Life for Charlie Sutton has never been better, or busier. With Travis now a permanent fixture of Sutton Station, a permanent fixture at Charlie’s side, Charlie’s convinced he couldn’t do anything on his ever-growing to-do list without him.
He can run a multimillion dollar cattle business, finish his degree, try and further the local beef industry, deal with staff issues, Ma’s failing health, and an attention-demanding wombat. He can even deal with an unexpected visitor and some shattering news.
He can deal with it all, as long as he has Travis.
But what happens when he doesn’t?
Red Dirt Heart 3 is the story of Charlie Sutton finally realising he can be the man Travis Craig deserves, even if he doesn’t have Travis. It’s a story of love, family, holding on, letting go and coming home.
Nugget is the little wombat that Travis brought home with him at the very end of RDH2, and he plays a very important role in RDH3. It’s Charlie who cares for him, and who Nugget has decided in the only human allowed to feed him. He’s quite possibly the cutest, most adorable character I’ve ever written…
Where Travis changed seats and changed Sutton Station.
We boarded the plane at Darwin, fully expecting the flight back to Alice Springs to be a non-event. People were still boarding when Travis decided he wanted to sit by the window, and then he didn’t, then he did, then he didn’t. And then he did.
“Too bad,” I said, refusing to move seats again. “I pity the person you sat next to for twenty-something hours when you flew to Australia.”
“You really wouldn’t,” he said. He leaned in real close. “We ended up joining the mile-high club.”
My eyes shot to his, and I glared. Instantly jealousy, anger and hurt flared in my belly.
Travis threw back his head and laughed, making a few of the other people still boarding the plane look at us. “Just kidding. I totally didn’t.”
“I hate you.”
He snorted. “I like making you jealous. You’re too easy,” he said, smiling. He could tell I was still a bit peeved by his comment. “Honestly, it was some woman with two kids who, if they weren’t yellin’, they were crying.”
“Serves you right.”
He laughed again. “You know, you were so much more relaxed at Kakadu,” he said. He leaned in and spoke quietly, “And I just happen to know how to really relax you, so if you want to head to the bathroom first, I’ll follow.”
I coughed as some poor bastard took his seat next to Travis. I wasn’t particularly hiding my sexuality anymore, but I wasn’t up for lewd comments in front of the unsuspecting public either. I gave him a behave-yourself glare, and as Travis struck up conversation with the guy next to him, I bid that man a silent good luck, put my earphones on and closed my eyes.
I’d barely shut my eyes for ten minutes before Travis tapped my leg.
I blinked, realising we were now up in the air. I pulled off the headphones. “What?”
“Swap seats,” he urged, standing up.
I looked at the guy who was sitting on the other side, and without time to wonder what had happened, I slid over—with some degree of difficulty given the tight space and Travis standing in front of me. Travis didn’t look pissed off or even worried, so I figured the guy now next to me was harmless. I gave the man a nod and indicated Travis. “Did he say something inappropriate?”
He was mid-thirties with short brown hair that was kinda greyed at his temples. He had a thick-set build, and the stereotype that he played rugby was typified by his been-broken nose. He laughed. “No. Not at all.”
“Good,” I answered flatly. “I wasn’t gonna apologise, I just could have sympathised with you, that’s all.”
Travis whacked my arm with the back of his hand. He leaned forward so he could include all three of us in conversation. “Charlie, I wanted to introduce you,” Trav said with a would-you-shut-up look in his eye. “Blake Burgess, this is Charlie Sutton.”
The name meant nothing to me, but Blake’s eyebrow flicked. “Charlie Sutton? As in Sutton Station?”
“The one and only,” I said, wondering who the hell this guy was and how he’d heard of me. I gave a quick glance to Travis to get him to explain.
“Blake here was just telling me what he does for a living,” Travis said. “Thought you two might like to chat.”
I was confused, and when I turned back to Blake, he was smiling at me. “I’m a buyer for Woolworth’s. More specifically, I source out beef suppliers for supermarkets across the country.”
I blinked. Slowly. Twice. Like an idiot. Travis laughed quietly beside me and mumbled something that sounded like “thank you Travis” before putting on headphones and before I composed myself to actually speak to this guy.
But speak we did. For the next hour and a half—the remainder of our flight—we talked beef: prices, stock rates, ratios, buying, selling, exporting, breeding. For a suit-wearing guy, he knew his stuff. He probably thought that for an outback dirt junkie, I did okay too.
As we were landing, Blake said, “Your friend was telling me you’ve just been to Kakadu.”
I nodded. “Yep.”
“How was that?”
“Wet,” I answered. “And green.”
Travis, who I had thought was asleep, chuckled. “Charlie thinks anything that’s not red desert sand is abnormal.” Trav sat up straight, took the earphones off and straightened out his long legs.
I shrugged. It was kind of true. We’d been gone a week. A whole week! And as incredible as the holiday with Travis was, I was keen to get home.
“I’d love to see it,” Blake said.
“Kakadu?” I asked. “It’s beautiful,” I agreed. “If wet and green is your thing.”
Blake laughed. “No, I meant your farm.”
The plane had taxied in and people started to move, collecting bags from overhead lockers, and our conversation kind of ended with that. We disembarked and headed toward the luggage conveyor belt.
“Thanks for the company,” I told Blake as I shook his hand. “It was good to talk to someone who appreciates what we do.”
