Home > Otterly Irresistible (Boys of the Bayou Gone Wild #1)

Otterly Irresistible (Boys of the Bayou Gone Wild #1)
Author: Erin Nicholas

 


1

 

 

“Sugar, I adore you too. But you can’t follow me everywhere. It’s inappropriate for you to be here right now.”

Charlotte Landry paused and tipped her head at the sound of the deep male voice coming from the west side of her grandmother’s bar.

The guy didn’t have a Louisiana accent. If he had, it would have been obvious on the Sugar. That was one of the best-drawled words down here—especially when combined with a playful smile.

There was no reply from “Sugar,” but this sounded juicy. Why was it inappropriate for her—or Charlie supposed Sugar could be a guy—to be here? Was she—or he—an ex? Was Sugar a secret fling, and no one could see them together?

Charlie knew she shouldn’t eavesdrop, but it wasn’t as if she’d snuck up on this conversation. She’d been across the street at her grandmother’s house, using the bathroom since the bar bathroom had a line seven deep, and was on her way back to the party.

She reached up and felt the fake eyelash she’d needed to reattach to her right eyelid. She really hated the things. She had yet to master their application. However, they did make her eyes look incredible. A girl had to do what a girl had to do sometimes.

She pressed her lips together. She’d also reapplied the lipstick, even though she knew the tube she was using cost more than the dress her grandmother had bought for the weddings. Charlie wasn’t trying to show off. She was a walking, talking billboard for the makeup and lashes she was wearing tonight. Working in marketing for a makeup company required her to wear the products—even to a casual wedding reception at her grandmother’s bar in a tiny bayou town in Louisiana.

Okay, she wouldn’t have had to wear them here. She just sometimes forgot how laid back and casual things really were in Autre, Lousiana. Even weddings.

“We simply can’t be together every minute of every day. We’ve talked about this.” The man’s deep voice was low and calming even as he delivered the news that Sugar wasn’t welcome here.

Charlie felt her eyebrows lift. Ooh, Sugar was a little needy it seemed. She—or he—felt they needed to be together constantly? Charlie took a few steps closer to the corner of the building. She probably shouldn’t listen in, but as much fun as the wedding reception was inside, the moonshine, wedding cake, music, and Cajun tall-tales weren’t going anywhere. There was always more food, booze, and bullshit with that group inside. She could spare a few minutes.

“You also can’t bring your friends with you when you’re stalking me,” the man said.

Charlie looked around. Had his stalker brought an entourage? Was it for a flash mob? Or for a kidnapping? Really, neither would’ve surprised her here in Autre. Which was one of the things she loved about this town. The definition of crazy was different here than anywhere else she’d ever been. And not exactly frowned upon.

She also wasn’t afraid to admit she was willing to stick around for a flash mob. Or a kidnapping. She would, of course, call for other people to come out if it turned out to be a kidnapping. Okay, or a flash mob. So it wasn’t as if the guy was actually going to end up stuffed in a trunk of a car. She was just waiting to see which of those scenarios she was dealing with.

“Don’t you think it’s time to go home?” the guy said to his stalker. “Come on. I’ll take you.”

Oh, good, he was a nice guy. Even if Sugar was harassing him, he was still willing to be sure she—or he—got home safely.

Dammit, did this mean Charlie needed to follow them? In case the kidnapping happened away from the bar? Or what if Sugar had a hatchet and duct tape waiting for the guy back at her place?

Or, maybe worse, what if Sugar waited to sing and dance for him in her living room? Charlie would miss the whole performance.

Now she was invested. She was going to have to follow them. Crap. She really wasn’t dressed for traipsing around in the dark. Or the light. Her Valentino Garavani Rockstud ankle-strap pumps were perfection. And not at all comfortable for any kind of distance walking.

But she really didn’t want to miss the flash mob.

Surely it was going to be a flash mob, right?

Or a striptease. At least.

Charlie decided if she were going to do a flash mob for a guy she stalked to a wedding, she’d choose Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”. Obviously.

She was in town for her cousins’ weddings. Yes, plural. Three of her cousins had gotten married today, and she was now attending the reception held at her grandmother’s bar. Considering the guy was confronting Sugar just outside the back door of the bar, Charlie assumed he was a wedding guest as well.

The Landry family never did anything small, and that, apparently, included weddings. Of course, growing up in Shreveport, Charlie sometimes forgot the easy-going, laid-back ways of the bayou, and now that she had been working in Atlanta, that was even truer. Hence why she’d worn a pale pink strapless cocktail dress that hugged her breasts and waist and had an uneven hemline that nearly touched the ground in back to a wedding where the grooms wore blue jeans, and some of the guests were alligators. Literally. For one of the couples’ vows, they’d taken a pontoon out into the bayou to a little cove, and there had been alligators floating in the water listening in.

She also had on Valentino heels, fake eyelashes, fake nails, and hair extensions.

Yeah, she might have overdone it.

And yes, some of her cousins had already given her shit about the fake fingernails.

But she did love this dress, these heels were her favorite thing in her closet right now, and her highlights had turned out amazing.

Still, as much fun as the food, dancing, laughing, and one-upmanship was inside, she wasn’t above enjoying a little romantic drama outside on her way back from the bathroom.

“Come on, Sugar,” the man said. “Let’s get you home.”

Charlie literally had her fingers crossed for the first strains of Taylor Swift when she heard the stalker reply for the first time.

“Behhhh!”

Charlie jumped, then frowned. Okay, she hadn’t been expecting that.

She peered around the corner of the building. There was a man sitting on the back step of her grandmother’s bar.

And he was surrounded by goats.

He was holding one goat’s face in his hands and was talking to it directly. The other goats seemed content to munch on the grass and weeds that grew along the edge of the gravel drive that led to the back of the bar. But this goat was, as far as Charlie could tell from six feet away in the dimming light of the evening, gazing at the man adoringly. There were also two ducks and a potbellied pig. Most of them seemed unconcerned with what was going on, except for the one duck who was standing like a bodyguard next to the goat having the intense conversation with the man.

Surprisingly, none of that was the most startling thing about the scene in front of her.

No, that was the fact that the man on the step was the extremely good-looking man who Charlie had previously asked to dance at the wedding reception. And who had turned her down.

It wasn’t just that he’d turned her down, though without getting too full of herself, Charlie could admit she wasn’t all that used to men telling her no. It was also that she knew they had chemistry. She’d caught him watching her across the bar earlier in the evening, and when she had slid in next to him to order another drink, he hadn’t given her much space. Nor had he seemed annoyed with her taking up any of his space.

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