Rough, Raw, and Ready (Rough Riders 5) - Page 25

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“Consider yourself lucky,” he said derisively. “If it threw me for a goddamn loop when I figured out him and Edgard were more than ropin’ partners, I can’t imagine how them ass**les in his family woulda reacted. I didn’t pass judgment, mostly because I didn’t understand. That said, I still covered for them on the circuit and no one ever found out.”

It pained Chassie to ask, but she did anyway. “Do you think Trevor and Edgard were in love?”

“Ah hell, Chass, how am I supposed to answer that?” Colby downed half his beer.

“I’m dyin’ here. I found out the man I love, the man I married for Christsake, had a long time love affair with another man that I knew nothin’ about.”

Colby brooded for a bit. “Lemme ask you something. Would it’ve been better or worse if a woman showed up knockin’ on your door?”

“Worse,” she said automatically.

“Why?”

“With Edgard, I suspect it isn’t the same type of love Trevor has given me. It’s completely different. Separate. It doesn’t have anything to do with the way Trevor loves me.”

The truth of that statement hit her hard as a hammer to the head. Was it possible she wasn’t jealous about Edgard, just hurt because she hadn’t known about him? Chassie met Colby’s stare.

“Think on that statement very carefully before you make any rash decisions.”

She opened her mouth. Closed it. She couldn’t argue with that.

“How long’s Ed here for?”

“I don’t know. He’s been evasive whenever I’ve asked.”

“That’s weird.” The beer stopped midair. “He and Trev haven’t talked at all about Ed’s place in Brazil?”

“No. I thought it was kinda strange that Trev was avoidin’ bein’ alone with him and avoidin’ personal conversation. Now I know why.”

“How are things goin’ with you and Trev at your homeplace?”

“Good, I guess. Takin’ it day by day.”

He picked at the beer label. “You heard anything about Gus Dutton sellin’ his place south of yours?”

Chassie was a horrible liar. She settled for hedging. “What’ve you heard?”

“That his kids and grandkids never visit and he’s tired of bein’ alone since his wife died. He ain’t run any cattle for a few years.” Colby pinned her with a shrewd look. “You leasin’ his grazin’ land?”

“We did this past summer. Why?”

Colby shrugged. “Curious. Sweet piece of dirt with all that creek frontage. Me’n Cord have been eyein’ it the last coupla years, and Dad for a while before that. We’d be mighty interested in givin’ old Gus a little better than fair market value for it.”

I’ll bet you would.

She stood and studied the orange flames reflected in the glass fireplace panes.

“Thanks for talkin’ to me. I don’t have anyone to talk to about this. I’d never hurt Trevor.

Even as I’m standing here practically bleeding inside, I would protect him at all costs.”

“I know you would. I know he feels the same way, even though it probably don’t seem like it.” Colby reached for her hand and squeezed. “Good night, little cuz.”

“’Night.”

Chassie crawled between the flannel sheets. Channing’s rambling, “You really should watch them together when they’re naked in body and soul. Then you’ll understand, then you’ll do the right thing,” ricocheted in her head, mixing with the other gut-wrenching images she couldn’t erase.

The desperation in their kiss. The anguished longing as they’d stood pressed forehead to forehead in the corral. The murmured words. Their guilt. Their sadness.

As Chassie drifted into the realm between asleep and awake, she knew what she’d have to do. She just hoped she’d have the courage to ask and the guts to survive it.

Colby was dead tired. He’d spent all day worrying about leaving Channing alone as he faced another McKay family situation. Lying to his wife didn’t sit well with him.

She’d been mighty upset regarding Edgard’s surprise reappearance in Wyoming and Chassie’s not-so-surprising impromptu visit. He had an aversion to upsetting Channing with more bad news.

All that coupled with ten hours spent with his brothers, staring at each other like a bunch of idiots as they waited for word. Compared to stressful days like this, it’d been easy getting thrown off the back of a bronc or a bull.

Stay out of it. It ain’t your concern.

Like hell. He’d always felt guilty about Chassie. She was a sweet, hardworking woman who’d lived with family drama and disappointment. The gossip of her brother’s not-so-secret preferences was partially what’d justified Colby to keep the truth about Trevor and Edgard under his hat. He’d seen what a few missteps and rumors had done to Dag’s career. When Dag started losing, then Dag started drinking. It’d spiraled from there.

Dag’s fatal accident sent Uncle Harland to an early grave. But had the crises sent Chassie into the arms of the first man who noticed her?

No, Trevor hadn’t taken advantage of Chassie. Trevor was a decent, honest, hardworking guy. A good guy.

A good guy who’s been mooning for another man for years.

Fuck. Colby couldn’t let it slide. Not this time.

He propped his feet on the coffee table and hit speed dial number four on his cell phone. It rang once.

“What the hell are you doin’ callin’ me at eleven at night, McKay?”

“I got some stuff to say to you. Stuff that can’t wait.”

“What kinda stuff?”

“It has to do with your wife.”

Chapter Eleven

Trevor’s grip increased on his phone. “What are you talkin’ about?”

“Where’s your wife, Trev?”

I don’t know.

When he hadn’t heard from Chassie, he’d panicked and looked up her friend Zoey’s number in Wheatland. She’d informed Trevor that Chassie had called with her regrets earlier in the day. So Trevor looked like a fool for not knowing the whereabouts of his own wife.

Trevor admitted he and Chassie had a tiff before she’d left and she wasn’t answering her cell. He’d jokingly offered the soon-to-be newlywed advice: never drive away mad. It seemed to allay Zoey’s concerns.

But not Trevor’s.

He’d paced all damn afternoon, troubled something might’ve happened to her.


Tags: Lorelei James Rough Riders Billionaire Romance
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