Authors: Cat Johnson
Fletch grinned from behind the camera. “Because you are such an interesting guy?”
“Don’t fuck with me, Fletch. I’m not in the mood.”
you in such a bad mood?” Fletch, who usually never spoke while taping, seemed to be interviewing him. What the hell was going on?
“That’s none of your goddamn business.” Bobby shoved his seat away from the table and stood so fast that the chair crashed to the floor.
Fletch took a step back, banging into the screen door behind him.
“It seems you have some issues to work through, so I’m just going to leave you alone for a little while.” He lowered the camera from his shoulder and flipped it off.
“Thank you.” Bobby made sure his voice did not convey thanks. “Have a good day.”
“I have one thing to say. This is a tough business, man. And I don’t mean the long hours and the crap starting pay. I mean it’s cut-throat, especially for women who refuse to sleep their way into a job.”
“What does any of this have to do with me?”
“Mandy put her job on the line pushing for production of this show. Then Christy gave up that probably Emmy winning tape of Ryan to you. We are all, every one of us, scrambling to make this thing work.”
Bobby, still feeling mean, asked, “You worried about your job, Fletch?”
The cameraman shook his head. “Nope. They never fire the technical crew. It’s the heads that get chopped when a project fails.”
It all came back to that damn tape. “I offered to give her the tape back.”
Fletch shook his head. “Christy doesn’t want it. She’s got morals, which is why it took her twice as long as it should have to land this crap associate producer’s job. What I’m trying to say is, don’t take it out on Christy. She had nothing to do with any of what’s going on.”
“And what is going on?” Bobby narrowed his eyes. There was more here than met the eye.
Fletch shook his head and opened the screen door. “Just remember what I said. Cut her some slack.”
Bobby crossed the kitchen in two strides and laid a hand on Fletch’s shoulder. “Tell me what’s up.”
He watched the cameraman breathe in and out, looking torn. “You know her pretty well in spite of the fact that you spent the first few weeks we were here trying to avoid us. If she does anything that seems…out of character, maybe you should ask yourself why.”
Fletch left, the screen door crashing shut behind him, leaving Bobby to wonder again what the hell was going on. He didn’t have any clue, and Fletch wasn’t offering up anything but riddles, but he bet he knew who might have some answers.
Bobby got in his car and headed for Gordon Equine. No surprise, he found Jared taking inventory in the hay room again. Bobby poked him in the side.
Jared woke with a start. “Hey. Quit poking me all the time.”
“You been burning the midnight oil again with Mandy?”
Jared waggled his eyebrows. “More like burning the midnight rubber. Ha. Get it? Rubber, as in condoms—”
“Yeah. I get it. Thanks for that image.” Bobby held up a hand and groaned. He glanced around. “Hey, how’d you get away from your cameraman?”
Jared grinned. “Sleeping with the producer has its benefits. Besides, I swore I wouldn’t do anything but nap until they got back. How’d you get away from yours?”
“Scared ’em away. Seems I frighten city folk, especially since I knocked Cole on his ass.” He shrugged.
Jared laughed and then rubbed his hands together like a kid whose parents had just left him alone for the first time. “So what do you want to do with our newfound freedom?”
Bobby knew what he wanted—answers. “Does Mandy have something up her sleeve?”
“Um, no? Why would you ask that?” Jared was a terrible liar.
Bobby raised one eyebrow. “Jared, I know that poker game was staged last night. And now I’m starting to think other things might be as well.”
Jared huffed out a breath and sat back down on a bale of hay. “I swear I didn’t know what Mandy was planning until after the game.”
“And what was she planning?”
“She made Christy go out on a date last night to stir up trouble for the cameras.”
Bobby shook his head, ridiculously relieved. At the same time, he was as angry with himself for being mean to Christy as he was at Mandy for thinking up the scheme. “Of all the brainless, idiotic plans.”
“Don’t get pissed at Mandy. She’s really worried about her job, and ever since Christy gave you that tape—”
“Enough with the fucking tape already. One five-minute tape of me punching Cole Ryan isn’t going to make or break this show. And if you’re so all out in love with this woman, I’d think you’d want Mandy to lose her job. You know how far L.A. is from Pigeon Hollow?”
