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Quinn’s Secret Gifts by Skye Michaels (Clue for The Romance Review Contest)


This story takes place in the exiting world of international equestrian competition on the Village of Wellington in Palm Beach County, Florida.

This was a fun book for me to write since I love horses and the horse show world. I love going to The WEF shows in Wellington, and especially love the dressage competition and the Musical Freestyle rides. Of course the Ooos and Ahhhs of open jumping are thrilling. My heroes in this story are a veterinarian (Quinn O’Laughlin) and a show jumper (Jessop Stoneman). Very exciting. Throw in some horses you will fall in love with, and I think we have a winner! Please give it a try. Please google Winter Equestrian Festival if you get a chance. It really is an amazing show with participants from all over the world competing. Check out the blurb and the excerpt in my Book Shelf.

Here’s the Blurb!



By Skye Michaels

The Wilton Park Grand Hotel Seven


Irish born and trained large animal veterinarian, Quinn O’Laughlin, has a secret. He has developed a loyal and wealthy clientele who trust him with the wellbeing of their best friends and equine partners in the small but international horse community of Wellington, Florida. Since his arrival in the United States from Dublin, Quinn has not been truthful with them. While he is on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine, it is his other gifts that are most useful. His equine patients aren’t spilling the beans that it is Quinn’s healing hands and ability to communicate with them mind-to-mind that are his greatest talents. Quinn knows that the suspicious, sometimes superstitious, and über-careful horse owners might take that particular ability askance so he keeps it just between himself and his horse patients.

International open jumping star and Master Dom, Jessop Stoneman, is one of Quinn’s clients. Jess had followed Quinn from his job at a prestigious Wellington equine clinic to his own new solo veterinary practice. While Jess finds Quinn interesting and very attractive in an elemental way, he had been in another relationship when they met. Now that his on-again, off-again affair with his ex-jumping trainer, Gordon Smith, is definitely off for good, Jess is interested in finding out just which way the ethereal, red-headed Irishman actually swings and if he might join Jess in his BDSM leanings.

The opening of the international Winter Equestrian Festival is rife with excitement and danger in the air when some very valuable horses go missing. What can the vet and the jumper expect of this pre-Olympic show season on both the professional and personal levels? And can Quinn help to solve the mystery of the kidnapped horses?


Happy and healthy New Year to all my friends and readers.  I hope this year is fabulous for all of us!

Here’s my Fall submission to ManLove Fantasies, Jake’s Dream Scream, for all to enjoy!

Don’t forget to check the submissions on the ManLove Fantasies Blog every day during January for the Winter contest and to post a comment to enter to win the fabulous prizes!






By:   Skye Michaels

Chapter One

Forty-Second Street, New York, New York, Friday, October 7, 2016, afternoon

The day was crisp and cool with a beautiful blue sky, but Jake Setterfield hardly noticed. He was getting desperate as he made his way from costume shop to costume shop on bustling 42nd Street in the City. He had to find the perfect Halloween costume this year. Just any old vampire or pirate suit would not do the trick—or treat. He knew in his mind’s eye what he was looking for—sort of.   That could be a problem, though. When a person went out looking for something with a preconceived idea in their head, they were destined to be disappointed. The annual Halloween costume contest at the Le Club Lower East Side – Manhattan, Jake’s ultra-discreet BDSM club, was wildly popular among the members every year.

This year the first prize was a scene with the Dom of the winner’s choice as well as a cash prize for first, second and third place winners. First place winners were encouraged to choose an unattached Dom if they wanted more than just a scene. Jake wanted the whole enchilada. He had been mooning after one of the Master Doms at the club for months, and he would really love this opportunity to get to know him. Most of the Doms at the club were hetero or maybe bi, but Sebastian Warfield was definitely gay. He made no apologies or disclaimers, and Jake really admired that. Until recently Sebastian had been in a committed relationship which mysteriously dissolved. No one at the club knew the details as Sebastian was a very private person. Jake just knew Sebastian made his heart flutter and his dong ding. He giggled to himself. He hoped it was to himself since walking down 42nd Street giggling all alone would be frowned upon and could bring unwanted attention in the form of being scooped up and taken to Belleview by the men in the white coats with the little nets.

Jake had always known he was different than his siblings. When he’d figured out that it was because he was gay and liked other guys like some guys liked girls, he’d been devastated. He didn’t know how to deal with the revelation. It had taken some work on his part and help from his loving family to get past the shock of it all. Finally, his dad had said, “Son, I wish it were otherwise and you were destined to have an easier life, but you have to accept yourself as you are and make the best life you can.   Your mother and I support you in all your efforts in every way, and hope that you will live a happy, contented life. Hopefully you will find the one person for you.” With the anticipated family pressure off the table, Jake had been able to settle onto his own path. He’d made friends in school whom he’d had ever since because he just was who he was—no pretense or excuses. Anyone could accept him or not as they chose.

Four years at the Professional Performing Arts High School in Manhattan followed by four years at Columbia had put a polish on his drama and musical theater skills. He’d had chorus line parts in several Broadway musicals during high school and college, and answered numerous Broadway casting calls when something that suited him came up. But he was still trying for that one magical part and his big break. In the meantime, he waited tables and tutored other aspiring students to supplement his trust fund income. A lot of actors didn’t have the luxury of knowing that they wouldn’t starve no matter what happened. His acting skills also came in handy at the club. Jake was really good at roll-playing scenes where a little high drama, as well as makeup and wardrobe skills, was called for.

Besides being drop dead gorgeous with a ripped body and glistening black wavy hair and dark eyes, Sebastian Warfield was an Off-Broadway director and producer. He certainly would be a great contact to have whether or not they got into a relationship.  But that was not Sebastian’s main draw for Jake. Sebastian was just so sexy and commanding with a very Dommy presence. Watching him in action made Jake want to fall to his knees and say, “Anything you want, Master.”

Sebastian Warfield was contemplating skipping the Halloween costume party at Le Club this year. He really wasn’t in a party mood. His breakup with Maximillian was still on his mind. He was sure he’d done the right thing in cutting Max loose, but he was lonely. Max had become more and more demanding and more and more of a drama queen by the day. Sebastian thought he was ready for a permanent relationship, and he didn’t want one that was constant drama, tears, and recriminations. Oh well, Halloween was the one night of the year when he could really and truly be himself with no one the wiser. Warlocks could not go out in full costume and flaunt their powers on just any night of the year. Maybe I’ll get lucky and meet someone new at the club. You just never know what is coming down the road.   Besides, it was damn hard to say no to Barbara Brown when she was on the take for her charities. He laughed to himself.   He had just the outfit tucked in the back of his closet.



Chapter Two

Le Club Eastside – Manhattan, Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York, Monday night, October 31, 2016

Jake stepped through the door at Le Club with a skitter of nerves coasting down his spine. This was it. His big chance to meet and get to know Sebastian Warfield. Le Club was located in an old factory building on the lower Eastside of Manhattan. The entire parking lot was fenced and under camera surveillance, and entrance was gained through a palm scanner on the aged brick pillar. He drove through the high, black iron gates into the heavily secured parking lot, parked his red Kia Soul, and then walked to the back door of the club. The rear entrance to Le Club and the parking lot were unmarked. There was no clue as to what the warehouse building contained. The only signs said “No Trespassing” and “Danger/Enter at Your Own Risk”.

