Home > Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4)(12)

Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4)(12)
Abbi Glines

I pulled out of the driveway and turned toward the club. Blaire and Bethy seemed like two completely different people. The idea of them being friends didn’t fit. “How did you and Bethy become friends?”

“We worked together one day. I think we were both in need of a friend. She’s fun and free-spirited. Everything I’m not.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “You say that like it’s a bad thing. You don’t want to be like Bethy. Trust me.”

She didn’t argue with me. At least she knew that Bethy was not someone to imitate. When she didn’t say anything else, I focused on getting us to the club and not staring at her legs, which she’d just crossed, making her skirt even shorter. Blaire had great legs. The little bit of sun she’d gotten on the beach made her skin glow.

The idea of those legs wrapped around me made me tremble. I kept my eyes on the road, and when she shifted, I didn’t look down. She was moving her legs. Damn.

When I parked in front of the office, she opened the door immediately and jumped down. Shit. Was she moving to let Bethy into the passenger seat? I didn’t want Bethy next to me.

Blaire had started for the door when it opened, and out stepped Bethy, dressed like she charged for sex. Red leather shorts? Really?

“What the hell are you doing in one of Rush’s rides?” she asked, looking at the Range Rover and then back at Blaire.

“He’s going with us. Rush wants to check out a honkytonk, too. So . . .” Blaire glanced back at me.

“This is seriously going to cramp your chances of picking up a man. Just saying,” Bethy said, as she walked down the steps. Then she paused and took in Blaire’s outfit. “Or not. You look hot. I mean, I knew you were gorgeous, but you look really hot in that outfit. I want me some real cowgirl boots. Where’d you get those?” No shit. She looked fu**ing amazing. I hadn’t spent time around Bethy, but I liked the fact she wasn’t too catty to admit that Blaire looked amazing.

“Thank you, and as for the boots, I got them for Christmas two years ago from my mom. They were hers. I had loved them since she bought them, and after she got, after . . . she got sick, she gave them to me.”

My chest constricted. I hadn’t known they were her mother’s. Fuck. I’d been thinking about doing naughty things to her in them, and they were a memory from her mother. I felt like an ass.

“Your mom got sick?” Bethy asked. Apparently, they hadn’t talked much. Or was I the only one Blaire had told about her mom?

“Yeah. But that’s another story. Come on, let’s go find us some cowboys,” Blaire said, waving off her question. She wanted to find a cowboy. Damn, that made it hard to breathe. She wouldn’t have a hard time finding a man with a pulse. They were all going to come running when they saw her. I couldn’t hinder her fun time. She’d never let me come with her again.

Finding a way to stay close and watch her without getting in the way was going to be tricky. And hard as fuck. I was going to want to rip the arms off anyone who touched her. I wasn’t making any promises if someone touched her ass. It would be on then.

Bethy sauntered toward the Range Rover, grinning at me like she knew my secret. Then she walked past the passenger door and opened the door to the backseat. “I’ll let you ride up front, because I have a sneaky feeling that is where the driver wants you,” she said, as she let her hair fall over her face and winked at me.

Huh. This girl wasn’t so bad after all.

Blaire climbed back into the front seat and smiled at me. “Time to get our country on,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Rush Finlay going to the honky-tonk. My, my, my, what a funny thought,” Bethy said in an amused tone that said she understood exactly why I was here.

“Funny,” I agreed. “Where we headed, Bethy?” I asked her, to distract her from going any further with the teasing and embarrassing Blaire.

“Head toward the Alabama line. It’s about thirty miles that way,” she told me. I’d figured it had to be a drive. No places in Rosemary Beach or its surrounding areas were where you would find honky-tonk patrons.

Bethy talked about work that day and all that Blaire had missed. Some drama with cart girls. Apparently, one had the hots for Jimmy, who was a server in the restaurant at the club. She got mad at another girl because she was flirting with Jimmy. Jimmy was well loved among the cougars at the club, too. Problem was, Jimmy preferred men. It was a big secret, because Jimmy liked the tips he got from the older female members. So they were all wasting their time. Most people didn’t know he batted for the other team.

Blaire found this funny, and I enjoyed listening to her laugh. I even turned the music down so I could focus on what she was saying to Bethy. She tried to include me some, but mostly she listened to Bethy talk.

