Hart Emile is tired of cruising for guys, living a soulless existence. He needs a change; so when an acquaintance gives him the number of the gay friendly Red Fox Ranch that’s hiring for staff, he heads south.
Oak Redman is eighteen years old and desperate to explore his awakening sexuality. The moment Hart lays eyes on the handsome young rancher he’s smitten. Not only is Oak hot, spirited and very persistent, he is also the ranch boss’s son and strictly off limits. Hart tries to fight his feelings and to respect his boss and the family who quickly become dear to him, but after Oak’s grandma suggests he gets with Oak he can’t deny himself the most exciting and enticing man he has ever met.
Hart’s not the only man to have noticed how sweet and charming Oak Redman is. A family friend, Steve, is also anxious to have the affections of the young rancher. Can Hart work out Steve’s dark secrets before it’s too late and keep his job, his lover and his life?
Thoughts from Mae:
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the topic of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In Enticing Hart, it makes up a side issue because one of the lead characters, Oak has a parent with the condition. My first attempt at presenting the topic was in a theatre play I wrote some years ago. It was called Putting Matters Right, and was about a young woman who lived with her mother that had the condition. I guess it’s something quite close to my heart because I’ve experienced someone with OCD first hand, my mother.
In this case I identify with Oak who struggles with his father’s condition, which has grown progressively worse. In this story—as in reality, the person affected won’t seek help for the condition. We all say we’re a ‘bit OCD’ from time to time, and that might be true, but some people still manage to live a relatively normal life whilst struggling with quite severe compulsions each day.
I guess what I wanted to present in Enticing Hart were a number of things which I’ve observed over my whole life during my relationship with my mother. She’s able to hide her OCD really very well most of the time, and because it’s never been diagnosed we’re not really sure if it is OCD or Obsessive Personality. Nevertheless, she’s acknowledged that there is something wrong. So often during her interactions with others she’s able not to give away any sign of the condition and it’s common for people and their families to often suffer in silence because they can’t reach out for help.
In the case of Oak I wanted to convey the impact it’s had on his life, having a parent with the condition isn’t easy. It’s stressful doing things the way they want them done, and no amount of helping will relieve the problem. I personally feel that the disorder is exacerbated by stress or something psychological, which bother’s the person subconsciously. In the case of Bay, Oak’s father, he’s been a single dad for many years and is putting his work and his children before his own needs. The problem is that ignoring himself is in turn impacting on his relationship with his family and he’s unable to see this.
OCD is not without humor. I’ve spent many occasion laughing with my mother over the funny things she does. I think if she couldn’t laugh about it then misery might ensue. Laughter helps us all to put things into perspective, so if the numbers aren’t even, tea and coffee holders aren’t straight—it feels like the end of the world—but the reality is different. I think this perspective reminds us all that the people who we love, and who love us, are able to help us through difficult times and understand the balance between respecting our wishes and making us realize what is important in our lives.
How about a little taste?
Bay’s cell rang.
“Excuse me.” Bay eased it out of his jeans pocket. “Hello? He’s what?” His eyebrows knitted. “Yes, okay. I’m coming.” He buried the phone back in his pocket and stood.
“I’m sorry about this, but Skip’s got one of the chickens again. I’m going to have to go get him. Come with me if you want. Bring your coffee. There’s always some crisis happening here. There isn’t much normal about this ranch, I’m afraid.”
Hart followed Bay across the wooden floors of the house, their steps echoing. At the chicken coop, Kristen held a struggling black-and-brown puppy by his collar.
“What in the hell was he doing in there?” A muscle twitched in Bay’s neck as he opened the coop.
“I don’t know, but he’s mauled another one of the hens.” Kristen barely hid her concern as a hen lay on its side with a wing flapping a little. Feathers were scattered across the ground.
“For God’s sake, you’re supposed to be watching him. We can’t have him running wild all over the ranch.” Pushing the gate shut from inside, he glanced at Hart. “If it’s not foxes or coyotes or wolves…it’s this damned untrained puppy.”
“Can I help?” Hart asked.
“Go with Kristen. I’ll be back in a minute when I’ve sorted this mess out.”
