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“Not wrong. I just wanna know that we’re both okay with keeping this casual. Us hanging out until the reunion.”

“Is that important to you, keeping things casual?”

She nodded.

“Sure.” Tell fiddled with the straw in his water glass. “I just got to thinkin’. Aren’t some of these rodeos small potatoes for a PR firm outta Dallas?”

“One of the stipulations when we absorbed the company was that we fulfilled the contracts of all the events, no matter the size.”

“Did you have problems with other existing contracts?”

“A few. Mostly because the committee didn’t want to work with an out-of-state firm. After the fifth cancelled contract, my boss decided to send someone to Wyoming as proof we were invested in the local community. Local meaning, within four hundred miles,” she said dryly.

“Did you volunteer?”

“I was volunteered.”

He glanced at her sharply. “You don’t sound too happy about that.”

Hedge. “No way do I want to think about work when I’ve got a gorgeous hunk of man sitting across from me,” she cooed. “Can’t we talk about something else?”

“Fine. Let’s talk about you. What’s the most exciting place you’ve been in the last ten years?”

“I went to Cozumel for a week.”

A depraved look settled on his face. “Now I’m imaging you in a bikini, sipping fruity girl-drinks on the beach. I’d like to’ve been there to rub suntan oil all over your hot skin.” Then suspicion entered his eyes. “Who’d you go with?”

“My mom. It was my college graduation present. I haven’t been anywhere since.” She took a sip of water. “How about you?”

“I spent the summer down south. A buddy I met on the circuit dragged me to a swamp in Louisiana and a beach in Pensacola. Went someplace in Mississippi where the drawls were thick as molasses and I couldn’t understand nothin’. Guess that’s how I ended up eating opossum and turtle.”

Georgia laughed. “So were them tasty vittles?”

“I didn’t know what it was at the time.”

“Were you ever tempted to stay down there?”

Tell shook his head. “I’d got tired of the humidity, the bugs, the slower pace. I also figured out I didn’t have what it takes to become a championship saddle bronc rider.”

“What’s that?”

“Money, mostly. It’s expensive to keep competing if you ain’t winning. Hell, it’s expensive even if you are winning.”

“I don’t know how these rodeo cowboys do it. They’re gone at least a couple times a week over the summer.”

“It’s no different than you flying off here and there to do your job.”

“I’m the remain in the office to put out fires type of employee. No jet-setting for me.”

Tell studied her. “When you’re not working, what do you do for fun?”

“I’m happy to stay home on the weekends. I live forty-five minutes from where I work and the traffic is awful during the week. Sometimes in the summer I head to this small lake that has great walking paths. I pack a lunch and hang out all day.”

“By yourself?”

“Yes. Why? Do I sound pathetic?”

He snatched her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist. “No. It does sound a little lonely, sweetness. So I’m glad you don’t have to go back to that.”

Georgia felt guilty for letting him believe she was sticking around. “Your off-the-ranch hours are packed with stuff. What else do you do besides play in a dart league, mentor the rodeo team, judge rodeo events and charm and bed all the women in the county?”

“Only one woman I’m interested in charming and bedding.”

“Do I know her?” she asked innocently.

“Intimately. And if we weren’t waitin’ for some grub, I’d haul you out to my truck right now and we’d get reacquainted.” He lifted a brow. “How come you’re sittin’ so far away from me?”

Georgia stood and scooted next to him in the booth, secretly thrilled he always wanted her physically close to him, not just in bed.

“Much better. So when you come over tomorrow, I’ve got a couple of fun things we can do. Since you don’t like surprises, I’ll give you a hint. It begins with Z.”

“A visit to the zoo.”

He rolled his eyes. “That would suck balls. Try again.”

“You’re taking me on a Zamboni ride.”

“In Wyoming. In June. Nope.”

“We’re gonna catch some z’s after you tie me to your bed for twenty-four hours,” she purred.

“There’s an idea, but nope. One last try.”

She tapped her chin. “Does it have anything to do with a zipper?”

Tell grinned. “Partially. I’m takin’ you for a ride on the zip line I built.”

