Landon Gaudet may not be the best bullrider on earth, but he knows that's where the money is in rodeo. His Cajun heart is more involved with horses, though, and with finding the cowboy he's been dreaming of all of his relatively short life. Adam Taggart has been around the block more than once, and while he thinks Landon is special, he also thinks the kid deserves better than a safety man with more than his share of notches on the bedpost.
Adam does everything he can to resist Landon, but there's not a man alive who doesn't love being loved, so eventually he gives in. Landon can't believe that Adam is finally with him, that his cowboy has finally come around to his way of thinking. The only problem is that Adam isn't sure he deserves love, or that he really has any to give. He questions everything from his need for Landon to his family’s assertion that he can do better than a boy from the bayou. Can Landon show Adam that sometimes magic is real, and that all you really need is to have a little faith?
"You met Adam?" Sam Bell asked, leading Landon across the yard, the piles of bullriders and their women just filling the place up. Shit, the ropers and the family hadn't even made an appearance yet. By midnight, the booze and the music would be flowing, and the whole bayou would ring.
Landon did love it here at Beau and Sam's farm, more than almost anywhere, and Sister was here, Cotton and his gal Em. Even Adrian and Packer.
"No, sir. I mean, I knowed him good, oui? He rides and rides, but I ain't never spoke to him, me."
"Safety man. Like him. You."
Landon nodded. Sam's words got better every time they chatted together, and Landon was happy for it. Him and Sister, they prayed and lit candles for the man, spent hours on their knees with Maw-Maw's rosary beads clicking. Sister'd even sacrificed a chicken for healing, pouring the blood out during the new moon to suck the sickness and hurting from Mr. Bell and into the dirt.
His sister was pure hoodoo, witchy as all get out, but he'd never met a better traiteur, or treater. Magical healer. Didn't reckon he ever would.
"Adam. Cajun. Landon. Tag."
Landon looked up, the sun bright as a penny, and the glow surrounded a tall, tall cowboy, making the man shine. Landon caught his breath, the universe spinning.
Shit fire and save matches.
Ever since he'd been a boy, he'd done dreamed of this very second. Right here. Right now. The cowboy would have a light blue shirt on, a belt buckle from a 1999 roping championship. There'd be a tattoo on the inside of the man's wrist when he went to shake -- three blue circles in a row, touching. This was his cowboy. His family. The one meant to be his amant.
Kid. Like he was some petit fils. "Comme ça?"
"C'est bon." Oh, the man knew some Cajun, did Adam.
Landon held a hand out, and, sure as shit came from a goose's ass, there was that ink on the man's wrist, permanent. Three blue circles in a row. One. Two. Three.
This one was his, deep down. In his body cells. "Pleased. You want a beer?"
Adam smiled at him, eye lines wrinkling up like to catch the sunlight. "You legal to drink, boy?"
"Shee-it. I reckon."
To drink. To fuck. To dance. To catch him the cowboy the bon Dieu offered to him.
He wasn't no child. Not no more.
Adam looked him up and down, one eyebrow arching. "Well, then. C'mon. We'll have us a couple three beers before things get crazy. These Cajuns, they're nuts."
"We is, us, for sure." It wasn't a bad thing, though. It was just a true thing.
You had to be crazy to love it here in the swamps.