Hart strolled back to the porch, where Kristen took his coffee mug. She passed him the wriggling puppy, which licked his face uncontrollably.
“Wait here. I’ll get the leash.” She disappeared into the house and returned to hook the clip onto the dog’s collar. He jumped from Hart’s arms.
“I’ll bring you a cup of fresh coffee. Yours’ll be cold by now. I’m sorry about this. I’d like to say it’s not usually like this, but it kind of is.”
He chuckled, and she slipped through the door again, taking Skip with her. Hart leaned on the porch railing and watched Bay leave the chicken run, holding the now dead bird and hooking the gate closed behind him. He rounded the corner of a shed and moved out of sight.
Kristen appeared at Hart’s side, still holding Skip on the leash, and handed him a steaming mug. “Please take a seat.” She settled into one of the chairs.
“Thanks.” He perched uneasily on the wooden chair.
“We have seven ranch hands living here in the bunkhouse. Are you going to stay there too?” she asked.
“If you’ve got the room.” He shuffled back, trying to relax, and tossed his Stetson in his hands idly.
“I think so. My dad’ll know.”
The house phone rang; Skip followed her inside as she went to answer it. While Hart waited, a wind chime tinkled in the breeze. From down near the barns, a cowboy headed toward the porch, his tall figure backlit by the sun. Broad shoulders tapered to a small waist. The man couldn’t be older than nineteen. The hairs on Hart’s arms stood on end. The young cowboy mounted the steps and glanced at Hart, lifting his lush, delicate features into a sweet smile.
It was enough to make Hart melt.
“Hi. I’m Oak, like the tree.” His voice held a vibrant, acquiescent note, and he reached out, taking Hart’s hand. A good, firm handshake corresponded with big, honest baby-blue eyes. High cheekbones filled with a flush of pink flattered his brown skin. Lust roared through Hart as a faint scent of cinnamon made its way to his senses. Those full, deep-pink lips needed kissing. A well-crafted bicep showed off a tribal tattoo peeping from under the sleeve of Oak’s T-shirt. The muscle beneath twitched intermittently.
Hart shifted in the dry air on the porch, and a bead of sweat trickled down the back of his neck, making him shudder. “I’m Hart,” he replied, unable to get another word out.
Kristen opened the porch door and smirked at Oak. Immediate embarrassment rushed heat to Hart’s cheeks. Had she noticed his jaw dropping in awe of the rancher’s son?
“Oh, right, my dad told me you were coming,” Oak said, ignoring Kristen.
Dad? Oh, no. Could Oak be the boss’s son?
“Dad, there’s a call for you!” she shouted as Bay approached the porch.
“Kristen, honey, can you deal with it? I’m showing Hart around.” Bay stopped and rested his foot on the bottom step. “I’m sorry about the interruptions, Hart. I see you’ve met my boy, Oak.”
“Yes.” Of course, the most beautiful man he’d ever seen would be the boss’s son.
“Come tour the ranch now.” Bay gestured for Hart to follow. “So, how many years’ experience did you say you have?”
Pushing up from the wicker chair on the porch and barely able to distract himself from lean, athletic Oak, Hart followed Bay. “Nice to meet you, Oak,” he called over his shoulder, hoping to catch another of Oak’s sweet smiles. He probably has a great ass too.
He took an extra step to catch up. “I worked on ranches my whole life, sir.”
His new boss had arrived in the nick of time, because he sure as hell didn’t know what to say to Oak. Especially as Hart needed to keep his mind on the job, and not on Oak. Hart suspected Bay wouldn’t be best pleased to know Hart had one eye on his son. He should take the job seriously anyway. Crazy place—but somehow he liked it.
About the Author:
In Mae’s Words….
I’ve always written stories and enjoy reading all types of literature from thrillers to romance. I’m interested in people who experience social marginalization and these are often themes that appear in my stories. I’ve written erotic literature for pleasure for a long time, but it’s only recently I’ve put romance and erotica together and found I enjoy writing about the exciting journey we all go on when falling in love. My interests include cultural history, particularly in the Greek and Roman worlds.
Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!