Hot Cooc: Excerpt from A Dash of Desire




The chain rattled. “Riley, Brother Daniels’ truck is out front. Have you…” Tristan jumped away from Riley as Billy burst onto the scene. The woman froze, as she caught sight of him standing in the center of Riley’s bedroom. No doubt, he was also looking guilty as sin…and turned on. He definitely was that. “Oh. There you are.”
“Riley fell,” he said without giving her a chance to question what she’d—no doubt—witnessed coming through the door.
A loving expression touched her features as she eyed them both. “I’m not surprised. Poor girl. You wouldn’t believe how many calls I got from West Anaheim ER, letting me know my baby had broken another bone.” Billy’s voice hardened. “Especially, since my no-good sister, Marty…”
“Billy, please?” Riley said, cutting her off.
With a sheepish grin, Billy blushed. “Sorry darling. Sometimes I forget.” Riley crossed the room, and gave the older woman a quick hug. She toyed with Riley’s hair, tugging it over one shoulder and sliding her hand down the locks. “Anyhow,” she said, turning her attention back to Tristan. “My girl has a good job. She never would let me come take care of her, since she could afford to hire someone to do it.” Flashing Riley an exasperated look, she added, “This one has never needed anyone. Thank goodness, since Marty…”
“Billy,” Riley said, reeling her aunt in, once more.
“I’m sorry. It’s just with it being your birthday and her doing what she did, I just.” Tearing up, Billy covered her mouth. A sob still broke loose. Before anyone had time to react, she walked out, closing the door behind her as she left. Riley stared unblinking at the wood separating them from the rest of the world.
“Wow.” Tristan was baffled by Riley’s obvious shock. As she turned wide eyes his way, her voice came out in a horrified whisper. “She was crying. I’ve never seen Billy cry. That’s the same woman who used to make me pick my own switch when I misbehaved.”
A chuckle rose in Tristan’s throat. “I didn’t know it was your birthday.”
Riley motioned toward the door, still seemingly floored. “She once beat a chicken to death with a shovel after it chased me down the driveway. I was scarred for years.” Tristan’s chuckle turned to a full-on laugh. “I’m being serious. She cooked him afterward. I haven’t looked at a drumstick the same since.” Tristan swiped at his eyes. “Happiness looks damn sexy on you.”
He glanced away, uncomfortable with the change in topic. Happiness was one thing he knew little about. “Being in your company seems to have that effect on me,” he said, half hoping to fill the silence and half needing her to know the truth. “How old are you today?” He asked, changing the subject.
“Twenty-eight. Why? Do you intend to spank me?”
She sounded hopeful. There were no safe topics where Riley was concerned.

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