“Well, funny you should mention that... because the girls and I were talking about this very thing, just the other day.”

“They want a what?” Janie demanded.

“A community party.” Tierney sipped her wine. “In the dining room. It has a sound system for the dance. They’ll provide the food. It’ll be BYOB. All’s we have to provide is the event space and the cowboys.”

Janie froze. “No. You did not promise them cowboys, did you?”

“I didn’t promise them a lot of cowboys, nor did I specify the ages or marital status of said cowboys, but I didn’t think it’d be a big deal to track some down. After all, we are in Wyoming.”

Groaning, Janie slapped her own forehead. “You weren’t at Harper’s bachelorette party, were you?”

“No. Why?”

“Because that gang from Bernice’s might look like sweet innocent women of a certain age, but my God, they are absolutely wild underneath those pastel twinsets, floral housedresses and support hose. It’s scary, Tierney. They outdrank me, they outdanced me, and they sure as hell outlasted me. I woke up, hungover, with a note pinned to my shirt that said, ‘Next time, pace yourself so you don’t poop out so early’.”

Tierney laughed. “Buck up because you will be there, smiling that charming dimpled smile of yours, finding them two-step partners all night long if that’s what it takes. Because we would’ve been seriously screwed if not for them volunteering their cooking time last week.”

The Thanksgiving Day meal had been a huge hit with the guests, and every couple rebooked their reservations for the following year. The rest of the weekend had been a breeze.

Janie’s eyes turned sharp. “Have you spoken to Renner about this community night with the senior set?”

“No. It’ll be a surprise when he gets back.” She glanced at the clock. Which should be any time now—not that she was anxious. Okay. She was chomping at the bit to see him again. They’d spent hours on the phone every night during his sojourn on the blacktop. She found him easy to talk to, and it really thrilled her they hadn’t discussed the Split Rock much at all. In retelling some of his stories, he’d had her laughing so hard she had to clutch her stomach. But they’d also discussed other things, places they’d been, movies, TV, friends. The sweetest thing? He’d picked out a few romance novels from an online bookstore and had them delivered to her, with a suggestion she earmark the good parts for them to try when he got back. So it was ironic that by not seeing him for ten days, Tierney knew him better than she had before he’d left.

“Don’t even think about asking me to do your dirty work,” Janie warned. “You get to fill him in on all of this.”

“I’ll shoulder full responsibility. How do you think he’ll take the news that the ladies specifically requested him as one of their cowboys?”

“Tierney, you are so dead.” Janie’s critical gaze swept the room. “Can I have your half of the office after he kills you?”

“Renner’s a smart guy. He’ll be gracious to the saviors who pulled our asses out of the fire. Besides, I’m putting him in charge of rounding up other cowboys to invite to this soiree, because if he doesn’t? His dance card will be full. All night.”

Janie shook her head. “I’m formally putting in my request for your shoe collection too. Dead women have no need of Christian Louboutin peep-toe pumps.”

“I’m sure Abe will have fun.”

“You’re asking Abe to come?”

“No. You are.”

“Dammit, Tierney, that’s not fair.”

Obviously Janie didn’t want to share Abe even with the senior set. Too bad. Tierney smirked. “If it makes you feel better, I’m making Harper bring Bran.”

Renner pulled into the Split Rock at two a.m. He parked behind his trailer and forced himself to drag his suitcase inside. The place was freezing-ass cold so he cranked the heat and showered and shaved quickly. He unearthed a pair of clean jeans from his dresser and pulled on a long-sleeved T-shirt. It’d be torture to put his boots back on after wearing them for the sixteen-hour drive. But with ten plus inches of snow, slipping on a pair of flip-flops to sneak over to Tierney’s cabin wasn’t an option.

Tierney. He’d missed her. Despite being so damn busy over the last ten days, he’d managed to talk to her every day. It was weird how easily they’d meshed. How much he looked forward to hearing her voice every night. Listening to her opinions and her offbeat way of looking at things. He’d sent her a few trinkets he thought she’d get a kick out of. Not to mention they’d exchanged some red-hot text messages. But there was nothing like the real thing, having her eager, wet and wrapped around him completely.

He trudged across the moonlit snow to her cabin. The lights were off. He used his key and stepped inside. Even in the darkness a feeling of peace settled over him. He checked the sofa, making sure she hadn’t fallen asleep, like she had so many nights after working until the wee hours because her father was a damn slave driver.

At the foot of her bed, he took a second to drink in the sight of her sleeping on her stomach, sheets twined around her naked limbs.

Oh hell yeah. She’d slept nekkid as a welcome home present for him. If he wasn’t so goddamn desperate for her, he’d wake her up slowly and sweetly. He stripped and crawled over her, skating his palms up the backs of her arms, threading their fingers together. Burying his face in the spot between her neck and shoulder, bathing his lungs with her scent.


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