JARILLO SUNSET – EXCERPT
Char Johnson slammed her fist into the steering wheel. "Well, that's just great. I don't know why the hell I get stuck with this company car." Char looked around her surroundings. She was in the middle of nowhere, with a flat tire and a dead cellphone.
Her week had already started out badly. She had been told earlier by her boss that she had three months to beat Mike Ventura in sales. She and Mike were the last two real estate agents hired at Stillwater Realty and they were low on the seniority list. Since the housing market bottomed out, sales had plummeted and one of them would be losing their job. The competition was stiff enough without increasing the competition among employees. She had been on her way to meet a potential seller, but now it looked like she wouldn't make it.
She stepped out of the car then kicked the flat tire. "Ouch!"
She surveyed the area around her. Based on the information she had, she figured she was about two miles from her destination. The sun was beating down, and the temperature was already a sweltering ninety-five degrees and it was supposed to get hotter. The surrounding area was flat, and almost barren, reminding her of the Sahara desert.
She looked down at what she had on—a blue pinstripe business suit with a white blouse that had lace around the neckline and down the front where the buttons were. She had on a pair of expensive Jimmy Choo high heels. At six hundred dollars a pair they would not be good for walking on a dirt road. I'm not dressed for a hiking expedition!
She was short—five foot three—and she wore heels because it put her at eye level with most of her clients and with the staff at Stillwater Realty. She was glad that she'd had the sense to pull her long hair pulled back into a French braid so it was off her neck and not making a hot day hotter. She had thought about getting her hair cut a million times, and a million times, she'd chickened out.
She had worked up the gumption to start walking toward the subdivision when she turned around one last time and thought she saw a car coming way off in the distance. The car looked like a ghostly silhouette with the hot sun beating down from the sky. She decided she would wait a few minutes to see if the car would stop to help her.
* * * *
On his way home from work at the Apache White Eagle Casino, Vincent Carter turned onto Pueblo Lane, heading down the lone dirt road to his house at the Sunnyside subdivision, south of Jarillo. The county road commission had just leveled the dirt road, making it easier to drive the posted speed. His eyes burned from exhaustion, and he wanted to catch a catnap before going to Jake's tonight. Jake was having a steak dinner cookout with the band. After the band, White Sands, finished their gig at the casino last night, they were taking a break for the next two weeks. Next Saturday Jake was getting married and would be gone for one week on his honeymoon. The band rarely took any time off to relax or take a vacation.
It had been a particularly busy morning at the Apache White Eagle Casino in Hobbs, New Mexico. It seemed the retirees that came in the night before never left the casino to go to bed and he was serving cheap beer and drinks constantly from the time he got there at 4:00 AM until 10:00 AM.
Vincent was feeling agitated and particularly moody this morning. He was happy for his friends Jake and Jennifer. It took them five years to decide they couldn't live without each other. He found that his own self-imposed avoidance of getting involved with someone else meant he would be only one of two guys at the wedding without a date. Hell, the whole damn town of Jarillo was going to be there, so he knew he couldn't miss it.
Vincent saw a movement up the road and lifted his shades up from his nose as he squinted. What the hell was that? As he drew closer, he could see there was a car parked on the side of the road, and a woman stood next to it, waving her hand.That's all I need now, to have to stop to help someone with car problems. He slowed down, pulled up behind the car, and rolled his window down.
The woman walked quickly toward his SUV, her heels stinking into the dirt road as she approached. "Oh, you don't know how happy I am to see you."
"What seems to be the problem?" he asked.
"I have a flat tire, and I don't know how to change it. I'm on my way to meet someone at the Sunnyside subdivision and my cellphone is dead."
Vincent slipped his SUV into park and opened the door and got out. As he walked over to take a look at the tire he saw artwork on the car that indicated it belonged to Stillwater Realty.
After he'd checked out the tire Vincent turned back toward her and he was immediately taken in by her beauty. She had clear green eyes, a lovely face that had little makeup, and auburn-colored hair pulled back in a braid. His eyes dropped to her neck, and then to her chest. She had on a blue pinstripe suit with a white blouse. He couldn't tell for sure, but it looked like she had a pretty spectacular pair of breasts. His eyes went lower, to her waist and then her nicely-shaped hips. The skirt was short, about two inches above her knees, and she had a good looking pair of legs. His gaze drifted a little further, to her feet, and he cringed inwardly when he saw the thick high heels that brought her height up to about five feet five. He couldn't imagine someone walking in those high heels and not tripping or falling. Vincent brought his gaze immediately back up to hers.
"Do you have a spare tire in the car?" he asked.
"Um, I don't know. Let me look." She walked to the back of the car and clicked the little button on the key pad and popped the trunk open. "Oh, I guess I do," she said with a smile that was genuine and lit up her face.
Constance Bretes is an author of contemporary romance and suspense. Her romance books are often set in different parts of the country, but her favorite site is Montana. She's married to her best friend and resides in Michigan with him and a houseful of cats. When she's not at her regular 8-to-5 job, she can be found writing, researching, and spending time with her husband.
You can learn more about Connie and her books at her website at www.conniebretes.weebly.com. You can also follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/constancebretes or Twitter at www.twitter.com/conniebretes.