When she looked back Cord was gone.
But he hadn’t gone far.
Cord fumed in the shadows of the parking lot as he leaned against his truck outside the bar.
AJ had had her lips on another man.
His woman had her mouth near some half-naked punk’s groin.
And she’d been enjoying it.
Had she been drunk?
Women stumbled out of the bar for the next half hour under the watchful eye of the Crook County deputy. Husbands, boyfriends, in a couple of cases fathers, picked up the bachelorette party attendees. A couple of women walked arm in arm down the sidewalk singing, “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)” but they’d changed the words to, “Save A Horse, Ride An Inflatable Penis” which wasn’t particularly funny, yet it sent them into gales of laughter.
Finally AJ came out. Alone. She nodded to Deputy Shortbull and headed for her Jeep.
Cord sauntered out of the shadows.
She jumped back. Then tried to start his goatee on fire with her glare. “Did you give your mom and aunt a ride home?”
“Then why are you here?”
“No, actually I don’t, Mr. McKay.”
He scowled. “What’s with the Mr. McKay shit?”
AJ shot a look over her shoulder. “Are you sure you should be talking to me? Since we’re not supposed to know each and all? Someone might see. Spread rumors that you’re secretly diddling me and God knows we couldn’t have that.”
“Jesus. Are you drunk?”
“What does it matter if I am? Are you taking a poll?”
This was not going well.
“Do I get another prize for giving you the right response?”
“Knock it off, AJ.” He glanced at the box in her hand. “What’s that?”
“The prize I won.”
“What is it?”
She opened her mouth to snap off something smart, but changed her mind and smiled cagily. “A vibrator.”
“No f**kin’ way. What the hell do you need one of those—”
“—for? Comparison? That might be interesting.”
He stared at her steadily, wondering if the steam blowing out of his nostrils was the same color as the steam blowing out of his ears.
“Fun as this conversation has been, Mr. McKay, I need to be getting home. Might need to stop and pick up some double A batteries first.”
“Like hell. You ain’t goin’ no place until you tell me why you haven’t been around for the last three days.”
“Busy havin’ your mouth next to another guy’s dick?”
She looked at her watch. “Wow. It’s half-past I don’t give a shit what you think, Cord McKay.”
“You don’t have the right to talk to me like that.”
“Yes, I do.”
Because you’re mine.
Where the hell had that come from?
“Because…Christ. It’s hard to have a serious conversation with you when you’re wearin’ lighted cocks on your head.”
AJ defiantly thrust out her chin and the penises bobbled. “We aren’t having a conversation. You’re giving me tough-guy attitude. If you won’t acknowledge me in public, you don’t have the right to chastise me for anything I do in public or in private.
And now you lost the right to do anything to me in private either, bucko.”
“Quit bein’ so goddamn childish.”
Her eyes narrowed to silver slits. “Quit bein’ such a goddamn dickhead.”
“You’re the one with dicks on your head, baby doll.”
“Yeah? I can take mine off any old time I please, but you wear your dickhead status like a second skin. Or should I say as a second foreskin?”
“You tryin’ to piss me off?”
“No, I’m trying to go home. So step aside.”
“Tough shit. You ain’t in no condition to drive.”
“Says Deputy Shortbull. He forced me and everyone else to take a Breathalyzer. I passed. So hah!”
Don’t let her go like this. Stall.
“If you walk away from me, AJ, I swear to God your penalty will double. Triple maybe. You already owed me for the last two nights. Don’t make it worse on yourself.”
“Bring it, cowboy. In fact, you’d better bring a rope and hogtie me because that’s the only way you’ll ever get me back in your bed. But we both know you won’t do it.”
“We’re done with the hot horny divorced cowboy and the virginal babysitter fantasy.
And no, I won’t cause a hysterical crying scene that’ll embarrass poor proper rancher Cord McKay. This will end like it began—as our dirty little secret. But it sure has been fun.”
AJ pivoted on her stiletto, her hips swinging, the penises on top of her head swaying with every step of her long, sexy legs as she promenaded away from him.
Oh yeah. Little Miss Baby Doll just earned herself one helluva punishment.
The next morning Cord woke up an hour earlier than usual. He finished his chores, cleaned up and was at AJ’s house by eight a.m.
He called her cell phone. “I’m comin’ up the driveway to get you. Easy or hard, your choice. But you will be leavin’ with me, AJ. I suggest you be dressed and ready. Don’t make me hogtie you because contrary to your smart little remark, you know I will do it.
In public. In front of your family. With complete and utter joy.” He hung up.
He parked. Waited a minute. Hopped out and passed her Jeep. On the passenger’s seat was the flashing penis headband, a button proclaiming, “I sucked balls at Liza’s bachelorette party” and…the vibrator she’d won. Still in the box.
Heh. A little comparison might be interesting, huh? He’d see about that. He snagged it and put it in his truck under the seat. To be ornery, he draped a rope over his shoulder, just so Little Miss Smartypants knew he wasn’t kidding.
Cord knocked on the front door.
Jenn answered. “Cord McKay? What on earth are you doing here on a Saturday morning? Is everything all right?”
“Fine. I’m lookin’ for Amy Jo. Last week she offered her help and I’m here to take her up on it.”
“What kind of help?”