Trevor stayed rock solid through the unexpected deaths of her brother and father.
Their mutual love of the land, the Western lifestyle and determination to rebuild the ranch, despite the odds, strengthened their bond. The day Trevor climbed up on the roof, shouted his love for her and asked her to marry him, she’d never been so sure of anything in her life.
So a year after they’d repeated those solemn vows in front of a judge, Chassie’s heart still skipped a beat when she saw her hunky husband. Trevor was crouched over a makeshift plywood table in front of the porch, wrenching on the motor for the backup generator. He muttered to himself and swore, so he hadn’t heard their approach.
“Hang on.” Metal grinding on metal screeched in the cold air. Then, “Motherfuckin’ piece of shit.”
Chassie glanced at Edgard who’d gone completely still.
“That’s not the way to talk in front of company, hon.”
“Who’s here?” Trevor spun around and froze.
A beat passed. Then Edgard said softly, “Hello, Trevor.”
No one spoke; no one moved.
Trevor roared, “You motherfuckin’ piece of shit.” He threw the wrench and bulled toward Edgard.
Crap. Maybe they weren’t friends after all.
Instead of tackling the man and pounding him into the ground, Trevor slapped Edgard on the back. Clasping him in a bear hug, lifting him in the air, practically swinging him in a circle.
Whoa. She’d never seen her husband so…exuberant. From seeing an old friend she’d never even heard of? Chassie’s eyes met Trevor’s in confusion and he hastily set Edgard down.
“Ah. Sorry, man. It’s just…” Trevor turned away.
As he composed himself, Chassie fired a sardonic look at Edgard. “Well, I reckon he’s happy to see you after all.”
For Christsake, Edgard was here. Standing in his goddamn front yard.
Next to his wife.
How was he supposed to deal with this situation? At least he’d stopped himself from laying a big, wet kiss on him.
Kissing another man. In front of his wife.
Chassie wasn’t aware of his relationship with Edgard. Hell, he’d barely mentioned the years they’d team roped and traveled together because he didn’t know if he could keep the truth about that intimate relationship hidden from her—the woman had an uncanny emotional sense. So Chassie must be wondering about the male stranger her husband hugged like a long lost love.
Not a long lost love. Just a former rodeo pal. Keep it light. Friendly.
Trevor spun back around and grinned. “Shocked the shit out of me, Ed, to see you on American soil again. What’re you doin’ here?”
The tensed lines around Edgard’s mouth diminished. “Just passing through.”
“Where’s your vehicle?” Chassie asked.
“It broke down outside of Sundance. The mechanic said it’d be a week before they can get the parts to fix it.”
“Which repair shop?”
“They’ll treat you right. My dad used to work there. I’ll warn ya. They are slow as molasses in February. If they say a week it’ll be at least two.”
“Meantime, where are you stayin’?”
“I haven’t decided.”
Chassie was so selfless Trevor wasn’t surprised when she offered, “Any friend of Trev’s is a friend of mine. You’re welcome to stay here as long as you want. We have plenty of room.”
Say no, Edgard. For both our sakes say no.
“That’s very generous, Chassie. I’d like that.”
“No problem. You wanna come in and get settled? Have a cup of coffee to warm up?”
“That’d be great.”
Chassie brushed past Trevor and started up the porch steps.
He could handle his former lover under his roof for a couple of days. No sweat, right?
But when Trevor’s eyes caught Edgard’s, the punch of lust whomped him as sharply as a hoof to the belly, making him just as breathless.
Dammit, don’t look at me that way, Ed. Please.
Edgard banked the hunger in those topaz-colored eyes and Trevor silently breathed a sigh of relief.
The blank stare was a reaction they’d both mastered during the years they’d spent together on the road. If sponsors, promoters or fans caught wind of his and Edgard’s nocturnal proclivities they would’ve been blackballed. Or would’ve been beat to shit on a regular basis if the other rodeo cowboys suspected he and Edgard weren’t merely traveling partners. There’d been no choice but to become discreet.
Nothing discreet about the way Edgard had eyeballed him.
“Trev, hon, you comin’?”
“Go on. I’ll be right in after I take care of this motor.” He retreated to the barn, needing to find his balance after being knocked sideways.
Edgard was here. Trevor’s gut clenched remembering the last time he’d seen the man. Remembering the misery on Edgard’s face, knowing his face reflected the same desolation when they’d said goodbye three and a half years ago.
Crippled by pain, fear, and loss, Trevor hadn’t had the balls to wrap Edgard in his arms one last time. He’d snapped off some dumbass comment and done nothing but sit on his ass in the horse trailer like a lump of moldy shit and watched him go.
No. Let him go.
He’d gotten drunk that night. And every night after for damn near six months. He’d f**ked every woman who’d crossed his path. Sex and booze did nothing to chase away the sense he’d made a huge mistake. Or on the really bad nights, his all-too smug relief that he’d never really felt “that way” about Edgard and he was glad the too-tempting bastard was gone for good.
Yes, not only had Trevor mastered the outward lie, he was a master at lying to himself.
Watching his friends pair up, marry, and start families only emphasized Trevor’s unhappiness. Every part of his life seemed meaningless. Chasing that elusive gold buckle.
For what? To instill a sense of family pride, even when Trevor knew nothing he accomplished would be good enough for his father, former world champion Tater Glanzer?
The final straw occurred after the threesome with his buddy Cash Big Crow and Cash’s then-girlfriend, Gemma Jansen. It wasn’t an odd thing for Cash to call him and ask for help in giving Gemma an experience she’d never forget: f**king two men at the same time. Trevor’d always held a secret attraction to the bawdy Gemma, so he’d shown up, more than willing to oblige.