Today I am so pleased to welcome A.M. Arthur to Joyfully Jay. A.M. has come to talk to us about her latest release, His Fresh Start Cowboy. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Brand glared at Hugo’s compliment. Not because he didn’t appreciate it but because he did. Hugo seemed equally uncomfortable with the situation, as if he had things to say but those things required privacy. And Brand wasn’t sure he trusted himself in private with the younger man. Seven years wasn’t a lot for some folks, but Brand remembered Hugo as the gangly, unsure teenager he’d first met during summer break from college. By the time Brand graduated and returned home, Hugo had filled out and grown a few inches, and he’d been insanely cute.
He still was. And he was here. Now. Within touching distance.
Brand put his glass down with a too-hard clank and topped it off from the pitcher. “Um, thanks. You grew up.”
Hugo didn’t hide a flinch. “Yeah, that happens over time. Life experience helps you grow up real fast, especially when you’re on your own. But I bet Colt has told you stories about his time after leaving home.”
“Some stories, but he prefers sticking to the present. Living in the now. Guess that’s a Woods thing.” Maybe Hugo would get the subtle hint and drop the topic for now. The middle of a crowded bar wasn’t the time or place to follow Ramie’s advice about clearing the air.
Instead of backing off, Hugo looked more determined. “Colt didn’t leave the past in the past, and you got your big brother back. Colt got Avery back and married the man.”
“I don’t know what you think we’ll get back if we talk about our past.”
His face hardened, as if he’d just accepted some kind of silent challenge Brand hadn’t meant to throw down. “So are you and Ramie dating?”
Brand opened his mouth to ask how the hell? Then it hit. “I see Rem’s been running his mouth.”
“Like a motorboat. So?”
“Ramie and I are good friends who occasionally fuck.” He hadn’t meant to let that slip, because he never confirmed or denied what he and Ramie were to each other to other people. It was easier to let folks speculate. But for some reason, Hugo’s nearness fucked with his brain-to-mouth censor.
“Hey, at least you’re getting laid,” Hugo said in a nonchalant tone Brand didn’t buy for a second.
“There’s tail in this town if you know where to chase it.” He watched Hugo’s face, curious if Hugo would rise to the bait and ask where to find it, or swat it away because he had his sights set on Brand.
Hugo’s eyes narrowed. “Trust me, I know where to chase it.”
They held eye contact for a long moment, neither of them blinking. Hugo’s eyes offered a subtle challenge of their own, but as much as that challenge appealed to Brand, he wasn’t biting. Not tonight. Despite finding the kid attractive, and liking this new pushy side of Hugo, Brand was his boss. To everyone except Jackson and Ramie, Brand was also straight, and he was going to keep it that way. Maybe Brand did need to clear the air with Hugo, but not tonight.
Right now, the ranch was his first priority, and he couldn’t risk their conversation scaring Hugo off.
“Well, then maybe you better go chasin’ it and stop botherin’ me,” Brand said with a thicker drawl that usual. “Tell Rem thanks for the beer.” Spots had opened up at the bar, so Brand grabbed his glass and headed that way.
Ramie shot him a few curious looks while she made drinks, then sidled her way over to his corner, which was about three empty stools away from other people.
“So did that look as awkward as it felt?” Brand asked as softly as he could over the music. Part of him regretted how rude he’d been but it couldn’t be helped now.
“Nope.” She gave him a bowl of peanuts to munch on. “You looked like a pair of alpha wolves circling each other, unsure if you’re about to start a brawl or go out back and fuck each other.”
Two cowboys will have to risk their hearts—again—to find a home on the ranch.
Hugo Turner’s boots haven’t touched Texas soil in almost a decade, and he’s not sure they should now. Being in the state is complicated, but Hugo can’t resist going back for a job working with his teenage crush. His best friend’s hot older brother is now the ranch’s foreman, so he’ll be Hugo’s boss. Inappropriate? Probably. Will it stop Hugo? Probably not.
Brand Woods isn’t ready for the return of Hugo Turner. He decided long ago to keep his bisexuality private and to focus his life on running the ranch. Working next to the most dangerously tempting man he’s ever known stirs up questions Brand thought he’d put to rest.
The sparks that send their hearts galloping lead to a deeper passion than either man expects. But by giving in to the chemistry without taking a risk and committing to each other—or, more importantly, to themselves and living the lives they’ve always wanted—Brand and Hugo might lose their second chance at true love.
Book 1: His Fresh Start Cowboy
A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both the ocean and generational farmland. She’s been writing stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. When not exorcising the voices in her head, A.M. can be found in the kitchen experimenting with food and trying not to poison herself or others.