He collected his bag, but seemed to hesitate before leaving, like he was making a decision in his head. He turned back to me. “Look, Charlie, I was serious when I said I wanted to see your place,” he said. “In an official capacity. I’d like to oversee what you do out there. I’ve spoken to enough farmers in my time to know who’s legit or not, and I’ve seen enough stock rate figures to know your name when I hear it.”
“Oh.” Shit. Shit. Shit. This was kind of a very big deal. His offer threw me for a six. “Oh, um…”
He smiled. “If you’re interested, that is. I’ll need to check my schedule, and I’ll let you know when I can fit you in. I hadn’t planned on meeting you, and I’m only here for two days, so it’s real short notice. But I’ll need to see some sales-to-weight reports and I’ll require your vet to be onsite. Can you arrange that?”
“Sure.” I swallowed down my excitement and gave him a nod. “Sounds good.”
We swapped phone numbers and shook hands, and when he walked away, Travis and I stood there for a long while in complete silence.
“Holy shit,” I whispered.
Travis laughed. “Thought you might like to talk to him.”
That made me laugh. “I can’t believe you did that.” I looked at him, still not quite believing what just happened. “Travis, this could be kinda important for us.”
“I know,” he said like I was stupid. “That’s why I swapped seats.”
“I owe you something big.”
“Big as in eight inches?” he asked. “Or big as in a pizza oven or a week in Kakadu?”
Laughing, I pushed him to the luggage conveyor belt. Ours were the only two bags left. When I looked over to the reception area, George was there watching us, smiling and shaking his head.
Man, it felt good to be home.
I really wanted people to see that Charlie Sutton had grown. Yes, he needs Travis in his life, but on the flip side of that, he needed to know he could stand on his own two feet if he had to. I had worried that Charlie’s dependence on Travis, his mindset of “I couldn’t do anything without him, I wouldn’t have any of this without him” really wasn’t healthy.
Of course, we all knew Charlie was capable. It was Charlie who doubted himself.
A family crisis back in Texas sends Travis stateside, and both boys have to stand on their own for a while. Naturally, Charlie believes Travis won’t come back – not a reflection on Travis – but rather a reflection of Charlie thinking he’s not worth coming back for.
But, survive, they do. And in this journey – the chapter’s aptly titled “Longing in the Loneliness” and “Strength in the Solitude” – show that Charlie, although heartbroken, can get on with life just fine. And maybe it’s Travis who struggles with the absence.
Just a reminder that I have some of my books translated into Italian and French.
Carter Reece, veterinario, inizia un nuovo lavoro in una nuova città e risponde alla chiamata a domicilio di un cliente molto speciale.
Arrogante, lunatico e assolutamente splendido, Isaac Brannigan è cieco da quando ha otto anni. Dopo la morte di Rosie, suo cane guida e sua migliore amica, non riesce a collaborare con il suo nuovo cane, Brady.
Carter cercherà quindi di aiutare l’uomo e l’animale nella fase iniziale del loro rapporto. Ma la domanda è: chi conduce chi?
Sei mesi dopo aver lasciato Carter Reece e Isaac Branningan, li ritroviamo ancora insieme e molto innamorati.
I due vanno avanti con la loro vita, emozionati dall’arrivo di una nipotina, fino a quando degli eventi inattesi non minacciano il loro futuro.
A Isaac accade qualcosa che lo spaventa molto e il mondo di Carter inizia a vacillare. Le cose si fanno ancora più complicate con l’entrata in scena di Joshua, il nuovo collega di Isaac.
Mentre Isaac lotta per ottenere ciò che vuole, le sue azioni rischiano di costargli ciò di cui ha più bisogno.
Mark Gattison ha evitato per tutta la sua vita da adulto l’amore e il concetto di impegno. Non è mai stato interessato a niente più che alle avventure di una notte o a brevi incontri nelle cabine dei bagni, ed è il perfetto esempio di uno che sa come divertirsi.
Will Parkinson è il ragazzo che lo difende, che lo tollera, e colui che Mark definisce il suo migliore amico.
Quando Will diventa instabile e un po’ distante, Mark si impegna per trovargli un fidanzato. Non avendo familiarità con il concetto, pensa che Will abbia bisogno di qualcuno che lo renda felice.
Ciò che Mark non sa è che sta per essere preso alla sprovvista. Sta per essere mandato KO dalla cosa che ha avuto sotto gli occhi per tutto il tempo.
Commençant un nouvel emploi dans une nouvelle ville, le vétérinaire Carter Reece se rend à une consultation à domicile pour un client spécial.
Arrogant, avec un mauvais caractère mais totalement magnifique, Isaac Brannigan est aveugle depuis l’âge de huit ans. Après la mort de sa chienne-guide et meilleure amie Rosie, son partenariat avec son nouveau chien, Brady ne se passe pas bien.
Carter tente d’aider à la fois le maître et le chien à traverser cette phase d’initiation, mais au juste… Qui dirige qui ?
Six mois après notre dernière rencontre avec Carter Reece et Isaac Brannigan, ils sont toujours aussi amoureux. Vivant ensemble, allant de l’avant, la vie pour ces deux hommes est agréable jusqu’à ce que certains évènements se produisent et changent leurs vies. Isaac redevient l’homme qu’il était et le monde de Carter commence à se désagréger. Les choses deviennent de plus en plus compliquées et commencent à changer pour les deux hommes quand le nouveau collègue d’Isaac fait son apparition.
