Mallory spotted Gavin at the other end of the bar. Sitting on a stool and taking a swig from
his beer mug, he seemed to be alone. Mallory took a seat on the opposite side and asked
the bartender to send another beer to Gavin. The more alcohol in him, the more likely he
would be to agree to be her guide so that she could fulfill Aunt Abbey’s final wish.
She watched Gavin exchange a few words with the barkeep, and then he looked down at
her end of the bar, pushed his Stetson back, and raised his glass. The woman sitting next
to Mallory, an attractive blonde, smiled back and blew a kiss.
Mallory wasn’t sure whether that was a good sign. She’d hoped to foster goodwill with
her gesture and to also get him a little plastered. As much as she didn’t want that
goodwill to go to the woman sitting next to her, Mallory couldn’t help but think she’d
dodged a bullet.
Then the barkeep pointed again. Gavin spit the beer he’d just swigged into his mug and
pushed it away. He got up and turned away, and she knew he planned to leave, so she
hurried to the other end of the bar and put her hand on his arm. “Gavin-”
“At least hear me out.”
“I heard you out. There’s nothing more I want to hear from you.”
“No.” He turned to face her, and she felt the undiminished force of his hatred. “Get the
hell away from me.”