The sky outside hadn’t changed to the slate gray it usually did when Jake got up. Another hour before the alarm clock would squawk its irritating noise. Which meant he could still catch a few minutes sleep. He flopped onto his side and waited for sleep to claim him. And waited. He switched sides again. Flipped onto his back. The damned alarm clock mocked him, telling him only five minutes had passed since the last time he’d checked it.
An hour after they’d arrived home, Ben had pounded on his door. Paige had sent him on his way, while Jake hid like a damned fugitive in the bedroom, his brain whirling as if someone had stuck his mother’s hand blender into it and cranked it to high. A half hour later, Gabe had shown up. Once more, Paige had intervened.
Around midnight, his brain had fritzed out. He’d stared at the ceiling for another hour, thinking…nothing. But he still couldn’t sleep. He’d spent the last hour watching Paige sleep, the way her hair drifted over the pillow, at the soft curve of her mouth, the arch of her eyebrow. Sexy. Confident in who she was.
Peace he thought he had yesterday. Now his life was complete chaos.
Well, except for her. She was the calm in his storm. While he ranted, she listened. Really listened. Heard not only what he said, but what he was too afraid to say.
Not just last night, but before too, when he talked about his music and worried about Ben’s reaction. She made him feel like he could say anything and she’d stay by his side.
Defend him. Support him.
Outside of the family, no one else had cared enough to defend him unless they thought they’d get something out of it. But Paige? She was in his corner every step of the way. Since the first day they’d met.
If it hadn’t been for her last night, he would have stormed off the ranch. Kept driving. Maybe that’s why he’d taken the ATV to the lake instead of climbing back into his truck. Maybe he’d wanted her to follow him. While the impulse to flee was still strong, he wouldn’t leave without her by his side.
Impossible to put down; No Accounting For Cowboys was filled with twists, turns, and secrets new and old making it another fine offering from author Leah Braemel. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Holy hell, she’d wiggled into his head until he’d fallen in love with her. No. She’d just been herself. He was the one who’d tumbled over the relationship cliff, and he liked it. When had that happened? But if he told her what he felt, this soon, would it freak her out? Panic rose in his chest at the thought of her running away, scared that he’d gotten too intense, too fast. Yet the words welled up in his throat, unwilling to stay unspoken. His heart racing, he brushed his lips over her curled fingers and whispered, “I love you, Paige.”
He stayed frozen in place, waiting for her eyes to flicker open, for her to move, to run away. But she didn’t. Her breathing stayed even, her eyes closed.
Only then did he settle back and take a deep breath. He could wait to hear it back from her. His imagination provided pictures of her moving in permanently. Her coming on tour with him. Her looking up at him from the crowd as he sang, the only face—or opinion—that mattered. Then they’d come home and take their quads down to the lake. Have picnics. Look up at…
The main house, and remember that his mother was up there. Looking down on them. Still keeping her secrets and telling him lies.
Shit. So much for the fairy tale.
~ Carina Press ~
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