Tied up, tied down, p.29
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       Tied Up, Tied Down, p.29
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         Part #4 of Rough Riders series by Lorelei James
Page 29


  “No kidding. ”

  Skylar froze. Not only were these women confiding something incredibly personal in her, neither of them realized Eliza’s existence was due to lack of a condom. Which meant Kade hadn’t told anyone the down and dirty details about their initial encounter.

  “Oh, crap. ” Macie clapped a hand over her mouth and raced out of the tent.

  “Poor thing. I’ll see if I can’t track Kade down for you,” AJ said.

  Skylar’s respite was short-lived. A gorgeous woman with legs up to her armpits, sporting the dark McKay hair and sparkling blue eyes approached her.

  “This is the girl muscling in on my territory. ”

  “Excuse me?”

  “Can I hold her?”

  “Maybe you oughta introduce yourself first,” Chassie suggested from behind her.

  “Oh. I’m Keely McKay. ”

  “Ah. The prodigal McKay daughter,” Skylar said. “I’ve heard about you. ”

  “Don’t believe any of it. All lies perpetrated by my brothers and cousins to distract everyone from their wild ways. ”

  Skylar handed Eliza to her and Keely cradled the baby like a pro.

  “Oh, lookit you, beautiful girlie-poo. Whoa, she really looks like Kade. ” Keely displayed a dazzling smile. “No offense. ”

  “None taken. ”

  “So, Skylar, you own Sky Blue? I love that store, especially the essential oils. I always stop and load up whenever I’m in town. I never see you in there. ”

  “I’m usually at the manufacturing plant in Moorcroft. ”

  “Well, India rocks. She is amazingly talented to boot. ”

  Talented was always the tip-off. “Where’d she tattoo you?”

  “On my butt. ” Keely mock-whispered, “Don’t tell. My mother would have a cow if she heard about the big red lips tattooed on my derrière. ”

  “Your secret is safe with me. ”

  “Cool. Don’t mention the McKay brand inked on my hip either. ”

  Sky motioned zipping her lip. “You said whenever you’re in town. You don’t live here?”

  “No. Right now I live on the road. Middle of September I’ll be back in Denver to finish my sports medicine degree. ”

  “Sports medicine? What kind?”

  “I’m specializing in physical therapy for cowboys who participate in the various pro rodeo tours. ”

  “Which means Keely is in her glory, surrounded twenty-four/seven by hot bull riders, bronc busters, and cowboys wickedly good with ropes. And she gets to put her greedy hands all over their sweat-slicked, muscled, half-naked bodies all the time. Bitch,”

  Chassie added good-naturedly.

  “Oh, that’s rich, Chass, coming from the woman who’s married to one of the hottest guys in the world. Now that he’s off the market I’ll never get to do him. ”


  “Puh-lease. You know I’ve had it bad for Trevor my whole life, since he’s best buds with Colby. And you had to go and marry him. So now he’s essentially my cousin, and I’ll never know firsthand whether he’s as good at ridin’ out of the saddle as he’s rumored to be. ”

  “Trust me, the rumors don’t do him justice. ”

  “Bitch,” Keely shot back.

  Chassie laughed. “Now lemme hold her. ”

  Skylar’s head spun. She didn’t know whether to laugh or run. How would she ever get a handle on this family’s dynamics? It seemed they were in each other’s business all the time. Talk about boisterous. And nosy. Did any of these people hold back any personal emotions or thoughts? Or was everything common knowledge?

  Kade isn’t blabbing near and far about the two of you, a prim voice reminded her.

  And if she was totally honest, she was utterly charmed by this wild, crazy and fiercely loyal family.

  “So when are you and Kade getting married?” Keely asked.

  “Um. I-I—”

  “I know he’s asked you. ”

  Skylar’s eyes narrowed. “How?”

  “Because he’s Kade. He’s never brought a woman to a McKay family function before. He’s Mr. ‘Do the right thing’ more so than any of my brothers, well, except for Cam. Plus, he’s been waiting for the right woman to settle down with for years. He’s always wanted a family of his own. If anyone deserves it, Kade does. ”

  What makes you think I’m the right woman? Would I be here if not for Eliza?

  A man sauntered in, garnering Keely’s attention, keeping his back to Skylar. “Way to ditch me, babe. ”

  “My brothers giving you a hard time again?”

  “Ya think? Started out with arm wrestlin’. Then I hadta prove my skill with a rope, and a horse, and a rifle, a pistol, and a shotgun. This was all after I did crack of dawn chores with Cord, Colby, Colt, and your dad. ”

  “Poor baby. ” Keely kissed him. “Carter cut you some slack?”

