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No Ghosts (The Cowboy and the Dom, Book 3)

by Jodi Payne , BA Tortuga

No Ghosts - Jodi Payne & BA Tortuga - The Cowboy and the Dom
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.99
ISBN: 978-1-951011-30-7
Pages: 297

Months after James’s brutal murder, Sam gets an opportunity to help Thomas find closure. That means leaving New York City to travel to the O’Reilly’s Texas home, to meet Sam’s parents and get a taste of how and where the O’Reilly brothers grew up.

Their vacation is also an opportunity for Thomas and Sam to move beyond the past, drop their remaining baggage, and finally solidify their tumultuous relationship.

But that may be easier said than done given that Thomas has a secret he’s been keeping from Sam, and Sam is sick and tired of everyone in his life knowing what’s going on but him. It’s the worst time for their trust to break down, because their final confrontation with James’s killer looms, and if they’re going to walk away, they’ll have to do it together.

Note to our readers: Each of the three books in The Cowboy and the Dom Series has a fully realized, romantic ending. However, the overarching suspense element will leave readers on a cliffhanger after books one and two, to be fully resolved in book three (this book). Readers should begin the series with book one, First Rodeo.

This book is on:
  • 2 To Be Read lists
Publisher: Tygerseye Publishing
Cover Artists:

Tropes: Big Character / Little Character, Cultural Differences, First Time, Friends to Lovers, Opposites Attract

Setting: New York City, NY

Languages Available: English

Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters


Chapter One

“No, Sam can’t be alone yet. Can you set up a conference call?” Thomas stared at the Scrabble board. “After three.”

“Three thirty?” Thomas’s assistant, Ally, was on the phone, being her usual organized self and covering for him while he was out of the office, looking after his lover.

“Yes, that’ll work. Put it on my calendar and email me the slide deck?”

“Sure thing, I’m doing that right now.” He could hear Ally typing. “Doctor Kinessey called about continuing his sponsorship for next year.”

While they were talking, Thomas pulled a handful of Scrabble tiles off his rack and placed them on the board, spelling out C-A-N-D-Y. Not great, but not terrible. He gave Sam a shrug and a smile and paced away from the board, one eye still on his lover, his sub.

“When did he call? Did Kathy call him—”

“Yesterday. She’s on it.”

“Oh, good. That’s promising.”


Sam tilted his head, playing Y-O-D-E-L-I-N-G. “You can go in, Mister. I swear.”

He shook his head and mouthed the word No to Sam.

“So how’s the cowboy?”

He stared at the board and sighed. “Jesus.”

“That bad?”

“What? No. No that wasn’t for you. He’s much better. I’m just getting my ass handed to me in Scrabble. Sorry.”

“Okay…that’s not sexy at all. So…ah. Amanda wants to know if you’re planning on making an appeal at the donor gala next month.”

“Yes. Tell her I’m interested, and I’ll try to get in to see her early next week.”

“She goes on vacation Wednesday.”

“Oh. Okay, well Monday, then.”

“You’re sure?”

He had to return to work someday. Sam would be coping by then. “Yes, Monday.”

“Okay, Boss. That’s all I got. Check in with me later?”

“All right. I’ll call you around four.” Thomas looked at his watch. He was pretty proud of himself. He was up, showered, shaved, he’d made breakfast, and even gotten dressed today. It was as if he were real.

“Kiss your cowboy!”

He snorted. “Thanks, Ally.” He hung up the phone. “You cheated.”

“I did not. I’m just brilliant.” Sam stuck his tongue out at him and rolled those pretty eyes. Once Sam’s stitches had come out, the boy shaved his head, and with the knit caps he wore constantly these days, Sam’s eyes seemed huge.

“I liked it better when you still had the concussion and you thought the Hs were Ls and the Vs were Ws.” He picked five tiles and stared at his new letters thoughtfully. “Ah.” He grinned. Maybe he could keep up after all. He played D-E-V-I-C-E off Sam’s D in “yodeling” and replaced the tiles in his rack. “Looks like I’m going back in on Monday.”

“I’m more than capable of managing. I’ve got this. I’ll even make you chili.” A-X-E-S and D-E-V-I-C-E-S? Thomas was about to pinch Sam.

“We’ll have to talk about some ground rules while I’m not home.” He turned Sam’s “axes” into T-A-X-E-S and also put down A-B-L-E off his T.

“Nicely done. What kind of ground rules? I’m just going to work, mostly. I’m still five hundred emails behind.” Sam played V-O-L-E.

