The Forgotten Daughter - Page 21

He lifted a brow again.

“I said that on purpose,” she retorted.

Ginger laughed. “Stop teasing her, Scooter. The two of you are sounding like Twyla and Norma Rose.”

They’d stopped on the far side of the crowd.

“Norma Rose and Twyla argued?” Brock asked teasingly.

“Like a Siamese cat and a bulldog,” Ginger said. “You can guess which is which.”

They all laughed. Even Josie. Ginger had never minded letting people know what she thought.

“Where are the fireworks?” Brock asked.

“Dac and I anchored a raft out in the middle of the lake,” Scooter answered. “We have two boats full of fireworks down by the south cabins.” Gesturing toward the boathouses at the bottom of the slope, he added, “You two may want to take a boat out of one of those houses. I have to get my motorcycle. There are things I need in the saddlebags.”

Josie recognized the chance for an escape. “I’ll go with—”

“Me,” Scooter interrupted. “I need your help.”

“Perfect,” Ginger said, tugging on Brock’s arm. “See you on the water.”

As the other couple started walking away, Josie said, “You don’t need my help.”

“No, I don’t,” Scooter said, spinning her to face him with a firm hold on her elbow. “But I’m not letting you out of my sight. Remember?”

“How could I forget?”

Dac Lester, a tall, thin man with a permanent grin on his face, caught up with them a few steps later. “We heading out to the raft?”

“Yes,” Scooter answered. “It’ll be easier to get everything set up while there’s still some daylight.”

“Sounds good to me,” Dac said. “You joining us, Josie?”

“Yes, she is,” Scooter answered.

“Good enough,” Dac said, nodding toward the resort. “My cycle’s on the other side of the parking lot. I’ll meet you at the boathouses.”

As Dac jogged away, Josie told Scooter, “I have a mouth and could have answered him myself.”

“I know,” Scooter said. “Trust me, I know.”

Josie pulled her arm out of his hold and ignored the way he laughed.

He stayed right at her side, no doubt ready to grab her if she attempted to make a run for it. She might have tried it, too, if there was anywhere for her to run. But that was unlikely tonight. It wouldn’t be worth the effort, either. He’d catch her with these stupid shoes on her feet.

Eventually, they arrived at his motorcycle parked near the garage. Walter, the man in charge of looking after the family cars, stepped out of the garage as they arrived. He merely tipped his hat toward Scooter and reentered the side door. She wondered what Walter did in there all the time. He was nearly always there, unless he was in her father’s office or walking the grounds.

Scooter lifted his flat leather hat off the seat and set it on his head. “I’ll get it started before you climb on.”

She’d always been intrigued by his motorcycle, which was bright red with Indian painted in flourished gold lettering on the fuel tank, but still she insisted, “I’m not riding that. It’s dangerous.”

“And speeding through downtown Duluth isn’t?”

She glared, but turned as Dac whizzed past them on his motorbike, waving.

The start of an engine had her turning back to Scooter.

He had straddled the seat of his bike. “Climb on behind me,” he shouted above the noise. “But don’t let your leg touch that.” He pointed to a long cylinder. “That’s the muffler. It’ll burn you.”

“There’s no room,” she pointed out. The leather seat was clearly made for only one person.

“You can sit on this.” He patted a flat metal platform that rode above the back tire and was attached to the back of his seat. A set of old-fashioned leather saddlebags was strapped onto the platform and hung over both sides. “Jonas does all the time.”

“You allow a child to ride on this thing?”

“Jonas loves it,” he said. “Climb on. Even my mother has ridden on it.”

“Well, I’m not,” she insisted.

“Yes, you are,” Scooter said, grabbing her arm.

She could argue. There wasn’t much he could do. However, the idea of climbing on behind him was making her heart skip. She’d often wondered about riding on his motorcycle. Josie played with her options a moment longer, mainly to irritate him, before eventually stepping closer.

His smile said he’d known she’d give in. “Pull your skirt up and tuck it between your legs so it doesn’t get caught in the tires or burned by the muffler.”

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