Make Me Crazy (Loco, Texas)

BOOK: Make Me Crazy (Loco, Texas)
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Make Me Crazy

Book 1: The Loco, Texas Series

Codi Gary

 

Published by Books With Benefits Press

 

Copyright
2013 Codi Gary

 

ISBN 978-0-9910863-4-4

http://bookswithbenefitspress.com

 

License Notes:

All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. This book is a Books With Benefits Press publication.

 

Dedication

 

This Book is for My Grandparents

R.E. and Charlotte Roullett

I miss you and I love you!

 

Acknowledgements

 

This book wouldn't have been possible without the following people:

April Oglesbee and Amber Wise for taking a chance on me!

Ellie McDonald for giving it to me straight and sweet!

Jackie Hatcher for being my fluffy!

Thank you everyone for your friendship and support!

 

Chapter One

 

The Watering Hol
e
was one of several bars in Loco, Texas but for some reason, it was a favorite among the ranchers and cowboys that populated the town. Maybe it was the old wooden floor that made slapping noises as boots walked across them or the relaxed atmosphere the old dive bar gave off. It didn’t matter what it was, it was the place where Miranda “Rand” Coleman liked to wind down and let off some steam.

And right now, her brain was like a pressure cooker about to blow.

Red Calhoun spewed his beer all over the table. “Did you just say married? You?”

Rand’s jaw clenched. The last thing she needed was her two pain in the ass best friends making a big joke out of her predicament. Especially in the middle of a bar, which, besides church on Sunday, was a breeding ground for gossip. It surprised Rand how men could sometimes be worse than women when it came to spreading stories, but she didn’t want to take any chances of this news getting out; it was too humiliating.

 “Will you shut up? I don’t want this getting spread around and you know how this town is.”

 
“So do we congratulate you or send you our condolences?” Jake Hansen teased, his green eyes twinkling with such a mischievous light that made Rand itch to throw her beer at him.

Instead of violence that would probably get her thrown out, she just glared at him with enough heat to curdle milk, but he continued to smile like a simpleton.

Damn him and that gorgeous smile, he just thought he was too cute for words. Okay, so he was really nice to look at with his sandy brown hair and green eyes. Just because she wasn’t interested in men didn’t mean she couldn’t appreciate a pretty face, but the one large drawback to Jake was his tom-catting ways. Not that she was interested in women; she just didn’t want any romantic entanglements. Romance lead to falling in love which lead to crying and heart ache. That’s what the first six years of her life had taught her, and she had no desire to repeat her mother’s mistakes. She’d stick with cows.

 
Red scratched his head and remarked, “I just don’t get why old man Coleman would stipulate you getting married. You’ve worked your ass off for that ranch since you were a kid.”

Rand pointed her beer at him with appreciation. “Thank you! See, a man who gets it.”

“So who’s it gonna be,” Red asked, his robin’s egg blue eyes scanning the room as if trying to pick someone randomly and Rand found herself studying Red. From the Roman nose to the square jaw, he was a good looking guy too. Red hair cut short drew more attention to the wide linebacker shoulders and muscular arms, all thanks to being bullied first by his four sisters, and then the kids at school for his name, his chubby frame, and his hair. Once high school hit and Red shot up to six-foot four and all that fat melted into a wall of muscle so thick Quarterbacks wet themselves when they saw him coming onto the field, the bullying stopped. At least from non-family members.

 
Rand looked away from Red to study the rest of the bar patrons and a bad taste formed in her mouth. There wasn’t a man in this room she would ever live with except for maybe Jake, but only because he didn’t snore like Red and had basic table manners. 

Neither man was a viable candidate though. Red would expect her to do all the cooking and cleaning, the big ox. Hell, his mother, bless her, still did his laundry. He was loyal to a fault and had a sweet side deep down. Way deep.

Wasn’
t
worth having to wash Red’s dirty socks and drawers for
a
year thoug
h
.

Jake was a clean guy. His single mother would have taken a whip to him for making a mess and leaving it for her. Jake wouldn’t treat her like a maid.

 He also wouldn’t be able to keep it in his pants long enough to say I do.

