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I’m thrilled to be here at Boys In Our Books tell you about the latest installment in my Delectable Series, featuring men in the world of food and wine. I’m a certified foodie and have been putting scenes revolving around food in my books from the start. Then a fellow author said “Why don’t you do a series featuring food, chefs, winemakers.” And the Delectable series was born. I’ve gained a few pounds since the first one, just sampling recipes to share.
I also revisited one of my other loves: horses. Raise your hand if you were horse-crazy at some point in your life. I see a lot of hands! Who is still horse crazy? Plenty of hands still in the air. That was a treat. (By the way, if you haven’t read it, you might like Out of the Gate, my novel starring a TV star who falls for a racehorse trainer!) I’m sure you’ll want to win the top prize in my giveaway: the pretty Pegasus pendant.
When I’m writing, it’s fun to pair up opposites and see where the rough edges will crop up—and how they try to smooth them over. So it was a real joy to set my chef Riley Emerson, fresh from several years of working in Paris, against Colby Zane, born-and-bred cattle rancher who didn’t know a patisserie from a potholder—till he met Riley.
The fun didn’t stop there, because I set the story on the Rocking Z Ranch in Colorado. I’ve only been to the state once and it left such an impression on me that I couldn’t wait to find a story that belonged there.
And horses… yes there are quite a few in this one. The Rocking Z has been forced to bring in paying guests who come for the fresh air, gorgeous scenery and horseback riding. They certainly didn’t come for the grub, but after they hire Riley to fancy-up the menu, all that might change.
Check out the beautiful cover by LC Chase, who found me a palomino just like the one Colby rides, then keep scrolling for an excerpt and the Rafflecopter info.
Spaghetti Western, by EM Lynley
Release date: September 17 from Dreamspinner Press
Cordon-Blue trained pastry chef Riley Emerson arrives in Aspen, Colorado for a summer season at the best restaurant in town, only to discover his jerk of a boyfriend has dumped him, leaving his heart and his summer plans in tatters. Doubting himself and longing for a change of pace, he takes a low-paying position as chef at a guest ranch, the Rocking Z. The scenery is gorgeous, but he expects that nature up close and personal can’t hold a candle to his exciting Paris lifestyle.
When born-and-bred cattle rancher Colby Zane spots a newcomer letting himself be pawed at by a passel of horny cowboys at Aspen’s Club Rawhide, he doesn’t think twice before rushing in, throwing the guy over his shoulder, and rescuing him from the volatile situation. Sober, Riley Emerson turns out to be sweet and sexy, but not interested in more than a one-night stand with Colby. Initially disdainful of the guest ranch side of the business, Colby’s over the moon when Riley late arrives as the new cook on his family’s ranch
But all’s not well at the Rocking Z. Unsurmountable financial problems force them to rely on a cash infusion from an outside investor, Fitz Wellington. Only Fitz is hot for Colby, and he won’t sign on the dotted line without some very personal incentives. The future of the ranch is at stake, and Colby’s just desperate enough to go along, but saving the Z might mean losing Riley.
“I’ve got an idea. Just a little change of plans.” Colby took Riley’s hand and led him into the barn. The scent of animals was only slightly countered by the grassy aroma of fresh hay. The barn had high ceilings with a row of stalls along one side, a fenced-in pen at one end, and a few rooms—probably offices—at the other end. A few weak bulbs made a feeble attempt to illuminate the space, but the gloom prevailed. Once Riley’s eyes got used to the low level of light he saw horses moving around the stalls.
Colby went into the third one and Riley waited outside while he unsaddled that horse and the one in the next stall. “We’ll take Granite instead. He’s down at the other end.”
Riley peered into the stall as Colby entered and put the bridle on the horse and led him into the aisle. He was big and stocky, and a pretty dark dappled gray. “He’s part draft horse, so he’s real sturdy.” Colby saddled him, checking the girth twice. “Hop up.”
“Uh, he’s really big.”
“Trust me.” He pulled out the stirrup while Riley stabbed at it with his left boot, finally getting it in with some help from Colby.
