I wasn’t going to argue with him. Because I knew Satan’s personality. I understood it. He didn’t buckle for anyone. He was in control. Getting on him and thinking you were going to dominate him was your first mistake. He was never going to give up his power.

“Waste of time,” he barked at Satan who could give a shit. Satan flared his nostrils and walked over to glare at me. I glared back. It was our thing. He knew I understood him. The fucker didn’t want to be tamed. He wanted to be free.

“You want me to warm up Majestic?” Brent asked as he headed for the stables.

“Yeah. I’m gonna work with Desoto. His leg is better but I’m going to let him stretch it some. Then massage him. Jockey should be here around two.”

“We know this jockey?” Brent called out as I walked off.

“She’s never been here to try out one of Norton’s horses,” I told him keeping her identity to myself. He would know her. Anyone in the business knew who Cat Carmichael was. She’d won more races in the last five years than anyone else in the circuit. Norton was frustrated she was coming while he was gone but he didn’t want to miss this horse either.

“Asher and Dix come home today don’t they?” Brent asked this time.

I’d forgotten about that. They weren’t coming home to our home. But yes, they’d be back in Moulton playing happy home and shit. “I reckon.”

“Momma’s cooking dinner for them I think,” he added.

We had horses to work and exercise. There was no time to chat about our brother and his new wife. I’d rather not think about them. If I thought about them, then I remembered the fucking wedding and Scarlet running off again. That shit put me in a foul mood. DeSoto was sensitive to my moods and he needed to relax before we worked his leg.

“Momma cooks every night,” I pointed out, then walked off without giving him any time to say some stupid shit. He had a horse to warm up. Sometimes he was chatty as a damn woman. So was Dallas. Who would be here after he got out of school today. If he missed Cat riding Majestic he’d be pissed. Almost wished he would. Just so he could pout for a few days like the damn baby he was.

“Bray!” Brent called out.

Jesus! Could he not shut up long enough to get something done?

Sighing, I stopped and stared back at him annoyed. “What?” I yelled.

Brent frowned as he stood there with his hands in his pockets looking at me. “You good?”

I wasn’t going to be if he didn’t shut the hell up. “I will be when I can get to work and stop listening to you carry on like a female.”

Brent’s frown only deepened. “I mean . . . with Scarlet leaving again. You’ve been pissy. Not that you were a ray of sunshine before. But you’ve been in a dark funk.”

“I live in a dark funk. It’s who I am.”

That wasn’t the response he wanted. Shithead was going to try to Dr. Phil me. We didn’t have time for this.

“She isn’t worth it. She didn’t want to stick. You deserve someone who is less flighty and selfish.”

Now if that wasn’t the fucking wrong thing to say to me. I had to count to ten backward in my head before opening my mouth. Even then, my blood was still boiling. Brent hated Scarlet for her cheating. Yet he’d forgiven me. It wasn’t fair to hold all his anger toward her. She had personal shit he didn’t even know about. She hadn’t had the same home life as us. He didn’t know her like I did.

“We have work to do, Brent. Even I we didn’t, I don’t want to hear you talk shit about Scarlet again. You don’t know her the way I do. If I want to fucking miss her I will. Telling me she’s not worth it, will get you thrown further than the fucking mustang can toss you.”

I didn’t wait for a response. He’d say something stupid again and my patience would snap. Not that I had a lot of that to begin with.

“I was the one in a relationship with her! I was the one who wanted to marry her! I did know her!” he yelled out as I put more distance between us.

I could stop and respond, but I didn’t. I kept walking. He was wrong. He’d never see it that way but he was. If he had known her, he wouldn’t be in love with someone else right now. It wouldn’t have been so easy to move on. If he had known her he’d have understood why she fled. He’d have stayed up at night worried about her. If he had known her he’d have fought to keep her.

He would never be able to hate her.

So no, the asshole didn’t know her.

He knew what he wanted to know. I was sure he could tell me her favorite color, the way she took her coffee, and the outfit she wore on their first date.

What he couldn’t tell me was the first time her mother’s boyfriend touched her where he shouldn’t have, the first time she caught her mother in bed with the pool boy while her father was out of town, he also didn’t even know about the cigarette scar on her arm that was left by her mother when she was six and tried to sneak out of the house during a loud drunken party her mother was throwing.

He’d never gotten the real Scarlet. She thought she was damaged and fuck she was. That didn’t make her less perfect. That made her strong. Brent would never see all that though. He lived in the happy world were all he ever faced was the death of our father.

I took several deep breaths while I rubbed DeSoto’s back. He would know I was tense and that wasn’t what he needed. I’d calm myself down and make sure he was equally secure before we did his therapy. Luckily, his ligament injury had been a mild strain. He would fully recover.

“Brothers can be pains in the ass,” I told him.

DeSoto looked at me as if he was trying to read my thoughts.

“I’m good. Annoyed with him but you and I are fine. Now, you work that leg for me and we’ll see about a few carrots.”

He understood me. I’d lead him around a few times and let him stretch out first.

A loud whinny came from the pen over. Smiling I glanced back at Satan. He wanted my attention. But the little bastard knew I wasn’t going to show my hand in front of anyone. If Brent knew I could ride Satan he’d tell Dallas and then Dallas would be even more determined to ride him. Satan would end up killing his reckless ass.

Desoto shifted nervously. Satan made most of the others nervous. “It’s okay. He’s a jealous fuck. We’ll move further away,” I assured him.

This was what I did best. Horses understood me and I them. People, however, I wasn’t real crazy about.


THE BREAKFAST RUSH was over and the lunch rush would begin in an hour. This was the most popular lunch place in town during the weekdays. I tossed the garbage in the dumpster, then stood there a moment. It was quiet out here. No one asking for more coffee, water, butter, jelly, etc.

Reaching in my pocket, I pulled out my phone to check it. Not that I was expecting anyone to call me or text me. Dixie had texted yesterday that she was home from her honeymoon. She wanted me to call when I had time. I hadn’t done that yet.

“Expecting a call?” Diesel asked interrupting my alone time.

Rolling my eyes, I stuck my phone back in my pocket. “No.” I tried to keep speaking to him at a minimum. Having him around was annoying. He flashed his dimpled grin and female customers of all ages went silly. Don’t get me started on the charming everyone thing he was so good at.

I turned to go back inside, walking past Diesel and the bag of garbage he was carrying. I must not have gotten it all.

Tags: Abbi Glines South of the Mason Dixon Romance
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