Not that she would care usually, but it was only a year long commitment and the last thing she needed was to marry a man who would run around town with anything in a skirt, and have it get back to her granddaddy’s lawyer. For all intents and purposes, the marriage had to look real. No cheating, no living separately, and pretending like they were happy as clams.

Fat freaking chance of that!

She downed the last of her beer and shrugged her shoulders. “Hell if I know. Ain’t a man I’ve met that I’ve thought about spending the rest of my life with.”

“Not even Branson Alexander,” Jake asked seriously, watching her like he was trying to puzzle out an answer to some well hidden secret.

The subject of Branson wasn’t a secret though. She just couldn’t talk about the son of a bitch without feeling humiliated. Standing abruptly, she snapped, “Y’all want another?”

“Yep,” the two men said at the same time. Rand walked towards the bar, acutely aware of the male dominated atmosphere. Men surrounded her on a daily basis, but now, with her granddaddy’s will and everything it placed on her mind, it was like she was seeing every man for the first time.

And most of them were disgustin
g
, she thought as she watched Jamison Kendrick spit his dip into an empty beer can and caught Bubba Laurie scratching his privates through his jeans.

No way. No way in hell. There had to be a way out of this clause. She agreed with Red about her granddaddy being out of his mind. Her whole life he had taught her to depend on herself. So why would he tell his uppity Yankee lawyer that she would lose The Double C if she didn’t marry in the next three months? Three months! Why hadn’t he just given the ranch away? How the hell was she going to find a man she could stand in so short a time? And worse, one that would stick around without wanting part of The Double C?

 “So, what do you think?”

Jake raised an eyebrow at his best friend. “Bout what?”

Red huffed. “About marrying Rand.”

The statement was so ludicrous, Jake started choking. When he could breathe again, he wheezed, “The hell?”

Red shrugged. “I’m thinking about it. The Double C is a nice spread and it beats working at the garage.”

Jake blinked at his best friend. Red worked at the only mechanics garage in town and was a bit of stagnant guy. He didn’t seem to have any other goals besides making it through the week. He definitely hadn’t ever been interested in ranching or cattle that Jake knew of before ten seconds ago.
  “You want to run a cattle ranch?”

“There are worse things.”

“You’d have to marry Rand!” Jake hadn’t meant to sound so appalled, but Rand was…well, Rand. He loved her, God knew he did, but like a sister. A bratty irritating sister.

He tried to picture his best friends married, and the thought made him smirk. Red was a good guy, but growing up with four sisters, he had little patience for “nattering.” Rand wouldn’t natter, but she sure as hell wouldn’t wash his dirty drawers either.

“Rand’s cute in her own way. And we’ve been friends forever, so it’s not like I’d have to be on my best behavior,” Red said, the casualness grating on Jake. Marriage was serious business, not something you just jumped into because the other person was used to your habits.

“I’d give it a day before you two were brawling it out.” Jake watched Rand smile at something Bubba said at the bar. He had to admit, if she put the effort in, she’d be a looker, but Rand would have razzed anyone who had suggested make-up and a dress.

“Come on,” Red broke into his musings, waving his hand toward her, “you’ve never thought about what she might look like naked?”

“I’ve seen her naked. Remember truth or dare and her granddaddy’s pond?” Jake said it trying to be funny.

“We were fourteen and she was twelve. She didn’t even have boobs yet.” Red protested.

“No, I have never thought of Rand like that. Ever.” Jake saw her heading back with their beers and added, “And if you suggest marriage to Rand, I guarantee a black eye or a busted nose.”

Rand set the beers down and asked, “What are you yahoos talking about?”

“Your future husband.” Red said, reaching for the bottle. “You know, if you need help learning how to be a girl, I could talk to my sisters.”

Rand stared at Red in horror before remembering to scowl at him. She was a girl; she just didn’t get all giggly and swoony like some of the dingbats in town.  Besides, the last thing she needed was all four Calhoun sisters invading her house to pinch, prod, and paint her. “Thanks, but I’ll be fine. It’s only for a year right?”