Tandis qu’Isaac lutte pour ce qu’il veut vraiment, cela pourrait bien lui coûter ce dont il a le plus besoin.
Buylinks: Wayward Ink | Amazon | ARe
Jason escapes into the magic of a Broadway play every weekend. Musicals always have a happy ending and for a few hours he can believe there’s a happy ending waiting for him, too. When the tall drink of water who works on the top floor of Jason’s building, wants to take him on a date, Jason is surprised. After all, Jason is awkward and skinny, and sees himself as a boring accountant, while Paul is tall, dark, and incredibly hot.
Despite Jason’s reservations, Paul and Jason start dating and attending the shows Jason adores. But if Paul likes musicals as much as Jason, why does he always doze off? Is Paul leading a double life? Does he have a wife tucked away somewhere?
Jason knows Paul is hiding something and when the secrets come out, Jason finds his fantasy comes to life, right there on the stage.
And part 2 comes out on October 23rd.
Pre-order Links | Wayward Ink | Amazon | ARe
One year on from Paul’s proposal, Jason is living a life he never dreamed of. As he fusses with his tie and readies to walk down the aisle, he reminisces about the previous twelve months. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the happy couple in the lead up to their wedding, with obstacles big and small thrown in their way.
Marrying one of New York’s most eligible bachelors has Jason’s stomach in knots. Expectations of their society wedding are high, but out of love for Paul, Jason goes along with the grand plans because he understands Paul’s family has a reputation to maintain. But Paul has a surprise up his sleeve that just may see Jason getting the wedding of his dreams.
Follow Jason on his journey as he prepares to marry one of the most eligible bachelors in New York and find out just how Dave got his name.
About the author
R.J. Jones started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write.
It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower…
R.J.’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of her day. Not so. That shower scene ended up being 3000 words long and three hours of work. And still, they didn’t shut up. They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by her bed.
Whilst she was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.
You see the problem? If she ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.
R.J. is a wife and a mother to two boys. She is surrounded by males. Even her dog is a boy.
R.J. Jones can be found at:
History isn’t always what it seems.
With the battle of Egypt behind them, Alec and Cronin are enjoying the thrill of new love. Though fate doesn’t wait long before throwing them back into the world of weird.
They know Alec’s blood is special, though its true purpose still eludes them. And given Alec’s inability to be changed into a vampire, Cronin is free to drink from him at will. But the ramifications of drinking such powerful blood starts a ripple effect.
With the help of Jorge, a disturbing vampire-child with the gift of foresight, Alec and Cronin face a new kind of war. This time their investigations lead them to the borders of China and Mongolia—but it’s not what lies in the pits beneath that worries Alec.
It’s the creator behind it all.
In the underground depths of China, amidst a war with the Terracotta Army, they will find out just what the Key is, and what Alec means to the vampire world.
BUY LINKS: AMAZON | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS | BARNES AND NOBLE
Alec sat on the sofa with his feet on the coffee table reading the New York Times on an iPad. He’d look up every so often at the apartment, at Cronin’s walls of memorabilia, smiling at the antiques shelved there, then at the vampire beside him.
“What’s so funny?” Cronin asked. He didn’t even look up from the Chinese newspaper he was reading, though a smile played at his lips.
“I was just looking over all your relics,” Alec explained. Cronin had told him about most of the artifacts he’d collected, and despite their conversations starting with good intentions, they usually ended up in the bedroom. Or on the sofa, or on the floor, or over the dining table. “I mean, those antiques are pretty cool, but you’re my favorite.”
Cronin looked up at Alec then. “Your favorite antique?”
“Well.” Alec’s grin widened. “You are a 744 vintage. I think you qualify.”
Cronin smiled, amused. “And you’re a what?”
Alec imitated the guy from Antiques Roadshow. “A contemporary piece, 1980s Americana. Perfect condition, well-endowed.”
Cronin laughed at that. “You’re bored.”
“Ugh.” Alec groaned and let his head fall back on the sofa. “So bored.”
He’d spent the last eight weeks holed up in Cronin’s lavish New York City apartment. His days, which were now fully nighttime hours, consisted of a workout regime—Cronin had installed gym equipment in the cinema room to curb Alec’s boredom—hours of foreplay and sex, the occasional movie on Netflix, and reading and researching vampire histories. He rarely left the apartment.
The view was spectacular, and if he wanted something—anything—he could simply order it, pay for it with Cronin’s black credit card, and have it delivered. But he was still confined to quarters. Meaning he was still wanted by NYPD, his former colleagues no less, though the hype had died down.
The fact that his and Cronin’s disappearing acts, which had been caught on CCTV—once in his department’s office area and once in the department’s stores facility—had been leaked on YouTube, meant Alec’s relatively quiet and unnoticed disappearance had gone global.
The footage went viral, making news headlines around the world and him an internet sensation. Some called it a hoax and disregarded what was just too impossible to understand, and others called it what it was.
Cronin’s ability to appear anywhere in the world—or leaping as they called it—was, in Alec’s opinion, the best talent a vampire could have. And it was awesome. Not that they really went anywhere these last eight weeks.
It still wasn’t a great idea for Alec to be seen in public, and Cronin couldn’t go out in the sunlight. That limited their outings to faraway places, wherever it was night.