  “Only because he’s friends with Jack, who’d happily kick his butt for messin’ with me. ”

  “Yeah? My money is on Carter. Your brother Jack is such a know-it-all, pompous, self-righteous, jerkwad, asshat. ”

  “Hey, now, that’s my kin. ”

  “At least I didn’t call him Jack- off like I usually do. ”

  Skylar couldn’t help but grin. Keely reminded Sky of India, that same in-your-face personality laced with a rapid-fire wit.

  The man pointed at the baby in Keely’s arms. “Whose kid is that one?”

  “My cousin Kade’s. This is Eliza’s mother, Skylar. Skylar, my boyfriend, Justin Donohue. He’s suffering through the McKay family dramas for the first time too. ”

  “Pleased to meet you, ma’am. ”

  Skylar didn’t know if she was more taken aback by his chivalrous hat tip, or that the cowboy was one of the best-looking men she’d ever seen. Blond-haired, green-eyed, with a smile to rival the devil’s. Chiseled features envy of the Marlboro man, and a muscular frame that’d make a body builder jealous.

  When Keely saw Skylar’s thoroughly justified inspection of Justin, she waggled her eyebrows and gave a thumbs up behind Justin’s back.

  Chassie rolled her eyes.

  Sky withheld a chuckle. “Where are you from, Justin?”

  “South Dakota, originally. Now I spend my time in Texas when I’m not on the tour. ”

  Tour? Was this guy a musician? He sure looked like he’d be at home on the stage in front of thousands of adoring female fans. “Which tour?”

  “The Professional Bull Riders tour. ”

  “Oh. Really?”

  “Justin is bull rider, ranked twenty-three in the world standings. He’s my cousin Chase’s traveling partner. We met when I did my stint with the PBR and I worked on his injured shoulder. ”

  “Keely saved my season. I’d be out if not for her. Except, I suspect her brothers are tryin’ their damndest to kill me, not just re-aggravate my injury. ”

  “Better not mention me sneaking out to see you in the bunkhouse last night, huh?

  They’d really be putting the boots to your very fine ass. ”

  Justin hissed, “Will you keep it down? They have loaded guns. And I know they ain’t afraid to use me as target practice. ”

  Keely balanced on the tips of her funky cowboy boots decorated with flames and rhinestones, to whisper something in Justin’s ear. His face burned beet red. He grabbed her hand and hauled her outside.

  “Before you ask, yes, she’s every bit as wild as you’ve heard. ”

  “Chass, hon, you have a minute?” Trevor yelled into the tent.

  “Hang on. ” Chassie passed Eliza back to Skylar. “Duty calls. See you later. ”

  Skylar was alone again. It was a bizarre feeling to consider these people were Eliza’s family; yet, they weren’t Sky’s family.

  They could be if you’d say yes to Kade’s proposal.

  She had been thinking about it, but like India had p
ointed out, Sky never did anything impulsively. And what was the hurry? They were already living together. She meandered into the yard and saw groups clustered everywhere. A few she recognized—

  Kade’s father and his uncles. Older women. A few guys a decade younger than Kade with the same coloring who had to be more cousins she hadn’t met yet.

  “Amazing, isn’t it? All these good-looking men. Most of them still single. Makes you wonder what’s wrong with them, doesn’t it? Besides the fact they’re ornery cowboys. ”

  Sky turned. The woman was as plain looking as she was plainspoken. Stick straight mousy brown hair nearly hid her heart-shaped face. She wasn’t tall; she wasn’t short. She wasn’t fat; she wasn’t skinny. She was sturdy. A woman who’d blend into the background. The typical Wyoming ranch wife. “Have we met?”

  “No, but I’ve heard all about you. I’m Libby McKay. Quinn is my husband. I’d introduce you to him, but he abandoned me like he always does. ”

  “Kade disappeared too. ”

  “Better get used to it. Then again, you’ve proven your worth by popping one out, and a girl McKay at that. Wow. Quite an accomplishment. ”

  Skylar didn’t know how to respond. It made her wonder if she’d acted aloof when talking to Kade’s assorted family members. Was constantly searching for Kade’s familiar face considered rude? Is that why this woman felt she’d found a kindred spirit? Or was there another reason behind her bitterness?

  “Sorry. That was totally uncalled for. I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately.

  Quinn always complains that I wouldn’t say shit if I had a mouthful. ” Libby smiled and it was genuinely sweet. “Congratulations on your baby. She’s gorgeous. You must be thrilled. ”

  “I am, thank you. Do you have children?”

  “No. Probably why I’m so defensive about it, huh?”

  Again, Sky kept quiet.

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