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One night rodeo, p.25
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       One Night Rodeo, p.25

         Part #4 of Blacktop Cowboys series by Lorelei James
 

  “Oh, for chrissake, you two. Get a room.”

  Celia broke away from Kyle at the sound of Abe’s voice.

  But Kyle merely chuckled, tucking her more firmly against his side. “Great idea. We are at a fancy resort. Wanna check out the hourly rates?”

  She elbowed him and faced her brother. Both of her brothers. “Hey, guys. What’s up?”

  “Lainie sent us to fetch you,” Hank said.

  “Personal escorts? Is Renner afraid we’ll run off with the art or something?”

  “You know…at Bran and Harper’s wedding you were eyeballing Braxton’s sculpture like it might fit in your purse,” Kyle said slyly.

  “Kyle!”

  He smooched her indignant mouth. “You’re still so damn fun to tease.”

  Abe sighed. “I actually preferred you two flinging insults at each other rather than making goo-goo eyes and cooing like demented doves.”

  Celia resisted whapping him on the head.

  Hank and Abe took the lead as they wandered through the main room of the lodge. They paused outside the opening to the dining room and stepped off to the side.

  She’d barely registered the room full of people when they all yelled, “Surprise!”

  Both she and Kyle jumped.

  Abe said, “Allow me to present…Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Gilchrist.”

  Applause and whistles echoed in the room.

  Then Harper, Lainie, Janie, Tierney, Bernice, and Vivien rushed forward.

  “What’s all this?” Celia managed.

  “Your wedding shower!” Harper exclaimed.

  “But…” She looked at Janie.

  “My baby shower was last month. Since none of us were at your wedding ceremony, nor was there a wild and crazy wedding dance afterward, we decided to throw you a party.”

  “We figured you could use some household items, since you’ve both been on the road for the last few years,” Lainie added.

  “When folks in Muddy Gap heard you guys had gotten hitched? I had dozens of people calling and asking when we were gonna throw you a proper reception,” Harper said.

  “Except we know improper suits you better,” Bernice said with a snicker. “Since me and Viv were friends of your mom’s, we asked to be involved.”

  “Asked?” Tierney snorted. “Demanded is more like it.”

  Vivien hip-checked her. “Hush, newlywed. When you’ve been married as long as I was, or as long as Bernice has been, you get to bull your way into whatever party you want.”

  Bernice, one of the least sentimental women Celia knew, took Celia’s hand. “When I heard the news about you and Kyle, it reminded me of something your mama said years ago. Something I’d forgotten because it’d come out of left field. Back in the day, before I started my shop, I was at your folks’ place, giving your mom a haircut. Kyle had ridden the bus home with Hank. You and Kyle were sniping at each other. Somehow you ended up chasing each other outside, right in front of the sliding glass door. Your mom said, in that soft-spoken way of hers, ‘They fight because there’s more between them than they understand at their age.’ So I know your mom would be happy for both of you.”

  Stunned, Celia choked out, “Thank you, Bernice, that’s…” and turned toward Kyle because she couldn’t finish.

  He said, “Ladies, can you give me and my bride a moment?”

  “Sure.”

  He blocked her from the room, holding her face in his hands. “What?”

  “How is that even possible? What Bernice said about my mom?”

  “Can’t we just chalk it up to your mother being a perceptive woman?”

  “I guess. Perceptiveness sure isn’t something I inherited—I didn’t have a clue about this shower.” Her gaze hooked his. “Did you know about this?”

  “Hell no.”

  “Good.” She inhaled deeply. “Because I’d hate to start a fight with you in front of all these people.”

  “They’re used to it from us. So let’s defy their expectations.” Kyle placed a soft kiss between her eyebrows. “Now buck up and face the music.”

  When they turned around, another cheer went up.

  “Let’s get this party started! For the bride…” Harper settled a lace veil on Celia’s head.

  “And for the groom…” Bran clipped a plastic ball and chain around Kyle’s ankle.

  Laughter erupted.

  Tierney clapped her hands after the hilarity died down. “Okay, people, listen up. We’re doing this old school. Men, take Kyle to the bar. Ladies, you know what to do.”

  Celia tried not to panic when Kyle was ripped away from her without so much as a good-bye kiss.

  You’re getting too dependent on him, Celia.

  “I remember the days when menfolk weren’t invited,” Garnet said behind her. “Then we could talk about all sorts of raunchy sex stuff.”

  “Like having men in the next room over is going to stop you from whatever you wanted to say anyway,” Maybelle said with a sniff.

  “Age does have certain honesty benefits.”

  Garnet and Maybelle each hooked an arm through Celia’s. “We’re your official escorts,” Garnet confided. “Which I hope means we’re either getting booze first or cake first.”

