Somewhere in the distance, buried in all the noise, she heard Dewey trying to get people’s attention. He even tried blasting the air horn a couple times, but they weren’t interested.
DJ appeared out of the crowd, with Wyatt and several of the other ranch hands. DJ took Tara’s arm, guiding her toward the door.
“Where are we going?” Where was Morgan? What was going on?
“We’re getting out of here. Now.” Wyatt led the way.
“Not until I find out what’s going on.”
DJ didn’t let go of her arm, but he stopped. “He’s in that mess—with her.” He pointed back the way they’d come with his free hand. “He’s not thinking about you and certainly not headed this way.”
That hurt. But she had to find out what was happening. She pulled loose of DJ’s grip and moved only a few steps before she saw them. Morgan was easily a head taller than the rest of the crowd. DJ was right. He was headed in the other direction. She took a few steps toward him, planning to follow and talk with him.
Then she saw what else he was doing. His arm was around Sylvie. He was holding on to her, guiding her through the crowd to a completely different exit.
Blue lights suddenly flashed through the open door across the building and the cracks between the boards.
“Come on,” DJ yelled, grabbing her arm again. Morgan didn’t look around, didn’t even look back to see where Tara might be. All too soon, she was out the door and Morgan had vanished into the night.
* * *
“LET GO.” Tara pulled her arm loose from DJ’s grip again. It wasn’t that he was hurting her. She just needed space between herself and anyone else.
“Hey, no problem.” DJ stepped back, lifting his hands away.
They reached Wyatt’s truck, which they’d parked on the other side of the field from the barn. Wyatt hadn’t wanted Haymaker’s crew to see his truck on their land. Now they didn’t have to fight crowds to get out, and the whole appearance of the police wasn’t a problem.
The flash of the blue lights faded as they disappeared behind the ridge, leaving only faint moonlight to light the way. She looked up, seeing clouds moving in again.
Perfect. The rain fit her mood right now.
Wyatt climbed in and started the pickup’s engine. The ranch hands climbed into the truck bed as easily as they would a car. Tara sat between her brothers as they headed toward town. No one spoke.
Finally, Wyatt pulled up in front of her apartment. “We’ll talk tomorrow.” He looked pointedly at her.
“No, we won’t,” she said defiantly. “I’m not talking about this to you. Not to any of you.”
“Tara—” DJ said.
“I’m not kidding.” She stepped away from the vehicle. “Thanks for taking me. Now go home to your wives. Get some sleep and forget tonight happened.” That’s what she would do her best to do.
Right after she let herself dissolve into a bucket of tears. Maybe a gallon or two of ice cream would help, too. She was halfway up the walk when her phone rang. She struggled to fish it out of her pocket. It was nearly 2:00 a.m. Who would call her this time of night? Morgan?
Cursing her own stupidity for getting her hopes up, she stared at the number on the screen. The diner? What the—
“Tara!” Wade’s voice was edgy. “We got a problem.”
“What’s the matter?” She turned around, seeing that her brothers and the crew were still at the curb.
“The creek’s overflowing. We got water coming in the back door.”
Glancing up, she saw the storm clouds dancing overhead. They led her gaze to the horizon where the cloud bank was dark and thick to the north. She cursed. That rain was coming from upstream and headed this way. “I’m on my way.”
DJ rolled the window down. “What’s the matter?”
“The diner. Wade says there’s water from the creek coming in the back door.”
“Hop in,” Wyatt yelled. “We’ll take care of you, Tara.”
For the first time in a while, she wanted to hug her brothers. They’d done so much for her and were still doing more. “Thank you.” She climbed into the truck.