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And Tell kept chewing.

“You are stubborn.” Then Casper addressed her. “You wanna hear stubborn? When Tell was about fourteen, we had this old, worthless fishing boat. He thought he could get it runnin’, despite the fact he’s hopeless when it comes to mechanical stuff. I told him he was wastin’ his time. He spent every wakin’ hour workin’ on it when he wasn’t doin’ stuff around the ranch. Somehow he convinced Luke to help him haul it to the lake.” Casper grunted. “That sucker sank like a rock, with the bow sticking straight up. So when we’re in the midst of a drought, that end sticks out ’cause the water table is so low. Since Tell fastened some kind of ridiculous pirate flag on it, everyone knows it’s his. Everyone sees his mistake. Stubborn kid shoulda listened to me.”

Tell looked up, his eyes dark with anger. “I’d appreciate you leavin’ now, Dad. I am on a date. You’re the third wheel that nobody wants.”

Georgia’s face warmed from Tell’s harsh words.

But it didn’t faze Casper. He slid out of the booth. “Fine, I can take a hint. Be seein’ you.” And he was gone.

She focused on her pasta. When she glanced over at Tell, he’d stirred his food but hadn’t eaten much. Poor baby. She wanted to wrap her arms around him, but he’d see it as pity, not comfort.

He must’ve sensed her staring. But he didn’t lift his head. “Sorry about that.”

“Like you had any control over where he showed up for supper.”

“Yeah. Well. Can we just forget it?”

Tell only ate half his steak and the waitress boxed up the remainder. Georgia sensed his impatience for her to finish so they could get out of the restaurant.

In the truck, he didn’t pat the seat for her to scoot over. He didn’t snatch her hand. Tell just hunched over the steering wheel and drove in silence.

Halfway home, she peered around the invisible elephant in the truck cab. “Is it always like that with your father?”

“No. Sometimes it’s worse.”

“I just want to say—”

“Don’t say anything. Can’t we just drop it?”

“No. You’re upset and hurting and I want to help you.” Georgia picked up his hand and kissed his palm. “Please. You’ve been there for me and you have no idea how much I appreciated that. You need to talk about this, Tell. And I’m right here. Ready to listen. Without judgment.”

A few long miles passed. Then he said, “He got worse after Luke died, but that nasty attitude is just who he is, whether he’s drinking or sober with the light of God shining down on him. No one in our family can stand to be around him. You can see why.

“I don’t know how my mother put up with it for as long as she did. She finally chose a different life and I’m happy for her. Yet that leaves me’n my brothers dealing with Dad without her as a buffer.”

Georgia knew exactly how that felt, but this was about Tell. Not her.

“It never changes. God, he’s been embarrassing me my whole life. I wish I could say it wasn’t as bad because at least he wasn’t drunk. But I still hold my goddamn breath anytime he opens his mouth in public. And usually with good reason.”

She waited for him to continue.

He sighed. “Look. I appreciate what you’re wantin’ to do, but nothin’ is gonna get rid of this lousy mood anytime soon, so it’d be best if I took you home.”

“Not happening. We can chill out at your place, but I’m not leaving you alone to wallow. We wallowed pretty good together last time, if I recall.”

Tell shot her a look. “You expecting ice cream will help?”

She leaned over to smooch his strong jaw. “Ice cream always helps. But this time I get to dish it up.”

Tell needed to clear his mind after the run-in with his father. He’d cracked open a couple of beers, but they were basically untouched on the coffee table, and he and Georgia were entwined on his couch, attempting to watch TV.

“You still seem tense.”

Lie. Make light of it. Crack a joke. But he couldn’t. “I am.”

“I can help with that.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Yeah? And how’s that?”

“Take off your clothes and I’ll show you.”

Didn’t have to tell him twice. He got naked, whipping his shirt and his camo shorts on the floor.

She watched as his sleeping dick stirred. “Lie back.”

Tell stretched out with his arms folded behind his head, letting her look her fill.

Georgia scooted between his legs. Running her palms over his thighs, she stopped to trace the muscles in his quads with her fingertips. Using such tender caresses it seemed every hair on his thighs stood straight up, vying for her attention.

“Is this your way of distracting me?” he asked.

She touched his knee. “One of the ways I’ve got planned for tonight.”

He remembered he’d said that to her the night of the reunion. But the look in her eyes wasn’t soft or sweet. Just determined. “Are you gonna torture me?”