Jared’s face fell. “I know. Don’t think I don’t consider that every damn day.”
“Then let her get fired. Marry her, have fat Gordon babies and live happily ever after here on the farm.”
“Because I’m scared as hell she’ll say no if I ask. And just as scared she’ll say yes, hate it here compared to the big city and end up hating me too.”
Bobby blew out a big breath in sympathy for his friend. “Love sucks.”
“Sure does.” Then Jared turned and looked at him closer. “You were pretty distracted last night.”
“You insinuating something?”
“Maybe. Is there something between you and Christy?”
Bobby frowned. Was there? Considering his reaction to Christy being on a date, he was afraid there was, but he’d be damned if he’d tell Jared that.
Christy hid in her room hoping to avoid her boss’s notice. Mandy wasn’t going to be happy when she found out both she and Fletch had left Bobby alone in the middle of the day.
The phone rang and she jumped. Since the phone was probably as old as the motel itself, there was no caller ID.
. Mandy would probably call her cell phone, so Christy figured it was safe to answer, though she couldn’t figure out who’d be calling her room.
“Hello?” Answering a phone without knowing who was on the other end of the call was very disconcerting.
“Hey there.” Bobby’s voice was warm and low, with not a hint of anger. It was the kind of voice that could make a woman melt. If this morning hadn’t happened, she would have melted.
“I’ve got the late shift tonight. You wanna come with me?”
He sounded like everything was fine. As if he hadn’t hurt her feelings and made her cry, but she didn’t care. It was such a relief that the anger of this morning was gone that she was willing to accept his offer. Riding around in his car was a good enough peace offering. That it was on a moonlit night was just a bonus.
She swallowed and found her voice. “Sure.”
“Good. I’ll pick you up at your motel in an hour.”
She could hear the smile in his voice and couldn’t help but wonder what had changed between this morning and now. “Okay.”
“Great. See you then.” He hung up and she scrambled off the bed.
She grabbed her cell phone as she headed over to the closet. “Fletch. Get ready. Bobby’s picking us up in an hour for his shift.”
“Sounds good. See you then.”
Christy flipped the phone closed and pulled out the dress she’d worn the night before. It may have been wasted then, but it wouldn’t be tonight. This evening, she’d wear it just for Bobby. Her heart sped, but Christy told herself she was simply looking forward to some good footage.
The night shift, even on a slow night, seemed to be far more eventful than the day shift. Fletch could break out the night vision camera and they wouldn’t miss a thing. Nighttime in Pigeon Hollow meant there was always a good share of drunken bar fights and an even greater number of couples necking at the lover’s lane by the river the moment the drive-in theater let out. Good TV.
Yup, that’s what had her excited as she waited, dressed and sitting by the door, for Bobby to pick her and Fletch up.
They rode the shift with him. Pigeon Hollow itself was no different tonight than it had been on other nights, but it seemed like the winds had shifted. There was tension in the car, but it was no longer Bobby being uncomfortable in front of the camera or even mad at her. Oh, no. There was tension of an entirely different nature now. If she wasn’t crazy, what she felt radiating off Bobby was almost sexual.
It may have had something to do with Christy sitting in the front seat next to Bobby while Fletch filmed from the back. That had been a decree from Mandy now that Christy was a so-called character in the show. Bobby hadn’t questioned the change in seating, and Christy sure as hell didn’t offer an explanation.
It may have also been that she knew Bobby had been jealous over her date with Corey. That, sick as it was, gave her confidence.
Now, his nightshift over, Bobby pulled up in front of The Hideaway. She turned to Fletch. “I need to plan the rest of this week’s schedule with Bobby. I’ll see you in the morning. Okay?”
Fletch smiled and winked at her. “Sure, Christy. Night, Bobby.”
The car door slammed and she turned in her seat to face him. And then she didn’t know what to say. He turned in his seat too.
“Christy, I want to apologize for my attitude this morning.” The sincerity of his gaze, coupled with the hand he laid on her knee had her breath catching in her throat. This time, her heart did melt.
“Thank you. That means a lot.”