Again Jake put his palm to the security plate located beside the heavy metal door and went inside. The club was buzzing that night, and the costumed participants and spectators were all standing around waiting for the action to begin as cocktail waiters circulated with trays of drinks and hors d’oeuvres. It was a popular event and the costumes ranged from Star Wars to Star Trek, vampires, witches, and goblins of every description, as well as the more mundane celebrity look-alikes. There was no sub or Dom-wear in evidence, and members not participating in the contest were in formal wear.

Jake glanced around but did not see Sebastian Warfield in the lobby or main dungeon area. Maybe he just didn’t recognize him. Yikes. That Klingon could be Warfield or the grim reaper with the cowl hood pulled down over his face. Jake took a mojito from a tray and began to circulate checking out the competition. There were some excellent costumes here, but he was a professional, and, if he did say so himself, the modifications he’d made to his costume were brilliant. He grinned as one of the subs he was friendly with came up to congratulate him.

“Looking good, Setterfield. How many transvestite Lady MacBeth’s could there be?”

“Not many I’m hoping, John. I like your Dr. Spock, by the way. Have you seen Sebastian Warfield? I’ve been all the way around and haven’t spotted him yet.”

“Are you still on that kick? I don’t think you are going to be able to crack that nut.”

“You never know until you try.”

“True, but no, I haven’t seen him. My Mistress has arrived. See you later and good luck.”

John was right about one thing. Warfield was going to be a hard nut to crack by all accounts, but Jake wanted the chance to try. Barbara Brown, the well-known Domme and philanthropist, called the group to order. “We’re about to start the contest. Anyone desiring to participate in the contest should have already paid the entrance fee. If not, please do so now.” She smiled at the general grumbling sounds. “Never mind that. You know the proceeds of this evening will be split amongst our roster of charities for this year. It wouldn’t hurt anyone to drop a little extra into the bucket.” Jake had already done that. It was a painless way to contribute. Ah, there he is.   Master Warfield was dressed as a warlock complete with swirling black cape, tight pants and silk shirt open to the waist with a pale face darkened by a scruff of beard, kohl-lined eyes, and his long black hair spread across his broad shoulders. Very effective and downright hot.

The contestants were divided into categories and the judging began with preferences being determined by the loudness of the clapping. The finalists were winnowed down to a dozen.   Soon there were six left, and then only three. Jake was relieved to still be in the running.

It was time for the three finalists to strut their stuff one-by-one on the makeshift stage. Jake’s stomach was jumping with excitement. He was so close to his dream of a scene with Sebastian Warfield.   Each of the three contestants strolled on stage to model their costumes with Jake last.

Jake did a full runway stroll. His long gown in cream velvet highlighted the dramatic blood dripping down the right side of the gown from his bloody hand which grasped a blood-stained dagger. The dress was split up the front to show his taut body encased in a skin-colored body suit.   He wore a long black wig over his naturally blond curls and had applied the standard Lady MacBeth stage makeup. The bodice of the gown was open from the neck to the waist and the body suit camouflaged the breast implants that gave him a woman’s shape. When the deafening applause quieted down he’d won first place. Second went to the Klingon, and third to Marilyn Monroe. OMG, he now just had to have the balls to choose Sebastian Warfield for his prize. He hoped he had the nerve to go through with it.

Barbara Brown went up on the stage to congratulate each of the contestants and to hand out checks. She turned to Jake. “As you know, Jake, part of first prize is a scene with the Dom or Domme of your choice, to be conducted in the main dungeon tonight. Are you ready to choose?”

“Thank you, Mistress Brown. I choose a scene with Master Warfield.” There was a gasp from certain members of the audience, and then the room broke out in loud applause. Apparently his choice was popular.

“Excellent, Jake. We’ll break for refreshments, and you can have some time to confer with Master Warfield about hard limits, etcetera. How does that sound?”

“Wonderful, Mistress. Thank you.” Jake looked out over the audience and made eye contact with Sebastian Warfield. He hoped he hadn’t made a mistake.



Chapter Three

The main dungeon at Le Club Eastside – Manhattan, Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York, Monday night, October 31, 2016, 11:00 p.m.


Sebastian was surprised that Jake Setterfield had chosen a scene with him. He really hadn’t anticipated that he would be center stage tonight. He’d noticed the sleek sub with the head of blond curls and sparkling green eyes on several occasions, but he’d had his hands full with Max at the time. Since then, he had really not been on the lookout for someone new. But maybe it was time to change that.

Jake appeared before him, bowed his head, and said, “Good evening, Master Warfield. I hope I have not been too forward in choosing a scene with you.”

The sub had nice protocol manners. “No, sub. That will be fine. Let’s find a quiet seat in the aftercare area and have a chat about hard limits. I understand our scene is to be held at midnight.”

“I believe that is correct, Master. I would very much like to confer with you regarding hard limits.”

Sebastian gestured for Jake to fall in behind him and made his way to the aftercare area and a comfortable-looking gray suede sofa. He sat down and motioned for Jake to assume the slave position at his feet.   Very pretty. When Jake was in position he continued. “Well, sub, what are your hard limits?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary, Master. No extreme whipping, bondage, fire, water, breathe, or potty play.”

“Then I take it non-extreme impact play and bondage are acceptable?”

“Yes, Master.”

“Shall we go with red, yellow and green for safe words?”

“Yes, Master.”

The sub now looked a tad nervous—which was as it should be. Just imagine how nervous he’d be if he knew he was about to have a Halloween scene with a real warlock. Sebastian had dabbled in the dark arts when he was younger, but as he’d matured he had distanced himself from his coven and paranormally gifted family. Some of their practices went against his grain. In business he had no need of dark arts to succeed, and so he usually did not practice them. That didn’t mean he couldn’t have a little fun once in a while. “Fine then. Let’s proceed to set up the scene. Since you are outfitted as Lady MacBeth, you may as well stay in character, or at least time period.” He was going to keep what he had in mind to himself. Let subbie be surprised.

Jake’s heart did a little stutter. Sebastian had looked fabulous in club attire, but the warlock getup took his breath away. There was just something about it. An authenticity maybe? Sebastian was also in the theater after all. Jake couldn’t pinpoint what he was thinking. Despite his nerves and the fear in the pit of his belly, he wanted to peel off that silk shirt to find the treasure beneath and lick his way up and back down that chest to the prize. Sebastian was darkly delicious.

Sebastian led him to the hanging chains in the middle of the dungeon. The station was lit by a spotlight from the high, industrial ceiling of the warehouse. “We’re in the scene, sub. Put on your wrist and ankle cuffs, and then stand at parade rest, arms behind your back and feet spread apart. I’ll check the cuffs for fit.” When that had been accomplished he said, “Stand under the chains facing the room.”   He fastened Jake’s arms over his head and adjusted the length of the chains until his feet just barely touched the floor.   Sebastian’s voice was an octave lower, and he appeared even more imposing than he had just moments ago. “Well, sub—Jake—do you want to explore the dark side with me?”

“Yes, Master.”

Sebastian circled just outside the edges of the spotlight. Jake could see little more than the outline of his dark presence. He twirled with his arms raised high and his cape spread out around him. Suddenly, Jake felt slightly dizzy and the rest of the dungeon and their audience phased out of his consciousness for a moment. When he came back to himself, his cream velvet gown lay billowing around his feet and he was standing in only the skin-colored body suit. How the heck did that happen? He had no memory of Master Sebastian removing the gown. Applause rang out from the crowd surrounding the hanging chains, and Jake could hear the puzzled comments from the audience. They had no idea how he had suddenly lost his outer costume either. Sebastian twirled again and a hush fell over the crowd.   Jake found himself suddenly naked and just as confused and amazed. The audience seemed to be waking from a daze as well.

