Well I didn’t think I signed up for the 4th blog hop but I am hearing I did so… let’s take a spin out and let me know what you think and leave your email address so I can give you a prize. I love being patriotic and guess what? I have a sexy piece. When I penned Like a River, I wanted to make something that was totally American and I think I’ve achieved it. Yes, it’s a m/m piece and very sexy – I think anyway. Let’s take a look. Remember to leave your name and let me know what you like.
LIKE A RIVER
Dusty Walker’s country music career came to a screeching halt after the heart-wrenching breakup with the man he thought would be forever. Unfortunately his band was in jeopardy of losing their recording contract. Determined to help break Dusty’s writer’s block one of the band members suggested a change of scenery — cowboy country. Intrigued, Dusty booked a flight to Missoula Montana and was amazed at the sights and sounds of the stunning snow capped mountains. Hurting for money, fixing up the cabin nestled in the woods seemed like the perfect opportunity to boost his carpentry skills while penning several new songs. Hiding behind a new persona he worked hard to rebuild his career while his demons nipped at his heels.
Damon Shade was a smokejumper by trade. Wounded in Afghanistan he lost not only his innocence to the war but his pride as well. Anger burned within him and he couldn’t control his raging emotions as more than one secret threatened to derail everything he had left. When he met Dusty, he didn’t like the guy but little did he know they both held their past horrors at bay in an effort to begin a new life. As sparks flew and they began to open their hearts another tragedy intervened. Would their respective secrets stymy what was awakened in a secluded cabin in the woods?
Dusty stood gazing up at the mountains and inhaled the crisp air, allowing the unfamiliar scents to fill his nostrils. He had to admit this part of the country was damn beautiful. Flying in was awe-inspiring. “Whew.” Gripping the handle on his guitar case he snagged his suitcase and headed toward the rental car section. For the first time since he’d embraced the somewhat crazy idea he had to admit he was excited. Getting the hell out of dodge was already putting him in a better mood.
They guys in the band were looking after his house and in truth the place could sit tight until his return. He had nothing holding back his trip and he’d psyched himself up with several long rides on his Harley. Now it was time to relax and get down to the business of writing music.
He found the Dodge Ram easily enough and given this was his one treat while he was in town he was going to locate the cabin first, a grocery and liquor store second and then settle in for the evening. Tim’s cousin was coming by to show him around and had left a key in case Dusty arrived first. There was no doubt he had to be in a small down if people placed their key in such an obvious location. The thought gave him a chuckle.
As he glanced at the piece of paper with the address for the cabin, he turned in a full circle and shook his head before placing his guitar in the passenger seat. This was one beautiful place on Earth. Climbing into the cab and starting the engine he had a fleeting thought of purchasing a real cowboy hat and burst into laughter. Maybe he was just a wanna be cowboy after all. Punching the address into the GPS system, he couldn’t wait to explore the countryside.
Dusty settled in for the ride and as he flipped on station after station he stopped when he heard one of his songs on the radio. He almost had to jerk the truck to the side of the road. A huge smile crossing his face he slapped the steering wheel and realized he hadn’t listened to just the radio in so long – maybe years. His entertainment had been replaced by satellite television and radio. Maybe it was time to get back to something quieter. Like good country living. Snorting, he gazed up into the sky and sighed. As he continued on his path following the not so subtle directions of the sultry female voice on the GPS he glanced at the remote surroundings and realized he hadn’t seen a car, truck or anything but an occasional deer sighting since he turned off the main road. If he wanted peace he was certainly going to get it.
“In one mile turn right onto Old Stage Road.” Stealing a glance at the wondrous piece of modern technology he slowed down as he approached the one-mile marker. When he made the turn Dusty was certain he was going into a slice of heaven. While the road was rugged, the tree lined little more than dirt road was both haunting and awe inspiring and the further he went into the forest the more he started to relax. He caught a glimpse of what had to be another cabin but from the picture Tim had given him he knew his cabin was smack in the middle of a clearing so he continued his trek through the dense woods.
Just when he was about to get worried he’d made a series of wrong turns no matter what sexy woman spouted, he broke through the trees and narrowed his eyes and a breathtaking view almost erupted into view. “Holy shit!” While he could clearly tell the structure needed work – a hell of a lot of work — the setting was gorgeous. He opened his eyes wide and shook his head in amazement as he scanned the perimeter.
He could see a truck parked on the side of the house and as he pulled to a stop he tipped his head and smiled. A slight puff of smoke was billowing from the stone chimney. Putting the gear into park he turned off the engine and sat quietly admiring the almost crystal clear lake. He could just make out what had to be the large hotel on the far side of the water but other than the oversized series of buildings there was nothing else to spoil the spectacular views.
When he climbed out of the truck Dusty realized his legs were wobbling. Why was he nervous? Granted, he really didn’t like being alone. Maybe the time would allow him some much needed soul searching. Shuddering, he turned in a full circle. While Raleigh was gorgeous in its own right, this was more than amazing. Exhaling slowly, he brushed his hand through his hair and could honestly see himself living here.
