Everything’s bigger in Texas, including weddings. And misunderstandings.
Colorado wedding planner Mason O’Reilly lands a major contract: a two-hundred-guest wedding at the Leanin’ N Ranch, where his friends Ford and Stoney are working to provide a safe space for GLBT events. The Wright/Preston ceremony is a destination wedding, and as the grooms are from Texas, everything is done over the phone and email. There’s no way that could lead to trouble, right?
Oil tycoon Noah Wright isn’t happy about the impending disaster, but he admires Mason’s quick thinking and grace under pressure. And that’s not all he likes about the out-and-proud wedding planner. Even though Mason’s interested in Noah, his Mr. Right can’t possibly be a rancher from Dallas.
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Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Tropes: Class Differences
Word Count: 50000
Setting: Dallas, Texas, USA
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
MID-MAY IN the Roaring Fork Valley was stunning. All the wildflowers were blooming up in the high meadows around them, and down in Glenwood it was nice but not too warm to hit the Hot Springs Pool.
It was also boom time for the Leanin’ N Ranch, which meant Ford Nixel spent more time on the phone with wedding planners and team builders than he did listening to clients talk about environmental law.
He chuckled at himself. No one on earth would have thought that his happy ass would be sitting here, earphone in, trying to make the big deals that kept the ranch afloat. Not him. Not for a second, but it was what he was doing, and he was over the moon about it.
“Leanin’ N Ranch, this is Ford,” he said into the mouthpiece.
“Mr. Ford, this is Mason O’Reilly from Rustic Romance. We worked together on the Stephens/Belen wedding?”READ MORE
“Of course.” He’d really enjoyed working with Mason, even if Stoney thought the man was a little… bossy.
“I’m trying to plan a rather large event for mid-June, and I was wondering if the Leanin’ N had any availability.”
“What are your dates?” A large event in mid-June would be great. They were surprisingly wedding bare right now.
“I’m hoping for the smack dab center. I need room for two fifty for four days and probably four or five cabins for the week before.”
“Two fifty.” Holy shit. He picked up his extra cell and texted Stoney: Get in here. “So, is this a wedding?”
“It is. I haven’t spoken to the couple yet, but the corporation sent my assistant numbers, if you get me.”
His phone mooed: Omw
“Right. So we can probably accommodate them all, but some lodgings might be rustic. Then again, your folks love rustic.”
See him stall.
“That is my sweet spot. These guys want the whole redneck wedding—horses, mason jars, burlap, shiplap, doughnut walls. All of it. Live band at the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. I’m willing to price out other hotels if we can get shuttles.”
“We absolutely can. We have a guy who has everything from buses to limos to sleighs. We also have access to yurts.” He loved that word—yurt.
He heard the sound of Stoney’s boots on the hardwood, and his own personal cowboy came zooming around the corner.
Ford held up a hand, then pointed to his notepad, which read wedding, 250.
His husband’s eyes went huge, just wide as saucers. “No shit?” he whispered.
Ford nodded. “So, we can definitely talk turkey, Mason. You mind if I put you on speaker so Stoney can sit in?”
“Of course not. You know I live to torture your man.”
“I do know that.” He hit Speaker, winking at Stoney at the same time. “Okay, let’s talk yurts.”
“We can do all sorts of fancy-assed tents and such. They got some amazing toilet options and all. They even got showers.” Ah, his classy man.
Mason chuckled warmly. “Okay, then what I’ll do is send them the options and get you a firm number of overnight guests. I’ll need food for the whole two fifty for the wedding, and they want just the kind of dishes your chef does, so rather than hiring a catering company, I wanted to give him the chance to hire in waitstaff and sous chefs for the event.”
“We’ll get you a quote by the end of the week.”
“I need to give these guys an answer Thursday. Can you get me a number Wednesday?”
“I’ll need the exact numbers today,” Ford countered.
“I can do that. I have an inhumanly efficient assistant.”
“You’re such a lawyer,” Stoney whispered.
Ford winked. He wheeled and dealed. That was his job. Negotiation. It had served him well with his stepson too, because ten was the age at which boys began to bargain for things. “Good deal. I’ll have a proposal to you Wednesday, with some options for housing here and shuttling in guests.”
“Thanks, man. You know I love working with you guys. You’re my first choice. Don’t let me down.”
“Little butthead,” Stoney mouthed.
“We got this, Mason. Thanks for the opportunity.”
“Tell your husband I don’t need any of the wedding party dumped into the watering trough this time.”
Ford held back a bark of laughter. “You got it. I’ll talk to you soon, Mason.”
He hung up and sat back in his chair. “Two hundred and fifty guests, babe.”
“Jesus. That’s… that’s a lot of folks.” Stoney plopped down in a chair, staring at him. “A lot a lot.”
“Mason says we can do shuttles if we have to, and he’ll price out Aspen and Glenwood hotels. The bulk of it will be the wedding day, right? Food, tents for the bride and groom parties, a couple fancy portable bathrooms with sinks and all.” Ford began making notes.
“We need to call Geoff in here, honey. We’ll have to hire in help too.”
“I know. We’ll need to slam together a total budget pretty quick.” Ford felt a surge of adrenaline go through him. He did love a challenge.
“Look at you, all riled up, and it’s gonna be wasted on writing a proposal….”
“Oh, you know paperwork revs my engine, baby. I get all hot and bothered when I tally up the profit margins.” He waggled his eyebrows at Stoney. “I’ll be especially hot if you get Geoff to make pizza.”
“You and your pizza.” His own personal Texan stood up, walked over, and leaned down to kiss him like the world was about to end.
He slid one hand up around the back of Stoney’s head to hold him in place. This was what really got Ford fired up. His husband, his kid, his ranch. Home. He loved that they were making a go of it. The kiss ended reluctantly, their lips separating with a pop.
“Mmm. Okay, that was worth a pizza. You want sausage?” Stoney waggled his eyebrows just like Ford had.
“Always.” Ford winked. “You get Geoff, and I’ll call Angie up so we can all plan together?”
“On it.” Sure enough, his cowboy was on that phone, texting so fast his thumbs blurred.
Cowboys and cell phones. Lord.
It was like peanut butter and jelly, but with Wrangler butts. Oh, woo. What a thought.
He picked up his phone to call down to the barn office to get Angie up. The livestock manager answered with a husky laugh.
“He’s already texted me, boss.”
“Oh man. He’s so fast. Is Tanner down there?”
“He’s got Quartz in the stalls mucking.”
“Oh, good deal. Okay. See you in a few.” Ford hung up with Angie and opened his laptop so he could get a doc going to record this brainstorm.
He glanced at Stoney. That was the best part of his job. His life. Right there.
“They’re coming, honey. You’re thinking hard. What’s causing that smoke pouring out of your ears?”
“Just thinking about peanut butter and jelly, baby.”
Stoney raised a brow. “You’re hungry?”
“Not that way. Too bad we’re about to have a meeting….” He let Stoney figure that one out.
He got a look—one that said that at some point, they would be alone together and he would have a prayer meeting with his favorite cowboy.
Ford tried for angelic. He figured it came off more devilish, but one way or the other, he was going to end up getting what he needed.COLLAPSE