Their love never died, but her secrets could break his trust beyond repair.
Texas Montgomery Mavericks, Book 1
After six years and too much self-recrimination, rancher Mitch Landry is ready to admit he was wrong. He’d loved Olivia Montgomery but commitment wasn’t high on his list back then. That was his first mistake. He’s just divorced his second, and he’s set to do whatever it takes to convince Olivia to give him another try.
Through hard work, determination and more than a few tears, Olivia survived the break-up with Mitch. She’s rebuilt her life around her business and the son she loves more than life itself. She’s not proud of the mistakes she’s made—particularly the secrets she’s kept—but when life hands you manure, you use it to make something better of yourself…lest you get stuck in it.
At a hot, muggy Dallas wedding, they reconnect. Olivia’s first instinct is to play it cool, but after one devastating kiss things flare real out of control, real fast. Maybe a quick roll in the hay will get him out of her system once and for all. Funny thing about hay though, once it’s tangled in your hair, getting it out risks revealing things that were never meant to see the light of day.
Mitch stepped up beside her, took her fingers and pulled them into the crook of his arm. Trapped between the heat of his palm and the hard muscles of his forearm, her hand burned. She tried to pull away but he tightened his grip to keep her firmly in place.
“You look beautiful,” he whispered in her ear. “Thank you for wearing the necklace. Did you put pictures inside?”
The combination of warm breath in her ear and the softness in his voice sent chills rippling down her spine. Everything inside her tightened. Reflexively, she touched the locket then shook her head. “No,” she lied. “Never did.” She shivered and he gave her hand another light squeeze.
She nodded, unable to force words past the knot in her throat. Oh Mitch, if I could tell you everything, would you understand? Would you hate me? Would you have come if I’d called?
Mitch was her past and she needed to keep reminding herself of that reality. Until today, she’d been positive her love for Mitch had died years ago. As she walked beside him, touching him, smelling him, her heart inflamed with feelings, she feared she was no longer in control of her emotions. Heck, she was pretty sure she was close to out-of-control. And right now, she wasn’t sure how she felt about that.
Together she and Mitch followed the rest of the wedding party to the staircase leading down to the hotel’s wine cellar. Shoes thumped on thick carpet. Voices filled with laughter and joy echoed off the walls as the wedding party trooped down to an area designed to hold far fewer people than were currently filing in.
Olivia stepped through the door with Mitch close behind, the palm of his hand scorching her lower back through the silk of her dress. Her heart throbbed painfully in her throat. How could she possibly swallow food around the boulder resting there?
She stepped forward, trying to put some distance between them, but he moved swiftly, matching her step for step, staying close, continuing to touch her.
She glanced at the single, round table set with fresh flowers, candles and seventeen place settings of fine china. Seventeen chairs crowded around a table meant for fifteen. Flickering flames from the candles tossed dancing shadows along the walls and on the ceiling. All in all, an incredibly romantic setting with extremely cozy seating.
A setting she did not feel safe sharing with Mitch Landry.
Before she could escape to the far side of the table away from him, Mitch pulled back a chair. He tipped his head toward the table and said, “I believe we’re supposed to sit here.”
Olivia looked at the china then noticed the place card with Ms. Olivia Montgomery Gentry mocking her from above the plate. Her gaze slid to the right. Mr. Mitch Landry.
What she said was, “Oh, okay.”
What she meant was damn it.
She sat and Mitch took the chair next to hers. She scooted to the left. He followed. His thick, muscular thigh pressed against hers. She pulled her legs together and broke contact, but not for long. Within seconds, he was pressed against her again.
She didn’t need the heat from his leg to remind her he sat beside her. His unique spicy cologne filled her nose. The taste of him remained on her lips, in her mouth. Her back still burned from the branding of his palm. Her fingertips stung from his touch. Her body was on fire. Her nerves were arcing like a clipped electrical wire.
Hotel staff poured champagne into the flutes on the table. She didn’t need any champagne tonight. She was already drunk on Mitch Landry.
The food must have been good. The Grayson staff was known for excellent cuisine, but one would never know from her plate. She barely touched her steak or the vegetables, or even the turtle cheesecake, her absolute favorite dessert. Mostly, she moved the food from one side of the plate to the other. The food she did put in her mouth tasted like Mitch’s tongue. Every aroma smelled like Mitch, dark and sexy.
She was in heaven…and hell.
Texas Two Step:The Prequel is a short story. It serves as an introduction to Olivia Montgomery and Mitch Landry, the primary characters in the novel, Texas Two Step. The Prequel covers their college dating years up to their break-up. Texas Two Step, the novel, continues the story six years later.
