Riding Partner by Mary Winter
erotic contemporary M/M romance
Release date: 2/26/15 (This is a re-release of a previously published book by the same title.)
Cover art by Charmed Chicken LC
Equestrian Derek Whitten watched his dreams fall with the last jump at the Athens Olympics, losing both the gold medal and his lover in one fateful day. Now, two years later, financial troubles have forced him to consider selling his prize horse, and Derek turns to the one man he trusts. A simple business transaction, that’s all, no matter how much he wants it to be more.
It was Charles DeMorinson’s mare that Derek rode in the Olympics, and though Charles never blamed Derek for his horse’s performance, both his dream and his lover slipped through his grasp. He’s spent the years since regretting not fighting harder for their relationship. Now Derek’s back on his doorstep, in need of his help.
Time and distance did little to cool their attraction to each other. And when Derek returns, Charles is ready to stake the claim he should have made in Athens. If he holds on too tightly he’ll earn nothing but resentment, but Charles let Derek go once, and he won’t make the same mistake again. He just has to convince him that they both need one thing—each other.
Derek removed his Chicago Cubs baseball cap and wiped beads of sweat from his brow. He leaned on the railing of the arena, watching Charles DeMorinson put the Dutch Warmblood stallion, Kiverosk, through his paces. Although his trained eye took in Charles’ riding skills, his gaze was more on the tight breeches as they hugged the rider’s thighs and the knee-high riding boots that added length to his already long legs. With subtle signals from legs and hands, Charles sent the dark brown horse over a series of jumps.
Derek closed his eyes against the pain that assaulted his senses. He remembered how magnificently Charles used to pleasure him. He remembered the whimper of a fight after the Olympics. And he remembered the loneliness of not seeing Charles again. Now he was back at the man’s farm waiting to see if he wanted to buy his prize horse. Taking a deep breath, Derek tried to shove the memories out of his mind.
Derek’s jeans grew tight and he shifted position against the fence. He promised himself a few more moments before making his presence known.
As if he were privy to Derek’s thoughts, Charles turned the stallion and headed across the arena directly at him. Derek willed his body to behave, glad a fence board hid the crotch of his jeans from view. He’d seen some of the men Charles had entertained after their breakup—thin, frat-boy types who probably made Charles do all the work. Derek tried to chase his thoughts into another direction as Charles approached and slowed the stallion.
“Derek,” he said, surprise in his voice. “What brings you here?”
“I need to discuss some business with you, Charles.” Derek tried to keep his voice even, tried not to let Charles see the pleasure just hearing his voice had given him.
“I see,” he said. If he held any touch of regret, it didn’t show. “Well, since you’re here, what do you think?” he asked in a jovial voice, patting the neck of his stallion.
“Not bad. He’s come a long way,” Derek replied. He refused to glance at Charles’ long legs gripping the barrel of the horse or think about how good the man’s ass looked in the tight-fitting breeches. “Think you’ll be ready for The Meadows?”
“Probably. With lots of hard work from Kiverosk here.”
“Great.” He feigned enthusiasm. At each show he’d known Charles was competing his horses, and every time Derek struggled not to see him. Not to watch the arena while he competed.
“Why don’t you meet me in the study in about half an hour? I want to take the old boy here over a couple more jumps before we call it a day. Then we can talk, all right?”
“Yeah, that’ll be fine.”
If Charles noticed that Derek’s smile seemed superficial, he didn’t show it. “You can wait inside if you want. It’s bloody hot out here,” Charles replied, a hint of his English accent slipping through. Without waiting for a reply, Charles turned Kiverosk back toward the center of the arena and nudged the stallion into a brisk canter.