We pulled up in front of a bar I recognized. I should have known we were headed here when Bethy had said to head toward the Alabama state line. This wasn’t just any bar. It was a famous one. Rednecks from all over made their way here to have a beer.

Blaire opened her own door before I could get to her. I decided to back off some and let her enjoy herself. At least the best that I could. I walked beside them as Bethy explained about the bar and why it was famous. After opening the door to the bar, I stepped back and let the girls enter. Blaire’s eyes were wide as she took in the place. Bethy explained that the live band would start up soon, and Blaire’s smile got bigger. I didn’t look around. I knew men were checking her out, and I wasn’t sure I could handle it. I kept my focus on her. Then Bethy mentioned tequila shots. Bad idea.

I moved behind Blaire and placed my hand on her back. She might not realize it, but it showed possession, and these as**oles needed to know I was with her. I led the girls over to an empty booth farther away from the dance floor. The music was so damn loud I couldn’t hear Blaire’s soft voice.

Blaire slid in on one side, and I made sure to stand so that Bethy had no choice but to push me aside or sit across from Blaire. Then I slid in beside Blaire. Bethy didn’t miss my move and shot me a glare. She wanted Blaire to hunt for cowboys tonight.

I wasn’t going to make that easy. Even if Blaire wanted to,

I wasn’t sure I could physically allow her to without beating some ass-wipe’s head in.

“What do you want to drink?” I asked, leaning down toward Blaire’s ear so she could hear me. And so I could smell her.

“I’m not sure,” she said, and glanced over at Bethy “What do I drink?” she asked her.

Bethy looked surprised and laughed. “You haven’t been drinking before?”

No, she hadn’t been drinking before. Could Bethy not look at Blaire and be able to tell this?

“I’m not old enough to buy my own alcohol. Are you?” she asked sweetly.

I was so glad I was here. The idea of this happening without me here to protect her made me ill.

Bethy clapped her hands like she was giddy with delight at the idea that Blaire was a complete innocent. “This is gonna be so much fun. And yes, I’m twenty-one, or at least my ID says I am.” She looked at me. “You need to let her out. I’m taking her to the bar.”

Like hell she was. I looked at Blaire, ignoring Bethy. “You’ve never had alcohol?” I asked, already knowing she hadn’t.

“Nope. But I intend to remedy that tonight,” she said with determination. Too damn sweet.

“Then you need to go slow. You won’t have a very high tolerance,” I explained, then turned to grab the arm of the waitress walking past us. I had to feed Blaire first. “We need a menu.”

“Why are you ordering food? We’re here to drink and dance with cowboys. Not eat,” Bethy said angrily.

She could f*ck off. I wasn’t going to let her hurt Blaire. Drinking could hurt her if not done right. If Bethy wanted to argue with me, then we were gonna have a problem. “She’s never drunk before. She needs to eat first, or she’ll be bent over puking her guts out and cursing you in two hours’ time.

Bethy waved her hand at me as if I were talking Chinese. “Whatever, Daddy Rush. I’m going to get me somethin’ to drink, and I’m getting her somethin’, too. So feed her fast.”

The waitress was back with the menu, so I took it and turned my attention back to Blaire. “Pick something. No matter what Diva the Drunk says, you need to eat first.”

Blaire nodded agreeably. She didn’t like the idea of getting sick, either. At least she was cautious. I was thankful for that much. Bethy, not so much. I didn’t like her getting close to Bethy.

“The cheese fries look good,” Blaire said almost too quietly.

I wasn’t going to waste time. Bethy had left for drinks, and I wanted the food in Blaire fast. I motioned the waitress over. “Cheese fries, two orders, and a tall glass of water,” I told her.

She nodded and hurried off. I felt better knowing food was coming. And that I was going to watch her eat. It was screwed up that I wanted to watch, but the peanut-butter-sandwich thing was fu**ing with my head.

“So you’re at a honky-tonk. Was it everything you hoped it would be? Because I’ll be real honest, this music is painful,” I said, leaning back and looking at Blaire. I hadn’t really paid attention to the country music since we’d walked inside. I had been more concerned with getting Blaire food.

She shrugged and looked around us. “I just got here, and I haven’t drunk or danced yet, so I’ll let you know after that happens.”

She wanted to dance? Fantastic. “You want to dance?”

“Yes, I do. But I need a shot of courage first, and I need someone to ask me to dance,” she said.

