She leaned close enough to put her mouth on his ear. “Because I am so horny. Come outside and do me in your pickup. Do me anywhere.” Then she blew her boozy breath in his ear and licked it. “Please.”


The drunk woman used so much tongue Tell was surprised saliva wasn’t dripping off his earlobe. Now he wished she had just hit him up for cash. He scooted closer to Thurman. “Sorry to disappoint you, darlin’, but I’m just getting over a nasty bout of the flu.”

“It don’t bother me. Come on.”

Tell had a hard time remembering why he’d ever found her attractive. He uncurled her fingers from his bicep. “I’m on heavy-duty meds and they have an…unfortunate side effect.” He sipped his beer, waiting for the meaning to sink in.

Her painted lips formed an “O” of surprise. “You can’t get it up.” She popped to her feet. “Huh. Too bad. See you around.” And she took off.

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Ten seconds later the entire table burst into laughter.

“Man. Does that happen to you a lot?” Ned asked.

Tell nodded yes and said, “No.”

More laughter.

“You ain’t worried about her spreading rumors you can’t get it up?” Thurman asked.

“Nope. There are plenty of women around who will dispute that statement.”

“You’re such a dog, McKay,” Warner said. “How many chicks do you have on a string right now?”

“What day is it?”

Laughter ended abruptly and everyone looked at the end of the table.

“Hey, Tell. I just wanted to come over and say hello.”

Tell felt that same whomp in the gut he had at age seventeen whenever their eyes met. “Georgia. Good to see you again.” He stopped being mesmerized by her beauty long enough to say, “I’m sure you know most these folks we went to school with. Thurman. Ned. Roxanne—”

“I’m Ned’s wife now,” Roxanne said sharply. “And I doubt you would’ve remembered my name if Tell hadn’t reminded you.”

Wow. That was bitchy.

Leah folded her arms over her cleavage. “Yeah, I’ll bet you don’t know who I am either.”

All eyes were on Georgia. But rather than lifting her chin and leveling them with a haughty stare, she took a step back. “Our class wasn’t that big, Leah. Of course I remember you.” She gave Tell a wan smile. “Sorry to interrupt. Have a good night.” She walked off.

“Jesus, Roxanne, way to be a bitch to her,” Ned said.

“Serves her right for all the times she was so stuck-up to me,” Roxanne shot back. “Did she expect we’d give her a group hug?”

“She has put on a few pounds,” Leah said with a cruel smile. “No way would she fit into that itty-bitty cheerleading skirt now.”

Tell frowned. He’d never seen this side of his friends’ wives and he really didn’t like it.

“Sally Hermanson, who’s running everything for the reunion? Said when she called Georgia last year to ask if she’d be interested in helping organize it? Georgia said no and she doubted she’d be attending the reunion anyway.” Roxanne shrugged. “I sure as hell wouldn’t show up if I was her.”

“No kidding. Divorced from the guy you married right out of high school. I heard she lives with her mom in some hippie commune in Boulder.”

“I’ve heard her dad doesn’t have anything to do with her.”

“Maybe that’s why Deck kicked her out,” Leah added.

“Or else she was too good to be married to a guy who became a pig farmer.”

Both women snorted.

Tell slammed his beer glass on the table. “Jesus. Really? You guys haven’t seen Georgia or talked to her in ten years and you automatically assume she’s exactly the same person she was back then? Why? None of us are the same. Thank God we’ve changed, but you can be damn sure I ain’t gonna stoop to your level and point them changes out, because they ain’t all good.” He stood, tossed a twenty on the table and went to find her.

Georgia had taken a booth in the center of the room. Some guy appeared to be harassing her. Tell tapped him on the shoulder and recognized him as Dalton’s former classmate. “Monte. Been a long time. You waiting for the band to start?” He maneuvered him aside so he could slide into the booth opposite Georgia.

“Nah. I’m just looking for someone to take to my buddy Brad’s party.”

“Do you know Mira? Skinny blonde? She mentioned wanting to get wild tonight. Track her down. She’d be game.”

Monte said, “Thanks for the tip, McKay,” and loped off.

“I’m assuming you don’t mind that I interrupted?” Tell asked, suppressing a grin. “Or were you interested in accompanying Monte to a kegger?”

She laughed. “No.”

Her low-pitched, sexy laugh hadn’t changed either. “So will you let me buy you a drink?”

