Story Excerpt
Cowboy Way

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Matty drew in a deep breath as the door closed behind Quaid then looked over at his brother. Ruben seemed partly confused and partly pissed off.

"What was that all about?" Ruben asked as he gestured toward the door Quaid had walked through moments before. "Does he think I'm going to hurt you?"

Matty smiled. "No, he's just protective."

"Of you?"

"Yes." Matty frowned. "Is that so hard to believe?"

"Considering we just met the man last night, yeah, I'd say it is hard to believe."

"A lot has happened since then." That was an understatement of epic proportions. Ruben was going to flip his mind when he found out about Quaid's proposal, especially after their discussion about marriage yesterday.

Matty decided he needed to be dressed to have this conversation with his brother. He walked over and started digging through his bags, pulling out a clean pair of jeans and a white cotton shirt.

"Matty, what's going on?"

"Let me get dressed first and then we'll talk."

Matty made quick work of getting dressed, pulling on his jeans and shirt then searching for his boots. He didn't wear them often, usually when he was going out, but being on a working ranch, they seemed appropriate.

Once Matty was fully dressed and his bags stacked neatly against the wall, he turned to face his brother. Rube was sitting on the end of the bed, glaring. Matty blew out the air in his lungs.

"Okay, what do you want to know?"

"Have you lost your fucking mind?"

"Not that I know of."

"Then what in the hell are you doing moving into Quaid's room?" Ruben's hands clenched as he jumped to his feet. "If I remember correctly, we're trying to stay under the radar here, not shack up with some cowboy."

"I'm not shacking up with Quaid."

Ruben glanced at the bed behind him then to Matty's suitcases before looking at Matty. "It sure as hell looks that way to me."

"Quaid asked me to marry him."

"He—" Ruben's mouth dropped open. "Are you serious?"

Matty nodded. "Oh yes, I'm very serious."

"Are going to say yes?"

"I wish I knew." Matty walked over and sat down next to his brother. "There's a part of me that wants to say yes. I mean, have you seen the guy? He's the poster boy for gay sex. Every time I see him all I want to do is lick him from head to toe."


"Marriage?" Matty shook his head. "I just don't know about that. What do I even know about the guy?"

"You mean besides the fact that he's drop dead gorgeous?"

"Yeah, besides that," he said through clenched teeth. Matty almost growled. He didn't like the idea of anyone referring to Quaid as gorgeous, even if he was.

Ruben's eyebrows shot up. "Man, maybe you should consider it."


"Because if you get that upset over me saying Quaid is sexy, then you're already falling for the guy."

Matty looked down at his hands, twisting his fingers around each other. "But I'm scared that he's not falling for me."

"So, make it a long engagement, give him time to get to know you," Ruben said. "You can always call it off if it turns out he's just after a piece of ass."

Matty chuckled. "I told him I wouldn't have sex with him."

Ruben whistled. "I'll bet that went over well."

"Actually." Matty grinned. "He agreed with it."


Matty nodded then flushed when he remembered getting Quaid off in the shower. That had been hot, hotter than anything Matty ever remembered doing. His main complaint was that it hadn't lasted longer. He still wanted to lick Quaid from head to toe.

"What's that look for?" Ruben asked.

Matty felt his face burn even more. "We took a shower together this morning."

"Oh?" Ruben grinned and wiggled his eyebrows. "And how was that?"

"You should see this guy, Ruben, he's—" Matty's eyes widened as he realized what he said. He quickly shook his head. No one needed to be looking at Quaid when he was naked. "No, you shouldn't."

Ruben burst out laughing, dropping back onto the mattress. "You're a riot."

Matty rolled his eyes. "Get your butt up. We're supposed to be heading downstairs for breakfast and then a ride around the ranch. Not lying around in bed all day."

"Can you believe how early these people get up?" Ruben asked as he climbed to his feet. "I'm not sure that’s natural."

"You've been up this early before."

"Not because I wanted to be."

Matty grimaced, knowing exactly what Ruben was talking about. The good reverend liked to wake them up early on Sundays and make them clean the church. He wanted it just right for his parishioners and he didn't feel he needed to pay anyone to clean it when he had two sons.

"Yeah, well, it looks like our early mornings have just begun so you'd better get used to it." Matty pushed Ruben ahead of him out the bedroom door then closed it quietly behind him. "If we're going to be staying here, we have to pull our own weight."

"Yeah, I draw the line at plucking feathers or milking cows."

Matty laughed and bumped his shoulder against Ruben's as they walked down the stairs side by side. "Like you'd know how to pluck a chicken in the first place. You'd probably run screaming from the chicken coop the first time one walked toward you."

"Hey man, have you seen the beaks on those things? They're deadly, I'm telling you, one peck and wham!" Ruban smacked his fist into his hand. "You have gangrene and they have to cut off your foot. It just goes downhill from there, one body part at a time."

Matty started flapping his arms and making chicken noises until Ruben's eyes got as round as saucers. Matty froze then swallowed hard. He dropped his arms back down to his side and turned to see who was watching. When he saw Mr. Blaecleah standing behind him, he had a strong wish that the floor would just open up and swallow him whole.

"Oh hey, Mr. Blaecleah." Matty's face was so hot he could have boiled on egg on his forehead. "I was just telling Ruben he needed to learn how to pluck chickens."

Mr. Blaecleah stared for a moment then shook his head. "Sorry to ruin your fun, boys, but we don't actually have any live chickens here on the ranch. Ma buys her chickens at the butcher. But if it's that important to you I'm sure we can get some."

"No, no," Ruben said quickly. "That’s okay. I'm not a real big fan of live chickens anyway."

"Nasty creatures anyway," Mr. Blaecleah said as he started turning away. "They can cause gangrene, you know."

"See?" Ruben whispered loudly. "I told you."

Matty could see Mr. Blaecleah's shoulders shaking and knew the man was silently laughing. It was clear to Matty that the man had heard their entire conversation. Matty could only hope that he kept it to himself. He didn't want to seem like a complete idiot, even if he was giving it his best shot.