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Steve dragged his tired butt into his camper, took one step, and tripped over something in the sooty darkness. Losing his balance, he smacked his forehead on the handle of the refrigerator door. "Shit! What the hell is that?" He fumbled for the light over the sink.
As the light flickered to life, he saw a black leather tote bag on the floor.
His gaze shot to the bed over the cab of his truck. The redhead from the rodeo stands held a pistol pointed directly at his chest. He'd been too cranky after losing the competition to fantasize about what color eyes she had. Turned out they were a vivid shade of green. She knelt on his bed with her arms stretched in front of her, gripping the .22 in both hands.
"What the hell?" Steve rubbed his forehead, knowing he'd probably sprout a goose egg. "How did you get back here? And why are you in my camper? I don't recall inviting you."
"You left it unlocked. And ... I want you to take me to Bozeman. Now."
His crankiness twisted into anger. "Oh, you do, do you?"
"Yes. I have to be there by six this morning."
"If you want to rob me, I'll give you the few bucks in my wallet. Then you can get the hell out of my camper."
She shook her head, causing her long, silky hair to sway back and forth. "I have no intention of robbing you. I need to get to Bozeman."
"Ever hear of driving, bus, airplane, lady?"
She shook her head again. "I want you to drive me."
"Now, wait a minute." Steve held up his hands. "I'm not a damn taxi service. If you want to shoot me, do it. I'm already dead on my feet."
"I don't want to shoot you. I want you to drive me to Bozeman."
"Sorry, no can do. I'malmost out of gas. The next town is thirty miles up the road, and the gas station doesn't open 'til six."
The redhead's brows knitted together into a frown. "This is a big truck. It has to have dual tanks."
Tank number two was filled but he wasn't about to tell her that. "Forgot to fill it."
Still frowning, she watched him with a skeptical glint in her eyes. Steve rubbed his forehead again, avoiding her eyes. He hated being dishonest, even to a wacky redhead with a gun pointed at him.
She let out a long, frustrated breath, then stared down at the gun for several moments.
"Why don't you put the gun away?" Steve suggested. "We'll forget this ever happened."
Her gaze collided with his. "No. I have to get to Bozeman."
"It's a long walk. And a lady can't be hitchhiking at night on this lonely road. So, it looks like you have to spend the night on the side of the road with me." He wasn't sure if he relished that idea. Sure, she was attractive, with that flaming head of hair, but the fact that she had a gun pointed at him tended to put a damper on things.
She shook her head. "No, no, no."
"What's so important about getting to Bozeman by six?"
"She pressed her lips together in a tight line for a moment. "I need to catch a plane." Fear swirled in her eyes.
"Listen, why don't you put the gun away?" He held up his hands again. "I'm an honest guy. You can trust me."
"That's why I picked you."
Steve laid his hand on his chest, eyes widening. "You picked me to drive you to Bozeman?"
So much for honesty. If he looked like a low-down rat, he probably wouldn't be standing in his camper with a gun pointed at him. "What's your name?" When she didn't answer, he said, "I'm Steve McCall. Now, you tell me yours." She still didn't volunteer her name. "Okay. I guess it's Red."
She frowned at him, clearly not liking the nickname.
"How about I make some coffee?"
What he really wanted was sleep, not caffeine. Since Red was in his bed, he didn't have much choice. If she didn't have a pistol sighted in on him, he'd crawl up there with her.
He kicked her tote bag out of the way and grabbed the small container of coffee off the cupboard shelf. After he measured the coffee, he glanced over at her. "Your legs will go to sleep kneeling like that." He turned on the propane burner. "Your arms have to be getting tired."
Red lifted her chin and raised the gun a notch.
Steve shrugged as he pulled a couple of mugs from the cupboard. "If you picked me to be your chauffeur because I look honest, then you don't need to be pointing that gun at me."
"I said you looked honest. I didn't say you were."
Posted January 28, 2013
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