Her face shuttered. “If it won’t ruin your reputation being seen in public with me.”

“I remember when you wouldn’t be seen with me. So, it’s a chance I’m willing to take.”

A waitress took their drink order.

“So, I overheard part of the conversation with your friends.”

“Which part?” Hopefully not Mira’s last comment.

“The part about you having a bunch of women on the hook.” Georgia cocked her head. “Embraced your McKay wild-man heritage after we graduated, did you?”

“With both hands. I had plenty of wild oats to sow and I’ve enjoyed the hell out of plowing up every single row.” He adjusted his hat. “Sorry Leah and Roxanne went off on you.”

Those pale-blue eyes searched his. “Not your fault. It’s not the first time I’ve faced that kind of hostility since I returned to Sundance.”

“Returned? You’re not just visiting?”

She shook her head.

Well didn’t that just present some interesting possibilities? “Fill me in on the last ten years in the life of Georgia Hotchkiss.”

“If I bare all, McKay, you’d better be willing to do the same.”

“Oh, I don’t have a problem baring anything, sweetness.”

She blushed.

Huh. How about that.

Once they’d been served their drinks, Georgia said, “When was the last time we saw each other?”

“After graduation. That night at the lake.” She’d shown up in skintight Daisy Duke short-shorts and an icy-blue tank top that matched her eyes. He’d stood by the bonfire, mesmerized by the golden glow reflecting on her beautiful face, taking her from the realm of a pretty woman to that of a goddess. She’d only stayed long enough to forever burn that image of her in his mind.

“My life. Let’s see… Deck and I got married the month after graduation. RJ died the next summer. Then my mom left my dad. I was divorced from Deck by my twenty-first birthday. I finished college in Laramie and got a job in Dallas. That’s it.”

Okay. Maybe he’d expected more. But…she had boiled it down to the basics.

She took a drink. “You know, I was so self-involved back then I have no idea if you went to college.”

Tell shook his head.

“Why not? You were definitely smart enough. You graduated at the top of our class.”

“There were only a hundred and thirty kids in our class,” he said dryly.

“You never considered it?”

Even though ten years had passed, Tell couldn’t confess there’d been no money for college. “I’m a generational Wyoming rancher. My life choices were decided for me when I was born.” He sipped his beer. “But I did take off the summer I turned nineteen. Spent three months on the southwest rodeo circuit. Considered going pro.” Part of him hadn’t wanted to come back. But he’d felt guilty about leaving all the ranch work to his brothers, and he’d missed Wyoming more than he thought possible.

“That was the summer RJ died.” She started picking at the cocktail napkin. An air of sadness softened her brusque demeanor.

It ripped at him, but Tell knew how that felt. Putting on a brave face or a funny face because that’s what was expected. He covered her hand. “I’m so damn sorry.”

Georgia didn’t pull away from his touch. “Did you know my father went off the deep end two months after RJ’s funeral?” Her gaze met his again. “Sorry. This is all old news to you. I’m sure the town gossips had a field day.”

“I never heard anything about it,” he lied.

“I don’t know which is worse. Being the object of gossip. Or no one caring enough to gossip about you.”

He had no idea what to say to that.

The band started tuning up.

Her melancholy mood disappeared and she offered him a dazzling smile that set off his warning bells. “Enough about me. So you’re ranching?”


“You raising Black Angus? Or Herefords?”

Tell studied her. It’d been a while but he still recognized the switch—cranking the charm on high meant she wanted something from him. Time to let her know he wasn’t the gullible teen boy he’d been. “Do you really care?”

That caught her by surprise. “Yes. Why would I ask if I didn’t?”

“’Cause small talk ain’t ever been your style.”

She didn’t deny it.

He took it a step further. “Besides, I get the feeling you came here tonight lookin’ for me.”

“Cocky much? I didn’t ask you to join me, Tell. So feel free to leave.”

And that retort was so old-school Georgia-like he had to grin. “There’s the glare I remember. I prefer it to that fake flirting thing you do.”

“Fake flirting? You don’t think much of me, do you, McKay?”

“I haven’t seen you in a decade and I ain’t gonna pretend I know you. Likewise, you don’t know me. So you oughta understand that I’m a straight-shooter. If you wanna continue this conversation, you’d best be up front about what you want from me, without dousing me with your feminine wiles.”

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