  Maybelle sighed. “Brace yourself, Celia. It’s going to be a long afternoon.”

  She was hugged about a hundred times. But one person was missing from the crowd. She wondered if Kyle had noticed.

  “Why the frown?” Lainie murmured.

  “Did you invite Kyle’s mom?”

  “Yes. But she opted not to come. Evidently Sherry talked to Susan. Susan said Sherry didn’t want to spend all afternoon fielding questions about Marshall Townsend being Kyle’s father. She said it’s supposed to be focused on your marriage. But she did send a gift. So did Tanna.”

  Women of all ages, some Celia hadn’t seen in years, started to fill in the circle of chairs.

  Janie sat on Celia’s right side and patted her thigh. “Toughen up, cowgirl. This is gonna be some fun.”

  “You couldn’t have warned me? So I had the chance to dress up a little?”

  “It doesn’t matter what clothes you have on, dear sister, because you’re wearing the most important thing…the look of a woman in lurve.”

  First time Janie had ever called her sister and it choked her up a little. Which of course Lainie noticed.

  Lainie said, “You’ll shed a few tears before the day is over, guaranteed.”

  She steeled her spine, refusing to bawl in front of all the people who’d known her—and Kyle—for most of their lives.

  Harper and Tierney stood in the center of the circle and tried to get everyone’s attention.

  Janie leaned over. “Those two are in their element. I swear the Split Rock should start advertising themed private parties and put them in charge. We could make a mint.”

  “Aren’t you supposed to be on maternity leave?” Lainie pointed out.

  “My business brain is still fully functional,” Janie retorted. “Now that we have a little mouth to feed, I’m all about increasing our cash flow so we can afford diapers.”

  “Speaking of…Where are your kiddos?” Celia asked.

  “With Susan Williams in the first guest room down the hall. Luckily this coincides with naptime.”

  Tierney pierced them with a dirty look and her sisters-in-law straightened up immediately.

  Celia snickered.

  “First of all, a toast. But please don’t drink until we’re all served.” Tierney looked hard at Garnet and Tilda. Then she signaled to Fletch and another guy to enter the circle.

  Celia asked Janie, “Who’s the blond?”

  “Tobin Hale. He does a lot around here, but he mostly works for Renner. Both Tobin and Fletch are huge favorites of the Mud Lilies.”

  Fletch handed out shot glasses and Tobin filled them. But Celia didn’t get one.

  Harper motioned her into the center of the circle. “We asked your husband to tell us your favorite shot. And yo
u only get to drink it…if he guessed right.”

  Oohs and aahs rang out.

  “Kyle guessed…tequila.” Which wasn’t her favorite but it was what led them to the altar.

  “Wrong. He said your favorite is a blow job.”

  That smarmy jerk.

  “But here’s where you get to even the score, because he doesn’t get to drink if he gets this one wrong. So tell us, Celia, what is Kyle’s favorite shot?”

  She tapped her chin. “I’ll say, a tasty little one called tie me to the bedpost.”

  Laughter pealed through the room.

  “And with that, let’s all toast to our newlywed.”

  “Hear, hear!”

  “Celia, take a seat and we’ll play the first game.”

  As soon as she sat down, Janie elbowed her. “What?”

  “I saved my shot for you since I’m nursing, but for God’s sake be discreet,” Janie whispered. “I don’t want Harper and Tierney, the game Nazis, to catch us cheating.” Janie pointed at something behind them; Celia turned to look and drained the whiskey.

  Tierney said, “The name of the first game is pass the penis.”

  “Hot damn!” Garnet shouted, only to be shushed by Bernice and the gang.

  “The object of this game, just like in hot potato, is to not be holding the penis when the music shuts off. But we’ve spiced up the rules, adding a second part to the game and another chance to win.”

  “We’ll be watching to see who fondles BOB the best,” Harper said, “so even if you’re disqualified you’re still in the running for a BOB of your own.”

  “BOB.” Lainie repeated. “I hope he comes with a battery pack because the batteries in those things never last.”

  “Which is why I like the plug-in types,” Janie offered.

  “Nothing compares to the real thing,” Lainie said.

  “I cannot wait until I get the all clear to have sex with my husband,” Janie said. “He had to get inventive during those last months of pregnancy when we had beach ball baby between us. Not that coming up with something new has ever been a problem for him.”

  “So you can teach an old dog new tricks?” Lainie asked.

  Janie snickered. “Hell, I can get him to roll over and beg.”

  “Get used to doing it fast,” Lainie advised. “It’s the only option when you’re horny, the baby has finally gone to sleep, and you just want your man on you and in you now.”

  “Uh. TMI about my brothers’ sex lives,” Celia said.

  Tierney did the hand-clapping thing again. “So let’s all stand and gather in a circle.”

