The Forgotten Daughter - Page 30

Spinning around, she gathered up his coat and then went ahead and stuck her arms in the sleeves. While they rowed closer, and her mind conjured up all sorts of embarrassing bits of conversation, she climbed onto the seat in front of her, edging close to the side so Scooter could see around her.

Brock and Ginger were approaching the fire from one direction and Dac from the other. What if they’d seen her and Scooter kissing? They’d been some distance away, but the fireworks had been bright.

“That was one hell of a show!” Dac shouted.

Josie’s stomach dropped to the board beneath her feet. Lower even.

“It sure was,” Brock replied.

“Everyone all right?” Scooter asked.

“We are,” Ginger answered. “How about you?”

“We’re fine,” Scooter replied.

The boat was rocking. Josie turned to watch Scooter dip a bucket over the edge.

“Looks like it’s just the crates and barrels burning,” he said. “Let’s get it put out and see if the platform can be salvaged.”

The other men started using the buckets in their boats and the fire was soon extinguished. Scooter then rowed the boat up to the edge of the raft, and Dac and Brock did the same.

“Soaking the platform before we anchored it was a good idea,” Dac said. “It’s barely charred.”

A fourth boat rowed up beside Dac’s. It was Ty and Norma Rose. Josie wanted to groan. An accident like this was sure to upset her sister.

“What happened?” Norma Rose asked.

Ty grabbed the edge of the platform to keep their boat from colliding with Dac’s. “We saw a motorboat speeding past, and the flames.”

“Do you know who it was?” Scooter asked.

“No,” Ty said. “They were too far away for us to get a good look. Do you know?”

Scooter had climbed onto the platform and was pushing debris around with his feet. “No, but it was one of the resort’s boats.”

Josie hadn’t noticed that. Then again, there hadn’t been time to notice much.

“Need any help here?” Ty asked.

“No,” Scooter said. “I’ll take the stands with me and come back in the daylight to clean up the rest of it.”

“We’ll head back and see who took out boats with motors.”

“I don’t think those on the shore know what happened,” Brock said.

“Me neither,” Dac agreed. “Not with the way they were cheering.”

“Let’s leave it that way,” Scooter said. “Not give whoever did this the satisfaction of knowing how close they came to ending the show just as it got started.”

The glances shared between the men said they were attempting to make light of the situation. As Josie questioned why, a consensus to agree with Scooter’s suggestion was made. Shortly afterward, with the stands loaded into their boat, Scooter started rowing toward shore.

Stars glistened overhead, reflecting off the water, and music filtered through the air from the resort, disrupted only by the steady splash of the oars hitting the water. Dac was rowing toward shore a short distance away, and Josie tried to hold her attention on why the men wouldn’t want to discover who was behind the fire. She didn’t have much luck with that, not with the way her mind continued to bounce back to something else. No one seemed to have seen her and Scooter kissing. As much as she didn’t want people to have seen them, she wanted to kiss him again. That was disconcerting.

Her entire being filled with warmth just thinking about it. There were a few impious sensations swirling around her head and body, too. Things that had never entered her before, not in anyone’s company. Certainly not in Scooter’s presence. He had been around her entire life. He’d been there whenever she’d needed things. Tangible things, like new tires or someone to light fireworks. Or a ride from Duluth.

Josie couldn’t hold in her sigh. What was happening to her?

Scooter’s long exhale sounded from behind her. “About what happened tonight,” he said.

She closed her eyes. Here it comes, his regret at what they’d done. Her teeth clamped together in preparation, but it didn’t help. She lifted her chin. “Don’t think anything of it. I’m not.”

Chapter Six

Scooter, watching the way Josie’s back had stiffened, pinched his lips together. Kissing her may have been the biggest mistake of his life, but he wasn’t regretting it. Not in the least. The perfect curves of her five-foot frame had haunted his dreams for years. So had that delectable mouth. She didn’t slather bright red lipstick over her lips like her sisters did. He appreciated that, and recognized that that was Josie. She didn’t mask who she was. Not in that sense. In other ways, she was as secretive as a turtle tucked into its shell.

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