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Scott Landry rolled to a stop and threw his pickup into park. He switched off the radio, which had been blaring country music, and leaned across the seat to crank the passenger window all the way down.
The woman shuffling down the dirt road stopped and turned her head. He peered at her. The thing he noticed first was her emerald-colored eyes. Second, he noted her disheveled appearance. He was thirty-two; he guessed her to be close to his age. Her face was pretty, but smudged with dirt, and her long ebony hair was tangled and unkempt. She wore sweatpants and a fitted tee shirt, which outlined the curvature of her small breasts, but the shirt was ripped along the shoulder. She didn't carry a purse or a backpack. Not even a bottle of water.
"Hello," he called. "Can I help you? You look lost."
The woman stared at him with a blank expression.
It was apparent she was out of her element and needed assistance. He pushed open the squeaky door and stepped out of the truck. As he sauntered around to the front, the woman's eyes grew wide and then she sprinted down the road.
"Wait!" Scott hollered, running after her. He punched down his cowboy hat to keep it from flying off.
She hadn't gotten a hundred feet when she collapsed to the ground like a rag doll. Scott rushed to her, knelt down, and found her unconscious. His touch was gentle when he lifted her head and patted her cheek.
"Come on, ma'am. Wake up." He laced his fingers around her neck and raised her into his lap. As she lay limp, he saw an angry purple bruise splotching the inside of her arm. When he brushed the waterfall of hair out of her eyes, he spied a lump on her forehead as big as a gooseegg.
Scott's gaze raked over the angelic-looking woman. She was built small--no heavier than a feather in his arms--and her skin was flawless. He noted the smattering of freckles across her upturned nose, long eyelashes, and heart-shaped lips. He couldn't begin to imagine how she'd found herself wandering the desert in the shape she was in. He placed his hand on her uninjured arm and jiggled until she stirred.
When she came to, her eyes got enormous. She gasped and struggled to break free from his hold.
"Hang on, lady. I'm not gonna hurt you." Scott released her and she attempted to stand. "Take it easy," he drawled. "Let me help. You just fainted. You might pass out again." He offered his hand.
She searched his face for a moment. With a wary look in her eye, she placed her hand in his and let him pull her off the ground.