Tarzan & Janine

By: Elle James & Delilah Devlin

~ Texas Billionaires Club ~

Chapter One

“Holy Hell.” Tanner Peschke groaned.

“My friend, you worry far too much.” Rip O’Rourke grinned from across the table but stared through the barroom door.

Tanner rolled his eyes. Rip didn’t look as though he had a care in the world—the eye-straining Hawaiian shirt paired with his beat-up cowboy hat pretty much reflected his whole outlook on life.

“Wow, T-man. You couldn’t have picked a better place for us to meet.”

“I should have known this was a set up.” Tanner ran a hand through his hair and stared out into the Austin, Texas hotel lobby hosting the National Beauty Products Convention. “My old man is testing me.”

Rip sighed. “This place is heaven.”

“It’s hell for me.” Tanner waved a hand at the plethora of women—slim, curvy, tall, petite, fresh-faced, mature—and in every mouth-watering color scheme available on the planet. “Look at them. All of them. I’ll never make the deal he expects.”

“Tanner, why don’t you just tell your father you quit?” Jesse Jordan sipped his steaming coffee.

The twinkle in his eye said he understood Tanner’s predicament all too well. Although women fawned over the young Robert Redford lookalike, he didn’t melt like hot wax.

“You don’t need Peschke Motors,” Jesse said. “You make more on your investments in a month than that place sees in a year.”

“I made a promise to my mother—”

“On her deathbed ten years ago.” Gage Jenkins, a no-nonsense man with a military haircut and direct stare, leaned over the table. “Dude, a lot has changed since then.”

“You could buy ten Peschke Motors with your pocket change.” Rip shook his head. “Hell, you could probably buy your own new car manufacturing company with the money you’re making in day trading.”

“That’s not the point.” Tanner leaned back in his seat. “Why do you work at the radio station, Rip?” Irritation tightened his throat. He turned to Jesse and waved a hand. “Why do you run a ranch supply store, Jess? And why are you still a member of the Army National Guard, Gage?” Tanner glanced around at the group. “None of us do what we do because we need the money.”

“That’s right.” Rip let out a belch, followed by a grin. “Sorry.”

Tanner shook his head. “We started the Texas Billionaires Club so we would all succeed.”

Rip nodded. “And once we made our collective billion, we are supposed to remind each other what’s important.”

“Family, friends and, most important, not getting a big head.” Jesse counted off, one finger at a time.

“Back to the point.” Gage set his coffee mug on the table with a thump. “Tanner made a promise...to his dying mother, who is family, to stand by his father...who is family.”

“That’s why I called this meeting, my friends.” Tanner straightened his collar. “I needed moral support and a reminder of what’s important. My dad’s counting on me to do this right.”

“Well, soldier.” Gage threw back his broad shoulders and gave Tanner his best military glare. “Get out there and make that deal.”

“I don’t get it.” Rip’s brows furrowed. “What’s so hard about buying a load of used cars from an old lady?”

“He’s a sucker for a sob story.” Jesse shook his head, a grin spreading across his mouth. “This place is filled with women, a veritable field of land mines for our man Tanner.”

“You got that right.” Tanner stood, staring out at the lobby, dread filling him with each passing second.

Jesse, Gage and Rip stood, Rip leaning in like a quarterback in a huddle. “Keep your eye on the ball. Ignore the other team, and the fact you’ll be surrounded and outnumbered by the fairer sex.”

“Thanks,” Tanner snorted. “I’m ignoring them already.” His tone dripped sarcasm.

“You can do it, buddy.” Rip pounded him on his back. “Just pretend they’re all men in drag and breeze right through.”

“We’ve got your back.” Jesse took his turn pounding Tanner’s back. “Call us when you’re done. We’ll give you a cyber high-five.”

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