Wolfe Caine and his cousin Lynx know the small town of Embers Ridge like the backs of their hands. They grew up here, started more than their fair share of trouble on these back roads. They’ve been called wild, untamable, even crazy at times. And they’re okay with that.
Settling down has never been in Wolfe’s plan, but that was before they caught his eye. As far as Wolfe’s concerned, the two of them together … that’s his greatest temptation.
Getting close to either of them is difficult. But when Wolfe gets them both in his grasp, he’s determined he’s going to hold on, no matter how hard that proves to be.
6 AMAZING "I NEED MORE ASAP" STARS
When Nicole Edwards writes ménage, you know you are in for a hot squirming funny ride.
Hard to Hold (The Walkers of Coyote Ridge, 3) - Chapter One
What was the saying? Hell in a hand basket?
Yep. That was exactly where this night was going.
Wolfe Caine had felt the prickling at the back of his neck as soon as he stepped into his favorite watering hole half an hour ago. That itchy feeling got worse when his cousin joined him a few minutes after.
Never failed that when the pair of them got together, the shit tended to hit the fan. What it was about them that made stupid cowboys want to throw down, Wolfe didn’t know, but it seemed he couldn’t spend a Friday night out without getting his knuckles scraped a little.
But he wasn’t bitching about it. Sometimes, after busting his ass all damn week, a little scuffle was just what his inner redneck needed.
“Y’all wanna do this?” Lynx growled, his intimidating glare causing the two smartasses to puff out their chests.
Yep. And that was Lynx for you. The man had never met a ranch hand he didn’t want to punch.
“Son of a bitch,” one of the old men sitting near the back grumbled. “Why the hell do you dumb fuckers wanna start shit all the goddamn time? You ain’t learned your lesson yet?”
That was the question of the hour.
He knew the old man wasn’t talking to him and his cousin. Shit. Just a few minutes ago, Wolfe had been shooting the shit with him. Minding his own damn business, at that.
“Hear that, fuckers?” Lynx growled.
“You talk a lotta shit, you know that?” Dumb Ass Number One goaded, his words aimed at Lynx.
With a resigned sigh, Wolfe set his beer down on the scarred table and moved to stand beside his cousin.
A couple of the patrons opted to move to the far side of the room.
Wolfe could admit they were an intimidating pair. Always had been. At six foot three, the two of them tended to draw attention whenever they walked in a room. Add to that the tattoos Lynx had decorating a large portion of his body and they could usually part a crowd right down the middle. Didn’t help that they took the bait every damn time.
“I’m gettin’ too damn old for this shit,” Wolfe muttered under his breath.
With the big three-oh looming in the very near future, Wolfe was starting to wonder if it was getting close to time to retire his weekly bar brawl action. And Lynx was no spring chicken at twenty-eight.
“You wanna do this? Let’s take this shit outside,” Lynx suggested. “I’ll lead the way.”
Of course he would.
“Anyone feel like they’re in a zoo?” Dumb Ass Number One questioned.
The dumb ass even chuckled at his own failed attempt at a joke. No one else did.
Wolfe had heard plenty of that shit growing up. Their fathers—brothers with less than two years between them—thought that it would be amusing to make a bet that each of them could not convince their wives to name their firstborn son after some sort of wildlife. Their sister Iris had insisted they were out of their minds, but, of course, being as competitive as they were, it was on at that point. Thanks to that drunken wager, Wolfe and Lynx had gotten used to the teasing during their childhood. Granted, as they grew up, that hadn’t happened as much. However, there was still one dumb ass in every bunch.
“No new material?” Wolfe asked.
“Takes brains to come up with somethin’ new,” Lynx noted. “I think it’s safe to say they’re fresh outta smart.”
“You’re just as fucked up as your old man,” Dumb Ass Number Two grumbled, his bushy eyebrows darting down.
Wolfe grinned, chuckling. “Who you talkin’ to?”
Wolfe assumed the smart-mouthed cowboy was probably talking to both of them. The Caines had laid down roots in Embers Ridge nearly a hundred years ago and they’d been starting shit for just as many. And their fathers—Cooter and Calvin—were some of the wildest in Caine history.
“Pick one.” Dumb Ass Number One cackled like a fucking girl, peering over at his buddy. “They’re all fucking crazy.”
