“Hey, what are you doin’?”

“Getting out of this screwed-up situation and going home.” She held up her hand when he started to protest. “I get it, okay? You thought if I didn’t look like the woman you’d called daddy’s pet monkey earlier today, then maybe I’d act differently too. Well, guess what? I’m exactly the same.” She swung the car door open so fast it would’ve clipped his stupid head if he hadn’t moved.

“Now wait just a damn minute, Tierney—”

“No. It’s over and done with. Go away, Renner, and leave me alone.”

“Fine. I’ll drop it for now. But this ain’t over.”

Chapter Fourteen

“Come on, cupcake. Time to get up.”

Janie rolled to her back, trying to get closer to her husband’s low, sexy rasp.

The bed dipped as he sat next to her hip. “You’re going to be late.”

She stretched her arms above her head. “Crawl back in here and we’ll play hooky. Surely Hank can handle chores so you can spend time with your wife?”

No response. But she felt Abe tense beside her.

Janie opened her eyes. She wasn’t in the bedroom she’d shared with Abe. He wasn’t waking her up so she could drive to Casper. Abe wasn’t her husband.

Talk about déjà vu.

Or maybe wishful thinking?

The sheet had dropped, exposing her upper body from neck to hips. Abe’s eyes weren’t on her face. His focus was on her ni**les. “Glad to see you still sleep in the buff.”

She yanked the covers up. “What are you doing in here?”

“You eyeballed my chest last night, so I figured turnabout is fair play.”

Janie smacked him with a pillow. “Scram so I can get dressed so I’m not late for work.”

Conversation was minimal on the ride to the Split Rock. Janie opened the truck door, but Abe was right there, helping her out of his monster rig.

“Thanks for the ride.”

“Call me when you’re done tonight and I’ll come get you.” Abe ran his finger down her jaw, and she shivered discreetly from his unexpected caress. “I wish you’d take another day to rest.”

“I’m fine.” She danced a little jig to prove it. “See?”

“Just be careful and watchful. I don’t want nothin’ bad happening to you.”

Because his concern flustered her, and comforted her, she fiddled with the top button on his shearling coat when she asked the question that was on both their minds. “What does me living with you again mean for us?”

Abe tilted her face up and looked into her eyes. He brushed his lips over hers. “It means we’re not done. We never were. See you later, cupcake.”

And Janie’s day just got weirder from there.

Tierney waltzed in sporting a sexy new hairstyle.

Renner showed up late, in a lousy mood, which Janie attributed . . . to Tierney’s new rockin’ hairstyle for some odd reason.

Lisa, hired to clean rooms and fill in as needed, broke a stack of plates. Twenty custom ordered, gold-rimmed dinner plates, smashed to smithereens at Janie’s feet. When Lisa had burst into tears, Janie assured her she wouldn’t dock her paycheck for the breakage. Which somehow opened Lisa’s conduit to God. The woman almost started speaking in tongues—she freaked Janie out.

Two reservations were cancelled.

Willie kept mumbling about bad spirits.

Her computer froze up. Twice.

Her cell phone died even when it’d been fully charged when she’d left the house.

Then Renner demanded she stay late to serve as hostess for the guests, after she’d spent the day catching up on all the work that’d piled up.

Luckily Harper had stayed late too so Janie didn’t have to call Abe for a ride home. But Harper was distracted or pissed off—Janie never could tell with her—and she barely said two words to her on the trip home to the Lawson ranch.

Janie paused on the porch steps and dug out the house key Abe had given her. First thing she’d do after kicking off the four-inch heels murdering her arches? Pour herself a generous drink.

Shoes off, coat off, she padded from the entryway into the silent living room. Abe brooded on the sofa, holding a lowball glass filled with amber-colored liquid.

“Looks like your day went like mine. I’m desperate for a stiff one myself.” In the kitchen she spied a bottle of bourbon on the counter and reached into the china hutch for a glass. When she turned around, Abe was there, right there, crowding her against the wall. “Abe? What are you doing?”

“Where in the hell have you been?”

“At work. I had no choice but to stay late. I’m sorry. I know I should’ve called, but—”

“Damn right you should’ve called. Especially after all that’s been goin’ on. I tried your cell and you didn’t answer. I tried the resort but no one answered. The only thing that stopped me from racing there straightaway and ripping the place apart lookin’ for you, was that Bran called as I was on my way out the door and mentioned Harper was giving you a ride home.” He rested his forehead to hers and sighed heavily. “You have no idea how crazy it makes me to imagine you hurt again. No f**kin’ idea what it was like for me to see you in that wreck. And then to see you scraped up, bloody and bruised. It rips me apart.”


“Ssh. Just let me . . . calm down.”


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