Joelle looked around the enormous main room of the Prairie Winds Club and couldn’t hold back her smile. The place was huge and the decorations were perfect for the Hill Country of Texas. She saw several stage areas and a good-sized dance floor, but the feature that caught her eye was the metal spiral staircase. The cutouts along the side depicted various western scenes and the entire piece was nothing short of spectacular. Before she could take in everything around her, she was being led to what looked like a bar right out of…damn, what was that show?
Ryan leaned close to speak to her and she could hear the amusement in his voice. “I can see the question in your eyes—yes, the bar was fashioned to resemble Miss Kitty’s in Gunsmoke. This might not be Dodge City, but the West brothers didn’t seem to care if they were borrowing facts.” Joelle listened as introductions were made, but it was the tiny blonde bombshell standing between the West brothers who captured her attention. Tobi West had an almost pained expression on her pretty face Joelle recognized all too well. Damn, we interrupted something.
Tobi still hadn’t pulled herself together when a pretty Latino woman stepped up beside her. The men introduced her to Gracie McDonald and one of her husbands, Jax McDonald. Jax took one look at Tobi and laughed. “Damn, sweet cheeks, did your Masters wind you up and leave you floating in the breeze again?” Joelle had to swallow her giggle when Tobi growled at him. The sterner of Tobi’s husbands warned her about her surly behavior but it didn’t seem to bother the petite blonde much.
Gracie stood on her tiptoes to whisper in Jax’s ear and he turned stroking the side of her face in a move so filled with affection Joelle found herself staring at them. “Yes, carinõ, I think that’s an excellent idea. But stay in the lit areas, you know your other Master is in the control room, don’t give him a reason to call me.” Control room? Oh my, what kind of place is this? The women grabbed drinks, making sure Joelle got something as well before leading her out the back door.
“Oh my God. This is spectacular.” Joelle couldn’t hold back her surprise. The landscaping alone looked like something out of a movie. She read the sign directing people to the Forum Shops which Tobi explained catered to all things “kinky” including everything from the most extreme fet-wear to piercing and waxing services. They settled into comfortable lounge chairs in an open area overlooking the broad expanse of the West’s backyard. “Is that a lake?” Darkness was quickly blocking out the view, but she was sure she’d seen the sparkle of lights dancing over the surface of the water.
“It’s a river, but right here it’s actually pretty wide so I can see why you might wonder. I wish we could go down to the gazebo, but there aren’t as many cameras there and I know Micah would call Jax and tattle on us.”
Gracie shook her head. “Don’t start Tobi, I’ve already told you, I don’t want to spend the whole week with a sore bum.”
“Bum? Good Lord of the Leprechauns, you’re turning into a pansy-assed good girl…I’ll bet you’re even wearing panties.” When Gracie laughed, Tobi continued, “That’s it, I’m going to have to get myself a new bestie. Hanging out with you will destroy my reputation…and holy crap on a cannonball, what if it’s contagious? Damn it to donuts, I’ll probably have nightmares about this now. Thanks for nothing Miss Goody-Two-Shoes.” Tobi let out a dramatic sigh that probably would have earned her an Oscar nomination in a different venue. Holy shit could the girl ever put on a performance. And Gracie’s look of righteous indignation just added to the comedic moment. Joelle couldn’t hold it in a moment longer…she burst out laughing.
Damn if felt good to laugh so hard the tension of the past few days finally drained away. Joelle leaned back letting the strain she’d been under fall away. “Holy hell, you two are good for the soul…has anyone ever told you that? You make me miss my friend Coral even more. She’s been my sounding board for months and now she’s off bouncing around tropical islands enjoying her honeymoon.”
“Coral Williams? Oh, I guess she is Coral Morgan now, isn’t she?” When Joelle nodded, Tobi’s face lit up. “I talked to her via web-cam. She seems really sweet, but I think there is a firecracker under there you’re going to see bubble right up to the surface now that she’s safe.” Turning to Gracie, she added, “Remember me telling you about all the drama in Montana? Holy…” Tobi’s eyes tracked around them and her voice lowered, “shiatzus, their surprise sniper was even older than Lilly.” Gracie’s eyes widened and her mouth formed an oh making Joelle wonder who Lilly was and about the story they both seemed to know.
Unable to hold back her curiosity, Joelle inquired, “Who is Lilly?”
“My audacious mother-in-law, she’s my super hero.”
“She’s everybody’s super hero.” Gracie’s agreement made Joelle even more curious. “Lilly saved Tobi by taking out a boat and the bad guys in it with a single rifle shot. The men swear it was luck, but I’m not buying it.”
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