Friday, June 29, 2012

The Wild Bunch: Casa (PG13+ excerpt)

The Wild Bunch: Casa by Deirdre O'Dare

I might add that the three stories are available in a print volume tittled simply The Wild Bunch and can be found on my page at

Blurb: Spark, Stace, and Casa have been best buddies since their high school rodeo days. Now they work for a very special guest ranch that caters to gay men who need a break and escape from their high stress fast lane lives. Rainbow Ranch has a reputation for providing precisely the Wild West adventures each guest needs and desires with the cowboys of their hottest dreams.

Casa is worried when he sees Stace and Spark have found special partners in guests who’ve visited the ranch the past few months. He hates to be the only one left, but he doesn’t think that will work for him. He’s carried a secret torch for his boss way too long to change now. When Jason is hurt in a rodeo accident, Casa is the one who steps in to help and keep things going while Jason recovers. A few small incidents lead him to wonder if maybe—in spite of all that says it is impossible—Jason might be a little bit interested too. Having dealt life long with prejudice because he is Latino, Casa is afraid to let the other man know. Will matters be taken out of his hands?

Stace’s new partner Jared bears a striking resemblance to Jason which makes the three cowboys wonder. Is there some connection and maybe bad blood between the two men? In an effort to bring the two face to face, the three cowboys engineer a barbeque, unsure whether the result will be terrific or terrible.

Excerpt: (This is after Jason's accident as he is struggling to handle the ranch from his office unable to get out and take an active role.)
That afternoon, Casa and Spark worked together to change shoes on several of the horses. Casa pulled the old shoes off one horse, while Stace trimmed the hooves and tacked new ones on another. Casa jumped when his cell phone vibrated against his right hip where he wore it clipped on his belt. Dropping the Paint's leg, he fumbled for the phone. The short text on the screen snagged his total attention. Need U N office. The words came from Jason, of course. An icy chill snaked down Casa's spine, along with an immediate hunch something was wrong.

"Gotta go take care of somethin'," he said to Spark as he headed from the barn. "Be back to finish with old Splash in a bit." The red-and-white Paint had gained the name both for his splotchy coat pattern and his habit of ducking his head in the water trough and shaking it with wild abandon, splattering water everywhere.

Casa led the horse into a stall so he could relax until the cowboy returned. He hoped it would not be long. If it was, Spark had sense enough to see to the horse.

"Okey-dokie." Spark muttered his response around a mouthful of horseshoe nails. He did not even look up as Casa hurried past him.

When Casa got to the main house, he went straight to the office, skidding to a stop when he saw Jason on the floor. Clearly, the other man had slipped and fallen and now could not get up without some help. His right knee and ankle were both immobilized by the cast. He wore only a pair of cutoffs and moccasins since the weather had turned warm and he wasn't outdoors much these days.

"Hey, boss, you aren't supposed to work on the floor," Casa said. "What happened?"

Clearly embarrassed to be helpless, even briefly, Jason muttered a curse. "I was getting some paperwork out of the file cabinet, bottom drawer. Damn phone rang. When I turned around to go answer it, my lousy cast slipped on the tiles. I couldn't grab anything fast enough to keep on my fuckin' feet. Son of a bitch! Why did I have to do something so stupid?"

Casa wasn't sure if Jason referred to his current predicament or the initial arena accident, but his heart went out to the other man. It was no fun to be stove up, hurting and not able to manage your normal routine. He sensed how embarrassed and angry Jason felt and tried to handle the situation with as much calm panache as he could.

"Shit happens. You didn't hurt yourself any more, did you?"

Jason shook his head and snorted. "Only my pride. If you can give me a hand to get back on my feet, we can try to forget this happened."

Casa stooped, allowing his boss to put one arm over his shoulders. With his own arm around Jason's body, Casa straightened and lifted. Using his sound leg, the other man levered himself up. Once back on his feet, Jason swayed a few seconds, trying to regain his balance. The foot-square tiles that floored the office were shiny as glass and almost as slick. The metal heel bracket on the cast wanted to slide on them like the blade of a skate.

Keeping his arm around Jason's waist, Casa held him steady. All at once, a keen slash of awareness swept through him. As dark eyes met hazel, Casa saw Jason felt it, too. He'd already experienced a warm joy knowing Jason had chosen to call him instead of one of the others. The trust that choice implied meant a great deal. Now, standing intimately close, near enough to feel each other's suddenly accelerating heartbeats and quickened breath, that warmth escalated to a searing heat.

Casa lifted his free arm, brushed his fingertips along the lightly stubbled line of Jason's jaw. He looked into the clear steady eyes inches from his and saw the tangled emotions mirroring his own. Jason's lips quirked, one corner lifting in a crooked grin. Beneath Casa's other hand, the bare skin of Jason's back felt warm and inviting.

"Hey, is this a simple case of proximity and maybe goin' without too long...or something else?" Jason's words seemed to be meant as a joke, yet they still sounded intense, laden with meaning.

Against his hip, Casa felt the throb of Jason's cock through the layers of denim. His own had gone iron-hard in seconds and strained against his fly. Blood surging everywhere but his head left him dizzy. If he let go of Jason, he'd likely end up on that floor himself.

As Jason's question soaked in, Casa gulped. Was he ready to make a confession? Could he risk blurting the long-withheld words that crowded his throat? Once said they could not be recalled. In a flash, he decided against it. This wasn't the time. He wanted to be sure Jason knew sympathy or pity had absolutely nothing to do with this attraction. When the time was right, if it ever came, he'd spill it all, but not now, not here.

Risking letting go instead of acting on his powerful urges, Casa lowered his arm and stepped back. He concentrated grimly on keeping his own footing while he watched to be sure Jason was able to do the same.

After a moment, he had both his physical and mental balance back. "A touch of the hornies, I 'spect." He forced a chuckle. "We'll survive. You okay now? I left ole Splash with three shoes off and one still on. Best get back and take care of that if you're all right."

Jason nodded, took a cautious step toward his desk and then another. "Yep, I'll be a little more deliberate when I go to move from now on. Thanks." He paused. "I'd appreciate it if you'd keep this to yourself, okay?"

Casa nodded. "You bet." He waited to be sure Jason got to his desk without incident. Then he hiked back to the barn and resumed his farrier task.

Even concentrating on the job he could not quite tear his thoughts away from the sensations of Jason's strong body pressed against his side, the fierce current that had flowed for a short time between them. He might be crazy, but something told him Jason felt at least a hint of the powerful longing Casa had nurtured in secret for five years.

Wow. Oh man. What if...

He didn't dare think that notion through, but even the slightest trace of it sent a sizzle of raw energy along every nerve. Then he felt a stir of defiance.

Well, why not? Spark has his Italian Stallion and Stace got his Hollywood Hero, so why not someone for me?

But for that someone to be Jason? The thought both scared and elated him. After admiring and lusting after Jason from a distance for so long, it was hard to visualize a real connection, coming together to discover what Casa saw his two buddies had gained. He'd managed to tame the burgeoning hard-on before he got back to the barn, knowing Spark would give him all kinds of hell if he noticed and want to know what was going on. That was the last thing Casa wanted to deal with right now. Private dreams were simply that, private. That's what they needed to remain for the time being, too.

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