Ever Fallen in Love(3)

By: Wendi Zwaduk

So why not take a page from Tucker's playbook?

"We can't win if we aren't working together.” Megan slid her phone from her back pocket and pounded out a text to her car chief.

Get on the mic and calm Mat or convince King to step down. Something's gotta give.

"Come on, Eric,” she muttered. “Work with me.” Within moments, the reply text pinged and lit up her screen.

I'll be up.

She readjusted the sound on her headset while she focused her attention on the pit area. No sign of King or Eric. Damn. She tapped her foot and continued rubbing the pendant. Not that the trinket held much more than emotional value, but the action soothed her nerves. “Come on, guys."

Her phone buzzed in her hand. Rick. How the hell did the man always seem to get her personal number?

Want to fuck you. Forgive me?

The tension headache seared behind her eyes. Answer him? Ignore him? She erased the message and shoved the phone into her back pocket. Out of sight, out of mind. The roof of the hauler vibrated as someone stepped up behind her. God help her, if Rick showed up...

When Megan turned, she shrieked. “Oh my God."

"I come in peace.” Tucker Poston took a step back. In one hand, he held earphones. In the other, the radio. “Want me to talk to him? I've got my own headset. I understand race brain."

"Race brain?” She rolled her eyes. “You can talk, sure. I didn't expect you.” And I'm not completely upset you're here. She took in the way his T-shirt contoured to the dips and valleys of his chest. Muscles rippled under the soft cotton and showed so much more than the fire suit he normally wore. She licked her lips. Years ago, she'd spent countless hours touching and tasting his skin. A slow burn started deep in her heart. For a split second, she could almost admit she missed him.

"Eric got waylaid. Your rear tyre changer had his foot run over by the number four truck."

"If it's not one thing, it's another.” Megan tugged at the hem of her blouse, smoothing out unseen wrinkles. She sucked in her stomach. What would he think of her extra pounds? Guys of Tucker's calibre liked women in the size two range. Her size eight wasn't anywhere close.

She turned away and massaged her forehead. She wanted to smack herself. What would he think? What was she thinking! His opinion didn't matter, regardless of his obvious sex symbol status. She meant nothing to him.

"Eric suggested you and I settle our differences...at the track.” He wrapped the earphones around his neck and clipped the radio to his belt loops. “I want to help you. I'd guess there will be another couple laps under caution. What's the team frequency?"

"Forty-seven. I can't afford another trashed truck.” Her gaze travelled south for a moment or two, and Megan groaned. Her noticing the way his jeans hugged his body and accentuated the strong muscles in his legs wasn't going to make Mat a better driver. Nope, all it did was kick her libido, back from a long hibernation, into high gear. Truth be told, she didn't want to deal with Tucker. The wounds from his betrayal were way too fresh even after ten years. Damn. Coupled with his way of wrapping her around his finger, she didn't stand a chance of keeping him at bay.

Tucker hooked his index finger under her chin. “Hey, I've got a good rapport with him. He's scared he's not going to finish or keep his ride. It's paralysing. I know where he's at because I've been there too many times."

Her heart pounded and her hands shook. If she waited another minute, Mat could put the truck into the wall. Then again, Tucker could make another move and get closer. Megan shoved her second thoughts aside in favour of her team.

"See if you can get through to him, Professor Race Brain.” She found the frequency on his headset. “I've got faith in you."

The corner of his mouth lifted in a smile. “I promise you my best."

Despite the roar of the engines and the thunder of the crowd, Megan made out a bit of Tucker's advice. “When you come to the green, do what you know how to do way down in your soul. Forget the pressure. Ignore the guys out to wreck trucks. Focus on what you're on track to do—race and find a dance partner. You tuck under the guy and push, you'll have a friend for the lap. Got me?"

Tucker tugged the earphones down around his neck and the half-smile built into a full grin. He bumped her shoulder and eased the earphones from her ears. “All better for now. Mat's got a good head on his shoulders. He should come out of this race in one piece, albeit a bit dented.” He smoothed his hair back and fixed his hat. “You might consider getting him another crew chief, though. Valletta's a bastard."