Holidays With the Walker Brothers (9 page)

BOOK: Holidays With the Walker Brothers
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love you, Zoey.”

I love you,” she whispered, fighting the urge to give in to sleep as she
listened to Kaleb’s breathing slow.

him gently, she tried to rouse him.

he murmured.


chuckled from behind her. “Of course you are.”


Chapter Twelve






seen Jessie?” Brendon’s question was apparently directed at everyone in the
bar, and surely, if Jessie was in the room, she would’ve heard him. Zane hadn’t
seen her, but didn’t feel the need to mention that. Brendon would figure it out
soon enough.

had gathered at Moonshiners for a pre-Christmas get-together, including Zane’s
father, Curtis. For the last half hour, his brothers had been playing pool and
keeping the conversation to a dull roar, the Walker family and friends taking
up most of the available space in the back of the small bar.

seen her,” Travis called out, his hand on the pool stick. He was eyeing the
ball, but Zane knew no matter how hard his brother concentrated, he wasn’t
going to beat V at this game. She’d proven time and again that she could kick
all their asses and quite frankly, she made him proud.

again, everything she did made him proud.

her, Zane listened to Beau and Sawyer chat about nothing in particular while
Gage and Kaleb argued over whether or not the Dallas Cowboys were going to do a
damn thing anytime soon. Yes, they were devoted Cowboys fans around these
parts, but honestly…

didn’t care much for football talk. At least not tonight.

his mind was overwhelmed with his own issues. He was beginning to get nervous
that he hadn’t found the perfect gift for V, even though he’d spent a full
eight hours online browsing through every damn place he could think of and
still he’d come up empty.

the hell was he going to be a decent husband if he couldn’t even pick out a
gift that his fiancé would love?

his father asked, slapping Zane on the back as he joined him at one of the
corner tables.

up at Curtis, Zane considered asking his advice. After all, the guy had spent
half a century with the same woman and managed to keep her around after seven
boys. He had to be doing something right.

am I supposed to get V for Christmas?” he blurted, clearly having made a
decision to approach his father for help.

do you want to get her?”

she wants,” Zane replied simply, tipping his beer to his lips and taking a long
pull, his eyes glued to his father’s face. Any minute now he expected to hear
profound wisdom, something that would help him find that memorable gift that
would make V love him all the more.

does she want?”

won’t tell me,” Zane admitted.

booming laugh echoed through the bar and half the folks crowded in the small
place turned to look in his direction. “You expect her to tell you?”

the hell not?” he asked, his displeasure evident in the tone of his voice.
Obviously approaching his father for help wasn’t going to get him anywhere.
Unless being laughed at counted.

Curtis said, his voice low, his expression serious, “I won’t admit to knowing
everything about women, but I can tell you one thing. If you go with your gut,
search with your heart, she won’t be disappointed in you.”

hell. That didn’t tell him dick.

been married to your mother for over fifty years, and although you might not
believe it, there was a point in our lives when money was scarce. We were two
stupid kids in love without a pot to piss in. I could barely afford to pay the
electric bill, much less buy her something fancy for Christmas. But, let me
tell you something, kid,” Curtis’ voice descended another octave as he
continued, “it’s not about the price, it’s about the love behind it.”

stared at his father, took in his weathered face, and studied his expression.
About the love, huh?

his head in understanding, because truthfully, for the first time in weeks,
Zane felt as though he might just pass this first hurdle. If it was about the
love, well, he had love in spades. Especially when it came to V.

don’t go killin’ yourself trying to figure it out. And that lil’ lady over
there,” Curtis said, tilting his head in V’s direction, “she loves you
somethin’ fierce. Which is all that matters.”





pretended not to notice Curtis and Zane sitting off in the corner by
themselves. It was clear by their body language, their conversation was a
personal one and considering the solemn way Zane had been acting lately, she
couldn’t say she was surprised.

inadvertently overheard a phone conversation between Zane and Beau just last
week, and from what she gathered, he was worried about what to get her for

giving away the fact that she knew, she’d been trying to reassure him. Little
did the stubborn cowboy know, but she had all she could ever want for
Christmas. She had him. The love she felt for him was so overwhelming, sometimes
she felt as though her heart just might explode.

to have been welcomed with open arms into his family, there wasn’t a single
material thing that could ever top that sort of feeling. No jewelry, no
clothes, not even a fancy car. Nothing compared to having someone love you as
much as you love them. It took V a long time to accept that, but now that she
had, well, she knew she would never let it go.

woman,” Travis growled. “Can’t you take pity on a guy? I’m tryin’ to impress
some people here.”

moved around the table and pulled her up against his side, giving her a brief,
brotherly hug.

if you want some advice, you might wanna try something else. You suck at pool.”

laughed, pretending to push her away. “Why don’t you tell me how you really

chose that moment to show up at the table, his arm around Jessie, who
apparently had shown up as requested.

here to impress someone too?” she joked.

to look at Jessie then back to V, Brendon smiled. “I think I can take you

the room had been waiting for this moment. She and Brendon were known to play
several games and according to the Walker boys, it was like a death match,
everyone hanging on the edge of their seats watching to see who would go down

as she was going to answer, Zane walked up beside her, pulling her against his
side and kissing her forehead. “Don’t mess with my girl,” he said to his
brother. “She’ll kick your ass every time.”