“I thought I just asked,” I said. I wanted to be the one who held her during those slow country songs. Not some drunk cowboy.

Blaire leaned forward and put her elbows on the table, then propped her chin up on her hands before looking over at me. “You think that’s a good idea?”

I didn’t have to ask her why she would think it wasn’t. We both knew what happened when we touched or got too close. I lost control. She wanted a friend. Nothing more from me. She was smart. “Probably not,” I admitted.

She nodded.

The waitress slid the cheese fries in front of us, along with a mug of water that was nice and frosted. Blaire quickly reached for a fry and took a bite.

I couldn’t keep from smiling. “That’s better than peanutbutter sandwiches, isn’t it?” I asked. She grinned and nodded, picking up another fry. I wasn’t going to be able to eat. She was too damn fascinating.

“I figured I should start you out easy,” Bethy said, sliding back into her side of the booth. “Tequila is a big-girl drink. You’re not ready for that yet. This is a lemon drop. It’s sweet and yummy.”

Shit. She was bringing her shots. What was wrong with beer? Girls always went for those sweet shots and ended up trashed so damn fast. “Eat a few more fries first,” I encouraged Blaire.

She didn’t argue with me. I watched her eat a couple more, and then she reached for the lemon drop. “OK, I’m ready,” she said, smiling at Bethy. They picked up their drinks together and put them to their lips. I watched as Blaire tipped her head back and drank the too-sweet liquid. She was going to like it. I didn’t know how I could handle a drunk Blaire.

“Eat,” I said when her eyes met mine over the glass.

She pressed her lips together, and then a giggle broke free. She was laughing at me now. One fu**ing drink, and she was giggling.

“I met some guys at the bar,” Bethy told her while eating her fries. “I pointed you out, and they’ve been watching us since I sat down. You ready to make a new friend?”

Oh, f*ck no. I moved closer to Blaire, fighting the urge to hold her in her seat. She wanted to do this. We were here for her to have a good time.

Blaire nodded and glanced up at me.

“Let her out, Rush. You can keep the booth warm for us in case we come back,” Bethy said, sounding annoyed with me again.

I didn’t want to do this. She was safe here with me. If I could smell her sweet scent, then that douche watching her could, too. Fuck, I hated this.

Blaire’s eyes were hopeful, and I could see she was excited. I couldn’t keep her from this. She’d missed so much. Reluctantly, I slid out of the booth and let her out.

“Be careful. I’m here if you need me,” I whispered in her ear as she walked past me. She nodded and looked back at me like she might be changing her mind. I’d whisk her out of here so fast. All she had to do was say the word.

“Come on, Blaire. Time to use you to get us free drinks and men. You are the hottest sidekick I’ve ever had. This should be fun. Just don’t tell these guys you’re nineteen. Tell everyone you’re twenty-one,” Bethy said.

My hands clenched into fists as I sat back down in the now-empty booth.

“OK,” Blaire said.

I couldn’t watch her go over there. I wouldn’t be able to stay away.

I wouldn’t look. I wouldn’t look.

Ah, hell, I was gonna look. I had started to turn around when a blonde walked over to me and sat down on the table in front of me. “You so don’t fit in here,” she said, with a Southern drawl that was thicker than usual.

I glanced back at Blaire. She was smiling up at some guy with curls. Fuck. She was happy, though. He wasn’t touching her. She looked like she was enjoying herself. I had to let her do this. If I didn’t need to drive them home, I would get drunk. It would make this much easier to deal with.

“She yours?” the girl asked, sliding her leg over to dangle beside me.

I turned back to her. “No. She’s . . . we’re friends,” I explained.

The blonde leaned forward, presenting me with a view of her large and very bought-and-paid-for tits.

I was an equal-opportunity kind of guy, so I had no problem with that. Nice tits were nice tits. Hers were nice. I just wasn’t interested. I had Blaire to watch out for.

“She’s crazy to run off with someone like him when she has someone who looks like you sitting here waiting on her,” the girl said, moving her leg closer to me.

I looked back at Blaire, who was talking to the other guy now. Bethy was with the one with the curly hair. Blaire seemed fine. I had to stop watching her. “She’s, uh, never been to a bar before. She’s exploring things,” I said, turning my attention back to the blonde.

The blonde moved her leg up to set her heeled foot on the seat beside me. I glanced down to see a direct view up her skirt. Red panties. Nice.

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