A loud boom resonated in her ears, tires screeched and her car spun. Fear grabbed her in the throat as pain racked her body. A loud crack, her SUV jerked to a stop, and it all went black.
“Heather, can you hear me?” A woman’s voice came through a long tunnel. “Blink your eyes, Heather, if you hear me.”
I can hear you, but I’m too tired to open my eyes.
“She’s not responding verbally, but she took a hard hit. It’ll take time. She’ll come around.”
Damn, didn’t she hear me?
“But she will be all right?” Mrs. Carrick asked.
“If you mean will she regain consciousness, I think so. The accident just happened and right near our hospital. She’s gotten immediate care and nothing serious showed on the X-rays of her head except the doctor said she has a slight concussion. The orthopedic doctor will talk with you soon. He’s studying the leg X-rays.”
“Thank you,” her mother said.
When a hand took hold of hers, Heather sighed with relief. Her mother squeezed her hand.
“Wake up sweetheart. Daddy and I are both here.”
A larger, work-worn hand rubbed her arm. “Hi, honey. We called Joe and Traci. They’ll see you tomorrow.”
Joe’s coming from Washington D.C. and Traci from North Carolina?
“Am I dying?” Heather asked as she forced her eyes open. Her head throbbed and her parents were blurry at first, and then her vision cleared. “Mom and Dad, what happened to me? Joe and Traci only come home for holidays. I’ve been the one to remain in Chicago close to you and Dad. Oh, my head hurts, and my leg really hurts. My leg!”
She jerked and moved restlessly. Her mother held her hand tight. “The doctor will be here soon, Heather. He’ll fix your leg.”
“Do you remember the car crash?” her father asked.
“I was in an accident?”
“Yes, an idiot ran a red light and hit you on the right side and then sped off. They said if you hadn’t been in a heavy vehicle like our SUV you’d never have survived,” her father said.
“Oh, gosh, I wrecked your SUV. I’m so sorry, Dad.”
“Thank goodness your car was in the repair shop. I’m glad you had the heavier vehicle to protect you and all the seat bags deployed which also helped.”
“My head really hurts.” Heather put her hand on her forehead.
“You have a knot there, but no serious injuries.” Her mother smiled. “I always did say you had the hardest head of my three kids. You challenged everything and were very stubborn, but it’s come in handy.”
Heather’s hand touched the contraption they’d put on her right leg to hold it in place. “What did the doctor say about my leg?”
The curtain around her bed was pulled back. A stocky, gray-haired man stepped into the cubicle. “I can answer your question. I’m Dr. Kendrews. I’ve been looking at the X-ray pictures of your leg. It’s broken in two places, but one is a crack rather than a complete fracture. I’m going to do surgery and put it back together with external pins I can remove later.”
“I’m a ballet dancer. Will it be as strong as it was?”
“Too be honest, I doubt it. But we’ll see. I’ll do what I can.” Dr. Kendrews walked closer. “I’ve seen you dance. You float across the floor. My wife and I have gone to your last ballet, twice. So, I promise I will do my very best.”
“Are you the best?” Heather asked.
This time the doctor gave her a big smile. “I’m as good at my job as you are at yours. Yes, I’m one of the best.”
“When do I go to surgery?”
“As soon as we have all your blood work and Dr. Staples, your internist, says you’re ready. It won’t be long.
“Momma, call my director in the morning and tell him what’s happened. My understudy will have to take over my part. Pamela’s been working hard. She’ll be glad to have this opportunity.”
“What do I tell him when he asks when you’ll be back?”
“Explain the injury and that we don’t know about my recovery yet.” Heather blinked the tears away. She was alive, and she wasn’t giving up her hope of dancing again.
* * * *
Gavin Melwyn stopped at the barn when he got home. His best friend, Beck Colley, was brushing down his stallion, Mischief.
“How’s the ranch doing?” Gavin asked.
Beck turned his head and raised an eyebrow. “Fine as far as I know. Have you heard different?”
“Just making conversation.”
“You don’t make conversation. Old man Jessup must have called you after I stormed at him for the poor feed he sent this time.”
Gavin glanced around the barn. “Your temper’s been a bit short lately. Do you want to talk with me? I’m a good listener.”
“Damn.” Beck frowned at Gavin. “Can’t a man get angry without the whole town thinking he’s having a crisis?”
“Remember these are the same townspeople that supported you emotionally after you lost your good friend during the war, and then came home and got hurt in the rodeo ring. They’re all sensitive to your moods.”
“Gavin, it’s been over three years.”
“And you’re better, but still much more of a loner and less talkative than when you grew up here.”
