Nash Gallo and Luke Meyers seem like complete opposites on the surface. Nash is a city boy from Atlanta, while Luke is a rancher from rural Oklahoma. Nash is covered in tattoos and piercings, while Luke is self-conscious about his muscular, hairy body. Luke doesn’t have much sexual experience with other men, while Nash has plenty to go around.
But both men are lonely, and neither of them has ever been in love.
They also both have secrets. For Luke, it’s his shame over an affair with a local closeted and married man, something Nash accepts. Will Luke be as tolerant of what Nash is hiding—his job as a prostitute back in Georgia?
A week-long vacation on Luke’s ranch and the idyllic landscapes surrounding it gives both men the chance to relax and explore the attraction growing between them. But can the budding relationship survive secrets and small-town prejudices? As they search for the place where their lives might intersect, Nash and Luke risk far worse than broken hearts.
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Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Friends to Lovers
Word Count: 60988
Setting: Eastern Oklahoma, USA
Languages Available: English
NASH FLIPPED through his closet, trying to decide what to take. He pulled out his best black silk shirt and tossed it to the bed. He’d never been to a ranch, and he’d sure never been to Oklahoma. At this point he didn’t care. He’d been offered a place to chill out for a week or so. If he didn’t get out of Atlanta soon, he’d end up dead.
Jimmy sifted through the pile of clothes Nash had chosen before turning to smirk at him. “Why don’t you grab a handful of wifebeaters and a few pairs of ratty jeans from the thrift store? Then you can toss them when they get nasty. It’s not like the hicks will notice what you’re wearing.”
Nash scowled at his friend. “Luke seems to be a nice guy. We’ve been chatting online for months. It isn’t like he talked me into anything.”READ MORE
“You thought that about the last guy to fuck you up too. He landed you a bed in the hospital for a few days. Besides, how did you find your studly cowboy? Seems a little flaky.”
“It’s not the same thing at all. Luke doesn’t know what I do. Which is exactly why I wanted to get to know him better. Where Luke lives sounds about as opposite of Atlanta as possible.”
“Exactly! You’re afraid to tell the little cowboy you’re a hooker ’cause you think he’s going to dump you. And he probably will.”
“You know, for a best friend, you can be a real asshole sometimes.”
“What do you want me to say? You think all it’ll take is one Pretty Woman moment, and your life’ll all be good.”
“Knock it off. I need a break. A few days out of Atlanta will give me a chance to relax.”
He turned to the closet, hoping that would end their conversation. As he stepped inside, he was surrounded with the scent of cologne and leather. He felt Jimmy’s presence, and a twinge of surprise shot through Nash when there were no more comments. After a minute or two, he walked out with an armload of pants and tossed them on the bed. He shot Jimmy a glance.
“What? Now you’re gonna be quiet?”
Jimmy’s lips narrowed to a small line. “You almost died. You know that, right?”
“I did not. I was just—beat up. That’s all.”
“It’s been what, a month? I can still see some of the bruises.”
“You said you’d help me cover those up too,” he reminded Jimmy.
“I will, I will. But promise me this isn’t some Oklahoma Deliverance boy who has a hiding place for ex-boyfriend’s bodies.”
Jimmy stepped closer and grabbed Nash in a hug. He returned the embrace, even as he kept his emotions under wrap. He knew what happened when you cared for people, and he’d learned it early.
“It’ll be fine,” Nash said. “Luke seems like a great guy. I really do need to get out of Atlanta. I can’t go into a club without getting claustrophobic and feeling like I can’t breathe.”
Nash went to the computer and smiled at the slightly out-of-focus grinning face set as the wallpaper. “He looks like someone I could spend time with.”
“He’s probably a crazy-eyed psycho who’s good with Photoshop.”
Nash rolled his eyes and shoved Jimmy onto the bed. “It’ll be fine. I’ll have time to figure out what I’m going to do next.” He turned away to gather the rest of his clothing and shove it into an athletic bag.
A soft snort came from Jimmy. Nash twisted to see what set him off this time. He found his friend pointing at the last few things he’d shoved into the bag. “A camo jock and cargo shorts? Damn. They wouldn’t pay fifty bucks for you around here if you dressed like that.”
He shrugged, pulled out a dresser drawer, and grabbed a few more things. He tried to hide the condoms by slipping them into the side pocket, but Jimmy spotted what he was doing.
His lips curled into a grin. “I thought this was just two buddies having some together time?”
“Oh shut up, would you. It’s not like that.”
“Well it’s not like you’re going to get any tricks. So you must be thinking….”
Nash glared at him from under blond eyebrows. “Let it go.”