tagGay MaleMontana Winter

Montana Winter



Characters are fictional.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. Copyright belongs to MJ Roberts 2014. Please do not reproduce without permission from the author.


Dear Reader,

After Montana was posted, there was an overwhelming response for a sequel. I got tons of letters saying, 'What happened to Noah?' This story can stand alone by itself, but you may want to read Montana first. For all those who wrote and voted, this one's for you.

As always, let me know (through the feedback portal) what you think.




A wind so fierce it rattled the house woke me a few minutes before the alarm. I had a feeling that the noisy gale was trying to tell me something, that it was a wake up call in more ways than one.

"Uncle Noah, Uncle Noah!" My nephew Josh pounded at my door.

So much for snuggling into the blankets for those last few minutes before sunrise and pretending a really warm body was curled in behind me.

"Come in, champ."

"It's my birthday," Josh said.

"I know," I said. "The big one, oh, double digits."

"And as part of my birthday present Mom and Dad said I could help name the new baby in Mom's belly. It's going to be a boy."

That I didn't know.

"What are you thinking of naming him?" I asked.

I threw the covers back and shivered. Even in my thermals it was cold.

"Spot," my nephew said.

I looked at him.

"Just kidding. How about Tanner?"

I cringed. It seemed like every kid that came through here lately had that name.

"Ah, what other ideas you got, short stack?"

"Hugh? You know, like Wolverine?"

I shook my head.

"What about Mason?"

"That one's not bad," I said. "Let me get dressed, kid."

"His middle name could be Kevin," my nephew said. "You know, for Kevin's Place."

I closed my eyes as pain lanced through me.

"Like, you know, then he'd be clever and wily," Josh said.

I looked at him. "How so?"

"Well my mom always said this place is called Kevin's Place for the one that got away."


I walked into the kitchen.

"Noah, the only people left to check in are a couple from Chicago this afternoon and that family from Detroit tonight," my brother Clayton said as we finished breakfast and bundled up to go outside. "But I checked the weather in those Midwestern states. They've got a major snowstorm predicted; I wouldn't be surprised if those airports start closing."

I nodded.

Josh zoomed into the kitchen and careened into my leg. "What about Wyatt? You like the name Wyatt?"

Clay shook his head subtly at me above Josh's head.

"What else ya got, buddy?"


Clay rolled his eyes. "Where you getting these names, son?"

"The Internet."

"Of course."

Sherry came into the kitchen and kissed Clay on the cheek. "What about Henry," she said to Josh, "after your grandfather?"

Now Josh rolled his eyes, looking a lot like his dad.

We all looked up as we heard a car coming down the drive.

Clay turned on the outside lights, and walked out. I grabbed my Stetson, and followed him.

A white Taurus, obviously a rental, slowly drove the last few feet toward us. Soft, fluffy snowflakes began to fall.

The Taurus pulled to a stop, and a guy about Clay's size, maybe 6'5" and broad, with café au lait skin, very heavy on the lait, got out. He was wearing a black coat that looked expensive.

The passenger door opened, and another guy got out. A contracting shot of electricity jerked from my legs up to my balls and God spoke to me, actually spoke to me.

This is a man who will never hurt you.

I grabbed the railing so I wouldn't fall over.

"You folks lost?" Clay asked.

"This is Kevin's Place, right?" the bigger guy asked. I looked from one guy to the other. They were obviously brothers.

"Yup," Clay said.

The bigger guy took a few steps toward Clay. "We're the Hassims; we have a reservation."

This was the couple?

"I know we're early," the big guy said. "We ended up getting an earlier flight because heavy storms were rolling in to Chicago."

I couldn't tear my eyes away from the other guy, still standing by the side of the car. It was like he was a magnet, and my whole body was metal. His beauty was blinding. He had a perfectly symmetrical face with a square jaw, huge brown eyes, and perfect smooth skin.

I gripped the railing tighter.

"I was expecting a couple," Clay said. "With names like Johnny and Lore." Clay pronounced the e as a long e, so it sounded like Lori.

The big guy laughed, and the other guy grimaced.

"It's Lore, not Lori." Oh God, he had a great voice, deep and resonant.

Clay and I looked at him.

"Sorry, I didn't realize it was a silent e. I thought it was Lor eeeee."

"No. Lore. Like folklore. It's short for Lorenzo."

Clay shrugged. "I only booked one room for the two of you," he said.

"We can share," Johnny said.

