I can’t believe it’s June 22nd already! The time has flown by like crazy and suddenly, it’s four days until BRODY’s release. Yay!!!!
The excerpts continue today. Let’s see how Brody handles the storm that is Olivia…
The buildings of Reidsville rose in the distance before Brody spoke again. He was angry, at himself mostly, for being stupid enough to kiss her. Again. Not only that, he woke up wanting to plunge into her. Again. Then he fought with her. Again.
Leaving her in Reidsville would be the best thing for both of them. He could track the rest of Jeb’s gang into Mexico and be done with the Grahams for good. There was a slim chance he would find Benjamin Graham. The odds were not good he was alive, much less untouched.
The warmth of the morning had given way to afternoon heat. Sweat trickled down the center of his back. Olivia rode in front of him, and to his satisfaction, she had a few sweaty spots on her blouse. He certainly shouldn’t be glad she perspired just like everyone else, but he was glad she wasn’t unaffected by their situation. There was no reason to believe she was as hardnosed as she appeared to be.
In the half a day since they’d been riding in silence he had had half a dozen conversations with her. All of them ended in him yelling at her for twisting him into knots. He needed to get her back home before he truly did lose control.
“What are we doing here?” She finally glanced back at him.
“Stopping to get supplies. I can’t make it for much longer on cracker crumbs and dried beef.” He spurred his horse faster, eager to get away from her as soon as possible. A trained soldier and Texas Ranger did not lose control over a rancher’s daughter with a big mouth.
“You should have packed more.” She flipped the braid over her shoulder. “Then we wouldn’t have to waste time here.”
He counted to ten before he spoke again. “I had planned on packing more, but you came along for the ride before I could.”
“Poor planning on your part.”
“Jesus Christ, Liv, can you let loose your grip on my balls for just five minutes?” He couldn’t believe she’d driven him to this.
She stopped and stared, her mouth open. “What?”
“You have pushed, bullied and manipulated me into this. I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman who twisted people into knots like you do.” A cork popped out and he couldn’t stop his words if he tried. “I didn’t want a partner. I don’t want a partner. I sure as hell didn’t want you.”
Her eyes widened. “What are you fixing to do about it?”
“You are going back home. I will find a wagon, a buggy, or even a goddamn turtle for you to ride back to the Graham ranch.” He pointed at her. “I won’t take you into Mexico with me.”
“It’s a little late for that. You won’t get rid of me that easy, Ranger.” She narrowed her eyes. “I am your partner until we find Benjy. I will follow you into the bowels of hell if I have to.”
He kneed his horse into a run, leaving her behind. Cowardly perhaps, but it was either that or get into a fistfight with her. He wouldn’t degrade himself into losing what was left of his honor over her.
Reidsville was a little stop along the trail, with typical wooden buildings, a mercantile, a restaurant, a hotel, a couple of taverns and blessedly, a whorehouse. He didn’t care what Olivia said or did—he wouldn’t lose his control over her again. She would stay at the hotel tonight and in the morning he would send her on her way.
Brody headed directly for the tavern closest to him. There wasn’t enough whiskey in the world to make him forget Olivia Graham, but he could numb the pain for a little while at least. As he dismounted, he spotted her riding in behind him. No doubt she’d follow him into the tavern too and spoil his drink.
He walked in, blocking out his annoyance for a few minutes. The man behind the bar was burly and hairy, with a scar down his cheek. Obviously noting the scar on Brody’s face, the man nodded at him.
Brody sat down on the tired-looking stool. “Whiskey.”
With no conversation to weigh things down, he sipped at the rotgut. It burned its way down his throat, leaving a path of blessed fire. Yep, that was exactly what he needed.
“I’d like a whiskey too.” Olivia’s husky voice came from beside him.
The barkeep raised his bushy brows, but poured her a shot and slid it to her.
To Brody’s utter surpise, she slung it back as though she regularly spent time in taverns.
“Will you never do anything normal?”
She snorted. “I am normal to me. Who says what’s normal?”
He threw back the rest of his whiskey and let his tongue and throat burn for a moment before he gestured to the barkeep to pour two more shots.
“You want to get drunk, Miss Graham?”
She turned to him, her eyes full of shadows and a myriad of emotions he didn’t want to know about. “Yes, I do.” When she threw back the second shot of whiskey, even he was impressed.
“I didn’t know you had a taste for whiskey.”
“There is a lot you don’t know about me, Ranger.” Her grin was almost feral, and it sent a shiver up his spine.