From the Author
From the Inside Flap
She crossed her armsover the steering wheel and lowered her head onto them. Five thousand dollarsdown the drain, counting the Prius. Though the Prius would have died anyway. Itwasn't fair to count that. But the worst part was--she was no closer toadvancing her photography skills than before.
Walmart was calling her.
Lifting her head, sheswabbed at her eyes with the wadded Kleenex and blew her nose. And then she sawhim, straddling his huge, black and silver Harley, under the one streetlight indowntown Pharr. Looking like the embodiment of a bad boy biker ... and hot ashell.
What on earth was he doing here?
She hit the button toroll down her car window and leaned out. "Joaquin?"
"Yep, I'm here," hecalled back.
He threw his leg overhis monster motorcycle and fixed the kickstand or whatever contraption held itup. He sauntered over and gazed at her.
She knew she was amess--red-rimmed eyes and matted, messed-up mascara.
"Are you okay? Is yourcar okay?" he asked.
"Yes, yes, I'm fine."She dabbed at her eyes and levered her lips, barely lifting the corners. "Andthe car is fine."
He nodded. "I was outof town on business and just got back. Cat told me about you getting stranded,coming to class. But the car is fixed now?"
"Yes, new battery." Shepatted the dashboard. "Good as new."
He let loose a lowwhistle. "Hybrid engine battery?"
"No wonder you werestranded ... and pricey, too."
"You could say that."
He reached inside thecar, and wiped away her tears with his thumb. But he didn't say anything.Didn't ask dumb questions.
"Okay, then you're goodto go. Right? I'll follow behind, to make sure."
"Joaquin." She caughthis hand. "Why did you come?"
"To check on you andknow that you get home okay." He bent down, bringing his face on a level withhers. "What else are old friends for?"
He pulled his hand freeand straightened. "Come on, let's get back to Padre. I kept the rest of thatpinot noir for you. You can finish it when we get back."
"But it's late and--"
"Hey, last time, youwere complaining it was too early in the morning. What time is a good time?Besides, you don't want the bottle to go to waste. I'm not much of a winedrinker myself." His gaze caught hers and snagged. "You should always finishwhat you start. Don't you think?"
She gazed back at him,understanding what he was really saying, and it had nothing to do withfinishing a bottle of wine. The question was whether she was ready to finishthe night in his bedroom ... in his arms?
Maybe ... but maybe not. Depended on how dark he kept his room."