Ever Fallen in Love(2)

By: Wendi Zwaduk

"No buts. Step up, improve your attitude, and I'll consider a change. Keep up the DNFs and you're out. Plain and simple."

"I don't set out to crash and I certainly don't like not finishing the damned race."

"You put yourself in a bad position when you don't qualify for shit. Make a change or find a new ride. Got it?"

"Got it.” Tucker sighed. Unless he won the next three races, getting through to Guy wasn't going to happen. He shuffled into the midway, looking the length of the space. The genius who'd had the idea to run the trucks and cars during the same weekend at the same venue needed a raise. Megan stood at the far end of the garage area, one hand on her forehead and the other gesturing at the nearby race truck. Whoever she spoke to—King Valletta, if Tucker wasn't mistaken—seemed to pay no attention to her frustration. Fool.

Tucker leaned on the doorframe and studied the picture she made. Dark waves of silky hair tossed around her shoulders. Her hips swelled gently, the kind of hips a man could hold on to during sex. His mouth watered. Did she still smell like flowers?

He stepped into the shadows as she hurried past his position. Despite the acrid scent of tyre smoke and gasoline in the air, he could've sworn he smelt the unique aura of her. Ten feet past where he stood, she stopped. His heart skipped a beat. Would she look at him? Though, why would she want to look at him? Bits and pieces of their argument ten years earlier came back to him.

"I'm going to be big time. I need someone who's willing to stand next to me and smile, not a woman who wants the spotlight for herself."

His stomach soured. He'd been a jerk. Since he'd walked away from Megan, every woman had proved the exact opposite of his expectations. Mitzy DeAngelo used him to leapfrog to another driver. Angelique worked out a recurring role on a reality show just before dumping him. Even his former publicist, Julia, fucked him over. The moment she got the chance to represent Boyd, she stopped returning Tucker's calls.

Tucker rubbed his chin. There had to be a way to regain Megan's attention—an honest way. He chuckled. Eric Trask worked for Megan on the truck circuit. Trucks happened to be racing later that afternoon. Squeezing the bill of his hat, Tucker grinned. Not the most plausible reason for going to the Blitz hauler, but he hadn't talked to his former friend in over a year.

Might be time to visit Eric after all.

Megan Rodney pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes. Maybe watching the race from the comfort of the motor coach would help ease the tension headache building in her temples. The double-wide racing at Talladega always gave the fans a great experience, but, with Mathew Easton behind the wheel, great was the last word Megan would use to describe the racing.

"The wall is there to keep the spectators safe and the trucks on the track. Stop decorating it with Blitz paint,” King Valetta barked across the radio. “Find the damned draught and use it."

She opened her eyes and adjusted the mouthpiece. “King, you need to encourage him. He's trying."

"I can't encourage someone who isn't listening,” the crew chief snapped. “Get me someone I can communicate with and this shit won't happen."

"Watch your tone with me. The powers that be are still listening.” Fisting her hand, Megan glared in the general direction of the pit box. The boys behind the wall couldn't see her expression, but venting her frustration in a non-verbal fashion helped—a little. All she needed was a team fine for swearing over the radio. The last verbal obscenity fine had cost her a cool ten grand.

"My right rear's going. I've got a vibration,” Mat screamed. “I need to come in."

"You need to stay off the God damned wall.” King growled, the sound vibrating Megan's headset. “The yellow's out. Debris in turn two. Come in when the pits open."

Megan turned the sound down on the radio. Something had to be done. Mathew had skills behind the wheel, but King's barrage of insults wasn't helping him learn. She toyed with the white gold pendant draped about her throat. Options... Who on the team could fill in? Talk some sense into Mat and King? Eric? The idea held possibilities. Bob? He wasn't at the track if she recalled correctly. Damn.

Her gaze wandered over the pit area. Tucker Poston was ambling in her general direction. She snorted. If Tucker was still in the picture, he'd have everyone sorted out. Heck, he'd have them shaking hands and trading laughs after the race win. But he raced for MPR and he wasn't available.