I’m pleased to welcome A.M. Arthur on Queer Books Unbound to celebrate the release of Right Move. In RIGHT MOVE (Clean Slate Ranch #6) shy, shut-in George agrees to care for sexy trick rider Levi’s injured cat, and to thank him, Levi offers George a vacation voucher to help George continue to test his limits.
He was leaning in close to Levi so they could both see the screen, and he caught that familiar pinelike scent on Levi’s skin. Something sweet on his breath. So enticing…
Once the video ended, George scooted away. “I guess at this point, you can find a video of anything online.”
Levi’s eyes twitched with something unpleasant. “Yeah, you can.”
The levity of the moment seemed to vanish, replaced by an awkward silence George wasn’t used to feeling with Levi. But something in George’s comment had struck a bad chord, and George needed to fix the musical score before Levi changed his mind about this vacation.
“What else should I pack for next week?” George asked.
Levi’s face brightened. “There’s a more complete list of suggestions on the website, but warm clothes for sure. If you want to do an overnight campout and own long johns, I’d suggest packing those. I guess growing up in ice rinks, you don’t get cold too easily?”
“Not very easily, no. Orry doesn’t like the cold much, though. I think it reminds him of—” George snapped his mouth shut, aware he’d been about to blurt out one of Orry’s most private secrets. That he’d run away from home when he was sixteen, in defiance of all the attention their parents showered on George, and he’d prostituted himself to survive. Orry had chosen to share the secret with their downstairs friends but it wasn’t George’s place to tell Levi. “Um, a bad time in his life.”
“I can understand that. We all have different triggers for our traumas.”
Don’t I know it.
“But Orry’s good now?” Levi asked gently.
“Yeah, I think so. It was a lifetime ago. But thank you for caring.”
“You’re my friend, George. I care about the people you love. I’d like to be Orry’s friend, too, but he seems hesitant about me, and I can’t figure out why.”
“He’s just overprotective. Has been ever since I quit skating. But he knows I’m trying to be the person I used to be, to be part of the world. He’s trying to temper his instincts to question the motives of every person who comes near me.”
Levi studied his face for a moment with those beautiful, expressive eyes. “Someone betrayed your trust. Someone besides your parents?”
George’s gut shriveled. “Yes, and I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Heard and backing off.”
“Thank you. I trust you, Levi, but there are some things I don’t talk about, not even with Orry.”
“I get it. I hear you. I went through a horrific period of time in my life, and I did things I have only ever told my therapist. There are probably a few things I didn’t tell her because I blocked them out. But you will always have a safe place with me, George. I promise.”
“I know, thank you. And same. I’m not much of a talker but I’m a pretty good listener.”
“Yes, you are.” Levi looked like he wanted to say something else, but instead deflated George’s good mood with, “I should probably go.”
“Oh, um, okay.” George didn’t want their pleasant conversation to end, but he couldn’t be greedy with Levi’s time. The guy had an hour’s drive home and a whole other life beyond his friendship with George. “I’ll text you a spot to meet on Sunday morning.”
They both rose and George walked him to the door. He hoped Levi would ask for another hug, but all Levi did was extend a hand. Slightly disappointed, George shook with the firmest grip he had, resigning himself to the fact that yesterday’s hug had been gratitude over Ginger. Nothing more. “Thank you again for the vacation voucher,” George said. “I’m nervous but excited. I’ve never done anything like it before.”
“Then I am honored to be there for your first time.” Levi held eye contact a beat longer than George expected before releasing his hand.
George immediately missed his touch, and he didn’t allow his mind to spin out on why. He was simply starved for human contact; that was all. That was all it could be.
Opposites attract in this sexy, slow-burn romance, the next installment in A.M. Arthur’s fan-favorite Clean Slate Ranch series.
Levi Peletier is settled—for now. With his life on the rodeo circuit reined in, he’s content doing trick riding demos for tourists at Clean Slate Ranch and spending his off-hours with three finicky felines. It’s a life he’s grateful for, one that keeps his heart safe.
George Thompson couldn’t be less like the ruggedly sexy Levi. A onetime figure skating star, he’s hung up his skates to live in introverted anonymity in San Francisco. An effort to shake up his regular routine finds him at Thanksgiving dinner, dude ranch style, and he immediately falls in love with the gorgeous view—the wide-open spaces and big blue sky aren’t bad, either.
The country cowboy and the stay-put city boy strike up an unlikely friendship that blossoms into something more. But getting attached is a bad idea. Because the open road is calling to Levi, and it’s a call George can’t imagine answering. When the past catches up to them, this odd couple will have to decide if a future together is worth fighting for.
A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Carina Press, SMP Swerve, and Briggs-King Books.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.
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Genre: Contemporary Genre: Romance Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Carina Press Tag: Guest Post Tag: Opposites Attract Tag: Part of a series Tag: Slow Burn Tag: Small Town A.M. Arthur Clean Slate Ranch series Right Move