Yes. But things had changed.
They’d definitely made a promise to each other they would be involved only with each other for as long as Tanna was in Wyoming. Well, she was still here. And Fletch and I-Have-A-Horse-Emergency Barbie needed a reminder of that fact.
Maybe Tanna needed a reminder too, not to be cowed.
So after she returned to the Split Rock, she primped. It’d been a while since she’d bothered. But like any Texas girl worth her salt, she knew how to look good. Damn good.
Big Texas hair. Check.
Sultry makeup. Check.
Cleavage baring glittery tank top. Check.
Skintight Seven jeans. Check.
Her b.b.simon rhinestone belt. Check.
Gigantic world champion barrel racing belt buckle. Check.
Custom-made pink alligator boots with Swarovski crystals. Check.
Should she slip her favorite little gun in her boot?
Nah. That’d be over the top. Although in Texas she wouldn’t have thought twice about adding it to her ensemble.
Primed, she went to get her man.
The lights were on in the back of Fletch’s building and the garage door was open. A brand-new Dodge diesel with a brand-new horse trailer was backed up to the door. When Tanna saw the horse’s nose poking out of one of the stall windows, she gave it a little pat. “You can’t be held responsible for your choice of owners, bub.”
She heard Annabeth’s laughter and Fletch’s smooth baritone. She waited for a pause in the conversation, but none came.
What the hell did they have to talk about? Shouldn’t Annabeth be trotting her horse home since he was already loaded? And wasn’t it past her bedtime?
Throwing back her shoulders, Tanna called out, “Fletch, darlin’, where are you?”
Silence except for the thud thud of her boot heels connecting with concrete.
Tanna kept her smile locked in place—it felt genuine too, when she saw shock register on Man-Stealing Barbie’s face. Then she suffered through the head to toe perusal.
Yeah, look and learn, little girl, because this is how it’s done.
“Now please tell me you didn’t get so involved helping this girl with her horse problems that you forgot about our celebration tonight.”
Annabeth’s eyes narrowed at the word girl but she wisely kept her heavily glossed lips closed.
“I didn’t forget. I was gonna call you when I finished.”
Tanna placed her hand on Fletch’s chest. His broad, rock-hard chest—and jealousy lit Annabeth’s eyes at Tanna’s casual touch. Then she ran her palm up the outside of his arm. His thickly muscled arm. Next she turned her head and looked around the empty space. “Where’s the patient?”
“He’s loaded up. Nothin’ major that required an overnight stay.”
“Thank goodness. I’m so grateful to you, Dr. Fletcher, for making time for me,” Annabeth said in a breathy tone. “Percival means everything to me and I’d lose my mind if anything happened to him. Especially if it was my fault.”
That comment caused a tiny blip in Tanna’s radar. That’d been directed at her. So Snoopy Barbie had checked her out after she’d accompanied Fletch to an “emergency” visit to the Edmunds ranch on a Sunday afternoon.
“You treat that horse like gold, Annabeth.”
“I do pride myself on taking good care of things that belong to me. Being neglectful usually leads to big problems.” She gave Tanna a challenging stare.
Oh, honey, please. Is that the best you can do?
“I couldn’t agree more. I’m sure your daddy is proud he’s got such a smart teenager.” She smiled and focused on Fletch—his facial expression wavered between laughter and exasperation. “Well, darlin’ man of mine, as long as I’m here, I’m gonna check the Ludlows’ file and track down their phone number. I do believe I left my favorite scarf there when we were preg testing ewes. I’ll be waiting in your office after you lock up back here.” Tanna looked Annabeth right in the eye and said, “Nice seeing you again,” but she clearly meant, “I wanna see the ass-end of you now, girlie.” She sauntered to the door leading to the reception area without looking back.
She thought about heading straight to Fletch’s office, but it was dark enough that they wouldn’t see her peeking out the small window, just to make sure Annabeth was about to skedaddle her skinny butt home.
Fletch walked Annabeth to the door. The little snot stayed close enough to him that their arms brushed. Then as she said good-bye, she threw her arms around him, smashing her body against his.
Point for Fletch that his hands remained at his sides.
Point for Tanna that she didn’t storm back out there and beat the f**k out of that little shit for putting her greedy hands on Tanna’s man.
She blinked. Where had that violent thought come from?
Fletch pushed the button and the door began to close.
Tanna hustled to his office. She plopped in his chair and propped her boots on his desk. Her fingers twisted the gold chain hanging from her neck as she waited.
Oh, this was gonna be some fun.
He appeared in the doorway, his hands braced on the doorframe as if deciding whether to come in. “Was that really necessary?”
“Absolutely. And given the fact she still hugged you good-bye, I could’ve been a lot clearer.”
Fletch bestowed that slow, panty-dropping grin on her. “Even if she didn’t get the message, I did. Loud and clear.”