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Reckless (Chestnut Springs Book 4): Chapter 6

Theo

Rhett: Did you and Winter get back safe? Summer said Winter never responded to her.

Theo: Yeah. She was tired and grumpy. I think she went to bed.

Rhett: Yeah. Okay. Gym at 11?

Theo: See you there, old man.


“Theo. You’re a sack of shit this morning.”

I flop back on the mat and decide I’ll just die here in a pool of my sweat. “Summer, you look sweet, but you’re kind of an asshole.”

From the mat beside me, Rhett turns and kicks my sneaker. “Talk to her like that again. I dare you.”

“Rhett, twenty-five burpees for assaulting a client.” His fiancée smiles smugly at him from where she sits on a bench. Or as I’ve dubbed it in my head, the Torture Throne.

Rhett scoffs like she’s joking, but she inclines her head at him and crosses her arms over her Hamilton Athletics hoodie.

“You’re evil. What about Theo?”

“What about him?” Summer’s voice is all sugary and amused.

“Dude, shut up. Just let me die in peace.” Slinging a damp arm over my face, I get a strong whiff of alcohol. I am literally sweating tequila.

“He was clearly out all night,” Summer says. “Probably making babies all over North America at this rate.”

“Please. I always wrap it up.” The truth is, since hitting the road this past fall, there has been no one in my bed at all. I let everyone believe what they want, but I’m changing.

Rhett quirks a brow. “You’re not denying being out with someone last night, though, are you?”

I groan in annoyance, but Summer leans forward, eyes sparkling with interest. “Who was it?”

“I had a long romantic evening with my right hand.” I don’t kiss and tell. Especially where Winter is concerned. I’ll be taking this one to the grave. Unless she comes back for more.

“Did you light a candle?” Rhett laughs at his own joke.

“Why are you still lying there, Eaton?” Summer snipes at him. “I said give me twenty-five or I’ll make you join a Zumba class.”

I snort. “Fuck. I would pay a lot of money to see that happen.”

Rhett playfully kicks my foot again as he pushes to stand.

“Who was it really, Theo?” Summer isn’t letting this go.

I sit up and sling my elbows over my bent knees, looking her in the eyes. “It wasn’t anyone. And if it was, I would never walk around here talking about it. You’ll have to get your small-town gossip elsewhere.”

“Everything comes out in a town this size. You need to be careful if you plan to spend more time here, Theo.” She takes on a more serious tone with me now.

We never tell anyone. I wrote it out myself, and I’d never betray Winter’s trust. Too many people in her life have and no matter what we are or if I never see her again—I won’t be another person who lets her down or lies to her.

I shrug and hold her gaze because I’m not saying shit. “No one.”

Rhett is jumping beside me, huffing and panting. But Summer? Summer is just staring at me. It’s almost like she knows. But how could she? I don’t think a single person would ever guess that Winter and I would end up together.

I’m a bull rider and she’s a doctor.

I’m fire and she’s ice.

She wants to forget about me, and right now I can’t stop thinking about her. Her softer side. The way she opened up with me. The way she whimpered my name when—

“Twenty-five burpees, Silva.” Summer’s lips stretch into an evil smile.

“Are you kidding me?”

Rhett is too breathless to even mock me, but when I glance at him, I can see his bearded cheeks stretched up into a smile.

“No. Get your ass up.”

“I thought I was done?” I whine but do as she says, because I promised myself I’d do my dad proud this season. He may have died riding a bull, but he did it with a couple of championships under his belt.

He mentored Rhett, and Rhett has two.

I want one. I want a fraction of his greatness. I’d be happy to have even a sliver of their success so I can be part of that legacy too.

I want to be more than the World Bull Riding Federation wild child and a fantastic lay.

So, I start my burpees.

Summer smiles at me and shakes her head. “Wow. You really must not want anyone to know about last night.”

“He’s just . . . miffed that he already . . . failed at his goal,” Rhett puffs out from beside me as I start my first jump up in the air. My muscles riot against me as I urge my body back into action after what has already been a two-hour workout.

“What was your goal, Theo?”

I ignore them both.

Sure, I stepped out on the goal I shared with Rhett during one of our talks, but I’m not about to explain to them that this was different somehow. This wasn’t just another—

“Something about living like a monk for the next season to help with his focus.”

Rhett chuckles as he bends over, and I find myself hoping he hurls. The agitation pushes me harder. As I keep going, I feel Summer’s eyes on me.

Assessing. She analyzes things way too damn closely. Sees far too much.

“You smell like tequila,” she says, clearly opting not to pile on with her fiancé.

Once I join Rhett back on the mat, huffing and puffing and wishing I were dead, he turns and grins at me. “I knew you’d never be able to keep your dick in your pants.”

Though they’re meant as a joke, his words sting. They’re also the nudge I need to get motivated, because I want my mentor’s respect. I don’t want to be the butt end of a joke or seen as the child who never grows up. I want to chase my dreams and prove to myself I can do the things I set my mind to.

I don’t want to be the one-night stand who’s used to scratch an itch. I want a woman like Winter Hamilton—beautiful, and smart, and sharp-tongued—to look at me and see a future.


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