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.And all without locking the front door!“Got any coffee? Texas ain’t supposed to be this damn cold,” Rocky said.“It’s been made since breakfast but it’s hot and strong,” Travis said.“Just like I like my women.” Rocky laughed.“You hot and strong, Cathy?”“That question could be considered sexual harassment,” Cathy said.Rocky brushed past Travis on the right.“You get up on the wrong side of the bed this mornin’, woman?”Cathy shrugged and headed back to her desk and started to work.She’d have much rather been kissing Travis than entering numbers onto the computer screen, and she’d be willing to do a dance in the middle of a rain storm if Rocky would suddenly turn into a frog and hop out of the trailer so she could go back to running her fingers over Travis’s hard chest muscles.Now why in the hell would I think something like that? I’ve vowed to run from this, not right into it.But maybe if we had a romp in the sheets it would cure me of the infatuation and I could get him out of my mind.“What do you need other than hot, strong coffee?” she finally asked.He threw up his palms as if she was about to attack him.“If I answer that you’ll have me up on harassment charges.” He grinned.“Get your mind out of the gutter and tell me what brought you to the trailer other than coffee and warmth,” Cathy said.“You are a hard woman, Cathy O’Dell.Amos would do well to put you on the full-time payroll the way you keep us in line.I need a printout of the crew.We are going to hire one more roughneck,” Rocky said.He removed his coat and hung it on the back of a chair before he sat down with Travis.“You were right.It’s damn hot and damn strong.It’s only a little less thick and black as the oil.”“It’ll warm you up,” Travis said.“Think we’ll hit something in two months?”“It don’t matter whether we do or not; this place is warm compared to where some of us will be headed by the end of February,” Rocky said.“Ain’t it the truth,” Travis said.Cathy stopped working and stretched her neck so she could see across the bar separating the office and kitchen.“What are you talking about?”“Alaska,” Rocky said.Travis chanced a glance in her direction.His gaze locked with hers and blistering hot sparks danced between them.If Rocky weren’t the best tool pusher in the whole business he’d fire him on the spot for interrupting what was happening between him and Cathy.“Alaska?” she finally asked without blinking.She’d known it was a two-month gig, but Alaska? That just put the icing on the cake as far as letting desire win the race with common sense.If she did sleep with him and it caused her to fall for him, then he’d be gone and she’d be in a world of big-girl hurt.Travis forced himself to stop undressing her in his mind.“Amos is willing to sink two million into this venture while he makes a deal in Alaska, but that’s his limit.We’re cuttin’ corners as much as possible.It’s one of those situations where if we hire too many to get the job done in the time slot then we overextend our budget.Without the men, we can’t finish in two months, so it’s like we’re working with one of those old balance things.Men on one side; money on the other.And keeping them perfectly balanced isn’t easy.”“What about Angel? Does Merle know about Alaska?” She hoped her voice didn’t sound as hollow as her heart felt.“Angel told Amos that she’d go to Alaska or the moon, and of course Merle knows,” Travis said.Cathy hit the right buttons and the printer spit out a list of the crew members with possible recruits’ names on the bottom of the page.She reached up and laid them on the bar.Rocky picked it up and studied it before handing it to Travis.“What do you think?”“Luther can’t be beat.”“He still married to that cute little filly who wants to travel with him?” Rocky asked.“Last I heard they were divorced.He came home early and caught her with the driller.Sounds kind of dirty and the men made a lot of jokes about it, but Luther didn’t think they were funny,” Travis said.“You sound like you are talking about a soap opera,” Cathy said.“It gets that way.Men who travel with their wives are askin’ for trouble.It’s different if it’s a permanent situation, but most of this isn’t.We travel a lot as you can see by the parking list.Women living in cramped quarters get antsy and that makes trouble,” Rocky said.“So what about the men who are married and away from home for weeks on end?” Cathy asked.“Some of them couldn’t be shook away from their wives and families with a blast of dynamite.Others fall off the true-blue wagon the first time a honky tonk momma makes a pass at him.” Rocky finished his coffee.“I’ll call Luther and see if we can get him down here by tomorrow.”“Where does he live?”“Up in Ardmore, Oklahoma, right now.He’s been in Biloxi for a few months but he’s back on his folks’ ranch until Amos finds him something pretty close.I think he’d move this far.Can’t see him going to Alaska, though,” Travis said.Rocky looked across the bar at Cathy.“I can’t wait until you see Luther.”Cathy squared her shoulders.“Why? What’s the matter with him?”Travis chuckled.She shot a look across the bar.“What does that mean?”Travis stood up and slipped his arms into his coat, pulled his gloves on, and winked at Cathy.“I’ll just let Luther be a big surprise.Come on, Rocky; let’s go fight the deadlines.”“You are a…” Cathy couldn’t think of anything vile enough to call him.He stood back and let Rocky leave before him and then bent down to kiss her on the ear lobe.“I’m a what?” he whispered.“A right fine kisser,” she said.And fast becoming my friend.Do friends knock each other’s socks off when they make out? I never had a guy type friend before so I’m swimming in unfamiliar territory.But here lately when anything happens my first thought is that I can’t wait to see Travis and tell him about it.Does he feel that way about me, I wonder?* * *Travis lined up the time sheets in the pockets above the clock.The rig shack was a portable building, eight feet square with a time clock on one wall and a small table pushed up against the back wall.It held a coffee pot that was never to be empty.Whoever took the last cup would start a new pot.Leaving a completely empty pot was an unforgivable sin and could get a man fired quicker than being careless on the rig.The walls were covered with papers, maps, seismologist reports, and changes to regulatory details.If it was important or they might want it in a hurry, it was tacked to the wall.It wasn’t Travis’s job to do such menial labor but he’d been going to the trailer the day before for the WHMIS report so he’d volunteered to pick them up.He could have had Rocky pick them up when he went in for a new copy of the updated report but Travis wanted to see Cathy so he’d volunteered.He touched his lips.So she thought he was a right fine kisser, did she?He smiled.That was funny because he thought the same thing about her, and the more he knew her the more he wanted to be around her.Whether it was helping her in the Honky Tonk or sleeping on her sofa.He couldn’t wait to tell her about his day or what happened at the rig site.She understood his language when he asked for a WHMIS report and didn’t hesitate when he asked for time sheets.Damn, he’d found a friend and a damn fine kisser [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]