Chassie reached out and squeezed her hands. “So what are you doin’ back in Wyoming?”
Georgia gave her the condensed version.
“I’d love to get together sometime,” Chassie said.
“Me too. What’s your number?”
“I know it!” Sophia said and rattled it off in English. Which prompted Westin to repeat it in Portuguese. Which prompted another argument that Edgard and Trevor immediately nipped in the bud.
Chassie jotted down her number. “Give me a call.”
“Yes, please call her,” Trevor said, kissing Chassie’s cheek. “She don’t get out as much as she should.”
“Because I’m happy at home with you guys,” Chassie protested.
“And we with you, querida, but sometimes it’s good to mix it up, no?”
Chassie snorted. “You’re both just hopin’ Georgia takes me out drinkin’ so I come home and get wild.”
“We love it when you’re wild, darlin’,” Trevor said. “You turn into something extra special.”
Edgard and Trevor looked at each other and laughed when Chassie hip-checked them both.
“Now that my men have thoroughly embarrassed me, I say we go get a drink right now.”
“But Mama, you promised we’d make cookies tonight,” Sophia complained.
“No worries, Chassie. I’ll take a rain check. And I will call you, I promise.” The family walked away, and Georgia grinned at Westin shouting goodbye to her in multiple languages.
As the two-hour event wound down, she glanced across the aisle to India, who was applying a fake tattoo to a pigtailed blonde girl. The women she’d met who’d married into the McKay family were all so different. Not at all like the traditional ranch wives she’d known growing up. Georgia remembered that Chassie West was related to some of the McKays, and it appeared she wasn’t living the traditional lifestyle either.
Georgia had thirty minutes to wander through the exhibits before the event ended. Most the booths were dedicated to agriculture. A few civic organizations, the western preservationist society, the banks, restaurants, and even a couple of local bands had set up displays. For some reason she wasn’t nervous at all about approaching these people and striking up a conversation. Probably because she wasn’t selling anything.
As she turned the corner, she saw the Sundance High School Rodeo booth. And sitting at the table was Tell McKay.
Her heart stumbled a little. The man was something. Even wearing a scowl as she approached him.
“Hey, Tell. I’m surprised to see you here.”
Tell seemed equally shocked to see her. Not in a good way. “Georgia. Didn’t think community things were your style.”
That was kind of snarky.
“You here beating the bushes for business?”
“No. I was just—”
“Oh right, that’s because you’ve already tackled that problem this week, haven’t you?”
“What are you talking about?”
He pushed to his feet and leaned so close, with such hostility, she was tempted to take a step back. “You know exactly what I’m talkin’ about. Don’t play innocent, Georgia, it’ll just piss me off.”
“Are you complaining because I’ve been so busy this week that I haven’t had time to call you?”
“No. The fact I haven’t heard from you ain’t really a surprise because you got what you wanted from me. I thought it’d be different with you this time. But it sure as fuck smacks my pride when your user tactics are pointed out to me by members of my own goddamn family.”
She gritted her teeth and waited for him to get to the point, since it was obvious he’d just gotten started.
“I don’t know how in the hell I didn’t see past the way you’ve showed up in Sundance actin’ like you own the place, leading me around by my nose.”
“No one has a leash around your neck or your balls, least of all me. So quit giving me the wounded man routine and get to the real issue.”
“The real issue is you approached all my cousins’ wives about buying sponsorships for the rodeo program. Actin’ like we’re a couple to guarantee a sale.”
“That’s crap, Tell.”
“Is it? So you haven’t been asking members of my family for money?”
“I have, but it’s—”
“It’s complete and total bullshit that you used me to get to them. I’m beyond pissed off about this, Georgia.”
So am I. She stared at him, biting her tongue, attempting to remain civilized.
“Don’t got anything to say?”
“Yes, I have something to say. I don’t know if you’ve noticed a quirky little thing about the greater Sundance, Moorcroft and Hulett metro area, but quite a few of the businesses are owned by someone in the McKay family. So yes, I approached AJ, India, Skylar, Domini, Ginger, Keely and Ainsley.