Alec sighed and went over to the shelves lined with Cronin’s memorabilia. He had wanted to know about all the items Cronin thought important enough to collect over the last twelve hundred years. As a vampire, Cronin had seen things Alec couldn’t begin to imagine, and he wanted to know as much as he could. He’d asked about most of them, but went to one display that held three items he’d not gotten to yet. Alec put his hand out, almost touching the artifact. “Can I touch it?”
Cronin now stood beside him. “Of course,” he answered with a smile.
Alec carefully picked up the small, crudely glazed bottle, admiring it as he turned it in his hands. It was whitish-brown and looked like a child had made it in school art class “What about this one?”
“That is a Mayan poison bottle.”
Alec blinked. “Oh.” He changed how he was holding it, as though it would now bite.
Cronin smiled. “The year was 821. Jodis and I went there and were ill-received. Can’t imagine why.”
Alec laughed and rolled his eyes. “No, I can’t imagine why either.”
“A witch-doctor offered us a drink,” Cronin said, nodding toward the bottle. “Courteous fellow.”
“Well, it would have been rude to refuse,” Alec added sarcastically.
“Yes, quite.” Cronin said, amused. “In the end, he drank it himself rather than see his end with one of us.”
“And this one?” Alec picked up what looked like a bone knife.
“Ah, that’s a Peruvian weaver’s bone wand.”
“Of course it is.”
Cronin chuckled. “It’s from 1288. An old woman stabbed me with it.”
Alec’s mouth fell open. “She what?”
“She stabbed me, only barely.” Cronin was still smiling. “Eiji and Jodis thought it funny that an elderly human woman could do such a thing. She was no taller than four foot.”
“I hope you killed her.”
Cronin barked out a laugh. “Uh, no. Her heart gave out before I had the chance.”
Alec turned back to the shelves and picked up a long metal pin with a jeweled end. It looked expensive. “And this?”
“That is a seventeenth century French shawl pin,” Cronin said, almost wistfully. “A man tried to stab me with it. I believe it belonged to his wife.”
“What is it with you and being stabbed?”
Cronin sniffed indignantly. “It must be my charming personality.”
Alec snorted. “If by charming personality you mean vampire about to kill them, then yes, I think so too.” But the truth was, Alec knew from years of police work that stabbing was an intimate crime; the offender was well within the other person’s personal space. He frowned. “I don’t like the idea of you being close enough to bite someone else. Or that you have your mouth on their skin… or your teeth.”
Cronin took the shawl pin from Alec and put it back on the shelf. “It doesn’t bother you that I kill people, only that I have my lips on them when I bite them?”
Alec looked to the floor and nodded. “You get close, you touch them, you put your lips on them,” he said. He knew he was pouting, but he couldn’t seem to stop. “It’s not fair.”
Cronin put his finger under Alec’s chin and lifted his face so he could see his eyes. “It is not the same.”
“I know,” Alec said petulantly. He knew he was being unreasonable. He craned his neck, exposing it to Cronin. Alec knew there were vampire puncture wounds marking his skin, and he loved them. He wore them with pride. “I like it when your lips are on my neck, when you bite me. When you drink from me.”
Cronin leaned in and ran his nose along the bite wounds. “Do I not take enough from you?”
“Never,” Alec whispered.
Cronin licked the two bruised hole marks, making Alec shiver. “Do I not bite you enough?”
“Never.” Alec was getting dizzy with want. He had to remind himself to breathe. He leaned against Cronin, feeling the strength and warmth of him from his thighs to his neck. He was already getting hard. “It will never be enough.”
Cronin kissed Alec’s neck once more but pulled away. “I can’t keep feeding from you. It can’t be good for you.”
Alec chuckled. “It is really good for me.”
This time Cronin laughed, a purr rumbled through his chest. “You test my restraint, yet again. Please know, Alec, I’m not opposed to such a notion. Though the hours spent in bed this morning may suggest you need a rest. Just because I can bite you without changing you, doesn’t mean you are unaffected.”
Alec groaned. They’d found out after the battle in Egypt that Cronin could bite Alec and not change him into a vampire. It opened a whole world of questions, but more than that, it meant they could have sex while Alec was human. And yes, as much as he wanted Cronin to take him, fuck him, and bite him, his human body needed recuperation. The intense sexual pleasure and slight blood loss took its toll when it was for hours at a time. So as much as he didn’t like it, he knew Cronin was right.
But Cronin also had a warped sense of time. Living for twelve hundred years would do that, Alec conceded. So while Cronin was patient and content to sit and read or research for hours upon hours, Alec was restless for something else beyond that, some sense of normalcy. He was used to police work, and now he sat around doing a whole lot of nothing. Even though he’d left normal behind the day he’d met Cronin, the vampire he was fated to, he was still a twenty-nine-year-old man. He needed to do something human. He grinned at Cronin. “Come on, let’s go out.”
Cronin quirked an eyebrow. “Where to?”
“A club somewhere.”
“I meant in which city.”
“Oh.” Alec was thinking some nightclub in the Meatpacking District would do. He didn’t think he’d ever get used to being able to leap to any country he chose. He grinned. “Well, it’s night time in Europe. I’ve always wanted to go to London.”
Cronin smiled. “I know just the place.”
Blindside is free on Kindle Unlimited until 14th October.
