One Hot Cowboy WeddingBy: Carolyn Brown
Shhhh! It’S a Secret!
That line had run around in Jasmine’s mind all day on a continuous loop. She imagined two little girls playing out on the grassy lawn with their Barbie dolls and it was a secret where Barbie and Ken were going for supper.
Then two middle school girls in her bedroom gossiping about boys, and it was a secret.
Oh, the secrets she and Pearl had shared through the years, and now she had one that she couldn’t share with anyone, not even Pearl.
“No one in Texas is ever going to know. Not even Pearl. I’ll go home and everything will be the same.
I’ll wake up Monday morning, open the Chicken Fried Café, and business will go on as usual and by then I’ll forget al about this wedding. It’ll be a secret, alright, but between me and Ace, and no one else will ever know.” She talked to herself as she flopped her suitcase on the hotel bed and unzipped it. Her hands were shaking. A fine bead of moisture covered her upper lip, and second thoughts were about to smother her plumb to death.
She and Ace had taken different flights. He’d flown out of Dallas on Friday and gotten their rooms. She’d arrived late Saturday afternoon and caught a taxi to the hotel. It was down to the wire, swim or drown time, red light or green light. Her hands were clammy and sweat was pooling up around the band of her bra. Nervously, OneHotCowboyWedding.indd 1
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she looked at the clock. The hands whipped around so fast that it made her dizzy. Where had the time gone?
She took a quick shower, washed and dried her long, dark hair, and applied makeup. Then it was time to dress. Thank God the plane had been on time or she would have been rushed. She couldn’t have stood a dose of nervous and one of hurry- up at the same time.
The dress was white satin, tight fitting, and stopped at the knee. Filmy illusion was attached to a white Stetson hat in a big bow with the streamers hanging to her waist. It was sprinkled with pearls and edged with lace. The shoes were white satin with beadwork on the high heels. But Jasmine didn’t feel like a bride. She felt like an imposter.
A rapid rat- a- tat- tat on the door said the time was up. She opened the door to find Ace smiling from ear to ear and holding a black Stetson. He was damn sexy in his black Western- cut jacket, creased black Wranglers, and white shirt unbuttoned at the collar. His blond curls were almost tamed with a healthy dose of gel, but a few still escaped to float playfully on his forehead. But then it was common knowledge that Ace Riley was a player so he would know exactly how to dress, how to swagger, how to use that Texas drawl, and how to smile to attract the women.
He braced an arm against the doorjamb and let his gray- blue eyes slowly scan her from high heels to Stetson. That didn’t surprise Jasmine either. Flirting came as natural to Ace as breathing. The first thing he did when he walked into the café was scope it out for new skirt tails; the second was turn on the charm.
“Whew! You clean up pretty damn good, Jazzy.” OneHotCowboyWedding.indd 2
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One Hot Cowboy Wedding
His sexy Texas drawl was deep, and his words came out slow. Most women melted when he walked through the door and swooned when he opened his mouth. He’d never affected Jasmine that way, not until that moment.
She’d seen him before in dress jeans and crisply ironed shirts but never as fancy as he was that day. Most of the time he came into the cafe in his scuffed work boots, faded jeans, and shirts with the sleeves cut out; the barbed wire tat around his arm was a constant reminder that he never intended to let a woman anywhere near his heart. A motel bed or her bed, yes, but never his heart or his bedroom.
“Those are two places I’m saving for the love of my life if I ever meet her,” he’d told Jasmine once while he was eating hamburgers in her kitchen.