“Thanks, little sis, but I’m not about to crash in the house of love. I already booked a room at the Western Inn.”

“The house of love?” I laugh. “Shut up. You’re staying. Mama will have my head if she finds out I let you stay at the Western Inn when we have a perfectly fine bed here for you.”

He shrugs, knowing he won’t win the argument either way. “Okay, but I still expect a complimentary breakfast then.”

“Don’t worry. Courtney makes the best blueberry pancakes in the world,” Drew gloats, and I narrow my eyes at him, wondering what the hell he’s up to.

“Oh, does she?” Jackson turns to me with an amused expression.

“Well, she makes some kickass blueberry muffins, so I figure there can’t be much of a difference from muffins to pancakes.” Drew winks at me, and I shake my head at him.

“That’s like saying once you learn to drive a tractor, you can drive anything.” I roll my eyes at him again, but this time Jackson is laughing at Drew’s expense.

“You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl,” Jackson tells him.

Drew laughs, nodding in agreement. “That I’ve learned.”

“C’mon,” I tell Jackson. “I’ll even get you the clean towels and sheets. Then maybe we can do a ride-along in Drew’s police car on the way to get some ice cream.”

Before Drew can tell me no, Jackson’s face lights up. “Hell yeah! Would be nice to sit in the front seat of a police car for once. Those seats in the back are tight as hell. Especially with cuffs on.”

I burst out laughing as Drew’s eyes widen.

“You’ve been arrested once before?” he asks, getting up to grab a couple bottles of beer.

“Ha! Once,” I say, chuckling at the memories of all the times a Bishop boy has been escorted home in a police car. “He wishes only once.”

“Hey, all the charges were dropped eventually, so basically they were just giving me a free ride home.” He grabs the beer from Drew’s hand as we all sit back down.

“Right. Like the time when you and John trespassed onto the Mueller’s property and you nearly got shot in the ass by old man Willie?” I remind him.

“Would’ve gotten away too had he not called the cops on us and if the wire fence wasn’t electric.”

“You’d think that would’ve taught them a lesson, right?” I ask rhetorically. “But no. The following weekend, they get caught cow tipping on the Peppernickle’s ranch—while drunk.”

Drew begins laughing and Jackson continues telling stories about all the mischief he and our brothers got into. Being the youngest—and a girl—I was never invited on these little adventures, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t make my own.

“When Court was fourteen, her and Maggie Wayfield broke into the old abandoned church and threw a kegger! Shoulda seen the look on Mama’s face when Sheriff Layton pulled up bringing her sorry drunk ass home! It was the highlight of my whole year,” Jackson says, laughing in between all his words, enjoying the look on my face.

“Well, we had to find fun somehow,” I say with a shrug. “Not like we had anything else to do.”

“Yeah, breaking into an abandoned church. Totally normal,” Drew teases.

“What do you expect a bunch of teenagers to do when they live on thousands of acres, no mall, no coffee shops, no diners, or even a Wal-Mart. It was either party or have sex in the hay barn.”

Drew chokes on his beer, and I nearly die of laughter. I popped Drew’s hay barn cherry, but I’m sure he wouldn’t be happy knowing it wasn’t my first time.

“So that was like…a thing? Sex in barns?” he asks me. Jackson looks back and forth between us.

“Well, it was that or in the back of a pickup truck,” I say honestly. “Pasture parties were all we had to do in high school.”

“I’m learning a whole new side of you, Courtney Bishop,” Drew quips, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Should we make it even? I can call Viola right now…” I taunt, pulling my phone out of my pocket.

“Nah, no. There’s nothing to share anyway. I was a perfect gentleman from day one.”

Jackson and I both crack up, knowing he’s full of shit. Police officer or not, Drew Fisher looks like the epitome of a bad boy with a big heart.

Once Jackson finally settles in, we head out for a late dinner. Wanting to show Jackson what he’s been missing, we take him to Ocean Fish & Chips where we can order the infamous fish and chips basket. It’s one of the best in the area, and since he’s not used to anything being close and convenient, or even the luxury of a drive-thru coffee shop, this will definitely be new for him. Eldorado, Texas feels like an entirely different universe compared to Sacramento.


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