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Sometimes a tall, handsome stud does come to the rescue…
In Sonoran Nights, Wind Whitebear is forced to return home to deal with her deceased father’s effects, but inadvertently bumps into an old crush, stirring the flames of attraction. She’s determined not to stay, but Tyler’s persuasive manner soon finds her in his arms and in his bed.
The novel is set in Gunstone, which is really Sierra Vista, Arizona. I lived there as a teen, going to the same high school as the main character. My memories are similar to Wind’s: not feeling like I fit in, not having much of a social life, and living with an alcoholic parent. I struggled to find a job also, flipping hamburgers and waitressing; both professions were…character building.
Tyler was the key to Wind’s happiness, as my husband rescued me from my situation, taking me with him to California and then around the world…several times. In the novel, the characters reconnect amidst the backdrop of a murder mystery, but Wind fears that Tyler is too good to be true. She’s so close to her happy ending, but will she live long enough to enjoy it?
She was the half-breed daughter of the town drunk who never knew her mother, but that didn’t stop Wind Whitebear from riding her motorcycle and fantasizing about high school quarterback Tyler McCormick. He was the richest kid in town and totally out of her league.
Her father’s unexpected death forces Wind to return to Gunstone, Arizona, where she finds herself embroiled in a mystery. As she unravels secrets, a chance encounter with Tyler opens the door to a connection that might have begun before, yet was never realized…until now.
As their attraction heats up, a threat materializes that no one suspected, and the truth is revealed with shocking consequences. But first, Wind must conquer her fear and trust the only man who has the power to break her heart.
“Russ is asking where you are.” Camille’s face appeared in the partially opened door. “You better get out here. People are showing up.”
Daisy hopped down from the counter. “Oh, yay.” Her expression was bland. “I’m off in an hour. Thank God.”
She smoothed her skirt. “So much for my break.”
I followed her out, noticing that my tables were occupied. A couple browsed through the menu, while the second table had only one customer. I took the order of the older couple first and then quickly moved to the next.
“What can I get you?”
“The mesquite burger, well done, with fries.”
I glanced at him. “Do you want…a drink with that?” My stomach had dropped to the floor and my mind had dissolved into a puddle of disordered thoughts.
“Coke would be great.”
“Sure. I’ll be back with your drink.” I hastened away, while my heart pounded in my chest. I had just come face to face with Tyler McCormick! My high school crush was at one of my tables! Flustered and embarrassed, I brought the older couple their drinks and delivered Tyler’s’. I handed him a straw. “Here you go.”
“I know you.”
“No, I don’t think so.”
He sat back in the seat; a huge smile split his face. “I know you.”
“I just got to town.”
“Well, unless Wind Whitebear has a twin, I’d say you’re her doppelganger.” He sat forward, his arms resting on the table, and they were still muscled, as was the rest of him. “I’m sorry about your dad. Snakebite. What a way to go. You don’t hear about that everyday.”
“No, you don’t.”
“You look exactly the same.” His eyes roamed over me, and I felt myself buzzing, which was distracting. “Actually, even better.”
“Um…so do you.”
“You went to California, right?”
“Looks like you’re living here now?” He eyed the uniform.
“Only a month.”
“What’s not to love about this place?” He was joking, but his expression had lost some of its humor.
“You visiting your folks?”
“Not at the moment.”
“How did…um…you played for some big sports team, right?”
“You didn’t?” I searched my memory, trying to recall which McCormick had been hired by a major league football team. “Was it Gage?”
“It was. He’s playing for the Colts.”
“Oh, wow, congratulations. I mean, good for him.” Stop acting like a moron, Wind! Get it together!
“I got injured sophomore year. It pretty much put the breaks on a football career.”
He shrugged. “Shit happens.”
There was something different about him. From what I remembered, he had always exuded optimism and energy; his entire high school career had been punctuated by enormous successes. He had been revered by his teammates, lusted after by the cheerleaders, and basically granted a God-like status among his peers. Some of that luster had diminished, and I was curious about what had happened to him, but I spied new arrivals walking through the door, and I had to wait on them.
While striding from table to table, I kept an eye on Tyler, who seemed to be watching me. When I returned with his order, his look was questioning.
“You were in Los Angeles?”
“I graduated from UCLA.”
“Congrats. Awesome school.”
“It did wonders for me.” I regretted sounding so sour. “I mean; I’m just working here temporarily. I’m getting out as soon as I can.”
“I don’t blame you.”
“Are you here permanently now?” I wanted to know if he was married, and a quick look at his left hand revealed a finger devoid of a ring.
“I work at the car dealership.” He seemed less than thrilled, if his frown was anything to go by.
“The family business.” He nodded absently. “You have a sister too, right?”
“Julia’s married. She lives in England.”
“Oh, wow. That’s about as far away from Gunstone as you can get.”
“She met him at Princeton.”
“Clearly that’s the mistake I made. I shoulda headed out east for my education.”
His expression was thoughtful. “You were the only chick I ever knew who had the balls to ride a motorcycle.”
I hated the ridiculous amount of pleasure I received from that compliment. “I couldn’t afford a car.”
“Table seven needs their check,” said Daisy, as she breezed by.
“Well…it was…nice seeing you again.”
He left a short while later, and I hid behind a fake plant, watching him walk out of the restaurant. His jeans molded to his butt in an appealing way, the material stretching across rounded, firm cheeks. His truck looked new and it was outfitted with bells and whistles: a roof rack, larger tires, extra lights, and probably an amazing sound system. He drove off, pulling onto South Highway 93, and disappeared. It was the strangest feeling watching him go. A part of me wished I’d been in the truck with him. Why hadn’t he asked me out?