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Advance Search

The Gift Of The Maggie

Published by: eXtasy Books

Author : Belinda McBride

ISBN :978-1-4874-3759-6

Page :44

Word Count :12934

Publication Date :2022-12-09

Series : #

Heat Level :

Available Formats : The Gift of the Maggie (prc) , The Gift of the Maggie (pdf) , The Gift of the Maggie (mobi) , The Gift of the Maggie (epub)

Category : Contemporary Romance , LGBTQIA+ Romance , Editor's Choice , Christmas

  • Product Code: 978-1-4874-3759-6

How does a respectable, middle-aged rancher tell his kids that he’s gay?

Gil Strickland is not only telling his teenagers that they’ll be moving in with him full-time, but also that his best friend Morgan is his lover. Too frightened to get right to the point, Gil and Morgan agree to sleep in separate rooms till the deed is done.

On the night of Gil’s official coming out, Morgan vanishes into the darkness of a snowy night, looking for a mare that’s about to foal. When things go terribly wrong, it’s up to Gil and his children to rescue an injured man, a laboring mare, and to discover the true meaning of love,

This book was previously published.

For a minute, or maybe five, they were quiet, staring up at the crystalline sky. It never failed to amaze Gil how cold it became up here in the mountains of Northern California. A short drive to the west took a man right into the Central Valley with its heat and smog. To the east was Nevada and high desert. Here though, the air was pure and cold, stands of fir grew in the rich volcanic soil. It was an unpredictable land, at one moment gentle, and then suddenly turning harsh and dangerous.

“You ready for tonight?” Morgan asked.

Gil sighed and shook his head. He was beginning to wish he’d worn his hat. He shoved gloved hands down into the pockets of his heavy shearling coat.

“Don’t think nothing can make me ready for this. I just figured things could just go on like normal.”

“They’ll figure it out eventually, Gil. Not many ranchers have their employees living in the main house.” Morgan leaned in a bit closer. “And they’ll eventually notice my bedroom ain’t getting’ much use.”

“Yeah, well I was hoping we could hold off that discussion…maybe till they were in their forties or so.”

Morgan chuckled again. His laugh was low and husky and never sounded like it could drift off into a tight giggle. He looked like the dang Marlboro Man with his rugged face and lean body. Or Robert Redford in his Sundance days.  Only Morgan didn’t smoke and he was real and here and most nights, in Gil’s bed in the old ranch house. Now he was bunking in the guestroom while Gil’s son and daughter were visiting, and Gil was faced with a decision he’d never expected to make.  If he didn’t come out to his kids, stolen moments like these were all they’d have together.

Gil sighed heavily, watching the plume of vapor leave his lips.

“When I was a little kid, I’d hang out right here, in this spot. I’d stick a piece of straw in my mouth. Pretend to smoke like my daddy did.” Morgan was silent, letting him get the words out. “By the time I was sixteen, I was smoking for real. But when Shawna got pregnant, I quit. Just like that. I knew I couldn’t smoke around the baby. So I stopped. It was hard. Damned hard. My daddy tried, but he never manage to kick the cancer sticks.”

“I never knew you smoked.” Morgan smiled, mostly with his eyes. “The coach would have booted you from the team.”

“I was good at hiding things.” He glanced at Morgan, smiling gently. Gil was good at hiding things. Now it was time he stopped.

“You did good at lunch with my ex the other day.”  He glanced over at Morgan, studying his profile. Morgan’s cheek creased with a smile.

“She took it pretty well, don’t you think?” Morgan’s blue eyes were unusually serious. “It can’t be easy meeting your ex-husband’s boyfriend. I mean, I expected her to go all dragon-lady on us. I figured she wouldn’t want her kids under our roof once she knew.”

“Oh hell, she probably already knew. I’m pretty sure she’s suspected for awhile. You were hanging around every time she brought the kids out to visit this past couple years.” Most likely Shawna had guessed long ago. He’d never exactly brimmed with passion for his wife, even though he’d loved her well and truly. His body, mind and heart had been at war during their decade together. When she’d moved out, his only real regret was that the children had gone with her. And in truth, he’d missed her badly after she left him. Shawna had been his best friend since high school. In the end, she just wasn’t getting enough out of the marriage. She was growing and Gil wasn’t. That had been a bitter pill.

As one, they pushed off the wall and began sauntering through the darkness, heading up the dirt road toward the house. It glowed up there on the hill. Christmas lights shone from the eves: large bulbs in red and green and blue. Morgan had done that. He’d also brought in the massive fir tree they’d decorated earlier in the day. He’d grown up in a big rowdy family and reveled in every celebration and birthday through the year. Last Christmas he’d gone to stay with his sister in Napa for a few days, playing the loving uncle for her kids. The man ached to be a father, and even without kids of his own, did his best to fill that need.

Morgan slowed, then stopped in the middle of the drive. “Look, Gil, I think I’m gonna head out to the horse barn and stay there tonight.”

Gil looked over at him. “Chicken?” He grinned, but felt a bit alarmed by Morgan’s defection. “Gonna leave me alone to face the firing squad?”

“You’re the one who moved me out of the bedroom.” Morgan’s smile was gone.

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Tags: Romance, Gay, LGBT, Contemporary, Western, Christmas