Authors: Trinity Marlow
Copyright © 2011 by Trinity Marlow
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from Trinity Marlow.
Cover art by Heidi Sutherlin
Edited by Carol R. Ward
Alyssa used one hand to shield her eyes from the late afternoon sun. "Finally," she murmured, relieved to see buildings just a little further up the road. Without thinking, she wiped her brow with the sleeve of her white linen jacket. Lowering her arm, she swore at the dark beige smear of makeup left behind.
"Dammit! What else can possibly go wrong?"
She adjusted her purse on her shoulder, and kept walking, her feet stinging in the expensive, white peep-toe heels she'd bought just for the interview in Billings. Not that it mattered now. The HR director at the marketing firm had been very clear that punctuality and overtime weren't optional. Between sleeping through the hotel alarm that morning and her car breaking down in the middle of nowhere, she didn't have a chance of being on time.
Heat radiated up from the asphalt in waves, and if it wasn't for the stupid shoes, she'd leave the road and hike across the scrubby terrain. The buildings were getting closer, but her heart sank as she realized there were only three. Not a town then. Or not anymore, at least. Hopefully it wasn't abandoned. Her cell phone had no coverage on this ridiculously isolated stretch of road, and it would be dark soon. Just the thought of being stranded by herself at night had her picking up the pace.
It was another fifteen minutes before she reached the main structure, a gas station that had clearly seen better days. Newer model cars were parked around the sides, and the other two buildings looked well-kept, if old. She peered in the front window, the sight of a pop machine and a computer on the counter bringing a slight smile to her lips. Clearly someone still worked there, and she hurried to the front door, nearly tripping on the threshold as she stepped into the office. A bell jingled behind her as the door shut, but the blast of cool air she was hoping for never came. Two fans moved the air around a little, but it was just as stifling inside as it was out.
Letting out a sigh, she looked around the deserted office. There was a phone on the desk, but she'd seen a tow truck outside. Maybe whoever worked here could haul her car in and fix it. That would be faster than having anyone else come out.
The faint sound of metal striking metal came from somewhere to her left, and she saw a door that must lead to the garage bays she'd noted out front. Heels clicking on the laminate floor she followed the sound, stopping suddenly when she reached the source. A tall, muscular man stood bent over the engine of a car, the tan skin of one muscular arm a sharp contrast to the white tank he wore. Dark hair cropped short, it was his familiar profile that arrested her. It couldn't really be Mike Galway, could it? What would he be doing way out here, in Montana no less? She’d been two years behind him in school - last time she'd seen him had been at his high school graduation. After giving him her virginity the night before, she'd stupidly thought it meant something.
, she mentally scolded.
It's not him. You're hallucinating
. Suddenly feeling ill, she leaned against the door frame. She'd ask for help, and then get some water from the machine out front.
"I'm sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if you could help me?" He turned toward her, and her pulse started pounding under her skin. It was him, and judging from the look on his face, he was not happy to see her. This day couldn't possibly get any worse.
* * *
Mike considered pretending not to recognize the half-wilted woman in his doorway, but one look at her crimson face told him she wouldn't fall for it. Just as she hadn't twelve years ago when he'd tried to ignore her at graduation. She'd been pretty homely back then with her braces, stringy unkempt hair and grubby clothes with the non-designer holes slashed in them. But he'd won a couple hundred bucks in a bet with his buddies who dared him to sleep with the grossest girl in school, and at the time it had been a matter of pride.
Or a really stupid high-school prank.
"Alyssa Peterson," he said, acknowledging the connection. "What brings you all the way up here? Colorado not exciting enough for you anymore? Or are you just on vacation?"
She shrugged halfheartedly, looking down at the floor. "I lost my job, and needed something...different. I have - well, had, anyway - a job interview in Billings." She glanced up, her eyes focused on his face, but not meeting his gaze. "I thought you went back east after..." She left the sentence unfinished, clearly uncomfortable remembering their last meeting.
He took pity on her. "I did for awhile. Didn't like all the people and came back to start my own shop four years ago. Been here ever since." Taking in her designer jeans, shoes that looked expensive underneath all the dirt and the linen jacket, he guessed she'd done all right for herself. Though her hair was still stringy and there was a big dark spot on her sleeve. Maybe things hadn't changed so much after all.
"So what can I do for you, Alyssa?" He wiped his hands on a dirty rag and started walking toward her, frowning as he got closer. She looked ill, and when she tried to step back, she swayed on her heels.
