Excerpt Sam's bullrope hit the wall with a satisfying fucking slap.
God damn it.
He'd made the short go and ridden fucking well. Better than well. And then those motherfuckers had scored TJ Martin a fucking ninety three point five? Because the bastard had a following?
One hand landed on his shoulder and Sam Bell spun around, ready to beat the living shit out of somebody.
Beau didn't even duck. Little Cajun bastard just stood there, staring him down.
"What?" He didn't need any fucking shit.
"You want a piece of me? Go ahead. I was just checking on you." That puffy little chest blew right out, like a frog defending its piece of swamp.
"I'm fine. Sorry." He backed off, went for his fucking rope. Last thing he fucking needed was to fight with Mr. World Champion. Hell, he could do that and then go punch deSilva. After that he'd go hunt Ace's ass with a shotgun.
"No, you're not."
He wasn't sure if Beau meant he wasn't fine or wasn't sorry.
"I'm not what?" His knuckles creaked around the rope, damn near screaming.
"Fine. You're sore as a boil." The man grinned at him. Grinned, crookedy teeth and all.
"Fucker. I'm pissed off. Some of us ain't got followings. Some of us don't get given extra points for having buckle bunnies hanging on."
Beau nodded, serious all of a sudden. "It was a good ride, Bell. A damned fine ride."
"Yeah." That would get him a paycheck, sure, but it wouldn't get him the event win, wouldn't get him into the finals. Wouldn't get him a motherfuckingfollowing, would it?
"Come on, man." Beau cuffed him on the shoulder. "I'll buy you a beer, huh?"
"Yeah, okay." He nodded. Hell, he'd spend the evening looking at that perfect butt on top of those tiny little legs. "Let me get my shit, man, and I'll be ready to go."
He could hear the hollering and congratulating as TJ headed down for the locker room. Fuck. His jaw went tight and he reminded himself that it wasn't TJ's call, but the judges. Right? Fucking right.
Just about the time he wanted to turn around and punch TJ in the jaw, bursting in and bragging like he was, Beau stripped out of his riding jeans, giving Sam a view of heavy muscles and tight boxer-briefs.
Oh, fuck him raw.
He got to changing himself, whistling under his breath, keeping his head down.
By the time Beau Lafitte looked like just another pocket cowboy without his uniform on, Sam figured he was back under control. He also figured Beau was dreaming if he thought people wouldn't recognize him, no matter what he wore.
TJ wandered over, grinning like a new-born fool. "So, LaFitte, you want to come out with us? There's a big party down at this club called the Ranch House."
"No thanks, Teej. I've got other plans." Beau nodded, real polite like, but that was it.
Sam grabbed his gear, pushed his hat down a little deeper on his head and counted to thirty while Beau got his own shit together. TJ looked at him, nodded once.
"That was a good ride you had, Bell."
"Thanks." Thirty one. Thirty two. Thirty three. "You, too."
"Well, come on, boyo. Let's go celebrate." Packer clapped TJ on the shoulder before nodding at Sam and winking, leading the kid off.
"Saved his life, I bet," Beau said with a grin.
Beau had no idea.
Sam looked down at his riding hand, the fingers clenched so tight the knuckles were white.
"You drive over?" Sam hadn't. He'd caught a ride with the bullfighters. Everyone knew you could catch a ride with one of 'em.
"Yeah. Yeah, I didn't want to have to chance Adam getting a piece of something." Adam Taggart and Beau was good friends, but man, Adam got laid more than anyone on earth.
"You mind if I come with?" Him, he wasn't much on the getting laid these days. Not for lack of offers, he guessed. He was sorta... holding out for the big dog, even if the big dog was kinda teeny and looking at pickup men and all.
"Well, I asked you to, didn't I?" Those clear eyes glinted at him from under stubby lashes.
"Yeah. I was givin' you an out, if you wanted it, man." He almost grinned. "C'mon. I fucking need a beer."