Authors: Amie Stuart
Once In A Blue Moon
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON Copyright © 2015 Amie Stuart
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NEVER SLEEP WITH A BOY FROM BLUEBONNET
After a decade in the business, I’d discovered hairdressers are a breed apart and I pretty much stuck with my own kind. However, this Friday night I ditched the girls to see Asleep at the Wheel playing at the Bluebonnet Dancehall.
Now, normally I avoided anything to do with Bluebonnet, Texas, even the dancehall that carried its name and sat right on the highway. After all, its good citizens are the ones who blessed me with my nickname--"Bad Betti." I’ve been Bad Betti since the fifth grade. That’s when I started to blossom, as they say. There’s nothing worse than being the only girl in the fifth grade who wears a bra, except living in a small town and being the only girl in the fifth grade who wears one.
By my freshman year I’d swelled to a 36D and stayed there. My wide hips, long curly hair and green bedroom eyes didn’t help matters either. I was, to borrow a phrase, "built like a brick shithouse." Every boy from ninth grade on up, and a few dads, had made passes at me. And then there was that whole "daughter of the town drunk" thing. Get a reputation in a town like Bluebonnet—population five thousand and change—and it sticks. I could become a United States Senator, come home for a visit and they’d still call me "Bad Betti Blanchard."
I will admit to making a mistake or three, but I wasn’t
I was tired and cranky, and the smell of perm solution still lingered in my nose. I cursed fussy clients who made me late and the crowded parking lot as I squeezed my Mustang into a hole three pickups down from the dumpster.
Dressed in a shocking pink, knee-length halter dress and three-inch heels, I topped six feet easily and in a dancehall full of rednecks, I stood out like a whore in church.
God love small towns.
I snorted softly, taking in the denim and plaid wearing crowd. With a deliberate swing to my hips, I tuned out the stares and strolled through the crowd to the bar. I wormed my way into a small space, shouting out my order for a gin and tonic. The bartender quickly obliged, and I threw a ten on the countertop, waving away the change she offered.
Up on stage, the band was going full tilt and I cursed myself again for being late. I’d never get a good spot. I’d seen them a few other times around San Antonio and Ray and the boys weren’t to be missed. The only thing better, in my opinion, was Joe Ely with or without The Flatlanders.
Being tall did have its advantages. I finally spotted Tim Caldwell at the railing near the stage, and with a smile, he let me squeeze in front of him.
Cardinal Rule of Womanhood Number One:
Never Sleep With a Boy From Bluebonnet.
Guys had a lot of nerve calling women gossips, let me tell you! The only time after high school I’d broke that rule was with Tim, and to this day, we were still good friends.
Cardinal Rules Two through Four:
Be Discreet; Have Fun; Keep It Light.
This had allowed us to part friends, and I’ve successfully done so with almost every man since him.
"How’s it going, sugar?" The deep rumble of his voice tickled my ear. That man could give a gigolo lessons on flirting!
"Fine, and you?" I gave him my flirtiest smile and batted my lashes at him.
He just grinned.
"Thanks for letting me in, Tim."
"Anytime." He graced me with another wicked grin and we watched the band a while, his hands massaging my shoulders. I was tired, and his strong thumbs deftly untangled the knots between them. And reminded me I hadn’t had my itch scratched in at least six months.
When the band took a break, I smiled over my shoulder. "Busy later?"
"‘Fraid so. Happen to notice that pretty lady workin’ the bar?"
I nodded. He shrugged.
"Why, Tim Caldwell, you’ve been bit!" I couldn’t hold back a chuckle.
The look on his face said "bite your tongue" or worse, but I just grinned. He was a good man, despite his penchant for mischief and a wicked sense of humor, and I genuinely liked him. Being easy on the eyes was a plus. He was well-filled out and well over six feet with jet-black hair and tanned skin that contrasted sharply with pale blue eyes. His goatee, now tinted with gray at the edges, hid some very talented lips and an easygoing smile.
"Hush your mouth, girl."
I smirked and drawled, "Well, well, well."
"Toni would skin my ass." He ducked his head and laughed. Tim knew he couldn’t hide anything from me. "Ty’s available," he said, eyebrows raised suggestively.
My heart stopped. I’m sure the shock on my face showed and prayed nothing else peeked through. No one but my sister, Angelina, knew about my thing for Ty. I’d loved Ty Boudreaux since the sixth grade, but he’d only had eyes for Rhea. At that time, she was Rhea Carmichael, and to be frank, she was no better than I was, but don’t tell her that.
"So, he’s officially a free man?" I noted, eyelashes lowered. I’d heard the rumors that they’d split up.
. He could use some cheering up too." Tim nodded to some point behind me.
I glanced over my shoulder. The crowd had thinned enough that I had no problem spottin’ the love of my life. My heart did a little dance and my insides hummed along.
He sat at a table with his brother and a tiny brunette with Cher-hair. Ty looked like he’d lost his best friend or worse. He looked so pitiful I wanted to go sit by him and lay his head on my chest...and maybe run my fingers through his hair. Instead, I opted for "casual yet concerned," scared to death Tim would see more than I wanted to reveal.
Turning to Tim, I frowned. "Are you sure a woman is what he needs tonight?" Even as the words escaped my mouth, my head screamed "No!" while the rest of me begged
"Yes, Yes, Yes!"
