Shoulda Been a Cowboy (Rough Riders 7) - Page 40

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I’m damaged goods. “The Evangelical Church of Hope got their hooks in me before the marriage brokers did and they offered me a better way out of the country. I eventually found a way to escape them too.” She chugged her beer and boldly changed the subject. “You’ve known Cam for a long time.”


“Can I ask you something about him?”

“Sure. Doesn’t mean I’ll answer.”

That flip reply might’ve stung if she hadn’t suspected Brock’s passive aggressive responses were his way of protecting his friend. “Was Cam always…such a…” Domini struggled with the right word.

Brock’s eyes narrowed. “Such a what?”

“The type of guy who’s loyal. Polite. Thoughtful. Generous. He’d walk a little old lady across the street. He’d jump in front of a bus to save a baby in a runaway stroller. He’d give up his seat to a pregnant woman. He’d…”

“Throw himself on a grenade to save your life?” Brock supplied.

“Exactly. Has he always been that way? Or did he become that way after his injury?”

“What do you think?” he asked without guile.

“I think he’s always been the selfless guy who does the right thing. No matter what. No matter the personal cost.”

“You’d be exactly right. And you’re the first person who’s picked up on that…except for me, of course.”

“Of course.”

“I owe him my life. He’ll tell you the reverse is true, but it’s not. He saved my dumb ass more times than I care to count. I will do anything for that man. Cam is one of a kind and he deserves the best—” his cool appraisal moved over her and he frowned, “—in everything.”

Stung by his less than flattering perception that she wasn’t good enough for Cam, she stood. “I should go. Please give Cam the shirt.”

“Chill out. Finish your beer. I didn’t mean to run you off.”

She allowed him time to consider his statement, then challenged, “Didn’t you? Didn’t you really?”

Brock attempted to stare her down, but gave up and laughed. “Man, you ain’t a pushover at all, are you?”

“Some people confuse a quiet nature with timidity. There is a difference, Mr. Tennyson.”

“I see that now.” Brock snatched her hand and kissed her knuckles with exaggeration. “Call me Brock. I owe you an apology, delectable Domini.”

“Apology accepted.”

His right eyebrow winged up. “I’m forgiven that fast?”

“No point in holding a grudge. You were only looking out for Cam’s best interest and I can’t fault you for that.”

“Hmm. Gorgeous, quiet and forgiving. Will you marry me?”

She laughed. “Let’s stick to being friends.”

“Oh woman, I am so gonna try to change your mind. Let’s have a toast to celebrate our new friendship.” He leapt to his feet. “Have any idea where Cam keeps the tequila?”

“No. But I hope his liquor cabinet is better stocked than his refrigerator.”

“You and me are gonna get along just fine.”

Cam was surprised to see Domini’s car parked in the drive. He was even more surprised to enter the kitchen and see Brock and Domini laughing over a row of empty shot glasses.

A possessive roar filled his head.

“Cam! My man. I was just telling Domini about the time—”

“I kicked your butt for drinkin’ all my tequila?”

“No, about the time we got into that bar fight in—”

“I’m sure Domini ain’t interested in hearing our old war stories, Brock.”

“Yes I am.”

Damn she looked good. Color on her cheeks. A sparkle in her eyes. Amusement tilting the corners of her mouth.

He forced a smile. “Looks like I have some catching up to do. Pass me that bottle, will ya?”

“Sure thing.” Brock poured three fingers of tequila and slid it across the bar.

“Why don’t you tell me one of your wild stories?” Domini asked him.

“I’ll pass because I don’t lie nearly as smoothly as Brock does.”

“That’s true,” Brock said. “We called him George behind his back because of that ‘I cannot tell a lie’ bullshit.”

Cam confided, “And we called him Pinocchio.”

“Really? I’m stunned. All your stories have been an outrageous…lie?” she said with mock shock.

“Not all. Once I wrassled a bear with my bare hands. I have pictures.” Brock peeped at her with those big, dark puppy dog eyes that always got him laid. “Wanna see them?”

“I assume you’re bare naked on the bear skin rug after you killed the beast with your bare hands?” Domini mused.

“Yep, but unlike the pictures of those white boys who ain’t smart enough to hunt bears the right color, like polar bears, my brown ass blends perfectly with the grizzly I slayed.” Brock leaned closer. “Is this getting me anywhere with you, hot stuff?”

Domini and Brock continued to flirt like Cam wasn’t in the room. This playful side of Domini fascinated him. He’d seen her various sides, sweet and fiery and obedient and occasionally pushy, but never shamelessly charming. Or was it just shameless?

Regardless, it was hot as sin watching her enchant Brock—a man who was not easily enchanted.

An hour later, Cam was on his third shot and Domini and Brock had quit drinking entirely.

But they hadn’t stopped the sexy banter, arguing the pros and cons of mail-order brides. “Not speaking the same language would be a huge bonus,” Brock pointed out. “Then she couldn’t nag me.”

“You, Brock Tennyson, are trying to get under my skin.”

“No, sweetheart, I’m trying to get into your pants.” He waggled his eyebrows suggestively. “Is it working?”

She laughed—a little nervously—but she didn’t say no.

“I’m gonna take your silence as a yes. Hot damn!” Brock grabbed her hand, acting like he was dragging her away.

“Stop. I know you were kidding.” Domini sent Cam a questioning look. “Right?”

Tension hung in the air.

“You’re a big girl, Domini. Do what you want.”

“But…” She looked torn. “Don’t…aren’t you supposed to…”

Tags: Lorelei James Rough Riders Billionaire Romance