Page 11 of Lone Star Reunion

Hearing the door to the greenroom open, she shut the fridge door and turned to see waiters from the Royal Diner entering the room, carrying platters of food. As she well knew, nothing short of a nuclear holocaust would stop her cowboys from eating.

“Hey, guys.” Alex indicated the table where she wanted the platters to be placed. “Those look amazing. What did Amanda send over?”

“The Royal Diner’s famous ribs, sliders, quiches. Doughnut and choc chip cookies for dessert.”

“Please thank Amanda again for her generous donation. The guys and Tessa will appreciate it.” Alex dug in her pocket to pull out a tip. She waved away their thanks, and when she was alone, she placed her clipboard between two of the platters and ran through her list again.

Flowers. Check.

Band. Check.

Food. Check.

Test sound system. That was currently happening.

Tessa’s makeover. Alex checked her watch again. She’d allocated forty-five minutes for her and Rachel to give Tessa a makeover. Well, to be honest, to hold Tess’s hand while the professionals she and Rachel hired did Tess’s hair and makeup. Tess was going to rock the house tonight. Alex smiled. Girl power was a marvelous thing.

Tess reminded Alex of Gemma—she was as humble, as sweet and unaware of her good looks as Gemma had been. Alex pushed her fist into her sternum, thinking of her redheaded, emerald-eyed friend, a band of freckles across her nose. Sixteen years had passed since Gemma’s death, but there were times, just like today, when she felt that Gemma was just waiting for her to call, like she was around the corner, about to stride back into her life.

She still missed her best friend; sometimes it felt like she’d lost her a few weeks back instead of so long ago. But grief, as she learned, had no respect for time. She’d lost her parents at ten, her best friend at twelve and Sarah just a year ago. She remembered her parents as well as she did Sarah. And Gemma as well as she remembered Sarah.

She’d heard that memories fade, that lost ones become indistinct. It had yet to happen to her. She could be doing something mundane and she’d hear Gemma’s laugh, Sarah’s voice or smell her mom’s scent, and grief would slam into her, stopping her in her tracks.

When the pain subsided, just a little, she was left feeling abandoned, so damn alone. She was able to wrangle grief back into its cage, but those other feelings always lingered, casually snacking on her soul.

Could anyone blame her for pushing people away? She loved hard and she loved deep, giving all that she had. Sometime in the future, hopefully a long time from now, she’d have to face losing her grandfather Gus. Losing him, she hoped, would be easier than losing her parents, Gemma and Sarah. They’d all died way before their times, but hopefully her healthy and fit grandfather would live until he was a hundred and slip off in his sleep after a life well lived. She could live with that—it was the circle of life—and unlike before, she wouldn’t feel abandoned.

Alex flipped the program over and traced Daniel’s gorgeous face with the tip of her finger. Although she was right to put some distance between them, she still ached for him for him with every fiber of her being. Warmth pooled through her as she remembered the way he kissed her, the way his clever hands would stroke her body, the rasp of his stubble, the play of hard muscles under her hands.

The growl of his voice against her mouth, painting her skin with sinfully sexy words...

Tonight is all about making you weep as I pleasure you...

Just feeling your eyes on me makes me so hard.

You’re going to pass out from satisfaction...

Daniel was a master of the art of talking dirty, using words and phrases that upped the sexy factor by 1000 percent. Then he lived up to his words with his skillful touch and used his mouth like a Jedi Master.

She missed him...

No, her body missed him. Her body missed him a whole bunch...

But stepping away from Daniel had been a wise move and one she’d make again. Her self-protection instinct had been carefully, meticulously honed and was now scalpel sharp. Nobody would slice and dice her again.

Alex shoved the program under the rest of her papers and straightened. Returning to her list, she lifted the plastic cover off the nearest platter and reached for a doughnut. She groaned as the treat touched her tongue, sighing at the prefect combination of fat and sugar.