“Well, for starters, no working out.” God, he had impossible tiles. He sighed and used the C in “candy” to make R-I-C-E. Pathetic.

“I’ll get soft in the middle, you know.”

“You can do some crunches when I get home. But no running at all.”

“No. Not yet. Maybe in a little while, but…no. Not yet.” Sam reached out for him.

He abandoned his letters, moved around the coffee table to sit closer to his boy, and took Sam’s hand in his. “Yes. That’s right. Not yet.”

“Mmm…hey.” Sam twined their fingers together, holding on to him.

“Hi.” Thomas gave his boy a smile. “It’ll be good, won’t it? Getting back to our routine.” If they could even call it that. Sam had only just moved in when he was attacked and hospitalized, so they hadn’t had a routine in place for more than a couple of weeks. But Sam had been happy before all this insanity, working on his book and making progress on his research projects. The focus had been good for his boy.

“You know it. I’m aching for a little normal. Just a little. Maybe a lot.”

“Aching, yes.” He’d been fine all week. His body had been just as focused on Sam’s recovery as his mind. But talking about normal suddenly made him want his lover back.

He reached for Sam and pulled his boy in for a kiss.

Sam’s hand was warm on Thomas’s cheek, his thumb moving lazily, stroking under his eye.

His boy smelled like Old Spice and tasted a little wild, just like his cowboy should. He slid a hand over Sam’s hip and tucked it under one firm ass cheek, giving it a squeeze. The grin he got was pure happiness, Sam leaning hard into his touch.

His boy’s energy lit him up and he grinned, catching those hazel eyes, loving the little extra green he saw there this time. “Hey, don’t I know you from somewhere, cowboy?”

“That’s the rumor. You found me wandering, I hear. All aimless and shit.” Sam licked the corner of his lips, the sensation featherlight, intriguing.

“Right, aimless. I remember now.” He huffed out a soft laugh. “Well, we can’t have that. I’m sure I’ve got something you can focus on.” He nudged Sam’s chin up with his own and inhaled against smooth skin, breathing his boy in.

“Mmm…” That satisfied sound settled deep in his balls. “Oh, that’s just right.”

“Mhm.” He licked and kissed his way past Sam’s throat, humming as he felt the boy swallow against his lips, and tested the bend near the boy’s shoulder with his teeth.

Sam moaned for him, moving sweet and slow against him, almost like he was dancing. It didn’t take anything at all to encourage Sam into his lap; then he had that perfect ass rocking into him.

“Yes.” That was what he was after. Heat spread up his spine, making him suck in a quick, deep breath. “That’s good, sweetheart.” He slipped his hands up under Sam’s T-shirt and explored the hot skin and hard muscles with knowing fingers.

Sam stared at him, letting him see all the hunger, the love. It could get addictive fast, that open desire.

A piece of him was so ready for a throwdown, but he took a breath and made that wait because his hands needed to feel Sam whole; to feel his lover’s strength, make sure it was real, make sure Sam could handle what was building in him.

He reached up and traced the edge of Sam’s cap. “Are you sure?”

“I am. I got this.” Sam kissed him hard enough that he forgot to breathe. “I need to feel us together, you know?”

He found a breath, thin though it was. “I do. I want you. God, so much.” He urged Sam off his lap and stood. “I have to have all of you.”

“Yes. Every bit.” Sam nodded and led him to the bedroom, hands sweating just a little. Thomas followed eagerly, captivated, recognizing the gesture for what it was. As they moved into the room, he tugged off his T-shirt and tossed it, going for another kiss, chasing down Sam’s lips.

Sam opened up, hands sliding down into his sweats, easing them over his ass.

Thomas kicked his jeans off, stepping past them and reaching for Sam’s T-shirt. He got hold of the fabric but stopped himself, eyes glancing up at the knit cap on Sam’s shaved head. He lifted the shirt off, careful not to bump anything that might still be sore, and dropped it.

“May I?” he asked, catching Sam’s eyes, fingers reaching for the hat, the only garment his lover was still wearing.

“I don’t want to turn you off, Mister.” There was a question in Sam’s expression, a test.

Thomas tilted his head, wondering why his lover couldn’t see how entirely unnecessary that was, but he gave Sam the only answer he had…and his heart with it. “I want all of you, sweetheart. I love all of you. Every bit. Always.”

“All right, then. Yeah.” Sam took the hat off, no more hesitation, trusting in his word.

