BOOTS AND ROSES
by Myla Jackson
Welcome back to the Ugly Stick Saloon!
Bunny Leigh really shouldn’t care that her ex is days away from getting remarried. Yet the fact he’s getting hitched to the woman he cheated on her with stings more than she cares to admit.
It’s that sting that drives her to impulsively throw a bid in the annual Ugly Stick Saloon Cowboy Auction. To her surprise, she lands not only one of the best-looking men in the tri-county area, but two. The prospect of keeping up with two younger men has the shy florist quaking in her flower pots.
Little does she know, best friends Cory McBride and Jack Monahan made doubly sure their favorite florist won them both. But now they have their work cut out for them, convincing her they want more than one steamy night. They want a chance at forever.
Warning: A cop, a cowboy and a flower shop owner make the petals fly! And look what happens when the Ferris wheel stops at the top. Bring a fan, the heat’s rising at the Ugly Stick Saloon.
“So it’s agreed?” Cory leaned back in the booth at PJ’s Diner at ten past eleven o’clock that morning. “The date is set. It’ll be the both of us, and we’ll behave like gentlemen. No expectations of anything afterward?”
Jack sighed. “I had hoped for more. I hadn’t realized just how obsessed I was with her until I counted the number of bud vases in my closets. Do you realize I’ve been in that flower shop once a week for six months? I have twenty-six vases taking up room at the house.”
“Take them back to Bunny. She could use them for your next twenty-six purchases.”
“I can’t do that. Then she’ll know I wasn’t buying them for my mother.”
Cory shook his head. Jack had a heart as big as his shoe size. “Well, don’t think I’m going to let you win her over all to yourself. I’ve been delivering flowers for her for the past three months, even though I don’t need the money.”
“You know? We’re pretty darned pathetic if you ask me. Why the hell have we been beatin’ around the bush when we could have fessed up and been datin’ her all along?”
“I didn’t want to commit to anything until I finished my undergrad degree. And with med school looming, I’m still straddlin’ the fence. She put her ex through dental school. I wouldn’t blame her if she ran screaming from a relationship with me, because I’m going to be gone to school in Dallas all week, every week for four years.”
“Yeah, you got it rough.” Jack’s lips quirked upward on the sides. “Which should make her decision easy. She’ll choose me.”
“Over my dead body. I thought of dating her first.”
“I’ve been courtin’ her in my own way for six months.”
“Buying flowers for your mother?” Cory snorted. “Look, buddy, we’ve already agreed to share Bunny. Stick to the plan. We need to get her used to the idea of having both of us. Which means we need to let her see us separately, get to know each of us individually, and then ease her into the idea of both of us.”
“I’ll take lunch today, since I’m working the night shift,” Jack jumped in.
“Okay. Which means I gotta coax an invite to the Temptation Garden Club meeting tonight.” Cory let out a long breath. “Joy.” He pushed back from the table. “Between now and then, I need to get back to my computer. The stock market is supposed to be falling today. I want to get in on some good stock sales.” He planned on doing just that…after he stopped in the flower shop to see Bunny.
“Yeah. I need to check on some construction supplies for the house.” Jack tossed bills on the table and stood. “Guess I’ll see you later.”
Cory pushed through the door and turned left.
“Hey, isn’t your truck parked over there?” Jack pointed to the right.
With a sigh, Cory realized he wasn’t going to get by with a lie. “I thought I’d stop by and see Bunny first.”
“Not before me, you aren’t.” Jack let go of the door and stepped out smartly, heading straight for the Sweet Temptations Flower Shop.
Cory tore out after him, running to catch up and overtake the big cop. By the time they reached the shop, they were sprinting to the finish line.
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