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He nodded. “Two miles?”

“Yes,” I said. “It’s not far.”

“What kind of car?” he asked, already scribbling something on a piece of paper. He was all business.

“Jeep Cherokee,” I said.

“All right.” He nodded and looked up at me again. My heart stopped when those cobalt eyes hit mine. “I’ll have to pick it up and tow it back; then I’ll take a look.”

“Okay,” I said. “Well, I can ride with you to show you where it is.”

“No need,” he said, his voice clipped. “I can find it.”

“But I have the keys.”

My words made him smirk. He looked at me for a second before nodding slowly and gesturing toward the door. I followed him outside. He didn’t speak until we were inside the tow truck. I climbed up and held my purse in my lap, squeezing it to my body. My emotions were running wild, and I was desperate to keep them under control.

“I’m Brad Jones,” he said when he fired up the truck.

“Olivia Storm,” I said with a polite smile. He just nodded and focused his attention on the road.

I sighed and looked out the window, watching the road zip by us as we flew toward my car. I couldn’t believe I’d gotten myself into such a horrible situation. Not only was I stranded in New Mexico with very little money to my name but I no longer had a vehicle. A feeling of hopelessness settled over me as he sped down the road.

Brad was quiet, his eyes never leaving the road, not even for a second. When I first saw him back at the shop, I thought he was much older, maybe in his early forties. Now, as I studied his face, I saw he was young, much younger than I would have guessed. Probably only in his late twenties.

I was struck again by how attractive he was. His eyes were such a deep blue that I knew I could lose myself in them without even trying. His hair was blond with specks of gray already beginning to show. Despite his obvious youth, he looked hardened. Mature.

My eyes were drawn to his biceps, which were slightly flexed as he gripped the steering wheel. I saw his tattoos back at the shop, but I didn’t want to stare. Now I could see the outline of a bird poking out from beneath his T-shirt. It was a hawk, or maybe an eagle. I couldn’t tell without lifting his shirt sleeve, which was I tempted to do until he cleared his throat.

I jerked my head around, focusing my eyes on my shoes. The rest of the way to my car I kept my attention away from Brad. It was bad enough that I barely had any money and that my car was currently useless, the last thing I needed was to humiliate myself by staring wistfully at my mechanic.

We were almost to my car when my thoughts turned to my parents. I sighed deeply, making Brad frown and look my way. I ignored him, and soon he looked back at the road. My heart felt heavy as I wondered what my parents were doing right now. Were they worried about me? Or were they still angry with my decision to leave town?

I didn’t know the answers to my questions, but even after all my setbacks, I felt confident in my decision. It was bitter sweet to be away from New York. The city was my home, my safe place. Out here, alone in the world, I didn’t know where I would go or what I would do next. All I knew was that I was finally living my life. Really and truly living.

Chapter 2

Brad

It wasn’t as if I had plans, but it was a Friday night. The shop was almost closed when Olivia strolled through the doors, pulling my attention to her. She looked lost when she walked up to the counter, her eyes roaming freely around the lobby. I considered telling her to get lost. It was after five. The shop was closed, and I didn’t have the energy or patience to deal with some spoiled rich girl.

From the look of her shiny brown hair and perfectly tailored outfit, she had money and plenty of it. Her purse was designer. I didn’t know much about that sort of thing, but I damn well knew it was worth more than my monthly rent. Everything about her screamed wealth and privilege. She was exactly the sort of girl I avoided and yet, I couldn’t turn her away.

I found myself engaging her, agreeing to help her, and even allowing her to ride along in the tow truck. It didn’t take long for me to realize she was upset. Her green eyes were swimming with emotion as we drove toward her car. It wasn’t in me to ask her about it, so I just drove along in silence. When we finally reached her car, I saw that it wasn’t just Jeep Cherokee like she’d said. It was a brand-new Jeep Cherokee. I fought the urge to roll my eyes as I jumped out of the truck and walked over.


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