Will Parkinson is the guy who defends him, the guy who puts up with him, the guy Mark calls his best friend.
When Will becomes unsettled and a little distant, Mark takes it upon himself to find Will a boyfriend. Not familiar with the concept himself, Mark thinks Will needs someone to make him happy.
What Mark doesn’t know, is that he’s about to get blindsided. He’s about to get knocked off his feet by the one thing that’s been right in front of him the entire time.
Up until Travis arrived on his doorstep, Charlie had lived a very solitary life. He had surrounded himself with isolation; a couple million acres of red dirt, scorching sun and loneliness.
Six months on, winter has settled over the desert, and Charlie has the life he never dreamed possible. But living and working together, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, for six months straight starts to take its toll.
Charlie is a stubborn, stubborn man, who tends to have more conversations in his head than what comes out his mouth, whereas Travis has no problem saying what’s on his mind. And even as they both struggle to communicate, struggle to make sense of need versus want, Charlie can see that he’s pushing Travis away – yet seems helpless to stop it.
When it all boils down to whether Travis should stay or go, maybe the decision won’t be theirs to make.
You can watch a pretty cool cattle mustering by chopper video here (link takes you to National Geographic site)
Four days. Four bloody long it-wasn’t-like-this-before-him days.
Leaning against the kitchen counter, I looked at my watch for the twentieth time and sipped my tea.
“He won’t be much longer,” Ma said.
I pretended not to know what she was talking about, and she pretended not to smile. Ma was trying to get dinner ready, and I was under her feet and in her way. I put my still-full cup in the sink and sighed. “It makes no sense,” I said. “I spent twenty-six perfectly capable years without him, how can four days be so fu—” I stopped short of swearing and tried again. “How can four days be so bloody long?”
Ma smiled her eye-crinkling, that’s-so-cute smile. “You miss him. It’s only natural,” she said. “Can you lift this tray for me?”
I carried the old heavy cooking tray of roast beef to the centre table where Ma usually cut it for serving. “But still. Four days. It’s pathetic,” I mumbled. “And they’re late! How long does it take for them to come in from the southern fence line? It shouldn’t take them this long.”
Ma ignored my whining and asked me to get the platters down from the shelf. Then she asked me to get the plates and set the table. I knew she was just keeping me busy and getting me out from under her feet. I’d annoyed her enough for the most of the afternoon. And possibly some of yesterday as well. Day three hadn’t been much fun either.
Travis had been gone for four days. Four freakin’ days. Four days when time stretched thin, draggin’ its sorry self forward. Four days of keepin’ myself busy, four days of being a miserable disgrace.
He was fixin’ fences on the southern line with Ernie, Bacon and Trudy. I wasn’t surprised the fencing needing doing; it was too many years of sun and rust in the making. There was a stretch of fencing a few kilometres long that needed restumping and rewiring. It was a big job and about a hundred kilometres from the homestead. It wasn’t worth coming in each night for. We kept in constant radio contact, and George flew fresh supplies down to them on the second day, similar to what we do when droving cattle.
When Travis said he’d join the others for the job, I’d said I could go too. We were in bed, and Travis rolled us over so he was on top of me and laughed at me. “Can’t you live without me for four days?” he’d asked.
“Don’t be stupid,” I’d shot back at him. “Of course I can.”
He’d grinned in the darkness, kissing me with smiling lips. “You totally can’t.”
“Don’t flatter yourself,” I’d replied.
“You’ll be useless without me,” he’d goaded, pinning my hands above my head and nudging his nose to mine. “You’ll see.”
And the smug bastard was right.
“You know,” I told Ma as I pulled out the tray of condiments from the dry store pantry. “You know what I hate the most? I hate that he has to be right all the time. It really pisses me off.”
“Hm mm,” Ma hummed in that sure-it-does-honey tone.
“And I hate that he thinks he’ll be the one to decide whether or not he goes fencing for four days, when I said the others were more than capable. I mean, I’m not his keeper, but I am his boss.”
Ma said nothing, just looked at me as she stirred the pot of gravy. She had one eyebrow raised in a ’course-you-are-honey kind of way.
“And he didn’t seem to think leaving me for four days was a problem. He volunteered to camp out for four days rather than be with me, for shit’s sake. So what does that say about me?”
“Charlie,” Ma chided.
“And you know what else I hate? He leaves his towels on the bed. I really hate that. How hard is it to hang it back up again? It’s not hard. At all. And he grinds his teeth when he sleeps. I really hate it when he does that. And what the bloody hell is that letter from my old uni addressed to him for—”
Then we heard the sound of motorbikes and the old ute pulling up at the gates near the shed.
And my chest got all tight and my stomach knotted with butterflies.
Ma burst out laughing. “Hm mm. I can tell by your smile just how much you hate all those things.”
My friend, Nic Starr has done a wonderful series review of my Thomas Elkin series.
Elements of Retrofit …. “provides the introduction to Thomas and Cooper and what a wonderful introduction. I totally loved both these characters. Tom and Cooper—even the names together sound hot! The strength in this book lies in the chemistry between the characters. As individuals they are interesting—at different times in their lives but both intelligent, talented, driven and sexy.”