  Harper tugged Celia to her feet. “Our newlywed has volunteered to start the game.”

  Celia plastered on a smile, allowing Harper to lead her to the other side of the circle, between Betty and Bootsie, sisters who ran the sale barn. Harper handed Celia a long vibrator in the loudest shade of pink she’d ever seen. “How do you turn it on?”

  “Twist the rubber ring on the bottom,” seventy-year-old Bootsie suggested.

  Okay. Celia cranked the bottom section clockwise. The phallus almost vibrated right out of her hand.

  “Keep a good hold on that model,” Amy-Lynn suggested. “It is pretty intense.”

  Even Amy-Lynn, a few years younger than Celia, knew more about vibrators than she did? How mortifying.

  “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” blared through the speakers and Celia passed the vibrator to Bonnie, who closed her fist around it and slid it up and down a couple of times. Then she handed it to Amy-Lynn, who brought it up to her lips like she was about to lick it, but she smirked and passed it off to Vivien.

  The vibrator made it around the circle one time before the music quit. Bernice was the first one out. The next song, “Brand New Girlfriend,” fired up the players, who shouted out boyfriend every time instead of girlfriend, and both Maybelle and Lainie were lost on that round.

  The longer the music played, the raunchier the action became. Celia found herself laughing so hard she wasn’t paying attention during “Giddy On Up” and she was caught pink-handed holding the vibrator.

  Two players remained. Garnet and Amy-Lynn. They started flipping the vibrator back and forth. Garnet caught it between her knees just as “Friends in Low Places” stopped playing.

  Amy-Lynn did a victory lap holding the pink phallus in her hands like a sword.

  “Our bride gets to take a consolation prize home.” Harper handed her a box.

  Amid shouts of, “Open it, open it,” she ripped into the big box. Yes, it was a vibrator, but not in an obscene shade of pink—hers was vivid purple with a cherry red head.

  Maybelle clapped her hand over Tilda’s mouth after she made a crack about Barney the Dinosaur having a sore wee-wee.

  Tierney awarded the most lewd use of her hands to Garnet, who turned on her new penis and challenged Amy-Lynn to a dick duel.

  That’s when Renner walked in. “Looks like y’all are havin’ a lot more fun over here.”

  “Join us and bring all your hot-lookin’ buddies,” Bootsie shouted, performing a lewd bump and grind that Garnet immediately copied.

  Renner’s eyes automatically sought out his wife. Tierney bounded over for a brief conversation. When Tierney walked off, Renner’s gaze stayed on her ass, which amused Celia. Until Renner caught her watching him and shook his finger at her. “No tequila shooters for you two today, understand?”

  Celia and Tierney looked at each other and laughed.

  “When are we gonna hear that story?” Vivien asked.

  “Never. We’ve been forbidden from ever discussing it.” Tierney winked. “All right, ladies, get out your shot glasses again.” Tobin and Fletch appeared with fresh bottles. “The next question for Celia. According to your husband, what’s your favorite sexual position?”

  Celia fought a blush, but she knew the answer, hands down. “Any.”

  “That is correct! Pour the woman a shot!”

  Thank God. She was tempted to grab the bottle and run.

  “Same question back at Kyle. And what will his response be?”

  “All,” she said without hesitation.

  Wolf whistles and laughter followed.

  Celia sat and Janie slipped her another shot.

  The next game required Celia to wear an apron emblazoned with Pretty in Pink, Wicked in Spurs, which had assorted kitchen utensils attached to it. She put on two oven mitts and had to catch various round-shaped fruits and veggies thrown by the attendees and set them in a large soup tureen until she’d completed the circle.

  Then Celia was sent out of the room. The guests had to try to name everything pinned on her apron. And all the food she’d stowed in her pot.

  Harper walked the perimeter, smacking a pink riding crop with a long feather boa on one end, making sure no one cheated.

  “What exactly are you afraid I’ll do if you leave me alone?” Celia asked Tierney.

  “Nothing. Since Renner and I have been married a year, you’re supposed to use this time to ask me any questions about marriage.”

  “Are you happy?”

  Tierney’s grin stretched ear to ear. “Sickeningly happy. Disgustingly happy. Especially since Renner is spending less time on the road this year. Sometimes when I look at him I can’t believe he’s mine. And I know he feels the same because sometimes I catch him watching me with this funny smile on his face. Sounds very sappy and clichéd.”

  “You guys are a good match.”

  “Opposites attract and all that. It’s been a learning curve for both of us, me never having been married, and him having taken the trip down the aisle twice, but the quickie Vegas marriage doesn’t really count in my mind.”

  Celia waited for Tierney to retract her statement, due to her and Kyle’s quickie Vegas marriage, but she continued on.

 
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