This story will hopefully be the first in a series of short spin-offs of my Corral Series. It features the brother of Zach, from This Can't Be Love, as the hero. As a disclaimer, it is only the first draft and has not been through any kind of edits whatsoever.
"What do you mean you're stuck in Colorado and can't get home?"
Van Rawlings looked over at the woman sitting a few stools down at the bar. Her open-mouthed expression of dismay might have been comical if it weren't paired with the desperate tone of her voice, which carried even over the energetic beat of Luke Bryan's Run, Run Rudolph currently blasting through the bar's speakers.
Although it had been the content, not the tenor, of the sentence she'd spoken into the phone tucked against her ear that had caught his attention. He also happened to know someone stuck in Colorado unable to get home. No way could it be a coincidence. Not in a town this size.
But who was this woman?
She tucked a strand of long, honey blonde hair behind her ear. "How could you do this to me?" She paused to listen. Made a face. "Easy for you to say. You're frolicking in Colorado with your wife. What am I supposed to do now?"
Van frowned as he took a sip of his beer. Cheating husbands and wives weren't anything new to him, but somehow he'd never imagined his brother falling prey. Was his 'perfect' marriage already crumbling into the dust of impending divorce? Goed to show, even the good guys had trouble keeping those wedding vows.
"Fine. I'll talk to you when you get home." Another pause. A sigh. "No, I'm sorry. I know you didn't do this on purpose. Besides, there's always next year. And you owe me one. Huge." She laughed. "Me too, but don't let Jessica hear you say that."
She swiped the phone off and placed it on the bar. "Better make my refill a double, Nick."
The bartender nodded. He returned shortly to place two stemmed glasses in front of her. He winked. “Double chardonnay, per your request.”
The woman laughed. Not the forced sound of polite acknowledgement, but one of genuine amusement.
Van took another swallow of beer. Should he say something? Confront her? What would he open with… 'So, are you fooling around with my brother behind his wife's back?'
Nope. Best to stay out of it. Really, it wasn't any of his business. Not yet. If it came down to it, he'd offer Zach a family discount.
The woman sighed and tapped long, red fingernails on the bar. Since she seemed wrapped up in her own thoughts, he studied her without fear of getting caught staring. A black sweater hugged her curves. Skinny jeans encased the long legs propped on the rung of the stool. Tall boots molded shapely calves. Definitely attractive.
Still. Even though his life was filled with people who didn't give a damn about upholding the sanctity of marriage, he honestly had a hard time believing Zach would cheat on Jessica, no matter how attractive another woman was. Seeing Zach and Jessica together almost made Van rethink his view on the institution of marriage. Almost.