Read Love in Xxchange: Miles to Go Online

Authors: Bailey Bradford

Tags: #Romance, #Fiction, #Erotica, #Western, #Contemporary

Love in Xxchange: Miles to Go

BOOK: Love in Xxchange: Miles to Go
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A Total-E-Bound Publication

 

www.total-e-bound.com

 

Miles to Go

ISBN #978-0-85715-574-0

©Copyright Bailey Bradford 2011

Cover Art by PoshGosh ©Copyright June 2011

Edited by Claire Siemaszkiewicz

Total-E-Bound Publishing

 

This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Total-E-Bound Publishing.

 

Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Total-E-Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.

 

The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.

 

Published in 2011 by Total-E-Bound Publishing, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln, LN6 7FL, United Kingdom.

 

Warning:
This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has been rated
Total-e-burning.

 

Love in Xxchange

 

MILES TO GO

 

Bailey Bradford

Dedication

To the wonderful crew at the playroom, who cheered on Max and Bo.

 

Trademarks Acknowledgement

 

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

 

Nike Just Do It!: Nike Inc.

Raid: SC Johnson Corp.

Stetson: Stetson

Google: Google Inc.

MILES TO GO

Bailey Bradford

 

5

Prologue

Maybe one day he’d get used to seeing his boss and Rory looking so happy and mushy in love, but Max Jenkins kind of hoped he didn’t. If any two people had ever been made for each other, it was Chance and Rory, and now with the addition of Annabelle to the household, both men almost glowed with joy. Well, Rory did, really, and it made the young man look even more angelic than he usually did.

It was something to see, especially for someone like Max, who’d never really seen what a happy, loving relationship could be like. His own parents had been…they’d just been a mess, was the nicest way Max could think to put it. Having grown up with that example, he’d pretty much decided he was meant to spend his life alone. Seeing Rory and Chance together, though, sometimes made him question that choice. Then he’d remember he had the blood of two insane, hate-filled, mean bastards running through his veins. That immediately killed off any hope he had of finding someone to grow old…older…with.

Not that forty-three was old, exactly, but damned if Max didn’t feel ancient when he wasn’t working and had too much time on his hands. Nights in the bunkhouse could just be hell, and often they made Max wish he was a drinking man, or prone to some other sort of self-medicating. Anything to shut off the thoughts and doubts and fears and loneliness that pressed down on him and threatened to smother him in the quiet hours before he could slip out the door and distract himself with work.

Max was confident in his work, and he knew his thick Southern accent could give some people the impression he wasn’t too bright, or that he was laid back all of the time. Those people were the ones who weren’t particularly bright, making judgments based on

something as easily changed as an accent, and Max wasn’t in any hurry to correct their thinking. In his opinion, if a person were ignorant enough to make such a snap judgement about him, that person wasn’t worth the effort it’d take to set them straight.

Besides which, sometimes it suited him to be so easily categorised and dismissed. At least someone thought they had him figured out—Max was too confused about too many things when it came to himself. He wasn’t sure he would ever puzzle them all out, or if he even wanted to. Sometimes it was just so much easier to float along in the comfortable MILES TO GO

Bailey Bradford

6

 

confusion zone—it’s what he knew, and if he could only be sure in his uncertainty about himself, well, that was still something.

Maybe even enough. Introspection—ha! Max bet a lot of people would fall over in

shock if they found out he knew a big, fancy word like that—just wasn’t his thing. That would involve examining his past, and he didn’t really want to do that. Any time the past threatened to suck him down and swallow him whole, Max would find a way to occupy his mind.

Usually that involved a lot of reading, sometimes crossword puzzles. He tried that damned Sudoku and decided he’d rather just take a bullet to the head than wrangle numbers around. It pissed Max off to no end that he couldn’t ever complete even one of those godawful puzzles, not without looking at the answers in the back, anyway, and what was the point of that?

“Crap, gonna be another one of those nights,” Max muttered, tossing his hat on the couch. It bounced onto the floor, and he thought about picking it up then shrugged. It wasn’t like anyone else lived here in the bunkhouse with him.

Later, he’d figure that was the exact thought that jinxed him.

 

MILES TO GO

Bailey Bradford

7

Chapter One

Evenings in the bunkhouse should have been peaceful, but Max kind of hated them.

Too much time alone since he was the only employee here at the Galloway Ranch. Well, technically Rory was the other hand, but since he and the boss had hooked up and got all moon-eyed over each other, Rory had packed up and moved into the big house.

