Branded as Trouble (Rough Riders 6) - Page 25

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The intruder shuffled closer and said, “Well, hell, you two aren’t exactly kids.”

“We’re aware of that.” Colt kept his gaze on India as he helped her slide off the machine.

She stood next to him on wobbly legs.

“You oughta act better than this. It’s those damn teenagers I usually hafta worry about.” The man’s jowls shook. “Found a used condom behind that pinball machine. Had to close the place down to clean every horizontal surface.”

He glared at the pinball machine behind India, looking like he expected her to pull out a bottle of Windex, a roll of paper towels and wipe her butt prints off the machine. His bulk shifted as he waited for an explanation for their behavior.

But India shot the man a flinty eyed stare. “So, we got carried away. I swear we weren’t to the condom stage…”


The unspoken word hung in the sexually charged air.

The fat man snarled, “Get out.”

Two weeks would kill him. Hell, they hadn’t passed the two-hour mark without mauling each other. In public. Getting kicked out of an arcade for lewd behavior. For Christsake, they were adults!

Yeah. He sucked at this dating stuff as much as India did.

Which reinforced his determination to see it through. To the end.

Twelve days. Two hundred and eighty eight hours.

Not that Colt was keeping track.

They returned to the table as their pizza arrived. For the next hour, the conversation wasn’t different than the other times they’d gone out as friends.

With the exception they were holding hands.

With the exception they were making googly eyes at each other and lacing their banter with sexual innuendos.

With the exception Colt’s c**k was as hard as a hockey stick.

Nah. That wasn’t anything new.

On the way back to Sundance, India scooted next to him on the bench seat. She fiddled with the radio. The temperature. The position of the air vents.

She was nervous. Interesting.

Colt pulled up to the back of the building.

India said, “Is this where you tell me you had a great time and you’ll call me?”


“You didn’t have a great time?”

“I had a fantastic time.” He curled his hand around her jaw and turned her face to his. “I’d like nothin’ better than to come in, but we both know it’s better if I say goodnight here.”

She kissed him with sweet regret. “I’ll see you at the meeting tomorrow night?”

“Yep. And afterward, I want to do something with you.”

“Not do something to me?” she teased.

“Hold that thought for another twelve days. How about if we go out for ice cream?”

A devious smile lit up her face. “With the no sex rule, you seriously think you can handle watching me lick an ice cream cone for more than thirty seconds?”

The reality of her pink tongue lapping. Her mouth sucking.

Watching her throat muscles as she swallowed the creaminess. No way. “Point taken. How about a—”

“How about if you leave it up to me?”

Colt frowned.

“Innocent fun. I promise.”


“No peeking, McKay.”

“I can’t see a damn thing.”


After the A.A. meeting, India had commandeered his truck and blindfolded him. She held his hands as she helped him out of the passenger side. She kept holding his hands as they walked up a small incline. They were outside, on grass, not gravel. He was trying like hell not to be freaked out. He was hoping like hell this wasn’t some bizarre game of trust she’d concocted because he hadn’t participated in the one at the meeting again.

“Ready? Keep your eyes closed.”

The silken scarf slipped from his eyes, teasing him with the aroma of her perfume.

“Okay. You can open them.”

His eyes blinked a couple times. He looked around. Two swing sets, a jungle gym, a sandbox and monkey bars. They were in City Park.

“A playground. You brought me to a playground?”

“Yep. Pull up a swing.” India ran to the swing on the left and hopped on the rubber seat. She wrapped her hands around the chains and started to move, pumping her legs.

He ambled over and plopped next to her, straddling the swing so the chain followed the line of his spine and he could look at her.

“Aren’t you gonna swing?”

“Nope. I’d rather watch you.”

“Suit yourself.” Each pass took her swing higher. The metal bars bounced and the chains squeaked.

India’s movements hypnotized Colt. The wind ruffling her coal black hair, the ends colored a vivid blue, which emphasized the paleness of her skin. The scarf fluttered behind her in a jaunty wave as she swung forward.

His stomach fluttered. God. She was so beautiful. So happy in her own tattooed and pierced skin. So honest and thoughtful and crazy fun. So…India.

So mine.

She slowed and stopped by letting her combat boots drag in the shallow dent in the dirt, facing him in mirror position. “Don’t you like to swing?”

“Been so long I don’t remember.” He grinned at her.

“So…come here often?”

India returned his grin. “No. Sky won’t let me bring Eliza yet.”

“So you brought me instead?”

“Do you mind?”

“Nope, I just don’t understand why.”

“This might sound silly and sappy and stupid.”

“I doubt it.”

She poked her fingers through the chain links. “You know all those romantic comedies where the man and woman end up in a park having a heart to heart on the swings? Or the swing set is their special meeting place from their childhood and they reconnect there as adults? Or where they had their first kiss?”

“I guess.”

“I’ve never done anything like that.”

Colt waited.

“My memories of schoolyards are mostly bad. Hanging around, looking for drugs, getting into trouble. I’d like to have a good memory. Something romantic like in the movies.” She finally looked at him so earnestly his heart melted. “With you.”

“Ah hell, sugar, c’mere,” he managed over the lump in his throat. He scooted forward and yanked her chain, bringing her swing closer to his. “I’m not really romantic leading man material.”

“You are to me,” she said softly.

Colt touched the side of her face. “Know one of my favorite things about you? You live in the moment. Without apology. With gusto. It’s a helluva thing to see.”

Tags: Lorelei James Rough Riders Billionaire Romance