The Return of Cash….

The entire patronage of the Mixed Grill turned a blind eye when Cash Carraway walked in wearing denim. He wasn’t a member, he didn’t know the rules, although there was a good chance that even if his brother Crain had mentioned the dress code, he’d chosen to ignore it. Because the way Cash wore his jeans, snug and low, his button-down a slim fit showing off interesting bulges—it’d be a shame to make him put on loose khaki shorts and a polo. Not to mention that the straw cowboy hat he held wouldn’t work with that preppy country club getup at all.

The women who had the pleasure to be eating lunch in the grill ate up his thick thighs and lean, muscular torso as he swaggered toward the bar, the sparkle in his eye making no apology as he scanned the room for someone in particular.
He lifted his hat in greeting. “Harry. She here?”

“Mr. Carraway.” Harry gave Cash a genuine grin. “Welcome back to Henderson.”

“She here?” Cash asked again as he plunked his hat on the bar and turned to give his surroundings a second glance.

“Things may have changed a bit since February,” Harry told him, cleaning a glass with a dishtowel before he tucked it under the tap and drew a long amber brew. “If you were serious about the girl I caught you in the coatroom with, you should have stopped back in Henderson a little sooner.”

“Rodeo season in Texas.” Cash slung a leg over the stool. “Much obliged.” He toasted Harry with the beer, took a sip, then licked his lip and held the glass up to study the rich auburn hue. “Not bad. What is this?”

“A microbrew, sponsored by Harvard Michaels. He played baseball with Brooks back in the day. He’s coming back to town and considering turning one of the old textile mills into a microbrewery.”

“Tastes promising.” Cash set the beer on the bar and leveled Harry with a stare. “Now, where’s my girl?”

“Like I said. Things have changed since your brother’s wedding.”

“I’ve heard the rumors.”

“And you’ve come to see if they’re true?”

“I’ve come to see if I might give them a run for their money.”

“You and that shiny new belt buckle?”

Cash looked down at his waist. “It’s a little much, but I wanted to show Missy proof of my busy schedule.”

“You won?”


“That buckle mean you hold some sort of title?”

“All-Around Cowboy.”

Harry’s brows lifted.

“Think that’ll turn her head?” Cash asked.

“I think we’re about to find out.” Harry tilted his own head toward the door.

Missy McReady, ironically dressed in a ruffly lavender golf skirt and snug-fitting white V-neck, came in, chatting up Lolly DuVal. From the looks of things, the women had just finished eighteen holes. A shrill whistle caught both girls’ attention and when their eyes landed on Cash, their smiles grew big and their eyelashes fluttered.

“Okay, so we might have some trouble,” Harry sighed.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Cash said, licking his lips and standing as Missy and Lolly made their way toward him. “Ladies,” he said, with a tip of his imaginary hat. “May I tempt you with a refreshment?”

“Absolutely,” Lolly said with unmitigated enthusiasm. “Not often I get a front row seat for what’s sure to become legendary, so Harry,” she called as she moved to the seat at Cash’s right, “make my usual Arnold Palmer into a John Daly.”

“How ’bout you?” Cash asked quietly, taking in his quarry and the pretty blush grazing her cheeks.

“Cash,” Missy whispered dreamily, as if she couldn’t believe her eyes.

“In the flesh.”

“I didn’t think I’d see you again.”

“Took me some time to find my way back to town, but I was on a winning streak and didn’t want to jinx it.”

“A winning streak?”

“Rodeo circuit.”

“So, you really are a cowboy? That’s not just a lot of … bull?”

“There’s plenty of bull being a cowboy. We’re either riding it, shooting it, slinging it, or shoveling it.”
Missy laughed.

Cash did his very Cash-a-nova move by gracefully sliding one foot and hip forward and placing a firm hand on Missy’s hip. “Darlin’ I haven’t stopped thinkin’ about you. Not since Valentine’s Day.”

“You’re good at slinging the bull all right.”

“God’s honest truth.” His other foot followed up as he settled a second hand on her hips. He brought his forehead down to hers and whispered, “That kiss we shared in the coatroom has kept me up more nights then I care to admit. I’m also convinced you’re my lucky charm. I haven’t lost since that night.”

Harry cleared his throat. Loudly. “What can I get you to drink Miss McReady?”

Missy’s head shifted to peer at Harry. “Since when am I Miss McReady to you, Harry?”

“Since I’m gonna get my ass kicked by a former ranger if I don’t break up this little reunion.”
Missy went back to smiling up at Cash. “I can’t let Harry get his ass kicked.”

Cash’s wicked grin said all manner of things. His lips said, “Then let’s get out of here.”




To be continued…


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