Tina Leonard, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

Navarro or Not

Read the Excerpt

Chapter One

“Actions speak louder than words. So think your actions over many times.”
— Maverick Jefferson when his boys got caught stealing Shoeshine Johnson’s bus for a road trip because it was the only vehicle all twelve of them could fit into at once.

“What has to be done,” Navarro Jefferson told his twin, Crockett, as they sat in his truck, “is that one of us should go live in Lonely Hearts Station. As a sort-of mole. To keep an eye on Last’s pregnancy matter before it gets further out of hand.”

Recently, Last, the youngest Jefferson brother and the family philosophe, had managed to get himself into trouble with a gal of questionable reputation from the wrong side of the beautician tracks.

Ever since their elder brother Frisco Joe had courted and married a stylist from the Lonely Hearts Salon – and put the Jefferson brothers in the middle of a duel between the Lonely Hearts beauties and their salon rivals, the Never Lonely Cut-n-Gurls – life had not been going well for any of the boys from Union Junction.

Not for Last, nor for the rest of his brothers.

Navarro had sort of expected more trouble, but lacking condom sense was not supposed to be in the cards.

“How would we do that?” Crockett asked. “I think the Never Lonely Cut-n-Gurls would know we were watching their every move.”

“The only one we need to watch is Valentine,” Navarro told his twin. “You and I could swap out, take turns, and they’d never know the difference. Tag-team girl-watching.”

Crockett blinked. “Why do I find that appealing in a warped kind of way?” He considered the notion, peering out the truck window toward the Never Lonely Cut-n-Gurls salon. “Or possibly, I find it depressing. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a woman.”

“Whoa,” Navarro said. “Too much info.”

“Last says he doesn’t remember anything about that night except that he was drinking some exceptional firewater.”

“Man, I remember every good night I’ve had with a lady,” Navarro bragged. “Even in my dreams.”

“More there than not.”

Navarro pulled his hat low over his eyes without comment.

“So how do we invade the landscape without raising suspicions? We need to get on the inside of that salon,” Crockett said.

“Yeah. But bed maneuvers are out. I think there’s enough trouble in the family tree when it comes to the ladies.”

“Mmm.” Crockett studied the goings-on of an attractive band of giggling Never Lonely girls as they left the salon. They were all dressed provocatively, which he appreciated. He wouldn’t date any of the girls—not his type—but he certainly appreciated the goodness they were lending to the view. “You could dress in drag and become a hairdresser alongside them.”

“I think not.”

“You could become a client.”

“I think they’d suspect my motives.” Everyone in town knew that the Jefferson brothers were more likely to be seen at the Lonely Hearts Salon across the street when they needed a trim.

Crockett was silent for a moment. “You could hit on Valentine.”

“I’d rather gnaw off my leg. Anyway, that would totally raise suspicions.”

“Well, then you’d have to prove that your intentions were honest, in order to get the most info out of her. You’d have to get engaged.”

Navarro laughed. “Right.”

We could get engaged. If we tag-team spy, we might as well tag-team engage. No one would notice that we were switching out. And then we’d be on the inside.”

“What a novel idea. Why don’t we just do something so stupid?”

“I’m serious.” Crockett sat up straight. “It’s not very heroic, and it’s deceitful, but it would get us in a primo position to find out the info we need to save our bro from Valentine’s catch-a-cowboy plot.”

“We’ve done a lot worse, but I don’t think Fannin would approve, even in the name of family. And when Mason comes home, he’d roast us for sure.”

“I say it’s easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission.”

“I say … you’ve got a point.” Navarro drummed the steering wheel. “How are we going to figure out which of those lovelies we want to sucker?”

“I don’t know. How about the little plus-size gal over there with the pretty smile?”

“I think you may be looking at her chest when you talk ‘plus size.” We could toss her between us like a doll. She’s a little bitty thing—isn’t she?—all curves and swerves.”

“I like blondes,” Crockett mused. “And she’s not dressed fakey. She’s kind of cute. Personality-wise, of course. Is there any chance we could reconsider sleeping with our girlfriend?”

“Absolutely not!” Navarro exclaimed.

“Rats. I do tend to fall easily to temptation. I really like a nice ripe bottom on a woman. She looks like she’s all peach and no pit.”

“She’s definitely ripe. Hey, she’s coming over! Turn your head and act like you’re lost!”

“Hey, guys,” the blonde said. “Lost?”

“Yes,” Crockett said, because Navarro had pulled his hat over his face. “But we want to figure it out ourselves, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh. You’re adventurous types,” she said.

“You could say that,” Crockett agreed.

Nina Cakes smiled at the cowboy, realizing at once that here was the answer to her prayers.

“I need a man,” she said.

“We’ve heard that before, sister,” the cowboy told her. “And we’re always ready to heed the call.”

Nina took a step back from his leer. “Uh, cool your jets, cowboy. I said I need a man, not a mistake.”