Clarity of Lines… “The book is humourous with witty retorts, lots of banter, and of course a wonderful smattering of age references. Cooper is glorious in the way he relates to Tom. The sex is once again fabulous. ”
“The series just keeps getting better with fabulous addition of Sense of Place. It is the perfect ending to the perfect series. Tom and Cooper are so wonderful together it’s hard not to smile.”
More Than: Book Two
Tim Walker is a free man. He’s broken up with his girlfriend and is ready to move on to a new relationship. But the relationship he wants to pursue is fraught with challenges. Firstly, Scott Richardson is a man, and only Tim’s closest friends know Tim’s bisexual. Secondly, everyone knows Scott relishes the single life. And then there’s the big one: Scott is the younger brother of Tim’s best friend, Paul.
Scott can’t deny an attraction to his brother’s friend Tim. Lean, dark blond, and blue-eyed, Tim is hot and hard not to notice—especially since Scott and Tim work together. Too bad the man is straight, and too bad Scott worries how Paul will react if Scott hooks up with his best friend.
Tim and Scott want to see if there’s a chance for more than friendship between them, but neither of them wants to lose Paul. Together, they must find the courage to follow their hearts and find a way to have it all.
Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.
Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!
When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family–an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters–and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.
You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.
“FUCK!” THE clatter of the pan hitting the floor reverberated around the tiled kitchen, as did the profanity that automatically fell from Tim’s lips. He dropped into a crouch and surveyed the damage as Sam came running into the kitchen. The door leading from the office to the kitchen slammed, announcing Sam’s presence.
“Are you okay?” Sam asked as he came to a stop and dropped to his haunches next to his friend and head chef.
Tim looked at Sam and took a deep breath before answering. “I’m fine. Shame I can’t say the same about the cupcakes.” He indicated the dozen or so cupcakes scattered across the floor. He was slightly embarrassed at his own clumsiness but more pissed off than anything.
Sam glanced to the floor, then looked at Tim. “The floor might be clean, but definitely not clean enough to eat off,” he chuckled. “C’mon, I’ll give you a hand. No point crying over spilled… cupcakes.” Sam stood and walked to the broom closet to grab a broom while Tim started picking up the damaged cupcakes and dropping them back into the pan they’d fallen out of. Sam swept up the crumbs while Tim took the tray to the trash and tipped the offending goodies in.
“Damn, I can’t believe I dropped the whole pan of them. Now I’ll have to stay back and make another batch.” Tim looked at the clock. It was already past five and the rest of the crew had finished up for the day, since there were no functions booked for that evening. Tim looked at Sam as he came back from putting the broom away. Sam didn’t show any of the annoyance Tim himself felt. “The cupcakes are for the Ferguson lunch tomorrow. I was baking them tonight so I’d have plenty of time to frost and decorate in the morning. I’ll have to get the replacement batch done tonight so they’ll have time to cool. It’s either that or come in extra early, but I don’t feel like getting in any earlier than I have to.”
“I’ll stay and give you a hand. We’ll get it done in no time,” Sam said.
“Thanks. I appreciate the help. More for the company than anything else,” Tim said before walking to the storeroom.
Together they gathered ingredients—flour, sugar, eggs, milk—and began making the batter.
Tim glanced at Sam, who was quietly humming as he cracked the eggs into a bowl. If Tim wasn’t mistaken, it was one of the Bad Boys’ songs, although it was somewhat hard to tell, as Sam really couldn’t carry a tune. Sam’s cheerfulness brought a smile to Tim’s face, though.
“Are you sure you’re okay to stay back? You don’t have any plans for the night? Something better to do?” Tim asked with a smirk.
“Something better than baking?” Sam said as he tossed an eggshell into the trash. “No, nothing planned. Plus it’s quite fun being out here with you in the kitchen. Much better than being stuck in the office.”
“You wouldn’t rather go see your man?”
“Sure I would,” Sam said, “but he’s not back in town until Sunday. The band is working on a new album. Four more days until he returns. Not that I’m counting or anything.” Judging from the smile on Sam’s face as he spoke of Rob, he was definitely looking forward to Rob being back in Blue Point.
Tim was pleased to see his friend and boss so happy. Sam was one of the most open and caring guys Tim knew, and he deserved all the good things that were coming his way. Sam and his boyfriend, Rob, had been through some rocky times over the past few months, with events happening that had placed a real strain on their new relationship. But things had changed for the better since just before Christmas, when Rob and Sam had sorted a whole lot of things out. Rob had come clean about his health issues and shared the circumstances surrounding his ending up working at the hospital as part of his community service. Once the air was cleared, there was no stopping them, and they were really good together. Not that Tim was an expert in relationships, given his disastrous last one. Even thinking about Erica made him cringe.
“Things are going well for you two, then? Rob’s doing okay?” Tim asked.
“Rob’s great,” Sam replied. “Since he got the all clear and hasn’t had to have any more treatments, he’s improved out of this world. There hasn’t been any nausea or tiredness these last few weeks. It’s like he’s a different man.”
“I’m glad,” Tim said, genuinely relieved things were looking up. “I guess I’ll see more of him around the place now we’re sharing a house.”
“I hope so. When he’s in town, anyway. It’ll depend on the recording schedule and tour plans. By the way, I don’t think I said thanks for helping with the move.” Sam began placing the paper cases into the baking tray while Tim stirred the batter.
“No worries. It wasn’t like you brought much with you anyway.”
