Read Boots and Lace Online

Authors: Myla Jackson

Tags: #Romance

Boots and Lace

BOOK: Boots and Lace
10.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Dedication

This book is dedicated to Ed and Kendall from SEX ED, without whom Lacey would never have been brought to life! 

Chapter One

The cowboy at the bar had captured Lacey Lambert’s attention from the beginning, with his dark good looks and an expression so somber it made her sad. He sat by himself, head down, staring into his mug of beer.

As Lacey waited tables in the busy Ugly Stick Saloon, her gaze wandered back to him more and more.

Fellow waitress Kendall Mason passed her carrying a tray full of whiskey shooters and beer. “Did you see him?” she whispered. 

Lacey, on her way back to the bar with an empty tray, played dumb and asked, “See who?”

Kendall stopped long enough to throw a frown. “Seriously? The smokin’ hot cowboy at the bar. You can’t miss him.”

Lacey Lambert hadn’t missed him. In fact she could barely concentrate on her duties with the man sitting in the seat next to where she stopped to place her orders with Libby, the bartender. Every time she pulled up to the bar, her heartbeat fluttered and she forgot how to breathe. 

All bad news as far as she was concerned. Flirting, having sex, playing around were all fine in her books, but getting involved? No way. 

Lacey shrugged. “So, he’s cute.” 

“Honey, he’s not cute, he’s…” Kendall fanned her face. “Va-va-va-voom!”

“Now, what would Ed think if he heard you talking like that?”

“He’d know I was only looking out for my best friend. He has nothing to worry about. I’m totally in love with my hunka-hunka-burnin’ love.”

Lacey shrugged. “So, the cowboy is easy on the eyes. He’s probably full of himself.” Her ex had been one of those. Easy to look at and easy with the women. Thus the “ex” part to the equation. “I’m not interested.”

“Such a shame. I bet he’s nice and nicer in bed.”

“Not many good-looking guys are nice. And most aren’t that great in bed.”

Kendall glared at Lacey. “Ed is. And Jackson and Luke and Mark from what Audrey and Libby say—”

Lacey raised her empty hand. “Okay, okay, you’ve made your point. I don’t have time to flirt. I have an order to fill.”

“I’ll take your tables if you want to work on getting his number.” 

A cowboy at one of the tables hollered, “Kendall! We gonna get those shooters sometime today?”

“Coming,” Kendall called out. To Lacey she said, “Think about it. You could use a man in your life.”

“They’re only good for one thing.”

“Sex?” 

“Okay, two.” Lacey grinned. “Sex and taking out the trash.”

“You’re hopeless. What happened to the carefree, happy-go-lucky roommate I knew?”

“You moved out with a gorgeous cowboy.” Lacey sighed. “I’m going to miss you.”

“Same here.” 

The customer yelled again. “Kendall!”

“Keep your pants on. I’m coming.” Kendall scooted away from Lacey.

Lacey sucked in her breath and proceeded to the bar. 

A beautiful woman had planted herself in the seat beside the brooding cowboy. Her plain companion sat on the other side of her. In less than a minute, a man sashayed up to the prettier girl and asked her to dance.

She bounced out of her seat and led the way to the dance floor, the cowboy following.

Lacey’s dark cowboy glanced up briefly from his beer, his gaze going to the pretty girl’s not-as-pretty friend.

The woman sat facing the dancing, and heaved a sigh, a smile plastered to her face, her toe tapping to the beat of the music.

Lacey placed her order with Libby and made another pass through the saloon, delivering full glasses and collecting empties. When she returned to the bar, the pretty girl was just sitting down when another cowboy asked her to dance.

Off she went again, leaving her friend at the bar.

Lacey’s heart went out to the girl. She wasn’t exactly pretty, but she had a nice smile and just a few extra pounds. 

All the while Lacey took and delivered orders, she watched the bar, the cowboy and the women beside him.

After the fourth time the skinny woman left her chunkier friend alone to dance with another cowboy, the dark-haired cowboy pushed back from the bar and stood, a frown creasing his forehead, the first change to his expression since Lacey had started watching the man. 

He half-bowed, saying something to the sunny-faced big girl.

Her eyes lit up and she hopped off her barstool, lighter on her feet than Lacey would have thought.

The cowboy held out his arm, she took it, her smile widening as he led her to the dance floor. They took off in a lively two-step.