He was continually in awe of the depth of Sam’s trust in him. He smiled, gave his boy a nod, and ran his fingers lightly from front to back, across Sam’s skull, examining the scars and what was left of the bruises, learning them a little and accepting them as part of who the boy was to him. “Thank you.”

He planned to reward that trust tonight for as long as they could stand it. He took a kiss, bumping against Sam as they shuffled toward the bed.

Sam snuggled in, pressing into him, shoulders to hips, holding nothing back.

“Mmm.” He got his arms around Sam. “You feel so good. I was missing you like this. I’m so ready to get lost in you, sweetheart. Inside you.” He shifted, trapping Sam’s cock against his hip and rocking them together.

Sam made the best sound—half moan and half happy yelp—and his eyelids went heavy. Thomas tugged Sam in tighter, giving him more friction, making his boy feel the pressure.

“Good, yes?” He could feel Sam moving…always moving, his boy. One more thing he’d missed. He was aching in earnest now, wanting Sam’s attention, his boy’s touch. He was patient, though. He’d get what he desired most. For now, he was enjoying watching Sam feel, watching his boy begin to dissolve.

“Oh, Mister. Good don’t begin to…” Sam’s words trailed off, a low moan taking their place as a deep flush climbed his chest.

Not even close, he knew. “My boy,” he said with a growl that started down deep. He moved to the bed, pulling Sam with him by the hand. “Come on, sweetheart, off your feet.”

Sam crawled up onto the bed, arms open to him, begging for him. His boy did need so well. It was a beautiful sight. It made him breathless, eroded what was left of his patience. He moved over Sam and into those arms, gliding his stiff prick along hot skin and kissing his boy until they were equally unable to breathe.

He made sure that tender, bruised head was cradled in the pillows, but that was where he let his worry stop. Sam’s body would tell him everything he should know.

With his eyes on his boy, he curled his fingers firmly around Sam’s cock and stroked, thumb dragging up the back and circling around the head, just to see it in Sam’s face. Just to see what he was doing reflected in his boy’s eyes.

Sam’s lips dropped open and one leg drew up, his knee bending to give him more access.

The knowledge that two weeks ago Thomas might have lost this, that he might not have had his boy in his bed again was present with him as he touched Sam, watched the boy move. It wasn’t distracting or even painful, not with the reality of Sam right in front of him, but it made him appreciate this first time together since the incident, made him more acutely aware of what they had, what they were together.

It made some of his other worries feel less significant, less pressing. That was their work. This was their world, and he was more than content in it.

He reached for his nightstand, craving his lover beyond words.

“Damn, you’re pretty.” Sam reached up, fingers stroking his nipple to hardness, pinching the barest bit, teasing him.

He hissed at the quick little jolt that sent across his chest, raising goose bumps and making him shiver. “Thank you.” He was going to accept those words, the same way his lover had accepted his own earlier. Simply. He was trying to be better about that.

He smoothed the rubber over his cock and offered his boy two slippery fingers and a little pressure. “Soon, boy. Need you soon.”

Sam pinched again before bearing down, taking his fingers in. Sam was silk inside, tight and heated, and Thomas groaned at the promise Sam’s body made.

He twisted his fingers as Sam took them in, slicking and teasing, stretching and making sure his boy relaxed. The last was hardly necessary, as Sam felt loose and ready. That made the corner of his mouth twitch in a knowing grin. His boy wanted everything he did.

He’d never known a man that had so little sexual experience and so much natural instinct, such deep desires. It suited him to be Sam’s first and only. It made him just that much more proud, and it was hot as hell. He groaned as that thought settled right into his groin, making his balls tight and his cock stretch. Fuck. “Sweetheart…”

“Mister. Please, love me, huh?” Sam spread wide, knees bent in a clear offer.

Damn, it didn’t get any hotter than that. “Love you.” He lined up, one fist around his cock to guide himself, and sank into his boy to the root with a long sigh. Sam rippled around him, the sensation driving another spike of heat up along his spine.

He stretched over Sam, instinct already driving him. Sam’s need was making him high, making it hard to think but easy just to let his body have what it wanted. Sam met his thrusts, gaze dragging over his body like his boy wanted to devour him.

“Fuck, Sam.” He leaned down and kissed his boy, hard and deep, thrusting in with his tongue even as his hips went wild. “Feel so good. Perfect.”

“Yes.” Sam nodded, biting his bottom lip, white teeth just digging in.

Sam’s prick pressed into his belly and he reached for it again, giving the boy just enough of a grip to feel it. That soft cast slapped against the sheets, Sam’s right hand fisting tight. “Oh, damn. Fuck. Want you so bad.”