At the same time I said, "We'll work something out." Which I could admit to myself really meant, like hell you two are going to share a room. Lore is going to have his own room.

So I can get in it.

"You all had breakfast?" I asked.

"We ate before we got on the plane," Johnny said.

Lore looked right at me, and his voice was rough. "I could use something."

"Come out of the cold," Clay said. "My wife'll fix you a bunny lunch."

We turned around to go back inside and I heard Johnny whisper, "Bunny lunch?"

Clay chuckled. "That's a snack to you city slickers."

I held the door open for Johnny and Lore.

They stamped their boots and Sherry took their coats. I surreptitiously eyed Lore's body. He was built sort of like me, about 6'1", swimmer's build of trim, strong, sinewy muscle. He was a little broader in the shoulders maybe.

"You know who you look like," Sherry said.

Lore grimaced.

"That actor, what's his name."

I couldn't imagine who she was talking about, but he must be gorgeous.

"You know, whazhisname." Sherry snapped her fingers repeatedly. "From Criminal Minds. The cute one. Who plays Derek."

Johnny snickered. "He gets that a lot."

"Hey, you get that sometimes too."

"Not as much as you."

I didn't watch cop shows. Not since my parents died. I'd heard of Criminal Minds, but I'd never watched it. Maybe I'd start.

Josh zoomed into the room.

"Who are you?" he asked, looking at the Hassims.

Sherry smacked him lightly on the back of the head.

"Excuse me," my nephew said, and extended his hand to Lore. "I'm Josh."

"I'm Lore."

"That's it! We should name the baby Lore!"

I stared at Lore, giving him fierce eye contact. I drawled the one word out. "Absolutely."


The phone rang and Sherry answered it. The family from Detroit. The airport was closed, and they had to cancel their reservation.

So Lore would have to take their cabin. Aw, shucks.

Later that afternoon Clay was able to corner me, and he got in so close our cowboy hats touched. He gave me the hairy eyeball.


"You know what."

Yeah. I could tell from his expression. It was saying don't fuck with a guest in a way that is going to leave them screwed so they want to screw the ranch over. Because that fucks with my family.

I gave him a serious stare back. One that said, you should trust me more than that.

"Fine," he said with a huff.

"Fine," I said back. Then I punched him on the arm for good measure.


We had a small birthday party for Josh that night. He had five of his friends over. We had a full house, and a few of the guests stopped in. Most of them were leaving early in the morning, going home to be with their families.

It wasn't until the next day, about late afternoon, when I had a chance to get Lore alone.

"Would you like to go see the horses?" I asked.

"Sure," he said. Oh, that voice. Warm, deep, lovely. Talk dirty to me, baby. Make me hot and bothered. Oh wait... you already do.

We went to the barn. When I opened the doors he gasped. "Oh, they're magnificent."

Score one for Lore.

I introduced him to everybody. I stopped at Ari. "Hey Ari. What's two plus one?"

She stamped out three stomps.

Lore laughed. He had a great laugh. Of course he had a great laugh. I closed my eyes and let it wash over me. I reached into my pocket and took out a sugar cube and fed it to Ari.

"You want to feed one to her?"

I couldn't interpret his look. Nerves maybe. I picked up his hand and opened it. It was surprisingly soft, and when I put the sugar cube in his palm I lingered.

"Don't worry," I said softly. "She won't hurt you." We won't hurt you.

"I'm not used to horses," he said.

I guided his hand up to Ari's mouth. She took the cube gently, but in the process she rubbed her lips all over his palm.

He giggled. "That tickles."

"It doesn't usually," I said. "She could sense your trepidation, and she was trying not to spook you."

I reluctantly let his hand go.

"Would you like to go for a ride on the trails?"

"Yeah, okay."

I was about to saddle up White-tail for him and Eagle-eye for me when he said, "Ah, is it possible we could both ride on the same horse? I've never been on a horse before, and I think I'd feel safer if I was with you."

I looked at him.

Hell yeah.

"Okay," I said.

I patted Eagle-eye's flank. "Sorry, old girl," I said.

She snorted at me.

"I know you could do it, E. I just don't want you to." She was getting up in years. There was no way in hell I was going to put two riders on her.

I went to a big black stallion we bought three years ago.

"Wow," Lore said.

"Yeah," I said. "This is Sea-Jack."

I walked him over to the mounting platform I used for kids. No point trying to have Lore get up from the ground if he'd never been on a horse before.

"Move forward," I said.