Lacey’s heart lightened for the girl, and then she frowned. 

Damn. Kendall had been right. The brooding cowboy
was
nice. While all the other cowboys had passed the girl by, the dark-eyed one asked her to dance, giving her the thrill of her life.

When the song ended, the cowboy returned her to her seat and bowed over her hand, thanked her and pressed a kiss to her knuckles. 

The woman’s face flushed a pretty pink and she batted her eyes.

Double damn. Lacey had wanted to count him off as another pretty boy, all looks, no substance, and he’d proved her wrong. 

Not long after, the women left and the man returned to his beer.

He’d been there for over an hour and Lacey hadn’t flirted with him once. Unusual for Lacey who’d shucked inhibitions when she’d filed for divorce. Still, the opportunity had passed and flirting now would be a little too late and awkward.

It being a weeknight, the saloon closed at midnight, patrons filtering out one by one until the only customer left was the cowboy at the bar. Lacey had let him sit there even after the saloon closed because he was handsome, he’d made a girl’s night and he looked as lonely as she felt. But the place was clean and the others would want to hit the road. No matter how good looking and nice, he had to leave.

Lacey sighed and leaned against the counter. “Sorry, cowboy, the bar is closed.”

He glanced up, his brown eyes so dark they looked black in the dim lighting. “I didn’t realize…” The man stood, settled his cowboy hat on his head and turned to leave.

“You can come back tomorrow,” Lacey offered. “It beats spending your evening alone…” she added beneath her breath.

His gaze captured hers and a smile quirked the corners of his lips. “Might just do that, and you’re right—it beats being alone.” The cowboy tipped his hat and left.

What was wrong with her tonight? Normally, Lacey would have flirted with the stranger and teased a smile out of him. But something had stopped her. Perhaps it was the way he’d kept to himself as if he wanted to be alone in a room full of people. More likely she’d steered clear because he was too good looking for his own good or hers. She had a hard time resisting a handsome face. 

As her cowboy departed, Lacey sighed. So much for making it an interesting night. Instead of a one-night stand with a sexy hunk, she’d be going home to her empty apartment building.

“Place is clean enough. You ladies go home.” Audrey Anderson, owner of the Ugly Stick Saloon, stood on her tiptoes, shoved the last bottle of whiskey onto the glass shelf behind the bar and lifted her strawberry-blond hair off the back of her neck. “Holy cow. Could it get any hotter? I can’t wait to get home to a cool shower.”

“And a hot cowboy?” Lacey quipped.

Jackson Gray Wolf was one of the hottest Kiowa cowboys in the county, next to his twin brothers, Mark and Luke. Audrey had sampled all three and only hinted at how great they were, before she claimed the oldest, Jackson. “He is pretty hot, isn’t he?” Audrey grinned.

“Yeah.” Lacey sighed, her mind on the last cowboy to leave the bar.

Audrey had Jackson waiting for her at home. Kendall had Ed Judson. Libby had Mark and Luke Gray Wolf and Isabella had the O’Brien brothers. Which left Lacey where?

Alone.

Lacey straightened her shoulders. Alone was better than married to an ass, which her ex had been. 

“You gonna be all right?” Kendall Mason slipped an arm around Lacey’s waist and squeezed. “I feel like I’m deserting you, leaving you all alone in the apartment building, and all.”

Lacey pasted a smile on her face and hugged her friend. “Just remember, if you and Ed ever need a third to keep the sex education lessons rolling, I’m your gal.” The offer was only superficial. Though she’d had sex with Kendall and Ed, she didn’t want to cause any strife between the pair. They were perfect for each other all on their own.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Kendall tugged the apron over her head and hung it on a hook. “I’m serious. You should stop by on your way home.”

“No, sweetie. I wouldn’t dream of horning in on your first night alone with Ed in your new house. Besides, Cory McBride is supposed to have moved into the apartment below mine today.” Lacey smoothed a hand over her hair. “I need to give him a proper welcome.”

“Lacey.” Kendall shook her head. “Just remember, he’s only twenty-one. A baby.”

“Like you?” Lacey’s lips quirked upward. “Old enough to be legal and young enough to have plenty of stamina. Besides, I’m only twenty-eight. Hardly a hag.”