Lynx glanced over at him. Wolfe was tempted to roll his eyes. These boys weren’t in any hurry, obviously. And their stand-up comedy routine was seriously lacking.
“Since my old man ain’t here to defend himself, why don’t you take this up with me?” Lynx taunted. “I’ll rip your ass a new one just as fast as he would, you dumb fuck.”
Everyone in town knew that ol’ Cooter Caine was as crazy as they came. After all, he had barricaded himself up in his compound on the outskirts of town and hadn’t left the place in ten years. Not once since Lynx’s mother had died in a car wreck on her way home from work. Sure, Cooter was a little out of touch with reality; however, ask anyone and they’d tell you that Lynx’s old man wouldn’t hurt a damn soul. As for Lynx, that was a different story altogether.
As for Wolfe’s old man … Calvin Caine was probably the sanest in the long line of Caines before him, although that was debatable at times. The man lived in a small apartment above their furniture store just a few blocks south of downtown Embers Ridge. After Wolfe’s mother passed away two years ago from pneumonia, Calvin had taken to spending all his time in the store. While Wolfe and Lynx were responsible for making the furniture, Calvin had taken it upon himself to sell it. Of course, he and Lynx were often pulling double duty to help out with the heavy lifting.
“Both of ’em are nuts,” Dumb Ass Number Two said.
Yep, this was going nowhere fast.
“Come on,” Lynx growled. “You wanna knuckle up, let’s take this shit outside.”
Lynx took one step toward the door, but the two dumb asses didn’t move.
“We can do this right here,” Dumb Ass Number One noted, obviously opposed to a little fresh air, maybe a broken nose.
“The hell we can,” Wolfe grumbled. “You see that girl behind the bar? She’s got a shotgun back there. You throw down in here, that first bullet’ll have your name on it.”
Granted, Wolfe knew that Reagan had yet to fire that bad boy up in here. She was a little on the defensive side, but so far, she hadn’t proven to be crazy. However, that could change at any time.
Lynx chuckled, but there was no real humor in it. “I don’t know ’bout you boys, but I’d like to live my life without any bullet holes.”
Wolfe leaned toward Lynx. “You’ve already had one.”
Lynx glared back at him, then rolled his eyes. “Without any more bullet holes,” he amended. He lowered his voice. “And that didn’t count. It was squirrel shot.”
“Still hurt, didn’t it?” Wolfe mumbled back.
Lynx’s answer was in the form of a one-shoulder shrug.
Regardless, the statement got the two dumb asses glancing behind the bar. Wolfe didn’t need to turn around to know that Reagan Trevino—the sweet girl who owned this beer bar—was standing there, one hand on her hip, the other twitching at her side. There was a shotgun behind that bar and the woman wasn’t scared to use it.
“Reagan,” Lynx called out as he started toward the door. “Corral these fools outside, would ya, doll?”
The sound of a shotgun being cocked echoed in the otherwise silent space.
Wolfe nodded toward the door. “Let’s go, boys. My beer’s gettin’ warm.”
It was a gamble turning your back on a couple of drunk good ol’ boys, but what the fuck. Wolfe didn’t have nothing else to do tonight. Nothing more than relax with a beer and chill with his cousin, anyway.
But this would work, too.
Once they were outside, the balmy July breeze slapped him right in the face.
“This is bullshit,” Lynx groused. “I just wanna drink my beer, chill for a bit. Maybe play some pool.” He shook out his hands. “Shit. My hands still hurt from the last damn fight.”
Seconds later, the two cowboys came barreling out of the bar. Likely having dealt with Reagan calling them a couple of pussies. She’d been known to taunt the fools who wanted to act like idiots.
“Come on, boys,” Lynx goaded. “Let’s get this shit over with.”
“Crazy, I tell you,” Dumb Ass Number Two mumbled, stumbling down the steps to the gravel lot. “Why can’t you Caine boys just—”
Obviously tired of chatting, Lynx launched himself at the dumb ass, landing a solid right hook to the fucker’s jaw. Another swing came, then the two were tangled together, their boots scrambling for purchase on the gravel. When it looked as though the other dumb ass was going to come to his friend’s rescue, Wolfe shot a look heavenward. There was no getting out of this one.
Wolfe figured the fastest way to get back inside to his beer was to offer his assistance.
So he did.