Rule Number Five:
Women in Love Do Stupid Things.
"Positive." Tim nodded, reassuringly. "The best thing to do when you get thrown is climb back in the saddle."
"Gee, thanks. Now I’m bein’ compared to a saddle."
"Now, girl, you know what I mean. Rhea...well." Tim frowned, as if he couldn’t find the right words. "It was bad, Betti. Real bad. Come on now. Restore his faith in womankind."
I laughed at his attempted humor and sipped my drink, my mind working overtime. I didn’t want to be a rebound thing, but, well, see rule number five. I wanted him. Always had.
Casually turning for another peek, I discovered he was headed our way. I took a deep slow breath, resisting the urge to fan myself. I’d always wondered if his dark blonde hair, currently hidden under a battered straw Resistol, was as soft as it looked. Maybe now I’d get the chance. Wranglers clung to his narrow hips and accentuated everything. His short-sleeved shirt exposed muscular, tanned forearms and broad shoulders. Taller than I, but shorter than Tim, Ty looked solid as a rock.
Ranch work had certainly done its job.
Where Tim’s face was chiseled angels, Ty’s was sculpted curves topped off with Brad Pitt lips. You know the kind—full and ripe. Tonight they were pursed and nearly hidden beneath his goatee. You could feel his bad mood a mile away.
"Hey, Bettina," he snapped once he reached us.
"Hi, Ty." I smiled, trying to sound casual.
"Would you run me home?" he asked Tim.
"Why don’t you hang around a while? The band’ll be back soon," I blurted out. I could have kicked myself. Looks as if I’d earn this year’s award for the ultimate in insensitivity. Like he cared about a band after the day he’d had.
He just shrugged and buried his hands in his pockets. Smiling, I patted the spot beside me at the railing. Ty looked at Tim, then back at me, his expression unreadable.
"Tell ya what, I’m gonna run to the girl’s room, and you think about it." I patted his arm and took off, not wanting to put him on the spot. Or seem desperate.
When I got back, Ty stood with an elbow propped on the narrow railing. I frowned at Tim, who shook his head and shrugged, apparently as clueless as I. The band took the stage again, making talk almost impossible as they sang and interacted with the crowd.
"Work your magic, girl. I gotta run."
I just nodded. Tim patted my ass and took off. The crowd around us grew thicker until barely an inch separated Ty and me. Being so close to him made focusing on the band difficult at best.
I couldn’t help myself. I gave in to the urge and touched him. He looked over his shoulder at me, his expression going from unreadable to the slightest of smiles. I winked and continued to slowly scratch his back until he relaxed and turned back to the band. What I really wanted to do was wrap my arms around him and nibble on his neck.
About twenty minutes into the set Rhea’s best friend, Melyn Cooley, went flying by on the dance floor in the arms of one of our local scumbags.
Ty turned and pinned me down, his green eyes narrowed. "I need to get outta here."
Honestly, he looked as if he might explode. I studied him, trying to figure out if he wanted to be alone or not. He quirked an eyebrow at me and held out his arm. I supposed not and didn’t blame him; not sure I’d want to be alone the night of my divorce either.
"Where are we going?" I asked once we got outside. Other than noise from the nearby highway, it was eerily silent after being inside a loud bar.
"I don’t care," he sighed. "Where are you parked?"
"Back here," I said, indicating the rear of the bar while sneaking a peek at him.
"Lead the way."
I picked my way through the gravel, using Ty’s arm for support. Full dark by now, the muggy July air enveloped us by the time we reached my car. A lone light-pole near the road barely reached the back of the parking lot, and I fumbled a bit before getting my door unlocked. The car’s overhead light barely pierced the shadows. I tossed my purse in the back floorboard and turned. Ty still stood at the back of the car watching me.
I slowly walked toward him and gently reached up to rub his biceps beneath the material of his shirt, afraid he’d hear the erratic tattoo of my heart. His skin felt warm and smooth beneath my fingers. "Are you sure you’re alright?"
"I’m sober, if that’s what you mean. But I don’t really feel like bein’ alone."
He pressed closer and my heart sped up. Ty felt as good as he looked and a deep ache grew between my legs as my case of nerves changed into something hotter. At the same time, I felt bad, as if I were taking advantage of him. I stood still and waited to see what he’d do. He slipped the Resistol off and leaned in. I moaned in anticipation, startled as his lips brushed mine.
His denim-clad legs trapped me against the car as his lips went from gentle to punishing. Forcing my mouth open, his tongue surged inside, demanding and fierce.
I returned his kiss but allowed him to lead. I could sense his pain and hurt, and remembering Tim’s words, let him punish my lips. My natural aggressiveness made holding still difficult, but I did. I wanted to run my fingers through his hair, to claw his back and bite him. Instead, I let my hips rub against his, speaking for me.
Ty jerked away, gasping for air. "Let’s go."
"Where to?" Fully aware of my hardened nipples and the ache between my thighs, I rubbed my bruised lips and prayed he wouldn’t up and leave me high and dry.
"I don’t care. Your place?"
We made the ten-minute drive through the town’s dark narrow streets in silence. Pulling into the driveway, I killed the engine, thankful my sister hadn’t come home from college for the weekend. I climbed out and waited as a subdued Ty followed me. I had no idea what was going on in his head.