“Zip line. As in flying-through-the-air-with-no-safety-nets zip line?”

“One in the same.”

“No way.”

“It’ll be fun. It’s safe. I promise.”

Her fingers pleated the paper placemat that boasted facts about Wyoming. “Sorry, but that’s just not my thing.”

Tell turned her face toward his. “It’s not scary or steep. I built it for Landon. Try it one time. Please.”

How could she resist those damn dimples? “Fine. But if I take an ass-buster—”

“Then I will kiss your ass until it feels better.”

Chapter Eleven

Tell’s phone rang at midnight Sunday night.

Never good.

Caller ID read: Brandt. “Brandt? What’s wrong?”

“Jesus, Tell, Jessie is in labor.”

“That’s good, right?”

“No! She’s two weeks early!”

“Is Jess all right? She’s not havin’ complications?”

“She’s just…in so damn much pain she can’t even talk.”

Tell set his feet on the floor. “Where are you?”

“In my truck on the way to the hospital.”

A loud female wail echoed through the phone. “Can’t you make this fucking thing go any faster, Brandt? You’re driving thirty miles under the speed limit.”

“Just bein’ safe, baby. Got precious cargo on board.”

“Brandt?” Tell prompted.

“You’re gonna hafta do chores by yourself, at least in the morning.”

“I’m pretty sure I can handle it. You need to be focused on Jessie.”

“Come on, Jessie, baby, breathe.”

Another groan, followed by, “It fucking hurts to breathe!”

“Shit, bro, I gotta go.”

He said, “Keep in touch,” to the dial tone.

Georgia’s warm, naked body pressed against his back and her chin rested on his shoulder. “I take it Jessie’s in labor?”

“Yeah. And Brandt doesn’t appear to be handling it any better than he did her pregnancy. They’re on the way to the hospital.”

“Wouldn’t it be funny if they ended up sedating your brother instead of the pregnant woman?”

Tell laughed softly.

“Come back to bed. It’s hours before we have to start chores.”

He turned and looked at her. “We?”

“Yes, we. You said Dalton is gone this weekend and I know it’s too much work for one cowboy—even a McKay cowboy—so I’ll help you.” She kissed the cup of his shoulder. “I’m not all city girl.”

“I know that.”

“Did you also know that I’m having a pain on my right butt cheek? From where I fell off the zip line.”

He grinned. “You didn’t fall off. Your arms gave out and you bailed off because you went on the damn thing like twenty times.”

“But it was so fun!”

“See? I told ya.”

“Don’t be smug. Now get back under these covers and kiss my butt.”

Tell kept checking his phone all morning, but he hadn’t heard from Brandt and he was getting worried.

Georgia was a big help with chores. She’d brought all the paperwork for the upcoming rodeos and she started the ball rolling on getting him assigned as a judge. He was happy he’d be working fourteen more rodeos this summer, although none were PRCA-sanctioned, and not all of them were events she was working.

They’d finished a late lunch when his phone vibrated. He fished it out of his pocket. “Brandt. You have good news?”

“Yep. Jess had the baby about an hour ago. His name is Tucker. The boy weighed eight pounds.”

“And Mama Jess? How’s she doin’?”

“Weird to hear her called Mama Jess. But she’s already taken to the little guy like he’s been here forever…” Brandt cleared his throat. “She was in labor for five hours before she even told me, so it was eighteen hours in labor instead of just thirteen hours at the hospital. She’s sleepin’. The nurses came in and took Tucker for some tests or something about five minutes ago.”

“If Jess is sleepin’, aren’t you supposed to be with Tucker wherever he goes?”


“Shit. You’re probably right. I don’t know how to do any of this stuff.”

“It’s no different than anything else. You’ll learn as you go.”

“Will you come to the hospital?”



“You think that’s a good idea, given Jess is sleeping? Who all have you called to spread the good news?”

“What do you mean?”

Jesus. Brandt was really a mess.

“You’re the first person I called, bro. Jess called her mom.” He exhaled a frustrated burst of air. “I better call Mom, huh?”

“And Dalton. And Skylar. If you call Keely, she’ll make sure everyone in the McKay family knows.”