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Tangled in Divine(Divine Creek Ranch 14)(3)

By:Heather Rainier

“Chickenshit.” There was challenge in his big friend’s eyes as he stared at him.

Sighing, Julián turned the phone so that Chris could see what he’d typed and braced himself. Let the razzing begin.

Chris snorted. “Oh shit, that is fucking eloquent.”

“Shut the fuck up—” Julián made to punch him in the arm.

Chris jumped out of his reach. “Have you ever thought of writing romance novels or Hallmark cards? That shit is so romantic it brings a fucking tear to my eye.” Chris barked with laughter as he balled up his foil wrapper and chucked it at Julián. He knew not to take Chris’s teasing seriously. That was just the way his friend was.

“That’s okay, Jersey Shore. At least I can reach the romantic fucking bone in my body,” he growled as he grabbed his crotch. “You’re so damned muscle-bound, I’ll bet you can’t reach your dick or wipe your ass without your mama’s help.”

Chris turned on him with intent in his eyes as they entered the tack room in the barn. “Talking about my ma is gonna get you fucked up. And I can reach my dick and my ass just fine, motherfucker.” He fought laughter as he spoke in a put-on Jersey accent and flexed his biceps which were like massive tree limbs. He grabbed his own crotch and added, “Your ma wasn’t complaining when I was stuffing my dick in her mouth last night.”

“Fucker!” Julián burst into laughter as he lifted a saddle from the stand and hefted it at Chris. His big friend caught it as though it was a toy. He lifted another for himself before they walked down the row of horse stalls in the barn to saddle up. Not many people knew how to take Chris’s brashness and sense of humor, but he and this giant of a man had hit it off from the beginning, trading insults like two best friends from the old neighborhood.

“Hey, Julió,” Chris said, calling him by the nickname he despised.

“What, Guido?” Julián replied, returning the favor. Thanks to his Italian ancestry and his Eastern roots, Chris looked like he was straight out of an episode of Jersey Shore, even though he had grown up in the Texas Hill Country.

Chris waved off the friendly insult. “All kidding aside. Do you think you’ll ever see her again?”


“You know who. Gwen. Now that she’s retired from the circuit.”

More than just about anything he wanted to say yes in answer to Chris’s question. “I don’t know. Once she starts her training school for barrel racing horses and riders, she’ll be as busy as a one-armed wallpaper hanger. Teresa, Angel, and Joaquin Martinez are pretty tight with her. Maybe she’ll visit sometime.” He told himself to not get his hopes up. Timing always seemed to conspire against them whenever their paths crossed.

He thought about shopping for something for her when they went into Divine. Just a little something to ship to her as a Christmas gift.

What would she think if he did? It wasn’t like there was a permanent tie between them. Just that undeniable electric connection he’d experienced every time he’d been around her.

“You’ve known each other a few years, right?”

“Yeah. Competed at a lot of the same rodeos. She’s really something when she rides.”

Chris’s lip curled in a smile and he opened his mouth to make a smart-assed comment.

“Don’t.” Some things were sacred. Chris could kid all he wanted but not about Gwen.

Chris closed his mouth and grinned apologetically at Julián just as quickly. “Sorry, ribaldry is part of my Italian charm.”

“Just get your ribald ass in the saddle. Let’s get the fences checked so we can get to town and be back by dark.” He entered the horse stall, speaking softly to Mick as he saddled him.

Chris entered the next stall. “Shit. How much fucking shopping do you fucking need to do?”

“You say fuck a lot. You know that, Guido?”

“Hey, fuck you. It’s in my fucking nature—Julió.” Chris’s horse nickered a warning sound and he spoke softly to the big beast before he added, “You planning to get Gwen something?”

“I might.”

“You should. Get her something that lets her know you care about her.”

“Yeah, I was planning on putting something in the mail for her, Mr. Hallmark.”

Chris waved off his attempt at humor with derision. “Nah, not a greeting card. I’m thinking along the lines of something that sparkles.”

Right. And scare the shit out of her. “We’ll see. I have a lot of other family to buy for too.”

“You waited until the last minute for everyone? And they’re all spread out all over the country, right? You’re gonna pay through the nose for shipping.”