Tied Up, Tied Down (Rough Riders 4) - Page 16

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“Yeah? Maybe I am a little touchy ’cause my only brother can’t be bothered to drive sixty miles down the road to meet my baby daughter.”

“I ain’t good with babies,” he said softly. “You know that.”

Kade hadn’t been either up until about two weeks ago. “Look. I ain’t gonna make you change her diaper.”

Kane’s mouth twitched.

“But I would like you to see her. Next to her mama, she’s the prettiest thing in the whole world.”

“I reckon she probably is. But you ever think it might not be the best idea for me to see her? Or for her to see me?”

“Didja hit yourself in the head with a hammer?”

“Why you say that?”

“’Cause you ain’t makin’ a lick of sense.”

Kane squinted at him. “Yeah? Did it escape your notice in the year you’ve been gone that we’re identical twins? That havin’ two men who both look like daddy might be confusin’ to her?”

Hell. That hadn’t occurred to him.

“I know you’re bondin’ with her, or whatever you wanna call it, and it’d be just my luck if I’d f**k it up somehow. I done that once with you and her mama. I ain’t lookin’ to do it again.”

Kade had no idea how to answer. For once his brother had brought up a valid point.

“I appreciate your honesty. But it wasn’t your fault I never came clean with Skylar about me not bein’ you. I pissed away my chances to tell her and I gotta live with my stupidity.”

A couple of minutes passed where the only sounds were bugs and birds and the grinding chink of tools against hard-packed soil.

A heartfelt sigh drifted up from where Kane worked in the dirt. “Didja ever wonder why Ma named us Kane and Kade? Jesus. It ain’t bad enough hardly anyone can tell us apart? We gotta have names that are damn close to identical?”

“Yeah, I wondered that. But neither of us has balls enough to ask the blonde tornado just what she was thinkin’ when she popped out a matched set,” Kade said wryly.

“True. Dad’d skin us alive if we upset the queen bee, even now.” Kane twisted the wire cutters. “Anyway, I’m thinkin’ about changin’ my name.”

Kade laughed. “Right.”

“I’m serious. Something that don’t start with a ‘K’ or a ‘C’ like everyone in this damn family.”

“How about…Dick?”

“How about you f**k off, smartass?”

Kade grinned. “So whatcha thinkin’? Bubba? Spud? Deuce? Fred? Ethyl?”

“I think Bennett’s datin’ a woman from Thermopolis named Ethyl.”

“No kiddin’?”

“Yeah, I’m kiddin’. Goddamn you’re easy to tease, Kade.”

“Give me a break. I ain’t had to make small talk besides with the cattle for the last year. Good thing Eliza ain’t expectin’ me to be a brilliant talker.”

Kane clipped a section of wire. “What about Skylar? Does she expect that from you?”

“Who the hell knows?” Frustrated, Kade pounded his foot against the metal jaws of the posthole digger. “We don’t talk about nothin’ except Eliza.”

“That’s to be expected, ain’t it?”

“Probably. But it’s been a few weeks since I moved in. I thought since I was up with the baby last night that Sky would be rested and we could talk about something else this mornin’. But after I got out of the shower, she’d already made up the bed. When I tried—”

“Whoa whoa whoa.” Kane held up a gloved hand. “You said she made the bed? As in—you’re sharin’ a bed with her?”

“Uh. Yeah.”

“So, man, why are you worried about talkin’ if you’re already nailin’ her?”

“Because I’m not.”

“Not what?”

“I’m not nailin’ her, okay?”

A stunned look crossed Kane’s face and then he laughed so hard he fell over on the ground.

When Kade suffered enough of his brother’s hysterics, he said, “It ain’t funny.”

“Yeah, it is. Jesus, Kade. The last year turned you into a Wyoming monk? You’ve been sleepin’ in the same damn bed with Skylar, the woman you have a child with, the woman you’ve been crazy in love with for over a year, and you haven’t tried to get busy with her? Not even once?”

“No.”

“Does the thought of screwin’ her with the baby in the room…give you performance anxiety or something?”

“What the f**k do you mean, performance anxiety? No. I don’t have any problem gettin’ it up.”

“Does havin’ the baby listenin’ to you squeakin’ the bedframe freak her out?”

“I don’t know!”

“That is just plain sad, man. Sad.”

“No shit.”

“I’m assumin’ you still want her?”

“Like you wouldn’t f**kin’ believe.”

“So why would you throw in the towel so soon?”

“I haven’t.” Kade kicked a clod of dirt into the ditch. “I promised Sky I’d be a gentleman. At first I needed to be in her room to learn how to take care of Eliza. I thought maybe after Sky got used to me bein’ around and I rebuilt her trust, things might change.

We’d use the bed for more than sleepin’. Nothin’s changed. I’m waitin’ on her to give me some kinda damn sign.”

“There’s your problem. Waitin’ on her. Actin’ like a lap dog, happy for scraps.”

Kane stood and jammed the wire cutters in his back pocket. “See, women tell you they want a gentleman, when in reality, they want a man to take charge. Sexually speakin’.”

“What?”

“Hear me out. A woman wants a man who can’t keep their hands offa them. A man who can make them feel feminine, sexy and needed. Desired, but not in a way that diminishes their independence outside the bedroom.”

He stared at Kane with his mouth hanging open. What’d gotten into his brother?

Kane was worse than him when it came to talking about touchy-feely relationship crap.

Kane never thought about man/woman shit beyond the locker room trash-talking of, “I f**ked her” or, “I wanna f**k her” or, “Is she any good with her mouth?”

Now Kane was channeling Dr. Phil? It shocked Kade to the point of speechlessness, leaving him no choice but to take note of his brother’s opinion.


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