My heart slammed against my chest. I had no idea he’d seen any of that in me. “I told you I loved the animals. That was the one thing about the ranch that had helped me get through the years after my mom was gone and my dad was so damn hard on me.”
“You did tell me that, but telling me was not the same as seeing you show that level of care.”
The knowledge that Blake had been watching me that closely warmed me. I had no idea how I’d managed to intrigue a man like him, but I was glad I had.
He pulled into a parking place in front of the law office, and I braced myself. Whatever reward he had planned, I wanted it, but even more, I wanted him to be proud of me. I wanted him to feel like he did when he saw me care for the horses. I was going to listen closely no matter how bored I got, and I was going to be a professional and not stare at Blake’s ass in those goddamn gray dress pants.
Riley was more attentive at the law office than he’d ever been when I’d tried to explain anything to do with the business side of the ranch. He listened to me and Mr. Grayland like what we had to say was the most fascinating thing he’d ever heard. It had been all I could do to keep my expression neutral. Telling him I had a reward for him had certainly done its job. I wondered what he was going to say when he realized what that reward was. I was damn sure he hadn’t guessed.
When our meeting was done, we all rose. Mr. Grayland shook my hand and then Riley’s. “I hope I’ll get a chance to talk with you again,” he said to Riley.
Riley glanced at me like he was unsure what to say and I just nodded, hoping he understood that I trusted he knew how to handle himself.
“I’m not sure I’ll be at the ranch much longer, but if I am, I would enjoy that.”
Grayland handed him a business card. “Call me if you ever need anything.”
“Thank you, sir. Have a good day.”
As soon as we exited the building, I pulled Riley to me in a one-armed hug. “You did good in there. You can be quite the charmer when you want to be.”
“Most spoiled brats can as long as they get their way.”
I snorted. “I have a feeling you could have your way with Grayland any time you wanted to.”
Riley’s eyes widened, and his mouth dropped open. “You don’t mean… I thought he just wanted my business.”
“He wants some kind of business with you for sure.”
“I can’t say for sure, but the way he was looking at you, I’d give that a hell yes.”
Riley grinned. “I guess that’s an advantage if I ever need a lawyer.”
“Be careful. He is a lawyer after all.”
“I really like this jealous side of you.”
I’d never considered myself a jealous man, but with Riley I couldn’t help myself. “I’m only protecting you.”
“Okay, but remember you’re the only man I want.”
Those words hung in the air. We stared at each other until someone nearly ran us down. I heard them grumble about assholes blocking the sidewalk.
“Come on. It’s reward time.”
When I walked past the entrance to the garage where I’d parked, Riley grabbed my arm. “Didn’t we park here?”
“We did, but we don’t need the car right now.”
He tilted his head, studying me. “We’re not going to the hotel?”
“Nope. Not yet.”
“Hmmm. You really do get a lot more daring when you’re away from the ranch.”
Staying out in public would be daring if Riley’s reward were what he’d likely imagined. I did feel braver here though. I reached out and took his hand, interlacing his fingers with mine. I decided I didn’t give a fuck what these people on the streets of downtown Houston thought of me and my boy.
A few blocks down, we reached a small park where several food trucks were parked. As usual, there was a long line at the taco truck that had a spot right by the fountain. I stopped when we reached the end of the line, and Riley gave me a questioning glance. “Stopping for food?”
“I said you deserved a reward, so I’m buying you the best tacos you’ve ever had in your life.”
Riley’s eyes went wide. “This is what you meant?”
“It is. You told me you wanted a chance to do”—I felt the need to be cautious about what I said since we were standing in the middle of a crowd—“different things than we do on the ranch.”
“Um… Yeah, I did. I do.”
He was so cute all flustered like that. “I come here for lunch every time I’m in Houston. I wanted to share it with you.” I lowered my voice leaning in close to him. “We’ve got the whole weekend. Keep being a good boy, and you’ll be very well rewarded in a lot of different ways.”