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Bad For Me(2)

By:Codi Gary

Of course, that mix-up had started the chain of events leading to Justin’s and Valerie Willis’s wedding next month—and to Callie deejaying the whole event—but still, you had to own your mistakes.

No matter how hard and painful it might be.

Dalton was a complete 180 from the little jerk: a good ole boy, just turned eighteen, and eager to learn. He had only been there a month, but he’d jump into the next job without her even having to ask. She couldn’t have hoped for better.

Plus, he was pretty to look at, with a tall, rangy frame and sweet smile. Sure, he was just this side of jailbait, but Callie would have to be dead not to notice that he was a cutie.

As he came in through the studio door, Ratchet stood up to say hi. Most of the staff still gave him a wide berth, but Dalton had never been nervous around the big dog. He’d told Callie that he’d grown up on a sheep ranch outside of Shoshone around Great Pyrenees dogs, which were similar to Anatolians but hairier.

“Here’s your coffee, Callie,” Dalton said. He handed her the cup before kneeling down to pet Ratchet. “Hey, big guy, you gotta go handle your business?” Dalton took Ratchet’s leash from the desk. “That okay if I take him outside?”

“Thanks, Dalton. You’re a godsend,” Callie said before taking a small sip of the hot liquid. Sweet spices filled her mouth, and she sighed. “Man, that is good.”

Dave, her producer, signaled her for the countdown, and she set her coffee on the desk. When he pointed at her, she flicked the mic back on and said, “We’re back. October is only a week away, so don’t forget to mark your calendars for the following events: on October 6, the Rock Canyon Harvest Festival will be held at the Silverton farm with yummy food, games, and a haunted corn maze perfect for getting your chills and thrills. Then, on October 31, come out to the Rock Canyon Community Center for Kat Country’s Ghoulish Halloween Ball. Get yourselves a babysitter, because everyone twenty-one and over can enjoy dancing and drinks until two. Tickets are on sale on our website and at the following retailers . . . ”

After naming several local businesses, she continued. “And now, our all-request hour. So get to your phones and call 208-555-3KAT—unless you’re driving or eating. No one wants to hear you talk around a mouthful of bagel, and we all want you to make it to wherever you’re going safely.”

Dave held up his finger, and she hit the button for line one.

“First caller, what can I do you for?”

“Hi, I’d like to hear ‘Teardrops on my Guitar’ by Taylor Swift,” a young female voice said over the line.

“Sure, honey. What’s your name? And is there anyone specific you want this going out to?”

“Um . . . do I have to say?” the girl asked nervously.

Callie smiled. Poor kid. “No, of course not. I’ll get that on the air for you right now.”

“Thanks.” The line went dead, and Callie flipped on the track before taking the next call. By six twenty, both lines were blinking, and she had half an hour of music to play.

But Rhett had missed his call-in.

He’d been calling every morning at six thirteen and hadn’t missed a morning yet.

He’s just a caller. Stop being a freak about it.

Besides, if he’d had romantic notions about her, he probably would have dropped a hint or two, especially since she’d started taking their calls off air when their conversations went on too long. And when she’d get angry waves from her producer and she’d have to go, he’d always just say, “Have a nice day, Callie Jay.”

Unlike some of the other citizens of Rock Canyon, Idaho, he didn’t call up to bitch and moan about politics or what was wrong with modern country music. In fact, just yesterday he’d said that he loved October because it was when all the fall drinks and colors started showing up. She was more of a spring person, but when Dalton had made a coffee run this morning, the pumpkin-spiced latte she’d ordered had been in Rhett’s honor.

Callie glanced down at her cell phone and noticed the voicemail icon was on the top of her screen. She tapped it and held the phone to her ear. The robot voice said, “Hello. You have one new voicemail from . . . ”

“It’s Caroline Freaking Willis!”

Callie groaned as the robot continued. “At eleven twenty-five P.M.”

“Oh, come on, Callie! I know you’re avoiding me, and you won’t get away with it! You go to Buck’s and Hank’s, so what’s wrong with this?”

Callie shook her head. When Callie had met Caroline back in April, she’d sensed someone she could relate to. Someone who had her own demons and was fighting her own past—and she’d been right. Yet in all the time since, and as the two of them had grown closer, Caroline had never asked Callie about her past. She’d just taken her for who she was now.