The Cowboy's Virgin Baby Momma - Page 54


“Meaning the last time I looked at a woman the way you do Paige…I married her.” Bubba grinned.

Once again, the image of Paige, dressed in white, carrying a bouquet of pink roses, and smiling like the sun as she walked down the aisle of the First Baptist Church of Haven, flashed in Austin’s mind. Strangely, it didn’t scare the fuck out of him this time.

Forcing a chuckle, he shook his head. “Never gonna happen. That would put a whole new spin on shotgun wedding. Unfortunately, me and Paige would be the targets.”

“I know. That’s why you have to be careful,” Bubba soberly reminded as sat down at the bar.

Gina hurried up to them with a cheery smile. “What can I get you two handsome gentlemen to drink?”

“Are you sick or something?” Bubba scowled.

“No. Why?”

“You called us handsome and gentlemen, too,” Bubba teased with a huge grin.

“Take the fucking compliment, you old goat,” Gina playfully scolded. “Beer or booze?”

“Beer.” Austin smirked.

“Two please. One for the handsome young stud, and one for the old goat beside him.” Bubba winked.

Gina rolled her eyes, laughed, and turned to fill their order.

“Speaking of handsome. Who’s the stranger Paige is dancing with?”

“Oh, that’s the new ranch hand Raymond hired.”

Ranch hand? She didn’t say anything to me about a fucking ranch hand. Why?

“His name’s Johnny Tassel,” Bubba continued. “His granddaddy and Nelson have been friends for years. Anyway, the boy moved in with them last Monday.”

Moved in? Monday? The same night she stood me up? Son of a bitch. All the flirty texts she’d sent me were nothing but a fucking game!

Bile rose in the back of Austin’s throat. The meatloaf he’d had for supper felt like a brick in his gut. Turning his head, he studied Paige, still dancing with Johnny to a rowdy Alan Jackson tune. She didn’t look a thing like the woman who’d shattered his gullible heart over a decade ago. But then again…was there really a way to spot a cheater?

Only when it’s staring me in the face, like now.

That realization hurt as much as lumping Paige’s behavior in with all other women.

But honestly, what was he supposed to think? She’d spent the last week flirting her ass off with him over the phone. Clearly, she’d been lying her ass off or she wouldn’t be laughing and dancing it off with the prick now living with her and Raymond.

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice… Yeah, that’s not gonna happen, little girl.

Thankfully, he hadn’t done anything really stupid, like lose his heart.

Right. Keep telling yourself that, asshole.

Ignoring the voice howling with laughter in his head, Austin clenched his jaw and watched Johnny pull Paige to his chest. A dirty smirk tugged his lips before he whispered something in her ear. Paige tossed back her head and laughed before she slapped his arm and spun around. The skirt of her dress billowed, exposing her long slender legs—which Austin ached to wrap around his neck, shoulders, and waist—as her stare locked on him.

Surprise exploded over Paige’s face, followed by a megawatt smile.

Austin held his breath, waiting for the telltale flash of guilt to skip over her face before she slid an icy mask of indifference in place, then laughed in his face.

But she didn’t. Paige simply stood in place, beaming with joy.

Wait. She’s actually happy to see me?

It was a shocking but comforting blow to his psyche.

Beside her, Johnny stopped dancing, then followed Paige’s line of sight before pinning Austin with a mocking glare. A second later, he moved in front of Paige, severing their connection.

Fury joined the tumultuous emotions pinging through Austin’s system. But he forced a smile and thanked Gina when she placed a mug of beer down in front of him. He’d barely lifted the rim to his lips when Paige rushed in beside him.

“Hey,” she breathlessly greeted.

Her blinding smile and heated stare obliterated his doubts and insecurities.

“Hey.” He smiled.

“Evening, Miss Paige. Excuse me,” Bubba said, rising to his feet. “I need to hit the men’s room. Feel free to keep my seat warm if you’d like. Dinner’s not sitting well…I might be a while.”

Darting Austin a warning look, the big guy lumbered away.

“I’m so happy you’re here,” Paige whispered. Easing onto the stool beside him, she briefly closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. “You look and smell…amazing. God, I’ve missed you so much.”

Maybe she’s not like all the rest.

“You took the words right out of my mouth, little girl.” He subtly leaned in closer and breathed her in.

“Why’d you run off, darlin?” Johnny asked, sidling in on the other side of Paige and slinging a possessive arm over her shoulders.

As he stood beside her, sizing Austin up, Paige scowled at Johnny’s hand—now cupping her shoulder—before wriggling free and inching closer to Austin.

Protection mode on full alert, he gently splayed his palm to the small of her back and pinned Johnny with a stare that screamed, Touch her again and I’ll throw you a beatin’.

“We came here to dance the night away. Remember?” Johnny wheedled. “There’s finally a slow song playing—”

“Thanks for pointing that out.” Austin grinned as he slid his arm around her waist and lifted Paige off the barstool. “Let’s dance.”

As he ushered her, blinking and stuttering, to the dance floor, Johnny barked out, “Hey. I meant with me.”

“What are you doing? Have you lost your mind?” Paige whispered tersely.

Tags: Jenna Jacob Romance
Source: Copyright 2016 - 2024