The Sheriff Catches a Bride (Page 46)

The Sheriff Catches a Bride (Cowboys of Chance Creek #5)(46)
Author: Cora Seton

But not tonight, she hoped.

An hour later, she stepped out of the shower in Hannah and Cody’s small house and pulled on a clean set of clothes. Cab hadn’t mentioned anything fancy, so she wore jeans and a pretty blouse. As she folded her dirty clothes and packed them away in the backpack she’d brought, she heard Hannah call a greeting and a man’s voice answer. She stilled, listened, and decided it must be Cody arriving home. He and Hannah had dated for some time now, although she didn’t get Hannah’s attraction to him. Cody was… rough. Not physically, but in his mannerisms. A little too crude for her tastes, but Hannah seemed to like him well enough.

“Just a minute,” she heard Hannah say and she sped up her movements, knowing her friend probably needed to get ready for her own evening out.

When Rose opened the bathroom door, she met Hannah in the hall. “Sorry, didn’t mean to take so long.”

“Hush, you’ve been quick as a wink. Cody’s just early, that’s all.”

“I’ll get out of your way. See you tomorrow? I plan to be at the… place… all day.”

“I asked Bella for the day off so I’ll definitely be there, too. Just as soon as I get him out of bed and on his way. He’s slow in the mornings.” She made a face. “Real slow.”

“The nights must be good enough to make up for it, then,” Rose teased her.

Hannah looked uncertain. “I don’t know how long we’ll be together,” she whispered. “He’s…”

“I’m what?” Cody said loudly as he poked his head around the corner. “When I hear women whispering I know trouble’s coming. What are you two up to?”

“Nothing,” Rose said firmly, seeing Hannah’s face blanch. “I was asking Hannah what I can do to make tonight special for Cab. We’re kind of… celebrating,” she said, making up the story as she went along.

“Just take your clothes off for him,” Cody said, coming all the way into the hall, which suddenly felt much too crowded for Rose. “That’s every man’s favorite celebration.” He tugged Hannah into a one-armed hug but kept his gaze on Rose. For one horrible moment she thought he might reach out and pull her close under his other arm. Her skin crawled under his scrutiny. Was she imagining it, or was he vibing her—hard?

“I’d better run or I’ll be late,” she said, feeling anxious to get away. Hannah and Cody trailed after her as she made her way through the house and out the front door. She hesitated on the front walk, uncomfortable at leaving Hannah but unsure how to handle the situation. “Call me if you need anything,” she said to her friend, hoping she understood what she really meant.

“It’s all fine. You have a great time,” Hannah said. She leaned into Cody’s embrace and Rose relaxed a little. Cody was sleazy, but Hannah wasn’t in danger. She was just with the wrong guy.

Some relationships were messed up, Rose thought. Some people were messed up. She got in her truck, glad that wasn’t the case with Cab. She couldn’t ask for a steadier, more responsible man. She slid her key into the ignition, beginning to anticipate the evening to come.

The engine made a sick sound and then died altogether.

Cab pulled up at Hannah’s house just as the tow truck arrived.

“Sorry for the change in plans,” Rose said, coming to meet him.

“No problem,” he said as he took in the way her hair curled around her shoulders and her pretty blouse framed her cleavage. “I offered to pick you up in the first place. So this is where you’ve been staying?”

Rose shrugged and turned back to gesture at the tow truck driver. “He’s taking my truck to the shop. I won’t get it back until tomorrow, though. It’s too late for anyone to work on it now.”

“That’s all right. I’ll take you to dinner and then drive you wherever you need to go.”

“Thanks. Let me talk to Hannah for a minute, would you?” She hurried off to speak to her friend and the two women huddled together away from the action around the truck. Cab figured she needed to sort out the logistics of coming back here after their date. Would she let Hannah know she might not be back at all? He hoped so. He wasn’t going to spoil the evening straight off the bat, though, by suggesting she spend the night. She’d count that as him telling her what to do. Better let her think it was her idea.

“Did I ever tell you I’m going bison hunting?” Cody swaggered up to him. “Next week. Pretty cool, huh?”

“I think you mentioned it.” Cab resisted the impulse to roll his eyes.

“They say when the bison falls over, it shakes the ground.”

“If you manage to hit it,” Cab said. He hoped Rose would hurry up.

“I’ll hit it. They just stand there,” Cody said. “But when they fall, they shake the ground. You can feel it all the way from where you’re shooting.”

“All that way. That’s something.”

“It’s a rush.”

“I’m ready,” Rose waved good-bye to Hannah. The tow truck driver was ready to pull out, so Cab led her to his truck and opened the door for her to climb in.

“I suppose DelMonaco’s is out.”

“I’m afraid so. Mind taking a bit of a drive?”

“Not at all.” Cab swung his truck around to head back through town to highway 90. Rose remained quiet for the first few minutes of the drive until he began to worry she might be having second thoughts about spending time together.

“Everything all right?”

“Hmm? Oh.” Rose gave herself a little shake. “I was thinking about Hannah and Cody. I’m not sure that relationship is going to last.”

What about us? Cab wanted to ask her, but bit the words back. Sometimes talking too much caused all kinds of problems. Maybe action was called for here. “Rose—I’m going to tell you what to do and I don’t want you to get all riled up about it. You think you can hear me out?”

“I guess so.” Her tone told him it wasn’t likely.

He patted the seat beside me. “Come sit over here.”

She waited a beat. “That’s it?”

“That’s it.” Would she take the bait? Looked like she would.

She undid her seatbelt, slid over into the middle of the bench seat and rebuckled herself in.

“That’s better,” Cab said. He put a possessive hand on her thigh and waited to see what she would do next. When she inched nearer, a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. They were going to be okay. He allowed himself to explore her thigh a little, stroking gently down and then up, each time sliding a little higher. When Rose let a small sigh escape he knew they were more than okay.