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this later.
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We both climbed out and Rowdy grabbed the fruit salad from the back seat.
At the crack of dawn he d begged me to make it, then dragged me back to bed and
made love to me again to say thank you.
Tim took the oversized ceramic bowl from him, stuck his finger under the
plastic wrap and scooped up a fingerful.  Damn girl, that s some good shit, he
said, licking any remains off his lips.
 It s not shit, it s fruit salad. I wrapped an arm around Rowdy s waist and
stuck my nose in the air while they both laughed.
 Alright, fine. I ll take this inside. Liv s around back. Tim took off for
the Boudreaux's front door.
Before we d taken two steps Rowdy came to a screeching halt in the middle
of the dirt road.
 What s the matter? I frowned up at him, worried he d been hit with a
sudden attack of nerves and decided to turn chicken.
 My guitar. He pulled his keys from his pocket and got his acoustic guitar
from the back of the truck.  I promised Liv.
Hand in hand we crossed the road and circled around to the back of the
house.
 We never did finish our talk, I said softly. The yard was full of people.
More than I could ever hope to keep straight. And at one end they d erected a
small stage complete with a tarp awning for shade.
 You worry too much, woman. Rowdy never stopped, just continued to
thread his way through the crowded back yard a step ahead of me, my hand safely
tucked in his.
 Woman? Before I could tell him how much I didn t appreciate being
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called woman, Rowdy turned around. And before I could crash into him, he
snaked an arm around my waist and pulled me near. He smiled down at me over
the edge of his sunglasses.
 Relax, Skyebaby. I got it covered.
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24. JUST LOVE ME
If not for his brother, Rowdy could have introduced Jade to Liv as his real
fianc. And wouldn t Susie just have a fit. He couldn t hold back a grin. Jade had
no idea what she was in for. He wound his way through the crowd, greeting old
friends and family--tons and tons of family. If Jade's dad wanted kids to practice
being a granddaddy to, this was the place.
 Kei? He pulled Jade to a halt in front of Keilana Boudreaux, Zander s
wife. The forensic anthropologist.
 Rowdy! She threw an arm around his neck, forcing him to drop Jade's
hand and his guitar. He kissed and hugged her then lifted two-year-old Darach
from her arms.
 Mind if I borrow him?
 Only if you introduce me. She smiled and nodded in Jade's direction
while Darach wrapped his arms around Rowdy s neck and smiled at him. With his
daddy s blue eyes and his momma s dark curls, Darach was a lady-killer in the
making. Rowdy blew raspberries on his neck until he squirmed and screamed
with laughter.
Then he introduced the two ladies, smiling at the excitement on Jade's face
over meeting a real forensic anthropologist. And introduced Darach.  Honey, this
is Forest.
 Rowdy! Kei scolded.
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He laughed at Kei s frown and Jade's questioning smile.  His middle name
is Nahele...that s Hawaiian for forest.
 Only you. Jade sighed and shook her head, then fussed over Darach
before they handed him back to his mother and moved on.
Rowdy wrapped an arm around Jade s shoulder and guided her to where
Liv stood under the porch talking to Toni.  Nervous?
 There s so many of them, Jade replied with a soft giggle.
He stopped again and leaned down to whisper in her ear, to reassure her,
but never got the chance. Someone slapped him on the back. He turned around to
see one of Jessa s brothers grin and wave and waved back. And someone else
called his name.
 Row-dy! Over here.
 I tried, he whispered, kissing her earlobe. A big crowded back yard
wasn t the place for what he had in mind anyway. Liv, Toni and Toni s daughter,
Nicholette, stood watching him, and he didn t miss the nudge Toni gave his mom.
Or the way her face lit up.
Rowdy set down his guitar case again and Liv caught him in a hug and
practically smothered him in kisses. He and Mom needed to have a heart-to-heart
soon about her public displays of affection. He grinned and hugged her back,
letting her smother him--a little.
 Liv, let the boy catch his breath, came a voice from nearby.
Rowdy forced her to let him come up for air and turned to find Jade and
Joseph shaking hands.
 Liv! Tim laughingly shouted from the porch above them, pointing in
Jade's direction.  There s the one you want.
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Jade blinked and giggled at Tim s announcement and Liv refused to let go
of him as she closed the short distance between herself and Jade.
 Well, Liv, what do you think of your future daughter-in-law? Joseph
beamed from beside Jade.
Jade s jaw tightened. Rowdy could see her working to keep her smile in
place and struggled against the urge to laugh. Lucky he still had his sunglasses on.
He got even more tickled when his mom hugged Jade, then held her at arm s
length for inspection.  I m so happy for you! Liv gushed with a big sappy sigh,
then hugged him again and continued chattering away.  She s just as wonderful as
you said. Have you two set a date?
 M-Mrs.-- Jade stammered.
 Liv, honey. You can call me Liv just like Rowdy does.
Did he put her out of her misery now or tease her?  We were thinking
early next summer. Rowdy didn t miss the slight widening of Jade s eyes.
 Oh, a June wedding would be so sweet. Liv squeezed his side and smiled
from him to Jade.
 No! Jade shouted, causing a few people to turn and stare.
 No? Liv quizzed.
Rowdy looked at Joseph and shrugged as if to say  women .  We don t
have to get married in June, honey. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]