At the beginning of January, Sam had decided to move out of the small cottage he shared with his aunt Poppy and into the house Tim shared with his best friend, Paul.
“Yeah. Lucky for me, I didn’t need to. You guys had the place well set up. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have a bit of privacy.” Sam and his aunt were co-owners of Poppy’s Pantry, a catering business that was growing by leaps and bounds. But living with his aunt, now that Sam was involved in a relationship, hadn’t been working so well.
Tim barked a laugh. “It’s not like you’re going to have much privacy in a house full of guys.”
“Maybe not,” Sam replied, “but at least I won’t be worried about Poppy overhearing what goes on behind closed doors. There’s no better mood killer than imagining your aunt listening to you making out with your boyfriend.”
“Oh God, enough!” Tim laughed. “I don’t want to be picturing that either, thanks. We might need to send you back to Poppy’s.” Although he was teasing, he knew there was a touch of jealousy rearing its head.
Sam looked up from the cupcake liners he was filling. “Seriously, though, I don’t know what I would have done without the support of you all over recent months, what with Poppy and her broken hip meaning she wasn’t able to work, and it all happening over the holiday season.”
“Hey, that’s what friends are for. You’d do the same for me if I needed help,” Tim said.
“I would.” Sam nodded seriously before bursting out laughing. “Oh God, look at us. Getting all mushy.”
“Here, give me that.” Tim took the tray, balancing it with a practiced hand as he carried it to the oven and slid it in.
By the time he’d turned around, Sam was seated on a stool at the workbench with a couple of bottles of water. “Here.” Sam pushed one of the bottles his way. Tim twisted the cap off the bottle and enjoyed a long drink. He hadn’t realized how thirsty he was until the water hit his mouth. It was hot in the kitchen with ovens going, and Tim had been on his feet all day. He nearly finished the bottle before placing it on the counter.
Tim surveyed the mess in front of them—bowls, beaters, and containers of flour and sugar, evidence of the batch of cupcakes in the oven—but it wouldn’t take long to clean up. Within five minutes, the kitchen was returned to its spick-and-span state. Tim finally pulled up a stool next to Sam and looked at the large clock on the wall. “Ten to fifteen minutes and they should be ready.” He rested his forearms on the counter and let out a sigh as he laid his head on his arms.
“How’re you doing, Tim?” Sam asked. “We haven’t had a chance to talk properly, with you working so many shifts.”
Tim tilted his head to look at Sam. “Just tired. Nothing I can’t handle.”
“I don’t mean that,” Sam said, “although I don’t want you working yourself into the ground. I meant, how are you coping since the breakup?”
Tim lifted his head and sat up straight. He turned to face Sam. “In all honesty, I’m doing great.” He raised the water bottle to his mouth and downed the last of its contents.
Sam raised an eyebrow.
“I mean it,” Tim said. “It was a long time coming, damn overdue. You were right when you told me ending it was the right thing to do.”
“But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. You’re bound to feel regret, loneliness—hell, I don’t know—it may not have been the best relationship, but that doesn’t mean ending it has to be easy.”
Tim stopped twisting the empty water bottle and put it down on the counter. “Look, I’m really okay, Sam. The main thing I feel is relief. The thing with Erica and me, it was a relationship we just fell into. Erica didn’t love me any more than I loved her. Fuck, you know we reached the point where we didn’t see eye to eye on anything anymore. I certainly couldn’t do anything right in her eyes, and she was happy to move on to bigger and better things.”
“Yeah, sorry about that, man.” Sam sympathized.
Tim laughed but without humor. He may not have loved Erica, but it didn’t make it any easier to see his then-girlfriend flirting with the lead singer of Rob’s band and disappearing with him later in the evening. The only good thing about the events of that night was that it simplified the decision to end things then and there and not drag it out any longer.
“Thanks.” Tim stood and moved to the oven to check the cupcakes. A quick touch to test for springiness determined they were ready. He pulled the tray out and let the oven door slam shut. He used two hands, protected by oven mitts, to carry the tray to the counter, not wanting a repeat performance of dropping the hot tray onto the floor. “These can cool overnight, and I’ll frost them in the morning.” He draped a clean tea towel over the cupcakes.
“So I guess the benefit of you being single is I don’t have to feel guilty about scheduling you to work Valentine’s,” Sam said as he threw their bottles into the recycling container.
“Sure. No worries, buddy. You enjoy your Valentine’s with your man.”
“Oh, I intend to,” Sam said and waggled his eyebrows, causing Tim to laugh.
Tim did a last check of the kitchen to make sure everything was turned off while Sam shut down his computer and retrieved his messenger bag from the office. Tim grabbed his own bag on the way out. They switched off the lights and locked up before heading to their cars. As they walked their separate ways, Tim counted his blessings: good friends and a job he loved. Love life be damned.
Thanks to Brandilyn at Prism Alliance for a lovely review of Taxes and Tardis!
Brent is a jock, Logan a geek, these men are a world apart. But if opposites attract, maybe it’s the differences between them that make it worth the fight.
Brent Kelly is a laid-back tradesman whose only concerns are drinks with friends and which man to bed next. In need of a new accountant to sort out his nightmarish shoebox of tax receipts, he’s referred to Logan Willis.
He doesn’t expect to be intrigued by the science fiction-loving, geeky guy with dark-rimmed glasses and a TARDIS-blue shirt. So his fascination with the soft-spoken Englishman surprises him, and their mutual attraction is completely unexpected. He most certainly never expects to fall in love.
