At eighteen, Ty Boudreaux married his high school sweetheart and planned to live happily ever after on the family ranch. But after twelve years in a volatile, one-sided marriage, this battle-scarred cowboy is struggling to put his life back together.
At eighteen, Bettina Blanchard’s goal in life had been to shake the dust of Bluebonnet, Texas, off her heels, and with her baby sister now safely in college, that dream is within her grasp. But underneath Betti’s tough exterior beats the heart of a woman with hopes and dreams, and she’s loved Ty almost as long as he loved his ex-wife.
When fate drops Ty in her lap, one night of passion leaves them dealing with a pregnancy and a marriage both have reservations about. Can a girl from the wrong side of the tracks and Bluebonnet’s favorite son find common ground outside the bedroom? Despite the interfering in-laws, a jealous baby sister and a holiday no one wants to remember, Betti and Ty discover that even though their happily ever after doesn’t come easy, anything worth having is worth working for.
“Lusicious . . .readers will want for nothing . . . If you read only one erotic romance this year, put [this] at the top of your list!” – The Romance Studio
“This must-read has as much heart as heat.” – RomanticTimes Magazine
1. NEVER SLEEP WITH A BOY FROM BLUEBONNET
After a decade in the business, I’d discovered hairdressers are a breed apart and I pretty much stuck with my own kind. However, this Friday night I ditched the girls to see Asleep at the Wheel playing at the Bluebonnet Dancehall.
Now, normally I avoided anything to do with Bluebonnet, Texas, even the dancehall that carried its name and sat right on the highway. After all, its good citizens are the ones who blessed me with my nickname–’Bad Betti.’ I’ve been Bad Betti since the fifth grade. That’s when I started to blossom, as they say. There’s nothing worse than being the only girl in the fifth grade who wears a bra, except living in a small town and being the only girl in the fifth grade who wears one.
By my freshman year I’d swelled to a 36D and stayed there. My wide hips, long curly hair and green bedroom eyes didn’t help matters either. I was, to borrow a phrase, “built like a brick shithouse.” Every boy from ninth grade on up, and a few dads, had made passes at me. And then there was that whole “daughter of the town drunk” thing. Get a reputation in a town like Bluebonnet–population five thousand–and it sticks. I could become a United States Senator, come home for a visit and they’d still call me ‘Bad Betti Blanchard.’
I will admit to making a mistake or three, but I wasn’t bad.
I was tired and cranky, and the smell of perm solution still lingered in my nose. I cursed fussy clients who made me late and the crowded parking lot as I squeezed my Mustang into a hole three pickups down from the dumpster.
Dressed in a shocking pink, knee-length halter dress and three-inch heels, I topped six feet easily and in a dancehall full of rednecks, I stood out like a whore in church.
God love small towns.
I snorted softly, taking in the denim and plaid wearing crowd. With a deliberate swing to my hips, I tuned out the stares and strolled through the crowd to the bar. I wormed my way into a small space, shouting out my order for a gin and tonic. The bartender quickly obliged, and I threw a ten on the countertop, waving away the change she offered.
Up on stage, the band was going full tilt and I cursed myself again for being late. I’d never get a good spot. I’d seen them a few other times around San Antonio and Ray and the boys weren’t to be missed. The only thing better, in my opinion, was Joe Ely with or without The Flatlanders.
Being tall did have its advantages. I finally spotted Tim Caldwell at the railing near the stage, and with a smile, he let me squeeze in front of him.
Cardinal Rule of Womanhood Number One: Never Sleep With a Boy From Bluebonnet.
Guys have a lot of nerve calling women gossips, let me tell you! The only time after high school I broke that rule was with Tim, and to this day, we’re still good friends.
Cardinal Rules Two through Four: Be Discreet; Have Fun; Keep It Light. This had allowed us to part friends, and I’ve successfully done so with almost every man since him.
“How’s it going, sugar?” The deep rumble of his voice tickled my ear. That man could give a gigolo lessons on flirting!
“Fine, and you?” I gave him my flirtiest smile and batted my lashes at him.
He just grinned.
“Thanks for letting me in, Tim.”
“Anytime.” He graced me with another wicked grin and we watched the band a while, his hands massaging my shoulders. I was tired, and his strong thumbs deftly untangled the knots between them. And reminded me I hadn’t had my itch scratched in at least six months. Damn him.
When the band took a break, I smiled over my shoulder. “Busy later?”
“‘Fraid so. Happen to notice that pretty lady workin’ the bar?”
I nodded. He shrugged.
“Why, Tim Caldwell, you’ve been bit!” I couldn’t hold back a chuckle.
The look on his face said ‘bite your tongue’ or worse, but I just grinned. He was a good man, despite his penchant for mischief and a wicked sense of humor, and I genuinely liked him. Being easy on the eyes was a plus. He was well-filled out and well over six feet with jet-black hair and tanned skin that contrasted sharply with pale blue eyes. His goatee, now tinted with gray at the edges, hid some very talented lips and an easygoing smile.
“Hush your mouth, girl.”
I smirked and drawled, “Well, well, well.”
“Toni would skin my ass.” He ducked his head and laughed. Tim knew he couldn’t hide anything from me. “Ty’s available,” he said, eyebrows raised suggestively.
My heart stopped. I’m sure the shock on my face showed and prayed nothing else peeked through. No one but my sister, Angelina, knew about my thing for Ty. I’d loved Ty Boudreaux since the sixth grade, but he’d only had eyes for Rhea. At that time, she was Rhea Carmichael, and to be frank, she was no better than I was, but don’t tell her that.
“So, he’s officially a free man?” I noted, eyelashes lowered. I’d heard the rumors that they’d split up.
“Yup. Today. He could use some cheering up too.” Tim nodded to some point behind me.
I glanced over my shoulder. The crowd had thinned enough that I had no problem spottin’ the love of my life. My heart did a little dance and my insides hummed along.
He sat at a table with his brother and a tiny brunette with Cher-hair. Ty looked like he’d lost his best friend or worse. He looked so pitiful I wanted to go sit by him and lay his head on my chest…and maybe run my fingers through his hair. Instead, I opted for ‘casual yet concerned,’ scared to death Tim would see more than I wanted to reveal.
Turning to Tim, I frowned. “Are you sure a woman is what he needs tonight?” Even as the words escaped my mouth, my head screamed “No!” while the rest of me begged “Yes, Yes, Yes!”
Rule Number Five: Women in Love Do Stupid Things.
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