He ducked his head and shifted his hips a bit, the steeper angle giving him a little more rub. “Fuck!”

Sam wrapped those strong legs around him, adding all that core strength to his, and shit, he was going to lose it. Sam rode him like no one else, frantic, hungry, pushing them both. He grunted and gave in, breathing hard, single-minded, taking everything Sam offered and returning it. He loved the way they worked together, no shame, no boundaries, just giving and getting everything they needed.

“Sam!” He had to let go of Sam’s cock to brace himself before he fell over; his boy was so strong, and he had to balance.

Sam bore down, squeezed hard around his cock, and Thomas barked out a sharp cry. Thomas trembled and gulped in air, thrusting uselessly, his cock choked by Sam’s body. To his own ears, his shout sounded hoarse as his climax roared through him, just a breath before he was ready, one second before he’d have lost control himself, his own pleasure summoned by his beautifully impatient boy.

“So-so fucking fine,” Sam breathed, right hand pulling at his needy cock, clumsy, harsh, awkward.

“I’ve got you, sweetheart.” Jesus, his voice felt blown. He pushed Sam’s hand away and took over, strokes solid and steady, Sam’s cock gliding through his fist as he watched the pleasure roll over his boy’s face in waves.

“Mister!” Sam shuddered and shot for him, ass still clamped tight around his cock.

Thomas groaned as another jolt ran through him, making the blood roar in his ears and his vision blur. He blinked it clear, wanting to see his boy, wanting to watch. “You’re stunning, love.”

Sam panted for him, blinking up with a purely dazed expression.

Oh, that was adorable.

He leaned down, took a slightly breathless kiss, and smiled at Sam. “That was…you’re…fuck, I love you.” He had so much to say, but he didn’t seem to have words yet, so he hoped that summed it up well enough.

“Love.” Sam moaned for him, licking Thomas’s lips. “Wow, huh?”

He nodded. That about covered it. “Yes. Wow. Incredible.” He kissed Sam again. “The way you drive me out of my mind.”

Sam grinned at him. “Good. I’m so glad. I want to make you feel as good as you make me.”

“Oh, sweetheart. Without even trying.” He put a hand on Sam’s hip and shifted, dropped the rubber in the bin by the bed, and stretched out alongside his boy.

“Mmm…that is one of my favorite feelings on Earth.” Sam sounded utterly tickled.

He laughed in agreement. It felt good to have this back, the warmth, his boy so relaxed, nothing between them but skin.

“It feels much better than being crushed at Scrabble.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Sam patted his leg, fingers trailing over his skin. “I missed making love with you, Mister.”

His chest tightened at Sam’s words. “Yes, so much. We needed this, sweetheart. I was craving you.” Mindful of the boy’s injuries, he pulled Sam to him, helping his lover settle in his arms. Sam didn’t hesitate for a second; he snuggled in with a satisfied sigh, resting hard against Thomas’s chest.

He held his boy close, grateful to have felt Sam’s strength, to know for sure that every bit of Sam was solid and whole. They still had other pieces of their relationship to visit, other aspects of their lives to bring back around to normal, but as far as new beginnings went, this was the perfect start.


About the Authors

Jodi Payne

JODI spent too many years in New York and San Francisco stage managing classical plays, edgy fringe work, and the occasional musical. She, therefore, is overdramatic, takes herself way too seriously, and has been known to randomly break out in song. Her men are imperfect but genuine, stubborn but likable, often kinky, and frequently their own worst enemies. They are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the path to their happily ever after.

For those looking to get on her good side, Jodi’s addictions include nonfat lattes, Malbec, and tequila any way you pour it. She’s also obsessed with Shakespeare and Broadway musicals. She can be found wearing sock monkey gloves while typing when it’s cold, and on the beach enjoying the sun and the ocean when it’s hot. When she’s not writing and/or vacuuming sand out of her laptop, Jodi mentors queer youth and will drop everything for live music. Jodi lives near New York City with her beautiful wife, and together they are mothers of dragons (cleverly disguised as children) and slaves to an enormous polydactyl cat.

BA Tortuga

Western to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her hounds and her beloved wife, having mother-daughter dates, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting, and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. Following their own personal joys, BA and Julia heard the call of the high desert and they now live in the New Mexico mountains. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, her best friends, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting cowboys to rural single dads to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which is committed to giving everyone their happily ever after. With books ranging from heart-warming stories of found families, to rodeo cowboys that are fighting to make a mark, to fiery passionate love affairs, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.