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Showstring by Jon Keys

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Hello all! Ben Ramos here. Jon thought you might enjoy hearing a little of my story before you read the tale of how Jayden and I met.

Well, I graduated from college last spring with a degree in ranch management. I know, not a major most people would consider. Go to school so you can work your ass off for the rest of your life, and hope your kids carry on the tradition. For most folks the idea would be a big no way. But my family has lived in the same place for about a hundred years, and the idea of going back isn’t a turn off. The ranch is situated a little south of Palestine along the Trinity River in the Texas Piney Woods. I grew up the typical country boy–saving up for a hot pickup, sneaking beer for parties on the river–not much different from folks who grow up in town. We just have a lot more space to not get caught.

Oh, and yes. I’m gay. Ever since I can remember I’ve drooled over some guys. I told my family when I was in high school. Not going to lie, I’ve done less controversial things than tell my parents. But with time they’ve accepted the news. Believe it or not, Dad was okay with it quicker. For him, once the surprise wore off, I was his son and he loved his kids. Mom, well she took a little longer. She’s religious, and the church has dim views on guys who are attracted to other guys. Fortunately, we had a progressive priest.

I dated some in college. I guess I never found someone I was that attracted to. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of cute guys on campus and I fooled around a little. But none of them got serious. It might have been because I’m the first person in my family to go to college. I was determined to make my family proud of me. So my focus was more on good grades than hot men.

When I graduated, I wanted to promote the breeding stock from our ranch. For decades Dad and Grandpa have been selecting for muscular cattle that did well in our part of the Piney Woods. The hot humid climate and forested geography made the selection process—interesting. So my dad agreed to let me try out my ‘college boy’ idea, which was to win so many big livestock show we’d have people pounding down our door to buy breeding stock from us. Or something like that.

We combed through the entire herd to put together a showstring to take on the exhibition circuit. I’m sure some of you have never heard of livestock shows and the whole culture that surrounds it. It’s not that unusual if you think about it. People are crazy about dog shows aren’t they? Showing cattle isn’t much different, just think of them as huge dogs. That could run over your ass if you’re not careful. But that hardly ever happens… So my grand plan was to take the small showstring we’d put together and take them to the biggest and most prestigious shows in the region. Jayden and I run into each other while I was at my first major show.

So that should give you some rambling idea of how I ended up at the state fair and the cockeyed plan that put me in the situation for Jayden and I met.

Beef and beefcake, tight Wranglers and a lifetime of anguish, cattle and competition. Can Jayden and Ben mesh their wildly different backgrounds?

Jayden Laine has spent his life in the city, dreaming of cowboys and cattle ranches. He looks forward to each fall when his real life is exchanged for his dreams at the state fair.

This year, as he steps into the barns, he’s greeted by everything he’s come to see, along with the additional sight of Ben Ramos fighting to move a two-thousand-pound bull that’s decided he doesn’t want to cooperate. What happens next starts a juggernaut of emotions in Jayden that turn his world upside down. Now all he has to do is reevaluate his entire life and decide who to believe. And he has only a few days to do it.

Publisher’s Note: This book has previously been released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

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About the Author

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

  1. Maggie Lane says

    Love the lead up to the character story, loved the blurb and the cover is gorgeous. Just bought it from Pride, now I just have to work out how to download to my kindle lol

    1. Truus says

      He Maggie,

      Need some help?


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