Just for a second, for that first moment, it reminded me of that time I hurt my ankle, when I shared a ride on Eagle-eye, with Kevin. I closed my eyes and shook my head to get rid of the image. That was a long, long time ago. I was over Kevin. I had a scrumptious man in front of me. And no matter what happened with Lore, I was going to be present every second, making the most of it.

I got on from the other side just because I wanted to be manly about it. I put my foot in the stirrup and swung up behind him.

I fit my body to his. Oh God.

I reached around Lore to grab the reins.

Suddenly the winter was a lot warmer.

He smelled great. Just the hint of some expensive cologne. I couldn't identify it. It wasn't like we had a lot of use for cologne out here on the ranch, what would that be, eu de cow fertilizer? I inhaled deeply. Underneath the subtle spicy smell was pure virile male.

Oh God.

I walked us through a gentle trail where the trees curved a little bit over the path, forming a natural canopy that gave the trail a sense of intimacy. The white-bark pines and quaking aspens had tiny droplets of ice on them. The sun hit the ice beads like tiny lances of light, making the drops into crystal gems, and mini prism rainbows reflecting against all the white of the bark and the snow.

"This is, amazing, one of the most beautiful, breathtaking things I've ever seen," Lore said.

Yeah. But not as beautiful as you, handsome.

"I have a confession to make," Lore said.


"I wanted to come here to steal your secrets."

"You can have all my secrets," I said.

"I'm a therapist for autistic children. I read that article online about this place. I wanted to figure out what you were doing."

"Mostly it's not really me. It's the horses."

"Yeah, well. I'm not going to get horses in Chicago. And, as it's my first time on a horse, I'd probably be flat on my back if it wasn't for you."

I smiled. I'd like to see you flat on your back because of me.

"So, horses are out. Any other suggestions?"

"Dogs?" I said.

He was silent for a few seconds.

"Come on, therapy dogs are nothing new."

Still silent.

"Therapy cows?"

He laughed.


He laughed louder.

"Roaming through the streets of Chicago. Introducing the magnificent Lore and his dragons. Of lore."

"You know, I like you," Lore said.

I like you, too. I like, like you. Boy, do I like you.

"So, yeah, dogs wouldn't be the same," I said. We had to duck under a low hanging branch, and my lips grazed his ear. He shivered.

"Cold?" I asked.


I was rarely the one who made the first move. Ever since Kevin I had always waited for guys to hit on me, not that I went into Route City or Billings enough for that to happen very often. But the pull to him was so strong, and the urgency so great. He was only going to be here, what? A week? A week and a half?

I put my gloved fingers near his leg, and then gently ghosted my fingers back and forth over his thigh. He didn't stop me.

"Part of the thing with the horses and the kids, autistic and not, is the... I guess accomplished, exhilarated, bonded feeling of riding," I said. "It's the communication, and it's also the communion."

I let the reins go, knowing that Sea-Jack knew where he was going, and I took one of Lore's hands and put it on Sea-Jack's body, sort of between his neck and shoulder. I kept my hand over Lore's.

"Part of why the therapy works is..." I trailed off, not sure how to put it into words. "It's more than trust, it's more than self-esteem. Hell, I don't know what it is. It's an unlocking, and an understanding, and a conquering, and a submission, and a new ability. Shit."

I moved Lore's hand into Sea-Jack's mane, still keeping his hand under mine. "It's more than love. It's magic. It's riding magic. And that's healing. Not a lot, but a little bit. But it's a little bit that makes a big difference. I'm damn grateful for it."


We were silent for a moment. "It sounds like you were meant to this, born to do this."

"Maybe. Could be worse. I could be picking cherries. Been there, done that."

I took our hands off Sea-Jack and put them on Lore's front, so my arm was around him. I continued with the feather light caresses of his left thigh.

"You could watch me with the kids if you want," I said.

"I'd like that."

"Like I said, whatever secrets I have are yours." Like my love life. Not that there's much of it, and not that it's a secret.

I wondered if he was gay. I was definitely not playing around with him if he wasn't. I'd been through that wringer. I wondered if he was single. There was only one way to find the answers to those questions, at some point I was going to have to ask. Unless he asked me first? I wasn't sure I had that much patience. Please, tell me God wouldn't have such cruelty to give me this kind of attraction to a man who wasn't available. He didn't seem to upset about me touching his thigh though.

