Strong Silent Type(4)

By: Lorelei James


Damn him.

To top it off, Quinn had worn her favorite shirt, the one she’d bought him for Christmas, navy blue with pearl-snap buttons and white stitching around the pocket flaps. The cut of the material showcased his wide shoulders and broad chest. The sleeves hugged his muscled biceps, every bulge earned the hard way from manual labor required to run a ranch. The dark fabric emphasized his coloring, his blackish-brown hair, the long, thick, sooty lashes surrounding his mesmerizing blue eyes.

Those intense eyes locked onto hers. Quinn gave her the unsure smile she hadn’t seen in ages. Her heart thumped harder.

“Hey, Libby. You, ah, look good. Real good.”

“Thanks. What’re you doing here?” A panicked thought crossed her mind. “Did someone die?”

“No.” He paused. Frowned. Seemed highly flustered. “It’s sorta sad you’d think that’s what it’d take to get me to come around.”

Libby shrugged. “You haven’t come around.”

“True enough. But last time I checked, the roads run both ways, darlin’ wife.”

She notched her chin higher. “What do you want?”

“You.”

Her stomach did a swoopy roll. “Excuse me?”

He kept leaning against the driver’s side door, hands jammed into the pockets of a new pair of dark blue Wrangler jeans, his going-to-town boots crossed at the ankles. “I’m here ’cause I’m waitin’ for you.”

“Why?”

For a second, his shoulders tensed. Then he pushed away from the car and ambled toward her. “Because I don’t like you dancin’ with other men.”

Taunting him usually had no effect. No matter how pissed off he might be, Quinn McKay never caused a scene. Never acted improper or impulsive in public, which was why his outburst in the bar last night had thoroughly confused her. Hell, he rarely acted improper or impulsive in private. So, she couldn’t help the flip, “Oh. Is that all?” to see if she could goad him into another heated reaction.

“No, that ain’t all. I’m also here to remind you that you’re my wife and I don’t share what’s mine.”

A chill skittered through her at his possessive tone. “I didn’t think you cared.”

“You thought wrong. Now dump your stuff in the back of the truck and get in. We’re goin’ home.”

Libby’s jaw dropped. The book bag hit the dirt. Her temper skyrocketed and her voice escalated. “Just like that? You think after three months of ignoring me and our problems that you can just show up and…command me? I’ve got news for you buddy, not happening. Too little, too late.”

A heavy pause lingered. She expected him to remind her to lower her voice. She didn’t expect him to lower his head until her face was shadowed beneath the brim of his ever-present cowboy hat.

“Wrong answer. Better late than never is my new creed.” Quinn peered into her eyes so closely she felt his breath fanning her lips. “I agreed to give you the space you demanded, Libby. Now I can see that was a fool-headed mistake on my part. So you’re gonna rectify it.”

“Me? How?”

“By givin’ me the second chance I deserve.” Quinn lifted his hand to her face. It shocked her to see that strong, capable hand trembling. He dragged the back of his rough-skinned knuckles down her cheek. “Please.”

Oh God. When was the last time Quinn said that simple word to her? And meant it?

Libby stared at him, puzzled, yet unable to squash that last bit of hope. Was she seeing new determination in the eyes of the man she’d loved most of her life? A man she swore she knew straight to the bone?

“Libby?”

The soft, gruff way he’d spoken her name as a question, not a demand, tore at her resistance. “What?”

“Spend the weekend with me. Just you and me.”

“And what happens come Monday morning?”

“We’ll take it one day at a time and see how it goes from there.”

“If I agree to the weekend, you’ll give me time to think it over next week? No matter what happens?”

“Yep. I promise. No pressure.”

Perfect. She’d be in Cheyenne at the state librarian’s conference next week. It’d allow her physical and emotional distance from him, and time to put it all in perspective, no matter how the weekend turned out.

You’ve got nothing to lose. This is the chance you never thought you’d have.

“Please. Come home. I, ah, managed to fix supper.” A sheepish smile was there and gone again. “Nothin’ fancy, just fried potatoes and sausage. But I sure would like to share a meal with you tonight.”

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