Taming Mack

By: Elizabeth Lennox


“I hate to ask but…” Cynthia asked, clutching the phone closely.

Eve inhaled sharply at her best friend’s words. “Don’t you dare! You know your mother is almost as important to me as she is to you. I’m packing now and will be there by tomorrow!”

Cynthia sighed, leaning her head against the rough wooden post of her bar. “Thank you!” she whispered with heartfelt appreciation.

“Cyn, I know you’re worried about your mom. So, go pack. Don’t worry about anything. I’ve spent many a summer working at your place, so you know that I know the ins and outs of The Bull Frog. I can handle the bar and anything that might happen for as long as needed. I have my camera equipment and can work from anywhere. Just take care of Aunt Mona, okay?” she said, referring to Cynthia’s mother who had moved to Florida several years ago after retiring. Mona had built up The Bull Frog, a local bar in the small mountain town of Minneville about thirty minutes outside of Denver after Cynthia’s father disappeared.

Eve and Cynthia had met working at the ski resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming several years ago. Eve had been in college and Cynthia in high school, but the two became fast friends while sharing one of the dorm rooms the resort provided to their seasonal staff members.

“You get ready. I’m hitting the road and I’ll be there by dinnertime tomorrow, okay?”

There was a sniffle on the other end and Eve’s heart tightened in sympathy. “Thanks Eve.”

“She’s going to be okay, Cyn. You know that, right?”

Cynthia didn’t say anything for a long moment, but eventually, her friend sniffed again, then said, “Yes!” with more emphasis.

“Good! I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Chapter 1

“Who the hell are you?!”

Eve jumped, shocked by the angry demand. So far, she’d only received warm, friendly greetings from Cynthia’s regular customers.

Turning to face the owner of the deep voice, her own anger sparked. He was tall, broad shouldered, intimidating and carried handcuffs, as well as a gun on his hip. The law enforcement badge softened the fear of that gun, but he was still scowling darkly, which caused her heart to flutter in a girly manner that irritated her more than the anger in his voice. The man might look exceedingly hot in that uniform, but that didn’t give him the right to sound so angry towards her.

It took her several seconds to remember that this wasn’t her place and alienating the sheriff might not be the best idea. Small towns meant gossip. At the moment, The Bull Frog, Cynthia’s adorable little pub, was filled with locals, most of whom were curious about who would be running the place while Cynthia was out of town.

Pasting a bright, hopefully friendly, smile on her face, she tucked the empty pitcher under one arm and extended her other hand. “I’m Eve, Cynthia’s friend. I’ll be helping out here until Mona is better.”

He silently studied Eve for a long moment. So long that Eve felt more than a little awkward with her hand sticking out like that. Finally, the man moved closer, taking her hand and shaking it briefly. Very briefly.

“Sheriff Jones,” he replied quietly.

Eve continued to smile, trying to ease the man’s glare. He was so tall, well over six feet tall, and the heavy, brown jacket he was wearing made his shoulders look even more impossibly broad. The hat and the gun… delicious! And she couldn’t forget those handcuffs! Not that she was into that sort of stuff. But if she were…into the handcuffs…she would really like to be handcuffed by this guy. Hmmm…maybe she was into the handcuffs after all. Blinking, she met his gaze and tried to focus her thoughts.

Okay, not productive, she scolded herself firmly. She wasn’t attracted to him. Not even slightly. Another point, she hadn’t done anything wrong. So, why was he snapping at her? Surely he couldn’t read her mind and know that she found his handcuffs appealing! Because she didn’t! Not…well, okay, maybe a little!

“When’s Cynthia coming back?” Mr. Grouchy demanded impatiently, snapping her back to the conversation.

Eve stiffened at his belligerent tone. “I don’t know.” Eve moved closer, struggling to keep her hopefully-still-friendly smile in place. The whole pub was staring and she didn’t enjoy being the center of attention. “She’ll be gone for as long as she needs to be gone.”

“You don’t have a job to get back to?”

Eve considered pointing out it was none of his business, but that small town issue raised its ugly head once again. “I’m a photographer. I can work anywhere. The wilds of Colorado will be an interesting change of pace for me.”

Incredibly, the scowl on his too-handsome face deepened. Did the man even know how to smile? Was it a skill that had to be learned?

“You’re a bit of a grumpy-Gus, aren’t you?” she whispered, leaning forward slightly. “How about if I get you a drink? A beer? Maybe some cheese fries?”

The man continued to glower at her and she shifted her feet, beginning to feel more than slightly self-conscious. “I’m on duty.”

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