Texas Two Step: The Prequel
Tuesday morning’s arrival brought some relief. She’d scheduled a pedicure to go with her standing manicure appointment and frankly, nothing but a full body massage relaxed her more than a pedicure. As she crawled into the Pedi-chair and stuck her abused feet into the warm swirling water, she released an audible sigh.
“Too hot?” Tonya, her manicurist, asked.
“No. Perfect,” Olivia said, settling back into the seat. She flipped on the chair’s rolling massager. “I needed this.”
Tonya looked at Olivia’s feet. “You sure do. Those toenails are long enough to peel bananas.”
“Ha ha. There goes your tip.”
Tonya lifted one eyebrow. “I have sharp instruments and I know how to use them.”
Olivia grinned. “Got it. Tip restored. So, tell me about your date this weekend. Was he the one?”
Tonya began telling one of her long-winded date reenactments, which Olivia usually loved, but today found herself struggling to follow. She nodded in the right places, clucked her tongue when Tonya’s date did the funky chicken on the dance floor at the hottest nightclub in town, and shook her head in commiseration when Tonya described his overenthusiastic, lip-sucking, tonsil-swabbing good-night kiss.
“So, when’s the next date?”
Tonya popped the top of Olivia’s foot with a nail file. “I am not going out with him again. Never. I’ll stay single if that’s the best that’s out there.”
“You know, there’s always playing for the other team.” Olivia bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing.
“Sorry, chicko. I know you’re hot for me, but you just don’t have the right equipment.”
Both women laughed.
“What about you? Do anything fun this past weekend?”
Olivia shrugged. “Emily and I went to The Bourbon Cowboy Friday night to celebrate our birthdays, but that’s it. Saturday night I watched a Hallmark movie that made me cry and Sunday I cleaned house. Other than Friday, does any of that sound fun to you?”
Tonya tapped Olivia’s foot. “Put that back in the water and give me the other one.” After Olivia did as instructed Tonya said, “So no exciting men at the bar? I hear The Bourbon Cowboy is the place to husband-hunt if you’re looking for a lawyer. Neither of you met anyone interesting?”
“Really. Tell all. Keep your foot in the water.”
“Guy named Wes Benton. They had dinner Sunday night and again last night. I’ve barely seen my roomie.”
“No kidding. Good for her. He a looker?”
“Tall, dark and handsome.”
Tonya shook her head. “That Emily has all the luck.”
“Ain’t that the truth. Of course the fact that she’s tall, curvy and gorgeous doesn’t exactly drive the men away.”
“Maybe you need to find some ugly girlfriends to run around with, you know, to make you look better.”
Olivia chuckled. “Sounds like a plan. You busy next weekend?”
“Har har. Sharp instruments, remember?”
Olivia laughed, but before she could respond her cell phone began playing “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. Pulling it from her pocket, she read the display but didn’t recognize the number.
“Olivia? This is Mitch Landry.”His deep voice saying her name sent her stomach into a pitch and roll. “Hi.” Good lord. She sounded all breathy, as though trying too hard to sound like Marilyn Monroe. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Sorry. Had a frog in my throat. Hi. How are you?”
Tonya tapped her foot. Olivia pulled both feet from the water.
“I’m good. You?”
“Did I catch you at a bad time?”
“Oh, no. This is fine.”
Tonya pointed to the phone and mouthed, “A guy?”
Tonya mimicked kissing.
Olivia grinned and looked away before Tonya could become more animated in her mime show.
“I enjoyed Friday night. I was glad you got home safely.”
Ah. He’d been talking to Wes.
“We did. Thank you. What do I owe you for the cab?”
Could this conversation get more formal and awkward?
“What? The cab? Nothing. I was glad to do it.”
Okay, she wasn’t letting him get away so easily this time.
“I would like to pay you back. How about I buy your dinner?”
Olivia glared down at her and mouthed, “Hush.”
“Dinner. I’d love to, but I’m paying. I insist.”
The pause was long enough that Olivia checked the phone’s screen to see if she’d lost the call. She hadn’t.
Oh lord. Had she pushed too hard? Maybe he was having second thoughts about dinner with her.
“Sorry about that,” Mitch said. “I had to grab my class schedule.” There was another pause. “I’ve got a bear of a test on Thursday. What about Friday night?”
“I can do Friday night.” Olivia’s heart danced the jig. She had a date with Mitch Landry.
“Great. Why don’t I pick you up about six-thirty. That work for you?”
“It works for me. Where are we going? I mean, I need to know how to dress. Casual or dressy?”
“Dressy. I was thinking The Fireplace Room at Grayson Mansion. Have you been there?”
The Fireplace Room? The most expensive and exclusive restaurant in Dallas?
“I’d love to go back to The Fireplace Room. It’s one of my favorite places.” Or it would be if she’d ever got to see the inside of the legendary eatery.
“Great. I’ll see you Friday.”
“See you then.”