“I’m interested. I guess Pritchett will be moving to Wyoming or looking for another job.”
An anxious look darkened her eyes. “You all right with this? I worried that you’d accuse me of overstepping my boundaries again.”
“No more boundaries between us. Ever.” He kissed her. And kept kissing her until she began to make those low-throated sexy moans. He broke the seal of their mouths to whisper, “You have no idea how much I missed you.”
“Not as much as I missed you. Wanna hear something funny? I snuck into your trailer and slept in your bed a couple of nights because the sheets smelled like you.”
Overwhelmed by her, by everything, wanting to take everything she offered before she changed her mind and snatched it back, Renner blurted, “Tierney. Marry me.”
Her eyes went wide. “You want to marry me? Not just live together?”
“Despite evidence to the contrary, I believe in marriage. Besides, third time’s a charm, right?”
She whapped him on the arm.
“Kiddin’. I want to spend every moment of the rest of my life with you as my wife. As soon as possible. Please marry me, Tierney Pratt.”
“Yes. God, yes.” She kissed him so sweetly that he didn’t realize she was crying until he felt his cheeks were wet. “But we’re not getting hitched in Vegas.”
Four weeks later . . .
The party was in full swing. The new Split Rock Ranch and Resort shareholders had invited everyone in the community to the celebration and grand reopening. Also, Willie had lined up a tribal elder to perform a Crow cleansing rite to put restless spirits at peace, not only around the structures, but also across the area that’d long been considered bad luck land. Tierney wasn’t sure she believed in that type of woo-woo Indian stuff, but she agreed it couldn’t hurt.
The Mud Lilies had turned the party into Tierney and Renner’s belated wedding reception. Bets were placed whether the happy couple would smash cake in each other’s faces, given the drink Tierney had thrown in Renner’s face that had started their romance ball rolling. It was funny now, to hear the comments from locals, that they “knew” Renner and Tierney were meant for each other from the start.
Two weeks ago, after a quick trip to the county courthouse to officially tie the knot, they drove to Chicago to pick up the rest of Tierney’s belongings from storage. They’d spent the weekend in the city, visiting Tierney’s old haunts. She’d introduced her husband to her friends Sari and Josie, which led to the inevitable question: did Renner have any hot-looking single cowboy friends in Wyoming?
The most important thing they’d done in Chicago was pay off the note in person. Tierney wanted to leave after that, but Renner insisted they meet with her father.
Gene Pratt was strangely subdued when his secretary ushered Renner and Tierney Jackson into his office. Renner gave him a copy of the paid-in-full loan receipt. Then he’d shaken her father’s hand, thanking him for the loan because it’d brought Tierney into his life and she was worth more than any amount of money.
Class act, her husband.
“So are you pregnant yet?” Garnet demanded, pulling Tierney from her thoughts.
Maybelle looked like she wanted to throttle Garnet. “Do you remember our discussions about boundaries?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I suppose that means as a part owner of the Split Rock I can’t demand the cowboys workin’ for us always wear hats, unbuttoned white shirts, tight Wranglers and spurs at public events?”
“Shoot. I guess I’d better apologize to Tobin. I chewed him out for bein’ out of uniform.”
Tierney bit back a laugh.
Maybelle whipped out her notebook after Garnet left. “For the record, as one of the new owners, will you be involved in the day-to-day operations of the Split Rock in your previous position?”
“I’ll be involved, since I’m a majority shareholder. Janie Lawson is general manager of the facility. Harper Turner is handling retail—in fact she’s expanding the entire store. Tobin Hale is heading up the new livestock breeding program. I’m focusing on building an independent financial consulting business, as well as supporting my husband”—she got such a thrill saying my husband—“in his endeavors to move his base of operations for Jackson Stock Contracting to Muddy Gap.”
“That’s lovely, Tierney. We’re happy for you two. We’re glad you’re sticking around.”
Tierney watched Maybelle lumber away.
His warm, hard chest pressed into her back and his mouth grazed her ear. “I couldn’t help but overhear . . . Are you pregnant, Mrs. Jackson?”
“Do you wanna be?”
She turned into his arms. “We’ve been married less than a month and you’re already talking about babies?”
“Must be Hank and Lainie’s darlin’ little Brianna that’s putting thoughts in my head.” Renner kissed her. Seemed he was always kissing her in public just because he could. “I give Abe and Janie two months before she’s knocked up. So I’m just following the Lawson boys’ lead and giving you a heads-up that I wanna have babies with you, Tierney. Lots of them.”
“Where would we put all these babies? We live in a small cabin, remember?”
His brow furrowed. “I wish you’d let me build you a real house.”
“Some day. But for now, can’t we just be happy with what we’ve got? Being with you every night makes it more than a house; it makes it a real home. Our home.”
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