Bobby Estrada is tired of school, rules and boredom. He wants to have adventures. Eventually he arrives in southwestern New Mexico, afoot, tired and hungry. Orr and Jase, the mule men, give him a job mucking corrals. Six months later he has grown up, learned a lot and bought a young mule to train. That’s when some exotic visitors show up
Doyle O’Brien, an Irish aristocrat, is dedicated to caring for his young niece for whom he became guardian after her parents were killed in a tragic accident. She was also injured. Young Fiona loves horses and rode well before she became partially paralyzed. When Doyle hears mules are safe and reliable if properly trained, he decides to try to find a small one Fiona can eventually ride. She immediately falls in love with Powwow, the young mule Bobby has begun to train.
In Doyle, Bobby sees his dream prince come to life. In time the O’Briens must go home, taking Powwow. Bobby is determined to go, too. Can an Irish aristocrat and a young Latino cowboy find common ground beyond the lust that sizzles between them and make a modern fairy tale come true?
The drive back to the ranch took far too little time. They didn’t talk much as Doyle concentrated on the winding road. He drew to a stop by the gate, but left the engine running. Suddenly, he reached across the seat and put a hand on Bobby’s knee. In the dark, his face was not clear, but Bobby felt the force of his gaze as well as that touch.
Doyle’s words came softly. “Yes, I’ve also noticed, you’re more than just a hired hand to the other two. They respect you, although I am guessing that was not the case at first. I also see you’re going to be a good man yourself. I get a sense you’ve done a lot of growing up recently, right?”
Bobby nodded, keenly aware of that hand, warm through his jeans. He wanted to feel it many other places, too, but told himself to be patient. “I’m trying to,” he admitted. “I was kind of a punk for a while and got to where even I didn’t like me too well. That was one reason for the mule stuff. Learning and growing, and I’m glad I chose this way.”
“It’ll be a big change for you…Ireland, I mean. I’ll do what I can to help you adjust, but I’m going to be busy for a while, probably traveling a good deal. I never wanted the O’Brien empire, but it looks like it’s in my hands for now. I have to keep it going for Fiona. Maybe in time I’ll enjoy it more, but for now I’d rather be riding my horses, as carefree as I used to be.”
He exhaled in a slow deep sigh. “It will help a little to have someone like you around. A reminder perhaps.” He drew back his hand and turned his face to the front of the vehicle. “We’ll talk more tomorrow, but I’m glad we discussed this tonight.”
“Me, too, and thanks for dinner. They do put out a good meal up there.”
Then, because it seemed like Doyle was ready to go, Bobby reached for the door. All at once, Doyle grabbed his left arm, hauled him back and halfway around.
“Wait, damn it. Wait.”
As kisses went, it was awkward, almost angry yet powerfully arousing. Doyle’s lips tasted of hot sauce, beer, and man. They ground against Bobby’s, while a questing tongue probed and sought entrance. Bobby could not resist that demand and opened to the other man’s invasion. Omygod, omygod,omygod. His head spun, his heart slammed against his ribs, and he went iron-hard at once.
Falling into a whirlpool of sensations, he was not ready when as abruptly as Doyle had grabbed him, the Irishman shoved him away. “Go. Just get out. That was not supposed to happen and I won’t remember it tomorrow. You’d do best not to either.”