The Master came up behind him and slowly ran his big, strong hands down over Jake’s back and ass. He felt the heat of those hands penetrate his suddenly chilled skin. Sebastian bit and then kissed the back of his neck. He wanted to move back into Sebastian’s broad chest but didn’t dare. The loud sound of a cracking smack bounced off the walls before Jake felt the sharp sting on his butt. He was now really beginning to feel disoriented. He was naked and didn’t know how he’d gotten that way, and he was hearing sounds before he felt the repercussion. It was unworldly. It was scary. Although this scene was a dream come true, he thought he might scream.

Sebastian was pleased with the result of his spell. He hadn’t done that in a long time and hadn’t been sure it would work. By the look on his sub’s face and the applause of the crowd, the move had been a success although no one knew exactly what had happened. He bundled Jake’s black hair over his shoulder out of the way and efficiently rolled a condom onto his nearly erect cock. It wouldn’t do to make a mess on the floor.

He chose a soft suede flogger and began a swirling double Florentine pattern up and down Jake’s back, butt and thighs. The rhythmic strikes and deep massaging feeling soon had Jake zoning out. He didn’t want him to slip into subspace too soon. They were just beginning. He laid the flogger down and stepped up into Jake’s space. He ran his hands over his back and soothed the now pink skin. Jake was no longer cold. “What’s your color, sub?”

“Green, Master.”

“Very good, sub.” He picked up a short tail whip and curled the tail around his hand. He snapped his wrist and the whip sang.   He walked in front of the sub again making sure he saw the wicked little whip as well as heard it. He could feel Jake’s anxiety ramping up. That was always good for a mind fuck. Illusions were half the ingredients for a successful scene.   The sub had to believe he was about to get a whipping. Sebastian moved behind Jake again, raised his arm and took several practice strikes against a convenient pillar. It wouldn’t do to underestimate his strike distance and damage the sub. Sebastian practiced religiously with his whips and was a master of leather impact tools, but they could be dangerous and safety always came first.

Jake was beautiful stretched long and sleek under the chains. He was a gorgeous sight even though his golden curls were hidden under the long black wig and his eyelids drooped over his usually sparkling green eyes. “Sub, eyes on me. Pay attention. I wouldn’t want you to miss any of your punishment.” Jake’s eyes popped open and the look of fear on his face was gratifying.

Sebastian raised his arm again and let the whip fly. He rained a barrage of quick, slightly stinging butterfly kisses up and down Jake’s back. He heard Jake’s gasp of surprise as he realized that the whip strikes were no more than bee stings and not the searing pain he had expected. He continued the assault on Jake’s back and thighs, ending with a sharp strike across his adorable ass.   He dropped the whip and moved in to embrace Jake who was now slumped in the chains. Sebastian laughed to himself as he felt Jake’s muscles relax and the fear drain out of his body. His hand dropped down to grasp Jake’s cock, and a few discreet pumps had him spewing his load into the condom as a monumental orgasm rocked his body. Sebastian wondered if he would even remember coming at his Master’s hand.

Jake’s full weight was now against Sebastian’s chest as he drifted into subspace. Sebastian picked Jake up into his arms while one of the dungeon monitors released his cuffs from the chains. Sebastian walked to the aftercare area and sat down in one of the huge leather chairs with Jake nestled in his lap. The dungeon monitor picked up Jake’s costume, folded it and placed it beside the chair. He then handed him two bottles of chilled water and a blanket to wrap around Jake as he lay zoned out in his arms, finally falling into a peaceful sleep. Sebastian removed the black wig before disposing of Jake’s condom and quickly cleaning him. He certainly was a satisfying armful, and Sebastian relaxed back against the chair and just enjoyed holding his sub. He placed a light kiss on Jake’s forehead. He had not realized how much he missed this. He and Max had not enjoyed a peaceful relationship in the months before their breakup. Sebastian knew he was ready for something new—someone new.

Jake slowly awoke. He felt warm and safe, and he snuggled back against the broad chest and muscled arms that held him. He glanced up and saw Sebastian’s relaxed profile. God, the man was handsome, if somewhat forbidding in all his dark glory. That had been a fantastic scene—frightening and exciting at the same time. Had he screamed? Did he actually come? He wasn’t sure, but the feeling of well-being and relaxation thrumming through his body told him he had. He wanted to give something back to the Master for this amazing feeling.   Could he? Would Sebastian allow him to reciprocate?

Sebastian was almost asleep when Jake said, “Master, may I pleasure you?”   He looked down at Jake’s sweet face. “Yes, sub, you may.” Jake slipped to his knees between Sebastian’s thighs. Jake competently unbuttoned the crotch of his leathers and freed his cock.

Jake’s hot mouth came down over him, and he watched Jake’s golden curls bob over his groin as his cock disappeared between Jake’s lips. Sebastian could not stay still any longer and began to fuck Jake’s mouth. The feeling was sublime. As Jake worked his balls and cock, Sebastian’s back began to arch, and he felt his balls tighten. He ran his fingers through Jake’s blond curls and cupped the back of his head. He knew the blast was coming.   Finally, the cum rose from his depths and shot down Jake’s throat. Sebastian hoped he hadn’t choked Jake with the powerful spurt. He collapsed back against the chair and his muscles unclenched. “That was amazing, Jake.” Sebastian relaxed with Jake again nestled up against his chest.

Jake was responsive and adorable. He wondered what their future held. Sebastian knew he would like to explore all there was to know about this beautiful sub. He thought he might like to keep him for a while—maybe permanently.   He was certainly a Halloween treat.




The Warfield loft in Tribeca, New York, Friday night, March 10, 2017, 11:30 p.m.

Sebastian felt the black velvet box burning a hole in his pocket. He and Jake had been together for almost five months now, and he thought it was time to formalize their understanding. It was probably also time to reveal that he was a usually non-practicing warlock. The time for that disclosure just never seems right.

It was late, and he was waiting for Jake to finish up after his evening performance and take the subway to his loft in Tribeca. Jake had landed a secondary role in a Broadway musical which had opened a month ago to excellent reviews. Jake’s performance had garnered several favorable mentions in Variety, the Times, and the Post, and he was thrilled. Sebastian was extremely proud of him. Despite their now very close D/s relationship, Jake had insisted on keeping his own apartment in the Village. Sebastian would like to change his mind about that eventually, but he didn’t want to put undue pressure on him. Although Sebastian had offered to speak to the casting director of the musical who was a friend of his to help Jake get the part, Jake had insisted that he wanted to do it on his own. Jake’s independent streak was certainly refreshing after Max. Sebastian wanted to take care of Jake. Slowly but surely over the last months, he had fallen in love with him. Although Jake was fun and affectionate, and the sex, whether scenes or just in bed, was hot, Sebastian wasn’t sure if Jake’s emotions were totally engaged. He wanted more from the beautiful man who haunted his thoughts and dreams.

Sebastian heard Jake’s key turn in the lock and the front door to the loft open. It was a few minutes before Jake appeared in the living room area holding a bottle of red wine in one hand and a brown paper bag in the other. “I picked up some plum wine and dim sum from Song of China.”