That’s what Mr. Cranston, her granddaddy’s lawyer, had told her anyway, although he would prefer it be a true marriage. Impossible. People didn’t fall in love in three months outside of romance novels and romantic comedies. Or if they did, it was fleeting. Getting to know someone took time, and time was something that was just not a luxury she had.

Unless…no, even if they offered, she couldn’t accept it. If she married either Jake or Red for convenience sake, who would she go to complain to when her temporary husband pissed her off?

She tried to think of a few likely candidates, but in a town like Loco, Texas, pickings were slim. A small town of about 1,200, at least seventy-five percent of those were men, but of those only a handful of acceptable prospects came to mind.
  Doctor Jay Patterson was one of the best choices. The young Veterinarian was new to town, he seemed like a nice guy, and she’d never seen him scratch or spit.

Leaning back in her chair, she smiled to herself. As far as candidates went, it wasn’t a bad start.

The next day, Jake stood on Rand’s porch with a paper sack of beer, a pizza, and a couple of movies he picked up at  Movie Madness Video. It was a long standing tradition for Jake, Rand, and Red to have genre movie marathons on Saturday nights unless one of them had a date. Well, unless Jake and Red had a date. He couldn’t remember Rand ever going out with anyone.

He opened the door, not bothering to knock and yelled, “Hey Rand, I’ve got the goods.”

“I’ll be out in a bit! Is Red with you?”

He set the sack and pizza down on the counter of the kitchen and Rand’s cat meowed at him. He ignored the pest and looked around the house, noting the old crown molding was still there, despite the improvements Rand had been making. He’d always admired this house, having grown up with just his mom and brother in an old double wide. It wasn’t much, but it was home.

 “Nope, said he had something to do tonight.” He called as he cracked open a beer.

“Lame.” She came around the corner in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, her long brown hair woven into a simple braid. Reaching into the bag, she pulled out a beer and asked, “What movies did you get?”

He held up the choices and she grinned. “Horror huh? I gotta tell you that is a relief because if you had brought me anything with romance in it, I think I’d lose my mind.”

Jake could tell she was stressed by the way she yanked on her braid. It was her tell, her give away when something was bothering her, and, if she’d been any other woman, he’d have reached out to give her a hug. Rand wouldn’t appreciate his finer gentlemanly qualities though, so he just said, “If you want to talk…

“Hell no. I want to watch horror movies, drink beer, and for a few hours, not think about anything except how stupid the victims are.”

“Fair warning, the theme is remake horror. See the next generations take on the classics,” he said, pulling paper plates and napkins from the bag.

 “Remakes suck.” She said, making a disgusted face.

“Then you can boo and hiss the whole time.” He countered, giving her a return face.

With a small smile, she picked up the pizza box. “Let’s go then.”

Following her into the other room, he noticed Rand’s legs really were nice. Long and slim, heading up to a firm, tight…

Holy hell, what was he doing? Why was he checking out Rand’s ass all of a sudden
?
It was all this talk about marriage and commitment. He’d never looked at Rand that way before, except for maybe her senior year, when she had been interested in that jerk wad, Branson Alexander. Jake knew she didn’t like to talk about it, that something big had gone down between the two of them, but he had never asked. He figured if she’d wanted to share, she’d have done so long ago, but for a few weeks, he’d noticed a softness about her that had made her seem…well, at times, lovely.

“Hey, Jake?” Rand broke into his thoughts, standing by the desk in the corner, she fiddled with a paper in her hands. “If I show you something, do you promise not to make fun of me?”

 “Never,” he teased, trying to make her smile, but she looked so tense he wanted to kick his own ass for messing with her. “Sure, what’s up?”

She came over and sat down next to him, handing him the paper with a sigh. He could feel the heat of her body so close to him, and the smell of some kind of fruity shampoo. How had he never noticed how good she smelled?

“It’s my list of must haves for my husband,” she blurted, sitting stiffly next to him, waiting for him to laugh.

Under normal circumstances, he probably would have, but she looked so vulnerable, with her big brown eyes pools of liquid chocolate and her lower lip trembling. Looking away from her to peruse the list, he said, “You expect him to have absolutely no interest in the Double C?”

BOOK: Make Me Crazy (Loco, Texas)
2.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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