The Forgotten Daughter - Page 34

Tuck, having cut across the grass, had arrived in time to hear what had happened. “Did you get a look at anyone?” he asked.

“No,” Scooter replied. “Not even a glimpse. But they left their gas can behind.”

Bronco picked up the can. “It’s the resort’s. The one we use for boat-motor gas.” Setting the can back down, he asked, “Do you think it was the same person who threw that fireball?”

Josie held her silence. They expected Scooter to answer, so she let him. However, she did make a mental note that it hadn’t taken long for someone to report what had happened to Bronco. That was Norma Rose, no doubt. Unlike Scooter, her sister wasn’t thinking that Josie had anything to do with the fire, so at least she had that in her favor. If Norma Rose had any suspicions, her father would already have learned of them.

“Yes, I do,” Scooter answered.

An eerie sensation fluttered its way up her spine. What if Scooter was right? That somehow all of this had something to do with her? She could be putting her entire family in danger.

“Any idea who?” Bronco asked.

Josie didn’t know she was biting her lip until the sting almost made her yelp. Scooter hadn’t answered, and she hoped beyond hope he wouldn’t implicate her.

“No,” he said heavily. “I don’t.” He shrugged. “Could be some whiskey runners mad at Roger, or one of Galen Reynolds’s old cronies who wanted to get back at Forrest for seeing Galen never gets out of jail.”

“Yeah,” Bronco said. “Could be, or there are a few others I can think of. This place was crawling with gangsters today, a few I’d rather never see the likes of anywhere near here.”

None of what either man said should have caused her to feel relieved, but Josie did.

“We’ll take care of this,” Bronco said. “Rinse away the gas so there’s no worry of fire. The two of you can go back up to the party. It’ll be going strong for another few hours, I imagine.”

“All right,” Scooter said, steering Josie around by the elbow. With a nod, he told Tuck, “Catch up with you later.”

Tuck nodded and Josie had the distinct feeling the men had said a whole lot more than she’d heard. It was that way with her father and his men, and she’d learned to read between the lines.

She held her tongue, biting it at times to keep it in place, until after she and Scooter had ridden his cycle back along the winding road that ended in the resort’s parking lot. He left his leather hat on after he’d secured the motorcycle on its stand. It looked nice on him and went well with the way he had his white shirtsleeves rolled up to his elbows. Even with the narrow suspenders, the hat and rolled-up sleeves made him look more like Scooter, rather than just another man in a suit.

She grasped the lapels of the coat she still had on. “Here, you’ll want your coat back.”

Scooter caught the coat before it fell off her shoulders and pulled it back up. “Naw, you keep it on.” Grinning, he winked. “It looks a lot better than that green dress.”

“It is somewhat homely,” she admitted.

“Somewhat?” he asked. “There’s no somewhat about it. It’s ugly, plain and simple.”

“Twyla picked them out,” Josie explained. “They were the only green dresses that would fit all three of us. There wasn’t time to order any others.”

He patted her shoulders before dropping his hands to his sides. “I figured as much.”

With a wave, he gestured to start walking toward the resort.

Music and the sounds of people laughing and having fun filtered through the parking lot. Josie had no desire whatsoever to rejoin the party. “Just like you figured I was behind what happened tonight?”

He rubbed a hand across his mouth, as if stopping himself from speaking.

“That’s what you implied earlier,” she persisted.

Shaking his head, he let out a sigh. “And I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry. I probably shouldn’t have done a lot of things tonight.”

She instantly knew he was referring to kissing her, and a ball of fire that made the blaze on the platform look small ignited in her belly. He was accusing her of making him kiss her. He hadn’t said that, but that was how it felt. As if it was all her fault.

“It was most likely just what I told Bronco,” he said. “Someone upset with your father, or someone associated with Galen Reynolds. He had dealings with some tough characters.”

Josie didn’t know if she was mad or hurt, or a mixture of the two. All she knew was that it felt as if steam might soon shoot out of her ears. She now understood how foolish she’d been. Wanting him to kiss her. Letting him kiss her. She wasn’t like her sisters, never would be, and pretending she could have what they’d found was ridiculous. She didn’t need all that, either. It certainly wouldn’t fit in with her future. “Galen Reynolds had dealings with a lot of people. Are you going to tell me that was my fault, too?”