He ignores her comment and continues with the introductions. “Sitting to her left is Feather. The other women are Petal, Cayenne, and Clove.”
“Nice to meet you, ladies.” I smile. “Sorry I can’t shake your hands.” I indicate my grimy hands.
“Oh, we don’t want to shake your hand. We want you to remove your shirt,” Feather says with a wiggle of her eyebrows.
“Take it off! Take it off!”
I turn to figure out who’s shouting now. Ashlyn’s cheering while pretending to have pompoms in her hands. Lilac’s other sisters are behind her.
“Personally, I preferred it when you took your shirt off on the football field,” a woman who must be Juniper as she’s sitting on Maverick’s lap says.
“You weren’t there, June Bug.”
“We recorded the entire thing for her,” Ellery says as she hands a baby to Cole before sitting at his feet and leaning against his legs.
“Is someone recording this?” I ask as I scan the gathering crowd for someone holding their phone up.
Aspen waves her phone at me. “I am. I’m the official photographer.”
“I thought you owned a bookstore.” Didn’t Lilac tell me her oldest sister ran a sexy book club at her bookstore?
“Are you going to talk all day or are you going to get those gutters cleaned?” Lyric asks.
“You have an awfully big mouth for someone who didn’t have to do a West family initiation,” Maverick mutters.
Lyric raises his eyebrow. “I didn’t paint the outside of the high school?”
“I see you met the gossip gals.” Ashlyn waves toward the group of elderly ladies.
“Um. Isn’t it rude to say someone is a gossip?”
“We prefer the term busybody,” Sage says.
“But then we realized gossip gal has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?” Cayenne asks.
“I guess,” I say, and they cheer.
Why didn’t I keep my mouth shut? The women obviously aren’t afraid to speak. They can defend themselves.
“Speaking of which, we should get gossip gal initiation day shirts made,” Feather says.
“Lilac is the last West sister to get hitched,” Ashlyn says. “It’d be a waste of a shirt.”
“Silly girl,” Sage tuts. “There are more single young people in town besides your family.”
“You better not be talking about my brothers. Phoenix barely comes into town as it is. He’s terrified you’re going to try and matchmake him,” Lyric says.
“Phoenix with the goats?” I ask.
“You met my brother?”
“Yes.” And so did my sister. In fact, I think she has a bit of a crush on him since I caught her reading a book about goat farming the other day. Crap. This Phoenix guy doesn’t appear interested in a relationship. Of course, the first man Gabrielle is interested in, in the past year, is relationship shy.
Ruby comes around the corner of the building and sighs when she notices the crowd. “I told you not to come by today.”
“How are we going to figure out if he’s good enough for our Lilac if we’re not here for his West initiation?” Lyric asks.
“I’m just here to see him without his shirt on,” Clove announces.