One a jock and the other a geek, both men know the differences between them are vast and could cause problems. But in this opposites-attract erotic drama, maybe it’s the differences between them that make staying together worth the fight.
Review: 4*… “Taxes & TARDIS is one of those titles I couldn’t resist purely because of the geek factor. If I remember correctly, it was my second ever NR Walker story back in the day. I have read every edition of the story to date. While the core story has not changed, it’s presentation has gotten tighter with each iteration. With the most recent edition, Walker gave us a little extra at the end in the form of a sweet and beautiful epilogue.” Read the rest here.
BUY LINKS: Amazon | All Romance eBooks | B&N
SOME INFO FIRST:
Sutton Station, while fictional, is based on a real working station by the name of Lucy Creek Station, in the Northern Territory, Australia.
A link to “Sutton Station” on Google Maps (zoom in to have a proper look)
Makes the RED DIRT part of the title pretty obvious, yes? 😉
Sutton Station is big. As in 2.58 million acres big. Roughly the size of a small country (Lebanon, for example) and is approximately three times the size of the largest ranch in the US.
There is a glossary for Australian terminology at the beginning of the book. Australians are renowned for nicknames and shortening of every day words. As this book is based in Australia and has Australian characters, regional lingo is used.
Australian Terminology Glossary:
Station: Farm, ranch.
Paddock: Large fenced area for cattle; a pasture.
Holding yard: Corral.
Swag: A canvas bedroll.
Ute: Utility pick-up truck.
Motorbike: Motorcycle, dirtbike.
Akubra: Australian cowboy hat.
Scone: American sweet biscuit, usually eaten with cream and jam.
Getting to know a little more about these boys…
Five foot ten inches tall, stocky build and brown eyes. Born and raised on Sutton Station, he spent three years in Sydney at college but came back to the family farm when his father died.
There are two songs that reflect Charlie:
Just over six foot, lean with blue eyes and a striking smile, he knows what he wants and isn’t shy to ask for it. Studied Agronomy and when offered a place in a Diversification Exchange Program, something in his bones told him to choose Sutton Station.
Welcome to Sutton Station: One of the world’s largest working farms in the middle of Australia – where if the animals and heat don’t kill you first, your heart just might.
Charlie Sutton runs Sutton Station the only way he knows how, the way his father did before him. Determined to keep his head down and his heart in check, Charlie swears the red dirt that surrounds him – isolates him – runs through his veins.
American agronomy student Travis Craig arrives at Sutton Station to see how farmers make a living from one of the harshest environments on earth. But it’s not the barren, brutal and totally beautiful landscapes that capture him so completely.
It’s the man with the red dirt heart.
CHAPTER ONE – Where the American guy walks in, all blue eyes and disarming smiles, and my life goes to shit.
Just on sundown, I got off the motorbike, kicked the stand down so the bike stood upright without me and closed the gate. I’d been out all day in the South paddocks doing a final check of fences and water trough pumps before we bought the cattle down from the North. I’d seen the ute back at the homestead as I came in so I knew George was home.
George was my leading hand. He was in his fifties, with greying hair and sun-hardened skin. He’d worked here for as long I could remember, but he was more than a loyal employee. He was my friend, and in a lot of ways, more of a dad to me than my own old man ever was.
He’d been out all day. Left before sun-up and headed into Alice Springs. We were a good three hours from the nearest town, and with a list as long as his arm from the Station cook, Ma – who also happened to be his wife – he needed a few hours in town before heading out to the airport to pick up the real reason for his trip.
An American agronomy student by the name of Travis Craig.
When my father ran this farm, every year we’d have people from another country come and spend a couple of weeks as part of some Diversification exchange program. My old man always said it was a good way to source out what other countries were teaching, but really I think he just liked the extra pair of hands at the finish of the dry season. And when we’d had a phone call back in July to ask if we’d be interested in hosting another student, and given it’d been a few years, I thought it seemed like a good idea. Now I couldn’t help but wonder if this Travis Craig would be a help or a liability.
I rode the bike into the yard and pulled up in the shed. I figured they’d know I’d arrived, having heard the bike, so I headed straight for the house. Like most homesteads built almost a hundred years ago, it was a weatherboard home, with an old iron roof and a veranda around four sides to try and keep it cool.
I kicked the red dust from my boots on the veranda steps and tried to brush the same from my jeans, took off my hat before I opened the door and walked inside. There was a suitcase and a duffel bag near the front door, and voices at the back of the house.
“In the kitchen,” George called out.
I followed the sound of chatter and the smell of something good to find a meeting of sorts in the old country-style kitchen. The worn, solid wooden table that graced the middle of the room was covered with plates of scones and trays of cups and tea, and three people were in chairs around it. My right-hand man, George, his wife the cook, Ma, and a stranger with short light-brown hair and pale blue eyes.
George was the first to his feet, and the man beside him soon followed. “Here’s the boss, Charles Sutton,” George said, introducing me formally. “Charlie, this is Travis Craig.”
Travis, who looked about twenty-two years old, held out his hand and smiled. “Mr Sutton. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” His accent was strange to hear at first, but his smile was warm and wide.
I wiped my hand on my shirt and held it out for him to shake. “Travis,” I said with a nod. “Please, call me Charlie.”