustrated hand through his hair. He could feel his very soul being sucked into the abyss of having to learn the words to Oklahoma and shout yippee-kai-ay at random moments. He was definitely more the Bruce Willis in a dirty vest and bare feet type than trying to keep up with Calamity Jane, or in his case, Calamity John.
"You'll have to forgive my son, gentleman. We had some cows go a wandering during the storm last night, but he should be here any minute," Audrey Wolf said with a smile, filling glasses filled with ice from a large glass jug. "You must all be parched from your trip. I'm afraid the heat can be a little more cloying out here than in the city and the storm did nothing to clear the air. I made y'all some lemonade to cool you down, please help yourselves. It's the best in the state, if I do say so myself."
Adam chuckled politely with the rest of the men and picked up a glass of cloudy lemonade. His fingers welcomed the cooling sensation of the ice inside against his skin. She wasn't wrong about the heat. His shirt clung uncomfortably to his back and he could feel the sweat pooling at the base of his throat. He needed a shower, needed to cleanse himself of the journey and take a breather. Hopefully there was a pool around here somewhere, the property was big enough, but then it didn't exactly look like South Fork. More like South Fork's poor cousin who'd been branded the black sheep of the family and no-one sent a Christmas card.
"She ain't yankin' you're chain. It really is the best in the state."
The voice came from behind Adam and had an edge to its deep timbre. It sounded as though it should have come from a throat that had been abused by cigar smoke and hard liquor, the husky crackle causing the fine hair on the back of Adam's neck to stand up.
"There you are," Audrey said, her smile soft and fond as she gazed at the owner of the voice. "Gentleman, this is my son, Vance Wolf, and he'll be taking good care of you this weekend. Ain't that right?"
"Absolutely." Adam swallowed so hard as the man crossed the room to stand beside his mother, he was sure it was audible to everyone else. A moss-green gaze scanned the room, obviously taking the measure of each man it settled on. Adam's skin prickled with anticipation. Vance Wolf was not exactly what he'd prepared himself to expect. In his mind's eye he'd created some kind of grizzled old Lee Marvin type with a shaggy beard and a bag of spitting tobacco. Nothing could have prepared him for the man lazily letting his gaze drift over Adam, from head to toe and touching on everything in between. Vance obviously appreciated what he saw, because he made no attempt to disguise his appreciation and his lips curved into an intent-filled invitation. "I'm going to take care of each and every one of you personally. I want to ensure you have the best experience possible."
Adam downed his lemonade in three swallows, unable to ignore the gleam in those green eyes, or the tickling fingers of answering attraction dancing up and down his spine. Maybe, just maybe, hogs wouldn't be the only thing he'd by tying this weekend.
To be continued in early 2013