“Great. That sounds perfect. I’ll get some glasses and plates.” That’s Jake. Always thoughtful. He wondered what Jake would think about the black velvet box. Sebastian’s stomach had been in a knot since he’d decided to offer Jake a collar. Would he turn it down?

Jake sat down on the black leather sofa and waited as Sebastian went into the kitchen to open and pour the wine and plate the dim sum.

“How was the show tonight?” Sebastian called over his shoulder.

“Great. Standing ovation.”


Jake didn’t know how he was going to broach the subject that had been on his mind for a while now. He knew he had to prod his Dom along a bit. It was time for a more concrete understanding between them. He didn’t want to be pushy, but he needed more from the gorgeous man who was the only one he wanted to be with. He needed the words.

Sebastian came back and sat down on the sofa next to him. He handed Jake a glass of wine and one of the plates. They ate in silence for a few minutes.

“Uh, Sebastian, I was wondering…”

“Jake, there’s something I wanted to talk…” They looked at each other and laughed. “You first.”

“This is hard. But I think I have to say…”

Sebastian’s heart jammed into his throat. Was subbie going to call a halt to their relationship? Had he waited too long to declare his feelings? “What did you want to say?”

“Just that I think we need to move this relationship along a bit.” Jake looked unsure and nervous.

The breath rushed out of Sebastian’s lungs. Thank God. He isn’t going to break up. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the black box and handed it to Jake. “That is exactly what I was thinking, so I got this for you. I hope you will accept it as your collar. I’m not trying to cage you in, and I know how independent you are.” Now he was babbling. He tried to tamp down the butterflies rioting in his stomach. Jake held the box as though he was afraid to open it. “Well, open it. I found it weeks ago and took it to a jeweler for the inscription and cord. I picked it up today.”

Jake cracked the box and peeked inside. Finally he opened it fully to display the contents. The black leather cord with a pendant depicting two colorful gold and enamel harlequin masks was nestled in black velvet. Jake picked it up and turned it over. Both their initials and the date were engraved on a small plaque that had been affixed to the back. “What do you think? It took me forever to find just the right thing. Will you wear my collar, Jake? I’m not good with words, but I want you to know how much you mean to me.”

“I would love to wear your collar, Master. I am good with words. I love you, and have since Halloween. I just didn’t know how you felt about me.”

Sebastian pulled him into his arms for a world-rocking kiss. When he let him up for air he said, “I love you, subbie. You’re the cream in my coffee… and all that romantic stuff. I do have something I have to tell you, though. This is hard. I have…I am…”

“I know, you goof. You’re a warlock. Did you think I wouldn’t figure that out, even though you don’t do warlock-y things often?”

“Well, yeah. That’s what I thought. How long have you known?”

“I was suspicious after our first scene on Halloween. I’d never experienced anything like that. It blew my mind, when I was able to think again.” He laughed. “It took me a while to really figure it out because, well, that’s a little off the wall, you know?”

“And you weren’t afraid?”

“Of course not. You could have hurt me if you’d wanted to, but you never have, despite the hot ass I get once in a while.”

“How do you feel about that?”

“The hot ass or you being a warlock?”


“I’m good with both. Actually, I’m great with it, Master.” He picked up the pendant and examined it more closely. “This is old, Sebastian. I love it.”

“It’s an antique Louis Comfort Tiffany enamel and gold piece. I’d seen a picture of one like it in a coffee table book about Tiffany’s jewelry. I knew it was just the perfect thing for your collar.”   He took the pendant from Jake and turned him around. He fastened it around his neck. “Now you’re mine, subbie. It’s you and me from now on.”

“That’s right. And about time.”

“Don’t smart off, sub, or you could find yourself with another one of those hot asses.”

“That would be my pleasure, Master.”


The End

Check out the THE WILTON PARK GRAND HOTEL SERIES for more M/M stories by Skye Michaels:

Alex and Jarred’s story in Alex’s Sacrifice, Book 1

Ricky and Sam’s story in Ricky’s Dilemma, Book 2

Danny and Rush’s story in Danny’s Escape, Book 3

Shane and Cord’s story in Shane’s Seduction, Book 4

Ben and Leigh’s story in Ben’s Dr. Dom, Book 5

Mac and Steel’s story in Mac’s Damaged Dom, Book 6

Quinn and Jess’s story in Quinn’s Secret Gifts, Book 7





WEBSITE: www.skyemichaelsbooks.com

EMAIL:   skye@skyemichaelsbooks.com





ManLove Fantasies Fall Contest – all of October

Well, it’s almost Halloween, and today is my day on the MANLOVE FANTASIES BLOG FALL CONTEST! Please check out my short story, JAKE’S DREAM SCREAM (M/m BDSM Contemporary) http://manlovefantasies.blogspot.com/?zx=75146dc6b4590dc3 as well as all of the other fabulous Halloween theme stories running for all of October. Don’t forget to comment to enter the contest! I love these contests and the opportunity to write these short, fun, seasonal stories. My summer story, Sparks Fly, is available for FREE on my Blog.    XOXO/Skye

barb-and-scott-10-15 manlove-banner-fall-2016


Check out my Author Interview on USA TODAY’s HEA Blog!

Here is the link for my author interview on USA TODAY’s Romance Blog, Happy Ever After.

USA TODAY INTERVIEW 9-1-16     http://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/2016/09/01/skye-michaels-interview-quinns-secret-gifts/

I am so excited. Whodathunk it a few short years ago when I started on this crazy merry-go-round? It’s been so much fun along the way, and now I am working on Book #35 – Isabella’s Pirate Dom. I like to go back and forth between the Male/female and Male/male books. When I started my Male/male series, The Wilton Park Grand Hotel series, the publisher thought I might be making a mistake, and that this new path would alienate my Male/female readers. That has not turned out to be the case, and I am glad. I hope some of you from each camp will take a chance and read something from the other series. As I always say: Love is love, sex is sex (except for some mechanical differences) and relationships are relationships. If you don’t have a good story, you don’t have a book no matter how much sex there is. Happy reading on this blustery Labor Day weekend! I hope all of you are safe. I hope my beloved house in Ocala is still standing when I get there on Saturday.

Skye xoxo



New M/m BDSM story from Skye Michaels available for presale

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRESALE on Bookstrand. com! New M/m BDSM Contemporary Romantic Suspense, Quinn’s Secret Gifts, Book 7 of The Wilton Park Grand Hotel series by Skye Michaels – Release date August 24, 2016. (Available on Amazon and other fine e-book retailers six weeks after release). Great story, great sex! Check it out.


This was a fun book for me to write since I love horses and the horse show world. I love going to The WEF shows in Wellington, and especially love the dressage competition and the Musical Freestyle rides especially. Please google Winter Equestrian Festival if you get a chance. Of course the Ooos and Ahhhs of open jumping are thrilling. My heroes in this story are a veterinarian and a show jumper. Very exciting. Throw in some horses you will fall in love with, and I think we have a winner! Please give it a try. Please google Winter Equestrian Festival if you get a chance. It really is an amazing show with participants from all over the world competing. Check out the blurb and the excerpt in my Book Shelf.


Check Out the New Times Broward-Palm Beach Article!