“It’s pretty breathtaking the first time. Isn’t it?” The quiet voice said from behind Dusty.
Turning his head he eyed the nice looking man who had to be close to his age. The guy wore an infectious smile as he eased out onto the porch. “Utterly amazing. I can’t believe it.”
“Welcome. Tim said you’d love the place. I hate to tell you this but it needs more work than I wanted to admit. I’m Jake Drummand, by the way.”
Closing the truck door, Dusty breathed in the cold air and smiled as the scent of absolute freshness filled his lungs. “Dusty Walker.”
“Oh I know who you are. Few in this part of the country don’t know the name. I also have your albums. Sorry, dating myself. You don’t look a lot like the album covers though.” Laughing, Jake headed down the stairs.
“Yeah, the airbrushing is amazing.” Dusty realized he had to look scruffy as hell from his four-day beard and shaggy hair. Hell, even his rumpled clothes were just something he threw on that morning as he raced to get to the airport on time.
“You just look like a man who needs some r & r. That’s all. Can I help you with your things?”
“Just one bag and my guitar and thanks for the compliment. I’m nobody in comparison with the real country stars.” He walked to the other side of the truck and grabbed out his things. Taking another look at the lake he exhaled slowly.
“Yeah well we’re small town here and like our musicians the salt of the Earth. Come on inside. At least I have a fire going.” Jake nodded toward the house as he headed toward the front door.
Dusty followed and the second he stepped inside he resisted cringing, the damp chill forcing a shiver first, the drastic condition of the cabin second. While he could easily tell the weathered home was once a pillar of comfort, somebody had done a number on the inside. “Wow.”
“Yeah. My words when I saw this place the first time after I threw the sordid bunch of assholes out was something like Goddamn mother fucking scum of the Earth, but don’t quote me.” Laughing, Jake shook his head as he gazed toward the fire. “Jerks.”
“What happened, if I can ask?” Dropping his things he scanned the perimeter imagining what the place must have looked liked before being ripped apart. From the solid wood beams leading to a cathedral ceiling, the floor to ceiling windows banking the entire length of one side of the living room and the incredible stone fireplace corning the center of attention, the place could be incredible. Somehow he knew the cabin could be regal and so warm – perfect to entertain company and a home and… Catching himself Dusty sighed. Pipe dreams he didn’t need.
“Renters. I wasn’t able to watch the place for a few months and the jerks tore it apart. Hell, the bastards came highly recommended too. After I finally managed to evict their sorry asses I just wasn’t ready to deal with the mess. Cleaned up most of the crap just about a month or so ago and when Tim called and mentioned what you do in your spare time I knew it had to be Karma. So how long can you stay?” Jake grinned again as he motioned Dusty toward the back of the house.
“At least you’re direct. I have a gig in a month so we’ll see.” As the moved into the kitchen he couldn’t help but emit a slow growl. “What they did should be considered criminal.”
“Well it’s really the cabinets more than anything. I put in some new appliances and in truth they were needed. Just needs some re-facing and maybe a new floor and the place will be as good as new.”
Dusty resisted saying the guy was more than optimistic. Instead he walked to the back windows and gazed out at the view of the lake and what appeared to be a small dock before shifting his gaze to the snow capped mountains. “This is truly peaceful.”
“You can catch some damn good trout in those waters. We could still catch a snowstorm or two but the experts are saying it’s going to be an early spring. Never say never until July in Montana.” Chuckling, Jake pushed a set of keys across a counter. “You really don’t need these but here are the keys to the place. I took the liberty of buying some food to get you started and the fridge has some beer. Even stocked the liquor cabinet. You might have noticed there’s not a lot in close proximity but the town of Missoula isn’t that far away as the crow flies. We have a couple of excellent hardware stores and all the food and drink you can want.”
“That’s great. I really appreciate all of this. You just tell me what you think you want done and I’ll do all I can.”
“I left a wish list but do what you can. I cobbled together some tools I had and borrowed others so they’re in a workbox out back and in the shed are some things I was working on like a couple new cabinets I bought and light fixtures but I’m no handy man. I have an account set up at Bartlett’s Paint store and you can pick up more than just paint there so anything you need put it on the account. They are ready for you whenever but I know why you’re really here. Just start writing again. We need more of your music,” Jake said as he grinned.
“I have one fan left. Thank God.”
“You have more than that. Here’s my number in case you need anything. I’ll drop by in a day or so to see how you’re making out. Left directions to the town and a few places you might wanna check out.”
Dusty smiled as he eyed the papers on the table. “Thanks. What’s the hotel like across the way?”
“Not bad. They have a kinda cool western place called Rascal’s. Might be your kind of place to unwind, kick back and have a few beers with the guys.”
Just a little taste and let me know what you think…