Horse Tales

Horse Tales

Vincent Diamond

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From the farms of Ocala to the backroads of Alabama and the racetracks of New York, Horse Tales is a collection of seven stories set in the horse world and gay life. With richly layered characters and sharp emotions, take a ride with an ex-cop, a veterinarian intern, a truck driver, or a racetrack bookie.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Vincent Diamond
ISBN:
PUBLICATION DATE: 2009
WORD COUNT: 38000
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 5 5 5 5 5
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: ManLove, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
KEYWORDS: gay romance, gay erotica, horses, thoroughbreds, horse racing, show jumping
 

EBOOKS BY Vincent Diamond

EBOOKS BY Vincent Diamond

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Vincent Diamond/2009

When he got up to the stallion barn, Lowell O’Connor, his farm manager was there. Lowell was a former jockey, all of five-feet-two-inches tall, and even in middle-age, no more than a hundred forty pounds. But his heart was huge. He had run the operation since last March, run it all without imposing on Marcus’s pain. All he’d ever asked was for Marcus to sign the checks.

“A hearty good mornin’ to ya, Marcus Paul.” His soft Irish brogue washed over Marcus like a balm. There was something so right and soothing about that voice in his barn.

“And to you. Coffee on?”

“Aye. In the office.” His bright blue eyes looked Marcus over. “What brings you here so early?

“What’s going on today?”

“The Glenview Farm mares are due in at two. Donegan wants them to settle in before the early breeding.”

“Who’s the stud?”

I should know this; I’m too out of touch with the barn’s business.

“Darth Vader.” A true black stallion, not a wisp of bay or chestnut in his coat. And just as irascible as his namesake. Even Philip had never ridden Vader, and the exercise riders had flipped coins over who would breeze him for his daily work-out while he was racing. The stallion’s fighting spirit had won them over three million dollars during his race days. Now, Vader earned his keep by servicing mares from all over the world. “Want to help?” There was kindness in Lowell’s tone.

“No, you can handle it.” Marcus looked away from Lowell’s piercing gaze. “Pasture Fourteen needs manure pickup today. Please tell the crew.”

“Yes, sir. Shall I tack up Mr. Smartypants for ye?”

“No, thanks. I’m not riding.” Two grooms walked by with frisky stallions on each lead. Their shoes clopped on the cement walkway, the comforting sound of home. “I’m gonna clean out Phil—the tack room today.”

Lowell looked down the walkway towards the room at the far end of the barn. Since the stallion barn always had less horses, there had been space for Philip’s sizable collection of saddles, bridles, pads and riding clothes. He and Marcus had converted an end stall. They spent a day installing windows, nailing up drywall, and gluing down a cheap vinyl floor. When they were done, Philip lay Marcus out on the cold vinyl and heated them both to a passionate fire.

The door was closed, as always. No one had been inside since March.

“Aye.” Lowell’s voice was soft. “Time to let go, eh?”

“Something like that.”

“I’ll have the lads muck these stalls last.”

“Thanks. I appreciate it.”

Marcus helped the grooms get the last five horses out to pasture, haltering them in their stalls, then leading them out of the barn for handoff. He stood for a minute with Mr. Smartypants, resting his forehead against his horse’s solid neck. Nothing more sure and stable than a horse—or at least he used to think so. He kissed the horse’s jaw and gazed into its soft brown eyes. “What do you think, Smartypants? Is this the right thing to do?” Smartypants pressed his soft nose against Marcus’s hip for a second, then pricked his ears when the groom came to collect him.

No wonder he likes the grooms more now; I haven’t spent enough time out here.

Marcus saw Lowell give the stableboys their orders and then he was left alone. The barn’s ceiling tall over him, hay dust flaked to the ground and over him. He hated that the barn felt like this to him now. A wretched burst of anger, like a balloon popping.

Goddammit, Philip, why did you leave me?

Stupid. Irrational. As if Philip had a choice.

He sighed and opened the tack room's door.


***

The smell of leather and saddle soap lent a warm perfume to the cold air. Grime and dust lay over everything in the room: the four saddle trees that held covered saddles, the bridle sets hanging from their pegs on the wall—their leather gray instead of rich brown, the wicker tack truck had grime worked into its creases. Marcus sneezed three times, took two steps into the room, then sneezed twice more.

He stood still for a moment, gripping his emotions as carefully as he would hold a worked-up stallion.

He opened the two windows that faced north and west, and tugged off their screens. Dust wafted through the air with every move he made; the air turned gray as he started sweeping from the ceiling down. He tugged down spider webs from the rafters; they drooped gracefully to the floor, clinging to the rough walls.

Did Philip try to cling? Did he reach for me?

Marcus squeezed his eyes shut.

Don’t think, just work.

Marcus’s arms twinged a little from the exercise. He hadn’t been to physical therapy since October and the pull of muscle over his own healed arms poked at him. He flipped on the little space heater, took off his jacket, and kept working.

 

 
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