Taking refuge in his room to escape the anger, shock, and in Dallas’s case, excitement ricocheting in the air downstairs, Beau closed his bedroom door and sucked in a ragged breath. After plopping down on his bed, he scrubbed a hand through his hair and exhaled a heavy sigh before dragging out his cell phone. Checking his email, he prayed his agent had found him an event before the PBR Global Cup in Vegas next month.
“Nothing. Great,” Beau groused.
Pocketing the device, he began to pace. Being home between competitions to spend time with his brothers was always a treat. But Haven was still as boring and uneventful as ever. It was driving Beau a little crazy. Not as crazy as his dad, who’d not only grown grouchier since his last visit but had also clearly lost his fucking mind. The restless hum inside Beau was grating on his last nerve. He missed the bright lights and bustle of big cities. Missed the never-ending parade of buckle bunnies vying for the chance to spend a wicked night of bars, booze, and bedroom Olympics with him. Though he’d only been home a week, Beau was tired of jacking off and ready for some excitement.
Unlike his brothers, he didn’t have any friends with benefits in Haven. It probably wouldn’t be hard to find a sexy, willing woman to get naked with, but he’d been gone so long he had no idea which girls were wrinkling the sheets with the Grayson brothers these days.
“I guess I’ll have to find out,” he mumbled.
After snagging his keys off the dresser, he bounded down the stairs. As he strode past the living room, Beau caught sight of his dad, sitting alone in his recliner, staring off into space, wearing a bewildered expression. Losing their mom had been hard on Beau and his brothers, but losing his wife, his soulmate, had been hell on their dad.
“You all right?” Beau asked, wondering why he’d bothered to pose the question.
His dad glanced up and jerked his head, wearing an all too familiar stern expression.
As usual, his dad didn’t waste words on Beau. Why would he? Beau was the black sheep, the disappointment, the son who’d shirked the responsibility to help keep the ranch running and ran off to ride bulls. Beau didn’t share the same father-son bond with the old man like his brothers. He and his dad had been butting heads since the day Beau was born. His mom always said it was because they were cut from the same cloth. But Beau never saw a single similarity between him and his dad. Duke Carson was stoic, demanding, and set in his ways. He was also content to live out his days on the ranch, breeding and branding bovines. As far as Beau was concerned, he and his dad were as different as night and day.
Like his brother Dallas, Beau wanted to leave small town Haven in the dust. But instead of hanging around, waiting for fate to escort him out of town like Dallas, Beau had started busting broncos in middle school—despite his dad’s loud and disparaging objections. Two years later, he’d won first place at the Texas State Fair. He’d hoped that achievement would win his dad’s approval and encouragement, but it hadn’t. While that stung, Beau finally decided he didn’t need his dad’s approval and started training to become a professional bull rider.
Tamping down the animosity still pulsing in his veins, he stepped into the living room.
“I’m heading to the Hangover for a cold beer and a game of pool. You wanna come along?”
His dad’s brows slashed as an angry scowl crawled across his face. “Why would I want to go out and celebrate another anniversary without your momma?”
Biting back a roar, Beau clenched his jaw.
“I didn’t mean it like that, and you know it. Why do you always twist my words around to make me the bad guy?” Before his dad could respond, Beau held his hand up. “You know what? It doesn’t matter. I’ll see you later.”
He turned on his heel and stormed away, slamming the door behind him. Cursing under his breath, Beau climbed into his truck and headed to town. He was still spewing obscenities as he pulled to a stop in front of the Hangover. After killing the engine, Beau closed his eyes and dragged in a deep breath, then slowly released it.
Long seconds later, he leaned forward and gazed up at the stars. “We’re not cut from the same cloth, Mom. He’s always going to be oil and I’m always going to be water.”
Leaving his resentment in the truck, he entered the bar. Immediately, a hum of whispers drowned out Cody Johnson on the jukebox, singing about all the hell he’d caused the lips he’d kissed. Painting on an affable smile, Beau tipped his hat as he passed Annette Sommers, Gretchen Kingman, and Sylvia Dreyfus, who were eye-fucking his dick off and nearly drooling all over their ample cleavage. The gossip guild had inauspiciously dubbed them the linoleum sisters because they were so easy to lay.
Look your fill, ladies, ’cause that’s all you’re getting. I know how many men have been in the saddle with you kinky queens. I have zero desire to be added to that list.
“Well, well…look what the wind blew in.” Gina Scott, the thirty-something owner, grinned as she filled a frosty mug from the tap. “How long you planning to stay?”
Beau returned a smile and nodded in thanks as she placed the brew in front of him. “Not sure. Few days…few weeks. Depends on what my agent can line up for me.”
“Well, I hope he doesn’t find anything soon. It’s good to have you home.”
“Thanks,” he replied, wishing he could share her sentiment.
He tipped back the mug, delighting in the cold liquid spilling over his tongue and sliding down his throat.
“Hey, man. Welcome home,” Nash Grayson greeted, clapping him on the back.
“Thanks.” He grinned, genuinely happy to see his friend from high school. “How’s life been treating you?”
“Same as always. You shouldn’t be up here drinking alone. Come on over and join us.” Nash nodded toward a table toward in the back where his long-time girlfriend, Megan Butler, and her BFF, Gemma Macon, were tossing back shots.
“Yee-haw,” Megan yelled as she slammed her glass on the table and launched from her chair.
As she twirled around dancing, she began singing along to “Lovin’ On You”blaring from the jukebox. Beau’s gaze locked on her denim-clad, gyrating heart-shaped ass and full breasts swaying beneath her snug knit shirt. To his surprise, Gemma had filled out in all the right places since high school.
“It’d be my pleasure.” And hopefully hers as well.
After grabbing his beer, Beau followed Nash to the table. As Beau drew closer, Gemma spun around and froze. Her pretty brown eyes grew wide in surprise.
“Oh my god,” she breathlessly cried, placing a hand on her heart. “Beaumont Carson…is that really you?”
“In the flesh, darlin’,” he assured as Nash leaned over and captured Megan’s lips in a passionate kiss. Beau smirked and turned his focus on Gemma. “How you been?”
“Good,” she replied before grabbing another shot off the table and tossing it back. After licking her lips, she moved in close and lowered her voice as she flashed him hungry smile. “But I hope to be doing a whole lot better before the night’s through.”
“We might be able to arrange that, on one condition.”