Rough, Raw, and Ready (Rough Riders 5) - Page 40

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“I promise not to start humming the Mexican hat dance and clacking my castanets in victory,” he said wryly.

“You’re hilarious.” Trevor put the truck in drive and they were bumping across the uneven terrain.

Edgard squinted at the unfamiliar stark scenery outside his window. Dirt-covered snow stretched across miles of flat prairie; dead clumps of brownish grass poked through the thin layer of white. Wind stripped the moisture away from the ground in places, leaving patches of red dirt. Skeletal trees, rocks, tumbleweeds scattered along the fenceline added to the vastness and the loneliness of the scene.

Isolation. Desperation. It fit Edgard’s mood, not only today, but for the last year.

Gruffly, Trevor said, “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”

Silence filled the truck cab. So many things had been left unsaid. Again. Maybe they were doomed to be stuck at that impasse. Unable to go back; unwilling to move forward.

The events of last night seemed so far away, in that surreal state where Edgard questioned whether it’d really happened.

A few minutes later, out of the blue, Trevor spoke again. “You’ve changed, Ed. You always were quiet, that strong silent type of guy, especially in public, but you’re even more so these days. What gives?”

“So glad you noticed,” Edgard muttered.

“I’ve noticed lots of things.”

Edgard’s head whipped around at the silky resonance in Trevor’s tone. “Yeah?”

“Yeah. But mostly I notice how you get a little prissy when I bring up something you don’t wanna discuss.”

His mouth dropped open. “Prissy? For Christsake, I’ve never been prissy a day in my life.”

Trevor grinned. “See? That right there was prissy.”

“Fuck off.”

“Just sayin’…”

Trevor’s you-know-you-love-me grin had always been Edgard’s downfall. He smiled back. “Asshole.”

“So, you gonna tell me why you don’t wanna talk about what happened to you in the last few years?”

Edgard didn’t respond. Didn’t know where or how to start, actually. He focused his attention out the window, absentmindedly pinching the tips of his wet leather glove between his fingers and thumb. “It doesn’t matter.”

A warm, dry hand covered his, stopping his restless fingers, and damn near stopping his heart. Edgard didn’t move. He was frozen in that place between hope and fear.

“It matters to me,” Trevor said.

Edgard waited for Trevor to realize they were still touching and jerk his hand back.

But he didn’t, he kept holding on. And yeah, maybe it did make Edgard prissy, but the urge to weep overwhelmed him. He cleared his throat. “What happened is my mother died.”

“Oh, shit, buddy, I’m sorry.” Trevor squeezed Edgard’s hand. “When?”

“About a year and a half ago. Car accident. A shitload of bad stuff happened afterward.”

“Family stuff?”

“Yeah. It sucked. Big time. I still can’t talk about it.”

A moment of silence. Of acceptance. “Lemme know if you change your mind.”

Edgard nodded and Trevor didn’t pester him further.

But Trevor continued holding Edgard’s hand in silence until they returned to the house, proving the smallest gestures did have the biggest impact.

Chapter Eighteen

Trevor spent the hours after lunch in the office catching up on paperwork. Maybe he’d find a way to come up with the money to pay Gus.

Right. Might as well wish for a pot of gold.

Country music played in the background while Chassie did laundry and scurried around the house cleaning. A peppery aroma wafted in and he sniffed with appreciation.

Swiss steak. One of his favorites.

Edgard had borrowed his truck, but hadn’t been forthcoming about his destination.

Truthfully, Trevor needed the break from both his wife and his former roping partner.

His life was one f**ked up, confusing mess. Being with Edgard last night hadn’t cleared up his inner turmoil, just added more fuel to the fire. Trevor loved his wife with an all-consuming passion. But if it was all consuming, what the hell was he doing thinking about…doing Edgard again?

He shoved his office chair to the wall and propped his feet up on the small desk. It was more than sex. He and Edgard had been good friends before becoming lovers, sharing everything, from their love of playing practical jokes, to ways to stave off boredom on the range. Although their life stories were vastly different, they’d clicked.

After spending eight years on the circuit surrounded my men, Trevor admitted to himself that he needed male companionship. Chassie was great, but he missed that macho bullshit and competitiveness he’d gotten from his rodeo buddies.

After he’d moved on, from both his family and the circuit, he’d been so busy scrambling to make a living he hadn’t thought much about friendship. Colby had been his best friend for years, both on and off the circuit. Naturally things’d changed after Colby’s injury and Colby settled down with Channing.

But before that, their friendship changed when Colby discovered Trevor and Edgard were together, because Trevor confided in Colby less and Edgard more. They’d still participated in threesomes, foursomes with whatever chicks tripped their triggers, but when the romp ended, more often than not, Trevor crawled in bed with Edgard. Which left Colby alone most nights.

The last year on the circuit tempers were short, even after Colby started winning consistently. Being a selfish bastard, Trevor hadn’t noticed Colby’s loneliness until Channing joined them on the road.

After Colby’s injury, Edgard left and Trevor hadn’t gotten close to anyone again until Chassie. Much as he loved everything about her, moving onto her homeplace meant he hadn’t met many of the locals besides Gus and Chassie’s assorted West and McKay relatives. Chassie wasn’t overly social, but she’d grown up outside of Sundance and, whenever they went to town, it was obvious she knew everyone.

He’d liked having Edgard to tool around with in the truck. Fixing equipment, doing shit work that Chassie shouldn’t have to deal with—though she’d pop him upside the head for hinting she had less guts than any man. Lord. He’d really missed that “buddy”

part of his relationship with Edgard and it’d be worse once Edgard left.

So where did that leave them? Despite the comment his truck was ready, Edgard hadn’t indicated he’d be moving on soon. Chassie hadn’t been chomping at the bit to kick him out either—even after last night. It boggled Trevor’s mind that not only had Edgard sought out Chassie to soothe her after the business with Meridian, he’d exerted a calming influence on her that day she’d caught them together, an easy solace that Trevor hadn’t managed after being married to the woman for a year.

Tags: Lorelei James Rough Riders Billionaire Romance