Cowgirl Up and Ride (Rough Riders 3) - Page 29

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“Ooh, we’ve gotta have an official drink. Something super sweet with a naughty name and you won’t know you’ve had too much to drink until it’s too late. Wyoming Doodle Whacker.”

“Ooh. I like that one.”

“Who’da thunk wild women lurked beneath our pigtails and bootcut 501s a few short years ago?”

“Not the guys in our class who voted us ‘bland and blander’. There will be something very satisfying about flipping them the bird, and slamming the door in their faces because at this party no men are allowed.”

For the next hour AJ and Liza made lists, planned and laughed. Noah finished his dart league and squired Liza away, leaving AJ to fend for herself.

Not for long.

She was dancing with Mikey when Cord waltzed in. She didn’t acknowledge him, since she suspected the reverse was true. AJ danced and hung out with her friends, feeling melancholy about not having many nights like this left in her hometown.

Her cell phone rang. She hustled down the hallway away from the music to try and hear Keely, but it was pointless. She turned around and saw Cord blocking the exit.

Lord. The man defined bad-boy rancher hottie, the ultimate man, in her opinion. The real deal, not some cowboy wannabe. His muscles were earned from hours of hard, physical work, not hours spent pumping iron at the gym. His steely-eyed determination was honed from spending years fighting the elements. She suppressed a soft sigh. He wore a pressed cotton shirt the color of vine-ripened tomatoes, which emphasized his

‘black Irish’ dark good looks, crisp jeans and a straw hat. He probably smelled great too, like shaving cream and soap and the great outdoors.

Shoot. She had no experience with this stuff either. Did she ignore him? Play it cool?

Play it like a bitch on wheels? Pretend she hadn’t waited at his house for over an hour for him and he never bothered to call and cancel?

While she argued with herself about an appropriate response, he said, “You didn’t show up tonight.”

“Wrong. I waited for you but you didn’t show up.”

“So you came to the Golden Boot instead?”

“What’s it to you what I do?” Childish, AJ. “I figured you had other plans so I made some of my own. No big deal. It’s not like we’re going steady.”

His jaw went rigid. “Wrong. You broke the rules. Which means you’ve earned another penalty.”

“Put it on my bill with the other ones.”

He gestured to her phone with a jerk of his hat brim. “Who’re you talkin’ to?”

She blinked at him.

“Who?”

“My stockbroker. My Microsoft stock took a huge hit today.”

“You’re a real riot, AJ. Who were you talkin’ to?”

“You gonna keep asking me until I tell you?”

“Yep.”

“Fine. I was trying to talk to Keely. But don’t worry, I didn’t say a thing about you or the incredible sex we had the other night.” Crap. That hadn’t come out right.

Cord tipped his hat back. No smile, just a smug look. “Incredible, huh?”

“You know it was. You don’t need to get cocky about it because there won’t be a repeat performance tonight. Now if you’ll excuse me.”

“You ain’t goin’ no place. Get your stuff and be out by my truck in five minutes.”

“No.”

“No?”

“Is there an echo in here? I said no. You had your chance to be with me tonight. You blew it. Better luck tomorrow.”

“Don’t push me, baby doll.”

“Then get out of my way. Unless you want me to really push you aside and make a scene?”

A hard expression flattened his lips.

“Didn’t think so.” She sidestepped him and strutted to the bar.

Nice goin’ McKay. You handled that like a f**kin’ pro.

Jesus. That smartypants blond was so gonna get it when he got his hands on her.

He’d stick around and see what other trouble she caused, see if she provided reasons to add to her punishments.

Cord snagged a corner table near the dance floor, where he could watch the entrance, the exits and her every move. Perverted? Yep. But if she took off, he’d know it. Just as well as he knew he’d chase her down—and guaranteed there’d be hell to pay when he caught her.

He nursed a beer, keeping a mental tally of who AJ danced with and how many times. Obsessive? Yep. A feeling which didn’t bother him in the least.

A couple of his dad’s friends swung by to congratulate him on buying the Foster place. He shot a covert glance at AJ to see if she’d figured out why so much traffic passed his table.

He shooed the guys off instead of discussing his plans for the new McKay acquisition. With AJ within earshot it seemed disrespectful. Not only that, he didn’t want anyone in the community believing the Fosters had fallen on hard times and had no choice but to sell. Cord knew how much it’d bug him if local folks made such assumptions about him or his family or the way they ran their operation. Gossip ruled in Crook County and the men were just as bad as the ladies.

Kade strolled in, snagged a beer and slipped into the booth seat across from him.

“How’s it goin’?”

“Shitty. You?”

“Shittier.”

“Where’s Kane?”

“Who the hell knows?” Kade fiddled with the metal tab on his beer can. “Did you hear I moved out of the Boars Nest?”

“No. I was a little f**kin’ busy mowin’ the goddamn south hayfield for the last couple of days to indulge in idle conversation.”

“By yourself?”

Cord nodded.

“Shit. Sorry. I woulda been over to help you, if I’da known.” Kade fished his can of Skoal bandits from his front pocket, shook out a pouch and passed the can across the table.

Cord jammed the tobacco in his cheek next to his molars. He only chewed occasionally, and only when Ky wasn’t around.

Kade said, “Before you ask, no, I don’t know where your stupid brother is either.

Been busy after work with Ma’s side of the family. First Uncle Darren wanted my help.”

He sighed. “You know how our dads are about Uncle Harland, so I couldn’t exactly tell him I’ve been helpin’ out Uncle H since Dag went on another bender. Spent the last coupla nights at his place. Early this mornin’ I get to the northeast corner where we been fixin’ fence and Kane tells me Dag had enough of Uncle H’s naggin’ and me tryin’ to—


Tags: Lorelei James Rough Riders Billionaire Romance
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