It began as these things do, when the steps aren’t clear and rhythm of the heart stutter-steps with possibilities and all the reasons why not.
It began as an eddy that grew into a maelstrom and a journey across the mind and soul’s boundaries—the journey of two men so different that luck and fate and karma bowed in despair at loosing their foolhardy grip on tortured pasts.
It continued with the exchange of a slip of paper and a promise, a promise forged in anger, a promise redeemed in love.
That journey, as all such do, passed signposts and bends in the road and well met fellow wayfarers who became more than they seemed.
Ben Kincaid was one such—forever in the background, beloved by all, loved by none. He’d spent a lifetime caring… He’d spend another trying to forget.
He was sick of being the one standing on the ranch’s porch, watching the truck or the car pull away, leaving him with the memory of warm touches and the promise of tomorrow.
Thing was, this was tomorrow and it was as empty as yesterday and the yesterday before that. That was the way with promises. They never delivered, not for the likes of him. He was destined, or perhaps doomed was the better word, to be the plus one, the friend. Sometimes he’d made it all the way to comic relief. Once in a great while he’d been included, and that alone had been a rush that sometimes led to other rushes, other glorious releases.
“Water under the damn bridge.” When he spoke it out loud, there in the still night air, when words frosted out of your mouth and hung there, near as solid as words ever could be, the weight and heft of it was transparent as glass. He was whining and sniveling, ruing his lot in life. He knew it, and he didn’t give a damn.
But there was something he did give. He’d given up his last hope for what he’d never have again. Oak wasn’t his, not anymore. That he had been once, a lifetime ago, no longer mattered. It stung both of them, knowing it was still burning, that fire they’d lit when they were too young to understand where those flames could and would take them. It’s been so pure and perfect, just the two of them against the world. In some ways it still was, if only in his imagination.
Friendship was like that. It bore the brunt of love twisting in the throes of lust, allowing both of them to hang on to each other in their own way. The trickster, the naughty Ben … he was the one who proclaimed, “I like to watch,” yet cringed with agony when they took him up on it, never getting that it was him begging for mercy, for denial, because he wasn’t strong enough to say no. Oak understood but was powerless to shelter him from his own peccadillos. And that was on him, not the man he’d lusted after most of his life.
That kind of responsibility came with a price, one he’d been paying for way too long, leaving him running on empty. Running on lonely, and lonely was fumes you didn’t want to breathe in for too long, because when it settled deep in your lungs, it changed you into bitter and old and dried up. His belly ached the way it did when he caved in to the temptation to dwell on the past. Not that he minded. That ache was the lesser of two evils. The other kind of pain was the one where his thoughts took him in directions where regrets didn’t matter, where drowning himself in his sorrows made for temporary bedfellows and an itch that got scratched but never relieved.
Mending Fences (A Crow Creek Novel) by Nya Rawlyns
Book 6 in the Crow Creek Series
For everyone who fell in love with Bennie, this one’s for you.
Ben Kincaid’s been told he’s lucky, everybody wants to be his friend. He’s not so sure about that kind of luck because it comes with a price. When you’re juggling feelings for the one who got away, it’s not easy to make lemonade from the lemons life keeps throwing at you. Ben doesn’t want everyone, he just wants one. The One.
Matt returns home to Crow Creek to settle a score with his dad and lay to rest demons that have haunted him for years. He’s made some spectacular mistakes that cost him dearly: his career in the military and the trust of his brothers-in-arms. He’s willing to spend a lifetime to atone but his past dogs him at every turn.
Ben and Matt’s paths cross when they discover Matt’s father has gone missing from a cattle drive in the high country of the Absaroka Range. What starts as a simple search and rescue turns into a race against time when rustlers and the forces of nature conspire against them.
Both men discover that the wilderness will test their mettle and their bravery, but the ultimate proving ground lies in overcoming the challenges to their minds and hearts.
Coming March 10,2015
Available for Pre-Order