"Are you getting too cold?" I asked. "Do you want to go back? If you can hang on to keep going for about another fifteen minutes will be at an overlook where there's an amazing view, but if you're uncomfortable, we can turn back now. It's up to you."

He twisted a little to look at me over his shoulder. His voice was low. "I want to keep going."

Oh baby.

We got to the overlook. I swung down and helped him off, sliding his back down the front of my body and then for maybe a split second longer than was necessary, just keeping him there. He had both hands on Sea-Jack's side, as if to steady himself.

I put my lips right to his ear.

"Lore? Are you gay?"


"Oh, thank fuck."

He laughed.

"Tell me you're single."

"I'm single."

I closed my eyes.

"Noah? Say something."

"I'm praying," I said.


I opened my eyes. "Yeah. Thank you prayers. You know. God, thankyouthankyou thankyouthankyou. Don't you do that?"

He laughed. I backed off him.

"Come on," I said, and took his hand. "Let's walk a few steps closer to the overhang."


"Yeah." We stared out at the miles and miles of fields, the occasional barn and silo. We could see the Christmas lights, blinking like tiny colored stars all the way over on Jenny Mae's farm. But mostly it was the rock outcroppings, looking terra-cotta copperish in the light that gave it a certain rustic beauty. Lore continued looking at the view, and I watched him.

After a while he rubbed his hands together.

"All right, city boy, let's get you back and see if I can whip up some hot chocolate for you."

I helped him up on to Sea-Jack, which was more fun than it should have been. I got up behind him.

I was already fantasizing about him. Rein yourself in, Noah, you perv. But maybe, just maybe... I wasn't sure I should even dare to hope. On the other hand, as long as I kept my wits about me, and didn't give my heart away, not one little bit, What could it hurt? If I was lucky, maybe I could get some serious hot, super sexy action going with Lore. I hoped. He'd only be here for a week and a half. But a week and a half with a hunk like him would be a treat like I hadn't had since, well, fuck, I'd never had a treat like that.

The ride back seemed much quicker than the ride out.

I let Lore come with me to my appointment with Skylar. She was one of my favorite kids, a ten year old with severe multiple sclerosis. She was a tiny thing in back brace and wheel chair, but once I got her on a horse she was like a totally different person. She rode Tamer.

We did the same things we always did, me stretching and rubbing her legs while she directed Tamer to very slowly walk around the ring. I laughed and joked with her. I helped her dismount and gave her a sugar cube to feed Tamer. She gave me a big hug when her mom picked her up in their van.

I looked over at Lore on the sidelines.

"That's about it," I said.

He looked like he was about to tear up. "You were really great with her."

"Tamer did most of the work."

"No, you're a natural."

"Aw shucks, Mr. City," I said. "I bet you say that to all the boys." I smiled at him.

We stared at each other for a minute, the subtle tension building between us. He licked his lips, just the slightest bit; my gaze dropped to follow the motion.

The dinner bell rang.

"Come on, Lore. Let's see what Sherry and Josh have made us for dinner."

We went in and had just finished stamping our feet and taking off our coats when my cell phone rang. I took it out of my pocket. I looked at the caller I.D. and my brows furrowed.

"Excuse me, everybody," I said. I went to tip my hat but realized I'd already taken it off. "Excuse me," I said again looking at Lore.

I looked again at the phone, which was still ringing. Kevin.

I picked it up. "Hey, hold on," I said as I walked down the hall.

Kevin never called. He and I emailed about four times a year. He sent a Christmas card every year, the kind I hate, the ones with a cheesy fake posed photographs of your family on the front, although Kevin included a long letter. Once in a while he would text. The text was always the same, 'It's a b*tch day in NY, hope it's better in MT'.

That was it. He never called. Why was he calling now?

I got to my room and closed the door. "Okay, I'm here. What's up?"

"Noah," he said. His voice sounded... strangled.


"No," he said, shortening my name like he often did. "No, No, No." He sounded like he had been chewing on sandpaper. Had he been... crying?

"Kev? Kev. What's wrong, Kev?"

"It's Mary. She has cancer. Breast cancer."

"Oh God." I sat down on my bed. Hard. "You want me to come out there?"

"No. That's okay. We just found out the results yesterday. I mean, I noticed the lump in her breast a few days ago, and the waiting has been driving us mad. I had to be strong for her, you know? And I had to be strong for her last night, and all day today. Noah."

I thought about he lost his parents early, how we both lost our parents early. I knew firsthand how devastating that could be. Any loss brings up any loss you've ever had.

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