They walked into the Ice Cream Palace.
At that moment, Kimi turned around. She offered Carson a cursory look, then her focus was entirely on Cal. She gave him a little finger wave and took a long lick of her ice cream cone.
He sucked in a sharp breath. “Sweet mother of God, I think I’m in love.”
“Oh for Christsake,” Carson muttered.
“Please tell me that’s your sister.”
Carolyn got in Cal’s face. Or she tried to, but he couldn’t tear his gaze away from Kimi. That forced her to snap her fingers in front of his eyes. “Hey, McKay, focus.”
“Yes, that’s my sister, my younger sister. She’s sixteen. Do you hear me? Six. Teen.”
Cal bestowed the slow, sexy grin that had women falling at his feet. “Well, darlin’, she ain’t always gonna be sixteen.”
Kimi sauntered over, ignoring everyone but Cal. “Please tell me you’re not my future brother-in-law?”
“I’m not. But darlin’ girl, I’m damn near certain I’m your future husband.”
She blinked coquettishly. “Then maybe you and me better get acquainted…?”
“Calvin McKay. You can call me Cal. Better yet, call me anytime you want.”
“Jesus, Cal. Give it a rest.”
Carolyn elbowed him in the ribs.
“Sorry.” Carson offered his hand. “Kimi? Glad to finally meet you. Caro has told me a lot about you.”
“Likewise.” Kimi tore her attention away from Cal and narrowed her eyes at Carson. “Make my sister happy or else I’ll gut you like a trout.”
But she’d already refocused on Cal. “Let’s leave the lovebirds alone and you can tell me why such a handsome man as yourself is still single.”
“Because I was waitin’ for you.” Then, as they walked off, he whispered something in Kimi’s ear that made her laugh.
“Well, that was unexpected,” Carson said.
“No kidding. Kimi is the biggest flirt I know. I hope he doesn’t put stock in anything she tells him.”
“Cal’s the same way. We’ll let them hash it out. There’s something I wanna run by you.”
“Not really. You want a cone or something?”
“Just a Coke.”
“Sit. I’ll get it.”
Carolyn sat where she could keep an eye on her little sister and future brother-in-law.
Then Carson scooted into the booth seat across from her and blocked the view. “Here.”
“Thanks. So what’s going on?”
“We hafta scale back the honeymoon. I planned to take you to Denver for a few nights. Stayin’ at the Brown Palace and headin’ down to Colorado Springs to ride the Pike’s Peak Railway. But Dad’s bein’ a controlling ass**le. He knew we’d be on our honeymoon, and yet he set up a meeting next week with the Timmons family. They want to sell their homestead a little ways south of here. It’s a great piece of land and if anyone can charm them into sellin’ it’s me, not my old man. So instead of goin’ to Colorado, I thought we could spend a few days in Yellowstone. You ever been there?”
She shook her head.
“Me either.” He picked up her hand and brushed his mouth across her knuckles. “So you’re okay with it?”
“Of course, Carson. I don’t care where we are as long as I’m with you.”
“You won’t mind spending our wedding night at the trailer? Because it’s too far to drive to Cody after the wedding Sunday.”
“That means you can take me to bed sooner, doesn’t it?”
He bestowed that wicked grin and her stomach cartwheeled. “I suppose that is an upside.”
“Are you staying at Cal’s the night before the wedding?”
“I need to drop off the rest of the stuff from my bridal shower the day of the wedding and it’s bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony. I just want to make sure you won’t be there.”
“I won’t be. In fact, I’ll be so busy between now and then, not only with my regular day-to-day stuff, but tryin’ to make Cal’s place habitable since I’ve kicked him out of the trailer, that I probably won’t see you until the wedding.”
She breathed in deeply and let it out slowly.
“It’s just exciting to think that after today the next time I’ll see you is when you’re standing at the altar waiting for me, ready to become my husband.”
Carson kissed her ring. “Damn, woman, do I love the sound of that.” He slid out of the booth. “Wish I could stay but I gotta git.” His eyes narrowed at Kimi and Cal, practically sitting on top of each other in the corner. “Go ask the manager if he’s got a hose. I think we’ll have to spray them two down to get ’em apart.”
After they’d finished supper, Kimi shooed Carolyn away from the dishes, reminding her that she had a wedding dress fitting with Aunt Hulda.
Thoughtful of her sister, but Carolyn suspected Kimi only volunteered so she wouldn’t have to spend time with their mother.
Her aunt sat in the wicker chair in the sun porch fanning herself, her sewing basket by her side. “Let’s see what you’ve come up with.”