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Stable Hill

by Jodi Payne

Stable Hill - Jodi Payne
Editions:Kindle - Second: $ 4.99 USD
ISBN: B07XF83BKP
Pages: 220

Can three men from very different backgrounds find a home and a future together?

After losing his husband to cancer, Oscar Kennedy has his hands full with their four girls, the house, his job, and his mother-in-law. When he loses his father too, keeping Stable Hill, the old horse farm where he grew up, becomes impossible. Oscar hires Jeffrey Stokes, a slick-looking real estate broker with a roll-up-his-sleeves work ethic, to get it on the market.

Russell White manages the day-to-day at Stable Hill. Russ had loved Oscar’s dad like a father, and took on even more responsibility when the old man fell ill. He is shocked and saddened by Oscar’s decision to sell.

All three men have a stake in Stable Hill, and it’s not long before they start to invest in one another too. But their complicated relationship doesn’t make having to sell Stable Hill any easier. Will the fragile triad they’re building last when the farm that brought them together is gone?

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Excerpt:

Russ coughed, bringing him back to their conversation. “So… we’re meeting a real estate guy?"

“Yeah. His name is Stokes. Jeffrey Stokes. Have you heard of him? Bob Keller, you know him, Dad’s tractor guy? Stokes sold Keller’s farm about six months ago.”

Russ shook his head and squinted down the long driveway. “Nope, don’t know the name. Stokes, I mean. I know Keller, of course.”

“Keller is straight up. Should be a good recommendation.”

“Yeah.”

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This time when the silence fell between them, Oscar tried to let it be, but Russ seemed way more comfortable with it than he was. He watched the waves of grass blowing in the hayfield and examined the porch railing, which Russ must have painted recently because it looked great. He did pretty much anything but look at Russ; if he were honest, he was a little intimidated. The guy knew the farm inside and out, as Oscar had once when he’d lived with Dad, but didn’t anymore. Russ also knew damn well that he hadn’t spent any real time out here in, well, years really, the last year especially. Russ and Dad had become friends, and sometimes he worried that Russ was closer to Dad than he was.

“I tried to get the girls to come out here with me today.”

“Yeah? Bet they’re getting big. Been a while since I seen ’em.”

“I know.” The last time they were here, the twins were fascinated by Russ’s tour of the barn, and Russ let them ride Lollipop, Dad’s ancient pony, walking them each around the ring on a lead. That had been a nice day for them.

They’d buried Dad that morning, so it wasn’t his best day, but it was great to see the girls enjoy the property.

“Car.”

He looked up. “Sure is.” It was a hell of a car too. A sleek black Mercedes coup. He’d never seen anything so shiny in his father’s driveway before. Stokes parked it alongside his incredibly not-sexy, seven-year-old minivan, and not far from Russ’s old dusty, rusty, red pickup.
Talk about out of place. And as it turned out, the Mercedes was second only to the man who got out of the car. Jeffrey Stokes was shiny himself—tall, dark-haired, embarrassingly well dressed.

And sexy as hell.

Russ whistled softly. “Oh. Damn.”

“Yeah,” he agreed quietly, just for Russ’s ears, pretending it wasn’t weird that they were both ogling the Realtor. He cleared his throat. “Welcome, Mr. Stokes.”

“Please call me Jeffrey,” Stokes said, climbing the stairs onto the front porch and going right to Russ first with a smile. “Well, hello.”

Russ’s return handshake was curt, and he pointed to Oscar. “Oscar over there is the owner. I’m Russ. I just manage the place.”

“Oh. Of course. I see.” Stokes gave Russ a nod. “Hello, Oscar.” The Realtor turned a breathtaking smile on him, giving him goose bumps and making him swallow.

Down, boy, he told himself, more amused than anything. That hadn’t happened to him in a very long time. Stokes’s hand hung between them for a moment and he blinked at it.

“Oh.” He shook with Stokes, forcing himself to smile back and think clearly. “Hi. Welcome.”

“So, this is a great piece of property you have here. Big, huh?”

Oscar raised an eyebrow. “Thank you.” No, I’m not interested in going commercial.

“You’re looking to sell it as a working farm, right? It’s a little off the beaten path, but it’s so beautifully situated, I don’t think you’ll have much trouble.”

Okay. He relaxed; this guy got it. Thank you, Bob. “It’s a working farm now. I’d like to see it go to someone that will keep it that way.”

“Great. I’m completely on board. I already have some thoughts, and I’m sure you do as well, but I want to work logically here and do a proper evaluation. If it’s all right with you, my preference would be not to discuss anything related to pricing or get too deep into any fix-up costs until I’ve seen the whole property and have a chance to sit down with the numbers.” While he was talking, Stokes took his jacket off, folded it in half and draped it over the back of one of Dad’s old porch rockers. Then he added his tie to it and rolled up his sleeves.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

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.


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