The Reindeer's St. Patrick's Surprise (Reindeer Holidays Book 2)

By: E A Price


“I couldn’t purposefully do that,” whispered Temp. Her eyes darted around the bar, making sure no one could hear them.

Heather waved her hands dismissively as if morals were just things that happened to other people. “Why not? He gets what he wants, and you get what you want.”

Her friend could be supportive of anything – she had no ethics. Temp sometimes wondered whether Heather would support her if she said she wanted to kill someone – maybe she’d bring the body bag.

But Temp couldn’t get on board with this idea.

“But the guy I hooked up with would have a kid walking around out there without his knowledge. Isn’t that a little…” Awful? Reprehensible?

Heather didn’t seem concerned. “Well, get his phone number and tell him if you get pregnant, then if he says he isn’t interested, you’re just prepared.”

“I’m not sure I could do that.” In fact, she was certain she couldn’t. “Getting sperm from a bank is one thing, I’m not sure I’m entirely up for a… manual deposit.”

“Why not? It’s been like a year right.”

“Not the point,” mumbled Temp as her cheeks bloomed with heat.

Her dating life had slowed down a lot over the last few years, and it had been over a year. She wouldn’t say she missed it exactly. Not given that she had a battery operated friend to fill the void.

“You always say you don’t like guys because they’re unreliable,” said Heather in a mild voice.

That was true. As far as Temp was concerned the only thing men could be relied on was to disappoint her.

“But surely they can be relied on for one night. Look around,” she nodded her head over to the corner of the bar where a tall guy in a Stetson was playing pool. “Can’t you just see your baby with the dimples of that cowboy over there? Or there’s the redhead at the bar – wouldn’t your little cutie look gorgeous with his freckles.”

Temp gaped at her for a couple of beats, before laughter, unadulterated laughter started bubbling out of her, and her laughter set Heather going too.

“Stop it,” Temp hiccupped, “I’m not picking out a new rug.”

Heather held her stomach. “Oh I don’t know, you are looking for a good shag!”

Temp snorted. “Seriously, stop making me laugh!”

*

Harlan pushed his way into the bar. It wasn’t his usual bar, the place was kind of a dive, but after spending all day in meetings, listening to members of the herd droning on about expenses, he needed a drink. After work, he grabbed a cab and told the driver to find the nearest bar. He suspected there might have been a few nearer, and the driver was just angling for a more expensive fare, but he could care less. He was stewing over Corinne, and he wanted to stew with alcohol.

The old anger was resurfacing. Anger at Corinne for making him fall in love with her, for betraying him. But mostly anger at himself for being such a dope, for allowing himself to be so blindsided. Perhaps it would have been better if his dad and brother had yelled at him, blamed him for his stupidity. What happened nearly sent his herd careening into bankruptcy. It didn’t, thanks to the tireless efforts of them, Uncle Clay and his mom, but it could have. But they never yelled at him, never called him on what happened. No, all their blame was for the other herd. He asked his mom why no one blamed him, and she said it was because no one could possibly beat him up as badly as he was doing it to himself.

He wished Corinne had stayed away. He could care less whether she had moved on, gotten married, gotten mated - but having her around reminded him of his own failure, of his own stupidity. Reminded him that he couldn’t trust his own judgment when it came to relationships. Reminded him why he had to be alone, and that depressed him more than he cared to admit.

Harlan strode into the bar and slapped a hundred down on the counter. “Whiskey, neat.”

The bartender nodded and poured him a drink. He threw it back and ordered another.

“Want some company?” purred a feminine voice at his elbow.

He saw a pretty redhead giving him a sly smile.

“I’m Marcy.”

No doubt she saw the hundred, recognized his suit was expensive and wondered how much she could get out of him. He wasn’t particularly interested in company, but perhaps her mindless chatter might distract him. For a little while at least.

He nodded at the bartender who immediately knew to pour her tequila.

What could a few drinks hurt. Besides, there was a sweet smell at the bar, something enticing, something soothing. His inner beast stirred at the lilies scent. It wasn’t coming from the female next to him. She smelled nice enough, but it wasn’t her. Didn’t matter. He could just drink his whiskey, listen to the hum of chatter, bathe in the beautiful scent and forget the mess with Corinne for an hour at least. Maybe even two.