Through the Montana Mist

Through the Montana Mist

Carol Lynne

Saddle Up and Ride Book 3

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Book 3 in the Saddle Up and Ride series (books 1 & 2 available at Ellora's Cave)

When Tyson Moore meets Caleb Sterling, he has an uneasy feeling about Caleb and his partner, Jeff. Although he can’t prove it, Tyson believes Caleb is being abused. Without overstepping his boundaries as an employee at Justice River, Tyson offers Caleb his help. He’ll do everything in his power to make sure Caleb is safe. Falling in love with Caleb isn’t been part of the plan, but Tyson soon finds himself swept away by the scared man.


Caleb came to Justice River Ranch hoping to mend his troubled relationship with his longtime partner. Little did he know that a change of scenery would bring even more problems. Eventually, Caleb reaches out to Tyson, but though he’s attracted to Tyson, Caleb has scars that need time to heal. He begins to wonder if he’ll ever get his life back on track enough to love Tyson or if the damages caused by Jeff will be permanent.
 

 

 
PUBLISHED BY: Carol Lynne
ISBN:
PUBLICATION DATE: 2010
WORD COUNT: 21
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 3 3 3
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: ManLove, Contemporary, Western/Cowboys
KEYWORDS: Saddle Up and Ride, Gay, Carol Lynne, series
 

EBOOKS BY Carol Lynne

EBOOKS BY Carol Lynne

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Carol Lynne/2010

Caleb Sterling sat smashed between the window and his partner of eight years, Jeff Bingman. He tried to bite his tongue as Jeff’s elbow continued to dig into his ribs. Completely oblivious to his discomfort, his partner talked to the man on the other side of him who’d introduced himself as Mitch.

Caleb tried once again to move closer to the window as Jeff began gesturing wildly in the confined space of the van. He returned his attention to the gorgeous view out the large window. How could he have lived twenty-nine years and not have witnessed the beautiful scenery of Montana?

The trip to Justice River Ranch had been his idea. Jeff had been under an incredible amount of pressure at work and their relationship had become…strained. Caleb hoped Jeff could let go and rediscover the man he used to be before taking the New Haven Assistant District Attorney position.

“Are you pouting?” Jeff said in his ear.

Caleb turned away from the view and shook his head. “Just enjoying the scenery.”

Jeff squeezed Caleb’s thigh. “This is going to be good for us. I can feel it.”

Caleb smiled and nodded his agreement. He hoped it was the stress of the job that had his partner on edge all the time. Caleb really didn’t know how much longer he could handle the life he’d been forced to live lately.

Jeff once again began talking to Mitch, and Caleb returned his attention to the landscape. His fingers itched for his charcoals. He couldn’t wait to try and capture the beauty onto paper. The rolling green hills were cut by creeks, the morning mist still clinging to the surface of the water.

The van turned off the main road and Griggs, a handsome Native American with long hair and a bright smile, announced they’d officially arrived at the Justice River Ranch.

Caleb felt light creep into his soul. What was it about the place that made him feel so free? He wanted to jump out of the van, spin around on one of the rolling hills and sing The Sound of Music at the top of his lungs. He couldn’t keep the giggle out of his voice at the thought of him in a dress and bobbed hair like Maria.

“Something funny?”

Caleb couldn’t take his eyes off the view to look at Jeff. “Just feeling happy and silly. I like this place.”

Jeff leaned over Caleb’s body to peer out the window. “Looks like Connecticut to me.”

Caleb rolled his eyes. Montana was nothing like home in his mind. Here, there were endless possibilities. He couldn’t have described it to Jeff, but he felt…free.

After a rough drive down the dirt road, the van stopped in front of a rustic-looking barn. Caleb wondered if the structure was really as old as it appeared. He noticed the way the light created shadows between the rough hewn logs that made up the barn.

“Do you think I’ll have time to draw sometime today?”

“You’re the one with the itinerary.” Jeff scooted out of the seat while Caleb continued to study the barn through the window.

A fist slamming against the side of the van, snapped him out of his observations. Caleb jumped and gave Jeff an apologetic smile. He slid his way down the bench seat and out into the fresh air. It was even more breathtaking than he could ever have hoped.

He sought out Jeff and stood beside his partner as two men introduced themselves as Deacon and Ray. They started to give the gathered group a rundown of the day’s activities, culminating in an evening ride.

By his calculations, he’d have at least ninety minutes of free time to sketch. Caleb grinned and reached for Jeff’s hand. Of course Jeff shook Caleb’s touch off and gave him an admonishing stare.

Caleb gave an inward sigh. Jeff didn’t believe in public displays of affection, but he’d hoped it would be different here. They were completely surrounded by gay men, some of whom had their arms wrapped around their loved ones.

After the owners of the ranch finished their welcoming greeting, the guests were told they could either walk to their assigned cabins or jump back into the van with their luggage. Before they made their decisions, Ray ran down a list of guests and their assigned cabins.

Caleb tugged on Jeff’s shirt. “I think they made a mistake. I signed us up for the big summer cabin.”

Jeff glanced at him. “I called and changed that to a private cabin.”

“And you didn’t tell me?”

“I was paying for it, so I didn’t think I needed your permission.”

Caleb glanced away and rubbed at the tightening in his chest. He knew he didn’t have room to complain. Jeff was right. He was paying for their trip.

They were all given a photocopied map of the ranch and its buildings. Caleb couldn’t help but notice how far from the other guests their assigned home for the week would be. He tried to look on the bright side. Although their cabin was closest to the barn and other ranch buildings, it at least backed up to a small meadow with a scenic backdrop of snowcapped mountains.

Caleb tried to tell himself it was Jeff’s desire to reignite things between them that had led him to requesting the change in accommodations. At least he’d be able to sketch in the mornings before Jeff rolled out of bed.

As he waited for his suitcase to be unloaded from the back of the van, Caleb caught sight of the biggest man he’d ever seen. There was something about the man, an almost lonely expression on his face as he leaned against the porch railing of a cabin.

“What’re you looking at?” Jeff asked, a strong hand on Caleb’s arm.

“Nothing.” He tried to hide. “Just trying to figure out which one of those buildings is the cookhouse.”

Jeff pointed toward the large brass bell outside the building on the left. “That one.”

“Oh. Thanks.”

Jeff gave him a narrowed eyed gaze and picked up his suitcase. “Get your shit and let’s go.”

 

 


 

 
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