would never tire of Zane calling her that.

she hummed as she tilted her head back to look at him. “I’m pretty sure I can
take him, but I’ll take a kiss for good luck.”

should’ve known that Zane Walker wasn’t capable of a sweet, innocent peck on
the lips. He turned her to face him, his arms still banded around her body as
he dropped his mouth down to hers. When she would’ve pulled away – public
displays not necessarily her thing – he gripped the back of her head and
plundered her mouth with his tongue.

that’s all it took.

few long seconds later, weak kneed and anxious, V had to wonder just how in the
hell she was going to be able to focus after that.

could only hope something would distract Brendon, or she was definitely





grabbed his own pool stick that he’d brought with him, ignoring the community
one that Travis had just discarded. Moving around the table, his eyes tracked
Jessie who had instantly headed across the room to where Braydon was standing
alone near the wall.

brother was acting awfully strange these days, he noticed. In fact, he’d been
acting strange for weeks now, and for the life of him, Brendon had no idea what
could be wrong. The only sound conclusion he’d come up with was Braydon was
reacting to Brendon’s ridiculous jealousy. Something he’d been paying attention
to since the last time Jessie came to the house.

to Braydon lately hadn’t produced much information either, which wasn’t typical
for his twin. Of the two of them, Braydon was certainly much more open than
Brendon was when it came to talking about himself. But, no matter how he played
things out in his head, he couldn’t understand what might be bothering Braydon.
Unless it had something to do with their relationship with Jessie.

wasn’t like the guy wasn’t getting laid on a regular basis, or so it seemed. Up
until the last few weeks when Jessie began trying to distance herself from
them, Brendon was lucky he had his brother because shit, he had a damned hard
time keeping up with her.

was something else. Smart, beautiful, so damn sweet, and sexy as hell… but
despite all of those wonderful qualities, there seemed to be something missing.
What, he had no idea. They spent time together, though that was less and less
frequently these days. And most of the time, she was the one coming up with
excuses. Not that he could blame her entirely for the rift that was developing
between them because he certainly wasn’t pushing her.

the beginning of their relationship, he’d been gung ho, wanting to spend as
much time with her as possible and the feeling seemed to be mutual. For
whatever reason, they hit it off and the chemistry between them was off the
charts explosive. And the firestorm that erupted between them was still hot
enough to burn them both to a crisp, but the initial lust had fizzled to more
of a friendship. Or so that’s what it felt like for Brendon.

for a while, he’d felt a little smothered. And he’d had to take a step back to
realize that Jessie wasn’t at fault. In fact, since day one, she’d insisted on
taking things slow. Slower than he had expected. But as time had passed, they
seemed to be moving backward instead of forward.

the balls on the table, Brendon mapped out his game, watching V as she
continued to sink ball after ball into the pocket she called. He could only
hope she’d mess up because that was when he could take over, potentially
sweeping the table. With her, he needed to be one up at all times. And with his
attention continuing to move back and forth between Jessie and the table,
Brendon didn’t think he was going to be much of a match for V this time around.

turn,” she called as the handful of people standing around groaned that she’d

out everything in the room, Brendon focused on the table. Lining up a shot, he
sank his ball and moved around, grabbing the chalk as he did. He had to take
his time, this wasn’t like playing these amateurs that would line up for an
opportunity to make a fool out of him night after night. Didn’t seem to matter
that the only person – save for some freak miracle – who could beat him
regularly, was V.

at the waist, Brendon set his pool stick against his fingers, his sights
running down the length as he gauged distance and angle. Just when he reared
back to sink the shot, a woman spoke, and he floundered, missing the cue ball
entirely and damn near face planting into the table.

up, he expected to see the woman who’d been plaguing his dreams as of late
because the voice sounded so familiar. Tipping the side of the cue ball with
his pool stick, Brendon realized his mistake.

voice wasn’t that of Cheyenne Montgomery, but then again, why the hell would
she be in Coyote Ridge? It wasn’t like she’d ever even been back since her
impromptu Mother’s Day visit as a favor to Travis. And if anyone would know, it
would be Brendon. He thought he saw her or heard her everywhere. Sometimes in
the strangest of places. 

country music star wasn’t known to frequent this part of the world often. But
he couldn’t seem to convince his brain of that.

V whispered as she passed by him, “you all right?”

he wasn’t all right. He wasn’t sure he’d ever be all right again. At least not
until he managed to get Cheyenne out of his system one way or another. For

bit his tongue, not saying a word. He couldn’t. There was nothing he could say.
It wasn’t like he could explain his predicament to V. She was friends with
Jessie and no matter what was going on between him and Jessie, he certainly
wasn’t going to let another woman interfere. Not even the memory of a woman who
had come into his life like a whirlwind and then disappeared just as quickly as
she’d arrived. And for the first time in Brendon’s life, he’d been the one
watching her walk away.

tall, he backed away and let V take over the table.

his mouth shut because the last thing he wanted to do was to make a fool out of
himself right here in front of all these people, Brendon glanced over to where
Jessie stood, leaning close to Braydon. Much closer than he would’ve expected
them to be in a public place. It wasn’t a secret that Brendon and Braydon
shared their lovers; however, when they were out, they didn’t usually make a
public spectacle of their lifestyle.

BOOK: Holidays With the Walker Brothers
6.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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