Check me out in New Times Broward Palm Beach Article about Erotica writing Grandma! So Excited! http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/arts/erotica-author-skye-michaels-is-a-65-year-old-grandma-from-davie-7650016  It was so much fun to have an interview published in my local weeky magazine.

Now I’m a porno provocateur!  LOL



Thanks for Visiting Skyemichaelsbooks.com — My New Baby!

Hi and thank you for visiting Skye Michaels Books.  My name is Barbara, also known as Skye Michaels. I write erotic romantic suspense.  I currently have thirty novels published by Siren Publishing.  My novels are in the BDSM, M/f and M/m contemporary genre.  LOL – I’m an equal opportunity naughty book writer!  I am currently working on book number 31.

I started my first series, The LeClub series, with Calleigh’s Collar set in the glamorous horse world of Ocala, Florida.   I finished the first draft in 17 days.  Granted it was only 22,000 words. It and a second manuscript, Kelly’s Challenge, were accepted by Siren Publishing within three weeks.  I was astounded, excited, terrified.  Since then I have learned a lot from the editors at Siren Publishing.   I have since started  other series:  The Golden Dolphin set aboard a 300 foot mega yacht (currently 6 books with at least one more to come), and The Black Iris Club set in my hometown of Fort Lauderdale that tells the stories of four girlfriends who are either cops or attorneys, The Black Dahlia Hotel series which is a spinoff of Black Iris, and The Wilton Park Grand Hotel series set in Wilton Manors, Florida which is Manlove.   I love the BDSM genre, and have had some interesting conversations with people about it.  I recently attended a writer’s conference given to educate writers about the lifestyle.  I met some really terrific people there who live the lifestyle and learned a lot.

My heroines are all hard working professional women with lives of their own. Although I am writing about Dominant/submissive situations, none of my girls are downtrodden or lack spunk.   My heroes are all rich and handsome since this is Romance with a capital “R”.  If we all wanted real life, we only have to look around us not to romance books.

I just love being able to take a reader some place she may not have had an opportunity to go – a polo match at the Palm Beach Polo Club or an international Dressage competition (The Appearance of Impropriety), a cruise to Rio or a performance at Lincoln Center (Violette’s Vibrato), a cruise to Alaska and a gold mine in the tundra (Pandora’s Box), or the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown (Madison’s Choice and Belinda’s Crown). While my books are not intended to be travelogs or tutorials on how to train a race horse or sail a yacht, I want my readers to feel like they have been there.   I hope I can provide my readers with a little respite from everyday life as well as some fun and hot romance — emphasis on HOT.

Please follow me on Twitter at @skyemichaels and visit my fan page on Facebook, Skye Michaels Books. All of my covers and first chapters are here in the Bookshelf, Books by Series.  Or you can just search Skye Michaels on Amazon, Bookstrand or Barnes and Noble and my books will pop up.

BAM Blue Scarf 11-5-15 4

Book Giveaway Contest Winners


Thanks to everyone who participated in the Book Giveaway Contest in February.

Here are the winners:

First Prize to Chandera Desautel (All 4 Black Iris Books)

Second Prize to Lee Todd (Alex and Ricky from Wilton Park with Danny as a surprise extra book)

Third Prize to Walt Tucker (Alex from Wilton Park)

Runner Up Third Prize to Anthony Taylor (Alex from Wilton Park)

All books have been sent out in PDF.  Please let me know if you are unable to open any of the books.

It was a lot of fun.  Now I have to think up a new contest!  Feel free to communicate any bright ideas.  I can use them.





Free Short Story! Donatello’s Rescue (M/M Sextreme) – For 18 and over please

Happy Monday, friends!  I’m posting the short story I wrote for the ManLove Winter Fantasies Contest on my blog as a thank you to all of you who are supporting my new website, www.skyemichaelsbooks.com

Below is the picture that was the inspiration for the stories in the contest.  This is a Male/Male story and all might not be interested. I hope you will give it a try and enjoy it.  If you like Manlove/Gay stories please check out my Wilton Park Grand Hotel series.  Don’t forget to enter the Free Book Giveaway contest on my blog, and please follow me @skyemichaels on Twitter!

Manlove Winter Fantasy Pix for short story 2016




By:   Skye Michaels

Genre: Erotic Romance/M/M


Chapter One

The Training Barn, Cool Waters Creek Farm, Leipers Fork, Tennessee, early Tuesday morning, January 5, 2016

Randy Cassidy pulled his vet truck up in front of the training barn at Cool Waters Creek Farm.  The Tennessee morning was bright although there had been a light sprinkling of snow the night before.  It still frosted the fall foliage that had long since fallen from the trees and littered the ground in a carpet of brown, crinkly leaves.  There was a slight tinge of wood smoke in the air.  Randy’s breath froze in a mist as it exited his mouth.  He pulled the hood of his jacket over his close-cropped brown hair as he exited the truck.  Hell. It’s damn cold this morning.

Randy enjoyed his stall calls at Cool Waters which was located about six miles outside the tiny village of Leipers Fork on a winding country road. The property boasted neat, white four-board fences along the borders of the now frost bitten pastures and several bright red and white trimmed barns. The farm specialized in breeding and training western sport horses for use in reining, roping and cutting competition.  The farm staff was pleasant although he rarely saw the actual owner of the property, Brent Roston, a music executive in Nashville who travelled extensively.

Randy had to admit that Roston’s possible presence at the farm when he made a stop there gave his stomach a slight wrench of excitement. The man was gorgeous—tall and ripped with a deep honey complexion, short dark hair, and ruthlessly trimmed short beard.  He had a commanding presence.  Randy had heard that Roston was retired military and a decorated veteran although he was not known to talk about that part of his life.

The contemporary main house was on the other side of a small hill and not visible from the barns or the road. Tall naked-limbed maple and oak trees flanked the house, and a bubbling creek ran down the hill.   Randy had attended the Cool Waters Christmas party there the month before.  He had been impressed by the floor to ceiling glass walls that reflected the huge Christmas tree and the roaring fire in the fireplace of the family room where the party was set up.  But most impressive was the heated in-door swimming pool and Jacuzzi tub housed in a plant-filled glass atrium behind the house.  On a cold morning like this, that would be sheer luxury.

The barn manager, Mindy Hancock, greeted Randy at the truck as he was opening the sides to reveal his traveling veterinary clinic. “Hey, Doc.  Happy New Year.  It’s a cold one today.”

“That it is. I always love it when we get some snow, even if it won’t last much past mid-day.  What do you have for me today?”

“Just some vaccinations and Coggins tests for a couple new cutting horses that came in last weekend. Everyone is healthy and we have no problems at the moment, thank heavens.”

“That’s good. I like to hear that everyone is healthy.  Is the boss around today?  I wanted to thank him for the invitation to your Christmas party.”

“Yeah. He’s actually here, but I believe he has to run into Nashville later this afternoon.  I think he was going to work Donatello this morning—you know that black bay gelding that was dropped off in our front pasture last August.  Obviously, someone couldn’t afford to feed him anymore.”

“That’s sad, but I’m glad he ended up with a good home. I examined him when he first got here.  He wasn’t in too bad shape, all things considered.”

“I don’t know what it was, but he and Brent bonded in about a New York minute that first day. You should stick around if you don’t have any emergencies this morning and watch the boss ride him.  They are quite a sight.”