“You’re by no means a hag. But don’t scare the poor boy. We need him here on Ladies’ Night. He draws a big crowd and he needs the tips to help pay for college. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen him date any of the women who hang out at the bar. He might not be into girls.”

“Hot damn.” Lacey clapped her hands together and rubbed them. “A challenge.”

Kendall frowned. “I should have kept my mouth shut.”

“Don’t worry, Kendall, sweetheart. I won’t wear the boy out…much.” Lacey plumped her breasts and tugged up her cutoff jeans, showing a little more of her rounded derrière. “From the way the child dances, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind a little more exercise. If he swings the other way, well then, no harm, no foul.”

“Lacey, you crack me up. When are you going to find a man and settle down?”

Lacey’s smile faded. “Honey, been there, done that, have scars to prove it. I’m thinking I might go for a woman next time. I have to admit, you were pretty damned tempting.”

Kendall blushed. “You know that if I wasn’t so into Ed, I’d be all over you.”

“Thanks, hon, but you’re the commitment type. You’d have me running screaming in the other direction. I’m all about having fun and no strings. You know me. Keep me hot and horny and the old biddies’ tongues a-waggin’ and I’m happy.” After the women of the Temptation Garden Club had snubbed her, she loved yanking their chains. Her chest still ached when she thought about how cruel they’d been to her when she’d been in the right to divorce her cheating ex-husband.

Kendall patted Lacey’s arm. “Someday you’ll have to get over what those old biddies did to you. They aren’t worth gettin’ your dander up over.”

“I know. It still galls me that they were supposed to be my friends.” Lacey sucked in a deep breath and pasted a smile on her face. “I’m fine now. Even better with the friends I’ve made at the Ugly Stick.”

“Well, the offer’s open if you wanna come over.” 

“Thanks, sweetie.” Lacey’s eyes misted. 

“What happened with the cute cowboy at the bar?” Kendall waggled her brows. “With a little encouragement, he might have escorted you home.”

“I didn’t have time to flirt.”

“Ha! You always flirt.” Kendall crossed her arms.

Lacey shrugged. “He had a
do not disturb
sign written across his forehead.”

“That never stopped you.” Kendall’s eyes narrowed. “You really aren’t on your game.”

“Go home.” Lacey waved her hands at her friend. “Ed’s bound to be naked waiting at the door for you.”

Kendall grinned. “Yeah, he did that our last night in the apartment. God, he was cute. Guess I’d better get home before some ho bag finds him first.” She hugged Lacey and sprinted out the back.

Lacey left before Audrey could corner her and give her the third degree about why she’d walked around all night down-in-the mouth and glum. Kendall and Ed’s move from the apartment house to their new home had her in a funk so blue she couldn’t seem to climb out. The empty apartment house reminded her of how alone she really was in Temptation, Texas.

Her foot barely tapped the gas as she crept home to the empty house. Not until she pulled into the drive and parked next to Cory’s convertible did she remember that she wouldn’t be alone, if the new neighbor was still awake. And if the light burning in the window downstairs and the jumble of empty boxes stacked on the front porch were any indication, Cory was still up. If she hurried she could pop a frozen pizza in the microwave and be back down before he called it a night.

Cory was a little young for her, but any company tonight was better than going back to her apartment and being alone. Later, she’d break out her vibrator and satisfy that itch that had been growing since she’d let the hot cowboy at the bar go without coming on to him. 

 

 

“I’m back.” Nick McBride stepped through the front door of the tiny apartment, wondering how he’d ended up in such a mess. Until his house was finished, he was beholden to his little brother, Cory, for a temporary place to live.

He’d still be camped out on the greasy cot in the back of the auto-mechanic shop where he worked, if Cory hadn’t offered to share his small apartment for the short-term. After they’d moved the big stuff into the apartment, Cory had suggested Nick run by the Ugly Stick Saloon and grab a beer. He’d certainly earned one. 

BOOK: Boots and Lace
10.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Monster: Tale Loch Ness by Jeffrey Konvitz
Fury and the Power by Farris, John
Cutlass Sharpened by H. Lee Morgan, Jr
All Things Pretty by M. Leighton
High Spirits at Harroweby by Comstock, Mary Chase
The Truth About Love by Josephine Hart
Makers by Cory Doctorow
The Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby
Easton by Paul Butler
The Key by Geraldine O'Hara