He nodded. “Good. So, the schedule…
“Um. I…ah…” She couldn’t remember what she had been going to say. She couldn’t seem to think with him touching her.
“You don’t really want to talk about the schedule, do you?”
Damn, if she didn’t know better, she’d think Bobby was flirting. To hell with it. She had made up her mind. She was going after Bobby and it was going to be tonight. With Fletch safely locked in his room, she was going to land Bobby or go down trying. There would be no more dilly-dallying. She had less than five weeks left with him and she wasn’t going to waste any more of it.
With that resolve in mind, she said, “No, not really. I don’t want to talk at all.”
“That’s good. I’m not big on talking much myself.” Reaching out one hand, he stroked her face gently.
She closed her eyes and enjoyed his touch. He cupped the back of her head as he lowered his head toward hers. Her breath caught in her throat as their lips touched. She had imagined this moment so many times. The reality was immeasurably better.
When his tongue met hers his mouth was warm and tasted like the coffee he’d been drinking that night. Tangling her hands in his hair, she leaned in and kissed him until she was breathless. Bobby ran his hands down her body. He groaned when he reached her bare legs. She wanted to touch him everywhere, without the polyester uniform between then. She wanted him to touch her everywhere, without the fear of one of the crew seeing them.
Each moment the need increased until she was a needy mess.
Christy finally couldn’t take it and pulled back. “Where can we go?”
He let out a short laugh. “We can’t stay here, that’s for sure. Not with half a dozen cameramen sleeping inside.”
“I agree.” She nodded. “What about by the river?”
He shook his head. “The next deputy on duty will be checking there hourly. They’ll notice my car.”
“Jared’s hay room?” She hadn’t been able to get that vision of rolling in the hay out of her head since Mandy mentioned it.
“Besides the fact we’d be trespassing, Jared’s two farmhands both live in apartments up above the barn. And hay isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” Bobby trailed his hand down her back, sending a shiver up her spine. Letting out a sound of frustration, he pulled away and turned back to the steering wheel. “I’m taking you back to my place.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Your place meaning your parents’ house? Where your parents and your sister and your nephew all live? Oh, no.”
“Yup. And don’t forget Cole. He’s there more often than not now.”
“Have you lost your mind?” It was a serious question.
“No.” He answered her just as seriously as he started the car and pulled out of the lot. “Look. It’s late. They should all be sleeping.”
“You’ve been in my room. I’m way at the other end of the house. Everyone will have the air conditioners in their bedrooms cranked up. No one will hear a thing.”
“So you’ve done this before, I take it?” She wasn’t sure how she felt about that. Actually, yes she was. She was jealous.
He grinned wickedly. “Not since I was about nineteen. But it worked then, it’ll work now.” He took his eyes off the road long enough to look at her. “You’re jealous.”
“Yes.” Christy had a bad feeling she was pouting.
He laughed. “She’s married now with four kids and she’s as big as a house expecting the fifth. You have nothing to be jealous of.”
“Well, after the way you treated me after one ice cream with Corey, maybe I have a right to be a little jealous. Huh?”
“Yes, you do.” He nodded. “I’m sorry about that. I was wrong.”
Considering Mandy’s evil plan to get him jealous, how could Christy be mad it had worked? “That’s all right. If you hadn’t been jealous, I probably would have been upset.”
“You would have, wouldn’t you?”
He glanced at her again and reached out one hand to grab hers. “Why did I take so long to see what was right in front of me?”
Her heart skipped a beat. “I don’t know. Why did you?”
“Because I’m a stubborn fool?” He squeezed her hand.
Christy smiled. “Luckily I happen to have a fondness for fools.”
“All of them?” He swung the car into the Barton’s street and her pulse began to pound in anticipation.
“No. Just the ones in deputy uniforms it seems.”
Bobby parked the car in the driveway and realized his hands were trembling as he took the key out of the ignition. He glanced at Christy in the passenger seat and also realized there was no doubt in his mind—this night had been coming for a long time.
“Good. Let’s go.” He walked around the car and opened the door for her. They crept into the kitchen like two thieves, or more accurately, like two overgrown teenagers who needed a place to have sex