“Fine. I’ll go since you’re in a lousy mood. But will I see you later tonight?”
“I’ll be at the lodge after supper to meet the guests.”
“That’s not what I meant. Will you be coming to my place after that?”
Renner shook out a halter from the pile. “Probably not.”
Silence. Then, “Why not?”
He whirled around. “Why don’t you ever come over to my place, Tierney? Not once in all the times we’ve been f**king around have you ever offered. I always have to be the one to haul my ass out of your bed and go home in the cold. Did you ever consider that I’d like to be in my own bed sometimes?”
Her stark expression indicated she hadn’t considered it, but immediately she rallied with, “No need to snap at me.”
“Do you know how nice it would’ve been to have you waiting for me for a change last night? Especially after I spent sixteen grueling hours on the road? But no. I had to go to you. And then, I got exactly two hours of sleep before I had to get up and start chores this morning. So, yeah, I’m snappy because I’m freakin’ tired, okay?”
“You didn’t have to come over last night. I knew you’d be tired. I would’ve understood.”
“I’m thrilled you’re so understanding. I know my crappy rental isn’t as nice as your cabin or what you’re used to—”
“Don’t go there, Renner.”
“Why not? It’s obvious you won’t go there, and by there, I mean you won’t lower yourself to cross my humble tin threshold.”
“You’re being an ass.”
He snorted. “Like that’s news to you.”
Tierney’s cell phone trilled. She was torn for two rings. Then she pulled it out and answered angrily, “This is Tierney Pratt,” as she walked off.
How was she supposed to know this stuff about sleeping arrangements? Had the man forgotten she’d been a virgin until recently?
Tierney had no precedent for this and she’d had no clue it bothered Renner so much.
Wouldn’t it bother you?
Yes. But the idiot had still hurt her feelings. Reverting to the dick-ish behavior that defined their previous relationship. She’d gotten pissed and walked off. So technically, they’d both regressed.
Fantastic. What was she supposed to do now? Show up on his doorstep wrapped in cellophane with a bow on her freakin’ head?
She huddled in her coat against the side of the building. It sucked she didn’t have anyone she could talk to. Harlow would ask if she was involved with Renner to spite their father. Her friend Josie’s longtime boyfriend had recently dumped her. Sari would encourage her to meditate to find an answer. Celia must’ve been on a winning streak because she wasn’t returning Tierney’s calls. Janie . . . nope.
On a whim, she ducked the wind and breezed into Wild West Clothiers. Harper looked up with surprise. “Tierney. What brings you by?”
“Nothing in particular. I, ah . . . to be honest, I needed a mental break, so I might just wander and see what’s new.”
“Let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be unpacking in the back.”
From the beginning Tierney questioned the wisdom of a dedicated retail space to sell specialized merchandise. She’d even suggested increasing the size of the art gallery and keeping the Western wear section small.
Which showed she wasn’t always right. They’d sold only two pieces out of the art gallery and the retail store flourished. Harper had a great eye for detail, for design, for creating the shabby chic vibe many tried, but few could pull off. Between her and Janie, they’d turned the space into a retro, funky, Western place where both men and women would feel comfortable shopping. Harper had pushed for a men’s section, pointing out that not all men came to the Split Rock with a female. Wise suggestion, since Harper had sold a pair of boots to almost every man who’d walked through the door.
Tierney scanned the blouses. Cute or sexy but none her style. As much as she loved the flash of rhinestone belts, not her style either. Harper had amassed an amazing assortment of handbags. Every style from ones fashioned out of old license plates, to ones crafted from old vinyl records, to ones studded with vintage bottle caps, to leather and hide ones dotted with brass nail heads and beads.
“Finding anything?” Harper asked, startling her.
“There’s a lot to choose from. You’ve done a fantastic job setting this place up.”
“Thanks. I love my job. But I love my job a little too much sometimes.”
Tierney rested her arm on a clothing rack. “And how’s that?”
“I have more merchandise packed away because there’s no place to put it on the floor. I intentionally keep some back to rotate in new stock, but I wish I had more room.” She pointed to the gallery. “It’d be a better use of space to display the Western art in the hallways, at the lodge and dining area, and expand the retail store.”
“You think so?”
Harper nodded, twisting her wedding ring. “I hope this doesn’t smack of nepotism, but Bran ties flies.” At Tierney’s confused look, she explained, “Ties, for fly fishing? He’s truly an artist. When I’ve worn a pair of decorative earrings he’s crafted out of funky flies, female customers demand to know where I got them. Then male customers want to know where they can buy real ties like those. Which leads me to believe there’s an opportunity to sell handcrafted Wyoming items.”
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