Randy’s stomach gave a bounce at the thought of watching Brent Roston work the big, black horse that had been underweight and sad looking when he’d been found abandoned in the Cool Waters front pasture. The last time Randy had seen Donatello out in pasture he had looked like a black marble statue with his long mane and tail blowing in the wind.  His nostrils had been flared as he tasted the wind, and he had looked like the king of his pasture.  He had definitely fallen into a good situation, and that made Randy’s soft heart clench.  He was known to have rescued more than his fair share of abandoned animals.  Since he was on the road all day, he usually quickly found good homes for them, except for Lucy, the Pitbull that rode shotgun with him on his rounds.  She had been mistreated, and it took some time and work to gain her trust.  Now she was his constant companion.  It was good to have a scary-looking dog in the front seat with him.  Some of his stops were out in really back-woods areas.  He grinned to himself as the Deliverance banjo theme played in his head.  No one had to know that Lucy was the sweetest, most gentle dog in the world.  That was their secret.  He had left her snuggled up on an old blanket in the front seat of his truck.  Some folks were afraid of Pitbulls, and honestly, sometimes not without good reason.  Lucy was definitely an exception.

Randy loved his job as a large animal vet with a prestigious equine veterinary clinic in Franklin. He was out and about all day, and often all night, if the situation warranted it.  Horses rarely picked a convenient time to colic and liked to deliver foals in the privacy of the night.

Randy got busy preparing syringes and blood vials for the standard test for Equine Infectious Anemia as Mindy pulled the new horses into the barn and secured them in cross-ties in the center aisle. He quickly and efficiently prepped the horses, administered the shots and drew the blood required for the Coggins tests.  This was the most routine of his work. Sometimes it got a lot more exciting.  He was glad that wasn’t the case today.  He really would love to watch Brent Roston ride Donatello.

Brent Roston walked down to the training barn from the house. He had a steaming cup of coffee in his hand.  He stopped and watched the young vet as he competently handled the routine tasks.  Randy Cassidy was guilty of no wasted motion.  If truth be told, he moved like a dancer.  He was tall and slender with a sleekly muscled body.  Brent shook himself. Get a grip, man.  Although the vet had attended his Christmas party solo, Brent wasn’t sure what his situation actually was, other than that he was obviously gay.  Brent knew he would like to find out.  He had been impressed by Randy’s calm and gentle handling of Donatello that morning last summer when the big black horse had been found in the front pasture.  Brent’s slightly war-damaged heart had gone out to the poor horse who had been scared, hungry and in need of new shoes and some TLC.  It had taken the two of them to corner him and get a halter on him so that he could be brought into the barn for a vet check.  One look into those big, brown, terrified eyes and Brent had been a goner.  There was no way that horse was leaving this farm.  Although he had made half-hearted inquires to find out who owned the big guy, he had been glad not to find out.  Donatello was his.  As he had become comfortable at the farm and gained weight and muscle, they had begun some reining work.  Donatello had proven to be agile and a quick learner, and Brent was hoping to begin showing him in the spring.

Brent watched Randy for a few minutes before he entered the barn. He stepped up and offered his hand.  “Good morning, Randy.  Have everything you need?  Did Mindy offer you a cup of coffee?”

Randy stripped off his silicon glove and took Brent’s hand. Randy’s long-fingered hand was warm and callused—a working man’s hand.  “I wouldn’t mind a cup.  It’s damn cold out here this morning.”

Mindy turned to the tack room at the south end of the barn. “I’ll get you a cup, Doc.”  She walked away, leaving them alone as Randy labeled and packed up the blood samples.  That girl had instincts.  Brent really wanted a few minutes alone with the beautiful man in the denim jacket and jeans.  His hood had fallen back and revealed a face that was a combination of high cheek bones, dark winged brows, and a mouth that was just perfect for kissing.  Brent really did have to put a lid on that thinking, at least for the time being.  He needed to know more about Randy Cassidy.

Mindy returned with Randy’s cup of coffee. “Shall I get Donatello tacked up, boss?”

“Yes, thanks Mindy. I have to drive into Nashville this afternoon so I need to get a move on.”  Mindy handed off the two new horses to a groom and then pulled Donatello from his stall.  He and Randy watched Mindy groom and tack him up.  “He’s really coming along.  I’m very pleased.”  Brent stepped up to the big horse’s head, patted his neck, and scratched his withers and behind his ears.  Donatello nickered and laid his head on Brent’s shoulder, and Brent could feel all the tension drain from his body.  As the saying went, there was something about the outside of a horse that was good for the inside of a person.  When he’d come back from Afghanistan, the horses had been what saved his sanity.

Randy watched the interaction between the big man and the horse and smiled. It was obvious that these two were a team. Brent swung up into the big, elegantly tooled, silver studded Western saddle and walked the horse out to the large covered arena behind the barn.  He began a warm-up routine of walk, trot and lope down the long sides of the arena before he worked into some circles and serpentines.  Brent had a natural, supple seat that was balanced in the saddle by his long muscular legs.  When the horse and rider were warmed up Brent began to ride a reining routine.  Donatello responded to Brent’s subtle cues, turning around his leg with an admirable show of precision.   After a few minutes, the perfect, sharply-etched pattern of their ride could be seen in the neatly raked, smooth sand of the arena.  Randy was impressed.  For a business suit type, Brent knew his way around a horse.

After a half hour workout, Brent dismounted and turned Donatello over to Mindy. “Would you cool him down and put him up for me please?  I’d like to talk to the Doc for a few minutes.”

“Happy to boss.”

“Come on into the tack room, Randy, and I’ll get you another cup of coffee.” Randy followed Brent into the barn and down the central aisle to the end.  Brent closed the door to the tack room.  Randy looked around at the well-worn but comfortable leather chairs and sofas gathered around the heavy, wood stump coffee table.  The collection of western prints on the walls interspersed between the bronze riding trophies was impressive.  Brent took Randy’s cup and refilled it with fresh coffee.  There was a bean grinder on the counter next to the coffee pot.  Everything on this farm was first class.  It all made Randy just a little nervous.  Randy hadn’t grown up poor, but he didn’t come from money either.  “Have a seat, Doc—Randy.”

Brent smiled at him, and Randy had to wonder what was up. He usually didn’t hang around and socialize with the owners of the horses he treated.  “I wanted to thank you for the invitation to the farm holiday party.  I had a great time.”

“Really? I thought you left early.  I was hoping to have a few minutes to talk.”

“Uhhh. I did have to leave early.  McMasters’ Warmblood mare was having trouble with her labor.  The foal was in breach position.”

“Sorry to hear that. Did it turn out okay?”

“Yeah. Everything was fine.  She wasn’t too far along, and I was able to turn the foal.”  They were both silent for a moment.  If the delivery stall hadn’t been under video supervision, both mare and foal could have been lost.

“So, Randy…I was wondering if you, uhhh, were currently in a relationship.  Are you seeing anyone?”

Randy was stunned. This was not what he had expected the handsome Music City Exec had wanted to talk to him about.  If he was honest, he’d had a few hot fantasies about Brent Roston over the last year.  He just had not thought to ever hear that particular question.  “No.  I’m not seeing anyone.  As you can imagine, there isn’t a big gay population in Franklin, Tennessee. I moved here for a job after Vet School at the University of Florida.  Actually, I don’t know how many people know that I’m gay.  I’m not in the closet or anything, but I don’t broadcast it either.”

