The Expert's Guide to Driving a Man Wild (Bluebonnet #3)(5) read online by Jessica Clare
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The Expert's Guide to Driving a Man Wild (Bluebonnet #3)(5)
Author: Jessica Clare

“Not at all,” his father said easily. “We appreciate you coming to get us.”

“You could always rent a car,” Brenna pointed out.

“Nonsense,” Reggie said. “Grant has a lovely car and depending on him for a ride means that we’ll get to spend that much time together.”

Yeah, about that . . . Brenna thought, but said nothing. She just kept smiling.

“How are things with the business?” Elise asked.

“Things are great,” Grant said enthusiastically. “We’re really on track to have a good year, and we’re making a name for ourselves. We get inquiries about classes every day.”

They chatted a bit about the business as they walked across the parking lot to Brenna’s car. Justine and Reggie didn’t look thrilled, but a smile quirked Elise’s mouth at the sight of the car, which made Brenna like her all the more. Grant popped the trunk and grimaced at the sight of the jumper cables lying scattered across the back, along with a pair of grubby sneakers.

“Oh, those are just junk,” Brenna said, grabbing the shoes and tossing them under a nearby car. “All better now.”

Grant gave her his favorite disapproving look and then began to heft suitcases into her car’s small trunk while the others stood around.

“So,” Justine said after a long moment. “How are you doing, Grant? How’s the social life? You keeping busy? Getting out?”

He gave Elise’s bag a shove, trying to make it fit into the small trunk. It wasn’t working, so he paused, sighed at the stack of suitcases, and turned back to the others. “What do you mean, Mom?”

Justine exchanged a look with Reggie. “I was just asking, darling. We worry about you and how alone you are.”

The look on Grant’s face became shuttered. “I’m fine.”

Yowch. His tone had gone positively arctic. Dane had been right—he sure was touchy about this sort of thing. Elise gave Brenna a quick, apologetic look.

“But darling, you need to get back on the horse. Get out and see new people again. You’re too young to be spending your life a widower. I know it’s hard but you can’t go through life moping.”

Grant glanced over at Brenna as if chagrined that the conversation was taking place in front of her. “Now is not the time, Mother.”

“I’ve invited Bonnie’s daughter to dinner with us, son. I wanted to let you know before we all got to the restaurant.”

Wow, that was bold of the woman. Brenna had to give her props for being on the ball . . . if it wasn’t such a dick move to pull on Grant. He needed time and space, something his mother clearly didn’t understand. Brenna felt oddly protective of Grant in that moment. It was clear that he was still wounded from his wife’s death.

“You invited her to dinner?” Grant asked.

“It’s just a little hello, son. Nothing to get all worked up about,” Reggie interjected, taking his wife’s side. “We both think it’d be good for you.”

“Mother.” Grant’s tone was a warning.

Justine ignored it. “She’s a lovely girl. I think you’ll like her. And she’s a marketing major, so you’ll have so much to talk about. She’s very pretty and career driven and very understanding.” His mother stressed the last word. “She won’t rush you.”

That was really a low blow. Outraged, Brenna pushed forward. This was rude and cruel and thoughtless of them. And if someone was going to be thoughtless and obnoxious to Grant, it was going to be her, damn it. She was never cruel, at least.

“Don’t,” Elise told her in a soft voice as Brenna pushed forward. “They always do this.”

“Not today,” Brenna said cheerfully.

She stepped between Grant and his parents. “You can’t invite this chick to dinner tonight.”

“Brenna,” Grant said, now turning the warning voice on her.

Justine regarded Brenna for a long moment as if sizing her up, and then smiled. “I’m afraid it’s too late, my dear. She’s already been invited to dinner.”

“Then uninvite her,” Brenna retorted. “Having her there is rude.”

Elise covered her mouth, her gaze flicking to Justine.

“Uninviting her is even ruder,” Grant’s mother replied, the smile on her face still. Her voice had gone a little brittle, as if remaining polite were testing her patience.

Now Brenna was getting angry. Grant put a hand on her shoulder, trying to pull her backward and separate her from his parents. Why was he defending them when they were harassing him? An idea struck, and she gave Justine a little smile. “I guess this ruins the surprise, then.”

“Surprise?” Reggie asked.

Brenna turned and put her hands on Grant’s collar, tugging him down and kissing him full on the mouth. She turned back to Justine, Reggie, and Elise. “Grant didn’t want to tell you guys until after dinner. He likes to keep people guessing.”

“He does?” Elise asked, clearly shocked as her gaze flipped between Brenna and Grant and then back to Brenna.

She glanced up at Grant, but he was still standing there, his mouth slightly agape, staring down at her. She leaned up and bit his lower lip, tugging on it in a sensual move of ownership. “So shy. It’s adorable.” She looked over at Justine and smiled again, this time a genuine smile since she now had the upper hand. “That’s why you can’t invite this girl. She’s just going to see me and my boo being affectionate all night.”

And just to make her words have punch, Brenna gave Grant a slap on the ass.

• • •

The car ride back to Bluebonnet was rather silent. Only two suitcases were able to be squeezed in the trunk of Brenna’s car, so Elise sat in the middle of the backseat, her legs tucked close, suitcase in her lap. Her parents were sandwiched on each side of her, and all three looked extremely uncomfortable. Brenna was pretty sure they were wishing that they’d rented a car after all.

And no one was talking. Occasionally, someone would bring up a safe conversation subject—the weather, the business, Dane’s engagement, Colt’s shotgun wedding, Bluebonnet—but then the conversation would quickly die again. Brenna suspected that it was partly due to the fact that she kept reaching over and toying with Grant’s hair at the nape of his neck in a possessive gesture.

It really was fun to infuriate people. And today? She’d infuriated a whole car full of people.

Of course, Grant could sell her out with a word and a look. He didn’t have to be part of this charade. The fact that he wasn’t speaking up told her that he liked her plan at some level and was going along with it because it benefited him. It was strange to be on the same side as Grant for a change, but she didn’t like the way his parents had hounded him.

Plus, he wasn’t a bad kisser. It probably would have been better if he’d responded, but his breath had been fresh and sweet, his lips firm, and he was just the right height. She could have done a lot worse for a fake boyfriend.

She drove them to the only bed and breakfast in Bluebonnet—the Peppermint House. Grant said nothing while she let his family out of the backseat, simply grabbing bags and carrying them up the walkway of the red-and-white Victorian.

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