Queen of the Cougars

Emelina Flores and her sidekick Pinks were tucked into a corner table at the Mixed Grill, a bottle of Spanish wine half gone and two glasses of red sitting in front of them.

“So this term, cougar?” Em ventured.

Davis’s lips tipped up. “Yeah, Em?”

“Is it a derogatory term?”

“Nope.”

“No?”

“Well, I’ve never thought so,” he assured her. “I’m sure Tansy didn’t like it when Scarlett tossed out the term when, ya know, it came out about us and that one-night stand, but heck, I spent a good few months of my life praying Tansy would cougar me up, so—no—not a derogatory term at all.”

“Hmm.”

“Hmm what?”

“Well, that’s a young man’s perspective. A young man who was interested in an older woman.”

“Right.”

“But certainly Scarlett casting that label onto her sister was not complimentary.”

“Under the circumstances, no. That was not said in a complimentary vein.”

“So, it’s a perspective thing.”

“Maybe. You worried about your reputation now that you’re officially a cougar?”

Em twirled her glass.

“Em?”

Davis watched as her lips twisted. “Dear boy. At my age the term cougar is a compliment no matter how it’s being directed. Except by my son, perhaps.”

“Hale seems to take your antics in stride.”

Em raised one brow. “The man has fathered a child at the age of fifty-two. It wouldn’t serve him not to take my antics in stride. He’s the apple, I’m the tree he hasn’t fallen far from.”

“And Vance?”

Em leaned in. “Vance is the bad apple. Though Piper has that apple by his, ah, stem, shall we say.”

Pinks laughed out loud. “Em. Seriously. You kill me.”

“No laughing matter.” She smirked. “Think about our family tree, will you? If I’m a cougar in her seventies, my son is fathering children in his fifties, and my grandson’s name is synonymous with the word womanizer, what in heaven’s name is my dear sweet great-grandson going to be known for?”

“Huh. I see where you’re going with this.” Pinks took a sip of wine. “Of course, Piper is Vance, Jr.’s mother with a lot of good stern lawyer penchants, so perhaps a dose from the Beaumont gene pool will help mellow out the vibrant, overly stimulated Evans gene that’s been passed down.”

“Dear boy,” she sighed, thinking. “What will they ever put on my tombstone?”

“Em. That one’s easy.” Pinks lifted his glass and toasted her. “She was loved by many.”

Emelina’s brows shot up. “Could be interpreted in several ways.” She thought a moment. “I like it.” She clinked her glass against Pinks. “‘Loved by many’ it is.”

They drank.

“You’ll see to it that gets done, correct?”

“You got it.” Pinks moved his hand as he recited each word. “Loved by many.” He took another sip of wine. “That, or Queen of the Cougars. It’ll depend on my mood.”

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