breakthrough, he doesn’t have time to ‘get friendly’ with the local cowboy Levi Bruce. If he hasn’t authenticated the manger in the middle of the town square before Christmas Eve, he’ll lose his antique shop and any dreams he had to find a real Gilt. But it won’t stop Dean fantasizing about his lumberjack riding in on a white horse and lassoing him just right.
Levi Bruce spends his days waking before dawn, tending his tree farm, going to bed after dark, and starting the cycle all over again. It’s a long, lonely life, but with his dog Harry at his side, he thought it was enough. Then that handsome, charming man from the city had to stroll in and upend everything. The wolves are at the door, a big company threatening to take his family farm out from under him. The last thing Levi needs is distracting dreams of kissing the delectable man under the mistletoe.
Will these two fools open their hearts by the fire of the farmhouse’s hearth? Or will the promise of millions, a family secret, and an eccentric artist’s masterpiece rip them apart forever?
- SNEAK PEEK -
This would be the time Levi’d nip back around the stands for a smoke to snuff out the pre-show jitters. But instead of hiding behind the stands of a county fair arena, he was in the middle of a church. And instead of facing a roping event, he had to keep watch over a man without actually watching him. Or so he kept telling himself.
Staring out of the open door while facing the frozen snow, Levi listened to the start of the festival festivities. No doubt the mayor and reverend were still shooting each other dirty looks while they invited cherubic children to press the button and light up the whole square. Harry sat on the church steps, his tail wagging from every new voice he hoped to meet. He should be out there wandering the stalls with the tourists and dodging questions about his personal life. Mostly the ones that wondered if he had a personal life. Levi coughed harder, trying to revive that rush of nicotine to his system without risking all that cancer stuff.
“You should get that looked at.”
Levi turned from the rising crescendo of applause. “Sorry?”
“Your cough,” Dean said. He’d spent the past hour meticulously rubbing his gloved hands up and down the cradle. There’d been thousands of photographs, some with an actual film camera he had on him. For posterity was his explanation, though Levi had suggested he just liked old things. Part of him hoped Dean liked a certain thing in its late thirties, at least.
He coughed again at the dirty thought traipsing about his brain. Most of his past dalliances had been with men like him who were working the scene and trying to fly under the radar. Rough hands, rougher hearts. But watching a man tenderly draw his palm around the wood of a cradle until it glistened like new was doing things to him he couldn’t shake off.
“See,” Dean said. He rubbed at his forehead with his elbow, knocking the headlamp askew.
“Guess I didn’t realize…um,” Levi said while Dean swept the back of his hand against his lips and the man sighed. Clenching his toes in his boots, Levi started to cough then caught what he was doing. It turned into a putter instead.
“Whew, it is way too hot in here,” Dean complained.
“Old boiler runs at two speeds—devil’s teat or damnation fire.”
Dean chuckled at his stupid joke, causing Levi to join in until Dean tugged his sweater clean off. There was a tank top underneath, but those shoulders alone had to be one of the seven deadly sins. Unaware of the farmer left gasping for air, Dean tossed his sweater to the side and checked his phone.
“Nothing official yet from the University, but I bet old Hodgers is riding them hard.”
“Mm-hm,” Levi squeaked only focusing on the riding part of that sentence. Holding those wide, sculpted shoulders in his hands while he thrust…nope. Not here. Put that all away. Another cough rattled in his throat and Dean jerked a tool at him. No words were spoken, but it oddly warmed his heart to be chastised by someone about his health.
- Prize One -
- Prize Two -
- Prize Three -
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