“I can understand that. Nashville is a little more open, but my sexual preferences are not something that I openly discuss either.  My bi-sexuality certainly wasn’t a topic of conversation when I was in the Army either.”

“I guess it wouldn’t be.”

“So, would you like to have dinner with me some night in Nashville? Maybe we can take in a show.”

“Ummm. That would be nice.  I’d like that.”

“How about next weekend? I’ll see who’s in town.”

“Great.” Brent stood up and extended his hand down to Randy.  He pulled him up and into his arms.  Brent brought his mouth down on Randy’s, tentatively at first, and then with authority.  Randy moaned.  He’d dreamed of this more than a few times, and he couldn’t believe it was actually happening.  Brent’s hands slid down over his back, around and under his flannel plaid shirt and up over his abs.  Randy’s heart was pounding a mile a minute.

Brent pulled back. “I know you have to get on with your rounds.  I’ll call you.  Maybe we can get together before the weekend.  I think there’s going to be some kind of event at Puckett’s on Thursday.  I like to keep up with who shows up there to jam.  You never know when you’re going to discover the next hot country star, and I could do with some barbeque and beer.”

“That sounds good.”

Brent pulled him in for one more fast, hot kiss and let him go. “Have a good day, Doc.”

“You, too, Music Man.”



Chapter Two

Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant, Leipers Fork, Tennessee, Thursday evening, January 7, 2016

Randy had driven out from Franklin to meet Brent at Puckett’s, a rowdy and fun country bar and restaurant that had live music most nights.  Brent looked fabulous in worn black jeans, a black turtleneck sweater under a well-worn black leather jacket, and cowboy boots.  Just the sight of him made Randy’s mouth water.  Obviously, it had been too long since he’d had any meaningful companionship.  “It’s crowded tonight.  You never know who is going to be at Puckett’s.”  They pushed through the door and found an empty table up against the wall.  There were five musicians up on the makeshift stage playing a lively number.  Randy turned to Brent and said, “Do you know any of those guys?”

“Yeah.  I know the drummer, and the guitar on the end, Eddy Angel.  The other three are backup guys who make the rounds of the studios in Nashville.”

After the band had played several numbers, they were joined by a petite blonde girl who picked up an acoustic guitar and started to sing Greensleeves, an old folk classic.  Her voice was clear and sweet with a slightly smoky undertone.  Randy could see Brent’s interest pick up considerably.  By the girl’s third song, he was really paying attention.  When she left the stage, he got up and followed her to a table in the back of the room and sat down with her and her friends.  Randy could see Brent entering the girl’s contact info into his cell phone and making some notes.  What was that about?  He knew Brent was bi-sexual.  He shook himself.  He didn’t want to go down the jealous road again.  That poisonous emotion had ruined his one serious relationship.

When Brent rejoined Randy he said, “I’m going to get her an audition with my company.  I think she has some real potential.  She needs to build her catalog of material and get some polish, but the raw talent is there.”

“That’s nice.  Are you always on the lookout for new talent?”

“Always.  You never know when you are going to stumble on the next best thing in your life.  Like when your vet truck rolled into my barnyard the first time.”

Randy was stunned.  He hadn’t known that Brent had been interested in him that long.  He knew he certainly had been interested in Brent.  “Uhhh.  That’s flattering.  I had no idea.”

“How about if we get something to eat and then go back to my place?”

After they had downed another beer and some first-class barbeque, Randy followed Brent down the twisting country road back to Cool Waters Creek Farm.  Warm and welcoming light poured from the big glass house.  Brent parked his Porsche Cayenne in front of the portico, and Randy pulled his truck up behind.  Brent walked to the truck, opened his door, and pulled him out onto the driveway.  Brent took Randy in his arms for the hot and heavy kiss he had been anticipating all night.  They walked to the door together.   “How about we try out the Jacuzzi?  I could use a little time to relax.  How about you?”

“That sounds like heaven.”  Randy was thinking that he’d like another taste of Brent.  Getting naked in the Jacuzzi with the big man sounded like just the ticket.  That kiss had been just a teaser.

Clothes were dropped along the route back to the glass atrium, and by the time they were standing next to the eight-seat Jacuzzi, they were both naked. Randy noted Brent’s rather intimidating hard-on with a tremulous smile.  He’d known the big guy was built, but he hadn’t quite fully appreciated his attributes.  A sizzle of anticipation coasted down his spine as Brent stepped into the spa and put out his big hand to help Randy.  “Come here, babe.”

Brent watched as the hot water bubbled and steam rose from the surface slightly veiling Randy’s body. He had been waiting for this moment all day.  Brent didn’t think he had the will to be patient.  His body urged him to rush ahead to the prize, but that wouldn’t be fair to Randy.  Brent wanted their first time together to be special.  He had a feeling this man was going to be someone important in his life, and he didn’t want to fuck it up by being overeager. He forced himself to sink down beneath the water and relax.  He watched as Randy’s sculpted body was swallowed beneath the turbulent surface.   Brent handed Randy a beer he had pulled from the convenient cooler.  Randy relaxed and took a swallow of the cold brew.  Brent could see the day’s tension and weariness drain from him.  Brent’s eyes drifted closed in appreciation of the hot water surrounding his body, and he waited for Randy to fully relax.

When they had both mellowed out, Brent reached over and pulled Randy into his lap, letting his hand drift down over the sleek, wet muscles of Randy’s arm and up his back.  God, he wanted to feel this man surround his painful hard-on with his wet heat.  Brent’s mouth closed over Randy’s and swallowed the groan that rose from his throat.  His lips coasted down Randy’s neck and over his shoulder.  Brent slid his hand down and cupped Randy’s cock and balls.  For a slender guy, he was well-endowed.  When Randy began to writhe in anticipation, Brent inserted a finger in his back hole and began to scissor and stretch his anal muscles.  After a few minutes of play, Brent gloved both of their cocks in condoms.  He stood behind Randy to insert peg A into slot B, and the hot, tight fit of their bodies rocked his world.

Randy gasped at the quick, hard insertion into his back door. His nerves came alive.  He was sitting in Brent’s lap facing away with his head tipped back against Brent’s shoulder.   Brent waited a minute for Randy’s muscles to stretch and accommodate his huge member before he began to slide in and out.  Randy thought his head was going to rocket off his shoulders as the sensations slammed through his body.  Granted, he didn’t have all that much experience, but he had never felt a physical or emotional feeling so intense, so raw.  He thought he could feel his heart bonding with Brent’s.

Brent ramped up his strokes and drove them both over the edge. Randy thought he might have lost consciousness for a moment.  As the dark, sparkling dots behind his eyelids began to recede, Brent’s strong arms surrounded him, and the sensation of homecoming wrapped his heart in love.



Chapter Three

Tennessee Livestock Center on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Saturday afternoon, April 30, 2016

Randy sat in the bleachers of the arena waiting for Brent and Donatello to make their entrance for their freestyle reining ride.  The cowboy equivalent of the more formal European-style dressage was a popular event. The sound of the spectators bounced off the high, metal ceiling of the arena and surrounded Randy with a cacophony of noise.  Donatello’s first reining competition was about to begin, and Randy knew how important it was to Brent.  He hoped the loud carnival atmosphere would not spook the somewhat green horse.  Although Brent had tried to research the horse’s history, he had not been able to find out where he had been before ending up abandoned in the farm’s front pasture.  As Donatello had gained weight and muscled up, his quarter horse confirmation became more apparent.

