by Mike Shade
Wil is the new sherriff's deputy in town, a job he likes, especially when he meets Max on a routine call. He thinks Max is unbelievably sexy and wants to get to know him better. A lot better.
Max is pretty much trouble with a capital T. He has trouble keeping jobs, gets into fights in bars, and does all sorts of other things a law abiding man might not approve of. He can hardly believe his luck when he and Wil hook up, sure he'll screw up their relationship like he does everthing else. Can these two survive all the trouble that finds them and make a life together?
Review of Trouble by Laura Baumbach
Wilson Crow is the new deputy in town and Max Lillian is the town slacker. Crow wants the quiet life of a small town and lazy afternoons spent fishing. Meeting Max for the first time breaking up a bar fight, Crow manages to see past the worthless, troublemaker reputation Max has gotten himself to find something that attracts him to the feisty, little roughneck. They develop a friendship that turns intimate despite their differences and Max's tendency to clash occasionally with the local gaybashers and the law.
Gaining a new sense of stability from their relationship, Max's need to pull his own weight financially forces him to develop a better sense of responsibility. With time on his hands while Crow works the night shift for the sheriff's department, Max allows his creative side to emerge and begins a success stained-glassed business to contribute to their combined incomes. It also reduces the amount of free time he has to get into trouble with the prejudiced locals. Crow deals with his own troubles, fending off cutting remarks, unwanted advice, and unjust warnings about Max from co-workers and his boss. Over coming obstacles and battling prejudices, Crow and Max manage to build a comfortable life together that satisfies their needs and desires. Each man finds strength in the other's presence and love. This allows them to face life with a determination and joy born out of their deep love, affection and need for the other.
This tale is dialogue rich and drenched with steamy man on man lovemaking. The characters are well-developed and true-to-life. I could visualize them both as all their eager desires and needs were played out in the course of the story. Frequent steamy love scenes co-mingled with day-to-day life bring a sense of truism to this slice of small town life. The story radiates need and passion. The next time I see a stained glass window, I'll wonder what else the talented hands that created its delicate beauty had been touching and caressing!
Max knocked back another shot, hooking his boots in the barstool.
Fucking place was rocking. Loud.
Too fucking cool.
Some drunk-assed cowboy bumped into him, not just once, but twice. Asshole. ''Back the fuck off, man. I ain't that short.''
''Fuck you, boy. 'Fore you get your ass kicked.''
Oh, Hell yeah. He slammed his shot glass down, turned around, decked the fat motherfucker right in the mouth. Sent the bastard flying, too.
Well, 'til the bastard's buddy whacked his back with a pool cue. ''Prick!''
Helen's voice, low and smoky, rang through the bar. ''I'm calling the cops! Y'all best run.''
''Actually, I'm already here,'' said a soft voice, and a hand landed on his shoulder.
''Oh, fuck.'' He ducked another punch, tried to slip between a couple goat-ropers heading for the road.
''Hey!'' His belt was grabbed and he was pulled around. The deputy frowning at him was young. Pretty eyes. ''You want to add resisting arrest?''
''No, sir. I'm not resisting.'' Fuck. Fuck. Bastard.
''Then why don't you come outside with me and tell me why you punched that man.'' Fuck, the deputy was soft spoken.
''Depending on which one, because I got pushed and hit with a pool cue.'' Man, he didn't need to spend the night in the jail.
''Are you saying they started it?'' The deputy's voice sounded even quieter once they were out of the bar, the hand on his arm deceptively gentle.
''I didn't just find me a cowboy and start whaling on him. I was sitting and drinking. Ask Helen.''
The back door of the patrol car was opened and he was gently pushed down, ass in the seat, legs still outside. The deputy pulled out a pad of paper and a pen and leaned against the car. ''Your name?''
''Max Killian.'' Shit.
''I'm Wilson Crow. I just got hired on. You live around here?''
''Sometimes, yeah. My sister's Jeannie Hooper. I'm staying with them.''
''And where's that at?''
He blinked. ''Above Hooper's Furniture. On First and Green.''
He gave his cell number. Jeannie'd cut his balls off if he gave the cops her number.
''Do you know the names of the guys you hit? The ones that ran?''
''Nah. We weren't friends.'' Like he'd squeal.
''All right. Well as they aren't here to press charges and I only saw what happened from the other side of the bar, I'm going to drive you home and suggest you not slug at people in bars in the future.''
''Yes, sir. Thank you.'' Fucking A. He damn near did a butt wiggle dance.
''Okay, in you get then.'' Damn, those lashes were long, those eyes a real pretty brown. So pretty. Nice chin, too.
Deputy Crow leaned down toward him. ''You have to put your legs in the car, Mr. Killian.''
''Oh. Right. Sorry.'' He grinned. ''Had a couple.''
''I know. That's why you're not driving.'' Oh, that smile was... pretty devastating.
''Exactly. So very definitely not driving.''
Crow chuckled. ''Get in the car, Max.''
''Yes, sir. In the car. Not driving.'' He grinned, slid in, settled.
The door closed and Crow walked around to the driver's seat, started up the car and pulled out into the road. He could see the man's profile from where he sat in the back, the lines crisp in the darkness. He let himself have a little pervy cop and cuffs fantasy as they went, just enough to keep his mouth shut.
Every now and then those brown eyes glanced at him in the rearview mirror.
''You always pick on jerks twice your size with matching friends?'' Deputy Crow broke the silence with that soft voice.
''I didn't pick on nobody. I just... held my own.''
''That's going to get you in trouble one of these days.''
He chuckled, couldn't help it. ''Trouble and me are good friends.''
''Does that mean I'm going to get to know you well?'' He could see the smile on Crow's face.
''I reckon you might.'' He grinned. ''I'm harmless, though. Mostly.''
''What do you do when you're not hitting men twice your size?''
''I do some fishing. Some roofing. Some guitar playing.'' Whatever he needed to do.
''You play in a band?''
''Not really. I more play with whoever needs a spare six-string.''
''So no steady job then.'' He couldn't tell if that was disapproval or not in Crow's voice.
''Last time I checked, that wasn't illegal.'' Town needed a slacker, damn it.
''I didn't say it was.'' The car slowed and pulled up into a parking spot in front of the furniture store. ''Is this right?''
''Yeah. Thanks for the ride, man. I'll pick up my truck in the
Crow nodded and came around to let him out. ''You take people out fishing around here?''
''Yep. Got a little bass boat and everything. You a fisherman?'' Because Max thought he could so get into a little bait and tackle...
''Not really, but it's one of the reasons I moved out here. I'd like to be. I've got four days off starting Tuesday.'' He was given a soft smile and a wink. ''Provided you haven't found more trouble before then.''
''I'll pencil you in. Tell trouble I'm busy.''
Crow chuckled, that smile growing. ''All right. I'm betting you know where the sheriff's office is. You could pick me up there first thing. My shift finishes at eight am.''
''Tuesday. Eight. New sheriff. Got it.'' He grinned, nodded. He might not be hung over by then.
''I'm just a deputy, Mr. Killian. Brent McTavish is the new sheriff.''
''Brent McTavish is a butthead. Used to steal girls' panties from clotheslines.'' He waved, headed up the stairs. ''See you Tuesday, Crow.''
Crow chuckled. ''Tuesday.''
Max stumbled up, let himself in, crashing face-first on the first sofa he found. Tuesday. Pretty cop. Hooboy.