As Riley hoisted himself up, Colby pushed from below, one hand firm on Riley’s ass with the right amount of leverage to get him into the saddle without flying off the other side. Damn, he was really far from the ground on this horse. Not that Riley was afraid of heights, but he estimated the chance of falling off as extremely high until he had some practice. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Was getting laid worth cracking his head open? Or worse, embarrassing himself?
Riley glanced down at Colby, his sexy plaid cowboy, and decided it was. And it would be so much better than last time because he wouldn’t be half-drunk.
“Now, kick your feet out of the stirrups.”
Riley followed directions, and Colby swung himself up behind Riley, settling against his back and reaching around to take the reins.
He felt warm and strong and very, very good as he practically cradled Riley and got Granite walking.
Every time Colby shifted the reins, his arm brushed against Riley’s side, and Colby’s breath was warm against Riley’s right ear. It was perfect. They made their way through the little stand of trees beyond the barn, leaves ghostly in the pale moonlight.
“Where’re we going?” Riley asked, though he really didn’t care.
“Not too far. Just up to that rise. Can you see it?” Colby pointed but it was too dark to make out anything. “Lovely view.
Riley refrained from mentioning it was dark and there wasn’t a view of much.
From the dark a cow mooed suddenly, and Riley gave a start. Colby’s arms tightened around him, pulling him close, steadying him against a firm chest and abs. “I guess we’re not really alone.”
“Never alone on a ranch, just out of sight of everyone else.
Riley nodded, swaying with Colby to the horse’s slight rocking motion as Granite walked along an invisible trail. He heard only the soft clopping of hooves, Colby’s breath, and the buzz of a million insects. The saddle creaked occasionally. Colby didn’t speak, and though Riley felt the need to break the silence, he restrained himself. It was nice not talking, just listening, aware of everything around him for the first time since he’d come to the Rocking Z.
“You ready for me to pick up the pace?” Colby’s voice was a soft whisper.
“Fine with me.”
By some invisible communication, Granite broke into a slow trot. A bouncy trot, but Colby held Riley firmly enough to keep him from bobbing on the smooth, hard surface of the saddle. Another signal encouraged Granite into an easy canter, rocking his passengers.
The wind whistled in Riley’s ears and fluttered his hair. He and Colby moved back and forth in an easy rhythm with each stride. Kind of like sex, but intimate in a whole different way. Riley loved it. He felt safe and comfortable in Colby’s saddle.
The trail curled uphill and Granite slowed his pace, to Riley’s disappointment. He was slightly out of breath from the sheer excitement of the short ride.
“We’re almost there. Another few minutes.” Colby reined the horse upward toward a rock formation that had been impossible to see from below. As they came around a bend, Riley spotted a campfire.
“Looks like we’ve got company?”
“Not if I can help it.” Colby stopped Granite and slid off. “You can bring your leg around the front and slide down, or put your foot in the stirrup and swing down from there.”
“Maybe I’ll just slide this time.” Riley found it harder than he expected to bring his leg over the pommel and thought he looked like a cheerleader practicing the splits. Finally, he got his legs into the right position and slid down as Colby caught him.
Once he was on the ground, Riley realized the campfire had been set into a fire ring next to a blanket and pillows and a little table. He spotted a bottle of wine and some cupcakes left over from lunch. His heart swelled so much he thought it might burst.
“You set this all up? When?”
“After dinner. I came out here a while ago, set up the fire and everything. I hope it’s okay. Not much privacy, and it’s too far to go into town for a proper date on a weeknight.”
“It’s wonderful. Perfect.”
* * * *
About EM Lynley
EM Lynley writes gay erotic romance. She loves books where the hero gets the guy and the loving is 11 on a scale of 10. A Rainbow Award winner and EPIC finalist, EM has worked in high finance, high tech, and in the wine industry, though she’d rather be writing hot, romantic man-on-man action. She spent 10 years as an economist and financial analyst, including a year as a White House Staff Economist, but only because all the intern positions were filled. Tired of boring herself and others with dry business reports and articles, her creative muse is back and naughtier than ever. She has lived and worked in London, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., but the San Francisco Bay Area is home for now.
She is the author of Sex, Lies & Wedding Bells, the Precious Gems series from Dreamspinner Press, and the Rewriting History series starring a sexy jewel thief, among others.
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