Which left Max alone most evenings unless he was invited over for dinner with Rory, Chance, and Rory’s sister Annabelle. Almost every evening one of those three checked in with him to see if he wanted to eat with them, but Max said no more often than not. Best to let family have time together—and maybe he felt a little like the odd one out.

Luckily everyone believed him when he’d tell them he was tired or wanted to watch some show on TV. Truth was, sleep was hard to come by, always had been, and as for watching TV, well, he tried but sometimes all those people laughing and loving on there just made Max feel more alone.

“Well, guess I’m in the mood for a big ol’ pity party,” Max muttered as he stepped into his bedroom.
Lord, I don’t even want to be in my own company if I’m gonna be a whiny bastard.

Max snorted and started undressing, nearly landing on his butt as he tried to pull off his boot. Rolling his eyes at himself, he hobbled to the bed and plopped down on the edge.

Bending over sent dull streaks of pain across his lower back, but he needed the boot jack.

Once he found it, Max dragged it out from under the frame and shoved his boot heel in the u-shaped slot. That little piece of wood made getting his boots off so much easier.

After a quick shower, Max dried off and put on his boxers. Jeans and a ratty cotton shirt were next. He decided to forgo socks, which could be slippery on the wooden floors, and he didn’t feel like putting his boots back on. It hadn’t been too cold of a winter yet, just a few nippy days and some chilly nights. Max would have loved to have sat around in his boxers, but with Annabelle living on the ranch now, he never knew when it was safe to just let it all hang out. That girl tended to blow in like a blonde-headed tornado, not caring if Max might be stark-ass naked.

Not that he ever was, other than when he got cleaned up, but even then he wouldn’t have put it past Annabelle to just throw open the bathroom door if she wanted to talk to him.

MILES TO GO

Bailey Bradford

8

 

Thinking about the possibility made Max’s skin so hot he bet he fairly glowed, and not in a good way. He’d flat-out die of embarrassment if something like that happened; Max couldn’t imagine someone seeing him in the buff. Even when Rory had lived here, Max had been careful to keep his stuff covered, and not because Rory was gay. Max didn’t care about that.

He was just…shy, which was probably stupid considering he was well over forty.

Max realised his mind was jumpy tonight, bouncing all over like a toddler who’d

sucked down a bag of sugar and capped it off with a quart of caffeinated soft drink. He needed to settle down, and he needed to eat. His stomach was gnawing right through his backbone. He headed into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, rubbing his rumbling stomach as he looked over his options for dinner.

Eggs seemed the easiest; if he was cooking for a full crew he’d have put more effort into it, but it was only him. Max reached in and grabbed the carton. He added a stick of butter, some shredded cheese that he’d have to examine closely before using, and a pathetic looking green pepper. He’d just set the food down on the counter by the stove and was fixing to go back and check the expiration date on the milk when the phone rang.

Figuring it was Rory or Annabelle, or maybe even Chance calling to nag at him to join them, Max muttered as he walked over to pick up the phone. Before he could even get a word out, a light tenor came through the line.

“Hey Max! How’s it going?”

Max frowned and pulled the phone away from his ear an inch or so. Someone was

awful perky. The man’s voice sounded vaguely familiar, and like a smack to the head, it jostled his brain into gear. He kind of knew that voice.

“Bo?” Max knew it had to be the blond haired man he’d met up at the big house a while back.
Bo Daughtry, Chance’s former fuck buddy.

“Who else? You expecting someone—another man, maybe, to be calling you?”

“Uh.”
Well that sounds smart.
Max tried to make sense of the questions but they just weren’t registering. He’d only met the man the one time, and yeah, they’d got on, playing cards in the bunkhouse when things had heated up between Chance and Rory at their place.

To be truthful, Bo had made an impression on Max—he just wasn’t sure
what
kind of impression that was.

A soft snicker came through the line. Max’s right eyebrow started twitching as he wondered if Bo was laughing at him.

MILES TO GO

Bailey Bradford

9

 

“Max? You there?”

Max debated hanging up in mid-answer—he remembered someone saying a long time

ago if you wanted off the phone with someone and couldn’t figure out how to do it nicely just to hang up while you were talking. Supposed to seem like an accident that way since most people wouldn’t cut themselves off. But he wasn’t sure he wanted to get off the phone just yet. At least Bo was someone to talk to.

“Yeah, just…” Max turned, his gaze darting around the room before settling on the makings for dinner. “Just about to start cooking, s’all. Got a little distracted.”

BOOK: Love in Xxchange: Miles to Go
7.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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