Although Randy had not given up his top floor apartment in an old house in Franklin, he now spent most of his free time at Cool Waters Creek Farm.  His relationship with Brent had blossomed, and he hoped it was on the way to becoming permanent.  Even Lucy had settled in at the farm, and she and Donatello had become buddies.  This show was only the first step in Donatello’s career, but Brent felt that the black horse had what it took to go all the way to the Reining Cup—not this year, but soon.

Brent and Donatello stood in the center of the arena floor as the music swelled around them.  The routine that Brent and Donatello had been working on for months unfolded before the crowd as they went fluidly into the pattern of  walk, trot, and lope, with circles, changes of direction, and backups, bursting into gallop and halting with slide stops as the music flawlessly followed their movements.  By the time the ride was finished, Randy had tears in his eyes and his throat was swollen shut by emotion.  He was as proud of the team as anyone could be.  Their score of two hundred points for the four minute ride to an instrumental version of Rhinestone Cowboy was more than respectable, but first place was not in the cards this first time.  As it turned out, Brent and Donatello had earned a very respectable red second place ribbon.   Randy knew Brent had great hopes that the next time out they would be bringing home the blue ribbon and a trophy to add to the collection in the tack room.

Randy met them at the gate and walked back to Donatello’s temporary stall.  “You guys did great.  I can’t wait for the next show.  Unfortunately, I can’t get that tune out of my head.”

“We’re getting there.  I just wish I had more info on Don’s background.  I feel like a shadow is looming over my shoulder.”

They were approached by a reporter from Western Rider for photographs and a comment.  Donatello’s murky history had made the rounds of the show, and everyone was interested in the hard-luck horse that had burst upon the scene.  The farm’s reputation for breeding and training western work and sport horses and Brent’s career in Music City were also well known and added to the mystique.   Brent and Donatello posed for the standard photo with show ribbon in hand.

The reporter said, “What can you tell me about this horse? There are a lot of rumors circulating around the show grounds.”

“Donatello is a great horse, and I think he has a good chance to really advance in the ranks. I wish I knew more about his breeding and history.  But some things are destined to stay a mystery.  As most people already know, Donatello was abandoned at my farm last summer, and I haven’t been able to get more information about him.”

Brent and Randy loaded Donatello into the horse trailer for the trip back home. Lucy jumped into the back seat and Randy sat beside him on the front seat of the truck.  He had his little family gathered around him, and he was as content and satisfied with his life as he had ever been.  He’d had a hard time adjusting to civilian life after his return from Afghanistan.  Some of the things he had seen there and the friends he had lost refused to fade from his memory, and occasionally he found himself drifting back to that time.  Having Randy in his life had made it easier and those troubling episodes less frequent.  Life was good.



Chapter Four

The kitchen of the main house, Cool Waters Creek Farm, Leipers Fork, Tennessee, early Monday evening, May 30, 2016

Brent had picked up the mail at the end of the driveway on his way home from work.  The traffic out of Nashville was a killer at rush hour.  He was ready to put up his feet, have a beer, and read the latest issue of Western Rider that had just arrived in the mail.  He knew the results of the Murfreesboro show he and Donatello had competed in would be covered in this issue.  He grabbed a beer from the refrigerator, kicked his shoes off, and sat down at the long farm table in the kitchen before he flipped to the show results page.  He admired the picture of himself and Donatello holding their second place ribbon and read the accompanying article.  It was complimentary, and Donatello’s story had been covered with sensitivity.  Brent looked up as Randy walked into the kitchen.  “Grab a beer and look at this article in the new Western Rider.”

“Huh. Now I’m going to have to put up with both of you being stars.”

“Not yet. But soon.  Want me to grill a couple steaks for dinner?”

“Sounds good. I’ll make a salad and bake some potatoes.”

After he put the steaks on, Brent thumbed through the remainder of the mail. A certified mail envelope caught his attention, and he ripped it open.  He noted the letterhead and the Kentucky address.   He read the entire letter twice before he said,   “Holy shit!  Someone saw Don’s picture from the show.  They claim that he was stolen from their farm when he was a colt, and they want him back.”

“What? How can they know it’s the same horse?  Let me see the letter.”

“They say he’s a carbon copy of his sire, a champion cutting horse named Rambo’s Revenge. They’ve enclosed a picture of the purported sire, and I have to say there is a resemblance.”

“Crap. All black horses look alike.  That doesn’t mean anything.  What proof do they have?  Do they know who stole him or where he’s been since then?”

Brent had been hoping for some quality time in the Jacuzzi and an early night, but that didn’t look like it was going to happen. This was a nightmare.  Brent didn’t know what he was going to do, but turning Donatello over to someone else was out of the question.

Randy glanced through the letter and said, “My first response would be to demand DNA testing of Donatello against the sire and dam. Then there wouldn’t be any question.”

“What if it proves he’s the same horse?”

“Well, then at least you would know the truth and could proceed legally from there.”

“That’s a good idea. I’ll call Tom Barnstable tomorrow morning and let him respond to the letter with our demand for DNA testing.”    Brent would be calling his attorney first thing in the morning.  He didn’t think he would be sleeping very well tonight.  He and Donatello had been kindred spirits from the get go.  He wasn’t about to let him slip though his fingers now.

A week later they had a response from the farm in Kentucky saying that they would submit the dam and sire to DNA testing and telling Brent to make arrangement for a veterinarian of his choice to draw the blood for the test. They would do the same with Donatello.  That sounded fair to Brent, but his heart was in his throat just the same.

Randy made arrangements with a veterinarian from a Louisville firm that was affiliated with his office to draw the blood and submit it to a lab for testing. In the meantime, a vet from a Nashville office chosen by the people in Kentucky visited the farm and drew Donatello’s blood to be submitted to the same lab.  Brent and Randy, as well as the entire farm, were on pins and needles awaiting the results.  It would probably take several weeks to get the results although Brent had paid for expedited service.  The day to day life of the farm went on, but everyone was on edge. The only parties not affected by the turmoil were Donatello and Lucy.




The atrium of the main house, Cool Waters Creek Farm, Leipers Fork, Tennessee, early Monday evening, June 13, 2016

Randy shook his hair back from his face and wiped the water out of his eyes as Brent walked through the door into the atrium.  He had taken the opportunity for a swim in the heated pool.   It was still a little cool for outdoor swimming, but the pool was as warm as a womb.

Brent held a Manilla envelope in one hand and two beers in the other. He put the envelope and the beer bottles on a table next to the pool before he walked straight into the pool in his business suit and shoes.  Randy gasped.  “What are you doing, you crazy man?”

“I’m celebrating. The results of the DNA tests are in that envelope.  Donatello is not their horse, and he’s not going anywhere.”

“That’s the best news, Brent. I’ve been so worried.”

“Me, too.” Brent picked him up and spun him around until they were both dizzy before he covered his mouth with a hot kiss.  “Baby, I’ve been so worried, but that’s over.  It’s time for us to make this little family permanent and start our lives together.  What do you say?”

“I say that’s a dream come true, Music Man. Our little Cool Waters family is safe and secure.”

Lucy, who had been curled up on a chaise lounge beside the pool began barking to signify her agreement.



The End

Some pictures from Leipers Fork, Tennessee

Eddie Angel at PuckettsBarb and Scott at PuckettsGazebo in Leipers ForkNatchez Trace 10-15

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