Home > The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male (Bluebonnet #2)(2)

The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male (Bluebonnet #2)(2)
Author: Jessica Clare

It was good that he wasn’t here tonight. She’d been able to concentrate on the fund-raiser.

A hand grabbed her arm. “There you are. Can I see you for a minute?”

Her mother. Surprised, Beth Ann allowed Jeanette Williamson to drag her toward the ladies’ room. “What’s going on, Mom?”

“‘Jeanette’ out in public, dear,” her mother said with a frown. Her free hand held an empty champagne glass and she handed it to a passing waiter, then took a fresh one off of his tray. “We need to talk, Beth Ann. I need a favor.”

Beth Ann stifled a groan. A favor? Now? “We’re kind of busy, Jeanette,” she said, stressing her mother’s name. “There’s still two rounds of the silent auction to be awarded—”

Her mother sipped from her champagne glass and waved her hand. “I can handle that. I need you to do something else. Now go into the bathroom. I don’t want anyone to hear us.”

Rolling her eyes, Beth Ann obeyed. The party—a fund-raiser for several local historical societies—was one of her family’s favorite events. And while she wasn’t big on history, she recognized a lot of the familiar faces from society parties. Even though the Williamsons lived in quiet Bluebonnet, her father had friends in high places, and as a result, they went to a lot of benefits and fund-raisers. Beth Ann volunteered at her fair share because it was expected of her as Allan’s fiancée and her father’s daughter. This party was no exception, and the beautiful room was filled elbow to elbow with people in cocktail dresses, wineglasses in hand as they strolled past the silent auction placards she’d carefully placed on the tables earlier that day.

Luckily, the women’s restroom was empty. She moved into it and locked the door behind them, then did a quick scan under the stalls. No one. Good. She turned around and observed her mother swigging her champagne through the massive gilt mirror. “What is it?”

Jeanette waved, trying to swallow her drink, and Beth Ann leaned against the marble countertop of the sink while she waited. If she was with Miranda at a party, she’d have sat up on the countertop and swung her legs, but her mother wouldn’t have approved of that. So she settled for checking her updo for out-of-place strands of hair and examining her figure in her short, swingy cocktail dress. It was glittery and had spaghetti straps and revealed a lot of skin. Allan would have hated it.

Beth Ann had picked it for that exact reason.

“Your sister,” Jeanette said, and tilted her glass to get the last sip of champagne.

Beth Ann frowned. “What’s Lucy done this time?”

“I knew that when she begged to stay home it was a mistake. I just knew it.” Jeanette put the champagne glass down on the counter and threw her hands up in the air. “I called home and she’s not there. She’s off with those DwarfQuester people—”

“QuestMasters,” Beth Ann corrected.

“All I know is that they dress up in costumes and pretend to be elves and dragons. And your sister is hanging out with them again.”

“She’s seventeen, Mom. It’s a harmless group.” Maybe a little on the geeky side, but pretty benign as far as friends went. “Besides, how do you know Lucy is with them? I thought she had a headache?”

“She said she had a headache,” her mother accused. “But she told me a week ago that they were having a big campout and all of the DwarfQuesters in the area—”

“QuestMasters.”

“That’s what I said. She said they were all going to a big campout where they could all dress up and frolic all weekend with the fairies.”

Er, okay. That sounded a little strange. “So it’s like a big slumber party?”

“Yes, and I forbid her to go. There will be boys there. I don’t want her getting into a compromising situation. The last thing your father needs for his reelection next year is an unwed teenage daughter with a baby on her hip. You saw what it did to Sarah Palin.”

Beth Ann rolled her eyes. “Mom, she’s hanging out with friends. She’s not getting pregnant.”

“I don’t want her with them. You saw her new boyfriend, didn’t you?”

She’d seen him. He was short, scrawny, and had a goatee that was so long that he’d braided it and tied it back with a red rubber band. “I think so.”

Her mother leaned in. “She calls him ‘Colossus.’ Now what do you think that is for?”

Oh gawd. She did not want to have this conversation with her mother, who was currently tipsy in a fund-raiser bathroom. “I’m sure she’s fine—”

“Not if she is with Colossus. She asked me last week if I could get her birth control.” Her brows went up. “What do you think of that?”

Beth Ann winced. “At least she’s asking?”

Jeanette gave her a scathing look.

“Okay, okay.” She threw her hands up. “What do you want me to do?”

“I want you to find that campground and bring your sister home.”

“But I can’t leave right now. The auction isn’t done and—”

Someone knocked at the bathroom door.

Jeanette dusted off her clothing with precise fingers and examined her conservative dress in the mirror. “Your father doesn’t know anything about this, of course. He’s meeting with Senator Brown to discuss how he launched himself.” She gave Beth Ann a pointed look. “You know that’s his dream.”

Beth Ann wisely did not point out that her father would need to do a bit more than be mayor for a town with a population of two thousand people before he would have a senatorial seat handed to him. “Fine.”

They slipped out of the bathroom with a smile and a nod at the woman waiting.

“You’re going to go now?” her mother insisted, smiling cheerfully at one of her friends nearby.

“Do I have any choice? It’s either that or let Lucy get impregnated by the Colossus, right?” Her mother gave her a scathing look, warning her to keep her tone down. “Just let me grab my purse—”

Jeanette grabbed Beth Ann’s arm and steered her toward the kitchen. “I’ll get your purse. I suggest you go out that way.”

Puzzled, Beth Ann looked at the kitchen, and then back at her mother. “Why?”

“Because I just saw Allan enter.”

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