Come back to Coyote Ridge for Christmas…
When Travis Walker finds himself uninspired about gifts for his family, he realizes what he wants to give them doesn’t come wrapped in a box with a shiny bow on top.
This year, with the help of his brothers, Travis is going to pull off a surprise that’ll lay the groundwork for the Walker Christmas tradition going forward.
Of course, Travis won’t consider it a success unless he moves a few pieces on the proverbial chessboard while he’s at it. As for where those will eventually land ... well, that’s anyone’s guess.
Loved getting to see what the gang from Coyote Ridge are doing. Can’t wait to read more about Mack and Jeff. Thank you for our Christmas gift Nicole!
A COYOTE RIDGE CHRISTMAS (Walkers of Coyote Ridge, 7) - Chapter One
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
T MINUS FIFTEEN DAYS.
That was how much time Travis Walker had before Christmas was upon them and as God was his witness, he had no idea what to get his ever-expanding family.
Not a fucking clue.
Which was the very reason he’d slipped out of work today, sneaking in a little private time to do some shopping. Here he was, three hours in, surrounded by hundreds of shoppers doing pretty much the same thing, and fuck-all, he was as empty handed as he’d been when he started.
It should’ve been simple, really. Slip into a toy store, toss a few things in the cart for the kiddos, move on to the next store. Maybe a necklace for Kylie, a new wallet for Gage. Only, as he’d strolled through those stores, looked at those things, he hadn’t been inspired. For whatever reason, he didn’t think his wife, husband, and five precious kids would be impressed with all the material crap they could get for themselves.
Not that Travis had a clue what to do about that.
He paused to stare at the mall directory, hoping something would jump out at him.
“Well, I’ll be damned.”
He pivoted at the familiar voice, smiled when Sawyer came strolling toward him decked out in his regular attire of Wranglers, boots and the black felt Stetson he favored in winter. “What’re you doin’ here?”
Sawyer grinned. “Same thing you are, I suppose.”
Travis held out his empty hands, showing his brother the proof of his failure. “Hope you’ve fared better than I have.”
Sawyer mimicked his movement, hands empty. “Nope. And I’ve been at it since nine o’clock this mornin’.”
Unable to help himself, Travis laughed. “You got me there. I’ve only been at it since lunch. We’re a pair, aren’t we?”
“That we are,” Sawyer agreed. “Though a pair of what I’m not sure.”
Turning to survey the shoppers moving through the mall, he motioned Sawyer toward the Starbucks. “While we wait for inspiration to hit, let me buy you some coffee.”
“I’d need somethin’ far stronger for inspiration. But coffee’ll do for now.” Sawyer fell into step with him. “Does Gage know you’re here?”
“No one knows,” he admitted as they pulled up the rear of the Starbucks’ line, a good ten people deep. “And it looks as though I’ve wasted a perfectly good day.”
“I know the feelin’. Spent yesterday and today shoppin’ and the only thing I’ve accomplished is a headache from hell. But don’t let Zane know that. Fucker’s been done with his shoppin’ since October.”
Oh, yes. Travis had heard. Numerous times.
They inched along in the line as one person after another rattled off their extra shot, no foam, extra foam, add some vanilla cappu-latte whatevers.
“Find anything for the secret Santa?” Sawyer inquired.
Travis nodded. “Found that a month ago.”
“Yeah, me, too.” His brother’s mischievous grin told Travis far more than he wanted to know. Sawyer was a legend when it came to his secret Santa gifts, and it was a damn near guarantee he’d make the recipient blush to the roots of their hair. That was saying something considering Travis owned a fetish resort and most of his brothers were into the lifestyle.
They took a minute to place their orders with the barista before joining the horde waiting for their cup of fancy joe.
“You know who I’m havin’ the hardest time with?” Sawyer prompted. “Mom and Pop.”
“Yeah, me, too.” They were among the list of people he had to buy for and Travis couldn’t think of a single thing his parents wanted. Or needed, for that matter.
“We should’ve just taken a vacation. Hold up. I’ll get it,” Sawyer said before squeezing through the other patrons to grab Travis’s black coffee when they called his name.
Why the hell hadn’t he thought of that?
Sawyer returned to his side, eyebrows lowered as he passed over the cup. “What’s on your mind?”
“A vacation,” Travis said, meeting Sawyer’s steel blue eyes. “It’s a fucking brilliant idea.”
Sawyer’s grin was slow and wide. “Yeah? And how to do you propose we pull that shit off? We’ve got what? Two weeks ’til Christmas. Ain’t a room to be had at any resort worth a shit.”
Travis pulled the lid off his coffee, blew on the steaming liquid as the idea took root in his head.
“Not to mention,” Sawyer continued, “we’ve got an army we’d have to cart off. Airfare, or hell, even gas’ll cost a fortune.”
He turned to face Sawyer. “I know a resort with plenty of rooms.”
Sawyer shook his head. “The B and B won’t have the space to house us all.”
“Not Rex’s place.” Definitely not enough space.
Sawyer’s dark eyebrow quirked. “You’re talkin’ outta state? Like I said, ain’t gonna—”
Travis smiled, perhaps for the first time in hours. “We won’t have to leave Coyote Ridge.”
Sawyer’s eyebrows lowered, as though he was working to figure out the riddle. A second later, he barked a laugh, a sound much like a gunshot, causing several heads to turn. “AI? You wanna take Mom and Pop to the country’s most profitable fetish resort?” Sawyer laughed again. “Man, I think that last clingy marble finally dropped right outta your head.”
Travis took a sip of coffee, let the idea form in his head. Finally, he met Sawyer’s amused gaze. “I’m serious. We’ll shut it down for a week, make a few modifications, block off the fetish rooms. It could work.”
His brother’s expression sobered. “Actually … that’s not a bad idea.”
“I know.” Travis glanced at the counter, suddenly ready to get back to AI so he could put things in motion. “What the fuck kind of fru-fru drink did you order?”
“If I’m gonna pay eight bucks for a cup of coffee, I’m gonna get my money’s worth.”
“I paid for coffee,” Travis told him.
Sawyer grinned. “Then I’ll get your money’s worth.”
Thank the good Lord, they finally called Sawyer’s name. When he sauntered over to get his dessert in the form of java, Travis moved over to an empty table, set his cup down and snatched his phone out of his pocket. He pulled up the group text he maintained with his brothers and Gage, then shot off an SOS, letting them know he required their presence at Moonshiners. Tonight. Seven o’clock.
Sawyer returned, staring at his phone. “You’re bringin’ them in on it, huh?”
Hell yeah he was.
And this would be the best damn Christmas they’d ever had.