Tying The Knot: The Q Collection, book eight
My first night in town and my BFF bails on me. Not that I can be mad at her for it. She’s an ER nurse and volunteered to do a double shift to help out with the heavier than usual traffic coming through the hospital doors at this particular time of year.
The time being January, and the particularity being the Tamworth Country Music Festival, when the population of the town swells to five times its usual size or more, and the propensity for people to wind up in the ER is in direct correlation with how much they’ve had to drink and whatever stupid thing they did after yelling at their mate to “Hold my beer.”
So all of that just means I’m now sitting in a pub, drinking whisky… alone.
And the sharks have started to circle.
And by sharks I mean cowboy wannabes.
These guys stick out like a sore thumb in their unscuffed boots and ostentatious belt buckles, jeans that are just a little too blue and Akubras straight from the saddlery, their pristine condition a dead giveaway their owners wouldn’t know the arse end of a horse if it shit on their shoes.
Right now there are two of these morons trying to draw me into conversation, full of looking-to-get-laid swagger and not taking no for an answer. And I’ve tried all the usual tricks to dissuade them, all the things women say to politely decline the advances of some random twat who may or may not turn out to be a serial killer.
No, thank you.
No, I don’t want you to buy me a drink.
Sorry, but I’m waiting for my boyfriend.
Yes, my boyfriend is real.
No, I don’t want to save a horse and ride a cowboy.
No, I’m not a lesbian.
All the shit women say while actively looking for ways to hobble the arsehole so we can make a clean getaway. But after driving for seven and a half hours to get here, then being ditched by my bestie, then dealing with these idiots, I’m no longer feeling very polite.
I raise my voice and snarl at them, “What part of no do you fuck-knuckles not understand? How many times do I have to say it before you get the fucking hint and back the fuck off? Jesus fucking Christ!”
Moron One and Moron Two stare at me like I’ve just sprouted a second head, and maybe I have. The Anti-Ally. That part of me that explodes outwards when confronted with arseholes, either too clueless to realise they’re making women uncomfortable, or too selfish to care. And then, just because I’m me and it couldn’t end there, Moron Three joins the party.
“Ah, excuse me,” he says loud enough to be heard over the din of the pub. But before he can get in another word I go on the attack.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake. All I want to do is listen to music, sip whisky and be left alone. Is that really so much to fucking ask?”
Morons One and Two exchange a sidelong glance then slowly—finally—back away from the crazy lady. But Moron Three folds his thick arms across his sizeable chest, stares down at me and grins. He fucking grins at me, and then an even weirder thing happens.
The anger burning in my chest stalls then arrows downwards, morphs into a different kind of heat low in my belly, lower even than that.
Maybe it’s the warmth and humour shining in the depths of his dark brown eyes, or maybe it’s the way his sinful lips kick up in one corner that makes my mind nosedive into the gutter, imagining all the naughty things I want him to do to me with his mouth. Whatever it is, I don’t expect what he says next.
“Trinity said you had a mouth on you.” He chuckles. “I guess she wasn’t kidding.”
My eyes narrow on the newcomer, my lust momentarily forgotten as all my senses go back on alert. “Who are you, and how do you know Trinity?”
His grin broadens and he nods ever so slightly, pinches the brim of his hat. “I’m Kade, her cousin. She said she tried calling to let you know I was coming to your rescue. You might want to check your phone.”
Keeping one eye on my best friend’s not unattractive alleged cousin, I fish my phone out of my handbag and see I have four missed calls, two voice messages and one text. Pressing the phone to my ear I try to listen to the voice messages, but the noise in the pub is ceaseless and the most I can make out is Trinity’s voice saying, “…Ally, I…my cousin…you. Don’t…Kade’s like…fuck…the morning.”
Okay…. Obviously I’m going to have to listen to that again later. When I open the text message, a photo of Moron Three pops up, smouldering dark gaze, devilish grin and all, confirming that he is who he says he is. Trinity’s cousin.
My rescuer, apparently.
Tucking my phone back in my bag, I let my gaze slide from the top of his worn but cared-for Akubra, down the front of his checkered cotton shirt, faded blue jeans, sensible belt buckle and polished yet well-used work boots. Kade is definitely not a wannabe cowboy.
He’s the real deal.
When I drag my gaze back to his, he has one brow cocked and his grin has bloomed into a full-on panty-melting, making-me-weak-at-the-knees smile.
Holding his hands out to his sides, he says, “Do I pass muster, or would you like me to turn around so you can check out my arse?” Even through the noise in the increasingly crowded pub, Kade’s deep voice carries. All the way to every single one of my sex receptors.
My nipples tighten. My clit pulses. My pussy grows wet and my thighs clench around the emptiness between them, hoping, wishing that Kade will step up and fill the void.
Please God, yes.
I haven’t had sex in a while. Not since my loser ex decided he needed to be a lone wolf and ended our relationship. Seeing as he started banging anyone with two legs and a vagina the day after he dumped me, I assumed lone wolf was code for: I want to fuck other women and not feel like a dick about it.
But what pisses me off the most is how deeply he made me doubt myself. I mean, I spent most of my twenties working to become the positive, confident woman I am today, so the fact that one sorry excuse for a man could inflict such a massive dent in my self-esteem is really annoying. But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to buff that dent out.
And as I look my fill of the big man standing before me, I think I know exactly who to ask for a damn good buffing.
Mirroring Kade’s grin, I ask, “Do you wanna get out of here?”
His eyes widen for just a moment and I don’t miss the way his gaze slides down my body and back again, checking me out the way I did to him. Only by the time his eyes meet mine again they’re hooded, almost predatory, and he growls his response, “Absofuckinglutely.”