“I also approached the owners of all the bars, restaurants, retail stores, the dentist, the doctor and the sheriff’s department. So I didn’t single out the McKay family for my nefarious plan of promoting a rodeo that will benefit all the business owners in the area. FYI: I didn’t drop your name. Your family members brought up our intimate involvement, not me. And I’ll remind you the see and be seen strategy of convincing everyone in town of our couplehood before the reunion was your idea. Now you’re pissed off it worked? Or were you just hoping people would believe it long enough so you could brag to your McKay cousins that you finally nailed the prom queen?”
That retort caused the vein in his temple to pulse. “Don’t you twist this—”
“Don’t you act like this is a personal assault on you. It had nothing to do with you until you made it about you. I sure as hell don’t need your permission to do my job. Get your facts straight before you start tossing out accusations.”
Her heart raced. Her body vibrated with anger and outrage. And hurt. God, it hurt that Tell thought so lowly of her. The man who’d talked so boldly about people changing…believed she hadn’t.
His eyes flashed a warning, but no guilt. “This is not the time nor the place to have this discussion.”
“You started it!” Take it down a notch. Act cool. “Besides.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder in complete dismissal. “There’s nothing to discuss.”
“Bullshit. I will be at your house as soon as this thing is over, so you’d better be ready.”
“This thing is already over.” Georgia turned and walked away, ignoring his attempts to get her attention, fighting her impulse to flip him off.
Call her contrary, but she didn’t trot home to wait for Mr. Accusatory. She headed straight for the Golden Boot.
She slipped into a booth and ordered a vodka tonic and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.
Tell’s anger surprised her because she hadn’t seen him angry. He was so easygoing at times she wondered if anything made him mad. She’d seen his intense side. His bossy side. But neither of those could be mistaken for anger.
He had no right to be angry. And she was so fucking pathetic for wondering what angry sex would be like with him that she didn’t notice she’d drained her entire drink in about one minute.
Startled out of her glum mood, she glanced up to see Leah and Roxanne standing at the table edge. “Hey ladies, what’s up?”
“Are you waiting for Tell or something?”
“No. I helped out at the community center and stopped in—” to avoid Tell, actually, “—for a bite to eat.”
“Mind if we join you?”
She managed to hide her surprise. “That would be great.”
Roxanne and Leah already had drinks. Pink ones. “What are you drinking?”
“Cosmos. Ned teases me endlessly about my love of girly drinks. But if I drink beer, I feel like shit the next day.”
“Bull, Rox. You feel like shit because you’re usually doing tequila shooters and drinking beer.”
“True. So let’s order a cosmo for Georgia so we don’t look like lushes.”
After they toasted, Leah blurted, “You are so different from what I remember.”
“Is that why you’ve had the big change of heart? Did I pass some secret test?”
Leah looked thoughtful. “Well, we did take a hard look at our small-town, bitchy selves after what you said in the parking lot that night.”
“And we’ve gotta respect you called us out on it. Plus, it took a lot of balls to show up at the reunion. Not only because Deck is now your ex, but also because you lost RJ.” Roxanne patted her arm. “I can’t imagine losing my sister. Sometimes she annoys the piss outta me, but she’s my best friend.”
“That’s probably why I didn’t have many close girlfriends in high school—because I had RJ.”
“Well, you’ve got us now, and we’re making up for lost time.” Roxanne smiled. “Now that we’re pals and all, I gotta ask you something. And be warned, it’s personal.”
“Geez, Rox, way to put her on the spot,” Leah grumbled.
“You can ask, but that doesn’t mean I have to answer,” Georgia said coyly.
“Were you really a virgin throughout high school?” Roxanne leaned forward. “I mean, you proudly wore a purity ring. And Ned said Deck got pissed whenever someone asked him if you two were doin’ it. But I’ll bet you were doin’ the nasty and lying about it.”
“Technically, yes, I was virgin.”
“Technically?” Rox repeated.
“Deck and I didn’t have intercourse until we were married.”
“So in other words, you messed around.”
“A lot. I had broad knowledge of certain non-penetration acts involving my hands and mouth.” She smirked and pinned Leah with a look. “How about you and Warner?”