Soulmates across time. Two hearts that were meant to be together.
In present day, Zach takes a road trip to Trinidad to find information on a missing friend.
In 1892, Layton Blue, outlaw, longs for hearth and home even as he treasures his life of freedom.
A freak rainstorm washes Zach’s car into a ditch, sending him back to the year 1892. Searching for help, alone and on foot in the middle of the nowhere, he crosses paths with the famous Ketchum Gang. Now the gang’s prisoner, Zach’s fate is to be sold at a seedy auction for whores.
Layton is put in charge of making sure Zach does not escape, but as the chemistry between them grows, Layton finds himself wanting to help Zach.
Can Layton overcome years of being on the run? Can Zach accept help from an outlaw?
A male/male time travel romance complete with fast rides across the desert, campfires beneath the stars, cool water in the desert, wild rescues, and true love across time.
- 2 To Be Read lists
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Coming Home, Criminals & Outlaws, Cultural Differences, Fated Mates / Soul Mates, First Time, Forbidden Love, Hurt / Comfort, Meet Cute, Rescue, True Love
Word Count: 105,000
Setting: New Mexico desert, southern Colorado
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Dave got up to tend to the dishes, gathering them up and hauling water from the low river to rinse them off, cleaning them without soap. He scoured the pots with sand from the riverbank. Will banked the fire, pushing at the sticks and coals till the fire was nothing but embers, leaving the outlaws in a circle of darkness around it, each of them laying out blankets and resting with their booted feet pointed at the fire. Layton did likewise, his expression somber.
It was then that Zach realized that each outlaw only had one blanket. Which meant that Zach was going to have to sleep in the dirt. Maybe he was too tired to care, but he was mad about it, just the same. Only there was nobody to complain to and nothing that could be done about it. There weren't any more blankets to be had and that was that.READ MORE
Layton lay down, using his saddle for a pillow, then looked up at Zach who was sitting cross-legged, looking at the fire, unwilling to lay down in the dirt.
"Here," said Layton. He scooted over to one side of the blanket, leaving half of it empty. "You can share with me and tomorrow we'll get another blanket."
Zach thought he heard Tom snort, but nobody said anything and nobody objected to Layton's offer. It was funny how significant the blanket had become, when it was only a thin woolen layer between his body and the dirt. Back home he had more than one blanket, and a duvet Laurie had given him, but here, the blanket was all there was to be had. When Zach lay down, he sighed. His whole body ached, and the food was heavy in his stomach, and the idea of snakes jumped into his head. There were snakes in the desert, weren't there?
Without thinking, he rolled on his side toward Layton, and bumped his nose on Layton's shoulder. Layton's face was close and he looked down at Zach and shook his head.
"Don't worry about it," said Layton, low. "It doesn't matter."
As to what didn't matter, Zach had no idea, but it was a great deal warmer the closer he got to Layton. Zach clasped his hands together beneath his chin and dipped his head as though he was praying. His breath warmed his hands, and the narrow space between their bodies, and then Zach did pray, for sleep. To be home in his own time. To find Laurie and ask him about the letter.
After a time of silence, while the fire popped and crackled into slumber, Layton shifted, and Zach realized he was pulling something out of his pocket. It was slender and silver, and for one minute Zach thought it was a knife and that Layton meant to finish him off. But then he brought it to his mouth, and hummed into it. A small, low sound rose into the darkness. It was a harmonica.
Of all the things. It was such a cliche, at least in Zach's time, though he supposed back in 1892 it was what all the cool outlaws played when they wanted to get the girl or soothe the cattle into sleep. Except there were no girls, and no cattle. Only a circle of outlaws sending quiet bean farts into the night air, thinking they were kings of the world because no earthly law applied to them.
Beyond the circle of the fire, now a low blue glow in the night, the horses snorted and stamped sleepily as Layton began to play his harmonica. The tinny music rose into the night sky, swirling among the stars in a melody so lonesome that Zach's throat grew thick and his heart ached with homesickness. The tune went on, an endless circle of sad, sweet notes, and though Zach didn't know what it was called, he knew that he would recognize it whenever he heard it from that moment forward. He would always associate it with loss and loneliness, of being adrift in an unknown land. Of being alone with no-one to turn to. He didn't know how he'd gotten to 1892, if that was indeed where he was, but if he wanted to get home, he would have to figure out a way himself. The outlaws wouldn't help him, and there weren't any phones to call home on, no way to reach Laurie in Trinidad.
As these bleak thoughts filled his head, Layton's harmonica took a mournful turn, swirling down into something low and desperately sad, and Zach realized he was crying, silent tears slipping down his cheeks. Just as he furiously wiped them away, Tom snorted.
"Enough of that damn thing, Layton, we've all had enough, so put that fucking thing away, d'you hear?"
The rest of the outlaws laughed in a sleepy way, agreeing with Tom. With some reluctance, it seemed, Layton stopped playing, and in the light from the stars, Zach saw the glint of the harmonica as Layton put it back in his pocket. Layton pressed the back of his hand to his mouth and Zach heard his shuddery breath. Maybe Layton felt a little lost, too. Maybe he'd be open to leaving his outlaw gang behind and giving Zach a lift to Trinidad. Maybe. It was too soon to tell, and way too soon to start asking for favors, that was for sure.COLLAPSE
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