A Wife for a Westmoreland(9)

By: Brenda Jackson

Lucia preferred not hearing that. She gripped the handle of her cup tightly in her hand. Turning away to look out the window to view downtown Denver, she drew in a deep ragged breath before taking a sip of her coffee. She hoped Chloe was wrong. The last thing she needed was to worry about that happening.

“With his reputation with women it will be like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

“Possibly. But what happens if he finds that needle?”

Lucia didn’t want to think about that. She had loved Derringer secretly for so long, she wasn’t sure she wanted that to change, especially when he didn’t love her back.


She turned and looked at Chloe. There was a serious expression on her best friend’s face. “I don’t know what will happen. I don’t want to think that far. I want to believe he won’t remember and let it go.”

A few moments passed. “What I said earlier was true. Whenever you see Derringer, you’re going to want him,” Chloe said softly.

She shrugged. “I’ve always wanted him, Clo.”

“Now it will be doubly so.”

Lucia opened her mouth to deny Chloe’s words and decided not to waste her time because she knew Chloe was probably right. She had thought about him all that day, barely getting any work done. She kept playing over and over in her mind just what the two of them had done together. “I will fight it,” she finally said.

Chloe bristled at her words. “It won’t be that simple.”

She could believe that. Nothing regarding Derringer had ever been simple for her. “Then what do you suggest I do?” Lucia said with resignation in her voice.

“Come out of hiding once and for all and go after him.”

She wasn’t surprised Chloe would advise her to do something like that. Her best friend was the daring one. She never hesitated in going after anything she wanted and she’d always envied Chloe for being so bold and brave.

Chloe must have seen the wistful look in her eyes and kept pushing. “Go after him, Lucia. Go ahead and take Derringer on. After last night, don’t you think it’s about time you did?”

A week later, Jason Westmoreland glanced over at his cousin and grinned. “Was that supposed to be a trick question or something?”

Derringer shook his head as he eased back in the chair. He’d done nothing over the past few days but stay on his pain medication and get plenty of sleep. Each time he awoke he would reach under his pillow and pull out the panties he had placed there just to make sure he hadn’t dreamed the whole thing. They proved that he hadn’t. And the name Puddin’ Tame, the alias the woman had given him, kept going through his mind.

This morning he woke feeling a whole lot better and decided to lay off the pills. He hoped clearing his head would trigger something in his memory about what happened a week ago. So far it hadn’t.

Jason had dropped by to check on him and the two were sharing early-morning coffee at the kitchen table. “No, it’s not a trick question. I figured I’d ask you first before moving on to Riley, Zane, Canyon and Stern. Afterward, I’ll compare everybody’s answers.”

Jason inclined his head with the barest hint of a nod. “Okay, I’ll give your question a shot, so go ahead and repeat it to make sure I heard you right.”

Derringer rolled his eyes and then leaned closer to the table. His expression was serious. “What can you tell about a woman from the panties she wears, both style and color?”

Jason rubbed his chin a moment. “I would have to say nothing in particular unless they are white, granny-style ones.”

“They aren’t.” He hadn’t told Jason why he was asking, and Jason, the easygoing Westmoreland, wouldn’t ask… There was no doubt in Derringer’s mind that everyone else would.

“Then I really don’t know,” Jason said, taking a sip of his coffee. “I think some pieces of clothing are supposed to convey messages about people. I picked white because it usually means innocence. But then again, Fannie Nelson had on a pair of low-riding jeans one day that showed her white panties, and she is a long way from being innocent.”