Micah Avery has called Split Rock Ranch home for most of his life—it’s one of the few places he can be totally himself without worry or judgment. The ranch, the horses, and the people are Micah’s future, and he couldn’t be happier. The fact that it’s also home to the ranch manager he’s determined to marry one day is icing on the cake . . . all he needs is for Ryan to notice him.
Ryan Astor came to Split Rock Ranch at a time when he was desperate to start over. It was just supposed to be a stop on the road, but instead he found a home and a family—that family includes Micah, the sweet kid who’s been the ranch mascot since before he was tall enough to see over the stall doors. Ryan’s finally found his place, and he can’t imagine wanting anything to change.
Then little Micah Avery grows up. And Ryan’s suddenly confronted with a whole mess of feelings and desires he never expected. Now he needs to decide if he can give in to what they both want without jeopardizing everything they have.
Something Undeniable is a slow-burn, 37k-word novella with an age gap, mutual pining, and plenty of heat. It’s the first book in the Split Rock Ranch series, but can be read as a stand-alone story.
Title: Something Undeniable
Authors: Rory Maxwell
Series: Split Rock Ranch Series, Book 1
Genre: Contemporary, horse ranch romance.
Tropes: slow burn, age gap, mutual pining, found family, horse ranch.
Content: pre-story parental death.
Ryan was going to hell.
He gripped the table in front of him as the door closed and Micah’s footsteps retreated down the stairs. Little Micah Avery—who had practically been Ryan’s shadow since he was a gangly teenager—had grown up. How the fuck did he miss that?
He scrubbed a hand over his face, trying to banish the memory of drenched cotton clinging to defined muscle, of broad shoulders that tapered to a narrow waist, and the surprisingly large bulge in wet jeans. Micah had looked good. Beyond good. Before Ryan’s brain could register what was happening, his shocked disbelief had flipped to heat…and want.
He’d escaped the room as quickly as possible to grab a towel and calm himself the hell down. He’d returned in time to see Micah drag the shirt over his head, revealing tight pink nipples, the cut vee of his abs, and a dusting of chest hair leading to a perfectly lickable happy trail. Ryan’s mouth had dried up instantly. As soon as he’d realized he was staring he turned away, but it was too late. The image was seared into his brain.
Objectively, he’d always known the kid was good-looking and would probably grow up to be attractive. He had nice features and his father was a handsome guy. None of that had prepared Ryan for proof of said growing up to be stripping in his living room. The goofball teen who flailed, joked, and tripped over thin air had somehow become a young man with a perfect body, a wicked grin, and a generous mouth that Ryan was suddenly struggling not to picture in compromising situations.
Out of sheer self-preservation, Ryan had kept his back turned while Micah redressed and asked about using the washer. He hadn’t been able to make himself turn back. He’d probably looked and sounded like an asshole—especially with that dig about the guests being here soon—but he’d been too worried Micah would see his face and get the wrong idea. The last thing either of them needed was to complicate their friendship.
Micah Avery was one hundred percent off-limits, and Ryan had no intention of changing the status quo.
Rory Maxwell discovered romance novels on her mom’s bookshelf when she was probably too young to be reading them—the reward for being a nosy kid with great reading comprehension. The magic of a dial-up internet connection led her to the wonderful world of MM fanfiction a few years later and she fell love with the genre. In 2019 she woke up with a plot bunny, opened a word doc, and started trying to figure out how this writing stuff worked.
Rory grew up outside of Washington, DC, moved away, and then came back for reasons she doesn’t fully understand. An artist and writer, she always has too many exciting ideas and not nearly enough free time. One day, she hopes to escape to the mountains and open an LGBTQIA+ friendly bed and breakfast where she can work from home and write as much as she wants. In the meantime, she splits her time between her day job and writing MM romance with endearing characters, lots of feels, plenty of heat, and a dash of kink.
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