Story Excerpt
Cowboy Courage

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Neason Blaecleah could feel his brother-in-law, Asa, watching him closely as they stacked bales of hay in the barn. He knew he was moving stiffly, slowly. He couldn't help it. He hurt. Every inch of his back and thighs ached with deep throbbing pain.

He felt like he had been beat to crap, and in a way, he had. It had been a stupid move on his part and he knew it when it happened. He just hadn't been able to stop it. Sadly, he hadn't been able to enjoy it either.

Neason knew there was something broken inside of him. The things he craved, the things he needed more than he needed air, no normal person should ever want them. And yet, he did, with every fiber of his being.

He got sick to his stomach every time he went searching for someone to dominant him. He got physically ill when it was over and he saw the results of his need in the deep red welts on his body.

He was a sick fuck and he knew it. He just prayed with every breath that no one else knew how messed up he was. Neason would be mortified if his folks, or even his brothers, ever discovered his obsession.

It was his worst nightmare and it seemed to be coming to life right before his eyes as Asa kept staring at him. Neason tried to ignore Asa and keep working, pressing his lips together when the pain became too strong.

He could still feel Asa's eyes on him. It was a bit unnerving. Asa was a force to be reckoned with. He was a powerful man who knew what he wanted and went after it. He wanted Lachlan Blaecleah, Neason's older brother.

Neason was happy for Lachlan, he really was. He hadn't seen his brother happier than he had been since he met and married Asa. For that reason alone, Neason hadn't tried to see if Asa could meet his unique needs. He would never poach on his brother's lover.

If Asa had been single, however, Neason would have made a play for the man. It wasn't so much that he was attracted to the man sexually but that he was attracted to his strength. Although, Asa was pretty hot.

Still, strength and power, those were the things that Neason was drawn to, and not just physical strength but a strong personality. He liked men that knew they were men and were not afraid to go after what they wanted.

Neason had yet to meet the man that either wasn't taken like Asa or met his needs and didn't think he was a complete freak. He'd met a lot of men that didn't mind whipping the crap out of him. Hence, his current condition. But he'd never met one that could meet that need and that he was sexually attracted to and that wanted him just as much. Neason was beginning to wonder if such a man existed.

There was only one man that Neason had met that filled his dreams perfectly. He was dominant, powerful, and incredibly sexy. He met every need Neason had and a few he didn't know he had. He just didn't want Neason, not for the long term anyway.

One night of bliss and then the man slipped away in the night. Neason had woken to an empty bed and an even emptier heart. He was still trying to come to terms with the fact that the man of his dreams had left without even saying goodbye.

He supposed the absence of a note or even a phone call told him what he needed to know. Benjamin Brody didn't want him for more than a one night stand. As much as that made Neason's heart ache, he understood it. He'd yet to find someone that wanted him for longer than a single night.

"Hey, Neason," Asa called out as he walked over. He glanced quickly around then lowered his voice. "Are you okay, man?"

Neason plastered a smile on his face. "Yeah, I'm fine. Why?"

Asa's forehead wrinkled as he frowned. "You look like you're in pain."

"I must have pulled a muscle or something." Neason shrugged, then inhaled swiftly when the welts on his back pulled. "It's nothing."

"Well, it looks like something."

"I'll be fine, Asa. I just need to take a long soak in the tub after we get done here and get a good night's sleep. It's nothing to worry about."

"If you say so." Asa looked skeptical. "But I'm still going to worry."

Neason continued t smile until Asa shook his head and turned away. Neason didn't breathe a sigh of relief until Asa started stacking hay bales again. He leaned against the side of the barn for a moment to catch his breath.

He hated this shit, hiding who he was and what he wanted from his family. He wished he could be upfront with them. He wished he had someone he wanted to be upfront with. He wished a lot of things. None of them seemed possible.

Neason buried his depressing thoughts and pushed away from the wall. He grabbed the closest hay bale and lifted it into the air. Almost instantly, shards of pain ripped through his back. Neason cried out and dropped the hay bale, leaning over it as he tried to catch his breath.

"You're not okay," Asa said as he set his hay bale down and walked over.

Neason flinched when he felt Asa's hand brush over his back. He knew the man was just trying to comfort him but his hand moved right over one of the deeper welts on Neason's back.

"What the fuck is wrong with you, Neason?" Asa snapped. "And don't give me some shit about a pulled muscle."

"I'm fine."

"You're not fine, damn it. There's blood seeping through your shirt."