"My car," she said, shaking her head like she was trying to clear her thoughts. "It broke down a couple miles back. If I could use your phone, and maybe get a bottle of water, I'll get out of your way." She swayed again, and when he reached out to steady her, she stumbled against his chest. "Sorry," she said, trying to regain her balance. "I think I need to sit down."
Mike laid his hand over her forehead as she clung to his shoulder with one hand. Cool and moist, her skin was flushed and her words suddenly sank in. "Did you walk from your car in this heat? In those shoes?"
She nodded, the movement slow as she contemplated her feet. "I loved these shoes."
Mike shook his head and scooped her up in his arms, trying to ignore how good she felt against his chest. It had obviously been too long since he'd had a date. "You should have stayed with your car." He carried her down the hall and to the right, carefully moving up the stairs to his apartment. "We have to cool you down. I need to take your clothes off."
She murmured something against his neck as he set her down on his bed and brushed her jacket off her shoulders. Reaching for the hem of her tee shirt, he pulled it off over her head, sucking in a breath at the sight of the nearly-sheer peach bra she wore. She'd certainly filled out, he thought wryly as he gently pushed her back on the bed. Eyes closed and chestnut hair fanned out behind her, she made a delectable picture. His cock stirred in response, and he took another deep breath as he slipped her shoes off. Opening her jeans he tugged them off her hips and down her legs, nearly groaning when they fell open, exposing a peach thong to match her bra that did nothing to hide the view of her clean-shaven pussy.
He turned and went into the bathroom, running cool water into the tub while he attempted to regain control. Splashing some of the water on his own face, he went back to the bedroom and gathered her up in his arms, leaving her underwear on. She shivered as he lowered her into the water. He took a wet cloth and smoothed it over her face, then tipped her head back to get her hair wet. A few minutes later, color started returning to her face and she slowly opened her eyes.
"Mike?" She smiled shyly, reaching out to trail a wet finger down his neck. He just stared at her, muscles flexing under her touch, waiting for her to realize where she was. Something told him it wasn't going to be pretty when she did.
Best. Dream. Ever.
Heat seared Alyssa's finger as she traced the hard lines of muscle down Mike's collarbone to his chest. She'd done it a hundred times in her dreams, but it had never seemed this real. Taking her time, she watched his face, expecting the slow, seductive smile she'd seen a hundred times. But his expression remained serious, and there was a wariness in his eyes that wasn't normally there.
She pulled away, her letting her smile fade as she looked around the small, utilitarian bathroom. Something wet slipped down her arm, and she frowned, looking at the strap of her bra with growing unease. Why would she take a bath with her underwear on? Everything came back like a freight train, and she pulled her knees up to her chest, hugging them tightly as she remembered Mike taking her clothes off. Or had that just been part of the dream?
She shivered, cold suffusing her body just as the heat had earlier. "I...um...sorry," she said, positive her face was beat red. "I didn't...I mean, I thought I was dreaming." As soon as the words were out, she wanted them back. Had she really just told Mike Galway she was dreaming about him? Or implied that she had, anyways? This day really couldn't get any worse, could it?
"It's okay. You had heat exhaustion. I had to cool you off before it turned into heat stroke, and this was the quickest way to do that." He stood up, opening a cabinet somewhere behind her. "Come on, I'll help you out. You need to drink some water."
"Um, thanks, but you can just leave a towel. I can take it from here." He wanted her to stand up while he watched? She didn't think so. At least he'd left her bra and panties on, but they were nearly sheer dry, and wouldn't hide anything wet. Besides, she needed to take them off. The wet fabric was making her skin crawl.
He didn't move. "Sorry, but I don't want you falling and cracking your head open if you're still dizzy when you stand up. 'Fraid you're stuck with me for awhile longer."
She looked up at him, holding a towel open for her. His flat expression made her want to scream. "I'm not getting out of this tub while you're here. And that's final." She looked at the wall in front of her, planning to ignore him until he left. From the corner of her eye she saw the towel swing down as he laid it nearby on the sink. Relaxing a little, she waited for him to leave as she shivered in the cool water.
Then strong hands slipped under her arms and hauled her up out of the water. Her back practically sizzled when it made contact with that broad, bare chest, and she gasped at the hard ridge in his pants that nestled snuggly in the crack of her ass as he held her tight. Her head spun, and she knew that if he hadn't been holding her she would have slipped to the floor. By the time the room was steady again, he'd wrapped the towel around her and hoisted her into his arms.