Town of Chance: Sweet Caroline(4)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

She was shaking and her eyes welled up with tears. She stared in shock as the trooper got out of the car. He was tall and big. Not just because she was only five foot three. He had to be six foot four.

His Stetson lay low over his eyes, adding to the intimidation factor. She couldn’t tell what color his eyes were but as he stepped closer she could tell he was in great physical condition and looked to have a military-style haircut. He looked her over, and she pulled her blouse closed, not realizing that the top few buttons came undone as she stretched into the trunk to try and get the tire out.

“Evening, Miss. Looks like you have some tire trouble?”

She nodded. He gave a small smile. More like a smirk than a grin as he stepped closer. She looked way up at him, never seeing such a big trooper like him before and she read his name tag. Mantel was in white bold letters on his black name tag.

“I can give you a hand.”

“That’s okay. I can do it,” she said, her voice shaking. He gave a smile.

“With that cast on your arm? I don’t think so. Plus, you’re a tiny little thing, couldn’t possibly even get that tire out of the trunk without help.”

She was a little offended but he was right. She couldn’t pull it up and out. Probably couldn’t do it even if she didn’t have the cast on her arm.

But she didn’t know who he was, whether Cameron sent him, and everything about him made her scared. Maybe because Cameron was a cop, a soldier, and he was very big, although not as big as this guy.

“I wouldn’t want to hold you up from something important,” she said to him as he reached into the trunk. She stepped aside and he looked at her.

“Miss, there’s nothing more important for me to do right now than to help a young woman stuck on the side of the road change a flat tire. You’re not from around here. Where ya headed?” he asked. That Southern accent of his made her belly quiver a little extra, and her head spun. How did he know she wasn’t from around here? Why did he want to know where she was headed? Sure it could be the luggage and the license plates on the car. Shit, the license plates weren’t real. They were expired. Her sister was going to get new plates and register the car under her name once she got to Chance.

“I’m from around here.”

He pulled the tire out no problem and then placed it on the ground and leaned it against the back.

“Really? Where from?” he pushed as he reached back into the trunk and searched for something. She felt sick. Was he going to plant something in there and arrest her? Maybe lock her up and call Cameron? She panicked.

“What are you looking for?” she snapped at him.

He stood back up, holding a tire jack and squinted at her. He looked her over as he stepped back.

She felt stupid and now she’d just made him suspicious of her if he wasn’t a friend of Cameron’s. Damn it.

“So where did you say you were headed?”

“I didn’t,” she replied as he squatted down next to the tire and placed the jack into position. He didn’t say a word. She just watched him work on changing her tire like a pro.

She stood back, could hear the sound of his radio going off as well as a few cars speed by them.

He stood up as he removed the tire. He did it with ease and as if the tire was as light as could be. Her teeth were chattering now she was so nervous.

He brushed by her as he reached for the spare tire. She smelled his cologne and felt this vibe of something at the small bit of contact. He held her gaze. “Are you visiting family?” he asked her as he rolled the tire to the side and then placed it into position.

“Yes,” she replied. He tightened the bolts and then started to let down the jack.

“You’ll want to get a new spare tire so you’ll be prepared if this ever happens again,” he said to her and then brought the items to the trunk, placing the bad tire in first.

“I will. I appreciate your help.”

He looked at his hands and she saw that they were all black.

“Oh, I think I have some wet wipes in there,” she said and reached in to look on the side. She bumped him and he didn’t move an inch. As she recovered the small pouch of wet wipes, she glanced up at him and he was holding her gaze. Her heart pounded and her breasts swelled. She was completely attracted to this guy and she shouldn’t be. He was just like Cameron. What the hell was she thinking?

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