In continuation to pride month, Andrew Grey blogs about his upcoming release on June 15th called A Foreign Range
I enjoy writing most when I love the subject I’m writing about and one of my favorite subjects to write (as well as read) is the western. So a number of years ago, I began the Range series. These stories take place in Wyoming with plenty of open space, land, horses, cattle, and of course cowboys. Up till now in this series I’ve written tall hunky cowboys, and short smaller men, seasoned professionals, cowboys nearly born in the saddle to men coming to the range from all over. I’ve also written of love, sacrifice, and men standing up for each other no matter what because that’s what cowboys do. In A Foreign Range, the latest in the Range Series form Dreamspinner Press, I pair a runaway kid who understands horses because they’re about his only friends, with a western singer whose life is as fake as they come. Willie Meadows is famous, but he can’t even ride a horse, doesn’t understand which end of a bull is up, and he’s so fake, he can’t come to grips with who he really, until he meets Steve. So take a look at this excerpt from A Foreign Range, I hope you like it and just so you know, yes, I did actually have to write a song.
A Foreign Range is releasing form Dreamspinner Press on June 15, 2012:
Country singer Willie Meadows is a fake. He’s never ridden a horse, and his “Western” gear comes from a boutique shop in LA. No wonder Wilson Edwards, the real man in those fake boots, is suffering creative block. Determined to connect with the music, Wilson buys a ranch in Wyoming to learn the country way of life, even if he has no intention of running the business. Then Steve Peterson shows up desperate, destitute, and hungry, having just escaped a gay deprogramming hospital run by his father’s cult.
Steve was supposed to train horses for the ranch’s former owner, but the job is gone along with his would-be employer. Luckily Wilson has a temporary solution: Steve can ranch-sit while Wilson does business in LA. But when he comes back, Wilson barely recognizes the place. There are trained horses in the paddock, and the ranch is in great shape. Suddenly he finds himself inspired not by the cowboy lifestyle but by Steve himself.
But the cult is still after Steve, and Wilson’s fear of scandal means he’s still in the closet. Coming out could kill Willie’s career—but denying his feelings for Steve could kill the only part of him that’s real.
Without thinking, Wilson found himself walking toward his bedroom. Hand on his guitar, he found his way back to the porch, watching as Steve worked with the horses. Before he realized it, Wilson’s guitar was on his knee and his fingers strummed the strings. Music flowed through his mind as he watched Steve lead Chester out of the barn, the large horse prancing happily. The air smelled as fresh and clean as Wilson had ever known, the evening light shining off the glistening grass.
Lines of music filled his mind, flowing directly to his hands as he strummed the guitar. “Shining grass, tight cowboy ass,” Wilson sang. He often worked in a stream of consciousness, so sometimes he got silly nonsense. “Walking away from me.” Wilson liked the way that sounded. “Walking away from me,” he sang again and again as the music began to play in his head. “Walking away, walking away, long legs walking away from me.” Wilson smiled as the refrain played in his mind. It sounded perfect, and he continued playing. “I watch you every day, taking care of all I see, but the one thing I want most, can it ever be? Do you love me, do you need me, is it destiny? Or am I meant to only ever see, your long legs walking away from me? Walking away, walking away, walking away from me.”
Wilson sang it a few times and then tried adding more. Tunes played out, and eventually Wilson’s mind settled on one, and he sang the verse and refrain together. A hand settled on his shoulder, and he looked at Maria standing next to him. “Dinner is ready, Señor Wilson.” He nodded and blinked. The sun was gone, and darkness was falling around him. “I didn’t want to disturb you.”
“Thank you, I’ll be right in,” he said, listening for the song he’d been working on. Sometimes they came to him and then disappeared again, but this one seemed to be staying. Standing up, Wilson followed Maria inside, and after setting his guitar on a chair, he joined the others, already eating, at the table. Wilson wasn’t in the mood for talking at all; he was too deep inside his head. The others talked, and the conversation went all around him with none of it registering as his song began to play once again. He ate automatically, and once the hunger was satisfied, left the table. After retrieving his guitar, Wilson went to his room and found a music pad. At the small desk he’d always used, Wilson sat down and wrote out his song. The verses came together, and by the time he looked up from his work, the windows were dark, as was the rest of the room, with only a ring of light from the small lamp he was working by.
Wilson barely registered that someone had opened his door, and only when Steve actually walked into the room did the musical haze that had engulfed him finally lift enough for him to be aware of what was happening around him. “Are you always like that?” Steve asked, and Wilson blinked, forcing himself to comprehend the words.
“I think so. When I really feel the music, it tends to take over everything,” Wilson explained, standing up on legs that felt a bit wobbly.
“I heard you as you sang,” Steve told him in a whisper as he came closer. “Did you write that because of me?”
Wilson nodded. He wasn’t going to lie. He’d been watching Steve when everything fell into place. Steve stepped away, and Wilson saw Steve’s Wrangler-encased butt swing slightly as he moved across the room. The bedroom door closed with a click, and Steve turned to face him, eyes wide and shining in the low light. Wilson blinked a few times, thinking this was a mirage his music-rattled brain was serving up for him, but the kiss wasn’t his imagination, or the heat in his blood. Steve sucked on his lips, the kisses intense and almost brutal. Wilson wrapped his arms around Steve’s waist, his head tilting up for more kisses, which had softened in feel but ramped up in their intense need.
Steve lifted Wilson out of the chair, or had he simply gone willingly? Wilson didn’t know or care as Steve led him to the bed. Steve removed his shirt, dropping it on the floor before pulling Wilson’s up over his head. Once it joined Steve’s, the kisses resumed, so deep Wilson could feel them in his toes.
“God, Steve,” Wilson murmured before he began to fall back onto the bed. Once he stopped bouncing, Steve climbed on top of him, legs straddling his waist, hands roaming over his chest. Wilson’s eyes had fallen closed, but the hesitation in Steve’s touch had them sliding open. He was greeted by beautiful blue eyes filled with insecurity. “What is it?”
“I’ve never done this before,” Steve said, glancing away. Wilson reached up, stroking Steve’s face as relief washed through him. Wilson knew Steve had done things to survive, and he was happy he hadn’t…. “I’m not really sure what I should do.”
“Whatever you want. Do whatever you always dreamed you could do when you were alone in bed.”
Steve smiled and leaned forward, running his tongue along Wilson’s chest. “I love that you’re a little hairy,” Steve told him before his tongue circled one of his nipples. Wilson arched under the sensation, trying to show Steve what he was doing to him without startling his young lover. “Am I doing this right?”Wilson gently took Steve’s hands in his, bringing him forward until their lips met. “You can’t do anything wrong, I promise.” As they kissed, Wilson shifted them on the bed, repositioning Steve until his head rested on the pillows, letting his hands feast on golden spot-tanned skin. It was obvious that Steve worked outside: wherever the sun kissed, he was golden, and where his skin had been hidden, Steve was almost as white as milk. Wilson lightly nipped at Steve’s neck, listening for those tiny moans that told him what Steve liked. Wilson heard them, soft and long, coming from deep in Steve’s chest.