“Maybe. I like touching you. Don’t you like it?” Her fingers fluttered around his groin, but she didn’t touch his dick.

At all.

“I’d like it better if you were touchin’ me in one spot in particular.”

“I will.” She spread her hands over his pecs and kissed his sternum, keeping her eyes on his. “Maybe I wanna drive you a little crazy. Like you do to me.”

“I drive you crazy?”

A dangerous smile curled her lips and Tell wondered if he should be worried. “You know you do.”

Her soft, warm lips followed the slope of his shoulder.

First thing she did was kiss him. Taking over his mouth completely. Sliding her tongue deep. Sucking and swirling and licking until his body was racked with need.

From just a kiss.

He went to move his arms, to try and regain some control, but her fingernails dug into his biceps. She lifted her lips briefly to warn, “Leave ’em there. And drop your head back. This stubborn chin of yours is in my way.” She placed kisses in a straight line from his chin to his collarbone. The wet glide of her mouth over that section of skin caused gooseflesh to erupt from the back of his neck to his knees. He must’ve made a noise because Georgia just kept right on doing it.

As her hands traveled all over his lower belly, he found himself clenching his fists. His jaw. His butt cheeks.

“This is supposed to be relaxing you,” she murmured, kissing his lower ribs.

“The last thing I wanna do with your hands on me is zone out.”

“Then this oughta keep you awake.” She licked his shaft from his balls to the tip like his cock was a meat Popsicle.

Goddamn that felt good. He about choked on his tongue when she stuffed his entire shaft into her mouth. Sucking so hard her cheeks hollowed. Taking him so deep the head of his cock bumped her soft palate before slipping into her throat. Making a little hum of happiness that vibrated from his balls to the back of his neck.

Then she released his cock gradually, stopping to let the lower rim of his cockhead catch on her bottom teeth. She tongued the underside with hot, wet lashes. Once he got used to the ticklish sensation and anticipated another sweeping lick, Georgia backed off.

His thighs shook. He gritted his teeth against bumping his pelvis up as her lips firmly enclosed the crown. She suckled gently, when he ached for that fast, wet push and pull of his dick plunging in and out of her mouth.

Georgia teased. Rolling his sac with a tender touch. Sucking on his balls as her hand jacked him slowly. Then she’d switch it up, squeezing, licking, lapping with abandon, and she jerked his shaft hard and fast.

Pure. Fucking. Torture.

Soft hands. Warm mouth. Heated breath. Wicked tongue. Tell’s body vibrated. He squeezed his ass, his abs, his calves, attempting to hold off and prove…what? That he had stamina?

Fuck stamina. He needed to come now. “Enough. Finish me.”

She released his cock, angling her head to nuzzle the inside of his thigh, keeping those sexy eyes on his. “How do you want me to finish you?”

“Hands on my thighs. Lean in, but arch back. That’s it.” He fisted his shaft, still slippery from her saliva. “Open your mouth.”

Tell beat off, each stroke faster. That tingle in his tailbone was a brief warning and a drop of come landed on her chin before he shoved his cock between her lips and groaned, “Suck me down. All of it,” as he shot his load.

Georgia’s cheeks indented and her throat muscles kissed his cockhead with each swallow.

Hot. Wet. Tight. It felt so goddamn good. Keeping his grip on her head, he closed his eyes, bumping his hips into her face with each pulse, letting himself drift into the peaceful place she’d brought him to.

Teeth sinking into his cock stirred him from his orgasmic stupor.

He swept his thumbs across her cheekbones as he withdrew from the haven of her mouth. “Look at you. So pretty and naughty on your knees.”

She blinked slowly and gave him the lopsided smile.

“C’mere.” Tell hauled her across his lap and kissed her, his tongue dueling with hers. “Mmm. The taste of my come on your tongue is a fuckin’ turn-on.”

“You do seem more relaxed.”

“Thanks to you. You sucked all the tension and all the poison right outta me, baby.”

Laughing, she swatted him.

Tell stretched out on the couch, bringing her on top of him. Running his fingers through her soft hair as her head rested on his chest. He was totally content. “What’s on your agenda for this week?”

“Work. I’ve set up radio interviews for upcoming events. Getting competitors to agree to talk on live radio is a pain, so I’ve lined up a stock contractor and a committee member in case there’s an issue.” She sighed. “With just me here, I don’t have backup for anything, from event staffing issues to breakdowns in communication with committee members.”