Riding the Circuit by Julia Talbot
We have Julia Talbot stopping by today with her new release Riding the Circuit from Dreamspinner Press
Exclusive Excerpt of Riding the Circuit by Julia Talbot
Hey y’all! Meet Matt and Frost, the cowboys of Riding the Circuit!
His phone rang about eleven thirty, making Matt jolt up off the couch where he’d dozed off. He grabbed it so he could hit the answer bar, trying not to yawn into the mic.
“Matt?” Karen Barton. He knew the voice better than he actually knew the lady, but any friend of Patricia’s was a friend of his.
“Yes, ma’am. Are you all right?”
“Well, I have a tiny problem.” She didn’t sound hysterical, so clearly the barn wasn’t burning down. If anything, she sounded wry.
“What can I do?”
“Frost is at the police station.”
“Frost.” Then it hit him. Her son. “What did he do?”
“Well, he was out at the Palacio, and he got into a wee fight.”
Oh shit. The security at the Palacio wasn’t exactly well trained. A lot of times they did more harm than good breaking up fights. “He at the station in downtown Las Cruces?”
“Yessir. You mind going to get him for me? I don’t see so well to drive after dark anymore, so—”
“No, no, you don’t need to be down there in that mess. I’ll go get him.”
“Oh, thank you. I thought about calling that Tate feller, but I know he’s up in Ruidoso for a few days.”
“No, no, I can help. I’ll bring him on home.”
“Thank you. Call if you need money to bail him out.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Very privately, he thought if Frost needed bail, he could damned well pay it himself. The man’s papa was barely in the ground. What the hell was he thinking?
“Thank you, Matt.”
“No problem.” He hung up before grabbing his keys and wallet, then slipped into his boots. Okay, downtown. Friday night. Hooray.
Frost was so gonna owe him Whataburger or Jack in the Box.
He headed out to his truck, searching for Angelia, his Aussie-Corgi mix. She might as well get to ride, but she didn’t appear. She could be off in the back forty somewhere, but he couldn’t wait to look for her. He had to get a move on. Too bad—she would be good protection for the truck at the police station.
Took twenty minutes or so to get downtown and find a parking place at the station. Dios, it was as if the whole town was coming to spring someone out of jail.
He sighed, rolling his head on his neck. Okay. Inside.
Matt headed into the police station, stopping at the main desk. “Frost Barton”
“Let me check.” The desk sergeant tapped something into the computer. “Yeah, he’s in holding. Just waiting for someone to drive him home. No charges.” She glanced up at him. “ID?”
“Sure.” Matt tugged out his wallet.
“Relationship to the detainee?”
“Neighbor. His mamacita can’t drive at night.”
“Ah.” She tapped, then scribbled before handing Matt a clipboard. “Sign here. I’ll buzz him up.”
“There you go.” Matt signed with a flourish. “What did he do?”
“Bar fight. I’ll let him tell the tale.” She grinned then, her dark brown eyes twinkling. “Vato got his ass handed to him.”
“Ouch.” He had to chuckle because she looked too tickled. Cowboys were the underdogs in downtown Cruces, for sure.
“Yeah.” She nodded toward the hall behind him.
Matt turned to see a very scraped and bruised Frost Barton coming at him. Shit, that face was almost unrecognizable, one side all swollen and red and starting to turn purple.
His eyes widened. “Shit, cowboy, what did you do?”
Frost stared at him, lips set in a hard line, before turning to the desk sergeant. “Do I owe a fine?”
“No, sir. You can come pick up your truck tomorrow.”
“Thank you.” Frost turned on the heel of one boot and walked right out the door.
Matt trailed after him. “You’re welcome, by the way.”
Frost’s shoulders drew up. “I was prepared to spend the night in jail.”
“Well, I wouldn’t do that to your mama.” Matt shook his head, then hit the unlock button so his light flashed. That way Frost knew what vehicle to crawl into.
Frost sat in the passenger seat, then buckled his seat belt.
Matt climbed into the driver’s side. “You need anything on the way back? CVS? Whataburger?”
“I’ll buy if you stop at Jack in the Crack.”
“You mean Jack in the Box.”
“Yeah. My—one of my riding buddies called it that.” Frost grimaced, the expression kinda awful. “I’d totally appreciate that.”
“So, what happened?” He got the truck into gear, got them out on the road.
“Gus Lucero’s son was at the bar.”
Matt blinked. He knew Joe Lucero. Kind of a dick, but basically harmless. “What did he do?”
“Well, he recognized me and proceeded to tell his buddies how I was rodeo trash who’d left his daddy to die a slow, painful death without helping him one bit.”
Frost looked damned pissy under all the bruises. Matt couldn’t blame him.
“I know you sent money home. Your mama told me.” Matt turned off toward Jack in the Box.
“Every damned week. No one told me he was sick. I would have come home.”
“So you started a fight?”
Frost gave him a dark look out of one bright, hazel eye. The other was mostly swollen shut. “No. I told him I was better off as rodeo trash with a dead pop than being related to his old man.”
Matt winced. He could see popping off with something like that when he’d had a few beers, but with Joe Lucero, you were never fighting just him. Anywhere from five to fifteen of his closest friends always came out of the damned woodwork when he was fixing to throw down.
“Sorry. What the hell were you doing at a bar in the first place, kiddo? Your papa just died and you’re spoiling for a fight.”
Frost stared out the windshield, his face stony. “I got my reasons.”
“You know your mama will ask. You’d better have a good story.”
Frost snorted. “Well, I sure can’t tell her the dude I was porking broke up with me.”
Rodeo cowboy Frost Barton spends most of his time on tour, and that’s the way he likes it. But when his dad dies suddenly, Frost returns to southern New Mexico to attend the funeral and help his mom decide what to do with their small family ranch. Frost is already considering retiring from bull riding and planting his itchy feet in the ground. Meeting horse trainer Matt Morales just adds another pull in that direction, though Frost still isn’t sure he’s ready to give up the circuit—even if Matt makes settling down look mighty tempting.
Matt is old enough to know better, but he falls for Frost anyway. They only have so much time to spend together before Frost goes back on tour, but Matt believes they might have something special. He keeps the home fires burning while Frost earns his living, but Matt hopes he can convince Frost to come home—to stay.
Stories that leave a mark. Julia Talbot loves romance across all the genders and genres, and loves to write about people working to see past the skin they’re in to love what lies beneath. Julia Talbot lives in the great mountain and high desert Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Dreamspinner and Changeling Press among many others. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. She also writes BDSM and erotic romance as Minerva Howe. Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter, or at www.juliatalbot.com “The mountains are calling, and I must go”