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Adrenaline rushed through Ellie Morgan like water at Niagara Falls. The scream of the car's engine roared in her ears. Vibration pounded against her back and through her body as the car zoomed past the grandstands. She gripped the wheel more firmly with both hands and took the corner of the oval track.
A blistering September sun sat in a cloudless blue sky, baking anyone who dared cross its path and sending the track temperature to a hundred and seventeen degrees.
Hot damn! Exhilaration raced in her every cell as the car ate up more black tar.
Sweat flowed from Ellie's pores and soaked her flame-retardant bodysuit. The mask under her helmet itched with the intensity of poison ivy. Ah, yes, the glamour of show business. If people only knew. Blocking out the sensation, she concentrated on the road.
A couple of hundred extras dotted the grandstands of the racetrack as she sped by, waiting to play their part as horrified track fans witnessing a brutal accident. Ellie didn't let all those eyes watching distract her from the job. She never did. But this job was different, life-changing. After only a week in this car, she felt as if she'd been born to race.
Apparently she wasn't the only person who thought so. Mac Reynolds, former driver, current chief engineer for Grayling Racing and one of the technical advisors for this film, had said as much during Ellie's weeklong flash-courseGod forbid she use the word crashinto race-car driving. He'd arrived a week before his wife, the woman whose story the film was based on, to help acclimate Ellie to the car. She'd caught on faster than it took to go from zero to a hundred. Even though she hadn't gotten the car up to its full speed, she'd learned the feel of it. Knew when to shift, when to push. How to adjust the tools at her fingertips and interpret information flashed on the steering wheel. She heard the engine noise as if the car spoke to her.
Negotiating life was always a challenge, and she always tread carefully, but many things came easily to her too, especially when it came to sports. But nothing matched the power of the car buzzing around her and Ellie had never been surer of anything in her life. She'd been born to drive.
"Elle, you're moving too fast. Slow it down," Mark Brown, the stunt coordinator of this particular gig, told her over the headset.
"Just trying to get a feel for it. We want it to look real, don't we?"
"We also want you alive when the stunt is over," he fired back dryly. "Keep it at the speed we discussed."
"No worries. I'll be right where I need to be." Seventy miles an hour. It seemed a shame to go so slow when this car begged to move three times that speed.
She flew past the film crew on the infield in a sapphire-blue car built to exact specification and almost identical to Trace Bradshaw's open-wheel Arrow car. You couldn't really shoot an action/adventure/love story about the woman and not include the car that rocketed her to fame.
Ellie couldn't keep the grin off her face as she circled the track atshe glanced at the speedometerover a hundred and twenty miles per hour. Hello, big daddy! This is how to live!
This was the kind of job she wouldn't mind doing on a regular basis. After ten years of stunt work, she'd grown tired of the constant damage to her body. It was time to find another career. Something not so hard on the bones, but still interesting enough to keep her mind and body occupied. A career change would be a monumental task, but if she played her cards right she might have a shot at it. Every turn around the oval had her itching to try.