Valentino's Cowboy [Brac Village 10]

By: Lynn Hagen

Abe stopped walking and shuddered. He stared at Valentino as if he had just discovered the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Abe’s cornflower-blue eyes widened as he gazed up at Valentino. “Y–you’re my mate.”

“Whoa,” Riley said as he took a step forward, wagging a finger at Abe. “That’s not something you should joke around about, Abe. You know mating is a very serious thing.”

“He’s not joking,” Valentino answered as he closed the distance and placed his hand on Abe’s jaw. He smiled down at the fey before he gave his mate a gentle kiss on his perfect lips. “I am Dr. Valentino Prayze. Now come help with this horse, sexy.”

“Pa!” Riley shouted as he walked from the barn. “You’re not going to believe this.”

Valentino’s eyes were riveted to the blond sex god as Abe sashayed past him. He knew he had a job to do but hell if he could take his eyes off the gorgeous man. He had hit the jackpot because his mate was stunning.

“Riley was right,” Abe said as his eyes darted toward Buster. “I have no idea how to fix a horse.”

“And I was serious,” Valentino said as he leaned against the stall, his eyes raking over the short and sexy man. “All you have to do is stand there and look gorgeous, little cowboy. I’m pretty sure Buster won’t mind.” He sure as hell wouldn’t. Although getting the exam done had just become harder for him. His concentration was nearly shot.

Abe’s blond brows crinkled. “Cowboy?”

“That would be you, Abe.” Valentino walked over to Buster, remembering he had a patient. He reached into his bag and pulled out his exam gloves. “You do work on a ranch, don’t you?”

“Well, yes.” Abe looked as if he were trying to connect the dots. He was chewing on the side of his plump lip, his brows deeply furrowed. Valentino chuckled as he turned to take a look at Buster’s leg. He spotted a laceration and began to examine it. It seemed Buster had cut his leg on a fence or other object. It didn’t look deep enough for stitches. That was a good thing. Some antibiotics and bandaging the leg should do the trick.

“Do you still think you’re not a cowboy?” he asked as he worked. Buster tried to pull his leg free, but Valentino kept a firm hold. He was not going to be bested by another animal today.

“I work on a ranch,” Abe finally answered and Valentino could tell the man still wasn’t convinced. “But I’m not a cowboy. Heck, I’m still afraid to get near the large horses.”

Valentino looked up at Buster, giving the horse his most grave expression. “A ranch hand afraid of the horses. Is this true, Buster?”

Abe moved a little closer, approaching Valentino with cautious steps. “The horse can’t answer you.” His mate’s tone was filled with amusement. “Buster isn’t a shifter.”

Valentino placed a hand on his chest, gasping. “You lied to me, Buster. I feel so used.”

Abe began to giggle-snort. The sound brought a silent smile to Valentino’s face as he finished up with the horse. He was glad as hell that his mate wasn’t an uptight jackass. That would’ve made things awkward. Valentino liked to laugh and have fun. Although a predatory cougar, his claws didn’t come out unless necessary.

Despite his harsh upbringing, he was too laid-back for all that macho alpha crap. He could hold his own, so why try to prove it all the time? Life was too fun to have a stick up his ass. Wouldn’t dear old Dad be ashamed if he could see me now?

Pulling his gloves free, he tossed them back into his bag to dispose of later.

“Where’s your cowboy hat?” Valentino teased as he stood. “I love a man in a Stetson.” He patted Buster’s neck, smoothed his hand over the horse’s face, and then grabbed his bag. “You would look hot in spurs.” He wasn’t sure why he was teasing his mate. Maybe he liked seeing the deep blush that decorated the man’s cheeks.

His cat purred as Valentino moved closer to Abe, finally taking a long look at the guy. He was short, slim, and just so darn cute. Abe’s lips parted as he tilted his head back to look at Valentino and he could see the man was taking in small pants of air. Oh, goody, the guy was easily flustered.

This was going to be fun.

“Are you leaving?” Abe asked, almost in a panic. Valentino wasn’t sure what was going on or why Abe looked like he was about to pass out. That was a very strange reaction.

“I have to get back to work. Do you live here?” Valentino nodded toward the large Victorian-style home that could be seen from the barn. He didn’t like the panicked looked on Abe’s face and wanted to reassure the guy. He really did have to get back to work, but Valentino wanted to let Abe know that he would be back.

“I do.”

He gave Abe a wide smile before stepping into the man’s space and cupping his jaw. “Then I know where to find you.” He licked a long path over Abe’s bottom lip, hearing the small fey’s breath hitch as Valentino took another kiss—a longer one this time. He finally eased back, staring at his mate. “Kiss me back, cowboy.”