Publication date: December 11th 2018 (audio)
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Teri Campbell is on the run, on a bus ride to nowhere. An unscheduled stop on the wind-blown plains of Wyoming leaves her at M&J’s Truck Stop… and in the arms of Mike Gallagher, the young trucker who appoints himself her protector, who understands her as no one else could. But will her new life and her new-found love be enough when events take an unexpected turn? …and can even Mike keep her safe from the past that threatens to reclaim her?
“Betty, great, you’ve been showing Teri around. Here, hon, let me….” and Marsha swiftly dropped the apron over Teri’s head and spun her around, her hands working quickly to tie the strings. “I cannot believe we are so busy! Betty told you about the Triple R?”
Teri nodded, and Marsha straightened with a sigh as another truck pulled into the driveway and disappeared around the side of the building.
“I know it’s great for business, but it’s going to be another rough evening. Oh well, at least Charlie made it in this time. Joe does hate cooking. Betty,” Marsha flashed a harassed glance at the clock on the wall above the register. “I hate to ask, can you run into town and get a few things for me? I’ll give you a check to take…”
Another glance at the clock, and she turned her warm smile on Teri.
“It’ll be okay, you and I can handle it for awhile. At least with Charlie here, I won’t have so much to do in the kitchen. You did just great yesterday, and today we’ll split the work the same way. It won’t be as relaxed as I’d hoped for your first day, but it won’t be the disaster that last night was.”
That seemed to be taking an awful lot for granted, Teri thought with a muffled groan as she lowered herself onto a stool at the counter several hours later. In the early afternoon the wind had picked up again and a local Little League baseball game had been canceled, so they’d been inundated with a several carloads of budding Mickey Mantles, along with their doting parents and quarrelsome siblings.
She sighed, wrapping her hands around her cup of hot tea, hoping her fingers would warm up soon. She’d started to worry about losing them to frostbite after making a dozen milkshakes for the group of teens that had swarmed in shortly after the baseball players had left. But things had finally slowed down, and it was quiet except for the occasional burst of laughter from a group of truckers in a booth at the far end.
The back door of the restaurant, at the end of the truckers’ section, flew open, accompanied by a gust of wind, and several more men stomped in, shedding coats and hats. There was a bustling amongst the men already seated, and a ringing shout.
Teri looked around curiously, to see the young man from last night – the tall one with the broad shoulders, the shaggy golden hair and deep green eyes – raise a hand in greeting to his friends as he turned to shrug off his coat and hang it on the hooks by the door. Teri turned to Marsha, who was leaning against the counter nearby, sipping a glass of orange juice as she carefully wiggled her foot back and forth…. the one that had been stomped on by one of the little baseball darlings in his rush to be the first one to a booth.
“MikeAngel?” she asked.
Marsha looked up. “What? Oh! That’s a CB handle, hon. They have those radios in the trucks and talk back and forth while they’re on the road. “
She went back to contemplation of her injured foot, and Teri slid a glance sideways at Mike, who’d joined his friends in the booth. MikeAngel…. Michael…. the Archangel Michael. That was so appropriate, she thought, her gaze lingering on his strong, beautiful face. That’s what an archangel should look like, she thought… like Mike. MikeAngel.
He looked up just then, catching her gaze on him, and smiled, rising to his feet and walking down the aisle.
“Hey, kid, how’s it going?” He dropped onto the stool next to hers, his gaze approving as he took in the new clothes. He noted with satisfaction that the look of stress in the girl’s eyes, the bruised shadows he’d seen the night before, had faded. He tossed a quick grin at Marsha.
“Keeping her pretty busy already, huh?”
With a wink he got up again, reaching out one large hand to ruffle Teri’s hair. “You’re doing great kid, keep it up.”
As he headed back to his table, Teri heard a deep sigh to her right, and turned her head to see Betty gazing after Mike appreciatively.
“Isn’t he just soooooooooo gorgeous?”
Teri exchanged a grin with Marsha, and Betty pouted, catching the look.
“Well, he is!”
Marsha grabbed a towel from behind the counter and flicked it at her. “Betty, you think every male between seventeen and seventy is gorgeous!”
Skipping nimbly out of the way, Betty caught up the coffeepot and headed for the booths by the front window, laughing back at them over her shoulder. “Well, they are!”
A career medical transcriptionist, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. As a single mom, she raised a wonderful daughter who’s recently married and there are plans afoot for grandchildren. A disabled veteran, Allie now lives in the beautiful Sorona Desert in southern Arizona with her two rescue cats and writes full-time.
Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am… a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.”