“Cowboy Adonis,” my contribution to Cowboy Heat, owes its existence to “Drought,” the story I wrote for Cowboy Lust, the first anthology of erotic cowboy romance edited by Delilah Devlin. In that story I used an old western story archetype, that of the new schoolmarm and the rancher, and updated it to the 21st century. I also wrote about the drought then parching much of Texas and used it as a metaphor for the narrator’s nonexistent sex life.
When Delilah announced a sequel to Cowboy Lust, I knew I wanted to write a sequel to “Drought.” Because I could not use the same characters (their story had been told), I focused on two things: the Bar-B-Dahl ranch (location of an important scene in “Drought”) and the end of the drought (which, in real life, still impacts much of Texas).
Andrea, a photographer from Austin, is sent to the Bar-B-Dahl ranch to document the ways the landscape has changed with the end of the drought and her nature photography takes an unexpected turn. Here’s how “Cowboy Adonis” begins:
Nude, he rose from the stock pond like a cowboy Adonis, his thick, uncut phallus not perceptibly affected by the cold water. With my high-end digital camera, I snapped off half a dozen photographs of the cowboy’s wet, muscular body before he realized I was watching. He made no effort to turn away or cover himself but pushed dripping, shoulder-length black hair away from his face and said, “I thought I was alone out here.”
“So did I.”
I couldn’t look away. The few men in my life had been pudgy, sun-deprived city boys exuding pretentiousness but not masculinity, nothing at all like the naked cowboy before me.
He took a T-shirt from the pile of clothes he’d stripped off before diving into the stock pond and pulled it on. The white cotton clung to his broad shoulders, thick chest and six-pack abdomen like a second skin. Then he settled a white Shantung straw Stetson on his head before reaching for his boxer-briefs. He pulled them on, pulled a tight-fitting pair of well-worn Wranglers on over them, and then sat on the ground to put on his socks and Justin ropers.
After he pushed himself to his feet and brushed Texas from the seat of his Wranglers, he gave me a once-over, taking in finger-length blonde hair plastered to my head with sweat, a slender figure disguised by a loose-fitting University of Texas sweatshirt that masked my braless state, jeans so new I might have forgotten to take off all the tags, and hiking boots I wore to keep from twisting my ankles as I hiked across the rough, uneven pasture.
“What are you doing on my property?”
I’d entered the Bar-B-Dahl Ranch by hopping a gate a mile or so south of where we stood. “You’re Mr. Dahl?”
“Mr. Dahl is my father,” he said. “I’m Jason.”