Story Excerpt
Cowboy Keeper

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"What are you doing, Billy?"

Billy swung around from where he was watching the wedding reception across the field. Terror filled him when he spotted Rourke Blaecleah standing behind him. As much as he wanted to take in the man's tall, sexy form, Billy knew his ass was in trouble, big trouble.

"I wasn't doing anything, swear," Billy said quickly as he started backing up into the woods. He had been standing just on the edge of the forest behind a large tree. "I just wanted to see. I wasn't causing any trouble."

"You're trespassing, Billy."

"I'll leave." Billy continued to back up but he wasn't getting any further away from Rourke. The man took a step forward for every step Billy took back. "I swear I wasn't causing any trouble, Rourke. I just wanted to see the wedding."

"You weren't invited, Billy."

Billy swallowed. In his mind, Billy knew he'd never be invited to one of the Blaecleah celebrations but in his heart, he ached to attend them all. The Blaecleah family was known far and wide as being close knit, each member caring for the others in some way. That connection between them fascinated Billy.

"What do you have there, Billy?"

Billy instantly hid the small faded picture he held in his hand behind his back. His stomach started to roll as Rourke walked closer to him, a peculiar expression on his face that Billy couldn't quite make out.

Besides the workings of the Blaecleah family, Billy was most intrigued by Rourke. He was the third brother born of five, the middle son so to speak. Billy started having strange feelings for the man about the time he turned sixteen years old.

In the five years since, that fascination hadn't faded a bit. It had just grown stronger. Rourke dominated every single one of Billy's fantasies. He'd never met another man or woman that drew him like Rourke did. He sometimes wondered if he ever would.

Rourke suddenly stood in front of him. Billy cringed as Rourke reached for the photo he held behind his back. He squirmed to get away, to keep the picture from Rourke. He would be humiliated if Rourke discovered that he had a picture of him, even as faded and worn as it was.

"Please, it's mine," Billy whimpered when Rourke grabbed a hold of it and tugged. "It's mine!"

Billy wasn't strong enough to keep Rourke from taking anything from him. The picture was no exception. The man topped him by at least half a foot and a hundred pounds. Rourke was also thick and muscular to Billy's slim and lanky. Billy didn't have a chance.

He groaned as Rourke ripped the picture out of his hand. His humiliation started the moment Rourke looked at the picture then arched an eyebrow at him. And something in Rourke's face told him that it would never end.

Rourke Blaecleah had ammunition to use against him and the man wasn't above using it to get what he wanted. "Why do you have a picture of me, Billy?"

Billy shrugged, refusing to meet Rourke's curious gaze. He knew what he'd see if he did and Billy didn't think he could handle it, not right now. Billy knew what sort of reputation he had. He was considered a troublemaker.

And, in a way he was. He learned at a very early age to do whatever his older brother, Clem, told him to do or face the consequences. That meant he had gotten into a lot of fights, broken some laws, and generally made himself into someone he knew Rourke would never take a liking too. None of the Blaecleah family would.

The air in Billy's lungs got caught somewhere in mid breath when the Rourke suddenly stepped forward and pressed him up against the large tree behind him. Billy could feel the hard bark digging into his skin through his thin shirt. He knew if Rourke pushed, he would have scratches on his back.

Rourke just seemed to lean into him, not pushing too hard but enough that Billy couldn't get away. Billy turned his head to the side when Rourke leaned down close to him. He swallowed hard when he felt Rourke's warm breath blow across his cheek.

"I believe I asked you a question, Billy," Rourke said softly. "Why do you have a picture of me? And don't lie to me, Billy. I'll know if you do."

"I found it," Billy said quickly. It was the truth. He had found the small picture. Of course, he'd found it inside the glove compartment of Ma Blaecleah's car, which Clem had ordered him to search for money or anything they could sell.

Billy's knees had almost buckled when he came across the small photo of Rourke, the main character in all of his dreams. It had been taken just a couple of years earlier on the Blaecleah front porch.

Rourke has been dressed in cowboy boots and tight jeans, his chest bare as he worked on the porch railing. Someone had obviously said something funny because Rourke's head was tossed back as he laughed. The afternoon sun had been shining, lighting up Rourke's face. Even if Billy lost the picture, he had looked at it so many times the image was burned into his memories.

"You stole it," Rourke murmured.

Billy shuddered. Rourke was so close. Billy could smell the man, smell his rich deep masculine scent and it was driving him wild. He knew he wasn't supposed to have these feelings toward a man. They only led to trouble. Billy just couldn't seem to stop them.

"Now, I wonder why you would steal a picture of me, Billy."

Billy pressed his lips together and closed his eyes. He knew from experience that keeping quite was his best course of action. Talking only got him into trouble. If he just kept his mouth shut, Rourke would torture him in whatever fashion he chose then tire of the game and leave him alone.

"You're not answering me, Billy."

The moment Billy felt Rourke's warm tongue rake across the sensitive skin of his throat he started struggling, the cries in his mouth silent. He kicked out at Rourke until his legs were trapped between two thick thighs. Then he started hitting and scratching.

Billy whimpered when his wrists were caught and held behind his back. He wanted to scream at the unfairness of it all. Rourke only had to use one hand to hold both of his. The other he used to grip Billy's chin, forcing him to look up. Billy kept his eyes closed. He couldn't look.

"You like me, don't you, Billy?"

Billy shuddered when he felt Rourke's tongue scrap across his skin again.

"Little Billy Thornton has a crush on me."