“I’m a thirty-four-year-old man, not a bright-eyed, bring-on-the-world youngster.” He glared at Gavin. “And neither are you.”
Gavin laughed. “No, I’m not. But Mr. Jessup said you were unusually sullen and gruff. I’m only telling you what he said. You can ignore it, if you want.” He turned to walk out of the barn. “I’ll start supper.”
He turned toward Beck. “What?”
“Why do you put up with me?”
“I’m not sure, except you’re my best friend, even when your sullen moods return.”
They galloped the rest of the way. When they stopped, Beck tied their horse’s reins to a tree near the pond. Then he took out a plaid blanket and laid it across the soft grass.
He carried his saddlebag to the spot and opened the other side. “Water.” He handed a bottle to Heather. Then he rummaged further into the bag. “I hope you like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”
“Definitely.” She took one and pulled away the wrapper. Then she sat on the blanket and looked around. “All this fresh air gave me an appetite.” She stretched her legs out in front of her.
“Does your leg ache?”
“A little, but not too much.”
Beck had finished his sandwich. He took a swig of water and came to sit at her feet. “It’s your right leg, isn’t it?”
She nodded. “I’ll be fine, really.”
He removed her new boots, and pushed her jeans leg up and out of the way. Beck put her leg across his lap and rubbed the tight muscles.
Heather lay flat. “You don’t know how good that feels.” She closed her eyes as he continued to knead and rub the area. A cool breeze swirled across the lake.
When his hands slowed, she opened her eyes and studied the sky above her. The clear blue reminded her of Gavin’s eyes. White wisps of clouds floated by carried on the wind.
Suddenly, Beck leaned across her. His head dipped, blocking out the sky when his mouth caressed hers.
“You taste like strawberry jam.” His lips skimmed over every spot on her face. She closed her eyes again and relaxed, letting him do as he pleased.
When his teeth nibbled on her earlobe, a zing of pleasure shot up her spine. His warm breath on her throat gave her shivers. He rubbed his tongue across the spot where her heartbeat ran wild.
“I love the smell and taste of your skin,” he whispered in her ear.
Slowly he’d lowered his body over her. His hard cock pulsed against her belly. His eyes were heavily lidded. She couldn’t read his expression.
“You excite me as no other woman has in a long time.” Beck’s husky voice inflamed her desire to a roaring fire. He unbuttoned her shirt and pushed it aside. His teeth grazed along her shoulder and then he unfastened her bra to free her breasts. Warm hands cupped both breasts and he licked each nipple.
Delight and pleasure filled her being. Her arms tightened around his neck as she pushed her body firmly against his hard frame.
His tongue teased one nipple and then the other. Ripples of delight rolled across her body and her pussy wept with her juices. Her world had narrowed to this man, her, and the music of nature surrounding them.
The sound of her jeans snap opening brought her back to the present. She placed her hand over his.
“Do you want me to stop?” His stare was bold and yet there was softness in it.
“No,” she breathed the word out.
Beck stood and quickly removed his clothes. Heather enjoyed looking at his magnificent body. His skin was sun browned and his physique well toned. His wide shoulders tapered to narrow hips and long legs. Shiny black hair blew around his chiseled cheeks and hard jaw. He took a condom out of his jeans pocket and sheathed his cock. Then he pulled her up.
“It’s time for you to get out of the rest of your clothes.” He pushed her shirt and bra off. They fell on the corner of the blanket. Then he knelt and pulled her jeans and panties down and off. He stepped back and observed her. His look was so intent she had difficulty not putting her arms up to cover part of her nudity.
He grinned. “I think you’re blushing all over. You really are a newbie in the area of lovin’.”
“I warned you.”
“I’m glad. You have a lovely body. If I closed my eyes, I could picture you in your tutu dancing across the stage.”
She giggled and went up on her left foot. He stopped her. “Don’t risk the progress you’re making.” He picked her up and carefully placed her on the warm blanket.
His mouth tickled and tasted her midriff. “You have incredibly soft skin.” Beck moved further along her body, and opened her soft folds to expose her clit. He licked across her jewel.
Beck’s every touch excited her and sent a thrill racing through her body. Her pussy clenched tight with the desire to have his hard cock inside of her. She ran her fingers through his silky hair. When he looked at her, his eyes blazed with hunger.
“Move up and let me touch you,” she said.
“I’m so hard and ready that if you touched me, I’d explode. This is for you. To make sure you are pleasured.” He licked all the way from her clit to her pussy opening. His finger rubbed inside across her G-spot.
Her hips raised and she yelled at him, “Take me, now.”